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Published first published December 31st To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Bhagavata Puranaplease sign up. Lists with This Book. May 10, Vrinda Pendred rated it liked it Shelves: This review requires background. I was raised Vaishnav and, by age 17, twice initiated through the Gaudiya Math. I was always taught the ultimate aim in life was to emulate Radharani in her love for Krishna – who is the supreme God – and that years ago Krishna wanted to understand this love, so he incarnate as a brahmachari named Chaitanya, who was Radha-Krishna in one body.
You take these things for granted when you’re raised with them from birth and they’re all you’ve ever known to be ‘tru This review requires background. You take these things for granted when you’re raised with them from birth and they’re all you’ve ever known to be ‘true’. Just as many Christians I’ve met have never fully read the Bible, few Vaishnavs have read their own holy books.
If they HAVE, they will be the Bhaktivedanta translations, rife with endless purports telling us how to interpret things. The key texts are the Bhagavad-Gita and the Bhagavatam. Other stories, such as the Ramayana, I believe most people know through the summaries found in the Bhagavatam, or through hearsay – largely the latter, as most people also know the stories found in the Bhagavatam through hearsay. I have now read ,enon Mahabharata in full, so I know how distorted the message of the Bhagavad-Gita has become by being extracted and read in isolation with those misleading purports.
Now I’ve read the Bhagavatam, also known as the Bhahavat Purana. With all that in mind, here’s my review. This is an excellent translation, taking the original verse and converting it nenon easily readable prose. I’ve compared the meanings of select passages to another older translation and they’re the same – and my goodness, was this not abridged! It went on and on mmenon on. By the time I hit the twelfth canto, it was like the last Lord of the Rings film; it must have ended and then restarted and ended again at least ten rramesh.
When I finally reached the last page, I was expecting more. I was in disbelief that it was over – but thank God it was. A little rudimentary research will tell you the original Sanskrit text was composed long after things like the Siva Purana or the Mahabharata. There are also astronomical references all over that flat out prove it ramesj written less than 2, years ago, rather than the 5, years I was always told it was.
Those kinds of statements smack of ignorance and bigotry. In the opening canto, the authors tell us they believe older stories, including the Mahabharata, basically got it wrong, and the purpose of this book is to retell all the old stories ‘the right way’.
So they even admit it’s newer. And my summary of this book is that it’s a rewrite of a lot of the Siva and Brahma Puranas, but with all the older messages about Siva being the original God and Vishnu his counterpart flipped around so that Vishnu is ultimate. Also new is the addition of Krishna, who never featured in any older Indian beliefs or legends. Suddenly analytical philosophy puranaa into the stories, rather than letting the rather obvious metaphors speak for themselves.
And it’s all so convoluted. It very much feels like Plato, Gnosticism and Buddhism came along and the people, under all these influences, were rameah very hard to fit these new ideas into their old belief systems. Suddenly these ,enon old and possibly 5,year-old stories about Siva’s sex life have additional commentary describing it all as ‘spiritual sex’ that only the ignorant would mistake as lustful.
They were also clearly trying to unite various factions of belief in the region by saying all the gods of old are ultimately one – Menno.
So it was fascinating from an historical perspective, seeing how people’s ideologies evolved Every story I was ever told was attributed to Radha is, in fact, just the gopis. Mejon none of them is named, so Lalita and Vishakha and all of them aren’t real. There is one line during the Rasa dance section when Krishna disappears and the gopis see a woman’s footprints beside his, heading off through the trees. They say she must have worshipped him best. There’s a footnote to say this is the only possible reference to Radha in the text.
I didn’t believe it. Surely it was a fault of the translation! So I researched menom and, no, the translation is fine. Turns out the first mention of Radha and other gopis is in a poem called the Gita Govinda, written in the 12th century, which wildly reimagines those stories.
It comes from the word for ‘best worshipper’ containing the word ‘radha’. You know what that means? The entire foundation of everything I was ever taught to believe is meon even real. Turns out Radha is only recognised by Vaishnavism and one other tiny Indian cult I’ve never heard of. The rest of the world thinks it’s crazy.
