Brihad Bhagavatamrita (commentary)

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

The Brihad-bhagavatamrita Verse 1.5.29, 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 1.5.29 contained in Chapter 5—Priya (the beloved devotees)—of Part one (prathama-khanda).

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 1.5.29:

कृष्णस्य कारुण्य-कथास्तु दूरे तस्य प्रशस्यो बत निग्रहोऽपि ।
कंसादयः कालिय-पूतनाद्या बल्यादयः प्राग् अपि साक्षिणोऽत्र ॥ २९ ॥

kṛṣṇasya kāruṇya-kathāstu dūre tasya praśasyo bata nigraho'pi |
kaṃsādayaḥ kāliya-pūtanādyā balyādayaḥ prāg api sākṣiṇo'tra || 29 ||

What to speak of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s compassion, even His chastisement is praiseworthy. Kaṃsa, Kāliya and Pūtanā were witness to this during the manifest form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. In previous avatāras, demons such as Bali were witness.

Commentary: Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā with Bhāvānuvāda

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

After briefly describing the glories of Bhagavān’s qualities such as compassion this way, now Śrī Nārada explains the unique glories that have manifested on the pretext of chastisement (daṇḍa) in the śloka beginning with kṛṣṇasya.

Ah, how wonderful! What to speak of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s mercy, even His chastisement is praiseworthy and the object of sublime glorifications.

Regarding the praise of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s chastisement, demoniac persons such as Kaṃsa are indeed the eye-witnesses and proof, for example (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata Purāṇa 10.2.24):

आसीनः संविशंस् तिष्ठन्, भुञ्जानः पर्यटन् महीम्
चिन्तयानो हृषीकेशम् अपश्यत् तन्मयं जगत्

āsīnaḥ saṃviśaṃs tiṣṭhan, bhuñjānaḥ paryaṭan mahīm
cintayāno hṛṣīkeśam apaśyat tanmayaṃ jagat

At the time of Kaṃsa’s sovereign rulership of Śrī Mathurā, he became so absorbed in Śrī Hṛṣikeśa that while performing such activities as sitting upon his royal throne, arising, residing, eating, drinking, travelling and so forth, he meditated upon Him constantly in the mood of enmity.

Like this, even when alive, Kaṃsa obtained that sentiment which is difficult for even mahā-yogīs. When Śrī Kṛṣṇa toppled him down from his throne, Kaṃsa achieved the mark of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet on His chest at the time of death and while directly having darśana of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s enchanting face gave up his body. Even after giving up his body, his body was honored, and Śrī Bhagavān, appearing with the Yādavas and gopas with appropriate royal rites, performed such saṃskāras as the cremation of his dead body. Thereafter Śrī Kṛṣṇa, with the sweet words of a close friend, pacified the wives of Kaṃsa and turned over the kingdom to His father, Śrī Ugrasena. In the original verse, Cāṇūra and other wrestlers that resemble Kaṃsa and kings like Jarāsandha, excluding Śiśupāla and Dantavakra, are to be included by the word ādi. Śiśupāla and Dantavakra were offenders to the brāhmaṇas, thus they played like demons. However, being devotees in their previous lives, they qualified for the Lord’s mercy—this should be clear. By the order of Kaṃsa, all wrestlers who contested Śrī Bhagavān also accepted the sentiment similar to Kaṃsa towards Śrī Kṛṣṇa, or slightly less than that sentiment, and thus attained a similar superior destination. Śrī Kṛṣṇa used to perform pastimes of wrestling with His beloved gopas. Similarly, on the pretext of wrestling with these wrestlers, Śrī Kṛṣṇa granted His grand mercy in the form of His embrace (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata Purāṇa 10.44.49), yām āhur laukikīṃ saṃsthāṃ, hatānāṃ samakārayat: “Thereafter, Śrī Bhagavān, the purifier of the world, consoled the royal queens and completed the prescribed rituals of all persons slain by Him.” This is the proof that all of them also received their final saṃskāras like Kaṃsa.

Though Śrī Balarāma had captured Jarāsandha, Śrī Kṛṣṇa repeatedly freed him to enhance his chivalrous fame. Even at the time of his demise, Śrī Kṛṣṇa went to his house with his friends and relatives, and soundly established His great reputation of loyalty to brahminical principles, possessing enormous generosity and invincibility. In this regards, Pauṇḍraka also was awarded a superior destination. This should be implicitly understood. All of them obtained liberation, what more can be said about this subject?

