Brihad Bhagavatamrita

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Brihad-bhagavatamrita is a sacred text for followers of Hindu tradition of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. Along with Hari-bhakti-vilasa, it is one of the most important works of Vaishnava theologian Sanatana Goswami. While Hari-Bhakti-Vilasa sets out guidance for Vaishnava behavior and ritual, Brihad-bhagavatamrita contains an analysis of the teachings of Chaitanya from an ontological and metaphysical perspective.

In the first part of Brihad-bhagavatamrita Sanatana Goswami has described a conversation between Parikshit and his mother, Uttara. It took place after Parikshit heard the Bhagavata Purana from Śuka. Uttara asked her son to explain the essence of Bhagavata Purana, and Parikshit revealed to her the stages of confidential Bhakti. He told her a story about how Narada was looking for greatest devotee of Krishna. The Great Rishi began his search with devotees of Krishna whose Bhakti was mixed with karma and jnana (Brahma and Shiva), then went up to Shanta-rasa (Prahlada), Dasya-rasa (Hanuman), Sakhya-rasa (Arjuna), and finally came to the greatest devotee of Krishna - Uddhava, who always longed to be in Vrindavan, and showed that the highest level of Bhakti is the love of the gopis for Krishna.

The second part of Brihad-bhagavatamrita tells us about the glory and bliss of the spiritual abode Goloka, as well as of the process of renunciation of the material world, true knowledge, Bhakti Yoga, love for Krishna and implementation of the higher purpose of life. The second part contains the narrative of a wandering shepherdess, who received a mantra from a resident of Vrindavan, travelling from one planetary system to another, exploring the different levels of consciousness of living beings. His spiritual odyssey covers Vaikuntha, Brahmaloka, Shivaloka and the heavenly planets.

Brihad-bhagavatamrita contains descriptions of the various categories of devotees of Krishna: close devotees, and devotees of the closest devotees. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in his comments to the Chaitanya-charitamrita (Adi Lila, 5.203) writes that anyone who wants to learn about the devotees and about devotional service to Krishna should read Brihad-bhagavatamrita.

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