varaṁ deva mokṣaṁ na mokṣāvadhiṁ vā
na cānyaṁ vṛṇe ’haṁ vareśād apīha
idaṁ te vapur nātha gopāla-bālaṁ
sadā me manasy āvirāstāṁ kim anyaiḥ
varam – benedictions; deva – O supremely effulgent and playful divinity; mokṣam – emancipation from the sufferings of transient existence (the fourth ultimate goal of human life); na – not; mokṣa-avadhim – the pinnacle of salvation: residence in Śrī Vaikuṇṭha-loka, the abode of extraordinary concentrated happiness; vā – or; na – not; ca – and; anyam – other [benedictions such as navadhā-bhakti characterized by śravaṇa and kīrtana]; vṛṇe aham – I pray for; vara-īśāt – [from] You, the Supreme Controller, who can grant any benediction; api – even though; iha – here [in Vraja]; idam – this; te – Your; vapuḥ – beautiful divine form; nātha – supreme refuge; gopāla-bālam – young cowherd boy; sadā – always; me – my; manasi – in the heart; āvirāstām – remain manifest; kim – of what use do I have for; anyaiḥ – other [benedictions].
O supremely effulgent and playful divinity, I do not ask You for freedom from mortal suffering (the fourth of human goals), nor do I ask for the ultimate limit of freedom (residence in Vaikuṇṭha, the abode of extraordinary, concentrated happiness). Nor do I seek any other benediction from You (even attaining bhakti characterized by śravaṇa, kīrtana etc.) even though, as the supreme benefactor, You can easily grant all benedictions. O Lord of my life, may Your beautiful form as Bāla-gopāla (a little cowherd boy) in Vraja always remain visible within my heart. I have no use for any benediction other than this.
evam utkarṣa-viśeṣa-varṇanena stutvā prārthayate – varam iti dvābhyām. deva he parama-dyotamāna! he madhura-krīḍā-viśeṣa-pareti vā, vareśāt sakala-vara-pradāna-samarthāt, api tvattaḥ mokṣaṁ caturtha-puruṣārthaṁ, mokṣasyāvadhiṁ vā parama-kāṣṭhā-rūpaṁ ghana-sukha-viśeṣātmakaṁ śrī vaikuṇṭha-lokaṁ, anyañca śravaṇādi-bhakti-prakāram ahaṁ varaṁ prārthyam. yadvā, anyairvaraṇīyam api, yadvā, varatayā iha vṛndāvane na vṛṇe. ihetyasya pareṇāpi sambandhaḥ.
atra ca mokṣādi trayasya yathottara-śreṣṭhyamuhyam. tatra mokṣād-vaikuṇṭha-lokasya śraiṣṭhyaṁ ‘śrī bhāgavatāmṛtottara-khaṇḍe’ [1.14–5] vyaktam evāsti. vaikuṇṭha-lokācchravaṇādi-prakārasya ca śraiṣṭhyaṁ –
“kāmaṁ bhavaḥ sva-vṛijinairnirayeṣu nastāt” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 3.15.49) ityādi-vacanataḥ śravaṇādi-siddhyā narakādiṣvapi yatra tatra sarvatraiva vaikuṇṭha-vāsa-siddheriti dik.
tarhi kiṁ vṛṇuṣe? tadāha – he nātha! iha vṛndāvane idaṁ varṇitaṁ ‘gopāla-bāla-rūpaṁ’ te vapuḥ, sadā me manasi āvirāstāṁ; antaryāmitvādinā sthitam api sākṣādiva sarvāṅga-saundaryādi-prakāśanena prakaṭaṁ bhūyāt.
nanu, mokṣādayo’pi paramopādeyāstān api vṛṇu? tatrāha – kim anyairiti; [arthāt] anyair-mokṣādibhir mama prayojanaṁ nāstītyarthaḥ, tasya sarvānanda-kadambātmakatvāt-tat-siddhyaiva sarva-siddheḥ. tathā tad-alābhe nijepsitāsiddhyā viśeṣataśca tuccha-lābhena śoka-viśeṣotpādanād-anyairapi kim iti bhāvaḥ.
yadvā, nanu mokṣādayo na vriyantāṁ nāma, paramāpekṣāṇi madīya-śrī-caturbhujādi-mūrtti-darśana-sambhāṣaṇādīni vriyatāṁ? tatrāha – kim anyairiti. citte tvadetacchrīmad-vapuṣa sadā sphūrttāveva mamātyanta-prītirnānyatreti bhāvaḥ. antardarśana-māhātmyañca ‘śrī bhāgavatāmṛtottara-khaṇḍe’ [2.86–96] tapo-loke śrīpippalāyanena vivṛtyoktam asti. evaṁ tasya [satyavratasya] prārthanāpi stutāveva paryavasyati, tasyaiva sarvotkṛṣṭatvena prārthanāt, evam-agre’pi.
iti śrī-dāmodarāṣṭake caturtha-śloke śrī-sanātana gosvāmi-kṛtā dig-darśinī-nāmnī ṭīkā samāptā.
~ Thus ends the Dig-darśinī ṭīkā on the Fourth Verse ~
Up until this point, Śrī Satyavrata Muni has been praising Śrī Bhagavān by describing the supremacy of His unique characteristics. Now in Verse Four, beginning with varaṁ, and in Verse Five, Śrī Satyavrata Muni begins to pray to obtain his most cherished object. “O Deva” means either “O supremely effulgent divinity” or “O Lord who always loves to perform certain charming pastimes”. Here vara-īśat api means: “Even though You can grant any benediction, I do not ask You for freedom from mortal suffering, mokṣa, the ultimate goal among the four goals of human life. Beyond the attainment of ordinary mokṣa is the attainment of the utmost limit of mokṣa, residence in Your transcendental abode, Śrī Vaikuṇṭhaloka. That abode is comprised of unending, concentrated bliss. I do not even ask You for residence in Vaikuṇṭha. Nor do I ask for anyañ ca.”
The words anyañ ca, “others also”, can be understood to mean either “the other benediction attained by performing the celebrated nine-fold system of devotional service (navadhā-bhakti) beginning with the process of śravaṇam (hearing about the Personality of Godhead); or simply “any other attainment generally considered worth asking for or considered superior by others”. However, considering the word iha, “in this place”, the meaning is “Because I am in Vṛndāvana, I do not have the slightest desire to accept all these benedictions.”
The word iha is also related to the latter half of the verse.
Here, the progressive superiority of the three benedictions is self-evident. The Uttara-khaṇḍa of Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta clearly explains the superiority of residence in Vaikuṇṭhaloka over mokṣa. and the performance of navadhā-bhakti, the celebrated nine-fold system of devotional service beginning with śravaṇam, is even superior to that. This is also described in the following verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam:
kāmaṁ bhavaḥ sva-vṛjinair nirayeṣu naḥ stāc
ceto ’livad yadi nu te padayo rameta
vācaś ca nas tulasivad yadi te ’ṅghri-śobhāḥ
pūryeta te guṇa-gaṇair yadi karṇa-randhraḥ
Śrī Sanat-kumāra and the other Kumāras prayed, “O Lord, if (because of the offence we made by cursing Your devotees, Jaya and Vijaya) we have to take birth in an extremely condemned species or even in hell, no harm. As long as our hearts and minds, like bees, are immersed in relishing the sweetness of serving Your lotus feet; our words are made beautiful by glorifying You, just as tulasī leaves are beautified when they are offered at Your feet; and our ears are eternally filled with descriptions of all Your transcendental qualities; then we do not care about where we take birth. In other words, may we eternally have the fortune of hearing (śravaṇa) and singing (kīrtana) about You.”
This statement specifically demonstrates that regardless of where one resides [as a result of his actions], even if he resides in hell, once he has attained final perfection, or prema-bhakti, by appropriately performing the limbs of navadhā-bhakti such as śravaṇa, he always experiences the fulfilment of residing in Vaikuṇṭha.
[Śrī Kṛṣṇa may have asked:] “If you do not want any of these benedictions, then what is it that you do want?” To this question, the sage replies: “O Master, may Your Bāla-gopāla form in Vṛndāvana, which I have just described, always remain manifest within my heart. Although You are present as the Supersoul, the omniscient witness in the cave-like hearts of all beings, kindly remain manifest in my heart in such a way that You seem to be appearing directly in front of me, and in that way reveal to me the beauty of Your entire form.”
