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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Śrīmad Bhāgavat, 12th canto, part 1

Some interesting verses and commentaries from the 12th Canto of the Śrīmad Bhāgavata -

12.2.4 liṅgam evāśrama khyātā – in Kali-yuga one’s āśram is only shown by external signs. This predicts the current custom of giving and taking sannyāsa for political or economic reasons. Too often we see saintly gṛhasthas [so called fallen souls] and duplicitous sannyāsīs [so-called saints]. Time often shows that the struggling gṛhasthas had the most bhakti and the ‘great’ sannyāsīs fell flat on their faces. Veśa is after all just a few inches of textile. Only God knows what is on our hearts. Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda comments: prāptau liṅgam eva daṇḍājina-śikhā-tyāgādikam eva kāraṇaṁ na tu jñāna-sad-ācārādikam – “An āśram is seen by shaved heads, sannyāsa-staffs and antelope-skins, but not by knowledge or pure conduct.”
Verse 7 expands on that - ‘yaśo’rthe dharma sevanam – religion is served only for fame. In other words, devotees flag around their beadbags on the streets of holy places, with endlessly long counting-beads, to show off their huge sādhana for fame and, in extension, money.

12.2.14 śūdra prāyeṣu varṇesu - The castes are mostly converted into śūdras. Not all but most [prāyeṣu] castes will behave like śūdras. It means there will be qualified Brahmins too, especially since this verse could apply to the later stages of Kali, not the present stage.

12.2.15 yauna means related to the wife, not as Bhānu Swāmī says related to youth. He may have confused the word yauna for the word yauvana.

12.2.30 In the ṭīkā Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda writes that Kali yuga started on the moment when Duryodhana ordered the disrobing of Draupadī in the Kuru Sabhā.

12.3.20 says that in Kali yuga human qualities – the four legs of dharma – decrease gradually simultaneously, while SB, 24 and 25 say the legs of dharma disappear fully one by one in each yuga. I consulted Pandit Satya-nārāyan Dāsjī on this and he replied as follows [June 19, 2011]:

Dear Prabhuji,
Jai Śrī Rādhe Govinda!
In 1.1712 and 1.17.24 the words used for Dharma's legs are avṛścat and bhagnaḥ. Both mean broken and not cut off. The word avṛścat comes from the root ovṛścu means 'to pierce'. The word vṛścika, scorpion, comes from the same root; and you know what a scorpion does - it pierces. The word bhagnaḥ comes from the root bhaji, to break. So what it signifies is that the legs were broken but not completely removed or cut. In this chapter, because dharma is depicted as a bull so there is a little different presentation then in 12th canto where things are stated directly. Dramatic presentations may take a little lee-way to present things to
catch attention. Therfore Viśvanātha Cakravartī comments in line with the 12th canto description.
Hari om

Also the verse and ṭīkās say that cleanliness is destroyed by vigraha, which means ‘discord’, though the tika of SB 1.17.38 says cleanliness is destroyed by strī saṅga. I inquired on this also from Śrī Satya Nārāyanjī –

"My next question is on SB 12.3.20 - both the śloka and the ṭīkās speak of cleanliness being destroyed by vigraha. Vigraha is translated as 'discord' by most translators, but in his ṭīkā of SB 1.17.38, Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda says that cleanliness is destroyed by stri-sanga. I could not find 'stri sanga' in the dictionary as a synonym for vigraha. If vigraha really means just 'discord', then how is it that conflict destroys cleanliness? It is more obvious that cleanliness is destroyed by sexual activities."

Satya Narayan Panditji replied:
Dear Prabhuji
Jai Śrī Rādhe Govinda
Why do you think that stri-sanga should be a synonym for vigraha? Stri-sanga would lead to discord and thus strisanga is the cause of vigraha. So Cakravartipada is going one step deeper. Vigraha means quarrel or fight. This itself is a sign of impurity. The real impurity is not that of body but of the mind. In kali-yuga vigraha is the prominent characteristic and Sri Caitanya said the remedy is sankirtana which removes the impurity of heart – ceto darpan marjanam. So vigraha comes from impurity of heart and also leads to impurity. The most of the wars in the world has been fought because of stri sanga (sanga here means not association but attachment), even Mahabharata was rooted in stri sanga. Duryodhana, Karna, Jayadratha etc have all hankered after Draupadi who was the exquisite beauty of her time.
Satya Narayan das

Duryodhana was not even able to lift the bow during Draupadī’s Swayamvar, and Karṇa was rejected by Draupadī even though he could lift the bow. As this is already a death-blow to the male ego, let alone a Kṣatriya’s male ego, they took revenge on her by trying to strip her in the Kuru assembly and calling her a whore. In return, to revenge that, Draupadī wanted them dead and pushed for war against the Kauravas, whenever even Kṛṣṇa or Yudhisthir wanted peace. So we see that attachment to women lies at the root of conflict, including the biggest war ever fought, the Kurukṣetra war.

12.3.43 – Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda comments here that trouble in Kali really starts after a sandhya of the yuga has passed. The sandhya or twilight means the first 12th part and a sandhyāṁśa is the last 12th part of a yuga, in the case of Kali that is 36,000 years (see SB 3.11.18-20), so the predictions in this chapter seem to be still relatively far off.

12.3.51 This is a very famous verse – though Kali yuga is an ocean of faults, there is one good quality about it – simply by Kṛṣṇa-kīrtan one attains all perfection. That perfection [param] is glossed by Viśvanātha as prema. Kīrtan does not only mean Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, as the BBT purport claims – there is līlā kīrtan, nāma kīrtan, padya kīrtan and even śāstra pārāyan can be considered kīrtan. Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda comments that just as a single powerful king can beat off innumerable robbers, similarly the one great quality of Kali, Kṛṣṇa-Kīrtan, can beat off all faults of the Kali age. It does not rely on meditation and other supportive practices, but of course if you meditate along with the kīrtan then so much the better.

