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Monday, December 23, 2013

Uddīpana and an āśā-vāṇī

Bhakta - Reading this somehow breaks my understanding. On page 38 of Śrī Ananta dās bābājī’s book ‘Rasa-darshan’ it is said:

“A great preceptor like Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī has written in his book Sarva-samvādinī - "kāvyālaṅkāra kāma-tantra-gandharva-kalās tu tat-tat-carita mādhurya anubhava vaiduṣya siddheḥ" “The study of rhetoric, the science of love-making and performing arts helps in experiencing the sweetness of the Supreme personality of God". Here kāvyālaṅkāra refers to worldly rhetoric and kāma-tantra may refer to the Kāma-sūtra of Vātsyāyana, since any spiritual Kāma-tantra does not exist. “

Please could you tell me how to make love helps to experience the sweetness of God? After all it is said by Jīva Goswāmī and he does not make any mistake."

Advaita Das:
It does not say lovemaking, it says reading Kāma-tantra or Kāma-sūtra. Later Ananta Dāsjī quotes the verse yaḥ kaumāra hara sa eva hi vara, the mundane rasa-śloka that Rūpa Goswāmī quoted to Mahāprabhu (‘he who took my virginity is now my husband’).

Bhakta - OK, but Kāma-tantra is not spiritual and refers to the art of love-making, isn’t it? Then how is it that by read this book that refers to sexuality and it is material, one can experience the sweetness of the Lord?

Advaitadas – “There is a certain sādṛśya, (similarity) but again, the ācāryas do not say we should have sex with other mens’ wives like the sahajīyās do, and they never did such things themselves either. Reading Kāma-sūtra is one thing, practising it is another thing. Jīva Gosvāmī obviously refers to 'uddīpana' here - an incitement, like seeing a peacock feather. Not that a rāgānugā sādhaka should get deeply absorbed into mundane kāma śāstra, what to speak of committing sinful acts to imitate Kṛṣṇa. Otherwise the Goswāmīs would contradict the Bhāgavat statement -

naitat samācarej jātu manasāpi hy anīśvara
vinaśyaty ācaran mauḍ̣hyād yathārudro 'bdhi-jaṁ viṣ̣am

“A person who is not a great controller can never imitate the Rāsa līlā, not even mentally. If out of foolishness an ordinary person does imitate such behavior, he will simply destroy himself, just as a person who is not Rudra would destroy himself if he tried to drink the poison from the milk ocean.” (Ś.B 10.33.30)

In Caitanya Caritāmṛta it is mentioned that Śrīman Mahāprabhu was inspired by the abovementioned mundane śloka, yaḥ kaumāra hara, and also by Rāsa līlā performances at Kānāi Nāṭśālā; He saw Kṛṣṇa in the son of king Pratāparudra and saw the Yamunā in the Gaṅgā etc. - note too that Anantadāsjī says earlier that such a devotee is acting on prāktana saṁskāra, relishing rasa based on a cultivation in a previous life, and has a vision like the avadhūta brāhmin had in the 11th canto of the Bhāgavata. It is not for everyone."


The Bhāgavata is inexhaustible both in quality and quantity. This verse is added to my blog of May 11, 2011

6.16.39 kāma-dhiyas tvayi racitā na parama rohanti yathā karambha-bījāni
jñānātmany aguṇamaye guṇa-gaṇato 'sya dvandva-jālāni

“Oh Lord! Desires for material pleasure, directed to you, who are composed of spiritual knowledge and are different from the material guṇas, do not produce further material bodies, just as roasted seeds do not grow.  The networks of duality causing rebirth arise from the material guṇas.”

Āśā-vāṇī – words of hope. If one conceives a Kṛṣṇa-conscious child, even with obvious lusty desires, or one takes prasāda with a desire to enjoy the tongue, still one does not take birth again in the material world.”

Monday, December 02, 2013

Śrīmad Bhāgavata, Canto 2

This is a segment of an anthology of Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī’s commentary on Śrīmad Bhāgavata –

Bhānu Swāmi makes an interesting footnote to the commentary on SB 2.1.29 – “A distinction is made by Viśvanātha between the sense organ and the place of the sense organ in the Lord because the real material sense organ such as the ear is subtle in nature and travels with the jīva birth after birth. This is distinct from the gross organ which perishes at death.” It would be wonderful to have śāstrik back up for this.

2.3.17 āyur harati vai pumsam - when one branch of the tree bears fruit, the whole tree becomes successful, what to speak of all the branches bearing fruit. If one spent one’s whole life absorbed in Kṛṣṇa’s topics, how wonderful it would be! “If that is so, and life is not taken away by hearing about Kṛṣṇa, from the moment of hearing about Kṛṣṇa, a person should not die.” Viśvanātha retorts that after death a bhakta will become an eternal associate of the Lord – tat pārṣadatva prāptyā.

2.3.18 The person whose life is not stolen away does not receive rebirth in this world. Do not the trees live? They live much longer than the humans. But they do not breathe. Does not the bellows breathe? The bellows breathe more strongly than the humans. But the bellows do not eat. Do not the animals eat and mate? They can eat more than the humans. Apare indicates animals in human form. 

