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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Śrīmad Bhāgavata, Canto 4, part 2

SB 4.20.22 This verse says that when Pṛthu beheld the Lord, the Lord's feet touched the ground (padā spṛśantaṁ kṣitim) Śrīdhar Swami and Viśvanātha quote a text from śāstra saying that the devatās' feet generally do not touch the earth, but in this case Hari forgets it because He is overwhelmed by compassion. It seems there is a difference here between Nārāyan, who seems to be counted among the Devas whose feet usually do not touch the ground, and Kṛṣṇa. In sweet human pastimes, like Kṛṣṇa's, it is seen that the gopīs worry about His feet being pricked by pebbles and thorns on the paths of Vraja (SB 10.31.19 yat te sujāta) and mother Yaśodā, for the same reason, wants Kṛṣṇa to wear shoes (in Govinda Lilamrita). I remember how I was introduced to the mādhurya concept by the late Hayeśvara Dās in Amsterdam. I joined the Iskcon temple community in Amsterdam on June 4, 1978, and a few weeks later was the annual Snāna Yātrā festival. Suddenly Lord Jagannāth had disappeared from the altar and I asked Hayeśvara, who was like my mentor, where Lord Jagannātha had gone. In his dry, comical way he told me the Lord had caught a cold (!!!) and was being treated in the office (!!!). Obviously it was not good to 'treat' the Lord in the brahmacārī āśram between the boys' dirty socks, so they had taken the typewriters out of the temple office and brought the Lord there to be treated with ginger-tea and tissue papers.

SB 4.20.24 See my blog of March 23, 2007 and comments. The Bhāgavat must be heard from the mahattamas - the greatest possible souls. Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda quotes the 3rd verse of the Bhāgavat in his tika: śuka mukhād amṛta shows that it does matter whom you hear Kṛṣṇa-katha from. It shows also that it matters who translates a text, and that it is best to read the text in the original. relish depends on both vakta and śrota.  madhuram api jalaṁ kṣāra-bhūmi praviṣṭaṁ yathā virasībhavati tathaivāvaiṣṇava mukhaṁ nirgato bhagavat guṇo'pi nātirocaka iti vyatirekaśca gamyaḥ “Just as sweet water becomes salty by being poured over a desert, Kṛṣṇa katha of a non-Vaiṣṇava is not so attractive, although it does contain the Lord’s attributes.”

4.20.31 — yatheti bālasya hitāhitaṁ pitaiva jānāti balas tvadhyayana khelanādikaṁ sva hitāhitaṁ viparyayena jānātītyevaṁ mahyaṁ varasya pradānam apradānaṁ vā hitaṁ vimṛśya sva sammatam eva bhadraṁ kriyatāṁ na punar mama sammatir eva pramāṇī kartavyeti bhagavatyeva pṛthunā viśrambho vyañjitaḥ. “Just as only the father knows what is good and what is not good for the child, sometimes allowing him to play and sometimes forcing him to study, He knows when to give the best thing to me and when not. I shall just do whatever he tells me to do." This was how Pṛthu Maharaja trusted the Lord." Sometimes the Lord punishes the devotee disproportionately, sometimes He forgives the most extreme sins of the devotee, according to the individual or even collective need. Mahāprabhu effectively sentenced Chota Haridās to death, for a slight mistake of begging some rice from an 84-year old widow, and on the other hand other devotees are excused from the most extreme sin, it all depends on the welfare of the devotee[s].

4.21.12 This verse mentions [non-brahmin] Vaiṣṇavas as acyuta gotra, the harijans, the family of God. They see Acyuta as their progenitor.

4.22.47  yair īdṛsi bhagavato gatir ātma-vāda ekāntato nigamibhih pratipādita naḥ tuṣyantv adabhra-karunaḥ sva-kṛtena nityaṁ ko nāma tat pratikaroti vinoda-pātram
Mahārāja Pṛthu told Sanatkumāra: „May you – who are well versed in the Vedas and have in your profuse compassion precisely explained to us, in the course of your dissertation on the Supreme Lord, the true nature of God as depicted above – may you ever be pleased with your own acts (of delivering the afflicted). What else can be a reward for you but handfuls of water?” 
Śrīdhara Svāmī comments: saty api svatve sarvasvenāpi na guroḥ pratyupakartum sakyam ity āha—yair iti – „Even by offering everything you have you cannot repay the Guru.” yad vā vinoda-pātram upahāsāspadam. pratyupakāre pravṛttau janānām upahāsāspadaṁ bhaved ity arthaḥ „Other than the ‘handfuls of water’ interpretation one can read the verse thus: instead of vina uda-pātra (without handfuls of water) one can also read vinoda-pātram, or ‘object of ridicule’. In other words, anyone who says that there is any way to repay the Guru is a ridiculous person.”

