Bhavas in Bhagavatham
Bhavas in Srimad Bhagavatam - 4
Given below are a few excerpts from Sri Sri Swamiji’s recent expounding of Srimad Bhagavatam:
The Supreme Truth
Srimad Bhagavatam starts with a meditation on the ‘Param’ (the highest) Truth – The One Truth that is the cause for all creation sustenance and dissolution.
The last verse of Srimad Bhagavatam defines that ‘Param’ yet again, this time, as ‘Hari’ and shows us the way to propitiate that Supreme Truth – Nama Sankirtanam. ________________________________________
The Fear of Death
The throat of a snake is only as thick as a needle. So when it catches a prey, it takes a tremendously long time to ingest it. The snake does not use its tongue to kill its prey. This is because the venom present in its tongue could prove detrimental to itself. So it only crushes the prey and ingests it.
When a frog is caught in the jaws of a snake, it sits there for an extremely long time (until it is consumed via the snake’s throat) alive, not knowing that it is truly in the jaws of death. In the mean time, the frog happily sticks out its tongue and tries to catch the flies and insects to satiate its hunger!
Similarly, we are all in the jaws of the snake called death. This venomous snake consumes us instant by instant. We have lost as much percentage of our life to death as our age is! Oblivious of this fact, we indulge in worldly matters and mundane pleasures akin to the foolish frog.
Should we not be afraid of death? Should we not make the best use of our time and surrender unto the Lord by chanting His Name always?
It is this fear of death that led Bhagavan Ramana to the state of Liberation.
In Vishnu Sahasranamam, the two names of the Lord are ‘Bhaya krut’ ‘Bhaya Nashana:’, One who creates the fear and One who destroys it.
It is verily the Lord who instills the fear of death in us and gives us the supreme knowledge that allays this grave fear. ________________________________________
When does one get Bhagavatam?
Srimad Bhagavatam is a narration of the glories of the Lord by Sage Suka to king Parikshit. Going by this logic, the Purana should have commenced with the story of Parikshit. But how does the Purana start?
It starts with the story of Ashwattama killing the progeny of the Pandavas and his deploying Brahmastra against Arjuna. Why does Sage Vyasa start the Purana with this incident? It is because this is where Mahabharata ends. It is only to show that Bhagavatam is a continuation of the Mahabharata that the epic starts thus.
What is the import of such a beginning? – ‘Dharmakshetre Kurukshetre’ goes the Bhagavat Gita. Dharmakhetra is nothing but our body. Mahabharata, the battle between the 5 Pandavas and the 100 Kauravas, is nothing but the battle between the good thoughts (‘Pandu’ means white and the good thoughts are very few in number) and the hundreds of bad thoughts (represented by the Kauravas).
It is the battle between the good and the bad in our own self, and finally the good triumphs, making us saatvic in nature.
So, once, we destroy all the bad thoughts and become saatvic, we get to read the ‘Bhagavatam’, which leads us to Mukti! [This is why Bhagavatam is shown as a continuation of the Mahabharata]
What would happen if we perform Bhakti while the evil thoughts are still dominating? It would lead to confusion. Confusion is another way to attain liberation. It was the confusion that led Vivekananda to the highest state. But this calls for a right Guru to guide one out of confusion; and it takes a long time too (unlike the fear of death, which instantly gave the experience of liberation to Bhagavan Ramana).
The Seven forms of Life
A person can take birth as any of the seven life forms: Devas, humans, terrestrial animals, aerial life forms, crawling creatures, aquatic beings and plants.
In Srimad Bhagavatam, we see that it was Lord Krishna who gave liberation to all these life forms:
• Vatsasura, the bull (terrestrial animal)
• Bakasura, the stork (aerial life form)
• Sankachuda and Aghasura the pythons (crawling creatures)
• Kaliya the venomous water serpent (aquatic being)
• Nalakupura and Manigreeva -- The two ‘Marudha’ trees (plant forms)
• The innumerable gopas and gopis who were in human form
• Indra, Varuna and other devas who were tamed by the Lord.
Grace of God for the worldly
One should get the grace of the Lord before entering into worldly affairs. With the grace of the Lord protecting you, you will be least affected by the world, just like the kid who holds a pole tightly and spins around it does not fall.