2.3.19 ‘hogs, dogs, camels and asses…’ - Their animalistic life is to be condemned. They are glorified profusely by dogs, pigs, camels and donkeys. He as one person accepts the qualities of us four (animals), whereas we are all incapable of taking up another animal’s qualities. He, being a human, can take up so many qualities of animals, and we being animals, cannot take up even one quality of another animal. Overstepping his scripture ordained by dharma, he accepts our qualities with passion. We however are fixed in our qualities by destiny. He is aware of the hell into which he will be born by following our qualities, whereas we are dull-witted and cannot understand anything of the future. In this way the animals praise him in four ways. The dog’s quality is to become angry without reason. The pigs quality is to eat filthy things. The quality of the camel is carrying heavy burdens. The quality of the donkey is to get kicked by his mate. Kṛṣṇa has never gone in that person’s ears. Gadāgraja means “he who appears in front of sickness (gada) as its enemy.” Thus he will appear and destroy the sickness of anger and other bad qualities of the animalistic man.

In his ṭīkā to the anti-sahajiya verse 2.3.24, Viśvanātha quotes Ś.B. 3.28.34 –
“The unfortunate yogī who has developed love for the Lord, full of all sweet qualities, whose heart is somewhat soft because of devotion, whose body hairs stand on end in ecstasy, who is constantly overcome with intense tears of joy, gradually withdraws his hook-like mind from the Lord's form.”

Then he adds: “Dravad-dhṛdaya means his heart has melted. However baḍiśa (fish hook) means it is still iron since the fish hook is made of iron. The bhāva that he attains and the melting of the heart are ābhāsas or semblances only, since he gradually withdraws the mind from the Lord. Why give up the Lord who is the real goal of life? By the bhakti in this meditation, he cannot be called a devotee but a yogī since he gives pain to the limbs of the Lord, the object of his meditation, by his fish hook heart, which is hard and bent.”

2.9.34 In order to show how prema is restricted by realization of power, Arjuna realized the universal form and the form of Paramātmā when it was revealed by yoga-māyā. Because of the covering of yogamāyā, he did not experience the svarūpa of Kṛṣṇa which was still present. At other times he did not experience either the universal form or Paramātmā, which was covered by yogamāyā, but experienced Kṛṣṇa’s two-armed form. At one time one form of the Lord was revealed, while another was covered….

The material māyā actually arises from yoga-māyā and is its vibhūti or expansion. It is said in Nārada-pañcarātra, in the speech of Śruti-vidyā:

asyā āvaraṇikā śaktir mahā-māyākhileśvarī
yayā mugdhaṁ jagat sarvaṁ sarva-dehābhimāninaḥ

“Material māyā, the controller of all beings in the material world is the covering energy of yoga-māyā. By her the whole universe becomes bewildered and everyone thinks they are their bodies.” When the snake gives up his skin which arises from him, that skin becomes material and inactive, as if arising from a non-living source.

2.9.36 yathā yathā harer nāma kīrtayanti ca nārakāḥ
tathā tathā harau bhaktim udvahanto divaṁ yayuḥ

When those in hell chant the name of the Lord they develop bhakti to the Lord and go to the spiritual world.  Nṛsiṁha Purāṇa (I must note here that the word diva means heaven)

2.10.9 - Without the gross organ on the body, the subtle sense which is known to function by performing perception cannot function.  Without the subtle sense organ, the presiding deity of the sense, whose presence is inferred from action of that sense, cannot function. Without the presiding deity of the sense, the subtle sense organ cannot operate, and without the subtle sense organ, the gross organ cannot operate.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Śrīmad Bhāgavata, Canto 1, from chapter 7 till the end

This is a segment of an anthology of Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī’s commentary on Śrīmad Bhāgavata –

1.7.8 First Vyāsa had made an abbreviated scripture about bhakti, but on the advice of Nārada he rearranged it (anukramya) and purified it, giving most prominence to bhakti to Kṛṣṇa….. When it is said that the present Bhāgavata is another Bhāgavata and that the Bhāgavata is among the eighteen Purāṇas, it refers to the same Bhāgavata, the present one...

1.7.11 Vyāsa made Śukadeva who was in constant samādhi in a lonely forest hear selected verses from the Bhāgavata which described Kṛṣṇa’s qualities through some of his followers. By the power of those verses, and their attractive sweetness, his samādhi broke. Knowing these verses were from the Bhāgavata because of his omniscience, and knowing that his father was the source of their manifestation, he went to Vyāsa and learned the Bhāgavata from him. This is narrated in the Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa.

1.7.18 A demon named Vidyunmālī, a follower of Śiva, pursued the sun on a golden chariot given by Śiva. Due to the effulgence from the chariot, night disappeared. The sun became angry and melted the chariot with his heat and made it fall from the sky. Śiva appeared and the sun fled in fear. The sun fell down at Vārāṇasī, and became known as Lolārka (fickle sun). This is from the Vāmana Purāṇa.

1.7.37 Smṛti says:

rājabhir dhṛta-daṇḍas tu kṛtvā pāpāni mānavāḥ
vidhūta-kalmaṣā yānti svargaṁ sukṛtino yathā

“Those who have committed sin, if punished by the king, become freed of that sin and go to Svarga like the pious.”

1.7.40 evaṁ parīkṣatā dharmaṁ - Kṛṣṇa was testing Arjuna’s sense of justice by telling him to execute Aśvatthāmā. Actually Brahmins should not be executed. This is confirmed in verse 43: brāhmaṇo nitarāṁ guruḥ.

1.7.45 tasyātmano’rdhaṁ patny āste – the wife is the [better] half of the husband.

