Friday, August 19, 2011

Bhagavatham in Prashanti Nilayam

Srimad Bhagavatham is one of the most sacred and important of the Puranas presen...t. It is considered as the Mahapurana amongst the 18 Puranaas.

The very word Bhagavatham means Song about the Lord, who is filled with Bhaga or aishwaryaas or auspicious qualities (astha aishwaryaas). Bhagavatham is not a mere epic that speaks just about the Lord and His leelas or plays, but it is an epic in which one can find the ultimate reality embedded in the form of stories. Each of the chapter in Bhagavatham, each story in the Bhagavatham has some deep import to be told with respect to the ultimate reality of Brahman or Consciousness or Self – one without a second. This makes Bhagavatham a very important work for ardent seekers of the reality.

Srimad Bhagavatham has a total of 18000 slokas split across 12 Skandaas. Each skanda is further split into various chapters. These chapters have slokas which explain the ultimate reality through various stories, descriptions of the Lord, His sportive plays among other things.

Srimad Bhagavatham is in the form of a dialogue between Suta and Saunaka Sages. Suta was the disciple of Vyaasa to whom Vyaasa taught the Puranaas and Vedas along with his own son Suka. Suta tells that Bhagavatham was taught by Suka to King Parikshit in 7 days learning which Parikshit attained the immortal state of Self or Consciousness here in this world itself (before being bit by the snake Takshakan).

The Bhagavatha Saptaaham is famous and performed in various places (as Suka explained it to Parikshit in 7 days). These seven days the slokas of Bhagavatham is chanted followed by stories and commentaries.

Bhagavatham itself says about its purpose in the 12th Skanda:

Sarva Vedaantha saaram yad brahma aatmaikya lakshanam
Vasthu Adviteeyam tannishtam kaivalyam ekam prayojanam

In Prasanthi, it is His Story that is retold in His immediate presence…When Bhagavatha Saptaaha happens in Prasanthi, the audience is not alone the devotees, but includes the silent listener of all conversations, The One, who has embodied yet again in human form, Bhagawan Himself! …And here the stories are narrated in a customized style, without going by the slokas as given in Srimad Bhagavatham, instead going by selected stories from the epic with a mix of the story and mission of the life of the present Avatar.
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