Kakchingtabam Brajamani Sharma
It is becoming a question to the sociologist, while studying the course of human civilisation, whether there would be the significance of Shri Mad Bhagavatam Mahapurana in this modern society having maximum population of scientific mind-set and which concerns scientific way in every aspect.
Science has given us devices that can terminate the earth within seconds, that can carry us anywhere in the space and the chat of the people concerns with robot, transplants of limbs, tours in other planets. In such a condition, what kind of impact to the youngsters be given by the story of the fight between a huge elephant and a huge crocodile for thousands of year.
There is, indeed, a gap of concept on the mythological import to the modern scientific tempered minds. The paper is an effort to link up the gap.
The salient feature of the epic :
Shri Mad Bhagavatam was written by Veda Vyasa on the instruction of Devarshi Narda, while he was pondering on the feeling of something which he left neglected, though he compiled valuable volumes on different topics including the great Mahabharata. Devarshi provided the knowledge for the great work ( I Canto. 5th Chapter).
This epic is regarded as the idol of Shri Krishna. There are 12 Cantoes, 335 Chapters and is said having 18,000 verses. To have a glimpse on the contents of the epic, the three verses of invocation (manglacharana), the ten lakshanas and the chatuh shloki Bhagavata are to be referred. They are laid hereunder in short.
(A) Manglacharanam – The first verse of the epic says that the ultimate reality which is separated from the enveloping illusion, by the method of Anvaya-Vyatireka, be meditated on (Satyam Param Dheemahi).
The Reality is the only existence absolute. In the second verse, it is said that that resides in the heart, just at the moment when the man wishes to listen the Purana, which can eliminate the three types of agony (Sadyo hridyavarudhyate’tra kritibhih shushrushu bhistatkshanat). The third verse shows that great words are more brilliant when great persons pronounce them (shuka mukhadamritadravasamyutan. It is also said that the same should be listen time and again. (I.1.1-3)
(B) The Chatuh Shloki Bhagavatam declares that the Lord alone was before creation and will be alone after destruction. Everything is He alone and is seen different by dint of Illution. One should separate the illusory effects by the process of “no, no” and only the Supreme Existence be absorbed as “yes, yes” method. (II. 9. 32-35).
(C) The epic deals with ten problems. (i) Sarga, which is the process of projecting the Primordial Nature and the great five elements, the creation of organs etc. (Bhutamatrendriyadhiyam janma Sargah), (ii) Visarga, the following creation by Brahma (Brahmano gunaveishamyada Visargah), (iii) Sthiti, the existance of Veikuntha, which is real among the unreal (Sthitir Veikuntha vijayah), (iv) Poshana, the doctrine of protection (Poshanam tadanugrah), (v) Manvantara, to demonstrate the real nature of dharma (Manvantarani Saddharmah), (vi) Uti, the desire to karma or effort (Utayah Karmavasanah), (vii) Ishakatha, stories which can move the mind (Satameeshakathah), (viii) Nirodha, the attraction of the individual souls towards Him (Nirodha syanushayanamatmanah), (ix) Mukti, to retain at the original state (Muktih swarupena vyavasthitih), and (x) Ashraya, the ultimate truth called Param Brahma, Paramatma (Sa ashrayah param brahma paramatmeti shavdyate). (II.10.3-7).
Out of these ten, the first three belongs to the Nature, the next four is the ways of the souls towards the Supreme and the last three is the stage of being Jiwa-Brahma oneness. Therefore, the philosophy of Bhagavata embraces the Advaita, Dvaita, Visistadvaita and others.
Elements from shri madbhagabata, significant in modern society
The variety of human knowledge may be grouped into two, material and spiritual. Material knowledge relates to all types of body, viz. Physical, astral, mental, airy, yachana (of enjoying pleasure and pain), ativahika (super speed moving) etc. etc. Spiritual knowledge centered at spirit or Atma.