1.7.46 gaurava kulaṁ vṛjinaṁ nārhati prāptuṁ - “the family of one’s Guru should not be made to suffer.” This text, along with text 43, shows support of Guru-families - pūjyaṁ vandyaṁ abhīkṣṇaśaḥ - they are always worshipable and praiseworthy.

1.8.29 Viśvanātha compares Kṛṣṇa with the sun – “The sun shows attachment to the sun stone by imparting its own qualities. It shows indifference to the blind and helps the Cakravāka birds (who become joyful when the sun rises and destroys darkness). The sun is harmful to the darkness used by thieves and owls, but is not partial to anyone. It manifests the same light to all. The cause of difference is the good or bad qualities of the specific object. It is the same with the Lord. Different people relate with the Lord in different ways according to their qualities.”

1.9.18 - “But how can you say that all depends on the Lord and that no one knows the plan of the Lord, when He is at this moment right in front of you? How can you not know his plan when you can ask him?” In reply, Bhīṣma speaks this verse. “He bewilders us with His energy.” Even if asked by Bhīṣma, the Lord will not speak, but instead will evade him by answering, “Am I so intelligent?” Even if He says something, He still bewilders everyone. Therefore His plan is to be followed, but is not subject to inquiry.

1.9.19 The difficulties the devotees experience are not prārabdha-karmas since they are given by the Lord alone, who wants to benefit the devotees (to increase their surrender to Him). However, this is not an inclusive rule. Sometimes the Lord increases his devotee’s bhakti without giving problems to him. Thus it is said that no one knows the plan of the Lord.

1.9.46 yāvad adhikāram avasthitir ādhikārikāṇām: those appointed by the Lord remain in their posts on earth as long as the Lord chooses. (Vedānta-sūtra 3.3.33)
Tasya sarveṣu lokeṣu kāmacaro bhavati: the liberated soul is free to travel in all the planets as he pleases. (Chāndogya Upaniṣad 7.25.2)

1.11.32 Yājñavalkya speaks of vratas:

krīḍāṁ śarīra-saṁskāraṁ samājotsava-darśanam 
hāsyaṁ para-gṛhe yānaṁ tyajet proṣita-bhartṛkā

“In the absence of her husband the wife should give up recreation, cleaning the body, seeing festivals in society, laughing and going to other houses.”

1.11.36 [37 in some editions]
Though the Queens were the best of women, they could not disturb Kṛṣṇa’s senses with their beautiful smiles and glances endowed with deception (kuhakaiḥ) to bring Him under control. However, if those glances were endowed with prema, then they could disturb His senses. Because they did possess the proper type of love, their glances and smiles were certainly endowed with prema, though it was conjugal prema. They are described in the verse as having prema (bhāva-piśuna) and others are described as having deception (kuhakaiḥ). In the first case, though the Lord is under the control of His wives, the Lord is still beyond prakṛti and the guṇas of matter, because He is under the control of prema, which is a function of the ciccakti (not material māyā), and because their glances and smiles are composed of prema, the love that appears in them, and the pastimes of love that arise from that love are all spiritual. It is therefore impossible to say that the Lord has enjoyment of material sense objects, such as material sound and touch. In the second case, because it is impossible for a person without prema to control the Lord, the verse says that his senses cannot at all be disturbed by deception. Therefore the previous statement reme strī-ratna-kūṭastho bhagavān prākṛto yathā cannot mean that the Lord is attracted to material enjoyment. One cannot say that the queens are material if sometimes their love-filled glances do not bring the Lord under control, because all the queens belong to the ciccakti and none of their glances or smiles can ever be material. Nor should one say that the Lord is controlled by the general ciccakti, arising from his svarūpa. He is actually controlled by prema alone which is a special function of the ciccakti. From this conclusion, there are no more objections.

1.15.20 From the Bhāgavata (10.83) it is understood that the queens desired the form of the Lord that the gopīs hankered for. Otherwise, if the queens, who were directly Lakṣmī, enjoyed by the Lord, were touched by low material persons, they would have immediately disappeared. It is understood that they attained forms as women of Vraja in another manifested pastime. This is found in the Viṣṇu and Brahma Purāṇas.  Vyāsa also told Arjuna:

evaṁ tasya muneḥ śāpād aṣṭāvakrasya keśavam
bhartāraṁ prāpya tā yātā dasyuhastā varāṅganāḥ

“Because of the curse of the sage Aṣṭāvakra, the best of women, becoming the wives of Keśava, would be touched by the thieves.”

Long ago, some devīs praised Aṣṭāvakra. He blessed them by saying “Viṣṇu will become your husband.” Because they laughed at him on seeing his crooked body, he cursed them “You will be taken by the thieves.” Again being merciful he said that after the curse had ended they would again attain the Lord who would take the form of the thieves. Not being able to avoid the curse and the blessing, they experienced being taken by the thieves and attaining the Lord because of this, since Kṛṣṇa took the form of the thieves.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Prembhakti Candrika, translated by......?

This book, printed in Delhi in summer 2010, escaped my attention so far. It seems to be entirely re-typed from my original English translation, a monk's work, but it is unauthorized still. My name is graciously mentioned as the translator, but I don't want to be held responsible for all the mistakes like typos, so I take distance from them and will list the mistakes here, too -

1] The song texts and translations are too small, not bold and there is no space between the previous purport and the new text.
2] The ṛ and ḍ are spelled as ū
3] There are many spelling mistakes
4] An entire Narottamāṣṭakam is inserted on p.72, which is not at all in the original text by Śrīpād Anantadas ji
5] Many sanskrit quotes are not in italics.

