Bhagavân on Bhâgavatam 
Bhagavad Purâna

The Story of the Fortunate One
based on the Divine Discourses of Bhagavân S'rî Sathya Sai Baba 



With an equal vision having moved beyond the notion of good and bad
a wise man will not praise those who are doing or speaking very well,
nor criticize others who are doing or speaking poorly [see also B.G.
5: 18].

Vyâsadeva (S.B. 11.11: 16)

Listen to Sai's Verse - Pata Paduma -  Text



1. What is Bhâgavatam? 

[S'rîmad-]Bhâgavatam is one of the greatest of the eighteen Purânas.

2. What is the essence of the 18 Purânas? 

"Paropakaraha Punyaya, Papaya Parapedanam." To do good to others is merit. To hurt and cause suffering to others is sin.

3. What is the main theme of  Bhâgavatam?

It is the story of the Divine glory of Lord Hari and His devotees.

4. What are the subjects dealt with in Bhâgavatam?

It gives a description of the creation of the universe, the story of the Avatâras, the story of Nârada, a detailed narration of the Avatâra of Krishna and many other episodes.

5. Who wrote Bhâgavatam in Sanskrit?

Sage Vyâsa.

6. Who inspired the Sage to write  Bhâgavatam?

Sage Nârada. [SB, 1:4]

7. Who narrated Bhâgavatam even before Vyâsa?

Brahmâ narrated Bhâgavatam to Vyâsa, sage Vyâsa to S'uka. [SB, 1:1]

8. How does Vyâsa begin the Bhâgavatam?

Sage Vyâsa begins Bhâgavatam as a narration by the sage S'uka to king Parîkchit who was on his death bed because of a curse.

9. What is the curse?

King Parîkchit was cursed that he would die of a serpent bite on the seventh day commencing from the day he was cursed. [SB, 1:18]

10. Who cursed  King Parîkchit?

Thapasvin Sringi. [Bhagavatha Vahini : 26]

11. Why did he curse?

One day king Parîkchit went for hunting. After some time he was very thirsty and was in search of an âs'rama. He caught sight of one and entered. He called aloud. But no one answered. He saw a sage deep in meditation. There were signs of people moving about, but none came to him. He got angry because he did not receive the honor due to him as the ruler of the country. He saw a dead serpent on the ground, he lifted it and put it round the neck of the sage and went his way. When Sringi, the son of the sage (S'amîka) came to know about the sinful act, he cursed that the man who committed the sin would die of a serpent bite within seven days. [SB, 1:18]

12. What was the reaction of Sringi's father to his son's hasty action?

S'amîka did not approve of the hasty action of his son. He should not have cursed the ruler of the country because it would affect the entire country. Parîkchit had been a righteous and a kind ruler, but for this one impulsive act, yet he could not do anything, but asked his son, to see that the king was informed about the curse.

13. How did the king receive the curse?

King Parîkchit was sad and sorry for his impulsive act and welcomed the curse as a boon, because he was given a chance of involving himself in holy activities before his death.

14. What do we learn from this episode?

Whether one commits a sin, knowingly or unknowingly, one has to suffer the consequences, but repentance would absolve him of the sins committed.

15. What do we learn about the life of Sage Nârada from Bhâgavatam?

Nârada was the son of a servant maid. [SB, 1:5-23] She was serving some Rishis who had come to a forest, to stay for four months (Chathurmasya Vrata). Nârada was a small boy. He would often sit and listen to these sages. When they were about to leave after four months, he wanted to follow them. But they advised him, to chant the name of Hari, and to take to the path of devotion. He was made to realize, that God alone is the dearest to an individual and none other. One day when Nârada's mother died of a serpent bite, he left the forest in search of his goal. One day he heard a divine voice warning him to give up the desire of having the vision of God too. Then he took to "Soham" ("I am That" - "I am God") meditation and gave up his life only to take a new life form.

16. What is the special name given to each chapter in Bhâgavatam?

Skanda [Canto].

17. How many Cantos are there?


18. Who is the famous writer of Bhâgavatam  in Telugu?

Bammera Pothana. [see Pothana]

19. What is an Avatâra?

Avatârana means descent. Avatâra is the descent of the nameless and attributeless divinity in a form suitable to execute the task of destroying the wicked and protecting the good.

20. How many types of Avatâras are there?

Avatâras are many in number. There are some Avatâras that appear on earth only for a short time, fulfill the Avataric mission and disappear, Matsya (fish), Kurma (tortoise), Varâha (boar), Narasimha (half-man half-lion) and Vâmana (dwarfman). There is the Avatâra of Râma who is called an Amsa-Avatâra because He shared the divinity with His three brothers (Lakshmana, Satrughna and Bharatha); the Krishna Avatâra is an example of Purna-Avatâra (total).

21. Mention the 10 Avatâras of Vishnu.

The ten Avatâras in sequence are Matsya, Kurma, Varâha, Narasimha, Vâmana, Paras'urâma, Râma, Krishna, Buddha and Kalki.

Above painting shows:
In the center square, Krishna is shown in His original two-handed form, holding a flute. Surrounding Him are ten of His eternal incarnations, pictured in the order in which they appear in the material world, beginning clockwise from the left-hand corner.
Matsya, the fish incarnation, is saving the Vedas.
Kurma, the tortoise incarnation, is holding the hill on His back.
Varâha, the boar incarnation, is fighting with the demon Hiranyâksha.
Nrisimhadeva, the lion incarnation, is killing the demon Hiranyakas'ipu.
Vâmanadeva, the dwarf incarnation, is begging some land from King Bali.
Paras'urâma is killing the demoniac kshatriyas.
Râmacandra is going off into exile with His wife, Sîtâ, and brother, Lakshmana.
Krishna is lifting Govardhana Hill, and beside Him is His brother Balarâma.
Lord Buddha.
Kalki is riding on His horse, killing all the demons and thus liberating them.

S'rî Das'âvatâra-stotra
The Das'âvatara Stotra is a Hymn in salutation to the ten incarnations of Lord Mahâ Vishnu. The Stotra forms the first section of Gita Govinda, the masterpiece work of S'rî Jayadeva. He was a court poet of King Lakshmanasena, who ruled Bengal during the 12th Century. S'rî Jayadeva was a great devotee of Lord Krishna and a mystic. His mastery of Sanskrit language was matched by his extraordinary talent in music and dancing.
[See for further reading and texts of the Bhajan: S'rîmad Bhâgavatam Devotional Music Pages]


Matsya Purport: The first avatâra signifies the restoration of true knowledge (Vedas), recovered from the deluge of egoism, which has to be destroyed in the process.