This is shown in the life of Dhruva in Srimad Bhagavatam.
The Curse of a Brahma Jnani
The curse of a Brahma Jnani is indeed very powerful. When the Lord wishes to destroy something that is under His own protection, He accomplishes it only by means of a curse from the mouth of a Brahma Jnani.
The Yadava dynasty was under the protection of Lord Krishna Himself. Yet when He desired to wind up His lila on the Earth and destroy the Yadu Kula, He accomplished it by means of a curse (on Samba, the son of Jambavati) by Brahma Rishis.
Bhavas in Srimad Bhagavatam - 2
The Purana for Nama
In the first Canto, Sage Suta talks about the great Purana called Srimad Bhagavatam with the following sloka:
Idam bhAgavatam nAma purANam brahma samhitam |
(…such is the Purana by name Bhagavatam, a text which is verily the essence of all the Vedas…)
Our way of interpreting this is,
Idam bhAgavatam nAma purANam brahma samhitam |
(…such is Bhagavatam, which is verily a Purana of Nama, and also the essence of all the Vedas…)
An avatar for the fairer sex
Women are forbidden from reciting the Vedas, learning the Shastras and performing Salagrama Pooja and the like. Hence the compassionate Lord came down on earth for the sheer purpose of bestowing grace on women and hence took the Krishna Avatar.
Would it not amount to treason if they don't propitiate to Lord Krishna who is here verily for their sake!
Milk or Sugar or both?
If one drinks a glass of milk, he finds it very sweet and tasty. If he takes a spoonful of sugar, he finds that sweet too. When he takes milk with sugar dissolved in it, he finds the combination tastier than ever before and would not want to partake of sugar or milk alone anymore.
Similarly the initial incarnations of the Lord are ‘Matsya’ (fish), ‘Varaha’ (boar), ‘Kachapa’ (tortoise) are in the form of animals and the latter incarnations like Vamana, Parasurama, Rama and Krishna are human. The Narasimha Avatar is a half animal- half-human form like the sugar dissolved into milk.
Those who fall in love with this form of the Lord will never fall for any other forms.
This is Parasara Bhatta’s expounding of the Narasimha Avatar.
The Narasimha Avatar represents a beautiful transition from the Lord’s animal incarnations to human incarnations.
The seed, tree and the fruit
The third sloka of the first chapter of the first canto of Srimad Bhagavatam talks about Bhagavatam being the very essence of the fruit of the tree called the Vedas. Although he it does not explicitly talk about the seed for the tree called Vedas, the first two slokas talk about the Supreme Lord who is the basis of all the Vedas, and thus is the seed of the wish-fulfilling tree called the Vedas.
Thus the Purana talks about the seed called Lord Narayana, the tree called the Vedas and the fruit which is verily Srimad Bhagavatam itself.
This is Sri Vallabhacharya’s way of looking at the Purana.
Change in stance?
In the second Canto, Sage Suka tells Parikshit that one should go in search of satsang and Guru. He also says that one should renounce his house, and belongings. Are there no shelters provided by nature? Will you not get rags on the street that you can drape? Will not the trees give you fruits to satisfy your hunger? Will not the rivers give you water to quench your thirst?
Interestingly, here he says, God has this principle of taking care of anyone who has surrendered unto Him. Has God changed this stance of His?
In Srimad Bhagavatam, Sage Suka uses the term 'Adbutham' (astonishing) while describing three avatars of the Lord -- Krishna Avatar, Narasimha Avatar, Vamana Avatar.
The advice to Rahugana
In Jadabharata's advice to Rahugana, the former says that the best Sadhana is to bath oneself with the dust from the foot of a Jivan Mukta Guru ('vinA mahat pAda rajObhishekam'). In addition, he says where one should reside --
One should always reside in a place free from worldly matters and in the association of Sadhus where he can listen to the glories of Sri Hari everyday.
Bhavas in Srimad Bhagavatam - 1
Sri Sri Swamiji expounded the Bhagavata Mahapurana for seven days in March 2008 at Guruvayoor. Innumerable bhavas sprung forth during His discourses. Nama Dwaar shares with its readers a few of these...
The perfect wedding match
Sage Vyasa had eighteen daughters each one with varied character and personality. Amongst them was one, who was graceful, beautiful, ‘saatvic’ and lovable.
