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Vyasa Avatara Shrila Vrindavana dasa Thakura
Chapter One: Summary of Lord Gaura’s Pastimes
CB Adi-khanda 1.1
vishvambharau dvija-varau yuga-dharma-palau
vande jagat priya-karau karunavatarau
I offer my respectful obeisances unto Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Shri Nityananda Prabhu, whose arms extend down to Their knees, who have golden yellow complexions, and who inaugurated the congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord. Their eyes resemble the petals of a lotus flower; They are the maintainers of the living entities, the best of the brahmanas, the protectors of religious principles for this age, the benefactors of the universe, and the most merciful of all incarnations.
In this first verse of the mangalacarana the forms of Shri Gaura and Shri Nityananda are described. They have long arms that stretch to Their knees, Their complexions are like gold, and Their eyes are like the petals of the lotus flower. These two brothers have been described and adored as the inaugurators of the sankirtana movement, the protectors of religious principles for this age, the maintainers of the living entities, the benefactors of the universe, the best of the brahmanas, and the most merciful of all incarnations. Shri Gaurahari and Shri Nityananda are the bestowers of the maha-mantra, the spiritual masters of the universe, and the fathers of the pure chanting of the holy names. They are both benefactors of the universe, because They preach the principles of jive daya, compassion for all living entities. They are addressed as karuna and vishvambhara, merciful and the maintainers of the universe, because They have preached the religious principles for the age of Kali, in the form of serving Vishnu and the Vaishnavas through the process of sankirtana, which is the only means of deliverance for the people of this age. Everyone should follow the principles of such prayers by name ruci, having a taste for chanting the holy names, jive daya, showing compassion for other living entities, and vaishnava-seva, serving the Vaishnavas. By using dvi-vacana [the verb form for two] rather than bahu-vacana [plural verb form] it is established that Their preaching, mercy, and protection of yuga-dharma is different from that found in seminal succession.
The arms of great personalities stretch to their knees, as indicated by the words ajanu-lambita-bhujau, whereas ordinary people’s arms are not like that. Shri Gaura and Shri Nityananda are both vishnu-tattva who have appeared in this world. All the symptoms of great personalities were found in Their transcendental bodies. It is stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 3.42-44): “One who measures four cubits in height and in breadth by his own hand is celebrated as a great personality. Such a person is called nyagrodha-parimandala. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who personifies all good qualities, has the body of a nyagrodha-parimandala. His arms are long enough to reach His knees, His eyes are just like lotus flowers, His nose is like a sesame flower, and His face is as beautiful as the moon.”
The phrase kanakavadatau is explained as follows: Since They both perform pastimes in the mood of devotees, Their complexions are golden. They are the vishaya-vigraha, or shelter of all devotees, They are the source of all spiritual beauty, and They attract all living entities. Lord Chaitanya is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Lord Nityananda is His personal manifestation. As stated in the Mahabharata (Dana-dharma, Vishnu-sahasra-nama-stotra, 149.92, 75 1: suvarna-varno hemango varangash candanangadi-“In His early pastimes He appears as a householder with a golden complexion. His limbs are beautiful, and His body, smeared with the pulp of sandalwood, seems like molten gold.”
The words sankirtanaika-pitarau indicate that Shri Gaura-Nityananda are the inaugurators of the shri-krishna-sankirtana movement. Shrila Kaviraja Gosvami has written in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 3.76) as follows:
sankirtana-yajne tanre bhaje, sei dhanya
“Lord Shri Krishna Chaitanya is the initiator of sankirtana [congregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord]. One who worships Him through sankirtana is fortunate indeed.”
