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Importance Of Tenth Skanda Of Srimad Bhagavatam

It is well known that Srimad Bhagavatam, considered to be the greatest among the eighteen Puranas attributed to Sage Veda Vyasa, is devoted to the exposition of the path of Bhakti and that the various episodes described therein are intended to strengthen devotion in the minds of people. It is however not so well known that it also expounds the path of Jnana or knowledge by conveying the essence of the Upanishads in a very lucid and attractive manner. Such expositions of the path of Jnana are found in almost every chapter. Here a few verses from the tenth Skandha are taken and explained to illustrate this.

The tenth Skanda of Srimad Bhagavatam describes Krishna Avatara in detail. In chapter 14 of this Skandha it is said that once Brahma, the Creator, wanted to know the extent of Krishna's power. He therefore took away the cowherd boys and calves who were with Krishna in the forest and hid them. Krishna, who knew what Brahma had done, took the form of all the cowherd boys and calves as well as of all the things which the boys carried such as slings, staff etc. In the evening Krishna, in the form of all these, went back to Gokula. There each boy went to his own house and each calf went to its mother. The mothers and fathers of the boys did not see any difference between their own sons and these boys. The cows also accepted the calves as their own. The next morning Krishna and all these boys went to the forest along with the calves as usual and returned in the evening. This went on for a year. Then Brahma came to the forest to find out what was happening. He was astonished to see all the boys and calves there, though the boys and calves he had taken away were still in the place where he had hidden them. As he was looking on in utter amazement, he saw each one of the boys assuming the form of the Lord Himself, with four arms bearing a conch, discus, mace and lotus, adorned with a diadem and a necklace of pearls and clad in yellow silk. Then all of them became cowherd boys again and Krishna was standing in their midst, holding a morsel of cooked rice in his hand, exactly as he was at the instant when Brahma took away the calves and the boys. Realising that Krishna was the Supreme Brahman Himself, Brahma prostrated before him in great humility and began to extol him with hymns. The gist of the Upanishads is brought out in these hymns.