George Washington Tryon.

A study of the Bhagavata Purana; or, Esoteric Hinduism online

. (page 1 of 37)
Online LibraryGeorge Washington TryonA study of the Bhagavata Purana; or, Esoteric Hinduism → online text (page 1 of 37)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


-A. STTJIDY



OF THE



BHAGAVATA PURANA



OR



ESOTERIC HINDUISM



BY



PURNENDU NARAYANA SINHA, M. A., B. L.




BENARES :

PRINTED BY FREEMAN & Co., LTD., AT THE TARA PRINTING WORKS.

1901.



stack
-,nnex



THE BHAGAVATA OF BHAGAVATAS

THESE PAGES ARE RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED

BY

HER MOST DEVOTED BROTHER.



2GG5S87



" Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth : for thy love
is better than wine.

Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as
ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee

Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest,
where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon ; for why should I be as
one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions ?

If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way
forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the
shepherds' tents."

THE SONG OF SOLOMON.



u



PREFACE.

The Bhagavata is the most popular of all Puranas and it is
held in the highest esteem by Vaishnavas in all parts of India. It
was the most authoritative book with such religious teachers as
Shri Chaitanya. Several commentaries have been written on this
great work. It is however strange that there has been so much
discussion about the authoritative character of the work. The readers
are all familiar with that discussion and I need not refer to it further
than to say that the discussion does not in any way affect the intrinsic
merit of the book, and the verdict of the public is so certain in this
respect that the book will continue to be the most popular of all
Puranas, despite any thing that may be said as to its authorship
or the period of its appearance.

The Padma Purana devotes a chapter to the worship of this
Purana and calls it the most exalted of all the Puranas and the
book is actually worshipped in many Hindu houses. The Purana is
recited all over India by learned Pandits and Sadhus and its subject
matter is familiar to every Hindu.

PROFESSOR WILSON SAYS : " Bhagavata Is a work of great
celebrity in India and exercises a more direct and powerful influence
upon the opinions and feelings of the people than perhaps any
other of the Puranas. It is placed fifth in all the lists but the Padma
Purana ranks it as the eighteenth, as the extracted substance of all
the rest. According to the usual specification it consists of eighteen
thousand slokas, distributed amongst three hundred and thirty-two
chapters divided into twelve Skandhas or books. It is named Bhaga-
vata from its being dedicated to the glorification of Bhagavat or
Vishnu."

Referring to the Tenth Skandha, Professor Wilson says " The
tenth book is the characteristic part of the Purana, and the portion

upon which its popularity is founded It has been translated

into, perhaps, all the languages in India, and is a favourite work with
all descriptions of people."

Much as the book commands the respect of the Hindus,
it has brought upon itself the ridicule and sarcasm of those that
attack Hinduism. It is the Tenth Skandha which has given the
greatest handle to all adverse criticism and it is the one Skandha in the
whole book which is so little understood by foreigners, unacquainted



II PREFACE

with the genius of the Hindu religion, particularly with its love
aspect which is the peculium of all real devotees in every great
religion. But the modern professors of great religions, being lost in
their material surroundings, have entirely lost sight of that aspect.
The songs of Solomon will stand out in all ages as an expression of
enthusiastic and rapturous love of the human soul for the Divine
Lord, whether the Christians of the modern day understand them or not.
The Divvans and Sufis bore the highest love to their divine Lover,
whether or not the Mahammedans of the present day follow the out-
pourings of their heart.

Love in religion is a Science. It is the natural outcome
of the human soul, when it is freed from impurities and cured of
distractions.

All religions speak of the purity of the mind, and they speak also
of devotion to God or Isvara. But no religion other than Hinduism
treats of the gradual development of the mind as a Science, treats
of its purification and then of its natural attraction for Isvara and the
final assimilation of human life to Isvaric life as the law of the
Universe. And no book in Hinduism deals with the subject so
systematically specially with reference to the history of the Universe,
as the Bhagavata Purana does. I have tried to understand the book
myself as an earnest student, with the light afforded by the
book itself. I have been greatly helped in the understanding of
of the book by the commentary of Sridhara Svami which is by
common consent the most authoritative of all the commentaries on
the Bhagavata Purana. Once a Pandita prided himself before Sri
Chaitanya on his having put an interpretation upon a certain sloka of
the Purana different from that of Sridhara Svami. Now " Svami "
is the designation of a learned Sanyasi, such as Sridhara Svami
was and it also means a husband. Sri Chaitanya remarked "one that
does not follow the Svami is unchaste." Such was the high opinion
which the great Teacher held regarding Sridhara's commentary.