There will be regular distribution soon of my translations of Sri Ananta Das Ji's work.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Śrī Haridās Śāstrī

Śrī Haridās Śāstrijī passed away at the high age of 95. He was according to Sādhu Bābā the greatest scholar of Braja. I had his blessed darśan several times between 1982 and 1988, when I purchased some of his Hindi translations of the Goswāmīs’ granthas. Via his śiṣya Śrī Satya-Nārāyan Paṇḍitjī and several friends of mine, who studied under him, I learned many important siddhāntas, particularly on jīva tattva.

The following are his teachings which impressed me most -

1. During pūjā all mantras should be pronounced in the mind, also idam puṣpam etc., since śāstra forbids speaking during arcanā - saliva may come out.

2. The whole siddha mahātmā-culture is wrong – saints are called siddha out of hearsay or respect, but there's a definition to that too in Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu - avijñātākhila kleśa - he's free from the 5 kleśasrāga (attachment) dveṣa (repulsion) abhiniveśa (material absorption) asmitā (bodily consciousness) and avidyā (ignorance). He has such qualities naturally. All their activities are for Kṛṣṇa's pleasure - its not just miracles that make the siddha - santata kṛṣṇaṁ saukhyam sādhya parāyaṇa.

3. There is no need for pañca tattva mantra before hare kṛṣṇa mantra – Mahāprabhu said nāmnāmakāri bahudhā nija sarva śaktis - the holy name has all energies. Just avoid the 10 nāmāparādhas.

4. One should not sit in a yogic āsana when one is in distress. Patanjali says: sthiraṁ sukham āsanaṁ

5. Brahmā does not have four heads because the universe is so large. India is also large but the Prime Minister doesn’t have 5 heads for that. Western logic does not apply to Vedic thought – it is not functional like that.

6. Q: “This-and-this Guru says this-and-that, so he is totally bogus isn’t he?’

A: Don’t put me in the situation that I have to criticize this or that person. I will just tell you the truth and you will automatically understand which Guru is right or wrong in which point. In this way Vaiṣṇava aparādha is avoided.

7. Q: Why the Goswāmīs have samādhis when their bodies are anyway transcendental?

A: The samādhis are meant to get bhakti from. If you serve them and respect them they will grant bhakti.

8. gājar (carrots) produce uṣṇa vṛtti (hot effect) – it heats the body like garlic, in aphrodisiac manner.

9. One cannot live without society altogether - although society is just a network of individuals who ultimately only care for themselves.

10. Question: Mahāprabhu gave prem to whomever he embraced but Kṛṣṇa’s enemies like Duryodhan never got prem.

Answer: ‘Those whom Mahāprabhu embraced were His own eternal associates. They already had prema. He acted like in a drama, choosing his own actors. The demons were also chosen by Kṛṣṇa, to act as actors, showing how one should not act.

11. While Prahlāda said in the 7th canto modeta sādhur api vṛścika sarpa hatya ("Even the saints rejoice at the killing of a snake or a scorpion"), at the same time in the 12th canto Janamejaya was condemned for killing all snakes to punish them for just one snake biting his father Parīkṣit. The point being that one should only kill harmful creatures in self defense. The snake that killed Parīkṣit was only Śṛṅgī’s instrument. A great general who has killed many enemies in combat is worshipped when he comes home but if he kills just one person for his own private benefit he is hanged. Garuda eats snakes and snakes also provide a bed for Nārāyan. It is Garuda’s natural food – jīvo jīvasya jīvanam (1st canto)

12. Sanātan Goswāmīpād walked every day from Vṛndāvan to Govardhan, did parikramā there and then returned on foot to Vṛndāvan. At the same time he served Madanmohan in the temple and wrote all these books by hand. Not a leisure life.

13. Descriptions of Kṛṣṇa/Viṣṇu coming down from far away to give His darśan to His bhaktas, like Dhruva and Nārada, are given to encourage the bhaktas, like ‘Oh He comes from so far away just to show Himself to me’, but actually the Lord never goes anywhere. (His form does not exist in terms of time and space – tad ātmānam sṛjāmyahaṁ)

14. If one argues that for a westerner it is impossible to get Kṛṣṇa because of the unfavorable environment then look at Prahlād – he was the son of a demon, lived in the house of a demon and went to a demon’s school and he was the most excellent bhakta still.

15. śabda Brahma is that which indicates the Lord. The word has the power to show the meaning and lead you to the object. So all other languages are called prakrit used by common people who are not educated in Sanskrit. These are all the shadows of the Sanskrit language only, because that is the original language.

16. Question - is it aparādha to pronounce the holy names improperly?

Answer - The mother responds to the child’s call although the child cannot pronounce her name properly either.

17. Laukika śraddhā means putting faith in society. Society is created to fulfill common needs for eating, drinking, sleep etc. - if you put faith in society, Kṛṣṇa says, you will never attain Me but you will have to stay here.

18. tasmāt bhāgavatān dharmān śikṣet gurvātma daivata - it is imperative to learn Vaiṣṇavism after dīkṣā. 11.3.49.

19. It is necessary to mention one’s Guru while preaching because one must show authorization from authentic superiors, that you are not talking out of the blue. All ācāryas have mentioned their Gurus in the beginning of their books. It is also ungrateful not to mention Guru.

