Religion:Bhagavata Purana

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Short description: Sanskrit Hindu text, one of the eighteen major Puranas, story of Krishna

Bhagavata Purana manuscripts from 16th- to 19th-century, in Sanskrit (above) and in Bengali

The Bhagavata Purana (Sanskrit: भागवतपुराण; IAST: Bhāgavata Purāṇa), also known as the Srimad Bhagavatam, Srimad Bhagavata Mahapurana (Śrīmad Bhāgavata Mahāpurāṇa) or simply Bhagavata, is one of Hinduism's eighteen great Puranas (Mahapuranas).[1][2] Composed in Sanskrit and traditionally attributed to Veda Vyasa,[3] it promotes bhakti (devotion) towards Krishna,[4][5][6] an avatar of Vishnu, integrating themes from the Advaita (monism) philosophy of Adi Shankara, the Vishishtadvaita (qualified monism) of Ramanujacharya and the Dvaita (dualism) of Madhvacharya.[5][7][8][9] It is widely available in almost all Indian languages.

The Bhagavata Purana, like other puranas, discusses a wide range of topics including cosmology, astronomy, genealogy, geography, legend, music, dance, yoga and culture.[5][10] As it begins, the forces of evil have won a war between the benevolent devas (deities) and evil asuras (demons) and now rule the universe. Truth re-emerges as Krishna (called "Hari" and "Vāsudeva" in the text) first makes peace with the demons, understands them and then creatively defeats them, bringing back hope, justice, freedom and happiness – a cyclic theme that appears in many legends.[11]

The Bhagavata Purana is a central text in Vaishnavism.[12] The text presents a form of religion (dharma) that competes with that of the Vedas, wherein bhakti ultimately leads to self-knowledge, salvation (moksha) and bliss.[13] However the Bhagavata Purana asserts that the inner nature and outer form of Krishna is identical to the Vedas and that this is what rescues the world from the forces of evil.[14] An oft-quoted verse (1.3.40) is used by some Krishna sects to assert that the text itself is Krishna in literary form.[15][16]

The text consists of twelve books (skandhas or cantos) totalling 335 chapters (adhyayas) and 18,000 verses.[15][17] The tenth book, with about 4,000 verses, has been the most popular and widely studied.[3] It was the first Purana to be translated into a European language, as a French translation of a Tamil version appeared in 1788 and introduced many Europeans to Hinduism and 18th-century Hindu culture during the colonial era.[6][18]


  • 'Bhagavata' (or 'Bhagavatam' or 'Bhagavat', Sanskrit भागवत) means 'follower or worshipper of Vishnu'.[19]
    • 'Bhagavan' (Sanskrit भगवन्) means 'Blessed One', 'God', or 'Lord'.[20] Krishna – the transcendental, primeval Personality of Godhead, avatar of Vishnu – is directly referred to as 'Bhagavan' throughout this scripture. It is stated in canto 1, chapter 3, verse 28, "kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam" which A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada translates as, "Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the original Personality of Godhead."[21]
  • 'Purana' (Sanskrit पुराण) means 'ancient' or 'old' (or 'old traditional history').[22] It also means 'complete' and 'completing'[22] in the sense that a Purana 'completes the Vedas'.[23]
    • 'Maha' (Sanskrit महत्) means 'great', 'large', or 'vast'.[24]
  • 'Srimad' (or 'Srimat', Sanskrit श्रीमत्) means 'radiant', 'holy', 'splendid', or 'glorious',[25] and is an honorific religious title.
    • 'Sri' (or 'Shri' or 'Shree', Sanskrit श्री) means 'wealth'.[26] Lakshmi – Goddess of Wealth and Vishnu/Krishna's wife – is also referred to as 'Sri'.
    • 'Mad' (or 'Mat', Sanskrit मत्) means 'religion' or 'believed'.[27]
    • Those with a wealth ('Sri') of religion ('mad') may be honoured with the title of 'radiant', 'holy', 'splendid', or 'glorious' ('Srimad').


Main page: Religion:Origin of the Bhagavata Purana

Modern scholarship

Modern scholarship dates its composition to between 500 CE to 1000 CE, but most likely between 800 and 1000 CE.[28] A version of the text existed no later than 1030 CE, when it is mentioned by al Biruni[28] and quoted by Abhinavagupta. The Bhagavata Purana abounds in references to verses of the Vedas, the primary Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra of Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy, and the Bhagavad Gita, suggesting that it was composed after these texts.[29] The text contains more details of Krishna's biography than the 3rd- 4th-century Harivamsha and Vishnu Purana, and is therefore likely to have been composed after these texts, suggesting a chronological range of 500–1000 CE.[28][30] Within this range, scholars such as R. C. Hazra date it to the first half of the 6th century CE, Bryant as well as Gupta and Valpey citing epigraphical and archaeological evidence suggest much of the text could be from the 4th to 7th century,[31][32] while most others place it in the post-Alvar period around the 9th century.[28][33][34] Parts of the text use an archaic Vedic flavour of Sanskrit, which may either suggest that its authors sought to preserve or express reverence for the Vedic tradition, or that some text has an earlier origin.[29] There are two flavors of Krishna stories, one of warrior prince and another of romantic lover, the former composed in more archaic Sanskrit and the later in a different linguistic style, suggesting that the texts may not have been composed by one author or over a short period, but rather grew over time as a compilation of accretions from different hands.(Rocher, 1986)

The Bhagavata Purana contains apparent references to the South Indian Alvar saints and it makes a post factum prophecy of the spread of Vishnu worship in Tamil country (BP XI.5.38–40);[35][30] these facts, along with its emphasis on "emotional Bhakti to Krishna" and the "Advaita philosophy of Sankara", lead many scholars to trace its origins to South India.[36] However, J. A. B. van Buitenen points out that 10th–11th CE South Indian Vaishnava theologians Yamuna and Ramanuja do not refer to Bhagavata Purana in their writings, and this anomaly must be explained before the geographical origins and dating are regarded as definitive.[35][30]

Since the 19th-century, most scholars believe that the Bhagavata Purana was written by a group of learned Brahmin ascetics, probably in South India, who were well versed in Vedic and ancient Indian literature and influenced by the Alvars.[37] Postmodern scholars have suggested alternate theories.[38]

Content and structure

The Bhagavata Purana consists of twelve skhandas or cantos consisting of 18,000 verses of several interconnected, interwoven, and non-linear dialogues, teachings, and explanations espousing Bhakti Yoga that go back and forth in time:

We have alluded to the Bhagavata's identity as a Purana, an important feature of which is its multilevel dialogical structure... the layered arrangement of dialogues, in which a speaker (typically Suka, the main reciter, addressing his interlocutor, King Pariksit) quotes an "earlier" speaker (for example, Narada, addressing King Yudhisthira, Pariksit's granduncle, in a dialogue understood to have taken place earlier and elsewhere), who may in turn quote yet another speaker. Two or three such layers are typically operative simultaneously... the compounding of voices serve to strengthen the message delivered; and second, one is left with the sense that one cannot, and indeed need not, trace out the origin of the message.

Stated authorship and purpose

From the Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare / N.P. Jain for Motilal Banarsidass translation:

This Srimad-Bhagavatam is the literary incarnation of God, and it is compiled by Veda Vyasa, the incarnation of God. It is meant for the ultimate good of all people, and it is all-successful, all-blissful and all-perfect.

A unique and especial emphasis is placed on fostering transcendental loving devotion to Krishna as the ultimate good, i.e. for its own sake rather than for fruitive results or rewards such as detachment or worldly or heavenly gains, a practice known as Bhakti Yoga:

What makes the Bhagavata unique in the history of Indian Religion... is its prioritization of Bhakti. The main objective of this text is to promote Bhakti to Vishnu in his incarnation as Krishna referred to variously, and to illustrate and explain it... what makes the Bhagavata special is its emphasis on an intense personal and passionate Bhakti...

Puranic characteristics

As detailed in the Matsya Mahapurana, all Puranas must cover at least five specific subjects or topics - referred to in Sanskrit as Pancha Lakshana (literally meaning 'consisting of five characteristics'[39][40] – in addition to other information including specific deities and the four aims or goals of life. From the K.L. Joshi (editor) translation:

The following are the five characteristics of the Puranas: They describe (1) the creation of the universe, (2) its genealogy and dissolution, (3) the dynasties, (4) the Manvantaras, (5) the dynastic chronicles. The Puranas, with these five characteristics, sing the glory of Brahma, Vishnu, the Sun and Rudra, as well as they describe also the creation and dissolution of the Earth. The four [aims of human life] (Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksa) have also been described in all the Puranas, along with evil consequences following from sin. In the sattvika Puranas there is largely a mention of Hari's glory.