I have purposely avoided making any reference to the com-
mentaries made by the followers of Sri Chaitanya as I intend to study
them separately along with the teachings of his school.

The method of treatment followed in this study will speak for
tself. I have separated the text from my own observations except
in the introductory chapter and in the reference to Sukadeva in the
chapter on Virat Purusha, and one can follow the text itself, without
accepting any of my own views. I believe I have faithfully repro-
duced the text in its essential features, I have omitted unimpor-



PREFACE Hi

tant details, poetical descriptions, prayers and adorations some of
them most beautiful and sublime and I have also omitted the intro-
duction by Suta and his concluding words. Suta related the Purana
to Rishi Sounaka and others r,s he heard it from Sukadeva,

The proofs have passed through different hands and the trans-
literation of Sanskrit words has been differently made. For instance
ST has been rendered as s, s, s and sh. Though I would prefer s,
the dash has been generally omitted, for the convenience of the
printer. There have been also several mistakes in names.

My best thanks are due to the several gentlemen, who have gone
through the proofs and specially to my friend Mr. Bertram Keightley
M, A., who has gone through nearly the whole of the manuscripts.



INDEX,

PAGE,

Discourse between Vyasa and Narada ... ... i

SKANDHA I.

Account of Narada ... ... ... ... 3

SKANDHA II.

Virat Purusha ... ... ... ... 6

Purusha in all Hearts ... ... ... ... 8

Death of the Yogi and After ... ... ... 9

What men should do ... ... ... ... 12

BHAGAVATA PURANA AS RELATED BY BRAHMA TO NARADA.

I. The Creation ... ... ... ... 12

II. Preservation by Lila Avataras ... ... ... 14

The Parts of a Purana. ... ... ... ... 19

SKANDHA III.
BHAGAVATA AS RELATED BY MAITREYA TO VIDURA.

I. The Creation ... ... ... ... 2 o

II. Vasudeva and Sankarshana ... ... ... 23

III. Creation by Brahma ... ... ... 24

IV. Divisions of Kala... ... ... ... 29

V. Creation by Brahma (continued) ... ... 33

The First Manvantata.

VI. Varaha ... ... ... ... 36

VII. Hirnyaksha ... ... ... ... 37

VIII. Deva and Deva-Yoni creation ... ... ... 40

IX. Kardama and his progeny ... ... ... 41

X. Kapila's Instructions to Devahuti ... ... 42

SKANDHA IV'

Genealogy of Manu and the Rishis ... ... ... 47

General Remarks on the Genealogical Tables ... ... 62

Detailed consideration of the Tables ... ... ... 67



Quarrel between Siva and Daksha ... 75

Story of Dhruva ... 83

Story of Prithu ... ... 85

Story of Prachina Barhish or Barhishad ... ... 88

Allegory of Puranjana ... ... ... 89

The Prachetasa Brothers ... ... ... 91

SKANDHA V.

Priyavrata ... ... ... ... 102

Agnidhra ... ... ... ... ... 103

Rishabha ... ... ... ... ... 103

Bharata ... ... ... ... ... 104

The Earth Chain ... ... ... ...ill

Ganga ... ... ... ... ... 116

Varshas ... ... ... ... ... 117

Dvipas ... ... ... ... ... 1 20

Svar and Bhuvar ... ... ... ... 127

The Sun ... ... ... ... ... 127

The Planets and Stars ... ... ... ... 130

The Patalas ... ... ... ... ... 132

Ananta ... ... ... ... ... 134

Narakas ... ... ... ... ... 134

SKANDHA VI.

Ajamila ... ... ... ... ... 135

Progeny of Daksha ... ... ... ... 137

Visvarupa ... ... ... .,. ... 142

Vritra ... ... ... ... ... 143

Chitraketu ... ... ... ... ... 145

Daityas ... ... ... ... ... i^j

Maruts ... ... ... ... ... I4 g

SKANDHA VII.

