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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.

Bhakti Brings Good Qualities

The Bhagavata says that all good qualities reside in a devotee who is engaged selflessly in Sri Krishna’s service:

yasyasti -bhaktir -bhagavaty -akincana
sarvair -gunais -tatra -samasate -surah
harav -abhaktasya -kuto -mahad -guna
mano-rathenasati -dhavato -bahih

The devatas and all their good qualities constantly dwell in one who has pure bhakti for Bhagavan Sri Krishna. However, there are no good qualities in the non-devotee who chases after temporary material objects with desires for sense pleasure. (Srimad Bhagavatam 5.18.12)

Sri Jiva Goswami

Sri Radha has the highest degree of pure love for Sri Krishna. Thus, all good qualities and opulences are present within Radharani. (Krishna Sandarbha 190)

Visvanatha Cakravartipada

This verse praises the devotee who attains bhakti and all its good qualities by association. Good qualities always reside within devotees who distribute Hari-katha and relish the sweetness of Sri Krishna.

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das 

Bhagavan Sri Krishna personally mentions the twenty-eight qualities of a Krishna bhakta in Srimad Bhagavatam (11.11.29-31):

(1) Krpalu. A devotee is merciful to others by helping them become Krishna conscious.

(2) Akrta-droha. A devotee never uses the mind, body or words to injure any living entity.

(3) Titikshu. A devotee tolerates all and forgives and forgets any offense against oneself.

(4) Satya-sara. One who lives by truth and whose strength comes from truthfulness.

(5) Anavadya-atma. One free from envy, jealousy and the tendency to agitate or criticize others.

(6) Sama. A devotee remains steady and equal in happiness or distress, fame or infamy.

(7) Sarvopakaraka. Endeavoring as far as possible for the spiritual welfare of others.

(8) Kamair ahata-dhi. One’s intelligence is not disturbed by material desires.

9) Danta. Controlling the senses.

10) Mridu. Devotee is gentle and sublime.

(11) Shuci. Clean, pure and well-behaved

(12) Akinchana. A devotee is free from possessiveness.

(13) Aniha. A devotee is free from worldly affairs.

(14) Mita-bhuk. Controlled eater.

(15) Shanta. Peaceful by controlling the mind.

(16) Sthira. Remaining steady in one’s duty.

(17) Mat-sharana. Accepts Bhagavan Sri Krishna as the sole shelter.

(18) Muni. A devotee is thoughtful and confronts all problems with steady Krishna consciousness.

(19) Apramatta. One who is cautious and sober.

(20) Gabhiratma. Grave and unchanging.

(21) Dhrtiman. Remaining steady and patient even in distress.

(22) Jita-shad-guna. One who conquers the six material qualities, namely hunger, thirst, lamentation, illusion, old age and death.

(23) Amani. A devotee is without desire for prestige.

(24) Mana-da. A devotee offers all respects to others.

(25) Kalya. A devotee is expert in making people understand the truth of Krishna bhakti.

(26) Maitra. A devotee is the true friend of everyone.

(27) Karunika. A devotee always shows compassion to others.

(28) Kavi. A devotee is completely learned.

Ultimately, the most important quality is # 17, mat-sharana or Krishnaika-sharana, taking complete shelter of Krishna because Krishna can easily award all good qualities to a sincere devotee.

Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami described one great Vaishnava of his time: “The chief pujari at the Govindaji temple in Vrindavan was Haridasa Pundit. His reputation as a virtuous man spread throughout the world. Haridasa was polite, tolerant, peaceful, generous, grave, sweet in his words and endeavors, as well as sober.

“Haridasa was respectful to everyone and acted for the welfare of all. His heart was free from duplicity, envy, and malice.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.8.24-27)

We pray to the compassionate guardians of devotion like Sri Haridasa Pujari to bless us all with the shelter of Radha Govinda Yugal.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

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.

Krishna Pays All Your Debts

The Srimad Bhagavatam says:

devarshi-bhutapta-nrnam -pitrnam
na -kinkaro -nayam -rni -ca -rajan

sarvatmana -yah -sharanam -sharanyam
gato -mukundam -parihrtya -kartam

“One who gives up all varnashrama duties and takes full shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, who shelters everyone, is not a debtor to or servant of the universal controllers, great sages, ordinary living beings, relatives or forefathers.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.41)

Srila Sridhar Swami tika:

“The Krishna bhakta’s accomplishment of spontaneously giving up rules and regulations is described here. The word aptah means ‘dependent people or family members.’ Devas means the five yagya-devatas (Prakrti, Surya, Ganesa, Siva and Vishnu). Ordinary people devoid of vishnu-bhakti are indebted to these devas and must serve them by daily performing five kinds of yagyas.

But those who have taken full shelter of Mukunda Sri Krishna do not have to do this because they see everything as Sri Vasudeva Krishna, the origin of everything. As pouring water on the root of a tree nourishes and satisfies all the branches and twigs, pleasing Vasudeva Sri Krishna satisfies all the devatas, forefathers, spirits and so on who automatically receive a thousand times more joy than they would by being worshiped themselves.