SB 4.22.53, tika: na tu putrotpādana-hetukaḥ vegas tasya strī-viṣayakaḥ ko’pi kāma-vikāro’stīty arthaḥ  'Pṛthu had no lusty feelings towards his wife at all as he produced his five sons." Pṛthu was of course a śaktyāveśa avatāra, not an ordinary human being - pṛthu-dehasya bhagavad-vigrahatvāt

SB 4.23.11, Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda's tika – “It is also said of Kṛṣṇa that he was not lusty after his wives in SB 10.61.4 - patnyas tu śoḍaśa-sahasram anaṅga-bāṇair yasyendriyaṁ vimathituṁ kuhakair na śekuḥ.  It is because the Lord is vibhūmna (SB 10.61.3), Self-fulfilled (in His aiśvarya-aspect, of course).”For embodied souls, even the great Vaiṣṇavas, however, some physical transformation is obviously required to create sex drive. There is of course a big difference between drinking a bottle of whisky and making a baby outside wedlock in the back of a car, or chanting 64 rounds with one's wedded wife and doing garbhādhāna saṁskāra before making a baby, but even for the latter scenario, some physical transformations are required to make a sex drive. dharmāviruddha bhūteṣu kāmo'smi (Bhagavad Gītā 7.11) "I am lust that does not conflict with dharma". It does not conflict with dharma, but it is lust nonetheless. Jīva Goswāmī comments on SB 10.61.3: "Kṛṣṇa is self-satisfied, but He becomes under the spell of His pure devotees (ahaṁ bhakta'parādhīno) and thus He gets 'lusty' after them. That is the rasika aspect. The philosophical aspect is shown in the Gopāl Tāpanī Upaniṣad - vidyāmayo hi yaḥ sa kathaṁ viṣayībhavati 'He is full of knowledge - how can He be sensual?" There is also the yogik scenario, like yogi Kardama, who impregnated his wife Devahutī nine times in one session. All this is not on the human level.

4.24.40 puṇyāya lokāya - obeisances to Vaikuṇṭha. puṇya here does not mean 'planet of the pious' like a heavenly planet. Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda comments: puṇyāya sarvottamāya puṇyas tu cārv api - puṇya means 'the supreme' or 'beautiful' according to the Amar-Koṣa dicitionary.

4.24.57 Throwing an egg at a devotee during harinām is also half a moment of sat saṅga but Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda says in his ṭīkāpremna saṅga (association with love) is uttama.

4.24.59 Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda links nāmāparādha to sleepiness - nāmāparādha leads to a loss of ruci, and then one does not feel inspired or buoyed to get up early. Or, during one's sādhana one falls into the hole of sleep (tamo-guhāyāṁ, or supti-gahvare). The consciousness of the sādhaka falls into the hole of tamo-guṇa very easily.

4.25.21 The woman [conditioned soul] looking for a husband does not mean that the spirit soul has a reason to be here, let alone to fall down from the spiritual world. One cannot always see such statements in a time frame, like she was not here but then she came here for a purpose, like seeking a husband, just like the samudra manthana - the Kaustubha gem and Lakṣmī of course never came to Nārāyan, they are eternally His.

4.25.47, Śrīdhar Swāmī's ṭīkā - tasmād dakṣiṇerdha ātmano vīryāvattaraḥ iti śruteḥ. svānubhavāc ca tatra prakāśādhikyam "The Śrutis declare that the senses on the right side are stronger [in perception]." That may be the reason why initiation is given in the right ear.

