We are happy to announce that a new and revised edition of Śrīmad Bhāgavata Māhātmyam has just been published. This book was originally authored and published when Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji was a member of ISKCON as a Centennial offering for ISKCON’s Founder-Ācārya Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda.
It is a small and easy-to-ready book in glorification of Śrīmad Bhāgavata. It narrates the allegorical story of Bhakti personified, who become afflicted by the age of Kali and then rejuvenated by sage Nārada Muni. It also contains other stories that illustrate the auspiciousness of hearing the Bhāgavata in the age of Kali.
Glimpses from the Introduction
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 Bhagavān. Specifically, one must hear kṛṣṇa–kathā from such a devotee. Bhāgavata Purāṇa is the best source of kṛṣṇa–kathā. It presents questions and answers related to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, His name, form, pastimes, energies, and various avatāras. It was manifested by Śrī Vyāsa and is the essence of all Vedic literature.
Bhāgavata Purāṇa is so potent that it captivated the heart of Śukadeva Gosvāmī, a self-realized person completely absorbed in Brahman. He ran away from home right after his birth but returned as soon as he heard a few verses of Śrīmad Bhāgavata.
Bhāgavata Purāṇa is the very life and soul of the Vaiṣṇavas, especially the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu called it spotless (amala Purāṇa). He would hear it from His dear associate, Śrī Gadādhara Paṇḍita, at Narendra Sarovara in Jagannātha Purī. In Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī lists hearing Śrīmad Bhāgavataas one of the five essential processes of devotional service. Indeed, it is so wonderful that even impersonalists, who do not consider Bhagavān’s form or abode transcendental, cannot resist studying and commenting upon it.
This book is a translation of six chapters of the Padma Purāṇa, Uttara Khaṇḍa, entitled Śrīmad-bhāgavata-māhātmya, the glories of Bhāgavata Purāṇa. Śrīmad Bhāgavata is the mature fruit of the Vedic tree and therefore, can grant all desires. In India, there is a tradition of reciting Bhāgavata Purāṇa for seven days, following the original recitation by Śrī Sukadeva Gosvāmī to King Parīkṣit, which lasted for seven days. According to Śrīmad-bhāgavata-māhātmya, the process of hearing it in seven days (saptāha-yajña) is the means for attaining all desires. Bhāgavata-saptāha is very popular all over India, especially in North India. Generally, pure devotees of Śrī Hari, being free from all material desires, do not engage in such recitation or rituals, but they use the saptāha process for spreading the message to the masses. Therefore, they are not concerned with all the details of the rituals, as the real purpose is to convey the teachings of Bhāgavata Purāṇa.
The Purāṇas sometimes instruct through the indirect method of storytelling (parokṣavāda). This does not mean, however, that this narration is a fable. It is based on history, but its purpose is not to describe historical facts. The real purpose is to teach about the importance of bhakti through storytelling. To give some insight into the teachings behind the story, brief comments are given in the footnotes.
Within these chapters, there are a lucid description and incidental predictions for the modern age. Modern scholars should not consider them interpolations because even according to modern historians, the Purāṇas 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 Auraṅgazeb, who destroyed the major temples in Vṛndāvana, Mathurā, and other holy places in India. Modern scholars would say that such statements have been added later on. However, those who follow the tradition believe them to be part of the original book.
The new edition contains modifications where clarity was needed, along with style and formatting changes that fit the current Jīva Style Guide. Unlike its original counterpart, the revised version comes in hard cover, which adds well to its look and feel and hopefully makes it more enjoyable to the readers.
The book is now available in our Store. You can order it here.