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Shri Gayatri Mantrartha Dipika
Illuminations on the Essential Meaning of Gayatri
By Swami B.G. Narasingha
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Shri Gayatri Mantrartha Dipika (Illuminations on the Essential Meaning of Gayatri) has been compiled for the pleasure of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the followers of His disciplic succession known as the Gaudiya Vaishnava-sampradaya. This publication presents the remarkable madhurya (conjugal) conception of gayatri as revealed by shastra (scripture), sadhus (pure devotees), and acaryas (bona fide spiritual masters). When the contents of this book are examined by the serious readers, surely all will agree that the Gaudiya Vaishnava conception of gayatri is the summit of theistic thought.
In the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya, the gayatri which the guru (bona fide spiritual master) gives to the sadhaka (devotee) at the time of diksha (initiation) is that of the Vedic diksha (upanayana) and also that of the Vaishnava pancaratrika-diksha.
Diksha is defined in the Vishnu Yamala as that process by which divine knowledge is given and papa (sins) are destroyed:
divyam jnanam yato dadyat kuryat papasya samkshayam
tasmad-diksheti sa prokta deshikais tattva-kovdaih
“The process by which divine knowedge (divya jnana) is given and sire destroyed is callens ad diksha by highly learned scholars who are expert in spiritual affairs.” (Hari-bhakti-vilasa 2.9, from Vishnu Yamala)
The Vedic diksha (upanayana) is instituted by giving the brahma-gayatri. The Vaishnava pancaratrika-diksha is instituted by giving three pancaratrika-mantras (mula-mantras) and three pancaratrika-gayatris.
The brahma-gayatri begins with om, the bija (seed syllable) followed by the maha-vyahritis (bhuh, bhuvah and svah), then follows the gayatri itself, tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah pracodayat. The use of the word dhimahi (meditation or to invoke the form and activities of the Supreme Lord) is used in all gayatris.
Similarly we find that there are four fundamental characteristics in all pancaratrika-mantras and gayatris: the use of such bijas as aim or klim at the beginning, namatmaka or the presence of nama (the holy name) as the central pivot of the mantra, the words svaha or namah indicating pranama (offering obeisances), and the word dhimahi indicating dhyana (meditation).
According to strict Vedic standards upanayana can only be offered to those who are born in brahmana families. Unfortunately in Kali-yuga (the present age) there are no brahmana by birth — everyone is more or less a shudra (unqualified) by birth. This is stated in Skanda Purana: kalau-shudra-sambhavah. Thus the Vedic system of diksha is inapplicable for Kali-yuga. Therefore the Vaishnava system of pancaratrika-diksha, which has existed since ancient times, and was directly taught by the Supreme Lord, has been introduced. Paramatma Sandarbha, anuccheda 18, and Mahabharata both declare:
pancaratrasya kritsnasya vakta tu bhagavan svayam
“Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, spoke the Pancaratra literature.”
Because the Pancaratra was directly spoken by Krishna Himself it is considered that Pancaratra, (especially the Narada Pancaratra) is supernaturally excellent among all revealed scriptures, sarveshu ca nripashreshtha jnaneshvebheshu drishyate. According to authorities pancaratra means that which deals with five (panca) kinds of knowledge (ratra);
ratran ca jnanavacanam jnanam pancavidham smritam
tenedam pancaratram ca pravadanti manishinah
“Panca means five. Ratra means jnana or knowledge. According to authorities there are five kinds of knowledge; 1) vedic, 2) yogic, 3) mayik, 4) mukti, and 5) bhakti, the knowledge by which one attains to the loving devotional service of the Shri Shri Radha Krishna. (Narada Pancaratra 1.2.44 and Gaudiya Kanthahara 2.44)
The Narada Pancaratra specifically deals with the topic of bhakti and therefore it is most important for all devotional aspirants in the Gaudiya Vaishnava-sampradaya.
jnanam paramatattvam ca janma-mrityu-jarapaham
tato mrityunjayah shambhuh samprapa krishnavaktratah
“The knowledge contained in Narada Pancaratra puts an end to birth, death, old age and disease — and reveals the Supreme Truth. Krishna also spoke this knowledge to the supremely fortunate Shambu (Lord Shiva).” (Narada Pancaratra 1.2.25 and Gaudiya Kanthahara 2.46)
drishtha sarvam samalokya jnanam samprapya shankarat
jnanaritam pancaratram cakara narado munih
“Narada Muni, after studying all the scriptures, heard this unparalled knowledge from the lotus mouth of the best of devotees, Lord Shiva, who heard it from Krishna. At that time Narada compiled the Pancaratra, which is the essence of nectar.” (Narada Pancaratra 1.2.56 and Gaudiya Kanthahara 2.47)
The pancaratrika system requires a sadhaka to undergo the process known as panca-samskara. This panca-samskara consists of panca (five) stages of samskara (purification) mentioned as follows:
tapah pundram tatha nama mantro yagash ca pancamah
ami hi panca-samskarah paramaikanti-hetavah
“Tapah, pundra, nama, mantra, and yaga; these five items comprise panca-samskara. They are the cause of intense devotion to Lord Hari.”
Tapah means performing austerities and professing one’s self as a servant of Hari (Vishnu/Krishna). Pundra means applying tilaka marks (vertical lines drawn on the body) symbolizing the body as the temple of Hari. Nama means receiving the holy name from the spiritual master and chanting that name according to his direction.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Of the panca-samskaras it is nama which is given the most importance. In all the Vedic literature the holy name of Hari is glorified;
yat-prahvanad yat-smaranad api kvacit
shvado 'pi sadyah savanaya kalpate
kutah punas te bhagavan nu darshanat
“To say nothing of the spiritual advancement of persons who see the Supreme Person face to face, even a person born in a family of dog-eaters immediately becomes eligible to perform Vedic sacrifices if he once utters the holy name of Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead or chants about Him, hears about His pastimes, offers Him obeisances or even remembers Him.” (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 3.33.6)
Those who offenselessly chant nama are automatically imbued with all good qualities. One who chants the holy name of Hari (Vishnu/Krishna) thus becomes qualified on the strength of the holy name to receive Vedic mantras, the fourth of the panca-samskara. Mantra means mantra-diksha or receiving the brahma-gayatri (upanayana) and the pancaratrika-mantras. After receiving the mantra-diksha the sadhaka is engaged in the worship of Shri Murti under shastric (scriptural) regulations and this is called yaga. These are the five processes for purification called panca-samskara.
If one is interested in practicing the process of temple worship one must positively take shelter of a guru and learn the process from him. Having received the proper mantras from the guru one can worship Shri Murti. In Kali-yuga, the pancaratrika system is mostly recommended for those who want to perform yaga, the worship of Shri Murti.
Shrila Rupa Goswami writes:
aikantiki harer bhaktir
"Devotional service of the Lord that ignores the authorized Vedic literatures like the Upanishads, Puranas and Narada-pancaratra is simply an unnecessary disturbance in society." (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhuh 1.2.101)
In Kali-yuga there are two systems recommended for worshiping the Supreme Lord, the bhagavata system and pancaratrika system. In the bhagavata system chanting of the holy name (nama) is given preference because in Kali-yuga one can reach the perfection of life simply by hearing, chanting, remembering and worshiping the holy name. Shrimad-Bhagavatam confirms in the last shloka:
tam namami harim param
“Krishna’s holy name can relieve us from all undesirable sinfulness, all filthy characteristics, and all miseries. Let us all bow down to Him.” (Bhag. 12.13.23)
It is further said in this regard in the Garuda Purana:
apavitrah pavitro va sarvastham gato’pi va
yah smaret pundarikaksham sa bahyabhyantarah shucih
“Either pure or impure, or having passed through all conditions of material life, if one can remember the lotus-eyed Krishna, he becomes extermally and internally clean.”
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has taught five essential angas (practices) for the performance of shuddha-bhakti (pure devotional service): Shri Murti-seva (worship of the Lord in the temple), Shri Bhagavat-katha (hearing Shrimad-Bhagavatam), Shri Nama-sankirtana (congregational chanting of the holy name), Shri Krishna-bhakto (association with pure devotees of Krishna), and Shri Mathura-mandala (living in the district of Mathura). In all these processes chanting of the holy name (shri nama-sankirtana) is the central point, that is, the bhagavata system. To assist in the purification of the sadhakas and to enable them to worship the Shri Murti in the temple, the followers of the bhagavata system also accept upanayana and the pancaratrika-diksha. Lastly it may be considered that both the upanayana and pancaratrika-diksha are but parts or secondary to the bhagavata system.
Having received the holy name from the guru and having chanted the holy name properly for sometime the sadhaka is then offered mantra-diksha. The first gayatri given by the guru to the sadhaka at the time of mantra-diksha is the upanayana (om bhur bhuvah svah tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah pracodayat om). This gayatri is the first in the category of Vedic gayatris and is known as brahma-gayatri. It is also commonly referred to by the sadhaka as brahma-vidya and veda-mata (the source of transcendental knowledge and the mother of the Veda). Indeed brahma-gayatri is the origional sound vibration upon which the Vedic literature is based.
Within the Veda itself, gayatri is first written in the Rig Veda (3.62.10) without the maha-vyahritis as tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah pracodayat. In the Shukla Yajur Veda (36.3) the gayatri is written with the maha-vyahritis as bhur bhuva svah tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah pracodayat.
In the Candogya Upanishad (Chapter 4.17.1-3) we find the narration wherein Prajapati (Lord Brahma) meditated on the nature of the universe (vishva). He thus realized that the three planes of material existance are prithivi (physical), antariksha (mental), and svarga (intellectual). These three planes are thus represented by the maha-vyahritis bhuh, bhuvah, and svah. The seed of the Rig Veda is bhuh, the seed of the Yajur Veda is bhuvah, and the seed of the Sama Veda is svah. These three bijas (maha-vyahritis) are said to have been derived from om as three primary colors are contained in a ray of white light. Similarly Prajapati came to the realization that as veins pervade all leaves so om pervades all vak (sound). Therefore the rishis (sages) have concluded that om (the seed) is to be uttered at the beginning and the end of brahma-gayatri. Om, when uttered at the beginning and end of brahma-gayatri, is the Vedic standard by which one should perform gayatri-japa (gayatri repetition).
When the personified form of brahma-gayatri is manifest she appears with five faces. These five faces correspond with the five principle features of the brahma-gayatri:
1. om (the seed),
2. the maha-vyahritis (bhuh, bhuvah, svah),
3. tat savitur varenyam (indicating sambandha, relationship),
4. bhargo devasya dhimahi (indicating abhidheya, the process of surrender), and
5. dhiyo yo nah pracodayat (indicating prayojana, the consummation).
The three pancaratrika-mantras given by the guru to the sadhaka are the guru-mantra (aim gurave namah), the gaura-mantra (klim gauraya namah), and the gopal-mantra (klim krishnaya govindaya gopijana-vallabhaya svaha). The three pancaratrika-gayatris given are the guru-gayatri (aim gurudevaya vidmahe krishnanandaya dhimahi tan no guruh pracodayat), the gaura-gayatri (klim chaitanyaya vidmahe vishvambharaya dhimahi tan no gaurah pracodayat), and the kama-gayatri (klim kamadevaya vidmahe pushpabanaya dhimahi tan no anangah pracodayat).
Although in the context of the Puranic setting the pancaratrika system was taught by Lord Vishnu only after the demons Madhu and Kaitava had stolen the Vedic mantras from the mind of Brahma, we find in the authoritative book Shri Brahma Samhita that Lord Brahma, at the outset of creation, heard the gopal-mantra pronounced by Divya Saraswati (the divine vibration of the Supreme Personality of Godhead) even before receiving omkara (the Vedic gayatri of threefold form).
Furthermore, it is the opinion of Shripad Jiva Goswami that upon receiving omkara, which had manifest from the divine flute of Shri Krishna, Lord Brahma also meditated on the kama-gayatri (klim kamadevaya vidmahe pushpabanaya dhimahi tan no anangah pracodayat), which is the fifth note of the divine flute. Having thus received the status of dvija (twice born), Brahma entered into a state of blissful transcendence. Therefore it must be said that the pancaratrika system of receiving mantras and gayatris (such as gopal-mantra and kama-gayatri) is in no way inferior to that of the Vedic system at any time. Since both systems emanate from the Supreme, both may be taken as eternal.
Having thus received the Vedic diksha and the Vaishnava pancaratrika-diksha, the sadhaka of the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya wears the yajnopavita, the brahmana thread consisting of nine strings symbolizing the status of his being a dvija (twice born). One who has received this dvija (second birth) can gain admittance into the transcendental world via contemplation and meditation on the gayatri.
The nine threads of yajnopavita symbolize the nine practices of shuddha-bhakti (pure devotional service): shravanam, kirtanam, smaranam, pada-sevanam, arcanam, vandanam, dasyam, sakhyam, and atmanivedanam (hearing the glories of the Lord, chanting the glories of the Lord, remembering the Lord, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, worshiping the Shri Murti of the Lord, offering prayers to the Lord, serving the Lord in all respects, becoming the friend of the Lord, and surrendering everything to the Lord respectively).
Similiarly the yajnopavita symbolizes the nine islands of Shri Navadvipa Dhama: Antardvipa, Simantadvipa, Godrumadvipa, Madhyamdvipa, Koladvipa, Ritudvipa, Jahnudvipa, Modadrumadvipa, and Rudradvipa. These nine islands also correspond to the nine practices of shuddha-bhakti.
The yajnopavita also symbolizes the nine stages of developing shuddha-bhakti namely shraddha (faith), sadhu-sanga (associating with saints), bhajana-kriya (practicing pure devotional service), anartha-nivritti (purification of the heart), nishtha (being fixed in the Absolute Truth), ruci (sweet taste), asakti (attachment to everything connected to Krishna), bhava (awakening of feelings of love for Krishna), and prema (intense feelings of love for Krishna). Conversely, these nine stages also correspond to both the nine practices of suddha-bhakti and to the nine islands of Shri Navadvipa Dhama.
In the gayatri we find three bija-mantras, om, aim, and klim. Om denotes sat, invoking the potency of eternality. Aim denotes cit, invoking the potency of knowledge, and klim denotes ananda, invoking the potency of bliss. In the Narada Pancaratra, bija-mantras have been explained as primordial sound fragments which have the potency to evoke a particular energy both within and outside a person who utters the bija. This of course presupposes having received the bija from the guru ( bona fide spiritual master).
As in the brahma-gayatri — each of the three pancaratrika-gayatris also have three stages of contemplation — sambandha, abhidheya, and prayojana (relationship, the process of surrender, and the consummation). By the use of the syllable vid as in vidmahe, meaning acknowledgement of the Lord, sambandha, the relationship between the Lord and the living entity as master and servant respectively, is established. By the use of the syllable dhi as in dhimahi, meaning worship of the Lord, abhidheya, the process of surrender by which one developes asakti (attachment), and bhava (feelings of intimacy with the Lord) is established. By the use of the word pracodayat meaning to impell one to spontaneously engage in loving devotional service to the Lord, prayojana, the consummation of prema (spontaneous divine love — raga-marg) is established.
The first chapter of this book defines om as nondifferent from the worship of the personal aspects of the Absolute Truth, Shri Shri Radha Krishna. The second and third chapters describe the topmost meaning of the brahma-gayatri according to Shrimad-Bhagavatam — the full fledged purport of theism, culminating in Radha-dasyam, the Divine Service of Shrimati Radharani. The fourth chapter examines the meaning of guru-mantra and guru-gayatri. The fifth chapter examines the gaura-mantra and the gaura-gayatri. Chapters six, seven, and eight describe the gopal-mantra, kama-bija, and kama-gayatri in relation to the divine sentiments of madhurya-rasa (conjugal love). Thus Shri Gayatri Mantrartha Dipika is completed in eight auspicious chapters.
When studying the schools of Vaishnava thought in India, namely the sampradayas (disciplic successions) of Shri, Brahma, Char Kumar, and Rudra one finds that all these sampradayas chant the brahma-gayatri during the three sandhyas (morning, noon, and evening) of the day, whereas the chanting of the pancaratrika-mantras and gayatris are uttered optionally according to the particular instructions given by the respective guru. Each of the sampradayas has its own particular meditation on the brahma-gayatri in terms of its ultimate goal, or highest ideal. A careful study of these various schools gives one a measure of the level in theistic thought and divine realization achieved by that sampradaya. Clearly, in this comparison, the Gaudiya Vaishnava commentary (of Brahma-Madhva Gaudiya sampradaya) stands supreme as representative of the summit of devotional theism.
It is the word savitur in particular upon which the sampradayas establish their philosophical conception of the brahma-gayatri. The question then arises as to who savitur refers. Savitur, according to the rules of Sanskrit grammar, can refer to brahman (effulgence), the sun, fire, our conscious nature as jiva souls and intelligence. Savitur is further identified as Saraswati, Agnidev, Surya, Surya Narayana, Paramatma (the Supersoul), etc. Thus the brahma-gayatri is explained as meditation on the sun or the Sun God by some, and as meditation on the Paramatma, Vishnu, Krishna and so forth by others.
The followers of Shankaracarya’s school of advaita-vedanta are also among those who chant the brahma-gayatri, their conception being that savitur means brahman, their ultimate goal being to merge their individual identity therein. However, this conception does not find sufficient support in the Vedic system of knowledge.The concept of brahman (sayujya-mukti) as the subject of brahma-gayatri finds support only in the false interpretations and arguments of the followers of Shankaracarya, not in the Vedic pramana (evidence).
In the Vishnu-dharmottara Purana, chapter 165, King Vajra asks Markandeya Rishi why the brahma-gayatri is chanted in Vaishnava sacrifices if its presiding Deity is the Sun God. Markandeya replies that brahma-gayatri refers to Vishnu — he then proceeds to show how each word of brahma-gayatri is related to Vishnu. He concludes by saying:
kama-kamo labhet kamam gati-kamas tu sad-gatim
akamas tu tad avapnoti yad vishnoh paramam padam
“A person desiring material gain or liberation in the next life can achieve either by chanting gayatri; but the worshiper who is devoid of desires attains the Supreme Abode of Vishnu.”
In his book Tantrasara Shri Madhvacarya summarizes the above information by describing that there are twenty four syllables in gayatri (ta, tsa, vi, tuh, va, re, ni, yam, bha, rgo, de, va, sya, dhi, ma, hi, dhi, yo, yo, nah, pra, cho, da, yat) and these are called varnas (positioned by divine arrangement). These twenty four varnas have corresponding governing forms of Vishnu/Krishna; Keshava, Narayana, Madhava, Govinda, Vishnu, Madhusudana, Trivikrama, Vamana, Shridhara, Hrishikesha, Padmanabha, Damodara, Sankarshana, Vasudeva, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Purushottama, Adhokshaja, Narasimha, Acyuta, Janardana, Upendra, Hari, and Shri Krishna respectively.
In the Vishnu-sahasranama, the book containing one thousand names of Vishnu, the maha-vyahritis (bhur, bhuvah, and svah) are also mentioned;
anadir bhur bhuvo-lakshmih
“Anadir means that Krishna is independent. Bhur is the name of Krishna indicating that He was merciful to Brahma and forgave his offenses (bhuh). Bhuvo-lakshmih means that Krishna was the transcendental ornament that decorated the land of Vrajabhumi.” (Vishnu-sahasra-nama 114)
“Krishna is like a great tree that shades the upper, middle, and lower planetary systems and provides all necessities to all living entities, who are like birds who have taken shelter of that tree (bhur-bhuvah-svas-taru).” (Vishnu-sahasra-nama 117)
Similarly in the Rig-veda the words om asya janato nama cid-viviktan mahaste vishnu indicate that om is the name of Vishnu. Thus we find no real scope for impersonalist meditation within the brahma-gayatri.
In his Tattva Sandarbha, Shripad Jiva Goswami has elaborately explained with references to various Puranas that the Shrimad-Bhagavatam is the natural commentary on the brahma-gayatri and that brahma-gayatri is exclusively a meditation on the Supreme Personality of the Absolute Truth. He at no time gives any credence to the impersonal conception of gayatri.
In Tattva-sandarbha, Anuccheda 22.6, Jiva Goswami makes the following statement which defines meditation on brahma-gayatri as being meditation on the Personality of Godhead, as well as clarifying the relationship of brahma-gayatri with Shrimad-Bhagavatam:
yasmad evam bhagavat-paras tasmad eva“yatradhikritya
gayatrim” iti krita-lakshana-shri-bhagavata-
nama granthah shri-bhagavat-paraya
gayatrya bhashya-rupo ‘sau
tad uktam “yatradhikritya gayatrim” ity-adi
“Since the book Shrimad-Bhagavatam, characterized as ‘beginning with the brahma-gayatri-mantra’ is dedicated to the Personality of Godhead, it serves as a commentary on brahma-gayatri, which is also dedicated to the Supreme Lord. This same point — that Shrimad-Bhagavatam is a commentary on the brahma-gayatri — is made in such statements as ‘in which (Shrimad-Bhagavatam) brahma-gayatri is introduced as the basis of discussion.’”
Jiva Goswami supports this statement with a reference from the Agni Purana 216.3:
taj jyotih paramam brahma bhargas tejo yatah smritah
“That light is called the Supreme Brahman because the word bhargas (in brahma-gayatri) means effulgence.”
He then quotes Agni Purana 216.7-8 to show that the “effulgence” means Vishnu:
taj jhotir bhagavan vishnur jagaj-janmadi-karanam
shivam kecit pathanti sma shakti-rupam vadanti ca
kecit suryam kecid agnim daivatany agni hotrinah
agny-adi-rupo vishnur hi vedadau brahma giyate
“That effulgence is Vishnu, who is the cause of the universal creation, maintenance, and dissolution. Some people say “effulgence” (bhargo) in brahma-gayatri refers instead to Shiva, while others say it means shakti. Yet others say it refers to the sun, and still others say it refers to fire. While chanting brahma-gayatri, the brahmanas who perform Vedic fire sacrifices (Agni-hotras) worship various demigods. But it is Vishnu who is present in the forms of Agni (fire) and other demigods, and the Vedas praise Him as the Absolute Truth, brahman.”
Although there may be differences of opinion between the various branches of scholars, philosophers, and religionists regarding the conception of the brahma-gayatri, there is a final conclusion which can be reached by the proper study of the Vedic literature—the standard by which philosophical controversy is resolved in India.
It is said in India in this regard that “The Vedas advise like a king, the Puranas like a friend, and the Kavya like one’s beloved, but the Shrimad-Bhagavatam advises like all three.” Thus it is understood that the Shrimad-Bhagavatam is the ultimate pramana and therefore it should be taken as the final word in philosophical subject matters concerning the Absolute Truth.
Skanda Purana confirms as follows:
shatasho ‘tha sahasraish ca kim anyaih shastra-samgrahaih
na yasya tishthate gehe shastram bhagavatam kalau
katham sa vaishnavo jneyah sastram bhagavatam kalau
grihe na tishthate yasya sa viprah shvapacadhamah
yatra yatra bhaved vipra shastram bhagavatam kalau
tatra tatra harir yati tridashaih saha narada
yah pathet prayato nityam shlokam bhagavatam mune
ashtadasha-purananam phalam prapnoti manavah
“In Kali-yuga what is the value of collecting hundreds of thousands of other scriptures if one does not keep Shrimad-Bhagavatam at home? How can a person be considered a Vaishnava in Kali-yuga if Shrimad-Bhagavatam finds no place in his house? Even if he is a learned brahmana, such a person should be considered lower than a dog-eater. O learned Narada Muni, wherever Shrimad-Bhagavatam is present in Kali-yuga, the Supreme Lord goes there with the demigods. A person who faithfully recites one verse of Shrimad-Bhagavatam every day attains the fruit of reading the eighteen Puranas.” (Skanda Purana, Vishnu Khanda 16.40, 42, 44, 331)
Quoting the author of the Vedas, Shrila Vyasadeva, we find the following statement in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam:
sarva-vedanta-saram hi shri-bhagavatam ishyate
tad-rasamrita-triptasya nanyatra syad ratih kvacit
“Shrimad-Bhagavatam is indeed the essence of all Vedanta philosophy. He who is satisfied by hearing its nectar-like words takes no interest in any other scripture.” (Bhag. 12.13.15)
Vyasadeva’s statement about Shrimad-Bhagavatam should be taken as most authoritative. Vyasadeva, being the author of the Vedas, the Vedanta Sutra, and the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, certainly knows in which of these scriptures the Supreme Essence of Truth can be found.
It is Shrimad-Bhagavatam which will help us to understand the purport of brahma-gayatri. Gayatri is the mother of the Vedas and the commentary of such is given in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Brahma-gayatri is the prototype of all Vedic mantras. Thus the brahma-gayatri is a concise statement as to the significance of all the Vedas.
artho ‘yam brahma-sutranam bharatartha-vinirnayah
gayatri-bhashya-rupo ‘sau vedartha-paribrimhitah
“The meaning of the Vedanta Sutra is present in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. The full purport of the Mahabharata is also there. The commentary of the brahma-gayatri is also there (Shrimad-Bhagavatam), and fully expanded with all Vedic knowledge.” (Garuda Purana)
In the brahma-gayatri the word dhimahi, meaning let us meditate, is important. The appearance of this word in any particular verse or mantra has been taken to indicate brahma-gayatri. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam the first shloka says: dhamna svena sada nirasta-kuhakam satyam param dhimahi. The brahma-gayatri also says dhimahi. Since the Shrimad-Bhagavatam invokes the brahma-gayatri in its opening stanza by the use of the word dhimahi, this signifies that the entire text is an explanation of brahma-gayatri.
This is also confirmed by Shripad Shridhar Swami in his Bhavartha-Dipika commentary on Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Shripad Shridhar Swami confirms that Shrimad-Bhagavatam begins with the brahma-gayatri. He writes:
dhimahiti gayatrya prarambhena ca gayatry-akhya-
brahma-vidya-rupam etat puranam iti darshitam:
“That the brahma-gayatri phrase indicated by the word dhimahi begins this Purana shows that this work has the nature of the brahma-vidya (Vedic knowledge of the Supreme) called brahma-gayatri.”
Because Shrimad-Bhagavatam describes the purport of brahma-gayatri, the Shrimad-Bhagavatam itself is called the fruit of the tree of Vedic knowledge, nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam. Indeed, Shrimad-Bhagavatam is the fullfledged meaning of the brahma-gayatri.