For those who were killed especially by the hands of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, it has been previously explained (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata Purāṇa 11.5.48):

वैरेण यं नृपतयः शिशुपाल-पौण्ड्र शाल्वादयो गति-विलास-विलोकनाद्यैः
ध्यायन्त आकृत-धियः शयनासनादौ तत्-साम्यम् आपुर् अनुरक्त-धियां पुनः किम्

vaireṇa yaṃ nṛpatayaḥ śiśupāla-pauṇḍra śālvādayo gati-vilāsa-vilokanādyaiḥ
dhyāyanta ākṛta-dhiyaḥ śayanāsanādau tat-sāmyam āpur anurakta-dhiyāṃ punaḥ kim

“Kings like Śiśupāla, Pauṇḍraka, Śālva, and I were always thinking about Śrī Kṛṣṇa due to their animosity. Even while reclining, sitting or engaging in other activities, they meditated upon the bodily movements of the Lord, His sporting pastimes, His loving glances and other attractive activities displayed by the Lord. Being thus always absorbed in Śrī Kṛṣṇa, they achieved such liberations as sārūpya (attaining a similar form) and sāyujya (merging into the Brahman effulgence). What then can be said of the good destination offered to those who constantly fix their minds on Śrī Kṛṣṇa in a favorable, loving mood?”

After explaining the issue of kings who possessed an inimical mood, Śrī Nārada explains independently the speciality of the Kāliya and Pūtanā demons who were comparatively more fortunate.

Kāliya obtained a relatively greater fortune than those wrestlers who obtained the vast fortune of embracing Śrī Kṛṣṇa while wrestling, that is, he received the great fortune of obtaining the footdust of the lotus feet of Bhagavān. Regarding this subject, the wives of Kāliya indeed say, kasyānubhāvo’sya na deva vidmahe, tavāṅghri-reṇusparaśādhikāraḥ: “O Lord, we do not know how the serpent Kāliya attained such great opportunity of being touched by the dust of your lotus feet. For this aim, the goddess of fortune performed austerities for centuries, giving up all other desires and taking austere vows.” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata Purāṇa 10.16.36)

Bhagavān performed the special pastime of bestowing the dust of His lotus feet on Kālīya’s head. In other words, his every hood was transformed into a place to rhythmically dance on by Bhagavān. That Kāliya also glorified and worshipped Bhagavān and thus received the mercy of His order. In other words, He obtained the immense fortune of residing happily in his abode on the vast island of Ramaṇaka, abandoning the fear of Śrī Garuḍa. Śrī Garuḍa retracted his natural enmity towards him too and showed respect by making a friendship with him because Kāliya received the insignia of the sudarśana cakra upon his head, and other extraordinary marks from the lotus feet of Bhagavān.

The reason for Pūtanā’s great fortune is that, despite being a rākṣasī or demoness, she arrived too in Gokula amidst the gopa and gopīs in a saintly garb, attired in the guise of a mother.

Thus, in this connection, Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata Purāṇa 10.6.3):

न यत्र श्रवणादीनि रक्षो-घ्नानि स्व-कर्मसु
कुर्वन्ति सात्वतां भर्तुर् यातुधान्यश् च तत्र हि

na yatra śravaṇādīni rakṣo-ghnāni sva-karmasu
kurvanti sātvatāṃ bhartur yātudhānyaś ca tatra hi

“Only in those places where the residents, while performing their prescribed duties, do not sing and hear the names of Bhagavān that can vanquish demons can such demoniac elements as Yātudhānya appear.”

Where Bhagavān is personally present, can a rakṣasī ever enter that place? Never! In conclusion, because Pūtanā had an extremely unique fortune, she entered wearing that saintly garb. Once again, that rakṣasī who had taken the form of a woman, placed the lotus feet of Bhagavān, which are meditated upon by Brahmā, in her lap and like a mother with great affection caressed him. Pūtanā caressed Him so wonderfully that even mother Yaśodā was greatly astonished to see it.

This fact is narrated in the episode of the killing of Pūtanā (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata Purāṇa 10.6.9):

तां तीक्ष्ण-चित्ताम् अतिवाम-चेष्टितां, वीक्ष्यान्तरा कोष-परिच्छदासिवत्
वर-स्त्रियं तत्-प्रभया च धर्षिते निरीक्ष्यमाणे जननी ह्य् अतिष्ठताम्

tāṃ tīkṣṇa-cittām ativāma-ceṣṭitāṃ, vīkṣyāntarā koṣa-paricchadāsivat
vara-striyaṃ tat-prabhayā ca dharṣite nirīkṣyamāṇe jananī hy atiṣṭhatām

Both mothers of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Śrī Yaśodā and Śrī Rohiṇī, upon seeing Pūtanā in the house, simply kept staring at her; they could not stop her.

In this way, by maternally caressing Him, Pūtanā received the destination of a mother (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata Purāṇa 10.6.35):

पूतना लोक-बाल-घ्नी राक्षसी रुधिराशना
जिघांसयापि हरये स्तनं दत्त्वाप सद्-गतिम्

pūtanā loka-bāla-ghnī rākṣasī rudhirāśanā
jighāṃsayāpi haraye stanaṃ dattvāpa sad-gatim

The killer of infants, the drinker of blood, the demoness Pūtanā, despite breast-feeding Śrī Kṛṣṇa in order to kill Him, received the destination of a mother.

