Brihad Bhagavatamrita (commentary)

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

The Brihad-bhagavatamrita Verse 2.4.158, 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 2.4.158 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 2.4.158:

नानात्वम् एषां च कदापि मायिकं न जीव-नानात्वम् इव प्रतीयताम् ।
तच् चिद्-विलसात्मक-शक्ति-दर्शितं नाना-विधोपासक-चित्र-भाव-जम् ॥ १५८ ॥

nānātvam eṣāṃ ca kadāpi māyikaṃ na jīva-nānātvam iva pratīyatām |
tac cid-vilasātmaka-śakti-darśitaṃ nānā-vidhopāsaka-citra-bhāva-jam || 158 ||

nānātvam–variegatedness; eṣām–their; ca–also; kadā api–at any time; māyikam–illusory; na–not; jīva–of the minute souls; nānātvam–variegatedness; iva–like; pratīyatām–appears; tat–His; cit-vilāsa–spiritual pastimes; ātmaka-śakti–own internal potency; darśitam–revealed; nānā-vidha–many kinds; upāsaka–worshipers; citra–various; bhāva-jam–born of the moods.

The appearance of Bhagavān’s incarnations in various forms is not illusory like the variety of living beings in the material world. Rather, the variety of pastimes the Lord enacts in various forms is manifest by His svarūpa-śakti (the internal potency). These pastimes arise from the diverse moods of the many devotees. In other words, Bhagavān’s different manifestations take Their respective forms only according to the moods of His devotees, who have different preferences.

Commentary: Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā with Bhāvānuvāda

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

Śrī Gopa-kumāra might say, “Only Māyā, or the illusory potency, can make something appear in different forms.”

To refute this, Śrī Nārada speaks this verse beginning with nānātva. He says, “Bhagavān manifests Himself in many different forms, but these are not illusory like the different forms of the jīvas (living beings). The eka-jīva-vādī-gaṇa–those who believe that there is only one jīva–say that through the false designation of ignorance, the one living entity (jīva-tattva) appears in different forms. Another interpretation is that the one Brahman reflects Itself into false designations (avidyāupādhi) and appears as the various living beings.

“But factually, the diversity in the forms of the Lord is not merely a manifestation of Māyā. Rather, these forms manifest through the Lord’s internal potency, or svarūpa-śakti. This internal potency is imbued with the cognizance and opulence of Bhagavān’s pastimes, which are fully sac-cid-ānanda. Bhagavān manifests as various personalities because of the different sentiments of His worshipers. The Lord’s variegated pastimes manifest an ocean of amazing and wonderful rasas (loving relationships). To reciprocate with the loving moods of His worshipers, with all their variegated tastes and preferences, the Lord comes in so many forms.

“In their worship of the Lord in a particular mood, the devotees desire darśana of one or many forms according to their special sentiments. When they become intensely eager to see one particular form, at that very moment, the Lord becomes manifest to them in that cherished form. This manifestation is also full of inconceivable potency, being eternal, real, and all-pervasive. With the fulfillment of their desires, all the worshipers experience happiness corresponding to their bhāvas, the moods of their relationship with the Lord.

“If the Lord did not reciprocate in this way, Bhagavān, who is glorified as bhakta-vatsala, one who loves His devotees, would be guilty of not being affectionate to His devotees. If any one of the manifest forms of the Lord were non-eternal, unreal, and limited in any respect, this would be intolerable to the devotee who worshiped that form and it would cause him great distress. Therefore, this is an impossibility. Moreover, the different forms of Bhagavān have no relationship with Māyā and are never influenced by this illusory potency.”

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