Bhaagavata Mahaatmya

elmec elmec at GIASBG01.VSNL.NET.IN
Sun Jul 23 14:20:25 CDT 2000

Hari Om
Om namo Bhagavate Vaasudevaaya

Before starting the Bhagavatha proper, I would like to narrate the
Bhagavatha Mahaatmya briefly  which is extracted from the Uttara kaanda
of the Padma Puraana. The story is highly symbolic. It was narrated by
Suta puraanika to Shounaka muni at Naimishaaranya.

Once devarshi Naarada comes  to bhuuloka, as he thought the bhuuloka was
best suited to gain Bhakthi, jnaana and vairaagya.  When he arrives here
the condition everywhere was highly degenerated by the Kali purusha.
Daana, dharma, dayaa and daakshinya had all disappeared and morality was
at its worst and people had all become atheists.  Looking for a descent
place to do his austerities, Naarada comes to the banks of river yamuna
which had hitherto been the sporting place of Lord sri Krishna.  There
he comes across a tired young lady who was weeping sitting beside the
body of two aged men who had fallen unconscious.  Upon enquiry Naarada
comes to know that the lady was the mother Bhakthi and the two aged men
were her sons Jnaana and vairaagya ! Narada is perturbed by this paradox
of a young mother and aged sons.

She recounted her story of being sent to Bhuuloka by Bhagavan narayana
himself for the upliftment of his Bhakthas. He sends lady Mukthi as her
maid and jnaana, Vairaagya as her sons and tells her to be happy on
Earth. During the Krita yuga, Tretaa yuga and Dwaapara yuga she was
firmly established in the hearts of all the people and her fame spread
far and wide all over the Earth. But as soon as Kali yuga dawned the
maid Mukti fell ill and hence was sent back to Vaikunta. And all three
of them  also became very sick.
But on travelling to Brindavan, the lady Bhakthi immediately regained
her youth and vitality but her sons were still in the same condition.
She requests Naarada to imbibe youth and strength into their bodies and
make her a happy mother once again.

Inorder to revive Jnaana and Vairaagya, Naarada starts massaging their
bodies, chanting and shouting the vedic hymns, vedaanta vaakyas and
Giita shlokas into their ears. But nothing helps. The two lay in
hopeless condition. When Naarada was wondering how he could revive them
both, he hears  a voice from the space above telling  him that he could
accomplish this by a ‘Sat Karma’ , the instuctions for performing which
he would  receive through some mahaatmas, and after which both the sons
would regain their youth and their mother would also become very happy.

Naarada tells Bhakthi to wait for him at that spot only and goes away in
search of mahaatmaas who would give him the secret of that sat karma.
He wanders everywhere and reaches Badrikaashrama. There he meets the
young brothers Sanakaadi maharshis and they tell him to perform a “
Bhaagavat Saptaaha ” to revive the sons of Bhakthi. Naarada asks them
how this can help as even his chanting of vaidika mantraas, vedaanta
vaakyas etc had not helped them. After all the Bhagavatha was the gist
of vedas and upanishads only. When the main texts themselves did not
help, how can a part of it help them now , he asks. They give him the
examples of ghee and sugar to make him understand this. Ghee is afterall
an ingredient of milk. But can milk be used in performing Homaas instead
of ghee ? Again, sugar is an extraction from the juice of sugarcane. But
can sugarcane juice be used in place of sugar to prepare sweetmeats ??
Hence the Bhaagavata which is but an extract of Vedas and upanishads can
work wonders in reviving Bhakthi, Jnaana and Vairaagya in Bhuuloka.  In
the past even Vyaasa maharshi did not have peace of mind inspite of his
mountainous achievement of dividing the Vedas into four divisions to
facilitate easier study of them, of composing the Mahabharatha which is
famous as the ‘Panchama Veda’, giving to humanity the song divine
‘Bhagavat Gita’etc etc. At that time it was Naarada who suggested Vyaasa
to compose Bhaagavata, the doctrine of devotion, by giving him the
upadesha of ‘Chatuhshloki Bhagavata’. Now why should he have any such
doubts, the Rishis ask him.

Naarada becomes very happy on hearing this, he takes the Rishi kumaaras
with him to Haridwaar as suggested by them for listening  the Bhaagavata
in seven days. By then word spreads around that Bhaagavata saptaaha was
going to be performed by the Sanakaadi munis and naarada at Haridwaar
and people from all over the country, all saints and vishnu bhaktas,
vedantis, mantra devatas, all punya thirthaas come and assemble at the
banks of Ganga to take part in this jnaana yagna. Even as the mangala
shloka is being sung by the rishi kumaaraas, Lady Bhakthi arrives there
along with her sons who had miraculously turned young and handsome.
People are wonderstruck at the shining and bright looks of the three
Bhakthi maharaani comes and asks for a place to sit and listen to the
Bhaagavata. The rishis bid her to occupy the hearts of all those who had
assembled there to listen to the maha puraana and abide in them happily
along with her sons for ever where the kali purusha dare not even raise
his eyes and look at them.

The Rishis tell Naarada that such was the mahaatmya of Bhaagavata which
is but the Brahmaswaroopa itself and all those who listen to it will
attain  Bhakthi, Jnaana and Vairaagya with in no time.

Thus ends the Bhaagavata mahaatmya as narrated by Suuta puraanika to
Shounaka muni.

Hari Om,
Om namo Bhagavate Vaasudeevaaya.

We shall start with the mangala shloka in the next post.

Latha Vidyaranya

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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