Therefore, if a Vaishnava is born in their family, the forefathers in Pitrloka dance in great joy thinking, “Our descendent will be the liberator of our family!” All the devas, feeling most favorable toward the bhaktas who perform Sri Krishna bhajana, continuously praise them by saying “bravo! bravo!”

Sri Jiva Goswami tika:

Giving up all obligations (parihrtya -kartam) here means that the devotee rejects the distraction of one’s attention caused by thinking that Indra or Candra must be worshipped. Having surrendered (sharanam -gatah), the Krishna bhakta has destroyed all prarabdha-karmas, and consequently destroys being situated in varnashrama and is no longer obliged to perform regular varnashrama duties.” (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.68)

“The Krishna bhakta is not a servant of the devatas, sages, pitrs but a servant of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. The Krishna bhakta does not see the devatas as independent of Sri Krishna. Thus, Garuda Purana (1.235.20) says:

“As long as one does not worship Vishnu one should offer respects to devatas, sages, Brahma and Brhaspati.” (Bhakti Sandarbha 173)

Sri Mukunda Dasa Goswami tika:

The word ‘sarvatmana’ in the text means one’s surrendering to and taking refuge in Sri Krishna with the firm faith that Bhagavan Sri Krishna alone is the supreme object of all devotional services, that bhakti is the supreme sadhana, and Krishna prema is the supreme goal of life. One who thus takes shelter at Krishna’s lotus feet is not bound by any karma or relative duties.” (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.68)

Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika

This verse shows that bhakti is devoid of the troubles caused by daily and occasional duties such as shraddha rites and tarpanas. Apta refers to those who give nourishment such as mother and father. One involved in karmas is a debtor and servant of the devatas, sages, living beings, parents, and Pitrs.

Smrti says one should perform karmas to destroy one’s debts. But this does not apply to the devotee who has surrendered completely to Mukunda Sri Krishna. It is just like a person who becomes a servant of the emperor need not serve the local king.

When one worships Vishnu all worship of devatas and Pitrs is automatically accomplished as giving water to the root of a tree satisfies its branches, twigs and leaves, and by supplying food to the stomach one satisfies the whole body. Similarly, by engaging in the transcendental service of Bhagavan Sri Krishna one automatically satisfies the devatas and all other living entities.

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das comments:

To Sri Krishna’s father Vasudeva, Devarshi Narada explains the unique position and privilege of persons surrendered to Bhagavan Sri Krishna Sri Rama or Sri Vishnu. The Vedic shastras say that civilized humans are indebted to many living entities from whom they derive the essentials of life i.e., food, air, water, light, healthy environment, education, culture, character, moral values etc. This verse shows the “debtor list” which include:

1) DEVAS like Surya, Chandra, Indra, Varuna, who supply us with sun and moonlight, water, and oxygen.
2) SAGES (rshis) like Narada, Vyas, Vashishta, Patanjali, and Dhanvantari who teach us how to keep healthy and attain spiritual perfection
3) LIVING ENTITIES (bhuta) like cows and bulls, horses, singing birds, etc.
4) RELATIVES & FRIENDS (apta)
5) OTHER PERSONS (nrnam)
6) FOREFATHERS (pitrnam)
7) SERVANTS (kinkara)

Devotees who give up all material designations and take full shelter Sri Krishna are no longer debtors to the devatas, ancient saints or anyone else. For most people, who are not Krishna bhaktas, they must daily do five yagyas described in the karma-kanda section of the Vedas to liquidate their five kinds of debts to the devatas, great sages, forefathers, living entities and common people.

But Krishna bhaktas only need to do ONE YAGYA, Sri Hari nama sankirtana-yagya.

The only Vedic injunction for Krishna bhaktas is to worship Bhagavan Sri Krishna, offer Krishna-prasada to the forefathers and share Krishna with friends, relatives, servants, cows, birds, fish and all living entities.

Sri Gita’s conclusion is that Bhagavan Sri Krishna will liberate those who give up their attachment and dependence on all other dharmas and fully surrender to Sri Krishna, the ultimate, all-attractive form of beauty, charm and sweetness!

Param vijayate Sri Krishna sankirtan ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

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.

Krishna’s Expertise in Fulfilling Desires

As a compassionate father gives his children whatever they ask, Bhagavan Sri Krishna also fulfils the desires of His devotees.   satyam -disaty -arthitam -arthito -nrnam
narvarthado -yat -punar -arthita -yatah
svayam -vidhatte -bhajatam -anicchatam
iccha -pidhanam -nija -pada -pallavam

“Bhagavan Sri Krishna certainly fulfills the material desires of a devotee, but Krishna  does it in a way that the devotee will not ask for more material things. Even though the devotee does not aspire for it, Sri Krishna mercifully gives the devotee shelter at His lotus feet, which satisfy all one’s desires.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 5.19.27)

Sri Sanatana Goswami tika:

If Sri Krishna does not give what is requested, Krishna’s reputation as the fulfiller of desires will be destroyed. However, Krishna gives what is valuable, not what is worthless (artha-dah).

