Bhajana-Rahasya

by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura Mahasaya | 2010 | 123,965 words

The Bhajana-rahasya Text 1, English translation, including commentary (vritti). The Bhajana-rahasya is a compilation of verses describing the mercy of the eight pairs of names (Yugala-nama) of the Maha-mantra. This is text 1 belonging to the chapter “Prathama-yama-sadhana (Nishanta-bhajana–shraddha)” representing the last six dandas of the night: approximately 3.30 a.m.–6.00 a.m.

कृष्ण-वर्णं त्विषाकृष्णं साङ्गोपाङ्गास्त्र-पार्षदम्
यज्ञैः सङ्कीर्तन-प्रायैर् भजामि कलि-पावनम्

kṛṣṇa-varṇaṃ tviṣākṛṣṇaṃ sāṅgopāṅgāstra-pārṣadam
yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair bhajāmi kali-pāvanam

I worship Śrī Gaurāṅgadeva, who delivers the living entities of Kali-yuga (kali-pāvana ) through the congregational chanting of the Lord’s holy names (nāma-saṅkīrtana-yajña ). He describes the name, form, qualities and pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa; He performs kīrtana of the two syllables kṛ and ṣṇa ; His complexion is fair; He is surrounded by His aṅgas (associates, meaning Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu and Śrī Advaita Prabhu), upāṅgas (servitors, meaning Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita and other pure devotees) and pārṣadas (confidential companions like Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara, Śrī Rāya Rāmānanda, Śrī Gadādhara Paṇḍita and the six Gosvāmīs); and He is endowed with His weapon (astra ) of harināma, which destroys ignorance.

A verse similar in meaning to Text 1 is found in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam (11.5.32):

कृष्ण-वर्णं त्विषाकृष्णं साङ्गोपाङ्गास्त्र-पार्षदम्
यज्ञैः सङ्कीर्तन-प्रायैर् यजन्ति हि सु-मेधसः

kṛṣṇa-varṇaṃ tviṣākṛṣṇaṃ sāṅgopāṅgāstra-pārṣadam
yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ

In the age of Kali, Śrī Kṛṣṇa appears with a non-blackish (akṛṣṇa ) complexion. He is constantly singing the two syllables kṛ and ṣṇa, and He is accompanied by His associates, servitors, weapon and confidential companions. Intelligent people worship Him by performing saṅkīrtana-yajña.

कलि-जीव उद्धारिते पर-तत्त्व हरि
नवद्वीपे आइला गौर-रूप आविष्करि
युग-धर्म कृष्ण-नाम स्मरण कीर्तन
साङ्गोपाङ्गे वितरिल दिया प्रेम-धन
जीवेर सुनित्य धर्म नाम-सङ्कीर्तन
अन्य सब धर्म नाम सिद्धिर कारण

kali-jīva uddhārite para-tattva hari
navadvīpe āilā gaura-rūpa āviṣkari
yuga-dharma kṛṣṇa-nāma smaraṇa kīrtana
sāṅgopāṅge vitarila diyā prema-dhana
jīvera sunitya dharma nāma-saṅkīrtana
anya saba dharma nāma siddhira kāraṇa

“Śrī Hari, who is the Absolute Truth Himself, descended in Navadvīpa as Gaurasundara to deliver the living entities (jīvas ) of Kali-yuga. Together with His associates, He distributed the treasure of kṛṣṇaprema through śrī kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtana, the religious practice for the current age (yuga-dharma ). Nāma-saṅkīrtana is the living entities’ only eternal religion; all other dharmas are simply secondary means to attain perfection in chanting.”

Commentary: Bhajana-rahasya-vṛtti:

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura begins this book by praying to Śrīman Mahāprabhu. The jīva’s only duty is to worship Śrī Gaurasundara, who is resplendent with the lustre and sentiment of Śrī Rādhā. Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, the central figure (mūla-tattva ) in the pastimes of Śrī Navadvīpa, comprises five features (pañcatattvātmaka ). He and His four other forms–Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, Śrī Advaita Ācārya, Śrī Gadādhara and the associates headed by Śrīvāsa–are all supremely worshipable.

The worship and service of Śrī Gaurasundara are performed only through nāma-saṅkīrtana. By this process, which is the most powerful of the nine kinds of bhakti, all the limbs of bhakti are practised. Even if the other types of sādhana are not performed during kīrtana, kīrtana is sufficient in itself; arcana, smaraṇa and so forth are nourished solely through kīrtana. Actual service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa is carried out through saṅkīrtana, a process prescribed by pañca-tattvātmaka Śrī Gaurasundara. Śrīman Mahāprabhu and His associates assembled and showed through śrī kṛṣṇa-nāmasaṅkīrtana how to serve and worship the Supreme Lord.

