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.