Difference between the ‘purity’ of Śrīmadbhāgavatamahāpurāṇa and that of Śrīśivapurāṇa (Hindi version published earlier) –
Not only the Śrīmad-bhāgavatam, but also, the Śiva Purāṇa is devoid of ‘kaitava’ i.e. deceit. Furthermore, it is full of Vedānta. –
“vikaitavo dharma iha pragīto vedāntvijñānamayaḥ pradhānaḥ” (Śīva-purāṇa 1/2/66)
Refutation of the above view by Bhaktirasavedāntapīṭhādhīśvara Ācārya Śrī Gurupāda –
- If we take the literal meaning of verse 1.2.66 of the Śīva-purāṇa, it is contradicted by verse 1.4.31 of the Śrīmad-bhāgavatam brought to the world by Vedavyāsa in the very end of His literary career. (“kiṁ vā bhāgavatā dharmā na prāyeṇa nirūpitāḥ / priyāḥ paramhaṁsānāṁ ta ev hy acyutapriyāḥ //”). “uttarottaraṁ prāmāṇyam” (the latter proof is considered to be stronger than the former). As per this convention too, the authenticity of the Śrīmad-bhāgavatam reigns supreme because of it being the last scripture produced by Mahāmuni Vedavyāsa!
- Had Vedavyāsa already delineated the supreme bhāgavata-dharma (in Śiva-purāṇa), the words of Nārada Muni in Śrīmad-bhāgavatam 1.4.31 would have been meaningless! Therefore, the purity of Śiva-purāṇa is “relative” and not “absolute/ultimate”. On the other hand, the purity of Śrīmad-bhāgavatam (as accepted in 1.1.2 – “dharmaḥ projjhita kaitavo ’tra paramo..”) is absolute and final because, in the Śrīmad-bhāgavatam 9.4.67 (“matsevayā pratītaṁ te sālokyādicatuṣṭayam / nechhanti sevayā pūrṇāḥ kuto ’nyat kālaviplutam //”) and 3.29.13 (“sālokyasārṣṭi……..dīyamānaṁ na gṛhṇanti vinā matsevanaṁ janāḥ” ) – are such proofs that eliminate even the deceit of liberation. Śrīdhara Svāmipāda and the classical Sanskrit commentators of all the Vaiṣṇava Sampradāyas have, in “dharmaḥ projjhita kaitavo ‘tra paramo” of ŚBMP 1.1.2, considered the desire and delineation of liberation (mokṣa-pipāsā or mukti-pratipādanam) to be the supreme impurity or deceit (“praśabdena tu mokṣābhisandhirapi nirastaḥ” – from unanimously accepted Bhāvārthadīpikā Commentary of Śrīdharasvāmī). This kind of purity or the complete absence of the desire for liberation is not absent, but very much present in the Śivapurāṇa (because there is no proof/verse in the Śivapurāṇa that decries the concept of liberation). Thus, the purity of Śivapurāṇa is greatly relative and limited. The meaning of “non-deceit” or ‘kaitava’ in the context of Śivapurāṇa is, one-pointedness in devotion to Śiva which can be considered to be “purity” or “non-deceit” for the devotees of Śiva.
(BRVF’s Ācārya Śrīs statements)
“If we take the literal meaning of the śloka 1.2.66 of the Śivapurāṇa, it is contradicted by śloka 1.4.31 of the Śrīmad-bhāgavatam brought to the world by Vedavyāsa in the end. (“kiṁ vā bhāgavatā dharmā na prāyeṇa nirūpitāḥ / priyāḥ paramahaṁsānāṁ ta ev hy acyutapriyāḥ//”).
