The vast and exceedingly complex body of work that constitute the Hindu scriptures consists, in the most simplistic terms, of the ancient Vedas (rituals, mantras, hymns); the Upanishads (spiritual interpretation of the Vedas); the post-Vedic literature (including such epics as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata); the Bhagavad Gita or Divine Song (a kind of practical guide to life); and the Puranas (mythological tales about the origins of the world, culture and deities).
The Bhagavata Purana concerns itself with the exploits of the Hindu god Vishnu in his various incarnations (avatars), and particularly as Krishna. It records a dialogue between a King who has 7 days left to live and a Saint who agrees to teach the King about the meaning of life. The purpose of the Bhagavata Purana is to enable a person to overcome the fear of death by the process of bhakti yoga - the spiritual practice of cultivating a loving devotion to the Supreme God-of-Gods.
The images above come from a 45 feet long, 17th century silk-paper illuminated scroll, which is obviously mounted in a wooden box. This sacred Bhagavata Purana scroll is hosted by the Rylands Library at the University of Manchester - it employs a LunaInsight browser arrangement [search on 'hinduism']. I've posted about 2/3 of the available images and the details above are all spliced screencaps - click on the images for larger versions.
- Hindu scripture/Bhagavata Purana at wikipedia.
- 'Stories of Krishna: The Adventures of a Hindu God' - an excellent presentation from Seattle Museum based on artworks of Krishna (audio/flash).
- Śrīmad Bhāgavatam (Bhagavata Purana) - the text.
- I preferred the childrens' version: 'Tales From The Bhagavatham Retold For Children by PS Krishna Iyer.
- 'Manas: India and its Neighbours' at UCLA.
- 'The Invention of the Hindu' from Axess Magazine (cache) via a great Metafilter post.