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A Devotee is Merciful – (Sajjana-Krpalu) by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura PrabhupadaA Devotee is Merciful (Sajjana – Kṛpālu)
By Published On: April 28, 2023Tags: 31.2 min read

Overview

Verses 46 to 50 of Prema Dhāma Deva Stotram by Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja deals with Mahāprabhu's preaching against māyāvāda, and in particular His interpretation of the famous ātmarāma verse of the Bhāgavatam. In his commentary, Swami B.V. Giri expands on these verses with explanations on the Catuh-ślokī Bhāgavata and the Daśa-mūlā of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura.

Prema Dhama Deva Stotram – Verses 46-50

by
His Divine Grace
Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī Mahārāja

with the
Narasiṅgha Sevaka Vivṛtti
by Tridaṇḍi Swami Bhakti Vijñāna Giri

Verse 46

brahma-sūtra-bhāṣya-kṛṣṇa-nāradopadeśakaṁ
śloka-turya-bhāṣaṇānta-kṛṣṇa-samprakāśakam
śabda-vartanānta-hetu-nāma-jīva-nistaraṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

brahma-sūtra – the Vedānta-sūtra; bhāṣya – commentary; kṛṣṇa – Śrī Kṛṣṇa; nārada – Nārada; upadeśaka – teachings; śloka – verses; turya – transcendental; bhāṣaṇa – words; anta – conclusion; kṛṣṇa – Śrī Kṛṣṇa; samprakāśaka – fully revealed; śabda – sound; vartana – benefit; anta – ultimate; hetu – cause; nāma – the Holy Name; jīva – the jīvas; nistara – deliver; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva – indeed; naumi – I offer obeisance; gaurasundara – Gaurasundara.

TRANSLATION

I offer my obeisance unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. Mahāprabhu taught how Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s teachings to Nārada are the actual commentary to the Vedānta-sūtras, and how ultimately Kṛṣṇa is fully revealed in the transcendental words of the catuḥ-śloki of the Bhāgavatam. He then explained that the sound of the Holy Name awards the highest benefit to the jīvas.

Commentary

During His conversation with Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, Śrī Caitanyadeva was asked why He neglected the study of Vedānta which is the sole duty of a sannyāsī. The Lord replied that His guru considered Him to be a fool, and told Him that He was unqualified to study the Vedānta-darśana. Instead, He was instructed to chant the kṛṣṇa-mantra constantly. From Mahāprabhu’s words we understand that firstly, a disciple should always consider himself to be a fool in the presence of his guru. If a disciple attempts to display his learning and prowess in front of his spiritual master, he commits maryādā-vyatikrama, or overstepping the boundary of etiquette. He then becomes guilty of the nāmāparādha of gurvājñā (disrespecting the guru). The second teaching that we glean from the Lord’s statement is that sometimes when preaching, a humble attitude is necessary rather than an aggressive mentality. Although Prakāśānanda and his followers were offenders to the form of Kṛṣṇa and ultimately considered themselves to be Brahman, nevertheless, they showed respect to Mahāprabhu and spoke kind words to Him when he arrived in their assembly. The third instruction we find here is that a disciple should consider the words of his guru to be his life and soul. By completely following the guru’s instructions without deviation, a disciple will attain all perfection in this life.

At the beginning of this verse, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja writes, brahma-sūtra-bhāṣya-kṛṣṇa-nāradopadeśaka (‘Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s teachings to Nārada are the actual commentary to the Vedānta-sūtras’). As mentioned in the previous commentary, the Garuḍa Purāṇa states how the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is the natural commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra. Even after writing the Vedāntasūtra, which was supposed to be the conclusion of all the Vedas (veda-anta), Śrīla Vyāsadeva was still dissatisfied. By the mercy of his guru, Śrī Nārada, Vyāsa then began to compose the Bhāgavatam. Because of the concise nature of the Vedānta-sūtras however, they are open to interpretation. Thus, we find Vedānta commentaries given by various sampradāyas of Vaiṣṇavas, māyāvādīs, Śaktas, Śaivites etc. But the words of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam are very clear and precise as to who is the āśraya-tattva and what is the ultimate goal of human life. Those who are expert in śāstra have shown how every sūtra in the Vedānta corresponds to a śloka from the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Thus, the teachings that descended from Kṛṣna to Nārada, to Vyāsa, which eventually manifest as the emperor of all Vedic literature, the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, are the natural commentary on the Vedānta.