Śaivite view contd. —
If it is believed that bhāgavata-dharma has not been delineated anywhere else except in the Śrīmadbhāgavatam, it will be contradictory to other Purāṇas because even they describe bhāgavatadharma. The proper inclusion of knowledge, devotion and renunciation (jñāna, bhakti and vairāgya) is, also, seen in Purāṇas other than the Śrīmadbhāgavatam e.g. – “yatra gītaṁ trikaṁ prītyā bhaktijñānavirāgakam //” (Śivapurāṇa 1/3/4). Therefore, it is proper to conclude that bhāgavatadharma has been chiefly described in the Śrīmadbhāgavatam as compared to other Purāṇas, and not that it has been only described in the Śrīmad-bhāgavatam. For example – “vedāntavedyaṁ sadvastu viśeṣeṇa pravarṇitam” (Śivapurāṇa 1/3/5). Just like even after culmination of the study of Śrīgītā, hearing its glories, māhātmya presents unique pleasure, the Śrīmadbhāgavatam should be considered in the same way.
Refutation of the above view by Bhaktirasavedāntapīṭhadhīśvara –
The devotion, knowledge and renunciation that is described in the Śivapurāṇa is not in the category of bhāgavatadharma. How?
- If the devotion, knowledge an renunciation the Śivapurāṇa describes in 1.3.4 were of the category of bhāgavatadharma, Śrī Nārada Muni would have revived bhakti, who is the energy of Śrī Kṛṣṇa [“paramānandacinmūrttiḥ sundarīṁ kṛṣṇavallabhāṁ” – Padmapurānā, Uttara-khṇḍa, Bhāgavata-māhātmya, Ch. 2, verse 5] and also the mistress of liberation viz. Muktidevī, her maidservant [“muktiṁ dāsīṁ dadau tubhyaṁ jñāṇavairāgyakāvimau” – Padmapurāṇa, Uttarakhaṇḍa, Bhāgavatamāhātmya, Ch. 2, verse 7] and her two sons jñāna (knowledge) and vairāgya (renunciation) from unconsciousness by fully reciting the Śivapurāṇa. But we get to see something quite opposite as per the proof in Padmapurāṇa i.e. (Padmapurāṇa, Uttarakhaṇḍa, Bhāgavatamāhātmya, Ch. 2, Verses 39-41) – “hāhākāro mahānasītrailokye vismyāvaha / vedvedāntaghoṣaiśca gītāpāṭhairvibodhitam // bhaktijñānavirāgāṇāṁ nodatishṭhatrikaṁ yadā / upāyo nāparo ‘stīti kaṛne karṇe ‘japañjanāḥ // yoginā nāradenāpi svayaṁ na jñāyate tu yat //” And (Padma-purāṇa, Uttara-khaṇḍa, Bhāgavata-māhātmyam, Ch. 2, Verse 27) – “vedavedāntaghoṣaiśca gītāpāṭhairmuhurmuhuḥ / bodhyamānau tada tena kathañciccothitau balāt //.” And (Padmapurāṇa, Uttarakhaṇḍa, Bhāgavatamāhātmyam, Ch. 2, Verse 64-65) – “vedavedāntaghoṣaiśca gītāpāṭhaiḥ prabhodhitam / bhaktijñānavirāgāṇāṁ nodatiṣṭht trikaṁ yadā// śrīmadbhāgavatālāpāt tatkathaṁ bodhameṣyati //” And (Padmapurāna, Uttarakhaṇḍa, Bhāgavatamāhātmyam, Ch. 2, Verse 72-73) – “vedāntavedasusnāte gītāyā api kartari / paritāpavati vyāse muhyatyajñānasāgare // tadā tvayā purā proktaṁ catuḥślokasamanvitam / tadīyaśravaṇātsadyo nirbādho bādarāyaṇaḥ //” and (Padmapurāṇa, Uttarakhaṇḍa, Bhāgavatamāhātmyam, Ch. 3, Verse 15 +20) – “vedāntāni ca vedaś ca mantrastantraḥ samūrttayaḥ / daśasaptapurāṇāni ṣaṭśāstrāṇi tathā ‘yayuḥ // vedopaniśado ‘nyatra….” And in the end (Padmapurāṇa, Uttarakhaṇḍa, Bhāgavatamāhātmyam, Ch. 3, Verse 70) – “bhavadbhiradyaiva kṛtāsmi puṣṭā kalipraṇaṣtāpi kathārasena….” – on the basis of all of the above evidence, it is established beyond dispute that when Vyāsa was unhappy even after publishing all Vedas (śrutis/upaniṣads), Vedānta (Brahmaṣutra), all the other 17 Purāṇas (including Śivapurāṇa and 18 Upapurāṇas) and Śrīmadbhagavadgītā (Mahābhārata) etc., and even after studying Vāmīkīya Rāmāyaṇam (as evidenced in Bṛhaddharmaupapurāṇa by Vyāsa), Śrīmadbhāgavatam had come to his rescue and it is established that when even after the recital