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srikrsno jayati /
Krsna reigns supreme!
1) krsnavarnam tvisakrsnam sangopangastraparsadam /
yajnair sankirtanaprayair yajanti hi sumedhasah //
"The wise worship Krsna Caitanya, whose complexion is golden and who is accompanied by his 'limbs', 'ornaments', 'weapons', and attendants, through sacrifices consisting chiefly of congregational chanting of names and glories of the Lord."(Bh. P.11/5/32)
2) antahkrsnam bahirgauram darsitangadivaibhavam
kalau sankirtanadyaih smah krsnacaitanyam asritah
"We take refuge in Krsna Caitanya in the kali Yuga by means of sankirtana etc.- in Him who is dark (Krsna) within and fair (Gaura) without, who revealed the opulence of His limbs and expansions etc. To people."
3) jayatam mathurabhumau srilarupasanatanau
yau vilekhayatas tattvam jnapakau pustikam imam
"May Rupa and Sanatana reign supreme in the land of Mathura, the two preceptors of the highest truth, at whose behest this book is being written."
4) ko'pi tadbandhavo bhatto daksinadvijavamsajah
vivicya vyalikhad grantham likhitad vrddhavaisnavaih
"A certain friend of theirs, a Bhatta born in the line of South Indian brahmanas, has written a book after studying the writings of the eminent Vaisnavas."
5) tasyadyam granthanalekham krantavyutkrantakhanditam
paryalocyatha paryayam krtva likhati jivakah
"Now, Jiva, having noticed that while some portions of this text were in proper order, others were not, and still others were missing completely, will now write it out in proper sequence."
6) yat srikrsnapadambhojabhajanaikabhilasavan
tenaiva drsyatam etad anyasmai sapatho 'rpitah
"May this book be studied by him alone whose chief desire is to worship the lotus feet of Krsna. All others are debarred."
7) atha natva mantragurum gurun bhagavatarthadan
sribhagavatasandarbham sandarbham vasmi lekhitum
"Now, having paid homage to the Mantra-guru, the preceptors who elucidated the meaning of the Bhagavata, I wish to write this treatise, the Bhagavatasandarbha."
8) yasya brahmeti samjnam kvacid api nigame yati cin-
matrasattapy amso yasyamsakaih svair vibhavati
vasayann eva mayam pumams ca /
ekam yasyaiva rupam vilasati paramavyomni nara-
yanakhyam sa srikrsno vidhattam svayam iha bhaga-
van prema tatpadabhajam //
"May Krsna Whose form as consciousness without any manifest qualities is designated Brahman in certain Sruti texts, a portion of whom manifests as His own partial incarnations and rules over Maya as the Purusa, and Who in one of His principal forms, goes by the name , Narayana, and sports in Paramavyoman may that Krsna, bhagavat Himself, bestow the boon of Preman on those in this world who worship His feet."
9) athaivam sucitanam srikrsnatadvacyavacakatalaksana-
remalaksanaprayojanakhyanam arthanam nirnayaya tavat
pramanam nirniyate / tatra purusasya bhramadidosacatusta-
yadustatvat sutaram alaukikacintyasvabhavavastusparsayog-
yatvac ca tatpratyaksadiny api sadosani /
"Now, in order to determine the meaning of those topics just alluded to, namely: the sambandha, or relationship between the topic under discussion, i.e. Krsna, and the medium through which it is expressed; the abhidheya, or means, which is the whorship of Krsna, taught in the form of scriptural injunction; and the prayojana , or goal, which is characterized by love of Krsna, the standard of valid knowledge will be duly decided.
Since even most learned people are subject to four kinds of defects, confusion, etc., and more importantly, since they are incapable of grasping the essentially supernatural and inconceivable reality, their means of acquiring knowledge by sense-perception etc. will prove unreliable in this realm."
10)tatas tani na pramananity anadisiddhasarvapurusaparam-
parasu sarvalaukikalaukikajnananidanatvad aprakrtavacana-
laksano veda evasmakam sarvatitasarvasrayasarvacintyascarya-
svabhavam vastu vividisatam pramanam /
"Therefore, realizing that these (pratyaksa etc.) cannot serve as proper means for proper knowledge, let us turn to the Vedas themselves as we seek to comprehend that reality which transcends all and yet is the substratum of all, whose nature is inconceivable and wondrous-to the Vedas, whose utterances have no earthly origin, being the source of all knowledge, both material and spiritual,and having been handed down in an unbroken line of succession from time immemorial."
