The Bhagavata Purana is considered to be the purest and greatest of all the puranas.

Great Sage Veda Vyasa was credited to had authored Srimad Bhagavatam.

Srimad means "beautiful" or "opulent," and Bhagavatam means "related to God." Hence, Srimad-Bhagavatam can be translated as "The Beautiful Story of God."

It invokes devotion towards Lord Vishnu and his various incarnations, primarily focusing on Krishna since he was the complete incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

The story behind compiling SB as per SB itself is as Vedavyasa felt discontent even after compiling the Vedas, Puranas, Mahabharata and Vedanta-sutra. So he inquired Sage Narada regarding the same then Narada said that "You have not actually broadcast the sublime and spotless glories of the Personality of Godhead. That philosophy which does not satisfy the transcendental senses of the Lord is considered worthless."

So on the advice of Narada, Vyasa meditated and the Bhagavata was manifest to him.

Are there any other references which indicate Bhagavata Purana is the foremost?

Even if people knew that it is the foremost then why do they refer to other puranas?

The Bhagavata Purana declares Lord Vishnu (Narayana) as Para Brahman Supreme Lord who creates unlimited universes and enters each one of them as Lord of Universe.Lord Vishnu engages in creation of 14 worlds within the universe as Brahma when he deliberately accepts rajas guna. Lord Vishnu himself sustains, maintains and preserves the universe as Vishnu when he accepts sattva guna and annihilates the universe at the end of maha-kalpa as Rudra when he accepts tamas guna.

The intense and personal bhakti described in the Bhagavata is directed toward Krishna as Vishnu in human form.

From the meaning of Srimad Bhagavatam itself it is clear that it describes the beautiful story of GOD(which is strictly monotheistic devoted to parabrahman Narayana/krishna) then why some people project their ishtadevata as the supreme or foremost even if they knew Narayana/Krishna is the Supreme?

The transcendental pleasure and completeness which vyasadeva felt after compiling the Bhagavata Purana was not felt after compiling Vishnu,shiva,padma puranas etc. even though they describe the transcendental glories and devotion of the deity to which the purana is dedicated why is it so ?

  • 'Even if people knew that it is the foremost then why do they refer to other puranas'. This is explained in three ways. The Vaishnavas say: 'It is because they are tamasic and/or rajasic, thus they do not grasp the reality'. The Shaivites say: 'It is because Shiva Purana says Shiva is Supreme, so why do we need anything else?'. The Advaitins say: 'That same Rama/Krishna who is praised in Bhagavatam, is Brahman in Vedas, Shiva in Shaiva Puranas and Yogic texts. it is only the name which is different, the God is the same'. :) On a side note, some of your q's are opinion based leads 2 arguments.
    – Sai
    Sep 30, 2015 at 15:47
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    Although personally I agree with your statement that it is the foremost, your question is primarily opinion based and am voting to close. Oct 1, 2015 at 3:43
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    @Sai As far as I know, no one restricts themselves to a single Purana or set of Puranas. ISKCON members still refer copiously to other Sattvik Puranas, Vaishnavas in general refer to non-Sattvik Puranas, etc. ISKCON believes that Krishna is supreme and that the Srimad Bhagavatam is the foremost text, but it's only a finitely long text, so it doesn't contain all possible information. So referring to other texts is still useful even if you think they should be taken with a grain of salt. Oct 2, 2015 at 4:30
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    @KeshavSrinivasan Lord krishna and Srimad Bhagavatam are not proprietary of ISKCON(the organisation founded primarily to evoke the westerners about the supreme). Is not the belief of ISKCON that makes them supreme. References from other puranas like skanda Purana (Visnu-khanda 6.4.3) says "The Bhagavata and the Supreme Lord are always of the same nature – possessed of eternal existence, knowledge and bliss." Skanda Purana (5.16.40) "If the Bhagavata is not kept in one's house in the Kali Yuga, of what avail are collections of other scriptures by the hundreds and thousands? Oct 2, 2015 at 8:27
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    @KeshavSrinivasan other references include Padma Purana Uttara-khanda 193.3 "Of all the puranas,the Bhagavata is the greatest. In every line the sages glorify Sri Krsna in various ways."In the Garuda Purana "The Bhagavata is the authorized explanation of Brahma-sutras, and it is a further explanation of Mahabharata. It is the expansion of the gayatri-mantra and the essence of all Vedic knowledge.This Bhagavata, containing eighteen thousand verses, is known as the explanation of all Vedic literature."U may also question the saints of bhakti cult who praised lord krishna and his glories from SB. Oct 2, 2015 at 8:35