The Srimad Bhagavatam adds another five characteristics, expanding this list to ten.[41]

The Bhagavata further elaborates on the differences between lesser and greater Puranas possessing five or ten characteristics, respectively.[42]


A Bhagavata Purana manuscript.

According to Hariprasad Gangashankar Shastri, the oldest surviving manuscript dates to c. 1124-25 and is held in the Sampurnananda Sanskrit Vishvavidyalaya in Varanasi.[43]

Contrary to the western cultural tradition of novelty, poetic or artistic license with existing materials is a strong tradition in Indian culture,[44] a 'tradition of several hundred years of linguistic creativity'.[45] There are variations of original manuscripts available for each Purana, including the Srimad Bhagavatam.[44] The common manuscript for translations of the Bhagavata Purana - seemingly used by both Swami Prabhupada and Bibek Debroy- is the Bhāgavatamahāpurāṇam[46] a reprint of Khemraj Shri Krishnadas' manuscript.[47] In regards to variances in Puranic manuscripts, academic Dr. Gregory Bailey states:

[S]ignificant are the widespread variations between manuscripts of the same Purana, especially those originating in different regions of India... one of the principal characteristics of the genre is the status of Purana as what Doniger calls "fluid texts" (Doniger 1991, 31). The mixture of fixed form [the Puranic Characteristics] and seemingly endless variety of content has enabled the Purana to be communicative vehicles for a range of cultural positions... [the] idea of originality is primarily Western and belies the fact that in the kind of oral genres of which the Puranas continue to form a part, such originality is neither promoted nor recognised. Like most forms of cultural creation in India, the function of the Puranas was to reprocess and comment upon old knowledge...


SB 1.1.3 original Sanskrit:

निगमकल्पतरोर्गलितं फलं
शुकमुखादमृतद्रवसंयुतम् ।
पिबत भागवतं रसमालयं
मुहुरहो रसिका भुवि भावुका: ॥ ३ ॥

First Canto

Consisting of 19 chapters,[48] the first canto opens with an invocation to Krishna and the assertion that the Srimad Bhagatavam, compiled by Vyasadeva, is sufficient alone to realise God. The overarching narration begins at the onset of Kali Yuga as a dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami (the son of Vyasadeva) and a group of sages headed by Saunaka, as they perform a thousand-year sacrifice for Krishna and his devotees in the forest of Naimisaranya. Questioned by the sages, topics covered by Suta Gosvami include the:

  • Birth of Pariksit – protected in the womb by Krishna – in the aftermath of the devastating Kurukshetra War
  • Appearance and instruction of Narada to Vyasadeva on the composition of the Srimad Bhagavatam
  • Meditation and inspiration of Vyasadeva on the western bank of the Sarasvati river to compile and revise the Bhagavata
  • Teaching of the Bhagavata by Vyasadeva to his already-liberated son, Suka Gosvami
  • Departure and disappearance of Krishna, followed by the signs and onset of Kali Yuga
  • Retirement of the Pandavas (including King Yudhisthira) and consequent enthronement of Pariksit
  • Attempts of Pariksit to stem the influence of Kali before being cursed by a Brahmana boy to die within seven days
  • Renunciation of Pariksit, who decided to fast until death (Prayopavesa) on the banks of the Ganges in devotion to Krishna
  • Arrival of sages (including Narada and Bhrgu) and their disciples to Pariksit's fast, followed by Suta Gosvami

SB 1.3.38 original Sanskrit:

स वेद धातु: पदवीं परस्य
दुरन्तवीर्यस्य रथाङ्गपाणे: ।
योऽमायया सन्ततयानुवृत्त्या
भजेत तत्पादसरोजगन्धम् ॥ ३८ ॥

Second Canto

Sukadeva Gosvami addressing Pariksit.

Consisting of 10 chapters,[49] the second canto opens with an invocation to Krishna. The second layer of overarching narration begins as a dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river (narrated by Sukadeva Gosvami to a group of sages headed by Saunaka in the forest of Naimisaranya). Questioned by Pariksit, the topics covered by Suta Gosvami include the:

  • Transcendental, supreme, eternal, and pure nature of Krishna
  • Universal Virat-Rupa and Maha-Vishnu forms of Krishna, as well as His scheduled avatars with their purposes
  • Process and laws of creation and annihilation of the universe
  • God realisation, Bhakti Yoga, devotional duties, and the need for a spiritual master (Guru)
  • Vedic knowledge, modes of material nature (gunas), karma, false (i.e. materialistic) ego, and illusion and suffering due to ignorance
  • Divisions (caste or varna) of society, common religious affiliations, and faith versus atheism

SB 2.5.35 original Sanskrit:

स एव पुरुषस्तस्मादण्डं निर्भिद्य निर्गत: ।
सहस्रोर्वङ्‌घ्रिबाह्वक्ष: सहस्राननशीर्षवान् ॥ ३५ ॥

Third Canto

Consisting of 33 chapters,[50] the third canto continues the dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river. Vidura, the sudra incarnation of Yama and devotee of Krishna, is the main protagonist narrated. After being thrown out of his home by King Dhritarashtra (his older half-brother) for admonishing the Kaurava's ignoble behaviour towards the Pandavas, Vidura went on a pilgrimage where he met other devotees of Krishna such as Uddhava and the sage Maitreya; their dialogues form a third layer of narration. Topics covered by Sukadeva Gosvami, Uddhava, and Maitreya include the:

  • Remembrance, pastimes, qualities, and kingdom (Vaikuntha) of Krishna
  • Universal – Virat-Rupa – form of Vishnu to animate dormant material energy for creation (with Kali, explicitly stated to represent His external energy)
  • Emergence of Brahma from Garbhodakasayi Vishnu; Brahma's prayers to Krishna, creation of living beings, and manifestation of the Vedas
  • Curse of the Four Kamaras on Jaya and Vijaya and their consequent incarnations as the demons Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu
  • Appearance of the Varaha avatar to lift the Earth out of the depths of the Cosmic Ocean (Garbhodakasayi) and destroy Hiranyaksa
  • Appearance of the Kapila avatar to expound Sankya philosophy and devotional service (Bhakti Yoga) for Krishna
  • Principles of material nature, divisions of creation, and calculation of time

SB 3.25.25 original Sanskrit:

सतां प्रसङ्गान्मम वीर्यसंविदो
भवन्ति हृत्कर्णरसायना: कथा: ।
श्रद्धा रतिर्भक्तिरनुक्रमिष्यति ॥ २५ ॥

Fourth Canto

Vishnu appears before Dhruva

Consisting of 31 chapters,[51] the fourth canto continues the dialogues of Sukadeva Gosvami, Uddhava, and Maitreya. There are additional layers of dialogue, such as between the sage-avatar Narada and King Pracinabharhisat (as narrated by Maitreya to Vidura). Focusing on the female descendants of Svayambhuva Manu, topics covered include the:

  • Genealogies of the daughters of Svayambhuva Manu and of Dhruva (grandson of Svayambhuva Manu)
  • Enmity between Daksa and Shiva, self-immolation of Sati (wife of Shiva and daughter of Daksa), and attack by Shiva on Daksa's ritual
  • Liberation of the boy-sage Dhruva, including advice from Narada, his vision of Vishnu, and battles between Dhruva and the Yaksas
  • Killing of the tyrant-king Vena by Brahmins before the appearance of the Prthu avatar to restore abundance of the Earth
  • Allegorical story, descriptions, and characteristics of King Puranjana, who was reborn as a woman due to thinking of his wife when he died
  • Activities of the Pracetas, including meeting with Shiva, instruction from Narada, and ultimate liberation
  • Qualities of Krishna, Vaishnava devotion (Bhakti Yoga), the soul (atman), the super-soul (paramatman), and materialistic life

SB 4.16.17 original Sanskrit:

मातृभक्ति: परस्त्रीषु पत्‍न्यामर्ध इवात्मन: । प्रजासु पितृवत्स्‍निग्ध: किङ्करो ब्रह्मवादिनाम् ॥ १७ ॥

