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RANGASWAMY_at_plh.af.mil
Date: Tue Dec 10 1996 - 05:21:46 PST

Dear Members of the Prapatti group,

I am forwarding the following article at the request of Sri Sadagopan.
Somehow this post did not show up on the list when he sent it.

Best Wishes,

Muralidhar Rangaswamy

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RE:	Copy of: Source Literature on Srimadh Bahgavatham--Posting # 3

Dear Members of the Bhakthi group :

Over the Centuries , many scholars have contributed 
annotations and commentaries on Bhagavatham. Others
have condensed the 18, 000 slokAs of Bhagavatham in their 
own languages into smaller versions. Yet others have focussed
on the dasama skandham or the tenth canto , which deals exclusively
with the life and message of Lord KrishNa . Even many advaitins like
Jnana Deva (AD 1275-1296 ) of MaharaashtrA , Madhusudhana 
Saraswathi ( Circa AD 1675 ) , who were monistic dialecticians 
succumbed  to the charm of Lord KrishNa celebrated in the tenth
Canto .They became His ardent devotees and accepted the principle
of a personal God and Bhakthi doctrine.

The great Sanskrit scholar from MaharashtrA , Eknath ( AD 1548-1600 )
wrote a marAtti commentary on the eleventh skandham of Bhagavatham .
Narasimha Mehta (AD 1441-1481) of Gujerat depicted the sports of 
KrishNA in his work known as Bhagvati PurANam . He is well known for his 
song "VaishNavo Janatho " . Mira Bhai (born AD 1550 ) , the wife of 
RaaNA KumbhA of MewAr had intense longing to obain Lord KrishNA 
as her husband and relinquished all her worldly desires and surrendered 
her soul to Him . She followed the path of Bhagavatha DharmA and 
established RaagAthma SambhandhA (unalterable emotional 
attachment ) to Giridhar naath  . She composed immortal bhajans
and roamed in Brindhaavan , while singing them to the last of her breath.

Chaitanya MahA prabhu (AD 1485-1533) known for Sri KrishNa Prema 
DhAnam (gift of Love for KrishNA ) is an AchaaryA , whose life was an example 
of Bhagavatha Dharmam . The philosophy of Gaudiya VaishNavism of Bengal
established by Chaitanya and his six Goswamins and its origin in KeraLa. 
Chaitanya was strongly influenced by the work of Saint  of Villamangalam
( Born AD 1300 ) known otherwise as LeelAsukhar . The mellifluent KrishNa
KarNAmrutham was composd by Leelaasukhar , which inspired ChaitanyA 
and completely changed his life. LeelAsukhar himself was born in 
Sukhapuram ,a village named for Sukha Deva   because of its reputation
as a center for scholars on Srimadh Bhagavatham . 

The earliest of recent (!) Achaarya , who expressed his bhakthi to 
Lord KrishNA was Adhi SankarA himself  through his composition , 
GovindAshtakam on the Lord of GuruvAyoor .. 

KeraLA  has always been a great land known for erudite scholars , 
who were experts in the intrepretation of Srimadh Bhagavatham and in
the practise of Bhakthi to Lord KrishNA consecrated at the temple of
GuruvAyoor . One of them was PoonthAnam , a contemproary of Sri 
NarAyaNa Bhattadhiri , the author of the sacred Sri NarayaNeeyam . 
PoonthAnam was a great scholar in MalayALam . He spent most of
his ninety years of life intrepreting Bhagaavtham at the Guruvayoor 
temple and performing bhajans in front of the Lord. He gave to us 
the work known as Jnanaa pAna (song of wisdom )  based on the 
incidents covered by Bhagavatham . 

Prince Maanadevan , the ruler of Calicutt was another great scholar,
who created eight plays based on the Dasama skandham known as
KrishNa Geethi , which formed the basis of KrishNAttam . These dance
dramas are performed even today at the Guruvayoor temple 
and are the  forerunners of today's KathakaLi .

In more recent years, Kudallur Kunjikkavu Nambhoodhri (AD 1839-1903) 
was a great scholar of Bhagavatham . He was trained by his father 
to become a second Sukha Deva in the exposition of Bhagavatham.
He was successful in preaching the efficacy of KrishNa nAma Japam. 
He was followed by Vasudevan nambhoodhri (AD 1891-1947 ) . He was
also born at Sukhapuram. He tackled the stupendous task of writing 
a MalayALam commentary for Bhagavatham .  After completing 
his commentary on the ninety first chapter, he was called back to the 
holy feet of the Lord Guruvayoorappan . Bhagavatham has 360 chapters
and it appears that the Lord was pleased with the completion of
one fourth of the work undertaken in the realm of His leelA vibhuthi
( one fourth of His world ) and united him with the rest of the three
fourth of His world (Nitya Vibhuthi ) .