6 Answers 6


There are several reasons why Srimad Bhagavatam is considered the foremost of all Puranas. Firstly what must be understand is the that Puranas mirror Sruti. They are called Puranas because they complete the Vedas (Puran means to complete). And just like the Vedas contain different categories of knowledge in accordance with the eligibility of different Jivas, so do the Puranas. Of all the Puranas, the Sattvic Puranas are considered greatest because pure knowledge arises from Sattva Guna. Of the Sattvic Puranas, Srimad Bhagavatam is considered topmost for several reasons. Jiva Goswami gives the summary of all these reasons in His Tattva Sandarbha:

yat khalu sarva puran-a jatam avirbhavya brahma sutram -ca praniyapy aparitustena avirbhavitam yasminn eva sarva sastra -saman-vayo drsyate sarva vedarth-a sutratena bhagavata nij a sutran-am akrtrima bhasya -bhutam -samadhi labdha-m laksanam gayatrim adhikrtya pravartitatvat

(Jiva Goswami writes): After bringing all the Puranas to light and compiling the Vedanta sutra, the powerful sage Vyasa was still not satisfied. Therefore he then manifested as a product of mature meditation this Bhagavatam, the natural commentary on his own sutras The coherent overview of all scriptures is found in this work, inasmuch as it begins under the auspices of the Gayatri mantra, which is distinguished as the foundation text for the purport of all the Veda

The reasons can be broken down as below

Garuda Purana states:

artho ’yam brahma-sutranam bharatartha-vinirnayah gayatri-bhasya-rupo ’sah vedartha-paribrmhitah grantho ’stadasa-sahasrah srimad-bhagavatabhidhah

"The Bhagavata is the authorized explanation of Brahma-sutras, and it is a further explanation of Mahabharata. It is the expansion of the gayatri-mantra and the essence of all Vedic knowledge. This Bhagavata, containing eighteen thousand verses, is known as the explanation of all Vedic literature."

Three features are brought up here. First Srimad Bhagavatam is the commentary of the Vedanta Sutras (which are the summary of Vedanta, which in turn is the essence of the Vedas), is is also an explanation of Gayatri (which is also the essence of the Vedas) and the meaning of Mahabharata (which is also considered to be the 5th Veda). This is confirmed in Bhagavatam itself:

sarva-vedanta-saram hi sri-bhagavatam isyate tad-rasamrta-trptasya nanyatra syad ratih kvacit

Srimad-Bhagavatam is declared to be the essence of all Vedanta philosophy. One who has felt satisfaction from its nectarean mellow will never be attracted to any other literature.(Bhag. 12.13.15)

Padma Purana (Uttara-khanda 193.3) states:

puranesu tu sarvesu srimad bhagavatam param yatra prati-padam krsno giyate bahudharsibhih

"Of all the puranas, the Bhagavata is the greatest. In every line the sages glorify Sri Krsna in various ways."

This is also confirmed in Bhagavatam itself:

srimad-bhagavatam puranam amalam yad vaisnavanam priyam yasmin paramahamsyam ekam amalam jnana param giyate tatra jnana-viraga-bhakti-sahitam naiskarmyam aviskrtam tac chrnvan su-pathan vicarana-paro bhaktya vimueyen narah

Srimad Bhagvatam is the spotless Purana. It is most dear to the vaisnava because it describes the pure and supreme knowledge of the paramahamsas. This Bhagavatam reveals the means for becoming free from all material work, together with the processes of transcendental knowledge, renunciation and devotion. Anyone who seriously tries to understand Srimad Bhagvatam, who properly hears and chants it with devotion, becomes completely liberated. (Bhag 12.13.18)

There are similiar verses found in Bhagavatam itelf

dharmah projjhita-kaitavo 'tra paramo nirmatsaranam satam vedyam vastavam atra vastu sivadmn tapa-trayonmulanam srimad-bhagavate maha-muni-krte kim va parair isvarah sadyo hrdy avarudhyate 'tra kytibhih susrusubhis tat-ksanat

Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhagavata Purana propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries. This beautiful Bhagavatam, compiled by the great sage Vyasadeva [in his maturity]' is sufficient in itself for God realization. What is the need of any other scripture? As soon as one attentively and submissively hears the message of Bhagavatam, by this culture of knowledge the Supreme Lord is established within his heart. (Bhag 1.1.2)

nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam suka-mukhad amrta-drava-samyutam pibata bhagavatam rasam alayam muhuraho rasika bhuvi bhavukah

O expert and thoughtful men, relish Srimad Bhagvatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Sri Sukadeva Goswami. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although its nectarean juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls. ( Bhag1.1.3) Jaya Nitaai!