of Vedas, Vedānta, Gītā(whole prasthāna-trayī) and other Purāṇas (including Śivapurāṇa) the distress of bhakti, jñāna and vairāgya wasn’t mitigated, only Śrīmadbhāgavatamahāpurāṇa (having 10 characteristics; other Purāṇas have only 5 characteristics) proved to be efficacious! The verse cited from Padmapurāṇa above clearly says that all the 17 other Purāṇas were seated in the session wherein the distress of jñāna, bhakti and vairāgya was removed through the medium of Śrimadbhāgavatakathā – this is irrefutable evidence that proves that if the Śivapurāṇa had the power, it wouldn’t have had to sit among the audience and hear Bhāgavatakathā, but would have instead cured the malady of bhakti, jñāna and vairāgya. But this not being the case, is itself a proof of the special significance of Śrīmadbhāgavatam and also, by ‘śrutārthāpatti pramāṇa’ (where something heard remains incomplete without imagining something else to go along with it) , it is established that the jñāna, bhakti and vairāgya (knowledge, devotion and renunciation) that the Śivapurāṇa talks about in 1.3.4, are in fact, in a different category from the jñāna, bhakti and vairāgya described in the Śrīmadbhāgavatam (for if they were not in a different category, then jñāna, bhakti and vairagya would have been revived by the recital of Śivapurāṇa).
- The question now arises, what category do the knowledge, devotion and renunciation mentioned in the Śivapurāna belong to? The answer is that the Matsya and the Brahmvaivarta Purāṇas categorize the Śivapurāṇa as a tāmasika (in mode of ignorance) purāṇa and therefore, the jñāṇa, bhakti and vairāgya (knowledge, devotion and renunciation) described by a tāmasika scripture (which is originally rooted in a sāttvika background) will necessarily be of the tāmasika category—on the basis of the rationale of sameness in the nature of the expounder and the expounded. We could also prove this in another way that, Śrīmad-bhāgavatam clearly assumes that Lord Śiva is camouflaged in the three modes of material nature and accepts Śrī Viṣṇu to be beyond the modes of material nature – the proof is – (Śrīmad-bhāgavatam 10.88.5)—“harir hi nirguṇaḥ sākṣāt puruṣaḥ prakṛteḥ paraḥ / sa sarvadṛg upadṛṣṭā ca taṁ bhajan nirguṇo bhavet //” And (Śrīmadbhāgavatam 10.88.3 ) – “śivaḥ śaktiyuto śaśvat triliṅgo guṇasamvṛtaḥ / vaikārikaś taijaśas ca tāmasaś cetyahaṁ tridhā //” – on the basis of this evidence, it is clear that when the subject matter of Śiva Purāṇa, Lord Śiva is Himself covered with the three modes of material nature (though not influenced by those modes), then the expounder scripture related to such Lord Śiva, the Śivapurāṇa too, is covered in the triple modes of material nature (triguṇātimikā māyā) and the jñāna, bhakti and vairāgya delineated in that Śivapurāṇa, are also, of the same category, i.e. covered by the three modes of material nature; whereas, the expounder scripture of Lord Hari, who is beyond the three modes of material nature, is the Śrīmadbhāgavatam, again wholly transcendental to the triple modes of material nature and the jñāna, bhakti and vairāgya delineated in the Śrīmadbhāgavatam, are also, of the same transcendental quality. The knowledge, devotion and renunciation found in the Śivapurāṇa do not belong to this category.
- The vedāntmayatva ( being a form or manifestation of vedānta) and the purity of Śivapurāṇa, in this context, stands in a different category than the vedāntmayatva and purity of Śrīmadbhāgavatam on the basis of the irrefutable rationale presented above.