[As though Śrī Kṛṣṇa is personally addressing His devotee, He speaks thus:] “Aho! Liberation, residence in Vaikuṇṭha, and eligibility to engage in navadhā-bhakti are also exceedingly worthy and rare benedictions. Why not accept them as well?” In reply, Śrī Satyavrata Muni says, “Kim anyaih? – Of what use to me are these three boons?” In other words, Śrī Satyavrata Muni says, “Although these attainments are eagerly sought after by others, they are of no use to me.”
Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the essence of all bliss. If one attains Him, then everything has been attained. However, the result of obtaining something as insignificant as liberation instead of one’s most cherished form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is only intense sorrow. It is for this reason that Śrī Satyavrata Muni has implied that all other benedictions are of no use.
[Now, In the following passages, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī reveals another meaning of kim anyaih.] Śrī Bhagavān asks the sage: “You may not want liberation and other boons, but why do you not accept the benediction of seeing Me and conversing with Me in any of My opulent, four-armed forms like Śrī Nārāyaṇa – a privilege greatly cherished by all?”
In this context, when Śrī Satyavrata Muni replies that he has no use for any other benediction, he means “I will only experience the greatest bliss if Your Bāla-gopāla form, the crown jewel of all beauty, remains forever manifest in my heart, and not otherwise.”
In Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta’s Uttara-khaṇḍa (2.86–96) we find the statements of Śrī Pippalāyana Ṛṣī. Therein, he extensively discusses the glories of beholding Śrī Bhagavān within the heart (antara-darśana).
In the previous stanzas, the sage has been singing the glories (stuti) of his Lord, yet this stanza is apparently a prayer (prārthana). However, even this prayer has culminated in glorifying Śrī Bhagavān. The sage’s prayer for inner vision of Śrī Bhagavān shows that such vision is the highest goal. This should also be understood while considering the next verse..
~ Thus ends the English Rendition of the Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā on the Fourth Verse ~
Up till now, Śrī Satyavrata Muni has been describing the sweet pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and specifically the pastimes characterized by vātsalya-rasa. Consequently, his heart has been melting and he is becoming fully absorbed in them. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is not especially pleased with the prayers offered by Lord Brahmā or the other demigods. On the other hand, if one sings about the pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s devotees, and especially about the pastimes of the Vrajavāsīs, then Śrī Kṛṣṇa will not only be pleased, but He will even be controlled by them.
Śrī Satyavrata Muni then prayed, “O Dāmodara, Your mother has so much affection for You and above all others, You are by far her favourite. She is the very embodiment of boundless vātsalya-prema for You. With profound motherly affection, she cares for You and nurtures You considering You to be her dependent child. Naturally, just as a mother’s qualities ordinarily appear in her children, her motherly quality of forgiveness and compassion also appears in You. Kindly ignore my offences, my sins, my anarthas and my bad qualities, and just be pleased with me. Kindly just grant me Your causeless mercy.”
It is as though Śrī Kṛṣṇa, being pleased by Śrī Satyavrata Muni’s prayer, had asked the sage to accept his desired boons. And now, in the beginning of this stanza, the sage says, “varaṁ deva mokṣaṁ na mokṣāvadhiṁ vā – I do not want liberation or even the utmost limit of freedom – residence in Vaikuṇṭha-loka. Nor have I any need for other such benedictions.”
Śrī Satyavrata Muni prays, “O Bhagavān, You are the original Lord of all lords and the source of everything. Therefore, You are capable of granting all benedictions. Nothing is impossible for You. Although liberation is the cherished attainment of one who has realized the temporary nature of worldly existence and has consequently become detached, I have no need for the benediction of attaining liberation.”
There are five kinds of mukti described in the scriptures: sālokya, sāmīpya, sārūpya, sārṣṭi and sāyujya. The definition of mukti is found in Sāṇkhya śāstra: “ātyantikī duḥkha nivṛttir eva mukti – the final cessation of all forms of misery suffered during the endless cycle of birth and death is mukti.”
Resolving to permanently end their suffering, some people aspire for sāyujya-mukti – merging into the impersonal feature of brahma. This form of mukti is actually offensive and is fully opposed to bhakti. Previously, even the four Kumāras – Śrī Sanaka, Śrī Sanandana, Śrī Sanātana and Śrī Sanat-kumāra – desired this kind of mukti. However, as Śrī Satyavrata Muni prays for his desired boon, he discards the goal of mokṣa (sāyujya-mukti) with the words varaṁ deva mokṣam,
and with the words na mokṣāvadhiṁ vā he expresses that he does not even want the unending, concentrated happiness of residing in Vaikuṇṭha, the ultimate limit of freedom.