All these subjects are also narrated in the speech of Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata Purāṇa 10.15.35), sad-veṣād iva pūtanāpi sa-kulā tvām eva devāpitā: “Simply by imitating the activities of the devotees, Pūtanā and others obtained Śrī Bhagavān along with their entire dynasties.”

These words of Śrī Brahmā are also pleasing to see (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata Purāṇa 3.2.23):

अहो बकी यं स्तन-काल-कूटं जिघांसयापाययद् अप्य् असाध्वी
लेभे गतिं धात्र्य्-उचितां ततो’न्यं कं वा दयालुं शरणं व्रजेम

aho bakī yaṃ stana-kāla-kūṭaṃ jighāṃsayāpāyayad apy asādhvī
lebhe gatiṃ dhātry-ucitāṃ tato’nyaṃ kaṃ vā dayāluṃ śaraṇaṃ vrajema

”Alas, Bhagavān’s mercy is so wonderful that though the wicked Pūtanā came with the desire to kill baby Kṛṣṇa by enticing Him to suckle her poisoned breast, still Pūtanā received the position suitable for a mother. In other words, Śrī Kṛṣṇa by only glancing and accepting her guise as a devotee had given her the supreme destination.”

This subject is also spoken of in the words of Śrī Uddhava. Even after the demise of Pūtanā, Bhagavān performed dancing sports on the breasts of Pūtanā (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata Purāṇa 10.6.18), bālaṃ ca tasyā urasi krīḍantam: “Child Kṛṣṇa played on her breasts…”

This fact has been further clarified by these evidences. Although Pūtanā’s body made of the five elements was demoniac, nevertheless, at the time of burning her dead body a fragrance more superior in comparison to aguru and candana had spread everywhere (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata Purāṇa 10.6.34):

दह्यमानस्य देहस्य धूमश् चागुरु-सौरभः
उत्थितः कृष्ण-निर्भुक्त-सपद्य् आहत-पाप्मनः

dahyamānasya dehasya dhūmaś cāguru-saurabhaḥ
utthitaḥ kṛṣṇa-nirbhukta-sapady āhata-pāpmanaḥ

“While Pūtanā’s body was burning, a fragrant smoke like aguru arose from it…”

All these statements are celebrated and noteworthy. In the original śloka, the word ādi of the term pūtanādi indicates demons such as Kāliya, Yamalārjuna and Aghāsura. Among them, the most fortunate is Yamalārjuna who during the pastime of being bound by a rope, Śrī Kṛṣṇa entered between those Yamalārjuna trees and uprooted them. Thus He freed them from the curse of the great sage, and by giving them a great chance to offer prayers He gave them the benediction of loving devotional service. Aghāsura’s fortune was that in his vast body in the shape of a serpent, Śrī Kṛṣṇa entered with His friends and performed wonderful pastimes in the mouth of the serpent. On the pretext of that play, Śrī Kṛṣṇa granted Aghāsura a liberation that astonished the whole world (sarūpya-mukti). The leathery cave of His dried-up dead body for many days became the great playground for Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His cowherd friends.

In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.11.36):

राजन्न् आजगरं चर्म शुष्कं वृन्दावने’द्भुतम्
व्रजौकसां बहु-तिथं बभूवाक्रीड-गह्वरम्

rājann ājagaraṃ carma śuṣkaṃ vṛndāvane’dbhutam
vrajaukasāṃ bahu-tithaṃ babhūvākrīḍa-gahvaram

O King, in Vṛndāvana, the wonderful python-like body of Aghāsura dried up and for many days became the cave for the play of the vraja-vāsīs.

The pastimes of demons like Baka, Keśi and Ariṣṭa is clearly expressed in the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Therefore Śrī Nārada has not expressed them.

In this manner, at the time of rāsa-līlā the flaw of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s abandoning the gopīs also transformed into a grand quality. Śrī Kṛṣṇa whose heart was attracted by the love of the gopīs became fully absorbed in hearing their loving talks at the time of separation. Therefore, this defect of abandonment culminates in a most wonderful quality. This is also explained in the pastime of the rāsa-līlā

(Śrī Kṛṣṇa saw that the gopīs considered Him to be ungrateful and inimical to His superiors, or gurus, and they began to smile secretly through the medium of their eye movements. To remove this illusion of the gopīs, he expresses the sentiment Bhagavān has for devotees.)