Suras and Asuras ... ... ... ... 149

Hiranya Kasipu ... ... ... ... 157

Hiranya Kasipu and Prahlad ... ... ... 157

Prayer of Prahlad ... ... ... 162

Varna and Ashrama ... ... ... ... 164

Yajna ... ... ... ... ... Z 6



[ 3 1
SKANDHA VIII.

The Second Manvantara ... ... ... ... 1 66

The Third Manvantara ... ... ... ... 1 66

The Fourth Manvantara ... ... 167

The Elephant and the Crocodile ... ... 167

The Fifth Manvantara ... ... ... 1 68

The Sixth Manvantara ... ... ... 1 68

The Churning of the Ocean ... ... ... 169

The Seventh Manvantara ... ... ... ... 1 76

The Eighth Manvantara ... ... ... ... 176

The Ninth Manvantara ... ... ... ... 177

The Tenth Manvantara ... ... ... ... 177

The Eleventh Manvan tara ... ...177

The Twelfth Manvantara ... ... ... ...178

The Thirteen th Manvantara ... ... ... 1 7 8

The Fourteenth Manvantara ... ... ... 178

The System of Administration in a Manvantara ... ... 178

Bali ... ... ... ... ... 1 80

Matsya ... ... ... ... 184

SKANDHA IX,
THE VAIVASVATA MANVANTARA.

Sudyumna ... ... ... .., ... 185

Ikshvaku Brothers ... ... ... ... 185

Prishadhra ... ... ... ... ... 185

Kavi ... ... ... -. ... 186

Karashu ... ... ... ... ... 186

Dhrishta ... ... ... ... ... 186

Nriga ... ... ... ... ... 186

Saryati ... ... ... ... ... 188

Nabhaga ... ... ... ... ... 1 88

The Progeny of Ikshvaku ... "... ... 192

The Lunar Dynasty ... ... ... ... 202

Thoughts on the Vaivasvata Manvantara ... ... 227

SKANDHA X.

VRINDAVANA LILA.

Birth of Sri-Krishna ... ... ... ... 245



[ 4 ]

Counsel with the Daityas ... ... ... ... 251

Nanda and Vasudeva ... ... ... ... 252

Putana ... ... 253

The Cart ... ... ... ... ... 254

Trinavarta ... ... ... ... 255

"Krishna" and "Rama" ... ... ... ... 255

Pranks of the Infant ... ... ... ... 256

The Tying ... ... ... ... 257

The Arjuna Trees ... ... ... 257

The Fruit Seller ... ... ... ... 258

Vrindavana ... ... ... 258

Vatsa ... ... ... ... ... 259

Baka ... ... ... ... ... 259

Agha ... ... ... ... ... 260

Brahma and Krishna ... ... ... ... 260

Dhenuka ... ... ... ... ... 263

Kaliya Serpent ... ... ... ... 263

Pralamba ... ... ... ... ... 265

Forest Conflagration ... ... ... ... 265

Rainy Season ... ... ... ... 265

Autumn ... ... ... ... ... 266

Sri Krishna and the Gopis ... ... ... 266

The Stealing of Clothes ... ... ... 268

Krishna and Vedic Yajna ... ... ... 268

Raising of Govardhana and the Installation ... ... 270

Krishna and Varuna ... ... ... ... 272

Rasa ... ... ... ... ... 272

Sudarsana ... ... ... ... ... 279

Sankha Chuda ... ... ... ... 280

Separation Song ... ... ... ... 280

Arishta ... ... ... ... ... 280

Narada and Kansa ... ... ... ... 281

Kesi ... ... ... ... ... 281

Vyoma ... ... ... ... ... 282

Akrura ... ... ... ... ... 282

Mathura ... ... ... ... ;.. 283

The Wrestling ... ... ... ... 284

Death of Kansa ... ... ... ... 285

The Thread Ceremony and Brahmacharya ... ... 286

Uddhava and Vraja ... ... ... ... 287

Thoughts on the Vrindavana Lila ... ... ... 289



t 5 3
MATHURA LILA.

The Hunch-backed Girl and the Pandavas
Jarasandha, Yavana and Dvaraka
Muchukunda

DVARAKA LILA.