We should carefully consider the meaning of mokṣāvadhim. Unlike sāyujya-mukti, the other four kinds of mukti are not entirely unfavourable to bhakti. Those who accept these four kinds of mukti exist within the realm of Vaikuṇṭha in two classifications: In one class, sva-sukhaiśvarya-uttarā-mokṣa, the desire for one’s own happiness and opulence predominates, whereas in the other class, prema-seva-uttarā-mokṣa, one’s longing to render loving service to Śrī Bhagavān predominates over all other desires.
Those who long for prema-sevottarā-mokṣa never desire the inferior sva-sukhaiśvaryottarā-mokṣa. The example of the four Kumāras illustrates this. When the four Kumāras experienced the fragrance of the tulasī leaves that had been placed upon the lotus feet of Śrī Nārāyaṇa, they utterly abandoned their previous desires for impersonal liberation. They at once became jñānī-bhaktas (devotees who have knowledge of the Lord’s absolute divinity) and began seeking after prema-sevottarā-mokṣa.
Śuddha-bhaktas, however, have one-pointed attachment for the loving service of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. They do not even aspire for prema-sevottarā-mokṣa wherein some desire for one’s own happiness still remains. When Śrī Bhagavān offers such one-pointed devotees either of these classes of mokṣa, they never accept. Therefore, in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.29.13) Śrī Bhagavān says, “dīyamānaṁ na gṛhṇanti vinā mat-sevanaṁ janāḥ – a pure devotee never accepts any kind of mokṣa, even if I personally offer it to him.” The unalloyed devotee’s only desire is to engage in loving service to Śrī Bhagavān. In the history of Vṛtrāsura narrated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Vṛtrāsura rejected all varieties of mokṣa and prayed to be able to render service to the lotus feet of Śrī Bhagavān:
na nāka-pṛṣṭhaṁ na ca pārameṣṭhyaṁ
na sārva-bhaumaṁ na rasādhipatyam
na yoga-siddhīr apunar-bhavaṁ vā
samañjasa tvā virahayya kāṅkṣe
O ocean of all good fortune, apart from serving Your lotus feet I do not wish for anything. I do not wish to obtain the summit of heaven (Dhruvaloka – the Vaikuṇṭha planet situated at the zenith of the material cosmos) nor the highest seat of power within the universe (the seat of Lord Brahmā); nor have I any desire for sovereignty over all the earth, nor sovereignty of all the planets down to Rasātala, which are flooding with sense-enjoyment; I do not long for mastery over all the yoga-siddhīs nor even for the end of repeated birth and death (mokṣa).
In the same way, Śrī Satyavrata Muni is not even asking for a boon related to the utmost limit of mokṣa – residence in Vaikuntha.
Śrī Satyavrata Muni continues: “na ca anyam – furthermore, I have no desire to obtain any other benediction.” By the word anya (other) in this phrase, Śrī Satyavrata Muni implies, “I do not even want the result of performing the nine kinds of vaidhi-navadhā-bhakti: hearing about Śrī Bhagavān (śravaṇa), chanting His names (kīrtana), remembering Him (viṣṇu-smaraṇa), serving His lotus feet (pāda-sevana), worshipping Him (arcana), praising Him (vandana), maintaining the attitude of serving Him (dāsya), nurturing a friendship with Him (sakhya), and submitting one’s very self to Him (ātma-nivedana).”
His response astonishes Śrī Kṛṣṇa who then asks, “The nine-fold system of devotional service (navadhā-bhakti) has been abundantly praised in the scriptures, yet you do not want to accept even that. What, then, is your desire?”
Then Śrī Satyavrata Muni utters his prayer: “My only desire is that Your form as little Bāla-gopāla manifest in my heart forever – that small cowherd boy who is afraid of His mother and who is looking here and there with fearful, suspicious eyes.” In the phrase vareśad apīha (vara-īśat api-iha), the word iha means “here”, or “in this place”. Thus the sage is praying, “May Your form as a little cowherd boy, which is present here in Vṛndāvana, appear within my heart. I have no need for any other benediction besides this.”
