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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!

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