True to the dictum “itihaasa puranaabhyam vedam samupabrumhayet” (Veda is to be expanded by Itihasa and Purana) the Bhagavata mahapurana teaches the spiritual ideas of the vedic literature by adding stories to make them attractive. The Bhagavata itself states that it is the fruit mixed with nectar falling from the heavenly Veda-tree coming through the mouth of sage Shuka. The 10th skandha of this Purana describes the Supreme Lord’s advent (avataara) as Krishna with devotional descriptions of His activities in childhood, youth and later life.
Shruti Gita under review here is the English translation of the 94th chapter of Bhagavata (chapter 87 in the Gita press edition) and its commentary by Sri Madhvacharya, also known as Ananda Tirtha. The book contains:
- Translation into English of all the 50 shlokas of the 94th chapter, including translation of the corresponding sruti passages.
- Translation into English of the corresponding Sanskrit commentary in Bhagavatha Tatparya Nirnaya (BTN) of Sri Madhwacharya.
- Translation into English of the supporting commentary by H.H.Srimad Vijayadhwaja Tirtha
- Supporting commentary by Sri Bannanje Govindacharya from the book ‘Sarvamula granthaah’
V.M.Pai’s translation is a blessing for the reader to understand well the Vedastuti which is a narration by Shuka in answer to a question by King Parikshit towards the end of his life. Parikshit wanted to know how the Vedas described the indefinable, attribute-less Brahman emanating in innumerable forms. The answer has 27 slokas paraphrasing the ideas of 26 passages from the Vedic literature (like Shandilya Sruti, Aitareya Upanishad, Ishavasya Upanishad, Rigveda, Shvetaashvataara Upanishad, Brahadaaranyaka etc). We are fortunate to read the shrutis in original here without any labour to search for them in the vast Vedic literature. Pai has helped the English reader who has no access to the wonderful Sanskrit commentary by Aananda Tirtha to have a taste of it.
I am full of admiration for Sri Pai, who, in spite of his being a technologist, evinces so much interest in spirituality and Bhagavata. I would recommend the book to the Acharyas who make discourses on the Bhagavata and the thousands of devotees who listen to them.
As published in Journal of Sukrtindra Oriental Research Institute Issue September 2014, Pages 140-142