Can you explain the various characteristcs by which the essential meaning of a book can be ascertained?

by Bhavin KatariaNovember 27, 2013

From Pancha Pandava P

Answer Podcast

The relevant verse is:

upakramopasamharav abhyaso purvata phalam
arthavadopapatti ca lingam tatparya-nirnaye

Transcription by: Vinesh Ramjith Prabhu

Question: Can you explain the characteristics by which the meaning of a book can be known?

Answer: This refers to thetatparya-lingam.  This is a well known verse which is quoted by all the acaryas.  upakramopasamharav abhyaso ‘purvata phalam, arthavadopapatti ca lingam tatparya-nirnaye. So this refers to upakramo. Upakramo is what is the beginning of a book. Upasamha is what is the ending of the book. Abhyas is often used to mean practice , like abhyasena tu kaunteya vairagyena practice means to do something again and again. So abhyas refers to that which is repeated many times. Apurvata refers to that which is unique, that which is present here in a particular book, but is not present anywhere else. Phalam, phalam means in a book in several places the phala shruti is given. What will happen when one reads this book. What is the end result that one gets. Then there is athavadopapatti. Arthavat means one can look at what is being praised in the book, what is being commented, what is being  praised, what is being glorified, and upapatti is the general thread of reasoning of the book. So by these 6 characteristics lingam, tatparya-nirnayeso if you want to arrive at the conclusion meaning of a book, linga, the characteristics are these 6. So Jiva Goswami in his Sandarbhas uses this to analyse, to arrive at the meaning of the Srimad Bhagvatam. Essential meaning . Off course it is an elaborate subject, but simply speaking it is upakramho upasamhara .

Upakram, in beginning what is  the Srimad Bhagavatam talking about? It begins with universal questions. The first 2 verses we see , 1.1.1, there is a definition of the Absolute. There is no meditation one on specific person, it’s janma yasyada dimahi, let us meditate. So, it begins with a universal question. If you want to look at another way meaning of the Bhagvatam there is the questions by the sages of Namaisaranya. Those questions are also universal. What is the best dharma? What is the essence of all the scriptures? What is the most important duty for me? There are many other books which begin with, say please tell us the glories of Shiva? Please tell us the glories of Devi. Please tell us the glories of Ganesh of Kartikeya. So these books they may contain valuable things, they may also be called scriptures, but they are not universal in their scope. So if you want to know what is the essential message of the Bhagvatam, we can see it begins with universal questions. Upakramoh.

Then Upasamha. Upasamah means conclusion. What is the conclusion of the Bhagvatam? We see the conclusion is bhakti. Nama-sankirtanam, that is the verse which we conclude sarva-papa pranashanam; pranamo duhkha-shamanas, tam namami harim param so it concludes with bhakti. Soit begins with universal questions and it’s answered in 1.2.6 itself, that the greatest dharma is bhakti. So that’s the conclusion. So of course the conclusion is also if you want to take another level of conclusion is Parikshit Maharaj meditating, on the Absolute Truth and hearing about the Supreme Lord while he departs from this world, which is also smaranam , which is bhakti. He’s doing sravanam, he’s doing smaranam and he departs.

Then abhyasa. Abhyasa is a repetition. What is repeated? Now some sections of the Bhagavatam can be interpreted in impersonalistic way. Some say some section some passages from teachings of Kapila, some verses from Uddhava Gita . But if you look at the pastimes, if you look at the most repeated theme , in canto after canto after canto, we see pastimes of devotion. We see Kunti Maharani’s prayers, Bhisma’s departure from this world, we see Arjuna’s consciousness when Krishna has departed, we see Parikshit Maharaj’s prayer for devotional consciousness, then there are pastimes of Dhruva Maharaj, Prahalad Maharaj, Prthu Maharaj, and then there are pastimes of great sages also, like Garga Muni, Kapil Dev, so all of them we see are devotees. So if we look at repetition, abhyasa, it is bhakti which is repeated.

Then apurvata. Apurvata is uniqueness. What is unique in the Srimad Bhagvatam as compared to other books? The uniqueness can be in various aspects. Most of the Puranas the Sanskrit is very simple, their verse structures are very simple. The Bhagvatam’s verses are very beautiful, poetic and rich. So from the literary point of view among the Purana’s , the Bhagvatam is the most Vedic and Upashadic in it’s style, but from the content point of view, the Bhagavatam is among the biggest Purana’s, and in that 335 chapters , thousand and thousands of verses, the specialist part of the Bhagavatam is the 10th Canto. In no other bookare such so elaborately and so sweetly the pastimes of Krishna is described. And what do the pastimes of Krishna focus on? It’s all Bhagavan and bhakti, and what kind of bhakti? Very intimate bhakti. The first 40 chapters of the 10th canto focus on bhakti in a very, in a mood of, mood is completely free from awe and reverence. It’s very intimate devotion. So again bhakti is a very special kind of bhakti.

Abhyasa apurvata phalam. Phalam. What is the fruit that is talked about? There are several places in some pastimes this fruit, that fruit is talked about. But if we look consistently, the most common fruit that is given is by this one will attain devotion to Lord Vishnu. We see universally all those who’ve studied the Bhagavatam and commented on it say the rasa panchadhyayiis the most important part of the Bhagavatam. And what is the phala shuti which comes at the end of this? It says in the last verse of the 33rd chapter of the 10th canto, it say:

vikridditam vraja-vadhubhir idamm ca visnoh
sraddhanvito nusrnuyad atha varnnayed yah
bhaktimm paramm bhagavati pratilabhya kamam
hrd-rogam asv apahinoty acirena dhirah

so it says one who hears these pastimes faithfully, for that person bhakti arises in the heart. Para bhakti, pure devotion and lust gets washed away. So the promise is not attainment of heaven. The promise is .. abrupt ending[V1]

 [V1]File seems to end very abruptly and incomplete

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Bhavin Kataria

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