What is that valuable thing that Krishna gives? Krishna gives bhakti to His lotus feet. Since bhakti includes all types of bliss, by attaining bhakti one becomes indifferent to everything else. (Brhad Bhagavatmrita 3.2.131-132)

Sri Jiva Goswami tika:

Being requested, Krishna gives what humans ask for. But by just giving, material desire will not be extinguished and again the person will request the desired object (yatah-punar- arthita). Manu-samhita confirms: “Desires are not extinguished by enjoying the objects of desire, just as fire increases by adding ghee.” (Bhakti Sandarbha 98)

Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika:

Even if one has material desires the bhakti sadhaka becomes successful. Being requested by His worshippers for desired objects, Krishna gives those objects. But Krishna does not give the object in such a way that object is again requested after enjoyment. What does this mean? Krishna gives His lotus feet which satisfy all desires (iccha-pidhanam).

Srila Prabhupada tika:

Sri Krishna is so kind even to a sakama-bhakta, a motivated devotee, that He satisfies his desires in such a way that one day he becomes an akama-bhakta [desireless].

Dhruva Maharaja, for example, became a bhakta with the motive of getting a better kingdom than his father. But finally, Dhruva became an akama-bhakta and said, “My dear Lord, I am very satisfied simply to serve Your lotus feet. I do not want any material benefits.”

Sometimes it is found that a small child eats dirty things but his parents take away the dirty things and offer him a sandesh or some other sweetmeat. Devotees who aspire for material benedictions are compared to such children.

Sri Krishna thinks, “Why should I give such a foolish person the dirty things of material enjoyment? It would be better for Me to give the shelter of My lotus feet, then one will give up all material desires and become My eternal servant.”

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das:

In Sri Gita 2.59, Bhagavan Sri Krishna says:

vishaya -vinivartante
niraharasya -dehinah
rasa-varjam -raso ‘py -asya
param -drstva -nivartate

“One who refrains from eating stops the sense objects from functioning, but the desire for tasting remains. Having experienced the highest taste, one can stop the desire for tasting material pleasures.”

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught the same principle in Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita (2.22.41):

kama -lagi -krsne -bhaje, paya -krsna-rase
kama -chadi -dasa -haite -haya -abhilashe

“One who worships Krishna to fulfill desires receives a taste for Krishna, Krishna rasa. Then one gives up desires and aspires to become Krishna’s loving servant.”

The “highest taste” of Krishna bhakti bhajan is so powerful that the sweet taste of devotion makes one forget all material desires as seen in Balak Dhruva.

Sri Krishna is the transcendental form of supreme sweetness, raso-vai-sah. Thus, when a devotee tastes the sweetness of Krishna’s nama, rupa, guna and lila, all sense objects become completely tasteless and detestable.

Relishing Krishna bhakti-rasa ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

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.

Where Does Bhakti Come From?

In Uddhava-gita, Sri Krishna answers this question saying:

yadrcchaya -mat-kathadau
jata-sraddhas -tu -yah -puman
na -nirvinno -nati-sakto
bhakti-yogo -’sya -siddhi-dah

If by unexpected association with devotees one develops faith in hearing hari-katha, such a person, who is neither completely detached from sense gratification nor too much attached to it, can attain perfection by practicing bhakti-yoga.  (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.20.8)

Comments Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das:

Some translate the word yadrcchaya as “by good fortune”.  However, the dictionary meaning of yadrcchaya is “complete independence” or “freedom of will and action” and that is the meaning in this verse.

Sri Jiva Goswami tika:

The cause of bhakti is faith alone. That is explained in this verse. Faith arises from associating with devotees (yadrcchaya). The person develops faith in Krishna-katha and thinks, “This Krishna-katha is the best.” One then becomes disgusted with other activities.

However, one cannot give up objects of enjoyment which are the remnants of results of pious acts from previous lives even though one knows they give suffering. This person is not completely detached and not too attached. This is the devotee’s initial state. (Bhakti Sandarbha 171)

Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika:

A person develops faith (jata-shraddha) in Krishna-katha by the merciful association of devotees (yadrcchaya). That is the meaning of yadrcchaya in this verse. By the unexpected association of the devotee, even a person extremely attached to sense objects becomes qualified for bhakti.

The cause of a devotee’s mercy manifesting itself is bhakti itself residing within the devotee’s heart. Without the devotee having bhakti, there is no possibility of the devotee manifesting mercy to others. Bhakti causes the devotee’s mercy which causes bhakti in another person. Bhakti causes bhakti. The self-manifesting, causeless, independent nature of bhakti is thus concluded.

Pandit Sri Ananta Dasji Maharaja tika:

That bhakti manifests in an individual without any reason is the intent of this text. The word yadrcchaya, “by chance,” appears repeatedly in the Bhagavatam. Bhakti’s appearance in an individual does not depend on any external cause.

One may ask, if devotion is truly spiritual, then how can it manifest in a devotee’s material senses? The answer is that an iron bar put into fire attains the qualities of fire—brilliance, heat and the power to burn. So too bhakti, by its own potency, destroys the material nature of a person’s senses and spiritualizes them.