Kurma Purport: The incarnation of God in the Tortoise form during the churning of the Ocean, signifies that the churning of the ocean of experience with the churn of knowledge, towards the Absolute can rest only on the immovable, all-sufficient, all-sustaining basis of self-evident truth, symbolized by the Tortoise avatâra. 

Varâha Purport: The Boar avatâra is identified with sacrifice both in the Vishnupurâna and Bhagavata. As sacrifice (of worldly affairs) is essential for the stability of mind for contemplation on God, it is symbolized by the Boar form of the Lord.

Nrismha Purport: This avatâra illustrates that a true devotee is fearless (as Prahlâda) and God comes to his rescue.

Vâmana Purport: The Dwarf avatâra shows that valour (as exemplified by King Bali) can find its fulfilment only in complete surrender.

Paras'urâma Purport: When the rulers, endowed with power for protection of the subjects, had however degenerated into an oppressive tyranny, it had to be crushed ruthlessly. This is illustrated by the Paras'urâma avatâra.

Râma Purport: The Srî Râma avatâra is an ideal demonstration of how a man can rise to divinity, by unswerving adherence to dharma, in all its details.

Kalki Purport: The yet to be avatâra is Kalki, the mighty warrior, born in a pious family, to rid the world of the oppression of its unrighteous rulers.

22. What was the purpose of the advent of these Avatâras?


The purpose for which the advent of Matsya Avatâra took place was the restoration of the Vedas from the hands of the demon Somakasura, who stole them from Brahmâ and hid them in the sea. Dharma is based on the Vedas, so the protection of the Vedas was the Avatâric task. [SB, 8:24]


The gods and demons desired to acquire Amrith (elixir of life), that would confer immortality and prayed to Lord Nârâyana. He instructed them to churn the ocean of milk having the mountain Mandhara as the churning-rod and Vasuki-serpent as the rope. When the mountain was about to submerge in the ocean creating a vast deluge, Lord Nârâyana assumed the form of a Tortoise and bore the mountain on His back. While they were churning, poison emerged out of the ocean. 
Both the gods and demons became panick stricken. Then Lord S'iva came and swallowed the poison. Several things emerged from the ocean both living and non-living. When at last Amrith was brought by a celestial being, gods and demons fought for the possession of Amrith. Then Lord Nârâyana had to assume the form of a beautiful celestial woman to distribute the Amrith. Of course the demons were deprived of their share because if demons were to be immortal what havoc would result, no one need to be told. So the purpose of the Tortoise Avatâra was to protect the good and bad as well and grant immortality to gods (Devata's) [
SB, 8:7].


Lord Nârâyana assumed the form of a boar to bring back to the surface, the earth that had gone to the bottom of the sea. While the divine Boar was carrying the earth on his tusks and was still in the water, the demon Hiranyâksha attacked him. But the Boar clawed and pierced him to death. Thus the purpose of the Varâha Avatâra was to restore the earth safe and fix it firmly in its place. [SB, 3:13]


Lord Nârâyana had to assume the form of half lion and half man to kill the demon Hiranyakas'ipu. Hiranyakas'ipu was bent upon taking revenge on Lord Nârâyana because He had killed his brother Hiranyâksha. Hiranyakas'ipu did penance to Brahmâ and obtained a boon that he should not die in the hands of any one of the beings created by Brahmâ. Death should not occur to him either during day or night, on earth or water or sky nor by any weapon, indoors or outdoors. Hiranyakas'ipu grew all powerful and arrogant after obtaining the boon. [SB, 7:3] His son was a born devotee of Hari. The father tried his best to dissuade him from praying to Hari but in vain. He subjected him to many tortures, yet, Prahlâda would not give up chanting the name of Hari. At last Hiranyakas'ipu had to challenge his son to show him his Hari who is said to be omnipresent in a pillar. He struck the pillar. It split into two. The Lord in the form of Narasimha (man-lion) emerged and tore him to pieces by his claws. The main purpose of this Avatâra is to prove his devotee's faith in the omnipresence of God. [SB, 7:8]


When the demon Emperor Bali became all powerful desirous of conquering all the three worlds, Lord Nârâyana decided to curb Bali's pride of strength. So Lord Nârâyana took the form of a Divine brahmana boy and approached Bali while he was performing Visvajith Yaga. He demanded a gift of three feet of land from Bali [SB, 8:19]. Bali agreed, even when his guru Sukrâchâraya warned Bali not to gift and that the Brahmana lad was none other than Hari come to bring about his fall. Vâmana grew to such a stature that with one foot he covered land, with another the sky and questioned where he should keep his third foot. Then the emperor Bali bent his head and asked Him to keep His foot on his head. Hari pushed Bali down to the under-world. Emperor Bali was not in the least sad or sorry because he had the privilege of giving away a gift to the Lord of the three worlds. Lord Hari purposely did this only to proclaim to the world the total surrender of Bali to God. It is indeed strange to understand the ways of the divine. He might seem to be punishing one externally but the punishment would be only for the redemption of the punished. [SB, 8:18]


Paras'urâma was the son of Renukâ and Sage Jamadagni. They had with them the celestial wish fulfilling cow Kamadhenu. Once Kârtavîryârjuna the ruler of the region visited the âs'ram after a day's hunting. The Sage received the emperor and his retinue, fed them well with the help of the celestial cow. Kârtavîryârjuna became envious and drove the cow and her calf, disregarding the feelings of the Sage. When the party were proceeding, Paras'urâma accosted them and attacked them. After a fierce fight chopped off the head of the emperor. Later the sons of the emperor beheaded Jamadagni Rishi when Paras'urâma was not in the hermitage. Hearing the loud cries of his mother Renukâ, Paras'urâma returned only to see his father's head on the ground. Incensed he rushed to the city of Mâhishmatî and killed all the hundred sons of Kârtavîryârjuna. He took a vow to exterminate the Kshatriya clan out of existence. The purpose of this Avatâra was to warn and punish the arrogant rulers (Kshatriyas) who did not give respect due to the Rishis. [Ramakatha Rasavahini 7d], [SB, 9:15]


