Svayaṁ Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa-candra, in the form of Śrī Gaurāṅga-sundara, the very form of śrī-kṛṣṇa-kīrtana who distributed kṛṣṇa-prema, appeared in Śrī Māyāpura, Navadvīpa, in Gauḍa-deśa during the first division of the age of Kali, during the twenty-eighth catur-yuga of the Vaivasvata Manvantara of the lotus-born Brahmā. He searched for the wealth of His inner self, that indescribable, transcendental supreme reality known as prema, and relished it with all His associates, distributing it to the wretched living beings of this world. Of the many invaluable books that Gaura’s chief associate, Śrī Rūpa Prabhu, who bathed in the mercy of Gaura, composed as the ācārya of aprākṛta–rasa–śāstra (transcendental literature pertaining to divine mellows), Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu is an unparalleled text. The sampradāya following Śrī Caitanya-candra identifies itself as the śrī-rūpānugas (the followers of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī). This is because Śrīmad Rūpa Gosvāmīpādā, the ācārya of aprākṛta-rasa-śāstra, has from the very outset, described the process of rāga-bhajana (spontaneous worship). All attempts to cross beyond this process by making a constant show of hari-bhakti, are merely waywardness, and such thoroughly inauspicious activities only strive to disturb society and destroy the world.
Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu is a transcendental, scientific work concerning bhakti-tattva, and is the foundation of all aprākṛta-rasa-śāstras. In this book which is the crest-jewel amongst innumerable rasa-śāstras, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhupāda, has in a very subtle and scientific way, explained, analysed, and established the eternal supramundane nature, the relations, definitions, categories, pastimes etc. of three tattvas – bhakti, bhakta, and Bhagavān which are found within nirguṇa rasa-tattva (transcendental mellows) in the form of advaya-jñāna-tattva (knowledge of the non-dual Absolute). For intelligent persons who possess śraddhā and desire transcendentally pure prema-bhakti beyond the modes of nature, it is unavoidable to discuss this great book. This work describes in great detail the primary stages of bhakti, its gradual development, its connection with varṇāśrama-dharma, jñāna, yoga etc., the preeminent, intrinsic nature of prema-bhakti and aprākṛta–rasa-tattva, and its divisions and sub-divisions.
The principle follower of Śrī Rūpa and the main guardian of the Gauḍīya sampradāya who is adored by all Vaiṣṇava ācāryas, Śrīmad Jīva Gosvāmī Prabhu, has composed a commentary called the Durgama-saṅgamanī (‘that commentary which resolves difficulties’) and has made a wonderful arrangement for devotees to swim in this ‘ocean’ without hesitation. This most famous commentary, and moreover, an extensive and straightforward anvaya (list of word meanings) have been included to help the understanding of those persons who possess śraddhā. Besides this, in this publication, the explanations of all the ślokas have been carefully analysed as much as possible according to the siddhānta of the Gosvāmīs and presented in the Bengali language. Furthermore, in conformity with the commentary, simple annotated synonyms for specific words have been added under the ślokas and references have also been given in various places. In this way, special endeavour has been made in order to make this book convenient to read for all people in general. We will consider our endeavours worthwhile if the intelligentsia appreciate this book and the devotee’s joy is increased by it.
From the conclusion of the book, the year 1463 Śākābda (1541 C.E.) has been ascertained as the time that Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu was written. Some talk was heard that a commentary on this book was written by Mahā-māhopādhyāya Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, the crest-jewel of the line of ācāryas, however as of today it is not known whether this was ever published. However, another brief work of Śrīla Cakravartī Ṭhākura known as Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu-bindu is famous within the devotee community.
Two separate versions of Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu can be found published by Paṇḍita Śrīyukta Rāma-Nārāyaṇa Vidyāratna and the logician, Paṇḍita Śrīyukta Dāmodara Śāstrī in Bengali and Devanāgarī script respectively. It is known that this book has been published in some other places. It is known that some endeavours have been made in other places to publish this work.
In the present era, the ardent propagator of that śuddha-bhakti prescribed for the entire world by Śrī Gaura, the embodiment of kṛṣṇa-kīrtana and the foremost of ācāryas, Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Prabhupāda, in publishing many śāstrika texts as an additional feature of his attempts to flood the whole world with kṛṣṇa-kīrtana, published an abridged version of Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu with the original text and an index. Shortly before the disappearance of the foremost of ācāryas and the celebrated founder of Śrī Gauḍīya Maṭha, a large edition of Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu was begun under his direction, but it stopped due to the withdrawal of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s līlā. Following this thread, here is our small attempt.
Our most respected elder godbrother, Śrīyukta Rāma-gopāla Vidyābhūṣaṇa Mahāśaya M.A., even at an advanced age, has encouraged us in various ways and shown special mercy to us by displaying great enthusiasm in the present work of editing, especially in the service of preparing the translations of the ślokas. Paṇḍita Śrīyukta Baṅkimcandra Kāvya-tarka-tīrtha Mahāśaya has endeavoured to compile the anvaya published here and has become especially dear to us. Our venerable tridaṇḍi godbrothers, Śrīpāda Bhakti Bhūdeva Śrauti Mahārāja and Śrīpāda Bhakti Vicāra Yāyāvāra Mahārāja have shown us infinite grace by helping with correctional work and other matters. Our most respectable, affectionate, and celebrated elder godbrother, the highest nobleman in the lineage of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Mahātmā Śrīyukta Sakhī Caraṇa Bhakti-vijaya Prabhu has demonstrated how the aim of worldly wealth is fulfilled in spirituality by donating with open hands towards that preaching which was the inner desire of Śrī-Guru-Pāda-Padma, and specifically service to the abode of Śrī Guru and Śrī Gaura, That mahātmā has kindly donated the entire cost for publishing the first edition of the Eastern Division of Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu and he has the eternal thanks and gratitude of the devotee and academic community.
Due to our many disqualifications, there is no doubt that there will be some errors in this excellent book. Thus we hope that our gracious readers will kindly rectify these mistakes.
Finally, this despondent fellow’s prayer at the holy lotus feet of Śrī Guru-Gaurāṅga is that this king of books, Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, will be welcomed and respected in every country and every home, and will flood and churn the entire world of jīvas with torrential waves of blissful ambrosial aprākṛta-rasa which, with a tumultuous sound, will enter into the ears of the embodiment of all nectarean rasa, Śrī Kṛṣṇacandra and His associates. May it always remain established, accepting the mantle of splendorous victory!
Śrī Gaura Jayantī,
462 Gaurābda (1947 CE),
Śrī Caitanya Sārasvata Maṭha,
Śrī-caitanya-jana-kiṅkara (A servant of the followers of Śrī Caitanya) –
Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara