Compassion means Krishna katha

I mentioned yesterday that I have started a new regime, only coming on line once a day. Prior to that, I was watching a number of Christian websites and videos and getting a bit of a feel for various branches of Christian thought. I found out that for some, "Jews are our friends, it is the Catholics who are the real whores of Babylon. The Jesuits are ones behind the New World Order."

So this counter conspiracy theory was like a beam of light into the darkness. I realized that only God knows, and the rest of us are a bunch of idiots who think we know. And this knowledge does not give us happiness but helplessness. And this is very liberating.

One thing, though, that is striking about some branches of Christianity is their utter seriousness about "saving souls." From the lake of fire and so. "There is no other way to the Father but by me."

Well, at least they recognize that there is suffering, as the Buddha said. Today in Bhakti Sandarbha, I had the pleasure of reading the following verses, which are the principal texts for Anucchedas 115-117.

The first of these comes after a _very_ long explanation of the last verse of the Chatuhshloki Bhagavatam, which Jiva Goswami is at great pains to tell us, is about sadhana bhakti, the abhidheya of the Bhagavatam. Abhidheya, you may not know, literally means "that which is being enjoined." In other words, every text is inspiring some kind of action. This is the situation (sambandha), this is the goal (prayojana) and this is the means to get there (abhidheya),

Every text has an explicit or implicit injunction and prohibition in it. This is called the anvaya (direct injunction or statement) and vyatireka (negation or prohibition). So the last verse of Chatuhshloki is telling us:

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

A person who is searching after the Supreme Absolute Truth must search for it up to this point, both directly and indirectly, so that it will be firmly fixed in all space and time. (2.9.35)

Actually, Jiva Goswami’s explanation is pretty brilliant here. Jijñāsyaṁ “to be inquired” is the indication that the abhidheya is being spoken of. Because ultimately the question is “What must I do?” So one must inquire into what must be done through understanding injunctions and prohibitions until one comes to the point of knowing what is to be done in all times and in all places.

And then Jiva draws on a large number of verses to establish that bhakti and bhakti alone fits the criteria of this abhidheya. The demands of bhakti: It can be practised anywhere, even in hell, at any time. There is only one injunction: Remember Krishna. Only one prohibition, Never forget Him. Wherever you are, whenever you are. Here and now.

Karma, jnana, yoga, sankhya... they are all limited in some way and fall short. Only bhakti will lead to the full satisfaction of the heart.

sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje
ahaituky apratihatā yayātmā suprasīdati

The supreme religious activity of the human being is that which results in devotion to the Supreme Lord who is beyond the ken of our material senses. This devotion must be without motivation and uninterrupted -- only then will it bring full contentment to the soul. (SB 1.2.6)

Even though I was speaking admiringly the other day about Christian introspection and humility and prayer, I do not see most Christians having the kind of bhakti that the Vaishnavas have. They are saved, let them be saved. They have their salvation and they have their dogma armies. They have some pieces of the puzzle. But for the most part, they are not free of the bodily conception of life. It makes their passage through life without a real destination.

Well, I don’t claim to understand anything about Christianity. But like I said, “saving souls” is a big deal in Christianity. So I was rather pleased to see how Jiva concludes Anu 115. You have to understand that all the way from Anu. 1 to Anu. 115, Jiva has been showing in every way possible that bhakti is the point of the Bhagavatam. And now with the grand finale, he has recapitulated it all in his explanation of the Chatuhshloki verse.

And then? The Chatuhshloki verse is not even the main verse of the Anuccheda!! It is this one, Lord Brahma says to Narada:

yathā harau bhagavati nṛṇāṁ bhaktir bhaviṣyati
sarvātmany akhilādhāra iti saṅkalpya varṇaya

Describe this [Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam], vowing that by your so doing humanity will develop bhakti to Bhagavān Hari, the Soul and fountainhead of all things. (SB 2.7.52)

And then Sri Jiva continues by showing the bhakti paramparā. That is the same instruction that Narada gave to Vyasa:

atho mahā-bhāga bhavān amogha-dṛk
śuci-śravāḥ satya-rato dhṛta-vrataḥ
samādhinānusmara tad-viceṣṭitam

O greatly fortunate Vyāsa, your vision is infallible. Your fame is pure. You are truthful and of firm vows. Therefore, in order to liberate all living beings from material bondage, you should reflect continuously in trance on the activities of Bhagavān, who performs wonderful feats. (SB 1.5.13)

Sri Jiva reminds us that just before that Narada has established the supremacy of bhakti as the best of dharmas, the parama dharma, the projjhita-kaitava dharma.

naiṣkarmyam apy acyuta-bhāva-varjitaṁ
na śobhate jñānam alaṁ nirañjanam
kutaḥ punaḥ śaśvad abhadram īśvare
na cārpitaṁ karma yad apy akāraṇam

Even knowledge that is pure and free from bondage to action is without beauty, if it is devoid of devotion to Bhagavān Acyuta. What then can be said of action, which is always inauspicious when not offered to Bhagavān, even if it is performed without material motive? (SB 1.5.12)

tvam apy adabhra-śruta viśrutaṁ vibhoḥ
samāpyate yena vidāṁ bubhutsitam
prakhyāhi duḥkhair muhur arditātmanāṁ
saṅkleśa-nirvāṇam uśanti nānyathā

O Vyāsa, your knowledge is vast. Please describe only the pastimes of Bhagavān, by which the scholars’ thirst for knowledge is quenched. Those who are being repeatedly crushed by the miseries of material existence can be freed from their torment only by hearing these topics and not by any other means. (SB 1.5.40)


Anonymous said…

My person tramped sore-footed across Spain looking amongst the Christians, and quickly found out that it is better to keep ones own (spiritual) feet above the skull rather than blister the physical feet looking for what is only to be found within.

