Brihad Bhagavatamrita (commentary)

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

The Brihad-bhagavatamrita Verse 2.3.183, 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 2.3.183 contained in Chapter 3—Bhajana (loving service)—of Part two (prathama-khanda).

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 2.3.183:

ध्यानं परोक्षे युज्येत न तु साक्षान् महा-प्रभोः ।
अपरोक्षे परोक्षेऽपि युक्तं सङ्कीर्तनं सदा ॥ १८३ ॥

dhyānaṃ parokṣe yujyeta na tu sākṣān mahā-prabhoḥ |
aparokṣe parokṣe'pi yuktaṃ saṅkīrtanaṃ sadā || 183 ||

dhyānam–meditation; parokṣe–in absence; yujyeta–it may be proper; na–not; tu–but; sākṣāt–in direct presence; mahā-prabhoḥ–of the great Lord; aparokṣe–in the presence; parokṣe–in the absence; api–also; yuktam–proper; saṅkīrtanam–congregational chanting; sadā–always.

It is appropriate to meditate on Bhagavān in His absence, not in His direct presence. Saṅkīrtana, on the other hand, is always acceptable, whether the Lord is present personally or not.

Commentary: Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā with Bhāvānuvāda

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

“Not only is seeing the Lord in dhyāna-yoga inferior to directly seeing the Lord, but it is universally seen that meditation is inferior to kīrtana.” Concluding the discussion in a sweet manner, or madhureṇa samāpayet, the Vaikuṇṭha associates speak two verses, beginning here with dhyānam, repeating the logic of their glorification of nāma-saṅkīrtana.

They say, “Meditation on the Lord is appropriate everywhere and at all times, but only when He is not visible; it is not appropriate in His direct presence. However, there is sound evidence in the experience of common practice that kīrtana is suitable for every situation–in Bhagavān’s direct presence or absence.”

The rāsa-pañca-adhyāya section of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.33.7) [the five chapters that discuss Śrī Kṛṣṇa amorous sports with the vrajagopīs] gives special evidence of this. At the time of rāsa-līlā, the gopīs performed saṅkīrtana right in front of Śrī Kṛṣṇa: “gāyantyas taṃ taḍita iva tā megha-cakre virejuḥ–Surrounding Śrī Kṛṣṇa and singing ‘Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa,’ all the gopīs shone dazzlingly, like a garland comprised of streaks of lightening in a circle of clouds.”

It is also stated in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa (5.13.52, and 56):

कृष्णः शरच्-चन्द्रमसं कौमुदी-कुमुदाकरम्
जगौ गोपी-जनस् त्व् एकं कृष्ण-नाम पुनः पुनः

kṛṣṇaḥ śarac-candramasaṃ kaumudī-kumudākaram
jagau gopī-janas tv ekaṃ kṛṣṇa-nāma punaḥ punaḥ

Śrī Kṛṣṇa began to sing the glories of the autumn moon, whose brilliance blossoms the lilies in the lake, while all the gopīs repeatedly sang only the name, ‘Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa’. rāsa-geyaṃ jagau kṛṣṇo yāvat tārāyata-dhvaniḥ sādhu kṛṣṇeti kṛṣṇeti tāvat tā dvi-guṇaṃ jaguḥ

Śrī Kṛṣṇa sang as loudly as possible all the songs appropriate for the rāsa-līlā. Applauding Him and saying, ‘Well done, well done!’ all the gopīs began to sing the words ‘Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa’ only, and twice as loud.

Kīrtana performed in Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s absence is well-known everywhere. Instances in the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam include Gopīgīta (The Song of the Gopīs), and Bhramara-gīta (The Song to the Bumble-bee), which was sung at the time of Uddhava’s arrival in Vraja.

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