Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sri Krishna Janmastami: The 4 principal verses of Bhagavad Gita (Srila Sridhar Maharaj)



Srila Sridhar Maharaj's deep-diving and beautiful translations and commentaries on the four principal verses of the Bhagavad Gita, where Krishna describes Himself as The Absolute and reveals what His business is with us, His emanations (simultaneously one with and different from Him). Thus hinting to His final, topmost and quintessential instruction: Abandon all varieties of duties, religion and spirituality and just surrender to Me (Bhagavad Gita 18.66).




Verse 10.8

aham sarvasya prabhavo, mattah sarvam pravartate
iti matva bhajante mam, budha bhava-samanvitah
aham prabhavah - I am the Supreme Absolute Truth, svayam Bhagavan or the original Supreme Lord, the cause; sarvasya - of all causes, including Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan, i.e., the all-comprehensive aspect of the Absolute, the all-permeating aspect of the Absolute, and the personal aspect of the Absolute, which is endowed with all the qualities that attract everyone to serve Him; sarvam - All attempts in the universe of matter and spirit, and the Vedas and allied scriptures with their functions; pravartate - begin; mattah - Realizing; iti - this mystery; budhah - persons blessed with fine theistic intellect; bhava-samanvitah - endowed with their internal devotional nature of servitude, friendship, parenthood, or consorthood; bhajante - devote themselves; mam - unto Me. 

Translation

I am Krsna, the Sweet Absolute. I am the root cause of the all-comprehensive aspect of the Absolute, the all-permeating aspect of the Absolute, and also the personal aspect of the Absolute – the Master of all potencies, who commands the respect of everyone – Lord Narayana of Vaikuntha. The universe of mundane and divine flow, every attempt and movement, the Vedas and allied scriptures which guide everyone's worship – all are initiated by Me alone. Realizing this hidden treasure, the virtuous souls who are blessed with fine theistic intellect surpass the standards of duty and nonduty, and embrace the paramount path of love divine, raga-marga, and adore Me forever. 


Commentary

Verses 8–11 are the four principal verses of the Srimad Bhagavad-gita. The ontological substance of the book is contained within these four essential verses, beginning aham sarvasya prabhavo – "Everything emanates from Me." In the Srimad Bhagavatam (1.2.11), the three main conceptions of the Absolute are given as Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan. Brahman is the all-comprehensive aspect of the Absolute. Paramatma is the all-permeating aspect of the Absolute, and Bhagavan is the personal conception of the Absolute. The general definition of the word Bhagavan is given,
aisvaryasya samagrasya, viryasya yasasah sriyah
jnana-vairagyayos' caiva, sannam bhaga itingana
Bhagavan, the Supreme Lord, is thus defined as "He who is inseparately replete with the six inconceivable qualities of wealth, power, fame, beauty, knowledge, and renunciation." (Visnu Purana 6.5.47)
The characteristic of Bhagavan, as Lord Narayana, is that all kinds of potencies are personally controlled by Him. However, Srila Jiva Goswami has given a special and particularly fine interpretation: Bhagavan means bhajaniya guna-visista. His nature is such that whoever comes into contact with Him cannot resist serving Him. No one can resist feeling moved to worship and adore His charming personality. As Lord Krsna, He attracts the love of everyone. Therefore, by the word sarvasya, Lord Krsna indicates, "I am svayam Bhagavan, the Supreme Lord Himself. I am the origin of not only Brahman, the all-comprehensive aspect, and Paramatma, the all-permeating aspect. I am also the origin of the Master of all potencies, who commands the respect of everyone – Lord Narayana of Vaikuntha [the spiritual world]."  

Mattah sarvam pravartate – "Every attempt and movement begins from Me, including the methods by which everyone worships and serves Me in devotion."
nayam atma pravacanena labhyo
na medhaya na bahuna srutena
yam evaisa vrnute tena labhyas
tasyaisa atma vivrnute tanum svam
"The Lord cannot be known by copious logic, intelligence, or deep study of the scriptures. But He reveals Himself personally to the soul who, having become eager to engage in His devotional service, prays to Him for His mercy." (Kathopanisad 1.2.23)
In this way, mattah sarvam pravartate – "I am the first to reveal to the public, 'Worship Me in this way.' I appear as guru, and through him, I worship Myself." 