By using the dvi-vacana form of the word vishvambhara, both Vishvarupa and Vishvambhara are indicated. Shri Gaura and Shri Nityananda are both vishnu-tattva, and since They have distributed love of God to the world through the chanting of the holy names, They are known as Vishvambhara. Shri Nityananda and Shri Vishvarupa are one. Please refer to the Adi-khanda (4.47-49) of this book. Shrila Kaviraja Gosvami has written in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 3.32-33) as follows: “In His early pastimes He is known as Vishvambhara because He floods the world with the nectar of devotion and thus saves the living beings. The verbal root dubhrin [which is the root of the word “vishvambhara”] indicates nourishing and maintaining. He [Lord Chaitanya] nourishes and maintains the three worlds by distributing love of God.”
A reference to the word vishvambhara is given in the Vedas (Atharva Veda, second khanda, third prapathaka, fourth anuvak, fifth mantra) as follows: vishvambhara vishvena ma bharasa pahi svaha-“Please preserve me by sustaining the universe, O Vishvambhara, upholder of the universe.”
The word dvija generally refers to brahmanas, kshatriyas, and vaishyas who have undergone the purificatory processes, but here the word dvija-varau refers to Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda, who are dressed as brahmanas and who have taken the role of acaryas. Only brahmanas are meant to take sannyasa, because kshatriyas and vaishyas are not qualified. So according to ashrama consideration, only brahmanas are addressed as dvija-vara. Both Shri Gaura and Shri Nityananda took the role of jagad-guru acaryas and taught devotional service of the Lord to the people of this world, therefore They are the crest jewels amongst the brahmanas. In this incarnation They did not consider Themselves cowherd boys and perform pastimes like rasa-lila with any cowherd damsels either in Gauda-desha or in Orissa. If one wants to destroy the distinction between the madhurya pastimes of Vrindavana and the audarya pastimes of Navadvipa, then he will commit rasabhasa and fall into hell due to the offense of opposing the conclusions of the author [Vrindavana dasa Thakura] and Ramananda Raya.
The word dvija-varau may alternatively refer to dvija-rajau, or two full moons that have simultaneously arisen.
The word yuga is explained as follows: A maha-yuga consists of 4,320,000 earthly years. A kalpa, or day of Brahma, consists of 1,000 maha-yugas. In this day of Brahma there are 14 Manus, each of whom rule for 71 such yugas. A 1/10th portion of a maha-yuga is the duration of Kali-yuga, a 2/10ths portion of a maha-yuga is the duration of Dvapara-yuga, a 3/10ths portion of a maha-yuga is the duration of Treta-yuga, and a 4/10ths portion of a maha-yuga is the duration of Satya-yuga.
Regarding yuga-dharma: The process of self-realization for Satya-yuga is meditation, for Treta-yuga is sacrifice, for Dvapara-yuga is Deity worship, and for Kali-yuga is congregational chanting of the holy names of the Lord.
As stated in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (12.3.52):
krite yad dhyayato vishnum tretayam yajato makhaih
dvapare paricaryayam 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.”
Elsewhere in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (12.3.51) it is stated:
kaler dosha-nidhe rajann 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, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.”
The Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.5.36) further states:
kalim sabhajayanty arya guna jnah sara-bhaginah
yatra sankirtanenaiva sarva-svartho ‘bhilabhyate
“Those who are actually advanced in knowledge are able to appreciate the essential value of this age of Kali. Such enlightened persons worship Kali-yuga because in this fallen age all perfection of life can easily be achieved by the performance of sankirtana.”
And in the Vishnu Purana (6.2.17) it is stated:
dhyayan krite yajan yajnais tretayam dvapare ‘rcayan
yad apnoti tad apnoti kalau sankirtya keshavam
“Whatever is achieved by meditation in Satya-yuga, by the performance of sacrifice in Treta-yuga, and by the worship of Lord Krishna’s lotus feet in Dvapara-yuga is obtained in the age of Kali simply by glorifying the name of Lord Keshava.”
The phrase yuga-dharma-palau is described as follows: According to the scriptures dealing with karma-kanda, or fruitive activities, the religious principle for the age of Kali is charity. But as the maintainers of yuga-dharma, the two most magnanimous Lords, Shri Gaura and Shri Nityananda, have inaugurated the congregational chanting of the holy names of Krishna.
The Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.5.32 and 10.8.9) says:
krishna-varnam tvishakrishnam sangopangastra-parshadam
yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi su-medhasah
“In the age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the names of Krishna. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Krishna Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions.”
asan varnas trayo hy asya grihnato ‘nuyugam tanuh
shuklo raktas tatha pita idanim krishnatam gatah
“Your son Krishna appears as an incarnation in every millennium. In the past, He assumed three different colors-white, red, and yellow-and now He has appeared in a blackish color. [In another Dvapara-yuga, He appeared (as Lord Ramacandra) in the color of shuka, a parrot.] All such incarnations have now assembled in Krishna.]”
Shrila Rupa Gosvami has offered his obeisances unto Shri Krishna Chaitanyadeva as follows:
namo maha-vadanyaya krishna-prema-pradaya te
krishnaya krishna-chaitanya- namne gaura-tvishe namah
“I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna Chaitanya, who is more magnanimous than any other avatara, even Krishna Himself, because He is bestowing freely what no one else has ever given-pure love of Krishna.”
In other words, magnanimity is Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s characteristic and distributing love of Krishna is His pastime. Shrila Kaviraja Gosvami has stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 8.15):
shri-krishna-chaitanya-daya karaha vicara
vicara karite citte pabe camatkara
“If you are indeed interested in logic and argument, kindly apply it to the mercy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. If you do so, you will find it to be strikingly wonderful.”
Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written about this mercy as follows: (dayala) nitai-chaitanya bale’ dakre amara mana-“My dear mind, please chant the names of the most merciful Nitai-Chaitanya.” Actually the charity given by Shri Gaura-Nityananda is matchless, supreme, and unique. They are both maintainers of yuga-dharma, performers of shri-krishna-sankirtana, and bestowers of unalloyed mercy.
The words jagat priya-karau indicate that Shri Gaura-Nityananda are the benefactors of the universe. Shrila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has written in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 1.86, 102) as follows:
sei dui jagatere haiya sadaya
gauda-deshe purva-shaile karila udaya
ei candra surya dui parama sadaya
jagatera bhagye gaude karila udaya
“These two have arisen over the eastern horizon of Gauda-desha [West Bengal], being compassionate for the fallen state of the world. These two, the sun and moon, are very kind to the people of the world. Thus for the good fortune of all, They have appeared on the horizon of Bengal.”
The Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 1.2) further states:
vande shri-krishna-chaitanya- nityanandau sahoditau
gaudodaye pushpavantau citrau shan-dau tamo-nudau
“I offer my respectful obeisances unto Shri Krishna Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda, who are like the sun and moon. They have arisen simultaneously on the horizon of Gauda to dissipate the darkness of ignorance and thus wonderfully bestow benediction upon all.”
Regarding karunavatarau, the two merciful incarnations, Shrila Rupa Gosvami has written about Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the introduction to his Vidagdha-madhava as follows: anarpita-carim cirat karunayavatirnah kalau-“He has appeared in the age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation ever offered before.”
Shrila Kaviraja Gosvami has written in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 5.207-208, 216): “Who in this world but Nityananda could show His mercy to such an abominable person as me? Because He is intoxicated by ecstatic love and is an incarnation of mercy, He does not distinguish between the good and the bad. The mercy of Lord Nityananda showed me Shri Madana-mohana and gave me Shri Madana-mohana as my Lord and master.”
CB Adi-khanda 1.2
namas trikala satyaya jagannatha sutaya ca
sa-bhrityaya sa-putraya sa-kalatraya te namah
O my Lord! You are eternally existing-in the past, present, and future-yet You are the son of Shri Jagannatha Mishra. I offer my repeated obeisances unto You along with Your associates (Your devotee servants), Your sons (Your Gosvami disciples or the processes of devotional service, such as the congregational chanting of the holy name), and Your consorts (who, according to regulative principles, refer to Vishnupriya, who is Bhu-shakti, Lakshmipriya, who is Shri-shakti, and Navadvipa, which is Nila, Lila, or Durga, and, according to devotional principles, refer to the two Gadadharas, Narahari, Ramananda, Jagadananda, and others).
