The Srimad Bhagavatam, also known as the Bhagavata Purana, is one of the most important Vedic texts of ancient India. In this article we explore the Srimad Bhagavatam in greater depth and share reasons why it’s a must-read for any serious spiritual seeker.
The Vedas of India are renowned for their timeless wisdom and accurate scientific insights. Philosophers and scientists of the Western world, from Carl Sagan to Henry David Thoreau, have appreciated and acknowledged the superior discoveries of the Vedas over any other religious text known to mankind.
The Puranas are one important set of texts within the larger Vedic canon. A Purana is an historical and philosophical account of the lives of ancient kings and sages from many years before. Topics covered in a Purana include:
- The origin of the universe and our solar system
- Lineages of great kings
- Natural laws which govern the universe
- Conversations of saints and sages of the past
- Incarnations (avataras) of the Superconsciousness on our Earthly plane
Although many modern scholars mistake the Puranas for mere mythology, they have overlooked many scientifically accurate data points that could not possibly be found in a mythological text. For instance, the Puranas accurately date the origin of the universe, the formation of our solar system, the most recent mass extinction, as well as many other natural phenomena. This demonstrates that the Puranas were not composed by ordinary human beings, but were revealed from a higher dimension.
Although there are many Puranas, there are 18 primary ones, and among these, the Srimad Bhagavatam, or the Bhagavata Purana, is the most important. This is because, where other texts discuss the topics of Truth and God in indirect, abstract language, the Bhagavata Purana alone contains detailed accounts of the identity and activities of the Superconsciousness, Sri Krishna.
In addition, the Bhagavata Purana provides a comprehensive philosophy by which even a person of below-average intelligence can attain the highest state of spiritual enlightenment in bhakti-yoga. The teachings of the Bhagavata Purana are simultaneously accessible, stimulating, satisfying, and beautifully composed in Sanskrit poetic verse. There is truly no other work like the Bhagavata Purana in all of world literature.
The Srimad Bhagavatam is itself accepted as a literary avatara of the Supreme Person, Sri Krishna. Just by encountering the text in the right spirit, anyone can catch a glimpse of eternity and transcendental bliss. It simply requires an unbiased reading, under the guidance and tutelage of a qualified teacher.
The Srimad Bhagavatam contains 335 chapters and more than 14,000 verses. While this may seem intimidating at first, Vedic experts have developed a simple method for approaching the Srimad Bhagavatam that enables anyone to benefit from reading it. By simply reading a fixed number of verses per day, it is possible to read the entire Srimad Bhagavatam without sacrificing more than 20-30 minutes per day. To help calculate a reasonable reading schedule, download the Be a Sage Page by Page app on your mobile phone.
The Bhagavata Purana picks up where the Bhagavad-gita leaves off. In the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna discusses:
- The difference between the body and the atma (consciousness)
- The law of karma
- Transmigration of the atma at the time of death
- The various types of yoga, or syncing up one’s individual consciousness with the Superconsciousness, Sri Krishna.
- The duties of different people in different life circumstances
The Bhagavata Purana explores these same topics in greater depth, and also discloses many other areas of knowledge, such as the origins of our universe and the identity of the Supreme Person. It is helpful to study the Bhagavad-gita either alongside or in advance of reading the Srimad Bhagavatam. In addition it is important to find the right person who can teach you the science of atman, bhagavan, and bhakti contained in the text, As with any advanced field of knowledge, it is difficult to learn without the guidance of a qualified teacher.