Brihad Bhagavatamrita (commentary)

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

The Brihad-bhagavatamrita Verse 2.2.217, 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 2.2.217 contained in Chapter 2—Jnana (knowledge)—of Part two (prathama-khanda).

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 2.2.217:

सदैक-रूपं बहु-रूपम् अद्भुतं विमुक्ति-सौख्यात् प्रति-योगि तत्-सुखम् ।
हरेर् महा-भक्ति-विलास-माधुरी-भरात्मकं तर्क्यम् अतद्-विदां न हि ॥ २१७ ॥

sadaika-rūpaṃ bahu-rūpam adbhutaṃ vimukti-saukhyāt prati-yogi tat-sukham |
harer mahā-bhakti-vilāsa-mādhurī-bharātmakaṃ tarkyam atad-vidāṃ na hi || 217 ||

sadā–eternally; eka-rūpam–one form; bahu-rūpam–many forms; adbhutam–astonishing; vimukti–of liberation; saukhyāt–than the happiness; prati-yogi–opposite; tat–that; sukham–happiness; hareḥ–of Śrī Hari; mahā-bhakti–of glorious devotional service; vilāsa–pastimes; mādhurī–sweet; bhara–of profuse; ātmakam–having the nature; tarkyam–subject to logic; atat-vidām–for those unaware of the truth; na–not; hi–indeed.

The happiness of liberation is always of one form, but the happiness of bhakti, by the influence of the opulence of Śrī Bhagavān, manifests in many forms and is astonishing. The happiness of bhakti is the complete opposite of the happiness of liberation, and its variegated nature is filled with the sweetness of playful pastimes performed with the highest loving devotion to the enchanting Śrī Hari. Those who are unacquainted with this essential truth of pure devotional service cannot conceive of this happiness by means of logic and reason.

Commentary: Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā with Bhāvānuvāda

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

In this verse beginning with sad, the bhaktiśāstras indicate the characteristics and great importance of the happiness of devotion, or bhakti-sukha, which stands in contrast to the happiness of liberation, or mukti-sukha. The happiness of devotional service is extraordinary and completely indescribable.

Śrī Gopa-kumāra might ask, “How is this happiness extraordinary?”

The personified bhakti-śāstras explain, “The bliss of liberation is of the nature of the Supreme Brahman, and it therefore always remains uniform, or eka-rūpa. But the happiness of bhakti, by the potency of the opulence of Śrī Bhagavān, is always variegated in nature, or aneka-rūpa. Thus the happiness that arises from merging into Brahman, which is known as sāyujya-mukti, is the absolute antithesis of the happiness of bhakti. The happiness of liberation, in reaching its ultimate limit, is one in nature, complete in itself, and giving of absolute contentment. The happiness of bhakti, on the other hand, has unlimited forms and variegatedness and never bestows satiation. Despite enjoying that happiness, the ardent longing to enjoy one’s desired object never goes away.

“In this way, bhakti-sukha is diametrically opposed to mukti-sukha. It is of particular importance that although the happiness of devotional service is always also eka-rūpa, or one in nature, nevertheless it increases at every moment in various forms (aneka-rūpa) that are everfresh and ever-sweet.”

Gopa-kumāra might say, “Without doubt, this is a matter of great wonder. But how does one obtain this happiness?”

The bhakti-śāstras reply, “This variegated happiness of bhakti is the sweetest form of the magnificence of the pastimes of loving devotion that are so enchanting they steal the heart. Know this to be the specific glory of devotional service to Bhagavān.”

Gopa-kumāra might question, “Although the happiness of bhakti is of one form, it has many forms. Although it is boundless, it is everincreasing. Do these statements not contradict one another?”

They answer, “True. But those who are not familiar with the essential truth of bhakti and who have not experienced the bliss of the sweetness of the enjoyable pastimes of devotion can never comprehend the variegated nature of this happiness because it cannot be determined by speculative arguments. Therefore, as it is said, ‘tad hi-vijānanti tad-vidaḥ–only those who know this understand it.’ Know that the sweetness of the pastimes of devotion is very difficult to understand.”

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