Lord Nârâyana was born as the son of Dasaratha and shared His divinity with His three brothers (Lakshmana, Satrughna and Bharatha).  The purpose of the Avatâra was not only to destroy the wicked and to protect the good, but to set an example to the entire world, how man should observe truth and righteousness in life. He was the very embodiment of Sathya and Dharma. [Ramakatha Rasavahini], [SB, 9:10-12]


The Krishna Avatâra is an Avatâra of love and peace. His mission was to protect the good and punish the wicked. But His main mission was to preach the gospel of life through the Bhagavad Gîtâ (The Song of the Lord). [Bhagavata Vahini] [SB, Canto 10]


By his own example Buddha proved that, every man can attain the Buddha-state, the enlightened One by taking to the eight fold path. His main gospel was to conquer desire and to practice love and compassion.


The Kalki Avatâra is none other than Sai Avatâra. It is indeed a Yuga Avatâra. S'rî Sathya Sai is engaged in carrying out the Avatâric mission of the nine Avatâras through love and love alone.

23. What is the inner meaning of the ten Avatâras in sequence?

When we study the advent of the Avatâras in a sequence we realize that it is the story of evolution of species - from fish to tortoise, from tortoise to boar; then to half animal and half man, the dwarfish boy, then the man in whom rajasic tendency dominated. Finally the Avatâras of Râma, Krishna and Buddha, the ideal man endowed with virtues of Truth, Righteousness, Love, Peace and Nonviolence.

24. What is the relationship between Hiranyâksha, Hiranyakas'ipu, Prahlâda ('the joy of understanding') and Emperor Bali?

Hiranyâksha and Hiranyakas'ipu were brothers. Prahlâda was the son of Hiranyakas'ipu. Bali was the grandson of Prahlâda. [SB, Canto 7, chapters 5,6,7,8,9&10]

25. What do we learn from Prahlâda's story?

God would always come to rescue His devotees. God would do anything to prove the faith of His devotees. Prahlâda believed and preached that Hari is Omnipresent. The Lord proved his verdict to be true.

26. How could Prahlâda become a devotee of Hari even as an infant?

Prahlâda's mother Lelavathi (Kayâdhu)  [SB 7:7] was in Nârada's asram when Prahlâda was in the womb of Lelavathi (Kayâdhu [SB, 6:18 verses 12-13]). She would constantly listen to the glory of Lord Vishnu sung by Nârada. This sacred listening (sravana) had an impact on the child in the womb.

27. What was the Mantra always chanted by him?

Om Namo Nârâyanaya.

29. What are the other episodes in the Bhâgavatam?

The story of Dhruva [SB, 4:8-13], Ambarîsha [SB, 2:7], Gajendramoksha [liberation of the elephant Gajendra, SB, 8:2-4], Ajamila [SB, 6:1-2], Sage Dadhîci [SB, 6:9-10], Daksha [SB, 4:2], Jada Bharatha [SB, 5:9] and  Sunakshepa.

30. What lesson do we learn from Dhruva's story. 

Dedication, devotion, discipline, discrimination and determination can make one achieve anything related to this world or spiritual world.

31. What was the Mantra that he chanted during the penance?

Om Namo Bhagavate Vâsudevâya

32. Who taught this Mantra to Dhruva?

Sage Nârada.

33. What do we learn from the story of Ambarîsha?

Even when sage Durvâsâ sent a demon to kill him, Ambarîsha never prayed to Lord Hari to save him. He left everything to the will of God. This is a supreme example of total surrender to God. [SB, 9:4-5]

34. In which Canto do we have the story of Krishna?

In the Tenth Canto, [called: The Summum Bonum, Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead].

35. Where was Krishna born?

Mathurâ - In the Royal Prison (of King Kamsa) [SB, 10:3]

36. What are the details related to His birth, date, month etc.?

Month: Sravana (May), Thithi - Astami (eighth moon-day), Star:  Rohini, Krishnapaksa (new moon).

37. Why was he shifted from Mathurâ?

Krishna's uncle Kamsa was determined to kill the eighth child born to his sister Devakî. To avert this calamity, the Divine child was taken away from Mathurâ. It was declared by a voice from the sky, "The one who will slay you will be born as the eighth child of your sister". [SB, 10:1-34] [Bhagavatha Vahini, 43

38. Why did Kamsa hate Krishna?

For fear of being killed by Krishna, the eighth child of his sister Devakî.

39. To which place was Krishna taken?

Repalle [Gokula (cow-village) -Vraja, SB, 10:3]. 

40. Who were the parents of Krishna?

Devakî and Vasudeva.

41. Who were the foster parents of Krishna?

Yas'odâ and Nanda.

42. Who gave the name Krishna to the Divine child?

Sage Garga. [SB, 10-8]

43. How does Swami explain the meaning of Krishna?

Krishna means: One Who Attracts.
 'Karshathethi Krishnah'.

Krishna means: One who cultivates the heart of the devotee. 'Krishyalhethi Krishnah'.

Krishna means: One who is always in bliss and confers bliss. 'Kushyathethi Krishnah'.

44. Who is Balarâma?

He (
Balarâma) is the Brother of Krishna.

45. How did Kamsa try to kill Krishna?

He sent several demons under the guise of several animals to kill Krishna. [SB, Canto 10, Chapters: 6, 7, 11, 12, 15, 18]

46. Who was Pûtanâ?

She was a demoness, who wanted to kill Krishna by suckling Him with her poisonous breast. [Bhagavatha Vahini, 35] [SB, 10-6]

47. What was her past history?

Pûtanâ, in a previous life was Ratnavali, the daughter of emperor Bali. The Lord came as Vâmana to Bali, and asked him to give Him just three feet of land in his kingdom. Vâmana appeared so charming, shining with all divine effulgence, that Ratnavali felt how much she would have enjoyed, rearing him, if he had been her son. All of a sudden she saw Vâmana, placing his foot on Bali's head; enraged at the sight, she was filled with a desire to kill him. Ratnavali desired at once to fondle Vâmana as a mother, and also to kill him. So she was born as Pûtanâ, who suckled Him only to kill Him. In the end she was killed.