Fifth Canto


Consisting of 26 chapters,[52] the fifth canto focuses on the dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river. Notable additional layers of dialogue are between the avatar Rsabha and his sons, and between Bharata and King Rahugana (the former was perceived as a fool and made to carry the latter's palanquin). Topics covered include the:

  • Appearance, life, and teachings of the publicly abused avatar Rsabha, the first Tirthankara (spiritual teacher) of Jainism
  • Appearance of Hayagriva to return vedic knowledge to Brahma
  • Activities, character, teachings, and liberation of King Bharata (incarnated as a deer and then a supposed idiot-Brahmin)
  • Activities and descendants of King Priyavrata, whose chariot wheels created the seven oceans and islands (i.e. continents)
  • Descriptions of the universe, sun, orbits of the planets, and the heavenly and hellish planets
  • Flow of the Ganges and expansion of Narayana as Vasudeva (Krishna), Sankarsana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha
  • Glories of Ananta / Sankarsana / Shesha / Tamasi

SB 5.5.1 original Sanskrit:

ऋषभ उवाच
नायं देहो देहभाजां नृलोके
कष्टान् कामानर्हते विड्भुजां ये ।
तपो दिव्यं पुत्रका येन सत्त्वं
शुद्ध्येद्यस्माद् ब्रह्मसौख्यं त्वनन्तम् ॥ १ ॥

Sixth Canto

Vrtrasura attacks Indra

Consisting of 19 chapters,[53] the sixth canto continues with the dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river. A notable additional layer of dialogue is between Yama and his messengers (called the Yamadatas). With the main focus on the battles of the demon-devotee Vrtrasura and his armies against the demigods led by Indra, as well as the life of King Citraketu, topics covered include the:

  • Life of Ajamila, a Brahmin that lost liberation due to sex-attraction but was liberated due to calling his son – Narayana – upon death
  • Instructions of Yamaraja to his messengers about justice, punishment, chanting, Vishnu's messengers, and surrender (Bhakti) to Krishna
  • Curse of Daksa on Narada, and a genealogy of the daughters of Daksa
  • Offence of Indra to Brhaspati, the appearance of Vrtrasura to battle the demigods, their prayers to Narayana and Vrtrasura's death
  • Story of King Chitraketu, the murder of his son, instruction from Narada and Angiras, meeting with Krishna, and curse by Parvati
  • Vow of Diti to kill Indra, her embryo being cut into 49 pieces by Indra but saved by Vishnu, and her purification through devotion
  • Performance of the Pumsavana ceremony for pregnancy with prayers to Vishnu and Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth and Fortune)

SB 6.3.13 original Sanskrit:

यो नामभिर्वाचि जनं निजायां
बध्नाति तन्‍त्र्यामिव दामभिर्गा: ।
यस्मै बलिं त इमे नामकर्म-
निबन्धबद्धाश्चकिता वहन्ति ॥ १३ ॥

Seventh Canto

Nrsimha and Prahlada (R).

Consisting of 15 chapters,[54] the seventh canto continues with the dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river. A notable additional layer of dialogue is between Narada and Yudhishthira about Prahlada, the devotee-son of the demon-King Hiranyakasipu (brother of Hiranyaksa, destroyed by the Varaha avatar in the third canto; the demonic brothers are incarnations of Jaya and Vijaya). Prahlada, protected by Krishna, survives multiple attempts to kill him until the arrival of the Nrsimha avatar to destroy his father, who could not be killed by any weapon, by any man or beast, or in the water, air, or on land. Topics covered include the:

  • Vow of demon-King Hiranyakasipu to destroy Vishnu, his austerities to become invincible, and conquering of the entire universe
  • Birth, abuse, and teachings of the devotee Prahlada, son of Hiranyakasipu, protected from death by Krishna
  • Arrival of the Nrsimha avatar to destroy Hiranyakasipu, later pacified by the prayers of Prahlada
  • Perfect society in the form of the four social and four spiritual classes or orders
  • Behaviour of a good person, ideal family life, and instructions to be civilised
  • Exposition that the absolute truth is a person – Krishna – who is the master and controller of all
  • Previous incarnations of Narada, and that Krishna lived with the Pandavas like an ordinary human being

SB 7.14.9 original Sanskrit:

मृगोष्ट्रखरमर्काखुसरीसृप्खगमक्षिका: ।
आत्मन: पुत्रवत् पश्येत्तैरेषामन्तरं कियत् ॥ ९ ॥

Eighth Canto

Vamana with Bali.

Consisting of 24 chapters,[55] the eighth canto continues the dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river. A notable additional layer of dialogue is between the Vamana avatar and King Bali about the demon-King Hiranyakasipu. Topics covered include the:

  • Details and ages of the four Manus (Svayambhuva, Svarocisa, Uttama, and Tamasa), and of the future Manus
  • Elephant Gajendra, rescued from Makara the crocodile by Vishnu riding his mount Garuda, after prayers of surrender
  • Battles between the demigods and the demons, the truce brokered by Vishnu, and churning of the ocean of milk by both factions
  • Appearance of the Kurma, Dhanvantari, Mohini, and Ajita avatars (and Lakshmi) during the churning of the ocean of milk
  • Second appearance of Mohini to beguile Shiva
  • Annihilation of the demons by Indra
  • Appearance of the Vamana avatar to take back the three worlds from King Bali in three footsteps, and the surrender of Bali to Him
  • Appearance of the Matsya avatar to save devotee-King Satyavrata from the flood (during the time of Hiranyaksa in the third canto)

SB 8.5.30 original Sanskrit:

न यस्य कश्चातितितर्ति मायां
यया जनो मुह्यति वेद नार्थम् ।
तं निर्जितात्मात्मगुणं परेशं
नमाम भूतेषु समं चरन्तम् ॥ ३० ॥

In 7th chapter of eighth canto mentioned Lord Shiva is also non different from Brahman. He is supreme ruler of the universe and the eternal refugee of all living beings.

Motilal Banarsidass Publications:

You are that Supreme mysterious Brahman, the creator of beings, of the higher and the lower order. You are the supreme soul who appear as the universe by means of your various powers (such as Sattva, Rajas and Tamas). Hence you are the Controller and Master of the Universe.
29. Oh Lord ! the five upanisads from which the collection of thirty eight mantras evolve, denote your (five) faces; that self-effulgence constituting the supreme principle which is designated as Shiva is your absolute state,

Ninth Canto


Consisting of 24 chapters,[56] the ninth canto continues the dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river. With no notable additional layers of dialogue, the primary focus is upon the male dynasties of various ruling figures (the female sides are covered in the fourth canto). Topics covered include the:

  • Pastimes of the Rama avatar that destroyed the demon-King Ravana (and Kumbhakarna; incarnations of Jaya and Vijaya)
  • Appearance of the Parashurama avatar to repeatedly destroy the corrupt, Godless ruling (Kshatriya) class
  • Genealogy and downfall of Saubhari Muni due to sex-desire (after seeing fish copulate), and his liberation through performing austerities
  • Story of King Yayati, cursed to suffer old age; after passing the curse to his son, he learned the futility of sense-pleasure and achieved liberation
  • Story of King Pururava, beguiled by the Apsara Urvasi, until he sated his lusty desires with a ceremonial fire
  • Genealogies of the sons of Svayambhuva Manu, and of the Kings Mandhata, Amsuman, Yayati, Bharata, Ajamidha, Puru, and Pururava
  • Genealogy of Krishna, and brief descriptions of His beauty and pastimes

SB 9.24.59 original Sanskrit:

अक्षौहिणीनां पतिभिरसुरैर्नृपलाञ्छनै: । भुव आक्रम्यमाणाया अभाराय कृतोद्यम: ॥ ५९ ॥

Tenth Canto

Krishna and Balarama Studying with the Brahman Sandipani (Bhagavata Purana, 1525-1550 CE print). Krishna in blue is seated next to Balarama, both wearing peacock-feather headdresses, in front of their teacher Sandipani. Two other students appear on the left.
Kuvalayapida Slain

Consisting of 90 chapters,[57] the tenth canto continues the dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river. Notable additional layers of dialogue all involve the lila (divine play) of the supreme and transcendental Krishna avatar. Thus focusing on the appearance and pastimes of Krishna, topics covered include the:

  • Imprisonment of Krishna's parents (Vasudeva Anakadundubhi and Devaki), the murder of His siblings, and attempted murder of baby Krishna by King Kamsa
  • Fostering of Krishna and Balarama by Nanda and Yashoda (Gopas, a tribe of cowherds); Yashoda saw the universal form in boy-Krishna's mouth
  • Attempts on baby and boy-Krishna's life by various demons, mostly sent by Kamsa (e.g. Putana, Trnavarta, Aghasura, Pralamba, Kesi, etc.)
  • Chastisement of Kaliya, swallowing of a forest fire, lifting of Govardhana Hill, stealing of Gopis' clothes, and the Rasa dance
  • Raas Leela is described very thoroughly and is shown in great detail in the Tenth Canto.
  • Defeat of numerous demonic foes (e.g. Kamsa, Jarasandha, Kalayavana, Narakasura, Paundraka, etc.) to diminish the burden of the Earth
  • Marriages to over 16,000 wives (and children with each), establishment of Dvaraka, return of the Syamantaka Jewel, and washing of Narada's feet
  • Defeat of Banasura and Shiva, daily activities, blessing of Sudama, blessing of His devotees, saving of Shiva from Vrkasura, and summary of glories

SB 10.90.50 original Sanskrit:

मर्त्यस्तयानुसवमेधितया मुकुन्द-
श्रीमत्कथाश्रवणकीर्तनचिन्तयैति ।
तद्धाम दुस्तरकृतान्तजवापवर्गं
ग्रामाद् वनं क्षितिभुजोऽपि ययुर्यदर्था: ॥ ५० ॥


The largest canto with 4,000 verses, the tenth canto is also the most popular and widely studied part of the Bhagavata.[58] It has also been translated, commented on, and published separately from the rest of the Srimad Bhagavatam.[59][60]

Eleventh Canto


Consisting of 31 chapters,[61] the eleventh canto continues the dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river. Notable additional layers of dialogue are between Narada and Vasudeva, and between Krishna and Uddhava (and in turn, other dialogues such as that between the Hamsa (swan) avatar and Brahma). Topics covered include the:

  • Curse and destruction of the Yadu Dynasty (through intoxicated in-fighting) at Prabhasa to relieve the burden of the Earth
  • Appearance of the Hamsa (swan) avatar to answer the questions of the sons of Brahma
  • Discourse of Narada to Vasudeva about the instruction of the '9 Yogendras' to King Nimi about Bhakti for Krishna
  • Final teachings of Krishna to Uddhava at Dvaraka (e.g. the story of a young Brahmin avadhuta narrating his 24 gurus to King Yadu)
  • Disappearance of Krishna after being shot in the foot by the hunter, Jara
  • Flood and destruction of Dvarka

SB 11.7.33–35 original Sanskrit:

पृथिवी वायुराकाशमापोऽग्निश्चन्द्रमा रवि: ।
कपोतोऽजगर: सिन्धु: पतङ्गो मधुकृद् गज: ॥ ३३ ॥
मधुहाहरिणो मीन: पिङ्गला कुररोऽर्भक: ।
कुमारी शरकृत् सर्प ऊर्णनाभि: सुपेशकृत् ॥ ३४ ॥
एते मे गुरवो राजन् चतुर्विंशतिराश्रिता: ।
शिक्षा वृत्तिभिरेतेषामन्वशिक्षमिहात्मन: ॥ ३५ ॥

The Uddhava or Hamsa Gita

Containing the final teachings of Krishna to His devotee Uddhava, the eleventh canto is also referred to as the 'Uddhava Gita' or 'Hamsa Gita'. Like the tenth canto, it has also been translated and published separately, usually as a companion or 'sequel' to the Bhagavad Gita.[62][63] 'Hamsa' means 'swan' or 'spirit',[64] and:

  • Is the name of the single class or order of society in Satya Yuga (as compared to four in Kali Yuga), the first and purest of the four cyclical yugas[65]
  • Symbolises Brahman (Ultimate Truth, Self, or Atman) in Hinduism[66]
  • Is the mount ridden by Brahma
  • Is the name of the tenth (i.e. swan) avatar of Krishna that taught the Vedas to Brahma (hence the symbolism of the swan being ridden by Brahma as a mount).

Twelfth Canto


Consisting of 13 chapters,[67] the twelfth and final canto completes the dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and Pariksit on the banks of the Ganges river, and ends with the overarching dialogue between Sukadeva Gosvami and the group of sages led by Saunaka, at the forest of Naimisaranya. Focusing on prophecies and signs of Kali Yuga, topics covered in this canto include the:

  • Degradation of rulers as liars and plunderers, and the symptoms of the age of Kali (e.g. atheism, political intrigue, low character of royals, etc.)
  • A list of the future rulers of the world, and the way they attained downfall
  • Final instructions to and death of Pariksit due to his curse (bitten by a poisonous serpent Takshaka)
  • Prayers of sage Markandeya to Nara-Narayana, resistance to Kamadeva sent by Indra to break his vows, and glorification by Shiva and Uma
  • Four categories of universal annihilation
  • Appearance of the Kalki avatar to destroy evil at the end of Kali Yuga
  • Description of the lesser and greater Puranas, and the eighteen major Puranas
  • Description of the Mahapurusa
  • Summary and glories of the Srimad Bhagavatam

SB 12.13.11–12 original Sanskrit:

आदिमध्यावसानेषु वैराग्याख्यानसंयुतम् ।
हरिलीलाकथाव्रातामृतानन्दितसत्सुरम् ॥ ११ ॥
सर्ववेदान्तसारं यद ब्रह्मात्मैकत्वलक्षणम् ।
वस्त्वद्वितीयं तन्निष्ठं कैवल्यैकप्रयोजनम् ॥ १२ ॥


While Bhakti Yoga and Dvaita Vedanta are the prominent teachings, states T. S. Rukmani, various passages show a synthesis that also includes Samkhya, Yoga, Vedanta, and Advaita Vedanta.[68]


Cutler states the Bhagavata Purana is among the most important texts on bhakti, presenting a fully developed teaching that originated with the Bhagavad Gita.[69] Bryant states that while classical yoga attempts to shut down the mind and senses, Bhakti Yoga in the Bhagavata teaches that the mind is transformed by filling it with thoughts of Krishna.[70]

Matchett states that in addition to various didactic philosophical passages the Bhagavata also describes one of the activities that can lead to liberation (moksha) as listening to, reflecting on the stories of, and sharing devotion for Krishna with others.[71] Bhakti is depicted in the Purana, adds Matchett, as both an overpowering emotion as well as a way of life that is rational and deliberately cultivated.[72]


Kapila Muni.
Main page: Philosophy:Samkhya

Surendranath Dasgupta describes the theistic Samkhya philosophy taught by Kapila in the Bhagavata as the dominant philosophy in the text.[73]

Sheridan points out that in the Third Canto, Kapila is described as an avatar of Vishnu, born as the son of the Prajapati Kardama, in order to share the knowledge of self-realization and liberation with his mother, Devahuti; in the Eleventh Canto, Krishna also teaches Samkhya to Uddhava, describing the world as an illusion, and the individual as dreaming, even while in the waking state. Krishna expounds Samhkhya and Yoga as the way of overcoming the dream, with the goal being Krishna Himself.[74]

Sheridan also states that the treatment of Samkhya in the Bhagavata is also changed by its emphasis on devotion, as does Dasgupta, adding it is somewhat different from other classical Samkhya texts.[75][74]


Sringeri Sharada Peetham is one of the Hindu Advaita Vedanta matha or monastery established by Adi Shankara.
Main page: Philosophy:Advaita Vedanta

Kumar Das and Sheridan state that the Bhagavata frequently discusses a distinctly advaitic or non-dualistic philosophy of Shankara.[5][76] Rukmani adds that the concept of moksha is explained as Ekatva (Oneness) and Sayujya (Absorption, intimate union), wherein one is completely lost in Brahman (Self, Supreme Being, one's true nature).[68] This, states Rukmani, is proclamation of a 'return of the individual soul to the Absolute and its merging into the Absolute', which is unmistakably advaitic.[68] The Bhagavata Purana is also stated to parallel the non-duality of Adi Shankara by Sheridan.[76] As an example:

The aim of life is inquiry into the Truth, and not the desire for enjoyment in heaven by performing religious rites,
Those who possess the knowledge of the Truth, call the knowledge of non-duality as the Truth,
It is called Brahman, the Highest Self, and Bhagavan.

