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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.

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