In the next line, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja writes, śloka-turya-bhāṣaṇānta-kṛṣṇa-samprakāśaka (‘ultimately Kṛṣṇa is fully revealed in the transcendental words of the catuḥ-śloki of the Bhāgavatam’). During Mahāprabhu’s discussion with the māyāvādīs of Kāśī, Mahāprabhu said:

praṇavera yei artha gāyatrīte sei haya
sei artha catuḥ-ślokīte vivariyā kaya

brahmāre īśvara catuḥ-ślokī ye kahilā
brahmā nārade sei upadeśa kailā

nārada sei artha vyāsere kahilā
śuni veda-vyāsa mane vicāra karilā

ei artha āmāra sūtrera vyākhyānurūpa
bhāgavata kariba sūtrera bhāṣya-svarūpa

(“Whatever is the meaning of praṇava [oṁ] is present within the gāyatrī-mantra, and that is explained in detail in the catuḥ-śloki. The catuḥ-śloki was spoken by the Lord to Brahmā, and Brahmā taught this to Nārada. Nārada spoke the meaning of this to Vyāsa, and hearing this, Veda Vyāsa meditated upon it. Vyāsa said ‘This is the proper explanation of my sūtras. Thus, I will compose the Bhāgavatam as the natural commentary to them.’” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 25.94-97)

The ‘seed-form’ of the Bhāgavatam is known as the catuḥ-śloki – the original four verses given by Kṛṣṇa to Brahmā, and passed down to Nārada and then to Vyāsadeva. These verses encapsulate the knowledge of sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana.

aham evāsam evāgre nānyad yat sad-asat param
paścād ahaṁ yad etac ca yo ’vaśiṣyeta so ’smy aham

(“I alone existed before the universal creation, and I am superior to the gross and subtle plane. I am what you perceive at present, and I alone exist after the universal annihilation.” – Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 2.9.33)

ṛte ’rthaṁ yat pratīyeta na pratīyeta cātmani
tad vidyād ātmano māyāṁ yathābhāso yathā tamaḥ

(“If that which appears to have some purpose has no connection to Me, then you should understand this to be My māyā potency. It is like an appearance of light or darkness.” – Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 2.9.34)

yathā mahānti bhūtāni bhūteṣūccāvaceṣv anu
praviṣṭāny apraviṣṭāni tathā teṣu na teṣv aham

(“Just as the material elements enter into the forms of the living beings, both high and low, similarly, I also exist within all created things, yet simultaneously I am outside of everything.” – Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 2.9.35)

etāvad eva jijñāsyaṁ tattva-jijñāsunātmanaḥ
anvaya-vyatirekābhyāṁ yat syāt sarvatra sarvadā

(“That person who is inquisitive about the supreme truth of the self inquires in all circumstances through direct and indirect means of deliberation about that object concerning the Supreme Consciousness.”- Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 2.9.36)

When Vyāsa received these ślokas from Nārada, he meditated upon them with great intensity and eventually composed the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, the result of his bhāvasamādhi. It is significant that in describing the catuḥ-śloki in this verse, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja uses the word turya, which according to the Upaniṣads, is the fourth plane of consciousness. The four levels of consciousness are jāgrata (where one is conscious of one’s physical surroundings), svapna (the dream state where consciousness lies in the subtle plane), suṣupti (the deep dream state when the consciousness resides in the mental sphere) and turya (the spiritual state which transcends all material planes). Turya corresponds with the plane of samādhi, and is ruled over by Vāsudeva. Thus, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja has described the catuḥ-śloki as turya-bhāṣa, or those transcendental words that inspired Vyāsa’s meditation which ultimately revealed Kṛṣṇa (ānta-kṛṣṇa-samprakāśaka) through the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam.

Finally, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja writes, śabda-vartanānta-hetu-nāma-jīva-nistara (‘He then explained that the sound of the Holy Name awards the highest benefit to the jīvas’). When Mahāprabhu told Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī that His guru had stated He had no qualification to study the Vedānta and that He should constantly chant kṛṣṇa-nāma, the Lord was indirectly saying that the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa is the very essence of the Vedānta. The conclusion of the Vedāntā is oṁ anāvṛttiḥ śabdāt anāvṛttiḥ śabdāt (“Due to sound, there is no return, due to sound there is no return.” – Vedānta-sūtra 4.4.22). That sound, or śabda-brahma, is the Name of Kṛṣṇa. Mahāprabhu also told Prakāśānanda that His guru had given him a śloka which he instructed the Lord to always keep on His tongue:

harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā

(“There is only the Name of Hari, the Name of Hari, the Name of Hari – there is no other way, no other way, no other way in the age of Kali. There is no other way.” – Bṛhan-Nāradīya-Purāna 3.8.126)

This verse explains that specifically during Kali-yuga, when other forms of sādhana are extremely difficult to perform, hari-nāma alone is the most effective and reliable process. In order to stress this point, the phrase harer nāma (the Name of Hari) is repeated three times, and the phrase nasty eva (no other) is also repeated three times. Thus, in the age of Kali, the nāmāvatāra, or the descent of the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa, is the only means of deliverance for the jīvas who are floundering in the stormy ocean of saṁsāra.