In the second verse of the auspicious invocation, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is addressed as follows: He is the Absolute Truth, existing in the past, present, and future, and therefore He is eternal. I offer my obeisances to Shri Gaurasundara, the son of Jagannatha, along with His servants, sons, consorts, and associates.
The word jagannatha-suta is singular and so refers only to Shri Gaurasundara; Jagannatha Mishra’s other son, Shri Vishvarupa, or Shankararanya Svami, is not referred to herein, as Shri Vishvarupa took sannyasa in His childhood and had no disciples in the renounced order. Therefore the later two adjectives of this verse-sa-kalatraya and sa-putraya-are not applicable to Him.
One may question how the word sa-putraya can be applied to Shri Gaurasundara. In answer to this it is to be understood that the Lord’s renunciate Gosvami disciples are accepted as His sons and His householder disciples are accepted as His servants. The renunciate sannyasis who belong to the Acyuta-gotra are considered the Lord’s sons. In the beginning of his Upadeshamrita, Shrila Rupa Gosvami has established his followers as tridandi-sannyasis. They are actually the Lord’s own family members. Shri Acyuta Prabhu, the son of Advaita Acarya, is the founding forefather of the Acyuta-gotra, and he is therefore addressed as Acyutananda. The followers of the two Prabhus, Shri Nityananda and Shri Advaita, are the servants of Their Lord, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. According to regulative principles, the consorts of Shri Gaura-Narayana are Vishnupriya, who is Bhu-shakti, Lakshmipriya, who is Shri-shakti, and Shri Navadvipa-dhama, which is Nila, Lila, or Durga. According to devotional principles, the consorts of Shri Gaura-Govinda are Shri Gadadhara Pandita, Shri Gadadhara dasa, Shri Narahari, Shri Jagadananda, Shri Vakreshvara, Shri Ramananda, Shri Rupa-Sanatana, and other Gosvamis.
Shrila Kaviraja Gosvami has written in his Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 7.14): “One of Them is Mahaprabhu, and the other two are prabhus. These two prabhus serve the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu.”
CB Adi-khanda 1.3
avatirnau sa-karunyau paricchinnau sad ishvarau
shri krishna chaitanya-nityanandau dvau bhratarau bhaje
I worship the two brothers, Shri Krishna Chaitanya and Shri Nityananda, who have descended in this world as the supreme controllers. They have appeared in covered forms as the embodiments of mercy.
The word paricchinnau indicates that the spiritual pastimes of the svayam-rupa, original form of the Supreme Lord, and His svayam-prakasha, first expansion, are full of spiritual variegatedness. Shri Gaura-Nityananda, or Shri Krishna-Balarama, are nondifferent, yet They have accepted two forms as svayam-rupa and svayam-prakasha.
Bhratarau means “the two brothers.” Shriman Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu did not play the role of seminal brothers. In order to establish that there is no difference between the pastimes of the svayam-rupa and svayam-prakasha, the transcendentalists address Them as brothers out of spiritual consideration.
CB Adi-khanda 1.4
sa jayati vishuddha-vikramah kanakabhah kamalayatekshanah
vara-janu-vilambi-shad-bhujo bahudha bhakti-rasabhinartakah
All glories to Shri Gaurasundara, whose powerful activities are supremely pure, whose bodily complexion is like molten gold, whose eyes are like lotus petals, whose six beautiful arms extend to His knees, and whose heart is inundated by loving devotional sentiments as He enjoys dancing in various ways during kirtana.
