Brahma Khandam Chapter 1
Welfare recitation; introduction and importance of Brahmavaivarta Purana
I bow in reverence to the all-pervading lord, who is adored by Ganesa, Brahma, Siva, Indra, serpent Sesa, the gods, all the Manus, the sages, Sarasvatl, Laksmi besides Paravti and others.
The one who has the solid body of three phases with universal form, in whose body innumerable worlds reside, the one who is the primeval person; the one who is engaged in the creation of the universe and the one who resides in the heart of everyone in a tiny form, the same Brahman is adored by me.
All the gods, humans, animals, Manus and the ascetics or yogis, adore him attentively and several of the truth-seekers, adore him performing hard tapas for several births, but are unable to have a trace of him, the same lord is adored by me, who has a beautiful dark complexion.
I bow in reverence to lord Krsna who represents the three gunas (elements), out of whose body, Brahma, Visnu and Siva have emerged.
Having been saluted to lord Narayana and Nara, the most exalted being, and goddess Sarasvati, one should recite the Jaya (Mahabharata, Puranas etc.).
The sage Vyasadeva conceiving Sarasvatl as the wish fulfilling cow and the Vedas as calf, milked the nectar of the theme of the Brahmavaivarta Purana. Therefore, О gentlemen, consume this invisible milk.
In the holy place of Naimisaranya, the sacred sages headed by the great sage Saunaka had been performing their daily prayers seated over the kitsdsana. At that point of time Ugras’rava, the son of Suta, suddenly arrived there. He bowed in reverence to all the sages, who offered him a seat of the kusa-grass.
Then welcoming the guest, the best of the sages, Saunaka enquired about his welfare, adoring him with devotion and delight.
Getting free from the fatigue of the journey, the sage was seated over Jmsasana. and smilingly put a question to the sage Suta, who was well- read in the Puranas and looked like the moon among the stars. “The best of the stories, which relates to Lord Krsna, are pleasant to listen to, О bestower of welfare, you are the abode of welfare, the seed of all the welfare, the one who showers grace always and removes all the misfortunes, bestows all the riches, showers the devotion of the lord, which always bestows pleasure and molcsa (salvation). He is the one who imparts divine knowledge and the one who ensures the increase of the family, sons and grand-sons.
Saunaka asked: “Where are you going? Where from have you arrived? We feel grateful by your visit today. All of us are terrified because of the Age of Kali and possess no special knowledge. We are engrossed in the worldly affairs and are desirous of redemption. This (is possibly) the cause of your arrival here. You are noble, immensely virtuous, well-versed in the Puranas, have well-read all the Puranas and are full of compassion. You better tell us about some Purana, by which we might be able to achieve some devotion to Lord Krsna, because, О Son of Suta, the devotion of Lord Krsna is better than even the salvation and it removes the worldly fetters of the human being. It showers nectar over the people who suffer from the conflagration of the worldly ills and instils pleasures in the minds of the people”.
You recite the stories from such a Purana, in the beginning of which the seeds of the entire universe are enshrined and is also infested with Parabrahman. It should also deal with elements of Parabrahman in the creation of the universe. We intend to enquire from you as to whether Paramatma (the great soul) is having the visible or invisible form; what is the true form of the Brahman? How to meditate on or adore the lord? Whom do the ascetics or the yogis adore? What is the deep tattva propounded in the Vedas?
“O Son, you tell me about the Purana in which the form of nature has been described, besides the symptoms of the virtues, the Mahat, the Goloka, Vaikuntha Sivaloka and the heavens; the arts and the arhs’as. О Son of Suta, what are the natural elements? What is nature and what is the soul beyond nature, the gods and the goddesses who are bom on earth secretly, you tell us about them besides the oceans, the mountains, the rivers, their genesis and evolution. Which is integral part of the nature? What are the arts? Tell us about their character, the meditation, adoration and the sacred recitations and the Puranas in which all these details are enshrined.
You tell us the name of the Purana, which enshrines the character of Durga, Sarasvatl, LaksmI and Savitrl, besides the one which contains the stories of Radhika. You also tell us details about the hells achieved by the people and the deeds by which one attains these hells and the remedies to escape these hells. The places which are sacred for the people and those which are unholy may be told to us besides the deeds by performing of which, one achieves a place in the heaven or the hell; please tell us also the deeds, which attract the particular type of ailments and those lead one to salvation.