(Assertions earlier made by Bhaktirasavedāntapiṭḥādhīśvara)
“uttarottaraṁ prāmāṇyam” (the latter proof is considered to be stronger than the former). As per this convention too, the authenticity of the Śrīmadbhāgavatam reigns supreme because of it being the last scripture produced by Vedavyāsa ! Had Vedavyāsa already delineated the supreme bhāgavatadharma (in Śivapurāṇa), the words of Nārada Muni in Śrīmadbhāgavatam 1.4.31 would have been meaningless! Therefore, the purity of Śivapurāṇa is “relative” and not “absolute/ultimate”. On the other hand, the purity of Śrimad-bhāgavatam (as accepted in ŚBMP 1.1.2 – “dharmaḥ projjhita kaitavo ‘tra paramo”) is absolute and final because in the Śrīmadbhāgavatam 9.4.67 (“matsevayāpratītaṁ te ———-”) and ŚBMP 3.29.13 (“sālokyasārṣṭi……”) – are such proofs that eliminate even the deceit of liberation. Śrīla Śrīdharasvāmipāda and the classical Sanskrit commentators of all the Vaiṣṇava Sampradāya on ŚBMP, have, in “dharmaḥ projjhita kaitavo ‘tra paramo” of ŚBMP 1.1.2, considered the desire and delineation of liberation to be the major impurity or deceit (“praśabdena tu mokṣābhisandhirapi nirastaḥ” – Bhāvārthadīpikāof Śrīdharasvāmī). This kind of purity or the complete absence of the desire for liberation is not absent but very much present in Śivapurāṇa (because there is no proof/verse/prose/assertion in the Śivapurāṇa that decries the concept of five-fold liberation). Thus the purity of Śivapurāṇa is greatly relative and limited. The meaning of “non-deceit” in the context of Śiva-purāṇa is one-pointedness to devotion to Śiva which can be considered to be “purity” or “non-deceit” for the devotees of Śiva.
Actual Śaivāite View –
Distinguishing between preceding and succeeding portions of one purāṇa, (originally, purāṇa is one) which is divided into eighteen parts is simply a sign of a restive intellect and nothing else. It has been said that in the beginning of creation, the single Purāṇa was revealed in Śrī Brahmā’s heart in its undivided singular form – “purāṇaṁ sarvaśāstrāṇāṁ prathamaṁ brahmaṇā smṛtam” (Matsya-puraāṇa 53/3). Which part of Lord Sri Hari is formed first and which one later? Similarly, in the case of Purāṇa, there is eternal oneness and therefore, there cannot be any notion of precedence or succession. Śrī Vyāsadeva is not the creator of the Śrīmad-bhāgavatam; He is simply the compiler of the scripture, and so the concept of latter proof doesn’t apply. We have already clarified our position with regard to the morphology of the Purāṇa in our previous statements and therefore, the meaningless imagination created and expanded on this issue has been clearly refuted.
