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Devi and Bhagavata Purana

Post Author: Swami Gaurangapada    Date: 2006-01-14 06:54:29
Title: Devi and Bhagavata Purana
User: Anonymous    Date: 2007-04-24 02:06:14

I have a question about the different Scriptures in Hinduism. I have read various Vedic Lituratures, Srimad Bhagavata, Srimad Devi Bhagavata, etc. etc. My question concerns primarily the relationship between Srimad Bhagavata and the Devi Bhagavata. The reason I ask is Both were written by the same person, and if you compare both, they seem very similar. The first canto of both speak about creation. The tenth canto of Srimad Bhagavata speaks about Shri Krishna and in Devi Bhagavata it speaks of Shri Radha Rani. I have read both several times. Please help this person to come to an understanding.

Title: Re: Devi and Bhagavata Purana
User: Swami Gaurangapada    Date: 2007-04-24 23:25:38

Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! Jaya Guru Parampara! Pranams. Welcome Obadiah, to the Sangha Forum. We are happy to meet you. I hope you find your answers to your sincere questions.

Shrila Jiva Gosvami explains that the Vedas are no longer available in their entirety. Originally there were some 1,130 branches to the Vedic tree of knowledge, but scholars at the time of Jiva's writing found only twenty branches still extant. Jiva Gosvami argues that from such a small representation we cannot be sure we understand the message of the Vedas. The subject matter is difficult; the language, Sanskrit, is difficult; the line of teachers who might have helped us has broken; and even the twenty branches left entail more volumes than we can sort through in a lifetime. According to tradition, also, study of the Vedas is not open to everyone but only to the priestly class. Thus Srila Jiva Gosvami concludes that the highly abstruse message of the Vedas can no longer be understood from study of the Vedas themselves.

As an alternative he proposes to study the Puranas, which have the same origin and so are also apauruseya sabda but were meant for those who cannot understand or approach the Vedas.

So now he analyzes the Puranas. But he finds that each Purana asserts that its particular deity is supreme. The Siva Purana says Lord Siva is supreme, the Skanda Purana says that Skanda is supreme, the Devi Purana says Devi is supreme, and so on for eighteen Puranas. So what is the conclusion?

To ascertain this, Jiva Gosvami analyzes further. He finds that the eighteen Puranas have three divisions: six are in the mode of ignorance, six in passion, and six in goodness. He says that we should focus our attention on the six in the mode of goodness because, as Lord Krishna states in the Bhagavad-gita, ignorance leads to sleep, passion to greed, and goodness to knowledge.

But from the six Puranas in goodness, still there is confusion as to whether Lord Rama or Lord Nrisinghadeva or Lord Vishnu or Lord Krishna is supreme. Here Jiva Gosvami takes a different tack. He says, "If we can find a book which explains Vedanta, which explains the Gayatri mantra, which is apauruseya, which is completely available, and for which a disciplic line exists, then we should analyze that book."

He finds that the book which best fits these criteria is the Bhagavata Purana, or Shrimad-Bhagavatam, and so he accepts Shrimad Bhagavatam as the ultimate Vedic authority in creation and Shrimad Bhagavatam categorically states that "krishnas tu bhagavan svayam"...Lord Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

  1. Agni (15,400 verses)
  2. Bhagavata (18,000 verses) Mahapurana
  3. Bhavishya (14,500 verses)
  4. Brahma (24,000 verses)
  5. Brahmanda (12,000 verses)
  6. Brahmavaivarta (18,000 verses)
  7. Garuda (19,000 verses)
  8. Kurma (17,000 verses)
 9. Linga (11,000 verses)
 10. Markandeya (9,000 verses)
 11. Matsya (14,000 verses)
 12. Narada (25,000 verses)
 13. Padma (55,000 verses)
 14. Shiva (24,000 verses)
 15. Skanda (81,100 verses)
 16. Vamana (10,000 verses)
 17. Varaha (10,000 verses)
 18. Vishnu (23,000 verses)

These are the ten characteristic topics of a Purana- creation of the universe, subsequent creation of the planets and their inhabitants, maintenance of all living beings, their protection, the rule of the Manus, the dynasties of great kings, activities of those kings, annihilation, the cause of the living entities?involvement in material activities, and the supreme shelter.

These topics are all discussed in each of the cantos of Shrimad-Bhagavatam. It is not that a particular canto deals with just one particular subject. Nor are the topics discussed successively, one after another.