The three disciples of Chaitanya followed the inspiration obtained by 
their Acharya at KeraLA and wrote their own commentaries  on Bhagavatham.
Santana Goswamin produced the Brahad BhagavathAmrutha; 
Rupa Goswamin produced a  condensed version . Jiva Goswamin 
composed Bhagavatha SandarbhA , known otherwise as Sarva Sambhadini .
These Goswamins with their unique understanding of the teachings of 
Bahgavatham converted quite an emotional religion founded by Chaitanya
into the scholastic philosophy of Gaudiya VaishNavism , a strong religious
force in today's Bengaal .

Elsewhere in India , Sankara Deva (AD 1449 -1568) of Assam --originally 
a SaakthA -- was influenced by Bhagavatham and became an ardent devotee
of KrishNA of the dasama skhandham . He propagated VaishNava Bhakthi 
cult in the eastern-most corner in India. A vast literature on Bhagavatham 
in Assamese  resulted form his efforts. His major works are six lyrical 
dramas dealing with the eight skandAs of the Bhagabvatha PuraNam .

In Andhra Pradesh , PottaNNa wrote his version of Bhagavatham in Telegu.
A copy of PottaNNa's Bhagavatham was  a treasured possession of
Saint Thyagaraja (AD 1767-18447 ) , one of the musical trinities of
Carnatic music. Born of a Telegu family settld in Tamil Naadu ,
Saint Thyagaraja used PottaNNa's Bhgavatham for 
his daily PaarAyaNam .

>From the fifth to the ninth centuries , the mystical poets and 
the God-hungry AzhwArs of Tamil Naadu made liberal use of 
the Dasama Skhandam in their devotional songs. Prominent
among them are NammAzhwAr , PeriyaazhwAr  and his daughter,
AandAL . The bhakthi doctrines were intrepreted by these AzhwArs 
through their melodious poems, which were set to music later by another
Acharya known as Natha Muni .NammaazhwAr says in one of his 
Paasurams : " There is naught else; we tell it in brief to all the beings of 
the world ; sorrow not; the thought of the Lord alone is enough. Ah! 
even if you do not attain worldly wealth , evil will not come to you;
learn the fautless glory of our Lord born as a cowherd in North MathurA
and know it as best to live in its thoughts ."  

PeriyazhwAr , the author of ThirupallAndu and Periya Thirumozhi 
enjoyed the playful pranks of Bala KrishNA in Gokulam described in
chapters 5-25 0f the Dasama Skandham . In one of his moving verses ,
he says : " O You ills tormenting me for long! Listen, I tell you now ,
this body of mine has become the holy shrine of the great Lord , the 
cowherd KrishNA ; know that ! O you ills that sink me down! I tell you one
more word; you have no more hold here ; know that and walk out ; this is not 
the old town; it has now ben taken over as a protected place . "

ANdAL , who became the bride of God imitated the gOpis of BrindhAvan and 
composed verses , where she expressed her longing to have KrishNA as her 
husband.  In one of her ThiruppAvai verses , she summarizes the Bhagavatha
dharmA as follows : " Lord GovindhA !O  Lord without any blemish ! Listen to 
the idea of us coming to You in the small hours of the morning , bowing to
You and offering service at Your golden lotus feet . O Lord born among
cowherds! You should not go away without accepting our Kaimkaryam .
We are not serving You to gain some thing for today or tomorrow. We are
serving You and You alone. Please banish all other  desires and distractions
from our minds ."

The HaridAsAs of KarnatakA -- Purandara DAsA (AD 1480- 1564 ) , 
Kanaka DAsA , Vijaya DAsA -- were also great BhagavathAs , whose
lives were shaped by the teachings of Srimadh Bhagavatham . IN KarnAtakA ,
the eight maTAs of Udipi are great centers of expositions on Srimadh
Bhagavatham . The Ishta Daivam (personal God ) of the  achaaryAs of 
the mutts is  none other than Udipi KrishNan, the Lord celebrated
in the Dasama Skandham .

In every nook and corner of India , we find Bhagavathaas , who have
served as a  potent instrument for the spreading of the Bhakthi cult.
Be it the soul-stirring slokaas of KrishNa KarNAmrutham or exquisite
lyrics of Jaya Deva's Gita Govindham describing the sublime love of
Radhaa and KrishNA , the BhagavathA philosophy advocated by 
Srimadh Bhagavatham has shaped the lives and thoughts of millions in
the Indian subcontinent . The elite and the every day man have been blessed
by this experience . This tradition will no doubt endure  , given the power of
the message enshrined in Srimadh Bhagavatham .

Sri VaishNava Daasan ,

Oppiliappan Koil VaradAchAri Sadagopan