20. dharma means that by which we are protected, dharana.

21. The mother is the first Guru because she gives you her first consciousness.

22. The five Pāṇḍavas marrrying one girl is not vyabhicāra (debauchery) – it was praiseworthy because they blindly obeyed the order of their mother to share whatever they had won. Everyone accepted this marriage with 5 men.

23. ānukūlya – when people use this word, it’s only for activities where you are supporting, actual ānukūlya is something different and it’s very difficult to see that. Indeed, there is a lot of difference between sahayoga (assistance) and ānukūlya. In sahayoga you support the other person in whichever way you can. But you maintain your difference with the other person. Out of compassion you want to share the burden of the person, but you have your own identity, life and goals. In ānukūlya you are engaged in sevā. There is a tendency to please and this happens only by being connected. You don’t maintain any independent ego based on the body. You do only that pleases the master. In order to please him the independent identity should be completely washed out. In this there is no cheating - that is having something for the master and something for your self. In sahayoga there is. Since you are interested only in supporting the master in a limited way you have a lot for yourself too. ānukūlya happens according to the injunction and follows the taste of the master. You always try to please the master through your activity. bhajan itself cannot be done 24h/day, kirtan and japa all have a beginning and an end, but anukūlatā or favorableness can be done 24 h/day.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The sīmā-rekhā of Prācīna Bhārata-varṣa

The ancient India was not much larger than the current state. In Śrīmad Bhāgavat 9.23.5-6 six provinces (viṣayān) are mentioned in the east (prācyakam) of Bhārata varṣa – Aṅga (the kingdom of Karṇa, now Bihar), Baṅga (west- and east-Bengal, of which the east is now a separate enclave inside India) and Kaliṅga (now Orissa). The six sons of Dīrghatamā became kings of the six provinces named after them.

jajñire dīrghatamaso
baleḥ kṣetre mahīkṣitaḥ
cakruḥ sva-nāmnā viṣayān
ṣaḍ imān prācyakāṁś ca te

Jīva Goswāmī and Viśvanātha Cakravartī comment:

viṣayān deśān | prācyakān bhārata varṣasya pūrva-dig-vartinaḥ

« viṣayān means country or region, and prācyakān means on the eastern side of Bhārata Varṣa. »

So it is not that ancient India spread out to Vietnam or Indonesia and Vedic culture is now somehow lost there.

Also it is interesting that both Pāṇḍava-brides, Uttarā (princess of Matsya) and Draupadī (princess of Pancāla) came from close to Vraja.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Śrīmad Bhāgavat Canto 1, chapters 2-6

Continuing our review of Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī's commentaries on the first Canto -

1.2.4 After the famous verse nārāyaṇaṁ namaskṛtya naraṁ caiva narottamam, Bhānu Swāmī writes a footnote about Saraswati –

“This is not the material deity. In the spiritual world exist counterparts to the devatās of the material world who assist the Lord in his pastimes there. For instance divyā Sarasvatī gives Kṛṣṇa mantra to Brahmā in Brahma-saṁhitā.”

The words divyā sarasvatī appear in Brahmā Saṁhitā 5.24, and there is a verse in the Purāṇas describing demigods in the spiritual sky. We will have to wait until or whether we find pramāṇa about this particular mentioning of Sarasvatī. The sentence ‘tato jayam udirayet’ is justly translated as ‘and thus one must proclaim Jaya!’

1.2.6 Viśvanātha compares the growth of bhakti from sādhana bhakti to prema bhakti with the growth of a mango – the raw mango is sādhana bhakti, with inferior taste, and the ripe mango is prema bhakti – “The stages of childhood, youth and adulthood in one person are actually not conditions of cause and effect (since the person remains). On the other hand, when pots, cloth and cooked rice arise, the original names and forms of mud, thread and raw rice disappear. One cannot compare these examples to bhakti and prema.”

1.2.18 nityaṁ bhāgavata sevayā - By serving the devotees and the Bhāgavat, the major portion of nāmāparādhas (abhadreṣu) becomes weak.

1.2.20 With the development of āsakti, with worship of Kṛṣṇa at every moment, rati appears (prasanna-manasaḥ). Without rati, there could never be constant detachment from objects of material enjoyment, and without constant detachment, there could never be satisfaction of the mind. Then prema to Bhagavān appears (bhagavad-bhakti-yogataḥ). From that arises realization (vijñānam) of the Lord’s form, qualities, pastimes, majesty and sweetness.

1.2.23 Because one can realize fire through wood but not through smoke, tamas should be considered superior to rajas. In deep sleep (tamas) one has realization of oneness with ātmā. Thus some persons argue that between Brahmā and Śiva, Śiva is better.

1.2.24 jīvātmanas tu cit-karaṇatvād alpa-prakāśakatvād īśitavyatvād asvātantryād alpa-balatvācca guṇa-kartṛka eva tat-sparśe sati sva-jñāna-lopaḥ saṁsāraśca bhavatīti vivecanīyam - However the jīva, because he is only a particle of cit, having very little ability of knowledge and because he is controlled by the Lord and not independent, and has very little power, he is bereft of knowledge of his real nature and resides in this material world by contacting the guṇas.

1.5.9 Vyāsa protested to Nārada that he did actually glorify bhakti as being above mukti, as he had already written the Purāṇas at this point. He had written in the Padma Purāṇa –

anyatra puṇya-tīrtheṣu muktir eva mahā-phalam
muktaiḥ prārthyā harer bhaktir mathurāyāṁ ca labhyata

“Liberation is the highest goal in other holy places, but Hari-bhakti, prayed for by the liberated souls, is attained in Mathurā.”