Verse 47

ātma-rāma-vācanādi-nirviśeṣa-khaṇḍanaṁ
śrauta-vākya-sārthakaika-cid-vilāsa-maṇḍanam
divya-kṛṣṇa-vigrahādi-gauṇa-buddhi-dhikkaraṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

ātma-rāma-vācana – the ātma-rāma verse; ādi – etc; nirviśeṣa – impersonalism; khaṇḍana – destroy; śrauta – the śruti; vākya – statement; sārthaka – significance; eka – one; cid – transcendental; vilāsa – pastimes; maṇḍana – adorned; divya – divine; kṛṣṇa – Śrī Kṛṣṇa; vigrahādi – form, name etc; gauṇa – secondary; buddhi – mentality; dhikkara – condemned; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva – indeed; naumi – I offer obeisance; gaurasundara – Gaurasundara.

TRANSLATION

I offer my obeisance unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. Through the ātma-rāma verse and others, He eliminated the misconception of nirviśeṣa, and revealed the primary significance of statements from the śruti in regards to the Lord’s transcendental playful pastimes. In doing so, He fully condemned the mentality that the divine form, name, qualities and pastimes of Kṛṣṇa are secondary principles of Brahman.

Commentary

The ultimate conclusion of māyāvāda is that Brahman is nirviśeṣa – devoid of any attributes whatsoever. The māyāvādi believes that the Supreme cannot possess qualities, otherwise this goes against their misconstrued explanation of the śāstra which they believe states that Brahman is nirviśeṣa, nirākara (formless), niḥśakti (without any potency) and nirguṇa (without qualities). They claim that when Brahman desires to take on a form, He appears as Viṣṇu, Śiva, Gaṇeśa etc. which they refer to as saguṇa-brahma (the Supreme with a material form) as opposed to the original nirguṇa-brahma (the Supreme without any form). What they fail to explain is how the desireless Brahman suddenly desires to accept a form, and for what purpose. If the purpose is to reinstate the jīvas in their constitutional position as Brahman, then this suggests that Brahman possesses the quality of kāruṇya (compassion) which goes against their theory of Brahman being devoid of qualities.

During the course of His conversation with Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, Mahāprabhu eliminated the doctrine of māyāvāda (nirviśeṣa-khaṇḍana) and presented many verses from śāstra, in the same way that he did with Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya in Purī. One of the verses He quoted to Sārvabhauma was the famous śloka from the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam:

ātmārāmāś ca munayo nirgranthā apy urukrame
kurvanty ahaitukīṁ bhaktim ittham-bhūta-guṇo hariḥ

(“Although some sages find bliss within the self and are free from all material bondage, they also engage in unmotivated bhakti to Urukrama, because Hari possesses qualities that attracts even them.” – Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.7.10)

Śrī Caitanya also spoke on this verse to Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī and gave sixty-one explanations to it. This will also be explained in further detail in Verse 50.

Mahāprabhu quoted verses from the śruti-śāstra to validate the Vaiṣṇava siddhānta. The śāstra is comprised of śruti (that which is heard) and smṛti (that which is remembered). Śruti refers to the Vedas, Upaniṣads, Saṁhitās and Āraṇyakas which are considered to be apauruṣeya (not composed by anyone). The smṛti refers to the Purāṇas, Itihāsas, Dharma Śāstra etc. composed by the great ṛṣis such as Vyāsa, Parāśara etc. Generally, the māyāvādī school gives more stress to the śrutiśāstra, thus in his discussions with Sārvabhauma and Prakāśānanda, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu also quoted the śruti.