11)tac canumatam tarkapratisthanat ityadau
acintyah khalu ye bhava na tams tarkena yojayet / ityadau sastrayonitvat ityadau srutes tu sabdamulatvat ityadau
pitrdevamanusyanam vedas caksus tavesvara /
sreyas tv anupalabdhe 'rthe sadhyasadhanayor api //
ityadau ca //
"This is confirmed by the following scriptural statements: Brahmasutra 2/1/11 ("If it be argued that since mere reason provides no solid ground on which to base our position, then we will find some other means of inference on which to base our position, we reply 'no, you will end up in the same difficulty'."); Mahabharata, Bhismaparvan 5/12 ("One should not apply reason to those realities which are inconceivable; for it is the essence of the inconceivable to be distinct from the things of nature."); Brahmasutra 1/1/3 ("Since the scriptures are the source [of the knowledge of brahman]."); Brahmasutra 2/1/27 ("This is verified by Sruti , since scriptures are the source [of the knowledge of brahman]."); and Bhagavata Purana 11/20/4 ("O Lord, this Veda of yours is the supreme 'eye', by virtue of which the devas, pitris, and mortal apprehend those things beyond the range of perception, regarding even the highest goal and the means of attainment.")." 12)tatra ca vedasabdasya samprati dusparatvad duradhigamarthatvac ca tadarthanirnayakanam muninam api parasparavirodhad vedaru po vedarthanirnayakas cetihasapuranatmakah sabda eva vicaraniyah / tatra ca yo va vedasabdo natmaviditah so pi taddrstyanumeya eveti samprati tasvaiva pramotpakatvam sthitam / tathahi mahabharate manaviye ca itihasapuranabhyam vedam samupabrmhayed iti puranat puranam iti canyatra / na cavedena vedasya brmhanam sambhavati na hy aparipurnasya kanakavalayasya trapuna puranam yujyate / nanu yadi vedasabdah puranam itihasam copadatte tarthi puranam anyad anvesaniyam / yadi tu na na tarhitihasapuranayor abhedo vedena / acyate visistaikarthapratipadakapadakadambasyapauruseyatvad abhede 'pi svarakramabhedad bhedanirdeso py upapadyate / rgadibhih saman anayor apauruseyatvenabhedo madhyandinasrutav eva vyajyata evam va are 'sya mahato bhutasya nihsvasitam etad yad rgvedo yajurvedah samavedo 'tharvangirasa itihasah puranam ityadina // "And here, since the Vedas are at present difficult to go through completely (due to unavailability of complete text and decrease in human memory) and hard to comprehend-for even the sages who sought to ascertain their meaning contradict one another-we will examine sabda in the form of Itihasa and Puranas alone, both of which partake of the nature of Vedas, and serve to ascertain the meaning of the Vedas. Furthermore, those portions of the Vedas which are not known on their own can only be inferred by examining Itihasa and Puranas. For these reasons, it is evident that in the present age, Itihasa and Puranas are alone capable of generating true knowledge. Thus we find in the Mahabharata and Manu Smriti, "One should supplement the Vedas with Itihasa and Puranas" (M.Bh.,Adiparvan 1/267); and elsewhere," 'Purana'is so called because it completes (purana)." For just as a chipped gold bracelet cannot be filled with lead, so also the Vedas cannot be supplemented by something non-vedic. But then, if we accept Itihasa and Purana as Vedas, won't we have to look for a seperate book called Purana. Otherwise, Itihasa and Puranas will be considered identical with the Vedas. To this we reply, even though this cluster of verses (Vedas, Puranas & Itihasas), all of which propound the same specific view, admits of no distinction, insofar as all the verses have emnated from Lord, still a distinction can be made in terms of word order and accent. The identity if Itihasa and Puranas with the Rgveda etc., with respect to their transcendental origin, is expressed in the Madhyandina Sruti itself: "...in the same way, my dear, what is know as the Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, Atharvaveda, Itihasa, Purana...has been breathed forth from that Supreme Lord" (Br.U. 2/4/10)". 