Refutation of the above view by Bhaktirasavedāntapīṭhādhīśvara –
That one Purāṇa is divided into eighteen is a fact that we know, but Śrīmadbhāgavatam was fully manifest with all its constituents in the end and the fact that Śrīmadbhāgavatam is the last and latest scripture to be produced by Śrī Vedavyāsa is corroborated in the Ānanda-rāmāyaṇam of the Vāmīkī, too. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmīpāda, in his Tattva Sandarbha, has, through numerous irrefutable proofs, established that Śrīmadbhāgavatam, a precise explanation of the brahma-gāyatrī, was first manifest in its subtle form in the heart of Śrī-kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Bādarāyaṇa Vedavyāsa (the knowledge incarnation of Nārāyaṇa) while He was in trance. Thereafter, Śrī Vyāsa abridged its elaborate meaning and codified it in the form of sūtras or aphorisms. In other words, the initial condensed version was now manifest in a little expanded form. Later, the Śrīmadbhāgavatam in the elaborate meaning visible today and comprising 18000 verses of anuṣṭupa metere, replete with all elements such as logic, citation, historical-part, the purport of Gāyatrī and epilogue etc., was manifest and preached in the world. This is why the other Purāṇas mention the Śrīmadbhāgavatam and the Mahābhārata, too, mentions 18 Purāṇas; whereas, as per Śrīmabhāgavatam (from canto 1st Ch. 4 to Ch. 7), ŚBMP is the last publication from Lord Viśṇurūpa Vyāsa—all these facts are simultaneously true without presenting the argument of kalpabheda (distinction between periods/millennia and the resultant variation happening in the occurences) because Śrīmadbhāgavata has manifested first in codified form, second in a little expanded form and finally, in a fully expanded form comprising 18000 verses. The dialogue between Śrī Śukadeva and Parīkṣit is eternal, too, for it has been mentioned in in the Padmapurāṇa in the dialogue between Sage Gautama and King Ambarīṣa (“ambarīṣa ! śukaproktaṁ nityaṁ bhāgvataṁ śrṇu / paṭhasva svamukhenāpi yadīcchasi bhavakṣayam //”), that took place in the Satya Yuga. Therefore, the reconciliation of all these statements lies in acknowledging the fact that the Śuka-Parīkṣit dialogue is eternal and timeless, and that it manifests only in the end of Dvāpara Yuga of the 28th cycle of the Seventh Manvantara of every Kalpa (just as in a play, the plot already exists, but the enacting happens quite later). As per the Skanda Purāṇa, it can be concluded that in the Satya Yuga, Śrīmadbhāgavatam existed generally with all other Purāṇas (as it was manifest in the beginning of creation from the breath of the Lord), but it disappeared by the end of Dvāpara and (just as the knowledge of Śrīmad-bhagavad-gītā disappeared and the Lord had to manifest it again for Arjuna), when Śrī Brahmā, Rudra and other demigods requested Śrī Viṣṇu (context from Skanda-purāṇa), He (Viṣṇu) descended in the form of Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vedavyāsa and published the Śrīmadbhāgavatam in the abovementioned order. In essence, calling Śrīmadbhāgavatam the last manifested scripture is relevant and scripturally correct. Evidence – (Tattva Sandarbha) – “pūrvaṁ sukṣmattvena manasyāvirbhūtaṁ tadeva saṅkṣiptasya sūtratvena punaḥ prakaṭitaṁ paścaād vistīrṇatvena sākṣād śrībhāgavatamiti”.
Śaivāite View: –
According to the Matsya Purāṇa (54.69)—
“aṣtādaśapurāṇāni kṛtvā satyavatīsutaḥ / bhāratakhyānamakhilaṁ cakre tadupabṛmhitam //”
The gist is that Śrī Vyāsa wrote the Mahābhārata after compiling the 18 Purāṇas. Śrīmadbhāgavatam is counted as the 5th Purāṇa among the total eighteen. So there is no abiding rule that says Śrīmadbhāgavata appears in the very end. Keeping in mind the content matter of the Śrīmadbhāgavata, it can be said that due to kalpa-bheda (difference in periods), there exists a difference in the order of appearance of the scripture.
Refutation of the above view by Bhaktirasavedāntapīṭhādhīśvara –
The explanation given in the Tattva Sandarbha (which has the objective of presenting the conception in relation to the appearance of the Śrīmadbhāgavatam and its reconciliation with various statements related to the ŚBMP in various other Purāṇas) excerpted in the comments before this one perfectly resolves this issue (by śrutārthāpatti evidence) that the ŚBMP that was manifest before the Mahābhārata was the condensed form of the scripture. Regarding the placement of the Śrīmadbhāgavatam in the 5th place, Śrīla Vyāsa presents a list of all 18 Purāṇas at the end of each Purāṇa and places the Bhāgavatam in a different place in different lists. This proves that the order of mention of the scripture in the Purāṇas is not the same as the order of appearance of the scripture—it is simply a formal mention.
Essence – the Śaiva debaters stand clueless.
— Bhaktirasavedāntapīṭhādhīśvara Ācārya Śrī RKDS ‘ĀV’ Gurupāda (Anand, Gujarat, India)