There are many verses in the śruti, in particular the Upaniṣads, that emphasis abheda (non-difference between the jīva and Brahman) and many that emphasis bheda (difference between the jīva and Brahman). Naturally, māyāvādis consider the abheda-vākya to be absolute and consider bhedavākya to be relative. Mahāprabhu explained how all statements of the śruti are perfect, but the māyāvādīs present explanations that go against the very meaning of them. For example:

tad ejati tan naijati tad dūre tad vantike
tad antar asya sarvasya tad u sarvasyāsya bāhyataḥ

(“He walks, yet He does not walk. He is far, yet He is also near. He is within everything, yet He is outside of it also.” – Iśopaniṣad 5)

The māyāvādī claims that this verse refers to both saguṇa-brahma (‘He walks, He is close, He is in everything’) and nirguṇabrahma (‘He doesn’t walk, He is far, he is outside of everything’). However, according to Mahāprabhu’s acinyta-bhedābheda siddhānta, this is not so. The very notion of there being an impersonal Brahman (nirguṇa) that adopts forms made of the five gross material elements (saguṇa) is foreign to the śāstra. This was only introduced by Ādi Śaṅkārācārya in order to harmonise the bheda and abheda vākya in the śruti. Acinyta-bhedābheda accepts that statements such as these refer to those activities of the Lord that are executed by His acintya-śakti (inconceivable potency). He has no material attributes, thus His walking, His holding, His seeing etc. cannot be compared to what we generally perceive in this physical world. He is far, yet also near, He is in everything and also outside of everything – He is the closest thing to us, residing within every atom and within everyone’s hearts as Paramātmā, the indwelling monitor. Yet He is also far from us when our consciousness is covered by the veil of māyā. An awareness of such seemingly contradictory elements is known as acintya (inconceivable). If one has the eyes to see, all the statements of the śruti only refer to Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His cid-vilāsa (transcendental pastimes). An example of this is found in the Chāndogya Upaniṣad (8.13):

śyāmāc chavalaṁ prapadye śavalāc chyāmaṁ prapadye
vidhūya pāpaṁdhūtvā śarīram kṛtaṁ kṛtātmā brahma-lokam-abhisambhavāmīti

(“To receive the mercy of Śyāma, I surrender unto His energy [Śrī Rādhā], and to receive the mercy of His energy, I surrender unto Śyāma.”)

Because the māyāvādīs consider the form of Kṛṣna and all other avatāras as material, they also assume that their Names, qualities and pastimes are of the same mundane nature – all these forms and their attributes are secondary principles of Brahman. They are simply implements for a jīva to meditate upon until he ascends to the plane of sattvaguṇa, whereupon he realises that he is actually Brahman, at which point, he can dispense with saguṇabrahma and fully immerse himself in the true nirguṇa aspect of Brahman until he is assimilated into the Supreme. Śrī Caitanyadeva considered this misconception to be a mental aberration and totally condemned it (divya-kṛṣṇa-vigrahādi-gauṇa-buddhi-dhikkara).

Verse 48

brahma-pāramātmya-lakṣaṇādvayaika-vācanaṁ
śrī-vraja-sva-siddha-nanda-līla-nanda-nandanam
śrī-rasa-svarūpa-rāsa-līla-gopa-sundaraṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

brahma – Brahman; pāramātmya – of Paramātmā; lakṣaṇa – characteristics; advaya – non-dual; eka – one; vācana – explained; śrī-vraja – Śri Vraja-dhāma; sva-siddha – perfect within Himself; nanda – blissful; līla – pastimes; nanda-nandana – the Son of Nanda; śrī – conjugal; rasa – mellows; svarūpa – embodiment; rāsa-līla – the pastime of the rāsa-līlā; gopa – cowherd; sundara – beautiful; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva – indeed; naumi – I offer obeisance; gaurasundara – Gaurasundara.

TRANSLATION

I offer my obeisance unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. Mahāprabhu explained how the characteristics of Brahman and Paramātmā are harmonised and surpassed by the non-dual Son of Nanda who resides in Śrī Vraja-dhāma, who is self-perfect, and the Performer of blissful pastimes. He is that beautiful cowherd boy whose form is the embodiment of conjugal rasa, and who sports in the rāsa-līlā.

Commentary

While explaining the ātmārāma verse of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam to Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrīman Mahāprabhu quoted another famous śloka:

vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam
brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate

(“The seers that know the Absolute Truth call this non-dual substance Brahman, Paramātmā or Bhagavān.” – Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.2.11)

Because the aspects of Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān are absolute by nature, they are referred to as advaya-jñāna-tattva, pure non-dual consciousness which everything else depends upon. Kṛṣṇa is akhila-rasāmṛta-mūrti, the embodiment of all rasas. Thus, all these are ultimately features of Kṛṣṇa Himself, as stated in this verse by Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja (brahma-pāramātmya-lakṣaṇādvayaika-vācana). This is also explained by Mahāprabhu:

sei brahma-śabde kahe svayaṁ-bhagavān
advitīya-jñāna yāṅhā vinā nāhi āna

(“The word ‘brahma’ refers to Svayaṁ Bhagavān. He is that supreme non-dual knowledge, without whom there is nothing else.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 24.74)