13)ata eva skandaprabhasakhande pura tapas cacarogram amaranam pitamahah / avirbhutas tato vedah sasadangapadakramah // tatah puranam akhilam sarvasastramayam dhruvam / nityasabdamayam punyam satakotipravistaram / nirgatam brahmano vaktrat tasya bhedan nibodhata // brahmam puranam prathamam ityadi / atra satakotisankhya brahmaloke prasiddheti tathoktam / /trtiyaskandhe ca rgyajuhsamatharvakhyan vedan purvadibhir mukhaih / ityadiprakarane itihasapuranani pancamam vedam isvarah / sarvebhya eva vaktrebhyah sasrje sarvadarsanah // iti / api catra saksad eva vedasabdah prayuktah puranetihasayoh / anyatra ca puranam pancamo vedah / itihasah puranam ca pancamo veda ucyate / vedan adhyapayamasa mahabharatapancaman // ityadau anyatha vedan ityadav api pancamatvam navakalpyeta samana- jatiyanivesitatvat sankhyayah / bhavisyapurane karsnam ca pancamam vedam yan mahabharatam smrtam / iti / tatha ca samakauthumiyasakhayam chandogyopanisadi ca rfvedam bhagavo 'dhyemi yajurvedam samavedam atharvanam caturtham itihasam puranam pancamam vedanam vedam ityadi / ata eva asya mahato bhutasya ityadav itihasapuranayos caturnam evantarbhutatvakal- panaya prasiddhapratyakhyanam nirastam / tad uktam brahmam puranam prathamam ityadi // "Therefore, it is stated in the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana; "In ancient times, Brahma, the grandsire of the demigods, practiced severe austerities. As a result, the Vedas became manifest along with the six auxilliary branches and the pada and krama texts. Then the entire Purana, the embodiment of all the scriptures, unchanging, composed of the eternal sabda, sacred, and consisting of a hundred crores (of verses) issued forth from Brahma's mouth. Listen to the different divisions of that (Purana): the Brahma Purana is first..." (Sk.P. 2/3-5) The figure "a hundred crores" is mentioned here since that is known to be the number (of verses) which exist in Brahmaloka. And in the third skandha (of the Bhagavata): "He manifested the four Vedas, known as Rk, Yajus, Saman, and Atharvan, one after the other, from his four mouths, beginning with the one facing east." (Bh. P. 3/12/37) And in the same context:"Then, the all-seeing Lord manifested Itihasa and Puranas, the fifth Veda, from all of his mouths." (Bh. P.3/12/39) And here, the actual word "Veda" is used with reference to Itihasa and Puranas. Elsewhere we find:"The Purana is the fifth Veda;" "Itihasa and Puranas are said to be the fifth Veda;" (Bh. P.1/4/20) "He taught the vedas, with the Mahabharata as the fifth" (M.Bh., Moksadharma 340/11) etc. If it were not the case (that Itihasa and Puranas are Vedic in nature), then the characterization of then as the "fifth" in the preceding verses would be unwarranted, since only things of the same kind can be combined to form a single sum. It is stated in the Bhavisya Purana: "That which is known as the Mahabharata is Krsna Dvaipayana's (i.e. Vyasa's) fifth Veda" We also find in the Chandogya Upanisad of the Kauthumiya Sakha:"Sir, I have learned the Rgveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda, and the fourth, or Atharvaveda, as well as Itihasa and Purana, the fifth Veda among the Vedas" (Ch. U.7/1/2) Thus is refuted the well-known to be deleted belief that the terms, Itihasa and Purana, occurring in Br.U.2/4/10 refer merely to be deleted portions of the four Vedas themselves. Therefore it is stated," The Brahma Purana is first..." 