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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Notes on Sarartha Darshini

Sripad Bhānu Swāmi's English translations of the śāstras are great and carry a higher philosophical integrity than most other English translations, and a higher quality altogether. I do have just these few small remarks about the following translations by Swāmiji of Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipad's Sarartha Darśini-commentary -

1.9.26 "they become gṛhasthas" should be grhasta eva sadeti - "He is always a gṛhastha", making the point that there is a natural subdivision in human society between rāgīs and vairāgīs.

1.17.39tasmād evaṁ kim api sthānam ahaṁ prāpnuyāṁ yallokair dustyajyam “This place (wealth) is the best place for me (Kali) to be because it is so hard for people to give up.” Bhanu Swamiji forgot to mention this.

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
Sri Bhanu Swami writes- "Just as the wife serves the husband by rejecting enjoyment, the disciple engages in service to guru by hearing and chanting, giving no regard even to solitary places (gṛhān) which could give rise to the bliss of prema (bhogān), in order to attain with ease the perfection of all goals by serving guru."

Actually the meaning is the opposite -

"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.”

7.15.26 sākṣād bhagavati gurau bhagavad aṁśa buddhir api na kāryā.
Sri Bhanu Swami writes: "For one who thinks by faulty intelligence  that the guru, who is an amsa of the Lord (sākṣāt bhagavati),.."

But this should be - "One should  not even see the Guru as a fragment of the Lord but as God Himself."

7.15.27 Not only the Guru's relatives but also His neighbors see Him as a human being. Swamiji forgot the neighbors.

11.2.45 atra paśyed iti tathā darśana yogyataiva vivakṣitā na tu tathā darśanasya sārva kālikatā. “The fact that he sees Kṛṣṇa does not mean he sees Him all the time, but that he is qualified to see Kṛṣṇa.”
Bhanu Swamiji, however, writes: "one must gain qualification for seeing, rather than being able to see like this at all times." The imperative case is not in the sentence, however.

11.3.22 Bhānu Swamiji translates the verse as: "the Lord, who gives himself in the deity form, is satisfied."
and the commentary as: "The Lord gives his self in the form of the deity in order that one may see, touch and know him."
vigraha is in the text and usually means deity but in context with the Guru this seems to make no sense. I see it like this:
"Kṛṣṇa is giving His personal form to the disciple, that can be seen and touched directly."

11.11.41 tena darbha mañjaryādīni śāstra vihitānyapi loke iṣṭatamatvābhāvāt tathā madyādini saṅkarṣaṇa priyānyapi śāstra iṣṭatamatvābhāvān na nivedayed iti bhāvaḥ. tatrāpi yacca ātmanaḥ svasyāti priyaṁ tat tu viśeṣato nivedanīyam ityarthaḥ

Sri Bhānu Swamji says: "Scripture says that Kuśa-buds are wonderful, but because they are not esteemed by the common people they are not to be offered to the Lord."

This should be - "Articles described by scriptures like Darbha shoots are not the most palatable, but wine and other beverages may be loved by Sankarṣana (Balarama), but since they are not dear to the scriptures they should not be offered."

11.21.15 Bhānu Swāmiji writes -Suitable knowledge from the mouth of the pure guru purifies a mantra."
This should be — sad guru-mukhāt yathāvat parijñānaṁ mantra-śuddhiḥ  "Purification of the mantra is done by learning it properly from the mouth of a bonafide Guru."


  1. Are you saying, in 11.3.22, that "Krishna is giving His personal form---as guru---to the disciple, that can be seen and touched directly."?

  2. Satya Mataji,
    I have just studied all the acaryas tikas to that sloka. None of them give that direct gloss, but it is surely a valid interpretation since SB 7.15.26-27, accidentally also discussed in the same blog, implicitly state that the Guru is Swayam Bhagavan. The 'deity' interpretation seems a bit far off. The Guru, on the other hand, is a tangible Godhead, visible to all (again, ref. 7.15.26-27). I must admit that Jiva Goswami comments on this verse that the Lord gives Himself personally, as He did to Bali Maharaj and others. But who of us is Bali Maharaj?