Yours in the love of truth.

Anonymous said…

Your translation is superficial Jagananda Das, One must deconstruct the word "Bhagavān" to the sum of its parts, then reconstruct its true meaning in its English translation.

Even a fool like me can see that.



The Fool
Jagadananda Das said…
I don't know to what you are referring. I have been using Bhagavan of late, mostly because Babaji is using it. It is not superficial, since it is too complex to deconstruct it every time. Prabhupada used "Supreme Personality of Godhead."
Anonymous said…

Then ask oneself why Babaji has used the name "Bhagavān"? WHY?

The true meaning of this word must be important for a Kaula to give you such a hard time?

Why is it too complex to deconstruct? You only have to do it once, and as a result you will not lead your readers astray or leave them (or you) in the dark!

And if you cant be bothered to know the truth of such words but still use them in the wrong context, what are you doing... truly, what are you doing?

And if this one word changes the context of your translation, then what does it say about the other words you have translated - and the whole narrative of the text you have constructed?

Deconstruct the word "Bhagavān" from its compound form to each of its constituent parts, then translate each part and reconstruct its true meaning in English .

Remember, one must not use current English parlance in translation (one has read so many poor mechanistic translations from lazy scholars whom do not care [or love the subject] enough), or worse still, with no real knowledge and do not practice... Go back to Proto-Indo-European and translate like-for-like.

It is no small wonder why genuine instructional texts are reduced to leaking sieves incapable of holding the truth.

Anonymous said…

Perhaps my person expected more of you Jagadananda Das, one did not think you would use SB 2.9.35 as a sunshade to lounge beneath.

Never mind, we could have had some real discussion, just like you asked for...

"If you must use the internet, go back in spirit to the olden days. Write meaningful, heartfelt compositions, ones that are literary and indeed a meditation in themselves. As a sādhana."

Source: Hot season in Vrindavan... and bhajan

But no, you want to hide beneath the shade of your superficial parasol rather than raising the canopy of a serpent's hood.

One hopes you find out the truth about the word Bhagavān, truly; perhaps you may change your mind and begin writing something real from your own experience to help ferry others across.
Jagadananda Das said…
Well, the world bhagavan has been explained often enough. But perhaps I am missing something, MN. Why don't you share your insights? Sometimes it is wrong to expect too much from others.
Anonymous said…

Smile - You would make a great politician Jagadananda Das, truly, your use of rhetoric to avoid answering the question is most impressive; turning the question around like a mirror was a stroke of rhetorical genius.

You have such a fine mind, it is a great defeat that you must use others to explain the word bhagavān to you "often enough", yet, you yourself will not express the truth of this word - and will not even try.

My person has great respect for you, respect enough to speak freely as if I was talking to my own self.

Your quotation of SB 1.5.13 gives an inkling of the truth contained in the word:

"you should reflect continuously in trance on the activities of Bhagavān"

To know the truth of this "instruction", it is as my person said previously:

"Deconstruct the word "Bhagavān" from its compound form to each of its constituent parts, then translate each part and reconstruct its true meaning in English .

Remember, one must not use current English parlance in translation (one has read so many poor mechanistic translations from lazy scholars whom do not care [or love the subject] enough), or worse still, with no real knowledge and do not practice... Go back to Proto-Indo-European and translate like-for-like."

Kind regards,


Anonymous said…

After reading and answering your reply Jagadananda Das, my person came across an interesting article entitled "Satkona - Star of David or Star of Goloka?" written by Srila Bhakti Gaurava Narasingha:
Jagadananda Das said…
Well, God is a complex subject. I assume that you are in favor of some esoteric explanation. There are many explanations of the world bhagavAn in the scriptures, especially the Vishnu Purana. These are cited in Bhagavat Sandarbha. You are likely familiar with the Vaishnava concepts -- Shankara for instances cites the ViP in his Bhashya on the Gita when expanding on the usage of the words "Sri Bhagavan uvaca." (Elsewhere in the Mahabharata, Vasudeva uvacha is used.)

I am not engaged in a rhetoric or debate. You are not being clear about your intention, and I am merely asking you to be straightforward rather than trying to make me say what you want me to say.
Anonymous said…

My person is telling you that there is indeed an "esoteric ‎(esōtérō, “further inside”‎)" meaning, and to find that meaning one must literally "deconstruct the word "Bhagavān" from its compound form to each of its constituent parts, and then translate each part and reconstruct its true meaning in English.

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