Brihad Bhagavatamrita (commentary)

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

This page relates ‘Preface to the First Hindi Edition [Volume 2]’ of the Brihad-bhagavatamrita, 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).

Preface to the First Hindi Edition [Volume 2]

It brings me great pleasure to publish Part One of the Second Canto of Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta in the national language of India [Hindi]. This book has been completed by the causeless mercy and inspiration of the founder of the Śrī Gaudiya Vedānta Samiti, ācārya keśarī (the spiritual guide who is fearless like a lion) nityalīlā praviṣṭa oṃ viṣṇupāda aṣṭottara-śata Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja. It has been published for his pleasure alone. Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta was written by Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, an eternal associate of Śrī Sacinandana Gaurahari. Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī is the sovereign monarch of the conclusive truths of devotional service and is always eager to benefit others.

Śrī Bṛhad-bhagavatāmṛta is divided in two cantos: Pūrva-khaṇḍa, or first, and Uttara-khaṇḍa, or last. The name of the First Canto is Śrī Bhagavat-kṛpā-sāra-nirdhāraṇa khaṇḍaAscertaining the Essence of the Mercy of the Supreme Lord. The Second Canto is known as Śrī Golokamāhātmya-nirūpaṇa khaṇḍaAscertaining the Glories of Śrī Goloka.

The First Canto has already been published, and we are now publishing Part One of the Second Canto, which contains four chapters:

  1. Vairāgya–Renunciation
  2. Jñāna–Knowledge
  3. Bhajana–Devotional Service
  4. Vaikuṇṭha–The Spiritual World

Each of the two cantos of this scripture is a separate history. Our worshipful author has not merely written two histories. Rather, for facilitating the worship of the divine couple, Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, he has thoroughly analyzed Their Lordships’ fundamental reality and nature.

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the essence of all scriptures, such as the Vedas, Vedānta, Purāṇas, Itihāsas, and so on. By churning that essence, this book, aptly named Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛtathe Essential Nectar of the Bhāgavatam–has become manifest. Throughout this book, all topics regarding devotional service to Bhagavān have been presented.

The original discourse of the book between Śrī Jaimini and Janamejaya is based on a conversation between Śrī Parīkṣit and Uttarā. After Śrī Parīkṣit had heard Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from the lips of Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī, and before the snake-bird Takṣaka arrived, Parīkṣit’s mother, Śrī Uttarā-devī, said to him, “O my dear son, please narrate to me, in simple, easy-to-understand language, the essence of what you have heard from Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī.” Śrī Bṛhadbhāgavatāmṛta begins with this inquiry.

In this Second Canto, the author examines all the manifestations and incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, beginning with Śrī Śālagrāma Bhagavān and ending with Śrī Nandanandana, the beloved son of Śrī Nanda Mahārāja. This volume begins with the history of Gopa-kumāra. Gopa-kumāra receives the gopāla-mantra from his gurudeva. Due to the influence of this gopāla-mantra, it becomes possible for him to travel to all abodes without restriction. First, he takes darśana of the manifestations of Bhagavān that appear in this earthly realm, or Bhū-maṇḍala, such as Śrī Śālagrāma Bhagavān; the Deity manifestation of the Lord who is ensconced in the palace of the king; and the ancient Deity of Śrī Jagannāthadeva. He sequentially describes their progressively greater glories. Then, by the influence of the chanting of his mantra, he reaches the planets of Svarga, Mahar, Janas, Tapas, and Satya, where one by one he has divine vision of the worshipable manifestations of the Lord who manifest in those abodes. Thus he also experiences Their transcendental excellences in succession. Yet Gopa-kumāra does not experience complete happiness in those places.

Thereafter, he takes darśana of the manifestations of Bhagavān that are present in the eight coverings of the universe and arrives in the abode of liberation. In mukti-loka, the realm of liberation, Gopakumāra sees the manifestation of the brilliance of the Supreme Person, but still, complete satisfaction eludes him. After this, in accordance with regulative principles, he performs saṅkīrtana of the holy name, the most prominent of the nine processes of bhakti. By the potency of nāma-saṅkīrtana, he travels first to Vaikuṇṭha, then to Ayodhyā, and then to Dvārakā-purī. However, because in those realms the mood of aiśvarya, or awe and reverence for the Lord, is prominent, he cannot freely associate with the worshipful manifestations of the Supreme Person there.

Finally, Gopa-kumāra returns to Vṛndāvana manifest on earth, where he executes rāgānugā bhakti, spontaneous devotional service that follows the moods of the eternal associates of Vraja. By the potency of his practice of rāgānugā bhakti, he attains Goloka-Vṛndāvana. There, he obtains his cherished goal–service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the son of the king of Vraja.