—Sūta, Bhagavata Purana 1.2.10–11, Translated by Daniel Sheridan[77]

Scholars describe this philosophy as built on the foundation of non-dualism in the Upanishads, and term it as "Advaitic Theism".[76][78] This term combines the seemingly contradictory beliefs of a personal God that can be worshiped with a God that is immanent in creation and in one's own self. God in this philosophy is within and is not different from the individual self, states Sheridan, and transcends the limitations of specificity and temporality. Sheridan also describes Advaitic Theism as a "both/and" solution for the questions of whether God is transcendent or immanent, and credits the Bhāgavata with a 'truly creative religious moment' for introducing this philosophy.[76] The text suggests that God Vishnu and the soul (atman) in all beings is one in quality (nirguna).

Bryant states that the monism in Bhagavata Purana is certainly built on Vedanta foundations, but not exactly the same as the monism of Adi Shankara.[79] The Bhagavata asserts, according to Bryant, that the empirical and the spiritual universe are both metaphysical realities, and manifestations of the same Oneness, just like heat and light are "real but different" manifestations of sunlight.[79] Bryant notes that the tenth book of the Bhagavata does not, as is conventional for non-dualist schools, understand Krishna's form to be a "secondary derivation," which can be subsumed within the impersonal absolute. Rather than describe Brahman to be ultimately formless, the tenth book ascribes an "eternal personal element" to Brahman.[80]


The Dharma wheel.
Main page: Philosophy:Dharma

Kurmas Das states the Bhagavata Purana conceptualizes a form of Dharma that competes with that of the Vedas, suggesting that Bhakti ultimately leads to Self-knowledge, Moksha (salvation) and bliss.[81] The earliest mention of bhakti is found in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad verse 6.23,[82][83] but scholars such as Max Muller state that the word Bhakti appears only once in this Upanishad; and that being in one last verse of the epilogue it could be a later addition, and that the context suggests that it is a panentheistic idea and not theistic.[84][85]

Scholarly consensus sees bhakti as a post-Vedic movement that developed primarily during the Puranas era of India n history.[86] The Bhagavata Purana develops the Bhakti concept more elaborately, states Cutler,[87] proposing "worship without ulterior motive and with kind disposition towards all" as Dharma.[88][89] T.R. Sharma states the text includes in its scope intellectual and emotional devotion as well as Advaita Vedanta ideas.[90]

The text does not subscribe, states Gupta and Valpey, to context-less "categorical notions of justice or morality", but suggests that "Dharma depends on context".[91] They add that in a positive or neutral context, ethics and moral behavior must be adhered to; and when persistently persecuted by evil, anything that reduces the strength of the "evil and poisonous circumstances" is good.[91] That which is motivated by, furthers, and enables bhakti is the golden standard of Dharma.[91]


Main page: Philosophy:Yoga

Sarma states that the Bhagavata Purana describes all steps of yoga practice, and characterizes yoga as bhakti, asserting that the most important aspect is the spiritual goal.[92] According to Sarma and Rukmani, the text dedicates numerous chapters to yoga, such as Canto 10 (chapter 11), which begins with a declaration that Siddhi results from concentrating one's mind on Krishna, adding this substitutes the concept of a "personal god" in the Yogasutras of Patanjali, and contrasts with Patanjali's view that Siddhi is considered powerful but an obstacle to Samadhi.[92][93]

In other chapters of the text, Rukmani states, Śuka describes different meditations on aspects of Krishna, in a way that is similar to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.[68] However, adds Bryant, the Bhagavata Purana recommends the object of concentration as Krishna, thus folding in yoga as a form of bhakti and the "union with the divine".[68][94] Bryant describes the synthesis of ideas in Bhagavata Purana as:

The philosophy of the Bhagavata is a mixture of Vedanta terminology, Samkhyan metaphysics and devotionalized Yoga praxis. (...) The tenth book promotes Krishna as the highest absolute personal aspect of godhead – the personality behind the term Ishvara and the ultimate aspect of Brahman.

—Edwin Bryant, Krishna: A Sourcebook[95]

Sheridan as well as Pintchman affirm Bryant's view, adding that the Vedantic view emphasized in the Bhagavata is non-dualist, as described within a reality of plural forms.[96][97]


The source of many popular stories of Krishna's pastimes for centuries in the Indian subcontinent,[6] the Bhagavata Purana is widely recognized as the best-known and most influential of the Puranas, and as a part of Vedic literature (the Puranas, Itihasa epics, and Upanishads) is referred to as the "Fifth Veda".[98][99][100] It is important in Indian religious literature for its emphasis on the practice of devotion compared to the more theoretical approach of the Bhagavad Gita, for challenging the ritualism of the Vedas, and for its extended description of a God in human form.[5]

The Srimad Bhagavatam is the very essence of all the Vedanta literature. One who has enjoyed the nectar of its rasa never has any desire for anything else.

—Bhagavata Purana 12.13.15, Translated by David Haberman[101]

Hindu Festivals

The stories in the Bhagavata Purana are also the legends quoted by one generation to the next in Vaishnavism, during annual festivals such as Holi and Diwali.[102][103]

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) celebrates the promise of Canto 12, Chapter 13, Verse 13 by distributing sets of Srimad Bhagavatam leading up to the full-moon day of the month of Bhādra (Bhādra Purnima) in India and around the world.[104]


Chaitanya (1486–1534 CE)

Gaudiya Vaishnavism

Main pages: Biography:Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Religion:Gauranga, and Religion:Gaudiya Vaishnavism

The Bhagavata has played a significant role in the emergence of the Krishna-bhakti (Gaudiya Vaishnavism) movement of Chaitanya (1486–1534 CE), in Bengal.[105] The scriptural basis for the belief that Chaitanya is an avatar of Krishna is found in verses such as the following (Disciples of Swami Prabhupada translation):

In the Age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the names of Kṛṣṇa. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Kṛṣṇa Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions.

Chaitanya is commonly referred to as 'Gauranga' in regards to His golden complexion (as detailed in the Gauranga article, the Sanskrit word 'ākṛṣṇaṁ' means 'not blackish' and 'golden'), and is most notable for popularising the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. In regards to not being explicitly named as an avatar (unlike others such as Kalki) in the Bhagavata, this is also explained (Swami Prabhupada translation):

In this way, my Lord, You appear in various incarnations as a human being, an animal, a great saint, a demigod, a fish or a tortoise, thus maintaining the entire creation in different planetary systems and killing the demoniac principles. According to the age, O my Lord, You protect the principles of religion. In the Age of Kali, however, You do not assert Yourself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore You are known as Triyuga, or the Lord who appears in three yugas.

The key word in this verse in regards to Krishna incarnating in the age of Kali Yuga is 'channaḥ' (Sanskrit छन्न), which means ' hidden', 'secret', or 'disguised'.[106] In Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Chaitanya is accepted as a hidden avatar of Krishna that appeared in the age of Kali (also known as 'the Iron Age' and 'the age of quarrel') as His own devotee to show the easiest way to achieve Krishna Consciousness.[107] Modern Gaudiya movements such as the Gaudiya Math (established by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati in 1920) and others established by disciples of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, such as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada in 1966) and the Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math (by Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar in 1941), trace their disciplic lineages back directly to Lord Chaitanya.

Other Vaishnava Traditions

In the 15th–16th century Ekasarana Dharma in Assam, a panentheistic tradition whose proponents, Sankardeva and Madhavdeva, acknowledge that their theological positions are rooted in the Bhagavata Purana,[108] purged of doctrines that find no place in Assamese Vaishnavism[109] and adding a monist commentary instead.[110]

In northern and western India the Bhagavata Purana has influenced the Hari Bhakti Vilasa and Haveli-style Krishna temples found in Braj region near Mathura-Vrindavan.[111] The text complements the Pancharatra Agama texts of Vaishnavism.[111] While the text focuses on Krishna "Lord Narayana (Vishnu) himself appears and explains how Brahma and Shiva should never be seen as independent and different from him".[112] The sixth book includes the feminine principle as Shakti, or goddess Devi, conceptualizing her as the "energy and creative power" of the masculine yet a manifestation of a sexless Brahman, presented in a language suffused with Hindu monism.[96]

