by Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyana Gosvāmī Mahārāja | 2005 | 440,179 words | ISBN-13: 9781935428329
The Brihad-bhagavatamrita Verse 2.2.179, 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 2.2.179 contained in Chapter 2—Jnana (knowledge)—of Part two (prathama-khanda).
Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 2.2.179:
स-गुणत्वागुणत्वादि-विरोधाः प्रविशन्ति तम् ।
महा-विभूतिर् ब्रह्मास्य प्रसिद्धेत्थं तयोर् भिदा ॥ १७९ ॥
sa-guṇatvāguṇatvādi-virodhāḥ praviśanti tam |
mahā-vibhūtir brahmāsya prasiddhetthaṃ tayor bhidā || 179 ||
sa-guṇatva–with qualities; aguṇatva–without qualities; ādi–beginning; virodhāḥ–contradiction; praviśanti–enters; tam–Him; mahā-vibhūtiḥ–great opulence; brahma–Brahman; asya–His; prasiddhā–famous; ittham–thus; tayoḥ–between the two; bhidā–with the difference.
Śrī Bhagavān, who is glorious like the unfathomable ocean, simultaneously displays contradictory characteristics, such as the presence of qualities (sa-guṇatva) and the absence of qualities (nirguṇatva). Brahman, on the other hand, is famous as Śrī Bhagavān’s infinite opulence. Thus the difference between Them is clearly established.
Commentary: Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā with Bhāvānuvāda
(By Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī himself including a deep purport of that commentary)
The bhakti-śāstras say, “As waves merge in the ocean, so Śrī Bhagavān, who is glorious like the ocean, incorporates contradictory characteristics, such as possessing attributes (saguṇatva) and being devoid of attributes (nirguṇatva).” The word ādi, meaning ‘etc.,’ indicates other contrarieties–He is attached and detached, He changes and does not change, He is full of desire and is desireless, He is one and many, He possesses distinguishing characteristics and does not possess qualities, etc.
“One should understand that only Bhagavān simultaneously accommodates all opposites. As Brahman, He is devoid of material qualities (nirguṇa). As Paramātmā, He is connected with the material energy Māyā, as Parameśvara, He is full of transcendental qualities (saguṇa), and so on. All these characteristics are simultaneously and harmoniously conjoined in the Lord.
In some places, it is described that He has no name and no form, but this is refuted by the evidence of Vāsudeva-adhyātma:
अप्रसिद्धेस् तद्-गुणानाम् अनामासौ प्रकीर्तितः
अप्राकृतत्वाद् रूपस्याप्य् अरूपो’यं प्रचक्षते
aprasiddhes tad-guṇānām anāmāsau prakīrtitaḥ
aprākṛtatvād rūpasyāpy arūpo’yaṃ pracakṣate
Bhagavān is known as anāma (nameless) because His qualities are not revealed to the illusory material senses. He is called arūpa (formless) because His transcendental form is imperceptible to the eyes and other senses. Because the transcendental qualities of the Lord cannot be compared to any person or object, it is impossible to name Him according to material qualities. Therefore, He is known as anāma.
His form is similarly transcendental, and thus He is known as arūpa.
“So, an assumption like that of the Māyāvādīs–who espouse the concept that just as mundane forms and qualities are illusory, so are the personal form and all other qualities of the Lord–is proved contrary to conclusive truth. The Lord’s supreme opulence is an eternal truth; it is not illusory or false or temporary like material existence. Therefore, as stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, since the very same eternal nondual reality (advaya-tattva-vastu), like Brahman, is beyond material qualities, He is known as nirguṇa.
“At the same time, though, just as the material world is variegated, so the Lord possesses vast transcendental variegatedness. Thus, He is also saguṇa, or possessed of attributes and personhood. As inconceivable, unlimited, amazing, and extraordinary potencies coexist in Bhagavān, unending types of seemingly contradictory characteristics also reside in Him. Śrī Bhagavān is therefore known as an ocean of manifold glories.
