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The Essence of Srimad Bhagavatam

Continued from the previous part of Bhagavatam

We are going to study the essence of Srimad Bhagavatam.

It is a composition in the Sanskrit language and there are some 18,000 verses in it. It is divided into 12 cantos, each one containing many chapters. You may wonder how to study such a voluminous book, that too in the Sanskrit language. Remember that every book has a central theme around which the stories· are woven. Once we discover the central theme, the essence of the book stands revealed.

Srimad Bhagavatam is full of fascinating stories. Rishi Veda Vyasa composed it originally; but there is a tradition behind it - the knowledge always comes from a teacher to a disciple. So truly speaking, the source of all knowledge is the omniscient Lord alone. Right in the beginning, it is said in the Bhagavatam that we are going to understand the meaning of 'Sathyam Param Dheemahi' - we are going to understand and meditate on the Supreme Truth. So the entire book is to determine the nature of the Absolute Truth. Knowing that some people may find it difficult to grasp this, the Rishis put it in a simple form - Absolute Truth is that in which lie the absolute good of all human beings.

The literal meaning of the word Bhagavatam is that which belongs to 'Bhagavan'. 'Bhagavan is a Sanskrit word for God.

'Bhaga' means fortune and the One who is the source of immeasurable fortunes is called 'Bhagavan'. If someone possesses a little wealth, we call him 'fortunate', Bhagavan is the source of infinite wealth. Secondly, Bhagavan is the source of infinite knowledge; all 'degrees' fade in comparison. Thirdly, He is the source of infinite goodness; all morality and ethical values flow from Him. Then comes lordship, power; the President of a country is considered powerful, the infinite power of the Lord of the whole cosmos is difficult to contemplate or comprehend. The origin of all name and fame is from Bhagavan alone. The Lord is the source of all dispassion too. Such an onmiscient, onmipotent Being is called Bhagavan.

The book we are going to study is called the Bhagavatam - it .belongs to Bhagavan, it speaks about Bhagavan, it reveals His Nature. One who studies it, or grasps the essence of it, finds his heart filled with knowledge and love for God. Such a devotee is also called a Bhagavata, he belongs to Bhagavan.

To be continued

About the author

Swami Tyagananda

Swami Tyagananda in this write up on the 'Essence Of Bhagavatam' focuses on the central theme or the essence of the otherwise voluminous book. He begins by explaining the term 'Bhagavan' (Sanskrit word for God) and 'Bhagavata',(a steadfast devotee who belomgs to Bhagavan)

Story first published: Monday, September 27, 2010, 12:15 [IST]
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