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1- Importance and Glory of Shreemad Bhagavat Mahapuran

Jun 11th, 2024 | 6 Min Read
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Category: Bhagavat Purana


Language: English

Shreemad Bhagavat Mahapuran is one of the most important texts in Sanatan Dharma. In the first class of "Shreemad Bhagavat Katha" conducted by JKYog, the significance of the text was discussed. There is no devotional text like the Bhagavat. It has been said repeatedly in the Bhagavatam-
Idam Bhagavatam nama puranam brahma-sammitam,
Uttama-shloka-charitam chakara bhagavanrishi.
"Bhagwan Ved Vyas has created this Veda-like Puran named Bhagavat, full of divine pastimes of the supreme God." (Bhagavat Mahatmya 1-3-40)
Bhagavat is also called the fifth Veda.
Sarva-vede-tihasanam saaram saaram samuddhritam,
Sa tu sansravayamas maharajam Pariksitam.
"Bhagavat is a compilation of the essence of all the Vedas and Itihasas, and Shukdevji narrated it to King Parikshit."⁠ (Bhagavat Mahatmya 1-3-42)

It is written in Garuda Purana-
Arthoyam brahmasutranam sarvopanishado api
"This Shreemad Bhagavat is the essence of Brahmasutras and all Upanishads."

No one created Bhagavat. God revealed it in the heart of Brahma with his power. Brahma then gave it to Narada, and Narada gave it to Ved Vyas. Later, Ved Vyas composed Bhagavat. Before that, Vyas divided the Vedas into four parts. After that he also composed Brahmasutra (Vedanta), Gita, Mahabharata, 18 Puranas of 4 lakh verses, Mahabharata of 1 lakh verses, Brahmasutra of 555 sutras, Gita of 700 verses. He wrote all this in 3 years. But even after this, Vyas was restless; he was restless even after being an incarnation of God. Why? Naradji answered this to him- 
Vhavatanudit-aprayam yasho bhagavato-amalam,
Yenaivasau na tusyeta manye taddarshanam khilam.
"Vyasji! You have not sung God's pure glory, and I believe that the scripture or knowledge that doesn't satisfy God is incomplete." (Bhagavat Mahatmya 1-5-8)

After this, Ved Vyas, immersed in deep devotion, had Shree Krishna's divine vision (darshan) and, devoid of all kinds of desires (kaitava) and filled with pure devotion, composed the Shreemad Bhagavat Mahapuran.
Bhakti-yogena manasi samyak pranihitemale,
Apasyat-purusham purvam mayam cha tadapashrayam.
"By doing bhakti yog, he completely concentrated and purified his mind and saw the primal person, the Supreme Being and the Maya that lives under His protection."⁠ (Bhagavat Mahatmya 1-7-4)

Why is Bhagavat more important than Vedas and Upanishads in the devotion?

Knowledge is important to achieve success in the spiritual realm. Where can we obtain divine knowledge?
Chaturvarna trayo lokash-chatvara-ashramah prithak,
Bhutam bhavyam bhavishyan cha sarvam vedat-prasidhyati.
"All the knowledge about the four Varnas, four Ashramas, past, present and future, etc. is known only from the Vedas." (Upanishads)

The decision of any spiritual principle, its applicability, and the authenticity of its facts are established on the basis of Vedas. Vedas are the storehouse of knowledge and the ultimate proof. But Veda is divine, let alone ordinary men; even the most intelligent listeners, like Saraswati, Brihaspati, etc, are unable to understand the real meaning of the Vedas. There is a lot of knowledge in the Upanishads. But reading it does not fill our hearts with love for Shree Krishna. There is philosophy in them but no praise of His divine pastimes. Although philosophy is fundamental, putting it into practice is necessary for that knowledge to be complete. To put knowledge into practice, one has to do bhakti. Many types of bhakti are mentioned in the scriptures; the main ones are Navdha-bhakti and Tridha-bhakti. 
Tasmad-bharata sarvatma bhagavan-ishvaro harih,
Shrotavyah kirtitavya-shcha smartavya-shchecchata-bhayam.
"One who wants to achieve the state of fearlessness should listen, sing and remember the divine acts of the Supreme God, the Almighty Bhagawan Shree Krishna." (Bhagavat 2-1-5)

Bhagavat Katha Reading and listening are important parts of devotion (Shravan-bhakti). Bhagwat is the storehouse of all the materials that a living being needs for devotion. From the principle, we know that we have to do devotion. But how can we practice devotion without the support of God's Leela? Bhagavat is like a devotional practice book.
Bhagavat is also known as Paramhansa Samhita.
Vedo-panishadam sarajjata bhagavati katha
"This Bhagavat Puran is, in fact, the essence of Vedas and Upanishad."