48. Why is Krishna called 'Giridari'?

Because He lifted the mountain, Govardhana. [Bhagavatha Vahini, 38] [SB, 10-25]

49. Why did he lift the mountain?

To protect the people of Repalle and all living beings from the terrific down pour of rain. Every year the cowherds in Repalle used to offer worship to Lord Indra for rain. But Krishna advised them to worship the mountain that gave food to man and pasture to animals, rain as well. God Indra got angry and cursed them with terrific down pour of rain. [SB, 10-24]

50. Why did he not stop the rain?

It is not proper to go against the laws of nature. When any natural calamity occurs, God may protect His devotees and give strength to withstand but not avert the calamity.

51. What is the story related  to Govardhana hill?

Govardhana hill was one of the hills chosen to be hurled into the sea, for the construction of the bridge by the monkeys in the epic Râmayâna. When the particular mountain was about to be thrown, the bridge was already completed. It was deprived of the joy of serving Râma. Then Râma assured the hill, that He would bless the hill by the next Avatâra. [Ramakatha Rasavahini, 7a]

52. Who were the gopikas in their former lives?

gopikas and Gopalas in their previous birth were Rishis in Krita Yuga. They were able to get only the darsan of the Lord. In Treta Yuga they were born as monkeys and were able to enjoy the darsan of the Lord as well as Sambhashanam (talk). In the Dwapara Yuga they were born as gopikas and Gopalas to enjoy Darsan (seeing), Sambhashan (hearing) and Sparshan (touching).

53. Who was sent to bring Balarâma and Krishna to Mathurâ by Kamsa?

Akrûra ['not cruel, gentle'; name of Krishna's trusted paternal uncle who was sent to Vraja by Kamsa in an effort to kill Him]. [SB, 10-36, 10-38, 10-39 & 10-40]

54. Why did Krishna kill the royal washerman?

When Balarâma and Krishna were proceeding towards the palace of Kamsa, they saw the royal washerman carrying a bundle of royal robes. Krishna snatched the bundle, opened it, gave one robe to His brother and dressed Himself with another. The washerman got angry and entered into a quarrel. Krishna gave him a hard slap on the cheek. He died on the spot. Balarâma could not understand and asked Krishna to explain. Krishna replied that He had killed the washerman because he wished to die in His hands. He was the same washerman who had been responsible for mother Sîtâ's exile (reborn). Later he regretted and requested Râma to kill him for the unpardonable sin he had committed. Râma assured him that his wish would be fulfilled only by the next Avatâra in Dwapara Yuga. [SB, 10-41, verse 32 and further]

55. Who is the Guru of Krishna and Balarâma?

Sândipâni.  [SB, 10-45 en 10-80]

56. What was the Gurudakshina that the brothers offered?

Krishna and Balarâma on hearing the inconsolable grief of their Guru over the loss of his only son, assured their Guru that they would bring back his son. They went to the Prabhasa thertha where the lad was drowned and searched for the demon who swallowed him. They could not find him. They were told by the king of the Sea that the lad had been handed over to the Lord of Death (Yamarâya). They approached Yama and demanded him to hand over the lad to them. Yama at once handed over the boy to the brothers. Krishna and Balarâma took the boy and entrusted him to their Guru with folded arms and said "Guruji accept our Guru Dakshina". Even Avatâras revered their Gurus to set an example to the world. [Bhagavatha Vahini, 41] [SB, 10-45]

57. What is the name of another boy who studied with them?

Sudâmâ. [SB,
10-80 & 81]

58. Why was he destined to live in poverty for some years?

Once Balarâma, Krishna and
Sudâmâ went to a nearby forest to collect twigs for the sacrificial fire for their guru. They did collect some twigs. After some time Krishna said that he was tired and would like to rest. Sudâmâ opened the packet of parched rice he had brought and began to munch. He presumed that Krishna was really sleeping. Krishna all of a sudden questioned Sudâmâ what he was eating. Sudâmâ replied "nothing". So was he blessed with nothing. One should never utter lies even for fun. He was destined to live in poverty by his own act of uttering lies.

59. Why did Rukminî prevent Krishna from eating the third morsel of parched rice?

Rukminî wanted to have her share of the parched rice, it being the favorite food of her Lord. She was His better half, no wonder she claimed her share.

60. Who was Uddhava?

Uddhava was the friend of Krishna. [SB, 3-4, 10-46 & Canto 11-11]

61. Why did Krishna send Uddhava to Gokulam? What happened there?

Krishna sent Uddhava only to make him realize the devotion of gopikas, their pointed devotion and total surrender to Krishna. [SB, 10-47]

62. How did Krishna teach Nârada about gopikas' devotion?

One day Krishna pretended as though He had been suffering from severe headache. His wives were very much worried. Just then Sage Nârada entered. Nârada enquired. Krishna said that the dust of the real devotees of Krishna, if applied, would cure His headache. Nârada asked Krishna's wives to give the dust of their feet, since none could be as devoted to Krishna as they. But they exclaimed in one voice that it would be a sin. They requested Nârada who always chanted the name of Hari to give dust of his feet. He too said it would be a sin. Krishna asked Nârada to go to Vrindâvana and ask the gopikas. At once Nârada went to Vrindâvana and told them he had come from the Divine presence of Krishna. At once the simple women surrounded him and enquired how their dear Gopal was faring. On hearing that their dear Gopala was suffering from headache and that He had sent Nârada to fetch the dust of their feet; they brought a blanket, spread it to collect the dust of their feet. They bundled it up and gave it to Nârada. They requested him to proceed to Dvârakâ at once. The moment the gopikas collected the dust of their feet, Krishna's headache disappeared. When Nârada approached Krishna, Krishna said that He had already been relieved. The true nature of a devotee is to obey the command of the Lord, not to question or discriminate.

63. What is the difference between the devotion of the cowherds of Vrindâvana and that of the Yadhavas - the kinsmen of Krishna?

The gopikas always declared: "Krishna, we belong to you", while the kinsmen of Krishna and the Yadhavas said: "Krishna, you belong to us".

64. Who was Râdhâ?

Râdhâ was the cousin sister of Nanda.

65. What is the relationship between Râdhâ and Krishna?

Râdhâ is the embodiment of Prakrithi and Krishna the embodiment of the Purusha.


