srimad bhagavatam complete book

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  • Table of Contents

    First Canto "Creation"

    Preface

    We must know the present need of human society. And what is that need? Human societyis no longer bounded by geographical limits to particular countries or communities. Humansociety is broader than in the Middle Ages, and the world tendency is toward one state orone human society. The ideals of spiritual communism, according to Srimad-Bhagavatam, arebased more or less on the oneness of the entire human society, nay, of the entire energyof living beings. The need is felt by great thinkers to make this a successful ideology.Srimad-Bhagavatam will fill this need in human society. It begins, therefore, with theaphorism of Vedanta philosophy janmady asya yatah to establish the ideal of a commoncause. Human society, at the present moment, is not in the darkness of oblivion. It has maderapid progress in the field of material comforts, education and economic developmentthroughout the entire world. But there is a pinprick somewhere in the social body atlarge, and therefore there are large-scale quarrels, even over less important issues.There is need of a clue as to how humanity can become one in peace, friendship andprosperity with a common cause. Srimad-Bhagavatam will fill this need, for it is acultural presentation for the respiritualization of the entire human society. Srimad-Bhagavatam should be introduced also in the schools and colleges, for it isrecommended by the great student-devotee Prahlada Maharaja in order to change thedemoniac face of society. kaumara acaret prajnodharman bhagavatan ihadurlabham manusam janmatad apy adhruvamarthadam(Bhag. 7.6.1) Disparity in human society is due to lack of principles in a godless civilization.There is God, or the Almighty One, from whom everything emanates, by whom everything ismaintained and in whom everything is merged to rest. Material science has tried to findthe ultimate source of creation very insufficiently, but it is a fact that there is oneultimate source of everything that be. This ultimate source is explained rationally andauthoritatively in the beautiful Bhagavatam, or Srimad-Bhagavatam. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the transcendental science not only for knowing the ultimatesource of everything but also for knowing our relation with Him and our duty towardperfection of the human society on the basis of this perfect knowledge. It is powerfulreading matter in the Sanskrit language, and it is now rendered into English elaboratelyso that simply by a careful reading one will know God perfectly well, so much so that thereader will be sufficiently educated to defend himself from the onslaught of atheists.Over and above this, the reader will be able to convert others to accepting God as aconcrete principle.

    Srimad-Bhagavatam begins with the definition of the ultimate source. It is a bona fidecommentary on the Vedanta-sutra by the same author, Srila Vyasadeva, and gradually itdevelops into nine cantos up to the highest state of God realization. The onlyqualification one needs to study this great book of transcendental knowledge is toproceed step by step cautiously and not jump forward haphazardly like with an ordinarybook. It should be gone through chapter by chapter, one after another. The reading matteris so arranged with its original Sanskrit text, its English transliteration, synonyms,translation and purports so that one is sure to become a God-realized soul at the end offinishing the first nine cantos. The Tenth Canto is distinct from the first nine cantos because it deals directly withthe transcendental activities of the Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna. One will be unableto capture the effects of the Tenth Canto without going through the first nine cantos.The book is complete in twelve cantos, each independent, but it is good for all to readthem in small installments one after another. I must admit my frailties in presenting Srimad-Bhagavatam, but still I am hopeful ofits good reception by the thinkers and leaders of society on the strength of thefollowing statement of Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.5.11):

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  • tad-vag-visargo janatagha-viplavo yasmin prati-slokam abaddhavaty api namany anantasya yaso 'nkitani yac chrnvanti gayanti grnanti sadhavah

    "On the other hand, that literature which is full with descriptions of thetranscendental glories of the name, fame, form and pastimes of the unlimited Supreme Lordis a transcendental creation meant to bring about a revolution in the impious life of amisdirected civilization. Such transcendental literatures, even though irregularlycomposed, are heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest."

