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

The Bhajana-rahasya Text 24, 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 24 belonging to the chapter “Shashtha-yama-sadhana (Sayam-kaliya-bhajana–bhava)” representing six dandas after dusk: approximately 6.00 p.m.–8.30 p.m.

All types of devotees long for gopī-bhāva. This is explained in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam (10.47.61):

आसाम् अहो चरण-रेणु-जुषाम् अहं स्यां वृन्दावने किम् अपि गुल्म-लतौषधीनाम्
या दुस्त्यजं स्व-जनम् आर्य-पथं च हित्वा भेजुर् मुकुन्द-पदवीं श्रुतिभिर् विमृग्याम्

āsām aho caraṇa-reṇu-juṣām ahaṃ syāṃ vṛndāvane kim api gulma-latauṣadhīnām
yā dustyajaṃ sva-janam ārya-pathaṃ ca hitvā bhejur mukunda-padavīṃ śrutibhir vimṛgyām

Aho ! The vraja-devīs have given up everything that is difficult to renounce, such as children, family and the path of chastity, and they have taken shelter of the path of prema-bhakti to Śrī Kṛṣṇa that is eternally searched for by the Śrutis. My prayer is that in a future birth I may acquire a form among the bushes, creepers and herbs of Śrī Vṛndāvana that receive the dust of these gopīs’ lotus feet.

दुस्त्यज्य आर्य-पथ-स्वजन छाडि’ दिया
श्रुति-मृग्य कृष्ण-पद भजे गोपी गिया

dustyajya ārya-patha-svajana chāḍi’ diyā
śruti-mṛgya kṛṣṇa-pada bhaje gopī giyā

आहा! व्रजे गुल्म-लता-वृक्ष देह धरि’
गोपी-पद-रेणु कि सेविब भक्ति करि’?

āhā! vraje gulma-latā-vṛkṣa deha dhari’
gopī-pada-reṇu ki seviba bhakti kari’?

Commentary: Bhajana-rahasya-vṛtti:

In the previous Text, Śrī Uddhava described the excellence of the gopīs’ prema-mādhurya. In his heart he understands his insignificance and wretchedness, and an eager longing awakens in him for prema like that of the gopīs. The only means to attain this prema, which is unattainable even for Lakṣmī and the queens of Dvārakā, is to be sprinkled with the foot-dust of the gopīs possessing mahābhāva. The exclamation aho ! expresses the rarity of the attainment of this prema. The nitya-siddha-gopīs have a natural, overwhelming love (anurāga ) for Kṛṣṇa, and because of this intense passion, they successfully renounced the honour awarded by society for respecting social etiquette, etc., which is very difficult to give up. The Śrutis and Upaniṣads such as Gopāla-tāpanī are searching for such kṛṣṇa-anurāga, eagerly desiring to attain it. Uddhava began to ponder, “It will not be possible for me to receive such good fortune as the gopīs possessing mahābhāva, unless I can somehow obtain the dust of their lotus feet.” Thus, considering himself very fallen and insignificant, he prays to take birth in Vṛndāvana as a bush, creeper or herb.

Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura elaborates on this in his Sārārtha-darśanī commentary as follows: “It is because of their anurāga that the vraja-devīs gave up their reputation, self-control and so forth, and departed in the middle of the night for a rendezvous (abhisāra ) with Śrī Śyāmasundara. Due to the strength of their prema, they were helpless and could not consider whether their decision to leave their family was right or wrong. As soon as they heard the sound of Śrī Śyāmasundara’s flute, they were pierced by the arrow of lust (kāma ), and, as if mad (unmādinī), they moved like deer, leaving the forest path without caring for shrubs, thorns and sharp grass. At that time, the dust of their feet fell on the grass, bushes and other vegetation. I can only receive this dust by one day becoming such grass, creeper or bush. Even if I were to beg humbly for a particle of that dust, they would never bestow it upon me.”

Uddhava also had a doubt in this regard. “My birth and mood are not compatible with vraja-bhāva, so why would the gopīs be merciful to me?”

In this verse, the word caraṇa-reṇu (foot-dust) is singular, thus indicating the foot-dust of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, the crown jewel of the gopīs.

Mukunda-padavī means ‘attaining the service of Kṛṣṇa’. The gopīs always attain this service. Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī says, “The name Mukunda comes from muktiṃ dadāti, which means ‘He who liberates one from one’s hair plait or waist cloth’.” Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī’s purport of mukunda-padavī is tad-anurakti-bhajana, or bhajana imbued with the gopīs’ affection for Kṛṣṇa. The gopīs, before and after Kṛṣṇa’s cowherding (in pūrvāhna-līlā, morning, and aparāhnalīlā, late afternoon pastimes), eagerly watch for Kṛṣṇa’s departure to and arrival from the pastures. Absorbed in waiting for Him, they steal His heart and mind by their bodily gestures and demeanour. Only the gopīs can render this special service. Actually, the path followed by the gopīs in serving Kṛṣṇa is the real ārya-patha, the path of honesty and chastity indicated in the scriptures. The Vedas enjoin that one should completely give up all kinds of mundane and transcendental rules for love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa that is one-pointed and free from material designations (aikāntika-nirupādhika-prema). To attain Kṛṣṇa, there is no fault in transgressing the apparent ārya-patha.

According to another meaning of mukunda-padavī, the topmost devotees on the path of devotion are none other than the gopīs.

Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmi has raised a question in Śrī Bṛhadbhāgavatāmṛta: “To attain Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Rukmiṇī-devī even abandoned her own marriage ceremony, which was arranged by her father. By personally writing a letter to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, offering herself completely to Him and sending it with the son of her priest, she also abandoned the honour of being a chaste girl from a reputable family. So, what is the feature that distinguishes the vraja-devīs, who renounced everything in order to attain Kṛṣṇa, from Rukmiṇī, who gave up her noble family for Him?”

Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī then explains, “The gopīs’ attachment (rati) to Kṛṣṇa has no cause, whereas Rukmiṇī’s prema for Him developed after hearing about His name, form, qualities and so on. From birth, the gopīs have natural love for Kṛṣṇa, and with an extreme eagerness to meet Him, they abandon their family members and the path of proper behaviour.”

In Prīti-sandarbha Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī says, “The gopīs’ zeal reveals their prema as being far superior. Their extraordinary eagerness causes the development of an amazing power by which the standards of respectable behaviour are naturally abandoned.”

The word mukunda in this verse also refers to one whose enchanting lotus face is like a kunda flower. In addition it refers to the dhīra-lalita-nāyaka Śrī Kṛṣṇacandra, who fully manifests His sweetness in the assembly of the gopīs.

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