Shruti and Smriti describe bhakti as sac-cid-ananda-mayi just like Bhagavan Sri Krishna and as a self-manifesting aspect of Sri Krishna’s svarupa-shakti. It is only by the mercy of devotees that ordinary human beings can attain bhakti. As Krishna is under the control of His devotees, His mercy follows that of a devotee.

By carefully considering this point, one can understand that it is bhakti herself, residing in the heart of a devotee, that causes the devotee to give mercy to others. The conclusion is that bhakti alone is the cause of bhakti. Bhakti does not depend on any other cause for its appearance. Bhakti residing in a devotee’s heart, inspires one to act mercifully to others.

Krishna on the other hand is always absorbed in His own divine bliss and can therefore not feel the pain of the conditioned souls. Compassion arises only when one becomes aware of another’s misery. As Sri Krishna is the embodiment of concentrated bliss, it is impossible for even the omnipotent Krishna to truly feel pity for the bound jiva.

The only way the misery-bound souls can attain liberation is through the independent kindness of a Vaishnava. However, Vaishnavas also exist in the realm of bliss, but they can remember the miseries of their previous lives.

Sri Krishna has given full independence to His devotees to give blessings to others, and these blessings are the only way to reach Bhagavan Sri Krishna. The conclusion is that the jivas can only receive Krishna’s grace through the form of a devotee and not directly from Him. (Madhurya Kadambini tikas)

Comments Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das:

Vaishnavas are the personified forms of Sri Krishna’s mercy, krpa-shakti-murtis. Vaishnavas have direct experience of the struggles, anxiety, tension, stress, frustration, pain and miseries of material existence.

And they themselves are the recipients of mercy, krpa-patras, from other kind-hearted, compassionate Vaishnavas. Thus, without the mercy of a Vaishnava no one can attain bhakti and the eternal loving service of Radha Govinda Yugal in Goloka Vrindavan!

Vaishnava krpa-shakti murtis ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

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.

* POWER of VAISNAVA ASSOCIATION

tulayama -lavenapi, na -svargam napunar -bhavam
bhagavat-sangi-sangasya, martyanam -kim -utashisha

A moment’s association with a Krishna bhakta cannot be compared to elevation to Svarga, attaining mukti, or what to speak of any blessings in this world. (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.18.13)

Sri Jiva Goswami:

Bhagavat-sangi-sanga means association with persons who are attached to Bhagavan Sri Krishna. A moment’s association with such a person cannot be compared to attaining the heavenly planets. The affectionate nature (snigdha) of devotees should be implied from the verse. (Bhakti-rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.228)

Sri Vallabhacharya:

In association of Krishna bhaktas one enjoys unlimited happiness by relishing Krishna’s nectarine lilas. Even one second’s association with a true bhakta gives rise to bliss! (Subodhini tika)

Visvantha Cakravartipada:

Here the sages at Naimisharanya glorify the influence of Suta Goswami. The fruits of karma, jnana, or worldly enjoyments are insignificant compared to the benefit one gains by bhagavat-sangi, a moment’s association with a Krishna bhakta. By this one receives the bhakti-beeja which results in prema. Thus, there is no possibility of comparing this with the fruits of karma and jnana. It is like comparing a mustard seed to Mount Meru. (Bhakti-rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.228)

Srila Prabhupada:

One cannot compare the association of a pure devotee to anything material. The pure devotees are factually liberated even in the material world because they are engaged in a transcendental loving service of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

Devotional service is eternal; it has no end because it is spiritual. Association with Krishna bhaktas is always desirable; it is worshipable, it is praiseworthy, and one may accept it as the highest goal of life.

Pandit Sri Ananta Dasaji Maharaja:

Without sadhu-sanga, no one is able to engage in bhagavad-bhajana with a mind freed from the vile decoction of attachment and aversion and the pollution of beginningless karma-samskaras.

Bhagavan Sri Krishna is filled with profound transcendental joy and always enjoying His prema-lilas. Thus, the miseries of the jivas can never touch Him. Even though the full power of compassion exists within Krishna, it is impossible for Krishna to directly express it toward the suffering jivas.

“Then how will they be delivered?” Sri Krishna’s compassion is present in the hearts of the sadhus. The rays of bhakti spread from their hearts in all directions and infuse pure love into the hearts of those around them. Such is the enormous power of sadhu-sanga.

Thus, it is the supremely merciful sadhus living in this world who help the illusion-bound suffering jivas. Other than sadhu-sanga, there is no way to obtain the mercy of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. 

Vaishnava sadhu sanga ki jai! Srimad Bhagavatam ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

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.

Vrajavasis’ Astonishing Prema

aho -bhagyam -aho -bhagyam
nanda-gopa-vrajaukasam
yan-mitram -paramanandam
purnam-brahma -sanatanam

Aho! How greatly fortunate are Nanda Maharaja, the cowherd men and all the other inhabitants of Vrajabhumi! There is no limit to their good fortune, because Krishna gives them prema, which is the highest bliss, eternal and complete.(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.32)

Sri Sanatana Goswami tika:

Krishna acts for the benefit of the Vraja-vasis not just in certain situations but always. And Krishna not only delivers the Vrajavasis from fear but also gives them the highest varieties of ecstasy. Thus Krishna is the source of their intense happiness, and they consider Krishna their dearmost friend.