The word brahma as in brahma-gayatri means brahma-vidya or transcendental knowledge. The word gayatri of the same is derived from joining two Sanskrit words, ganat and trayate. Ganat means musical sound and trayate means to achieve the final stage of enlightenment. Thus brahma-gayatri is said to be that melodious sound which grants us the highest fulfillment in the world of consciousness. The Agni Purana states:
gayaty ukthani shastrani bhargam pranams tathaiva ca
tatah smriteyam gayatri savitri yatra eva ca
prakashini sa savitur vagrupatvat sarasvati
“It is called gayatri because it sings about, gayaty, or illuminates the Vedic mantras, the scriptures, the Supreme Lord, and one’s intelligence. It is called savitri because it reveals Savita, the creator. And it is called Sarasvati because it is the essence of speech” (Agni Purana 216. 1-2)
Savitri as in savitur of brahma-gayatri means the source of all intelligence. Ultimately, that savitri is Shri Chaitanya. This is confirmed by Ramananda Raya in Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita :
eta tattva mora citte kaile prakashana
brahmake veda yena padaila narayana
antaryami isvarera ei riti haye
bahire na kahe, vastu prakashe hridaye
“You (Shri Chaitanya) have manifested many transcendental truths in my heart. This is exactly the way Narayana educated Brahma. The Supersoul within everyone’s heart speaks not externally but from within. He instructs the devotees in all respects, and that is His way of instruction.” (Cc. Madhya-lila 8.264-5)
A similiar statement is found in Shrimad-Bhagavatam wherein Shukadeva Goswami invoked the blessings of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
pracodita yena pura sarasvati
vitanvatajasya satim smritim hridi
sva-lakshana pradurabhut kilasyatah
sa me rishinam rishabhah prasidatam
“May the Lord, who in the beginning of the creation amplified the potent knowledge of Brahma from within his heart and inspired him with full knowledge of creation and His own self, and who appeared to be generated from the mouth of Brahma, be pleased with me.” (Bhag. 2.4.22)
Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and He appears in Kali-yuga as Shri Chaitanya. This is confirmed as follows:
yajanti hi su-medhasah
“In this Age of Kali, those who are intelligent perform the congregational chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who appears in this age always describing the glories of Krishna. That incarnation is yellowish in hue and is always associated with His plenary expansions [such as Shri Nityananda Prabhu] and personal expansions [such as Gadadhara], as well as His devotees and associates [such as Svarupa Damodara].” (Bhag. 11.5.32)
In Shrimad-Bhagavatam the astrologer Garga Muni also confirms Krishna’s appearance in Kali-yuga in a yellow (golden) color:
asan varnas trayo hy asya
grihnato ’nu-yugam tanuh
shuklo raktas tatha pita
idanim krishnatam gatah
“In the past, your son has had bodies of three different colors, according to the age. These colors were white, red and yellow. In this age [Dvapara-yuga] He has accepted a blackish body.” (Bhag. 10.8.13)
Mahabharata also confirms the Lord’s appearance in the Kali-yuga as Shri Chaitanya as follows:
sannyasa-kric chamah shanto
“The Lord [in the incarnation of Gaurasundara] has a golden complexion. Indeed, His entire body, which is very nicely constituted, is like molten gold. Sandalwood pulp is smeared all over His body. He will take the fourth order of spiritual life [sannyasa] and will be very self-controlled. He will be distinguished from mayavadi sannyasis in that He will be fixed in devotional service and will spread the sankirtana movement.” (Mahabharata, Vishnu-sahasra-nama-stotra)
Because Shri Chaitanya is nondifferent from Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as supported above, it is also logical to conclude that Shri Chaitanya can also be understood as the original source of the gayatri-mantra. Therefore, brahma-gayatri may be taken as a meditation on Shri Chaitanya (krishna chaitanyaya vidmahe vishvambharaya dhimahi tan no gaurah pracodayat). (This will be further explained in chapter five.)
With regard to gayatri being a melodious sound, the following information is found in Shri Brahma-samhita:
gayatrim gayatas tasmad
dvijatam agamat tatah
“Then the gayatri of threefold form that is the form of omkara (om/a-u-m), mother of the Vedas, emanated as the beautiful harmonious sequence of the Song of the Divine Flute of Shri Krishna. Entering the ears of Brahma, that melodious sound was swiftly manifest within his mouth as the gayatri. Thus Brahma, who was born of the lotus flower, received gayatri as it emanated from the Divine Flute-Song of Shri Krishna, and so he was initiated by the Supreme Lord, the original guru, and elevated to the status of twice-born (dvija).”
Not only is the brahma-gayatri considered a melodious sound but it must be considered the most charming and beautiful sound, due to its Divine Origin in the Flute of Shri Krishna. (A complete reproduction of the narration of the origin of gayatri, as found in Shri Brahma-samhita with illuminating purports by Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakura, has been presented in chapter six.)
From the Divine Flute-Song of Shri Krishna, the sound known throughout the Vedas as omkara first manifest, and then, as its sequel, the gayatri manifests. Those who have received initiation (mantra-diksha) in the bona fide disciplic succession of spiritual masters stemming from Brahma, the adi-guru (original guru) in this universe, can very easily achieve success in self-realization by chanting the gayatri-mantra. Without proper initiation however, the mantra will not be effective. This is confirmed by Padma Purana as follows:
mantras te nishphala matah
“Unless you are initiated by a bona fide spiritual master in the disciplic succession, the mantra that you might have received is without any effect.”
It appeared to Brahma in the stage of his mature realization after meditation on the kama-gayatri, that he is the eternal maidservant of Krishna.
trayya prabuddho `tha vidhir vijnata-tattva-sagarah
tushtava vedasarena stotrenanena keshavam
“Becoming enlightened by meditating on the gayatri-mantra, Brahma realized that he is the eternal maidservant of Krishna. Although the profound mysteries of servitorship as a maidservant were not necessarily revealed to him, he became well aquainted with the ocean of truth. Then he worshiped the Supreme Lord Krishna with this hymn.” (Brahma-samhita 5.28)
lakshavriteshu surabhir abhipalayantam
govindam adi purusham tam aham bhajami
“I worship Govinda, the Primeval Lord, the first progenitor who is tending the cows, yielding all desires, in abodes built with spiritual gems, surrounded by millions of desire-fulfilling-trees, always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds of thousands of laksmis or gopis.” (Brahma-samhita 5.29)
Such realizations of Brahma and the pure cognition therein must surely be the highest ideal of achievement among the bona fide students who chant the sacred gayatri-mantras.
Lord Brahma is the original guru in this universe. The direct disciple of Brahma was Narada Muni. Shrila Vyasadeva (the compiler of the Veda) was the direct disciple of Narada, and Madhvacarya was the direct disciple of Vyasa. From the disciplic succession of Madhvacarya , Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted Shri Ishwara Puri as his spiritual master. Because Shri Chaitanya accepted initiation in the Brahma Madhva sampradaya that sampradaya has become most glorious. From Him (Shri Chaitanya) the disciplic succession is known as the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya and its teachings are being spread throughout the whole world.
The Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya, alone, derives the ultimate conception of brahma-gayatri in complete alliance with Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Moreover it must be said that the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya’s form of meditation on the brahma-gayatri is topmost — “gayatri-muralishta-kirtana-dhanam radhapadam dhimahi.” “The brahma-gayatri which has sprung from the flute song of Shri Krishna only sings the glories of Shrimati Radharani.” (A purport to this verse will be given in greater detail in chapters two and three.)
The eternal abode of the Supreme Lord is called Vaikuntha. The highest planet in that spiritual sky (Vaikuntha) is called Goloka, wherein the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna eternally enjoys His transcendental pastimes with His eternal associates. Among the eternal associates of the Lord the gopis are the most exhalted, and among the gopis Shrimati Radharani is the best. It has been mentioned in the narration of the Skanda Purana that out of many thousands of gopis, 16,000 are prominent. Out of these, 108 are important, and out of 108, eight are principal. Out of eight gopis, Radharani and Candravali are chief, and out of these two Shrimati Radharani is superior.
This has also been confirmed by Shrila Rupa Goswami as follows:
tayor apy ubhayor madhye
“Of these two gopis [Radharani and Candravali], Shrimati Radharani is superior in all respects. She is the embodiment of mahabhava, and She surpasses all in good qualities.” (Ujjvala-nilamani, Verse 2)
Other references to the supreme position of Shrimati Radharani are as follows:
tabhir ya eva nija-rupataya kalabhih
goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhuto
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, residing in His own realm, Goloka, with Radha, resembling His own spiritual figure, the embodiment of the ecstatic potency possessed of the sixty-four artistic activities, in the company of Her confidantes [sakhis], embodiments of the extensions of Her bodily form, permeated and vitalized by His ever-blissful spiritual rasa.” (Brahma-samhita 5.37)
devi krishna-mayi prokta
kantih sammohini para
“The transcendental goddess Shrimati Radharani is the direct counterpart of Lord Shri Krishna. She is the central figure for all the goddesses of fortune. She possesses all the attractiveness to attract the all-attractive Personality of Godhead. She is the primeval internal potency of the Lord.” (Brihad-gautamiya-tantra)
inhara madhye radhara prema——‘sadhya-shiromani’
yanhara mahima sarva-shastrete vakhani
“Among the loving affairs of the gopis, Shrimati Radharani’s love for Shri Krishna is topmost. Indeed, the glories of Shrimati Radharani are highly esteemed in all revealed scriptures.” (Cc. Madhya-lila 8.98)
yatha radha priya vishnos
tasyah kundam priyam tatha
“Just as Shrimati Radharani is most dear to Shri Krishna, Her bathing place known [Radha-kunda] is also dear to Him. Among all the gopis, Shrimati Radharani is supermost and very dear to Lord Krishna.” (Padma Purana)
bhagavan harir ishvarah
yan no vihaya govindah
prito yam anayad rahah
“When the gopis began to talk among themselves, they said, ‘Dear friends, the gopi (Shri Radha) who has been taken away by Krishna to a secluded place must have worshiped the Lord more than anyone else.’” (Bhag. 10.30.28)
That “gayatri-muralishta-kirtana-dhanam radhapadam dhimahi” is the ultimate meditation on brahma-gayatri is also confirmed by the tattva-acarya Shripad Jiva Goswami in his commentary on the first verse of Shrimad-Bhagavatam:
janmady asya yato ‘nvayad itaratash cartheshv abhijnah svarat
tene brahma hrida ya adi-kavaye muhyanti yat surayah
tejo-vari-mridam yatha vinimayo yatra tri-sargo ‘mrisha
dhamna svena sada nirasta-kuhakam satyam param dhimahi
There Shripad Jiva Goswami explains thus:
Janma means manifestation, adyasya means adi or original, yatah means from whom. From whom has the original rasa (madhurya) manifested? Radha, who is itaratah distinct from all others, and Krishna (anvayat). Arteshu means various pastimes and abhijnah means expert. They are expert in the performance of pastimes. Vyasa, the adi kavi says the sabda brahma entered his heart (hrida) and he understood through prema bhakti these pastimes (tene brahma hrida adi kavaye). When, under the order of Narada, Vyasa sat in meditation in a trance of prema bhakti (bhakti-yogena manasi samyak pranihite ‘male) this is what he realized, and it is about this, the pastimes of Radha Krishna, that he wrote in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Vyasa says that these two, and Shri Radha in particular, are so wonderful. Who can understand them? Even Krishna is bewildered by Radharani, what then can Anantasesha and others know about Her (muhyanti yat surayah)? Land (mrit) turns into water and flows, while water (vari) takes on the character of land and becomes stunned upon hearing the flute of Shri Krishna, which He plays only to attract Shri Radha, whose effulgence (tejah) dims the light of the stars and moon, tejo vari mridam yatha vinimayo. Among the gopis there are three kinds, those who favor Radha (headed by Lalita), those who serve in the opposition’s side (headed by Candravali) and those who take sometimes the side of Radha and sometimes the side of Krishna (headed by Vishakha). They are all wonderful, yet all three groups (yatra tri sargo) are insignificant (mrisa) in Her presence, yatra tri sargo ‘mrisha. All have their purpose only in relation to Her. Radha’s presence and influence (dhamna) defeats (nirasta) all interference (kuhakam) created by the opposition party such as that of Jatila and Kutila, and the leader of the gopi opposition Shri Candravali, dhamna svena sada nirasta-kuhakam. Thus their pastimes go on eternally (satyam). Therefore I meditate (dhimahi) upon these two (param) who are actually one in mahabhava, and one as potent and potency. Vyasa here has described Radha and Krishna in the singular, purposefully and appropriately, as well as neuter in gender because they are beyond the conceptions of male and female.
Thus Shrimad-Bhagavatam itself can be taken as a meditation on Shrimati Radharani. Throughout the revealed scriptures the exalted position of the gopis has been proclaimed. In fact the personified form of gayatri, namely Gayatri devi, who is also known as Savitri devi and Saraswati devi herself, achieved the perfection of becoming one of the gopi maidservants of Radha and Krishna. In the Srishti-khanda of the Padma Purana there is a description of how the goddess Gayatri herself became a gopi in Goloka Vrindavana, gayatri-gopikanyaka. The narration goes as follows:
Gayatri Devi also attained Krishna after becoming a gopi in Vrindavana. After her marriage to Brahma she worshiped Shri Krishna. He was satisfied and gave her the benediction that she would take birth in the village of Gokula Vrindavana and there live with her parents and family as cowherders . Krishna was able to understand that her intention was to have him as her husband. Therefore, Krishna informed His friends, ‘My dear friends, please listen to what I have to say. At this particular time I have arranged for Gayatri devi to be married to Brahma, but when I take birth amongst the residents of Vrindavana, Gayatri devi shall become My mistress (a gopi in paramour rasa).’” (Padma Purana, Srishti-khanda, ch. 17. 5th khanda, text 15—37 )
Thus far we have established with sufficient references from guru, shastra, and sadhu that the Shrimad-Bhagavatam is indeed the natural commentary on brahma-gayatri. That which we find in Shrimad-Bhagavatam should be understood to be the essence of the brahma-gayatri.
Everything is possible by the mercy of the Supreme Lord and His devotees. When one has achieved such grace, one can understand the worship of Shri Shri Radha Krishna and that of Shri Chaitanya to be the purport of gayatri.
yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha-deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
"Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed." (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 6.23)
It is mentioned in the beginning of this introduction that the Gaudiya Vaishnava conception of Shri Gayatri is the summit of all theistic thought. As is clearly shown in the Vedic scriptures, this is by no means a stretch of the imagination. In fact, in the history of the world, a more complete conception of the sweetness of Divinity has never before been revealed. Such is the sum and substance of Shri Gayatri Mantrartha Dipika.
We humbly pray that the Supreme Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu may be satisfied with our endeavor, and that all His dearmost devotees will similiarly be pleased with this presentation.
Chapter One: Aumkara:Aksharanam Utkrishtasangati
Om:The Supreme Combination of Letters
(by His Holiness Swami Bhakti Gaurava Narasingha Maharaja)
Om, the supreme combination of letters, denotes the supreme entities Shri Shri Radha Krishna and indicates the acme of spiritual tendency inherent in all jiva souls. Although om is known and recognized widely in the majority of spiritual cultures of Eastern philosophy, from the Buddhists of Tibet to the Vedantists of Benares to the Theosophists of Los Angeles, at present only the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya has actually understood the full transcendental meaning of om given in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Vedanta, and the Shrimad-Bhagavatam.
In the Rig-veda we find the following information:
om ity etad brahmano nedishtam nama yasmad uccaryamana
eva samsara-bhayat tarayati tasmad-ucyate tara iti
om asya jananto nama cid-viviktan mahaste vishno
sumatim bhajamahe om tat sat
tato 'bhut trivrid-omkaro yo 'vyakta prabhavah svarat
yat tal-lingam bhagavato brahmanah paramatmanah
"One who chants om, which is the closest form of brahman, approaches brahman. This liberates one from the fear of the material world; therefore, it is known as tarak brahman. O Vishnu, Your self-manifest name, om, is the eternal form of cognizance. Even if my knowledge about the glories of reciting this name is incomplete, still, by the practice of reciting this name I will achieve that perfect knowledge. He who has unmanifested potencies and is fully independent manifests the vibration omkara, which indicates Himself. Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan are the three forms He manifests." (Rig-veda)
Om is described throughout the Vedic literature and by the acaryas, great spiritual masters, as the seed conception of theism. In the words of Shrila Shridhara Deva Goswami:
Om means 'Yes.’ Always, wherever we cast our glance to search, in one word the answer is 'yes.' Yes, what you are searching for, is. You are searching for happiness, pleasure, joy, fulfillment. You are in want, and in one word—yes—fulfillment is there. Om takes the form of gayatri, then the Vedas and Vedanta-sutra, then it takes the shape of Shrimad-Bhagavatam and the lila, the divine pastimes of the Lord.
As a tree or fruit-bearing creeper begins with a seed, so everything begins with om; the gayatri mantra begins with om; the Vedas begin with om; the Upanishads begin with om; the Vedanta begins with om; and the Shrimad-Bhagavatam begins with om. Therefore, it can safely be said that our search for Shri Krishna begins with om.
Om is the seed of theism. Nonetheless, there is a class of philosophers known as mayavadis who suggest that om denotes brahman, or the impersonal aspect of the absolute truth. This, however, does not correspond with the conclusion of the Vedas or the statements of the Supreme Brahman Himself. In Bhagavad-gita, Krishna Himself says, vedyam pavitram omkara. “I am the syllable om." As such, om is known as the maha-vakya (maha-mantra) in the Vedas.
Om clearly denotes Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the Vedanta-sutra begins with om. Yet the mayavadi philosophers stress the mantra, “tat tvam asi,” which they interpret to mean “I am that, or I am God,” and they try to give less importance to om.
Om should never be thought of as impersonal. That is perhaps the greatest misconception among many philosophers of transcendence since the time of Shankaracarya. The impersonal misconception of om has become so popular that even personalist philosophers at the stage of practice are sometimes found to have developed an aversion to om thinking it a means to impersonal realization.
Om for that matter is nondifferent than the sound of Krishna's flute. Om is never impersonal at any time—all that can be impersonal about om is the misconception that one chooses to attach to it. The Gopala-tapani Upanishad discusses om, and clearly establishes its nondifference from the Supreme Personality of Godhead:
tamaddevah paro rajas
"The sound vibration om denotes the catur-vyuha-tattva of Shri Balarama, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, and Shri Krishna. As om transcends the three qualities of material nature, so also one should know oneself to be beyond the identification with the material body. ‘I am the eternal servitor of Gopala (Shri Krishna the cowherd boy at Vrindavana)’—this consciousness must be maintained at all times.” (Gopala-tapani Upanishad 41-42)
The Gopala-tapani Upanishad further enlightens us that from the devanagari script of om we find the conjunct of four sounds to form one sound—A U M:
rohinitanayo ramo akarakshara sambhavah
taijasatmakah pradyumna ukaraksharasambhavah
prajnatmako aniruddho vai makaraksharasambhavah
ardha-matratmakah krishno yasmin vishvam pratishthitam
"The letter 'A' denotes Balarama, the son of Rohini, who is the substratum of the entire universe. The letter 'U' denotes Pradyumna, who is the supersoul of the universe. The letter 'M' denotes Aniruddha, who is the supersoul of each individual being in the universe. And the bindu (dot) above the 'M' denotes Shri Krishna, the fountainhead of all Vishnu incarnations." (Gopala-tapani Upanishad 55-56)
Meditation on om begins in this way and one who has realized knowledge knows om to be identical with Krishna, vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma su-durlabhah. Such a great soul is very rare and can be understood to be the true knower of the Vedas.
Yet a further enlightened idea found in the Gopala-tapani Upanishad establishes the conception of om as connotative of the supreme entities Shri Shri Radha Krishna:
pranavatvena prakritim vadanti brahmavadinah
tasmad omkarasambhuto gopalo vishvasambhuvah
"The wise and enlightened sages declare that the svarupa-shakti of Bhagavan, Shri Radha, being the prime mula-prakriti, is nondifferent from om. Gopala, Shri Krishna, who is the creator, sustainer, and destroyer of the universe, is also nondifferent from om." (Gopala-tapani Upanishad 58)
To emphasize that the seed of lila, or eternal pastimes, is inherent in the seed mantra om, the next verse of Gopala-tapani states that om and the kama-bija-mantra, ‘klim,’ are also nondifferent.
klim-aum-karasyaikyatvam pathyate brahmavadibhih
mathurayam visheshena mam dhyayan moksham ashnute
"The brahmavadhis, men of transcendental wisdom, know it for certain that the kama-bija-mantra, klim, and the monosyllable om are one and the same. One who goes to Mathura Puri and meditates on Vraja Gopala, by uttering either klim or om, attains the ultimate destination of the soul after giving up this present material body." (Gopala-tapani Upanishad 59)
Since om and klim have been established by the Upanishads as nondifferent, we can thus examine the nature of the klim mantra to better understand the conception of the rasa-tattva, divine mellows, in om. Om is complete with rasa, mellows, but it is in a seed form. It is also a fact that mantras such as the Gopala-mantra and the Kama-gayatri-mantra, both of which begin with klim, are properly chanted by first uttering om.
Shrila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, a most highly qualified, realized devotee, has given a substantial illumination of the kama-bija-mantra, klim, so let us try to understand om from that realized standpoint. Shrila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains the meaning of kama-bija thus: klim is the seed, kama-bija, or the primary cause, of all-love. Kama-bija is connotative of the entities Shri Shri Radha Krishna, the predominated and predominating Moieties of the Absolute Truth. (Klim—that which denotes a subject and gives its attributes by implication.)
"K" is Krishna, the leading hero, with His personal form of eternity, knowledge, and bliss, ka-karah purushah krishnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah. "L" is celebrated as the blissful happiness of love, the beauty of the pleasure of the divine couple, "L" is also celebrated as Lalita, la-karo lalita para. "I" is Shrimati Radharani, the leading heroine, who is the eternal queen of Vrindavana, i-karah prakriti radha. "M" is the sweetness of bliss occurring when the divine couple kiss. The bindu (dot) above the "M" is said to be their kissing, the half-moon shape of the devanagri nasal letter is their embracing.
If one chants om remembering the words of Gopala-tapani Upanishad and the words of Shrila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, then one can attain all spiritual perfection. But if one insists on considering om as a manifestation of the impersonal brahman, then one certainly cheats oneself of the chance of being reinstated as an eternal servant of Shri Shri Radha Krishna. The impersonal conception as is preached by many of the so-called followers of Shankaracarya has simply caused a great confusion in the spiritual field and such way of thinking should be strictly avoided by all aspiring devotees.
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has personally said:
mayavadi-bhashya shunile haya sarva nasha
“Anyone who hears the impersonal commentary of the mayavada school is completely doomed." (C.c. Madhya-lila 6.196)
If one comes under the sway of the impersonal conception, one certainly becomes no better than an atheist. Where is the question of theism if one says that God has no form or that he himself is God? Theism means that there is God, His pleasure potency, Shri Radha, and Their eternal servants, the jiva souls.
Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has said:
The sound of om in the beginning of every Vedic hymn addresses the Supreme Lord. Because the impersonalists are very much afraid of addressing the Supreme Lord Krishna by His innumerable names, they prefer to vibrate the transcendental sound omkara. But they do not realize that omkara is the sound representation of Krishna. The jurisdiction of Krishna consciousness extends everywhere and one who knows Krishna consciousness is blessed. Those who do not know Krishna are in illusion, and so knowledge of Krishna is liberation, and ignorance of Him is bondage.
The goal of meditation on om is never to give up one's individual identity and merge with the Supreme. That is inherent in the mantra as I have stated in my opening paragraph. The inherent identity of the jiva soul as the eternal servant of Shri Shri Radha Krishna is included in the om mantra. This is given support by Shrila Jiva Goswami in his description of the alphabetical constituents of the mantra as follows:
"Om is a combination of the letters A, U, and M. The letter 'A' refers to Shri Krishna. The Letter 'U' refers to Shri Radha, and the letter 'M' refers to the jiva soul."
Thus, according to Jiva Goswami, the inherent position of the jiva soul in the om mantra is that of a maidservant of Shri Shri Radha Krishna. Now one may ask the question that if even the service of Shri Shri Radha Krishna is inherent in om as in klim, then what need is there to chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra?
krishna-mantra haite habe samsara-mocana
krishna-nama haite pabe krishnera carana
"The Krishna gayatri mantra, or om, liberates one from repeated birth and death in this world; the holy name of Krishna gives one shelter at the lotus feet of Krishna." (C.c. Adi-lila 7.73)
pancama purushartha sei prema-mahadhana
krishnera madhurya-rasa karaya asvadana
"Love of Godhead is so exalted that it is considered to be the fifth goal of human life. By awakening one's love of Godhead, one can attain the platform of conjugal love, tasting it even during the present span of life." (C.c. Adi-lila 7.144)
The gayatri mantra, or om, helps us up to the stage of liberation, and then the mantra retires. The holy name of Krishna however continues even after liberation. In fact it is the holy name of Krishna that enables us to develop spontaneous love of Krishna.
Om is considered the bija, or seed, whereas Krishna nama is considered the phalam, or fruit. The fruit, which is sweet and palatable to our taste, has the seed within. Thus om is considered to be present in Krishna nama. One can say that Krishna nama is also present in om. That is true, but one cannot taste the sweetness of Krishna nama in om. Chewing the seed is not comparable to chewing the fruits. The juice of the fruit of the holy name of Krishna is the sweet taste of pure love of Godhead.