66. How did Râdhâ describe to Uddhava that where Krishna is - there she would be?

Râdhâ described to Uddhava how she could never be away from Krishna in the form of a song and asked him to convey the message to Krishna:

"Were You a tree fully grown, I would wound round You like a creeper". 
"Were You a blossoming flower I would hover round the flower like a bee". 
"Were You the mountain, Meru, I would cascade like a river". 
"Were You the boundless sky, I would be a star in it". 
"Were You a bottomless sea, I would merge in You like a river". 

67. Describe the end of Râdhâ

Râdhâ lost all interest in life, she gave up food and water and was surviving only by chanting the name of Krishna. She knew that her end was near and wished for the darsan of her dear Krishna. The mere thought brought Krishna to her side. She requested Krishna to play once on His Murali (flute). Listening to the Divine music she gave up her life. Krishna threw away the Murali and from that moment He never touched the Murali again.

68. How did Krishna prove the devotion of Draupadî to Rukminî and Satyabhâmâ?

Rukminî and Satyabhâmâ often used to wonder why Krishna should make much of Draupadî's devotion. They expressed their doubt. Krishna waited for an opportunity to make them understand Draupadî's devotion. Krishna along with Rukminî and Satyabhâmâ went to Draupadî.  She was combing her long tresses. Krishna asked Rukminî and Satyabhâmâ to help His sister to comb her long tresses. They readily agreed. They parted the hair, one half was taken care of by Rukminî, the other by Satyabhâmâ. The moment they started combing, they heard the sound of  "Krishna" "Krishna" from every hair's end of Draupadî's long tresses. They could realize the devotion of Draupadî.

69. Why did Krishna try to encounter Narakasura so many times?

Krishna purposely planned to encounter Narakasura [or Bhaumasura] several times. He pretended as though He ran away in fear. The real reason was to make Narakasura more angry and hateful. These two would make even a very strong man weak. Krishna's plan was to make Narakasura's weakness responsible for his fall. It would be easier to kill him then. [SB, 10-59]

70. Why was Satyabhâmâ made to kill Narakasura?

Satyabhâmâ's one weakness was envy. Krishna did not desire that Narakasura should meet his end in His hands (of divinity) but of envy. Moreover Narakasura had abducted many a princess and molested them. It was really most proper that a woman should kill him.

71. Who was 'Paundraka Vasudeva'?

In Bhâgavatam there is a character by name Paundraka who sought to become a possible imitation of Krishna. He called himself as Paundraka Vasudeva. He got made an imitation conch and a wheel and carried them about in the two artificially made hands. He tried to imitate Krishna in every way. He wore a yellow dress, walked just like Krishna and imitated his gestures. Some fools gathered around him mistaking him for the Lord. However he was put to shame by Krishna. [
SB, 10-66]

72. Who were the rival kings of Krishna?

Jarâsandha [SB, 10-72], S'is'upâla [SB, 10-74], Dantavakra [SB, 10-78].

73. How was Garuda's pride pricked?

Krishna hearing about the mischievous pranks of a strange monkey, directed Garuda to proceed and scare the animal out of the city limits. Garuda failed even though he took with him the entire army. His pride was humbled. Krishna sent a message to the monkey who declared himself as Anjaneya (Hanumân) that he should come to His palace. Anjaneya replied he would obey only the orders of Râma. Krishna again sent another message that Râma was inviting him to His audience hall. Anjaneya hurried to see Râma. Krishna gave him the Darsan of Râma Himself. Satyabhâmâ had offered to change herself into Sîtâ and stood by the side of Krishna.

Anjaneya could not see Sîtâ in the form Satyabhâmâ. He replied that he longed to see Mother Sîtâ and wondered who that lady was. Thus Satyabhâmâ's conceit was broken. Then Krishna asked Rukminî to stand by His side; Anjaneya at once recognized in Rukminî, Mother Sîtâ.

74. Why did Krishna fight with Jâmbavân?

Jâmbavân (leader of the bears) was a close friend of Râma. [Ramakatha Rasavahini, 6b] He had a fantastic desire. He wished to fight a duel with Râma. His wish could not be fulfilled. In Dwapara Yuga when Krishna was accused by the king Satrâjit of having stolen his Syamantaka gem, He had to go in search of the gem. He went to the forest and followed the spoors leading to a lion's den. There He found the Syamantaka gem in the possession of a bear - Jâmbavân. He challenged him to a duel. The duel lasted for 28 days. At last by a sudden flash of illumination Jâmbavân realized that his adversary was his friend Râma. At last his wish was fulfilled. He gave to Krishna not only the Syamantaka gem but his own daughter [Jâmbavatî] in marriage. [SB, 10-56

75. What was the constant prayer of Queen Kuntî?

Kuntî constantly prayed to Krishna that she should always be made to experience sorrow and grief - that would induce her to think always of the Lord. [SB, 1:8]

76. What is the greatest command of Krishna?

The greatest command of Lord Krishna was "Be my instrument".

77. How did Krishna meet with His end?

Krishna realizing that He should give up His mortal coil, one day went and sat under a peepul tree. He reclined on the ground and leaned against a tree, and assumed the form of Vishnu. His left foot looked like a red lily. A hunter Jarâ by name, mistaking the red foot for a deer's mouth, struck this red foot with the arrow. The arrow was a piece of iron remnant of the accursed mace of the rishis with a sharp point. Krishna was fatally wounded by the arrow. [
SB, 1:14, SB, 11-1, vers 23 & SB, 11-31]

78. What is the symbolical significance of the following : 

a) Lord Narasimha emerging from the pillar split into two:

Lord Narasimha did not hide Himself inside the pillar. The pillar here stands for deha or human body. The Lord will manifest Himself only when the pillar or the human body - consciousness (deha - tathwa)  is gone. The moment Hiranyakas'ipu hit the pillar and split it into two, the Dehi revealed himself. The I-am-the-body consciousness of man should go. "I am Atma consciousness" must emerge. [SB, 7-8]

b) Gajendra Moksha:

Gajendra Moksha: The story in short is an elephant bathing in a lake was caught by a crocodile. The elephant struggled hard to free itself of the clutches of the crocodile but in vain. At last it prayed to God for help. The Lord comes and kills the crocodile with His wheel. The inner significance is: The lake is symbolic of samsara. The individual with a mind like that of a wild elephant, enters the lake which is in the forest of life. The mind is thirsty for sensuous pleasures. The moment the man (elephant) steps into the lake of samsara, the crocodile (attachment) catches hold of the man. The man struggles hard to free himself of the bondage. When he becomes weak, he prays to God and asks to save him. When an individual caught in the bondage of samsara, if he prays to God in complete surrender then God will certainly release him from bondage. [SB, 8:2]

c) Kaliya Mardhana; 

Kaliya Mardhana: [SB, 10-16 & 17] A serpent by name Kaliya was poisoning the atmosphere and the waters of the Yamunâ with its breath. All those who approached that area - men, cattle and birds fell dead. Krishna, the blue boy of Vrindâvana, jumped into the depths of the river and forced the foul snake to rise above the level of the river and leaping on its hoods danced upon them. The pressure of His tender feet was enough to force the deadly poison out from the fangs of the monstrous cobra, and render it harmless for ever. The inner significance: In the mind-lake of man, there lurks a poisonous cobra with six hoods, lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride and hate. The name of the Lord when continuously chanted, dives into the depths of the mind-lake and forces the sixhooded cobra to come to surface, so that it may be destroyed. Allow the Divine Name to dance, on the six hooded cobra in the mind-lake. Then the cobra would be tamed and made Sathvic. [Bhagavatha Vahini, 40]

d) Rasakreda; 

Rasa Lila or Kreda: This indeed is a much misunderstood and misinterpreted episode. The blue boy of Vrindâvana dancing in the moonlight with the Gopis, each gopika dancing with a Krishna. [SB, 10-33] The Lord multiplied Himself into many and stood beside every gopi. The inner meaning of the divine sport is: The entire universe is verily a Vrindâvanaam. All gopikas are the jîvas. Every jîva longs to be with the Lord, and await the call of the flute. The sport is the joy, the Lord, the Paramatma shares with the gopikas or the jîva-âtmâs. [Bhagavatha Vahini, 35]

e) gopika Vastrapaharana; 

gopika Vasthrapaharanam: This is yet another misinterpreted and misconstrued episode by ordinary people. Not recognizing the divinity, they revile Krishna as a philanderer, and a thief, who stole away the saris of gopikas when they were bathing in the river. [SB, 10-22] Krishna gave away the saris the moment the gopikas lifted their hands in total surrender and prayed to Him to save them from shame. The meaning is that unless a spiritual aspirant loses his body consciousness and prays to God for grace, he would not win the grace of God. In fact deha means that which is worn, a vasthra. When the gopikas questioned Krishna whether it was Dharma (righteous) on His part to steal away their dress, Krishna said it was the gopikas who were not observing Svadharma (Atma dharma or their true nature) but observing Paradharma (Dehadharma or body consciousness). 

f) Navanetha Chora; 

Navanetha Chora: Krishna is described as a butter thief. Krishna did not actually desire butter - but He desired the pure mind kept in the heart-pot of the gopikas. Navanetha means pure mind. Mind made pure by constant churning that is the sadhana (devotion) of namasmarana (remembering the Lord's name). [see for example: SB, 10-8]

g) Krishna having eight queens and sixteen thousand gopikas; 

Krishna, the husband of eight queens and sixteen thousand gopikas:

First of all one must understand the meaning of (bhartha) husband: One who is the over-lord, the one who looks after. Who else can truly be called a husband than God. Here the body is the residence for divine consciousness or God. In the body there are six spiritual centers through which the Kundalini shakthi (the coiled 'serpent' power, the divine energy) rises from the Muladhara chakra (basal energy centre) to Sahasrara, (the thousand petalled lotus center) on top. In between, there are four centers. When the Kundalini awakened, reaches the Sahasrara, enlightenment takes place. The Kundalini reaches the Hridhaya Chakra (lotus of the heart with 8 petals). The 8 petals stand for 8 spirits, 8 directions and 8 guardians. Krishna being the husband or Lord of these eight queens representing the 8 petals. The Kundalini Shakthi rises again to Sahasrara, a thousand petalled lotus, each petal having 16 Kalas or rays. So 16.000 gopikas are these 16.000 Kalas, then the illumination takes place. [SB, 10-58 and footnote*]

h) Kshirasagara Manthana.

Kshera Sagara Manthan: Kshera means milk, Sagara means ocean, Manthan means churning. Once the Devas (demi-gods) and Asuras (demons) desired to become immortal for which they should obtain Amrith to drink. Lord Nârâyana instructed them to churn the milky ocean, having the Mandhara mountain as the churning rod and Vasuki serpent as the rope. The Devas and the Asuras began to churn. All of a sudden the mountain began to sink; they were frightened. The Lord assumed the form of a tortoise and bore the mountain on His back. The churning continued. Poisonous fumes emanated and the churners were scared. Then Lord S'iva came and drank away the poison. They churned and churned. Many things emerged - living and nonliving, human and divine. At last they got Amrith but this Amrith was only given to the Deva's. [Ramakatha Rasavahini, 7b] [SB, Canto 8]

The inner meaning:

The ocean of milk is the human heart filled with satvic tendencies (kindness, purity and goodness). An individual in whom are present both the good impulses (gods) and bad impulses (asuras) contemplate on God. This contemplation or sadhana is the churning process. At times desires (poison) will overtake him. If he prays to God, He would chase away the desires and the individual continues his sadhana. All of a sudden he might feel he might die without tasting the immortal drink. Once again his prayer will win for him God's grace, till at last God gives him strength and courage to subdue bad impulses and continue his sadhana. Once again he might be tempted to pray for worldly things but he should churn and churn on to secure amrith that would grant him immortality. Here amrith stands for liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

79. What is Uddhava Gîtâ?

Uddhava Gîtâ as the name indicates, are the teachings of Krishna to Uddhava (a confidential friend of Krishna in Vrndâvana). It is considered to be an amplification of the Bhagavad Gîtâ. The main emphasis is on the yoga of renunciation and of course the other yogas of Karma, Bhakti and Jnana (work, worship and wisdom) are also explained. The same lesson of total surrender is taught and the extinction of the 'I' and 'My' sense are also emphasized. [SB, Canto 11, General History]