4.25.62  viśeṣeṇa prakarṣeṇa evam anena prakāreṇa labdhaḥ prāptaḥ sarvayā prakṛtyā svabhāvena jnānānandādi-rūpayā vancitas tyājitaḥ. Verse: "Petitioned by the queen, cheated of his own nature, the foolish king, though he did not want to, followed her like a pet animal."
Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda's ṭīkā- vipralabdha means having specificially attained a condition in this way. Specially conditioned by the intelligence and at all times cheated of his nature of knowledge and bliss" It means the living entity is deprived of its potential knowledge and bliss. The text should not be seen as confirming fall-vāda (that the soul once had bliss and knowledge but now lost it) or dormant-vāda (that prema is dormant in the heart of the conditioned souls). He continues: necchan ekena sva-svabhāvena vastutas tat tad anicchann api klaibyāt pāravaśya-prāpakād aparasmāt svabhāvāt anukaroti tad-dharmam ātmany adhyasyati 'Giving up his nature, not wanting to because of his nature, but coming under the control of another [klaibyāt], assuming a different nature, he follows her. He imposed these qualities on the soul." It seems more as if he attained subjugation due to its impotence [klaibyāt], beginninglessly so of course. It is said twice in Bhagavad Gītā that whoever attains Kṛṣṇa's Supreme abode (tad-dhāma paramaṁ mama) never returns (yad gatvā na nivartante). Yet fall-vādis sometimes casually dismiss śāstra and say, "Yes but still you can fall again due to free will". Such disregard for śāstra could lead to a number of nāmāparādhas, notably śruti śāstra nindā (criticising scriptures) and artha-vāda (creating imaginary meanings). Statements in other Purāṇas, that are in the modes of passion and ignorance, that after performing pious acts one spends a long time in Vaikuṇṭha and then returns to earth again apply to the Vaikuṇṭha in the material world, at the milk ocean, only. The demigods can also reach that place, as we can see in the opening verses of the 10th Canto. However, the abode of Kṛṣṇa, Goloka, is beyond that material world and is called tad dhāma paramam mama - My (Kṛṣṇa's) supreme abode, attainment of which is saṁsiddhiṁ paramaṁ gataḥ, the ultimate perfection. We could even wonder if such promises in rājasik and tāmasik Purāṇas are not just meant to attract fruitive workers to the path of bhakti somehow or other. yam imaṁ puṣpitaṁ vācam. Mahāviṣṇu's size must be unlimited because there is no limit to the number of mundane universes He contains. Asking whether Mahāviṣṇu then collides with the spiritual world is just silly - loka does not mean a limited planet or region, it means world. A world like that, be it Goloka or Mahāviṣṇu,  has no material size. Statements in the Skanda Purāṇa (a Purāṇa in the mode of ignorance) that Mahāviṣṇu has 35,000 pores may be meant just to impress upon simple souls that God is Great, but if śāstra says that the brahmāṇḍas are innumerable, how could they fit through a mere 35,000 gates? This is just like statements in different Purāṇas that it is so-and-so many millions of miles travelling to Goloka, which is of course not true because one can not measure the distance to the spiritual world in mundane terms. It is at once attained by the surrendered souls, or never so by those who are averse to Kṛṣṇa.

4.27.17 Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda comments - tripancāśad varṣa-paryantaṁ prajāgarasya prāyaḥ parājayo nābhūt “There is no decline until age 53, but then it commences” - and I have to learn this just after turning 54!

4.28.34 — guroḥ sevāyāṁ pravṛttaḥ śiṣyaḥ śravaṇa kīrtanādīnyapi bhogān tad utthāna premānandān api gṛhān tad ucita vivikta sthalam api naivāpekṣate. śrī guru sevayaiva sukhena sarva sādhya siddhyartham ityupadeśa vyañjitaḥ sevāyā eva vedena sarvādhikasyoktatvāt —A devoted and chaste wife, while absorbed in the service of her husband, does not care even for her son. Similarly, a disciple deeply absorbed in the service of the guru does not even depend on hearing and chanting, knowing that by guru-sevā he can easily attain complete perfection in devotion. Just as a devoted wife does not want any sense enjoyment and home comfort, a disciple completely absorbed in guru-sevā does not seek even premānanda arising out of hearing and chanting nor even seek secluded places suitable to his bhajana. The Vedas say that service to the Guru is the greatest.”

4.28.41  śrī-bhāgavatasya mohinītvād ito’py anyathā kecid vyācakṣate tat tu eva gṛhṇanti na santaḥ "The Bhāgavata is like Mohiṇī, giving nectar to the gods and deluding the demons. The demons interpret it differently, but the devotees do not accept such interpretations."

4.28.43 Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda comments: śrī-gurudevasya siddhi-daśā-paryantaṁ śiṣyas taṁ paricarann eva varteteti darśayati  'The disciple serves Śrī Gurudeva until the point of siddhi'. This seems to contradict the rule that one serves the Guru in his/her mañjarī svarūpa after liberation too. Perhaps the clue lies in the word paricarann, which means practical service of the Guru's physical body, which is no more after both Guru and śiṣya meet in mañjarī svarūp in the kuñja.