Om emanates from the flute of Shri Krishna; it then manifests as gayatri, then as the Vedas, Vedanta, Shrimad-Bhagavatam, and the last verse of Shrimad-Bhagavatam recommends the chanting of the holy names.
tam namami harim param
"Krishna's holy name can relieve us from all undesirable sinfulness, all filthy characteristics, and all miseries. Chant the name of Krishna! Do this; nothing else is necessary. Take this! Chant the holy name of Krishna and begin your real life in this dark age with the most broad and wide theistic conception. Let us all bow down to Him." (Bhag. 12.13.23)
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to pass His days and nights at Jagannatha Puri in the company of His intimate devotees tasting the unlimited mellow sweetness of love of Godhead by constantly chanting the holy names:
hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has composed the Shikshashtaka, eight essential verses, in which He describes the complete development of pure devotion from beginning to end. From these verses we can fully understand the necessity for chanting the maha-mantra. In the first verse of Shikshashtaka, the Lord says:
anandambudhi-vardhanam prati-padam purnamritasvadanam
sarvatma-snapanam param vijayate shri-krishna-sankirtanam
"The holy name of Krishna cleanses the mirror of the heart and extinguishes the fire of misery in the forest of birth and death. As the evening lotus blooms in the moon's cooling rays, the heart begins to blossom in the nectar of the name. And at last the soul awakens to its real treasure –– a life of love with Krishna. Again and again tasting nectar, the soul dives and surfaces in the ever-increasing ocean of ecstatic joy. All phases of the self of which we may conceive are fully satisfied and purified and at last conquered by the all-auspicious influence of the holy name of Krishna." (Shikshashtaka 1)
In his Vivriti commentary on Shri Shikshashtaka, Shri Siddhanta Saraswati Thakura lists seven transcendental glories of chanting Krishna nama that are contained in this first verse of Shikshashtaka. He lists them as follows:
1. Krishna nama cleanses the mirror of the heart.
2. Krishna nama extinguishes the fire of material existence.
3. Krishna nama bestows the supreme goal of life.
4. Krishna nama prepares us for wholesale surrender in madhurya-rasa.
5. Krishna nama gives us a taste of the infinite ocean of ecstasy.
6. Krishna nama fully satisfies and purifies all phases of the self.
7. Krishna nama is the essential ingredient in all devotional service.
In the subsequent verses of the Shikshashtaka, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu describes the processes of devotional service, namely, sadhu-sanga, bhajana-kriya, anartha-nivritti, nishtha, ruci, krishna-shakti, bhava, vipralambha-prema, and prema-bhajana––vipralambha-sambhoga. Those who have realized knowledge of the holy name of Krishna, by the grace of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, know the Shikshashtaka to be a description of chanting the holy name.
The Hare Krishna maha-mantra is actually madhurya-mantra. It is filled with the most inconceivable sweet nectar of the madhurya-rasa. The madhurya-rasa means the sweetest rasa in which all other rasas are accommodated. The madhurya-rasa is called the mukhya-rasa, or the chief rasa. It is the sweetest and most accommodating rasa.
Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada often used to say that everything is there in the maha-mantra. Yes, that is a fact. Not only is om present in the maha-mantra, but the twenty-four hour lila of Shri Shri Radha Krishna, known as ashtakaliya-lila, is also nondifferent from the maha-mantra. Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakura has explained this in his Bhajan-rahasya with reference to the Shikshashtaka prayers:
In the sixteen word Hare Krishna mantra there are eight pairs of names. Corresponding to these eight pairs, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has recited the eight verses of Shikshashtaka. The first pair of names—Hare Krishna—signifies the subduer of ignorance and the performance of nama-sankirtana with faith. The second pair—Hare Krishna—means Krishna's names are invested with all potencies. One should have attachment for bhajana by taking shelter of the holy names in the association of sadhus. Gradually, by performing bhajana, anarthas (unwanted contamination) are destroyed. As anarthas are removed, nishtha (firm faith) develops. The third pair—Krishna Krishna—indicates the company of pure devotees and becoming fixed in firm faith throughout the day and night. By the fourth pair—Hare Hare—unmotivated devotion is awakened along with a taste for nama-sankirtana.
The fifth pair—Hare Rama—represents the taste for pure service along with remembrance of the holy names as prescribed in the Shikshashtaka. In the sixth pair—Hare Rama—chanting in the beginning stage of transcendental emotion leads to material detachment and complete attachment to Krishna. The seventh pair—Rama Rama—awakens attachment for the mellow of conjugal rasa, the shelter of Shri Radha's lotus feet, and feelings of separation. The eighth pair—Hare Hare—leads to attainment of the goal of life—loving service to Shri Shri Radha Krishna following in the mood of the gopis of Vrindavana throughout the eight divisions of day and night pastimes, ashtakaliya-lila.
The conclusion is that one who knows the meaning of om is a real student of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, and one who knows the meaning of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam certainly chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra as directed by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in His Shikshashtaka. Param vijayate shri-krishna-sankirtanam!
Chapter Two: Shri Gayatri Nigudhartha
The Hidden Truth of Shri Brahma Gayatri
(by Paramahamsa Vaishnava Thakura Shrila Bhakti Rakshaka Shridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja)
“The gayatri mantra will excite us to be mindful about Shrimati Radharani's lotus feet, to obey Her orders.”
“Radha-dasyam, the service of Shrimati Radharani, is the ultimate meaning to be extracted from the gayatri mantra.”
om bhur bhuvah svah tat savitur varenyam bhargo
devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah pracodayat om
om –– the seed mantra which contains everything within it; bhur — the physical world; bhuvah — the mental world; svah — the intellectual world; tat — that, the three planes of experience; savituh — the soul; varenyam — worshipable, venerable; bhargo — the supersubjective area, the svarupa-shakti; devasya — who is beautiful and playful, Krishna, Reality the Beautiful; dhimahi — come meditate; dhiyah — of meditation, of service; yo — who; nah — us; pracodayat — enthuses our capacity;
“Above the three planes of mundane experience, bhur, bhuvah, svah, is the soul, savitur, who shows us everything just like the sun. Above the soul is the supersubjective plane which is varenyam, most venerated and worshipable. That worshipable plane of existence is called bhargo, brilliant and illuminating. The supersubjective area, bhargo, is the plane known as the svarupa-shakti which is the internal pleasure potency of deva, Krishna, Reality the Beautiful. That bhargo is His own divine potency, Shrimati Radharani. Let us meditate upon the lotus feet of Shrimati Radharani, whose extended self and essential nature, mahabhava, is the svarupa-shakti, and who enthuses our capacity of devotional service. Let us surrender unto Her divine service.”
The meaning of the brahma-gayatri must bring us to the conclusion of Shrimad-Bhagavatam. The gayatri mantra and the Shrimad-Bhagavatam are one and the same. It is the very gist of the Vedanta-sutra. Shrimad-Bhagavatam is the elaborate commentary of gayatri :
artho ‘yam brahma-sutranam
“The meaning of the Vedanta-sutra is present in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. The full purport of the Mahabharata is also there. The commentary of the brahma-gayatri is also there and fully expanded with all Vedic knowledge.” (Garuda Purana)
The meaning of the gayatri mantra must be in the line of Shrimad-Bhagavatam. If we analyze how this is possible, we shall uncover the steps leading the gayatri-mantra to the Shrimad-Bhagavatam.
What is the meaning of gayatri? The word gayatri is a combination of two Sanskrit words: ganat (what is sung) and trayate (gives deliverance). This means, "A kind of song by which we can get our salvation, relief, emancipation. Gayatri is known as veda-mata, the mother of the Veda. If we examine the Vedic conclusion from it's most condensed aphorism to its most extensive expression, we shall find that it begins with omkara, the Vedic symbol om. That truth is expressed as the gayatri mantra, then it appears in the form of the Vedas and thereafter as the Vedanta-sutra. Finally, the Vedic conclusion is given its fullest expression in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Since the meaning, the purpose of Vedic knowledge progresses in this line, the gayatri mantra must contain within it the meaning of Shrimad-Bhagavatam — that is, that the Krishna conception of Godhead is the highest.
This must be the meaning of the gayatri mantra, but the problem is how to extract Shrimad-Bhagavatam — the Krishna conception — from within the womb of gayatri. I heard that Jiva Goswami has given such an interpretation, but I could not find where it is written. I heard that he has given the meaning of gayatri leading to Krishna consciousness. Anyhow, the tendency awakened in me to draw the meaning to the Krishna conception.
The general meaning of gayatri is "that song which grants liberation." Liberation must have some positive meaning. Liberation means not freedom from the negative side, but positive attainment. This is the definition given in Shrimad-Bhagavatam: muktir hitvanyatha rupam svarupena vyavashthitih — unless and until we attain the highest possible positive position, real mukti, real salvation has not been effected. Mere withdrawal from the negative plane cannot be called liberation. Hegel has said that the object of our life is self-determination. We must determine our normal function in the organic whole — not mere emancipation from the negative side, but participation in a positive function in the domain of service. This is considered to be the highest attainment of life. This is the real meaning of gayatri.
The word gayatri comes from two Sanskrit roots: ganat and trayate. Trayate means positive attainment to the final stage (sva-rupena vyavastitih). And ganat means not mere sound, but musical sound. That musical sound which grants us the highest positive deliverance indicates the sankirtana of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the flute song of Shri Krishna.
Gayatri is the song which by singing we are freed,
The music of divinity to help our highest need;
Coming to Gauranga’s lotus feet, the tune is sankirtana —
Then reaching to Vrindavana — Krishna’s holy flute vibration.
Mahaprabhu’s sankirtana helps in reinstating us,
To take us to the ecstacy of service, known as rasa.
And those who enter Vrindavana, then Krishna’s sweet flute-song
Helps engage His servitors to serve Him e’er anon.
The flute is sounding, all are thinking,
“O, He’s coming!” “He’s going!”
Struck with wonder, river Yamuna cannot go on flowing.
The friends are all engaged with Him throughout the afternoon;
Yasoda hears the flute, she thinks, “My son is coming soon!”
O Krishna, Lord of love — Lord of the heart, Lord Shri Govinda,
Your flute-song in the night, the gopis run to the Yamuna.
The Lord of Vraja-dhama — the Sweet Absolute
Engages all His servitors just by playing His flute.
Dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, the entire range of rasa
To the highest, madhura — all represented in Shri Radha —
The whole serving area is full in Radhika:
All services, like branches, are but a part of Her.
The divine song awakens us, our hearts we shall surrender
Unto Her holy lotus feet — the service of Shri Radha.
Rasa-raja, Mahabhava — dui eka rupa —
The Lord of love — His consort, in one form both include:
Gauranga Mahaprabhu, the Golden Lord has come
And atracted gayatri to radha-dasyam.
The Vedas, Upanishads, all scriptures of the truth,
Have come to Shrimad Bhagavatam, the acme of all faith;
And there this full conclusion of theistic realization
Will reach the heart embracing such devotional conception.
Shri Gayatri Nigudhartha
bhvades-tat savitur-varenya-vihitam kshetra-jna-sevyarthakam
bhargo vai vrishabhanu-jatma-vibhavaikaradhana shri-puram
bhargo dhama-sada nirasta kuhakam prajnana-lila-puram
gayatri-muralishta-kirtana-dhanam radha-padam dhimahi
gayatri-gaditam mahaprabhu-matam radha-padam dhimahi
dhir-aradhanam eva nanyad-iti-tad-radha-padam dhimahi
“With all of your thoughts and heart’s desire, fully engage yourself in the pure devotional service and worship of bhargo, the supreme goddess Shrimati Radharani, who is the unlimited origin and possessor of the svarupa-shakti of Krishna, the Supreme Beautiful Godhead (deva). Being the ultimate and all harmonizing potency of Krishna, She remains His eternally unexcelled beloved servitor. In order to fully enrich and promote His lila-vilasa, She manifests Herself in variegated congenial forms. It is She Who manifests Herself as dhama (Goloka) the abode of Krishna, in the form of beautiful effulgence (saundarya-jyoti) and opulence (vaibhava), adorning and glorifying Him all around. It is She who extends Herself as lila-shakti (the potency principle which promotes the bliss giving pastimes of Shri Krishna in variegated colorful, tasteful, mystically opulent and beautiful ways). She is the unlimited ocean of love of Krishna personified (mahabhava-svarupini). Therefore adore Her as the supreme goal of life, Who gives venerable, blessed intelligence, realization and taste of enhanced loving worship towards Her and Her eternal beloved deva, Shri Krishna, the all fulfillment of life. The sound of gayatri is none other than the divine flute song of Krishna. This flute song is naturally filled with Radha prema and dedicated to serve pleasure unto Her. What is the special characteristic of this all-attractive flute song in the life of devotional aspirants? It deeply attracts all souls to the unending beauty, glories and qualities of His eternal beloved Shrimati Radharani, and situates them correctly in their own respective positions in Her eternal ecstatic service. Krishna's flute song thus deeply inspires the devotees to embrace an artist-servitor in the divine service-concert of His eternal consort Shrimati Radharani through harmonious service performance. The innermost meaning of this flute song for all devotees is radha-padam dhimahi which means to wholeheartedly embrace and engage yourself in the service of the lotus feet of Shrimati Radharani with all devotional love. The highest and innermost instruction of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is radha-padam dhimahi."
The purport of Shri Gayatri Nigudhartha is as follows: The first word is om. Om is the seed mantra which contains everything within it. The next word is bhur. Bhur is where we are, Bhu-loka, the world of our experience. The next word is bhuvah. Bhuvarloka is the world of mental acquisition. It is the support, the background of our experience. Our present position of experience is the effect of our mental acquisition. That we are here in the world of experience is not an accident; we have acquired this position by our previous karma. The physical sphere, this present world of experience, is only the product, the outcome of our previous mental impulses. And the subtle world of previous karma, the mental sphere, is known as Bhuvarloka.
The next word in the mantra is svah. Above Bhuvarloka is Svaloka. The mental world (Bhuvarloka) means acceptance and rejection: what to do and what not to do — "I like this, I don't like that." Svaloka, however, is the plane of decision, the world of intelligence (Buddhiloka). Our intelligence tells us, "You may like this, but you don't do that, for then you will be the loser." That plane, the plane of reason, is known as Svaloka. In this way, this material world is composed of three general layers, bhur, the physical world, bhuvah, the mental world, and svah, the intellectual world.
Of course, a more detailed analysis will reveal seven layers: Bhur, Bhuvah Svah, Maha, Jana, Tapa, and Satyaloka. This has been dealt with in detail by Sanatana Goswami in his Brihad-Bhagavatamritam. Here, these seven strata have been summarized in three planes of existence: physical, mental, and intellectual. And these three planes of experience have been summarized in a word, tat.
The next word in the brahma-gayatri is savitur. Savitur generally means surya, the sun. And the sun means, figuratively, that which shows or illuminates; that by which we can see. The three gross and subtle strata within this world are shown to us by a particular thing, savitur. What is that? The soul. Actually, the world is not shown to us by the sun, but by the soul. What really gives us perception and allows us to see gross things? It is not actually the sun that helps us to see, we see with the help of the soul. This is found in Bhagavad-gita 13.34 (yatha prakashayaty ekah kritsnam lokam imam ravih). The soul reveals this world to us just as the sun does. The sun can show color to our eyes, the ear can reveal the sound world, and the hand can reveal the touch world. But really in the center is the soul. It is the soul who gives light to this world, who gives us an understanding of the environment, the world of perception. All perception is possible only because of the soul. Here, the word savitur, which generally means sun, can only mean soul, like the sun, which shows us everything.
All seven strata of our existence-represented by bhur, the physical plane, bhuvah, the mental plane, and svah, the intellectual plane — have here been reduced to one entity: tat — "that." "That" is shown by the sun which in this context indicates the soul. Here soul means individual soul. The individual soul is the cause of his world. Not that the mind is in the world, but the world is in the mind. Berkeley has said that the world is in the mind. Here it is being expressed that everything is seen with the help of the sun. If there is no sun, everything is dark — nothing can be seen. So without light, nothing can be seen. And in a higher sense, light means the soul. The soul is the subject and the soul's object is the seven planes of experience within this world.
The next word in the gayatri mantra is varenyam. Varenyam means puja: worshipable, venerable. This indicates that although within this plane — the objective world — the soul is the subject, there is another domain which is to be venerated and worshipped by the soul. That is the Supersoul area.
That worshipable plane of existence is known as bhargo. Bhargo means the super subjective area, the area of the Supersoul. This is mentioned in the first verse of Shrimad-Bhagavatam: dhamna svena sada nirasta-kuhakam satyam param dhimahi. Shrila Vyasadeva says that here he is going to deal with another world whose pristine glory is so great that by its own ray, all misconceptions are brushed aside. The subject is the soul, and its object is all these worlds of experience. And the super subject is the venerable area which is superior to the subject, the soul, that is the super subjective area.
The word bhargo means"more subtle than the soul," and "holding a more important position than the soul." So this means the Supersoul, the Paramatma. In general, of course, the word bhargo ordinarily means light. Just as an X-ray can show us what the ordinary eye cannot see, bhargo is svarupa-shakti: higher, more powerful light that can reveal the soul. And that energy — bhargo — belongs to whom? It belongs to deva. What is the meaning of the word deva? Deva means "who is beautiful and playful," that is, Shri Krishna: Reality the beautiful. He is not a nondifferentiated substance, but is full of lila, pastimes. Deva means pastimes and beauty combined, and this means Krishna.
His domain is bhargo, brilliant, and it is varenyam, to be venerated by the jiva soul. What is the nature of the svarupa-shakti? It is the vaibava, the extension of Shrimati Radharani. She holds the full service responsibility and the energy to serve Krishna. Bhargo is no less than the vaibava, the extended body of Shrimati Radharani, which contains everything for the service of Krishna. Bhargo represents Mahabhava, the predominated moiety, and deva, Krishna, is Rasaraja, the predominating moiety.
In the gayatri mantra, we are requested bhargo devasya dhimahi: "come meditate.” What sort of meditation is possible in that plane of dedication? Not abstract meditation, but service cultivation, krishnanushilanam. Dhimahi means " to participate in the spontaneous flow, the current of devotion in Vrindavana." And what will be the result (dhiyo yo nah pracodayat)? The capacity of our cultivation will be increased. As we serve, a greater capacity and willingness to serve will be given to us in remuneration — just as interest is added to capital in the bank (dasa kari' vetan more deha prema-dhana). In this way, our dedicating principle will be increased again and again. Dhimahi means aradhana, worship. It cannot but be explained in terms of aradhana, puja, seva — worship, adoration, loving service. The word dhi is derived from the word buddhi, which generally means that which we cultivate with the help of our intelligence. But here, dhi is a reference to that venerable intelligence which descends into this plane to help us cultivate service. So dhimahi does not mean abstract meditation, but devotional service. This is the underlying meaning of the gayatri mantra.
Gayatri, the song of deliverance, also means sankirtana. Kirtana is also sung, and it also improves us towards the highest goal. The sankirtana of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also reinstates us in our highest serving position. So brahma gayatri in connection with Mahaprabhu comes to mean krishna-kirtana. Then it reaches Vrindavana and the flute kirtana. And when we enter Vrindavana, we shall find that the sweet sound of Krishna's flute helps to engage all the Lord’s servants in their respective duties. When the flute is sounded, the gopis and others are adjusted in their respective duties. At night, the gopis, hearing the sound of the flute will run to the Yamuna, thinking, "O, Krishna is there." And when Yashoda hears the song of Krishna's flute, She thinks, "My son is there. He is coming home soon." In this way, the sound of the flute engages all the servants of the Lord in their respective positions and inspires them to be mindful of their service.
In my Sanskrit commentary on the gayatri mantra, I have written dhiraradhanam eva nanyad-iti tad radha-padam dhimahi: All other services are represented fully in Radhika. Like branches they are all part of Her. Madhurya-rasa is the chief or mukhya-rasa, the combination of all rasas. Shrimati Radharani is mahabhava — She represents the entire serving attitude.
The flute-song of Shri Krishna, expressed as the gayatri mantra, is reminding us and engaging us in our service. And what is our service? Our service must be to surrender ourselves in the service of Shrimati Radharani — to accept the suggestion of Radharani. The gayatri mantra will excite us to be mindful about Shrimati Radharani's lotus feet, to obey Her orders. She is mainly representing the whole service area. So to try to engage ourselves in Her service, under Her order — to accept Her direction and to obey Her — that is the service of Shri Radha. In this way, the meaning of the gayatri mantra has been drawn to radha-dasyam, self-determination (svarupena vyavasthitih).
In the meantime, the partial representations in vatsalya and sakhya-rasa are also part and parcel of the original mellow of conjugal love, madhurya-rasa. The vatsalya rasa devotees will serve Nanda and Yashoda, the sakhya-rasa devotee will serve Shridhama and Sudhama, but ultimately, the whole system in one conception is included in Radharani.
Radha-dasyam, the service of Shrimati Radharani, is the ultimate meaning to be extracted from the gayatri mantra. That is the supreme end of our life. It cannot but be so. Shrimad-Bhagavatam is the ultimate or full-fledged theism to be extracted from the Vedas, Upanishads, and so many scriptures. All the revealed truth rises to its acme, to its highest position, in the conception given by Shrimad-Bhagavatam. And Shrimad-Bhagavatam teaches us that the highest realization, self-determination, is to be found in the service of Shrimati Radharani — that under Her guidance we may serve Shri Krishna. We aspire for a direct connection with Her service.
What, then, is the inner meaning or purport of the word bhargo? Bhargo vaijvrsabhanuja-atma-vibhava-eka-aradhana-shri-puram. Bhanu means the sun, or "who shows us by light." Radharani is the daughter of Vrishabhanu. I have selected the word bhanu. To represent Her personal extended self, I have given the word vaibhava. Vaibhava means, "what comes out," or "extended self." Prabhva is the central representation and vaibhava is the outer extension. The very gist of svarupa-shakti is Shrimati Radharani, and the whole svarupa-shakti is Her extended self. The town of Her beautiful service, that is, the country, the abode of Her beautiful service is the whole svarupa-shakti.
Just as rays of light extend from the sun, the whole internal potency is an extension of mahabhava, Shri Radhika. She has developed Herself into such a beautiful area of brilliance, of internal energy, and thereby She serves Her Lord. All these necessary things have sprung from Her. To help Her in serving Her Lord, they all come out. When the entire internal energy is condensed in a concise form, it is mahabhava, Shrimati Radharani. And when Radharani wants to serve, She extends Herself in limitless different ways. And with some contribution from Baladeva and Yogamaya, the whole spiritual world, including Vrindavana, Mathura, and Vaikuntha, evolves to assist Shrimati Radharani in the service of Shri Krishna.
In this way, I have drawn out radha-dasyam, the service of Shrimati Radharani as the meaning of the gayatri mantra and have tried to represent it in Sanskrit verse. Gaura Haribol!
Chapter Three: Shri Gayatri Nigudhartha Sampada
The Wealth and Glory of Shri Gayatri Nigudhartha
(by Paramahamsa Vaishnava Thakura Shrila Bhakti Promode Puri Goswami Maharaja)
The explanation of brahma-gayatri, the mother of all Vedas, signifying devotional worship unto Shrimati Radharani, shri radhanudhyana-para, explanation which was revealed in the depth of realization of Pujyapada Shridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja, possessed with the divine grace of Paramaradhya Shri Shrila Prabhupada (Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura) upon his head — is deeply appreciated by those fortunate, intelligent devotees who are aware of the relishable beauty of pure devotional service.
The Shrimad-Bhagavatam, which is revealed in the transcendental meditation of Shri Veda Vyasa, is the quintessential scripture of all the Vedas, Vedantas, Puranas and Pancaratras. Vrajendra Nandana, Shri Vrindavana Candra Krishna, has alone been manifested therein as the supreme worshipable non-dual object (the Supreme Personality of Godhead — the summum bonum of our lives) through this following definition:
ete camsha-kalah pumsah
krishnas tu bhagavan svayam
mridayanti yuge yuge
“All of the above mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Shri Krishna is the original Personality of Godhead. All of them appear on planets whenever there is a disturbance created by atheists. The Lord incarnates to protect the theists.” (Bhag. 1.3.28)
The full-fledged internal potency of that svayam-rupa, the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna, the divine embodiment of sat-cit-ananda, has also been described as the supreme worshipper and pleasure-giving potency through this verse of Shrimad-Bhagavatam:
anaya radhika nunam
yan no vihaya govindah
prito yam anayad rahah
“Certainly this particular gopi has perfectly worshiped the all-powerful Personality of Godhead, Govinda, since He was so pleased with Her that He abandoned the rest of us and brought Her to a secluded place.” (Bhag. 10.30.28)
Thus both of the divine personalities are interrelated as aradhya and aradhika (worshipable and worshipper).
This conjugal conception of Godhead is our supreme worshipable goal and it is the final aim and object of Shrimad-Bhagavatam. It is said in the Garuda Purana:
artho ‘yam brahma sutranam
gayatri bhashya rupo’sau
“The Shrimad-Bhagavatam is most highly regarded within the meanings of the Brahma Sutras, the deep significance of Mahabharata and the profundity of Veda-mata gayatri, and is ultimately the quintessence of all the Vedas”.
The king of scriptures Shrimad-Bhagavatam is naturally full of the most valuable verses:
tad idam grahayam asa
sutam atmavatam varam
saram saram samuddhritam
“Shri Vyasadeva delivered it to his son, who is the most respected among the self-realized, after extracting the cream of all Vedic literature and histories of the universe.” (Bhag. 1.3.41)
sarva vedam tvsharanghi
shrimad bhagavatam ishyate
nanyatra syad ratih kvacit
“Shrimad-Bhagavatam is declared to be the essence of all Vedanta philosophy. One who has felt satisfaction from its nectarine mellow will never be attracted to any other literature.” (Bhag. 12.13.15)
In these verses Shrimad-Bhagavatam has been described and defined as the quintessence of all Vedas, Vedantas and Puranas. Shrila Kaviraja Goswamipada also has written:
gayatrira arthe ei grantha arambhana
“satyam param” — sambandha
“dhimahi” — sadhana-prayojana
“In the beginning of Shrimad-Bhagavatam there is an explanation of the brahma-gayatri mantra. ‘The Absolute Truth (satyam-param)’ indicates the relationship, and ‘we meditate (dhimahi) on Him’ indicates the execution of devotional service and the ultimate goal of life.” (C.c. Madhya-lila 25.147)
In his “Anubhasya” commentary to these lines, our Paramaradhya Shrila Prabhupada has commented:
The meaning or deep significance of the gayatri mantra has been presented in the first verse of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, which is known as mangalacarana or the auspicious invocation. All efforts of our wisdom and consciousness to discover and attain our eternal relationship with the supreme reality, and consequently to know our properly adjusted or harmonized relationship with all animation through that central relationship with the truth is known as sambandha-jnana. Following the regulative principles for the attainment of the highest goal of life — the purely blissful devotional service of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishnacandra is known as abhidheya. And tasting the supremely blissful nectarine devotional fruits (prema-bhakti) to those genuine devotional practices is known as prayojana.
