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Monday, June 27, 2011

Śrīmad Bhāgavat 8th canto

These are some of my favorite verses from and comments on the 8th Canto of Srimad Bhagavat -

8.3.8 - na vidyate yasya ca janma karma vā
na nāma-rūpe guṇa-doṣa eva vā
tathāpi lokāpyaya-sambhavāya yaḥ
sva-māyayā tāny anukālam ṛcchati

“He who has no birth or activities, no name or form, no qualities or faults, accepts birth and activities as Brahmā and Śiva at the time creation and destruction by his energies of rajas and tamas for creating and destroying the universe.”

Viṣṇu’s task of maintenance is not mentioned in this verse because His activities are transcendental.
Śrī Jīva Goswāmī gives this explanation in Bhagavat Sandarbha [35]:

"The Lord has no birth or activities, but by his svarūpa-śakti (sva-māyayā) he accepts birth and activities. One may say, “Since He attains birth and activities, those are temporary events.” Explanation: “The Lord continually (anukālam) attains them. This means He never gives up birth and activities. Being manifested through the svarūpa-śakti and being eternal are supportive of each other. “

One may argue, “How can birth and pastimes be eternal? They are both actions. An action and each of its parts are defined in terms a beginning and end. Without that, the action’s very form would disappear.”

Explanation – “There is no fault, for the following reasons. Because the Lord always has an eternal form, that form is eternally manifest. Because of this, the Lord’s pastimes with birth and activities are also eternal. Thus the individuality and manifestation of associates in the pastimes and the places in unlimited Vaikuṇṭhas and unlimited universes are also eternal. The beginning and end of actions revealed by the Lord’s form are located in one place, but when the part of the birth and actions are completed in that place, that part begins in another universe. Since the Lord is eternal because of having no destruction, the birth and activities exist elsewhere after being completed in one place. The birth and activities begin somewhere else, sometimes a little different because of differences in details and sometimes exactly the same because of sameness of the details. One form becomes a different abode of action by manifesting separately.”

Here Jīva Goswāmī does not support kalpavāda, that Kṛṣṇa-līlā differs according to the age in which He performs it.

Śrī Jīva continues:
One may argue , “Why do you say that the birth and activities continue to exist? Because the birth and activities begin separately in different universes, they become new birth and activities.”

Explanation – “There is oneness of the actions of the same form which appears at different times. Similarly, one can say the word “cow” twice, but that does not mean there are two words to indicate a cow: Viśvanātha quotes Śaṅkarācārya’s Śarīraka bhāṣya - dvir-go-śabdobhayam uccarito na tu dvau go-śabdau. In the same way, if the word `cooked' is repeated twice, that does not mean that the food was twice cooked. Thus the Lord’s birth and activities have an eternal nature, and meditation on pastimes that Kṛṣṇa previously performed, a meditation which is prescribed in the scriptures, is proper (since the pastimes are actually eternal, not destroyed). “

Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda writes in his commentary on Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi [1.21]: “Kṛṣṇa was bathed by mother Surabhi [cow] after lifting Govardhana and received the name Govinda. But long before this, if the names are not eternal, how could the women of Vraja, placing syllables on Kṛṣṇa's body after he drank the milk of Putana , say krīḍantam pātu govindaḥ [S.B. 10.6.25]: May Govinda protect you while you play? They also said in the Veṇu-Gīta, before the govinda-abhiṣeka, govinda-veṇum anumatta-mayūra-nṛtyam: The peacocks dance madly after hearing Govinda’s flute. (SB 10.21.10) Thus the name corresponding to the form doing the activity has an eternal nature describing the activity. These will gradually manifest in this world in order that the devotees experience rasa from them. “ In the same purport Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda states that there is a 'māyik brahmāṇḍa' ['false universe', more like a parallel universe] where Kṛṣṇa's pastimes continue even when the material universes are unmanifest [to fulfill the eternality of Kṛṣṇa's transcendental pastimes] - dvitīyāyāḥ kāryaṁ tu sārvadikam eva mahā-pralaye’pi virājamāna-kṛṣṇa-līlopakaraṇa-bhūtasya māyika-brahmāṇḍasya.

8.3.19 - This is a second verse, after 1.6.28, which mentions the existence of the siddha deha, and also that it is not dormant but is bestowed (rāti).

8.6.20 arayo’pi hi sandheyāḥ sati kāryārtha-gaurave
ahi-mūṣikavad devā hy arthasya padavīṁ gataiḥ
“Enemies must be won over by alliance. Once you have achieved your purpose you may act with your enemy as a snake does with a mouse.”

Śrīdhar Swāmī comments: arthasya prayojanasya padavīṁ siddhiṁ prāptaiḥ paścād ahi-mūṣakavad vadhya-ghātaka-bhāvena vartitavyam iti śeṣaḥ | yad vā, peṭikāyāṁ niruddho’hir yathā nirgama-dvāra-vidhānārthaṁ prathamaṁ mūṣakeṇa sandhiṁ vidhatte, paścāt tam eva kadācid bhakṣayati, tathā’rtha-mārga-pravṛttaiḥ prathamaṁ sandheyā ity arthaḥ – “Opportunity alliances between enemies against a common enemy are very unstable. The snake first makes a truce or alliance with the mouse if they are both trapped in a box, and then, when they managed to escape with combined force the snake may still eat the mouse.”