Therefore, no text was considered equal to Bhagavat. 
Nimnaganam yatha ganga devanam-achyuto yatha,
Vaishnavanam yatha shambhu purana-namidam tatha.
"Just as Ganga is the best among all rivers, Bhagawan Achyuta is the best among all gods; Bhagawan Shiva is the best among Vaishnavas. Similarly, Bhagavat is the best among all Puranas." (Bhagavat 12-13-16)
Leela-vatarep-stitajanm va syad
Vandhyam garam tam bibhriyanna dheerah.
Bhagawan Krishna himself tells Uddhava, "The speech which does not describe my divine pastimes of creation, sustenance and destruction of the world and which does not praise my popular incarnations like Ram and Krishna, is barren. A wise man should not utter or listen to such words." (Bhagavat 11-11-20)

Entry into Shreemad Bhagavat Katha Mahatmya

In the beginning, Lord Brahma explains in detail the benefits of listening to the Puranas. This conversation is derived from Vishnukhand of Skanda Purana. 
Yatra yatra bhavet punyam shastram bhagavataṃ kalau,
Tatra tatra sadaivaham bhavami tridashaih saha.
"In Kaliyug, wherever there is the holy Bhagavata Shastra, there I am always present with the gods." (Bhagavat Mahatmya 1-1-15)

The first verse of Bhagwat Mahatmya-
Sachidanand rupaya vishvotpatyadi hetave,
Tapatraya vinashaya shree Krishna vayam namah.
"We bow to Bhagwan Shree Krishna, who is the embodiment of truth and bliss, who is the cause of the world's creation, sustenance and destruction and who destroys all three types of sufferings – spiritual, supernatural and physical." ⁠⁠ (Bhagavat Mahatmya 1-1-1)

Once sage Shaunakji, skilled in savouring the nectar of Bhagavat Kathamrit, greeted Sutji seated in the Naimisharanya area and asked him, "Sutji! Your knowledge is like millions of suns to destroy the darkness of ignorance. Please tell us a story that is full of essence and is like nectar for our ears." He asked:
  1. How does one increase the great wisdom that comes from knowledge and detachment? 
  2. How do Vaishnava people free themselves from this illusion and delusion?
  3. In this terrible Kaliyuga, living beings have mostly become demonic in nature. What is the best way to purify their minds afflicted with various afflictions?
Please tell us such an eternal way:
  1. Which is the most beneficial? 
  2. Which enables one to attain Shree Krishna?
The object named Chintamani can give worldly wealth, and Kalpavriksha can, at the most, provide heavenly wealth. But the Guru, being pleased, gives the rarest abode of God. After listening to Shaunak Muni's question, Sutji Maharaj said-
Bhaktyoga-vardhanam yachha krishna-santosha-hetukam,
Tadaham teabhidhasyami savadhanataya shrinu.
"I will tell you the means which increases the flow of devotion and is the main reason for Shree Krishna's happiness. Listen to it carefully." (Bhagavat Mahatmya 1-1-10)

Sutaji says that Shree Shukdevji has preached Shreemad Bhagavat Shastra to completely eradicate the fear of being swallowed by the serpent of death in Kaliyug. There is no better means than this for purifying the mind. Only by the merits of a man's many births emerge does he receive this Bhagavat Shastra. When Shukdevji sat in the assembly to narrate this story to King Parikshit, the gods came to him with a pot of nectar. The gods saluting Shukdev Muni said, 'Take this nectar and give us the nectar of Bhagavat Kathaamrit in return. After this exchange, King Parikshit will drink the nectar, and we will all drink the nectar of Shreemad Bhagavat.' ⁠
Kva sudha kva katha loke kva kachah kva manirmahan.
Is there any comparison between a piece of glass and a precious gem? What match is there between the nectar of gods and the nectar of divine Bhagavat Katha?  (Bhagavat Mahatmya 1-1-16)

Thinking this, Shree Shukdevji laughed at the gods. Knowing they were devoid of devotion, he did not allow the gods to listen to the Bhagavat Katha. Thus, this story of Shreemad Bhagavat is rare, even for the gods. Brahmaji was amazed to see Parikshit freed in 7 days after listening to Bhagwat. He went to Satyalok, tied all the means of liberation, and weighed them on a scale. He kept the fruits of all the sadhana on one plate of the scale and the fruits of listening to Bhagavat Katha on another. Bhagavat Katha was heavier than everything. All the sages also saw this. Then, they decided that in Kaliyug, one attains liberation by reading and listening to Bhagavat. One surely attains devotion by hearing it in a weekly method (saptah).
Sankadi had narrated this Bhagavat Katha to Naradji in the past. Although Narad had already heard the Bhagavat Katha from Brahma, he heard it from Sankadi using a week-long Shravan method.

Summary: JKYog India Online Class- Shreemad Bhagavat Katha [Hindi]- 10.06.2024