Rukmini

Pradyumna

Syamantaka, Jambavati and Satyabhama

Syamantaka, Akrur, Kritavarman and Sata Dhanu

The Other Wives of Sri Krishna

Krishna and Rukmini

The Sons of Krishna

Death of Rukmin

Bana

Nriga

Balarama and the Yamuna

Paundraka and the King of Kasi

Dvivid

Samba, Lakshana and Balarama

Narada and the Wives of Sri Krishna

The Raja Suya and Jarasandha

Sisupala

Duryodhana

Salva

Dantavakra and Viduratha

Balarama and Romaharshana

Sridaman ... ... ... ...

Meeting at Kurukshetra ...

Vasudeva, Devaki and their dead sons

Arjuna and Subhadra

Srutadeva and Bahulasva

Prayer of the Srutis

Brahmana Boys restored to life "...

The Line of Krishna

Thoughts on the Dvaraka Lila



SKANDHA XI.



The Mushala ...
The Bhagavata Path



[ 6 ]

Krishna and Uddhava ... ... ... ... 371

Self-Instruction ... ... ... ... 374

Atma a Refutation of the School of Jaimini ... ... 377

Bondage and Liberation ... ... ... ... 383

Sadhu and Bhakti ... ... ... ... 386

Why give up all Karma ... ... ... ... 388

The Gunas ... ... ... ... ... 390

How to withdraw from the objects of the Senses... ... 391

Bhakti Yoga ... ... ... ... ... 394

Meditation ... ... ... ... ... 395

The Siddhis ... ... ... ... ... 396

The Vibhutis ... ... ... ... ... 398

Varna and Asrama Rules ... ... ... ... 398

What one is to do for Moksha ... ... ... 398

The Sadhanas ... ... ... ... ... 400

The Three Paths ... ... ... ... 401

Right and Wrong ... ... ... ... 404

The Tatvas ... ... ... ... ... 406

Prakriti and Purusha ... ... ... ... 406

Re-Incarnation ... ... ... ... 407

Sankhya ... ... ... ... ... 410

Satva, Rajas and Tamas ... ... ... ... 412

Company ... ... ... ... ... 414

Kriya Yoga and Idol Worship ... ... ... 414

Jnana Yoga ... ... ... ... ... 415

Bhakti Yoga ... ... ... ... ... 416

The End ... ... ... ... , ... 417

SKANDHA XII.

End of Kali ... ... ... ... ... 419

Pralaya ... ... ... ... ... 421

Thoughts on Pralaya ... ,. ... ... 423



A STUDY OF THE BHAGAVATA PUR-ANA



OR
ESOTERIC HINDUISM.



THE IDEAL OF BHAGAVATA PURANA.

A DISCOURSE BETWEEN VYlSA AND NARADA.

"I have duly respected the Vedas, the teachers and the sacrificial
fire, I have put the sense of all the Vedas into the Mahabharata and
have made their sacred lore accessible to all classes of men. I have
done all this, nay, much more. Still I think my work is not fully done."
So thought Veda Vyasa, the adept author of the Kali Yuga, while
meditating on the sacred banks of the Sarasvati, and his heart became
heavy with something, he knew not what. At this time Narada ap-
peared before him Narada, who knew all that transpired in the
Triloki and who could enter into the hearts of all beings. "Thou hast
fully known," said Narada, "all that is knowable, for thou hast written
the excellent Mahabharata, which leaves nothing unsaid. How is it
then thou feelest dispirited as if thy object were not gained ?" What
could Vyasa say in reply ; he only inquired from the seer Narada the
cause of his uneasiness.

Narada entered into a free criticism of the Bhagavat Gita, the
philosophical portion of the Mahabharata, pointed out its shortcomings
and suggested to Vyasa what next to do. A few remarks will be
necessary to understand all this.

There are seven planes Bhur, Bhuvar, Svar, Mahar, Jana, Tapas
and Satya.

Bhur is the terrestrial plane.

Bhuvar is the astral plane.

Svar is the plane of Kama and desires.

These three planes, collectively known as Triloki, are the planes
of personality. Kama is the guiding principle of existence in Triloki,
and a recurrence of births and re-births its main characteristic. With
every Night of Brahma, this triple plane comes to an end, transferring



its energies to the next higher plane, and is re-born with every Day of
Brahma. Mahar is intermediate between Triloki and the three higher
Lokas of Universality.