In this first Text, the author establishes that Śrī Gaurasundara is Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself. In the word kṛṣṇa-varṇam we find the two syllables kṛ and ṣṇa. Hence the quality of being Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇatva ), which is itself the quality of being Śrī Bhagavān (bhagavattā ), is displayed in the name Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. Kṛṣṇa-varṇam also refers to that person who, by remembering His previous supremely blissful pastimes, becomes absorbed in transcendental sentiments due to intense jubilation and always describes (varṇam )–here meaning ‘performs kīrtana of’–the name of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. He has assumed a fair complexion, and out of supreme compassion has instructed all living entities to chant Kṛṣṇa’s name, which will naturally manifest in their hearts simply by receiving Śrī Gaurasundara’s darśana. Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is the possessor of the potency to make the impossible possible (aghaṭana-ghaṭana-paṭīyasī-śaktimān ), accepted the form of a devotee and appeared as Gaurasundara. In other words, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself directly manifested as Śrī Gaurasundara.

This incarnation (avatāra ) of Śrī Caitanyadeva is extremely difficult for ordinary sādhakas to understand. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.9.38), Prahlāda Mahārāja says: “channaḥ kalau yad abhavas tri-yugo’tha sa tvam–O Puruṣottama, in Kali-yuga You are concealed. Your name, therefore, is Tri-yuga, the Lord who appears only in three yugas, because this covered incarnation is not clearly evident in any scripture.”

When the great scholar Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya saw the eight brightly shining ecstatic transformations (sūddīpta aṣṭa-sāttvikabhāvas ) in Śrīman Mahāprabhu, he was amazed; he knew that these extremely rare transcendental sentiments are not seen in any human being.

Nevertheless, he doubted that Śrīman Mahāprabhu was Kṛṣṇa Himself and expressed this to Śrī Gopīnātha Ācārya:

अतएव ‘त्रि-युग’ करि’ कहि विष्णु-नाम
कलि-युगे अवतार नाहि,—शास्त्र-ज्ञान

ataeva ‘tri-yuga’ kari’ kahi viṣṇu-nāma
kali-yuge avatāra nāhi,—śāstra-jñāna

Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 6.95)

[Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya said:] The verdict of the scriptures is that there is no incarnation of Śrī Viṣṇu in Kali-yuga. For this reason, one name of Śrī Viṣṇu is Tri-yuga.

Hearing this, Śrī Gopīnātha Ācārya said:

कलि-काले लीलावतार ना करे भगवान्
अतएव ‘त्रि-युग’ करि’ कहि तार नाम
प्रति-युगे करेन कृष्ण युग-अवतार
तर्क-निष्ठ हृदय तोमार नाहिक विचार

kali-kāle līlāvatāra nā kare bhagavān
ataeva ‘tri-yuga’ kari’ kahi tāra nāma
prati-yuge karena kṛṣṇa yuga-avatāra
tarka-niṣṭha hṛdaya tomāra nāhika vicāra

Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 6.99–100)

In Kali-yuga there is no līlā-avatāra of Śrī Bhagavān; therefore, His name is Tri-yuga. But certainly there is an incarnation in every age, and such an incarnation is called a yuga-avatāra. Your heart has become hardened by logic and arguments and thus you cannot consider these facts.

On the other hand, when Śrī Rāya Rāmānanda, who is Viśākhā Sakhī in the pastimes of Vraja, received darśana of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, he clearly realised His identity, and said:

पहिले देखिलुङ् तोमार सन्न्यासि-स्वरूप
एबे तोमा देखि मुञि श्याम-गोप-रूप
तोमार सम्मुखे देखि काञ्चन-पञ्चालिका
ताङ्र गौर-कान्त्ये तोमार सर्व अङ्ग ढाका

pahile dekhiluṅ tomāra sannyāsi-svarūpa
ebe tomā dekhi muñi śyāma-gopa-rūpa
tomāra sammukhe dekhi kāñcana-pañcālikā
tāṅra gaura-kāntye tomāra sarva aṅga ḍhākā

Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 8.268–9)

At first I saw You in the form of a sannyāsī, but then I saw You as a dark-complexioned cowherd boy. Now I see a shining figure in front of You, whose golden lustre appears to cover Your entire body.

Statements in various Purāṇas prove that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the source of all incarnations.