ātma śabde kahe kṛṣṇa bṛhattva-svarūpa
sarva-vyāpaka sarva-sākṣī parama-svarūpa

(“The word ‘ātma’ refers to Kṛṣṇa whose form is the greatest of all. In that superior form, He is all-pervasive and all-knowing.”– Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 24.77)

brahma-ātmā śabde yadi kṛṣṇere kahaya
rūḍhi-vṛttye nirviśeṣa antaryāmī kaya

(“Although the words ‘brahma’ and ‘ātmā’ ultimately refer to Kṛṣna, the direct meaning of these words refer to the Impersonal Absolute and the indwelling monitor.”– Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 24.82)

Brahman, the impersonal aura of Kṛṣṇa and the preliminary conception of transcendence, primarily represents the state of consciousness (cit). Brahman is approached by jñānīs who aspire to merge into the Brahman effulgence and attain peace.

The Paramātmā feature is a more developed feature of the Absolute Truth, essentially representing the state of existence (sat). Paramātmā is all-permeating and manifests the material world, entering the hearts of all living beings in a sub-atomic form. He is approached by the yogīs in a mood of neutrality.

Bhagavān is the realisation of the personal aspect of the Absolute and is considered to be the ultimate stage of self-realisation. Bhagavān primarily represents the aspect of ānanda (divine bliss). He is approached by the topmost transcendentalists who desire to render service unto Him. Bhagavān is initially conceived of in His majestic aspect of aiśvarya-pradhāna (predominating reverence) in the form of Nārāyaṇa and the vaikuṇṭḥa-mūrtis. Superseding this is the feature of mādhurya-pradhāna (predominating sweetness), the sweet and charming aspect of Kṛṣṇa, the Son of Nanda Mahārāja of Vraja (śrī-vraja-sva-siddha-nanda-līla-nanda-nandanam). In describing Kṛṣna, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja has used the phrase sva-siddha (‘perfect within Himself’) to indicate how Kṛṣna is fully independent and everything rests upon Him. As Svayaṁ Bhagavān, He is the source of all avatāras, Paramātmā and Brahman. Not only is Kṛṣṇa sva-siddha, but also His pastimes (sva-siddha-nanda-līlā) and His abode (śrī-vraja-sva-siddha) and everything in direct relation to Him are also perfect and independent of any external element.

In His explanation of the ātmārāma śloka, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu describes this progressive theological ontology from Brahman to Paramātmā, to Vaikuṇṭha, and then He describes the various rasas found within Vraja-dhāma. The ontology of vrajarasa is described by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī in his Upadeśāmṛta:

vaikuṇṭhāj janito varā madhu-purī tatrāpi rāsotsavād
vṛndāraṇyam udāra-pāṇi-ramaṇāt tatrāpi govardhanaḥ
rādhā-kuṇḍam ihāpi gokula-pateḥ premāmṛtāplāvanāt
kuryād asya virājato giri-taṭe sevāṁ vivekī na kaḥ

(“Because Śrī Kṛṣṇa appeared there, Mathurā is considered to be spiritually superior to Vaikuṇṭha. Greater than Mathurā is the forest of Vṛndāvana because this was where the rāsa-līlā pastimes of the Lord took place. Govardhana Hill is considered to be superior to Vṛndāvana because Kṛṣṇa performed wonderful pastimes there and raised it with His hand. However, Rādhā-kuṇḍa is superior to Govardhana because it is brimming with the nectar of divine love for the Lord of Gokula. Which intelligent person will not render service to this place which is situated at the foot of Govardhana?” – Upadeśāmṛta 9)

In this verse by Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja, he initially refers to Kṛṣṇa as Nanda-nandana, the Son of Nanda Mahārāja, indicating vātsalya-bhāva. However, in the next line he writes, śrī-rasa-svarūpa-rāsa-līla-gopa-sundara, indicating the supremacy of mādhurya-rasa over all other primary rasas. He describes Kṛṣna, the beautiful cowherd boy, as śrī-rasa-svarūpa. The word śrī here is not used as mere ornamentation. Firstly, śrī is used as an honorific to indicate that rasa’s superiority above all other mellows. Secondly, śrī refers to Śrījī, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, who is the guru of the mādhurya-rasa. Thus, śrī-rasa-svarūpa means ‘He who is the personification of that supreme mādhurya-rasa of whom Śrī Rādhā is the primary focus.’ This is also confirmed by the following words, rāsa-līlā, referring to Kṛṣṇa’s rasa-dance with Rādhārāṇī and the gopīs. Thus, in this verse, Śrīla Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī has given a concise explanation of the theistic ontology found within Gauḍīya siddhānta.