यत् किञ्चिद् इह लोके वै देह-बन्धं विशाम्-पते
सर्वं पञ्चभिर् आविष्टम् भूतैर् ईश्वर-बुद्धि-जैह्
ईस्वरो हि महद् भूतं प्रभुर्-नारायणो विराट्
भूतान्तर्-आत्मा विज्ञेयः सगुणो निर्गुणो’पि सः
yat kiñcid iha loke vai deha-bandhaṃ viśām-pate
sarvaṃ pañcabhir āviṣṭam bhūtair īśvara-buddhi-jaih
īsvaro hi mahad bhūtaṃ prabhur-nārāyaṇo virāṭ
bhūtāntar-ātmā vijñeyaḥ saguṇo nirguṇo’pi saḥ
The conditioned souls in this world have become bound by the functions of the body comprised of the five elements that have been created by the will of Bhagavān. That Lord–the ultimate source of all creation, the Supreme Master, the body of the universe, Śrī Nārāyaṇa–is both saguṇa and nirguṇa, full of transcendental qualities and at the same time devoid of material qualities. Know that He is the inner Soul within all living beings.
“It is stated in the Kūrma Purāṇa:
अस्थूलश् चानणुश् चैव स्थूलो’णुश् चैव सर्वतः
अवर्णह् सर्वतः प्रोक्तः श्यामो रक्तान्त-लोचनः
ऐश्वर्य-योगाद् भगवान् विरुद्धार्थो’भिधीयते
तथापि दोषाः परमे नैवाहार्याः कथञ्चन
गुणा विरुद्धा अपि तु समाहार्याश् च सर्वतः
asthūlaś cānaṇuś caiva sthūlo’ṇuś caiva sarvataḥ
avarṇah sarvataḥ proktaḥ śyāmo raktānta-locanaḥ
aiśvarya-yogād bhagavān viruddhārtho’bhidhīyate
tathāpi doṣāḥ parame naivāhāryāḥ kathañcana
guṇā viruddhā api tu samāhāryāś ca sarvataḥ
Although in every way He is subtle, He is also tangible. He is large, and at the same time minute. He has no color, but He is śyāma, the color of a dark raincloud, and His eyes are tinged with red. By Śrī Bhagavān’s inconceivable mystic opulence, these mutually contradictory qualities are everpresent within Him. Still, one cannot fault Him for lacking constancy, because in Him all contrary qualities coalesce.
“It is stated in Viṣṇu-dharmottara:
गुणाः सर्वे’पि युज्यन्ते ह्य् ऐश्वर्यात् पुरुषोत्तमे
दोषाः कथञ्चिन् नैवात्र युज्यन्ते परमो हि सः
गुण-दोषौ माययैव केचिद् आहुर् अपण्डिताह्
न तत्र माया मायी वा तदीयौ तौ कुतो ह्य् अतः
तस्मान् न मायया सर्वं सर्वैश्वर्यस्य सम्भवम्
अमायो हीश्वरो यस्मात् तस्मात् तं परमं विदुः
guṇāḥ sarve’pi yujyante hy aiśvaryāt puruṣottame
doṣāḥ kathañcin naivātra yujyante paramo hi saḥ
guṇa-doṣau māyayaiva kecid āhur apaṇḍitāh
na tatra māyā māyī vā tadīyau tau kuto hy ataḥ
tasmān na māyayā sarvaṃ sarvaiśvaryasya sambhavam
amāyo hīśvaro yasmāt tasmāt taṃ paramaṃ viduḥ
By Śrī Puruṣottama’s supreme power, all qualities conjoin in Him, but this does not mean that He possesses rejectable, mundane attributes. As He is the Supreme, no defect can ever be ascribed to Him. He eternally possesses transcendental qualities, such as all knowledge (jñāna), energy (śakti), strength (bala), majesty (aiśvarya), prowess (vīrya), glory (tejas), and so on. Some less intelligent people claim that both the virtues and defects of the illusory energy exist in Bhagavān. However, the Supreme Lord can never be subject to Māyā (illusion). He is effulgent like the sun, and Māyā is like darkness. How can darkness exist in the light? The essential understanding is that the Lord is beyond the range of the illusory energy, and therefore He is addressed by the name ‘Parameśvara, the Supreme Controller.’”
