At the dawn of the present age, some 5,000 years ago, Srila Vyasadeva, the compiler of all the Vedic literature, foresaw the age we now live in deteriorating more and more through quarrel and hypocrisy. To help man not spoil the actual purpose of his human life, he compiled the Srimad-Bhagavatam. The Srimad-Bhagavatam gives clear directions on how we can live a contented and happy life.
The Srimad-Bhagavatam's origin, its statements, and its story are extraordinary and wonderful. The Srimad-Bhagavatam had itself prophecied that it would create a revolution throughout the world - a fact that has only recently been witnessed in our present, modern time. Srimad-Bhagavatam passed down from Vyasa to the present through a continuous line of spiritual masters and disciples. The present edition in English is the fruit of this disciplic succession. And, its passage through the centuries was not without incident. In the fifteenth century, during the reign of the Moghuls in West Bengal, India, the Srimad-Bhagavatam took on a very public role in the hands of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Sri Caitanya's personality and life is very remarkable, as was his influence within society. He began and spread the practice of sankirtana, or the public glorification of God. Through this practice, He not only spread the text of the Srimad-Bhagavatam but its essence as well. Sankirtana proved very effective in reviving people's dormant feeling for God, or Krsna consciousness. It also enabled them to have satisfied, peaceful and fulfilled lives.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu inspired many of His followers to establish centers of learning and to compose literature further elaborating on the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Headed by the works of Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami, their writings are unequaled even today in their logic, insight and detail regarding spiritual matters. The present edition of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, aside from its faithful rendering into English from the original Sanskrit, draws upon and gives the essence of all these works.
The destiny of the Srimad-Bhagavatam ever unfolding, it finally spread to every country of the world through the efforts of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
In 1965, a lone missionary arrived in New York, the only passenger on a cargo ship from India. He was 69 years old and miraculously survived two heart attacks on his sea voyage. Practically penniless, knowing no one as a friend, he came to bring the "message of peace" to America. Within a few years, he succeeded to do so for almost all the countries of the world!
Srila Prabhupada came on the order of his spiritual master to, as he put it, "systematically educate and train people in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values and to achieve real unity and peace in the world."
The contribution of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is remarkable and unique. He single-handedly fulfilled the prophecy of the Srimad-Bhagavatam spreading and changing the lives of people throughout the entire world. He united individuals from every country, every color, every creed and race, of every religion and of every economic background as brothers. He alone did what the United Nations has failed to do even to this day.
Srila Prabhupada's success began with his unique rendering of the Srimad-Bhagavatam in English. Complete with the original Sanskrit text, transliterations, synonyms, translations and purports, his rendering is very exhaustive and comprehensive. Above all, the authority of his work is unquestionable. Srila Prabhupada did not leave room for misinterpretation of the conclusions or implications of text. Using precise, simple and clear language, he spells out the standard Vedic truths regarding all the relevant issues in our lives. He speaks as if to each individual, while being comprehensive enough for a man of responsibility to implement. He discusses every relevant subject very thoroughly. He boldly addresses and refutes the challenge of foolish and dangerous ideologies.
Srila Prabhupada's list of accomplishments is such that his life's story is itself intriguing and an impetus to know about the books he wrote and what they teach.
Before his passing away in 1977, Srila Prabhupada achieved the amazing feat of publishing over 30 volumes of the 48 part series of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Having been completed by his disciples, the entire Srimad-Bhagavatam is now available as a new 18-volume set.