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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Brihad Bhagavamrita, Canto I, chapters 2-4

This is the second installment of my review of Gopīprāṇadhan Dās' rendering of Sanātan Gosvāmī's Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta -

1.2.22 In the ṭīkā Śrī Sanātan Gosvāmī quotes an amazing verse from the Bhagavat (8.5.5) in which apparently a new Vaikuṇṭha planet is created, although these worlds are of course beginningless and endless. I looked up the ācāryas’ ṭīkās on that verse. Jiva Gosvāmī says: yathā bhagavata āvirbhāva-mātraṁ janmeti manyate tathaiva vaikuṇṭhasyāpi kalpanam āvirbhāvanam eva na tu kṛtrimatvam. ubhayatrāpi nityatvād ity abhiprāyeṇa tat sāṁyenāha - Just as the divine appearance of the Lord is considered 'birth', similarly this so-called creation of Vaikuṇṭha is another divine appearance, not some artificial (creation). In both places eternity is indicated." Viśvanātha's ṭīkā is almost the same, only he adds 'prākṛta' to kṛtrima - it appears as a mundane artificial creation, seemingly anitya but actually nitya."

1.2.64 Comments like "The Lord, after all, is forever eager to have the wayward souls come back to Him." and "including those who have chosen to forget Him since time immemorial" are from Gopīprāṇadhan Dās and not from Sanātan Gosvāmī. It is not siddhānta.

1.2.79 Brahmā confirms one should not be in Vraja too long, to avoid making offences, as in 'familiarity breeds contempt' - nanu kathaṁ tarhi tatraiva na sthitaṁ tatrāha - tatreti. īśvarasyānavasare rahasya deśe ca ciram avasthānenāparādhā eva bhaveyur ityevaṁ trasam bhayaṁ prāpnuvan - 'Then why did he (Brahma) not stay there? There it is said tatra. He was afraid to commit offences if he stayed too long in the land where the Lord has His surprising, confidential pastimes."

In BB 1.2.86, and 1.3.1-5 Gopīprāṇadhan Dās does give the correct meaning of the second offence to the holy name, namely: 'One who sees differences between any of Lord Shiva's qualities and names and those of Śrī Viṣṇu is an antagonist to harināma.'

1.3.46 commentary: The residents of Vaikuṇṭha are great preachers who wander all over and are aware of the material world, regularly descending there or sending people down there.
That could be with expansions of their Vaikuṇṭha forms, as the Vedanta Sūtra says that one can have many different spiritual bodies.

Gopīprāṇadhan Dās is saying in his comment: "These eternally liberated Vaikuṇṭha-vāsīs are always helping others." This 'eternally liberated' is not in Sanātan Gosvāmī's text. It would contradict Bhakti Sandarbha 180, which says that only sādhana siddhas can feel compassion. The actual text of Sanātan Gosvāmī's commentary on this verse is - ataeva harer bhaktānāṁ bhajane pravṛtta mātrānāṁ bhakti-niṣṭhānāṁ svata eva sarva siddheḥ - 'Therefore Hari's devotees, all those who are engaged in bhajan, automatically have all siddhis through their fixation in bhakti." Also in the previous verse it is said saṁprāptaṁ saccidānandam in 1.3.45, "they have attained spiritual bodies."

Further in the 1.3.46 ṭīkā, Sanātan Gosvāmī says - vardhayantaś ca sad vaṁśa-santater mahā-vaibhava-vistāraṇācca 'The Vaikuṇṭha-residents also preach the great prowess of bhakti by increasing the Sacred families (sad vaṁśa-santateḥ - santati means 'line of descent'), a clear reference to divine families like the Advaita Vaṁśa.

1.3.58 "The residents of Vaikuṇṭha are already perfect, but they humbly think themselves only potential candidates for prema-bhakti."

This is not in Sanātan Gosvāmī's text nor does he speak of residents of Vaikuṇṭha here.

1.3.84 The new devotees are considered more glorious here than eternal devotees because of the sweetness of their devotional struggle to attain Kṛṣṇa. Odd is that Sanātan Gosvāmī considers Prahlād to be such an arvācīna bhakta, or new devotee, whereas I had always believed he was an eternal associate of the Lord too. New devotee may mean a member of the team that is taking part in the manifest pastimes of the Lord, playing the role of a sādhaka.

1.4.18 There is a nice nyāya in the ṭīkā here: paropadeśe pāṇḍityam sarveṣāṁ su-karaṁ nṛṇām: "It is easy enough for anyone to make himself sound like an expert when advising others."

1.4.29-30 The central point of these verse and their purports is that however great a lowborn devotee is, his saṁskāra (conditioning to his previous life) is never far away.

1.4.36 Gopīprāṇadhan Dās may have used the word 'newer' in connection with Hanumān [although the word 'newer' is not strictly there in the text, just 'new'] because Prahlāda appeared earlier in the material sequence of time. Just like the rising sun, seems to be new but is very old - ref. 1.3.84 commentary. The last sentence of the commentary says:
"After a person has seen the great ocean, the sight of a small lake will no longer impress him." This seems to say that the word new refers to the quality of the devotee, Hanumān.

1.4.110 Hanumān tells his fellow Brahmacārī Nārada Muni: "Please do not let your intelligence become shrouded by the offensive idea that you and I are staunch celibates and the Pāṇḍavas mere householders, distracted by political affairs." In the ṭīkā Sanātan Gosvāmī says that shunning the company of pure devotee-householders by arrogant renunciants is offensive.

1.4.116 Hanuman about Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja: Since his heart always burns in the fire of love for Kṛṣṇa, those garlands, those garments, and sandalwood pulp attract him no more than they would attract a man afflicted by the fire of hunger." In other words, how will a garland please a hungry man?

New comment on 1.3.46 added January 27, 2010


  1. BB 1.2.86: Giving proper honour to Lord Shiva:
    I hadn't noticed this in my previous readings of Brhadbhagavatamrtam.
    Thanks for noting this important verse which makes my heart very happy.
    - Muralidhar

  2. BB 1.3.46: Residents of Vaikuntha regularly descend to the material world:

    This brings a whole lot of things to my mind. One of the most striking is, when Jai-Vijai were offered the chance to descend into material existence they chose to be asuras and have a swift return, but some other Vaikuntha-vasis are choosing to come down because of their own innate kindness.

  3. 1.3.46 commentary: The residents of Vaikuntha are great preachers who wander all over and are aware of the material world, regularly descending there or sending people down there.
    That could be with expansions of their Vaikuntha forms, as the Vedanta Sutra says that one can have many different spiritual bodies.

    Here does Vaikuntha include Goloka also?

  4. "Here does Vaikuntha include Goloka also?"

    It does not seem so, since Sanatan Goswami makes clear distinction between the two realms. They are described with different characteristics in different chapters and in different stages of Gopakumar's spiritual journey.

  5. Advaitadas I agree with you here.

    But on further consideration, I understand Sri Radha descended 500 years ago at Seva-kunja and revealed Herself to Syamananda Thakur, who had found her anklet....