Creation (sarga) begins with the agitation of the modes of nature within the unmanifest, causing the mahat-tattva to arise.

Secondary creation (visarga) is the manifestation of all varieties of life forms, which result from the amalgamation of material desires. It is by the mercy of the Supreme Lord that the conditioned souls are allowed to desire materially and then act in this world.

Sustenance (vritti) primarily consists of the moving beings living upon the non-moving. For a human being, it means acting for one
’s livelihood in a suitable manner, according to one’s nature.

The Supreme Lord affects protection (raksha) in His incarnations among the animals, humans, sages and demigods. By His activities, He protects the population of the universe, while destroying the enemies of Vedic culture.

In each manvantara (period of Manu), six kinds of personalities appear that are manifestations of Lord Hari, including- the ruling Manu, Indra, the great rishis and the amsha-avatara (partial incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead).

Royal dynasties originate from Lord Brahma, and they extend continuously through past, present and future.

There are four types of cosmic annihilation, as previously described. The actual cause of the manifested creation is the Supreme Lord. But, in one sense, the conditioned souls are the cause, because the creation takes place as a response to their material desires.

The ultimate shelter is the Supreme Absolute Truth. Material objects are manifested in myriad forms, along with corresponding names, but the essential ingredients are always present as the basis of these objects?existence. For example, a pot may be made from clay, but even when it is a
‘pot?it remains ‘clay? Similarly, the Supreme Absolute Truth is always present with the created material body, because, after all, everything is an expansion of His energy.

The eighteen major Puranas (having 10 subjects, as opposed to the minor Puranas, which discuss only 5 subjects) are the Brahma, Padma, Vishnu, Shiva, Linga, Garuda, Narada, Bhagavata, Agni, Skanda, Bhavishya, Brahma-vaivarta, Markandeya, Vamana, Varaha, Matsya, Kurma and Brahmanda Puranas.

brahmam padmam vaishnavamca saivam laiogam sagarudam
naradiyam bhagavatam agneyam skanda-samjnitam
bhavisyam brahmavaivarttam markandeyam savamanam
varaham matsyam kaurmam ca brahmandakhyamiti trisat

"There are eighteen Puranas: Brahma, Padma, Vishnu, Siva, LiNga, Garuda, Naradiya, Bhagavata, Agni, Bhavisya, Skandha, Brahma-Vaivarta, Markandeya, Vamana, Varaha, Matsya, Kurma-and Brahmanda. (Bhag. 12.7.23-24)

The Puranas Have Three Divisions: sattvika (mode of goodness), rajasika (mode of passion), and tamasika (mode of ignorance) as described below in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana itself:

vaishnavam naradiyam ca tatha bhagavatam subham
garudan ca tatha padmam varaham subhadarsane
sattvikani puranani vijneyani manisibhih
brahmy andam brahmavaivarttam markandeyam tathaiva ca
bhavisyam vamanam brahmam rajasani nibodhata
matsyam kaurmam tatha laiogam saivam skandam tathaiva ca
agneyanca syadetani tamasani nibhodhata

"O you of perfect vision! The self-realized sages have determined that there are three divisions of the eighteen Puranas corresponding to the modes of goodness, passion, and ignorance. The Vishnu, Naradiya, Bhagavata, Garuda, Padma and Varaha Puranas are in the mode of goodness. The Brahmanda, Brahma-vaivarta, Markandeya, Bhavisya, Vamana, and Brahma Puranas are in the mode of passion. The six Puranas in the mode of ignorance, are Skandha, Matsya, Kurma, Lioga, Siva, and Agni."

sattvikesu ca kalpesu mahatmyamadhikam hareh
rajasesu ca mahatmyamadhikam brahmano viduh
tad-vadagnesca mahatmyam tamasesu sivasya ca
saokirnesu sarasvatyah pitrnansca nigadyate

"The Puranas in the mode of goodness glorify the Supreme Lord, Shri Krishna; those in the mode of passion promote the glories of Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe; and those in the mode of ignorance celebrate the greatness of Agni, Siva, and Durga. In addition many other scriptures have different mixtures of goodness, passion, and ignorance, and promote the worship of demigods like Sarasvati and Laksmi along with worship of ancestors, and many other lower religious processes." (Tattva-Sandarbha, annucheda 17)

So you can see from the above list of Puranas, that Devi Purana is not even one of the 18 principal Puranas so it cannot be compared with the supremely pure Shrimad Bhagavata Purana as the Shrimad Bhagavata Purana directly glorifies the Supreme Lord in the mode of shuddha sattva i.e. pure goodness. Though Shrimad Bhagavata and Devi Bhagavata may be similar in some parts still the Devi Bhagavata is for the worshipers the mode of ignorance (tamo guna) whereas Shrimad Bhagavata is for those who want to directly transcend the three material modes of nature and hear the pure pastimes of the transcendental Lord.