Were Krishna merely Bhagavan, their love for Krishna would be severely restricted. But Krishna, at once, is both the Supreme Absolute Truth and the dear friend of the residents of Nanda’s cowherd village. (Brhad Bhagavatamrtam 3.7.98)

Sri Jiva Goswami tika:

Oh (aho)! Brahmaji is astonished over the inconceivable good of the Vrajavasis. He repeats the phrase to show their extreme good fortune and indicate his still greater astonishment.

Anandam hints at the shruti which says vigyanam -anandam -brahma: parabrahman Sri Krishna is knowledge and bliss. (Brhad-aranyaka Upanishad 3.9.32)

Other forms of Bhagavan also give prema. But bliss personified, Sri Krishna gives prema to the Vrajavasis. This is to be known from the shruti alone. Parama combined with ananda means extraordinary sweetness.

There is something else which is astonishing: this bliss is eternal. Someone may have a little amount of bliss, but that is not eternal. These cowherds have eternal bliss.

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika:

After praising the ragatmika vatsalya-prema (deep spontaneous parental affection) of the Vrajavasis, Brahmaji glorified those with ragatmika sakhya-prema (mitram), relishing intimate relationships with Sri Krishna.

As a friend (mitra), Sri Krishna is not a temporary friend; Krishna is the eternal friend (sanatana) of Sridama and others (yat).

All the inhabitants of Vrndavana ruled by Nanda Maharaja (nanda –gopa- vrajaukasam) down to the birds and beasts were indescribably fortunate because they became the friend of parama -anandam -brahma –sanatanam Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

Therefore, the Vrajavasis give the topmost bliss to Krishna, and receive the topmost bliss in return. Witnessing this exchange of supreme, selfless love, Brahmaji repeats the phrase aho bhagyam twice to indicate His extreme bliss and astonishment.

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada ki jai!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das comments:

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu quotes this verse from Brahma Stuti while enlightening Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya about the Personality of God (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.6.149). In Vraja Vilas Stava (42), Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami glorifies the cowherds of Vrndavana:

“I worship the best of cowherds, who have attained the greatest happiness that can be achieved in the entire universe. The Vrajavasis are protected by Krishna with more love than He feels for millions of universes. The Vrajavasis are always eager to protect even the particles of dust falling from the edges of Krishna’s beautiful lotus-toenails.”

Although the Vrajavasis directly witness Krishna’s unlimited power when He kills demons, their conception of Krishna as Nanda’s son is not even slightly slackened. Their unbounded love for Krishna simply increases.

Brahmaj repeats “aho bhagyam, aho bhagyam” to highlight the incredible good fortune of Sri Krishna’s cowherd clan in Vrndavana. Thus we continually pray for a particle of mercy dust from the beautiful lotus feet of Nanda Baba. And for time eternal, we will worship the sacred dust of the cowherds, the cows and the transcendental land of Vrndavana!

Vrndavana dham ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

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!

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.

Srimad Bhagavatam is the Rasika Essence of Vedanta

In Varanasi, for two months, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed Sri Sanatana Goswami in all the truths of Krishna bhakti, shikaila-bhakti-siddhanta. (Caitanya-caritamrta 2.25.3)

While glorifying the Bhagavatam, Mahaprabhu said, “Srila Vyasadeva, the author of the Vedanta, has personally explained the sutras of Vedanta in the Srimad Bhagavatam.” (Caitanya-caritamrta 2.25.142)

Mahaprabhu then quoted key verses to establish the unique position of Srimad Bhagavatam.

sarva-veda-itihasanam
saram-saram-samuddhrtam

Mahaprabhu said, “The quintessence of all Veda and histories is collected in Bhagavatam.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.41: Caitanya -caritamrta 2.25.145)

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.41): “Vyasa affectionately fed the Bhagavatam, the essence of the essence of the Vedas, which is like butter appearing from churning yogurt, to his son Shukadeva. This indicates that his effort of churning the Vedas was successful. And Shukadeva, though the best of the self-realized souls, ate that butter of the Bhagavata with great greed because of its wonderful taste.”

Continuing, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu cites the Twelfth Canto to show the supreme power and effect of the Srimad Bhagavatam.

sarva-vedanta-saram-hi
sri-bhagavatam-ishyate

tad-rasamrita-trptasya
nanyatra- syad –ratih- kvacit

“Srimad Bhagavatam is the essence of all Vedanta philosophy. One who has felt satisfaction from tasting the rasa amrita of Bhagavatam will not be attracted to anything else.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 12.13.15)

Just see the astonishing effect of tasting the mellow beauty, sweetness and charm of the Srimad Bhagavatam! The word ratih means attraction, attachment and love. The fabulous taste and experience of the Bhagavatam makes one lose interest in anything else but Radha and Krishna, and Their eternal loving service in the bowers of Vrndavana.