4.28.50 Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda’s ṭīkāśrī-guror deha-saṁskāram kṛtvā srīmad-guru-caraṇa-viyukto’haṁ tadīya-guṇānusmaraṇa-maya-śoka-davāgni-dagdha-deho prāṇam dhartum aśaknuvaṁs tad-upadiṣṭa-śravaṇa-kīrtanādi-bhaktau naiva śaktiṁ dhāsyami. tasmad adyaiva mariṣyāmīti śiṣyo manasi niścinotīti darśayāmāsa " After performing the cremation of Śrī Gurudeva, the disciple thinks « I am burning in the fire of separation from Gurudeva’s lotusfeet. My body scorches in the fire of lamentation as I remember His attributes and I have no power to stay alive, nor am I able to perform bhakti in the type of hearing and chanting which Śrī Gurudeva had adviced. » Thus the disciple decides : «Today I will die. »

4.28.51 Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda’s tika: sva-guru-viraha-vyākulībhāva-daśāyām iva śiṣyasya bhagavad-darśanam syād iti dyotayati. „In the condition of separation from his Guru, the disciple is so upset that he gets the darśana of the Lord.”

4.29.4 See my blog of May 21, 2009

4.29.64-65 "What was never seen before in real life and is nonetheless perceived in a dream was surely experienced in a previous life by a jīva who identifies with a subtle body, for an object which has not been experienced before can never touch the mind."

4.30.51 Some say that the fact that Lord Brahmā is called anādi here, which he is not literally, means that our conditioning is also not literally anādi. However, in SB 5.6.11, Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda says that anādi in relation to our conditioning is really anādi, Adi-śūnya [see later onwards]

Quotation 4.29.64-65 added July 31, 2011

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Anything wrong with Public Harinām Saṅkīrtan?

This is a recent debate on Facebook with an opponent of public harinama [slightly edited for discretion and diplomatic correctness]

Advaita Das - Met a two-man harinam party in Utrecht so I put a dhoti on and joined them. Broke the place down the three of us.

RPD - Harinam is not ment for the publik

Advaita Das - RPD - Śrīmad Bhāgavat, Śrīman Caitanya Mahāprabhu and all the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava ācāryas would beg to disagree with that.

RPD - We should follow what the Lord says,and not what he does.If Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his eternal associates dance on the street, this is their lila and should not be imitated. It was all started by the Gaudya Math headed by Bhaktisiddhanta who screwed up the real culture about was Bhakti is all about. Bevor that nobody danced artificially without bhava in front of the publik. Yes dancing is there in front of your personal deity but only if you have love for the Lord. This Harinam in publik which we have seen from Isckon and Gaudya Math is all about to make advertisment to make more followers and to use them for making money. This is there main motive, it has nothing to do with Bhakti.

Advaita Das - RP, Harinām Sankīrtan is prescribed in Sanātan Goswāmī's Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta (2.3.167-8) and in the ṭīkā of verse 168 the assurance is given that public saṅkīrtan will be fully protected). It was done by Narottam Dās Thākur, by Rādhā-raman caran Dās, Vijaya Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī, and the bābājīs too. Any devotional aṅga can be performed for lābh pūjā pratiṣṭhā (profit, adoration and distinction), including solitary bhajan, go seva, printing books etc. I have done harināma saṅkīrtan for 32 years and never got paid for it, nor did any of my friends. You show a very negative attitude towards innocent Vaiṣṇavas, I am sorry for you.

RPD It has nothing to to with a negative attitude, its all about education in scriptures, for the gaudyas the ulimate authority are the scriptures,from the 6 Gosvamis from Vrindavan. There is nothing mentioned in there writings about dancing in front materialistic people.How to you know about Narottama dasa Th. dancing have you seen it? Anybody can say anyhting, the guidance are the scriptures and not some uneducated babajis. And even if sombody dances in front of the publik, than only because out of pure Love (Prema) and he has no control over it, its spontaneous, you are on this level??? If you are on this level you have my blessings, otherwise just be humble and serve your Guru.

Advaita Das -"There is nothing mentioned in there writings about dancing in front materialistic people."

Advaitadas: kṛṣṇotkīrtana gāna nartana parau - the 6 Goswāmīs loudly chanted, sang and danced - in front of their own deities? How will you redeem 'materialistic people' unless you chant to them?

"otherwise just be humble and serve your Guru."

Advaitadas: It is a serious allegation that anyone who does harināma on the street is not humble. I admit that there is a challenge to the ego about posturing on the street with a musical instrument, but what if Guru orders one to do harināma? You said serve your Guru, what should I do then?

RPD - The way how to perform bhakti is mentioned in the bhakti sandharba by jiva gosvami, and other śāstras don't qoute prayers to establish siddhanta. Unless you know sanskritt you have no acsess to gaudia literature. If you want the Truth ...educate yourself.

