Brihad Bhagavatamrita (commentary)

by Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyana Gosvāmī Mahārāja | 2005 | 440,179 words | ISBN-13: 9781935428329

The Brihad-bhagavatamrita Verse 1.1.1, English translation, including commentary (Dig-darshini-tika): an important Vaishnava text dealing with the importance of devotional service. The Brihad-bhagavatamrita, although an indepent Sanskrit work, covers the essential teachings of the Shrimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata-purana). This is verse 1.1.1 contained in Chapter 1—Bhauma (the earthly plane)—of Part one (prathama-khanda).

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 1.1.1:

जयति निज-पदाब्ज-प्रेम-दानावतीर्नो विविध मधुरिमाब्धिः को’पि कैशोर-गन्धिः ।
गत-परम-दशान्तम् यस्य चैतन्य-रूपा दनुभव-पदम् आप्तम् प्रेम गोपीषु नित्यम् ॥ १ ॥

jayati nija-padābja-prema-dānāvatīrno vividha madhurimābdhiḥ ko’pi kaiśora-gandhiḥ |
gata-parama-daśāntam yasya caitanya-rūpā danubhava-padam āptam prema gopīṣu nityam || 1 ||

All glories to the Supreme Personality, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is ever-youthful and full of all excellent qualities. He is an ocean of variegated sweetness, and His divine prema reaches the point of highest development in the beautiful cowherd damsels of Vraja. The prema of the gopīs has become the object and support of everyone in His original form as Śrī Caitanya, who descended to bestow that sweetest service to His own lotus feet.

Maṅgalācaraṇa Invocation

नमः ओं विश्णुपादाय आचार्य-सिंह-रूपिणे श्री श्रीमद् भक्ति-प्रज्ञान केशव इति नामिने
अति-मर्त्य-चरित्राय स्व-श्रितानाञ्च-पालिने जीव-दुःखे सदार्त्ताय श्री नाम-प्रेम दायिने

namaḥ oṃ viśṇupādāya ācārya-siṃha-rūpiṇe śrī śrīmad bhakti-prajñāna keśava iti nāmine
ati-martya-caritrāya sva-śritānāñca-pāline jīva-duḥkhe sadārttāya śrī nāma-prema dāyine

First, I offer my obeisances unto the lotus feet of my most worshipable Gurudeva, nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa oṃ viṣṇupāda aṣṭottaraśāta Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja. Although inept at heart, by a drop of his causeless mercy I have translated the original verses of this book, Śrī Bṛhad-Bhāgavatāmṛtam, composed by Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, whose lotus feet are revered. I have also presented a considerate elucidation (bhāvanuvāda) on his own  Sanskrit commentary entitled Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā. Thereafter, praying with great eagerness for his causeless mercy, I humbly bow down to the revered lotus feet of Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, the author and commentator of his own book.

Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī’s Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā:

(Illuminations in One Specific Direction)

भक्तिर् या निखिलार्थ-वर्ग-जननी या ब्रह्म-साक्षात्-कृतेर्
&न्ब्स्प्; आनन्दातिशय-प्रदा विषय-जात् सौख्यादि-विमुक्तिर् यया
श्री-राधा-रमणं पदाम्बुज-युगं यस्या महान्-आश्रयो
&न्ब्स्प्; या कार्या व्रजलोक-वत् गुरुतर्-प्रेम्नैव तस्यै नमः
नमश् चैतन्य-चन्द्राय स्व-नामामृत-सेविने
&न्ब्स्प्; यद् रूपाश्रयणाद् यस्य भजे भक्तिमयं जनः
अभिप्रेतार्थ-वर्गानाम्-एक-देशास्य दर्शनात्
&न्ब्स्प्; दिग्-दर्शिनीति-नाम्नीयं स्वयं टीकापि लिख्यते

bhaktir yā nikhilārtha-varga-jananī yā brahma-sākṣāt-kṛter
  ānandātiśaya-pradā viṣaya-jāt saukhyādi-vimuktir yayā
śrī-rādhā-ramaṇaṃ padāmbuja-yugaṃ yasyā mahān-āśrayo
  yā kāryā vrajaloka-vat gurutar-premnaiva tasyai namaḥ
namaś caitanya-candrāya sva-nāmāmṛta-sevine
  yad rūpāśrayaṇād yasya bhaje bhaktimayaṃ janaḥ
abhipretārtha-vargānām-eka-deśāsya darśanāt
  dig-darśinīti-nāmnīyaṃ svayaṃ ṭīkāpi likhyate

Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā:

(A ‘bhāvānuvāda’ translation following the mood of the author)

I offer my obeisances unto Śrī Bhaktidevī, who is the mother of the ultimate pursuits of human life (purusārtha-varga). She bestows happiness far exceeding realizing the impersonal Brahman. It is by her causeless mercy that one easily casts out the desire for the fleeting pleasures of sensuality.

The lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā-Ramaṇa are our only refuge, and the cultivation of devotion to Them must be enacted with deep, intense affection like that of the vraja-vāsīs.

I offer my obeisances unto the moonlike Śrī Caitanya who relishes the nectar of His own names. By taking shelter of śrī-rūpa or His divine beautiful form (or Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, the dearmost associate of Śrī Caitanya-candra), even a person like me obtains devotion to Śrī Caitanya-candra.

In this scripture, and each and every verse, varieties of exquisite meanings can be found. However, in accordance with the specific precept of the dig-darśana nyāya, only one viewpoint (eka-deśāsya) has been expounded upon in this commentary, which has been written by the author himself. This exposition is thus entitled Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā (Illuminations in One Specific Direction).

This scripture describes devotional service to the Supreme Person (śrī-bhagavad-bhakti) above the granting of mundane religiosity (dharma), economic gain (artha), sense gratification (kāma) and impersonal liberation (mokṣa). By the cultivation of bhakti, one attains bliss even superior to that of the passive plane of impersonal liberation (brahmānanda). This supreme selfless bhakti is in accordance with the highest love to the lotus feet of Śrī Gopīnātha, which is possessed by Śrī Nanda Mahārāja and the eternal residents of Vraja. Those who perform loving devotional service like this receive the ultimate result of eternally sporting freely with Śrī Nanda-kiśora in that Śrī Goloka far above Vaikuṇṭha. This scripture also analyzes the four correlatives of vraja-bhakti, which consists of the qualified candidate (adhikārī), as well as one’s eternal relationship (sambandha), the practical means to achieve the goal (abhidheya) and the ultimate goal of life (prayojana). These four aspects will be explained accordingly.

In order that nothing impede the completion of this book, the author first invokes auspiciousness with the maṅgalācaraṇa beginning with the word jayati. In this invocation, he earnestly begs to receive the wonderful mercy of his dearmost object of desire that is Śrī Rādhā Ramaṇadeva’s topmost merits in this endeavor. The word jayati or “triumphant” here refers to one whose excellence shines forth in every way (utkarṣa), but in the purport it is conveyed in an augmented way of having reached the ultimate limits of all excellences, free from any reservation (sarvotkarṣa). Thus, having reached the ultimate limits of all excellences, the ineffable Supreme Person is triumphant in comparison to all other incarnations. He easily bestows loving devotion to His own lotus feet onto the destitute and fallen people that attracts the hearts of all, through the sweetness (mādhurī) of His extraordinary beauty (rūpa), transcendental qualities (guṇa), His divine pastimes (līlā) and so on.

The phrase “He alone is the inexpressible Supreme Person” (anirvacanīya purūṣa) means that no one can ever adequately define His divine mercy, beauty and nectarean qualities. Thereafter, in the original verse, a variegated (vividha) number of attributes have been articulated—He is an ocean of variegated kinds of sweet attributes related to His beautiful form and transcendental qualities. Just as an ocean is the shelter of an incalculable, constant, boundless, profound body of water, similarly Śrī Nanda-kiśora also possesses incalculable, constant, boundless and profound sweet atrributes.

Describing His sweet, beautiful form (rūpa-mādhurī), the author uses the word kaiśora. His beautiful form is always decorated with an everfresh youthful adolescence. He always remains endowed with the most exquisite youthful luster in all stages of maturity, inclusive of childhood and youth. He never becomes subjected to relentless time. He forever remains adorned in His nitya-kaiśora-rūpa, or eternally beautiful adolescent form. Thus Śrī Kapiladeva says in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam (3.28.17): santaṃ vayasi kaiśore bhṛtyānugrahakātaram, “Śrī Bhagavān is forever youthful and always eager to bestow

His favor and benediction upon His devotees.”