Interfaith dialog similarly usually leads nowhere. The USA and USSR ganged up against Hitler and afterwards fought a 45-year long cold war with each other.

8.9.9-11 do not say that all women are untrustworthy. They first of all speak of wanton women (puṁścalyāṁ, verse 9, and svairiṇīnāṁ, verse 10), not women in general, and it is also explained in verse 11 that Mohini was just teasing and joking (iti te kṣvelitais tasyā) about herself and therefore did not speak serious philosophy. Śri Viśvanāth Cakravartīpāda comments on verse 9: kāminīṣv iti yadyapy ahaṁ yuṣmad-anubhavena śuddhaiva bhavāmi tad api yauvana-vattvād ābhyantaraḥ kāmo’numeya eva kāmavattve strītve ca kāminī pati-pitrādy-āvaraṇābhāvāt svairiṇy api kathaṁ na bhavāmīty aviśvāsyaiva sarvathā bhavadbhir aham iti bhāvaḥ "Though in your estimation I am pure, still, because I am young and unprotected by husband and father, I am a lusty wanton woman - how can I then not be untrustworthy?" This, especially in the Vedic context, is an exceptional situation, not a general rule. Needless to say, wanton women - as well as men - are untrustworthy.

8.9.18 - The significance of God becoming a woman to get the nectar from the demons is that women get things done easier than men - salespersons in shops are usually women, female ambassadors get more done than male ambassadors. Latent sexual desire works like that - a woman gets things done by her natural attractiveness to men.

8.12.28 - Shiva should not be seen as doing anything degraded, but just like Maharāja Yudhiṣṭhira showed what one should NOT do by gambling away his wife, Shiva here shows how infatuated one can get by a woman. Here it is described that he grabbed Mohinī by the hair, keśabandha upanīya, and then embraced her, bāhubhyam parisasvaje. To pull a woman by the hair is very painful and violent, Duḥśāśan did the same thing to Draupadī, so the embrace that followed the grabbing of the hair cannot be seen as an act of tenderness. This is how lust works - the man flatters the woman by giving her presents, praising her with his words and pleasing her in all manners, before she gives herself to him, but as soon as she yields to his avances he becomes violent, during the sex act. This shows that lust is really not love but an act of violence only.

8.12.34 - Shiva followed Mohinī everywhere to show to all the sages around there that even if one has controlled the mind one should not have faith in a young woman. It is not that the woman cannot be trusted, but the mind of the beholder cannot be trusted. Surely women should not provocate and seduce, but even if they do, if a man's mind is controlled he will not be swayed, whereas even a chaste woman could cause agitation in the uncontrolled mind of a lusty man. An animal trainer can spend a long time in a cage with a lion, and think that he has finally trained the animal, but then still the animal may attack and eat him. One should be very careful falsely thinking one’s mind and senses to be permanently controlled.

8.17.20naitat parasmā ākhyeyaṁ pṛṣṭayāpi kathañcana
sarvaṁ sampadyate devi deva-guhyaṁ susaṁvṛtam
“O Devi, even if someone inquires, you should not disclose this fact to anyone. All secret plans of the devatās succeed only when fully concealed.”
Śrī Jīva Goswāmī comments in his Krama-sandarbha: atra śrī-guroḥ śrī-bhagavato vā prasāda-labdhaṁ sādhana-sādhya-gataṁ svīya-sarvasva-bhūtaṁ yat kim api rahasyaṁ, tat tu na kasmaicit prakāśanīyaṁ “The sādhana and sādhya attained by the mercy of Śrī Guru or the Lord is one's all-in-all; it is a secret that should not be disclosed to anyone."
Later, in S.B. 10.24.4-5 it is said that one should not keep secrets but that deals with public undertakings, not a spiritual sādhana.

8.19.36 - Tapas here is glossed as cittaikāgrya, concentration of mind, by both Śrīdhar Swāmī and Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda.  Tapasya does not only mean self-torture, but any type of sādhana,depending on the context of course.

8.23.8 - līlā visṛṣṭa bhuvanasya viśāradasya - The world is created as a pastime of the Lord only. This is a sidelong refutation of fall-vāda. It does not say the Lord created the world as a prison for rebellious souls.

8.24.48 - Shiva's tears produced silver and gold, as He took birth, according to the Kṛṣṇa Yajur Veda (yad arodīt tad rudrasya rudratvaṁ yad aśrv avaśīryata tad rajataṁ hiraṇyam abhavat iti śruteḥ). According to Mahābhārat, seeing the effrontery of mankind, Shiva shed a tear which turned into a tree which produces Rudrākṣa (=eye of Shiva) beads before he released His mighty arrow to destroy the three cities (tripura) for the welfare of creation."
Shiva cried to Brahmā for a name. See also S.B. 3.12.7 and 3.12.10.

According to the Shiva Purana, the berries of the Rudrākṣa-tree represent the tears of Rudra which he shed in a mood of despondency soon after he awoke from his meditative state. Amazed by the beauty of his own tears he crystallized them into the shape of seeds and distributed them among the four castes.

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