“O Son of Siita, you tell us the name of the Purana in which details about Tulasi, Manasa, Kali, Ganga, Vasundhara, PrthivI and the one containing the stories about the goddesses besides the details about the humans having different births. Which are the deeds, attracting the ailments and the deeds which lead one to achieve redemption, you please tell us.”
“О Son of Stita, you tell us about the scripture containing the stories of Saligrama, the Dhanna and the Sin. You also tell us about Ganapati, the deep secrets connected with the god, details about his life, his recitation mantrast secret kavacas, the mantras and the surprising stories connected with him. You tell us all about them in detail. You tell us about the Purana enshrining the details about the life of Krsna in (Bharata) India. О sage, in which sacred place was he bom? Who was the chaste and virtuous lady who gave birth to a son like Krsna? Where did he go after his birth? Why did he leave the place of his birth and what for? What did he do after leaving that place? Then how did he return to his abode? At whose request he relieved the burden of the earth? What for did he establish the norms? Why did he return again to the Goloka?
The sages are unaware of the Purana in which the entire details about Krishna are contained and it is beyond their reach. This is the means to cleanse the mind. Whatever good or bad question have been asked by me according to my own knowledge, you enlighten us over the issues raised which would inculcate the sense of vairagya. A good teacher explains the points on which clarifications are asked for as well as those over which no questions are asked.”
The son of Suta then said : “All is well (with me) with the grace of your feet. I am coming from the siddha-ksetra and shall go to the Narayanasrama. I have arrived here in order to pay my respects to the group of the Brahmanas and to perform the pilgrimage of the sacred place of Naimisaranya. The one who does not bow in reverence finding a good, a Brahmana and the teacher, he is consigned to the terrible hell and has to remain there till the sun and the moon last. Visnu roams about the earth in the form of a Brahmana. Therefore a noble person bows in reverence by the grace of Visnu to a Brahmana.
0 Sacred Soul, whatever has been asked by you,
1 have understood thoroughly. Brahmavaivarta is the gist of the Puranas. This is the Purana, which removes all the doubts about the Puranas and the upa-Puranas. It bestows devotion of Hari and develops the knowledge of all the elements. It grants pleasure to pleasure-seekers and salvation or truth to truth-seekers. It bestows the unfailing devotion on the Vaisnavas and is like the kalpavrksa for them. The eternal Brahman is enshrined therein as a seed of the globe. The yogis and Vaisnavas meditate on him. О Saunaka, there is hardly any difference between a yogi and a Vaisnaiva saint. The humans become Vaisnavas or yogis on the basis of the knowledge they possess. They gradually become great yogis.
Thereafter follows the Prakrti-khanda, which deals with the gods, the goddesses besides the genesis and evolution of all the creatures of the universe in addition to the sacred stories about the female deities. It also deals with the deeds of the humans and Saligrama. The kavacas, stotras, mantras and the methods of their adoration are propounded therein. In the Prakrti-khanda the symptoms of the nature, their ams’as and the stories related thereto are also narrated, besides the glory and their influence on humans. It also describes the merits and demerits one derives by good or bad deeds. The hells which the degraded souls achieve because of their misdeeds on earth and the duration of stay in each hell have been defined therein.
This is followed by Ganes’a-khanda which contains the details about the birth of Ganesa and the precious stories related to his life. In the dialogue between Ganesa and Bhrgu, the life events of Ganes’a, which are quite secret in nature are brought out. The secret kavacas of Ganesa, the mantras and tantras are discussed therein.
Thereafter follows the recitation of the Krsna- janma Khanda (the part relating to the birth of Krsna). It deals with the performance of Krsna, to relieve the land of Bharata of the burden of the evil people, the pleasure sports of the lord which serve like a bridge for the noble people to cross the ocean of the universe. This is the gist of all religions. The Purana is adored by all and grants them riches besides fulfilling all their desires, earning for it the title of Brahmavaivarta. О Saunaka, Sri Krsna has propounded the entire philosophy of Brahman in it and this is also the reason why it is called the Brahmavaivarta.
In the early times, the brief of this Purana was handed down by lord Krsna to Brahma. Thereafter, Brahma narrated the same to Dharma at the sacred place of Puskara. Dharma in turn imparted the sacred knowledge to Narayana with a pleasant mind. Lord Narayana recited this Purana to Narada, who narrated the same to the sage Vyasa at the banks of the Ganga. Analysing the text further and developing it pleasantly, Vyasa imparted its knowledge to me.