In Shrimad Bhagavad-gita Shri Krishna is described as the supreme subject known by the transcendental knowledge of the Vedas. He is also the composer of the Vedas and Vedantas in His form of Shrila Vyasadeva and finally, He is the true knower of the real meanings and significance of all the Vedas. Shrila Kaviraja Goswamipada has written thus:
ataeva bhagavata sutrera’ artha’ rupa
nija krita sutrera nija’bhashya ‘svarupa
“As it is He who is the writer and commentator of the Upanishads which are the most essential form of the four Vedas and their profound meanings and as if is that same great personality, the incarnation of Shri Krishna, who is the writer of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, which is regarded as the quintessential commentary and wider, positive explanation of the Vedas, then it is the Shrimad-Bhagavatam alone which presents to the world the deepest meanings of all Vedas, Vedantas and revealed scriptures.” (C.c. Madhya-lila 25.142)
krishna bhakti rasa svarupa shri bhagavata
tate veda shastra haite parama mahattva
“Shrimad-Bhagavatam is the divine personification of the matchless ecstasies of Krishna bhakti. Because of that she is much more exalted than the Veda shastras—excelling and transcending them all.” (C.c. Madhya-lila 25.150)
In the commentary of this verse Shrila Prabhupada has said:
Shrimad-Bhagavatam is the ocean of transcendental ecstasy of Shri Krishna bhakti and the revealed Vedic scriptures. The Vedas, which comprise the transcendental messages of Shri Bhagavan, are compared to a desire tree, the best ripened fruit of which is Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Therefore the Shrimad-Bhagavatam is much greater than the Vedas in comparative study.
In the revealed truth of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Vrajendra-nandana Shri Krishna, the sole matchless wealth of Shrimati Radharani’s life, is the supreme reality and supreme object of all adoration. Shri Radha, the crown jewel of all Vrajadevis, is the full-fledged divine potency and is the exclusive pleasure giver in all respects to Her dear Lord Shri Krishna Candra. Therefore it is only under submission to Her that that glorious, fathomless devotional service to the Lord, that genuine worship and adoration of the Lord, the very means of attaining divine grace, can become a reality. By realizing this deep meaning of Shrimad-Bhagavatam and revealing it in his commentary, Parama-pujyapada Shridhara Dev has presented to the world this most beautiful, full-fledged explanation of gayatri, the mother of shruti. He has shown us this treasure of the most beautiful opulent wealth of the supreme reality; that the loving adoration of varenya bhargo, who is the supreme loving worshipper, ecstasy giver and internal potency of the supremely worshipable Shri Lila Purushottama Dev, is the best way to attain the grace of Shri Krishna. She is the benevolent source of pure devotional inspiration and intelligence required to attain the grace of Shri Krishna, the Divine Lord of this universe, and that it is the exclusive meaning of the expression: shavalaccyamani prapadye (Upanishads).
Shrila Ragunatha Dasa Goswamipada did not like to accept Shri Krishna merely as Bhakari (the slayer of Bakasura and other demons), nor the idea of residing in Shridhama Vraja without the grace of Shrimati Radha Thakurani. One cannot live in Her domain or have the fortune of darshana of the original transcendental form of Shri Vrindavana-vihari Shri Krishna without the grace and sanction of His swarupa shakti, Shrimati Radha Thakurani.
radhaya madhavo devah
“Madhava Dev belongs exclusively to Shrimati Radha Thakurani”.
We find in Shri Kaviraja Goswami’s writings:
hladini karaya krishne anandasvadana
ladinira dvara kare bhaktera poshana
“The hladini shakti, Shrimati Radharani, is always engaging Shri Krishna, Her Divine Lord, in tasting and profoundly relishing the divine pleasures and infinite divine ecstasies, and it is through that hladini shakti that Shri Krishna maintains and sustains the devotional life of His devotees”. (C.c. Adi-lila 4.60)
Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written in his “Amrita Prabhava Bhashya” as follows:
Shrimati Radhika is the svarupa shakti of Shri Krishna and is known as hladini because She always keeps Him merged in the ocean of supreme ecstasy. In addition She is also defined as the supreme maintainer and sustainer of divine devotional life, the supreme promoter of Shri Krishna prema within the original selves of all jiva souls, who are the eternal parts and particles of the infinite transcendental potency of Shri Krishna.
Shrila Kaviraja Goswamipada continues:
sac cid ananda purna krishnera svarupa
eka-i-cic chakti tanra dhare tina rupa
anandamshe hladini sad amshe sandhini
cid amshe samvit yare jnana kari mani
“Shri Krishna’s body is eternal, full of knowledge, and full of bliss. His one spiritual energy manifests three forms. Hladini is His aspect of bliss; sandhini, of eternal existence; and samvit, of cognizance, which is also accepted as knowledge.” (C.c. Adi-lila 4.61-62)
Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura comments on this verse as follows:
The full-fledged reality of the almighty Lord Shri Krishna is the embodiment of eternity, divinity and ecstasy and His conscious potency has threefold manifestations:
Sandhini shakti is that potency which manifests in the quality of eternity and which connects or relates all jiva souls with the original Absolute Reality, expanding and extending that relationship and which thereby expands, widens and improves the very existence of all jiva souls.
Samvit shakti is the perfect plane of full fledged knowledge or consciousness through which we can know the original Supreme Personality of Godhead Shri Krishna.
Hladini shakti is the potency of supreme transcendental ecstasy which eternally pleases Shri Krishna with limitless beauty and bliss and most graciously distributes that anandam (pleasure) to be tasted by all other specially fortunate devotees.
Paramaradhya Shrila Prabhupada has commented on the same shloka in his “Anubhashya:”
The potency by which the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna maintains and sustains the entire entity, the existence of all, is called sandhini shakti, the revealer of time, place, things and circumstances. That potency by which He Himself can know and make others know is called samvit shakti or jnana shakti. That supreme consciousness potency of Shri Krishna by which Shrimati Radharani can directly know of the anandam and most graciously allow others to know, feel and taste the same anandam is called hladini shakti.
That original supreme ecstasy potency, hladini-shakti, is always engaged in giving pleasure to Her dear Shri Krishna, the dearmost son of the King of Vraja and the full moon of Vrindavana dhama. Therefore, essentially, we must do all our devotional duties, services and worship with the acceptance of unconditional surrender at the lotus feet of Shri Vrishabhanu Radhanandini, the dearmost daughter of the King Vrishabhanu and the crown jewel of all the Vrajadevis.
Hence, abhideya means the profound thinking, feeling and absorption in all respects upon the Supreme Lord and through that process of meditation and absorption, the attainment of that plane of pure devotional consciousness prayojana or premavasta — the lofty storage of divine love.
Therefore, this pure devotional meditation upon Shri Radharani is the topmost confidential meaning of brahma-gayatri. The commentary upon gayatri revealed by Pujyapada Shridhara Maharaja is known as Shri Gayatri-Nigudhartha. This commentary has been elaborately explained and I am bereft of the proper language to elucidate the profound meaning of gayatri revealed by Pujyapada Maharaja, which is that sublime Shri Radha-dasya or Shri Radha-pada-dhyana — the exclusive devotional servitude to Shrimati Radharani. Therefore it can only be presented and understood through his own illustrious transcendental language and by his exclusive divine grace. This deepest meaning of gayatri has been nobly established by every aspect of the message emanating from his lotus lips and by the jubilant mood radiating from the core of his heart.
Chapter Four: Shri Akhanda Guru Tattva
The Principle fo Guru in Shri Guru Gayatri
(by His Holiness Bhakti Nandan Swami Maharaja)
The cause of the guru disciple relationship as it manifests in the life of a spiritual seeker is the sweet will of the divine couple Shri Shri Radha-Krishna, and it is divinely ordained that one who seeks pure devotional service to Them shall be introduced to Them through Their divine representative Shri gurudeva. As Shri guru is a living principle of Shri guru-tattva, he is a direct expansion of the grace of the divine couple, and is thus a natural transparent medium for the seeker's entrance into eternal life with Them. Shri guru is known as an affectionate guardian, friend, and guide; a kind messenger of immortal divine hope and prospect. It is Shri Gauranga Mahaprabhu, the highest manifestation of Shri guru-tattva, who has beautifully revealed its conclusive truths to the world. He revealed that when a person aspires to live a life of dedicated service, earnestly seeking shelter in the ambrosial embrace of Shri Radha and Krishna’s blissful, loving pastimes, Shri guru appears. In that unlimitedly beautiful world of ecstatic love for Krishna, ultimately everything exists to enhance the lila and pleasure of the divine couple, and therefore Shri guru is found in each of the five main rasas (shanta, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, and madhurya).
The gurus of each rasa are self-fulfilled within their respective rasas, and are credited with the excellence of their unique individual aspects of seva both in this world and within Goloka. Shri guru helps his disciple to gradually cultivate devotional love for the divine couple within and properly attain entrance into Their eternal loving service. He then further enriches that relationship in variegated beautiful ways following the taste of his own guru-varga. The Divine Couple become especially pleased with a devotee who engages in the loving devotional worship and service of his pure guru.Therefore holy sadhus and shastras especially emphasize the need for accepting and following such a sat-guru with a respectful service attitude.
The meditation on Shri gayatri plays a most vital role in the relationship between Shri guru and his disciple. Shri guru naturally remains inseparable from gayatri meditation because it is Shri Radha-Krishna's grace personified within Shri guru which initiates such a fortunate soul into the gayatri-mantra. Shri gayatri then gradually reveals to that devotee the ultimate objective and principle of initiation, inspiring him to wholeheartedly embrace its accompanying meditational practices throughout life. Therefore, in the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, the guru-mantra and guru-gayatri are meditated upon with utmost respect and gratitude following the brahma-gayatri dhyana. The last part of brahma-gayatri—dhiyo yo nah pracodayat—clearly indicates the function and role of Shri guru. The term pracodayat means 'directs towards' or 'engages in.' deva (Krishna) and His effulgent, glorious pleasure-potency bhargo (Radhika) inspire the transcendental intelligence of a jiva-soul, attract such a soul towards Their lotus feet, and engage him in pure devotional service to Them. The transparent via-medium through whom such service descends to a disciple is Shri guru or guru-tattva. It is to be especially noted that Shri guru first initiates a devotee with the brahma-gayatri. That same brahma-gayatri then directs the devotee to worship Shri gurudeva for further benefit and accomplishment. It is therefore significant that the guru-mantra and guru-gayatri follow the brahma-gayatri.
Shri guru-mantra and guru-gayatri refer to the akhanda ashraya vigraha, the complete guru-tattva. This akhanda (undivided) guru-tattva manifests in three aspects, namely: caitya-guru, diksha-guru, and shiksha-guru respectively. Caitya-guru is none other than the indwelling Supersoul, Shri Shri Radha-Krishna within. Diksha-guru and shiksha-guru are the two kinds of physically present gurus appearing externally as pure devotees in human form. Such gurus, exclusively on the higher stage of atma-nivedana from the uttama-madhyama and uttama-adhikari level, eternally remain manifest through their holy legacy. These three aspects of guru-tattva are the aim and subject of mantra meditation. According to one's inspiration one may meditate upon each guru individually with distinction, or upon all three of them collectively in harmonious interrelation and unity.1 The holy scriptures recommend that while chanting the aforementioned mantras, one should meditate upon Shri guru's eternal form (if it has been revealed) in a way which is unified with contemplation on his manifest saintly human persona as well.
The following reference to the guru-mantra is found in the Suta-Shaunaka-samvada of the Brihad-brahmanda Purana: Shrim gum bhagavad-gurave svaha; and reference to the guru-gayarti is found in the Padma purana as follows: Shrim gurudevaya vidmahe gaurapriyaya dhimahi tanno guruh pracodayat. Shrila Dhyanacandra Goswami recorded these mantras in his Shri gaura-govindarcana-smarana-paddhati, and some Gaudiya Vaishnavas headed by him have accepted them in their worship of Shri guru.2 These mantras specifically indicate a guru of madhurya-rasa bhakti, whose inner identity personifies the highest kind of love relationship with the Divine Couple—principally that of a divine damsel of Goloka who is always engaged in Their blissful loving service. (This refers only to nitya-siddha and sadhana-siddha gurus.)
Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, however, found some misapplication of the guru-mantra established by Dhyanacandra Goswami in relation to certain unqualified gurus during his time. Being concerned about the situation, he preferred not to introduce that mantra to his society lest he be identified with its inappropriate use. He realized through revelation that it would be most helpful for all classes of spiritual students to enter into the madhurya-rasa conception of Shri guru at a more mature stage of spiritual understanding. He wanted to protect the highest conception of Shri guru from misuse, and thus he directed his followers along a safer path which would give rise to true advancement in a practical way instead of through an artificial and abrupt path of so-called progress. This genuine path delineating the true conception of Shri guru begins from his divya jnana svarupa and culminates in his madhurya-prema svarupa.
The mantras which Shrila Saraswati thakura gave to his followers are aim gurave namah and aim gurudevaya vidmahe krishnanandaya dhimahi tanno guruh pracodayat. The guru-mantra and guru-gayatri presented by Shrila Dhyanacandra Goswami and Shrila Saraswati thakura are deeply interrelated and differ only in manner of presentation; not in their intrinsic nature or divine essence. Therefore, dear devotees, let us now enter into the beautiful world of the meaning and purport of Shri guru-mantra and guru-gayatri, appreciating their naturally harmonious characteristics.
The precise but full translation of guru-gayatri is as follows:
"Understanding Shri guru as the pure representation of krishnananda/gaurapriya-tva let me thus meditate on that — his divine svarupa and engage in his service. May he further enthuse and engage me in that meditation and devotional service to him."
In the guru-mantra presented by Shrila Saraswati thakura (aim gurave namah), aim is the seed mantra of the specific aspect of Krishna's potency which manifests in the form of His pure devotee Shri guru or guru-tattva.
Shri Krishna’s qualities of sat-cit-ananda have three corresponding potencies: sandhini, samvit, and hladini. Aim represents the samvit aspect of divine cognizance and knowledge (cit) which congenially promotes the hladini aspect (ananda) unified by sandhini (sat).
Shri Krishna is the vishaya vigraha (the supreme object of all worship) and Shri Radhika is the original ashraya vigraha (the supreme worshiper of the vishaya vigraha). Both aim and shrim are the seed mantras for the ashraya vigraha, yet despite their close interrelation, these two bija mantras are slightly distinct from one another. Aim represents divya jnana tattva which culminates in madhurya-prema tattva, and shrim represents that madhurya- prema tattva congenially promoted by that divya jnana (aim).3 Aim includes sat-gurus of all five main rasas in deeper harmonious relation to shrim.
Aim represents Goddess Saraswati, who is pure transcendental knowledge, enlightenment, and intelligence that fully promotes Krishna prema bhakti. In the holy scriptures she has been addressed as paravidya (the highest superexcellent knowledge), ahaituki jnana (causelessly revealed knowledge), divya jnana (purely divine knowledge), prajnana (the topmost transcendental knowledge) and vidyabadhu (beautiful divine knowledge full of devotional love as referred to in Shikshastakam). Addressing Shri guru with this bija mantra significantly indicates that Shri guru and guru-tattva are the pure representation of such divine knowledge and intelligence which exclusively promote nothing other than madhurya-prema seva.
Saraswati devi is among the most endeared and beautiful expansions of Shrimati Radharani. Her bija mantra is aim, and Shrimati Radhika’s bija mantra is shrim. Thus aim is the expansion of shrim, and therefore the seed mantra aim in the guru-mantra and guru-gayatri esoterically indicates that Shri guru and guru-tattva are ultimately also expansions of Radhika tattva. Saraswati Krishna-priya, krishna-bhakti tanra hiya, vinodera sei se vaibhava: "Decorated with the effulgence of knowledge of divine love, damsel Shuddha Saraswati is ever dedicated to pleasing Krishna. As such she is dearly loved by Krishna and is the treasure of Shrila Bhaktivinoda's heart." (Kalyana kalpataru, Upadesha, 10th song ) Being nondifferent from divya-jnana-tattva (prajnana), a guru of madhurya-rasa (as referred to by the word aim) is understood to be of a similar nature and identity as this same tattva in the nitya-lila of the Divine Couple.
Gurave means unto Shri gurudeva, and namah is an obeisance meaning: "I respectfully dedicate myself to the service of Shri gurudeva." Thus deeply entering into this full-fledged conception with its slightly mysterious connotation, Shrila Saraswati thakura chose the bija mantra aim to represent Shri guru, and therefore presented the guru-mantra as aim gurave namah.
The guru-mantra as presented by Shrila Dhyanacandra Goswami is Shrim gum bhagavad gurave svaha. Shrim means saundarya and ananda, which denotes beauty and ecstasy—the components of hladini-sakti—which originates from Shri Radhika. Shrim therefore refers to Shri guru as a pure representative of this hladini potency.
Gum is another seed mantra for Shri guru and guru tattva; bhagavad gurave means 'unto the guru who is nondifferent from the Supreme Lord; and svaha means 'I dedicate my heart unto.' As Shrim is the bija mantra for worshiping Shri Radhika, the application of this bija mantra to Shri guru has special significance. It reveals the truth that either by his internal nature in this world, or in all respects on the plane of nitya-lila, a guru of madhurya-rasa bhakti has an inseparable relationship with Shri Radhika. Sublimely imbued as he is with Shri Radha's grace, such a guru is considered to be Her qualitative expansion as a sakhi or Manjari or one of their intimate servitors, and therefore he has also been referred to as Shrim.
Bhagavad refers to Shri Krishna, and bhagavad gurave indicates that Shri guru is the manifestation of Shri Krishna's grace as well. A madhurya-rasa guru is devoted not only to Shrimati Radharani, but also to Shri Krishna. He offers his devotion to Krishna by loyally attending upon Shri Radhika, and being pleased with such pure loving service, the Aprakrita Yugala (Divine Couple) bless him with further entrance into Their confidential pastimes, which are full of quintessential love-ecstasy. He is considered so very close and dear to Them that he remains eternally blessed by an inseparable love-relationship with Them. By receiving such recognition from the Divine Couple, he ever feels that he cannot live without that grace. This union with the Divine Couple in irresistible love-attraction makes him Their intimate representative. Therefore bhagavad gurave refers to the personification of the divine grace of the bhagavata.
The deepest significance of the word svaha is dedication of one's heart. Thus, the conclusive translation of the guru-mantra Shrim gum bhagavad gurave svaha in the line of Gaudiya siddhanta is: “I respectfully dedicate my heart and soul to the holy service of Shri Shri Radha-Krishna4 through service to Shri guru, who is a nondifferent manifestation of Their mercy.”
The distinction between the guru-gayatris accepted and established by Dhyanacandra Goswami and Shrila Saraswati thakura for their guru dhyana is twofold: (1) the invocation bija mantras (aim in contrast to Shrim), and (2) the term describing Shri guru’s characteristic (Krishnananda as distinct from gaurapriya). These definitions of Shri guru are like two petals of the same lotus, and each aspect of guru-tattva has a distinct taste in relationship to the Divine Couple. While Krishnananda refers to Shri guru's relishing the taste of madhurya-rasa seva through madhurya (that which embraces within it all other wholesome love-mellows), gaurapriya refers to Shri guru's tasting madhurya-rasa seva through the mood of audarya (the act of magnanimously sharing the above-described madhurya). The inner meanings of these two terms are so closely interrelated that they cannot really be separated from one another, and therefore their distinction appears only in simultaneous unity (bhedabheda siddhanta).
In the gayatri mantra: aim gurudevaya vidmahe Krishnanandaya dhimahi tanno guruh pracodayat, aim is the seed mantra for Shri guru or guru-tattva; gurudevaya means devoted to Shri gurudeva; vidmahe denotes sambandha jnana (one's progressive understanding in relation to the guru's svarupa and ultimate realization of that svarupa through devotion); Krishnanandaya represents the offering of veneration unto one who is full of ecstatic love for Krishna and who gives pleasure to the heart of Krishna through pure love-service; dhimahi represents the abhidheya (means), which herein denotes a disciple's becoming deeply absorbed in the divine identity of Shri guru through devotional love-engagement; tat means 'that'; nah means 'us'; guruh means Shri gurudeva; and pracodayat denotes the guru's inspiring and directing the disciple towards the attainment of the final goal, the prayojana.
The guru-gayatri is divided into four parts. The first part, aim, represents the whole nature of gayatri in seed form. The second part, gurudevaya vidmahe Krishnanandaya, refers to the understanding of guru-tattva svarupa as the representation of both divine knowledge and Krishnananda through devotional intelligence. The third part, dhimahi, represents the function of engaging in devotional dhyanam, which means remaining absorbed in that divine connection and service. And the final part, tanno guruh pracodayat, refers to an eager prayer on the part of the disciple towards Shri guru for blessing his life with ecstatic love of Krishna (Krishnananda ) and giving him further engagement in his devotional service.
The word Krishnanandaya in this gayatri is most significant. By itself it is a whole treasure-world of definition about Shri guru or guru-tattva, self-evidently showing us their complete nature and characteristics. The meaning of Krishnananda is threefold: (1) Krishnananda (Krishna yasya anandam) and aya dhimahi conjointly mean to meditate on that guru whose entire happiness in life is Krishna, or that guru whose heart is full of the beauty of ecstatic love for Krishna. (2) Krishnananda (Krishnasya anandam) aya dhimahi means to meditate on that guru who gives pleasure to his dearmost Lord Krishna through his pure devotional love-services. And (3) in the word Krishnananda, Krishna is Shri Krishna and ananda is hladini Radhika, so Krishnanandaya dhimahi means meditation on Shri guru who is the representative of both Radha and Krishna combined. These three aspects of the term Krishnanandaya dhimahi may be applied to gurus of all rasas, but when this Krishnananda becomes imbued with the mellows of madhurya-prema and specifically manifests through a madhurya-rasa guru, it then reaches its highest expression. A guru possessing such Krishnananda has been esoterically glorified in sacred texts and thus he is aspired after by saints and sincere devotees.5
Shri Krishna is the sat-cit-ananda vigraha, the embodiment of all truth, awareness, and ecstasy. In nitya-lila His ecstasy aspect (anandam) expands through His hladini potency, which manifests from Shri Radhika. (Thus Shri Radha is also addressed as Govinda-nandini, Hladini, and Madana-mohana-mohini.) A deeper meaning of Krishnananda is that a bona fide guru from every principle rasa, and specifically madhurya-rasa, represents the function of this hladini potency according to his own position in the range of rasadhikara (capacity for involvement within a particular rasa).
The full-fledged conception of Krishnananda found in madhurya-rasa enables a nitya-siddha or sadhana-siddha guru to freely relate to the Supreme Personality of Divine Truth through all facets of intimate relationships, and thus to relish all ambrosial tastes of ecstasy. This fact, however, can only be properly conceived through transcendental realization.
This aprakrita madhurya-rasa is most prominent in the divine damsels of transcendental Vraja, and Shri Radhika is their superexcellent Queen and guru. She is the unending fountainhead of all madhurya-rasa premananda, and all other damsels and their close followers are Her different types of expansions. Each of them is considered a pure loving servitor with her own individual role, characteristic, expertise, beauty, flavor, and taste. Thus remaining purely dedicated to the supreme guru Shri Radhika, each of them is also considered to be Her representative as guru in both planes. (Only the two types of representative gurus—nitya-siddha and sadhana-siddha—have been referred to here in this context.) The fact pertaining to the sadhana-siddha guru indicates that before his attaining to the siddha stage, he remains as a sadhaka-guru, progressing towards divine accomplishment and fulfillment. Hence, it is understood that following the examples of the nitya-siddha and sadhana-siddha madhurya-rasa gurus, sadhaka madhurya-rasa gurus are found on this plane who are also very helpful in properly guiding a devotee toward the goal of madhurya-rasa seva. It is for this reason that such a qualified sadhaka-guru is also considered to be a representation of Shri Radhika's grace. (Nitya-siddha gurus sometimes come down to this earthly plane, but such an occurrence is a rare event. It is mostly the sadhana-siddha and qualified sadhaka-gurus who become comparatively more available on this plane to extend their gracious guidance to a devotee.) Therefore the meaning of Krishnananda in the context of the guru-gayatri ultimately refers to a purely devoted servitor of Shrimati Radharani who gives inexhaustible pleasure to Krishna through devotional service.
The last part of this gayatri is tanno guruh pracodayat, which means: "May Shri guru inspire us with that (tat) and engage us in that." It is a sincere heartfelt prayer to Shri guru and akhanda guru-tattva for receiving invaluable inspiration and engagement as indicated by the word 'tat', the divine treasure of Krishnananda with its threefold meanings (one whose entire happiness is Krishna, one who gives pleasure to Krishna, and one who represents both Krishna and Radhika combined).
Unifying all these meanings, the following prayer is offered to Shri guru: "May Shri guru inspire us to meditate on ecstatic love for Krishna and engage us in His pure love-service. May he inspire us with his personal example of offering pleasure to Krishna and finding the joy of fulfillment in Krishna. May he inspire us in our meditation on akhila-rasamrita-murti Krishna (the all-attractive personality of all-encompassing bliss) and Ananda Shri Radhika, who is the bliss of even the supremely blissful Krishna. And may he also engage us in service to Hladini Shri Radhika, who by Her boundless devotional love and charm captivates even He who is the Supreme Captivator."
The second meaning of tat is dhyana. The term dhyana indicates penetrating deeply into the nature of a thing's inner identity through meditation and subjective experience, and so guru dhyanam refers to a devotional effort to dive into the inherent nature of Shri guru through such singularly-focused contemplation. Therefore in relation to the term dhimahi (which stems from the root-word dhyana and is referred to by the word tat), the other aspect of this prayer expressed through tanno guruh pracodayat is: "May Shri guru send the blessed inspiration to our hearts and kindly engage us also in dhyana in regard to his divine svarupa (eternal identity)." This svarupa is none other than the pure representation of Krishnananda.
The term Krishnananda in regard to a madhurya-rasa guru also closely relates to the mood of the ashtadasaksara (eighteen-syllabled) Krishna mantra and kama-gayatri. Such a guru who is worshipped by the guru-mantra and guru-gayatri is also imbued with the quality of exclusive dedication indicated by these two other mantras given by Shri guru. He represents the love-ecstasy that the gopis have for Krishna as referred to by the phrase gopijanavallabhaya svaha. The flow of this particular taste and experience naturally impels him to transmit the seed of such consciousness to his disciple at the time of initiation.
The internal meaning of the Krishna (Gopala) mantra is exclusive dedication of one's own self, heart and soul—everything—for the service of that unique Krishna Govinda who manifests as the beloved Lord of the Vraja gopis. Following the gopis' path in the special mood of ecstatic conjugal love for Krishna, a madhurya-rasa guru and his Krishnananda svarupa ideally represent the characteristic and mood of the above-described Krishna mantra.