Jainism and Buddhism

The fifth canto of the Bhagavata Purana is significant for its inclusion of legends about the first Tirthankara of Jainism, Rishabha, as an avatar of Vishnu.[113] Further, his father Nabhi is mentioned as one of the Manus and his mother Marudevi also finds a mention. It further mentions the 100 sons of Rishabha including Bharata.[114] While homage to Shakyamuni Buddha is included in by declaring him as an avatar of Vishnu,[115] the interpretation of Buddhism-related stories in the Purana range from honor to ambivalence to polemics wherein prophecies predict some will distort and misrepresent the teachings of the Vedas, and attempt to sow confusion.[116][117][118] According to T. S. Rukmani, the Bhagavata Purana is also significant in asserting that Yoga practice is a form of Bhakti.[119]

The Arts

The Bhagavata Purana was a significant text in the bhakti movement and the culture of India.[120] Dance and theatre arts such as Kathakali (left), Kuchipudi (middle) and Odissi (right) portray legends from the Purana.[121][122]

The Bhagavata Purana played a key role in the history of Indian theatre, music, and dance, particularly through the tradition of Ras Leela. These are dramatic enactments about Krishna's pastimes. Some of the text's legends have inspired secondary theatre literature such as the eroticism in Gita Govinda.[123] While Indian dance and music theatre traces its origins to the ancient Sama Veda and Natyasastra texts,[124][125] the Bhagavata Purana and other Krishna-related texts such as Harivamsa and Vishnu Purana have inspired numerous choreographic themes.[126]

Many 'Ras' plays dramatise episodes related in the Rasa Panchadhyayi ("Five chapters of the Celestial Dance"; Canto 10, Chapters 29–33) of the Bhagavatam.[127] The Bhagavatam also encourages theatrical performance as a means to propagate the faith (BP 11.11.23 and 36, 11.27.35 and 44, etc.), and this has led to the emergence of several theatrical forms centred on Krishna all across India.[128] Canto 10 of Bhagavatam is regarded as the inspiration for many classical dance styles such as Kathak, Odissi, Manipuri and Bharatnatyam.[129] Bryant summarizes the influence as follows,

The Bhagavata ranks as an outstanding product of Sanskrit literature. Perhaps more significantly, the Bhagavata has inspired more derivative literature, poetry, drama, dance, theatre and art than any other text in the history of Sanskrit literature, with the possible exception of the Ramayana.

—Edwin Bryant, Krishna: A Sourcebook[130]

Commentaries and translations


The Bhagavata Purana is one of the most commented texts in Indian literature. There is a saying in Sanskrit – vidyā bhāgavatāvadhi – Bhāgavatam is the limit of one's learning. Hence throughout the centuries it attracted a host of commentators from all schools of Krishna worshippers. Over eighty medieval era Bhāṣya (scholarly reviews and commentaries) in Sanskrit alone are known, and many more commentaries exist in various Indian languages.[3] The oldest exegetical commentary presently known is Tantra-Bhagavata from the Pancaratra school. Other commentaries include:

Advaita Vedanta commentaries

  • Bhāvārtha-dīpikā by Śrīdhara Svāmī (15th century CE).[131][132] According to Ravi M. Gupta, this commentary "exerted extraordinary influence on later Bhāgavata commentaries, and indeed, on Vaiṣṇava traditions more generally." This influence is "particularly true of the Caitanya Vaiṣṇava commentaries by Sanātana Gosvāmi, Jīva Gosvāmī, Viśvanātha Cakravartī, and others."[132]
  • Amrtatarangini by Laksmidhara (15th century CE)[133]
  • A commentary by Madhusūdana Sarasvatī (c. 1540–1640) on the first verse of the Bhagavata Purana

Acintya-bhedābheda Commentaries

  • Caitanya-mata-mañjuṣā – Śrīnātha Cakravartī
  • Bṛhad-vaiṣṇava-toṣiṇī – Sanātana Gosvāmī
  • Laghu-Vaiṣṇava-toṣiṇī – Jīva Gosvāmī
  • Krama-sandarbha – Jīva Gosvāmī
  • Bṛhat-krama-sandarbha – Jīva Gosvāmī (attributed)
  • Ṣaṭ-sandarbhas by Jīva Gosvāmī (16th century CE)[134]
  • Sārārtha Darśinī – Vishvanatha Chakravarti (17th century CE) – elaborate commentary
  • Vaiṣṇavānandinī – Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa
  • Dīpika-dīpanī – Rādharamaṇa Gosvāmī
  • Gauḍīya-bhāṣya – Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati (20th century CE) – elaborate commentary
  • Bhaktivedānta Purports – A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (20th century CE) – elaborate commentary

Dvaita commentaries

  • Bhāgavata Tātparya Nirṇaya by Madhvacharya (13th century CE)
  • Pada-ratnavali by Vijayadhvaja Tīrtha (15th century CE) – elaborate commentary
  • Bhagvata Tatparya Nirnaya Tippani by Yadupati Acharya (16th century)
  • Duraghatabhavadipa by Satyabhinava Tirtha (17th century CE)
  • Bhaghavata-Sarodhara by Adavi Jayatirthacharya (18th century CE)
  • Srimadbhagavata Tippani by Satyadharma Tirtha (18th century CE)

Dvaitādvaita Commentaries

  • Siddhānta pradīpikā – Śuka-sudhī (Early 19th Century)

Suddhādvaita Commentaries

  • Subodhini by Vallabha
  • Bhagavatārtha Prakarana by Vallabha
  • Dashama Skandha Anukramanikā by Vallabha
  • Ṭippaṇī – Gosvāmī Viṭṭhalanātha
  • Subodhinī prakāsha – Gosvāmī Puruṣhottama
  • Bāla prabodhinī – Gosvāmī Giridharlāl
  • Viśuddha rasadīpikā – Kishorī prasāda

Viśiṣṭādvaita Commentaries

  • Śuka pakṣīyā – Sudarśana sūri
  • Bhāgavata-candrikā – Vīrarāghava (14th century CE) – elaborate commentary
  • Bhakta-rañjanī – Bhagavat prasāda


  • Hanumad-Bhasya
  • Vasana-bhasya
  • Sambandhoki
  • Vidvat-kamadhenu
  • Paramahamsa-priya
  • Suka-hridaya
  • Mukta-phala and Hari-lilamrita by Vopadeva
  • Bhakti-ratnavali by Visnupuri
  • Bhakti-Ratnakar by Srimanta Sankardev
  • Ekanathi Bhagavata by Saint Eknath of Paithan (16th century CE, on the 11th Canto in the vernacular language of the Indian state of Maharashtra)
  • Narayaneeyam by Melpathur Bhattathiri of Kerala (1586, a condensed Srimad Bhagavatam)
  • Bhāvārtha dīpikā prakāśa – Vaṁśīdhara
  • Anvitārtha prakāśikā – Gaṅgāsahāya
  • Bhagavata-Purana by S.S. Shulba (2017, original Sanskrit);[135] other Sanskrit manuscripts are available
  • A study of the Bhagavata Purana or Esoteric Hinduism by P.N. Sinha (1901)[136]


The Bhagavata has been rendered into various Indian and non-Indian languages. A version of it is available in almost every Indian language, with forty translations alone in the Bengali language.[3] From the eighteenth century onwards, the text became the subject of scholarly interest and Victorian disapproval,[130] with the publication of a French translation followed by an English one. The following is a partial list of translations:


  • Bhagavata of Sankara (1449–1568 CE, primary theological source for Mahapurushiya Dharma in the Indian state of Assam)[137][138][139]
  • Katha Bhagavata by Bhattadeva (Prose translation 16th century CE)


  • Sri Krishna-Vijaya by Maladhara Basu, a translation of the 10th Canto and a bit from others
  • Krishna prema tarangini by Shri Raghunatha Bhagavatacharya (15th Century CE)


  • Bhagavata Mahapurana published by Gita Press (2017)



  • Odia Bhagabata by Jagannatha Dasa (15th Century CE)


  • Andhra Maha Bhagavatam by the poet Pothana (15th century CE). It is considered as "the crown jewel of Telugu literature".


