Introduction to Bhagavatam.

Doug healtherapies at HOME.COM
Sun Jul 23 19:17:23 CDT 2000


Thank you.  This information was very helpful.

-----Original Message-----
From: elmec <elmec at GIASBG01.VSNL.NET.IN>
Date: Saturday, July 22, 2000 2:08 PM
Subject: Introduction to Bhagavatam.

>Hari Om,
>Sri Gurubhyo nama.h
>Saraswathi namastubhyam varade kaamaroopini
>Vidhyaarambham karishyaami Sidhdhirbhavatu me sadaa.
>Dear Members,
>I would like to first give a general introduction to puraana which will
>be a " cut and paste " ( to borrow Shri Ravishankar's phrase ! ) from "
>Srimad Bhaagavata " published by R.K.Math. ( my own words may get
>sprinkled here and there )
>Srimadbhaagavatam is a doctrine of devotion. It belongs to the class of
>Hindu religious literature known as puraanaas. The word puraana
>literally means
>' narratives of ancient times ' . The earliest mention of puraana is in
>the Atharva Veda, where it is said to have originated from the residue
>(uchchishta) of yagna along with Riks, saamans and chandas. The
>Brihadaaranyaka upanishad says that puraana has sprung from the breath
>of Mahabhuta or the Paramaatma.
>The puraanaas consist of traditional lore about creation, ancient
>histories and anectodes, proverbial sayings and genealogies of kings and
>Rishis. The recital of puraana was a regular practice during the periods
>of interval between the rites and ceremonies of protracted vedic
>sacrifices, specially at royal sacrifices like Ashwamedha and
>Raajasooya. The beginning of this purana literature can be traced to
>these narrative portions ( Akhyaana bhaaga ) of Vedic rites.
>In the earliest stages, the recital of the puraana was by the brahmin
>priests themselves ; but later on it came to be relegated to a mixed
>class called the Suta, probably because its relation with the
>sacrificial rite was not integral. The great sage Vyaasa, after
>compiling the original puraana samhita, entrusted it to his suta
>desciple Lomaharshana who inturn divided into six versions and taught
>them to his six desciples. The desciples made separate samhitaas  they
>together formed the basis of all puraana literature.
>There are 18 major puraanaas and 18 upa-puraanaas. All of them are
>mostly sectarian in nature, exalting one or the other of Cult-Gods lke
>Vishnu, Shiva or Shakti. This exaltation of one aspect of the deity and
>the subordination of the others should not be interpreted as narrow
>sectarian rivalry among these cults. The intention is to strengthen the
>faith of the follower of a particular cult in its deity and not to
>disparage the faith of others.
>Bhagavata is one of the major or Maha puraanaas whose excellences of its
>transcending nature has made it the most widely studied by all devotees,
>commended upon by scholars of all schools of thought. It is one of the
>greatest productions of the literary and spiritual genius of India. The
>main thesis of Bhaagavata is to inculcate glory and greatness of
>Bhagavan Sri Krishna and the necessity of cultivating devotion to Him.
>The principle of devotion or Bhakti here is of the highest type, which
>is described as the fifth purushaartha or value of life, transcending
>the other four, Dharma, Artha, Kaama and even Moksha. The Bhakthi
>favoured by Bhaagavata is Nirguna, not based on the Gunaas of prakriti,
>that is on the body and one's narrow self, or even thoughts of salvation
>for one self from the cycle of samsaara. It springs from an attraction
>that the Lord exercises on the individual spirit, which produces self
>forgettong love, expressing tself in the natural, unbroken and
>unobstructed flow of mind towards Him as of Ganga towards the ocean.
>This form of Bhakthi is the acme of spiritual evolution which is called
>the fifth purushaartha. Such devotees become Bhaagavattottamaas - a
>state of perfection and they become an nstument of His Divine Play.
>The story of Bhagavata will start n my next posting.
>Latha Vidyaranya
>bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam
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bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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