Srimad Bhagavatam – The Supreme Purana

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Narada Muni spins Veda Vyasa’s sorrow to supreme joy 


After having written 17 voluminous and scholarly works (puranas) on various religious and philosophical matters, the author, Sri Veda Vyas felt a strong wave of dissatisfaction in his mind. There was something amiss on which he could not put his finger on. He summons the power of his thoughts and insight into pure philosophy, but fails to find an answer.

Srimad Bhagawatham – the Supreme Purana-Atma Nirvana
Sri Veda Vyas

There is a viewpoint that Sri Veda Vyas did not write all the 17 puranas. There is another viewpoint that Vyasa was either a group of scholars or an institution. The 17 puranas were mainly compilation of religious viewpoints, important temples, astrology, a little of geography, customs, rituals etc. In short, a mixture of everything, an ocean.

It was Sri Veda Vyasa, a brilliant scholar and devotee of Lord Vishnu who, after going through the 17 puranas, found that there was no central theme or a single God for devotees to relate to. This was why he felt distressed, dejected and confused. He knew that like the planets that revolve round the sun or how the suns, planets, and all stellar objects revolve around a single and mysterious point of nothingness (astronomers call it Black Holes), philosophy and matters abstract should revolve around a single person – the Supreme Being.    

Look at the similarities. Our puranas say that Brahman is attribute-less, beyond imagination, not governed by time, matter or laws that rule the universe and cannot be described or viewed with even the most powerful eye. Astronomers now say that the mysterious object in the centre of a galaxy is just that – attribute-less, beyond imagination, not governed by time, matter or laws that govern the universe and cannot be described or viewed with even the most powerful eye (telescopes).

Srimad Bhagawatham – the Supreme Purana

Around the event horizon – the rim of the mysterious centre – one can witness the final journey where stars, planets, stellar matter and even light merge into one single entity in a glorious glow. The puranas, long long ago, described our journey in a similar way and it is called Moksha where we merge with the Brahman or the Supreme Being in one glorious glow.  

Srimad Bhagawatham – the Supreme Purana

Coming back to Vyasa, it is this state of mental distress and dissatisfaction, he approaches Sri Narada Muni for an answer. Narada had no doubt as he could sense Veda Vyasa’s distress and state of mind whether he should summarise all the 17 puranas into one or embark on a totally new journey.

Narada is always quick in analysis and had the power to pick up one main strand from many confusing and contradictory strands.  After a discussion, he told Vyas to write an exclusive book or purana on Sri Krishna, the purna or complete avatar.

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Veda Vyas had another doubt. Just a purana on Sri Krishna may be a bit short and may overlap with Mahabartha. To this, Narada suggested that Sri Krishna is an avatar purush…a complete avatar of Lord Vishnu. So, write on all the avatars of Lord Vishnu culminating in Sri Krishna. Thus came about Srimad Bhagavatam which deals with all the 12 avatars, but focuses more on Sri Krishna, the purna avatar.

Next: The Purpose of Life’s Journey – II, What is Bhagawatha Dharma?


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