Jiva or individual soul is material concerned spirit and by the term spirit, a part of the Supreme Spirit (Paramatma) is meant for.
Modern men strive for getting maximum happiness from minimum effort and they probe into the intention in the laboratories, while spiritual men strive for unending happiness amidst the transitory system of the universe and they search it in the house of this individual soul, the body.
In the laboratory, the desired state is supposed to have proved, which is known as hypothesis is laid first and is tried using several means to prove the same as truth. After the matter is proved, it is converted into utility and made the same available to the people.
For instance, invention of scientific appliances, say, mobile sets, was conducted in the laboratory with the imagination that talking at for distances be possible (hypothesis) and to prove its utility electronics are used and so on, which ultimately made available to the people as mobile hand sets.
On the other hand, the spiritual research system is started in the body. The ornamental portion, the essential parts which are different from the ultimate truth or the only existance residing in the body are chocked out by means of ‘No no, Yes yes’ device (Anvaya Vyatireka) or others like “wrong conceptualisation” (Adhyaropana), “Misunderstanding” (Annyonya adhyasa) etc. which are suitable or handy to the researcher and by such investigation the spiritual student gets something which is called Siddhi and is super natural in structure.
Thus, the scientific system tries to manifest into knowledge aspect of a knowledge, to concretise an idea to harmonise the utility for the masses whereas, the spiritual system tries to understand the knowledge by sublimating the idea into enjoyable called intuition for the few.
It seems, therefore, as opposite systems. But, it is not so.
Matter relates to Nature and spirit to the Almighty and both the systems enable one to understand the Universe. Hence, the great Epic under consideration, refers Maya (Nature) and I (the Supreme Lord) in Manglacharana, Lakshana and the Chatuh Shloki, to be meditated and to be discriminated.
In the Epic, the description of Chaturvyuh is described as Vasudeva in the innermost, Sankarshana in the next, Pradyumna in the next and Anirudha at the outermost. The name of the Lord in each core may be interpreted as Absolute Existance (Sat), gravity, form of light and that which is fastened respectively.
It gives an idea of the modern concept of the form of an atom. An atom has nucleus, having positively charged protons at the inner core, the neutron, having no charge and the electrons, having negatively charged particles and that the function of an atom is determined by the action of the electron.
The Epic refers Lord Pradyumna as the producer of the lotus on which the Creator was found Himself sitting on. Thus, the action of electron in an atom may be compared the action of Pradyumna in Coscology.
When an electron is at rest, it is called electrostatic, when made moving in a regular speed it is called electricity and when made quick movement it is said to be electronics, so also the Lord when remains quiet, it is called Yoganidra and so on.
The modern Political Thought says about Democracy, Autocracy, Socialism etc. and the idea on such form of government had already been narrated in the Epic. The right to be the king of Mathura was solely to Vasudeva, the father of Shri Krishna, who dethroned and killed the tyranny (Kamsa), but the same was offered to Ugrasena, who ruled the province and this is a good example of democracy.
The rule of Hiranyakashipu, Kamsa etc. were autocracy whereas the rule of king Prithus as described in Canto IV, is said to be the form of Socialism, all in their primitive forms. Thus, the epic describes different systems of administrations. It cannot be given the reward for the introduction of political thoughts to modern philosophers like socrates, Plato, Aristotle etc. for the epic had already given the forms of government earlier.
Regarding Astronomy, the details about the planets, constellations and the respective activities of the heavenly bodies towards the inhabitants of the planet Earth, as detailed in the V Canto (16-26 Chapters) and also in XII Canto etc. really proved the excellence in this knowledge and much significant to the modern thinkers like Galelio, Copernicus and others, who are wrongly regarded by simple and ignorant people as the propounder of the actual movements of heavenly bodies.
(To be contd)
The writer is MA, Acharya, B Lib (Gold Medalist) and Retd Librarian
Kakchingtabam Brajamani Sharma