The same siddhanta in regard to the Gopala mantra is also applicable to the same kind of guru in relation to the kama-gayatri. He is an ideal living example of kama-gayatri sadhana, and his quality of Krishnananda is related to each and every part of kama-gayatri. The term pushpabana herein reveals the superlative transcendental nature and characteristics of both Kamadeva Krishna and His lila with His most intimate devotees. Such lila involves the aiming and shooting of His flowery love-arrows toward His beloved consort Goddess Shri Radhika and Her maidservants. Graciously awarding this ambrosial treasure to those damsels in response to their loyalty to Shri Radha, Krishna pierces their hearts and thereby arouses a sweet pang of intense devotional love-desire for Him. By His nature, the God of transcendental amorous pastimes loves to pierce the hearts of His devotees in order to create a sweet disruptive attraction therein. As a loyal servant and companion of Shri Radhika, a guru of madhurya-rasa is the natural recipient of such pushpabana from Kamadeva Krishna, and thus becomes engaged in His service in accordance with His pushpabana nature as the hurler of powerfully fragrant, ever-blossoming love-arrows. The term pushpabana in the kama-gayatri therefore signifies the love-arrows sent between Krishna and His beloveds in their ever-blissful, love-laden Vrindavana pastimes. This is an in-depth glimpse into the term dhimahi. The nature of such engagement also includes appropriately reciprocating with Krishna, piercing His heart and arousing pleasing love-attraction within Him as well. Hence such a guru is both the suitable recipient and reciprocator, and exemplifies those twin applications of the term dhimahi in the kama-gayatri.
The final part of kama-gayatri, tanno 'nanga pracodayat, represents a prayer consisting of two aspects. The first aspect is a wholehearted prayer for that highest blessed fortune of being struck by Kamadeva's pushpabana. The second aspect refers to the devotee's imploring Kamadeva for the capability to reciprocate with Him with the unceasing ananga to embrace that pushpabana. The term ananga means ecstatically amorous love-desire in transcendence. This relates to ananda, and so ananga in relation to Kamadeva actually denotes Krishnananda. A guru of such Krishnananda embodies the above prayer, and by introducing the kama-gayatri to his disciple, the guru carefully encourages him to gradually cultivate a similar prayerful mood to attain the highest ideal of life. He plants the seed of this devotional consciousness in his disciple's heart at the time of initiation, encouraging him to ultimately follow his example with all humility. It is naturally understood that in his divine identity, the guru referred to in the above context is a sakhi or a Manjari or one of their intimate followers in the nitya-lila of the Divine Couple. In this connection, the Gaudiya Vaishnava sannyasa mantra also carries the inner character and taste of the above-described Krishnananda in a similar way.
In the mantra Shrim gurudevaya vidmahe gaurapriyaya dhimahi tanno guruh pracodayat, Shrim is the bija mantra for a guru expanded from the ashraya vigraha Shri Radhika; gurudevaya means to devote to Shri gurudeva; vidmahe means to know or realize Shri guru (as gaurapriya) through devotion; gaurapriyaya means dedication unto the guru who is dearmost to Shri Gaurangadeva, and also unto he whose istadeva (the worshipable beloved Lord of one's deepest longings) is Gauranga; dhimahi means to meditate and engage in devotional service; tat means 'that'; nah' means 'us'; guruh is Shri gurudeva; and pracodayat means 'please direct, inspire, and engage'.
The term gaurapriyaya is another significant definition of Shri guru and his nature. As indicated above, the word gaurapriya has two connotations: one who is beloved to Gaura, and one in whose life Shri Gaura is the dearmost object of all devotion and love-ecstasy. In the life of a shuddha rasika gaura bhakta, these two definitions intertwine and weave a special taste of ecstatic devotional mood towards Shri Gauranga.
According to the realization of pure devotees of Shri Radha and Krishna, Shri Gaura is none other than Shri Krishna Himself embraced by Shri Radhika's superexcellent mood and complexion. In other words, Krishna, being particularly eager to taste His Radhika's divine love for Him, fully absorbed Himself in Her pure mood, and beautified by Her golden complexion, manifested as Gaura. Gaurapriya therefore naturally means Krishnapriya in a parallel sense. This conception of gaurapriya denotes one who is loved by Gaura because his devotion possesses special attractive qualities that arouse within Gaura the pleasure of loving that devotee.
Two types of devotional service by which a gaurapriya guru deeply pleases Shri Gaurangadeva and attracts His fond attention are sankirtana and rasasvadana. The term sankirtana has a very broad meaning. It refers to devotionally chanting, singing, speaking, and propagating the Holy Names and glorious lila of the Supreme Personality of Divine Truth, Krishna, and the highest ripe fruit of this sankirtana is rasasvadana, or relishing with deep respect the mellows of ecstatic love for Krishna. By offering pure loving services to Krishna through these two beautiful interrelated ways—sankirtana and rasasvadana—a sat-guru naturally pleases Lord Gaurangadeva in the most comprehensive way.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is much more than merely a great historical personality. He has been referred to as a tattva, the nondifferent manifestation of Krishna, and through the inner subjective dimension of his consciousness, a pure devotee realizes this immortal truth. Upon entering into the fond remembrance of Shri Gaura's rasasvadana lila which was visibly manifest in the past, a sat-guru can always fully participate in those lilas within the innermost core of his heart, vividly experiencing them in the present moment. Thus, in the heartworld of prema seva in his eternal svarupa, the sat-guru ever remains dearmost to Gaura (gaurapriya).
Analyzing the definitions of Krishnananda and gaurapriya as found in the guru-gayatri mantras can be compared to looking at the same beautiful diamond from two slightly different angles of vision. In other words, it is the same guru-tattva defined from two different perspectives due to the individual guru's distinct taste in relationship to the same goal—Shri Shri Radha-Krishna; and such distinction is best understood from the viewpoint of all-harmonizing unity. Like the taste of Krishnananda, the taste of gaurapriya -tva can also be found in all the five principal rasas. For example, it is observed that both during and after the manifest presence of Shri Gaura, there were many gaurapriya devotees who had different kinds of relationships with Shri Gauranga in different devotional love-mellows (rasas). But because of Shri Dhyanacandra Goswami's specific inner yearning and taste, his divine revelation into the beautific mysteries of madhurya-rasa bhakti and his subsequent initiation into Manjari-bhava sadhana were bestowed by a madhurya-rasa guru Shri Gopala Guru Goswami. Hence, the term gaurapriya in this gayatri cited from his Shri Gaura-govindarcana-smarana-paddhati ultimately refers to a madhurya-rasa guru who is imbued with the mood of audarya.
Audarya means a generous demeanor of sharing with others, and Shri Gaura is considered to be the fullest embodiment of this noble quality by dint of His distributing the invaluable bliss of Krishna-prema. He is therefore also known as the audarya-pradhana-madhurya-rasa vigraha, the divine personality in whom the madhurya quality is embraced within the prominence of audarya. Some other examples of audarya gaurapriya gurus who eternally give pleasure to Shri Gaura through sankirtana and more specifically through their participation in rasasvadana with Him are: Shri Gadadhara Panditaa, Shri Svarupa Damodara, Shri Raya Ramananda, the six Goswamis headed by Shri Rupa and Shri Raghunatha, Shri Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami, Shri Vasu Ghosh, Shri Narahari Sarakara thakura, Shri Shrinivasa Acarya, Shri Narottama dasa thakura, Shri Shyamananda Prabhu, Shri Vishvanatha Cakravartipada, and other likeminded guru-varga from the same divine succession. Regardless of whether such gurus were contemporaries of Mahaprabhu or appeared after His manifest presence on Earth, through their deep devotional meditation on His eternal lilas they could always associate with Him through different dimensions of their transcendental experience.
Radha-bhava is the primary characteristic of Shri Gaura's rasasvadana, and gaurapriya gurus of the above-described category (audarya-pRadhana-madhurya-rasa) always cherish this rasasvadana lila in the core of their hearts. During Shri Gauranga's manifest presence, such gurus, attracted by deep loving devotion for Him and fully imbued with the blissful mood of a gopi, participated in His rasasvadana lila with great eagerness to assist Him in accordance with His particular moods at each moment. Thus they sometimes sang songs about the pastimes of Shri Radha and Krishna, sometimes spoke nectarean words about Them, and sometimes embraced their beloved Lord, all of their activities appropriately corresponding to each divine sentiment which arose in Him. They either soothed or enlivened Him in His respective tasting of Shri Radhika's sweet pain or joy in intense love for Krishna just as the sakhis and Manjaris served their Mistress as Her intimate companions during Her similar states of experience. As they served Shri Gaura with such sweet devotion, His divine love-ecstasy irresistibly flooded their hearts, and the more they imbibed and tasted that bliss, the more their hearts yearned for it throughout eternity. Feeling an unprecedented mad love for Gaurahari, they continually realized in an ever-fresh way that He is the eternally worshipable beloved of their lives, which in turn impelled them to embrace Him again and again to their hearts. This divine experience refers to the second aspect of the term gaurapriya: one who has attained Shri Gaura as his Beloved.
As previously explained the term dhimahi refers to the holy recommendation for one to wholeheartedly engage in service to Shri guru. However, in this context the guru is additionally meditated upon in his gaurapriya aspect as the living representation of a reciprocal love-relationship with Shri Gaurangadeva. The precept of visrambhena guroh seva6 (faithful dedication to Shri guru ) as presented by Shrila Rupa Goswami is considered to be the purport of this word dhimahi in both guru-gayatris. Besides this, dhimahi also corroborates the conception of meditating on Shri guru's spiritual form, and thus some relevant points in this connection are presented herewith.
Particular devotees from the Gaudiya Vaishnava community, in the line of madhurya-rasa seva have felt inspired to meditate on the nitya-siddha sakhi 7 form of their guru at certain times. Hence the focus of their meditation was that divine image of their guru which was revealed to them through their subjective realization, in unified conjunction with that form of his which was visibly manifest. This meditation on Shri guru in his nitya-siddha sakhi form is known by the Vaishnava gurus as guru rupa sakhi dhyana.8 These Vaishnavas saw their gurus' corresponding manifestations in both Gaura lila and Krishna lila. According to their inspiration, therefore, while chanting the guru-mantra and guru-gayatri they would meditate in a harmoniously integrated way on both their guru's present form in Gaura lila and his corresponding form in Krishna lila. The gaurapriya and Krishnapriya identities of the guru eternally exist in inconceivable oneness and difference (acintya bhedabheda). The practice of concurrent meditation on Shri guru's form in both Gaura lila and Krishna lila is accepted not only by some orthodox Vaishnavas from the line of madhurya-rasa seva, but also by some of the Vaishnavas following other lines of rasa seva like dasya, sakhya, and vatsalya.
The final phrase tanno guruh pracodayat in conjunction with the term gaurapriya herein reveals a taste which is complementary with Krishnananda. It refers to meditative engagement in the service of the guru who is the delegate of that Krishna who is permeated with Shri Radhika's mood and complexion (bhava and kanti). Here again, in relation to gaurapriya, the term tat elicits the following prayer: "May Shri gurudeva inspire us and kindly engage us in emulating his own pure example—that of accepting Lord Gaura as one's most precious object of loving dedication—that we may also be counted amongst His dearmost servitors sharing in His transcendental ecstasy." And the word tat in relation to the term dhimahi conveys the meaning of the second part of the above prayer: "May Shri guru also compassionately engage us in dhyana in regard to his svarupa, which is a pure representation of gaurapriya-tva."
In conclusion, with all feelings of deep gratitude we offer our most respectful pranamas to Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati thakura, who compassionately revealed to us the guru-mantra and guru-gayatri from the divine world for our eternal benefit. We pray that any description herein of mantras proffered from another branch of the illustrious Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya may serve only to enhance our insight into the precious inheritance bequeathed by Shrila Saraswati thakura, and his sublime intention to protect and nurture our highest spiritual interests.
This essay is respectfully presented in the light of the holy teachings and realizations of His Divine Grace Shrila Bhakti Rakshaka Shridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja, and is dedicated to all sat-gurus and akhanda guru-tattva.
1. The guru-mantra and guru-gayatri in regard to the worship of caitya-guru are aim gurave namah and aim gurudevaya vidmahe caityarupaya dhimahi tanno guruh pracodayat. There are also a few other guru-mantras and guru-gayatris slightly distinct from one another among the four Vaishnava sampradayas.
2. Shri Dhyanacandra Goswami has been recognized as a member of the guru-varga following the lineage of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In the concluding paragraph of Chapter 30 in his book Jaiva Dharma, Shrila Bhaktivinode thakura has described him as follows: "Shri Dhyanacandra Goswami was a perfect master in all subjects, and especially in the esoteric art of cultivating love for Shri Hari he was second to none. He was the first and foremost of all the disciples of Shri Gopala Guru Goswami." Shri Gopala Guru Goswami was the disciple of Shri Vakreshvara Panditaaa, who was an intimate assosciate of Shri Gaurangadeva.
3. The two characteristic functions of Shri guru and guru-tattva are awakening divya jnana and prema bhakti within his disciples. As gu means darkness and ru means destroying, the word guru primarily refers to one who removes the darkness of ignorance with the light of divine knowledge. Examples from among the writings of the Vaishnava acaryas are: ..sarva-vidya-visharadah ...Shri Haribhakti vilasa 1.35) divyam jnanam yato dadyat... (Vishnu-yamala); and cakshudana dila yei, janme janme prabhu sei, divya jnana hride prakashita/ prema bhakti jaha hoite, avidya vinasa yate... (Shrila Narottama dasa thakura).
4. Shrim and bhagavad refer to Radha and Krishna respectively.
5. Shri radhika madhavayorapara...nikunjayuno ratikeli siddhai...vande guroh Shri caranaravindam (Shrila Vishvanatha Cakravarti thakura, Gurvashtakam).
6.Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, eastern direction, second wave, verse 74.
7. The term sakhi here refers to any divine damsel engaged in intimate service to Shri Shri Radha-Krishna.
8. Guru rupa sakhi bame, tribhanga-bhangima-thame/ camarera batasa koriba...: "I eagerly await that day when, as a young gopi submissive to my dear guru in the form of a sakhi in nitya-lila, I will be situated by her left side, engaged in waving a camara whisk and pleasing Shri Krishna, who is charmingly manifest in His beautiful threefold-bending form." (Shrila Narottama dasa thakura, Prarthana, song 28) Further: ye samaye yeba lila, ye rasa kautuka khela/ Shri guru-Manjari anugati; tambula camara byaja, ghanasara malayaja/ kara vasa bhusana-sevadi (Shri Premananda dasa, Manah-shiksha, song 104). This refers to a disciple's service to the Divine Couple through his (her) loyal submission to Shri guru in the form of a Manjari. The following mantra is also known as a pranama mantra to the guru-rupa-sakhi. Radha sanmukha sansaktim, sakhi sanga nivasinim, tvam aham satatam vande madhavasraya vigraham (param guru-rupam sakhim). (arcana - kana and also compiled in Brihat-bhakti-tattva-sara, second volume.
Chapter Five: Shri Gaura Gayatri Vijaya
Establishing the Eternality of Shri Gaura Gayatri
(by His Holiness Swami Bhakti Gaurava Narasingha Maharaja)
According to the Vedic pramana (shruti, Puranas, Mahabharata, and Shrimad-Bhagavatam) Shri Chaitanya is none other than Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has descended in Kali-yuga in the guise of a devotee. The Vedic evidences describe the avatara of the Kali-yuga according to His qualities and characteristics such as His complexion, His dress, His activities; and even His mother’s name is mentioned.
When Krishna appears in Kali-yuga He appears as the son of Shaci (the Mother of the universe), He assumes the dress of a sannyasi and His complexion is the color of molten gold. He propagates the chanting of Krishna nama as the yuga-dharma (socio-religious-function for the age) and He is accompanied by His friends and associates. This is confirmed in the shruti as follows:
mahan-prabhur vai purushah sattvasyesha pravarttakah
surnimalam imam shantimishano jyotiravyah
“The Personality of Godhead, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, is brilliantly effulgent and imperishable like molten gold. He is the Supreme Controller, He controls the mode of goodness and through sankirtana bestows spiritual intelligence on the living beings. In the guise of a sannyasi, He is the source of spiritual purity and liberation. He is therefore known as “Mahaprabhu”. (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 3.12)
The confirmation that the Lord will appear as the son of Mother Shaci is found in the following verses from the Vayu Purana and the Brahma-yama1a.
kalau sankirtanarambhe bhavishyami shaci-sutah
"In the age of Kali when the sankirtana movement is inaugurated, I shall descend as the son of Shacidevi." (Vayu Purana)
atha vaham dharadhame
mayayam ca bhavishyami
"Sometimes I personally appear on the surface of the world in the garb of a devotee. Specifically, I appear as the son of Shaci in Kali-yuga to start the sankirtana movement."(Brahma-yama1a)
Even though Krishna appears in every yuga, namely Satya, Treta, Dvarapa, and Kali, He is nonetheless called Triyuga (one who incarnates in three ages), because in Kali-yuga His appearance is hidden. In all other yugas the Lord is easily recognizable but in Kali-yuga He is hidden. That is, in Kali-yuga the Supreme Lord appears in the form and mood of His devotee.
In Shrimad-Bhagavatam Prahlada Maharaja addresses Krishna as Triyuga:
dharmam maha-purusha pasi yuganuvrittam
channah kalau yad abhavas tri-yugo ‘tha sa tvam
“O Krishna, O protector of religious principles, in the age of Kali, You do not assert Yourself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because Your incarnation is hidden in the age of Kali, You are known as Triyuga, or the Lord who manifests His supremacy in only three ages.” (Bhag. 7.9.38)
In the Chaitanya-caritamrita we find the following verses composed by the learned scholar Sarvabhauma Bhatöacarya:
vairagya- vidya-nija-bhakti- yoga-
shikshartham ekah purushah puranah
kripambudhir yas tam aham prapadye
"Let me take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna, who has descended in the form of Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to teach us real knowledge, His devotional service, and detachment from whatever does not foster Krishna consciousness. He has descended because He is an ocean of transcendental mercy. Let me surrender unto His lotus feet.” (Cc. Madhya-lila 6.253)
kalan nashöam bhakti-yogam nijam yah
pradushkartum krishna- chaitanya -nama
avirbhutas tasya padaravinde
gadham gadham liyatam citta-bhringah
"Let my consciousness, which is like a honeybee, take shelter of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has just now appeared as Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to teach the ancient system of devotional service to Himself. This system had almost been lost due to the influence of time." (Cc. Madhya-lila 6.254)
These verses by Sarvabhauma are perfectly in line with the statements of the revealed scriptures. In every yuga the Supreme Lord descends to establish the principles of religion. This is stated in Bhagavad-gita as follows:
yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
tadatmanam srijamy aham
“Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion, at that time I (Krishna) descend Myself.” (Bg. 4.7)
Realization of Shri Chaitanya as the Supreme Personality of Godhead is expressed thus in the Mundaka Upanishad:
yada pashyah pashyate rukma-varnam
kartaram isam purusham brahma-yonim
tada vidyan punya-pape vidhuya
niranjanah paramam samyam upaiti
“When one realizes the golden form of Shri Chaitanya, who is the ultimate actor and the source of the Supreme Brahman, he attains the highest knowledge. He transcends both pious and impious activities, becomes free from worldly bondage, and enters the divine abode of the Lord.” (Mundaka Upanishad 3.3)
Shrimad-Bhagavatam also confirms that in Kali-yuga Krishna will appear to spread the sankirtana movement along with His eternal associates. In the eleventh canto the sage Karabhajana Muni, while describing the avataras (incarnations) of the four yugas to King Nimi gives the following verse:
krishna-varnam tvishakrishnam sangopangastra-parshadam
yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi su-medhasah
“In the age of Kali, Krishna appears in a golden form, chanting the two syllables krish-na. He descends along with His weapons, limbs, energies, and eternal confidential associates. Those with intelligence worship Him with the sankirtana yajna.” (Bhag. 11.5.32)
Here it is being described that the two syllables krish-na are always in the mouth of the Kali-yuga avatara. He always describes Krishna with great pleasure. These are the two meanings of the words “krishna varna.” Indeed, nothing but Krishna issues from His mouth. If someone tries to describe the Kali-yuga avatara as blackish then the use of the word tvishakrishnam immediately restricts him. That the avatara for Kali-yuga is not blackish indicates that His complexion is golden.
The fact that Krishna sometimes appears in a golden color is also confirmed by the astrologer Garga Muni who performed the name giving ceremony after the appearance of Krishna. Garga Muni informed Krishna’s father, Nanda Maharaja, as follows:
asan varnas trayo hy asya grihnato ‘nuyugam tanuh
shuklo raktastatha pita idanim krishnatam gatah
“This boy, Krishna, has three other colors: white, red, and yellow as He appears in different ages. Now, in this Dvarpa-yuga, He has appeared in a transcendental blackish color.” (Bhag. 10.8.13)
In the Vishnu-sahasranama, the book containing one thousand names of Vishnu, there is a description of Shri Chaitanya as follows:
suvarna-varno hemango varangash-candanangadi
“Krishna appears as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and in His early pastimes He appears as a householder with a golden complexion (suvarna-varna and hemanga). His limbs are beautiful (varanga), and His body is smeared with the pulp of sandalwood, seems like molten gold (candanangadi).” (Vishnu-sahasra-nama 92)
In his commentary on Vishnu-sahasranama called the Namartha-sudhabhidha, Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhushana, commenting on this verse, asserts that Shri Chaitanya is the Supreme Absolute Truth according to the evidence of the Upanishads. He explains that suvarna-varno means golden complexion and that the word varanga means “exquisitely beautiful.” He also quotes the Vedic injunction yada pashyah pashyate rukma-varnam kartaram isham purusham brahma-yonim. Rukma-varnam kartaram isham, he says, refers to the Supreme Absolute Truth as the Supreme Person having a complexion the color of molten gold. Purusham means the Supreme Person, and braha-yonim indicates that He is also the Supreme Brahman. This evidence proves that Shri Chaitanya is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna.
In a similar verse the Dan-dharma, chapter 149 of Mahabharata also describes the appearance of Krishna as Shri Chaitanya:
suvarna-varno hemango varangash-candanangadi
sannyasa-kric chamah shanto nishöha-shanti-parayanah
“When Krishna appears as Shri Chaitanya (Shri Gauranga), in His early pastimes His complexion is golden (suvarna-varna), His limbs are the color of molten white gold (hemanga), His body is extremely beautiful (varangash), and He is decorated with sandalwood pulp (candanangadi). He accepts sannyasa (sannyasa-krit) and shows equanimity (sama). He is peaceful (shanta). His mind is always fixed on Krishna and thus He is nishöha, or fixed, in performing the great sacrifice of the holy name of Krishna. He silences the non-devotees and impersonalists who are opposed to the service of the Lord by promoting the cause of devotion. Thus He distributes real peace. He is therefore an abode of the highest spiritual peace and devotion.”
Therefore, after consulting various Vedic scriptures the conclusion is that the name, form, attributes, and pastimes of Shri Chaitanya are indeed eternal.
The eternality of Shri Chaitanya is further confirmed in the Agni Purana:
aham eva dvija-sreshöha nityam pracchana-vigrahah
bhagavad-bhakta-rupena lokan rakshami sarvada
“O best of the brahmanas, My distinguished form is eternal. In this way, with My own form hidden from ordinary sight I take the form of a devotee and appear among the people in general in order to establish and protect religious principles.”
Although Shri Chaitanya is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and verifiably so according to the shruti etc., still the smarta-brahmana community in India strongly opposes the worship of gaura-mantra. They consider gaura-mantra to be a concoction of the modern day sect of Shri Chaitanya.
That this is not so is shown by the following two references which prove that the gaura-mantra was chanted during and even before the time of Shri Chaitanya.
In the Chaitanya-caritamrita we find the incident wherein Nakula Brahmacari spoke to Shivananda Sena revealing the worshipable mantra of Shivananda. Nakula Brahmacari said:
gaura-gopala mantra’ tomara cari
“You are chanting the gaura-gopala mantra composed of four syllables.” (C.c. Antya-lila 2.31)
This gaura-gopala mantra of four syllables is gau-ra-an-ga as in gaura mantra (klim gauraya namah). Some Vaishnavas say that gaura-gopala mantra is ra-dha krish-na as in Radha-Krishna (Radha being gaura, golden, and Krishna being gopala, the cowherd boy). Yet other Vaishnavas say that the gaura-gopala mantra means Shri Chaitanya who is Krishna (gopala) appearing in a golden color. Both these opinions are correct due to there being no difference between Radha-Krishna and Shri Chaitanya, shri-krishna-chaitanya radha-krishna nahe anya. Those who chant the name of Gauranga and those who chant the names of Radha-Krishna are on the same level.
The second reference proving that gaura-mantra was chanted even before the appearance of Shri Chaitanya is found in the Urddhvamnaya-samhita wherein Vyasa answers the inquiry of Narada Muni as to which mantra is used in the worship of Bhagavan Shri Gauranga (Shri Chaitanya). Vyasa replied;
klim gauraya namah `iti
vag-bijena ca pujitah
sadasarah kirtito `yam
mantrao tatah-klim gaurayah namah;
hrim, shrim, klim, aim gauraya namah
“This gaura-mantra (gauraya namah) is worshiped using the bija mantras of maya, rama, ananga, and saraswati. For example, just as we say klim gauraya namah, similarly we may also say hrim gauraya namah, shrim gauraya namah, etc. In this way, this six syllable mantra is honored. When people of the world combine gauraya namah with kama-bija and chant klim gauraya namah, they receive the gift of divine love. I have chanted to you this sadaksara-mantra-bija, which is like a kalpa-druma because it fulfills all one’s desires.” (Urddhvamnaya-samhita 3.16)
Thus the Gaudiyas chant the gaura-mantra and gaura-gayatri preceded by the kama-bija as follows:
klim gauraya namah
klim chaitanyaya vidmahe vishvambharaya dhimahi tan no gaurah pracodayat
“I worship Shri Gauranga (Shri Chaitanya) who is the abode of Krishna prema and who is the bestower of that divine love upon the living entities. Let us always remember Shri Krishna Chaitanya, the maintainer of the universe, who maintains His pure devotees by sprinkling the drops of nectar upon them, who is Krishna within, whose mood and complexion is like that of Shri Radha and who enthuses our capacity of devotional service. As He so enthuses us let us meditate upon Him .”