The form of Bāla-gopāla will only appear in one’s heart as a result of prema-bhakti. Sādhakas who perform śravaṇa, kīrtana and smaraṇa of Śrī Kṛṣṇa do not care if they go to heaven or hell. Their only desire is to engage in cultivating prema-bhakti under the guidance of tattvajñā, rasika Vaiṣṇavas – Vaiṣṇavas who have realized the Absolute Truth and who are expert in relishing loving emotions. It is therefore said:
smṛtyoḥ krameṇa rasanā-manasī niyojya
tiṣṭhan vraje tad-anurāgi-jana anugāmī
kālaṁ nayed akhilam ity upadeśa-sāram
Śrī Upadeśāmṛta (8)
The bhakti-sādhakas should perform kīrtana and smaraṇa (remembrance) of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s name, form, character and pastimes. Thus they should gradually engage their tongues and minds, withdrawing them from absorption in sense objects which cause aversion to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Residing in Vraja-maṇḍala, they should follow in the footsteps of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s associates who have deep attachment for Him, and fully utilize every moment of their time like this. This is the essence of all teachings.
Similarly, in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.47.58), Śrī Uddhava says:
etāḥ paraṁ tanu-bhṛto bhuvi gopa-vadhvo
govinda eva nikhilātmani rūḍha-bhāvāḥ
vāñchanti yad bhava-bhiyo munayo vayaṁ ca
kiṁ brahma-janmabhir ananta-kathā-rasasya
The young wives of the gopas, embodied here on earth, lead the topmost lives because they have mahābhāva, or full-blown selfless love for Śrī Govinda, the very soul of all. Their pure love is sought after by those sages who fear repeated birth and death, as well as by us. What is the use of being born even as Lord Brahmā if one does not have any taste for hearing the nectarean descriptions of Śrī Hari.
Vṛtrāsura also prays that he may gain the association of the Vaiṣṇavas and cultivate prema-bhakti under their guidance:
saṁsāra-cakre bhramataḥ sva-karmabhiḥ
āsakta-cittasya na nātha bhūyāt
O Master of my life, I am not seeking liberation. I am not concerned if I must repeatedly roam about in this vicious circle of birth and death as a result of my actions. However, wherever I go, and in whichever species I take birth, please grant me the loving friendship of Your dear devotees, for in their association I can cultivate prema-bhakti. My Lord, I only pray that I will not have to mingle with those who, bewildered by Your illusory potency, are always attached to their bodies, homes, children, families and so on.
Although the position of navadhā-bhakti is so elevated, Śrī Satyavrata Muni has no desire for it. Why? Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī reconciles this wonder. He explains that the fruit of one’s practice of navadhā-bhakti depends upon the nature of one’s practice. When the nine limbs of bhakti are performed according to vaidhi-mārga (the path of strict adherence to scriptural regulations based on fear), they enable the sādhaka to attain Vaikuṇṭha. On the other hand, when the same limbs of bhakti are performed in rāga-mārga (the path of spontaneous love), they enable the sādhaka to reach the abode of Vṛndāvana, where they attain loving service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
It is important to carefully understand the meaning of rāga. Rāga is defined as one’s attraction to an object. If the soul’s inherent capacity to be attracted is directed towards Śrī Kṛṣṇa – if He becomes the exclusive object of that attraction – it is called rāgātmikā-bhakti. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmipāda has defined rāgātmikā-bhakti in the following verse:
iṣṭe svārasikī rāgaḥ paramāviṣṭatā bhavet
tan-mayī yā bhaved bhaktiḥ sātra rāgātmikoditā
Rāga is the unquenchable loving thirst for the object of one’s affection that in turn gives rise to spontaneous and intense absorption in that object. Devotion that is performed with such rāga is known as rāgātmikā-bhakti.
Spontaneous, intense absorption in the object of one’s love is referred to as rāga, and when kṛṣṇa-bhakti reaches this state of intense attachment it is called rāgātmikā-bhakti. Thus, in brief, rāgātmikā-bhakti is the loving thirst for Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The topmost example of rāgātmikā-bhakti is found in the deeply loving emotions that the Vrajavāsīs feel for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and devotion that is aimed at attaining this stage of rāgātmikā-bhakti is called rāgānugā-bhakti (bhakti following in the wake of rāgātmikā-bhakti). Since the devotion of one following the vaidhi-mārga is dependent on the dictation of rules and regulations, it is weak. On the other hand, rāgānugā-bhakti is entirely independent, and therefore it is powerful by nature.
