In the previous episode, we had witnessed an interesting story from the “Paadma Puraana” as to how “Bhakti”, “Mukti”, “Gnyaana” and “Vairaagya” are of paramount importance if one has to take on the spiritual pursuit in life. We witnessed it in the form of a beautiful storyline wherein Sage Naarada brings out the importance of these four aspects through the narrative of a 20-year-old girl at Mathura, which is the very place where Bhagawan Krishna spent most of his childhood days. It might be noted by readers here that the entire text of Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana comprises of small stories like these, along with many sub-stories too. The storyline is of course important, but each story and sub-story would contain a huge underlying message within them. This is more important for all of us to understand and implement. Thus, it is not enough if we just go through the storyline and leave it at that. We should make an effort to understand what exactly each story tries to convey as a message. Of course, as always, I would try my best to bring out as many messages as possible from as many stories we can witness as part of this blog. But our readers are requested to do some more research on all this, and find out what exactly does each story convey.
Now getting back to the story, it might be remembered by our readers that this 20-year-old woman is trying to awaken her 90-year-old sons, but in vain! Hence, she requests Sage Naarada to try and do the same. However, after so much of effort, Sage Naarada too is helpless! These two men couldn’t be woken up. It is at this time when two people by name “Sanaka” and “Sanath-kumaara” come into picture. Bhagawan Bramha (The universal creator) has four sons – Sanaka, Sanath-kumaara, Sanaathana and the likes. As Sanaka and Sanath-kumaara pass by this point, Sage Naarada meets both of them and asks them some ways as to how can these two 90-year-olds be awakened. Hearing thus from Sage Naarada, both of them reply back, “Oh Sage Naarada! If these two have to wake up, there should be some auspicious happening that should take place!” Hearing thus, Sage Naarada was perplexed and stunned! He replies thus, “Oh Sanaka and Sanath-kumaara! Till now I’ve done only auspicious things in this world, and to these two people too! So far I’ve chanted all possible Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagawad Gita, Vishnu Sahasranaama, etc. and still what more auspicious happening is left to be done? I couldn’t understand!” Upon this, both Sanaka and Sanath-kumaara reply back thus, “Oh Sage Naarada! All what you’ve done is not enough! Please follow the seven-day austerity and recite the Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana meticulously! Only then these two people would regain consciousness! This is what is important!”
Thus we can understand the significance of Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana here. The underlying message from this particular segment of the story is that, in order to awaken the “Gnyaana” and the “Vairaagya” within us, Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana has to be recited by all of us! This is why the Bhaagawatha Puraana is considered extremely sacred in our Sanaathana Dharma Literature.
As Sanaka says thus, Sage Naarada quips back: “Oh Sanaka! Are you saying that this text is more significant than any other text that our Sanaathana Dharma contains?” Sanaka replies, “Oh Sage Naarada! I’m surprised that you are asking such a question! Of course, Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana can never be compared to any other text in our Sanaathana Dharma, as it encompasses all the messages, guidelines, divinity and knowledge that one needs to attain spiritual growth! Definitely this story of Bhagawan Krishna has enormous significance and strength and hence, it is extremely sacred and important.” Sage Naarada now asks the next question, “Oh Sanaka! Where do we go and sit and recite this Bhaagawatha Puraana?” Sage Sanaka replies, “Oh Sage Naarada! Please go to the place called “Aanandha Vana” on the banks of the holy river Ganges. It is the perfect place for reading it!”
“Shrunu naarada vakshyaamaha vinam raaya vivekine!
Ganga dhvaara sameepethu thatamaanandanaamakam!!”
Thus from the above sloka, Sanaka requests Sage Naarada to go to this place called “Aananda Vana” on the banks of River Ganges. We can worship this place even today. So Sage Naarada goes to this place and sits amidst the beautiful forest on one side and the scenic river Ganges on the other. All the other Sages come and assemble around Sage Naarada. Bhagawan Krishna Himself marks His presence at that place near Sage Naarada. Prahlaada, Uddhava and all the four Vedas – Rig, Yajur, Saama and Atharvana Vedas take their respective human forms and assemble in that place. Prahlaadha starts playing the percussion, while Arjuna (One of the key Paandava Brothers) start playing the mridangam and the recital of Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana commences. The entire place is in a festive mood as Bhagawan Krishna Himself is present at that spot.
“Ashwamedha sahasraani vaajapeya shataani cha!
Shuka shaastra kathaayaascha kalam naarhanti shodasheen!!”
This sloka speaks about the benefits of reading this sacred text. It says that, if one reads Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana meticulously, even one-sixteenth of the benefit that he gets is more than the benefit that he gets by doing a hundred “Ashwamedha Yaagas”. This is simply because, listening or reading Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana by sitting in one place is much easier as compared to do complex practices like Ashwamedha Yaaga. Performing Yaagas are tough because we need to scout around for getting all the raw materials together, incurring huge expenses, involving extensive labor, etc. However, if we’ve to just sit at one place and read through the slokas, what big difficulty are we going to face? Hence, this is the amount of significance the Bhaagawatha Puraana contains.
Moving on thus, we shall now witness the second important story from the “Paadma Puraana”. We shall wait till the next episode for the same! Stay tuned! 😊