An ensuing doubt arises: “The eternally youthful Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇacandra, who is always eager to bestow mercy on His devotees, enjoys pastimes in Śrī Goloka far above Vaikuṇṭha. Since it is most difficult to achieve Him there, it must also be extremely difficult to obtain His divine mercy and describe the glories of bhakti. Consequently, is it not a futile effort to glorify bhakti?”

Anticipating such reservations, the author first describes His sweet magnanimity (audārya-mādhurī) with the words beginning with nija. The word nija indicates that He descended from Śrī Goloka to Śrī Mathurā maṇḍala, located on the earthly plane (bhūloka), to bestow prema to His own lotus feet. Thus His mercy became readily available. Although one purpose of His descent is to remove the burden of earth by killing such demons as Kaṃsa, nevertheless it is the secondary cause for His appearance (gauṇa kāraṇa). The supreme essential goal of tasting and distributing that unique prema (unnatojjvala-rasam) is the primary reason for His descent (mukhya kāraṇa).

The First Canto (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata Purāṇa 1.8.20, prayers of Śrīmatī Kuntī-devī) puts forth this question:

तथा परमहंसानां मुनीनाम् अमलात्मनाम्
भक्ति-योग-विधानार्थं कथं पश्येम हि स्त्रियः

tathā paramahaṃsānāṃ munīnām amalātmanām
bhakti-yoga-vidhānārthaṃ kathaṃ paśyema hi striyaḥ

O Kṛṣṇa, You have personally descended to propagate bhakti-yoga unto the wise and pure-hearted paramahaṃsas, the advanced transcendentalists. How then are we, as ordinary womenfolk, to know You?

Śrīdhara Svāmīpāda expounds further: ātmārāmān api svagunair ākṛṣya, bhakti-yogaṃ kārayitum avatīrṇaṃ tvaṃ, kathaṃ vayaṃ striyaḥ paśyema? “O Kṛṣṇa, You descended to attract the ātmārāmas, the self-satisfied, by Your own divine qualities, engaging them in the cultivation of bhakti-yoga. How then can we women perceive you?”

Thus after the benedictory phrase, nija-padābja-prema-dānāvatīrnaḥ, “descended to bestow prema to His lotus feet,” the text mentions various sweet mellows by vividha madhurimābdhi that suggest the means to distribute that prema. To point out again such uncommon characteristics, he begins to describe the line beginning with gata, which is contained in the sweet, trans cendental pastimes (līlāmādhurī) with the gopīs. Śrī Kṛṣṇa eternally loves the gopīs, the cowherd damsels of Vraja (śrī-vraja-vallabhī-gaṇa), and is also their dearmost beloved one—this is indicated by the excellent and preeminent tensyllable gopāla-mantra. In the beginning of the narration of śrī-golokamāhātmya, “The Glories of Śrī Goloka” (Volume Two of Śrī Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛtam), the purport of this excellent ten-syllable mantra will be revealed in the description of the illustrious glories of gopī-prema.

What is the nature of gopī-prema? The prema of the gopīs has reached the utmost limit of elevated state imaginable. Besides this, nija-padābja-prema-dānāvatīrṇa suggests that He bestows the same love and mercy unto all common people, even the most wretched of souls. This is His proclamation here. The words prema gopīsu nityam, the everfresh, everlasting love of the gopīs indicates the supreme glories of that gopī-prema.

Although the premika bhakta is the sole object of Śrī Bhagavān’s prema, still Śrī Bhagavān reciprocates with that devotee according to the degree that the devotee loves Him. The gopīs are Śrī Bhagavān’s eternally beloved associates, thus being the object of that eternally perfect, absolute bhagavata-prema, their glories are especially selfevident. Furthermore, by the additional word nityam we can see that the gopīs are never even slightly disregarded by Śrī Bhagavān. Śrī Nārada will further elucidate upon this topic in śrī-goloka-māhātmya.