Advaita Das - Allright then RP, how about this one then? This is from the Bhagavat (10.34.17), topmost śāstra according to Jīva Goswāmī - yan nāma gṛhṇann akhilān śrotṛn ātmānam eva ca sadyaḥ punāti - 'Whose name, when uttered, instantly purifies those who hear it as well as oneself." Those who hear it are only people in your living room perhaps?

"Unless you know sanskritt you have no acsess to gaudia literature"

Advaitadas: Which means that all translations, including that of your Guru, are useless? Why then all the book translations?

"If Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his eternall associates dances on the street,this is there lila and should not be immitated."

Advaitadas: Any evidence for that in śāstra?

RPD I am not quoting the books of my Guru. Unless you have not studied Sanskritt you cant't speak on Siddhanta,you can only qoute from this baba or that baba or this book and that book, but in reality you have no acess to the Gosvami Literature because you are not qualified, be humble and admitt it. Have you studiet Sanskritt , Chandan Vyakaran etc properly, I don't think so otherwise you would not talk like this.
re your qoute from bhagavad sandharba : it doesen't mean you go on the street and dance artifically and make a show and immitate a perfect siddha. Find out from your Guru, if I tell you the evidence you will not accept it anyway.This is the end of the topic.Conclusion: Ask your Guru about this discussion if you have on and accept his advice.

Advaita Das: And more from śāstra - yāre dekhe tāre koho kṛṣṇa upadeśa -  'Whoever you see tell him about Kṛṣṇa'
and : pṛthivīte āche yoto nagarādi grām sarvatra pracāra hobe more nāma - 'IN ALL TOWNS AND VILLAGES OF THE WORLD MY NAME WILL BE PREACHED" ...How's that done ? cupi cupi you think?

RPD Right, but it doesen't mean you go on the road and jump like monkey and artifically chant the holy name without just quote without understanding the inner meaning. You have not even answered my questions??? HAVE YOU ATTAINED PURE LOVE OF THE LORD???ARE YOU KNOW SANSKRITT??

Advaita Das “Unless you have not studied Sanskritt you cant't speak on Siddhanta,you can only qoute from this baba or that baba or this book and that book"

Any śāstra says that enlightenment requires Sanskrit knowledge? Quote it then. It would mean the spiritual world would be a lonely place because only a handful know Sanskrit.

"but in reality you have no acsess to the Gosvami Literature because you are not qualified"

Which means you sit in my heart and gauge my realizations.

"be humble "

Ask any reader of this debate about YOUR attitude here....

"dance artifically and make a show and immitate a perfect siddha.

Why is the dancing artificial and why only siddhas are allowed to dance? Where is this in the Goswāmīs' books?

"If I tell you the evidence you will not accept it anyway"

So far you have been very short of evidence, just very rich in beliefs.

"Ask your Guru about this discussion if you have on and accept his advice."

A bit hard if he entered samādhi 24 years ago. But he told me indeed there is a great risk of ego-tripping while preaching. He never forbade me harinām sankīrtan in public,


Are the two linked in any way? If I had these accomplishments - prema and sanskrit - would I be modest by saying 'yes'?

RPD I guess not,otherwise your statments are just Parrot talk .You teach a parrot... one.. two.. three.. and only this he will repeat.I have to repeat it again and again study properly. You have to know for yourself.You have to be honest. Well follow your Guru and everything will be allwright, go on with dancing,chanting and be happy

Advaita Das RPD, you come crashing in here with a bold claim that public harināma is wrong, then you claim Kṛṣṇa is only available through Sanskrit but despite all intellectual boasting you provide not even one syllable of evidence, though you had plenty of opportunity to provide it.

RPD: Jiva Goswami has given a definition of sankirtana, bahubhir militva yat kirtanam tad eva sankirtanam: "When pure devotees coming together to chant the holy name. Well if your interpretation of this statement is going on the street, than do it and chant do it if it makes you happy.

Advaitadas: Not only it makes me happy - śrotṛn ātmānam eva ca - the audience as well.

RPD: The reason why pure Bhakti is so rare, not because its not available...because nobody wants it.

Advaitadas - Now here I finally agree with you. manuṣyānām sahasreṣu....

RPD: Why you put a Dhoti on,to chant the Name ??? ,what your Dhoti has to do with the Name ??? you think if you remain in your city cloth and than chant ,the name has no effect??? What kind of understanding you have? Its a Show of Devotion. And then.... Broke the place down the three of us,...what does this means maybe your chanting was so fanatic that bystanders run way ,looks like and than you wonder whats wrong with this guys. Anyway i don't blame you, because if you want to get knowledge get out of your comfort zone and study properly, what Bhakti is all about.

Advaitadas: RP, a dhoti is a sacred garment which incites sacred sentiments. Garments do make a difference. A chastely covered lady incites other feelings than a half naked prostitute, huh? In Caitanya Caritāmṛta it is mentioned that Mahārāja Pratāparudra took a Vaiṣṇava dress to serve Śrīman Mahāprabhu in Aitota Garden. Furthermore, Vaiṣṇavas need to be recognized by appearance too. I know your Guru does not wear pants either. I acknowledge that there is a risk of posturing in a show of devotion in this way but that risk has to be taken. As far as what Bhakti is all about, yuga dharma is Harināma and it is the only way - harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam.

Last exchange added October 5, 2010 at Radhakund Dham. text added to 2nd refutation 30 january 2013

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Śrī Rādhāṣṭamī 2010


Rāgiṇī Ṭauḍi - Tāla Eka tāla


"This your little girl is like a moon-bud that pleases our eyes. Thus we can always keep Her in the heart as our wealth."


(refrain) "Listen, O beloved of King Vṛṣabhānu (Kīrtidā)! What have you done to be able to keep such a golden girl on your lap?"


"Her face defeats the beauty of the lightning and She smiles slightly. May the astrologers give Her any name they like - we will call Her Rādhā!"


"Her signs of Her character are most amazing. With what can I compare them? She will become the beloved of a great man. You will remember it if you live to see the day.


"Don't be unhappy that it is a daughter, for She will redeem your whole dynasty!" Jñāna dāsa says: "I have heard that Kamalā (Lakṣmī) is a particle of Her fragment only!"

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Śrīmad Bhāgavat Canto Four, part 1

This the first of two blogs about the fourth Canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavata, primarily centered around the commentaries by Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda.

SB 4.4.3 tato viniḥsvasya sati vihāya tam sokena rosena ca dūyatā hṛdā pitror agāt straiṇa vimūḍha dhīr gṛhāt..  "Sati sighed deeply out of sorrow and anger and left her husband Śiva's home to join her father's party, her female mind bewildered..."
This verse does not say that women are less intelligent. Śrīdhara Swāmī and Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda comment on it- tyāge hetuḥ—straiṇyaṁ strī-svabhāvas tena mūḍhā dhīr yasyāṁ sā - 'Sati left Shiva because her intelligence was deluded by her female nature'. So the intelligence is there, it is just suspended by strong feminine emotions. Wherever śāstra speaks negatively of women it is meant to discourage aspirant spiritualists to regard them as objects of enjoyment. Some, however, even reject śāstra on the women issue as the Bhāgavat says [9.20.21] that women are mere leather bags for carrying the embryo. They claim it may be interpolated or mistranslated - that interpolation must have been done a long time ago then, because Śrīdhara Swāmī commented upon this verse some 1,000 years ago, saying exactly that: bhastrā carma-pātraṁ tadvan mātā ādhāra-mātram 'Bhastra means a leather container, in this way the mother is the mere vessel'. This is not demeaning to women at all, as it is just a simple biological fact. It does not contradict the conclusion of 4.4.3. The fact that King Dusyanta was also called upon to take his responsibility (bharasva, and māvamaṁsthāḥ śakuntalām) proves the Bhāgavat is not misogynyc.

Satī's apparel is said to be 'of royal ladies' and is just like Śrī Rādhikā's (ŚB 4.4.5): "A śārikā (Myna-bird), ball, mirror, ambuja (lotus, perhaps in the hand), a white umbrella, vyajana (fan) and srak (flower-garland)."

Śiva's complexion is said to be white, but in ŚB 4.6.36 it is described as aṅgena sandhyābhra rucā, "Red like an evening cloud".

SB 4.4.12. Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda writes a long ṭīkā here- ye tu phalgūṁs tucchān api guṇān bahulīkariṣṇavo bahulīkaraṇa-śīlāḥ kim uta phalgūn doṣāṁs tu naiva paśyanti yathā śītārtatvād eva madīya-vastram apaharann api śastra-pāṇitve’pi dayālutvād eva na hinasti tad ayaṁ dhanya ity evaṁ te mahattamāḥ - "The greatest saints are those who magnify the smallest virtues in men and do not see even the greatest faults in them. If someone mugs him, he will think: "Oh he is suffering from the cold, that is why he takes away my coat. Though he carries a gun he does not even fire it at me! See how kind he is!"

