Brihad Bhagavatamrita (commentary)

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

The Brihad-bhagavatamrita Verse 2.4.164, 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 2.4.164 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 2.4.164:

एतच् च वृन्दा-विपिनेऽघ-हन्तुर् हृत्वार्भ-वत्सान् अनुभूतम् अस्ति ।
श्री-ब्रह्मणा द्वारवती-पुरे च प्रासाद-वर्गेषु मया भ्रमित्वा ॥ १६४ ॥

etac ca vṛndā-vipine'gha-hantur hṛtvārbha-vatsān anubhūtam asti |
śrī-brahmaṇā dvāravatī-pure ca prāsāda-vargeṣu mayā bhramitvā || 164 ||

etat–this; ca–and; vṛndā-vipine–in Vṛndāvana; agha-hantuḥ–of the slayer of Aghāsura; hṛtvā–having stolen; arbha–the boys; vatsān–and calves; anubhūtam–experienced; asti–it is; śrī-brahmaṇā–by Lord Brahmā; dvāravatī-pure–in Dvārakā city; ca–also; prāsāda-vargeṣu–among the palaces; mayā–by me; bhramitvā–having wandered.

Śrī Brahmā experienced this in Vṛndāvana after he stole Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s calves, and I also experienced this when I wandered through all the palaces in Dvārakā-purī.

Commentary: Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā with Bhāvānuvāda

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

Now in this verse beginning with etat ca, Śrī Nārada firmly establishes this subject matter by citing the experiences of learned scholars as proof. He says, “Śrī Bhagavān is actually one Absolute Truth but He manifests in many forms. Śrī Brahmā experienced this in the Śrī Vṛndāvana pastimes. How was that? When Śrī Brahmā kidnapped the cowherd friends of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the killer of Aghāsura, along with all the calves under their care, he experienced the oneness and variegatedness of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s forms.”

This is described in the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. At that time, Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa personally expanded as the calves and cowherd boys, and thereby increased the happiness of all the gopīs and cows who had parental love for Him. In this way, Śrī Kṛṣṇa enacted His pastime as their sons and calves for one year. At the end of that year, when Brahmā returned to Vraja, he saw all those cowherd boys and calves as Bhagavān. Those forms were not illusory; Brahmā actually witnessed that They were real. Therefore, one cannot say that the original object, the original form of Bhagavān [as with the sun globe in the previous example in verse 159], is the only real form and that all others are the play of Māyā.

Brahmā explains the reason for this in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.13.54):

अस्पृष्ट-भूरि-माहात्म्या अपि ह्य् उपनिषद्-दृशाम्

aspṛṣṭa-bhūri-māhātmyā api hy upaniṣad-dṛśām

All those Viṣṇu forms–real, unlimited, and full of knowledge and bliss–appeared completely alike in nature. Even jñānīs devoted to studying the Upaniṣads have widely sung the glories of all those forms of the Lord.

One should understand that all these forms, simultaneously one and many, are real and devoid of illusion.

Śrī Brahmā again glorifies the Lord in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.18):

अद्यैव त्वद् ऋते’स्य किं मम न ते मायात्वम् आदर्शितम्
एको’सि प्रथमं ततो व्रज-सुहृद्-वत्साः समस्ता अपि
तावन्तो’सि चतुर्-भुजास् तद् अखिलैः साकं मयोपासितास्
तावन्त्य् एव जगन्त्य् अभूस् तद् अमितं ब्रह्माद्वयं शिष्यते

adyaiva tvad ṛte’sya kiṃ mama na te māyātvam ādarśitam
eko’si prathamaṃ tato vraja-suhṛd-vatsāḥ samastā api
tāvanto’si catur-bhujās tad akhilaiḥ sākaṃ mayopāsitās
tāvanty eva jaganty abhūs tad amitaṃ brahmādvayaṃ śiṣyate

O Bhagavān, You have shown me that, except for You, the entire world is illusory. First You were alone, and later You accepted the forms of all the cowherd boys and calves. That is, when I transferred Your friends and calves to another place, I first saw You alone, and then after that, I saw You in the forms of innumerable cowherd boys and calves. Later, I saw all those forms of Yours transformed into fourarmed Viṣṇus. Along with Them, I saw an equal number of brahmāṇḍas. All the living entities and elements and I myself were worshiping all those forms. After this, I saw You again as Your human-like Parabrahman (Śrī Kṛṣṇa) form–unlimited and nondual.

Therefore, Śrī Brahmā asks Śrī Kṛṣṇa whether He had not indeed at that moment shown him the illusory nature of all objects other than Himself. He says, “O Supreme Lord, how much more can I glorify Your inconceivable potency? This visible world, which is manifest by Your illusory energy, is momentary like an object seen in a dream. However, the living entity, absorbed in this visible world, forgets his own constitutional position (svarūpa). At the same time, because this world is situated in You, no one can regard it as temporary and full of ignorance. Due to Your eternality, this world also appears ever-lasting.

“You alone are the eternal, self-effulgent, supremely blissful Deity who supports this entire universe. O Supreme Lord! What should I say about others, today You mercifully showed me the potency of the vast opulence of that Mahā-māyā, the great illusory potency, which is astonishing. The unlimited visible universes are Your creation. Do they exist without You? If there is nothing but You, then everything is only Your form (svarūpa). Therefore, You did not show me illusion, but rather You showed me the transcendental nature of this world.”

One might ask, “How is that so?”