12.3.52 Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda comments that all the sādhanas that are given in the other 3 yugas are covered by the Kali-yuga dharma of harināma. This comment is somehow missing in the edition of Bhānu Swāmījī. Harināma would have the same effect in the other three yugas, due to its timeless nature. In Kali-yuga, however, there is no other possibility (than harināma) because of the moral and mental weakness in this age.

12.5.1 Why Śukadeva spoke Brahma-jñāna as last chapter to Parīkṣit before he died of the snake-bite? Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda explains that it was to prove to the world how fixed Parīkṣit was in Kṛṣṇa consciousness – no jñāna kathā could distract him anymore from his Kṛṣṇa-meditation.

12.6.34 Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda’s tika: imaṁ sādhaka-deham āśrityeti sādhaka-daśāyām api smaryamāṇaṁ svasya siddha-deham āśritya tu smaryamāṇena sva-vipakṣeṇa saha vairaṁ na kuryād iti rāgānugīya-rasika-bhaktā abhiprāyam āhuḥ—kañcana avamantāram api 
"Taking shelter of a sādhaka body, which means taking shelter of a siddha body which is remembered even in the stage of sādhana, one should not have enmity towards even a group of gopīs of an opposing faction by remembering them. The followers of rāgānugā bhakti speak this purport.”
A very rasik purport suddenly. Here Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda acknowledges that meditation on the siddha body can and should be done within the sādhaka body. Though in siddha avasthā there is strong enmity towards the opposing faction [vipakṣa] of sakhīs, as Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī showed when a leaf-cup of buttermilk was offered to him from Sakhīsthalī, the village of Candrāvalī, this is not to be imitated in the stage of sādhana, even if sādhana has reached the glorious level of meditation on the siddha body. Abhimanyu, Jaṭilā, Kuṭila are all pure devotees who are merely stage-performing being Kṛṣṇa’s enemies, just as demons like Hiraṇyakaśipu etc. were reincarnations of the pure devotees Jay and Vijay, but opposed Kṛṣṇa just to give Him the enjoyment of combat and adventure.

12.6.74 purport- Bhānu Swāmī mistakes the word sūryāśva to mean the horses of the sun-god, but it means ‘the sun who is [in this case] a horse.’

12.8.22 śoṣaṇa-mohana-sandīpana-tāpana-mādanākhyāni panca-mukhāni yasya tat -Stambhana seems to be missing in this list of 5 arrows by Śrīdhar Swāmī and Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda.  Also this verse mentions a five-headed arrow with all five lusty effects fixed on it while generally it is understood that Cupid has 5 separate arrows.

12.8.40prāṇa-buddhīndriyādibhis tvam eva sva-bhajanaṁ kārayasi punas tādṛśa-bhajanasya pratyupakāre’samartho ṛṇīva bhūtvā tat prema-vaśyo bhavasīty adbhutaṁ tava kṛpā-vaibhavam iti bhāvaḥ - "You [Kṛṣṇa] make us do Your bhajan, directing our life, intelligence and senses, and then again you become unable to reciprocate with such bhajan, having become subdued by our love for You. This is most astonishing – such is the force of Your mercy! »
In the Upaniṣads it is said yam evaiṣa vṛṇute tenaiva labhya – « Only he/she who was elected by the Lord can attain Him. »

Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda's Tika of 12.8.46 - na yatra abhayaṁ pāta-hetuka-bhayābhāvaḥ – In the spiritual world there is no fear of falling »
This is a very clear refutation of fall-vāda, which is akin to māyāvāda, as it claims that something perfect (the sādhana siddha and nitya siddha jīvas in the spiritual sky) can become imperfect, just as the māyāvādīs say that Brahman falls in māyā.


  1. 12.3.51 This is a very famous verse – though Kali yuga is an ocean of faults, there is one good quality about it – simply by Krishna Kirtan one attains all perfection. That perfection [param] is glossed by Visvanatha as prema. Kirtan does not only mean Hare Krishna mantra, as the BBT purport claims – there is lila kirtan, nama kirtan, padya kirtan and even shastra parayan can be considered kirtan. Visvanath Cakravartipada comments that just as a single powerful king can beat off innumerable robbers, similarly the one great quality of Kali, Krishna Kirtan, can beat off all faults of the Kali age. It does not rely on meditation and other supportive practices, but of course if you meditate along with the kirtan then so much the better.

    Was that last sentence your translation of the writing of Sri Visvanath? Or you wrote it yourself?

    I research the literal meaning of kirtan. Kirtan does not only mean singing.They are these:
    The word “KIRTAN” can comprises of two words: KIR and TAN.

    KIR means

    to stabilize (in Punjabi it means Keelna),
    to become stable,
    to keep it away from all kinds of distractions,
    delusions and illusions,
    to control,
    to keep it in a stable position,
    to keep it tied to,
    no movements,
    no thoughts,
    emptiness of thoughts,
    concentrated around a pivot,
    become a pivot,
    become still,
    no effect of any outside worldly things.

    The second word TAN means the Physical Body.

    So I say, going by that definitions above smaranam or meditation is kirtan in itself.

  2. Malati, kIrtana is one word, if you cut it in two it becomes 2 different, unrelated words.

    The bold text you quoted is a part of Visvanatha's tika only.