The Vedic school laid great stress on communion with the Devas
of Svar Loka or Svarga or Indra Loka, and this was pre-eminently
known as Vedic Yajna. The performance of Vedic Yajna led only to
a prolonged gratification of kama in Svar Loka. But however long
the period might be, it was limited by the magnitude of the force
(Apurva) which buoyed up the individuality in the Svar Loka. As
the Gita says, when the merits are exhausted the observer of Vedic
Dharma enters again into the transitory plane. The course of births
and re-births is then set up anew, with constant transformations and
with all the miseries of existence conditioned by personality.

This was not Mukti or liberation. The followers of the post-vedic
or Upanishad school contended that liberation lay in crossing the
triple plane of individuality to the higher cosmic planes of universality.
When an individual reaches the higher planes, he does not again be-
come subject to transformations, and to the constant recurrence of births
and re-births. There is one continued life, one continued existence in
the higher planes, till the end of cosmos or the Life of Brahma. This
life is not measured by personalities but is the cosmical life, and the
individuality becomes a cosmical entity. Further there is life also
beyond the cosmos, in the highest plane, the abode of the Supreme.

The Gita only incidentally describes the highest plane in the
following sloka:

"That is my supreme abode, by reaching which (Jivas) do not
recur (to fresh births). Not the Sun, not the Moon, not even fire
illumines that." XV. 6.

Krishna also refers to that plane in VIII. 20 and XV. 4. 5.

The Gita lays down Nishkama Karma, or the unselfish perfor-
mance of the duties of life (Sva-dharma) as the first step towards
reaching the higher planes. The sense of separateness is killed by
Nishkama Karma. Then the Gita takes the disciple to Upasana or
communion with the Purusha of the highest plane, but scarcely a
glimpse is given of that plane and its surroundings. The Mahabha-
rata does not throw any light on the dwellers of the higher planes,
nor does it give any details of those planes. Without any dis-
tinct prospect of trans-Triloki life, one is asked to adhere to the duties
appertaining to one's own sphere of life (Sva-dharma) and to perform
those duties unselfishly. However transitory the things of Triloki



[ 3 ]

may be, there are attractions enough for the frail sons of Manu,
abounding in passions and desires. What can then bind a man to the
higher planes and the highest Purusha of those planes or Bhagavan?
It is only a description of the grandeur and the glory of those planes
and of Bhagavan. Such description begets Bhakti or holy attach-
ment, and it is this Bhakti which sets up a real communion with Bha-
gavan. Frail as man is, the mere performance of duties makes him
attached to them, unless he is bound to the higher planes by the
tie of holy attachment. The Gita is however silent as to the attrac-
tions of the higher planes and of Bhagavan. This was the defect
pointed out by Narada.

"O thou great Muni, as thou hast treated of Dharma and of
other things, so thou hast not recited the glory of Vasudeva ".
I. 5- 9-

" This universe is also an aspect of Bhagavan, for its creation,
preservation and end proceed from Him. Thou knowest all this
thyself. But thou hast shown to others only a portion of this
truth." I. 5. 20.

" Salutations to Thee, Bhagavan, let me meditate on VAsudeva.
Salutations to Pradyumna, Aniruddha and to Sankarshana. He who,
by naming these mfirtis in the mfirtiless, whose only mfirti is mantra,
makes offerings to Yajna Purusha, is the complete seer." I. 5. 37-38.
A mystery lies veiled in this Sloka.

But who is this Narada ? Why should we accept his authority ?
Narada was therefore careful to give his own account, elaborated by
the enquiries of Vyasa. All students of occultism will do well to
read carefully this account which forms a fitting preliminary to the
Bhagavata.



ACCOUNT OF NARADA.

SKANDHA I. CHAP. 5 & 6.