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    Nice answer! Btw I'm concerned with this statement "is is also an explanation of Gayatri (which is also the essence of the Vedas)." I just searched S.B. and found mention of Gayatri just 18 times.. and everywhere it is used as general sense and not as explanation.. so I'm concerned Where is Gayatri explained in Srimad Bhagvatam?... also can't that Garuda Purana verse be a refrence to Devi Bhagvatam and not Srimad Bhagvatam....?
    – Tezz
    Nov 29, 2016 at 2:30
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    ... because Devi Bhagvatam is also called Bhagvata Purana.. it also contains 18000 verses... it also calls itself as reflection and expansion of Vedas... it also describes story of Mahabharata... and it specifically deals with Explanation of Gayatri... with Gayatri Kavach, Gayatri Hridaym, Gayatri Sahasranaam.. sacred-texts.com/hin/db/db03.htm see the TWELVTH BOOK here..
    – Tezz
    Nov 29, 2016 at 2:32
  • @Tezz - Nice information abt. Devi Bhagvatam. Nov 29, 2016 at 7:03
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    @Tezz We Vaishnavs believe that the verses cannot refer to Devi Bhagavatam for many reasons. First of all, the Bhagavatam is a sattvic text, and the sattvic texts always glorify Lord Vishnu.(according to Padma Purana). Furthermore, JIva Goswami quotes a few verses (Skanda Purana, Prabhasa Khanda ( to confirm that the Bhagavatam can only refer to Srimad Bhagavatam not Devi Bhagavatam. Firstly Bhagavatam was written in Sveta Varaha Kalpa, it was spoken by Sukadeva to Parikshit and it has an explanation of the Hayagriva Brahmavidya. These are not found in devi bhagavatam.
    – Nitai dasa
    Nov 29, 2016 at 8:55
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    So basically from the context of other verses, Jiva Goswami claims that the Bhagavatam status is given only to Srimad Bhagavatam not Devi Bhagavatam. Different Sampradayas will agree/disagree of course.
    – Nitai dasa
    Nov 29, 2016 at 8:56

Garuda Purana Brahma (Moksha) Khanda praises the Bhagavata Purana to be the best Purana devoted to Vishnu. After that comes Vishnu Purana and then comes Garuda Purana.

It says:

In the Kali age, only three principal Puranas are devoted to Vishnu. Among these the Bhagavata Purana renders more good to the people. The Bhagavata Purana opens with the description of the origin of the universe; Vishnu, Brahma, Rudra and others. The wise declare knowledge to be manifold, consisting of various grades - high, low and middling. All that knowledge is found, in the Bhagavata Purana. Hence, Bhagavata is the highest of all Puranas. The Vishnu Purana comes next then comes Garuda. The three are principal Puranas in the Kali age.

Garuda Purana: Brahma(Moksha) Khanda, Chapter 1

  • my one of the question is whether any other reference which say SB is the foremost scripture about GOD but not Vishnu in particular. Oct 1, 2015 at 17:37
  • I am not aware of any such reference. Oct 2, 2015 at 11:14
  • @PradipGangopadhyay Kiran provided a lot of such references in the comment section above. Oct 2, 2015 at 14:04
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    I am wondering about the reliability of such recommendations given the intense sectarian atmosphere in the Puranic literature. Of course in the case of Srimad Bhagavatam the recommendation may be correct but still doubts remain. Oct 2, 2015 at 15:49
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    @Eduru Bhagavata Purana was written before 500 ACE. Orientalists did try to prove that Bhagavata Purana was written very late. That view has been rejected long time ago. Jan 9, 2017 at 16:48
**Are there any other references which indicate Bhagavata Purana is the foremost?**

The answer is given in ShreemadBhagvatam itself in it's Glory (Mahatmya Part) The story is of Bhakti Devi and Gyan-Vairagya both became unconscious due to kaliyuga.And Narada finding solution to awake them.Then sanakadik muni told Narada.

वेदोपनिषदां साराज्जाता भागवती कथा ।
  अत्युत्तमो ततो भाति पृथ्गभूता फलाकृति:।।

VedoPnishadaam SarraJaata Bhagvati Katha Attyuttamo Tatou Bhati PrugBhuta PhalaKruti

Meaning - Bhagvat Katha arose from essence of "Vedas & Upanishadas" , but it gives it's separate returns.So it became more fine than these.