14)pancamatve karanam ca vayupurane sutavakyam itihasapurananam vaktaram samyag eva hi / mam caiva pratijagraha bhagavan isvaran prabhuh // eka asid yajurvedas tam caturdha vyakalpayat / caturhotram abhut tasmims tena yajnam akalpayat // adhvaryavam yajurbhis tu rgbhir hotram tathaiva ca / audgatram samabhis caiva brahmatvam capy atharvabhih // akhyanais capy upakhyanair gathabhir dvijasattamah / puranasamhitas cakre puranarthavisaradah // yac chistam tu yajurveda iti sastrarthanirnayah / iti / brahmayajnadhyayane ca viniyogo drsyate 'misam yad brah- mananitihasapuranani iti / so 'pi navedatve sambhavati / ato yad aha bhagavan matsye kalenagrahanam matva puranasya dvijottamah // vyasarupam aham krtva samharanmi yuge yuge / iti / purvasiddham eva puranam sukhasamgrahanaya samkalaya- miti tatrarthah / tadanantaram hy uktam caturlaksapramanena dvapare dvapare sada // tad astadasadha krtva bhurloke 'smin prabhasyate / adyapy amartyaloke tu satakotipravistaram // tadartho 'tra caturlaksah samksepena nivesitah / iti / atra tu yac chistam tu yajurveda ityuktatvat tasyabhidheya- bhagas caturlaksas tv atra martyaloke samksepena sarasamgra- hena nivesitah na tu racanantarena // "Suta's statement from the Vayu Purana explains why Itihasa and Puranas are considered the fifth Veda: "The almighty Lord, Bhagavan (Vyasa) appointed me to be the authoritative expounder of Itihasa and Puranas. (At first) the Yajurveda alone existed; he arranged that into four parts. The four hotrs (priests) arose within; thereby did he create yajna (sacrifice). Along with the Yajurveda came the office of the Adhvaryu priest; with the Rgveda, that of the Hotr priest; with the Samaveda, that of the Udgatr priest; and with the Atharvaveda, that of the Braman priest." (Va. P. 60/16-18) "(Then) O Best of the Twice-born, (Vyasa), skilled in the meaning of Puranas, assembled the Puranas ( and Itihasa ) by (gathering together) akhyanas, upakhyanas, and gathas. This remaining portion also falls within that (original) Yajurveda: this is the conclusion of the sacred scriptures." (Va.P. 60/21-22). Moreover, in the formal study of the scriptures, known as brahmayajna, the use os Itihasa and Puranas is indicated by the words "the Brahmanas, Itihasa and Purana". This would also not be possible were Itihasa and Puranas not Vedic in nature. Therefore Supreme Lord declares in the Matsya Purana: "O Best of the Twice-born, realizing that, in course of time, men become unable to comprehend the (original) Purana, I assume the form of Vyasa, in every age, and summarize that Purana." (Ma. P.53/8-9) That is,"For easy comprehension (of peaple), I take the already existent Purana and arrange it in a concise form." Following this it is stated: "In every Dvapara Yuga, the Purana, consisting of four laks (of verses), is divided into eighteen parts and manifested in the world of mortals. Even today, the (verses) namber a hundred croses in the world of the devas. The four laks found here represent a condensed version of that (original Purana)." (Ma. P.53/9-11) And the fact that Suta said "This remaining portion also falls within that original Yajuveda" shows that the four laks af verses which represent the most significant portion of that (original Purana), having found their way into the world of mortals as a concise summary of the essential parts of that Purana, do not represent a separate composition. 15)tathaiva darsitam vedasahabhavena sivapuranasya vayaviyasamhitayam
samksipya caturo vedams caturdha vyabhajat prabhuh /
vyastavedataya khyato vedavyasa iti smrtah //
puranam api samksiptam caturlaksapramanatah /
adyapy amartyaloke tu satakotipravistaram // samksiptam iti atra teneti sesah / skandam agneyam ityadisamakhyas tu pravacananibandhanah kathakadivat anupurvinirmananibandhana va / tasmat kvacid anityatvasravanam tv avirbhavatirobhavapeksaya / tad evam itihasapuranayor vedatvam siddham / tathapi sutadinam adhikarah sakalanigamavallisatphalasrikrsnanamavat / yathoktam prabhasakhande
madhuramadhuram etan mangalam mangalanam
sakalanigamavallisatphalam citsvarupam /
sakrd api parigitam sraddhaya helaya va
bhrguvara naramatram tarayet krsnanama // iti /
yatha coktam visnudharme
rgvedo 'tha yajurvedah samavedo 'py atharvanah /
adhitas tena yenoktam harir ity aksaradvayam // iti / atha vedarthanirnayakatvam ca vaisnave
bharatavyapadesena hy amnayarthah pradarsitah / vedah pratisthitah sarve purane natra samsayah // ityadau / kinca vedarthadipakanam sastranam madhyapatitabhyupagame 'py avirbhavakavaisistyat tayor eva vaisistyam / yatha padme