" In the previous Kalpa, in my former birth, I was born of a
certain maid-servant of Vedic Rishis. Certain Yogis had collected at
a place to pass the rainy season and I was engaged as a boy to serve
them. Seei2u me void of all fickleness as a boy and self-controlled,



[ 4 J

the Munis, who looked on all with equal eyes, were kind to me, especial-
ly as I gave up play, followed them, served them and talked little.
With the permission of the regenerated I at one time partook of the
remnants of their meal and the impurities of my mind were all removed.
When thus my mind became pure, my inclination grew towards their
Dharma. By their favor I heard them sing the beautiful stories of
Krishna. Hearing those stories every day with faith, I gained holy
love for Krishna. Through that love my mind became fixed in Him
and I came to perceive my Sthula and Sukshma bodies as only false
reflections of the real Self or Brahma. The Bhakti that grew up in
me destroyed my Rajas and Tamas. Then when the kind Rishis were
about to leave the place, they imparted to me the most occult know-
ledge which had been given to them by Bhagavan himself. Through
that knowledge I have known the Maya of Bhagavan. It is by that
knowledge that one reaches the plane of Bhagavan. As I cultivated
this occult knowledge, Bhagavan appeared Himself and gave me know-
ledge and powers direct."

[Sridhara Svami, the commentator of Bhagavata Purana notes
the following points in the above story (i) Seva, /. e., service of and
attendance on Mahatmas, (2) their krip or favor, (3) trust in their
Dharma, (4) hearing the stories of Bhagavan, (5) attachment to Bhaga-
van, (6) knowledge of Self by the discrimination of the Sthula and the
Sukshma body, (7) firm Bhakti, (8) knowledge of the reality of Bhaga-
van, (9) at the last the appearance of omniscience and other powers
through the favor of Bhagavan.]

What followed then, inquired Vyasa ? Narada continued :

"Sometime after my teachers, the Bhikshus, had gone away, my
mother died of snake-bite. I deemed that an act of God and went
towards the North. After crossing several forests, rivers and mountains,
I at last reached a solitary forest and there sat under a pipal tree. As
directed by my teachers, I meditated on self in self through self. My
mind had been completely conquered by Bhakti. As I was devotedly
meditating on the lotus feet of Bhagavan with tear-drops in my eyes,
Hari gradually appeared in my heart. O Muni, the hairs of my body
stood on end through exuberance of holy love, I was completely lost
in joy and knew not either self or any other. The indescribeable Isva-
ra spoke thus in solemn words :

"O thou that dost not deserve to see me in this life, I am difficult
to be seen by imperfect Yogis, whose likes and dislikes have not been



[ 5 J

completely burnt up. I have shown myself to thee that thy Kama
may all be centred in me. When I am the object of Kama, the
Sadhu gives up all other desires. By prolonged service of Mahatmas,
thy mind is firmly fixed in me. Therefore shalt thou give up this
faulty body and acquire my companionship. The mind fixed in me
is never destroyed in creation or in pralaya, nor does the memory
fail.' "

"So saying Isvara disappeared. In time, when I was drawn to-
wards the pure body with which I was favored by Bhagavan, the body
of my five Bhutas fell down on the extinction of my Prarabdha
Karma. When the Kalpa came to an end my new body was indrawn
by the breath of Brahma who was going to sleep. After one thou-
sand Yuga Cycles, when Brahma awoke and desired to create, I,
Marichi, and other Rishis came out. Since then I have invariably ob-
served Brahmacharya and through the favor of Vishnu have been
travelling all over Triloki, both inside and outside, my passage
being wholly unobstructed. The Devas gave me this Vin^ which is
adorned with Svara-Brahma. By playing upon this Vina I send forth
songs of Hari all round. These songs are the only means of crossing
the ocean of recurring lives."

[This is the mystery of Narada as related in the Puranas.
Narada is the repository of occult knowledge from the previous Kalpa.
The first and foremost adept of this Kalpa, his mission is to spread
occult knowledge, by unceasingly playing on the seven musical notes.
He is ever watchful and always bides his time in all cyclic changes.
He is the only Rishi of whom the Vina is a constant accompani-
ment, as it is of the goddess Sarasvati. His sphere of action is
Triloki, and the dwellers of Bhur, Bhuvar, and Svar alike respect him.
He is the universal counsellor, even of the highest Devas and of the
highest Rishis. His constant mission is the good of the Universe.
One thing is said of him, that he sometimes serves his purpose by



Online LibraryGeorge Washington TryonA study of the Bhagavata Purana; or, Esoteric Hinduism → online text (page 1 of 37)