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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Bhakti Gaurava Narasingha Swami > Vyasa May Know or May Not Know

Vyasa May Know or May Not Know

By Swami B.G. Narasingha


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Question: Shri Vedavyasa compiled/composed the Bhagavatam prior to Shukadeva Gosvami's recital of it. Are we to understand that He omitted Radharani's name in His composition, knowing that Shukadeva would speak it to Maharaja Parikshit in a mere 7 days? (H. Krishna Susarla)


Narasingha Maharaja: Actually Vyasadeva may or may not know what he has said in the Bhagavat (referring to the innumerable verses containing the name of Shrimati in the rasik or hidden way). There is a famous verse in this connection: (This verse may be found in the Madhya-lila, Ch24, Tx313, or in the Gaudiya Kanthahara 2.27)


aham vedmi suko vetti, vyaso vetti na vetti va

bhaktya bhagavatam grahyam, na buddhya na ca tikaya


Lord Siva said; "I know the meaning of the Bhagavat and I know that Sukadeva knows it also. But for Vyasadeva he may or may not know it. The Bhagavat can only be known through bhakti, not by mundane intelligence or by reading many commentaries."


This rather interesting sloka is spoken by Lord Siva himself in addressing an assembly of Sankarites at Banaras. The second line of the sloka is an admonishment to the misguided followers of Sankaracharya and the first line of the sloka is the siddhanta accepted by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as regards the position of the guru, i.e., relative or absolute.


When Shridhar Swami wrote his commentary on the Bhagavat it was rejected by the Sankarites of Banaras due to the bhakti content and the acceptance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as parabrahma. However, Shripad Shridhar Swami was vastly learned in the Vedanta etc., and thus the Sankarites could not refute his arguments. Nonetheless, because Shridhar Swami's opinion did not stride alongside that of the established institution of the advaitic school, the Sankarites would not accept it.


Lastly the Sankarites proposed what seemed to be an impossible test. They suggested that the Bhagavat commentary of Shridhar Swami be placed in the temple of Viswanatha over night and if Lord Shiva accepted the commentary, then, so would they.


Shridhar Swami was a saranagata-bhakta, a fully surrendered soul who had embraced the ashraya-tattva, i.e., the shelter of the Supreme Lord. Therefore he agreed to the test with the faith within that his destiny was in good hands.


The Bhagavat, with commentary, was placed in the temple of Lord Visvanatha for the night and when the doors of the sanctum-sanctorium were opened in the morning this verse was revealed:


aham vedmi suko vetti, vyaso vetti na vetti va

bhaktya bhagavatam grahyam, na buddhya na ca tikaya


Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has accepted the first line of this sloka which says that the position of the guru is relative not absolute. The disciple may see him as absolute, that is another thing, but not others or more importantly he does not see himself as absolute.


In this regard Shriman Mahaprabhu spoke to Sanatana Goswami;


Sanatana, Krishna is going to give His kindness to you through me. I am talking to you like a madman. I feel many things are passing through me to you. But I do not know that I myself have the thing.


So the verse;


aham vedmi suko vetti, vyaso vetti na vetti va

bhaktya bhagavatam grahyam, na buddhya na ca tikaya


is accepted at least in the Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya as authoritative. What has passed through Shrila Vyasadeva may or may not be known to him.


There is another thread found here in connection with Lord Siva. Sambhuh, Lord Siva, is one of the twelve Mahajanas.


svayambhur naradah sambhuh kumarah kapilo manuh

prahlado janako bhismo balir vaiyasakir vayam


Narada, Sambhu, and vaiyasakir, Sukadeva Goswami have got special connection with madhurya-rasa in Vrindavana. Sukadeva Goswami was the suka, parrot of Shrimati. Narada Muni got gopi-swarupa near Govardhan, and Lord Siva also got gopi-swarupa for dancing in rasa-lila.


When Lord Siva was bathed by the gopis in a sacred kund in Vrindavana to get his gopi-swarupa he emerged with the snake still wrapped around his neck. Some say that the snake which is always seen on the neck of Siva is Ananta, his guru.


Rather than be a direct participant in the rasa-lila, Siva was then given the position of the protector of the rasa-lila and thus his name; Gopeswara Mahadeva.


The most esoteric erotic principle of Divine Love reaches its pinnacle in the tenth canto of the Bhagavat. Those who are conscious of the ontology of events in the tenth canto are given at times to call the Bhagavat by the name, Radha Bhagavat.


Lord Siva was to some degree privy to that which took place in rasa-lila. It so happened that some "time" later in the brahma-loka Lord Siva was reciting the Vrindavana-lila to Parvati and Shrimati's suka was present there. Thinking that the parrot would repeat the sacred Bhagavat here and there without any realization, and thus cheapening the context of the Bhagavat, Lord Siva decide to kill the poor bird. The rest we have heard in the Shriya Suka article. The parrot flew, with Siva in quick pursuit, to the ashram of Vyasadeva and entered the mouth of the wife of Vyasadeva. That is what the Gaudiyas call "Divine Conception".


So in this sense, the practical sense, Lord Siva knows that Suka knows the meaning of the Bhagavat (particularly tenth canto) - he heard it directly from the vision of Siva who was there in his gopi-swarupa and we can also safely conclude that he heard what went on there in the erotic pastimes of rasa-lila from Shrimati the Illustrious Queen of Vrindavana.


aham vedmi suko vetti, vyaso vetti na vetti va


I know, Suka knows, but Vyasadeva - he may or may not know.


Vyasadeva may not have been aware that he hid the name of Shrimati so he went there on the banks of the Ganga with all the assembled sages to hear Sukadeva Goswami in order to find out.