In reply to the questions asked by King Parikshit, Shri Shuka says the Bhagavata Purana discusses 10 topics. They are Sarga, Visarga, Sthanam, Poshanam, Utayah, Manvantarah, Ishanukatha, Nirodha, Mukti and Ashraya. Of these 10, the last one is Ashraya or the support of the mind. The nine preceding topics are only to purify the mind and make it single-pointed so that it may seek complete refuge in the substratum called god.
The topic of Sarga is about creation of this world in the order of devolution from the five gross elements of earth, water, fire, air and space; the five sense organs of hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling and touching and their objects of sound, form, taste, smell and touch; the five sense organs of action, which include speech, hands, feet, organs of reproduction and excretion, the mind, the ego and the Mahat, which is the principal of cosmic intelligence. This whole creation has its origin in the disturbance of the three qualities of nature called Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.
The creation of Brahmaji, the cosmic personality manifesting as animate and inanimate objects of this universe, is called Visarga. Sthanam or Sthithi is the description of how the divine intelligence is efficiently administering the entry and exit of life in many beings in this creation and organising the different movements in this whole universe. Poshanam is the tales of the many different ways in which the universal being is protecting and blessing his creation.
The Manvantaras describe the reigns of different Manus, the ministers of universal discipline and their activities. The section called Uthi describes the different results for different types of activities taken up by human beings. These painful experiences are described in detail to show the results of actions that are performed due to intense egoistic desires. Ishanukatha refers to stories of the different manifestations of Sri Hari and those devotees who always abide in Him.
Nirodha is the state of mind when the individual being withdraws all his activities of the world and places it completely at the disposal of the Lord. Mukti or liberation of mind from bondage of its attachments to the world is a description of how the individual being called the Jeeva gives up its identification as the doer of all actions. The last part of the Bhagavatam is Ashraya or the substratum from which this whole creation emanates, is sustained and dissolved into.
There is a description of the three states of existence called the Adhi Bhautika, Adhi Daivika and Adhyatmika—the physical being, the sense organs and the inner personality of the mind and intellect. The Self or the Paramatma is the one who knows all these three states of our personality. It supports all these three and for itself, has no other support, but itself. The author is Sevak, Chinmaya Mission, Tiruchi; email: email@example.com; www.chinmayamission.com