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A priest in a prashne had advocated bhagavata saptah for one of my relatives who had lost his ancedtors (coming under sapindikas) in the pamban train crash in 1964 and the bodies were never recovered. I was left quizing of how our reading help those wandering souls. When I saw one of madhwa priests discourses, he said bhagwat reading helps to clear apavargas that is p,pha, ba, bha, ma that is papam, phalam, bandhan, bhayam and maranam.

Looks great to hear.. But can this be true or it is just magical words

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Bhagavata itself tells the story of Dhundhukārī, a wandering spirit who gained salvation after listening to Bhagavatam recital. Surya Deva had adviced Dhundhukari's brother Gokarna to organise Bhagavatam recital to give moksha to his brother -

When Gokarṇa occupied his seat and began to tell the story (of the Bhāgavata) the evil spirit (of Dhundhukārī) came there. Looking for a seat here and there, he found a tall bamboo with seven joints, standing there. Entering in a hole at the root of that bamboo, he occupied it with a view to listen (to the Bhāgavata). As it was not possible for him to remain stable in his airy form, he got into the bamboo. Regarding a Brāhmaṇa devotee of Viṣṇu as the chief member of the audience, Gokarṇa, the son of a cow, began the story (of the Bhāgavata) from the first Skandha, in a distinctly loud tone. In the evening when (the exposition was adjourned and) the text (of the Bhāgavata) was being kept covered, a marvellous incident took place. While all the pious members of the audience were looking on, one knot (out of the seven joints) of the bamboo cracked loudly. In the evening of the second day, there was the cracking of the second joint. Similarly on the third day, at the time of sun-set, the third joint burst open. In this way the seven joints of the bamboo were burst open; and as a fruit of listening to the twelve Skandhas of the Bhāgavata, even the evil spirit cast off his fiendish body. He assumed a divine form dark like a cloud in complexion, adorned with wreaths of the Tulasī plant, wearing yellow (silken) garments, a diadem on the head, and ear-rings in his ears.He immediately bowed down to his brother Gokarṇa and said, “Oh brother! I have been redeemed from the sinful ghost-hood by you, out of kindness. Blessed is the story of the Bhāgavata which annihilates all the agonies of an evil spirit. So is blessed the Bhāgavata- week which confers Vaikuṇṭha (Kṛṣṇa’s realm) as an abode to the listeners."

Chapter 5, Bhagavata Mahatmya, Bhagavata Purana

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