Some philosophical problems in the Bhagavata Purana

Siddhesswar Bhattacharya
1947
Of the three currents of religious philosophy, that have been wielding stupendous influence over post-Vedic India, (Saivism, Saktaism and Vaisnavism) Vaisnavism is the most outstanding. Of the two schools of Vaisnavism viz the Pancaratra and the Bhagavata, the latter is conspicuously represented in the Srimad-Bhagavata Purana - the work constituting the subject-matter of the present thesis. The historical aspect of the work in question, such as, the evolution of the Puranas in general and the
more » ... n general and the Bhagavata in particular, the evolution of Vaisnavism especially Bhagavatism, is dealt with in the ' Introduction'. As to its philosophical aspect, the three fundamentals of Bh?gavatism are : (1) Bhagavan Sri-Krsna is the ultimate reality, (2) he is the pivot of the doctrine of descents and (3) devotion is the means to attain him. Accordingly, these three have been dealt with, in details, in the thesis. The treatment of the subject is mainly expository and is based upon the original text and the well-known commentator, Sridhara Svami. The meanings of terms and expressions in Sanskrit passages have been considered at their face value and no attempt has been made to adjust any of them to any particular viewpoints. The work has so far been thought to be a conglomeration of diverse systems of philosophical and religious thoughts. The readers of the Bh?gavata Purana have often missed to find in the text a consistent philosophical outlook, and various interpretations have thus been adduced mainly in regard to isolated episodes and in disregard of the poem as a unit The present thesis is intended t o be the first attempt to give the interpretation in the latter view. The main contribution is (1) the assertion of the fourth grade of reality, over and above the first grade of reality as expounded by Sankara and the second and the third grades of reality of later Vaisnavism ; (2) devotion (bhagavata dharma) as a compromise of knowledge (jnana), devotion (bhakti) and detachment (vairagya), standing upon the common platform of actionless [...]
doi:10.25501/soas.00029181 fatcat:do5wucqhijglrj36zfbgxkx2ja