By Shahid Mishra
The Bhagavata Purana is also known as the Srimad Bhagavatam and is one of the main texts of Indian literature. It was written in approximately 3,000 B.C. The primary focus of The Bhagavata Purana is the fire of devotion of love of the incarnations of Vishnu, in particular the incarnation of Krishna. This great Sanskrit text is composed of twelve song-stories of almost twenty thousand verses. The Bhagavata Purana elucidates the play of Krishna in many different settings and situations. The song-stories are teaching stories about the practice of Bhakti Yoga in order to attain union with the divine.
The different Puranas, including the Bhagavata Purana, were written to teach people the immanent spiritual teaches of the esoteric Vedic principals and practices. The Puranas were, in essence, a way to make the Vedic teachings relevant and assimilable into the lives of many Indian people. The teachings found in the Puranas elucidate how to live a dharmic, happy and fulfilled life through stories, legends, chronicles of historical events and concrete examples of devotion to God.
Because the goal of the Puranas is to teach common people the tenets of ancient Vedic teachings, each Purana gives importance to a particular deity. The intense bhakti described in the Bhagavata Purana is directed towards Krishna as the divine in human form. The Bhagavata Purana includes detailed instructions on the practice of Bhakti Yoga, including information about various different types of Bhakti or devotional love. The tenth song of the Bhagavata Purana is solely dedicated to Krishna and includes some of the most detailed information about Krishna’s exploits and adventures as told through a collection of sacred stories and myths.
The Bhagavata Purana describes in lustrous detail the appearance and adventures of the ten main incarnations of Krishna. Krishna’s incarnations appear in order to reestablish dharmic religious principles, have fun, enjoy the beauty of life and destroy evil. The Bhagavate Purana is a wonderfully light-hearted compendium of teaching stories. It beautifully illustrates the beauty and fun of the play of the divine Kundalini Shakti. It also enumerates and explains many profound teachings of the ancient Vedic scriptures in a format that is easily understandable to most people.
In India, the caste system was very set. If you were born into the Brahman caste, you would receive the benefit of an education and would have access to many spiritual teachings, including the teachings in the Vedas. If you were born into a lower caste, you may not have the benefit of learning to read or write and may not even have been invited to listen to the oral teachings of the Vedas. The Puranas, such as the Bhagavata Purana, made the teachings of the Vedas accessible to all people in a fun, uplifting and enlivening way.
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