Srimati Radhika, in the delirium of mahabhava in separation from Her Priyatam Shyam, reveals the unlimited power of Bhagavata shravan.

Srimati Radharani said, “To hear about the pastimes that Krishna regularly performs is nectar for the ears. For those who relish just a single drop of that nectar, even once, their dedication to material duality is ruined. Many such persons have suddenly given up their wretched homes and families and, themselves becoming wretched, traveled here to Vrndavana to wander about like birds, begging for their living.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.47.18)

Commenting on this verse, Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada says, “In this verse Srimati Radharani is saying, ‘Just hearing about Krishna’s pastimes is nectar for the ears. Even one drop of this nectar completely destroys the propensities of mutual friendship between men and women.

‘If a wife hears Krishna lila, she will immediately give up affection for her husband. And so to the husband will give up affection for his wife. If a mother hears about Krishna, she loses all affection for her children. The same is also true for a child in connection with his mother and father. Thus, by this mutual rejection they all become totally ruined.’

‘Just by hearing about Krishna they immediately give up their homes and families, including even their parents and sisters-in-law who then suffer with no other means of support, and without even enough money for the next day’s food.’

‘Alas! Alas! Even if we disregard that their wives and children may die, even they themselves fail to become happy. They are penniless after leaving their families, due to having forgotten to tie up even a few coins in their cloth, because of the agitation of their minds while leaving.’

But it may be questioned, “How do they maintain their lives?”

Radha answers, ‘Like birds, they live by begging, just collecting small amounts of wheat and other grains, rather than taking substantial charity from one person. Or they come begging here in Vrndavana, the place of suffering, and suffer even more in our association.’

But someone may object, “Krishna lila is like a poisonous mixture of sugarcane juice and powdered seeds of the dhatura plant.”

To this, Radha replies, ‘For this reason Krishna has accepted the role of the Supreme thinking, “Just like the gopis, I will make all people fall into the ocean of suffering.”

‘Indeed, seeing others’ suffering is Krishna’s only happiness. As a result, Krishna must bear the consequence of giving such misery to others, not Vyasa and other sages.’

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada concludes his amazing commentary, “As we can see there are thousands of implications in this verse. Through condemnation Radha is indirectly praising Krishna, and thus establishing the superexcellence of shuddha-bhakti.”

Srimati Radharani ki jai! Srimad Bhagavatam ki jai! Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada ki jai!

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.

Srimad Bhagavatam is the Tastiest Fruit of Vedas 

nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam
shuka-mukhad amrita-drava-samyutam
pibata bhagavatam rasam alayam
muhur aho rasika bhuvi bhavukah

“O refined ones of sensitive taste! O fortunate souls! From the mouth of Shukadeva, constantly drink the Bhagavatam, which is the luscious fruit fallen from the tree of the Vedas. This fruit is immortal liquid, the essence of sweetness and it includes all types of liberation.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.3)

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika:

This verse highlights the sweetness of the Bhagavatam. The Vedas (nigama) are a kalpataru (wish-fulfilling tree) because they satisfy humans desires for dharma, artha, kama, and moksha.

Srimad Bhagavatam is called the galitam -phalam, which means fully ripened, sweet fruit. This fruit remains intact and undamaged because it is handed down personally from guru to disciple beginning with Narayana-Brahma-Narada-Vyasa-Shukadeva and so on. This indicates the necessity to drink the rasa (pibita rasam) of Srimad Bhagavatam through guru-parampara and not merely by one’s own intellect.

Alayam: Refers to laya, the eighth sattvika-bhava called pralaya, fainting. One should drink the rasa of Bhagavatam until one faints. And upon returning to consciousness, one will drink more (muhur: continuously) and faint again because one cannot give up drinking. Or it means the more you drink the more you relish. Aho! This is most surprising.

Rasika: This refers only to Krishna bhaktas, who by drinking the Srimad Bhagavatam develop rati (bhava) which becomes their sthayi-rati. Then they can taste the rasa of Bhagavatam.

Bhavukah: refers to persons who perform actions for tasting the beautiful. It indicates persons who appreciate Bhagavan Sri Krishna—who is rasa personified.

The Taittiriya Upanishad (2.7) says, raso -vai –sah, rasam- hy -evayam –labdhanandi -bhavati: Bhagavan Sri Krishna is rasa; by realizing Sri Krishna one attains bliss. Both Gita and Bhagavatam proclaim Krishna to be rasa.

Bhuvi indicates Vraja-bhumi. And bhavukah and rasikah indicate Krishna’s dear gopis. O dear relishers of Krishna rasa, drink the sweetness of the rasa arising from Krishna’s form as the Bhagavatam.

Pibata -bhagavatam -rasam -alayam can mean “relish rasa up to the point of embracing (alayam) Krishna.” Krishna rasa is indestructible (amrita) and flows away quickly from the mind and eye (drava). Therefore, drink that indestructible nectar in the form of Krishna’s lips.

