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Originally composed in Sanskrit , this most studied, popular, revered, and influential Purana  is an epic Vaishnava poem consisting of 18, shlokas or verses  over 12 skandhas or cantos. Its interconnected and interwoven narratives, teachings, and explanations focus on the forms or avatars of Vishnu particularly Krishna as the ultimate, primeval, transcendental source of the multiverse including the demigods — as well as the lives of his greatest devotees.
In the purana Krishna is considered to be the eighth and the complete avatar of Vishnu. The 18, verses of the Srimad Bhagavatam consist of several interconnected, interwoven, and non-linear dialogues, teachings, and explanations espousing Bhakti Yoga that go back and forth in time and across its twelve cantos :.
We have alluded to the Bhagavata's identity as a Purana , an important feature of which is its multilevel dialogical structure Two or three such layers are typically operative simultaneously From the A. This Srimad-Bhagavatam is the literary incarnation of God, and it is compiled by Srila Vyasadeva , the incarnation of God. It is meant for the ultimate good of all people, and it is all-successful, all-blissful and all-perfect.
This Purana has arisen now, in Kali yuga , when all learning has been destroyed, after Krishna returned to his own abode. It is like the sun and is full of knowledge about dharma. A unique and especial emphasis is placed on fostering transcendental loving devotion to Krishna as the ultimate good, i.
What makes the Bhagavata unique in the history of Indian Religion The main objective of this text is to promote Bhakti to Vishnu in his incarnation as Krishna referred to variously, and to illustrate and explain it As detailed in the Matsya Mahapurana , all Puranas must cover at least five specific subjects or topics - referred to in Sanskrit as Pancha Lakshana literally meaning 'consisting of five characteristics'   - in addition to other information including specific deities and the four aims or goals of life.
From the K. Joshi editor translation:. The following are the five characteristics of the Puranas: They describe 1 the creation of the universe, 2 its genealogy and dissolution, 3 the dynasties, 4 the Manvantaras , 5 the dynastic chronicles. The Puranas, with these five characteristics, sing the glory of Brahma , Vishnu , the Sun and Rudra , as well as they describe also the creation and dissolution of the Earth. The four [aims of human life] Dharma , Artha , Kama and Moksa have also been described in all the Puranas, along with evil consequences following from sin.
In the sattvika Puranas there is largely a mention of Hari's glory. Sanyal translation:. Sukadeva spoke, - "O King! In this Bhagavata Purana there are discourses on ten subject matters, namely:  Sarga creation in general by God ,  Bisarga creation in particular by Brahma ,  Sthana position ,  Poshana preservation ,  Uti desire actuating an action ,  Manwantara pious modes of living by the Saintly persons ,  Ishanuktha discourses relating to God and his devotees ,  Nirodha merging in ,  Mukti liberation , and  Asraya stay upon or in support of.
Of the above ten, with a view to obtain true knowledge of the tenth, viz. Asraya, saintly people would have discourse on the nine others, by way of hearing, meeting, and drawing analogy.
The Bhagavata further elaborates on the differences between lesser and greater Puranas possessing five or ten characteristics, respectively. Although the number of original Sanskrit shlokas is stated to be 18, by the Bhagavata itself  - and by other Puranas such as the Matsya mahapurana  - the number of equivalent verses when translated into other languages varies, even between translations into the same language and based on the same manuscript  The English translation by Biebek Debroy BD , for example, contains 78 more verses than the English translation by A.
In his discussion on the issue of varying numbers of verses in translations of the Srimad Bhagavatam, Debroy states:. However, to the best of my knowledge, there are only five unabridged translations in English [note 1] One should not jump to the conclusion that a large number of shlokas are missing [in Debroy's translation].
A few are indeed missing. But, sometimes, it is also a question of how one counts a shloka. With the content remaining identical, the text may be counted as one shloka in one place and as two shlokas elsewhere Hence, even though there may be no difference between our version of the text and say, that used by Swami Prabhupada, the numbering will vary a bit.
Sometimes there are minor differences in the Sanskrit text. Contrary to the western cultural tradition of novelty , poetic or artistic license with existing materials is a strong tradition in Indian culture,  a 'tradition of several hundred years of linguistic creativity'. Gregory Bailey states:. The mixture of fixed form [the Puranic Characteristics] and seemingly endless variety of content has enabled the Purana to be communicative vehicles for a range of cultural positions Like most forms of cultural creation in India, the function of the Puranas was to reprocess and comment upon old knowledge Academics estimate the date of origin of the Bhagavata Purana to be between — CE, composed to popularize the worship of Vishnu.
According to the Bhagavata Purana itself see ' stated authorship and purpose ' , it was composed at the onset of Kali Yuga the last age , calculated to have occurred around BCE. All tables provided apply to all complete translations of the Bhagavata Purana. All tables can also be sorted by column title. The table below is primarily based on the avatars listed in Canto 1, Chapter 3 SB 1. The number given in parenthesis " " after a name indicates the order of incarnation as stated in Canto 1.
Note that:. The table below does not include devotee avatars of Vishnu such as Narada , Kipila , or Prthu. Devotees featured or appearing repeatedly throughout the scripture are marked with "--" in the Canto column. This table is not exhaustive. For ease of reference, synopses of cantos cite a legal online copy of the complete volume A.
It also provides original Sanskrit verses, transliterations , synonyms , and purports. With the exception of canto 10 parts onwards - translated by the disciples of Swami Prabhupada after his death in - unless otherwise stated, quoted verses and purports given are identical to the original incomplete and unaltered volume translation of cantos published by Krishna Books. Other translations of quoted verses have also been provided for comparison. The non-exhaustive overviews given apply to all complete translations.
