Brihad Bhagavatamrita (commentary)

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

The Brihad-bhagavatamrita Verse 2.4.155-157, 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 2.4.155-157 contained in Chapter 4—Vaikuntha (the spiritual world)—of Part two (prathama-khanda).

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of verse 2.4.155-157:

यथा धरालम्बन-रत्न-भूता नारायणोऽसौ स नरोऽथ दत्तः ।
श्री-जामदग्न्यः कपिलादयोऽपि ये कौतुकाच् च प्रतिमा-स्वरूपः ॥ १५५ ॥
ये स्वर्ग-लोकादिषु विष्णु-यज्ञे-श्वरादयोऽमी भवतैव दृष्टाः ।
मत्य्सोऽथ कूर्मश् च महा-वराहः श्रीमन्-नृसिंहो ननु वामनश् च ॥ १५६ ॥
अन्येऽवताराश् च तथैव तेषां प्रत्येकम् इहा-भिदया प्रभेदाः ।
ते सच्-चिद्-आनन्द-घना हि सर्वे नानात्व-भाजोऽपि सदैक-रूपः ॥ १५७ ॥

yathā dharālambana-ratna-bhūtā nārāyaṇo'sau sa naro'tha dattaḥ |
śrī-jāmadagnyaḥ kapilādayo'pi ye kautukāc ca pratimā-svarūpaḥ || 155 ||
ye svarga-lokādiṣu viṣṇu-yajñe-śvarādayo'mī bhavataiva dṛṣṭāḥ |
matyso'tha kūrmaś ca mahā-varāhaḥ śrīman-nṛsiṃho nanu vāmanaś ca || 156 ||
anye'vatārāś ca tathaiva teṣāṃ pratyekam ihā-bhidayā prabhedāḥ |
te sac-cid-ānanda-ghanā hi sarve nānātva-bhājo'pi sadaika-rūpaḥ || 157 ||

yathā–as; dharā–earth; ālambana–the shelter; ratna–jewel; bhūtāḥ–manifest; nārāyaṇaḥ–Lord Nārāyaṇa, the ayaṇa (shelter) of nāra (all living beings); asau–He; sa-naraḥ–with Nara; atha–then; dattaḥ–Dattātreya; śrī-jāmadagnyaḥ–Śrī Paraśurāma; kapila–incarnation as a sage; ādayaḥ–beginning with; api–and; ye–who; kautukāt–out of eagerness; ca–also; pratimā–Deity; sarūpāḥ–with forms; ye–who; svargaloka–in Svargaloka; ādiṣu–and so forth; viṣṇu–Lord Viṣṇu; yajña–of sacrifices; īśvara–the Lord; ādayaḥ–beginning with; amī–they; bhavatā–by you; eva–indeed; dṛṣṭāḥ–seen; matysaḥ–fish; atha–then; kūrmaḥ–the tortoise; ca–also; mahā-varāhaḥ–the great boar; śrīman-nṛsiṃhaḥ–the half-man–half-lion incarnation; nanu–indeed; vāmanaḥ–the dwarf brāhmaṇa incarnation; ca–also; anye–others; avatārāḥ–incarnations; ca–and; tathā–so; eva–indeed; teṣām–of them; pratyekam–each; īhā–here; abhidhāya–naming; prabhedāḥ–different; te–they; satcit-ānanda–eternal, cognizant, and blissful; ghanāḥ–concentrated; hi–certainly; sarve–all; nānātva-bhājaḥ–having variegatedness; api–still; sadā–eternally; eka–one; rūpāḥ–form.

The various incarnations of Śrī Bhagavān who descend on earth are the shelter and jewels of the planet. Although They display differences, They are all of the same nature. These manifestations of the Lord include Nara-nārāyaṇa, Dattātreya, Paraśurāma (son of Jamadagni), Kapila, and so on. His incarnations in Svarga and other planets take the forms of Viṣṇu, Yajñeśvara, and so on. (On your way here, you took darśana of those abodes.) Matsya, Kūrma, the great Varāha, Śrīman Nṛsiṃha, Vāmana, and so on are also expansions of Bhagavān. Although all these incarnations and manifestations are different from one another–with different names, activities, and qualities that indicate Their particular specialities–at the same time, They are of one kind and are all fully sac-cid-ānanda.

Commentary: Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā with Bhāvānuvāda

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

Śrī Gopa-kumāra might question, “The Lord’s different incarnations are full of unending varieties. If this is the case, then how can They be considered one?”

Śrī Nārada reconciles this dilemma by giving examples in three verses, beginning above with yathā. He says, “Nara-Nārāyaṇa and all of the Lord’s other manifestations and incarnations are the shelter and jewels of the earth. This means that They sustain the planet and are the real wealth of this realm. In addition, to increase His playful pastimes, Bhagavān comes in Deity form in different places on this planet: as Śrī Saṅkarṣaṇa in Ilāvṛta-varṣa and other regions; as Śrī Jagannātha-deva in Puruṣottama-kṣetra, or Purī; and as Śrī Raṅga-nātha in Śrī Raṅgam. In Svarga and other heavenly planets, He comes as Viṣṇu, Yajñeśvara, and so on. On your way here, you saw all of Them. In addition, there are the very wonderful and famous incarnations like Matsya, Kūrma, Mahā-varāha, Śrīman Nṛsiṃha, and Vāmana, and also Hayagrīva and Haṃsa.

