The complete Srimad Bhagavat Mahapuran
Mangalacharan (Auspicatory Verses)
We meditate on the ultimate true cosmic form of the Lord, from whom the creation, maintenance and destruction of this universe takes place- because it pervades all existent entities and is distinct from the non-existent entities; is not inert but conscious; is not dependent but self-effulgent; who is not Brahma or Hiranyagarbha, but the one who has showered them with Vedic knowledge and grace, by which even great scholars are deluded by. Just as the delusion of mirage is dispelled by the knowledge of their true nature, similarly, we contemplate on that ultimate truth, the Supreme Lord, who is self- luminous and is always free and detached from the influence of Maya (illusion) and its influence, who is beyond the three modes of material nature and whose creation, consisting of the three states of Jagrat (awareness, wakefulness), Swapna (dream) and Sushupti (deep sleep), appears illusory, but is perceived as true due to His underlying existence.
Sri Shukdev ji narrating the supreme Bhagavad Purana feels like a sweet voice of Parrot, that soothes misery and hurts of our hearts. This scripture has been filled with the delightful essence of the sacred happiness, by listening to which one immerses in the divine bliss. This feels like a sweet fruit, where in exocarp, the seeds or the forsaken portion do not even exist, yet it is imbued with sweetness and divine essence. This image is a manifestation of pure enriching sacred essence. As long as one is conscious, he/she should avail oneself with this sanctified word of the Lord, as it is attainable only on this earth.
“The Beginning of the story”
Once, on the sacred and virtuous land of Lord Vishnu and other gods- Naimisharanya, with the desire to attain the Lord, Shaunkadi Rishis performed a great yagnya (homa) that was to be completed over thousands of years. One day, after completing their daily morning rituals such as Agnihotra (a purificatory ritual in which mantras are chanted and offerings are made to the fire) and other rituals, the group of sages offered their respects to Sut ji, and respectfully made him seat on a asana, and asked-
The sages said– “Sut ji, you are a pure and virtuous person. You have studied all the histories, Puranas and other religious scriptures, and have elucidated them well. You are cognizant of all the knowledge and wisdom that is perceived and comprehended by many sages and one of the great analyzers, Bhagavan Badarayan. You have a serene and tranquil mind, because of which the great souls have showered you with their blessings and wisdom. Gurus don’t even hesitate to apprise even the most unrevealed things. Ayushman! Please tell us, what certain means for the ultimate welfare of the people of Kali Yuga (the age of darkness) have you determined from all the knowledge and wisdom that you have read, and from the teachings that you have received from the scriptures and your Guru?
You are a very precious gem among the sages. In this Kali Yuga, people’s lifespan has decreased due to the sinful deeds they are performing. People in this era have lost the tendency and desire towards spirituality. They have become lazy, their destiny is bleak and they lack understanding and consideration. They are also surrounded by various obstacles and difficulties. Although there are many scriptures, they do not contain a specific spiritual practice to attain God, but rather describe various types of deeds, thereby creating an atmosphere of confusion. Besides, these texts are so vast that even hearing a part of them becomes difficult. You (Sutji) are a compassionate person, so we all request you to extract the essence of these texts and illuminate us with wisdom and devotion, so that we can purify ourselves from all the misery and illusions. Sutji! Please tell us the story and the purpose of Lord incarnating as Sri Krishna, as the son of Vasudev and Devaki, in the Yadu Dynasty. We are very keen to hear about it, as we are well aware that the incarnation of the Lord is for the ultimate welfare of all living beings and for a divine rise in devotion and love towards the Lord. The soul is trapped in the dreadful cycle of birth and death. Even in this predicament, if one chants the auspicious name of the Lord with full devotion and sincerity, he/she gets liberated. Even fear is afraid of the Lord. Even the awakened beings, who are free from all the illusions and sufferings of life, and have attained the highest level of liberation, surrender themselves completely in the lotus feet of the Lord, and thus by their mere touch, all the other beings in the world become instantly pure and ethical. Whereas, after venerating and consuming the holy water of Ganga for many days, purity can be attained. Who wouldn’t want to listen to the divine stories and glories of the Lord, who longs for spiritual purification, that liberates and awakens to the true consciousness, and are continuously sung by the pious devotees of the Lord. The Lord manifests in different incarnations through divine plays. Narada and other great souls have sung the praises of their (the Lord’s) generous deeds. Please illustrate and narrate them to us. Sut ji! The omnipotent Lord performs various leelas (divine plays) freely, with his Yog Maya (the embodiment of the divine potency). Please unfold all the auspicious stories regarding the various incarnations of the Lord. Listening to the divine stories of the supreme Lord embracing His divine plays can never satisfy us, because keen listeners always experience a different essence of His grace and blessings. Lord Sri Krishna kept his divine, true form unrevealed and behaved like a normal human being. However, he also performed various leelas with Balram ji, and demonstrated such valor that no human being could ever perform. We, on the land of Vainshnav, are sitting here for a long term session, after knowing that Kali Yuga (the last era in the Yuga cycle, driven by injustice and evil) has come. We have got a great divine opportunity to listen to the stories of Lord Sri Hari. This Kali Yuga destroys the purity and power of the inner being, making it difficult to overcome. Just as those crossing the sea are blessed with a helmsman, who makes their journey easy and comfortable, similarly, those of us who desire to cross over to the other side of this illusory materialistic world have been blessed with your presence by Brahma. Please tell us that when Dharma rakshak (the protector of the righteousness), Brahman Bhakt (the devotee of the Brahmin), the divine Yogeshvar Lord Sri Krishna returned to his abode, whose shelter did Dharma take?