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10 September 2008
Bhagavat Purana consists of Eighteen thousand slokas, distributed amongst 332 Chapters and divided into Twelve cantos (skandhas). It is named Bhagavat from its being dedicated to the glorification of Lord Vishnu. Though originally written in Sanskrit, Bhagavat has been explored and translated in major vernacular languages of India. Bhagavat, an epic philosophical and literary classic, holds a prominent position in India’s voluminous written wisdom. Bhagavat exercises a more direct and powerful influence upon the opinions and feelings of the people than perhaps any other of the Puranas.
Bhagavat is considered essence of Geeta. Bhagavat deals mainly with innumerable exploits of Lord Krishna, an avatar or incarnation of Vishnu and stresses on devotion, as way to salvation (mukti). Sage Vyas, author of many great scriptures like Mahabharat and Vedas, compiled it . The 18,000-verse treatise centers on the science of God and devotion to Him, and includes biographies of great devotees who followed the path of Bhakti and attained moksha.
From academic point of view, Bhagavata Purana is a narration of a conversation between King Parikshit and Sage Sukdev (Shukadeva). King Parīkshit was cursed to die in seven days by a Brahmin, so he decided to spent final days of his life in gaining knowledge about the goal of life relegating his stately duties. As he prepares for his impending death, Shukadeva, who has been searching for a suitable disciple to whom he might impart his great knowledge, approaches the king and agrees to teach him. Their conversation goes on uninterrupted for seven days, during which the king does not eat, drink or sleep. During this time the sage explains that the ultimate aim of life lies in knowing the supreme absolute truth.
The most popular and characteristic part of Bhagavat is the tenth canto, which describes the life and works of Sri Krishna. The Bhagavata Purana depicts Krishna not as a Jagad-Guru (a teacher) as in the Bhagavad-Gita, but as a heroic lad brought up by cowherd parent, Nand and Yashoda, in a small village situated on the banks of Yamuna River. Young Krishna's childhood plays and acts of bravery in protecting villagers from demons steals the hearts of the cowherd girls (Gopis'). In his unique enchanting way, Krishna lifts Gopis to a higher state as a result of intense devotion. However, when Krishna leaves for Mathura on a mission, Gopis' love turns into grief. Their intense longing is presented as a model of extreme devotion to the Supreme Lord. In a way, Bhagavat paved way to various schools of Bhakti Movement.
Known as 'the ripe fruit of the tree of Vedic literature', Srimad-Bhagavatam is the most complete and authoritative exposition of Vedic knowledge. It covers everything from the nature of the self to the origin of the universe, and touches upon all fields of knowledge. It raises and answers fundamental questions like what is life, what is a human being's role in life, what is meant by cycle of birth and death, what is the relation between God and man, what are ways of propitiating God etc. Bhagavata also adds fifth element of devotion (or divine service) besides well-known four aspects of life i.e. Dharma (morality), Artha (acquiring wealth), Kama (pleasure) and Moksha (liberation or salvation). Narrated in story-form its style is simple, lyrical and picturesque.
The impact of Bhagavata on Indian life over ages cannot be measured easily. It has served as the inspiration for countless works of literature, song, drama, painting, sculpture, folk-theatres and crafts. Dealing with exploits of Lord Krishna from childhood to Mahabharata battle, anecdotes and stories figure in one form or other in Vaishnava temple sculptures. Kaliya mardana, Gopika Vastra-harana, Gajendra-moksha, Govardhan-dharan are only few events which have kindled imagination of artistes and craftsmen through ages. All the important dance schools, Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Kathakkali, Odissi and Manipuri have themes from Bhagavata.
07 August 2008
Gist of Bhagwat Gita
"It is because of worldly delusion that a man finds himself in a dilemma of what to do and what not to do. Being entangled in this dilemma he loses his sense of duty. Therefore he should not be overpowered by delusion or attachment to pleasure"
"The body is perishable while the knower of this fact i.e. the Self (Soul) is imperishable.
- Attaching importance to this discrimination and/or
- selfless performance of one's duty
- by adopting any one of these two means, worry and grief are wiped out in the life of man."
"Only prompt performance of one's duty, without any interested motive, for the welfare of others, leads to salvation"
"There are two methods to be free from the bondage of action - (1) performance of action selflessly having known the truth about actions and/or realisation of the self."
"A man should not be happy and sad in favourable and unfavourable circumstances because such a man (who is happy and sad) cannot rise above the mundane existence and experience the Supreme Bliss."
"A man should attain equanimity (even mindedness) by any spiritual discipline. Without equanimity he cannot be totally flawless [without change in state]."