    Om tat sat A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Dated at Delhi December 15, 1962

    Introduction

    The conception of God and the conception of Absolute Truth are not on the same level.The Srimad-Bhagavatam hits on the target of the Absolute Truth. The conception of Godindicates the controller, whereas the conception of the Absolute Truth indicates thesummum bonum or the ultimate source of all energies. There is no difference of opinionabout the personal feature of God as the controller because a controller cannot beimpersonal. Of course modern government, especially democratic government, is impersonalto some extent, but ultimately the chief executive head is a person, and the impersonalfeature of government is subordinate to the personal feature. So without a doubt wheneverwe refer to control over others we must admit the existence of a personal feature.Because there are different controllers for different managerial positions, there may bemany small gods. According to the Bhagavad-gita any controller who has some specificextraordinary power is called a vibhutimat sattva, or controller empowered by the Lord.There are many vibhutimat sattvas, controllers or gods with various specific powers, butthe Absolute Truth is one without a second. This Srimad-Bhagavatam designates theAbsolute Truth or the summum bonum as the param satyam. The author of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Srila Vyasadeva, first offers his respectfulobeisances unto the param satyam (Absolute Truth), and because the param satyam is theultimate source of all energies, the param satyam is the Supreme Person. The gods or thecontrollers are undoubtedly persons, but the param satyam from whom the gods derivepowers of control is the Supreme Person. The Sanskrit word isvara (controller) conveysthe import of God, but the Supreme Person is called the paramesvara, or the supremeisvara. The Supreme Person, or paramesvara, is the supreme conscious personality, andbecause He does not derive any power from any other source, He is supremely independent.In the Vedic literatures Brahma is described as the supreme god or the head of all othergods like Indra, Candra and Varuna, but the Srimad-Bhagavatam confirms that even Brahmais not independent as far as his power and knowledge are concerned. He received knowledgein the form of the Vedas from the Supreme Person who resides within the heart of everyliving being. That Supreme Personality knows everything directly and indirectly.Individual infinitesimal persons, who are parts and parcels of the Supreme personality,may know directly and indirectly everything about their bodies or external features, butthe Supreme Personality knows everything about both His external and internal features. The words janmady asya suggest that the source of all production, maintenance ordestruction is the same supreme conscious person. Even in our present experience we canknow that nothing is generated from inert matter, but inert matter can be generated fromthe living entity. For instance, by contact with the living entity, the material bodydevelops into a working machine. Men with a poor fund of knowledge mistake the bodilymachinery to be the living being, but the fact is that the living being is the basis ofthe bodily machine. The bodily machine is useless as soon as the living spark is awayfrom it. Similarly, the original source of all material energy is the Supreme Person.This fact is expressed in all the Vedic literatures, and all the exponents of spiritualscience have accepted this truth. The living force is called Brahman, and one of thegreatest acaryas (teachers), namely Sripada Sankaracarya, has preached that Brahman is

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  • substance whereas the cosmic world is category. The original source of all energies isthe living force, and He is logically accepted as the Supreme Person. He is thereforeconscious of everything past, present and future, and also of each and every corner ofHis manifestations, both material and spiritual. An imperfect living being does not evenknow what is happening within his own personal body. He eats his food but does not knowhow this food is transformed into energy or how it sustains his body. When a living beingis perfect, he is aware of everything that happens, and since the Supreme Person isall-perfect, it is quite natural that He knows everything in all detail. Consequently theperfect personality is addressed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam as Vasudeva, or one who liveseverywhere in full consciousness and in full possession of His complete energy. All ofthis is clearly explained in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, and the reader has ample opportunityto study this critically. In the modern age Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu preached the Srimad-Bhagavatam bypractical demonstration. It is easier to penetrate into the topics of theSrimad-Bhagavatam through the medium of Sri Caitanya's causeless mercy. Therefore a shortsketch of His life and precepts is inserted herein to help the reader understand the realmerit of Srimad-Bhagavatam. It is imperative that one learn the Srimad-Bhagavatam from the person Bhagavatam. Theperson Bhagavatam is one whose very life is Srimad-Bhagavatam in practice. Since SriCaitanya Mahaprabhu is the Absolute Personality of Godhead, He is both Bhagavan andBhagavatam in person and in sound. Therefore His process of approaching theSrimad-Bhagavatam is practical for all people of the world. It was His wish that theSrimad-Bhagavatam be preached in every nook and corner of the world by those who happenedto take their birth in India. The Srimad-Bhagavatam is the science of Krsna, the Absolute Personality of Godhead ofwhom we have preliminary information from the text of the Bhagavad-gita. Sri CaitanyaMahaprabhu has said that anyone, regardless of what he is, who is well versed in thescience of Krsna (Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita) can become an authorized preacheror preceptor in the science of Krsna. There is a need for the science of Krsna in human society for the good of allsuffering humanity of the world, and we simply request the leaders of all nations to pickup this science of Krsna for their own good, for the good of society and for the good ofall the world's people.