And of course there is the famous mad bhaktim labhate param-verse in the Gītā (18.54). But Nārada told him he did not write this enough and therefore he needed to write the Bhāgavat.

1.5.10 It may be argued that none of the Purāṇas written by Vyāsa should be considered as a place of crows, since nothing there is completely devoid of the glories of the Lord.  To this however it can be said:

harir itaratra na gīyate hy abhīkṣṇam
iha tu punar bhagavān aśeṣa-mūrtiḥ
paripaṭhito’nu-padaṁ kathā-prasaṅgaiḥ

“Nārāyaṇa, the soul of the universal form, who destroys the accumulated sins of the Kali age, is not glorified all the time elsewhere [in other scriptures]. But Bhagavān, with His unlimited forms, is abundantly and constantly described throughout the narrations of this Śrīmad-Bhāgavat.” (SB 12.12.65)

1.5.25 mahā-mahā prasāda is so powerful, that Nārada got bhakti just by eating some rice which was stuck to the plate of one of the sages his mother was serving!

In his commentary on verses 28-30 Viśvanātha says Nārada developed prema by hearing Kṛṣṇa-kathā from the sages for just two seasons (4 months in Vedic measure).

1.6.16 The Lord first appeared in Nārada’s heart, and then he appeared in the three functions of the mind—nose, ear and eye, so that he could experience the fragrance of His body, the sound of His ankle bells and the beauty of His face.

1.6.17 Prema and its symptoms are clearly mentioned here in the verse.

1.6.27-28 [28-29 in other editions] Nārada says: “At the time of dissolving my subtle and gross bodies, the time that I was waiting for for a long time made its appearance.”

Suddenly the two times (disappearance of the material body and attainment of the spiritual body) simultaneously made their appearance, connected closely like subject and predicate. “Just as sometimes lightning appears at the same time as another flash of lightning, similarly at the exact time of giving up my material body, the time of receiving my spiritual body as an associate also occurred.” In the next verse Viśvanātha continues on this, comparing the event as ‘sitting down and eating’, two things that occur simultaneously. Viśvanātha: “What should be amazing?  Even an outcaste who chants the name of the Lord once, now, at the time of uttering the name, gives up his body. Since we do not see anyone giving up their body simultaneously with chanting, “body” here means his prārabdha-karmas which are experienced in the present body. This is the opinion of some. Others say by the association of bhakti, like a touchstone, the body made of the three guṇas becomes free of the guṇas, as seen in the case of Dhruva. Thus, giving up the body means giving up the body made of three guṇas. This will be explained later at the beginning of the rāsa-dance (SB 10.29.11): jahur guṇamayaṁ dehaṁ sadyaḥ prakṣīṇa-bandhanāḥ: “Free of bondage, those gopīs abandoned their gross material bodies made of guṇas.” But others say that sometimes the Lord shows devotees literally giving up their bodies in order that the opinion of others are not contradicted. Thus Nārada, who had developed prema already, gave up his body. However it should be understood that he had already destroyed his prārabdha-karmas during his practice of bhakti. This verse is discussed earlier in my blog of February 21, 2006

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Śrīmad Bhāgavata Chapter 1, Canto 1 - the rest

I had a remaining problem with the first verse of the Bhāgavat, so I asked Paṇḍit Satya-nārāyaṇa Dās about it -

Panditji Rādhe Rādhe and a happy Nandotsava to you. I am studying Bhānu Swami's translation of Visvanatha's tika to the first verse of the Bhagavata. In Viśvanātha's third explanation Bhanu Swami says that -

"Let us meditate on Kṛṣṇa from whom appears the highest rasa, śṛṅgāra-rasa (janma ādyasya). Previously this rasa, though existing, had disappeared because of the censure by conservative spiritual aspirants. "
Viśvanātha's Sanskrit reads:

tad yathā—ādyasya śṛṅgāra-rasasya janma yatas taṁ dhīmahi | pūrvaṁ tasya paramārtha-darśibhiḥ saṁyogāt sadbhir vigītatvena svato’pi nāśa evāsīd iti bhāvaḥ

It speaks of paramārtha darśibhih, seers of spirituality. It does not seem that Bhānu's translation is right. What does the ṭīkā actually say?

Paṇḍit Satya-nārāyaṇa Dās replied - “His translation is right, just needs an explanation to make it clear. The paramārtha darśibhiḥ mainly refers to spiritualists who were in the renounced order. Thus they did not appreciate śṛṅgāra rasa, did not study it, and thus it became invisible. Sannyasis were not allowed or expected to indulge in śṛṅgāra kathā. It was forbidden.”

More Sārārtha Darśinī reviews -
Verse 1.1.2 of the Bhāgavat says that sadyo hṛdy avaruddhyate, the Lord is instantly captured in the heart by those who hear the Bhāgavat. Viśvanātha says:

“This indicates that prema arises in the devotees, since the Lord is subdued only by prema.  Praṇaya-raśanayā dhṛtāṅghri-padmaḥ: the Lord’s lotus feet are tied by ropes to the devotee.  (SB 11.2.55)…..Kṛṣṇa enters the hearts of even those who have suddenly developed the desire to hear from the moment they begin listening. Since they develop the desire to hear from that moment, even before having faith, it means that they develop prema simply by hearing the Bhāgavat, what to speak if they heard with faith!” 

