Brihad Bhagavatamrita (commentary)

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

The Brihad-bhagavatamrita Verse 1.1.12, 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 1.1.12 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 1.1.12:

शृण्वन्तु वैष्णवाः शास्त्रम् इदं भागवतामृतम् ।
सु-गोप्यं प्राह यत् प्रेम्णा जैमिनिर् जनमेजयम् ॥ १२ ॥

śṛṇvantu vaiṣṇavāḥ śāstram idaṃ bhāgavatāmṛtam |
su-gopyaṃ prāha yat premṇā jaiminir janamejayam || 12 ||

O Vaiṣṇavas, please hear this scripture known as Śrī Bhāgavatāmṛtam. Although this book is extremely confidential, the sage Jaimini related it to King Janamejaya with deep affection and tenderness.

Commentary: Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā with Bhāvānuvāda

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

Therefore, this scripture, being a collection from the essence of scriptures about devotion to Śrī Bhagavān, gives the highest education about sad-dharma or actual religion to direct one along the proper path. Moreo ver, this scripture being the supreme essential sweetness of all scriptures conc erning bhagavad-bhakti, is appropriately entitled Bhāgavatāmṛtam. This is the initial understanding. Later we will examine the speciality of this topic. O assembly of saintly Vaiṣṇavas, all must hear this Śrī Bhāgavatamṛtam.

Here the expression vaiṣṇavāḥ or Vaiṣṇavas indicates that only those who are eager to drink the honey from the lotus feet of Śrīman Nandakiśora are qualified to hear this scripture. All others are not qualified to hear this—as it insinuates. The hearts of non-devotees are dry, devoid of transcendental mellows (rasa). Therefore, they have no faith to hear such a scripture. Due to hearing without faith, their misfortune is inevitable, and therefore the characteristic sign of the faithlessness of non-devotees is to cast-off the hearing of this scripture.

Although the expression vaiṣṇavāḥ or Vaiṣṇavas means simply a person initiated by the śrī-viṣṇu-mantra, the Pādma Purāṇa mentions:

साङ्गं स-मुद्रं स-न्यासं स-ऋषि-च्छन्द-दैवतम्
&न्ब्स्प्; स-दीक्षा-विधि स-ध्यानं स-यन्त्रं द्वादशाक्षरम्
अष्टाक्षरम् अथान्यं वा ये मन्त्रं समुपासते
&न्ब्स्प्; ज्ञेयास् ते वैष्णव लोक विष्ण्व्-अर्चन-रताः सदा

sāṅgaṃ sa-mudraṃ sa-nyāsaṃ sa-ṛṣi-cchanda-daivatam
  sa-dīkṣā-vidhi sa-dhyānaṃ sa-yantraṃ dvādaśākṣaram
aṣṭākṣaram athānyaṃ vā ye mantraṃ samupāsate
  jñeyās te vaiṣṇava loka viṣṇv-arcana-ratāḥ sadā

Those persons who accept dīkṣa or initiation of the śrī-kṛṣṇamantra of ten, twelve syllables or other, and are daily engaged in the worship of Śrī Viṣṇu by nyāsa (secondary rituals), mudrā (hand positions), ṛṣis (priestly sages) and chanda (meters) are known as Vaiṣṇavas.

However, in this place all persons who are expert in devotional service should be considered qualified to hear this book. Even among expert devotees, those who are desirous of drinking the honey from the lotus feet of Śrī Nanda-kiśora are especially qualified to hear this scripture, and they will receive a special sentiment in hearing it.

Although these qualified Vaiṣṇavas are directly present before the author, he addresses them with śṛṇvantu vaiṣṇavāḥ, “O Vaiṣṇavas, please hear.” Why is this type of indirect expression given? Always being affectionate to the lotus feet of the Vaiṣṇavas, he addresses them indirectly out of deep honor, though they are present personally. Addressing them by the evocative term “O Vaiṣṇavas,” he uses the honorific words, “all of you, please hear.”

This scripture is extremely confidential. Thus the meaning of this is narrated in a historical context. In other words, the illustrious sage, mahā-muni Śrī Jaimini sweetly sings this scripture named Śrī Bhāgavatāmṛtam to King Janamejaya, a parama bhāgavata or topmost devotee. Both are renowned as first-class devotees of Śrī Bhagavān. Some people say Śrī Jaimini Muni was a sage who supported fruitive activities. However, in Śrī Gītā (10.22) in the Vibhūti-yoga chapter, Śrī Bhagavān says, vedānāṃ sāma-vedo’smi: “Of the Vedas I am the Sāmaveda.” Śrī Jaimini Muni is the teacher of that Sāma-veda, the crown jewel of the four Vedas; therefore, he is conversant with the essential truth of the Sāma-veda. This is the indication here.

Thus Śrī Jaimini Muni is not a karma-vādī, a proponent of frutive work devoid of bhakti. Rather, he is a preceptor on the path of bhakti having a prominence of karma, rooted in the culmination of bhagavadbhakti. Especially, he documented the glories of Śrī Jagannātha-deva. Śrī Janamejaya is also the son of the topmost bhāgavata Śrī Parīkṣit, and himself among the topmost of devotees. Moreover, he is a relisher of the pastimes of Śrī Viṣṇu and the Vaiṣṇavas. Thus the speaker and listener of this most confidential scripture of Śrī Bhāgavatāmṛtam, which is full of transcendental mellows (bhakti-rasa), are mutually appropriate. Mainly, out of deep affection the topmost bhāgavata Śrī Jaimini instructs this confidential scripture to his disciple, the exalted Śrī Janamejaya.

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