This topic will be analyzed specifically later on.
The bhakti-śāstras continue, “Some people say that the yogīs’ worshipable Bhagavān–in the form of impersonal Brahman, devoid of attributes–is one entity, and the Lord worshiped by the devotees–resplendent with personality and qualities, with a four-handed form, etc.–is another entity. Nevertheless, they admit that these two conceptions of the Lord, being concentrated embodiments of transcendental goodness (śuddha-sattva), are eternal. However, even in their opinion, the Personality of Godhead (saguṇa Bhagavān) is established as superior. This is because the Lord in His personal form can be attained by unalloyed devotees. He is invisible to yogīs who are dedicated to realizing Brahman.
“In this regard, we see that the Personality of Godhead, who is supremely glorious, performs pastimes that increase the delight of His devotees. An example is found in the Śrī Nārāyaṇa Upākhyāna of Mokṣa-dharma. In the sacrifice conducted by Uparicara Vasu, Bhagavān personally appeared and accepted the first offering. Uparicara Vasu had darśana of the Lord, but the priests of that same sacrifice–Bṛhaspati and other sages who were dedicated to realizing impersonal Brahman–were unable to see Him. Similarly, although Brahmā’s sons, the great sages Ekata, Dvita, and Trita, went to Śvetadvīpa and strongly endeavored to have darśana of Bhagavān, they were unsuccessful.
“Śrī Sanaka Kumāra and his brothers, on the other hand, once went to Vaikuṇṭha to see Bhagavān. Even though they are the paragons of self-satisfied personalities who constantly experience Brahman, they received the Lord’s darśana, upon which they experienced the most intense joy and their bodies became adorned with various sāttvika (ecstatic) transformations.
“Evidence for this is found in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.15.43):
तस्यारविन्द-नयनस्य पदारविन्द किञ्जल्क-मिश्र-तुलसी-मकरन्द-वायुः
अन्तर्-गतः स्व-विवरेण चकार तेषां सङ्क्षोभम् अक्षर-जुषाम् अपि चित्त-तन्वोः
tasyāravinda-nayanasya padāravinda kiñjalka-miśra-tulasī-makaranda-vāyuḥ
antar-gataḥ sva-vivareṇa cakāra teṣāṃ saṅkṣobham akṣara-juṣām api citta-tanvoḥ
When those sages offered obeisances to the lotus feet of Śrī Bhagavān, a breeze fragrant with pollen and tulasī from the feet of the lotus-eyed Bhagavān entered their nostrils. Although they had realized Brahman and were always immersed in brahmānanda, still, the fragrance of that tulasī stimulated unparalleled joy in their hearts, causing them to experience the standing of hairs on their bodies and other sāttvika transformations of ecstasy.
“Therefore, the impersonal Brahman and the living beings are both celebrated as Śrī Bhagavān’s great opulences (mahā-vibhūti). In support of this, the premier devotional authorities, the mahājanas, have stated: ‘parāt paraṃ brahma ca te vibhūtayaḥ–O Bhagavān, Brahman is transcendental to material existence and is indeed Your opulence.’ And in the Vibhūti-yoga chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavadgītā (10.20), it is stated: ‘aham ātmā guḍākeśa sarva-bhūtāśayasthitaḥ–O Arjuna, I am the Soul situated in the hearts of all living beings.’ Here it is explained that Brahman and ātmā (in this case, ātmā means ‘Bhagavān’) are nondifferent, or in other words, Śrī Govinda and Brahman are one Absolute Truth. However, according to the gradation of the manifestation of His extraordinary potency, Śrī Govinda is dharmī (the possesser of a constitutional nature), whereas the impersonal Brahman is dharma (the constitutional nature that one possesses).
