by Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyana Gosvāmī Mahārāja | 2005 | 440,179 words | ISBN-13: 9781935428329
The Brihad-bhagavatamrita Verse 2.2.176, 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 2.2.176 contained in Chapter 2—Jnana (knowledge)—of Part two (prathama-khanda).
Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 2.2.176:
जीव-स्वरूप-भूतस्य सच्-चिद्-आनन्द-वस्तुनः ।
साक्षाद्-अनुभवेनापि स्यात् तादृक् सुखम् अल्पकम् ॥ १७६ ॥
jīva-svarūpa-bhūtasya sac-cid-ānanda-vastunaḥ |
sākṣād-anubhavenāpi syāt tādṛk sukham alpakam || 176 ||
jīva–of the individual soul; sva-rūpa–the personal form; bhūtasya–experiencing; sat-cit-ānanda–eternal, cognizant, and blissful; vastunaḥ–of the substance; sākṣāt–direct; anubhavena–by having realization; api–also; syāt–may be; tādṛk–such; sukham–happiness; alpakam–meager.
The happiness of pure loving devotion experienced by directly perceiving the lotus feet of Śrī Bhagavān, the complete form of eternal reality, cognizance, and bliss, is like a boundless ocean. The happiness of liberation experienced upon realizing the soul to be an eternally abiding particle of eternality, cognizance, and bliss is very meager. In comparison, it is just a tiny drop.
Commentary: Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā with Bhāvānuvāda
(By Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī himself including a deep purport of that commentary)
According to the opinion of the first two parties–the logicians following nyāya philosophy (naiyāyikas), and the scholars who accept only one portion of the Vedas (eka-deśa-vādī vaidāntikas)–the experience of liberation is one of absence–the absence of suffering and the absence of the cause of suffering. By this definition, it is self-evident that there is no happiness in this state. Further, in the view of the third party–the adherents of vivartavāda (Māyāvāda theory of the illusion of Divinity)–the happiness of liberation is that of realizing the spiritual identity of the soul (ātmasvarūpa). However, this joy is so small as to be insignificant.
The bhakti-śāstras expound this idea in twenty-one verses (2.2.176–196), beginning here with jīva. They say, “In actuality, the happiness of self-realization–that is, of experiencing the spiritual nature of the soul (the svarūpa of the jīva) is negligible. When one realizes the lotus feet of Śrī Bhagavān, who is the complete embodiment of sac-cidānanda, or pure eternal reality, knowledge, and bliss, one experiences the unparalleled joy of bhakti, or devotion in pure love. Compared with this ocean of bliss of bhakti, the happiness of mokṣa that arises from self-realization is no greater than the amount of water contained in the hoof-print of a cow.
“Although there may be nominal happiness in liberation, factually, that happiness should merely be regarded as the absence of suffering. Nevertheless, using the logic of ‘tuṣyatu durjanaḥ–Let the wicked be satisfied,’ something unacceptable may be allowed as a concession. In other words, after ascertaining the conclusive truth, it is only with great difficulty that the scriptures use the word sukha, meaning ‘happiness,’ as an attribute of mokṣa. However, this usage is also merely to highlight the glories of the joy of bhagavad-bhakti.” This should be understood in the context of the logic described in this verse.