I hope this is helpful. Please feel free to ask to further clarify the matter. Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna!

Title: Re: Devi and Bhagavata Purana
User: Neil LA    Date: 2007-04-25 16:57:43

Thank you Swami Gaurangapada for clarifying this issue. As a former devotee of the Divine Mother, knowing the difference between the two is important to me.

Anybody who loves both Lord Gauranga and also loves the Divine Mother should read the 18th Chapter of Madhya Lila of Sri Chaitanya Bhagavat. Here the Lord takes on the form of the Divine Mother and shows that He and She are one.


Title: Re: Radha is the Original Divine Mother and Potency
User: Swami Gaurangapada    Date: 2007-04-25 20:30:58

Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! Thanks. The Divine Mother or the Original Internal and Pleasure Potency (Shakti) of the Lord is Shrimati Radha. The demigoddesses in this material world like Durga, Parvati, Ambika, Kali, etc. are external and distant expansions of Shrimati Radhika in Mahamaya.

Title: Re: Devi and Bhagavata Purana
User: Anonymous    Date: 2007-04-25 21:16:33

From Srila Prabhupada inroduction to the Gita   

"sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah

"Give up all varieties of religiousness, and just surrender unto Me; and in return I shall protect you from all sinful reactions. Therefore, you have nothing to fear." (Bg. 18.66) Thus the Lord takes all responsibility for one who surrenders unto Him, and He indemnifies all the reactions of sin.
One cleanses himself daily by taking a bath in water, but one who takes his bath only once in the sacred Ganges water of the Bhagavad-gita cleanses away all the dirt of material life. Because Bhagavad-gita is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one need not read any other Vedic literature. One need only attentively and regularly hear and read Bhagavad-gita. In the present age, mankind is so absorbed with mundane activities that it is not possible to read all of the Vedic literatures. But this is not necessary. This one book, Bhagavad-gita, will suffice because it is the essence of all Vedic literatures and because it is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is said that one who drinks the water of the Ganges certainly gets salvation, but what to speak of one who drinks the waters of Bhagavad-gita? Gita is the very nectar of the Mahabharata spoken by Visnu Himself, for Lord Krsna is the original Visnu. It is nectar emanating from the mouth of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the Ganges is said to be emanating from the lotus feet of the Lord. Of course there is no difference between the mouth and the feet of the Supreme Lord, but in our position we can appreciate that the Bhagavad-gita is even more important than the Ganges.
The Bhagavad-gita is just like a cow, and Lord Krsna, who is a cowherd boy, is milking this cow. The milk is the essence of the Vedas, and Arjuna is just like a calf. The wise men, the great sages and pure devotees, are to drink the nectarean milk of Bhagavad-gita. "


Title: Re: Devi and Bhagavata Purana
User: Igor    Date: 2007-04-26 18:44:12

Nityananda Gauranga Hare Krsna

Krsna is unlimited, His glories are unlimited, His energies are unlimited, Puranas are unlimited. That is reason why we are calling holy books "revealed scriptures". All about Lord is ananta - endless.

Here is nice verse from Manah siksa
ratim gauri-lile api tapati saundarya-kiranaih
saci-laksmi-satyah paribhavati saubhagya-balanaih
vasi-karais candravali-mukha-navina-vraja-satih
ksipaty arad ya tam hari-dayita-radham bhaja manah

O mind, please worship Lord Hari
’s beloved Radha. with the splendor of Her beauty She makes Rati, Gauri, and Lila burn with envy, with the power of Her good fortune She defeats Saci, Laksmi, and Satyabhama, and with Her ability to control Krsna She completely eclipses Candravali and the other pious young girls of Vraja.

Radharani ki jay, Maharani ki jay!
Nityananda Gauranga Hare Krsna

Title: Re: Devi and Bhagavata Purana
User: Neil LA    Date: 2007-04-30 21:50:50

Yes. Please don't think that by talking about the Divine Mother, I was suggesting that one should worship Kali or Durga, etc.

I know that Radharani is the Divine Mother. She is the original Shakti of the Lord and all the other demigoddesses are her expansions in Maya.