Śrī Brahmā replies, “Previously, You were one. Then by Your personal energy, Your svarūpa-śakti, You took the forms of cowherd boys and calves. Thereafter, You covered all those pastimes by Your Yogamāyā (internal potency) and accepted an unlimited number of four-armed forms. What were they like? Each four-armed viṣṇu-mūrti was surrounded by and was being served by all living beings. These living beings, from the smallest insect up to Brahmā; all inert objects, from the particles of dust up to Mount Sumeru; and their presiding Deities were all serving according to their qualification. Then, before my very eyes, all these forms vanished, and like an innocent child, You started wandering through the forests searching for the calves and cowherd boys. Although You are all-pervading, I am able to have Your direct darśana due to my good fortune; Yogamāyā has removed her curtain and has brought You in front of my eyes. By Your mercy, today I have experienced with my own eyes that You alone are the mūla-tattva, the root cause of the entire creation. You are the one Original Being, and by the potency of Yogamāyā, You manifest in different forms.”

The word abhūḥ, meaning ‘You became,’ is used in the above verse (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.14.18) to establish that Māyā has no relationship with Śrī Bhagavān’s abode, eternal associates, pastimes, and divine form. These are all manifest by the influence of Yogamāyā, who is the Lord’s svarūpa-śakti. Śrī Brahmā explains, “Ignorant people cannot understand the difference between Yogamāyā, the internal potency, and guṇa-māyā, the illusory potency consisting of three modes of material nature, and therefore they consider everything about You, such as Your pastimes, to be illusory.”

Śrī Nārada concludes, “One should understand from all of Śrī Brahmā’s statements that Śrī Bhagavān has one original form, and all the innumerable forms He assumes are also eternal and primeval. This is what I experienced when I visited the palaces of all the queens in Dvārakā.”

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.69.41) clearly describes this:

तम् एव सर्व-गेहेषु सन्तम् एकं ददर्श ह

tam eva sarva-geheṣu santam ekaṃ dadarśa ha

Śrī Nārada visited the palace of every queen and observed Śrī Kṛṣṇa separately in each and every palace.

Here, one should not think that Śrī Bhagavān’s presence in one place was real and His presence elsewhere was illusory, or māyika. If this were so, it would indicate a display of Bhagavān’s complete neglect of His beloved devotees who are His eternal associates residing there. It would be as if Śrī Bhagavān had cheated them through illusion. In particular, because Bhagavān is the crest jewel of all kind-hearted personalities and the affectionate guardian of His devotees who keep Him under their control, it does not seem reasonable that He would behave in this way.

Although Śrī Nārada saw that Śrī Kṛṣṇa was simultaneously present in a distinct form in the palace of every queen, still, because all great souls have experienced and are still experiencing the oneness of Śrī Bhagavān’s form, one cannot reject His oneness. If one were not to accept that Śrī Kṛṣṇa has only one form, then this would admit the defect of inconsistency in the Lord’s dealings with the Yādavas with His numerous forms.

In addition, by the mercy of Bhagavān, Śrī Nārada saw Śrī Kṛṣṇa emerging in separate forms from the palace of every queen and entering the assembly hall in a single form. Then, when departing from the assembly, only one Bhagavān came out and entered into all of the palaces in separate forms. Moreover, in each palace He was performing pastimes in different varieties of wonderful moods.

Therefore, in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.69.41) Śrī Śukadeva states:

इत्य् आचरन्तं सद्-धर्मान् पावनान् गृह-मेधिनाम्

ity ācarantaṃ sad-dharmān pāvanān gṛha-medhinām

Śrī Nārada saw that in the palaces of all the queens, one form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa was executing all the religious activities that purify household life.

Similarly, in the beginning of that same chapter (in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.69.2–3), Śrī Śukadeva says:

चित्रं बतैतद् एकेन वपुषा युगपत् पृथक्
गृहेषु द्व्य्-अष्ट-साहस्रं स्त्रिय एक उदावहत्
इत्य् उत्सुको द्वारवतीं देवर्षिर् द्रष्टुम् आगमत्

citraṃ bataitad ekena vapuṣā yugapat pṛthak
gṛheṣu dvy-aṣṭa-sāhasraṃ striya eka udāvahat
ity utsuko dvāravatīṃ devarṣir draṣṭum āgamat

‘Ah! It is extraordinary that one Śrī Kṛṣṇa in a single form simultaneously married sixteen thousand girls in different palaces.’ Hearing of this feat, Śrī Nārada eagerly departed for Dvārakā-purī to take His darśana.

The idea that it was ‘only one Kṛṣṇa in only one body who accepted the hands of sixteen thousand girls in different palaces’ became the subject of Śrī Nārada’s great wonder. An omniscient, great soul like Śrī Nārada would not have been amazed if Śrī Kṛṣṇa had married the sixteen thousand one hundred eight queens by manifesting multiple forms through the power of mystic yoga. Śrī Nārada knows that by mystic power, perfected sages like Saubhari can assume multiple forms by personal expansion (kāya-vyūha).

Therefore, this example illustrates that Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s different forms are not illusory like the personal expansions of Saubhari and others; rather, Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s forms are most wonderful, real, and self-manifest (svataḥ-siddha). Śrī Nārada knows that Śrī Bhagavān’s eternal associates also possess the same inconceivable power. With his own eyes, Nārada saw that Vasudeva, Devakī, Uddhava, and other eternal associates had assembled in every palace with Śrī Kṛṣṇa and were participating in His weddings. Thus, the logical conclusion is, “Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His eternal associates, abodes, and pastimes are actually one, and at the same time unlimited and real.”

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