VMA 1.77 : I bow down to those who serve the residents of Vrindavan
|Students studying the Bhagavatam in Vrindavan|
viṣṇor dhāmnaḥ sphurad-atimahānanda-vṛndāvana-sthān |
jantūn hantuṁ viracita-kṛtīn apy uru-prema-bhājo
dānair mānair ahaha bhajato dhanya-dhanyān namāmaḥ ||
To the supremely fortunate personsCommentary
who live in Vrindavan, which reveals a greater bliss
than anything found in Lord Visnu's abode,
making Radha and Krishna deeply indebted to them,
who show great love even towards those
who have engaged in actions to kill living creatures,
and – ah ! ah ! – worship them
by showing them honor and giving gifts,
we offer our respectful obeisances.
This verse is a bit of a problem in the third line where the words hantum viracita-kṛtīn "engaged in actions to kill" are found. Previous translations have just avoided this. For example:
To the supremely fortunate, pious and affectionate persons who live in Vrindavan, which is more blissful than Lord Vishnu's abode, and who, worshiping them with prayers and gifts, make Radha and Krishna deeply indebted to them, we offer our respectful obeisances. (1.77)Here a further problem is that all the words are in the accusative plural, so it is not clear which of the adjectives modify the jantūn who are being killed and which modify those to whom we offer our respectful obeisances. It seems rather unlikely that those killing creatures living in Vrindavan would make Radha and Krishna indebted to them, nor that one would worship such people with prayers and gifts. It is possible that there is an alternative reading, but in neither of the editions available to me is there anything that resolves my problem here.
Prabodhananda Saraswatipada occasionally makes statements about the residents of Braj, that even though engaged in sinful actions should be considered the objects of veneration, but this statement seems to go too far even for him. So I believe it better to refrain from commenting until I have either found more information about the reading, or found an insight into the intent of this verse.
At any rate, the overall intent is clear in the context of the preceding verses. Prabodhananda pays obeisances to those who serve the devotees in the Dham, as he has been advising in the previous verses. The Vaishnava ideal is to be the servant of the servant, and those who reside in the Dham are exalted, even if to one's external vision they appear to be sinful. This is probably the hardest tattva to understand. But should we be able to eliminate the difficult words from this verse, then the verse becomes more agreeable. I am keeping my eye out for alternative readings. For the time being I am publishing despite my dissatisfaction with my understanding of the verse.
It has not been my habit to ask for charity for myself or for others, but over the years I have either started or participated in projects in the Dham where money is needed. If you have any faith in the subject matter of this and the previous verses of Vrindavana-mahimamrita, I humbly ask you to consider helping with any one of them.
[It may be noted that so far crowds of potential donors have not been banging down our doors... We are dependent on the mercy of our Thakurs, but are somewhat amazed that so many hundreds of people read this material, and yet no one is moved to support our work. Jai Gaura Gadadhar! Jai Radhe Shyam! And we are certainly not killing any living beings in the Dham!!!]
I will give a short list here and ask for those who are charitably disposed and would like to help these various services to progress to please get in touch with me at the email for this blog "premaprayojan" at google mail to find out the best way to send donations.
- Vrindavan Today. After the recent difficulties with VT, we have incurred legal expenses in order to go through the dispute resolution mechanism for regaining control of the Vrindavan Today brand. I am also very much eager to expand the website by hiring writers and a website manager. It is hard to find volunteers, and even volunteers need to live. There are also office expenses and so on. Those who would like to get a daily dose of Braja raj will certainly benefit from expanded services. But VT is more than a news blog, it has the potential to promote and help a variety of services to the Dham via the Braj Vrindavan Heritage Alliance. So donating to this project will have multiple beneficial repercussions.
- Birnagar Dwadash Mandir. I have been giving information about Bhativinoda Thakur's birthplace where I have been staying there for the past month. Harigopal Dasji has been working very hard to restore the buildings and to construct facilities for the bhaktas, especially needed during the annual festival, which just finished a few days ago. The monthly maintenance costs are Rs. 30,000, which are collected with some difficulty. For those living in wealthier countries, this is not a significant amount (about 500 US$) but a headache for us here. Harigopal Dasji Maharaj estimates that projects like restoring the man-made lake, finishing the repairs on the Shiva mandirs, finishing the incompleted constructions will take at least another 5 lakhs (10K US$). I am also eager to do some publishing both in English and Bengali, such as the Sva-likhita-jivani, Harinama-chintamani, Bhajana-rahasya and other translations in English, while I think there is a need for a collection of all of Bhaktivinoda Thakur's writings in a single set of volumes, a "collected works" series, ideally in both English and Bengali. Donating to these projects will help keep Bhaktivinoda Thakur's parampara through Lalita Prasad Thakur vibrant.
- Gadai Gauranga Kunj. Currently I am posting Gadadhar Pran's latest book, "Another Side of Bhaktivinoda Thakur." Gadadhar has no stable source of income to maintain his ashram, and I think it is high time that his valuable books became more easily available to devotees around the world. Those who are interested in bhajan will have great difficulty in find a more valuable resource than these books, which are not easily available in printed form. Some help in this regard would be greatly appreciated. GP's email address is gadadhar_das000/at/yahoo.co.in
- I myself have plenty of material that I would like to see published. And of course there is the Grantha Mandir, which is a potential publication resource and needs some committed and competent staff to work on it.
Of course, better than money would be committed and competent volunteers who are interested in doing the service in any of the above areas directly... though it should be remembered all the above services require advanced education in shastra as well as bhajana-nishtha, or commitment to spiritual practice. All the above are great opportunities to advance in those aspects of devotional culture. But as Prabodhananda Saraswati is saying here, if you cannot do it yourself, help others to do it. Through those you help, you will help many, many others.