Verse 49

rādhikā-vinoda-mātra-tattva-lakṣaṇānvayaṁ
sādhu-saṅga-kṛṣṇa-nāma-sādhanaika-niścayam
prema-sevanaika-mātra-sādhya-kṛṣṇa-tatparaṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

rādhikā-vinoda – Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Vinoda; mātra – only; tattva – philosophical truths; lakṣaṇa – characteristics; anvaya – explanation; sādhu-saṅga – association with sādhus; kṛṣṇa-nāma – the Name of Kṛṣṇa; sādhana – means of attainment; eka – only; niścaya – certainly; prema-sevana – service with prema; eka-mātra – exclusively; sādhya – goal; kṛṣṇa – Śrī Kṛṣṇa; tatpara dedication; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva – indeed; naumi – I offer obeisance; gaurasundara – Gaurasundara.

TRANSLATION

I offer my obeisance unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. The Lord explained how the characteristics of all philosophical truths only culminate in Rādhikā-Vinoda, and the only means of attaining Them is through sādhu-saṅga and kṛṣṇa-nāma. Thus, the ultimate goal is to exclusively render service to Kṛṣṇa with a mood of divine love.

Commentary

In the first line of this śloka, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja has written how Mahāprabhu taught that all tattvas ultimately culminate in Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Vinoda, and by invoking Their Name, he has indirectly pointed us towards the Daśa Mūla (ten fundamental truths) of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. In many of his writings, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda has presented a detailed explanation of the ten fundamental tattvas that were taught by Śrī Caitanyadeva. These ten principles encompass all major philosophical truths and they are as follows:

āmnāyaḥ prāha tattvaṁ harim iha paramaṁ sarva-śaktiṁ rasābdhiṁ
tad-bhinnāṁśāṁś ca jīvān prakṛti-kavalitān tad-vimuktāṁś ca bhāvād
bhedābheda-prakāśaṁ sakalam api hareḥ sādhanaṁ śuddha-bhaktiṁ
sādhyaṁ tat-prītim evety upadiśati hareḥ gaura-candraḥ bhaje tam

I worship Śrī Hari Gauracandra, who has taught:

    1. The Vedas are the only evidence.
    2. Hari is Supreme
    3. He is the Possessor of all potencies
    4. He is an ocean of rasa.
    5. The jīva is His separated particle.
    6. Some jīvas are bound by māyā.
    7. Some jīvas are liberated.
    8. Everything that is manifest is simultaneously different and non-different from Him.
    9. Pure bhakti is the means of attainment.
    10. Love for Him is the goal.

A comprehensive understanding of sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana as found in the Daśa Mūla is imperative for all serious sādhakas, so much so that Śrīla Bhaktivinoda writes in his Daśa Mūla Niryāsa, “One who is indifferent to the siddhānta of the Daśa Mūla will never prosper in kṛṣṇa-bhakti.” Thus it behooves all Vaiṣṇavas to study the Daśa Mūla from the writings of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura.

In the second line of this verse, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja explains the primary mode of sādhana as to how one can attain the lotus feet of Rādhā-Vinoda – sādhu-saṅga-kṛṣṇa-nāma-sādhanaika-niścaya (‘the only means of attaining Them is through sādhu-saṅga and kṛṣṇa-nāma’). The glories and importance of sādhu-saṅga and kṛṣṇa-nāma are unlimited and both are inextricable from each other. This line composed by Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja can be understood in two ways – firstly, that sādhu-saṅga and kṛṣṇa-nāma are the only means of sādhana, and secondly, that kṛṣṇanāma must be heard in association of sādhus. The source of that kṛṣṇa-nāma must be pure. That vibration must possess a connection to the higher plane. Otherwise, it will be mere imitation, devoid of any spiritual substance.

nāmākṣara bāhirāya baṭe nāma kabhu naya

(The syllables of the Name may appear, but the actual Name never does. – Prema Vivarta 7.1)

Thus, one must hear pure kṛṣṇanāma from those sādhus that have nāma-ruci (a taste for the Holy Name) and who understand nāma-tattva (the proper conception of the Holy Name). If one hears the Name from those who are devoid of these two qualities, one will become enveloped by nāmāparādha and fall down.