This reminds me of an anecdote from Sādhu Bābā's life. In December, 1983, someone stole Madangopal's ornaments from the temple in broad daylight, but Sādhu Bābā refused to report to the police, though his followers urged him to do so. Instead he said "His (the thief's) need is greater than mine." He trusted that Madangopāl would provide him with other ornaments for His service and would prevent any future theft too, as He said in Bhagavad Gītā (9.22) yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmyaham 'I provide My devotee what He needs (new ornaments) and protect what He has (prevent further theft)."

Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda then describes the most unsaintly person -
tathaiva ye tucchān api doṣān bahulīkariṣṇavo guṇān naiva gṛhṇanti yathā virakto’yaṁ vanam apahāya yad gṛhastha-gṛheṣu vasati tat pracura-dhanaā corayitu-kāma ity evaṁ te asādhutamāḥ - "The most unsaintly person magnifies the faults in anyone he meets and does not see any virtues in others. Just like, "Just see this renunciant! He gives up the forest to live in the house of a householder, just to leach upon his great wealth!" etc. ye tu guṇābhāve’pi pareṣāṁ guṇān eva paśyanti yathā jagaty asmin ke’pi duṣṭā na santi sarva eva sādhava ity evaṁ te mahattamāḥ - "Whoever sees only good things in others, though they are actually bereft of virtues, like: 'In this world there is not a single bad person - everyone is a saint, this person is the mahattama."

This is an ideal but it would not be possible to survive in this savage world if one were really practising such a totally saintly attitude. Great saints like Jesus and Haridās Thākur had themselves executed like lambs, but they also vocally criticised hypocrites, and a great saint like Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira had himself deprived of his kingdom a few times over by Duryodhana and was forbearing to the extreme, but finally, when Duryodhana refused to even give him five villages, he declared war on him. If one were really totally without criticism or defensive mechanism one would not survive long in this world. Of course Yudhiṣṭhira's war was one of right against wrong etc., but it does mean that a saint has some defensive instinct too.

4.8.34  mudaṁ labdhum icchet natvasūyām anukrośaṁ kṛpāṁ natvavajñāṁ maitrīṁ na tu sparddhaḥ. One should be glad at someone’s superiority, not envious, one should bestow mercy on the novice and not disregard him/her, and one should be friendly with an equal and not compete with him/her.

4.12.17-18 Dhruva adjusted to the yogi society he lived in but the result of his breathing exercises is described in verse 18:

bhaktiṁ harau bhagavati pravahann ajasram
ānanda-bāṣpa-kalayā muhur ardyamānaḥ
viklidyamāna-hṛdayaḥ pulakācitāngo
nātmānam asmarad asāv iti mukta-lingaḥ

'Endless streams of ecstatic tears poured from his eyes out of devotion for Lord Hari, his body was studded with goosebumps and his heart was molten. He forgot even himself and was thus liberated." The desire to attain prema was clearly in the heart therefore the result was accordingly - as a result of prāṇāyām he got prema. This reminds me that Sādhu Bābā, himself a great yogi, also told me that if prāṇāyām will be used favorably for bhakti, it will yield the proper result. Dhruva followed the yuga-dharma of his Satya-yuga. The Bhāgavat says (12.3.51) kṛte yad dhyāyato viṣṇuṁ - "the yuga-dharma of Satya Yuga is meditation on Viṣṇu." Although prāṇāyām will work in Kali-yuga too and harināma will work in Satya-yuga too, in Kali people are lazy and stupid - manda sumanda-matayo, so harināma is certainly the easiest way of enlightenment. Even so, in Kali-yuga people run around with their bead-bags, shouting their heads off during a practise called japa, which is supposed to mean 'muttering'. That is due to the crazy Kali-yuga mind - cañcalaṁ hi manaḥ kṛṣṇa pramāthi balavad dṛḍham - The mind is impetuous, crazy, powerful and firm. I am not telling anyone to start blocking their nostrils now, but it IS glorified and recommended as a pre-japa practise in Haribhakti Vilāsa, that should be noted. Dhruva's goal was clearly stated here as Bhagavān (bhaktiṁ harau bhagavati), not Param Atma - it was not yoga per se.

4.12.21 Dhruva forgot the sequence of worship, going straight to worshipping the Lord, skipping over the worship of His associates. He did not correct his mistake by worshipping the associates afterwards anyway. Sometimes it is not possible to correct a forgotten item of worship. It reminds me of Sādhu Bābā, who, when he was so merciful to give this wretch dīkṣā, gave me mantra right away and then remembered he had forgotten to give me harināma. In his case he did correct the mistake by giving me harināma afterwards anyway.