Tat-kṣaṇāt can also mean that due to Kṛṣṇa’s (tat) festival, frolicks (kṣaṇāt) he becomes caught in the devotee’s heart. Since Kṛṣṇa becomes supremely blissful by being locked in a heart filled with prema, this also indicates that Kṛṣṇa feels paramānanda and prema when the devotees hear the Bhāgavat. This result is not attained through any other scripture or sādhana (kiṁ vā paraiḥ).… In this scripture and in no other work, the essential object, the religion free from all deceit, is presented.

Verse 1.1.3 -
The Bhāgavata is the ripened fruit that fell off the desire tree of the Vedas, dropped from the mouth of the divine parrot, or Śukadeva. O Rasikas! Drink that luscious bhāgavata until you faint of ecstasy - (śuka mukhād amṛta) galitam means that it falls down of by itself when it is ripe on the tree - not by force. This fulfills its sweetness. Even after falling from a high position in the tree, it does not break, nor does it lose its sweetness. That is because it comes down from the highest position, from Nārāyaṇa, to the branch of Brahmā, and then to the mouth of Śuka. Thus it is endowed with liquid sweetness like honey. The parrot, Śuka, has even made a gate (opening) in the fruit with his beak for taking out the sweetness. Moreover, having been tasted by him, that fruit becomes even sweeter. Moreover, it remains unbroken, coming down step-by-step from the branch of Sūta and others. What is implied here is that without guru-paramparā, one cannot drink the Bhāgavat in its unbroken form, just by trying to taste it through the use of one’s own intelligence…..How should the fruit be relished? One should drink it, for this fruit is the essence of taste (rasam), devoid of skin, seed and other disposable parts.”
“One of the meanings of the word laya may be the eighth sāttvika-bhāva called pralaya, fainting. One should drink until one develops the eight symptoms up to the final one, fainting. Though one will not be able to drink the nectar when one has fainted, when the fainting wears off, one again awakens to consciousness and begins drinking until one faints again. One cannot give up drinking. Hence the use of the word muhuḥ (again and again). Or muhuḥ can mean that though one has drunk it, by again drinking it, the relish increases. Aho means it is astonishing. O knowers of rasa (rasikāḥ)! This refers only to the devotees, for their rati (bhāva) becomes the sthāyi-bhāva which enables them to relish the rasa of the Bhāgavat…..
Surely Kṛṣṇa is rasa, the fruit, but this fruit is not directly situated on the desire-tree of the Vedas. It has fallen down (galitam) nearby. This object, rasa, is not on the tree itself. It is not to be searched out in the Vedas, but rather it is in the mouth of Śukadeva. One can say that Vyāsa, knowing that this fruit was very tasty, got attracted to it, brought it and put it in the mouth of his son out of affection.  śukha-mukhāt can also indicate a cause: the rasa is sweeter because of coming from the mouth of Śukadeva
…….Bhuvi indicates Vraja-bhūmi. Bhāvukāḥ and rasikāḥ indicate the dear gopīs. O dear relishers of Kṛṣṇa’s rasa, drink the sweetness of the rasa arising from his form (bhāgavatam). Or pibata bhāgavatam rasam ālayam can mean “relish rasa up to the point of embracing (ālayam) Kṛṣṇa….. Kṛṣṇa’s rasa is indestructible (amṛta) and flows away quickly from the mind and eye (drava). Therefore drink that indestructible nectar in the form of his lips. In that case, nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalam means “rāgānugā-bhakti which is the fully ripened fruit (galitam) on the tree of the Vedas.” This fully ripened fruit is rāgānugā-bhakti following in the footsteps of the gopīs. It is seen in the Bṛhad-vāmana Purāṇa that the Vedas, adopting that type of bhakti, accepted the forms of hundreds of thousands of gopīs in Vraja bhūmi and drank the sweet nectar of his lips.
Verse 1.1.10 is the famous verse about Kali yuga-people –
In Kali-yuga people are generally short-lived, lazy, unintelligent, devoid of the good fortune of devotee association, and afflicted by various problems.

Viśvanātha comments –
“In Kali-yuga people are generally short-lived. If they have long life by chance, then they are too lazy to investigate spiritual topics. Even if someone is not lazy then he is unintelligent. Even if someone is intelligent, he is unfortunate, for he will be bereft of the company of sādhus. Even if someone has that association of devotees, he is afflicted. Under the control of diseases and other problems, he does not get the time to hear from the mouth of the devotee, or even if he does hear, he cannot discern the highest goal for the human being and then carry out actions to attain it.”

Verse 1.1.19 –
“We are never satiated with hearing Kṛṣṇa-kathā, which become more and more relishable at every step for the knowers of rasa.”

Viśvanātha comments - 
Uttama-śloka means “he whose fame or good qualities are the best.” Or it can mean “he who is praised by the best persons.”

In three ways one knows that one has had enough of something and is satisfied: by having a full belly, by lack of knowledge of the taste, and by lack of particular relish of the object. In this verse, there is insufficiency for the hearers (śṛṅvatām) because the exploits are not directly present, being present only as sound in the ether contacting the ear.  Satisfaction is not accomplished by a person who does not know rasa, someone who is just like an animal. Rasikas know [rasajñā, appreciate] rasa, but still they are not satisfied. Unlike chewed sugarcane which loses its taste and becomes detestable, the topics of the Lord are most excellent because of the increase in taste at every moment (pade pade) after tasting. Rasikas do not lose taste, but are still dissatisfied.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The first verse alone....

