by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura Mahasaya | 2010 | 123,965 words
The Bhajana-rahasya Text 11, 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 11 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.
The first verse of Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka describes the sequence of bhajana. First the mirror-like heart is cleansed by the chanting of the holy name:
चेतो-दर्पण-मार्जनं भव-महादावाग्नि-निर्वापणं श्रेयः-कैरव-चन्द्रिका-वितरणं विद्या-वधू-जीवनम्
आनन्दाम्बुधि-वर्धनं प्रति-पदं पूर्णामृतास्वादनं सर्वात्म-स्नपनं परं विजयते श्री-कृष्ण-सङ्कीर्तनम्
ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṃ bhava-mahādāvāgni-nirvāpaṇaṃ śreyaḥ-kairava-candrikā-vitaraṇaṃ vidyā-vadhū-jīvanam
ānandāmbudhi-vardhanaṃ prati-padaṃ pūrṇāmṛtāsvādanaṃ sarvātma-snapanaṃ paraṃ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam
Let there be supreme victory for the chanting of the holy name of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, which cleanses the mirror of the heart and completely extinguishes the blazing forest fire of material existence. Śrī kṛṣṇasaṅkīrtana diffuses the moon rays of bhāva, which cause the white lotus of good fortune for the living entities to bloom. The holy name is the life and soul of transcendental knowledge, which is herein compared to a wife. It continuously expands the ocean of transcendental bliss, enabling one to taste complete nectar at every step, and thoroughly cleanses and cools everything, both internally and externally, including one’s body, heart, self (ātmā) and nature.
सङ्कीर्तन हैते पाप संसार नाशन
चित्त-शुद्धि सर्व-भक्ति साधन उद्गम
saṅkīrtana haite pāpa saṃsāra nāśana
citta-śuddhi sarva-bhakti sādhana udgama
कृष्ण प्रेमोद्गम प्रेमामृत आस्वादन
कृष्ण-प्राप्ति, सेवामृत-समुद्रे मज्जन
kṛṣṇa premodgama premāmṛta āsvādana
kṛṣṇa-prāpti, sevāmṛta-samudre majjana
The glory of śrī kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtana is mentioned first in the teachings of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Because śrī kṛṣṇa-kīrtana is all-auspicious, the word param, ‘supreme’, is used in the fourth line of this Text. This word indicates pure saṅkīrtana, which is obtained in progressive stages beginning with śraddhā and followed by sādhu-saṅga and bhajana-kriyā. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the ocean of mercy and compassion, Himself appeared as a sādhaka-bhakta. He sang the glories of śrī kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtana, which is Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself, in order to enlighten the living entities with the fundamental truths of sambandha (relationship with the Supreme Lord), abhidheya (the process to attain the Supreme Lord) and prayojana (the goal, attaining direct service to the Supreme Lord). For the benefit of the living entities, Śrī Bhagavān Himself appears in the material world in the form of His name, which is the transcendental, inconceivable, non-dual truth.
Our tattva-ācārya, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, says that the one Absolute Truth (parama-tattva ) eternally exists in four features by the influence of His inherent inconceivable potency. These four features are: (1) svarūpa (His original form), (2) tad-rūpa-vaibhava (His personal splendour), (3) jīva (the living entity) and (4) pradhāna (the unmanifest state of material nature). They can be compared to the four aspects of the sun: (1) the effulgence situated in the interior of the sun planet, (2) the sun globe, (3) the atomic particles of light emanating from the sun globe and (4) the ref lected rays of the sun. Although the sun has four aspects, it is one.
The Supreme Lord’s parā-śakti (superior potency, also known as svarūpa-śakti) is manifest in three forms: (1) antaraṅga-śakti (the internal potency), (2) taṭastha-śakti (the marginal potency) and (3) bahiraṅga-śakti (the external potency). By the internal potency, the Absolute Truth in His complete and original feature eternally exists as Śrī Bhagavān, devoid of all faults, supremely auspicious and the basis of all transcendental qualities. Moreover, for the accomplishment of His transcendental pastimes, tad-rūpa-vaibhava (the Lord’s personal splendour, specifically Vaikuṇṭha and other dhāmas, His associates, and His forms such as Śrī Nārāyaṇa) is eternally established by this same svarūpa-śakti.
This same Absolute Truth, when endowed only with the marginal potency (taṭastha-śakti), exists as His separate expansion (vibhinnāṃśasvarūpa), which consists of the innumerable infinitesimal conscious living entities. Although the infinitesimal conscious living entities have no separate existence from Śrī Bhagavān, they cannot be said to be Bhagavān, nor do they ever become Bhagavān.