As a gift for anyone who wins the hand of this beautiful maiden of his, three great jewels were promised - Bhakti (devotion), Jnana (knowledge) and Vairagya (dispassion)
It is only when the groom had ‘Guru Paarvai’ (the favorable positioning of planet Jupiter in the horoscope, also interpreted as Guru's grace) can he marry this beautiful maiden called Bhagavatam.
The Zodiac in Bhagavatam
There are twelve ‘Rasis’ (zodiacs) in the Indian Horoscope and each one of them represents something particular in life.
The first zodiac represents life.
The second house represents family and wealth. The third house represents younger brothers, short travel etc.
The fourth house stands for comforts and happiness, mother, vehicle etc. The fifth place represents 'Punya' (merits), 'Putra' (son) etc.
The sixth represents stands for debts, laziness, prestige in the society, lack of punctuality, inconsistencies etc.
The seventh house represents neighbours, colleauges, friends, business partners, family partners, your surroundings etc.
The eighth stands for accidents, unexpected miseries, dangerous situations in life (‘Prana Sankata’).
the ninth house represents the assets and merits accrued by our ancestors, father, heriditary wealth, treasures, etc.
The tenth zodiac stands for breadwinning for life - the job.
The eleventh stands for gains, income, awards, favours etc. and the twelfth represents loss, wisdom, death and liberation (‘Mukti Sthaana’)
Srimad Bhagavatam contains twelve cantos, which represents the twelve zodiacs in a horoscope:
The first canto talks about King Parikshit's lifespan being endangered.
The second canto talks about Sri Suka showing King Parikshit the way to liberation. Here he says that the illustrious Sadhus and Mahans are your very family. Getting a Guru (an illlustrious Guru like Sage Suka) is indeed the most invaluable wealth.
The third canto talks in detail about the life and generations of Uttanapaada and Priyavrata who are none but our siblings.
The fourth canto talks about the comforts that Dhruva wanted to enjoy and what it entailed. It goes to show the meaning of the four Purushartas – Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha; how Dhruva, even after his meditation, came back to the kingdom and ruled it, illustrating all the Purushartas. The life history of Prithu shows what the true comforts should be -- listening to the glories of the Lord etc.
The fifth canto talks about Jadabharata’s life history and the initiation of King Rahugana in the path of Jnana by Jadabharata. It also talks about yet another 'Upadesa' -- the Jnana Upadesa (initiation of the Supreme Knowledge) of Sage Rishabha Yogi to his children
The sixth canto talks about two stories; it talks about the sins acquired by two varied personalities -- one of a well-educated, well-bred human being by name Ajamila and the other being Indra, the king of the Devas. The Purana goes to show that in either of these two cases, it is the Lord (and the Lord’s Name) which gives deliverance from these sins).
The seventh canto talks about Prahlada’s story where it shows the importance of association with good-natured (‘saatvic’) people.
The eighth canto starts with the elephant king Gajendra being put into terminal danger and shows us the supreme truth that the only way to escape the pangs of death and misery is surrender unto Lord. It talks about Amrutha Mathana which shows how wealth is important to our life. Not stopping with that, it talks about Bali and Vamana Charitra to show that the wealth so earned must be surrendered to the Almighty.
The ninth canto talks about the lineages of different dynasties - of the Sun and the Moon dynasties who are none but our ancestors. It talks about the great deeds / merits of our forefathers who have relinquished their worldly lives for the sake of Satsang and the Lord.
The tenth canto talks about Lord Krishna’s divine story. ‘Nityam Dasamasya Pataath’ (One should read the tenth canto everyday) – indicates how one should spend one's lifetime.
The eleventh canto talks about Jnaana through the different ‘Gita’s, clearly showing that attainment of Jnaana is verily the ‘gain’ in our life.
The twelfth canto talks about the Mukti of Parikshit and shows us that ‘Nama Sankirtan’ is verily the path to liberation.
Veda Vyasa is the authority of the Vedas and Narada is considered the foremost in Bhakti.Written by Veda Vyasa on the advice of Sage Narada, Srimad Bhagavatam is, no doubt, the essence of the Vedas and Bhakti
Sage Narada's compassion
The very intention of Sage Narada meeting Sage Vyasa was that the world would be gifted with the great Purana called Srimad Bhagavatam
The very purpose of Sage Narada meeting Valmiki was that the world would be gifted with the great epic called Ramayana.