In the past I have blogged reviews of Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda’s ‘Sārārtha Darśinī’-ṭīkās of Śrīmad Bhāgavata’s Cantos 3-12. Canto 1 and 2 were never done so far. I made a small start with the first Canto here. The ṭīkā on the first verse takes more than half of the text of the ṭīkā on the entire first chapter. Viśvanatha gives 5 different explanations of it, the last one being the longest one. All of it is mighty interesting but it is impossible to put it all in a small media like a blog, so here is an anthology only (it is especially interesting for those who know each word of this śloka well) –

Viśvanāth says: “Just as He appears as Matsya among the fish, as Varāha among the animals, as Haṁsa among the birds, as svayam bhagavān Kṛṣṇa among humans, and as Upendra among the devatās, so the Lord has now appeared as the crown jewel of the scriptures, Śrīmad-bhāgavata, among the Vedas, for restoring dharma and delivering the devotees.”

He quotes SB 1.3.43, the famous verse comparing the Bhāgavat to the sun, and then says: “It (the Bhāgavata) has twelve forms (Cantos), just as the sun has twelve forms for each of the months of the year.”

Later he comes with an important quote to prove that even the devotees in Śvetadvīpa and Vaikuṇṭha have forms – “These forms are not material, since the word atīndriya is used. “

atīndriyā nirāhārā aniṣpannāḥ sugandhinaḥ
ekāntinas te puruṣāḥ śveta-dvīpa-nivāsinaḥ

“The inhabitants living in Śvetadvīpa, devoted completely to the Lord, are all fragrant, beyond the material senses, without any need for material food and without material movement.”  Mahābhārata 12.323.26

In the third explanation he explains the word ādi as follows -

“Let us meditate on Kṛṣṇa from whom appears the highest rasa, śṛṅgāra-rasa (janma ādyasya). ….. By meeting (anvayāt) and separation (itarataḥ) this rasa with the gopīs is accomplished. Just as Bhīmasena is represented by the word Bhīma, so the ādya-rasa is represented by the word ādya.”

“Kṛṣṇa is knowledgeable of, or skilful in (abhijñaḥ), all things suitable for rasa such as the sixty four arts.  But unlike material heroes such as Nala who are affected by time and karma, Kṛṣṇa, the viṣaya of spiritual rasa, is independent and spiritual (svarāṭ)Rasa should not be accredited to other persons. He alone conveyed the truth about ādi-rasa (brahma) through His mind (hṛdā) unto Bharata Muni (ādi-kavaye), the famous exponent of material rasa. This reveals that rasa originates only from Kṛṣṇa.”

He then hits out at the sahajiyās

“There is no rasa in material heroes whose temporary bodies end in ashes and worm waste. Rather, on consideration, in this there is a contradiction to rasa distaste or disgust because of the perversion of the object of love, vibhāva. The unintelligent describe rasa in such persons.”

That there are three types of meaning in Sanskrit writing does not mean they are ever false in relation to Kṛṣṇa. Viśvanātha writes:

“In the Lord there is the creation of the three meanings; literal, metaphorical and suggested, or creation of allusion (dhvani), skill in composition (guṇa) and literary ornaments (alaṅkāra). These are real (amṛṣā) and become amazing because of their extraordinary nature in Kṛṣṇa.”

From the fourth explanation:
“Without deceit, in correct manner, aspiring for the highest goal, we meditate on Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa from whom arises the height of madhura-rasa.  By giving up the other gopīs and following only Her, as dhīra-lalita He showed his expertise in the chief aspects of rasa and She exhibited herself as an independent lover. Kṛṣṇa imparted through the heart to Śukadeva, knower of this rasa from birth, the Bhāgavatam, by which the devotees faint in ecstasy and undergo transformation, just as fire, water and earth reverse their properties and by whose influence the three śaktis remain eternally….”
“Giving up all other gopī lovers (itarataḥ), He followed Her alone and became obedient to Her (anvayāt).”
“Because He gave up other gopīs and followed Her alone (preyasī vaśaḥ), He is known as a dhīra-lalita lover, favorable for cultivating rasa. He is thus called “one who is fully knowledgeable of the chief rasas filled with madhura-rasa (artheṣu abhijñaḥ).” And because He is dhīra-lalita, She alone remains with Her lover (svarāṭ), as a svādhīna-kāntā, a lady who controls Kṛṣṇa.“
“From hearing the Bhāgavatam (yad) since it has rasa, the devotees faint in ecstasy from tasting the rasa (yad sūrayaḥ muhyanti). Or because Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are the objects of their hearing and seeing, Their close associates (sūrayaḥ), though most wise, become bewildered. This means that they take on qualities opposite their normal qualities, out of ecstasy. And others are included in this ecstasy also. This is illustrated through an example. Their ecstasy is just like earth, water and fire reversing their attributes (tejo-vārī mṛdam yathā vinimaya). For instance the moon, a form of fire, on seeing the rāsa-līlā of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, gave up its quality of moving and became stunned like earth. Water, on hearing the sound of the flute, became stunned like earth. Stones made of earth became liquid like water.”

The fifth explanation is again more grave and philosophical.

This is just an anthology of the commentary of one of the ācāryas on the first verse of the Bhāgavata – behold the depth and volume of this grantha!