In that case, nigama-kalpa-taror -galitam -phalam means “raganuga-bhakti is the fully ripened fruit (galitam) on the tree of the Vedas, because it follows the sentiments of the gopis.” This is an acceptable meaning because the Brhad-vamana Purana says the Vedas personified practiced raganuga bhakti to become Vraja gopis, and then drank the sweet rasa of Krishna’s lips. This very secret meaning can be seen in the Shruti Stuti chaper 87 of the Tenth Canto.

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada ki jai!

Srila Prabhupada tika: With great respect and attention, one should receive the lessons of the Srimad Bhagavatam. This verse definitely states that spiritual rasa can be experienced in the Srimad Bhagavatam due to its being the ripened fruit of all Vedic knowledge. By submissively hearing this transcendental literature, one can attain the full pleasure of one’s heart’s desire.

Comments Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das:  One acharya told us, “You should keep drinking the Bhagavat rasa until you drop!” Of course, intoxication is prohibited for Krishna bhaktas, but one can drink the rasa of Bhagavatam until one faints, alayam.

There is mystery and magic here. The Bhagavat is full of words, shabdha brahman, transcendental sound vibration. Yet Shukadev tells us that the Bhagavatam is actually liquid, rasa amrit, to be drunk through our ears until we drown in it, pralaya

Indeed, a paradox appearing as an irresistible offer to all seekers of love divine. So my friends, just remember that, ‘by hearing the Srimad Bhagavatam one can attain the full pleasure of one’s heart’s desire.’

Srimad Bhagavatam rasa amritam ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Srimad Bhagavatam is called the “king of all spiritual books” (Grantha Raja) for good reason. Within this triguna-free, immaculate and divine spiritual shastra, the amala purana, one will 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 all the teachings of the six Goswamis of Vrindavana along with the key Bhagavatam verses which prove and substantiate these beautiful truths, and which the Goswamis themselves quoted in their own shastras. The same Bhagavatam verse is sometimes quoted once or twice or even four times within the Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita to highlight its importance for all devotees of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha-Govinda Yugala.

With the grace of Sri Advaita Prabhu, Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas, we will quote some of these important Srimad Bhagavatam verses from the Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita to present the beautiful truths of Gaudiya Vaisnavism regarding Sri Krishna, Sri Radha, Bhakti Sadhana, Sri Harinama, Krishna Prema, Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas.

I. * THE BEAUTIFUL TRUTH OF SRI GURU

We will begin by describing the basis, beginning point, and the fundamental truths of Krishna bhakti regarding the identity, position and relationship of the sadhaka (the jivatma) with Bhagavan Sri Krishna which is called sambandha tattva.

Sambandha-tattva means the absolute truth regarding the mutual relationship between the Sri Krishna, the jiva and maya, the external material energy. Sambandha means the relationship, bonding and exchanges that culminate in ultimate love, Krishna prema. Included within the category of sambandha-tattva are the beautiful truths i.e. tattvas of Guru, Vaisnava, Bhagavat (SB), Sri Krishna, Gaura, Nityananda, Shakti, and Jiva.

Why does Sri Rupa Gosvami say bhakti bhajana proper begins with surrender to the spiritual master, adau guru pada ashraya? (Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.74) Why, because the benevolent master is the essential contact, connecting point and eternal link between me and God, Bhagavan and the jiva. The beautiful truth about Sri Guru is the substratum of all other spiritual truths.

Thus we now present some of the key Srimad Bhagavatam verses illuminating the truth of Sri Guru. It is suggested that all sincere sadhakas learn and reflect upon these verses. By doing so one will deepen his/her faith, devotional taste and realization, and also  increase one’s enthusiasm to serve Sri Krishna and Sri Guru more and more.

1. Sri Guru is One with Sri Krishna

ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān nāvamanyeta karhicit
na martya-buddhyāsūyeta sarva-deva-mayo guruḥ
Srimad Bhagavatam 11.17.27

Bhagavan Sri Krishna said, “O Uddhava! You should know the ācārya, Śrī Gurudeva, to be My very self. You should never disrespect him in any way, be envious of him, or judge him to be an ordinary man, because within Śrī Guru are all the devatas.”

Tika Srila Prabhupada: “Sri Guru is like a parent. Without the attentive service of his parents a child cannot grow to manhood. Similarly, without the care of Sri Guru one cannot rise to the plane of transcendental service.

“In the Vāyu Purāṇa an ācārya is defined as one who knows the import of all the Vedic literatures, abides by their rules and regulations, and teaches his disciples to act in the same way. Only out of His immense compassion does Bhagavan Sri Krishna reveal Himself as the spiritual master. Therefore in the dealings of an ācārya there are no activities but the transcendental loving service to Sri Krishna.

“The spiritual master is known to be a direct manifestation of Bhagavan Sri Krishna and a genuine representative of Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu. A disciple should always respect Sri Guru as a manifestation of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.”

“Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī confirms that one should always think of Sri Guru in terms of his intimate relationship with Mukunda Sri Krishna [nikunja yuno rati keli siddhyai...]. Sri Jiva Goswamipada says (Bhakti Sandarbha 213), ‘The disciple should see Sri Guru as one with Bhagavan Sri Krishna in terms of his being very dear Sri Krishna but not identical with Bhagavan all respect.