SB 4.12.50 Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda comments: "My salary for lecturing is that devotees hear my lecture on Kṛṣṇa kathā. The pāṭhak should of course not lecture with the deliberate aim to make profit and do it as a business. However, a Paṇḍit also has to pay the rent and fill his belly, so it is befitting that the audience comes forward with dakṣiṇā and gifts, like sweets, fruits etc., as signs of bhakti and appreciation for all the time he spent enlightening them and to provide his yoga-kṣema. Normally this happens after the last path of a series (of a week or a month) is given.- rikta pāṇir na paśyeta rājānāṁ bhiṣajaṁ guruṁ (Hari Bhakti Vilāsa 4/343 from Smṛti Mahārṇava) "One should not see kings, a doctor or a Guru with empty hands."

SB 4.17.20 praharanti na vai strīṣu kṛtāghasvapi - 'Do not beat women, even if they have done wrong'. Even though Bhūmi Devī spoke this in personal self-defence, the ācāryas did not comment on this that one can nevertheless beat women. Śrī Jīva comments: jantavaḥ sādhāraṇa-jantu-tulyā mūḍhā api manuṣyā 'This is an edict for all, also common men and fools." Of course, Pṛthu did chastise Bhūmi devi, but not because she was a woman. He says in verse 26: pumān yoṣid uta klība ātma-sambhāvano’dhamaḥ bhūteṣu niranukrośo nṛpāṇāṁ tad-vadho’vadhaḥ - "To kill the proud and demoniac, whether they be man, woman or eunuch, is not killing at all." The emphasis is here on the vile and cruel, not on singling out a certain gender for systematic abuse, just because of the gender. See my blog of January 14, 2008.

SB 4.18.3-5 To benefit all human society, not only in this life but in the next, the great seers and sages have prescribed various methods conducive to the prosperity of the people in general. One who follows the principles and instructions enjoined by the great sages of the past can utilize these instructions for practical purposes. Such a person can very easily enjoy life and pleasures. A foolish person who manufactures his own ways and means through mental speculation and does not recognize the authority of the sages who lay down unimpeachable directions is simply unsuccessful again and again in his attempts. Śrīdhara Swāmī comments on verse 5: avidvān vidvān apīti vā  'That fool may be uneducated or even educated' since speculation is not the monopoly of the ignorant. intellectuals do it too.

SB 4.19.12 This verse is sometimes quoted by those who oppose Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas wearing saffron cloth, but, though I do agree we should not wear saffron, honestly speaking this verse does not appear in such a context at all. Besides, Indra is described in verse 14 as wearing dreadlocks (jaṭilaṁ) and being covered with ashes (bhasmācchannaṁ). It does say in verses 24-25, though that:

tad-gṛhīta-visṛṣṭeṣu pākhaṇḍeṣu matir nṛṇām dharma ity upadharmeṣu nagna-rakta-paṭādiṣu prāyeṇa sajjate bhrāntyā peśaleṣu ca vāgmiṣu

"(Foolish, unfortunate) people are attracted to heretics due to them being naked (nagnā jaināḥ, Viśvanātha says, the naked saints are Jains) , raktapaṭā, being dressed in red (bauddhāḥ or Buddhists according to Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda)  or being eloquent sweet talkers (peśaleṣu ca vāgmiṣu)."
This confirms how people are fooled by the so-called sadhus' external features rather than what comes out of their mouths or how sincere they are. Especially orange clothes seem to make a person instantly worshipable as a pure devotee, regardless of the person's actual quality.

SB 4.20.14 This is the famous verse which says that the king will get 1/6 of the pious merit of his subjects if he protects them. But otherwise (anyathā) the subjects take away (all) his good karma if he fails to protect them (arakṣitā) but does levy taxes on them (kara-hāro). He must then eat (bhuṅkte) their sins (agham). So it does not say that the king is 100% responsible for the activities of his subjects, rather it is a warning against corruption by politicians, who have the duty to provide services in exchange for the taxes they receive from their subjects. If the politician promises mountains of gold to the voters but ends up stealing mountains of their tax money either by stashing them on his own Swiss bank-accounts or by misappropriating the money by funding immoral activities, he will be liable. No population is entirely controllable so it is unrealistic to expect the rulers of huge nations like China and India with more than a billion citizens each to be liable for each action taken by its billion people - the individual soul is personally responsible but the rulers must surely teach and uphold the morality of the local religion.