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Academic Reviews of Srimad-Bhagavatam

The monumental edition of the Bhagavata Purana by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust is a major contribution to Indian studies. It is one of those rare works which are truly useful to both the scholar and the layman. The edition contains the Sanskrit text, both in Devanagari and transliteration, a word-for-word translation, connected translation in contemporary English, and an extensive commentary for each verse. It can thus be used profitably by students of widely differing degrees of familiarity of Sanskrit and Indian culture. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s commentary represents a consistent religious interpretation of the work based on thorough familiarity with Hindu tradition. The books are beautifully produced, yet modestly priced. They should play a significant role in promoting serious study of Indian culture and religion in the English-speaking world.

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has undertaken the gigantic task of translating into English the most popular of the Vedic theological works which are the philosophical treasures of ancient India.

Now, in his monumental English rendering of the Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana ), the author has made available for the first time to English readers a full perspective of the broad philosophical scope of the Bhagavatam . Srila Prabhupada has taken immense care to present before the reader a lucid and comprehensive exposition of the text by providing accurate synonyms for all words, an easily intelligible English rendering and an elaborate commentary, which is not only a useful compendium of information on the vast body of Vedic literature, but also a learned, logical and crystal-clear exposition of the intended meaning of this unique sacred scripture.

It has been my great pleasure recently to have read the Srimad-Bhagavatam in the superb edition authorized by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. I am sure this monumental work will go far to bring the sublime message of the Bhagavatam to numerous Westerners who otherwise would miss this opportunity.

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has presented the monumental scripture Srimad Bhagavatam, the stupendous work of Maharsi Vyasa, with the English translation accompanied by an exegesis of each verse. His commentary is remarkable from various points of view. In these books one finds a rare blend of traditionalism and modernism with an abundant fund of knowledge about Hinduism… The format of the book is appealing, and it is attractively produced… For those who have no access to the Sanskrit language, this book conveys in superb manner the message of the Bhagavatam. It can be recommended to all students of Indian religion, culture and philosophy.

This is a book to be treasured. The clarity and precision of his commentaries on the text can rarely have been equalled. No one of whatever faith or philosophical persuasion who reads these books with an open mind can fail to be both moved and impressed.

In the diversity of approaches offered by the yogis of India, the most significant, of course, is the way of Krishna consciousness. It is amazing to se how Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami has in less than ten years succeeded by his personal devotion, untiring energy and efficient direction in organizing the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

Now, following his exposition of the Bhagavad-gita, which has gained a considerable popularity both among the Sanskritic and non-Sanskritic circles, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has undertaken a stupendous project of rendering the entire Bhagavata into English. The format of the work, with Sanskrit text transliteration, analysis of words and purport, makes it eminently useful for students of Sanskrit. The edition is true to the spirit and flavour of the original. Srila Prabhupada has done an excellent service to the students of Sanskrit poetry by his able rendition of “the abode of divine joy” that the Bhagavata is.

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada’s explanation of the text is extraordinarily lucid and cogent in the light of contemporary problems. This edition of Bhagavatam is especially welcome at a time when India’s wisdom is needed in the West. I recommend highly this edition of the Bhagavatam to anyone who wishes a sound and practical knowledge of India’s spiritual wisdom.

Srimad-Bhagavatam is a valuable source material for several categories of readers. With its exhaustive plan of providing the original Sanskrit text, its Roman transliteration, English synonyms, English translation and elaborate commentary by a scholar and practitioner of the philosophy, it cannot but be attractive to serious students and scholars of religion and philosophy. I recommend this series to anyone as an important and useful reference work.

It is clear that these volumes are essential additions to the library of any university where Indological studies are pursued. The books have been lavishly produced, and the format is one likely to be attractive to the undergraduate reader. The scholarship of the edition and translation is very sound, and the sections discussing the “purport” of each verse contain a great deal of background material.

The translation by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada of the First Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam is a rare treat for scholars as well as students of the Hindu religion. Swami Bhaktivedanta’s translation is accurate, and his use of contemporary idioms in the commentary will appeal to both scholars and layman. The book will be a worthy addition to one’s personal and/or college library.

I have derived great pleasure from studying the first volume of your edition of the Srimad Bhagavatam. It is indeed a model of clarity, and may be used with profit by all students of Indian religions. Here at last is a text of central significance with a sensitive commentary by a master from within the bhakti tradition . . . presents the text within its living spiritual context.

The Srimad Bhagavatam is the most celebrated of the Puranas. No serious student of Hinduism can afford to neglect Swami Prabhupada’s translation of this text. Here is a valuable tool for both the student and teacher of world religions.

It is axiomatic that no book can be expected entirely to satisfy all its potential readers. Here is one, however, which can be said to come remarkably close to that ideal. Here we have the ideal of what an edition of a Sanskrit text for a Western audience should be. It is beautifully planned and printed.

The Srimad-Bhagavatam is extremely useful for all those interested in ancient India, whether their interest be that of the philosopher, the student of religion, the historian, the linguist, the sociologist or the political scientist. I truly hope that Srila Prabhupada will complete his translation of the entire Bhagavata and continue to translate other eminent Sanskrit works as well. Undoubtedly this work of Swamiji’s is a great contribution to the troubled human society of today’s world.

A commentary on the Vedanta-sutra by Srila Vyasadeva divided into twelve “cantos”, of which four are presented here in eight beautifully produced volumes. These lavish volumes, obviously the product of devotional effort, contain many lovely full-color illustrations. Even the dust jackets are replete with symbolism.

A well-prepared set of references, glossaries, pronunciation guides, indexes to Sanskrit verses, and general indexes concluded Cantos 1 and 2. All in all, these books will be useful in the study of Hinduism.

The life of Krishna is treated here with marvelous felicity and facility. Each Sanskrit verse carries an English rendering followed by an exegesis/explication of India’s hoary and sublime contributions in culture, philosophy, politics, sociology, religion and bhakti (love). The reviewer deems it a signal honor to strongly recommend this encyclopedic work, undertaken as a labor of love, to all readers/students of Indian religion and culture.