Indian philosophy has a rich heritage in the form of Upanishads, the Four Vedas, the Puranas and the Bhagwat Gita. We have rich epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharat, which are also historical in nature. Vedas and Puranas, being in Sanskrit, are difficult for the common man to grasp and the essence of these gems is available in the form of Shrimad Bhagwat, authored by Krishna Dvaipayana Veda Vyas.
It is believed that Veda Vyas had first divided the Vedas into four sections, viz. the Rig-Veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sama Veda and the Atharva Veda. He then composed the Mahabharat and it is believed that the eighteen Maha Puranas are a result of his work.
The Puranas are the old Scriptures. Most of the Puranas are believed to have been composed during the period 400 A.D and 1000 A.D. The Puranas contain many stories and rituals. According to the Puranas a Mahapurana should have five characteristics to qualify for this distinction viz. It should deal with the subject of original creation (Sarga) the periodic cycles of destruction and creation, the genealogies, eras (Manvantars) and the lists of Solar and Lunar dynasties.
The eighteen Mahapuranas are
Vayu or Shiva Purana
Legend has it that Dvaipayana Sri Vedavyasa was the author of all these Puranas. The number of verses varies from Purana to Purana. The total number of Shlokas in all the Puranas put together amount to 4,00,000.
Vedavyas is not the name of a person but a title conferred on a learned person, who divides the Veda into sections. At the end of every Dwaparyuga and the advent of the Kaliyuga a learned person has taken birth and carried on the task of dividing the Vedas into Smaller sections , so that they can be grasped by the generation of Kaliyuga, who are feeble minded with lower intelligence. This Learned sage is conferred the title of Vedavyas. The Vedavyas referred to in this case is Krishna Dvaipayan, the son of Sage Parashar and Satyavati. He was also known by the name of Badrayan. After dividing the Veda, he composed the Mahabharata, which is the story of the Kurukshetra War and provides a glimpse of Krishna. The Mahabharata consists of 100,000 verses and is a very good literary composition. Vedavyas then composed the various Puranas, totally comprising of nearly 400,000 verses.
In the present era, twenty-eight Kalpas have passed and 28 Kaliyugas have followed 28 Dwaparyugas. At the end of every Dwaparyuga and the advent of the Kaliyuga a Vedavyas has taken birth and carried on the task of dividing the Vedas into Smaller sections, so that they can be grasped by the generation of Kaliyuga, who are feeble minded with lower intelligence.
There is a belief that during each Kalpa, a Mahapurana has been composed and the eighteen mahapuranas are credited to the different kalpas as under:
Since the Pantheon of Hindu Gods is of the trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh, these Puranas glorify all three of them. However, there is a difference in the relative emphasis, with one of them being more glorified in a particular text. Texts, which give considerable attention to the description of creation, tend to glorify Brahma and hence are Rajasic Puranas. The Puranas describing the incarnations of Vishnu are similarly termed as Sattvic Puranas. Similarly the texts preoccupied with norms and rituals that glorify Shiva more and are hence called Tamasic Puranas.
Sattvic (No of verses)
Rajasic (No of verses)
Tamasic (No of verses)
Padma Purana (55,000)
Shiva Purana (24,000 )
Vishnu Purana (23,000)
Brahmanda Purana (18,000)
Matsya Purana (15,000)
Narada Purana (25,000)
Kurma Purana (17,000)
Bhagwat Purana (18,000)
Markendaya Purana (9,000)
Linga Purana (11,000)
Garuda Purana (19,000)
Vamana Purana (10,000)
Skanda Purana (81,000)
Varaha Purana (24,000)
Brahma Purana (19,000)
Agni Purana (15,500)
Although scientific progress in recent years has discovered the nuclear theory of an atom consisting of protons, electrons and neutrons, this was known to Indian scholars thousands of years before the western world made this discovery. Indian philosophers had described that matter (Mahat-tatva) consists of Rajoguna, Tamoguna and Satoguna. These are the proton, electron and neutron respectively.
This breakdown of matter was described in detail and their deities, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahadev ruled Rajoguna, Satoguna and Tamoguna respectively. Brahma, Vishnu and Mahadev form the Trilogy of Generator, Operator and Destroyer respectively, which gives us the word - “GOD”.