Sādhu-saṅga is not a means to an end (the end being prema-bhakti). The jñānīs and yogīs conceive of spiritual life as a solitary endeavour which ultimately leads to more isolation. Bhakti-yoga is not like that. Even upon achieving the goal, one never dispenses with the company of sādhus. This is explained by Mahāprabhu Himself:

kṛṣṇa-bhakti-janma-mūla haya sādhu-saṅga
kṛṣṇa-prema janme teṅho punaḥ mukhya aṅga

(“Sādhu-saṅga is the root-cause of kṛṣṇa-bhakti. Even when kṛṣṇa-prema appears, it is still the main principle.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 22.83)

Thus, we understand that śuddhabhakti cannot be attained by any other activity except through the association and grace of sādhus. Even if one possesses śraddhā in the process of bhakti, but does not seek out that sādhusaṅga which will benefit him, one will never make any real progress. It is the sādhu which is the active principle in spiritual life. By the grace of a sādhu, one attains śraddhā, and through that śraddhā, the taste to continue to associate with the Vaiṣṇavas is born. Then, amongst those Vaiṣṇavas one finds a sādhu who inspires him and accepts kṛṣṇanāma and dīkṣā from him. That sādhu then explains the theory and practice of bhajana. Bhajana primarily means kṛṣṇanāma, and it is the sādhu-vaiṣṇava who teaches nāma-tattva, explaining the details of nāmāparādha, nāmābhāsa and śuddhanāma. By engaging in bhajana, one removes anarthas while under the guidance of that sādhu and one becomes steady in his bhajana and sevā. Being fixed in bhajana, one attains an inclination towards a particular rasa, and the sādhus that one associates with encourage and nurture that inclination until it becomes strong attachment. Through constant bhajana and sādhusaṅga, that attachment intensifies and reaches the platform of divine ecstasy, finally culminating in divine love for Rādhā-Govinda (prema-sevanaika-mātra-sādhya-kṛṣṇa-tatpara), whereupon one continues to associate with those advanced sādhus in their siddha-svarūpa. Thus, at every step, the company of sādhus never leaves us.

Verse 50

ātma-rāma-vācanaika-ṣaṣṭikārtha-darśitaṁ
rudra-saṁkhya-śabda-jāta-yad-yad-artha-sambhṛtam
sarva-sarva-yukta-tat-tad-artha-bhuridākaraṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

ātma-rāmavācana – the ātmārāma verse; eka-ṣaṣṭika – sixty-one; artha – meaning; darśita – reveal; rudra-saṁkhya – eleven; śabda – words; jāta – kinds; yad-yad – whatever; artha – meaning; sambhṛta – together; sarva-sarva – each and every; yukta – combination; tattat – all those; artha – meaning; bhurida – treasure; ākara – mine; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva – indeed; naumi – I offer obeisance; gaurasundara – Gaurasundara.

TRANSLATION

I offer my obeisance unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. Mahāprabhu revealed sixty-one meanings of the ātmarāma verse, and combining each of the eleven words, He established that each and every meaning is a mine laden with treasures.

Commentary

The famous ātmarāma verse of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam was previously mentioned in Verse 47 by Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja. In this verse, he again refers to it in relation to Mahāprabhu’s teachings to Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī Prabhu found in Chapter 24 of the Madhyalīlā of Caitanyacaritāmṛta. The ātmarāma verse is:

ātmārāmāś ca munayo nirgranthā apy urukrame
kurvanty ahaitukīṁ bhaktim ittham-bhūta-guṇo hariḥ

(“Although some sages find bliss within the self and are free from all material bondage, they also engage in unmotivated bhakti to Urukrama, because Hari possesses qualities that attracts even them.” – Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.7.10)

Sanātana Gosvāmī Prabhu had heard that the Lord had previously presented eighteen interpretations to the ātmarāma verse when He defeated Sārvabhauma, thus Sanātana humbly petitioned Śrī Caitanyadeva to kindly repeat these explanations again. Upon hearing this request, Mahāprabhu humbly stated:

prabhu kahe āmi vātula āmāra vacane
sārvabhauma vātula tāhā satya kari māne

kibā pralāpilāṅa kichu nāhika smaraṇe
tomāra saṅga-bale yadi kichu haya mane

(The Lord said, “I am a madman, and because Sārvabhauma is also a madman, he accepted My words as true. I have no recollection what I was rambling about, but by the strength of your association something may come to My mind.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 24.7-8)

Mahāprabhu then explained how this śloka is comprised of eleven sections, each of which has many meanings. The eleven words are (1) ātmārāma, (2) ca, (3) muni, (4) nirgrantha, (5) api, (6) urukrama, (7) kurvanti, (8) ahaitukī, (9) bhakti, (10) ittham-bhūta-guṇa, and (11) hari. The Lord then explained each word in detail, the essence of which is as follows:

1) Ātmārāma – the physical body, the mind, endeavour, steadiness, intelligence and intrinsic nature. The word ātmārāma refers to one who enjoys all these.

