Organization of Bhāgavatam

Here is a presentation of paragraphs 61.3-5 of Śrī Tattva Sandarbha by Jīva Goswāmī

We might think that the ten topics are covered sequentially and systematically in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam’s cantos, but how can this be when there are ten topics and twelve cantos? We might propose to drop two of the cantos as introductory or appedicary. Perhaps,  since the list of topics is given at the end of canto two, we might assume that discussion of these topics begins systematically from the third. However, on actual study we find that the eighth, ninth and tenth topics are all covered in the tenth canto, and all the other topics also appear here and there throughout the other cantos.

Śrīdhara Swāmī confirms:

The topic of “destruction” is covered in the tenth canto – spreading Krishna’s excellent glory by describing how he rid the earth of her burdens by destroying wicked, immoral rulers… Bhāgavata has already described the four types of material destruction. 

[Bhāvārtha-dīpikā 10.1.1]

The idea here is that the main topic of the tenth canto is Krishna as the Ultimate Origin. Other topics, like destruction, are also covered in whatever ways they relate to the main topic. We can come to similar conclusions about the main topics of other cantos.

The tenth topic is the primary subject of the tenth canto – revealing the characteristics of the Ultimate Origin.


Every canto has primary and secondary topics, and thus each one touches on virtually all ten topics. This is what the Bhāgavatam means by saying:

[These topics] are discussed directly and indirectly.


In fact, we do find each of the ten topics in each and every canto, even in the first and second – which therefore cannot be excluded from the mahā-purāṇa itself. This is why we don’t hold the idea that the topics are discussed in a systematically sequential way.

Vraja Kishor dās

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