    A short sketch of the life and teachings of Lord Caitanya, the Preacher ofSrimad-Bhagavatam

    Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the great apostle of love of God and the father of thecongregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord, advented Himself at SridhamaMayapura, a quarter in the city of Navadvipa in Bengal, on the Phalguni Purnima eveningin the year 1407 Sakabda (corresponding to February 1486 by the Christian calendar). His father, Sri Jagannatha Misra, a learned brahmana from the district of Sylhet, cameto Navadvipa as a student because at that time Navadvipa was considered to be the centerof education and culture. He domiciled on the banks of the Ganges after marrying SrimatiSacidevi, a daughter of Srila Nilambara Cakravarti, the great learned scholar ofNavadvipa. Jagannatha Misra had a number of daughters by his wife, Srimati Sacidevi, and most ofthem expired at an early age. Two surviving sons, Sri Visvarupa and Visvambhara, becameat last the object of their paternal affection. The tenth and youngest son, who was namedVisvambhara, later became known as Nimai Pandita and then, after accepting the renouncedorder of life, Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu exhibited His transcendental activities for forty-eightyears and then disappeared in the year 1455 Sakabda at Puri. For His first twenty-four years He remained at Navadvipa as a student and householder.His first wife was Srimati Laksmipriya, who died at an early age when the Lord was awayfrom home. When He returned from East Bengal He was requested by His mother to accept asecond wife, and He agreed. His second wife was Srimati Visnupriya Devi, who bore theseparation of the Lord throughout her life because the Lord took the order of sannyasa atthe age of twenty-four, when Srimati Visnupriya was barely sixteen years old. After taking sannyasa, the Lord made His headquarters at Jagannatha Puri due to therequest of His mother, Srimati Sacidevi. The Lord remained for twenty-four years at Puri.

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  • For six years of this time He traveled continuously all over India (and especiallythroughout southern India) preaching the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Lord Caitanya not only preached the Srimad-Bhagavatam but propagated the teachings ofthe Bhagavad-gita as well in the most practical way. In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Sri Krsnais depicted as the Absolute Personality of Godhead, and His last teachings in that greatbook of transcendental knowledge instruct that one should give up all the modes ofreligious activities and accept Him (Lord Sri Krsna) as the only worshipable Lord. TheLord then assured that all His devotees would be protected from all sorts of sinful actsand that for them there would be no cause for anxiety. Unfortunately, despite Lord Sri Krsna's direct order and the teachings of theBhagavad-gita, less intelligent people misunderstand Him to be nothing but a greathistorical personality, and thus they cannot accept Him as the original Personality ofGodhead. Such men with a poor fund of knowledge are misled by many nondevotees. Thus theteachings of the Bhagavad-gita were misinterpreted even by great scholars. After thedisappearance of Lord Sri Krsna there were hundreds of commentaries on the Bhagavad-gitaby many erudite scholars, and almost every one of them was motivated by self-interest. Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the selfsame Lord Sri Krsna. This time, however, Heappeared as a great devotee of the Lord in order to preach to the people in general, aswell as to religionists and philosophers, about the transcendental position of Sri Krsna,the primeval Lord and the cause of all causes. The essence of His preaching is that LordSri Krsna, who appeared at Vrajabhumi (Vrndavana) as the son of the King o...