One should not conclude from this history that there is any difference in the tattva, or fundamental truth, of the various manifestations of Bhagavān. All manifestations of the Lord are complete, from Śrī Śālagrāma Bhagavān to Śrī Nandanandana (Kṛṣṇa, the darling son of Nanda Mahārāja). From the perspective of tattva, They are one, yet from the perspective of rasa, or the sweetness of transcendental relationships, Śrī Nandanandana is the most excellent.

Śrī Nandanandana is distinct in two ways that make Him unique among all of the manifestations of Bhagavān.

These are the distinction of His eternal companions and that of the excellence of rasa.

tāratamyaṃ ca tac-chakti-vyaktya-vyakti-kṛtaṃ bhavet
  (Premeya-ratnāvalī 1.21)

Although all of the transcendental forms of Viṣṇu and Lakṣmī are always equally perfect and complete in all circumstances, these forms are considered higher and lower according to the different qualities and potencies, which they manifest or refrain from manifesting.

parikara-vaiśiṣṭyena āvirbhāva vaiśiṣṭyam

The unique characteristics of the different avatāras of the Lord correspond to the character of the devotees who invoke Their descent.

siddhāntatas tv abhede’pi śrīśa-kṛṣṇa-svarūpayoḥ
rasenotkṛṣyate kṛṣṇa-rūpam eṣā rasa-sthitiḥ
  Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu pūrva
, Eastern Division (2.59)

Although in siddhānta there is no difference between Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Śrī Nārāyaṇa, from the point of view of rasa the form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is superior. This is the glory of rasa.

In other words, although from the consideration of tattva all manifestations of Bhagavān are nondifferent, nevertheless, in those instances where scriptures describe His plenary portions and portions of plenary portions and so on, this book analyzes His different manifestations from the perspective of the degree of potency They manifest.

The potency of the Lord also manifests in regard to the qualification of His associates. For example, a person may be accomplished in the art of singing in accordance with the six scriptures, but the manifestation of his expertise is dependent on the expertise of his musical ensemble. Accordingly, although each manifestation of Bhagavān is replete with all of His qualities and is complete in every way, His potencies manifest in accordance with the qualification of His associates.

It is not possible to find associates who have more affection than the companions of Śrī Nandanandana in Vraja have for Him. It is for this reason that the Lord’s associates in Vraja are unparalleled. Among them, the foremost is Śrī Rādhikājī, who resides on the left side of Śrī Nandanandana. The form of Śrī Nandanandana is the manifestation of the entire potency of the Lord. No other form of Bhagavān manifests His potency in all its completeness. This has been described in the First Canto of this book.

The second distinctive feature of Śrī Nandanandana is as follows: In all the places Gopa-kumāra visited, He tasted the specialities, or excellence, of rasa–the sweet mellow of loving relationship–with all the manifestations of Bhagavān who were present in each place. However, aiśvarya, the mood of opulence, is generally the prominent feature of all of those manifestations of the Lord. Therefore, in those manifestations, the Lord could not transgress the boundaries of His aiśvarya by embracing Gopa-kumāra and acting in ways that would enable Gopa-kumāra to relish his relationship with Him in its entirety. But when Gopa-kumāra attained the association of Śrī Nandanandana, each and every one of his desires was fulfilled. This proves that among all the manifestations of Bhagavān, Śrī Nandanandana possesses the highest excellence.

In this Part One of the Second Canto, the author, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, has ascertained deep spiritual truths (tattvas). We request the readers to study and contemplate these confidential truths with patience and constancy.

The life history of Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī has been elaborately described in the preface to the First Canto. He has personally written this book’s commentary, named Dig-darśinī, and we have attempted to present a bhāvānuvāda (translation in essence) of that commentary, following the book’s particular style. In the commentary, an objection, known as pūrva-pakśā, is raised to what has been asserted, and then a resolution or logical reply to the doubt is presented. The reader should know that each verse is related to the previous and following verses. Thus this entire book should be understood to be an interconnected chain of verses.

We have attempted to keep the language of the book simple and straightforward for easy comprehension. Nevertheless, in some places, words with complex meanings have been used to preserve the accuracy of the ideas. For the benefit of the readers, easily-understandable definitions of these words are given in the glossary.

If our transcendental readers note any errors or omissions within this book, we request that by dint of their virtuous nature, they oblige us by overlooking or correcting its faults. Thus, may they simply accept the essence of the book.

I pray that faithful persons who are interested in attaining the highest of all achievements read and recite this book, and thus advance on the path to that highest goal. I hereby conclude my preface.

An aspirant to a trace of the mercy of Śrī Guru and Vaiṣṇavas,

Śrī Bhaktivedänta Nārāyaṇa

The 108th anniversary of worship performed on the Appearance
Day of Śrī Śrī Guru-pāda-padma
Thursday, February 16, 2006
519 Gaurābda

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