This is stated in Śrī Brahma-saṃhitā (5.40):
यस्य प्रभा प्रभवतो जगद्-अण्ड-कोटि कोतिष्व् अशेष-वसुधादि विभूति-भिन्नम्
तद् ब्रह्म निष्कलम् अनन्तम् अशेष-भूतं गोविन्दम् आदि-पुरुषं तम् अहं भजामि
yasya prabhā prabhavato jagad-aṇḍa-koṭi kotiṣv aśeṣa-vasudhādi vibhūti-bhinnam
tad brahma niṣkalam anantam aśeṣa-bhūtaṃ govindam ādi-puruṣaṃ tam ahaṃ bhajāmi
I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the radiant luster of whose body is the source of the impersonal, nondifferentiated Brahman, which is distinct from the majestic opulence of the billions of worlds that comprise the mundane realm, and which appears as the indivisible, unlimited, and infinite truth.
“In this verse, Brahman has been described as the plenary portion (aṃśa) or the portion of the plenary portion (kalā) of Śrī Govinda’s effulgence. The verse expounds the attributes of Brahman–which is itself a kalā, or part of a part, of Śrī Govinda–in three words: niṣkalam (undivided), anantam (unlimited), and aśeṣa-bhūtam (infinite truth). Therefore, one should understand the difference between Bhagavān and Brahman in this manner.
“In the Eleventh Canto it is stated:
अनारम्भं तमो यान्ति परमात्म-विनिन्दनात्
पराधीनश् च बद्धश् च स्वल्प-ज्ञान-सुखे हितः
अल्प-शक्तिः स-दोषश् च जीवात्मा नेदृशः परः
वदता तु तयोर् ऐक्यं किं तैर् न दुष्कृतं कृतम्
अन्तर्याम्य्-ऐक्य-वाचीनि वचनानीह यानि तु
तानि दृष्ट्वा भ्रमन्तीह दुरात्मानो’ल्प-चेतसः
अस्य् अस्मि त्वम् अहं स्वात्मेत्य् अभिधा गोचरो यतः
सर्वान्तरत्वात् पुरुषस् त्व् अन्तर्-यामी भिदाम्
अयन् अतो भ्रमन्ति वचनैर् असुरा मोह-तत्परैः
तन्-मोहने परा प्रीतिर् देवानां परमस्य च
अतो महान्ध-तमसि नरके यान्त्य् अभेदतः
anārambhaṃ tamo yānti paramātma-vinindanāt
parādhīnaś ca baddhaś ca svalpa-jñāna-sukhe hitaḥ
alpa-śaktiḥ sa-doṣaś ca jīvātmā nedṛśaḥ paraḥ
vadatā tu tayor aikyaṃ kiṃ tair na duṣkṛtaṃ kṛtam
antaryāmy-aikya-vācīni vacanānīha yāni tu
tāni dṛṣṭvā bhramantīha durātmāno’lpa-cetasaḥ
asy asmi tvam ahaṃ svātmety abhidhā gocaro yataḥ
sarvāntaratvāt puruṣas tv antar-yāmī bhidām
ayan ato bhramanti vacanair asurā moha-tatparaiḥ
tan-mohane parā prītir devānāṃ paramasya ca
ato mahāndha-tamasi narake yānty abhedataḥ
Those who malign Paramātmā (the Supersoul) enter into a fearsome darkness. The jīva soul is entirely dependent upon others; shackled by the material energy; possessed of limited intelligence, happiness and power; and full of defects. Paramātmā, however, is just the opposite. Therefore, what depravity is not possible for those who claim that the Supreme Soul and the jīva soul are one? They blaspheme Paramātmā by such statements. Demoniac persons who proclaim the oneness of the soul and the Supersoul are contemptible and are forced to accept repeated birth and death. Only the demoniac become bewildered by such illusory statements and thus wander in the cycle of birth and death (saṃsara-cakra). Their delusion, however, causes the demigods to develop great love and affection for Bhagavān. Those who do not accept that there is a difference between the minute living being and the Supersoul go to the darkest regions of hell.”