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam (10.32.20-22) says:

नाहं तु सख्यो भजतो ऽपि जन्तून् भजाम्य् अमीषाम् अनुवृत्ति-वृत्तये
यथाधनो लब्ध-धने विनष्टे तच्-चिन्तयान्यन् निभृतो न वेद
एवं मद्-अर्थोज्झित-लोक-वेद स्वानाम् हि वो मय्य् अनुवृत्तये ‘बलाः
मयापरोक्षं भजता तिरोहितं मासूयितुं मार्हथ तत् प्रियं प्रियाः
न पारये’हं निरवद्य-संयुजाम् स्व-साधु-कृत्यं विभुधायुषापि वः
या माभजन् दुर्जर-गेह-शृङ्खलाः स् अंवृश्च्य तद् वः प्रतियातु साधुना

nāhaṃ tu sakhyo bhajato 'pi jantūn bhajāmy amīṣām anuvṛtti-vṛttaye
yathādhano labdha-dhane vinaṣṭe tac-cintayānyan nibhṛto na veda
evaṃ mad-arthojjhita-loka-veda svānām hi vo mayy anuvṛttaye ‘balāḥ
mayāparokṣaṃ bhajatā tirohitaṃ māsūyituṃ mārhatha tat priyaṃ priyāḥ
na pāraye’haṃ niravadya-saṃyujām sva-sādhu-kṛtyaṃ vibhudhāyuṣāpi vaḥ
yā mābhajan durjara-geha-śṛṅkhalāḥ s aṃvṛścya tad vaḥ pratiyātu sādhunā

“But the reason I do not immediately reciprocate the affection of other living entities when they worship me, O gopis, is that I want to intensify their loving devotion. They then become like a poor man who has gained some wealth and then lost it, and who thus becomes so anxious about it that he can think of nothing else. O sakhīs, I am not among the ungrateful and inimical ones towards guru. Though I am ātmā-rāma (self-satisfied) and purṇa-kāma (whose desires are fulfilled), I rejoice being controlled by your love. Therefore, in this sense, I am not self-satisfied. Moreover, I am apurna-kāma (whose desires are not fulfilled) because I am extremely eager to taste the mellow of conjugal love, even more than the mellows of neutrality and servitorship. I am not ungrateful; though being a cowherd boy I did not study the niti-śaśtra (civic laws), still due to being Nārāyaṇa, I am omniscient and grateful. I am not a guru-drohī (opposed to superiors).

“In this connection what more can be said, because only being wounded by your playful sidelong glance I had disappeared, that also only with the intention of granting you My indescribable transcendental love by bringing you under my control. You may ask, ‘What is the nature of that transcendental love I am explaining to you?’ Listen. Those who worship Me, I also worship them, because by doing so they would constantly meditate on Me, just as a poor person having obtained wealth and then losing that wealth remains absorbed only in the thought of that wealth and forgets everything else. Therefore, though I vanish from your eyes, I am never far from you. If you say, ‘Why do you disappear?’ even though I have explained the cause of this previously, still you should hear it again.

“O ladies, by abandoning religion and irreligion for Me, you always remain absorbed in my thoughts. However, in order to increase your attachment towards Me and upon hearing your lovely conversation and being served by it in the unseen way, despite having vanished from your eyesight, I was walking behind you. Therefore, O beloved, I am indeed your beloved, because secretly I was worshipping you. Hence it is not appropriate for you to accuse the beloved.”

These three ślokas (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Bhāgavata Purāṇa 10.32.20-22) from Bhagavān proclaim the subject matter of His mercy towards the gopīs by His own mouth. This shall also be further elaborated upon. In fact such behavior towards Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is directly the source of all incarnations, is logical. Śrī Kṛṣṇa also had similar dealings that are famous in the Vāmana avatāra. Śrī Bhagavān tied up Bali and displayed cruelty only to make famous his incomparable courage all over the world. Again, after snatching away the heavenly kingdom from Bali, Śrī Vāmanadeva manifested special mercy towards him by granting him the position of the ruler of the Sutala planet which is decorated with even more opulence than the heavenly planets, and also by becoming his doorkeeper. He also followed His duty by protecting him from the disturbance of the conquerors of all directions, such as Rāvaṇa. Durvāsā, who was extremely tormented by a demon named Kuśa, had prayed with intense distress, still Bhagavān Vāmanadeva did not listen to His prayers. Śrī Bhagavān was reluctant to leave the door of Bali to protect Durvāsā. This narration is documented in the Purāṇas such as Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Therefore, the glories of this incarnation of Śrī Vāmana also culminate in the glories of the original source of all incarnations, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. By the word ādi demons such as Madhu, Kaiṭabha and Kālanemi are implied and the pastime of mock fighting between Bhagavān and them, and the granting unto them great mercy is narrated in the above-mentioned Purāṇas. Due to the fear of increasing the volume of this book, these pastimes are not mentioned at this place.

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