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Stories from Brahma-vaivarta Purana
Brahmavaivarta is the most popular treatise among the eighteen Mahapuranas. This Mahapurana finds its reference everywhere in various Puranas and in the inventory of names to these Mahapuranas. Moreover, as per the yardstick ascertained, this Mahapurana contains eighteen thousand hymns in it too. As the preaching delivered by god Krsna to desperate Arjuna considering them as nectar of Srimad Bhagavad Gita, the special preaching delivered by the same god Krsna are stored in this Mahapurana too. As this Mahapurana discloses the mystery of Brahman, it is called Brahmavaivarta Mahapurana.
In Brahma-vaivarta Purana, many very interesting details of familiar stories are found that are not seen elsewhere. There are many stories that explain the circumstances leading up to well-known occurrences, as well as previous lives of well-known personalities, shedding light on how they came to be in that condition. There is also a description of the marriage of Radha and Krsna, performed by Brahma. This may be a point of contention in some circles, but it was placed before Srila Prabhupada for his judgment while he was on a morning walk in Nellore in South India in 1976:
Acyutananda: In South India there are very few Radha-Krsna devotees. And what they have is from some Puranas, the marriage of Radha and Krsna. They perform Radha-Krsna kalyana, marriage.
Tamala Krsna: Is that bona fide, Prabhupada?
That Brahma-vaivarta Purana is a Vedic literature worthy of being read by present-day devotees was clearly indicated by Srila Prabhupada while conversing with disciples in Bhuvanesvara in 1977:
Prabhupada: That will be nice. I was training, but they have not become so expert. As I am doing Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, they could do Padma Purana, Brahma-vaivarta Purana in the same way, but our students are not so expert.
The Brahma-vaivarta purana consists of four parts-Brahma-khanda, Prakrti-khanda, Ganapati-khanda, and Krsna-janma-khanda. The Krsna-janma-khanda is the largest, comprising about half of the entire work. Although the Vrndavana pastimes are narrated in this khanda, they are briefly described in comparison with what is found in Srimad-Bhagavatam. There are interesting details not found elsewhere, however, including the previous lives of many prominent characters.
This volume presents the Brahma-vaivarta Purana in story form, condensed so that the reader’s interest will be held.