dvaipayanena yad buddham brahmadyais tan na budhyate /
sarvabuddham sa vai veda tad buddham nanyagocaram //
The same idea is demonstrated in the Vayaviya Samhita of the Siva Purana by discussing the Puranas alongside of the Vedas: "The Lord (Vyasa) summarized the four Vedas and divided them into their four sections. Since he divided the Vedas (vyastaveda), he is remembered by posterity as 'Vedavyasa'. The Purana was also condensed into four laks (of verses). Even today,(the verses) number a hundred crores in the world of the devas." (Si.P. 1/33- 34) Here, the word "condensed" means "condensed by him (i.e. by Vyasa)". And the names "Skanda","Agneya",etc. (by which the various Puranas are known) refer either to those who first declared them, as is the case with the Kathaka etc, or to those who arreanged them. Therefore, if one sometimes hears (the Puranas) spoken of as non-eternal, it is merely with reference to the fact that they are sometimes manifest and sometimes unmanifest. Thus, the Vedic nature of Itihasa and Puranas is proved.
Nevertheless, sutas and others are allowed access to the Puranas as they have the right to chant the name of Krsna, which represents, the choicest fruits of the creeper of all the Vedas". As declared in the Prabhasa Khanda ( of the Skanda Purana):"O Best of the Bhrgus, the name of Krsna is the sweetest of the sweet, the most auspicious of the auspicious, the choicest fruit of the creeper of all the Vedas, of the nature of pure consciousness. If sung but once, whether with devotion or with contempt, the name of Krsna will transport a mere mortal to the other shore." As stated in the Visnu Dharma:"He who utter the two- syllabled 'Hari' reaps the fruits of the study of the Rgveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, and Atharvaveda." And the ability (of Itihasa and Puranas) to determine the meaning of the Vedas is mentioned in the Visnu Purana: "On the pretext of describing the events of the Mahabharata, he has illustreted the meaning of the Vedas. The Vedas all find a firm resting place in the Puranas- about this there is no doubt."
Moreover, even if (Itihasa and Puranas) are considered to belong to the class of sastras which illumine the meaning of the Vedas, still, they excel all others due to the eminence of their expounder (Vyasa). As stated in the Padma Purana, "Vyasa knows what even Brahma and the others know not. He knows all that is known, while what is known to him is beyond the reach of others"
16)skande vyasacittasthitakasad avacchinnani kanicit /
anye vyavaharanty etany urikrtya grhad iva // iti / tathaiva drstam srivisnupurane parasaravakyam
tato 'tra matsuto vyasah astavimsatime 'ntare /
vedam ekam catuspadam caturdha vyabhajat prabhuh //
yathatra tena vai vyasta vedavyasena dhimata /
vedas tatha samastais tair vyasair anyais tatha maya //
tad anenaiva vyasanam sakhabhedan dvijottama /
caturyugesu racitan samastesv avadharaya //
krsnadvaipayanam vyasam viddhi narayanam prabhum / ko 'nyo hi bhuvi maitreya mahabharatakrd bhavet // iti / skanda eva
narayanad vinispannam jnanam krtayuge sthitam /
kincit tad anyatha jatam tretayam dvapare 'khilam //
gautamasya rseh sapaj jnane tv ajnanatam gate /
sankirnabuddhayo deva brahmarudrapurahsarah //
saranyam saranam jagmur narayanam anamayam /
tair vijnapitakaryas tu bhagavan purusottamah //
avatirno mahayogi satyavatyam parasarat /
utsannan bhagavan vedan ujjahara harih svayam // iti / vedasabdenatra puranadidvayam api grhyate / tad evam itihasapuranavicara eva sreyan iti siddham / tatrapi puranasyaiva garima drsyate / uktam hi naradiye
vedarthad adhikam manye puranartham varanane /
vedah pratisthitah sarve purane natra samsayah //
puranam anyatha krtva tiryagyonim avapnuyat /
sudanto 'pi susanto 'pi na gatim kvacid apnuyat // iti /
16)As stated in the Skanda Purana: " Others have borrowed bits and pieces from the ethereal realm of Vyasa's mind for their own use, just as one would remove objects from a house and use them.