The topmost example of anurāga (incessant, deep loving attachment) for Śrī Kṛṣṇa only exists in the hearts of the Vrajavāsīs. The devotee should meditate on the associates of his beloved Lord Kṛṣṇa, who have the same mood for which he aspires. Furthermore, he should remain absorbed in hearing, chanting and remembering the names and pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa in Vraja that are conducive to his own particular mood. Each devotee should reside in Vraja-maṇḍala following the associate who shares his own favoured mood, in the manner just described.
Those who aspire for a mood of friendship with Śrī Kṛṣṇa should follow the footsteps of His companions such as Śrīdāma and Subala; those who desire to have parental affection for Him should follow Śrī Nanda and Śrī Yaśodā; and those who hanker for conjugal love with Śrī Kṛṣṇa should follow Śrī Lalitā, Śrī Viśākhā and so on. Thus, each devotee, according to his own mood, should immerse himself in the pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and live in Vraja. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmipāda has outlined this process of bhajana in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.294–5):
kṛṣṇaṁ smaran janaṁ cāsya
kuryād vāsaṁ vraje sadā
The devotee should constantly remember Śrī Kṛṣṇa along with the dear-most associates of Śrī Kṛṣṇa whom he chooses to follow. While permanently living in Vraja, he should become attached to always hearing about them. (If one is unable to live in Vraja by body, then one should live in Vraja by mind.) (294)
siddha-rūpeṇa cātra hi
He who has developed greed for rāgātmikā-bhakti should closely follow in the footsteps of the particular associates in Vraja whose moods he aspires for. Under their guidance, he should engage in service both in his external form as a sādhaka, and internally with his perfected spiritual body. (295)
If the sādhaka longs to attain the fully blossomed, mature state of prema, he should take to heart the instruction of Śrī Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī:
yadīccher āvāsaṁ vraja-bhuvi sa-rāgaṁ prati-janur
yuva-dvandvaṁ tac cet paricaritum ārād abhilaṣeḥ
svarūpaṁ śrī rūpaṁ sa-gaṇam iha tasyāgrajam api
sphuṭaṁ premṇā nityaṁ smara nama tadā tvaṁ śṛṇu manaḥ
Śrī Manaḥ-śikṣā (3)
If you wish to live in the land of Vraja birth after birth, and if you crave the chance to perform direct service to the eternally youthful Divine Couple in Their parakīya affairs, full of rāga, then, my dear mind, listen to me. Realize deep love for Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, his older brother Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī and all their associates. Remember them for all eternity and offer your obeisance to them in adoration. My dear mind, please listen to me.
It is thus clear that attaining vraja-bhakti is only possible by being under the guidance of the Vrajavāsīs. This is the opinion of the ācāryas.
Someone who wants vraja-bhakti will hear and chant according to his own specific mood. The following mantra, for example, enables devotees of all moods to relish the names especially dear to them. According to their specific rasa, devotees will cherish one name in particular within this mantra:
śrī kṛṣṇa gopāla hare mukunda
govinda he nanda-kiśora kṛṣṇa
hā śrī yaśodā-tanaya prasīda
śrī vallavī-jīvana rādhikeśa
Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta (2.4.7)
Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Gopāla! Hari, Mukunda, Govinda, O youthful son of Nanda! O darling son of Śrī Yaśodā, be pleased with me. O life of the gopīs! O master of Śrī Rādhikā!
So one should engage in śravaṇam and kīrtanam, but that śravaṇam and kīrtanam should be of the names, form and qualities of Śrī Kṛṣṇa that are in relation to His pastimes in Vraja, and it should be performed while under the guidance of rūpānuga Vaiṣṇavas (followers of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī). Bāla-gopāla, Yaśodā’s darling son in Vraja, can only be attained by this process. He can never be attained by performing the limbs of vaidhi-bhakti.
Śrī Satyavrata Muni rejects the results of vaidhi-navadhā-bhakti. When the form of Bāla-gopāla manifests in one’s heart, what else is there to attain? If one has achieved the abode of Vṛndāvana and the association of exalted rasika Vaiṣṇavas – the residents of Vraja – one’s performance of śravaṇa and kīrtana in such association will naturally result in the highest attainment, and all of one’s cherished desires will be fulfilled.
Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura chanted three hundred thousand holy names every day. Consequently, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself awarded him the title “Nāma-ācārya” – the most exemplary teacher of chanting the holy name. Although Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī and Śrī Dāsa Gosvāmī also performed bhajana, it is not written anywhere that they regularly chanted this many holy names. Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura’s chanting and the chanting of the Gosvāmīs each has their own unique speciality.
In a similar sense, the descriptions of the love exhibited by Lakṣmī-devī and the love exhibited by Śrīmatī Rādhikā, by Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita, the crown jewel of devotees and Mahāprabhu’s intimate associate, and by Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara respectively, each have their own unique specialities. At the time of the Rathā-yātrā festival, Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita tried to establish the glories of Lakṣmī-devī’s love for the Lord, but in response Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara established the supremacy of the love of his own svāmīni Śrīmatī Rādhikā.
It is also seen that when Pradyumna Miśra came to Jagannātha Purī, Śrīman Mahāprabhu sent him to hear kṛṣṇa-kathā from Śrī Rāya Rāmānanda, not from Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura even though he was present in Purī at the time. Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura is the combined form of Śrī Brahmā and Śrī Prahlāda, and his chanting of the holy name is absolutely pure. However, in any consideration, the particular moods, or bhāvas, of the Vaiṣṇavas are always the main factor in determining their exalted positions. Everything depends on mood. Śrī Prahlāda Mahārāja is a jñāni-bhakta, and can never ascend beyond Vaikuṇṭha. Although those with a thirst for vraja-bhakti offer their deepest respects to the bhajana performed by Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura, they always choose to follow Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī and Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī.
These topmost rasika Vrajavāsī Gosvāmīs always remained absorbed in vraja-bhāva and, in a mood of intense separation, they bathed in the nectarean ocean of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s Vraja pastimes day and night. Our sole aim is to perform bhajana under their guidance.
The following statement has been heard directly from the mouths of some bygone worshipful Vaiṣṇavas:
bahiraṅga laiyā kare nāma-saṅkīrtana
antaraṅga laiyā kare premāsvādana
In public, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu would perform nāma-saṅkīrtana, and privately, with His most intimate, internal associates, He would relish vraja-prema.
In the Gambhirā, Śrīman Mahāprabhu would relish vraja-rasa exclusively with Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara and Śrī Rāya Rāmānanda. These two most intimate associates of His would recite verses and songs according to His internal moods:
ayi dīna-dayārdra nātha he
dayita bhrāmyati kiṁ karomy aham
Śrīla Mādhavendra Purī
(quoted from Śrī Padyāvalī, 334)
O Master, Your heart always melts because of Your compassion for the destitute! O Lord of Mathurā, when will I see You again? O beloved Lord of my life, because I am hankering so fervently to see You, my heart has become intensely restless. What shall I do now?
he deva! he dayita! he bhuvanaika-bandho!
he kṛṣṇa! he capala! he karuṇaika-sindho!
he nātha! he ramaṇa! he nayanābhirāma!
hā hā kadā nu bhavitāsi padaṁ dṛśor me
Śrī Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta (40)
O my worshipful Lord, O dearest one, You are the only friend of the entire universe. O Kṛṣṇa, O restless one, You alone are the ocean of mercy. O my master, O my lover, O charmer of my eyes! Alas, alas, when will I behold Your lotus feet?
Only Śrī Rāya Rāmananda and Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara could understand the deep meanings of these verses, and only they could console Mahāprabhu when He was overwhelmed by the sharp pangs of His intense mood of separation from Kṛṣṇa. In his commentary, Śrila Sanātana Gosvāmīpāda has certainly indicated the great importance and speciality of the moods of rāgānuga-bhakti over those of vaidhi-bhakti.