At the time of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s name-giving ceremony, Śrī Gargācārya said:

आसन् वर्णास् त्रयो ह्य् अस्य गृह्णतो’नुयुगं तनूः
शुक्लो रक्तस् तथा पीत इदानीं कृष्णतां गतः

āsan varṇās trayo hy asya gṛhṇato’nuyugaṃ tanūḥ
śuklo raktas tathā pīta idānīṃ kṛṣṇatāṃ gataḥ

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.8.13)

Your son Kṛṣṇa appears as an incarnation in every millennium. In the past, He assumed three different colours–white, red and yellow–and now He has appeared in a blackish colour. *

The Mahābhārata (Anuśasana Parva, Chapter 135, verses 92 and 75) states:

सुवर्ण-वर्णो हेमाङ्गो वराङ्गश् चन्दनाङ्गदी
सन्न्यास-कृच् छमः शान्तो निष्ठा शान्ति परायणम्

suvarṇa-varṇo hemāṅgo varāṅgaś candanāṅgadī
sannyāsa-kṛc chamaḥ śānto niṣṭhā śānti parāyaṇam

[Grandfather Bhīṣma said to Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja:] Śrī Kṛṣṇa first appears as a householder with a golden complexion. His limbs are the colour of molten gold, His body is extremely beautiful, He is decorated with sandalwood pulp and He continuously chants “Kṛṣṇa”. Then He accepts the renounced order (sannyāsa ) and is always equipoised. He defeats the impersonalist philosophers, who are opposed to bhakti. He is thus the highest abode of peace and devotion.

Furthermore, it is said in Bhagavad-gītā (4.8): “dharmasaṃsthāpanārthāya sambhavāmi yuge yuge–to firmly establish religion, I appear in every age.” The āgama-śāstras state: “māyāpure bhaviṣyāmi śacī-sutaḥ–in the future, the son of Śacī will appear in Māyāpura.”

Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī writes in Tattva-sandarbha (Anuccheda 2):

अन्तः कृष्णं बहिर्-गौरं दर्शिताङ्गादि-वैभवम्
कलौ सङ्कीर्तनाद्यैः स्मः कृष्ण-चैतन्यम् आश्रिताः

antaḥ kṛṣṇaṃ bahir-gauraṃ darśitāṅgādi-vaibhavam
kalau saṅkīrtanādyaiḥ smaḥ kṛṣṇa-caitanyam āśritāḥ

I take shelter of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu in Kali-yuga through the process of saṅkīrtana. Internally He is Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself, and externally He appears in His gaura-svarūpa. He has manifested Himself along with His majestic influence, beginning with His aṅga (limbs) and upāṅga (subsidiary limbs).

And in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 8.279) it is said:

राधिकार भाव-कान्ति करि’ अङ्गीकार
निज-रस आस्वादिते करियाछ अवतार

rādhikāra bhāva-kānti kari’ aṅgīkāra
nija-rasa āsvādite kariyācha avatāra

[Śrī Rāya Rāmānanda said:] To taste Your own transcendental mellow, You appeared as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, accepting the sentiment and lustre of Śrīmatī Rādhikā.

The rays of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya’s yellow lustre, which resemble molten gold, destroy the darkness of ignorance. To destroy the dark ness of the activities opposed to bhakti performed by the victims of Kaliyuga, Śrī Mahāprabhu wanders the Earth together with His associates (aṅgas ), servitors (upāṅgas ) and confidential companions (pārṣadas ), and with the weapon of the saṅkīrtana of Hare Kṛṣṇa and other names of the Supreme Lord. Other incarnations destroyed demons with armies and weapons, but Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s aṅgas and upāṅgas are His army. According to scripture, the word aṅga means aṃśa, or part, and the aṅga of an aṅga (part of a part) is called an upāṅga. Śrī Nityānanda and Śrī Advaita Ācārya are both Śrī Caitanya’s aṅgas, and their parts, the upāṅgas, are Śrīvāsa and the other devotees who always accompany Mahāprabhu. They propag ate the Supreme Lord’s name, Hare Kṛṣṇa, which is itself the ‘sharp weapon’ capable of destroying atheism.

In this Text, the adjective saṅkīrtana-prāyaiḥ, which means ‘consisting chiefly of congregational chanting’, defines harināmasaṅkīrtana-yajña as the means to attain the goal (abhidheya-tattva ). In the incarnation of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, His main weapon is harināmasaṅkīrtana, by which He destroys the atheism of the atheists and the sins of the sinful. He who worships Śrī Caitanyadeva through nāmasaṅkīrtana-yajña is intelligent and attains all perfection; he who does not worship Him is unfortunate, unintellig ent and devoid of spiritual merit (sukṛti).

To conclude, in this age of Kali, the only object worthy of meditation is Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s lotus feet, which fulfil all treasured desires. Apart from Śrī Caitanyadeva’s mercy, nothing is eternal or permanent; rather, everything is perishable and incapable of fulfilling these desires.

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