The September 9th session started with Mahamantra chanting by Vidhyaji followed by Dhyana slokams.
Thiaguji gave a brief outline on last week topic – the story of Atma Deva and Gokarna which is explained in detail in Padma Purana.
Sankarji from Charlotte had the opportunity to talk about the summary of Srimad Bhagavata Maha Purana.
He mentioned that this purana is called as “Paramahamsa Samhita“, meaning a collection of stories about the supreme God. ‘Samhita’ refers to a collection of stories.
What is Srimad Bhagavatam? The scriptural texts of Sanatana Dharma can be divided into three main categories – the Sruti, the Smriti and the Purana. Srimad Bhagavatam, being actually the Bhagavata Purana, is a Maha Purana and so belongs to the category of Puranas, and it is written by Sage Veda Vyasa (Badarayana). The word ‘Bhagavatam’ primarily means the revelations of the Lord – Bhagavan Himself, (Bhagvatah Idam) or, “that, which relates to the Lord”. It also means the glory of the Lord’s devotees (Bhagavatas). It is such a valuable treasure of many a Stuti – . Some of them are Prahladha Stuti, Gajendra Stuti, Dhruva Stuti, Kunti Stuti, Bhesshma Stuti and it has Pancha (Five) Geethams similar to Sri Thiagaraja Swamigal’s pancharatna Krithis. Above all, like the crown gem the Vedas themselves have rendered a Stuti on the Supreme Lord SriHari.
In this aspect HH Muralidhara Swamigal says:
What is the reason (behind the birth of) Srimad Bhagavatam?
Bhagavan reserves some work for a big ‘Avatara Purusha’ (Incarnation) who comes down to earth. Until the completion of this work, the ‘Avatara Purusha’ is extremely restless; just as an ordinary man undergoes restlessness in some matter like the marriage of his daughter, so does the ‘Avatara Purusha’ undergo restlessness. Until such time they (the ‘Avatara Purushas’) complete the work for which they had come down to the earth they experience such restlessness.
Sage Vyasa was one such ‘Avatara Purusha’. He had given the Upanishads, Brahma Sutra, Mahabharata that contains the Gita etc. to the world. Yet, he experienced no peace. Why did he not find peace? He had not come down for giving these. He had not come down to the earth to give the Vedas or the Upanishads. Why then did he come down to the earth? – Only to spread the fame of Srimad Bhagavatam.
Why should he illumine the Bhagavatam? It is because only Bhagavata dharma would be of use to people who were to come later in this Kali Yuga. (It is) A very easy dharma. A Dharma that can easily be followed by all. If Sage Vyasa had left the earth without doing this ‘Granta’ (Holy Text) people of Kali yuga would have had no ‘gati’(way out). People would know no way out.
The 10 Lakshanas
Great sages have listed the qualities of a purana as Lakshanas. They are 10 in number. Among the 18 Puranas Bhagavata Purana is the only Purana that has all 10 Lakshanas.
10 Lakshanas found in the purana are Sarga(creation), Visarga(Subsequent creation), Sthanam, Poshanam(grace/compassion of Lord), Uthayah(Latent impresions leading to Karma), Manvantaram(14 Manus/Rulers), Ishanukatha(Incarnations of the lord), Nirodha(returning to Godhead), Mukti(Liberation) and Ashraya(the Lord himself).
The formula is that if one can follow through the first nine Lakshanas , that will lead us to the TENTH.
How many cantos?
Bhagavatam consists of 12 Cantos, 335 Chapters and 18,000 verses.
The first canto is the Adhikari Skanda, Pariskhit being the first Adhikari for listening to this great Purana and Sage Suka being the first narrator. The second canto talks about the glories of the Lord, the paths to attain Him and a brief of Srimad Bhagavatam as narrated by Brahma to Narada. The Third Canto speaks about Creation (‘Srishti’), Varaha Avatar and Kapila Avatar.
The fourth speaks about Daksha Yagna, Druva Charitra, Pritu Charitra and the story of Prachinabarhi. The fifth speaks about the avatars of Rishaba and Jadabharata, and also speaks about geography, astronomy and hellish planets The sixth canto comprises of Ajamila Chatira, Vritrasura Charitra and Chitraketu’s Charitra.
The seventh canto comprises of Prahlada Charitra. The eighth canto talks about Gajendra Moksha, Amruta Mathanam, Vamanavatara, and Matsyavatara. The ninth canto talks about the lineages of the Surya and Chandra Vamsa.
The Tenth canto talks about the birth and divine plays of Lord Krishna. This is the ‘Ashrayam’. In Padma purana, where the Bhagavata Mahathmyam found, in the story of Atma Deva, his son Gokarna advises his father to recite the tenth canto alone, in order to attain the lotus feet of Lord Sri Hari. It is the biggest canto with 90 chapters.
The eleventh canto talks about the supreme Vedantic truths in the form of Nava Yogi Upakhyana, Avadhoota Gita and Uddhava Gita. The twelfth canto talks about the Kali Yuga and the greatness of Nama Sankirtanam – the easiest way to liberation in this Kali Yuga.
All these cantos can be seen as different parts of the LORD’S form as Bhagavata Purusha too.
The session wrapped up with 2 slokas from Bhishma Stuti and Namasankirtan.
Radhe Radhe !!