The same idea is found in the Visnu Purana, in the words of Vyasa's father, Parasara: "Then, in this twenty-eighth Manvantara, my son, the Lord Vyasa, took the one Veda, consisting of four parts, and divided it into four. All the other 'Vyasas', and myself as well; also arrange the Vedas just as the wise Vedavyasa had arranged them. Therefore, know for certain that the different branches of the 'Vyasas'in the four yugas were created for this reason alone. O Maitreya, know that Krsnadvapayana (Vyasa) is the Lord Narayana Himself; for who on earth but He could have composed the Mabharata?" (Vi. P. 3/4/2-5)
And in the Skanda Purana: "In the Krta Yuga, the knowledge which had issued forth from Narayana remained intact. It became somewhat distorted in the Treta Yuga, and completely so in the Dvapara Yuga. When, due to the curse of the sage Gautama, know- ledge turned into ignorance, the bewildered demigods led by Brahma and Rudra, sought shelter with the benignant, refuge- giving Narayana, and informed Bhagavan Purusottama of their purpose in coming. And the great Yogin, the Lord Hari Himself, descended, taking birth as the son of Satyavati and Parasara, and rescued the fallen Vedas." The word "Vedas" in the preceding verse indicates both Itihasa and Puranas as well. It is thus established that the study of Itihasa and Puranas alone leads to the highest good. And of these, it is the importance of Puranas alone which is seen; for it is stated in the Narada Purana: "O Fair One (Parvati), I consider the significance of the Puranas to outweigh that even of the Vedas. The Vedas all find a firm resting place in the Puranas-about this there is no doubt. He who looks down on the Puranas will take birth in the womb of an animal, and even if well-behaved and peaceful, will find no refuge anywhere."
17) skandaprabhasakhande vedavan niscalam manye puranartham dvijottamah / vedah pratisthitah sarve purane natra samsayah // bibhety alpasrutad vedo mam ayam calayisyati / itihasapuranais tu niscalo 'yam krtah pura // yan na drstam hi vedasu tad drstam smrtisu dvijah / ubhayor yan na drstam hi tat puranaih pragiyate // yo veda caturo vedan sangopanisado dvijah / puranam naiva janati na ca sa syad vicaksanah // atha purananam evam pramanye sthite 'pi tesam api samastyenapracaradrupatvan nanadevatapratipadakaprayatvad arvacinaih ksudrabuddhibhir artho duradhigama iti tadavastha eva samsayah/ yad uktam matsye pancangam ca puranam syad akhyanam itarat smrtam / sattvikesu ca kalpesu mahatmyam adhikam hareh // rajasesu ca mahatmyam adhikam brahmano viduh / tadvad agnes ca mahatmyam tamasesu sivasya ca / sankirnesu sarasvatyah pitrnam ca nigadyate // iti / atragnes tattadagnau pratipadyasya tattadyajnasyetyarthah / sivasya ceti cakarac chivayas ca / sankirnesu sattvarajastamomayesu kalpesu bahusu / sarasvatyah nanavanyatmakatadupalaksitaya nanadevataya ityarthah / pitrnam karmana pitrlokah iti srutes tatprapakakarmanam ityarthah //
17) As stated in the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana: "O Best of the Twice-born, I consider the significance of the Puranas to be unchanging, like that of the Vedas. The Vedas all find a firm resting place in the Puranas-about this there is no doubt. The Veda is afraid of those of little knowledge, thinking 'They will twist my meaning'; and so the meaning of the Veda was fixed in ancient times by means of Itihasa and Puranas. For what is not found in the Vedas, O Twice-born, is found in Smrti; and what is not found in either, is related in the Puranas. He who know the four Vedas, together with the Vedangas and Upanisads, without knowing the Puranas, is not to be thought of as wise." (Sk.P.2/90-93) But now, even though the authoritative nature of Puranas has been thus established, the same doubt still remains i-e. Since the Puranas are also not avaible in