Srimad Devi Bhagavatam-Devi Bhagavata Purana

Srimad Devi Bhagavatam-Devi Bhagavata Purana

Srimad Devi Bhagavatam or Devi Bhagavata Purana is a Hindu Purana written in Sanskrit. Hindu Shakta devotees consider this Purana to be Mahapurana (main Purana). However, Devi Bhagavata Purana is an important Purana for all communities.

Devi Bhagavata Purana is composed of a total of twelve Skandhas (divisions) and 316 chapters. In the Shakta sect of Hinduism, Mahashakti is considered to be the original creator of the universe and Brahma (supreme truth). Devi Mahatmyam and Devi Bhagavata Purana are the two most important books in this community. In the Devi Bhagavata Purana, the goddess is mentioned as the source, creator, nurturer and destroyer of all living beings and savior. Although Mahasakti is mentioned and worshipped in all the other major Puranas of Hinduism, this text describes her as the primordial deity and all the subjects of this Purana revolve around her. The basic philosophy of this Purana is similar to Advaita Vedanta. At the same time, special emphasis has been laid on devotional worship of the superpower.

Devi Bhagavata Purana

The 506 verses (Chapter:31-40, Skandha:7) of the Devi Bhagavata Purana are also considered as a separate part like the Bhagavad Gita part of the Mahabharata. This part is called Devi Gita.

The first Skandha of the Devi Bhagavata Purana gives the outline of the Purana, the arrangement of its contents and the details of how this Purana was first glorified in the sage assembly in the mythical forest Naimisharanya. According to this Purana, all forms of absolute truth were at first ‘nirguna’ (formless and past of virtue; in a word, in that state there was nothing but absolute truth). Although according to this Purana, this nirguna truth was a ‘Bhagwati’ (woman). She manifested herself through the three ‘Shakti'(powers or forces). These three forces are – Sattviki (true, creative action), Rajasi (effort, aimless action) and Tamasi (maya, destructive action).

The second Skandha is small. It is mythological. In this part the characters of the Hindu text, Mahabharata have been introduced. At the same time, the main characters who are seen at the end of the Devi Bhagavata Purana have also been introduced here.

The third Skandha deals with the Goddess and devotion to the Goddess. This section describes how the Goddess created Mahasaraswati, the power or consort of the creator Brahma, Mahalakshmi, the power or consort of Lord Vishnu, and Mahakali, the power or consort of the Lord Shiva. The third Skandha also mentions some legends of another Hindu text, Ramayana.

A few more legends are mentioned in the fourth Skandha. This includes the conversation between Krishna and Shiva. Tantric topics and meditation topics are also discussed in this section.

The fifth and sixth Skandhas describe the later parts of the previous legends. Half of these two sections show the superiority of the Goddess. Here it is seen that the male gods are running towards her in trouble and since She herself is the idol of wisdom, She is easily solving the problems of the gods. This parts show that all male deities are subordinate to and dependent on the Goddess.

The content in the seventh Skandha of the Devi Bhagavata Purana has turned a lot towards philosophy. This part gives a strong explanation of the essence of the Vedas. The Devi Gita belongs to this section. The Goddess explained that She is the creator of the world, Brahma. Following the Advaita view or pjhilosophy here, it is said that spiritual liberation can be attained only when one realizes the oneness of Brahman with one’s own soul. According to the Goddess, this knowledge can be acquired by isolating oneself from the world and meditating on one’s soul. This section describes the Goddess-related festivals, pilgrimage-related information and ways to remember her. The details of her relationship with Shiva and the birth of Skanda are briefly discussed in this Skandha. The last ten chapters (31st to 40th chapters) of this section are the famous philosophical reference to the Gita. This section is also published as a separate scripture as mentioned above.

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The eighth Skandha of the Devi Bhagavata Purana contains one of the five signs of Hindu mythology. Here the geography of the earth, planets and stars, the motion of the sun and the moon and the interpretation of time and the Hindu calendar are discussed.

The longest part of this Purana is the ninth Skandha. It is similar in structure and content to the ‘Prakritikhand’ part of the Brahmavaivarta Purana. Both parts are goddess-centric and both parts discuss theology. But there is a difference between the two parts. Many verses in the Prakritikhand of the Brahmavaivarta Purana praise Vishnu by mentioning various names (incarnations). These parts have been added in the ninth Skandha of the Devi Bhagavata Purana. But the name of the Goddess has been used instead of the name of Lord Vishnu.

The tenth Skandha of the Devi Bhagavata Purana is one of the smallest sections. It contains ‘Manvantar’ and other necessary features of a major Purana. It is also said that the Goddess is worshipped in every universal time cycle. Because, she is the best and she is the one who suppresses the evil and keeps the discipline.

The eleventh Skandha of this Purana deals with the ‘village’ (village, group) and the ‘virtues’ and religion of the person belonging to the ‘country’ (state). Shruti is praised in this part and it is said that Shruti is the main scripture. It has also been said that Smriti and Purana books are also helpful scriptures. It is also said here that Tantra is also a helpful scripture. But as long as Tantra does not go against the Vedas, it is helpful. The source of the Rudraksha beads, the greatness of wearing a tilak or Tripundra on the forehead, five types of Sandhyabandana(evening prayer) and the five types of Yajna are described in the eleventh Skandha.

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In the twelfth Skandha of the Devi Bhagavata Purana, the Goddess is mentioned as Vedjanani, Adyashakti (Adi Parama Shakti) and the essence of Gayatri Mantra. In the verses, a list of 1008 names important in Hindu religious practice has been prepared from each letter of Gayatri Mantra. These are the names of sages, gods and goddesses, musical rhythms, posturers and the Mother Goddess.

By Krishna Das

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