80. How does Swami explain the meaning of the following:


Bhâgavatam: Bha + Ga + Va + Ta + M 
'Bha' stands for Bhakti (devotion) 
'Ga' stands for Jnana (wisdom)
'Va' stands for Vairagyam (detachment)
'Tha' stands for thathvam (That you are)
'M' stands for Mukti (liberation).
Bhâgavatam enables one to attain liberation through devotion, wisdom, detachment and Atmajnana (knowledge of Atma).

b) Gopala

Gopala: 'Go' means not only cow but all beings, Jîvas. So Gopala means one who is the Lord of all beings.

c) Raadhaa

Raadhaa: This word when spelt from the other side is 'Aadhaar' then it also becomes 'Aaradh' and then into 'Dhaaraa' and then 'Dharaa'. 'Raadha' believed that Krishna is the 'Aadhaara', or the basis. She did 'Aaraadh' worship to Krishna in a continuous Dhaara or stream. In fact she herself is Dhara or Prakrithi while Krishna is Purusha.

d) Murali 

Murali: The flute has 9 holes and it's hollow melody emanates when one breathes through the hollow reed. Human body is verily a nine holed instrument and if it is rendered hollow devoid of all passions then the Lord will make one His Divine instrument of music. [SB, 4:25]

e) Kleem Krishna, Govindaya, Gopijana Vallabhaya - Svaha.

Krishna is the Lord of the five elements and is described as Kleem Krishnaya, Govindaya, Gopijana Vallabhaya-Svaha. Kleem refers to the earth; Krishnaya to water. Govindaya to Agni (fire); Gopijana Vallabhaya to Vayu (air),  Svaha to ether. Thus Krishna principle is embodied in the five elements. Divinity is immanent in all the five elements.

81. What are the different types of Sâdhanas prescribed for the four Yugas?

The Yugas and Sadhanas prescribed: 
Krita Yuga - Dhyana (meditation) and Thapas ( penance) 
Treta Yuga - Yaga and Yagn'a or vedic sacrificial ceremony 
Dwapara Yuga - Archana or worship
Kali Yuga - Nama Smarana (remembrance of the Lord's name) 

82. What are the nine types of devotion?

They are:  
Sravanam (listening) 
Smaranam (contemplation and chanting)
Kirtanam (singing) 
Archanam (worship) 
Vandanam (namaskar, obeisance) 
Padasevanam (pressing the feet of the Lord) 
Dasyam (seva or devotional service)
Sneham or Sakhya (friendship) 
Atmanivedanam (surrendering of body, mind and everything to God).

83. Who are the exponents of these types of devotion?

They are: 
King Parîkchit - Sravanam (listening) 
Prahlâda - Smaranam (chanting) 
Leelaa Shuka - Kirtanam (singing) 
S'rî Lakshmî - Padhasevanam (pressing the feet) 
Akrûra - Vandanam (obeisance) 
Prithu Chakravarthi - Archanam (worship) [SB,
4-15 etc.] 
Arjuna - Sneham (friendship) 
Hanumân - Dasyam (service) 
Emperor Bali - Atma-Nivedanam (surrender) 

84. What are the six types of devotion?

They are:
Shantha Bhakti (balanced and peaceful)
Sakhya Bhakti (the brotherly or friendship)
Dasya Bhakti (that of a servant) 
Vathsalya Bhakti (that of a mother) 
Anuraga Bhakti (affection) 
Madhura Bhakti (supreme love eager to merge in the Lord).

85. Who are the exponents of these types of devotion?

They are:
Bhîshma, Arjuna, Anjaneya (Hanumân), gopikas and gopalas, Yas'odâ, Râdhâ.

86. What according to Baba is the fifth Purushartha (goals of material life)?

The fifth Purushartha is Parama Prema (Bhakti).

87. What was the question put by Yudhishthhira to Nârada when S'is'upâla met with his death in the hands of Krishna?

How could the sinful S'is'upâla who hated S'rî Krishna from his boyhood days, deserve the unique favor of the Lord; the Lord caused the Atma Jyoti of S'is'upâla to merge in Him. [see also: SB, 10-74]

88. What was the answer of Nârada?

Sage Nârada said that thinking constantly of the Lord even through hate will earn God's favor, because the individual who hates the Lord vehemently will be thinking only of his enemy, thus diverting his mind from sensuous objects. Concentration on the Lord is important even in hatred.

89. What was the secret of the birth related to that of Râvana and Kumbhakarna, Hiranyâksha and Hiranyakas'ipu, S'is'upâla and Dantavakra?

Hiranyâksha, Hiranyakas'ipu, Râvana and Kumbhakarna, S'is'upâla and Dantavakra were none other than the gate keepers of the Lord's abode, Jaya and Vijaya. [
SB 3:15 etc.] One day they did not permit the four Kumâras (Sanaka, Sanâtana, Sanandana and Sanat-kumâra) to enter Vaikunthha mistaking them for small children. The Kumâras cursed them to be born as mortals. The Lord appeared at the gate apologized to the brahmana-sages for the treatment meted out to them by His servants. The Lord asked Jaya and Vijaya whether they would prefer to be born seven times as devotees or three times as enemies. Jaya and Vijaya preferred to be born as Asuras (enemies) so that they may return to the Lord's abode soon. They were assured they would remain firmly united in thought intensified by anger and return to His service.

90. What is the incident that proves women are more devoted?

The incident that proves that women are more devoted is that of the wife of Kuchela or Sudâmâ, who induced her husband to go to Krishna for help. [SB, 10-80, verse 6]
There is yet another incident. Once Krishna was in the forest with His friends. The gopas told Krishna that they were very hungry. Krishna asked them to go to a particular place where some Brahmanas were performing a yagn'a and request them to give some food. The rithviks (priests) were very angry with these boys and said they would be given food only after offering it to God. 
The gopas ran to Krishna and told Him what had happened. Krishna asked the gopas to go and request the women who were busy cooking in the kitchen to give some food. When the women heard that Krishna and His friends were hungry, they immediately made arrangements to carry all the food to the place where Krishna was. They served food with delight to all the children. This shows that women are more devoted. It is their instinctive selfless love that
gives them the right to enter the mansion where paramatma lives. [SB, 10-23]

91. Why did the gopikas perform the Kathyayani Vrata?

The Kathyayani Vrata was performed by the gopis on a particular Monday in the month of Karthika (August). They desired to realize the unchanging and permanent aspect of Krishna through this Vrata (vow offering). They considered Krishna as their Natha. Natha does not mean husband but one who takes care of one and all. The gopikas aspired to realize this aspect of Krishna as a result of their Vrata (Vow).