You may ask how the glories of this confidential subject matter can be ascertained when the exalted prema of the gopīs is imperceptible to our mundane mind and intelligence? It is true that gopī-prema is beyond the minds of even the great sages, but this becomes manifest itself by the special potency of the distinct incarnation of Śrī Rādhā-Ramaṇa-deva, that is, although Śrī Caitanya-deva is personally Śrī Kṛṣṇa, nonetheless He especially descended to reveal prema-bhakti. Accordingly, He made the mood of the gopīs become naturally evident, indicating that His mercy extends this gopī-prema unto everyone. Śrī Caitanya’s continuous, manifest love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa made the gopīs’ love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa also understandable. In other words, Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa as Śrī Caitanya became influenced by the mood of the gopīs, and after personally tasting that gopī-prema, disseminated it throughout the world.

In this way, by the influence of the profound mercy of Śrī Caitanyadeva, who is the only friend of the poor and fallen souls, all the most desolate people of modern times have become opportune candidates to experience directly the gopīs’ love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Thus when the gopīs’ topmost glories are shown, the superexcellent glories of their dearmost Śrī Bhagavān are also established. This also is the topic discussed in this book.

Now, while ascertaining who the fit recipient of Bhagavān’s mercy is, Śrī Bhagavān and His eternal associates and their exalted love will be introduced alongside the glories of the gopīs. (Śrī Nārada roamed from the holy place of Prayāga to Dvārakā and held conversations with many great souls. It is to be understood that all the desires of each of these great souls were satisfied by Śrī Bhagavān’s mercy. Therefore, this automatically establishes also the supreme glories of the gopīs.)

According to this consideration, this is the elucidation on the phrase dig-darśana. In this way, no grounds remain for apprehension or doubt in beginning with the description of the above-mentioned prema of the gopīs, that is perceivable by the mercy of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya-deva. Therefore, this book is suitable for all elevated Vaiṣṇavas blessed by their faithful listening.

Śrī Dig-darśinī Prakāśikā Vṛtti:

(A brief elucidation on Śrī Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā)

In this verse the author described four subjects: (1) adhikārī—persons who are qualified to study this book; (2) abhidheya—the sādhana or spiritual practices; (3) sambandha—one’s relationship with the Supreme; (4) the prayojana—the ultimate goal of spiritual life.

1. Adhikārī: Only those who are eager to drink the honey from the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā-Ramaṇa are qualified to critically examine this book.

2. Abhidheya: The abhidheya, or sādhana, is the process by which one performs bhakti with the desire to obtain the servitorship (dāsya) of the gopas and gopīs of Vraja. Only rāgānugā-bhakti sādhana, spontaneous loving devotion, is the most excellent means to obtain the desired goal. There is no chance of perfecting this goal by the process of vaidhī-bhakti, calculative devotion. The servitorship of the Vraja gopas and gopīs is not obtained without the intense greed (laulyam) for obtaining that most rare object. Such hankering arises due to the faithful recitation of this transcendental book, and at that time the taste for only that sādhana arises.

3. Sambandha: One’s eternal relationship with Śrī Kṛṣṇa; the vācaka or divine narrator of each pastime, along with the stories that reveal the sweetness of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His associates who also give voice as the vācya, that is, their sacred and humble expressions.

4. Prayojana: The ultimate goal of spiritual life. The goal is to obtain to the above-mentioned loving service at the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā-Ramaṇa.

One particular sentiment (bhāva) is hidden in the present verse. The living entities could not achieve this prema for a long time without the ocean of mercy, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, granting this most rare and effulgent mellow of devotion unto His own self that is difficult for such persons as Lord Brahmā to obtain. Therefore, He appeared in the divine form of Śrī Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu, having accepted the heart and halo of Śrī Rādhā. The reason being no one can grant this prema other than Śrī Kṛṣṇa who comes well-adorned with the sentiment and the complexion of Śrī Rādhā as Śrī Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu.

There is also one other deep secret: This most rare vraja-prema is easily obtained by the unbridled mercy of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, who is the special recipient of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mercy and the inaugurator of His innermost desire. Therefore, in order to obtain this gopī-prema, there is no way other than to surrender to Śrī Gaurasundara and His associates such as Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, the recipient of His mercy.

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