their entirety, and since they are chiefly concerned with establishing the superiority of various deities, their meaning is also difficult to comprehend for modern man of meagre intelligence. As stated in the Matsya Purana:"A Purana should consist of five parts, as apposed to an Akhyana. The glory of Hari is greater in sattvika scripture; the glory of Brahma is greater in rajasika scriptures; and that of Agni and Siva greater in tamasika scriptures. In mixed scriptures the glory of Sarasvati and the pitrs is said to be greater." (Ma.P. 190/13-14) The name "Agni" in the preceding verse refers to the various yajnas which are offered in the different fires. The conjunction ca in the phrase sivasya ca indicates that Siva's consort, Parvati is also meant. The term "mixed kalpas" refers to the many scriptures composed of sattva, rajas, and tamas. "Sarasvati" refers to various deities indicated by Sarasvati, who is the embodiment of various words. And the pitrs refers to the sacrificial acts which lead to the attainment of the world of the forefathersm, as declared in Sruti :"Through karman one attains Pitrloka." (Br.U.1/5/16) 18) tad evam sati tattatkalpakathamayatvenaiva matsya eva prasiddhanam tattatpurananam vyavastha jnapita taratamyam tu katham syat yenetaranirnayah kriyeta / sattvaditaratamyenaiveti cet sattvat samjayate jnanam iti sattvam yad brahmadarsanam iti nyayat sattvikam eva puranadikam paramarthajnanaya prabalam ity ayatam/ tathapi paramarthe 'pi nanabhangya vipratipadyamananam samadhanaya kim syat / yadi sarvasyapi vedasya puranasya carthanirnayaya tenaiva sribhagavata vyasena brahmasutram krtam tadavalokanenaiva sarvo 'rtho nirneya ity ucyate tarhi nanyasutrakaramunyanugatair manyeta / kincatyantagudharthanam alpaksaranam tatsutranam anyarthatvam kascid acaksita tatah katarad ivatra samadhanam / tad eva samadheyam yady ekatamam eva puranalaksanam apauruseyam sastram sarvavedetihasapurananam arthasaram brahmasutropajivyam ca bhavad bhuvi sampurnam pracaradrupam syat/ satyam uktam yata eva ca sarvapramananam cakravartibhutam asmadabhimatam srimadbhabavatam evodbhavitam bhavata //
18) This being the case, the categories into which the various well-known Puranas fall are described in the Matsya Purana itself, based solely on stories concerning the different kalpas; but what means can be adopted by which the relative importance of these Puranas can be determined? If we base our decision on the relative importance of the three gunas, sattva,rajas and tamas, then, on the strength of such statements as "From sattva comes knowledge" (Bh. G. 14/17) and "Sattva is the basis for the realization of brahman", we will have to conclude that only sattvika Puranas etc. are capable of leading us to the highest truth.
But then (it might be asked), how can you reconcile the diver- gent views which are propounded by means of various specious arguments with regard even to the highest truth? If you propose that the entire significance can be determined merely by studyin the Brahmasutra, composed by the Lord Vyasa himself in order to fix the meaning of all the Vedas and Puranas, the followers of the other sages who wrote sutra texts will not accept your proposal. Furthermore, someone might interpret the significance of these cryptic and terse sutras in a distorted manner; how then can one know which one represents the correct interpretation? This issue could be settled once and for all if only you could point to one among the many scriptures, which exhibits the characteristics of a Purana, is divinely composed, represents the essence of all the Vedas, Itihasa, and Puranas, is based on the Brahmasutra, and is available throughout the land in its complete form.
Well said! (we reply), for you have just described the very Bhagavata Purana which we consider to be the sovereign ruler of all pramanas.