92. What is the story that illustrates the power of uttering the sacred name?

The story of Ajamila. Though a brahmana by birth and pious by nature suddenly fell in love with a mean woman and gave birth to many children and thus became a sinner. At the time of dying he called endearingly his last son of whom he was fond of 'Nârâyana' and breathed his last. Since he died uttering though unwittingly the sacred name of the Lord Nârâyana, he was taken to heaven and not to hell. Of course, the story is only to inspire us to always chant the name of God because we do not know when death will come to us. [
SB, 5:1,2]

93. Comment upon Daksha Yajn'a.

Daksha Prajâpati married the last daughter of Manu and gave birth to sixteen daughters. The last one Satî was married to S'iva. Once he (Daksha) performed a great Yajn'a to which he invited everyone except S'iva. Against the wishes of her Lord, Satî visited the Yaga. She was not only not welcomed but ignored completely. Unable to bear the insult, Satî sat in yoga to give up her breath. Her body caught fire. Lord S'iva became indignant. He threw down a piece of His matted hair. There arose a fierce human form. He was Vîrabhadra. He went and did havoc in the Yajn'a hall of Daksha. Swami says the Yajn'a of Daksha turned into a battle because he ignored Lord S'iva (God), whereas the battle of Kurukshetra was transformed into a Dharma Kshetra and a Yajn'a because it was led by Lord Krishna. [SB, 4:1-7]

94. What does the story of Dadhîci illustrate? 

Lord Indra wanted to destroy the demon Vritrâsura [SB, 6:9] who had become very powerful. Lord Nârâyana asked Indra to request Sage Dadhîci [SB, 6:10] to gift his body so that a very powerful weapon may be made from Dadhîci's bones. Dadhîci's bones acquired such great potency because of the constant recitation of 'Nârâyana Kavacha'. Dadhîci, a self realized individual did not care a bit for the body, agreed and gladly cast away his body. Indra extracted a powerful weapon from the bones of Dadhîci and Lord Nârâyana sharpened it by His own power. Dadhîci's spirit of sacrifice is indeed very great. "There is nothing greater than parting with one's own body for the good of all".

95. Reference to context:

a) "Do the cows have shoes, I too will not have" 

These words were spoken by the boy Krishna to Yas'odâ. One day Krishna asked Yas'odâ for permission to go with other gopalas and with the cows when they go for grazing. Yas'odâ said that till she got a pair of shoes for him to wear, he should not go because His tender feet would get hurt while he walked in the forest. Krishna replied that His mother always addressed him as Gopala, meaning one who is the leader of the cows. Being a leader he must set an example. Since the cows do not have any shoes nor his comrades, he should not wear any shoes. This is how He set an example for all leaders.

b) "In this world Krishna is the only Purusha, all the others are women". 

These words were spoken by Râdhâ to the watchman of  Vrindâvana. One day Râdhâ wanted to enter Vrindâvana. There was a watchman who did not allow Râdhâ to enter saying that Krishna instructed him only to allow men to enter. Then Râdhâ replied: "Oh you poor fellow, know the truth; in this world Krishna is the only Purusha, all the others are women". Krishna knew how Râdhâ would reply and so He had asked the watchman to behave like that, so that the entire world may know Râdhâ's attitude towards Krishna.

c) "Oh Murali: How fortunate you are, you are very near and dear to Krishna. What is the secret behind this?" 

These words were spoken by a certain gopi in a soliloquy (monologue) to the Murali that was lying by the side of Krishna while He was sleeping. They wanted to know how it enjoyed the breath of Krishna, the touch of Krishna and always the company of Krishna.

d) "We can also become Muralis in the hands of Krishna". 

This is Râdhâ's reply to the gopika: "Examine the Murali carefully, you will see that it is hollow and has no pulp in it; hence the sweet breath of Krishna flows through it freely producing melodious music. We must also render ourselves hollow getting rid of all desires. Then Krishna will make us His instrument of music".

96. "Krishna and Balarâma are considered to be the patrons of the twin occupations necessary for the sustenance of human beings". Explain it.

Krishna is always referred to as the cowherd of Vrindâvana, so He is the representative and the caretaker of the cows that are responsible for cultivation and dairy farm. Balarâma who is always depicted as 'holding a plough' - which is the representative of agriculture and farming - another important occupation for man to engage himself for his sustenance.

97. What does the sudden arrival of the Sage S'uka, when king Parîkchit was awaiting death, signify?

The unexpected arrival of Sage S'uka signifies that the Lord would certainly fulfill the genuine desire of a sincere spiritual seeker by sending a Guru at the appropriate time to enlighten him. [SB, 1:19], [Bhagavatha Vahini, 29]

98. Explain the meaning of  "Hrudaya Vrindâvana".

The devotee's heart itself is a Vrindâvana. The Jîva (resident) is verily Râdhâ along with the gopikas in the form of ideas performing Lilas with Atma-Krishna.

"Regard your heart as Vrindâvana, yourself as Râdhâ and surrender yourself to Krishna (Atma) the Lord. Your thoughts must be like the thoughts of the gopikas" 


99. Why is Lord Krishna considered "Lila Manusha Vigraha"?

Lila Manusha Vigraha (form, appearance) means the Divine manifesting as man for performing His Lilas (miraculous deeds). He is Purna Avatâra subduing and transcending Mâyâ, manifesting His Divinity to the world in full, though at times He might behave as if He were subject to Mâyâ (or worldly illusion).

100. How does Baba describe Bhâgavatam?

Bhâgavatha is a huge tree. Lord Nârâyana is verily the seed of this tree. Brahmâ is the plant (that emerges from the seed as a sprout, sapling, a plant and then into a tree). Nârada is the trunk. Sage Vyâsa is the branches. The sacred story of Krishna is the fruit, filled with sweet juice.


Original Text: Quiz on Bhâgavatam
ISBN: 81-7208-197-9
Published in India by: 
The Convenor, S'rî Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust, 
Prashanthi Nilayam, India 

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