Sri Brhad-bhagavatamrta is an epic work originally composed in Sanskrit language during the sixteenth century by Sanatana Goswami, one of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s leading disciples. It is one of the first books written by any of the Six Goswamis of Vrindavan.
The Bhagavatamrta is rooted in ancient history. It is the appendix to the sage Jaimini Rishi’s version of the historical saga Mahabharata. Further Sri Brhad Bhagavatamrta is an exposition of the Srimad Bhagavatam. The great saint, Sukadeva spoke the essence of the entirety of Vedic Literature to the dying king, Pariksit. Widowed Uttara, feeling the impending loss of her only son, Pariksit Maharaja, asks him to teach her the essence of the Srimad Bhagavatam, which he just heard from the great spiritual master Sukadeva Gosvami for the seven days, the time that was ordained before he would die. Sri Brhad-bhagavatamrta is Pariksit’s caring reply.
All the knowledge and devotion laid out in the Bhagavatam is presented through an intricate story of two souls’ journey toward spiritual perfection. This literature is gem-like example of the quest genre, but different from the sort of commonly encountered in fable and fiction. Narada and Gopa-Kumara, the respective heroes of this book’s two parts, are searching for a key to fulfillment much subtler than wealth, influence, mundane love, the Fountain of Youth, or even the Holy Grail. Narada has vast experience of the cosmos; Gopa-kumara is illiterate and naive; yet they share the same vision of what is most valuable. What both want is not to conquer or exploit on any level, but to explore the mystery of selfless sacrifice. As Narada already knows, and Gopa-kumara will gradually learn, the superior mode of life they seek is personal and defined by the interplay of those who take part in it.
The hero’s quest for the extraordinary, a recurring theme in literature, reflects the urge of every heart at its noblest to discover the full possibilities of life. Anyone dissatisfied with the scant potential of mundane existence will rise in hope and excitement by reading of Narada Muni’s and Gopa-kumara’s journey to many planets in the universe. Analogous in some respects to Dante’s Paradiso and more closely akin to John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, it depicts not one but two parallel spiritual odysseys.
This three-volume edition of Sri Brhad-bhagavatamrta is the work of Gopiparanadhana Dasa, who was part of the team of Srila Prabhupada’s scholarly disciples who completed the translation and commentary on Srila Prabhupada’s life’s work—the Srimad-Bhagavatam—after Srila Prabhupada’s passing in 1977. Gopiparanadhana Dasa wrote several volumes of translation and commentary on the Goswamis’ writings before his passing in 2011.