[Advaita-l] Re: bhAgavata purANa (

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Mon Aug 21 12:20:10 CDT 2006

On Mon, 21 Aug 2006, Antharyami wrote:

> PraNAms ! I differ on your statement, for placing BAgavatha mahA purAna late
> to the age of kali yuga. It is mentioned that after vyAsa composed
> mahAbAratha, he was not fully satisfied about the manner in which it dealt
> with bagavath swarUpA's and was thus worried. Then came nArada who advised
> vyAsa to compose the purAna that which would speak about the greatness of
> lord and his divya lIla. vyAsa recorded the suka – prakshit samvAdham
> thereafter. As prof. shri krishamurti ji rightly pointed out & also with
> above information, it is quite evident and tenable to proclaim that Shrimad
> BAgavatham belongs to the period of mahAbArata and not kali Yuga.

Yes I slightly misstated the case there.  The Mahabharata and Puranas were 
composed at the beginning of the dvapara yuga when Maharshi Vyas foresaw 
the evil of the coming Kaliyuga.

If you count from the first recitation which was at the sarpa yajna of 
King Parikshit then it is quite clearly in the Kaliyuga which began after 
Krshna Bhagavan left His mortal body.  The other Puranas are also said to 
have been first recited in the 1000 year sattra in Naimisharanya.

Apart from the the already mentioned 1.4.3 Shukadevaji says in 2.1.8:

idaM bhAgavataM nAma purANaM brahmasaMmitam |
adhItaVAndvAparadau piturdvaipAyanAdaham || 8 ||

This purana called Bhagavata was first revealed by Brahma.  At the 
beginning of the Dvaparayuga, I learned it from my father Dvaipayana [i.e. 

There are many other references in the 1st skandha especially to Vyasaji
being the author of the Bhagavata and teaching it to Shukaji. 1.1.3 is yet 

>  Moreover, there is no particular reference to Srimad BAgavatha
> in Adi SankarA's Visnu sahasranAma bAshyA.

Unfortunately my source (the introduction to a Gujarati translation of 
Bhagavata purana) doesn't state the exact verse but only gives the quote:

sa AshrayaH paraM brahma paramAtmA parAtpara iti bhAgavate |

If anyone knows where in the VishnusahasranamabhAshya this quote is to be 
found (if it is to be found at all) please let us know.

  Neither, rAmAnuja quotes any such
> reference to this purANa. This is simply because the purANa is reputed
> (intentionally) only to explain the saguna attributes to the lord and not
> meant for Brahma tatva or Atma tatva vicAra and not since it is against
> advaita principles.

Advaita commentators such as Shridhar Swami take para and avara in 1.1.7 
to refer to saguna and nirguna aspects of Bhagavan.

> So long it deals with krishNa lIla, advaita regards it
> as the qualities of saguNa brahmam.

Which should not stop us from accepting it as an authoritative shastra. 
My surname Vyas comes from my ancestors' association with Bhagavata katha 
and we are 100% Smartas.

  It was interesting to know about the

> advaitin commentary on bAgavatha mahA purANa – which would greatly serve the
> students of contemporary advaita.s
>           There is yet another misconception; to ascribe vyAsa authoring
> all the 18 purANa's which is completely absurd. vyAsa composed only
> MahAbArata and shrimad BAgavatha. It is He who compiled and categorized the
> 18 purANa's  vide., satva, rajas and tamas.

Well the tradition calls him the author.  Undoubtedly he incorporated 
older material though.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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