"All is only God. Acceptance of this fact is the best spiritual discipline."
"Whatever a being thinks of at the time of death, he gets the same form of rebirth. Therefore, a man should always think of God even while performing all his worldly duties, so that the thought of God persists at the time of death."
"All persons are entitled to realise God, no matter what caste, creed, community, country, colour, stage of life, etc. they belong to."
"In the world whatever exception, singularity, speciality, beauty, glory, importance, intellect, talent, power, etc. is perceived, by regarding everything as God's only He should be thought of."
"By regarding the world as the manifestation of God, every person can view/ the cosmic form of God."
"The devotee who dedicates himself with his body, senses, mind and intellect to God, is dear to Him."
"In the world only the essence of God is worth to be known. Having known Him, immortality is attained."
"In order to be free from the bondage of the world, it is necessary to transcend the three gunas (modes of nature) - Sattva (Goodness), Rajas (Passion) and Tama (Ignorance). A man transcends these three by exclusive devotion."
"The existence of the world is based on God and God is the Supreme Being in the world. We should accept this fact and exclusively worship Him."
"It is only due to a man's evil deeds and misconduct, that he goes to and experiences the eighty four lac species of life and hell, and thus suffers. Therefore, to be free from the cycle of birth and death, it is necessary to give up one's evil deeds and misconduct."
"A man should remember God and take His name before starting any good work that he does with respect and faith."
"The gist of all the scriptures are contained in the Vedas, the gist of all the Vedas are contained in the Upanishads, gist of all the Upanishads is contained in the Gita, and the gist of the Gita is take complete refuge in God. Surrender yourself completely to Him. He who surrenders himself exclusively to God, is liberated from all sins by God."
05 August 2008
1. The enquiry into Brahman and its pre-requisites
2. Definition of Brahman
3. Brahman is realisable only through the scriptures
4. Brahman the main purport of all Vedantic texts
5. Brahman (the intelligent principle) is the first cause
6. Anandamaya is Para Brahman
7. The being or person in the Sun and the eye is Brahman
8. The word Akasa must be understood as Brahman
9. The word ‘Prana’ must be understood as Brahman
10. The light is Brahman
11. Prana is Brahman
1. The Manomaya is Brahman
2. The eater is Brahman
3. The dwellers in the cave of the heart are the individual soul and Brahman
4. The person within the eye is Brahman
5. The internal ruler is Brahman
6. That which cannot be seen is Brahma
7. Vaisvanara is Brahman
1. The abode of heaven, earth etc. is Brahman
2. Bhuma is Brahman
3. Akshara is Brahman
4. The Highest person to be meditated upon is the Highest Brahman
5. The Dahara or the ‘Small Akasa’ is Brahman
6. Everything shines after Brahman
7. The person of the size of a thumb is Brahman
8. The Devas also are entitled to the study of Vedas
9. The right of the Sudras to the study of Vedas discussed
10. The Prana in which everything trembles is Brahman
11. The ‘light’ is Brahman
12. The Akasa is Brahman
13. The Self consisting of knowledge is Brahman
1. The Mahat and Avyakta of the Kathopanishad do not refer to the Sankhya Tattvas
2. The Aja of Svetasvatara Upanishad does not mean Pradhana
3. The five-fold-five (Pancha-panchajanah) does not refer to the twenty-five Sankhyan categories
4. Brahman is the First cause
5. He who is the maker of the Sun, Moon, etc. is Brahman and not Prana or the individual soul
6. The Atman to be seen through hearing etc., of the Bri. Up. II-4-5 is Brahman and not Jivatma
7. Brahman is both the efficient and the material cause
8. The arguments which refute the Sankhyas refute the others also
1. Refutation of Smritis not based on Srutis
2. Refutation of Yoga
3. Brahman can be the cause of the universe, although It is of a contrary nature from the universe
4. Kanada and Gautama refuted
5. The distinctions of enjoyer and enjoyed do not oppose unity
6. The world (effect) is non-different from Brahman (the cause)
7. Brahman does not create evil
8. Brahman is the cause of the world
9. Brahman is the material cause of the universe, though He is without parts
10. Fully-equipped Brahman
11. Final end of Creation
12. Brahman is neither partial nor cruel
13. Saguna Brahman necessary for creation
1. Refutation of the Sankhyan theory of the Pradhana as the cause of the world
2. Refutation of the Vaiseshika view
3. Refutation of the atomic theory of the Vaiseshikas
4. Refutation of the Bauddha Realists
5. Refutation of the Bauddha Idealist
6. Refutation of the Jaina Doctrine
7. Refutation of the Pasupata System
8. Refutation of the Bhagavata or the Pancharatra school
1. Ether is not eternal but created
2. Air originates from ether
3. Brahman (Sat) has no origin
4. Fire originates from air
5. Water is produced from fire