O expert and thoughtful men, relish Srimad-Bhagavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Sri Sukadeva Gosvami. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although its nectarian juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls.
The sacred texts are like trees that yield all the objects of desire and this represents their ripened fruit. It emerged from Shuka's mouth, with the pulp and juice of amrita. Drink the Bhagavata, the store of juices. O those who possess taste! Savour it repeatedly and become happy on earth. Consisting of 19 chapters,  the first canto opens with an invocation to Krishna and the assertion that the Srimad Bhagatavam, compiled by Vyasadeva , is sufficient alone to realise God.
The over-arching narration begins at the onset of Kali Yuga as a dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami the son of Vyasadeva and a group of sages headed by Saunaka , as they perform a thousand-year sacrifice for Krishna and his devotees in the forest of Naimisaranya.
Questioned by the sages , topics covered by Suta Gosvami include the:. Only those who render unreserved, uninterrupted, favourable service unto the lotus feet of Lord Krishna, who carries the wheel of the chariot in his hand, can know the creator of the universe in His full glory, power, and transcendence.
It is only His devotee, who meditates ever with deep concentration upon the Lord holding the irresistibly destructive wheel Chakra, more commonly called 'Sudarsan-chakra' in His Hand, that knows a bit about Him. Consisting of 10 chapters,  the second canto opens with an invocation to Krishna. The second layer of over-arching narration begins as a dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river narrated by Sukadeva Gosvami to a group of sages headed by Saunaka in the forest of Naimisaranya.
Questioned by Pariksit, the topics covered by Suta Gosvami include the:. The lord Maha-Vishnu , although lying in the Causal Ocean, came out of it, and dividing Himself as Hiranyagarbha , He entered into each universe and assumed the virat-rupa , with thousands of legs, arms, mouths, heads, etc. Purusha split the egg and emerged, with thousands of thighs, legs, arms and eyes and thousands of mouths and heads.
Consisting of 33 chapters,  the third canto continues the dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river. Vidura , the sudra incarnation of Yama and devotee of Krishna , is the main protagonist narrated. After being thrown out of his home by King Dhritarashtra his older half-brother for admonishing the Kaurava's ignoble behaviour towards the Pandavas , Vidura went on a pilgrimage where he met other devotees of Krishna such as Uddhava and the sage Maitreya ; their dialogues form a third layer of narration.
Topics covered by Sukadeva Gosvami, Uddhava, and Maitreya include the:. In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the heart. By cultivating such knowledge one gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed, and his attraction becomes fixed. Then real devotion and devotional service begin.
They are so earnest and eagerly attached to mutual discussion on the holy glories of God that the limbs of their bodies become paralysed on account of their being devoid of sensibility due to their zeal for discourses on the illustrious Lord; and so they are possessed of the crowning virtue of kindness which is desired by all good people.
Consisting of 31 chapters,  the fourth canto continues the dialogues of Sukadeva Gosvami , Uddhava , and Maitreya.
There are additional layers of dialogue, such as between the sage-avatar Narada and King Pracinabharhisat as narrated by Maitreya to Vidura. Focusing on the female descendants of Svayambhuva Manu , topics covered include the:. The king [Prthu] will respect all women as if they were his own mother, and he will treat his own wife as the other half of his body. He will be just like an affectionate father to his citizens, and he will treat himself as the most obedient servant of the devotees, who always preach the glories of the Lord.
He will revere other men's wives like his own mother. He will treat his own wife like one half of his own self. Towards his subjects, he will be as gentle as a father. He will be a servant to those who know about the Brahman. Consisting of 26 chapters,  the fifth canto focuses on the dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river.
Notable additional layers of dialogue are between the avatar Rsabha and his sons, and between Bharata and King Rahugana the former was perceived as a fool and made to carry the latter's palanquin. Topics covered include the:. Lord Rsabhadeva told His sons: My dear boys, of all the living entities who have accepted material bodies in this world, one who has been awarded this human form should not work hard day and night simply for sense gratification, which is available even for dogs and hogs that eat stool.
One should engage in penance and austerity to attain the divine position of devotional service. Those who have obtained the human body in this land of mortals, should not give themselves up to the enjoyments of ultimately painful worldly pleasures that are partaken of by pigs and other animals living on excreta.
O my children! Austerity only is the most excellent thing by which one's being is purified and which again leads to the eternal felicity of Brahma ". Consisting of 19 chapters,  the sixth canto continues with the dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river.
purana related Sanskrit Documents in Devanagari script
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Shrimad Bhagavata Purana - Sanskrit Documents
Originally composed in Sanskrit , this most studied, popular, revered, and influential Purana  is an epic Vaishnava poem consisting of 18, shlokas or verses  over 12 skandhas or cantos. Its interconnected and interwoven narratives, teachings, and explanations focus on the forms or avatars of Vishnu particularly Krishna as the ultimate, primeval, transcendental source of the multiverse including the demigods — as well as the lives of his greatest devotees. In the purana Krishna is considered to be the eighth and the complete avatar of Vishnu. The 18, verses of the Srimad Bhagavatam consist of several interconnected, interwoven, and non-linear dialogues, teachings, and explanations espousing Bhakti Yoga that go back and forth in time and across its twelve cantos :.
Srimad Bhagavatam Sridhari (Sanskrit Text)