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Shrimad Bhagavata Mahatmyam
The Glories of Shrimad Bhagavatam
Translated by Shri Satyanarayan Dasa
In the dark age of Kali, bhakti is the only process for getting free from material conditioning.
Bhakti is achieved only by the holy association of a pure devotee of the Supreme Lord. Specifically, one must hear krishna-katha from such a devotee. Shrimad Bhagavatam is the best source of krishna katha. It presents questions and answers related to Lord Krishna, His name, form, pastimes, energies, and various incarnations. It was compiled by Shrila Vyasa, and is the essence of all Vedic Literature.
Shrimad Bhagavatam is so potent that it captivated the heart of Sukadeva Gosvami, a self realised soul completely absorbed in Brahman. He ran away from home after his birth, but returned as soon as he heard a few verses of Shrimad Bhagavatam. Although he renounced everything including even a kaupin, he could not give up Shrimad-Bhagavatam. he was very fond of forest life (aranya-priya), but after hearing Shrimad-Bhagavatam from his father, he became very dear to the devotees (visnujana-priya), by reciting the Shrimad-Bhagavatam. He was so renounced that he did not distinguish between male and female, yet he relished narrating the most intimate pastimes of Lord Krishna with the cowherd damsels.
Shrimad-Bhagavatam is the very life and soul of the Vaishnavas, especially the Gaudiya Vaishnavas. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu called it spotless (amala Purana). He would hear it from His dear associate, Shri Gadadhara Pandita at Narendra Sarovara in Jagannatha Puri. In Bhakti-rasamrta sindhu, Shrila Rupa Gosvami lists hearing Shrimad Bhagavatam as one of the five essential processes of devotional service. Indeed, it is so wonderful that even impersonalists, who do not consider the Lord's form or abode transcendental, cannot resist studying and commenting upon it.
Shrila Prabhupada carried Shrimad Bhagavatam aboard the Jaladuta to the United States and with this weapon he conquered the world. He blessed many thousands with the wealth of Shrimad Bhagavatam. He referred to his Bhaktivedanta purports on Shrimad Bhagavatam as his "emotional ecstasies". He made it mandatory for his followers to hear Shrimad Bhagavatam daily. Wherever he went he spoke on Shrimad Bhagavatam, he sometimes relished hearing it from his disciples as well.
Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati said that if all the books in the world were destroyed, and only Shrimad Bhagavatam remained, there would be no loss. It will be clear from this booklet that this is no over statement.
This translation of six chapters of the Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda, entitled Shrimad-bhagavat-mahatmya, the glory of Shrimad Bhagavatam. Shrimad Bhagavatam is the mature fruit of the Vedic tree and therefore, can grant all desires. The process of hearing Shrimad Bhagavatam is seven days (Saptaha-Yajna) is the means for attaining all desires. Generally pure devotees of the Lord, being free from all material desires, do not engage in such recitation or rituals, but they use the Saptaha process for preaching to the masses. Therefore, they are not concerned with all the details of the rituals, as the real purpose is to convey the importance of hearing the Shrimad Bhagavatam
The Puranas sometimes instruct through the indirect method of story telling (paroksavada). As Shri Narada Muni informed King Pracinbarhi (S.B. 4.28.65), "My dear King, in this way I have indirectly instructed you in the science of self-realisation. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the creator and controller of the universe, is very much pleased with indirect explanations, paroksavada." This does not mean, however, that this narration is a fable. It is factual, but there is a moral to the story. To give some insight, brief comments are given at the end of each chapter.
Within these chapters there is a lucid description and incidental predictions for the modern age. Unscrupulous scholars should not consider them interpolations because even according to modern historians the Puranas existed prior to the activities narrated herein. This is a confirmed historical fact. For example, the first chapter states that Yavanas will take control of holy places and demolish temples. This is a reference to Muslim rulers like Aurangazeb, who destroyed the major temples in Vrndavana, Mathura, and other holy places. There is also an implicit prediction that Shrila Prabhupada would preach in the west. This should make atheists, agnostics, and sceptics reconsider their convictions.
I hope this booklet will create interest in studying Shrimad Bhagavatam and bolster the faith of those who already study it.
Satya Naranaya dasa
Guru Purnima disappearance day of Shrila Sanatana Gosvami
July 3, 1993