6. Earth is created from water
7. Brahman abiding within the element is the creative principle
8. The process of dissolution of the elements is in the reverse order from that of creation
9. The mention of the mind and intellect does not interfere with the order of creation and reabsorption as they are the products of the elements
10. Births and deaths are not of the soul
11. The individual soul is eternal. ‘It is not produced’
12. The nature of the individual soul is intelligence
13. The size of the individual soul
14. The individual soul is an agent
15. The soul is an agent as long as it is limited by the adjuncts
16. The soul is dependent on the Lord, when he works
17. Relation of the individual soul to Brahman
1. The Pranas have their origin from Brahman
2. The number of the organs
3. The organs are minute in size
4. The chief Prana has also an origin from Brahman
5. The chief Prana is different from air and sense functions
6. The minuteness of the chief Prana
7. The presiding deities of the organs
8. The organs are independent principles and not functions of the chief Prana
9. The creation of names and forms is by the Lord and not by the individual soul
1. The soul at the time of transmigration does take with it subtle parts of the elements
2. The souls descending from heaven have a remnant of Karma which determines their birth
3. The fate after death of those souls whose deeds do not entitle them to pass up to Chandraloka
4. The soul on its descent from the Chandraloka does not become identified with ether, etc., but attains a similarity of nature
5. It takes only a short time for the descent of the soul
6. When the souls enter into plants, etc., they only cling to them and do not themselves become those species
1. The soul in the dream state
2. The soul in dreamless sleep
3. The same soul returns from deep sleep
4. The nature of swoon
5. The nature of Brahman
6. The Neti-neti text explained
7. Brahman is one without a second
8. The Lord is the giver of the fruits of actions
1. The Vidyas having identical or the same form found in scriptures constitute one Vidya
2. Particulars of identical Vidyas mentioned in different Sakhas or places are to be combined into one meditation
3. Those Vidyas with different subject-matter are separate,even if there may be some similarities
4. It is appropriate to specialise OM by the term ‘Udgitha’
5. Unity of the Prana-Vidya
6. Attributes like Bliss, etc., of Brahman have to be combined into one meditation
7. Katha Up. I.3.10-11 teaches merely that the Self is higher than everything else
8. The Self mentioned in Ait. Up. I.1. is the Supreme Self and the attributes of the Self given elsewhere should be combined with this meditation
9. Only thinking of water to be the dress of Prana is enjoined in the Prana-Vidya
10. The names ‘Ahar’ and ‘Aham’ of Brahman occurring in Bri. Up. V.5.1-2 cannot be combined
11. Attributes of Brahman occurring in the Ranayaniya Khila constitute an independent Vidya
12. The Purusha Vidya in the Chhandogya and the Taittiriya are not to be combined
13. Unconnected Mantras and sacrifices mentioned in certain Upanishads do not belong to Brahma-Vidya
14. The statement that the good and evil deeds of a person go respectively to his friends and enemies is true for texts that mention discarding of such actions by him
15. The shaking off of good and evil by the man of Knowledge occurs only at the time of his death
16. The knower of Saguna Brahman alone goes along Devayana, and not the knower of Nirguna Brahman
17. The passage of the soul by Devayana applies equally to all Vidyas of Saguna Brahman
18. Perfected souls may take a corporeal existence for divine mission
19. The negative attributes of Brahman mentioned in various texts are to be combined in all meditations on Brahman
20. Mundaka III.1.1 and Katha I.3.1 constitute one Vidya
21. Brihadaranyaka III.4.1 and III.5.1 constitute one Vidya
22. The Sruti prescribes reciprocal meditation in Ait. Ar. II.2.4.6
23. Brihadaranyaka V.4.1 and V.5.3 treat of one Vidya about Satya Brahman
24. Attributes mentioned in Chh. Up. VIII.1.1 and Bri. Up. IV.4.22 are to be combined on account of several common features in both texts
25. Pranagnihotra need not be observed on days of fast
26. Upasanas mentioned in connection with sacrifices are not their parts, but separate
27. Meditations on Vayu and Prana are to be kept separate notwithstanding the essential oneness of these two
28. The fires in Agnirahasya of the Brihadaranyaka are not part of the sacrificial act, but form an independent Vidya
29. Atman is an entity distinct from the body
30. Upasanas connected with sacrificial acts, i.e., Udgitha Upasana are valid for all schools
31. Vaisvanara Upasana is one entire Upasana
32. Various Vidyas like the Sandilya Vidya, Dahara Vidya and so on are to be kept separate and not combined into one entire Upasana
33. Any one of the Vidyas should be selected according to one’s own option or choice
34. Vidyas yielding particular desires may or may not be combined according to one’s liking