The rūpānuga-sādhakas should remember that our Gosvāmīs are all rādhā-pakṣīya (those who identify themselves as being part of Śrī Rādhā’s intimate group). They are only pleased when Śrī Kṛṣṇa becomes so absorbed in thinking about Śrī Vṛṣabhānu-nandinī, Śrī Rādhā, that His darkish complexion becomes golden like Hers.
rādhā-cintā-niveśena yasya kāntir-vilopitā
śrī kṛṣṇa caraṇaṁ vande rādhāliṅgita-vigraham
Śrī Rādhā-Vinoda-bihārī-tattvāṣṭakam (3)
When Śrīmatī Rādhikā was in māna, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, in the mood of intense separation from Her, became so completely immersed in thinking about Her that His own darkish complexion became golden like Hers. I adore the lotus feet of that most glorious form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
The sādhaka should develop an intimate relationship with his guru. He should have such profound affection for his guru’s external, sādhaka form as well as for his internal, siddha (perfected) form, that he becomes intensely attached to him. His attachment should be similar to the natural, worldly attachment one ordinarily has for well-wishing relatives or close friends. This type of natural relationship with one’s guru is called laukika sat-bandhuvat sambandha. The sādhaka should accept that it is his guru alone who can fulfil all his most cherished spiritual desires. That is the only way he can enter into rūpānuga-bhajana; there is no other way.
Śrīman Mahāprabhu instructs sādhakas who are inclined towards this high class of bhajana:
tṛṇād api su-nīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā māna-dena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka (3)
In every respect the sādhaka should see himself as more lowly and helpless than the most insignificant, trampled blade of grass, and, becoming even more tolerant than a tree, expecting no honour for himself, he should give due respect to all. In this way, the sādhaka should always perform harināma-saṅkīrtana.
During His pastimes in Dvārakā, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself exemplified this instruction of Śrī Gaurahari. In one incident in particular, His conduct exemplifies this instruction. That incident goes like this:
Once, Durvāsā Ṛṣi arrived in Dvārakā. Durvāsā literally means “he who subsists solely on the juice of durvā grass”. At that time, Śrī Kṛṣṇa was sitting in His palace. As soon as Durvāsā Ṛṣi arrived before Śrī Kṛṣṇa, he exclaimed, “I am very hungry. Make arrangements to feed me!” However, the moment his meal was ready, he went away. At midnight, he suddenly returned and asked for his meal, which was then served to him. When he had eaten only a little of it, he turned to Śrī Kṛṣṇa and said, “Smear this half-eaten sweet rice on Your body.” Silently, Śrī Kṛṣṇa smeared the half-eaten sweet rice over His entire body. He smeared it everywhere except on the soles of His feet. The residents of Dvārakā looked on infuriated, but they could not say a word.
“I want to ride around in a chariot pulled by Rukmiṇī,” said Durvāsā Ṛṣi. After Śrī Kṛṣṇa made the arrangements for this, Durvāsā Ṛṣi demanded that Śrī Kṛṣṇa become the charioteer. Śrī Rukmiṇī dragged the chariot along until, on the verge of fainting, she fell to the ground. Upon seeing this, the residents of Dvārakā were unable to tolerate any more, so Durvāsā Ṛṣi abruptly jumped from the chariot and fled. Śrī Kṛṣṇa began searching for him and calling out his name.
Durvāsā Ṛṣi again appeared. “O Dvārkādhīśa,” he said, “even among the demigods, I have never seen anyone so self-composed and tolerant. Surely You are the Lord and benefactor of the brāhmaṇas (brahmaṇya-deva). I have enacted this pastime just to establish Your honour throughout the three worlds. O Śrī Kṛṣṇa, on my order You smeared my half-eaten sweet rice all over Your body – everywhere except for the soles of Your feet. Your whole body has now become as strong as a thunderbolt, but the soles of Your feet are weak, and susceptible to being wounded.”
“O Rukmiṇī-devī,” he continued, “I am very pleased with you. Seeing your devotion for the Supreme Lord and your extreme tolerance, I am compelled to bless you.” Durvāsā Ṛṣī then blessed her saying, “You will be the most exalted of all the chaste ladies in the world, and you will have everlasting fortune.”
This pastime teaches the sādhaka the importance of tolerance and patience. Even the slightest mistake in one’s dealings can result in an offence to the Vaiṣṇavas and thus cause bhakti to disappear forever.
Leaving aside all other benedictions, Śrī Satyavrata Muni is praying that Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s Bāla-gopāla form remain manifest within his heart forever. He only wants the form of Śrī Dāmodara to appear there.
~ Thus ends the Dig-darśinī-vṛttī on the Fourth Verse ~