Vidmahe means, let us try to know or to concentrate upon Shri Krishna Chaitanya. The word vishvambhara stems from the verbal root “dubhrn” which indicates nourishing and maintaining. Tan no gaurah pracodayat means (gaurah — Shri Chaitanya) who ethuses our meditation (dhimahi). That the gaura-gayatri is preceded by the word “klim” meaning the seed of divine love, indicates that Shri Krishna Chaitanya nourishes and maintains the three worlds by distributing love of God. One who chants this gayatri will surely receive the gift of divine love.
It is also observed that, following the rule of Sanskrit grammar found in the book Varnagama-bhasvadi, the letter “ya”, when followed by the letter “vi” is considered to be a half syallable — the gaura-gayatri is thus composed of twenty three and one half syllables. The kama gayatri (kamadevaya vidmahe pushpabanaya dhimahi tan no `nangah pracodayat), which is taken to be nondifferent from Shri Krishna, replete with the pastimes of madhurya-rasa, is composed of twenty four and one half syllables following the same rule of grammar. Thus the kama-gayatri and the gaura-gayatri are identical in that they awaken divine love of God. We find only one difference between these two mantras and that being the one syllable which is extra in kama-gayatri.
When the two syllables krish-na are added to the beginning of gaura-gayatri (as is the case of those in the disciplic succession of the renowned acarya and bhakti-rakshaka—the guardian of devotion, Shrila Shridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja, it surpasses the kama-gayatri in that it is completed in twenty five and one half syllables (krishna chaitanyaya vidmahe vishvambharaya dhimahi tan no gaurah pracodayat). This additional one syllable, which appears after gaura-gayatri has been reconstructed, may thus be taken to represent the magniminity of Shri Chaitanya. Kama-gayatri is Krishna-lila — madhurya-rasa. Madhurya means that which is sweetest. When magniminity is added to madhurya it is called audarya. Audarya-lila means the wholesale distribution of the mellow sweetness of conjugal love (madhurya-rasa). This is the sublime characteristic of gaura-gayatri and Shri Chaitanya.
namo maha-vadanyaya krishna-prema-pradaya te
krishnaya krishna-chaitanya-namne gaura-tvishe namah
“O most munificent incarnation. You are Krishna Himself appearing as Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. You have assumed the golden color of Shrimati Radharani, and You are widely distributing pure love of Krishna (Krishna-prema). We offer our respectful obeisances unto You.” (C.c. Madhya-lila 19.53)
The use of the word dhimahi in the gaura-gayatri meaning “Let us meditate upon” is also significant. Dhimahi appears here in the plural which is generally taken to advocate worship or devotion. And how is Shri Chaitanya worshiped in Kali-yuga? Shrimad-Bhagavatam, 11.5.32 says, yajnaih sankirtana-prayair, that He is worshiped by the performance of the sankirtana yajna or the congregational chanting of the holy name. This is the method of worship to be adopted by all classes of intelligent men and women, yajanti hi su-medhasah.
If someone suggests that dhimahi cannot be taken as such, we point to the ontology of brahma-gayatri and Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Brahma-gayatri says dhimahi, and Shrimad-Bhagavatam also says dhimahi in its opening and closing stanzas. This is an advocacy that the brahma-gayatri is explained in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (the purport of gayatri), and Shrimad-Bhagavatam’s final verse recommends sankirtana:
tam namami harim param
“I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Hari, the congregational chanting of whose holy names destroys all sinful reactions, and the offering of obeisances unto whom relieves all material suffering.” (Bhag. 12.13.23)
Shrila Shridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja has said in commenting on this verse:
Papa means all anomalies, all undesirable things; in one word, sin. Material enjoyment and liberation are also included as anomalies; sinful activities. Why is liberation considered sinful? Because it is an abnormal condition. Our natural function is to serve Krishna, but we do not do that in salvation. Mere salvation does not include service to Krishna, so that is an abnormal position and therefore it is also a sin. To ignore our natural duty and stand aloof cannot but be sinful.
The concluding verse of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam says, "Krishna’s holy name can relieve us from all undesirable sinfulness, all filthy characteristics and all miseries. Let us bow down to Him.’ Uttering this verse, the Shrimad-Bhagavatam stops; that great treatise becomes silent. The last word in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam is nama-sankirtana. The Shrimad-Bhagavatam has given such great importance to chanting the holy name of Krishna, and Shri Chaitanya developed it from there. Shrila Vyasadeva, the compiler of Vedic literature, in his last publication took theism to that stage, and gave it to the public announcing, ‘Chant the name of Krishna! Do this, nothing more is necessary. Take this!’ This is the very conclusion of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, the greatest spiritual gift of Vyasadeva: ‘Chant the holy name of Krishna and begin your life in this dark age with the most broad and wide theistic conception.”
Thus the conception that the gaura-gayatri advocates sankirtana, the congregational chanting of the holy name — taking us beyond liberation to the divine life of service, is by all means bona fide.
Sankirtana as the most effective method of worship in Kali-yuga is also supported in the following verses:
krishna-varnam tvishakrishnam sangopangastra-parshadam
yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi su-medhasah
“In this age of Kali those who are intelligent perform the congregational chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, worshipping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who appears in this age along with His associates to inaugurate the sankirtana movement, or chanting of the holy names. That incarnation is yellowish in hue.'' (Bhag. 11.5.32)
harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
“In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy the only means of deliverance is chanting the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.” (Brihad-naradiya Purana)
kaler dosha-nidhe rajan
asti hy eko mahan gunah
kirtanad eva krishnasya
mukta-sangah param vrajet
“My dear King, although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: Simply by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra (sankirtana) one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.” (Bhag. 12.3.51)
krte yad dhyayato vishnum
tretayam yajato makhaih
kalau tad dhari-kirtanat
“Whatever result was obtained in Satya-yuga by meditating on Vishnu, in Treta-yuga by performing sacrifices, and in Dvapara-yuga by serving the Lord’s lotus feet can be obtained in Kali-yuga simply by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.” (Bhag. 12.3.52)
kali-kale nama-rupe krishna-avatara
nama haite haya sarva-jagat-nistara
“In this age of Kali, the holy name of the Lord, the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, is the incarnation of Lord Krishna. Simply by chanting the holy name, one associates with the Lord directly. Anyone who does this is certainly delivered.” (C.c. Adi-lila 17.22)
kalim sabhajayanty aya
“Those who are advanced and highly qualified and are interested in the essence of life, know the good qualities of Kali-yuga. Such people worship the age of Kali because in this age, simply by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, one can advance in spiritual knowledge and attain life’s goal.” (Bhag. 11.5.36)
dvapariyair janair vishnuh
pancaratrais tu kevalaih
kalau tu nama-matrena
pujyate bhagavan harih
“In the Dvapara-yuga people should worship Lord Vishnu only by the regulative principles of the Narada-pancaratra and other such authorized books. In the age of Kali, however, people should simply chant the holy names of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Narayana-samhita)
yuga-dharma pravartaimu nama-sankirtana
cari bhava-bhakti diya nacamu bhuvana
“I shall personally inaugurate the religion of the age — nama-sankirtana, the congregational chanting of the holy name. I shall make the world dance in ecstasy, realizing the four mellows of loving devotional service.” (C.c. Adi-lila 3.19)
Shri Chaitanya is Krishna, the maintainer of the universe (vishvambhara), and He has appeared to show us how to perform sankirtana. His mood is just like that of a devotee — not just any devotee, but He appears in the mood of His topmost devotee, Shrimati Radharani.
radha krishna-pranaya-vikritir hladini shaktir asmad
ekatmanav api bhuvi pura deha-bhedam gatau tau
chaitanyakhyam prakaöam adhuna tad-dvayam caikyam aptam
radha-bhava-dyuti-suvalitam naumi krishna-svarupam
shri-radhayah pranaya-mahima kidrisho vanayaiva-
svadyo yenabhuta-madhurima kidrisho va madiyah
saukhyam casya mad-anubhavatah kidrisham veti lobhat
tad-bhavadhyah samajani shaci-garbha-sindhau harinduh
“The loving affairs of Shri Shri Radha Krishna are transcendental manifestations of the Lord’s internal pleasure-giving potency (hladini). Although Radha and Krishna are one in Their identity, They separate Themselves eternally. Now these two transcendental identities have again united in the form of Shri Krishna Chaitanya. I bow down to Him who has manifested Himself with the sentiment and complexion of Shrimati Radharani although He is Krishna Himself.
“Desiring to understand the glory of Radharani’s love, the wonderful qualities in Him that She alone relishes through Her love for Him, and the happiness She feels when She realizes the sweetness of His love, the Supreme Lord Hari, richly endowed with Her emotions, appears from the womb of Shrimati Shacidevi, as the moon appears from the ocean.” (C.c. Adi-lila 1.5-6)
Based on all the above evidences that the identity of Shri Chaitanya is non-different from that of Krishna (Shri Shri Radha- Krishna), it has also been recognized that brahma-gayatri (om bhur bhuvah svah tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah pracodayat om) indicates the worship of Shri Chaitanya.
The word savitur of brahma-gayatri is taken as indicative of the personality to whom the brahma-gayatri ultimately refers. In his purport to Chaitanya-caritamrita, Madhya-lila 8.265, Shrila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains that savitur means the source of all intelligence (savitri). Ultimately that “savitri”, he says, is Shri Chaitanya because as the Supreme Godhead, Shri Chaitanya is the source of all intelligence in the universe. Furthermore, it is also said that Shri Chaitanya is the original source of the brahma-gayatri because of His non-dual identity with Krishna. We find no difference between Krishna and Shri Chaitanya except that the later has the characteristic of audarya (magnanimity) added to the characteristic of madhurya (sweetness). The personified essense of such magnaminity is Shrimati Radharani.
The Shrimad-Bhagavatam has been explained by Shripad Jiva Goswami as the purport on brahma-gayatri. According to the acarya the first verse of Shrimad-Bhagavatam states that the topmost servitor of Krishna is Shrimati Radharani, and meditation on Her is the subject of dhimahi. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura has given a similiar purport on the first stanza of Shrimad-Bhagavatam. He reveals that the Bhagavatam begins by announcing the appearance of Shri Chaitanya, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In the Chaitanya-caritamrita, Ramananda Raya confirms that indeed Shri Chaitanya is non-different from that very Narayana (Vishnu) who enlightened Brahma from within the heart:
eta tattva mora citte kaile prakashana
brahmake veda yena padaila narayana
antaryami isvarera ei riti haye
bahire na kahe, vastu prakashe hridaye
“You (Lord Chaitanya) have manifested many transcendental truths in my heart. This is exactly the way Narayana educated Lord Brahma. The Supersoul within everyone’s heart speaks not externally but from within. He instructs the devotees in all respects, and that is His way of instruction.” (C.c. Madhya-lila 8.264-5)
Shrimad-Bhagavatam also confirms that brahma-gayatri is a meditation on Shri Chaitanya. After the verse following the verse krishna-varnam tvishakrishnam we find:
dhyeyam sada paribhava-ghnam abhishöa-doham
tirthaspadam shiva-virinci-nutam sharanyam
bhrityarti-ham pranata-pala bhavabdhi-potam
vande maha-purusha te caranaravindam
“O Mahaprabhu, Your lotus feet are the highest object of meditation, for they not only destroy the pain of material existence, but they bestow the greatest fulfillment to all souls who take shelter beneath them. Your lotus feet even purify all saintly persons and holy places. Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma aspire to take shelter beneath Your lotus feet. O Mahaprabhu, You give shelter to all who simply bow down before You. You relieve all the miseries of Your surrendered servants. In the grand ship of Your lotus feet, we can cross over this ocean of material miseries. O Mahaprabhu, I bow down before Your lotus feet.” (Bhag. 11.5.33)
It is also the opinion of our acarya, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, that this verse directly indicates Shri Chaitanya in that the word maha-purusa means Mahaprabhu Shri Chaitanya, and the word dhyeyam means dimahi, which directly indicates the brahma-gayatri. The opinion of Shrila Saraswati Thakura regarding Shri Chaitanya as being the hidden subject of Shrimad-Bhagavatam and brahma-gayatri, is also supported by previous acaryas such as Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura.
In the following verse from the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, the revered Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura also draws the subject to Shri Chaitanya, whereas the generally accepted explanation is that the verse applies to Lord Ramacandra. This opinion is further supported by the fact that this verse directly follows the two verses krishna-varnam tvishakrishnam and dhyeyam sada paribhava-ghnam abhishöa-doham, which clearly refer to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
dharmishöha arya-vacasa yad agad aranyam
maya-mrigam dayitayepsitam anvadhavad
vande maha-purusha te caranaravindam
“O Mahaprabhu, You gave up the Goddess of Fortune and Her great opulence, which is most difficult to abandon, and is sought after even by the Gods. In order to perfectly establish the principles of religion, You left for the forest to honor the Brahmin’s curse. To deliver the sinful souls who chase illusory pleasures, You search after them and award them Your devotional service. At the same time, You are engaged in search of Yourself, in search for Shri Krishna, Reality the Beautiful.” (Bhag. 11.5.34)
Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says, “tyaktva su-dustyaja-surepsita-rajya-lakshmim means He left imperial prosperity which is hard to abandon. Generally this is found in the case of Lord Ramacandra, but here surepsita-rajya-lakshmim means the valuable devotional company of Vishnupriya-devi. To the casual observer this may not appear materially substantial, but the dedication that Vishnupriya has shown in Her heart for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is greater than any imperial standard. And Mahaprabhu had to leave that behind. Such a standard of sacrifice and service is never found even among the great society of the Gods. For the sake of the public welfare, Shri Chaitanya had to ignore the serving, loving attitude of Vishnupriya”
Thus in this essay we have established the eternality of gaura-mantra and gaura-gayatri, with references to the revealed scriptures. In so doing we have also shown that Shrimad-Bhagavatam and the brahma-gayatri are also a meditation on Shri Chaitanya. Gaura Haribol! Gaura Haribol!
Chapter Six: Shri Gopala Mantra Paryalocana
A Deliberation on Shri Gopala Mantra
(by His Holiness Swami Bhaktivedanta Tripurari Maharaja)
Shri Chaitanya told the renowned Vedantist Prakashananda Saraswati of Varanasi that His spiritual master instructed Him to chant krishna-nama and krishna-mantra, and that by doing so He would attain liberation and ultimately the shelter of the lotus feet of Krishna, krishna-mantra haite habe samsara mocana krishna-nama haite pabe krishnera carana. This instruction is the essence of Vedanta and the practice of all Gaudiya Vaishnavas. Within the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya today, krishna-nama has become identified with the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, whereas krishna-mantra refers to the eighteen syllable mantra found in Gopal-tapani Upanishad: klim krishnaya govindaya gopijana-vallabhaya svaha. Thus krishna-mantra is sometimes referred to as the ashöadashakshara-mantra, and more commonly as gopal-mantra. Invoking the gopal-mantra in mantra-dhyan and krishna-nama in kirtana is a very potent spiritual practice.
Shrila Bhakti Rakshaka Shridhara Deva Goswami Maharaja has given an example to help us understand the relationship between gopal-mantra and krishna-nama:
An example is given of larger and smaller circles. The holy name of Krishna is the larger circle. It extends from the highest to the lowest. The mantra circle is a smaller circle within the larger circle. The holy name can extend itself down to the lowest position. The mantra gives us entrance into liberation, and then the name carries us further.
Thus krishna-nama seeks no qualification. In the form of His name, He extends Himself to the fallen souls. The holy name then gradually qualifies these souls such that they can receive the krishna-mantra. Chanting the holy name in conjunction with the mantra liberates the conditioned soul. At that time, while the mantra's efficacy has been reached and it thus retires, krishna-nama takes the soul into the nitya-lila and ultimately vastu-siddhi.
The liberation effected through mantra-dhyan of gopal-mantra is that which is described in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Mukti is defined therein as twofold, muktir hitvanyatha rupam svarupena vyavastitih. In the Bhagavata conception of liberation, we are delivered from the negative influence of material life and situated positively in our normal position, our svarupa. This stage of development is called svarupa-siddhi, that stage of life in which one realizes his spiritual identity in Krishna lila.
One who has attained svarupa-siddhi has experienced the fruit of gopal-mantra dhyan. It is said that the muni-cari-gopis, who are sadhana-siddha-gopis, attained svarupa-siddhi by perfecting the chanting of this diksha-mantra. According to Padma Purana, Gayatri herself desired gopi-bhava and thus incarnated as Gopal-tapani Upanishad, in which the kama-bija and gopal-mantra are revealed.
Jiva Goswami explains in his commentary on Gopal-tapani Upanishad that the shruti brings up questions posed by various rishis to Brahma in order that the mystery of the 18 syllable gopal-mantra might be revealed. They ask plainly and confidently without hesitation about confidential matters, thus indicating their adhikari for raganuga-sadhana. Brahma is driven by the inquiries of the sages to contemplate "How can a special taste in devotional practice be attained?" Thus he begins to explain the import of the gopal-mantra.
The seed of the mantra is klim. From its seed it expands six fold, krishnaya, govindaya, gopijana, vallabhaya, sva, and ha. Klim is known as the kama-bija or desire seed. From it the world above and the world below manifest.
Unlike other well known spiritual paths such as Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism that consider cessation of desire the sum and substance of spiritual perfection, Gaudiya Vedanta conceives of desire as the very basis of life, both material and spiritual. Without desire there is no life. The seed of desire is the kama-bija, which represents the desire of the Absolute, its life. This desire is a natural result of its fullness, the overflowing of joy. Unlike material desire, it arises out of fullness rather than out of any necessity born of incompleteness. Material desire is its reflection. In material life, we desire out of the sense that we are incomplete, that we need to add something to our lives. This is the result of misidentifying with the material world. When we theoretically understand that we, as a unit of consciousness (cit-kana), are different from matter, we are in a position to pursue our real life. If we receive the gopal-mantra prefaced by the kama-bija, through its utterance we can move practically from the world of material desire to the heart of the Absolute, its transcendental desire that is the essence of Shri Chaitanya.
The kama-bija expresses the transcendental reality of Radha Krishna, and thereby that of Shri Chaitanya as well. When this seed of desire is reflected in the material world, it gives rise to the variety of material aspirations that bind conditioned souls. Desire is thus the basis of all life material and spiritual.
Brahma chanted gopal-mantra preceded by the kama-bija for success in creation. Along with this mantra he chanted its corresponding gayatri (kama-gayatri). Thus he was successful in his desire to create. As his desire to create was not entirely unrelated to the selfless desire to serve the Absolute in love, he was successful in the work of creation and later through the same mantra he was successful in attaining the spiritual world. He thus progressed from sakam devotion to nishkama devotion. He combined his worldly aspiration with his desire to serve the Absolute and thus taught us the secrets of devotion in the utterance of the sacred mantram.
With regard to the world below and Brahma's work of creation, the letters forming the kama-bija correspond with its basic ingredients. Ka indicates water, as this is its dictionary meaning. La indicates earth, as lam is the bija-mantra of this element. The long vowel “i” following ka and la connects these consonants. In the kama-bija it represents fire. Followed by the anusvara in the shape of a half moon, the moon itself is indicated. The bindu within the anusvara indicates ether. Such is the explanation of Gautamiya-tantra, in which the Gopal-tapani Upanishad is described as chief of all shrutis. Gopal-tapani itself informs that the heavens and earth, sun, moon, and fire are all represented in the kama-bija, klim. This has been determined upon analysis of each letter as well as their particular combination as klim. Having received the gopal-mantra preceded by the seed klim, Brahma's desire to create for the Lord was fulfilled.
Situated in his own planet, Brahma also chants this mantra meditating on Goloka, the world above. Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami relates:
yanra dhyana nija-loke kare padmasana ashöadashakshara-mantre kare upasana
"Brahma, sitting in the padmasana in his own abode meditates upon the eighteen syllable mantra and thus worships Krishna."
Rasollasa-tantra states that the kama-bija is Krishna Himself, the transcendental cupid, kamadeva. Brihad Gautamiya-tantra informs that ka of kama-bija indicates Krishna, the supreme purusha and embodiment of eternality, knowledge, and bliss. In the same text, the letter “i” in klim is said to indicate the supreme prakriti, Shri Radha. Their mutual ecstatic exchange of transcendental love is implied by la, and the anusvara and bindu indicate the ecstatic sweetness of their most blissful kiss.
Shri Brahma-Samhita describes the gopal-mantra in terms of its representing the abode of Krishna, Goloka. The six fold gopal-mantra corresponds with the hexagonal center of the lotus of this ultimate spiritual dimension. In the center of the hexagon, Radha Krishna, the objective of the mantra, eternally reside represented by the kama-bija (klim). Shrila Bhaktivinod Thakura, following the commentary of Shrila Jiva Goswami, has explained the balance of the mantra in his commentary on Brahma-Samhita thus:
The word krishnaya in this mantra represents the intrinsic form of Krishna. Govindaya represents the intrinsic form of His pastimes. Gopijana indicates the intrinsic form of His intimate attendants, the gopi-jana. Vallabhaya indicates the intrinsic form of self surrender in the sentiment of the gopi-jana. Sva indicates the pure soul and ha the intrinsic nature of the soul to render service unto Krishna.
To the sage's question in Gopal-tapani Upanishad: "Who is Krishna, who is Govinda, who is Gopijanavallabha, and who is svaha, Brahma answers: "Krishna is He who destroys our sins; Govinda is He who is known to the cows, the earth, and the Vedas; Gopijanaballabha is He who inspires wisdom and the arts of the gopis; svaha is his maya." Here Brahma means that from the etymological perspective Krishna can be derived from karshana, which means to "cause something to disappear." One who is known for this quality of making sins disappear is He who can be identified by this name. As Krishna is also explained to indicate the qualities of eternity, consciousness and bliss in the famous verse, krishir bhu vacakah shabdo nash ca nirvrity vacakah, and these qualities are unattainable by the sinful, Krishna is He who destroys all sins.
Govinda is he who is known in relation to the three things indicated by the word go: cows, earth and the Veda. Krishna is well known for His association with the cows of Nanda and His love for them, as He is well known on earth as its protector. He is also known in the Vedas, indeed He is their objective. Thus Govinda is the same Krishna, destroyer of sins, who's pastimes with the cows liberates the earth, and who is to be known by study of the Vedas.
Gopijanavallabha refers to the same Krishna in a particular form of relationship with the gopis. By knowing this form, all forms of Godhead become known. Thus Govinda and Gopijanavallabha are the same Krishna whom we are to serve, described in terms of His cowherd pastimes and His special relationship with the gopis. If we feel in our bhajana that it is Krishna we worship who has cowherd pastimes and who is the lover of the gopis we will enter in perfection in dasya-rati. If we feel it is Govinda, Lord of the cows, who is also the eternal Krishna, the lover of the gopis that we aspire to meet, we will enter into sakhya-rati. If in the optimum we feel it is Gopijanaballabha, who is known also as the eternal Krishna and cowherd Govinda that we love, we will enter into shringara-rasa. Such is the fruit of gopal-mantra.
Gautamiya-tantra states, sva-shabdena ca kshtrajna heti cit-prakritih para. Here sva is said to indicate kshtrajna, the soul and ha the higher transcendental nature. By uttering sva and ha, one offers oneself in divine service. Such utterance of the mantra from the perspective of one's aspired for relationship, awakened through spiritual culture is the perfection of mantra-mayi-upasana. Subsequently the devotee realizes the divine eternal flow of Krishna lila, svarasiki, and he becomes a siddha. The words sva and ha when placed together as they are in this mantra, represent maya, the shakti of Krishna who makes the world go round. This is the maya that is associated with yoga, yoga-maya. Thus krishnaya govindaya gopijana vallabahaya and svaha, His internal shakti, assembled together in this mantric formula are nondifferent from the Absolute replete with His shakti.
Chapter Seven: Shri Prakashini Vritti
Illuminations on Shri Gopala Mantra and Kama Gayatri Following the Commentary of Shrila Jiva Goswami on Shri Brahma Samhita
(by Paramahamsa Vaishnava Thakura Shrila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda)
All glory to Shri Krishna Chaitanya, all glories to the Golden Moon of Shri Mayapur. We find in Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita, Madhya-lila 9.234-241 the narration of how Shri Chaitanya found the Shri Brahma-samhita while touring South India.
From Cape Comorin Shri Chaitanya went to the bank of the Payasvini river. After bathing He went to the Adi-Keshava temple where He met with the great devotees. It was there that He obtained the ancient manuscript of the fifth chapter of Shri Brahma-samhita. This gave Shri Chaitanya unlimited joy, and divine ecstatic symptoms appeared in His body — trembling, weeping, perspiring; He was stunned, thrilled with ecstasy. Shri Chaitanya had the manuscript copied very carefully.
siddhanta-shastra nahi ‘brahma-samhita’ra sama
govinda-mahima jnanera parama karana
alpakshare kahe siddhanta apara
sakala-vaishnava-shastra-madhye ati sara
“There is no scripture equal to the Shri Brahma-samhita as far as the final spiritual conclusion is concerned. Indeed, that scripture is the supreme revelation of the glories of Lord Govinda, for it reveals the topmost knowledge about Him. Since all conclusions are briefly presented in Shri Brahma-samhita, it is essential among all the Vaishnava literatures.” (C.c. Madhya-lila 9.239-240)
The following verses from Shri Brahma-samhita reveal the ontological purport of gopal-mantra and kama-gayatri:
karnikaram mahad-yantram shaö-konam vajra-kilakam
shadanga-shaöpadi-sthanam prakritya purushena ca
premananda-mahananda-rasenavasthitam hi yat
jyotirupena manuna kama-bijena sangatam
“The center of the divine lotus is the core of Krishna’s residence. It is presided over by the Predominated and Predominating Moiety. It is mapped as a hexagonal mystic symbol. Like a diamond, the effulgent Supreme Entity of Krishna, the fountainhead of all divine potencies, presides as the central pivot. The great mantra of eighteen syllables, which is formed of six integral parts, is manifest as a hexagonal place of sixfold divisions.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.3)
Krishna’s lila or pastimes are of two basic types, either manifest or unmanifest. The pastimes of Vrindavana that may be revealed to the vision of humans is manifest Krishna lila, whereas that which remains invisible to the eye is unmanifest Krishna lila. In Goloka, the unmanifest lila is ever manifest, and in Gokula the manifest lila is manifest to the worldly eye when Krishna wills it.