2) Ca – this word is used to connect words or sentences together, to gather, to assist an explanation, to assist with an understanding, to suggest another effort, to assist with the metre of a śloka, and to imply a sense of certainty.

3) Muni – one who is introspective, one who is silent, a tapasvī (an ascetic), a vratī (one who undergoes spiritual vows), a sannyāsī, a ṛṣi, and a muni (philosopher).

4) Nirgrantha – one who is liberated from the bonds of ignorance, one who is beyond the rules of the śāstra, one who is devoid of knowledge, illiterate, low-born, those who are Mlecchas etc, those who do not follow the śāstra, one who accumulates wealth, and one who is poor. The prefix niḥ refers to a state of determination, succession, formation or prohibition. The word grantha means wealth, a collection of references, or a composition.

5) Api – this word is used to suggest a possibility, a question, a doubt, a rebuke, aggregation, an appropriate application of various topics, and extravagance.

6) Urukrama – One whose steps are great (uru). The word krama means stride, to throw one’s foot forward, potency, trembling, process, rhetoric, a forward attack of great force. Urukrama refers to the Supreme Lord who methodically creates the various universes through His māyā-śakti.

7) Kurvanti – to do something for others. In other words, to execute bhakti to Kṛṣṇa.

8) Ahaitukī – this word comes from the root hetu (cause). Everything has three causes, i.e. to personally enjoy a result (bhukti), to achieve some particular perfection (siddhi), or to achieve liberation (mukti). Ahaitukī means a causeless motivation, because it is free from bhukti, mukti and siddhi.

9) Bhakti – sādhana-bhakti (vaidhi-bhakti) and prema-bhakti (rāgānuga-bhakti) which includes rati, prema, sneha, māna, praṇaya, rāga, anurāga, bhāva and mahā-bhāva.

10) Ittham-bhūta-guṇa – the phrase ittham-bhūta means pūrṇānandamaya (completely full of divine bliss). The word guṇa means quality, and the unlimited qualities of Śrī Kṛṣna which are all situated in transcendence.

11) Hari – that Lord who removes inauspiciousness, He who attracts the mind by dint of His prema.

After carefully analysing all these words, Mahāprabhu then gave sixty-one meanings to the ātmārāma śloka. In his Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī Prabhu has delineated all these in great detail and one should study Chapter 24 of the Madhya-līlā in order to fully appreciate Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s extraordinary explanations of this verse. The jñānīs, karmīs and yogīs interpret the ātmārāmaśloka according to their own particular philosophies. However, none of them truly understand its actual meaning because the verse clearly indicates śuddha-bhakti and how one should accept that path and surrender unto Kṛṣṇa.

After explaining this śloka to Sanātana, Mahāprabhu again told him that He was simply a madman:

ei mata kahiluṅ eka ślokera vyākhyāna
vātulera pralāpa kari ke kare pramāṇa

āmā-hena yebā keha vātula haya
ei dṛṣṭe bhāgavatera artha jānaya

(“In this way, blabbering like a madman, I have explained one śloka, but who will accept this as evidence? Only one who becomes a madman just like Me can understand the meaning of the Bhāgavata in this way.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 24.322-323)

Those who desire to understand the deep import of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, the crest-jewel amongst the Vedic śāstra, must follow in the footsteps of Śrī Caitanyadeva and become a madman. One must become mad for Kṛṣṇa, His Name, His form and His līlā, and abandon the world of so-called ‘sane’ people. Factually speaking, the entire material world is mad, from the indragopa germ up to the realm of the Devas. Like the inmates of a lunatic asylum who believe that they are Napoleon, Julius Caesar or Cleopatra, all the ‘inmates’ of saṁsāra believe that they are the temporary material body, when in fact they are the eternal ātmā. Madly chasing the phantasmagoria of material life, they are convinced that it will produce some eternal happiness when in fact everything in this mortal world is bound to end in misery and death. The ‘madness’ of Śrī Caitanya is reality because it is based upon Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Reality, and that Supreme Reality has been explained in detail in the divine words of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Only transcendental madmen can fully access the wealth of that great work.

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