Beautiful Truths of Bhagavata 009 “Beauty & Compassion”
Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das
Srimad Bhagavatam is called the “king of all spiritual books” (Grantha Raja) for good reason. Within this triguna-free, transcendental treatise, the amala-purana, which showcases the absolutely selfless, divine love of Srimati Radharani, one can find all the sweet, majestic and beautiful truths about the sadhana and sadhya (daily practice and perfection) of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.
In his most compassionate and wonderful shastra, Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita, Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja summarizes the teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the six Goswamis of Vrindavana by mentioning the same Bhagavatam verses that they used to substantiate their sublime instructions.
To emphasize the importance of these particular verses for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas, the same Bhagavatam verse is often mentioned two, three or more times in the Sri Chaitanya Caritamrta.
This series of posts presents these verses, along with selected tikas of our acharyas and the compiler. We will cover the beautiful truths, tattvas, of Krishna, Radha, Vaisnavas, Sri Guru, Bhakti Sadhana, Nama, Prema and more.
This post will present two Bhagavatam verses which best display Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s unique transcendental qualities of unexcelled beauty and unfathomable compassion. Acaryas tell that Vyasadeva directed his students to recite these two verses to Sri Shukadev who had run away into the forest to escape the bondage of samsara.
Upon hearing these astonishing verses, Shukadev become so overwhelmingly attracted and amazed that he abandoned his absorption in impersonal Brahman. He returned to his father’s ashram and heard the Srimad Bhagavatam from Vyasadeva. As a result, Shukadeva became great devotee of Radha and Krishna.
When Sri Nityananda Prabhu heard the venu-gita verse describing Sri Krishna’s gorgeous, beautiful divine form, He uttered “Ha Krishna!” and fainted, manifesting the eight ecstatic symptoms in His body. (Chaitanya Bhagavata 2.4.9)
Sri Pandit Baba said the following verse spoken by the gopis, whose matchless love for Krishna gives them the greatest perception, is the best verse describing Sri Krishna’s exquisite natural beauty. We humbly suggest that all devotees should learn these two most important verses for constant remembrance.
Krishna: Reality the Beautiful
barhapidam -nata-vara-vapuh, -karnayoh –karnikaram
bibhrad -vasah -kanaka-kapisham, -vaijayantim -ca -malam
randhran -venor -adhara-sudhaya, -purayan -gopa-vrndair
vrndaranyam -sva-pada –ramanam, pravishad -gita-kirtih
“Shyamasundara is entering the forest of Vrndavana accompanied by His cowherd boyfriends. In Krishna’s turban there is a peacock feather; over Krishna’s ears, a yellow karnikara flower; on Krishna’s body, a yellow dhoti glitters like gold; and around Krishna’s neck, extending down to Krishna’s knees, is a heart-stealing garland strung with five kinds of fragrant forest flowers.
Krishna’s beautiful dress is like that of an expert dancer on a stage, and the nectar of Krishna’s lips flows through the holes of Krishna’s flute. Singing Krishna’s glories, the cowherd boys follow from behind. In this way, this Vrndavana, which is more charming than Vaikuntha, has become even more beautiful by the impressions of Sri Krishna’s lotus feet, which are marked with the conch, disc and other symbols.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.21.5)
Sri Sanatana Goswami tika
The Vraja gopis are the best analysts of the glories of Krishna’s flute, which they frequently praise for its captivating power. More than anything else, the sound of Krishna’s flute most fully expresses the essence of Krishna’s sweetness (madhurya). This form of Krishna with attractive forest dress is the one which disturbed the gopis’ minds. Venugopal played the flute with a special bhava, which enchanted Him as well as the gopis.
Sri Jiva Goswamipada tika
Sri Krishna’s pearl necklace and gold armbands are not mentioned because of the overwhelming attractiveness of Krishna’s forest ornaments. The phrase “filled the holes of the flute with the nectar of His lips” indicates that the deep sound of Krishna’s flute would be as attractive, pleasing and satisfying as the nectar of Krishna’s lips. Vrindadevi cleaned and decorated the forest specially with the intention of stimulating Krishna for intimate pastimes with the Vraja gopis.
Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika
Sometimes Krishna wore one karnikara flower on the left ear and sometimes on the right ear to express the intoxication of His youth. Krishna purposefully dressed in an artful way to display His youthful charms in order to incite romantic desires within the gopis. Krishna’s flute song fully exhibits its powers by conquering the Vraja-gopis with Cupid.
The Limit of Compassion
“Krishna is so merciful that He gave Putana rakshasi the position of mother. You will never find in any country, at any time, in any grantha, any shastra, such a merciful Lord as Krishna. This is the message of Srimad Bhagavatam.” (Sri Gaur Govinda Swami)
“Upon hearing the following verse, Pundarika Vidyanidhi, an eternal associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, became very serious. He began to throw his hands and feet left and right. He began to roll on his bed, tearing off his silk clothing and the silk sheets. He was pulling out his beautifully curled and decorated hair.
He began to cry, ‘Of whom should I take shelter but that most magnanimous Sri Krishna? Where should I take refuge, without such a great master.’ With this upon his lips, he was rolling on the floor in ecstasy.” (Sri Swami B.R. Sridhar)
aho -baki –yam,- stana-kala-kutam
jigham –sayapaya, -yad -apy -asadhvi
lebhe -gatim dhatry, -ucitam tato ’nyam
kam -va -dayalum, saranam -vrajema
Lamenting in separation from Sri Krishna, Uddhava sighed, “Aho, how wonderful it is! Although the Putana-witch came to kill Krishna with her poison-smeared breasts, Krishna granted her the position of a nurse in Goloka Vrndavana! To whom else but this merciful Krishna, who grants a good destination even to someone who simply dresses like a devotee, should I take shelter?” (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.2.23)
Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada
Even though Putana, who feigned the sentiments of a mother, gave Krishna poison to kill Him, she attained a position in Goloka similar to the nurses of Krishna named Ambika and Kalimba. Though Putana only had the dress of a devotee, she attained love suitable to a devotee. Though she hated Krishna, Krishna made her a special example. This incident shows Krishna’s quality of giving liberation and bhakti to even those who hate him.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada tika
Here is an example of the extreme mercy of Bhagavan, even to His enemy. Krishna may assume the form of a baby or a shape other than that of a human being, but it doesn’t make the slightest difference; Krishna is always the same Supreme Godhead. This lila shows that Krishna accepts the least qualification of a living entity and awards one the highest reward. Therefore, who but Sri Krishna can be the ultimate shelter?”
Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji tika
“Whose heart will not be filled with hope after hearing how merciful Govinda redeems the fallen by kindly rewarding a witch who came to kill Him? Then what can we say of the destination of spontaneous and sincere devotees.”
Srimad Bhagavatam ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!
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