The phrase bahudha bhakti-rasabhinartakah is explained as follows: When the five direct rasas and seven indirect rasas interact with one another it is called bhakti-rasa. The object of attachment for the devotees situated in the five direct rasas, Shri Gaurasundara, danced along with those who had taken shelter of Him.
CB Adi-khanda 1.5
jayati jayati devah krishna-chaitanya-candro
jayati jayati kirtis tasya nitya pavitra
jayati jayati bhrityas tasya vishvesha-murter
jayati jayati nrityam tasya sarva-priyanam
All glories to Shri Krishna Chaitanyacandra, who is the fully independent Supreme Personality of Godhead and the abode of transcendental pastimes! All glories to His eternally pure activities! Shri Gaurasundara is the controller of all other controllers, the Lord of the universe, and the embodiment of transcendental knowledge. All glories to His devotees, and all gloriesto the dancing of His beloved associates!
After Shri Gaurasundara left Navadvipa, His followers addressed Him as Shri Krishna Chaitanyacandra, the predominating Deity of sambandha. Shri Rupa Gosvami has stated in his prayer: krishnaya krishna-chaitanya-namne gaura-tvishe namah-“I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna Chaitanya, who has assumed the golden color of Shrimati Radharani.” It is stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 3.34): “In His later pastimes He is known as Lord Shri Krishna Chaitanya. He blesses the whole world by teaching everyone the glories of Lord Shri Krishna.”
Those who are acetanashraya, or devoid of spiritual consciousness, should not think that they can contaminate the teachings of Lord Gauranga simply by replacing Chaitanya-mangala with Gaura-mangala, Chaitanya-bhagavata with Gaura-bhagavata, Chaitanya- caritamrita with Gauranga-caritamrita, or Chaitanya-candrodaya with Gaura-candrodaya. In gaura-lila the Lord has accepted the name Shri Krishna Chaitanya in order to awaken the propensity of materialistic people, who are achaitanya, devoid of spiritual consciousness, to develop their chaitanya-dharma, in the form of cultivating Krishna consciousness. He also induced people who aspired for liberation to engage in the worship of Lord Krishna.
Shri Gaurasundara is maha-vadanya, most magnanimous, and krishna-prema-pradata, the bestower of love for Krishna-these are His supremely pure eternal glories.
All the devotees who are direct servants of Shri Vishvambhara, the controller of the universe and Lord of Goloka, are personally maintained by Him and are therefore the owners of His entire wealth and opulence.
All glories to the servitorship of Shri Svarupa Damodara, Shri Ramananda, Shri Vakreshvara, and other beloved devotees, who in the mood of gopis always glorify the Lord.
CB Adi-khanda 1.6
adye shri chaitanya-priya-goshthira carane
ashesha-prakare mora danda-paraname
In the beginning I offer unlimited obeisances to the feet of the loving, confidential devotees of Lord Shri Chaitanya.
Before offering prayers to Shri Chaitanya, the author offers his obeisances at the feet of the Lord’s confidential devotees. Among the confidential devotees of the Lord, the spiritual master is the prime celebrity. Lord Nityananda Prabhu Himself is the author’s spiritual master.
Goshthi refers to a group of persons who have great relish for a wide variety of scriptures, who are endowed with truthful words, who are embellished with faultless ornaments, and who are full of perfect knowledge. Hearing topics related to the Lord from the Bhagavata and other scriptures, they realize the Lord.
The word danda means “falling to the ground straight like a stick,” and the word paranama means “obeisances.” Such obeisances are of four varieties: (1) offering greetings, (2) offering obeisances with eight parts of the body touching the ground, (3) offering obeisances with five parts of the body touching the ground, and (4) bowing the head with folded hands.
CB Adi-khanda 1.7
tabe vandon shri krishna chaitanya maheshvara
navadvipe avatara, nama-vishvambhara
I then offer my obeisances to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna Chaitanya. He incarnated in Navadvipa, and He is known as Vishvambhara.
