Śrī Jīva Gosvāmi explains the essence of the Bhāgavata

We saw in a different post, how Śrī Jīva Gosvāmi explains the essence of the Bhagavad Gītā. Here we examine how he derives the essence of the Bhāgavatam. As a reminder, I reproduce the sixfold criteria from Pūrva-mīmāṁsā for assessing the essence of a work below.

The sixfold criteria for determining the essence or main message of a book

Śrī Jīva Gosvāmi cites the following statement in Anuchheda 105 of the Paramātmā Sandarbha which lists these indicators:

upakramopasaṁhārāv abhyāso’pūrvatā phalam
arthavādopapattī ca liṅgaṁ tātparya-nirṇaye

The sixfold criteria by which one can establish the meaning [of a text] are ( 1 ) the introductory and concluding statements, ( 2 ) repetition, ( 3 ) originality, ( 4 ) result, ( 5 ) glorification, and ( 6 ) logical confirmation.

The essence of the Bhāgavatam derived from the sixfold criteria

After the conclusion of many long Anucchedas in the Kṛṣṇa Sandarbha, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmi concludes his treatise with the following statement:

tad evam abhyāsādīny api tasmin vispaṣṭāny eva pūrvodāhṛta-vākyeṣu |

In this manner, the six hermeneutical indicators, beginning with repetition of the primary subject ( abhyāsa ), clearly establish the same conclusion [that Kṛṣṇa is the essential purport of the Bhāgavata ], as evidenced in the verses cited earlier.

As evident in this statement, in the preceding many Anuchhedas in the Kṛṣṇa Sandarbha, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmi has established that the essence of the Bhāgavata is Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Babaji in his commentary summarizes how the six hermeneutical indicators were used to deduce this conclusion. I tabulate below how Śrī Jīva Gosvami derives the meaning of the Bhāgavatam through these terms.

upakramaWhat is discussed in the opening statementAnuchheda 82: Kṛṣṇa Is the Reality Signified in the Bhāgavata’s Opening Versesatyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi = Śrī Kṛṣṇam dhīmahi – let us meditate on Śrī Kṛṣṇa
upasaṁhāraWhat is discussed in the concluding statementAnuchheda 83: Kṛṣṇa Is the Reality Signified in the Bhāgavata’s Concluding Versesatyaṁ paraṁ = Śrī Kṛṣṇa
abhyāsaWhat is repeatedAnuccheda 44-74Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the only interest of all major speakers of the Bhāgavata
apūrvatāWhat extraordinary claim is madeAnuchheda 28kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam — Śrī Kṛṣṇa is Svayam Bhagavān
phalamWhat is the result to be attainedVerses such as 11.20.33:
My devotee easily attains everything through devotion to Me, even if he should somehow desire heaven, liberation, or residence in My abode. ( SB 11.20.33
Bhakti for Śrī Kṛṣṇa
arthavādaWhat is praisedVerses such as 10.14.32:
How fortunate! How fortunate are the residents of Nanda’s cowherd community of Vraja, for their dear friend is Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the eternal complete Brahman, who is the embodiment of supreme bliss. ( SB 10.14.32 )
Śrī Kṛṣṇa
upapattīWhat is ascertained through logical analysisVerses such as 3.2.23:
How astonishing indeed! Although the unvirtuous demoness Pūtanā, the sister of the demon Baka, applied deadly poison to her breast and suckled Śrī Kṛṣṇa with the intent to kill Him, she was granted the position appropriate for a foster-mother. Consequently, could there be anyone more merciful than Him, whom we should approach for shelter? ( SB 3.2.23
Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the supreme Bhagavān, source of everyone and everything


Application of the six hermeneutical indicators of Pūrva-mīmāṁsā all reveal that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the subject of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa and that He is Svayaṁ Bhagavān.

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