In the Srimad Bhagavatam, the guru is described by the Lord as His own direct manifestation.
acaryam mam vijaniyan, navamanyeta karhicit
na martya buddhyasuyeta, sarva deva-mayo guruh
(Lord Sri Krsna said to His devotee, Uddhava:) "You should know the bona fide spiritual master as My very Self. Never dishonor him. The nature of gurudeva is everything that is godly, and he should never be envied by ascribing one's mundane conception of place, time, and circumstances upon him."(Srimad Bhagavatam 11.17.27)
Furthermore, the Lord's finest potency is Srimati Radharani. Of course, there are many other eternal associates, but the highest order of devotional service is represented in Srimati Radharani. The Lord is therefore saying, "My worship is shown by Me. I, as My finest potency, worship Myself. Iti matva bhajante mam – understanding this conceptiom the devotee will come to worship Me, always under the direction of My best worshiper – My finest potency and representation – Radharani, or gurudeva. Crossing Her, the highest and most desirable form of service to Me is not possible."  

Radha-dasyam, the servitorship of Srimati Radharani, is indicated here. Only those who are blessed with divine intelligence will be able to appreciate this, and not persons with self-acquired intelligence from this mayika quarter, the world of misconception. In this verse, the word budhah refers to sumedhasah as described in the Srimad Bhagavatam (11.5.32): persons of fine theistic intelligence arising from direct connection with the transcendental plane. The inner guidance and direction they receive is the outcome of sukrti, divine merit acquired by the association of pure devotees. Bhava-samanvitah means raga-samanvitah –- anuraga – love and attraction which is affinity, not by strictly following scriptural rules, or drawn from any plane of loss and gain, but from bhava, inner divine inspiration. Devotion of this high type is completely noncalculative (jnana-sunya bhakti), as described by Srila Rupa Goswami in Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu:
anyabhilasita sunyam, jnana-karmady anavrtam
anukulyena krsnanusilanam bhaktir uttama
"The highest devotion pleases the transcendental desires of Lord Krsna, and is free from the external coverings of any pursuits based on action or knowledge." (Bh.r.s. 1.1.9)
The most rare and elevated stage of devotion is the line of spontaneous devotion, known as raga-marga. In that line, guided by the qualified guru, an elevated pure devotee may gradually come to render service to a leader of one of the groups of Krsna's personal associates, who serve the Lord in His pastimes in friendship (sakhya-rasa), parenthood (vatsalya-rasa), or consorthood (madhura-rasa). In Vrndavana, the Lord is being served in spontaneous devotion by His friends such as Subala Sakha, and by His parents, Nanda Maharaja and mother Yasoda. Gopis such as Lalita and Visakha serve Him in conjugal love. But amongst all His associates, and amongst all the gopis, the highest order of divine loving service is rendered to the Lord by Srimati Radharani. Therefore, the acme of raga-marga is to render service unto Radharani (Radha-dasyam). This is the highest goal of the Rupanuga Gaudiya Sampradaya, the followers of pure devotion as taught by Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhupada, in the line of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. 




Verse 10.9

mac-citta mad-gata-prana, bodhayantah parasparam
kathayantas ca mam nityam, tusyanti ca ramanti ca
mat-cittah - Those whose hearts are dedicated unto Me; mat-gata-pranah - who are inseparable from Me; (te)-they; nityam - always; parasparam - mutually; bodhayantah - exchange the ecstasies of their internal realizations; ca - and; mam kathayantah (santah) - discussing Me, i.e. engaging in Krsna-katha; tusyanti ca - they are gratified; ramanti ca - and taste the nectar of divine consorthood (madhura-rasa).

Translation

Those surrendered devotees take Me as their life and soul, and go on discussing My ambrosial narrations among one another, exchanging the ecstasies of devotion unto Me. They constantly relish the nectar of their realized divine relationships with Me in their respective internal natures of servitorship, friendship, parenthood, or consorthood. 


Commentary

The Supreme Lord Krsna is speaking about His pure devotees: mac-citta mad-gata-prana . . .
"I am in their heart of hearts, in their every thought. Their entire energy – their whole life – is dedicated to My satisfaction. In private life they converse about Me to mutually enlighten one another, and in public life also, they always love to talk about Me, and nothing else. For every time, place, and circumstance, I am the only subject of their discussion."
Tusyanti ca – "They find very much satisfaction." Up to the divine relationship of parenthood (vatsalya-rasa) there is a feeling of satisfaction. Furthermore, ramanti ca – "Just as a wife enjoys a conjugal relationship with her husband, the devotees similarly feel such ecstasy in My intimate company when speaking about Me." This has also been explained by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana, and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. 