इदं भागवतं नाम पुराणं ब्रह्मसम्मितम
  भक्तिज्ञानविरागाणं स्थापनाय प्रकाशितम।।

Idam Bhagvatam Puranam BrahmaSammitam BhaktiGyanViragaaNam Sthaapanaaya Prakaashitam

Meaning - This Bhagvat purana is compatible wirh Vedas Shree Vyasa Maharshi published this for establishment of "Bhakti , Gyan & "Vairagaya"

Its said that supreme lord (Bhagvanta) established himself in ShreeMadBhagvatam.As to minimize the ill effects of Kaliyuga.So according to some beliefs Supreme Lord Resides in this purana.

स्वकीयं यद्भवेत्तेजस्तच्च भगवतेs दधात ।
  तिरोधाय प्राविष्ठोsयं श्रीमदभगवद्भातार्णवम ।।61।।

Swakiyam YadbhakVettejaStachha Bhagvate Dhadhaat TiroDhaaya Pravishoyam ShreeMadBhagvtaRnavam

Meaning - And then Bhagavanta poured his Power**(Teja)** in Shreemad Bhagvatam & he disappeared.

Also its said that Thousand's of Ashwamedha & Hundreds of Vajapeys yagna even can't compit ShreemadBhagvat Purana

अश्वमेधसहस्राणि वाजपेयशतानि च ।
  शुकशास्त्र कथायाश्र्च कलां नार्हंति षोडशीम् ।।30।।

AshwamedhaSahasraani VajapeyaShataani cha Shukashastra kathaaYaashrchaKalaam Narhati ShodaShim

Meaning - Thousands of Ashwamedha Yagna and Hundred's of Vajapeya yagna's cant even compit with 16 th part of this purana.

Shree Shuka said -

श्रीमद्भागवतं पुरांतिलकं - ShreeMad Bhagvat is formost of all Puranas.

क्षेत्राणां चैव सर्वेषां यथा काशी ह्यानुत्तमा .।
  तथा पुराणव्रातानां श्रीमद्भागवतं द्विजा: ।।17।।

Meaning - As Ganga is formost in the Rivers , Kashi (Prayaga) among Tirthas Vishnu is formost in Devatas , And Shree Shankar Mahadeva is formost in Vaishnavas , is this purana among all the puranas.

So from above shlokas we can see why its considered as formost of puranas.And as said by Sai its one of the Sattivik puranas also.

  • The story of jnana and vairagya falling unconscious comes from a section in Padma purana that describes the bhagavata mahatmya.
    – user16618
    Jan 9, 2019 at 9:47

I will give one reference here to answer this question, but many answers are possible. I think the question is fair and a good one, but the answer depends on whom we ask. Among people who take Srimad Bhagavatam as the most important Purana, the reason widely varies, including some simply following the tradition & family belief. Therefore multitude of answers are possible for this question.

That said, here is a study on Matsya Purana by Professor Sri Ramachandra Dikshitar of University of Madras. On page 54 the author says the following (pasted as a screenshot below).

enter image description here

This is one example of how people consider Srimad Bhagavata Purana and hence hold it with esteem. Different people follow different reasons in their conclusions, and personally I do not fully agree with the author of the above passage. But I just wanted to give one example of how people view Srimad Bhagavata Purana, which is really a collection of many stories, in no particular order. Another reason is it is one of the major Puranas that deals with Lord Krishna's life as an avatara (in the 10th skanda), which is compelling. In a way one can take that as "Krishna Purana" in lack of better word. The other Puranas that deal with Lord Krishna's life are Brahma Vaivarta Purana, and Harivamsa (which is not a separate Purana, but considered a supplement of The Mahabharata). These are some of the key characteristics of Srimad Bhagavata Maha Purana, that could form the basis for some to treat this as the foremost of the Puranas.


If you mean Srimad Bhagavat Puraan it is not considered the foremost of all puraan except by Vaishnavs. In fact, according to Skanda Puraan it is a Taamsic one that is not meant for Brahmins. Sholkas 45-50 in the 2nd Adhyaya of Sambhav Khand which is part of Shiv Rahasya Khand of Sankara Samhita of Skanda MahaPurana, plainly state that the 10 Shaiva Puranas are Sattavik and 4 Vishnu Puranas are Tamasic.

दशशैव पुराणानि सात्विकानि विदुर्भुदः

वैष्णवानि च चत्वारि तामसानि मुनिश्वरः।

Before that it says -

विष्णोर्हि वैष्णवं तद्वत् तथा भागवतं तथा। नारदीय पुराणं च गारुडं वैष्णवं विदु:।।

Or Srimad Bhagavat Puraan is part of that category. Brahmaji himself in Shiva Purana also says that Vishnu is Taamsik in nature.

Srimad Bhagavat is a Vaishnav scripture that is considered foremost by Vaishnavs. There are verses in Vaishnav scriptures Garuda and Padma Purana which talk about this as other users have given. So Vaishnavs accept this and consider it foremost.