Further, parama-tattva Śrī Bhagavān, by His external potency, manifests this entire material world, which is His external splendour. This material world is a transformation of māyā-śakti, here meaning the unmanifest material elements (pradhāna). In this way, it is proved that the living entities, the material world and Śrī Bhagavān’s personal splendour that is manifest as His Vaikuṇṭha existence (tadrūpa-vaibhava), are inconceivably one with and different from the Supreme Lord’s original form.
The living entity’s eternal identity is understood by the words ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam. In this regard Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has concluded that the individual living entity is a minute part of the Supreme Absolute Truth, who is endowed with the marginal potency represented by the sum total of all living entities. The Supreme Lord is all-pervading consciousness (vibhu-caitanya ), and the living entity is infinitesimal consciousness (aṇu-caitanya ). The jīvas are innumerable and are either conditioned (baddha ) or liberated (mukta). When the living entities are vimukha, or indifferent to the Lord, they become conditioned. They become liberated when they are unmukha, turned towards Him, and the covering of māyā over the pure identity and qualities of the living entity is removed.
Just as one’s face cannot be seen in a mirror that is covered with dust, the living entity cannot perceive his actual svarūpa in a heart that is covered by the dirt of ignorance. When one begins to practise pure bhakti, which is the essential function of the hlādinī-śakti, one engages in the process of hearing (śravaṇam). Thereafter, śrī kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtana manifests automatically and thoroughly cleanses the dirt of ignorance from the heart. When the mirror of the heart is cleansed, it is possible to truly have vision of one’s own svarūpa. The living entity’s constitutional occupation (svadharma) is to serve the Supreme Lord.
Bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam–The purport of the word bhava, mundane existence, is that the living entity has to repeatedly take birth in this material world. This bhava-mahā-dāvāgni, blazing forest fire of material existence, cannot be extinguished by any means other than śrī kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtana. Here a question may be raised. Upon attaining knowledge of one’s constitutional occupation, does one cease to perform śrī kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtana? No, this never happens. Hari-saṅkīrtana is the eternal activity of the living entity, and it is both the process (sādhana ) and the goal (sādhya).
Śreyaḥ-kairava-candrikā-vitaraṇam–The living entities ensnared by the illusory energ y only desire material enjoyment and because of this they inevitably suffer the threefold miseries. In complete opposition to this, the living entity finds his real auspicious ness (śreyaḥ) in always serving Śrī Kṛṣṇa. This śreyaḥ is compared to the white lotus, which opens at night by the influence of the moon. Śrī kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtana diffuses its moon rays of bhāva and causes the white lotus of auspiciousness for the living entities to bloom.
Vidyā-vadhū-jīvanam–The power of śrī kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtana removes the ignorance of the living entity, and then knowledge of one’s relationship with Śrī Kṛṣṇa arises. Śrī kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtana is therefore the life of all transcendental knowledge, which has here been compared to a wife (vadhū). Through saṅkīrtana the inherent identity of the jīva manifests, and if by qualification one is fit to taste mādhurya-rasa, he receives the pure spiritual form of a gopī. Thus Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s svarūpa-śakti, which is the embodiment of that transcendental knowledge, is compared to a wife or consort.
Ānandāmbudhi-vardhanam–Here another doubt may arise. Since the inherent nature of the living entity is infinitesimal, it may be assumed that his constitutional happiness is also infinitesimal; but this is not the fact. Śrī kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtana unlimitedly expands the inherent transcendental pleasure of the living entity by virtue of the hlādinī-śakti. In other words, when the living entity attains his pure spiritual form, he gains boundless transcendental happiness.
Prati-padaṃ pūrṇāmṛtāsvādanam–Upon attaining his pure spiritual form and being eternally situated in one of the transcendental loving relationships (dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya or mādhurya), the jīva relishes the sweetness of the Supreme Lord’s form and pastimes in an ever-new way at every moment. In other words, he relishes the nectar of service to Nanda-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa in His two-armed form, holding a flute and dressed as a cowherd boy.
Sarvātma-snapanam–At this stage, when the jīva’s heart is completely pure and devoid of any selfish motive for personal enjoyment, he naturally enjoys the transcendental bliss of the loving pastimes of the Divine Couple. In his internally contemplated spiritual form, he serves Them as a maidservant of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, who is the embodiment of mahābhāva, the very essence of hlādinī. The two words sarvātma-snapanam have been used here to indicate supreme purity, completely devoid of the faults of the desire to merge into brahma and the desire for selfish sense enjoyment.
Footnotes and references:
Bhakti, as the essential function of the Supreme Lord’s svarūpa-śakti, is always present within the hearts of the vraja-gopīs. In particular, Śrīmatī Rādhikā is the personif ication of svarūpa-śakti and, consequently, the personification of bhakti. That is why the svarūpa-śakti has here been compared to the beloved consort of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.