After first offering obeisances unto his spiritual master, Shri Nityananda Prabhu, the author then offers his obeisances unto Shri Chaitanyadeva. This is the proper etiquette. That is why the word tabe, or “then,” is used in this verse.
Long before the advent of Shripada Shankaracarya, the tridandi sannyasa order existed in the Vaishnava line of Shri Vishnusvami. In the Vishnusvami Vaishnava sampradaya, there are ten different kinds of sannyasa names and 108 different names for sannyasis who accept the tridanda, the triple staff of sannyasa. But at the time of Shankaracarya, who was a Vedantist inclined to impersonalism and who preached the philosophy of monism, the sect of pancopasakas (those who worship five gods) had again become prominent in India. That is why Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted Vedic sannyasa from the Shankara-sampradaya, which uses ten names for their sannyasis. In Aryavarta, many Aryan pseudo-followers of the Vedas became followers of Shankaracarya known as pancopasakas under the guidance of that sampradaya. The ten names of the Shankara sannyasis are Tirtha, Ashrama, Vana, Aranya, Giri, Parvata, Sagara, Sarasvati, Bharati, and Puri. The title and abode of each sannyasi and brahmacari is as follows: Sannyasis with the titles Tirtha and Ashrama generally stay at Dvaraka, and their brahmacari name is Svarupa. Those known by the names Vana and Aranya stay at Purushottama, or Jagannatha Puri, and their brahmacari name is Prakasha. Those with the names Giri, Parvata, and Sagara generally stay at Badarikashrama, and their brahmacari name is Ananda. Those with the titles Sarasvati, Bharati, and Puri usually live at Shrngeri in South India, and their brahmacari name is Chaitanya.
Shripada Shankaracarya established four monasteries in India, in the four directions north, south, east, and west, and he entrusted them to four sannyasi disciples. Now there are hundreds of branch monasteries under these four principal monasteries, and although there is an official symmetry among them, there are many differences in their dealings. The four different sects of these monasteries are known as Anandavara, Bhogavara, Kitavara, and Bhumivara, and in course of time they have developed different ideas and different slogans.
According to the regulation of Shankara’s sect, one who wishes to enter the renounced order in the disciplic succession must first be trained as a brahmacari under a bona fide sannyasi. The brahmacari’s name is ascertained according to the group to which the sannyasi belongs. This custom is current in this sampradaya up to the present day.
Lord Chaitanya superficially accepted sannyasa from Keshava Bharati and became known as Shri Krishna Chaitanya. The Lord kept His brahmacari name even after accepting sannyasa. Those who recorded the Lord’s pastimes did not mention that the Lord ever identified Himself as Bharati. Although a sannyasi in the Shankara-sampradaya thinks that he has become the Supreme, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu considered Himself the eternal servant of Lord Krishna even after He took ekadanda-sannyasa. As the friend of the living entities and spiritual master of the universe, He benefited the conditioned souls by preaching pure devotional service of Lord Krishna among them and never exhibited the pride of an ekadandi-sannyasi. The brahmacaris’ only pride is their service to their spiritual master, which is not unfavorable to devotional service. The authentic biographies also mention that when Lord Chaitanya took sannyasa He accepted the danda (rod) and begging pot, which are symbolic of the sannyasa order.
The word maheshvara is found in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad (4.10 and 6.7) as follows: mayam tu prakritim vidyan mayinam tu maheshvaram-“Although maya [illusion] is false or temporary, the background of maya is the supreme magician, the Personality of Godhead, who is Maheshvara, the supreme controller,” and tam ishvaranam paramam maheshvaram-“You are the supreme controller of all controllers.”
In his commentary on Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.27.23), Shrila Shridhara Svami has quoted the following verses from the Padma Purana:
yo vedadau svarah prokto vedante ca pratishthitah
tasya prakriti-linasya yah parah sa maheshvarah
“He who is described in the Vedas and established in the Vedanta, who exists after the merging of prakriti, is called Maheshvara.”
yo ‘sav akaro vai vishnur vishnur narayano harih
sa eva purusho nityah paramatma maheshvarah
“The original person, who remains after annihilation, is none other than Lord Vishnu, who is certainly nondifferent from Narayana, or Hari. He is the eternal Supersoul known as Maheshvara.”