The very purpose of Sage Narada meeting Prahalada’s mother was that the demon called Hiranyakashipu would be killed.
Was there a reason behind Sage Narada meeting the little child Dhruva? What was the intended benefit?
Sage Narada had a very similar situation in his youth when his mother left him, and he went to the forests to meditate on the Lord.
The little child Dhruva was in a similar state and as an experienced person, Narada, out of sheer compassion, wanted to impart the knowledge born out of his experience to this little child!
Sage Suka's test
Goddess Lakshmi has 8 different forms ( “Ashta Lakshmi”), bestowing eight different kinds of wealth to those who propitiate Her.
That is the reason why Sage Suka narrates the appearance of Goddess Lakshmi in the eighth sloka of the eighth chapter of the eighth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam
Bhavas in Srimad Bhagavatam - 3
Given below are a few excerpts from Sri Sri Swamiji’s recent expounding of Srimad Bhagavatam:
The twelve cantos
Srimad Bhagavatam consists of 12 cantos. Each of these cantos contains a bunch of stories, teachings and philosophies. Sage Vyasa has meticulously grouped the contents of the great ‘grantha’ into appropriate cantos based on the numbering of the cantos!
The first sloka of the first chapter in this canto ends with the verse, ‘satyam param dhImahI’ – let us meditate on the Supreme Truth – the supreme truth being verily the ‘Brahman’. The Upanishads qualify the Brahman as being ‘ the One’ – ‘Sa Eka:’ – aptly enough, it takes its place in the first canto.
Though the Brahman is One without the second, in order for creation and sustenance of the Universe, it is manifested with ‘Nama’ and ‘Rupa’ (names and forms) as ‘Saguna’. The second canto in Bhagavatam talks about the different incarnations of the Lord – the Brahman manifested as ‘form’ and ‘attributes’.
Creation, Sustenance and Dissolution are the three prime activities performed by the Almighty. Sage Vyasa has aptly placed the Primordial Creation and the nature of the Universe in Canto 3.
Four in number, are the canonical goals of human life (‘Purushartas’) – Dharma (righteousness), Artha (wealth), Kama (desires) and Moksha (liberation). The little child Dhruva performed penance towards the attainment of all these four goals, making the fourth canto the apt container for his story!
The five Pranas known have to be controlled for one to attain liberation. The lives of Jnaanis namely, Rishaba Yogeshwara and Jadabharata had this sense control, and hence find their place in the fifth canto.
Six Karmas are prescribed for every brahmin. Ajamila, portrayed as the sinner, had failed to perform all of these six karma, and yet attained the feet of the Lord through yet another higher Dharma – Nama Kirtan. Hence his episode is placed in the sixth canto.
The Vedas contain seven parts and Shri Nrisimha Bhagavan manifested Himself as a ‘Veda Vedhya’ for the devotee Prahlada, the Prahlada Charitra is in the seventh canto.
There are eight forms of Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth. Is it not apt that the birth of Goddess Lakshmi (who appeared from the ocean when Amruta Mathana was performed and wedded Lord Narayana) be placed in the 8th canto? [The birth of Mahalakshmi is mentioned in the eighth sloka of the eighth chapter of the eight canto!]
Lord Rama took birth on the ‘Navami’ day, the ninth day after the new moon day, in the Chitra month and hence, His story finds its place in the ninth canto.
There are ten widely mentioned incarnations of the Lord. As a corroboration of the fact that it was indeed Lord Krishna who took all the ten different forms, the divine story of Lord Krishna is placed in the tenth canto.
Vedanta Vichara calls fro the control of the 11 indriyas – the 5 ‘karma indriyas’, the 5 ‘jnana indriyas’ and the mind. Aptly enough, the eleventh canto contains sections detailing the Vedanta.
The twelfth canto talks about Nama Kirtan being the easiest way of reaching the Almighty. The Names of the Lord are twelve in number – Kesava, Narayana, Madhava, Govinda, Vishnu, Madhusudhana, Trivikrama, Vamana, Sridhara, Hrishikesha, Padmanabha, Damodhara, and these twelve Names form basis for all kirtan, denoting 'Para Vasudeva' who leads us to liberation.