“Just as Bhagavān has unique forms, natures, and qualities in His many incarnations, so He has different Deity forms. Since each of these manifestations and incarnations has His own name and activities, it might seem that They are different from each other. Variation in shape and activities indicate multifold specialties. However, despite these differences, They all have the same nature, being embodiments of concentrated eternity, knowledge, and bliss.”

Mahā-saṃhitā states:

तस्य सर्वावतारेषु न विशेषो’स्ति कश्चन देह-देहि-विभेदश् च न परे विद्यते क्वचित्
सर्वे’वतारा व्याप्ताश् च सर्वे सूक्ष्माश् च तत्त्वतः ऐश्वर्य-योगाद् भगवान् क्रीडत्य् एष जनार्दनः

tasya sarvāvatāreṣu na viśeṣo’sti kaścana deha-dehi-vibhedaś ca na pare vidyate kvacit
sarve’vatārā vyāptāś ca sarve sūkṣmāś ca tattvataḥ aiśvarya-yogād bhagavān krīḍaty eṣa janārdanaḥ

The body (deha) and soul (dehī) of Śrī Bhagavān are nondifferent, so, all of His various incarnations are alike with no specialty or distinction between Them. In truth, all incarnations are all-pervasive and infinitely subtle. In this way, the Supreme Lord Janārdana sports with the help of His inconceivable opulence (aiśvarya-yoga).

Śrī Nārāyaṇa is the son of Dharma. He and His younger brother Nara are the spiritual masters of the ascetics living in Badrikāśrama, which is located in Bhū-maṇḍala. The first instance of the word ādi (kapila-ādayaḥ) in verse 155 indicates Vyāsa, Dhanvantari, and other incarnations. The second instance of the word ādi (svargaloka-ādiṣu) in verse 156 indicates the presiding Deities of Maharloka, Satyaloka, and the coverings of the earth. The third instance of the word ādi (viṣṇuyajñeśvara-ādayaḥ) indicates the Mahā-puruṣa and manifestations of Bhagavān, such as Varāha-deva, who are worshiped in the layers of elements such as earth (Pṛthvī). The word amī indicates that many types of incarnations of Viṣṇu are to be seen there.

Scriptural authorities have determined that Śrī Vāmana-deva is different from the four-armed Śrī Viṣṇu, the presiding Deity of Svarga. Śrī Nārada has indicated this by mentioning Him separately. Similarly, all other incarnations of Bhagavān, such as Matsya, the Lord in the form of a fish, have multiple manifestations in relation to the different ages in which the Lord appears and the activities He performs or according to the descriptions found in various Purāṇas. It is famous in the scriptures that one huge and most excellent fish appeared at the end of the millennium in the ocean of pralaya (cosmic inundation) and protected the Vedas and other sacred writings. Another great fish manifested suddenly in the māyika ocean of cosmic inundation and bestowed His favor on Satyavrata Muni. One tortoise incarnation, known as Kūrma, carried Mandara Mountain on His back when the milk ocean was being churned to produce the nectar of immortality. Another Kūrma always carries the earth on His back.

Similarly, one finds description of five types of boar incarnations (Varāhas). One Varāha manifested in the beginning of the material creation from the nostril of Śrī Brahmā. He lifted the earth, placed it on the water, and disappeared. The second Varāha came to deliver the earth when it was submerged in the ocean of pralaya, and after killing Hiraṇyākṣa, He departed for heaven. The third Varāha, established methods of sacrifice and then lifted Dharaṇī (the earth) on His tusks. As He was kindly narrating the Purāṇas and other scriptures to her, He suddenly disappeared. The fourth manifestation of Varāha descended to smooth out the jagged earth and make the land level. He crushed all the mountains to pieces by striking them with His tusks. He performed various pastimes with Dharaṇī-devī (goddess earth), who had taken the form of a female boar, and produced two sons with her. In the end, He merged into Śrī Nṛsiṃha-deva. The fifth manifestation of Varāha always holds up the earth.

In Bṛhat-sahasra-nāma-stotra, one sees descriptions of various incarnations of Śrī Nṛsiṃha-deva also. One manifestation of Śrī Nṛsiṃha-deva defeated the divine mothers (deva-mātās). The second manifestation killed Hiraṇyakaśipu. Another time, He took the form of a cat. Śrī Vāmana-deva also manifested twice, once to chastise Bali and a second time to show mercy to Dhundha. Similarly, two incarnations each of Hayagrīva and Haṃsa are also famous.

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