After hearing about Srimati Radharani, I can't understand why anyone would be attracted to the demigoddesses.

Srimati Radharani is so much more beautiful than any of them.

Radharani ki Jai!
Swami Gaurangapada ki jai!

Title: Re: Devi and Bhagavata Purana
User: Igor    Date: 2007-05-01 18:12:02

Nityananda Gauranga Hare Krsna
Yes, Srimati Radharani is Supreme sakti, or energy of Lord. Actually She is Madana-mohana-mohini -
“the attractor of the attractor of Cupid.?
After hearing about Srimati Radharani, I can't understand why anyone would be attracted to the demigoddesses.

Lord Sri Krsna explained in Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 17
tri-vidha bhavati sraddha
dehinam sa svabhava-ja
sattviki rajasi caiva
tamasi ceti tam srinu

"According to the modes of nature acquired by the embodied soul, one's faith can be of three kinds -- in goodness, in passion or in ignorance. Now hear about this."
In this chapter Lord described in detail three types of faith and why different persons worship different personalities. Isvara parama Krsna, topmost, original Person is Krsna, Gauranga and all demigods are his parts and parcels. We should have respect to them, but we know that Supreme Personality is Krsna, Gauranga. Devotee of Lord understand that all demigods are His devotees, therefore devotee alweys have natural respect to them. Nondevotees may sometimes become bevildered when they see that devotees have natural respect toward demigods, but they do not know their inner motive. For example  Vaisnava yatha sambho...Shiva is greatest of all vaisnavas.In that spirit vaisnavas are sometimes worship Shiva, as greatest of all vaisnavas.

Nityananda Gauranga Hare Krsna

Title: Re: Attraction and Respect
User: Swami Gaurangapada    Date: 2007-05-01 18:57:31

Neil: I know that Radharani is the Divine Mother. She is the original Shakti of the Lord and all the other demigoddesses are her expansions in Maya.

Thank you for your proper understanding.

Neil: After hearing about Srimati Radharani, I can't understand why anyone would be attracted to the demigoddesses.

Igor: Devotee of Lord understand that all demigods are His devotees, therefore devotee alweys have natural respect to them.

Yes, attraction and respect are two things. Devotees know that the Lord's infinite beauty includes the beauty of demigods so they are attracted to Him alone and of course to His unalloyed servants. On the same hand, devotees are greatly respectful to the demigods and demigoddesses who are servants of the Lord managing the different departments in the universe even though they may not be pure devotees of the Lord. Anyone who chants the name of the Lord occasionally, should be mentally respected according to Shrila Rupa Goswami so what to speak of the demigods who are serving the Lord even though it may be in karma-mishra bhakti.

Title: Re: Devi and Bhagavata Purana
User: Neil LA    Date: 2007-05-01 21:05:18

Yes Thanks for clarifying that.  I wasn't at all suggesting that we shouldn't have respect. I believe that respect should be one of the fundamentals. Even though others might differ, I want to be respectful. Personally I think that if someone is worshipping a demigod/demigoddess, it is better than being completely materialistic because the demigods/demigoddesses are expansions of the Lord. It would make sense that maybe the demigod would  eventually guide one to worship the Lord once the karma that lead one to go to the demigod/demigoddess in the first place is extinguished. Is this a correct understanding, or am I completely off track?

Title: Re: Devi and Bhagavata Purana
User: Igor    Date: 2007-05-01 22:55:26

Nityananda Gauranga Hare Krsna
Swami Gaurangapada nicely explained above - devotees are greatly respectful to the demigods and demigoddesses who are servants of the Lord. And also demigods are greatly respectful to the devotees of Lord Gauranga, Krsna.

maybe the demigod would eventually guide one to worship the Lord
If person worship him/her just like we are worshiping siksa spiritual master, it is possible. For example Shiva have His sampradaya, Rudra Sampradaya.
Here is also nice example in Caitanya Caritamrta.

CC Adi 16.105: In this way both the poet and Caitanya Mahaprabhu went back to their homes, and at night the poet worshiped mother Sarasvati.

CC Adi 16.106: In a dream the goddess informed him of the Lord's position, and the poetic champion could understand that Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself.

So sometimes we can see that such worship may lead toward bhakti like in previous example.
Also we should know that if we are worshiping spiritual master, who is representative of Adi-Guru Sri Balarama, who is also source of unlimited manifestations, including unlimited demigods, then all creation, material and spiritual become jubilant.

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