Verse 10.10

tesam satata-yuktanam, bhajatam priti-purvakam
dadami buddhi-yogam tam, yena mam upayanti te
tesam priti-purvakam bhajatam - To those loving devotees; satata-yuktanam - who are constantly aspiring for My connection; (aham) - I; dadami - bestow; tam - that; buddhi-yogam - inspiration; yena - by which; te - they; upayanti - can come near; mam - to Me.

Translation

To those devotees who are constantly dedicated to Me, and who engage in My service out of their love for Me, I bestow the internal divine inspiration by which they can approach Me and render various intimate services unto Me. 


Commentary

ln this verse, the Lord says, "The highest group of My servitors (whose sentiment was described in the previous verse by the word ramanti) are those who are constantly engaged (satata-yukta) in My service in consorthood (madhura-rasa) with heartfelt love (bhajatam priti-purvakam)." Then He says that He will give them further inspiration or inner instruction "by which they can come to Him" (yena mam upayanti te). When already in this and the previous verse the devotees' service to the Lord has been described as eternal (by the words nityam and satata-yukta), Lord Krsna's statement that He will give them further inspiration by which they can come to Him appears to be redundant. Therefore, in the expression mam upayanti te ("They will come to Me"), the word upayanti must be defined as parakiya-bhavena – upapati. Pati means husband, and upapati means paramour: "For those who have already come into divine relationship with Me as My wife (ramanti), I give them the special inspiration to come to Me as a paramour (upapati)." 

In Vrndavana, Lord Krsna is not considered a lawful husband, but He is the Lord of the heart, transcendental to even the husband (parakiya-rasa). Deceiving their husbands, the gopis of Vrndavana unite with Krsna. They do not allow a second party to come between them and Krsna. They cannot allow the interception of even scriptural regulation and social law, because Krsna's position is absolute, and such a relationship is more relishable to Him. This is Vrndavana bhajana, and this is the meaning of upapati

"My relationship with them is independent of everything conceivable. It crosses law, society, scripture – everything. It is most innate and natural, and it does not require any social or scriptural sanction. I say to them, 'You may show formal respect to all these restrictions and live in the society. But from the heart of your heart, you are Mine.' This is the special inspiration and insight I give to those devotees (yena mam upayanti te)." 

"Externally there are social and scriptural demands, but My position is over and above them. Veda is My instruction for the benefit of the masses, who have deviated from Me, and the society is also under the jurisdiction of those general instructions given to the public by Me. But My divine relationship with everything is intrinsic and independent. It does not require recognition from anyone. Such a relationship is the highest. It is the constant. It supercedes all law and society which are guided by the Vedas; rather, all the Vedas are searching for such a thing." 

Srutibhir vimrgyam (Bhag. 10.47.61). Visesa-mrgya – the Vedas are searching after this ideal divine position. In the section of the Srimad Bhagavatam which deals with Rasa-lila, the Vedas are begging forgiveness: 

"We are generally supposed to give tidings of You, but we could not describe You as we now experience You here. Now we understand that we have committed an offense, because we could not distribute this Rasa-lila, this Vraja-lila, to the people." 

Like signposts, all the revealed scriptures are only showing the direction; but where, how? "We don't know." Only, "In this direction He may be available." 

Anywhere and everywhere, everything belongs to Him. For one who knows this, all possibilities of sensual pleasure and exploitation are uprooted. For example, an unmarried woman may have the possibility of being approached by many, but there is less possibility for those who are married, because they are possessed by someone. Similarly, when we are able to know that everything is only for the satisfaction of Krsna, then we shall realize that all our exploiting tendencies have vanished forever. Nothing will remain to be utilized for the pleasure of our sensual experience. It will be very deeply felt in our hearts that everything has its existence only for His satisfaction, and there is no room for any other exploitation. And we are also included there – our existence is also only for His satisfaction. Everything is meant for His divine pastimes (lila), and there is no possibility for any others' pastimes. All are included in that one lila. Encroachment will disappear when we learn the proper utility of everything. He is the owner, and His ownership is absolute. The scriptures, society, and law designate, "This is yours, that is another's, or that belongs to a third party." This is something like a temporary lease, but the permanent ownership is in all respects with Him. All others – possessor and property, master and servant – are all relative, and only sanctioned by Him for the time being. The Absolute Owner, Possessor, and Enjoyer is He alone. When we arrive at such a conclusion, only then is complete purification of our hearts possible. Everyone is thinking of themselves as many masters of many things, but this is all heart disease (hrd-rogam). This is all conceived in a diseased state of consciousness. In a healthy state, when the heart is quite wholesome we can see the Supreme whole, and we can see that everything is meant only for His satisfaction. 




