Sri Brhad Bhagavatamrtam

by Srila Sanatana Goswami

Oil on canvass painting of Srila Sanatana Goswami by Dinabandhu das, 2002: 50 x 70 cm
"Sri Sanatana Gosvami Prabhu, the teacher of the science of devotional service, wrote several books, of which the Brhad-bhagavatamrta is very famous; anyone who wants to know about the subject matter of devotees, devotional service and Krsna must read this book."
HDGACBSP Cc. Adi-lila 5.203 purport

King Parksit was given just seven days to live. In those final days of his life Pariksit received instruction about the philosophy of the Bhagavat from the fully enlightened sage Sukadev. After hearing Sukadev's narration, Pariksit went to visit his mother Uttara. Uttara then asked Pariksit to quickly give her the nectarean essence of the Bhagavat philosophy that he had learned from his Guru (Sukadev), since Uttara's heart was filled with overwhelming feelings of grief and fear at the thought of her child Pariksit's imminent death. The questions of Uttara and the replies of Pariksit are the basis of this scripture.

The book is divided into two parts. The first part is called "The Search For the Lord's Mercy", and the second part is called "The Glory of Sri Goloka, the holy abode of Sri Krishna". There are seven chapters in the first part and seven chapters in the second part. In both parts there is a seeker who is searching for the highest understanding of the Truth, with the story detailing the progress of this seeker on the path of divine realization. In the first part the seeker is the sage Narada Muni while in the second part it is the eternally young boy, Sri Gopakumar.

In this narration, the Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy is explained in a most marvelous way by the author, Srila Sanatan Goswami. There are detailed descriptions of many different planes of existence, or "worlds". The seeker moves on from world to world. He goes from the earth to the celestial heaven of the gods, to the illuminated worlds of the mystic sages, to the world of the creator of the universe known as Brahma. He goes through the darkness beyond the universe and into the realm of Shiva, and at last arrives at the gates of Vaikuntha, the world of Sri Vishnu. Entering Vaikuntha, Gopakumar goes from the palace of Sri Vishnu to the kingdom of Rama, then on to Dwaraka, the city of Sri Krishna. The author describes the spiritual consciousness of the inhabitants of each of the worlds, and discusses the path the seeker takes in his quest for higher and higher understanding.

At the beginning of the narration about the spiritual life of Gopakumar, we read how Gopakumar was initiated into the chanting of the Holy Names of Krishna (Madan-Gopal). The story of Gopakumar shows the result and potency of chanting the Holy Names of the Lord. It has also been pointed out in this book that the spiritual life of a devotee of God is eternal, inexhaustible and ever-progressive. The spiritual life is a life of positive and progressive immortality. The Guru of Gopakumar, who is named Jayanta, appeared to Gopakumar five times during his course of advancement. At each stage his Guru gave Gopakumar new instructions that helped him make further progress. Gopakumar was constantly moving on, going higher and higher in his eternal quest.

Part One,
Sri Bhagavata-kripa-nirdhara

(The Search For the Lord's Mercy)

Part Two,
Sri Goloka-mahatmya

(The Glory of Sri Goloka)

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