  • The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1970–77, includes transliterations, synonyms, and purports). Swami Prabhupada completed cantos 1 through 9 and the first thirteen chapters of canto 10 before he died. After his departure, a team of his disciples completed the work, which was then published by the Bhaktivedenta Book Trust.
  • A prose English translation of Shrimadbhagabatam by M.N. Dutt (1895, unabridged)[141]
  • Bhagavata Purana by Motilal Banarsidass Publishers (1950, unabridged)[142]
  • The Srimad Bhagavatam by J.M. Sanyal (1970, abridged)
  • The Bhagavata Purana by Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare (1976, unabridged)
  • Srimad Bhagavata by Swami Tapasyananda (1980, unabridged)
  • A Translation by B.P. Yati Maharaj of Mayapur Sri Chaitanya Math
  • Reading from Bhagabata by Gananath Das which has been translated from Odia Bhagabata
  • Bhagavata Mahapurana by C.L. Goswami and M.A. Shastri (2006, unabridged, Gita Press)[143]
  • Śrīmad Bhāgavatam with the Sārārtha darśini commentary of Viśvanātha Cakravartī by Swami Bhānu (2010)
  • Srimad Bhagavata Purana by Anand Aadhar (2012)[144]
  • The Bhagavata Purana by Bibek Debroy (2019, unabridged)
  • Śrīmad Bhāgavatam with the Krama sandarbha commentary of Jīva Gosvāmī by Swami Bhānu (2019)
  • Śrīmad Bhāgavatam with the Vaiṣṇavānandinī commentary of Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa by Swami Bhānu (2022–23)

English (partial translations and paraphrases)

  • Kṛṣṇa: The Supreme Personality of Godhead by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (part translation, condensed version: summary study and paraphrase of Canto 10)
  • Vallabhacarya on the Love Games of Krishna by James D. Redington (English translation of Vallabha's commentary on the Rāsa-Panchyādhyāyi)
  • The Bhagavata Purana; Book X by Nandini Nopani and P. Lal (1997)
  • Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God: Srimad Bhagavata Purana Book X by Edwin F. Bryant (2004)[145]
  • The Wisdom of God: Srimat Bhagavatam by Swami Prabhavananda (part translation, part summary and paraphrase)
  • The Uddhava Gita by Swami Ambikananda Saraswati (2000, prose translation of Canto 11)
  • Bhagavata Purana by Ramesh Menon (2007, a 'retelling' based on other translations)
  • Bhakti Yoga: Tales and Teachings from the Bhagavata Purana by Edwin F. Bryant (2017, selections of verses and commentary)
  • Bṛhad Vaiṣṇnava Toṣaṇī (Canto 10) of Sanātana Gosvāmī by Swami Bhānu (2020)
  • Laghu Vaiṣṇava Toṣaṇī (Canto 10) of Jīva Gosvāmī by Swami Bhānu (2020)


  • Bagavadam ou Bhagavata Purana by Maridas Poullé (1769)
  • Le Bhagavata Purana by Eugene Burnouf (1840)