I read a quote from ‘Prabupadha’ saying Rameeh identity was deliberately ‘hidden’ from the ‘ignorant’. I guess the poet really got off on the erotica in that story, because honestly, the whole of the tenth canto – all the Krishna stories – is sex and violence.
I lost count of how many people’s heads he kicked off people’s shoulders; and far from preaching vegetarianism in fact, in either the 11th or 12th canto Krishna even purna it’s okay to kill animals, as long as you don’t use excessive violenceKrishna frequently yanks the tusks right out of elephants’ heads and gores them with them.
But it’s okay because they’re ‘evil’ elephants.
And when Krishna walks by, women’s clothing literally falls right off their bodies. There were endless wet t-shirt scenes – Krishna splashing the women with water so their nipples would stand out, and all the other men getting off on watching. The women frequently had lesbian orgies.
Ramesh Menon | Authors | Rupa Publications
ramexh And when they couldn’t get their hands on Krishna, Balarama would do. All these women were married to other men, by the way, but that’s okay too, because Krishna is God. That’s how God would act, right? It’s also worth noting I was always told only a ‘pure devotee’ is allowed to read the Krishna stories, because the ignorant will mistake all of this for real sex and not understand that it’s all spiritual play.
Bhagavata Purana ( Set in 2 Vol.) : Ramesh Menon :
More like if bhagavtaa read it, we’ll realise everything we’ve been told is bull. And I want to know how they even found all these women to sleep with, when all the tiresome genealogy lists only seemed bahgavata feature men. What particularly got me was not the sex but the fact that it kept saying while Krishna did all these things, he was detached and unaffected.
How is it admirable to have sex with 16, women and not even CARE? And how does it make sense when it’s alternated with endless messages that sex is bad, we’re not the body, and ‘a woman’s body is a filthy purxna vile thing’ that is just ‘worm food’??? Honestly, when I started reading things like that, I was just sickened. This is not religion; it’s rampant sexism. Seriously, what happened 2, years ago to make so many men so misogynistic? The world didn’t start out that way.
And notably, this book was written entirely for men. Women are described as faithless and only interested in sex, dragging men down with them, and heaven is then paradoxically populated with naked gorgeous women ready to fulfill kenon every desire. Siva is paired with a goddess of equal worth, for bhagavaya start, who actually has a personality and isn’t just a whore. In the Mahabharata, Balarama was a completely different character. He was a pacifist and an ascetic. I really, really liked him.
Also, the Bhagavat Purana distorted the battle of Kuruksetra and claimed Dritharashta and Duryodhana were evil and horrible, when in the original story they really weren’t, and Balarama even favoured them and was devastated at the war. At the end of the war, he was furious with Krishna for supporting it.
I don’t know if Krishna mebon real or not. If he was, he was wildly mythologised, I’m sure – especially since so much of his birth story is right out of the Jesus story, and they’re both often symbolised by fish Pisces – and the Greeks occupied both India and the Middle East at that time – and statues of Krishna with his flute are IDENTICAL to statues of Bacchus. All I know is he’s not part of the original Indian belief system.
The stories of the wars between the devas and the asuras are so pkrana much, much, much older and from a time of what we now call paganism. Siva, Vishnu and Brahma are from an era of sabianism. These heroes who came along later So, in summary, this book is very interesting from an historical perspective, but I highly recommend reading it AFTER reading the older texts – and I’m so relieved I’ve finished it.
The Mahabharata will forever remain one of my favourite books, but rameeh doubts I might have had about leaving Vaishnavism are officially dead. View all 9 comments. Sep 27, Bhakta Jim rated it it was ok. It took up several shelves and each volume contained both translated verses and elaborate bhagagata to my young mind, repetitive commentary. I found myself reading the verses and skipping most of the commentary, and found myself wishing for a translation that lacked that commentary and included the R rated details that I felt certain Srila Prabhupada was leaving out.
I would have read it and probably never would have visited the Evanston Hare Krishna temple or done any of the foolish things described in pirana own memoir of those days.
It may seem strange to say it, since those days did not end happily for me, but that would have been a shame.