35. Meditations connected with members of sacrificial acts may or may not be combined according to one’s liking
1. Knowledge of Brahman is independent of sacrificial acts
2. Sannyasa is prescribed by the scriptures
3. Scriptural texts as in Chh. Up. I.1.3. which refer to Vidyas are not mere praises but themselves enjoin the meditations
4. The stories mentioned in the Upanishads do not serve the purpose of Pariplavas and so do not form part of the ritualistic acts. They are meant to eulogise the Vidya taught in them
5. Sannyasins need not observe ritualistic acts, as Brahma Vidya or knowledge serves their purpose
6. Works prescribed by the scriptures are means to the attainment of knowledge
7. Food-restrictions may be given up only when life is in danger
8. The duties of Ashrama are to be performed by even one who is not desirous of salvation
9. Those who stand midway between two Ashramas also are qualified for knowledge
10. He who has taken Sannyasa cannot revert back to his former stages of life
11. Expiation for one who has broken the vow of Sannyasa
12. The life-long celibate who fails to keep up his vow must be excluded by society
13. The meditations connected with the subordinate members of sacrificial acts (Yajnangas) should be observed by the priest and not by the sacrificer
14. In Bri. Up. III.5.1 meditation is enjoined besides the child-like state and scholarship
15. Child-like state means the state of innocence, being free from egoism, lust, anger, etc.
16. The time of the origination of knowledge when Brahma Vidya is practised
17. Liberation is a state without difference.
1. Meditation on Brahman should be continued till knowledge is attained
2. He who meditates on the Supreme Brahman must comprehend It as identical with himself
3. The symbols of Brahman should not be meditated upon as identical with the meditator
4. When meditating on a symbol, the symbol should be considered as Brahman and not Brahman as the symbol
5. In meditation on the members of sacrificial acts the idea of divinity is to be superimposed on the members and not in the reverse way
6. One is to meditate sitting
7. There is no restriction of place with regard to meditation
8. Meditations should be continued till death
9. Knowledge of Brahman frees one from all past and future sins
10. Similarly good work does not affect the knower of Brahman
11. Works which have not begun to yield results are alone destroyed by knowledge and not those which have already begun to bear fruits
12. Permanent obligatory works enjoined by the Vedas for different Ashramas are not to be given up
13. Sacrificial works not combined with knowledge or meditation also help in the origination of knowledge
14. After enjoying the fruits of Prarabdha Karma the knower becomes one with Brahman
1. At the time of death the functions of the organs are merged in the mind
2. The function of mind is merged in Prana
3. The function of Prana is merged in the Jiva
4. The mode of departure from the body up to the way is common to both the knower of the Saguna Brahman and an ordinary man
5. The dissolution of fire etc., at the time of death in the Supreme Deity is only relative
6. The Pranas of the knower of Brahman do not depart at the time of death
7. The Pranas (organs) and elements of the knower of the Nirguna Brahman get merged in It at death
8. The Kalas of the knower of the Nirguna Brahman attain absolute non-distinction with Brahman at death
9. The soul of the knower of the Saguna Brahman comes to the heart at the time of death and then goes out through the Sushumna Nadi
10. The soul of one who knows Saguna Brahman follows the rays of the sun after death and goes to Brahmaloka
11. Even if the knower of the Saguna Brahman dies in Dakshinayana, he still goes to Brahmaloka
1. The path connected with the deities beginning with that of light is the only path that leads to Brahmaloka
2. The departing soul reaches the deity of the year and then the deity of the air
3. After reaching the deity identified with lightning, the soul reaches the world of Varuna
4. Light, etc., referred to in the text describing the path of the gods mean deities identified with light, etc., who conduct the soul stage after stage till Brahmaloka is reached
5. The departed souls go by the path of gods to Saguna Brahman
6. Only those who have taken recourse to the worship of Brahman without a symbol attain Brahmaloka
1. The liberated soul does not acquire anything new but only manifests its essential or true nature
2. The released soul remains inseparable from the Supreme Soul
3. Characteristics of the soul that has attained the Nirguna Brahman
4. The soul which has attained the Saguna Brahman effects its desire by mere will
5. A liberated soul who has attained Brahmaloka can exist with or without a body according to his liking
6. The liberated soul which has attained the Saguna Brahman can animate several bodies at the same time
7. The liberated soul which has attained Brahmaloka has all the lordly powers except the power of creation.