Shrila Jiva Goswami has stated in his Krishna-sandarbha, aprakaöa-lilatah prasutih prakaöa-lilayam abhivyaktih: “Manifest lila is the revelation of unmanifest lila.” It is also further said in Krishna-sandarbha, shri-vrindavanasya prakasha-vishesho golokatvam; tatra prapancika-loka-prakaöa-lilavakashatvenavabhasamanam prakasho goloka iti samarthaniyam. The meaning is that any ‘interval’ which is found in Krishna’s manifest lila in the illusory world is filled by those pastimes that have their subtle presence in the background in an unmanifest way; they are the pastimes of Goloka or Goloka lila.
All these points are harmonized by Shrila Rupa Goswami in his Laghu-Bhagavatamritam: yat tu goloka-nama syat tac ca gokula-vaibhavam; tadatmya-vaibhavatvan ca tasya tan mahimonnateh — Goloka is the transcendental manifestation of the higher transcendental glories of Gokula. So Goloka is simply the selfsame manifestation of the majesty of Gokula.
Although each and every pastime of Krishna is not manifest in Gokula, all His pastimes are eternally manifest in Goloka. The revelation to the conditioned souls of the unmanifest lila of Goloka — Goloka being the selfsame majestic manifestation of Gokula — is of two types, namely through worship by mantra (mantropasanamayi) and by pure spontaneity (svarasiki). Shri Jiva Goswami has explained in his writings that any one of the various locations and associated circumstances of the divine pastimes have their constant localized existence, and so may be meditated upon by the appropriate mantra. The meditational revelation of Goloka that arises from the constant localized mantra meditation upon a location corresponding to a singular pastime is mantropasanamayi-lila. But those pastimes that pervade many localities with manifold divine sports and revelries are full of variegated spontaneity, and thus they are svarasiki, that is, they are revealed to the devotees whose transcendental spontaneity has matured.
Both meanings are in this verse. Firstly, in the pastimes indicated in eighteen syllables, the bases of the mantra are delegated, their appropriate localities in order that each one manifest a particular pastime of Krishna:
klim krishnaya govindaya gopijana-vallabhaya svaha
This mantra is said to be formed of six integral parts of six metric bases, which are:
5. sva and
The formation of the mantra is thus shown to be the consecutive placement of these six limbs.
The great hexagonal mystic symbol (or circle of the Lord’s dominion, mahad-yantra) is explained as follows: the seed (bija), the impelling principle or desire-seed (kama-bija) — klim — is the central pivot within the symbol. By concentrating one’s thoughts upon the transcendental truth with the help of such a formula, one can attain perception of the truth as Candradhvaja (Lord Shiva) did.
The teachings of Gautamiya-tantra state, sva-shabdena ca kshetrajno heti cit-prakritih para: The word sva indicates kshetrajna or the soul, and ha indicates the higher transcendental nature. According to Shri-Haribhakti-vilasa, uttarad govindayety asmat surabhim go-jatim; tad uttarad gopijanety asmat vidyash caturddasha, tad attarad vallabha, etc.
In this line, one may have realization of a localized pastime through the agency of worship by the mantra. This is the objective of worship by mantra.
The general purport of the uttarad govindayety asmat verse of Shri-Haribhakti-vilasa is that one who is deeply aspiring to enter into Krishna’s divine pastimes must, with proper perspective of his relationship in the Absolute (sambandha-jnana) born of devotional serving disposition (bhakti-rasa), render service unto Krishna with the spiritual inner self. One’s relationship with the divinity is established when this intrinsic knowledge is realized:
1. The intrinsic form of Krishna
2. The intrinsic form of Krishna’s divine pastimes in Vraja,
3. The intrinsic form of His intimate attendants, the gopis,
4. The intrinsic form of full self-surrender unto Krishna, in the wake of tad vallaba, those who are His most beloved — the gopis,
5. The pure soul’s divine intrinsic form (of divine cognition), and
6. cit-prakriti or the intrinsic divine nature, viz. the intrinsic nature of the soul to render divine service unto Shri Krishna.
One who is properly established in such relativity in the Absolute attains firmness (nishöha) in the soul’s engagement in divine practice (abhidheya), and comes to know the only life-nectar or prospect (prayojana) to be the joy of service to the supreme male, Shri Krishna, in the ‘ego’ of a predominated maidservant of Shri Radha. This is the underlying purport.
So initially, the ‘meditational’ pastimes of Goloka and Gokula may appear in the heart of a devotee in the stage of holy practice (sadhana) through worship by the mantra, and secondly, the unrestricted ‘free-willed’ pastimes are revealed to the devotee in the stage of perfection (siddha). This is the general position of Goloka or Gokula, which will be further illumined as the text evolves.
The meaning of jyoti-rupena manuna is that the transcendental purport is revealed in the mantra, and linking that with the transcendental desire (aprakrita-kama) of pure love for Krishna, the life of one who goes on serving in this line becomes saturated with supreme ecstasy of joyous love divine or premananda-mahananda-rasa. Such eternal pastimes full of love and joy are ever refulgent in Goloka.
tat-kinjalkam tad-amshanam tat-patrani shriyam api
“The core of that eternal holy abode which is called Gokula is the hexagonal land of Krishna’s abode. The stamens or petals are the residences of the cowherds or gopas, who are Krishna’s own, His dearmost friends and high loving devotees that are part of His own self. Those abodes appear like many walls, all beautifully effulgent. The extensive foliage of that lotus constitutes the subforests that are the abodes of the loving damsels of Shri Krishna, headed by Shri Radhika.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.4)
The transcendental Gokula is in the form of a lotus flower. Its core is hexagonal; in the center is the Predominated and Predominating Moiety, Shri Shri Radha-Krishna, who are the objective of the eighteen-syllable mantra. Their various subjective personal expansions (intimate serving associates) of intrinsic divine potency surround Them. The seed is Shri Shri Radha-Krishna.
The Gopala-tapaniyopanishad states, tasmad omkara-sambhuto gopalo vishvasambhavah, klim omkarasya caikatvam paöhyate brahma-vadibhih. Omkara means Gopala, who is both the potency and the potent, and klim means omkara. Therefore, klim or the primary desire-seed (kama-bija) expresses the transcendental reality of Shri Shri Radha and Krishna.
uvaca puratas tasmai tasya divya sarasvati
kama-krishnaya govinda-ne gopijana ity api
vallabhaya priya vahner mantram te dasyati priyam
“Then the divine vibration of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Divya Saraswati, said to Brahma as he saw darkness all around; ‘O Brahma, klim krishnaya govindaya gopijana-vallabhaya svaha — this mantra (gopal-mantra) will bring about the fulfillment of all your cherished desires.’ ” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.24)
The mantra of eighteen syllables (gopal-mantra) including the seed of aspiration (klim) is supreme. It has two attributes, one of which is to impel the pure soul towards the supreme charmer of the heart, Krishna — the Lord of Gokula, the Lord of the gopis. This is the acme of the soul’s divine pursuit. When the devotee practitioner becomes free from selfish desire, he can attain to the perfection of divine love, prema, in this way. Yet in the case of the practitioner who harbours some personal desires, this supreme mantra fulfills those desires too. In the divine concept, the seed of aspiration is intrinsic within the lotus of Gokula; and the seed of desire reflected in material objects fulfills all kinds of desires in the mayik (illusory) world.
tapas tvam tapa etena tava siddhir bhavishyati
“O Brahma, execute penance while contemplating upon this mantra, and you will attain to all perfection.” (Tx. 25)
atha tepe suciram prinan govindam avyayam
shvetadvipa-patim krishnam goloka-stham paratparam
prakritya guna-rupinya rupinya paryyupasitam
bhumish cintamanis tatra karnikare mahasane
samasinam cidanandam jyotirupam sanatanam
shabda-brahmamayam venum vadayantam mukhambuje
vilasiniganavritam svaih svair amshair abhishöutam
“Desiring to attain the grace of Govinda, Brahma took up practicing long penance for the pleasure of that Lord of Shvetadvipa, who is none other than Krishna in Goloka. Brahma’s meditation followed in this line. In the land made of wish-fulfilling gems is a thousand-petalled lotus flower that blooms with millions of stamens. In the centre of the lotus is a grand throne, upon which the eternal Shri Krishna, the embodiment of the effulgence of divine loving ecstasy, is seated. On His lotus lips the flute of transcendental sound is vibrating sonorously, and His glories are sung by the gopis of His pastimes (who surround Him), along with the gopi’s associates who are their respective personal expansions. As the supreme worshippable object, He is worshipped (from outside) by prakriti (maya), who is the embodiment of material qualities (gunas).” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.26)
Maya’s nature is materially active (rajasik), and she assumes the forms of Durga, etc., embodying the qualities of material truth, activation and inertia or sattva, rajah and tamoguna. However, the object of Maya’s meditation is completely transcendental and thus she, the embodiment of inferior potency, meditates upon Krishna with a reverential or worshipful attitude.
Whoever has material hankering in the heart should worship Mayadevi’s object of adoration. Even without worshipping Mayadevi, such worshippers will attain success by worshipping Mayadevi’s object of worship. The purport of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam verse akamah sarva-kamo va moksha-kama udaradhih, tivrena bhaktiyogena yajeta purusham param is that although the various demigods as expansions of the power of the Supreme Lord are the bestowers of certain rewards, an intelligent person nonetheless worships with resolute devotion the Supreme Godhead, who is replete with the potency to bestow all fruits.
Thus Brahma meditated upon Mayadevi’s reverentially worshipful truth, Krishna, the supreme enjoyer of His pastimes in Goloka. Pure devotion that is free from all kinds of fleeting desires in nishkama-bhakti, or devotion devoid of vested interest or selfishness. The devotion of Brahma and personalities of his general caliber is sakama or possessing some personal interest. Still, even within devotion with vested interest there is a selfless stage, and this will be elucidated in the last five verses of Shri Brahma-samhita. As long as one has not attained to svarupa-siddhi or perfection in one’s divine self, the method given herein is the convenient way of rendering devotional service for the fallen conditioned soul.
atha venu-ninadasya trayi-murttimayi gatih
sphuranti praviveshashu mukhabjani svayambhuvah
gayattrim gayatas tasmad adhigatya sarojajah
samskritash cadiguruna dvijatam agamat tatah
“Thereafter, the gayatri of threefold form, that is, of the form of omkara (om), emanated as the beautiful harmonious sequence of the song of Shri Krishna’s flute. Entering the ears of Brahma, it was swiftly manifest within his lotus mouth. Thus Brahma who was born of the lotus flower, received gayatri as it emanated from the divine flute song of Shri Krishna, and so he was initiated by the Supreme Lord, the original guru, and elevated to the status of twice-born (dvija).” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.27)
The divine vibration of Krishna’s flute is a sound of truth, cognizance and ecstasy (sac-cid-ananda-maya), and so the paragon of the Vedas is present within that divine sound. Gayatri is a Vedic metre embracing both meditation and prayer in a compact form. Furthermore, kama-gayatri is topmost since the prayer and meditation contained within it are of the nature of full-fledged divine pastimes in a manner not found in any other gayatri.
Kama-gayatri, which is the gayatri taken after the eighteen-syllabled gopal-mantra, is klim kamadevaya vidmahe pushpabanaya dhimahi tan no ‘nangah pracodayat. In this gayatri, the realization of the lila of divine pastimes of Shri Gopijanavallabha, the beloved of the gopis, after complete meditation upon Him, and the prayer to attain to the service of that transcendental cupid is indicated. In the entire transcendental world there is no higher pursuit for divine love in the shelter of an ecstatic relationship with Him.
As soon as that gayatri entered into the ears of Lord Brahma, he attained the purificatory initiation into the status of the twice-born, or dvija, and began to sing the gayatri.
Any jiva who has properly received this gayatri has attained to divine rebirth. This rebirth means entrance into the transcendental plane, something infinitely superior to the status of the initiation or second birth of the materially conditioned souls that is given according to their nature or lineage in the material world. By divine initiation — the rebirth that is the attainment of divine birth, one reaches the spiritual world — the ultimate glory of the jiva.
trayya prabuddho ‘tha vidhir vijnata-tattva-sagarah
tushöava vedasarena stotrenanena keshavam
“Becoming enlightened by meditation upon that threefold gayatri, Brahma became acquainted with the ocean of truth. Then he worshipped Shri Krishna, singing His transcendental glories by this hymn (Shri Brahma-samhita), which is the quintessence of all the Vedas.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.28)
By meditating upon the kama-gayatri, Brahma began to conceive, ‘I am an eternal maidservant of Krishna.’ Although the profound mysteries of servitorship as a maidservant of Shri Krishna were not necessarily revealed to him, his discrimination between spirit and matter developed to such a degree that an ocean of truth came within his grasp. When all the expressions of the Vedas thus became manifest within him, he sung this hymn, which expresses the quintessence of all the Vedas. Because in all respects this hymn is replete with the Vaishnava siddhanta (perfect conclusions or truths of Vaishnavism), Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has taught it to His personally favored devotees. The good readers may take the opportunity to daily sing and relish this hymn with devotion.
cintamani-prakara sadmasu kalpavriksha
lakshavriteshu surabhir abhipalayantam
govindam adi purusham tam aham bhajami
“Surrounded by millions of wish-fulfilling trees, in abodes made of multitudes of wish-yielding gems, He who tends the ever-yielding cows and who is perpetually served with great affection by hundreds of thousands of lakshmis (Goddesses of Fortune) — the primeval Lord Govinda do I worship.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.29)
venum kvanantam aravinda-dalayataksham
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“Always playing the flute, His eyes like blooming lotus petals, His head adorned with a peacock feather, His beautiful form the hue of a blue cloud; with the unique beauty that charms millions of Cupids — the primeval Lord Govinda do I adore.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.30)
shyamam tribhangalalitam niyata-prakasham
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“Around His neck is a garland of forest-flowers swinging to and fro, and adorned with a peacock feather locket; His flute held in hands adorned with jewelled bracelets, He who eternally revels in pastimes of love, whose charming threefold curved form, Shyamasundara, is His eternal feature — that primeval Lord Govinda do I adore.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.31)
angani yasya sakalendriya-vrittimanti
pashyanti panti kalayanti ciram jaganti
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“I worship that primeval Lord Govinda, whose form is all-ecstatic, all-conscious and all-truth, and thus, full of the most dazzling splendour; every part of that transcencental form possesses the functions of all His senses, as He eternally sees, maintains and regulates infinite universes, both spiritual and mundane.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.32)
advaitam acyutam anadim anantarupam
adyam purana-purusham navayauvanam ca
vedeshu durllabham adurllabham atmabhaktau
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“I worship that primeval Lord Govinda, who is unapproachable by even the Vedas, yet attainable by the soul's devotion; He is one without a second, the infallible, beginningless and endless; He is the beginning; and despite being the oldest personality He is the beautiful eternally adolescent youthful male.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.33)
panthas tu koöi-shata-vatsara-sampragamyo
vayor athapi manaso munipungavanam
so ’py asti yat-prapadasimny avicintya-tattve
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“The yogis tread the path of strictly controlling the life-breath, or the greatest sages tread the path of sharpening their perceptions by assiduous rejection of the non-real, in quest of the non-differentiative brahman; they all aspire to reach that supramundane truth beyond the worldly intellect; and after trying for billions of years, they may reach only the boundary of His lotus feet — it is that primeval Lord Govinda who I do worship.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.34)
eko ’py asau racyitum jagadanda-koöim
yac-chaktir asti jagadandacaya yad-antah
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“He — the one truth, both potency and potent — His potency in creating billions of universes is not separate from Him; every universe is within Him, yet simultaneously He is situated within every atom in complete form. Such is the primeval Lord Govinda whom I do worship.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.35)
yad-bhava-bhavita-dhiyo manujas tathaiva
suktair yam eva nigama-prathitaih stuvanti
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“I worship the primeval Lord Govinda for whom the hearts of mankind melt in Love. Those persons attain the glory of their beauty, their seats, conveyances and ornaments; and they sing His glories by the mantra hymns of the Vedas.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.36)
tabhir ya eva nija-rupataya kalabhih
goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhuto
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“He eternally resides in His holy abode of Goloka with His transcendental second nature, the own self of His ecstasy potency replete with the sixty-four sublime arts — Shri Radha and Her various personal plenary expansions, Her female companions, whose hearts are filled with the supreme rasa, the joy of divine love; that primeval Lord Govinda — the life and soul of His beloved — do I adore.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.37)
santah sadaiva hridayeshu vilokayanti
yam shyamasundaram acintya-guna-svarupam
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“The sadhus, their eyes tinted with the unguent of love, see within their hearts that Shyamasundar Krishna of inconceivable qualities; that primeval Lord Govinda do I adore.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.38)
ramadi-murtishu kalaniyamena tishöhan
nanavataram akarod bhuvaneshu kim tu
krishnah svayam samabhavat paramah puman yo
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“The Lord has shown in the world many avataras such as Rama, by expanding His plenary expansions and expansions of those expansions anon; and He, Krishna, also came Personally — that primeval Lord Govinda do I worship.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.39)
yasya prabha prabhavato jagad-anda-koöi-
koöishv ashesha-vasudhadi vibhuti-bhinnam
tad-brahma nishkalam anantam ashesha-bhutam
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“I worship that primeval Lord Govinda. Because His power and effulgence is the source of that which is described in the Upanishads as the nondifferentiated brahman, being distinct from the domain of millions of planets and planes like Earth, etc., it appears as the indivisible, infinite, Absolute Truth.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.40)
maya hi yasya jagad-anda-shatani sute
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“I worship that primeval Lord Govinda, the all-good, transcendental pure existence; whose inferior potency is Maya, of the trimodal nature of sattva, rajah, and tamoguna — the propagator of that Vedic wisdom which pertains to the world.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.41)
yah praninam pratiphalan smaratam upetya
lilayitena bhuvanani jayaty ajasram
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“He whose divine ecstatic form is reflected in the minds of those who remember Him, as He perpetually conquers the world in His play — that primeval Lord Govinda do I adore.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.42)
goloka-namni nija-dhamni tale ca tasya
devi mahesha-hari-dhamasu teshu teshu
te te prabhava-nicaya vihitash ca yena
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“First there is Devi-dhama [mundane world], then Mahesha-dhama [abode of Mahesha]; and above Mahesha-dhama is Hari-dhama [abode of Hari]; and above all is His own home, Goloka. He who has ordained the appropriate powers pertaining to each and every one of those abodes — that Primeval Lord, Govinda, do I worship.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.43)
chayeva yasya bhuvanani vibhartti durga
icchanurupam api yasya ca ceshöate sa
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“The intrinsic or divine potency's shadow is personified as the Maya potency who accomplishes creation, sustenance and dissolution, and who is worshipped in the world as 'Durga'; by He whose wish she acts — that Primeval Lord, Govinda, do I worship.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.44)
kshiram yatha dadhi vikara-vishesha-yogat
sanjayate na hi tatah prithag asti hetoh
yah shambhutam api tatha samupaiti karyyad
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“As milk becomes transformed into yogurt by reacting with an added agent, yet yogurt is not separate from its origin — milk, similarly, for accomplishing a particular task, He who assumes the nature of 'Shambhu' — that Primeval Lord, Govinda, do I worship.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.45)
diparccir eva hi dashantaram abhyupetya
yas tadrig eva hi ca vishnutaya vibhati
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“As the flame of one original lamp, when transmitted to another, burns separately as the expanded cause with the same nature of intensity, so also, He who shines in (Vishnu's) dynamic nature — that Primeval Lord, Govinda, do I worship.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.46)
yah karanarnava-jale bhajati sma yoga
adhara-shaktim avalambya param svamurttim
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“With infinite universes in the pores of His body, He assumes His supreme figure called Shesha, the reservoir of almighty power personified; He who reclines on the causal ocean, enjoying His trance of divine sleep, that Primeval Lord, Govinda, do I worship.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.47)
jivanti loma-bilaja jagad-anda-nathah
vishnur mahan sa iha yasya kala-vishesho
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“The lifespans of Brahma and the gods of the universes born from the pores of the divine body of Maha-Vishnu last for only one exhalation of Maha-Vishnu; And Maha-Vishnu is the portion of a portion of that Primeval Lord, Govinda, who I do worship.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.48)
bhasvan yathashma-shakaleshu nijeshu tejah
sviyam kiyat prakaöayaty api yad-vad-atra
brahma ya esha jagad-anda-vidhana-karta
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“As the Sun, Surya, manifests some of his light in the gems named after him as Surya-kanta, similarly, He by whom Brahma is empowered to create the entire material universe — the primeval Lord Govinda, do I worship.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.49)
yat-pada-pallava-yugam vinidhaya kumbha-
dvandve pranama-samaye sa ganadhirajah
vighnan vihantum alam asya jagat-trayasya
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“For the power to crush the obstacles of the three worlds, He whose lotus feet Ganesha perpetually holds upon the pair of nodes of his elephantine head — the Primeval Lord, Govinda, do I worship.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.50)
agnir mahi gaganam ambu marud dishash ca
kalas tathatma-manasiti jagat-trayani
yasmad bhavanti vibhavanti vishanti yan ca
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“Fire, earth, sky, water, air, space, time, soul mind — the three worlds are created of these nine elements; He from whom these elements are born, in whom they remain, and in whom they enter in the end — that Primeval Lord, Govinda, do I worship.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.51)
yac-cakshur esha savita sakala-grahanam
raja samasta-sura-murtir ashesha-tejah
yasyajnaya bhramati sambhrita-kala-cakro
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“With unlimited brilliance and power, the Sun is the king of all the planets, the resort of all the gods — the personified eye of the universe. He upon whose order the Sun, mounting the wheel of time, runs his perpetual orbit — that Primeval Lord, Govinda, do I worship.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.52)
dharmo ’tha papa-nicayah shrutayas tapamsi
brahmadi-kiöa-patagavadhayash ca jivah
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“I worship the primeval Lord Govinda, by whose conferred power is manifest the potency in — religion, irreligion or all types of sins, the Shrutis, the penances and all beings from Brahma to the worm and insect.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.53)
yas tv indragopam athavendram aho sva-karma-
karmani nirddahati kim tu ca bhakti-bhajam
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“Whether one may be the tiny insect 'Indragopa' or the great king of the gods, Lord Indra, He impartially awards all souls on the path of karma the fruits befitting their deeds; yet it is so wonderful! He burns at the root all the karma of the souls who adore Him — I worship Him, that primeval Lord Govinda.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.54)
sancintya tasya sadrishim tanum apur ete
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“Those who cultivate their thoughts of Him through anger, amour, natural friendship, fear, parenthood, delusion, reverence and servitorship attain to bodies of a form and nature appropriate to the mood of their meditation. I worship that primeval Lord Govinda.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.55)
shriyah kantah kantah parama-purushah kalpataravo
druma bhumish cintamani ganamayi toyam amritam
katha ganam naöyam gamanam api vamshi priyasakhi
cid-anandam jyotih param api tad asvadyam api ca
sa yatra kshirabdhih sravati surabhibhyash ca sumahan
nimeshardhakhyo va vrajati na hi yatrapi samayah
bhaje shvetadvipam tam aham iha golokam iti yam
vidantas te santah kshiti-virala-carah katipaye
"That place where the divine Goddesses of Fortune are the beloved, and Krishna, the Supreme Male, is the only lover; there all the trees are divine wish-fulfilling trees, the soil is made of transcendental gems and the water is nectar; where every word is a song, every movement is dancing, the flute is the dearmost companion, sunlight and moonlight are divine ecstasy, and all that be is divine, and enjoyable; where a great ocean of milk eternally flows from the udders of billions of surabhi cows and the divine time is eternally present, never suffering the estrangement of past and future for even a split second — that supreme transcendental abode of Shvetadvipa do I adore. Practically no one in this world knows that place but for only a few pure devotees — and they know it as Goloka." (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.56)
athovaca mahavishnur bhagavantam prajapatim
brahman mahattva-vijnane prajasarge ca cen matih
panca-shlokim imam vidyam vatsa dattam nibodha me
“Upon hearing these quintessential hymms of Brahma, the Supreme Lord Krishna said unto him, "O Brahma, if with knowledge of transcendental science you wish to create progeny, then, My dear one, hear the wisdom of these five shlokas from Me." (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.57)
The names Krishna and Govinda express the form, qualities and pastimes of the Lord, and when Brahma earnestly chanted those names, the Lord was propitiated. The desire for creation was in Brahma's heart. Krishna then explained to Brahma how transcendental exclusive devotion can be accomplished by a soul engaged in worldly occupations by combining his worldly activity with the desire to follow the order of the Lord.
The transcendental science is knowledge of the Supreme Divinity. If with such knowledge you wish to create progeny, hear the teachings of bhakti that I shall impart to you in the next five shlokas. That is how to practice bhakti by executing worldly duties in the form of following the Lords order.
prabuddhe jnana-bhaktibhyam atmany ananda-cinmayi
udety anuttama bhaktir bhagavat-prema-lakshana
“When transcendental experience awakens by means of knowledge and devotion, the highest devotion symptomized by love for the Supreme Lord, Shri Krishna, the beloved of the soul, awakens in the devotee's heart.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.58)
The meaning of actual knowledge or jnana is sambandha-jnana — perspective of the correlation of the transcendental, the material, and Krishna. Here, psychic, mental or intellectual knowledge or impersonal brahman liberation is not indicated because such knowledge is opposed to devotion. Sambandha-jnana or knowledge of the soul's relativity in the absolute constitutes the teachings of the first seven of the ten fundamental divine principles known as dasha-mula.
According to the scriptures that expound pure devotion, the principle of abhidheya or means to the end is the cultivation of divine service for Krishna's transcendental pleasure by the practices of hearing, chanting, remembering, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, worshipping, praying, servitude, friendship, and self-surrender. This is elaborately described in the holy book Shri Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhuh.
By such knowledge and devotion, devotion in love divine is awakened and blooms in the heart of the devotee. This is the ultimate in devotion, and the objective of all spiritual endeavor for the jiva (prayojana).
pramanais tat sadacarais tad abhyasair nirantaram
bodhayann atmanatmanam bhaktim apy uttamam labhet
“Supreme devotion is attained by gradually increasing perception of one's intrinsic self through constant self-cultivation following authority, virtuous practices, and practicing spiritual life.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.59)
Authority refers to the scriptures that teach us about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, such as the Vedas, Puranas, Shrimad Bhagavad-gita, etc. Virtuous practices refers to the practices of the true devotee saints, and the practices inspired by divine love in the hearts of the pure devotees who follow the path of love for the Lord. By practicing spiritual life it is meant that one should learn about the dasha-mula or ten fundamental divine principles from the scriptures, and after receiving as directed therein the holy name of the Lord — embodying His name, form, qualities, and pastimes — one should go on with the constant practice of His divine service, taking the name regularly every day.