Also in the Brahma-vaivarta Purana (Prakriti-khanda, Chapter 53) it is said:
vishva-sthanam ca sarvesham mahatamishvarah svayam
maheshvaram ca tenemam pravadanti manishinah
“The wise say that maheshvara refers to the Lord of all places in the universe, which is called mahat.”
The city of Navadvipa is situated on the eastern bank of the Ganges. For a long time it was the capitol of the Sena kings. At present the place formerly known as Navadvipa consists of a number of villages with various names. The place now known as Shri Mayapur is the site wherein the residences of Jagannatha Mishra, Shrivasa Thakura, Shri Advaita Acarya, and Murari Gupta were formerly situated. Due to the change in the course of the Ganges, most of the Navadvipa area of Lord Chaitanya’s time has been submerged. Therefore most of the inhabitants were forced to shift to nearby places. The modern city of Navadvipa is situated at the place known during the time of Lord Chaitanya as Kuliya, or Pahadapura, but in the eighteenth century Navadvipa was situated on the island of Kuliya-daha or Kaliya-daha. In the seventeenth century, however, Navadvipa was situated at the places now known as Nidaya, Shankarapura, and Rudrapada. Previous to that and up to the sixteenth century the Navadvipa of Lord Chaitanya’s time extended throughout the places now known as Shri Mayapur, Ballal-dighi, Vamana-pukura, Shri Nathapura, Bharui-danga, Simuliya, Rudrapada, Taranavasa, Kariyati, and Rama-jivanapura. The present day village of Vamana-pukura was then known as Belpukura, but when this ancient village of Belpukura was shifted to Meghara-cada at the end of the seventeenth century it became known as Vamana-pukura. Ramacandrapura, Kakadera Matha, Shri Ramapura, Babla Adi, and other places were on the western side of the Ganges. Some of these places were part of Koladvipa, and some were part of Modadrumadvipa. Although some places like Cinadanga and Pahadapura are now lost, places like Tegharira Kola, Kola Amada, and Kuliya-ganja of present day Navadvipa still display evidence of ancient Koladvipa. Vidyanagara, Jannagara, Mamgachi, Kovla, etc., on the western side of the Ganges, are supposed to be suburbs of ancient Navadvipa. Various unreasonable arguments regarding the location of ancient Navadvipa began even before the time of Lord Chaitanya and have presently taken a terrible shape due to various reasons. These baseless arguments have not and will not ever be successful. Under the order of perfect devotees like Shrila Jagannatha dasa Babaji it has again been indisputably established that a short distance from the samadhi of Chand Kazi is the site of Jagannatha Mishra and Shacidevi’s house (the Lord’s birthplace) at Shri Mayapur Yogapitha. All impartial historical and spiritual evidence enriched with reason and argument indisputably conclude that the area surrounding present day Mayapur is the site of ancient Navadvipa.
In the twelfth wave of Bhakti-ratnakara it is written: “It is specifically stated in the Vishnu Purana that all of the Lord’s abodes are situated within Nadia. The Vishnu Purana (2.3.6-7) states: ‘Please hear about the nine islands of Bharata-varsha known as Indradvipa, Kasheru, Tamraparna, Gabhastiman, Nagadvipa, Saumya, Gandharva, Varuna, and the ninth, Navadvipa, which is situated near the ocean in the midst of the other eight islands. Navadvipa extends 1,000 yojanas from north to south.’
“In his commentary on these two verses, Shrila Shridhara Svami writes: ‘In these verses the word sagara-samvrita means “near the ocean.” Since the name of the ninth island is not separately mentioned, it is obvious that the ninth island is Navadvipa.’
