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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


  1. Indian diary continued
    1 october 2010 - First visit to the bhajan kutir of Jahnava Didi. This saintly Vaishnavi tells me it is because of my translation services that I am always allowed back in Radhakund. She asks me blessings to stay at Radhakund. I tell her I am not allowed to stay her myself fulltime, let alone I can offer such blessings. She feeds me some exquisite balya bhog prasad from her Thakurjis, that are permanently on the Jhulan for the midday pastimes. She tells me that silk and woollen garments do not get prasadi if one holds a prasadi tray on them. She shows great interest in the Bhagavat project of Bhanu Swami and offers me a free Tulasi plant and to pick some Tulasi leaves from her vast garden. Of course I make some aparadha by tripping and falling into the huge plants. I also forget to take my free Tulasi plant with me. Shows my bhakti.

  2. What is ?the Bhagavat project of Bhanu Swami"?

  3. Anon, the Bhagavat Project of Bhanu Swami means his effort to translate into English all the commentaries on the Bhagavat, starting with the one of Visvanath Cakravartipada. He has completed 7 out of 12 cantos so far [1-6, and 10]

  4. Due to heavy rainfall Radhakund's water has inundated even the shore of the kund now.

  5. Dear Advaitaji,
    Do you endorse Bhanu Swami's translation of the Bhagavata and VC's commentary? All translators will disagree here and there; but in general, do you think his translations are reliable and actually "carry across" the meanings of the text?

  6. Anon, yes, I am very satisfied with Bhanu Swami's work, the error margin is very very low.

  7. Dear Advaitadasji,
    Have you had an opportunity to look at Bhanu Swami's translation of JG's Gopala Campu? If so, would you recommend it? I believe that it was published last year.

  8. Anon, some friends discussed Bhanu's GC with me on Voip but I have not read the entire hardcopy yet because I do not have it,

  9. Radhakund diary - the last 3 days water has been pumped out of Syamakund, just next to this cybercafe, so that the water-level of both kundas is now below the platforms. Now we can walk again around the kundas without touching the sacred waters with our feet. Niyam Seva can now freely start [on Sunday].