It must be clearly understood that in this practicing spiritual life, scriptural cultivation and saintly association (sadhu-sanga) are necessary. When virtuous practices are combined with the service of the name, the ten offenses to the holy name can no longer endure. To faithfully follow the sadhus who hear and chant the glories of the name without any trace of offense is the true practicing of spiritual life. In the heart of one who faithfully continues his practicing spiritual live in this line, the objective, which is devotion in divine love, makes Her gracious appearance.
yasyah shreyaskaram nasti yaya nirvritim apnuyat
ya sadhayati mam eva bhaktim tam eva sadhayet
“Sadhana-bhakti or practicing devotional life is the means to the objective — prema-bhakti, devotion in love. Of all that is auspicious, there is absolutely nothing beyond prema-bhakti — She brings in her retinue of divine ecstatic joy, and she can give Me to My devotee.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.60)
There is no greater good for the jiva beyond prema-bhakti. It is the objective of all devotional practices, and the ultimate transcendental ecstasy of the soul. It is only by virtue of prema-bhakti that one can attain the lotus feet of Krishna. One who cultivates his practicing devotional life with deep longing and earnestness for that objective will attain that treasure — others cannot.
dharmman anyan parityajya mam ekam bhaja vishvasan
yadrishi yadrishi shraddha siddhir bhavati tadrishi
kurvvan nirantaram karmma loko 'yam anuvarttate
tenaiva karmmana dhyayan mam param bhaktim icchati
“Abandon all other types of religion and serve Me with resolve. One will attain perfection according to the nature of his faith. Perpetually pursuing worldly occupations or karma, the people of this world remain in the world. Meditate upon Me through the execution of your particular work, and you will attain loving devotion, the supreme transcendental devotion.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.61)
The dharma — religion, nature, or function of the character of pure devotion, shuddha-bhakti — is the actual jaiva-dharma or eternal nature and original function of the soul. As many other religions may be found in the world, every one of them are superficial in comparison to the original function. The superficial dharmas are numerous, including the cultivation of jnana or knowledge of brahman aiming at nirvana (cessation of embodied existence); the eightfold and allied forms of yoga aiming at becoming one with the Supersoul; pious worldly works by the way of karma-kanda aiming at mundane pleasures; jnana-yoga as a relative combination of karma and jnana; and barren renunciation.
The Lord is saying that one should give up all these attempts and embrace the religion of bhakti — devotion, and serve and adore Him. Exclusive faith in Him is vishvasa — resolve; that resolute faith gradually becomes more and more lucid, and from that develops nishöha, ruci, asakti, and bhava — firmness, taste, depth in taste, and heartfelt sentiment of divine love. Perfection is attained in proportion to purity of one's faith.
If the question is raised, “If in this way one is to be constantly engaged in pursuing perfection in devotion, how will he maintain his body, and how will the world go on? And when society and one's body cease to function, how will a man pursue perfection in devotion when he is dead?" In order to slash such a doubt the Lord is saying that the karma or work that people of this plane perform to sustain the world should be executed as a meditation, and destroy the karmic or exploitative nature of those actions; and thus establish their devotional quality.
Man passes his life by engaging in three types of actions: bodily, mental, and social. The manifold bodily activities include eating, sitting, walking, reclining, sleeping, evacuating, dressing, etc.; the mental activities include thought, remembrance, concentration, realization, feeling happiness and unhappiness, etc.; and the social activities include marriage, the relationship of ruler and subject, brotherhood, assemblies for performing sacrifice, public welfare works, family maintenance, receiving guests, customary formalities, offering due respect to others, etc.
When these actions are performed for the sake of one's own enjoyment, they are known as karma-kanda; when they are performed for an opportunity of attaining enlightenment, they are known as karma-yoga or jnana-yoga; and when they are executed as functions conducive to the practicing life of devotion, they are known as gauna-bhakti yoga or the indirect application of devotion. But only action that is symptomized by pure worship is known as direct devotion.
Thus the Lord is saying that your every act will be meditation upon Him when you give due time to practicing direct devotion whilst otherwise rendering indirect devotion in accordance with the formalities demanded by the world. In this respect, despite acting in the world — performing karma — the jiva does not become averse to the service of the Lord by turning outward to mundane trappings.
This way of activity is the practice of turning inward. As it is stated in the Ishopanishad: ishavasyam idam sarvvam yat kin ca jagatyam jagat, tena tyaktena bhunjitha ma gridhah kasyacid dhanam. Our revered commentator on Shri Brahma-samhita (Shri Jiva Goswami) has stated, tena isha-tyaktena visrishöena — it’s purport being that whatever one accepts, when accepted as prasada, or grace of the Lord — and thus as one’s fortune — then actions lose their quality of karma and take on the quality of bhakti. Therefore, the Ishopanishad states, kurvan eveha karmani jijivishec chatam samah, evam tvayi nanyatheto ‘sti na karmma lipyate nare: if one acts in this way even if he lives for hundreds of years he cannot be daubed by karma.
The liberationist or jnana-oriented interpretation of these two mantras is that they mean renunciation of the fruits of one’s work, but from the standpoint of bhakti, the purport is that, by offering everything to the Lord, one gains His grace or prasada. So worldly occupations are to be executed along with the meditation of remembering the worship of the Supreme Lord in arcana-marga or the path of due reverence for the Deity.
Now, Brahma has a desire in his heart for creation. If that desire is fulfilled along with the meditation of following the order of the Lord, by virtue of that action carrying the symptom of surrender to the Lord, it will be an indirect religious function favourable to the nourishment of and within the purview of devotion. This is the reasonable way of the Lord's instruction to Brahma.
The jiva who has attained to bhava or internal, heartfelt devotion, is naturally indifferent to all but Krishna, and so such an instruction does not apply in his case.
aham hi vishvasya caracarasya
bijam pradhanam prakritih pumamsh ca
mayahitam teja idam vibharshi
vidhe vidhehi tvam atho jaganti
“Hear Me, O Vidhe! I am the seed — the primal principle of the world of moving and stationary beings; I am the elements, I am the predominated, I am the predominator. The fiery spirit of brahman that abides in you has been conferred unto you by Me; now, adopting that prowess, create the world of stationary beings.” (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.62)
Some philosophers conclude that the undifferentiated element of brahman becomes transformed and takes on the appearance of having attributes in the form of this mundane world; or Maya becomes divided and becomes the mundane world, and undivided it is brahman; or brahman is the object and the world is its reflection; or the entire world is the jiva's illusion. Others think that by nature God is the one; the soul is the one, and although the universe or mundane world is the one principle, it is eternally distinct in an independent manner. Or that God is the absolute specific and the relative — both spirit and matter, are the specified — yet all are one truth. Others think that by dint of inconceivable potency the truth sometimes appears as one or sometimes dual. Yet others conclude that the doctrine of an impotent 'one' is meaningless, so brahman is replete with pure potency, and it is the eternally pure, one-without-a- second truth.
All these theories have their origin in the Vedas, with support in the Vedanta-sutras. Although none of them can claim to expound the truth in every respect, each carry a certain degree of truth. They — not to mention the theories of Sankhya, Patanjala, Nyana, and Vaisheshika that are all contradictory to the Vedic teachings, and theories such as Purvva-mimamsa, etc., that solely favor fruitive pursuits in conformity with a section of the Vedas — owe their existence to their superficial reliance upon the Vedanta.
Thus, the Lord says to Brahma that you and your pure divine succession are to abandon all these theories and accept the supreme principle of acintya-bhedabheda — inconceivable simultaneous oneness and distinction. Then you will be able to become a true devotee.
The underlying gist of the Lord's words is that the animate world is composed of jivas and the inanimate world is composed of matter. Of these, His divine potency (para-shakti) — by its marginal power — has manifest the jivas and His secondary potency (apara-shakti) has manifest the material world. He is the seed of everything. In a form nondifferent from each of those potencies of His, He controls them by the potency of His will. By various stages of transformation, those potencies have become pradhana (the elements), prakriti (the predominated), and purusha ( the predominator). So although as the potency principle He is pradhana, prakriti, and purusha, as the potency principle He is eternally distinct from all those potencies. Such simultaneous oneness and distinction has come into being by virtue of His inconceivable potency.
Therefore the Lord says that by embracing the wisdom of the correlation of the inconceivably one and distinct entities of; the soul, the world, and Krishna, let the attainment of divine love for Krishna by the practice of pure devotion be the eternal divine teaching handed down in Brahma’s divine succession.
Chapter Eight: Shri Mantrartha Dipika
Revealing the Essence of Shri Kama Gayatri
(by Paramahamsa Vaishnava Thakura ShrilaVishvanatha Cakravati)
klim kama devaya vidmahe pushpa-banaya dhimahi tan no 'nanga pracodayat
"Let us meditate on the Master of the senses, Who carries five kinds of flower arrows, let us meditate on Him being thus enthused by the transcendental Cupid."
shrii gauranga prasadena bijasya hy artha-dipika
vishvanatha cakravarti namnapi kriyate maya
“By the mercy of Shri Gauranga I by the name of Vishvanatha Cakravarti am composing this Torchlamp illuminating the real meaning of the bija-mantra.”
In the Rasollasha Tantra, there is a description of Shri Shri Radha-Krishna's self-same identity with the bija, or seed-mantra (klim), as follows:
"Krishna is the very kama-bija Himself, and Radha is the very rati-bija Herself. By performing sankirtana of both these bijas, Shri Shri Radha Krishna become very pleased.”
The Meaning of the kama-bija (klim) is as follows:
“The kama-bija is the very seed which is one's own desire or aspiration; or also, the kama-bija is the very seed which stimulates your desire; or also, the kama-bija is the very seed which is fulfilled by your desires.”
The Five Features of the kama-bija are described in the Brihad Gautamiya-tantra thus:
“Mantras devoid of a bija are rendered useless. Indeed, the desired beneficial result is nullified. Being endowed with five kinds of ornaments, this kama-bija is supremely wonderful. These five ornaments are: the letter ka, the letter la, the letter i, the ardha-candra (half-moon symbol in the devanagri), and the candra-bindu (moon-dot above the m). That which is endowed with these five things is known as the kama-bija.”
How the single syllable klim is used by Brahma to create the five material elements is described in the Gautamiya-tantra thus:
“From the syllable klim Lord Brahma created the material universe. This is mentioned in the chief shrutis. From the letter la, the element earth was created. From the letter ka the element water was created. From the letter i the element fire was created. From the nada, the ardha-candra (half-moon symbol in the devanagari), and the candra-bindu (moon-dot above the m) the element air and then the element of ether was created. Thus this bija-mantra is panca-bhutatmika, or composed of five different elements.”
How the kama-bija is identical with the Shri Shri Radha Krishna and Their blissful pastimes is described in the Gautamiya-tantra as follows:
“The Letter ka is the purusha known as Krishna, the Supreme aggressive male, Who possesses the sac-cid-ananda-vigraha, or the form embodying full eternity, knowledge and bliss.
The letter i is the prakriti known as Radha, the Supreme receptive female, Who is eternally the Vrindavaneshvari, or the most majestic Princess of Shri Vrindavana.
The letter la is celebrated as constituting anandatmaka-prema-sukha, or the happiness of Their mutual ecstatic love that is the form of pure blissful joy.
By adding the nada and bindu, this is the expression of cumban-ananda-madhurya, or the ecstatic sweetness of Their most blissful kiss.”
Furthermore, the form of the kama-bija that is identical to the Shri Vigraha of divine bodily form of Shri Krishna is described in the Sanat Kumara Samhita as follows:
“Now the bodily form of the kama-bija will be described. All the letters of this bija are non-different from the very body of Shri Krishna. Please listen as I describe the corresponding order of this identity.
The letter ka represents His head, forehead, eyebrows, nose, eyes and ears. The letter la represents His cheeks, teeth, jaw, chin, neck, throat and back. The letter i is His shoulders, arms, elbows, fingers and fingernails. The ardha-candra is His chest, belly, two flanks, navel and waist. The candra-bindu is His thighs, knees, calves, ankles, feet, heels, toes and moon-like toenails. O greaty learned Narada! In this way, Shri Hari’s bodily form is kama-bijatmaka, or identical to the very kama-bija itself.”
The identity of the kama-bija with the five flower arrows of cupid is also described in the Sanat Kumara Samhita :
“The letters of this bija are also equal to the five flower-arrows used by Cupid, the transcendental archer. Please listen to the order of these;
The letter ka is amra-mukula (a mango bud), the letter la is ashoka (flamboyant), the letter i is mallika (jasmine), the ardha-candra is madhavi (exotic scent), and the bindu is bakula (evergreen). Thus these five letters are the five kinds of flower arrows.”
Now I shall describe the meaning of the kama-gayatri mantra. It is said that this gayatri is a maha-mantra that flows according to desire. All the sadhakas or practicing devotees who accept and use this mantra take their next birth in the spiritual planet known as Goloka Vrindavana. They attain the spiritual body of one of the Lord’s eternal associates in Vrindavana for the purpose of rendering eternal devotional service.
The definition of kama-gayatri, and it's object of worship is understood in the following manner. That gayatri which is joined with the kama-bija is called kama-gayatri. Another way to look at it is — that gayatri which belongs to the kama-bija is called kama-gayatri. The upasya, or the object which is worshipped by this mantra is Deva, the Lord of Lords. He is sringara-rasa-raja-svarupa-abhinna, or that Person who is non-different from the self-same form as the King of the sringara-rasa — the most decorative mellow of conjugal love. He is Madana, the transcendental Cupid Himself. He is Shri Krishna, the all attractive one. He is Nandatmaja, the Son of Maharaja Nanda; and He resides in one abode and one abode only—the realm of Shri Vrindavana.
The features of the kama-gayatri mantra are listed in the Sanat Kumara Samhita as follows:
“First you should quote the word of Cupid (klim), and then you should utter the word kama-deva. This word is uttered with the suffix aya at the end of it. Then after that comes the words, vidmahe pushpa-banaya. After this, you utter the word, dhimahi. Finally comes the words, tan no anangah pracodayat:
klim kamadevaya vidmahe pushpabanaya dhimahi tan no anangah pracodayat
Now the indications of this gayatri's influence on Radhika and the gopis will be described:
Due to stealing the minds of the Vraja-gopis headed by Shri Radhika with the sweetness of His flute (venu-madhurya), the word klim is used. Due to stealing the discrimination of the Vraja-gopis headed by Shri Radhika with the sweetness of His pastimes (lila-madhurya), the word kamadevaya is used. Due to Krishna stimulating the excitement of the blissful mellow of enjoyment in union with the Vraja-gopis headed by Shri Radhika — stimulating this sambhoga-rasa by other things including the sweetness of His gracefully lovely qualities (lavanya-guna-madhurya-adi) — the word pushpabanaya is used.
Now I shall give a detailed word by word explanation of the kama-gayatri mantra as follows:
The word kama (desire) indicates sambandha (relationship with the Lord), and also connotes anuga (following obediently). Only in the path of spontaneous devotional love known as kamanuga is this gayatri used for worship (kamanuga is that path which follows along one’s purified transcendental lusty desire for service). This mantra’s effect is that it illuminates and intensifies the manifestation of one’s most cherished desires.
Or another way to look at it is this — that Person who sports according to His own heart’s desire is known as kama-deva, and unto this kama-deva, vidmahe, we are knowing. In other words, kama-devaya vidmahe means that we are aware in consciousness only because our consciousness is for kama-deva, who is Krishna, the transcendental Cupid. Or, our consciousness is cognizing only because it automatically flows unto kama-deva in all circumstances. We, means us who are doing this sadhana in the madhurya-rasa, the mellow of conjugal devotion in Vraja.
Unto what type of kama-deva? He is pushpa-bana, or a flower archer Who uses five weapons, which are the five letters of the kama-bija, and by shooting them with His sharnga bow, these five weapons cause the bow to act in five specific qualities — unto this type of pushpa-bana, dhimahi, we all mediate. To stress the important meaning of this meditation, the plural is used by the chanter of the mantra.
That Lord whose svarupa or constitutional position is like this is called ananga, or He who is the invisible all-pervading Cupid devoid of a material body; He is situated in Vraja as the fresh young transcendental Cupid; He is the alluringly adolescent God of Love. And it is He only who is the upasya (the worshipable object) of the upasana (the process of worship) represented by both the kama-bija and the kama-gayatri. This worshipable object is the attractor of the hearts and minds of all living beings (all living beings up to and including His very own self — He even attracts His own mind). He possesses a superexcellence of bodily beauty that cannot be equalled or surpassed by any other form. He is Shyama, the dark beauty possessing the bodily luster of a fresh new monsoon cloud. He has a bodily figure of transcendence which is composed of a compressed living flow of divine luscious mellows. His stature perfectly personifies the King of Sringara-rasa (the most intimate ornamental mode of supreme mellows).
This kind of Lord — for us no / nah — may He be pleased with us, pracodayat. Pra means prakarshena — with excellent superiority, and codayat means may He be pleased — may He be pleased with us, and may He kindly engage us in His own devotional service (which is the best way of showing His pleasure). This is the meaning of the mantra known as the kama-gayatri.
The kama-gayatri is composed of 24 1/2 syllables. How these syllables are identical to the 24 1/2 moons in Krishna's body are described thus:
In this kama-gayatri mantra there are 24 syllables, and these syllables form 24 full moons. These moons arise in Shri Krishna’s bodily form and thereby make the three worlds kama-maya, or pervaded with His own transcendental lusty desire to sport. All of these 24 syllables, beginning from the first letter ka up to the final letter ta, thereby form all of Krishna’s different bodily limbs, beginning from His face, cheeks, and forehead, etc., and ending with His hands and feet, etc. These limbs are counted systematically beginning from His right-hand side.
A List of Krishna's bodily features as forming the 24 1/2 full moons will now be described:
Kindly listen to the sctiptural description of the moon-features displayed amongst the syllables of the kama-gayatri. Please hear the description of the moon-identities amongst the syllables of this mantra. Know that in His face is one, in His cheeks are two, in His forehead is a half-moon, in the tilaka on His forehead is a full moon, on the fingernails on His hands are ten moons, and on the toenails on His feet are ten moons.
Thus, those who are very intelligent have given this kind of explanation for the gayatri mantra. They have revealed that from the first letter ka to the last letter ta, all the 24 syllables systematically form the different moons which correspond to the moons of Shri Krishna’s bodily features, beginning from His right side. This is their most authotized opinion.
In this regard, I would like to say — O my dear Vaishnavas! Kindly listen attentively and I will narrate to you the story of a confusing problem I had at this point of composing my essay.
In the book Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita, Shrila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami has described in very clear language the systematic listing of letters in the kama-gayatri to be 24. And so in following his opinion, I have simply repeated the same thing in my writings. Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita describes thus:
haya krishnera svarupa,
sarddha-cabbisha akshara tara haya
se akshara candra-caya, krishne kari udaya,
tri-jagata kaila kama-maya
“Krishna, the supreme Personality of Godhead, is dentical with the Vedic hymn known as kama-gayatri, which is composed of 24 syllables. Those syllables are compared to full moons that arise in Krishna’s bodily features, which thereby fills the three worlds with desire for Him”. (Chaitanya-caritamrita.Madhya-lila 21.125)
Accepting this evidence as authoritative, and by honoring the opinion of the previous acarya, I have similarly established this to be the truth. But then a great doubt confronted me — Shri Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami has somehow rejected the apparent fact that the kama-gayatri mantra contains 25 syllables; so I wondered on the basis of what scriptural proof, and with what intention did he say that the mantra has only 24 syllables? The reason for this remained beyond the comprehension of my intelligence.
Upon reviewing various scriptures that were recited and heard, I found that there was absolutely no clue to the possibility of a half-syllable existing anywhere in the mantra. Therefore I remained deeply immersed in the greatest ocean of doubt. I ask all of you to please consider this situation. Even if some say that the letter t at the end of the mantra (pracodayat) is bereft of a vowel and is therefore counted as only half a syllable, then still this is not correct. This is because even though there is no vowel, the consonant is still present and is therefore counted as a full syllable. Then how is it possible to have half a syllable?
While referring to the scriptures on vyakarana (grammar), the Puranas, the Agamas, the Natya (drama and dance scriptures), and the Alankara (books on sophisticated Sanskrit ornamentation), etc., I still saw that according to the assembly of different vowels and consonants, the count of syllables in the kama-gayatri mantra totals exactly 25. There is no possibility of the existance of a half-syllable. In the Hari-namamrita-vyakarana (the grammar composition of Shrila Jiva Goswami), in the chapter entitled Samjna-pada, it is stated:
narayanad-udbhuto ‘yam varna-krama
“This sequence of the letters of the alphabet has arisen from Shri Narayana Himself.”
According to this; by adding up the letters beginning from the letter ka, they definitely total exactly 25. And the same thing is also confirmed by other Sanskrit grammatical systems. And furthermore, in the Brihad Naradiya Purana, in the section entitled Shri Radhika Sahasra-nama Stotra (the thousand names of Shri Radhika), it is stated:
vrindavvaneshvari radha, pancashad-varna-rupini
“Sri Radha is the Princess of Vrindavana-dhama, and Her transcendental form is composed of 25 syllables.”
The same conclusion is also evident in other scriptures. Searching through all the works describing vowels and consonants, I could not find anywere that this mantra adds up to 24 syllables. Is it possible that Shri Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami was not aware of all these things? No, this is not possible. He is definitely in full knowledge of everything, and he is therefore completely free from the common material defects of error, illusion, etc.
Furthermore, if it is decided that the final letter t is a half-syllable, then has Shri Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami broken the order of the moon-description in his writings? In other words, beginning from Krishna’s face and ending up at His feet by a systematic description of the letters, we would then end up with the so-called half-syllable t being at Krishna’s feet — but Krishnadasa states that the half-moon is in Krishna’s forehead. This is all quoted as follows from the Chaitanya-caritamrita, Madhya-lila 21st chapter, during Shri Sanatana-shiksha (Shri Chaitanya’s Teachings to Sanatana Goswami). During those talks of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, while elaborating on the topic of sambhandha-tattva-vicara (the consideration of the truth of our relationship with the Lord, it is stated:
Shri Chaitanya, ranting in the love-sick mood of Radharani, speaks to Sanatana Goswami — Rati Manjari about Her Beloved Krishna thus: (Chaitanya-caritamrita, Madhya-lila 21.126-130)
sakhi he, krishna-mukha--dvija-raja-raja
krishna- vapu-simhasane, vasi' rajya-shasane,
kare sange candrera samaja
“O my dear girlfriend! The face of Krishna is the king of all moons, and the body of Krishna is the throne. Thus the king governs a society of moons.”
dui ganda sucikkana, jini' mani-sudarpana,
sei dui purna-candra jani
lalaöe ashöami-indu, tahate candana-bindu,
sei eka purna-candra mani
"Krishna has two cheeks that shine like glowing gems. Both are considered full moons. His forehead is considered a half moon, and His spots of sandalwood are considered full moons.”
kara-nakha-candera haöa, vamshi-upara kare naöa,
tara gita muralira tana
pada-nakha-candra-gana, tale kare nartana,
nupurera dhvani yara gana
"His fingernails are many full moons, and they dance on the flute on His hands. Their song is the melody of that flute. His toenails are also many full moons, and they dance on the ground. Their song is the jingling of His ankle bells.”
nace makara-kundala, netra--lila-kamala,
vilasi raja satata nacaya
bhru--dhanu, netra--bana, dhanur-guna--dui kana,
nari-mana-lakshya vindhe taya
"Krishna's face is the enjoyer king. That full-moon face makes His shark-shaped earrings and lotus eyes dance. His eyebrows are like bows, and His eyes are like arrows. His ears are fixed on the string of that bow, and when His eyes spread to His ears, He pierces the hearts of the gopis.”
ei candera bada naöa, pasari' candera haöa,
vinimule vilaya nijamrita
kahon smita-jyotsnamrite, kanhare adharamrite,
saba loka kare apyayita
"The dancing features of His face surpass all other full moons and expands the marketplace of full moons. Although priceless, the nectar of Krishna's face is distributed to everyone. Some purchase the moonrays of His sweet smiles, and others purchase the nectar of His lips. Thus He pleases everyone.”
In this way, after considering both of these versions exhaustively from many different points of view, I still could not come to a sound conclusion. At this point, I gave up all endeavors for finding the answer. Rejecting all eating and drinking, I became so upset in my mind that I decided to give up my body. In this sad mood, I simply sat motionless on the bank of Radha-kunda. If one is not even properly aware of syllables of the mantra, then how will it ever be possible to become conscious of the Lord? Therefore it is proper to give up the body.
Thereafter, the second prahara of the night had elapsed (well after midnight), and I finally dozed off to sleep — suddenly I had seen that Shri Vrishabhanu-nandini, Shri Radhika Herself, had come to me and began to speak:
“O Vishvanatha! O Hari Vallabha! Please get up! That which Shri Krishnadasa Kaviraja has written is true; he is also My very dear confidential maidservant. By My mercy, he knows everything about My secret innermost moods. Please don’t have any doubt about his statement.
“This mantra is the mantra for worshipping Me — indeed, I can be known by the syllables of this mantra. Without My mercy, no one can learn anything about the mystery of these matters. The solution to the half-syllable question is found in the book known as Varnagama-bhasvadi. Seeing this book, Shri Krishnadasa Kaviraja had written as he did. Now please listen — after you wake up, just refer to that book and then compile all this evidence for the benefit of others.”
Hearing these words of Shri Radhika, I regained consciousness and quickly got up. My confusion was now gone, and I again and again lamented, “Alas! Alas!” Holding Her order in my heart, I endeavored to carry it out.
While She was describing the half-syllable to me in the vision, Shri Radhika had spoken thus:
vyanta ya-karo ‘rdhaksham
tad-itaram purnaksharam purna-candra
“The letter ya which is followed by the letter vi is considered to be a half-syallable. This falls on Shri Krishna’s forehead, which forms the halo of a half-moon. All other letters of the mantra are full syllables and therefore full moons.”
The description of the half-syllable as according to the direct instruction of Shri Radhika, is indeed found in the book Varnagama-bhasvadi thus:
vi’karanta-’ya’karena cardhaksharam prakirtitam
“The letter ya, when followed by the letter vi, is celebrated as being a half-syllable.”
gayantam trayate tasmat gayatritvam tatah smritam
“That which delivers the chanter is known as ‘gayatri.’
Thus ends my explanation of kama-gayatri known as Mantrartha Dipika.