It is quite evident that science and religion do not contradict each other since both have the same goal and that is - to find the truth , the only difference being that religion pursues the search with a firm belief in the truth, whereas science does not believe till it uncovers the truth.
Although Man has landed on the moon and space research has reached the stage where, a spacecraft sent to the planet Mars has sent pictures to the Earth, which is millions of miles away, this report some thirty to forty years back would have been received with disbelief. If we accept that a man- made craft can achieve this extraordinary feat, we can very well accept the extra perceptual powers of God.
The grasping of the Vedas and Puranas is not feasible for a householder who is living in the comforts of an air-conditioned house equipped with the modern amenities of life. The sages who have renounced this world and have gone into the wilderness to contemplate under a tree can only attain this. The lord in all kindness and benevolence gave mankind the Shrimad Bhagwat.
To help the common people, sages have written this easy and adaptable treatise of Shrimad Bhagwat, which has got all the essence of Vedas and Puranas. Shrimad Bhagwat was authored by Veda Vyas in the form available today. This is the Nectar of the Lord and the passport to Moksha.
Unfortunately, these books sought after, by philosophers, all over the World, have lost their importance in the land of their Origin. The teachings that are imparted by these gems have been left unexplored in our land. In this Kaliyuga, we find the three things most dear to Krsna viz. Gita, gopis and gaumata (cow) being desecrated. Gita has been forgotten, gopis are burnt alive and Gaumata (cows) are being slaughtered.
In Ram avatar, Ramachandra was the Maryada Purshottam, which means a Perfect Man-a Model to emulate. .There was no evidence of childish playfulness in this Avatar. The Lord to compensate this lack of childhood pranks in the Ramavtar took up the incarnation of Krsna where the vatsalya bhava was created, so that it could melt the heart of the sternest being . Just as Ramayana narrates the story of Ramchandra, similarly Shrimad Bhagwat narrates the story of Krsna.
The Divine Force, which is the basis of all religions, is termed as God and he may be called Narayana, Rama, Krishna, Jesus Christ, Allah, or any other name. The relationship of one single man to various others is different in every context although he remains as that one individual. The same person is the son of his father or mother; he is the father of his son, husband of his wife, brother of someone, friend of some, so and so forth.
By this same logic we can very well deduce that the same God, who is described as the Primal Cosmic Being in the Bhagwata Puran is One and his different names are only his various embodiments. Shrimad Bhagwat preaches us to look for that God in our own hearts and not elsewhere, since man is a personification of that God. The Icon or the image is just an anchor that is needed for proper guidance and the goal of man is to identify himself with that God.
Just as different appliances have different names such as a fan, a heater, an air conditioner, etc.; but the power which runs them is one and the same electric power, similarly we come from the same source and derive energy from that same Almighty, though we may be Hindus, Muslims or Christians. What is needed is introspection. Ask the question, who am I?
The Sanatan Dharma of Hinduism is very adaptable and it is the only religion where Nara (man) becomes Narayana. There are several Gods on the Menu and a devotee can choose his own deity. If you worship Shiva and visit his temple you have to first bow to Ganapati, the son of Shiva, After him you have to take the gate-pass from Kartikya, the second son of Shiva, then at the sanctum sanctorum you have Nandi, the bull, who sits as a guard; after which you have to pass the lion of his consort Parvati, as Kali, and when you finally bow to Shiva, the serpent guarding over him is ever present to greet you.
Likewise, the darshan of Ramchandra also has Hanuman , Shatrughna, Lakshman and then Sita before you have the glimpse of Rama. The easiest and most easily accessible god is Krsna; he has kept no hurdles in your path. You can just take a stick and a blanket on your shoulder like his cowherds or just pass the portals of his temple and you see this naughty lad leaning against a cow with her calf and a flute in his hand. Which God could be so common looking and still steal your heart.
No commentary on Shrimad Bhagwat would be complete without mentioning the glory of Sri Krsna, who is known by several names- Vasudeva, Madhav, Sri Nathji, Gokulnathji, Damodar, Gobinda, Murare, Ranchhor, Govardan nath and so on.