VMA 1.2 : Prabodhananda's humble determination to glorify the Dham
īśo’pi yasya mahimāmṛtavārirāśeḥ
pāraṁ prayātumanalambata tatra ke’nye
kintv alpam apy ahamatipraṇayād vigāhya
syāṁ dhanyadhanya iti me samupakramo’yam
Even God Himself could never crossCommentary
the ocean of the Dham's divine grandeur,
who else would even dare to try it?
But, overcome by love intense,
thinking fortune is there if I just dive,
I undertake this daunting task.
This statement of humility is not displaced. Sometimes we look at the works of prolific authors like Prabodhananda with amazement. Of course there are secular authors who produce great amounts of material through their habits of hard work and out of necessity. If they are gifted with great talent, then they can write literary marvels that stand the test of time. But the devotee who wants to glorify the Lord faces a daunting task. How to communicate that which is beyond the power of speech to describe? yato vāco nivartante aprāpya manasā saha.
Kaviraj Goswami similarly shows the same kind of humility at the beginning of Govinda-līlāmṛta—
apaṭur atitaṭasthas tuccha-buddhyām apātraḥ
puru-rasa-kalanecchuḥ kṛṣṇa-līlāmṛtābdheḥ |
niravadhi hi tad-antaḥ krīḍatāṁ vaiṣṇavānāṁ
kim u na hi bhavitāhaṁ hāsya-hetur garīyān ||6||
I am not blessed with advanced intelligence, rather my mind is fickle. Moreover, I am inexpert and unworthy, yet I am still attempting to describe the rasa from Sri Krishna’s līlāmṛta-sindhu. I can only guess that the Vaishnavas who unceasingly swim within this nectar ocean may laugh at me. (1.6)
hāsa-prakāśana-karī pramada-pradā vāṅ
mandasya me bhavatu bhaṇḍatarasya yadvat ||7||
The Vrajavasi Vaishnavas are all very experienced, having immersed themselves in the nectar of the master poet Sri Rupa Goswami’s descriptions of Krishna lila, such as Vidagdha-mādhava and other such compositions. Perhaps I shall become a laughing stock when they see this book written by such a foolish imposter as me. (1.7)
tad vāg-visargo janatāgha-viplavo
yasmin pratīty-ādi sad-uktinoditaḥ |
mandāṁ giraṁ svāṁ vidadhe sadādṛtām||8||
The Bhāgavatam declares: “Even if Sri Bhagavan’s names, forms, qualities and pastimes are inexpertly narrated, still the sins of those who listen to them shall be destroyed.” Having firm faith in these true words, my hope is rejuvenated because the sadhus out of their magnanimity shall welcome even my inferior writing describing Govinda’s pastimes. (1.8)
khinnāṁ gāṁ gokulonmukhīm|
santaḥ puṣṇantv imāṁ snigdhāḥ
Just as an oasis gives shelter to a thirsty cow in the desert, I pray that the Gokula lila descriptions emanating from my desert-like tongue will become refreshed upon reaching the cool, reservoir-like ears of the learned Vaishnavas. (1.9)In these four verses, we can observe the Kaviraj’s magnanimity. Dainya (humility) is the very image of prema. As one’s humility awakens, prema manifests proportionately. Krishna Das could have honestly introduced himself as a master of Sanskrit kāvya (poetry), alaṅkāra (rhetoric), vyākaraṇa (grammar) and chandas (meter), and although honored with the prestigious title of kavirāja by the most revered scholars of his time, still he still regards himself as an illiterate fool. On the other hand, even though he is one of Radha’s chief eight manjaris (Sri Kasturi), who directly witnesses Radha and Krishna’s most confidential affairs, he thinks himself unfit to describe Sri Govinda’s pastimes. Such humility invokes the blessings of all. Indeed, Srila Kaviraj Goswami is the ideal exemplar of his own instruction in Caitanya-caritāmṛta :
uttama hañā vaiṣṇava habe nirabhimāna
jīve sammāna dibe jāni kṛṣṇa adhiṣṭhāna
ei mata hañā yei kṛṣṇa nāma laya
śrī kṛṣṇa caraṇe tāṅra prema upajaya
premera svabhāva jāṅhā premera sambandha
sei māne kṛṣṇe mora nāhi bhakti gandha
Though it is impossible for one such as I to match the glories of such great souls as Kaviraj Goswami and Prabodhananda Saraswatipada, I also shall try to follow in their footsteps and by doing so, purify my own contaminated being by remembering Sri Vrindavan Dham and the Divine Couple and their servants, and by using my tongue to expand on the words of Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛta, trying to extract more nectar for the pleasure of the devotees. Like Kaviraja Goswami, I fear that I will only make a laughing stock of myself, but what else can I do?Although he is the most exalted in society, a Vaishnava is prideless. Having realized Krishna’s presence in everyone’s heart, he respects all. Chanting Krishna’s names with such humility causes prema to awaken for serving Sri Krishna’s lotus feet. And those possessing prema consider themselves to be devoid of Krishna prema. (CC 3.20.26-28)
By Radharani's grace my physical body has been given a place in the Dham and if I do not use my tongue to glorify it, how will I ever get its mercy. I may not attain prema in a thousand births, or even the association of the many premi bhaktas who live in the Dham, but I must use whatever capacity I have to relish the few drops of nectar that the Dham has sprinkled on my head and share with whomever is fool enough to relish it with me.
The good fortune that Prabodhananda Saraswati sees will arise from the effort he makes in describing the glories of the Dham -- like Kaviraja -- come from the blessings of the devotees. It is beyond my intelligence to know how to please the other devotees in any other way than by following in the footsteps of the predecessor acharyas. So I ask for their blessings, and for the blessings of my beloved and honored readers, that you will all grant me the ability to serve you by relishing the glories of the Dham in your association.