Stories and Episodes from Srimad Bhagavatha Maha Purana (Set of 3 Volumes)

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Volume 1

Preface

I may be running the risk of stating the obvious when I say that one cannot just start writing on such supremely holy works as Srimad Bhaagavatha in the absence of there being a divine signal in some form. Yes, there may have been just an initial thought in my mind that such a great work by Bhagavaan Vyaasa should reach a large number of people. I felt that if I could render the contents in the form of stories or episodes making them interesting through a lucid and racy style, and a well-rounded narration without sacrificing any 'rasa', and simultaneously maintain the core-coherence of the original, new readers may be drawn to lay their hands on this Mahaapuraana.

I mentioned about the divine signal. Believe it, just without any effort on my part, a full set of books fell on my lap for my reference from a totally unexpected source to augment the books in my library: the person before gifting it had merely asked me to tell him in a nutshell as to why this puraana was so important and what was in it after all? The belief that God thought that I had it in me to make an attempt (with Himself leading the way) strengthened and I was on my way within a few weeks; the maiden volume covering the first four out of a total twelve 'skandhas' got written in record time, a tribute to Lord's unseen hand!

Besides this above incident, a very religious person who is extremely busy in his DTP work for his regular customers and experienced in handling such work agreed to take it up - in fact he considered it a godsend to be entrusted with such a holy mission! He completed typing the first volume (4 Skandhas) with great speed.

The first volume has, besides some prepratory coverage, about ninety stories/sub-stories and episodes. I have thought it appropriate to talk about Bhaagavatha's significance at the beginning of each volme rather than covering it in a single (first) volume since the introductory details themselves are so extensive to form a book.

I will be extremely pleased if this presentation is found interesting and useful by the readers, particularly those who keep postponing their decision to lay their hands on such a great religious and thought- provoking classic. The Lord Himself has rcommended everyone to profit by it and I feel rewarded that He let 'yours truly' to be connected with it in a small way.

I thank Sri Suresh and his wife Sow. Bhargavi for the DTP type- setting and Kiran Ranganathan for the attractive cover design. The Priners, Ganesh Maruthi Printing Press, are also to be thanked for timely printing.

Introduction

Srimad Bhaagavatha occupies a unique place in the religious literature of our country. Even as a work of Sanskrit literature its place is quite high. While other puraanas talk about dharma, artha, Kaama and moksha, Srimad Bhaagavatha deals with moksha alone. It is considered 'the head quarters of divine love in theory and practice'. The veritable treasure house of devotional literature that Bhaagavatha is, it illustrates 'the function and the efficacy of bhakthi', Sri Raamaanuja, utilised this puraana for the doctrine of faith in a great measure. 'Bhaagavatha Puraana is steeped and drenched in bhakthi, 'a surging emotion which thrills the whole frame'.

The place occupied by this Mahaapuraana can be gauged by the fact that the number of commentaries written on it is only next to Srimad Bhagavadgita. The commentaries on it are also varied-advaithic, dvaithic, vishistaadvaithic, dvaithaadvaithic and so on - that it has earned the name' Shaasthrasaarvabhauma'.

Moksha apart what benefits does this puraana confer? If at all one is looking for material benefits like good progeny, fulfillment of unfulfilled desires, marriage, freedom from debts/ enemies/misfortunes, and the clutches of spirits, all these and many more benefits can achieve. But the main goal is to achieve Bhakthi, jnaana and Vairaagya. It is declared that the servant of bhakthi viz., mukthi, comes to you by herself (mukthim dhaaseem dadhau Thubhyam).

There may be some tendency to consider Puraanaas as 'old legends' and show neglect, but their contents are ever fresh (naveenam) and are as relevant to modern times as ever before. Further it is recognised that the interpretations in Puranaas help in a better understanding of the Vedas. Chandogya Upanishad declares that "ithihaasapuraaanam panchama Vedaanaam Vedham" (Puraanas are the fifth Veda).

The Puraanas are divided into three types 'Saathvic, Raajasa and thaamasa' each comprising six puraanas. Srimad Bhaagavatha being of the sathvic category speaks about the greatness of Lord Vishnu (saathvikeshu puraaneshu maahaathmyamadhikam hareh : Mathsya Puraana : 53/67). The main stories pertain to Sri Krishna, Sri Kapila, Sri Narasimha, Sri Varaaha and other avataaras, all meant to re-establish Dharma : 'Dharmasya hyaapavargasya' (the outcome of Dharma is moksha').

'Virat Swaroopa' of the Lord which appears in this volume is in a way a commentry on Purusha sooktha. This puraana also emphasizes the three routes viz., jnaana, karma and bhakthi yogas as does Bhagavadgita.

In regard to the etymology of the word 'Bhaagavatha', bhaga connotes wealth, desire, greatness, strength etc and the connotation qualifies the Lord only. And the treatise concerns the Lord who is also known as Vaasudeva, Vishnu, Naarayana, Krishna; the Lord is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent; the Vedas declare Him thus: antharbahischha tathsarvam vyaapya naarayanah sthithah'. This puraana deals with Bhagavaan in various ways and expounds His favourite Bhaagavatha Dharma. It elucidates bhakthi towards the Lord, a boat available to reach His feet. The contents of this puraana comprise a number of stories and episodes through each of which Vyaasa muni wishes to drive home a message.

Volume 2

Preface

The first volume of Srimad Bhaagavatha Mahaapuraana was released both in India and the USA. Those who are conversant with this Puraana liked the style of presentation and the size - four skandhas have been covered in the first volume.

Looking back at the circumstances leading to its writing which I covered in some measure in Volume 1, one of the most important happenings got left out. That was my visit to Vyaasa muni's peeta at Naimishaaranya. This is one of the 106 holy places which normally a Srivaishnava visits. The visit took place a year or so before I thought of writing this Puraana. Due to an attack of a funny disease my body flexibility had taken a beating, and I prostrated to the 'peeta' by just bending forward and touching the ground. The pujaari, a learned person, noticing it, encouraged me to try full-body prostration! Not quite confident though, I managed it with effort. He said when the muni is in your midst, what is not possible!

Indeed it is with Vyaasa muni's anugraha only the present volume also has been completed covering five skandhas, 5 - 9. The famous tenth skandha will of course take the pride of place in a single volume. It is also the longest skandha accounting for thirty percent of the total size.

Despite my many commitments writing of this volume was completed expeditiously. As I observed in my first volume, the unseen hand carries your pen through.

I thank the couple, Suresh and Bhaargavi of Arka Creations, for the beautiful DTP work, Shaaradha Prasad for timely printing and Kiran of Graphic Design for an attractive cover. My wife has helped in correction of the draft copies.

Introduction

In the first volume of Srimad Bhaagavatham spanning four skandhas, over ninety stories were presented. The volume in hand, the second in the series covers five skandhas, and as many as 108 stories are narrated. The main stories which are compellingly important for one to read are:

1) Jadabharatha

2) Ajamila

3) Vishwaroopa's teac


Item Code: NAM332
Cover: Paperback
Edition: 2013
Publisher: A and K Prakashana
Language: English
Size: 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
Pages: 1180
Other Details: Weight of the Book: 1.2 kg