Verse 10.11

tesam evanukampartham, aham ajnana-jam tamah
nasayamy atma-bhava-stho, jnana-dipena bhasvata
eva - Certainly; anukampa-artham - being subordinate to the love; tesam - of them; aham - I; atma-bhava-sthah - appearing within their hearts; nasayami - destroy; bhasvata jnana-dipena - by means of thew dazzling perception of meeting Me; tamah - the darkness of bewilderment; ajnana-jam - born of not seeing Me.

Translation

Out of compassion for them, I, situated within the hearts of all living beings, dispel the darkness of ignorance with the radiance of knowledge.
or
Being conquered by the love of those devotees who, in the most elevated position of noncalculative loving devotion (jnana-sunya prema-bhakti), are afflicted by all-devouring darkness born of the pangs of separation from Me, their Lord – I, granting them the internal illumination of meeting Me personally, destroy the darkness of their agony of separation. 


Commentary

The general interpretation is always given for this verse: "Out of compassion for them, I, situated within their hearts, dispel the darkness of ignorance with the radiance of knowledge." 

But if we appreciate pure, noncalculative devotion (jnana-sunya bhakti), the Lord's statement here may again appear redundant and inconsistent. When those high devotees are already admitted to be performing continuous and unadulterated service, and even above that, they are situated in the plane of pure love, spontaneous and automatic (raga-marga), how can it be harmonized that the Lord will now in the last stage destroy their ignorance (tamah) which is born from misunderstanding (ajnana-jam), by giving them knowledge (jnana) Jnana is only a cover – a futile, finite conception of the Infinite Absolute (jnana-karmady anavrtam . . . bhaktir uttama). When they have achieved devotion devoid of the covering of knowledge (jnana-sunya bhakti), how will they again have to return to that knowledge (jnana)? In his commentary, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has mentioned that this knowledge is extraordinary (vilaksanam), but he did not enter into specific detail. To clarify this point, we have given the following explanation: 

Lamentation and delusion are generally known to be symptoms of the mode of ignorance (tamo-guna). In jnana-sunya bhakti, the elevated devotees who take Krsna not as the Supreme God, but as a friend, son, husband or lover, will come to experience lamentation and delusion, but this is only an outward appearance of ignorance. In fact, it is the pain of divine separation. They lament, "Where have You gone?" 

In this verse, the Lord's statement, tesam evanukampartham generally means "Fortunately for them," or, "To favor them (I dispel their darkness, etc.)." But it may also be interpreted, "I want their favor. I aspire for the favor of those devotees of the highest order." 

The Lord also says in the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.82.44):
mayi bhaktir hi bhutanam, amrtatvaya kalpate
distya yad asin mat-sneho, bhavatinam mad-apanah
"Devotion to Me is the only means for the living beings to attain eternal life. O Gopis, by your fortune, your love and affection for Me is the only reason for your getting My association."
This is the general meaning. However, in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Goswami has drawn out the inner meaning, which is just the opposite: "Through devotion, everyone wants Me to help them attain the highest position of eternal benefit, and if they have a connection with Me, they consider themselves fortunate. But I consider Myself fortunate because I have come in touch with the valuable affection that I found in your hearts. By My fortune, I got your association." 

Therefore, here in Sri Gita, the Lord is saying, "Tesam evamukampartham - being conquered by the love of those devotees, when I cannot tolerate their pain of separation, I at once come running to satisfy them, and I reveal to them with special light, special consciousness, 'I have returned to you – see Me now.' With powerful brilliance (jnana-dipena) I show them My presence when they are very much in need of Me, and I relieve their pain of separation." 

Atma-bhava-sthah: He reveals Himself according to His devotees divine relationship with Him (rasa): to a friend, as a friend; to a mother, as a child; to a wife, as a husband; and to the sweethearts, as a paramour. 

After Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu left home and accepted the renounced order of life, sannyasa, mother Saci could not tolerate the deep separation, and she began to cry. Sacidevi was preparing excellent dishes, offering them to the Deity, and weeping, "Where is my Nimai? He's very fond of these curries. His favorite dishes and Nimai is not here." Suddenly, Lord Caitanya came and began to eat. Sacidevi exclaimed, "Oh, Nimai is eating!" and for the time being her separation was relieved. Moments later, she reconsidered, "Did I see Nimai eating? But He is now a sannyasi in Jagannatha Puri, so how could He have come here? Did I serve Him? There must be a mistake." Then she examined the pots again to see if there was food there. Finding them empty, she began to conjecture whether even a dog or some other animal had come and eaten it. But during that moment, Nimai had actually come, and mother Saci saw Him in broad daylight. That illumination is transcendental, and not the "knowledge" (jnana) that is generally known in our vocabulary. 

The acme of theism is parakiya-rasa. Parakiya means "another's." In every divine relationship (rasa), the Lord captures all. In the whole of Vrndavana, where everyone follows the path of love (raga-marga), this parakiya-rasa is infused. The friends of Krsna sometimes say, "Some people say that Krsna is a resident of Mathura. They say He's the son of Vasudeva, and He will soon go to Mathura. They say He is not our friend! Will we really lose His company? Then how will we be able to live in this jungle and drive the cows?" They experience this apprehension – "We may lose Him at any time." This intensifies their friendly service to Him. 

Similarly, mother Yasoda says, "Some say that Krsna is not my son, He's Devaki's son. What is this? I won't admit this. He's my child!" This idea enhances Yasoda's affection for Krsna: "I may lose Him? Then how shall I live?" Therefore, the parakiya-rasa stresses the rarity of Krsna's relationship, because the possibility of losing His company is always in the background. But the highest intensity of service is to be found in the madhura-rasa (conjugal) camp. In the other rasas, there is the idea of suspense that He may "go away," but in the conjugal relationship in the divine abode of Vrndavana, the consorts cross the direction of the scriptures and the society, which guide everyone to remain as husband and wife (svakiya). Parakiya ("another's") has heen accepted in the science of devotion as the highest conception, above svakiya ("belonging"), because social and scriptural sanction is generally a stale conception. Parakiya or paramour relationship is necessary to deceive those who claim ownership over another, such as a husband over the wife, or a parent over a child. In the normally accepted connection (svakiya) the relationship is very cheap, but to cross the jurisdiction of the scriptures and society, as a paramour, means a greater risk as if to commit sin. Thus, this relationship is very rare, and rarity enhances its intensity and value. The idea of deceiving the "possessor" to favor the "nonpossessor" is a beautiful ornamental conception. Actually in Krsna's case there cannot be any state of paramourship, because in truth He is the owner of everything. However, the divine arrangement is fashioned in this way to enhance the devotee's internal devotion for the Lord, just as food appears more tasteful when hunger is present. 

In the planets known as Vaikuntha, the nature of worship of Lord Visnu is gorgeous, majestic, reverential, and awe-inspiring. But above that, the highest conception of Godhead is just like a human form and nature. It is stated in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta in the teachings to Sanatana Goswami:
krsnera yateka khela sarvottama nara-lila
nara-vapu tahara svarupa
gopa-vesa venukara nava-kisora natavara
nara-lila haya anurupa
krsnera madhura-rupa suna sanatana
ye rupera eka kana dubaya saba tribhuvana
sarva-prani kare akarsana
"The most supreme form of Godhead is Krsna, who plays in His eternal divine pastimes just like a human being. An ever youthful cowherd boy of Vrndavana, He enacts His pastimes, always playing His flute. His beauty is so charming and sweet, that the whole universe is flooded by an atom of it, and all beings are drawn irresistibly to Him."
"He is approachable by all. We can find God nearest of all – in a human feature. It has been explained how Krsna's nature of human feature is the highest nature of the Absolute, according to the calculation of ecstasy (rasa), which is the common standard of measurement of the whole scope of the Infinite. By the development of santa-, dasya-, sakhya-, vatsalya-, and madhura-rasa, and then parakiya (peacefulness, servitude, friendship, parenthood, and consorthood, and then paramour relationship), this is scientifically proved, without whimsical or blind faith. If we follow the line of Rupanuga-bhajana (devotion following the standard of Srila Rupa Goswami) which originates from Sri Caitanyadeva, the scientific basis can be appreciated. The previous acaryas have left for us, step by step, how we can follow, conceive, and attain all things. 



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