  • The question Is: Why (according to some beliefs), is the Srimad Bhagvad Purana the best Purana?. Your attempt at answer tries to prove it otherwise, which the question doesn't ask. Had the question been: Does some views exists on the Tamasik nature of Srimad Bhagvad?, then this answer would have been valid. Your answer is more focused on proving how and why Vishnu must be considered Tamasik (as per Shaiva literature).
    – Vivikta
    May 28, 2021 at 5:17
  • Totally wrong!! I have answered the question in the last bit and the first bit is an explanation of the context.
    – R. Kaushik
    May 28, 2021 at 16:40

Lord Veda Vyasa in Srimad Bhagavata Mahatmya from Padma Purana records the conversation between Narada rishi & Kumaras that include Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanandana, Sanathkuma. Wherein, adyaya Two (2), Narada rishi asks thus in sloka 66-

छिन्दन्तु संशयं ह्येनं भवन्तोऽमोघदर्शनाः । विलम्बो नात्र कर्तव्यः शरणागतवत्सलाः ॥ ६६॥

For which Sanatkumara, The Emperor of Vedanta Samrajya explains thus:

यथा दुग्धे स्थितं सर्पिर्न स्वादायोपकल्पते । पृथग्भूतं हि तद्गव्यं देवानां रसवर्धनम् ॥ ६९॥

इक्षूणामादिमध्यान्तं शर्करा व्याप्य तिष्ठति । पृथग्भूता च सा मिष्टा तथा भागवती कथा ॥ ७०॥

He says a special flavor like that in ghee and in sugar is embedded in Srimad Bhagavata. Though they are the by-product of Milk & Sugar cane. He has also said:

वेदोपनिषदां साराज्जाता भागवती कथा । अत्युत्तमा ततो भाति पृथग्भूता फलाकृतिः ॥ ६७॥

आमूलाग्रं रसस्तिष्ठन्नास्ते न स्वाद्यते यथा । स भूयः संपृथग्भूतः फले विश्वमनोहरः ॥ ६८॥

Srimad Bhagavata is a special & delicious fruit! The same is elaborated in the attached link below and more:

enter link description here The flavor of Srimad Bhagavata as described by The Emperor of Vedanta

Mula Guru i.e. Guru of all Gurus, Lord Veda Vyasa in Srimad Bhagavata Mahatmya from Padma Purana records the conversation between Uddhava and Lord Krishna in third adhyaya. Uddhava praises Lord Krishna & seeks clarifications in sloka quoted below:

त्वं तु यास्यसि गोविन्द भक्तकार्यं विधाय च । मच्चित्ते महती चिन्ता तां श्रुत्वा सुखमावह ॥ ५५॥

Uddhave being worried that philosophies like Lord doesn't have Form nor attributes would prevail after disappearance of Lord Sri Krishna from earth. Hence he requests Lord Krishna to stay back on earth vide below sloka:

अतः सत्सु दयां कृत्वा भक्तवत्सल मा व्रज । भक्तार्थं सगुणो जातो निराकारोऽपि चिन्मयः ॥ ५८॥ त्वद्वियोगेन ते भक्ताः कथं स्थास्यन्ति भूतले । निर्गुणोपासने कष्टमतः किंचिद्विचारय ॥ ५९॥ इत्युद्धववचः श्रुत्वा प्रभासेऽचिन्तयद्धरिः । भक्तावलम्बनार्थाय किं विधेयं मयेति च ॥ ६०॥

Lord Sri Krishna clarifies Uddhava that he will not go to Vaikunta lock stock & barrel. But would stay back on earth in one of his form and be present in Srimad Bhagavata in the form of words constituting speech or in the form of Vangmaya vide below sloka:

स्वकीयं यद्भवेत्तेजस्तच्च भागवतेऽदधात् । तिरोधाय प्रविष्टोऽयं श्रीमद्भागवतार्णवम् ॥ ६१॥

The details of entire conversation & more is described in the below link :

Lord Sri Krishna’s Presence on Earth in this Kali Yuga

Hence, Srimad Bhagavata is a Physical form of Sri Krishna and should be kept on pedestal, Light deepa and offer prayers.

Hence, of all purnas, Srimad Bhagavata is Magnum opus of Lord Veda Vyasa and foremost.

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    Welcome to Hinduism! Can you kindly add the translation? Not all here can read Hindi, Sanskrit other languages easily! Feb 3, 2019 at 4:11
  • While the slokas are as per the web site guidelines to quote reference to the source, a brief lead to the subject is also indicated. For complete translation, you may wish to follow the link.Thanks for your clarifications. Feb 3, 2019 at 4:30

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