Brihad Bhagavatamrita (commentary)

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

The Brihad-bhagavatamrita Verse 1.1.2, 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 1.1.2 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 1.1.2:

श्री-राधिका-प्रभृतयो नितरां जयन्ति गोप्यो नितान्त-भगवत्-प्रियता-प्रसिद्धः ।
यसां हरौ परम-सौहृद-मधुरिणां निर्वक्तुम् ईषद् अपि जातु न को’पि शक्तः ॥ २ ॥

śrī-rādhikā-prabhṛtayo nitarāṃ jayanti gopyo nitānta-bhagavat-priyatā-prasiddhaḥ |
yasāṃ harau parama-sauhṛda-madhuriṇāṃ nirvaktum īṣad api jātu na ko’pi śaktaḥ || 2 ||

The Vraja gopīs are especially celebrated as the dearmost of Śrī Bhagavān. No one has ever come close to ascertaining the sweetness of their supreme affection towards Śrī Hari. All these celebrated, eternally beloved gopīs of Śrī Kṛṣṇa such as Śrī Rādhikā are shining forth with all types of super-excellence. All glories unto them!

Commentary: Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā with Bhāvānuvāda

(By Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī himself including a deep purport of that commentary)

To achieve Śrī Bhagavān’s profound mercy one has to receive the mercy of His beloved devotees. Therefore, His most beloved devotees are also present with topmost excellences like Him. He is narrating this notion through the verse beginning with Śrī Rādhikā. Amongst all the devotees of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the gopīs are the best, and amongst all the gopīs Śrī Rādhikā is the most superb. Therefore, Śrī Rādhā’s name is mentioned most prominently.

The intent of using the word nitarām is that devotees are especially dear to Bhagavān. Although, from our mundane vision Bhagavān may disregard a devotee ever so slightly, that apparent neglect does not necessarily detract them from their pristine excellence. Regardless, this does not happen in the case of the gopīs. In other words, one can never imagine any type of neglect of Śrī Bhagavān towards the gopīs. The gopīs' unique quality of incomparable distinction, an apparent neglect by Bhagavān to others, has been favorably accepted by all great personalities everywhere.

Śrī Bhagavān has personally described the esoteric love of the gopīs by His own mouth in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.32.22):

न पारये’हं निरवद्य-संयुजां स्व-साधु-कृत्यं विभुधायुषापि वः
या माभजन् दुर्जर-गेह-शृङ्खलाः संवृश्च्य तद् वः प्रतियातु साधुना

na pāraye’haṃ niravadya-saṃyujāṃ sva-sādhu-kṛtyaṃ vibhudhāyuṣāpi vaḥ
yā mābhajan durjara-geha-śṛṅkhalāḥ saṃvṛścya tad vaḥ pratiyātu sādhunā

O endearing Vraja gopīs, you have severed the difficult shackles of home and family life to meet Me. Having done this, I will not be able to repay you even slightly in a long lifespan of the demigods. Therefore your own glorious deeds have become repayment for that debt, in otherwords, I am forever indebted by your love.

In this way, the glories of the gopīs’ love have been sung in so many places, because the gopīs are famous as the refuge of the most intense and highest limits of love of Bhagavān. Although prasiddha means “that which is celebrated,” there is no need to search for any other validation of their prominence. Still the author indicates it for the pleasure of the devotees by beginning the line with yāsām. All these gopīs, including Śrī Rādhikā, possess sweetness of the topmost intimate love towards Śrī Hari, or all-attractive Śrī Kṛṣṇa. No one, including Śrī Hari, is ever capable of describing even a small fragment of their sweetness. All these gopīs are effulgently present in all their excellence. In this way, the mutul eternal love between Śrī Bhagavān and the lovely gopīs has indeed been shown.

The gopīs are distinguished by their unique endeavors to achieve their position of bhagavat-prema. One other implication of the word prasiddha is that any other conclusion we may conceive in this matter is not definite. Still, the reason for the divine bliss of devotees is suggested here by the line beginning with yāsām, “whose prema in Śrī Hari (parama manohara Śrī Kṛṣṇa) is also full of deep affection and charm.” That all-attractive, sweet prema with Śrī Rādhikā and the other gopīs is never even slightly constrained—like this, Śrī Bhagavān and the gopīs’ mutual prema is eternally being exchanged.

Śrī Dig-darśinī Prakāśikā vṛtti: Those who perform devotional service to Śrī Vrajendra-nandana Kṛṣṇa without doing bhajana to His internal pleasure potency, Śrī Rādhājī, are futilely doing bhajana. Rather, their bhajana to Śrī Kṛṣṇa is like sharp darts piercing His divine soft limbs—kṛṣṇāśrayaḥ sa na vraja-ramānugaḥ sva-hṛdi saptaśalyāni me, “A person who accepts Kṛṣṇa’s shelter without following in the footsteps of the lovely gopīs of Vraja is like one of seven thorns that penetrate my heart.” Those persons are like hypocrites who serve and worship Śrī Govinda, yet do not serve and worship His devotees, remaining always cheated of His mercy. Just as the existence of the sun cannot be perceived without heat and light, similarly the devotional service of Mādhava is futile without Śrī Rādhikā.

Therefore Śrī Uddhavajī, who is the best of devotees, also prayed to the footdust of the divine damsels of Vraja, vande nanda-vrajastrīṇāṃ, pāda-reṇum abhīkṣṇaśaḥ: “I repeatedly offer my respects to the footdust of the gopīs of Śrī Nanda’s Vraja.” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata Purāṇa 10.47.63) Here the word śtrīṇām (women) is in the Sanskrit plural number (bahuvacana), whereas the word pāda-reṇum (footdust) is in the singular number (eka-vacana), indicating the deep confidential meaning that it is only one particle of footdust of Śrīmatī Rādhikājī that Śrī Uddhavajī is truly aspiring for.

Śrī-rāgānugā-bhakti, spontaneous devotional service, is achievable by the mercy of the Supreme Personality or by the mercy of the devotee. The deep, confidential meaning hidden here is that bhakti (devo tional service), bhagavat-kṛpā (Bhagavān’s mercy) and bhakta-kṛpā (devotees’ mercy) are anugāminī, or followers of the eternal associates. Theref ore, without the moods of the nitya-parikaras or eternal associates, one’s spontaneous devotional mood (rāgānugātya) is not perfected. Thus by severe austerities alone, one cannot enter the rāsa-līlā of Śrī Vṛndāvana without being under the guidance of the gopīs. Rather, the śrutis and the sages of Daṇḍaka forest achieved their desires by performing rāgānugābhajana following in the moods of the gopīs and thus obtained both the moods and spiritual forms of gopīs.

Therefore, it is indeed beneficial for the sādhakas of rāgānugābhakti to perform their sādhana-bhajana only under the guidance of the eternal associates such as Śrīmatī Rādhikā, Śrī Lalita, Śrī Viśakha and the other vraja-ramanī gopīs, and under the guidance of other vraja-vāsīs (residents of Vraja) such as Śrī Svarūpa, Śrī Rūpa, Śrī Sanātana, and Dāsa Raghunātha. Independent bhajana would only become a source of unwanted troubles.

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