Brihad Bhagavatamrita (commentary)

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

The Brihad-bhagavatamrita Verse 2.4.205, 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 2.4.205 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 2.4.205:

ततः कथं पुराणेभ्यः श्रूयन्ते तत्-तद्-उक्तयः ।
अप्रमाणं च ता न स्युर् महन्-मुख-विनिःसृतः ॥ २०५ ॥

tataḥ kathaṃ purāṇebhyaḥ śrūyante tat-tad-uktayaḥ |
apramāṇaṃ ca tā na syur mahan-mukha-viniḥsṛtaḥ || 205 ||

tataḥ–then; katham–how; purāṇebhyaḥ–from the Purāṇas; śrūyante–are heard; tat-tat-uktayaḥ–various statements; apramāṇam–not evidence; ca–also; tāḥ–they; na syuḥ–they can not be; mahat–of great souls; mukha–from the mouths; viniḥsṛtāḥ–coming.

“O Bhagavān Śrī Nārada, why is it that sometimes we find unfavorable statements about Deity worship in the Purāṇas? As all these words have emanated from the mouths of great souls, they do not seem unauthoritative.”

Commentary: Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā with Bhāvānuvāda

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

A doubt might arise, “Why is it mentioned that there is fault in arcana?” To address this, Śrī Gopa-kumāra speaks the verse beginning with tataḥ. He says, “Why do the Purāṇas and other scriptures mention the defects of Deity worship when we hear that it confers enormous benefit?”

For instance, it is stated in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam (11.2.47):

अर्चायाम् एव हरये पूजां यः श्रद्धयेहते
न तद्-भक्तेषु चान्येषु स भक्तः प्राकृतः स्मृतः

arcāyām eva haraye pūjāṃ yaḥ śraddhayehate
na tad-bhakteṣu cānyeṣu sa bhaktaḥ prākṛtaḥ smṛtaḥ

If a person faithfully worships Hari through His Deity form but does not worship His devotees or respect others, such a person is a prākṛta-bhakta, a materialistic devotee of ordinary rank.

In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.29.22), Bhagavān Śrī Kapiladeva tells His mother:

यो मां सर्वेषु भूतेषु सन्तम् आत्मानम् ईश्वरम्
हित्वार्चां भजते मौढ्याद् भस्मन्य् एव जुहोति सः

yo māṃ sarveṣu bhūteṣu santam ātmānam īśvaram
hitvārcāṃ bhajate mauḍhyād bhasmany eva juhoti saḥ

I am present in all objects, and I am the soul and Lord of all beings. If anyone ignores My form as Paramātmā out of ignorance and only worships My Deity, then his worship is like offering oblations of ghee into ashes.

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.29.24) also states:

अहम् उच्चावचैर् द्रव्यैः क्रिययोत्पन्नयानघे
नैव तुष्ये’र्चितो’र्चायां भूत-ग्रामावमानिनः

aham uccāvacair dravyaiḥ kriyayotpannayānaghe
naiva tuṣye’rcito’rcāyāṃ bhūta-grāmāvamāninaḥ

O mother, a person may worship My Deity form with various ingredients and with proper rituals, but if he disrespects other living beings, his worship is not pleasing to Me.

Moreover, we hear the words “pratimā manda-buddhīnām–The Deity is for the unintelligent.”

The authenticity of all these statements can never be questioned because they have emanated from the mouths of great souls. The words of authoritative persons in particular are free from pramāda, illusion or the misunderstanding of reality, and other errors. In other words, the Vedas and Śrutis constitute the topmost evidence. Since Śrīmad Bhāgavatam has manifested from the mouth of Śrī Śukadeva, those words are called ‘statements of great souls.’ The word mahat in the original verse, meaning ‘great soul,’ indicates Bhagavān Himself and His devotees like Śrī Śukadeva and other great sages.

Śrī Saṅkarṣaṇa and other Deities who reside in the various tracts of land of Bhū-loka (earth), and Śrī Jagannātha and Śrī Raṅga-nātha who are present in the holy places and cities of Bhārata-varṣa, such as Purī, are indeed directly Bhagavān. These Deities are being worshiped with faith, and no one doubts the authenticity of Their worship. Nevertheless, people are aware of these statements of the great souls and have heard the word pratimā, or statue, ascribed to the Deity form. Having accepted mauna-mudrā (an attitude of silence) as Their pastime, those Deities appear like statues. Therefore, some people infer that They are nothing more than that. To remove these doubts about Deity worship, Gopa-kumāra asks this question.

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