Srila Prabhupada's Original Bhagwatams


Jul 24, USA (SUN)— Before coming to preach in the West, Srila Prabhupada chose to translate, purport and publish the first canto of Srimad Bhagwatam, in three volumes. While we can only speculate as to why he chose these volumes first and foremost, Srila Prabhupada’s translations and purports on Srimad Bhagavatam will go down in history as one of his primary writing efforts.

Later cantos of Srimad Bhagavatam were translated, purported and published after Srila Prabhupada arrived in America, where he was surrounded by many enthusiastic devotees in his growing ISKCON movement. Without question, the mood and “voice” presented in those later editions is markedly different than as it is embodied in the original three volumes of Srimad Bhagwatam. When reading the original Bhagwatams, perhaps more than any of Srila Prabhupada’s other writings, either before or after his coming west, one can feel the Vrindaban mood expressed in the purports. The original volumes may contain some typos and English imperfections, but we know that there is absolutely no less spiritual potency. In fact, we find reading the original Bhagwatams far preferable to the later, edited editions. In the original three volumes, Srila Prabhupada’s voice is so distinctly personal, one can hear him speaking as if he were standing before us today.

Srila Prabhupada brought relatively few of these priceless books with him when he came West, and some of them certainly have been lost and destroyed over the years. The remaining copies are closely guarded by the fortunate devotees who give them shelter and we can be sure they’re handled with utmost care. Your Sun editors were very fortunate to locate a set of the Bhagwatams on Ebay, of all places, just a few years ago. That story is posted in

Original Cover

Because the Bhagwatams were printed in India using rather inferior materials and bookbinding techniques (i.e., low quality boards, glue and cloth covers), many of the originals are in fairly rough shape today, with broken spines, torn pages, etc. A number of years ago, Nityananda das published a limited quantity of reprints of the original editions, and they, too, are difficult to find today.

We are fortunate to have access to PDF versions of the original 3-volume Bhagwatams, for which links are provided below. We hope all the devotees will enjoy reading these copies, and hearing from Srila Prabhupada in this personal way.

With the launch of the Sampradaya Sun’s new PodCast network, we are now making available an audio series of the original Srimad Bhagwatams, read by Jahnava devi. As time permits, she will read and publish these PodCasts in the Sun, beginning today with the Introduction. One can listen to the PodCasts while reading along with the original books in PDF version, or while reading the newer BBT versions for a comparative view. While Jahnava notes that it would be far preferable to have the Bhagwatams read by someone with a better grasp of Sanskrit pronunciation than she, hopefully you will be able to make the best of a bad bargain.


Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3


Preface and Introduction


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