19) yat khalu sarvapuranajatam avirbhavya brahmasutram ca praniyapy aparitustena tena bhagavata nijasutranam akrtrimabhasyabhutam samadhilabdham avirbhavitam yasminn eva sarvasastrasamanvayo drsyate sarvavedarthasutralaksanam gayatrim adhikrtya pravartitatvat / tatha hi tatsvarupam matsye
yatradhikrtya gayatrim varnyate dharmavistarah /
vrtrasuravadhopetam tad bhagavatam isyate //
likhitva tac ca yo dadyad dhemasimhasamanvitam /
prausthapadyam paurnamasyam sa yati paramam gatim /
astadasasahasrani puranam tat prakirtitam // iti / atra gayatrisabdena tatsucakaradavyabhicaridhimahipadasambalitatadartha evesyate / sarvesam mantranam adirupayas tasyah saksatkathananarhatvat / tadarthata ca janmadyasya yatah tene brahma hrda iti sarvalokasrayatvabuddivrttiprera- katvadisamyat / dharmavistara ity atra dharmasabdah paramadharmaparah dharmah projjhitakaitavo 'tra paramah ity atraiva pratipaditatvat / sa ca bhagavaddhyanadilaksana eveti purastad vyaktibhavisyati //
19) Even after manifesting the complete body of Puranas, and composing the Brahmasutra, Bhagavan Vyasa was still not content, and so gave form to that which serves as a natural commentary on his own Brahmasutra, which was revealed to him in samadhi (see pp.63,64), and which alone illustrates the common significance of all the scriptures, as seen in the fact that it begins by referring to the Gayatri, characterized as a concise statement of the significance of all the Vedas. For its true nature has thus been described in the Matsya Purana: "That is to known as the Bhagavata, which, basing itself on the Gayatri, describes dharma in all its fullness, and which narrates the slaying of the asura Vrtra. Whosoever will make a copy of this Bhagavata and offer it away, mounted on a throne of gold on the full moon day of Bhadra month, will attain the supreme goal. This Purana is said to contain eighteen thousand (verses)." (Ma.P.53/20,22)
The word gayatri in the preceding verse refers to the word 'dhimahi', which is always found in gayatri and thus seves as an indicator of gayatri, and the complete meaning of gayatri;for an outright quotation of this mantra, which is the prototype of all mantras, would not have been proper. The fact that the Bhagavata has the same significance as that of the Gayatri is seen in the phrases janmadyasya yatah ("from whom comes the origin etc. of the universe") and tene brahma hrda ("who revealed the Veda [to the creator Brahma] through his heart') (Bh.P.1/1/1), which form identical explanations regarting the substratum of the entire universe and the ability to inspire the workings of the intellect, with those of the Gayatri. The word dharma in the phrase dharmavistarah signifies the "supreme dharma", for it is declared in the Bhagavata itself:"The supreme dharma, devoid of all ulterior motives, is found in this Bhagavata." (Bh.P.1/1/2/) And it will be made clear in a subsequent section that dharma is characterized only by such practices as contemplation etc. of Personality of Godhead.
20) evam skande prabhasakhande ca
yatradhikrtya gayatrim ityadi /
sarasvatasya kalpasya madhye ye syur naramarah /
tadvrttantodbhavam loke tac ca bhgavatam smrtam //
likhitva tac ca ityadi ca /
astadasasahasrani puranam tat prakirtitam // iti / tad evam agnipurane ca vacanani vartante / tikakrdbhih pra-
manikrte puranantare ca
grantho 'stadasasahasro dvadasaskandhasammitah /
hayagrivabrahmavidya yatra vrtravadhas tatha //
gayatrya ca samarambhas tad vai bhagavatam viduh //
atra hayagrivabrahmavidya iti vrtravadhasahacaryena narayanavarmaivocyate / hayagrivasabdenatrasvasira dadhicir evocyate / tenaiva ca pravartita narayanavarmakhya brahamavidya / tasyasvasirastvam ca sasthe yad va asvasiro nama ity atra prasiddham narayanavarmano brahmavidyatvam ca
etac chrutva tathovaca dadhyann atharvanas tayoh /
pravargyam brahmavidyam ca satkrto 'satyasankitah // iti svamitikotthapitavacanena ceti / srimadbhagavatasya bhagavatpriyatvena bhagavatabhistatvena ca paramasattvikatvam / yatha padme ambarisam prati gautamaprasnah
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