“In all the ancient bhakti shastras and in the bhajans of Sri Narottama Dasa Thakura and Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sri Guru is always considered to be either one of the confidential associates of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī or a manifested representation of Śrīla Nityānanda Prabhu.” (Chaitanya Caritamrita. 1.1.46 pur.)

2. Accept Sri Guru as Your Life & Soul

bhayaṁ dvitīyābhiniveśataḥ syād, īśād apetasya viparyayo ’smṛtiḥ
tan-māyayāto budha ābhajet taṁ, bhaktyaikayeśaṁ guru-devatātmā
Srimad Bhagavatam 11.2.37, (4x in Caitanya Caritamrita)

“The jivas adverse to Bhagavan Sri Krishna are bewildered and full of fear due to misidentifying with their temporary material bodies because of absorption in Krishna’s maya i.e. the external, illusory energy. Therefore, an intelligent person, after accepting Sri Guru as his master and very self (guru devatātmā), must worship Parameshvara Bhagavan Sri Krishna with one-pointed devotion (aikantiki bhakti).”

Tika Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti: “Krishna bhaktas should not fear bondage in saṁsāra because as soon as one starts bhakti bhajana fear is naturally destroyed. Non-devotees, however, will always be bound by fear and samsara because they falsely identify with their material body and senses.

“Sri Brahmaji says, ’O Krishna! Until people become Your devotees, their material attachments and desires are thieves, their homes are prisons, and their affectionate feelings for their family members are iron chains binding their feet.’ (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.36)

“That fear of saṁsāra takes two forms: foolishness and forgetfulness. Foolishness means thinking, “I am this body, bas!” And forgetfulness means not knowing or forgetting one is actually an eternal spiritual being, a jivatma.

“The forgetful ones never ask questions concerning their past or future. They never ask, “Who am I? What should I do? What was I before? What will I be after?” The word ataḥ in line one of this verse means that the wise, after gaining intelligence by the mercy of Gurudeva’s lotus feet, should fully worship (bhajet) Bhagavan Sri Krishna with pure bhakti devoid of other desires and devoid of karma or jñāna. Such a wise soul considers Sri Guru to be as dear as Bhagavan Sri Krishna and as dear as the self. “

3. Sri Krishna Appears Before Our Eyes as Sri Guru and Internally as the Paramatma, Antaryami

naivopayanty apacitiṁ kavayas taveśa, brahmāyuṣāpi kṛtam ṛddha-mudaḥ smarantaḥ
yo ’ntar bahis tanu-bhṛtām aśubhaṁ vidhunvann, ācārya-caittya-vapuṣā sva-gatiṁ vyanakti
Srimad Bhagavatam 11.29.6

“Sri Uddhava said, ‘O Parameshvara Sri Krishna! Intelligent devotees attain the pinnacle of bliss whenever they remember all that You have done for them. And even if they had the lifespan of Sri Brahmaji, they could never pay off their debt to You. For You so kindly appear in two features—externally as the acharya Sri Guru and internally as Paramātma (Antaryami)—to destroy their misfortune and show the way to You [Krishna prema].”

Tika Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti: “To this Sri Krishna replies, ‘O Uddhavaji! Because I give all benedictions only to persons who worship Me, such bestowals are not unconditional. Rather they are conditional.’

Uddhava: ‘Hey Bhagavan! This is not so. Whatever worship the devotees perform is actually given by You alone. You are the supreme unconditional giver of benedictions. People can never repay their debt even by serving You for thousands of Brahmā’s lifetimes.

‘When Your devotees remember what You have done for them, their bliss increases. What have you done? You appear externally as the mantra-guru and śikṣā-guru to give them mantra diksha and bhakti shiksha. And You appear internally as Paramātmā to give them the intelligence to attain You, dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ yena mām upayānti te. (Bhagavad Gita 10.10).

‘And it is You alone that make Your devotees worship You, and You reveal to them the goal of becoming Your eternal loving associate.’”

4. Qualifications of Real Disciple

amāny amatsaro dakṣo nirmamo dṛḍha-sauhṛdaḥ
asatvaro ’rtha-jijñāsur anasūyur amogha-vāk
Srimad Bhagavatam 11.10.6

“A disciple of the Guru should be free from false pride and never consider him/herself to be the doer. The disciple should be active, expert, never lazy, and free from the false conception of “I and mine.” The disciple should have feelings of loving friendship toward Sri Guru, and be patient in attaining the goal, without becoming overwhelmed by material passion. The disciple must eagerly inquire about the Absolute Truth, be free from envy, and always avoid useless talk.”

Tika Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti: “The true disciple should be devoid of possessiveness (nimamaḥ), and have firm affection Sri Guru and Sri Krishna. The disciple should not be hasty [madly passionate] in attaining his desired goal (asatvaraḥ) of Krishna prema.”

Sri Guru tattva ki jai! Srimad Bhagavatam ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

 

Please also see other articles from “Beautiful Truths of Bhagavata”  002, 003, 004, 005, 006.