See also




  1. Thompson, Richard L. (2007). The Cosmology of the Bhagavata Purana 'Mysteries of the Sacred Universe. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. p. 10. ISBN 978-81-208-1919-1. 
  2. Dominic Goodall (1996), Hindu Scriptures, University of California Press, ISBN:978-0520207783, page xli
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Bryant (2007), pp. 112
  4. Sheridan (1986), p. 53.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Kumar Das (2006), pp. 172–173
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Bryant (2007), p. 111–113.
  7. Brown (1983), pp. 553–557
  8. Sheridan (1986), pp. 1–2, 17–25.
  9. Katz (2000), pp. 184–185.
  10. Rocher (1986), pp. 138–151
  11. Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey (2013), The Bhagavata Purana, Columbia University Press, ISBN:978-0231149990, pages 3–19
  12. Constance Jones and James Ryan (2007), Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Infobase, ISBN:978-0816054589, page 474
  13. Kumar Das (2006), p. 174
  14. Barbara Holdrege (2015), Bhakti and Embodiment, Routledge, ISBN:978-0415670708, page 114
  15. 15.0 15.1 Barbara Holdrege (2015), Bhakti and Embodiment, Routledge, ISBN:978-0415670708, pages 109–110
  16. "ŚB 1.3.40" (in en). 
  17. Richard Thompson (2007), The Cosmology of the Bhagavata Purana 'Mysteries of the Sacred Universe', Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN:978-8120819191
  18. Jean Filliozat (1968), Tamil Studies in French Indology, in Tamil Studies Abroad, Xavier S Thani Nayagam, pages 1–14
  19. "Sanskrit-English Dictionary". 
  20. "Sanskrit-English Dictionary". 
  21. "ŚB 1.3.28" (in en). 
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Sanskrit-English Dictionary". 
  23. Parmeshwaranand, Swami (2001) (in en). Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Puranas. Sarup & Sons. pp. 222. ISBN 978-81-7625-226-3. "purana word completes." 
  24. "Sanskrit-English Dictionary". 
  25. "Sanskrit-English Dictionary". 
  26. "Sanskrit-English Dictionary". 
  27. "Sanskrit-English Dictionary". 
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 Sheridan (1986), p. 6
  29. 29.0 29.1 Sheridan (1986), p. 10–12
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 van Buitenen, J. A. B (1966). "The Archaism of the Bhagavata Purana". in Milton Singer. Krishna: Myths, Rites, and Attitudes. pp. 23–40. . Reprinted in van Buitenen (1996), pp. 28–45
  31. Gupta, Ravi; Valpey, Kenneth (2013). The Bhagavata Purana. Columbia University Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0231149990. 
  32. Bryant (2007), pp. 5–9, 113–114
  33. Matchett, Freda (2003). "The Purāṇas". in Flood, Gavin D.. The Blackwell companion to Hinduism. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 129–144. ISBN 978-0-631-21535-6. 
  34. Estimated dates given by some notable scholars include: R. C. Hazra – 6th century, Radhakamal Mukherjee – 9th–10th century, Farquhar – 10th century, Nilakanta Sastri – 10th century, S. N. Dasgupta – 10th century Kumar Das (2006), pp. 172–173
  35. 35.0 35.1 Sheridan (1986), p. 1-16.
  36. Kumar Das (2006), p. 172-173.
  37. Sheridan (1986), p. 11-14.
  38. Edwin Bryant (2002), The Date and Provenance of the Bhagavata Purana, Journal of Vaishnava Studies, Vol 2, Issue 1, pages 51-80
  39. "Sanskrit-English Dictionary". 
  40. "Sanskrit-English Dictionary". 
  41. "CHAPTER TEN" (in en). 
  42. "ŚB 12.7.9–10" (in en). 
  43. Edelmann, Jonathan (2018). "Bhāgavatapurāṇa". in Jacobsen, Knut A.. Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online. Brill. 
  44. 44.0 44.1 Sharma, Arvind (2003) (in en). The Study of Hinduism. Univ of South Carolina Press. pp. 142–143. ISBN 9781570034497. 
  45. Rao, Velcheru Narayana (2017-06-01) (in en). Text and Tradition in South India. SUNY Press. pp. 32. ISBN 9781438467757. 
  46. Sharma, Rajendra Nath; Singh, Nag Sharan; Gaṅgāsahāya (1987) (in sa). श्रीमद्भागवतमहापुराणम्: अन्वितार्थप्रकाशिकाख्यव्याख्यासमेतं = The Bhāgavatamahāpurāṇam. Delhi: Nag Publishers. OCLC 17508743. 
  47. (in en) The Bhagavata Purana 1. Penguin Random House India Private Limited. 2019-01-05. pp. xix-xxi. ISBN 9789353053789. .
  48. "Canto 1: Creation" (in en). 
  49. "Canto 2: The Cosmic Manifestation" (in en). 
  50. "Canto 3: The Status Quo" (in en). 
  51. "Canto 4: The Creation of the Fourth Order" (in en). 
  52. "Canto 5: The Creative Impetus" (in en). 
  53. "Canto 6: Prescribed Duties for Mankind" (in en). 
  54. "Canto 7: The Science of God" (in en). 
  55. "Canto 8: Withdrawal of the Cosmic Creations" (in en). 
  56. "Canto 9: Liberation" (in en). 
  57. "Canto 10: The Summum Bonum" (in en). 
  58. Bryant (2007), p. 112.
  59. Bryant, Edwin F. (2003-12-04) (in en). Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God: Srimad Bhagavata Purana. Penguin Books Limited. ISBN 9780140447996. 
  60. Prabhupāda, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami (1994-04-01) (in en). Krsna: The Supreme Personality of Godhead. Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. ISBN 9780892131365. 
  61. "Canto 11: General History" (in en). 
  62. Saraswati, Swami Ambikananda (2002) (in en). The Uddhava Gita. Ulysses Press. ISBN 9781569753200. 
  63. Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati; Purnaprajna Das; Viśvanātha Cakravartī (2007). The Uddhava-Gītā: ultimate companion to Bhagavad Gita by the same speaker : original Sanskrit text, roman transliterations, and translations featuring Sārārtha darśinī commentary by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, chapter summaries and Gauḍiya bhāṣya purport by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. Kolkata: Touchstone Media. ISBN 9788187897194. OCLC 191006938. 
  64. "Sanskrit-English Dictionary". 
  65. "ŚB 11.17.10" (in en). 
  66. Jones, Lindsay (2005). Encyclopedia of religion, Volume 13. Macmillan Reference. pp. 8894. ISBN 978-0028657332. 
  67. "Canto 12: The Age of Deterioration" (in en). 
  68. 68.0 68.1 68.2 68.3 68.4 Rukmani (1993), pp. 217–218
  69. Cutler (1987), p. 1
  70. Bryant (2007), p. 117
  71. Matchett (1993), p. 103
  72. Matchett (1993), p. 104
  73. Dasgupta (1949), p. 30
  74. 74.0 74.1 Sheridan (1986), p. 42-43.
  75. Dasgupta (1949), p. 24.
  76. 76.0 76.1 76.2 76.3 Sheridan (1986), p. 1-22.
  77. Sheridan (1986), p. 23 with footnote 17.
  78. Brown (1998), p. 17
  79. 79.0 79.1 Edwin Bryant (2004), Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God: Srimad Bhagavata Purana Book X, Penguin, ISBN:978-0140447996, pages 43–48
  80. Bryant (2007), p. 114.
  81. Kumar Das (2006), p. 174
  82. Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN:978-8120814684, page 326
  83. Max Muller, Shvetashvatara Upanishad, The Upanishads, Part II, Oxford University Press, page 267
  84. Max Muller, The Shvetashvatara Upanishad, Oxford University Press, pages xxxiv and xxxvii
  85. Paul Carus, The Monist at Google Books, pages 514–515
  86. Karen Pechilis Prentiss (2014), The Embodiment of Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN:978-0195351903, page 17, Quote: "Scholarly consensus today tends to view bhakti as a post-Vedic development that took place primarily in the watershed years of the epics and Puranas."
  87. Norman Cutler (1987), Songs of Experience, Indiana University Press, ISBN:978-0253353344, pages 1–5
  88. Kumar Das (2006), pp. 173–175
  89. Bryant (2007), p. 382
  90. TR Sharma (1993), Psychological Analysis of Bhakti, Love Divine: Studies in Bhakti and Devotional Mysticism (Editor: Karel Werner), Routledge, ISBN:978-0-7007-0235-0, pages 103–107
  91. 91.0 91.1 91.2 Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey (2013), The Bhagavata Purana, Columbia University Press, ISBN:978-0231149990, pages 8–10, 30–32
  92. 92.0 92.1 Rāma Karaṇa Śarmā (1993), Researches in Indian and Buddhist Philosophy, Motilal Barnarsidass, ISBN:978-8120809949, pages 218–221
  93. Rukmani (1993), pp. 220, 224
  94. Bryant (2007), pp. 117–118
  95. Bryant (2007), pp. 114
  96. 96.0 96.1 Tracy Pintchman (1994), The rise of the Goddess in the Hindu Tradition, State University of New York Press, ISBN:978-0791421123, pages 132–134
  97. Sheridan (1986), p. 17–21.
  98. Sheridan (1986), p. 1–16.
  99. Matchett (2001), pp. 107
  100. Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam. ed. India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 76. 
  101. Haberman & Rūpagōsvāmī (2003), p. 65
  102. Usha Sharma (2008), Festivals In Indian Society, Mittal, ISBN:978-8183241137, page 177
  103. Selina Thielemann (1998), Sounds of the Sacred Music in India, APH, ISBN:978-8170249900, pages 96–98
  104. "Bhadra Campaign 2020" (in en). 
  105. Edwin Francis Bryant and Maria Ekstrand (2004), The Hare Krishna Movement: The Postcharismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant, Columbia University Press, ISBN:978-0231122566, page 15
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  107. Sridhar, Bhakti Rakshak (in en). The Golden Volcano of Divine Love: The Highest Conception of Ultimate Reality. Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. pp. 36. 
  108. Chatterji, Suniti Kumar. "The Eka-sarana Dharma of Sankaradeva: The Greatest Expression of Assamese Spiritual Outlook". 
  109. SN Sarma (1966), The Neo-Vaisnavite Movement and the Satra Institution of Assam, Gauhati University, ISBN:978-8173310263, page 27, Quote: "the Chapters of the Bhagavata Purana, where the Pancharatra theology is discussed, have been omitted by Assamese translators"
  110. "...the influence of the Bhagavata Purana in forming the theological backbone of Assam Vaishnavism in quite clear and the monistic commentary of Sridhara Swami is highly popular amongst all sections of Vaishnavas" SN Sarma (1966), The Neo-Vaisnavite Movement and the Satra Institution of Assam, Gauhati University, ISBN:978-8173310263, page 26
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  114. Doniger (1993), p. 243.
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  116. John Holt (2004), The Buddhist Visnu, Columbia University Press, ISBN:978-0231133227, pages 13–31
  117. Ludo Rocher (1986), The Puranas, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN:978-3447025225, pages 110–111
  118. Gail Adalbert (1968), Buddha als Avatara Visnus im Spiegel der Puranas, Deutscher Orientalistentag, Vol. 17, pages 917–923
  119. T. S. Rukmani (1993), Researches in Indian and Buddhist Philosophy (Editor: RK Sharma), Motilal Barnarsidass, ISBN:978-8120809949, pages 217–224, Quote (page 218): "The Bhagavata emphasizes yoga as bhakti and it is in the method of realization of its spiritual goal that yoga becomes important".
  120. Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey (2013), The Bhagavata Purana, Columbia University Press, ISBN:978-0231149990, pages 185–200
  121. ML Varadpande (1987), History of Indian Theatre, Vol 1, Abhinav, ISBN:978-8170172215, pages 98–99
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  123. Graham Schweig ( 2007), Encyclopedia of Love in World Religions (Editor: Yudit Kornberg Greenberg), Volume 1, ISBN:978-1851099801, pages 247–249
  124. Beck (1993), pp. 107–108.
  125. PV Kane, History of Sanskrit Poetics, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN:978-8120802742 (2015 Reprint), pages 10–41
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  127. Datta (2006), p. 33
  128. Varadpande (1987), pp. 95–97
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  131. "Archived copy". 
  132. 132.0 132.1 Gupta, Ravi M. Why Śrīdhara Svāmī? The Makings of a Successful Sanskrit Commentary
  133. Anand Venkatkrishnan, "The River of Ambrosia: An Alternative Commentarial Tradition of the Bhagavata Purana," The Journal of Hindu Studies 11 (2018):53–66.
  134. Barbara Holdrege (2015), Bhakti and Embodiment, Routledge, ISBN:978-0415670708, pages 149–150
  135. SHASHANK SHEKHAR SHULBA (2017-02-20). Bhagavata-Purana. 
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  137. "The Holy Kirttana". atributetosankaradeva. 2012-03-29. 
  138. "The Bhagavata of Sankaradeva; Assamese rendering of the Bhagavata Purana". atributetosankaradeva. 2008-10-02. 
  139. "Gunamala". atributetosankaradeva. 2008-04-16. 
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  143. Gita Press. Bhagavata Purana Gita Press. 
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  145. Edwin Bryant (2004), Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God: Srimad Bhagavata Purana Book X, Penguin, ISBN:978-0140447996


Further reading

  • Mani, Vettam. Puranic Encyclopedia. 1st English ed. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1975.
  • C Mackenzie Brown (1983), The Origin and Transmission of the Two "Bhāgavata Purāṇas": A Canonical and Theological Dilemma, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Vol. 51, No. 4, pages 551–567
  • Edwin Bryant (2004), Krishna: The Beautiful Legend of God: Srimad Bhagavata Purana Book X, Penguin, ISBN:978-0140447996
  • Sanjukta Gupta (2006), Advaita Vedanta and Vaisnavism: The Philosophy of Madhusudana Sarasvati, Routledge, ISBN:978-0415395359
  • Ravi Gupta and Kenneth Valpey (2013), The Bhagavata Purana: Sacred Text and Living Tradition, Columbia University Press, ISBN:978-0231149990
  • Ithamar Theodor (2015), Exploring the Bhagavata Purana, IB Tauris, ISBN:978-1784531997

External links


Sanskrit original