“In the Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika (18) it is said: ‘All glories to the most wonderful abode of Navadvipa, which those in full knowledge of rasa call Vrindavana, which people of knowledge call Goloka, which others call Shvetadvipa, and still others call Paravyoma, the spiritual sky.’
“Navadvipa is famous throughout the universe as the place where the nine types of devotional service, beginning with hearing, shine brilliantly. The nine varieties of devotional service are enumerated by Prahlada Maharaja in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (7.5.23-24) as follows: ‘Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Vishnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one’s best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words)-these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Krishna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge.’
“Although Shri Navadvipa consists of nine separate islands, they remain one. Throughout Satya, Treta, and Dvapara yugas, up through the beginning of Kali-yuga, the name of Navadvipa was never lost; but as Kali-yuga progresses, the name of Navadvipa will be nearly forgotten. Some persons, however, will realize the abode of Navadvipa. By Krishna’s will, Vajranabha established many villages in Vraja and named them according to the pastimes that were performed there, yet as time passed many of those places were forgotten or renamed. In the same way, the villages of Navadvipa were manifested and named according to the pastimes performed there by the Lord and His devotees, yet some of them were forgotten and some were renamed. The name of Navadvipa, however, remained. Simply by hearing the word dvipa, one’s miseries are diminished. There are nine dvipas on the eastern and western sides of the Ganges. Antardvipa, Simantadvipa, Godrumadvipa, and Shri Madhyadvipa are situated east of the Ganges, while Koladvipa, Ritudvipa, Jahnudvipa, Modadrumadvipa, and Rudradvipa are situated west of the Ganges. Beloved devotees of the Lord headed by Shiva and Parvati eternally reside in the abode of Navadvipa.”
Tridandi Gosvami Shrila Prabodhananda Sarasvati has written in his Navadvipa-shataka (1-2): “Through the nine processes of devotional service, beginning with hearing, remembering, and worshiping, we adore the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna, who is absorbed in the mood of Radharani, who is resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, who in Navadvipa is always engaged in kirtana with associates playing mridangas and karatalas, who is eternally worshipable by all living entities, who is the destroyer of the contamination of the age of Kali, and who is the bestower of happiness to His devotees. We adore Shri Navadvipa-dhama, which is manifested by the Lord’s internal potency, which bestows supreme happiness, which the Chandogya Upanishad glorifies as Para-Brahmapura, which is glorified by the smritis as Vaikuntha, the abode of Vishnu, which is called Shvetadvipa by some great souls, and which is known as Vrindavana by the rare devotees conversant with transcendental mellows.”
The word avatara is explained by Shrila Jiva Gosvami in his Krishna-sandarbha as follows: “An avatara is He who descends into the material realm.” Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhushana has commented on the description of the Lord’s incarnations in Shrila Rupa Gosvami’s Laghu-bhagavatamrita as follows: “When the Absolute Truth incarnates from the spiritual world, Vaikuntha, into this material creation, He is called an avatara.”
In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 2.88-90) it is stated: “Only the Personality of Godhead, the source of all other Divinities, is eligible to be designated svayam bhagavan, or the primeval Lord. When from one candle many others are lit, I consider that one the original. Krishna, in the same way, is the cause of all causes and all incarnations.” The Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 3.28-30) says: “Therefore in the company of My devotees I shall appear on earth and perform various colorful pastimes. Thinking thus, the Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna Himself, descended at Nadia early in the age of Kali. Thus the lionlike Lord Chaitanya has appeared in Navadvipa. He has the shoulders of a lion, the powers of a lion, and the loud voice of a lion.” The Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 3.110) says: “Therefore the principal reason for Shri Chaitanya’s descent is this appeal by Advaita Acarya. The Lord, the protector of religion, appears by the desire of His devotee.” The Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 5.14-15, 19) says: “Beyond the material nature lies the realm known as paravyoma, the spiritual sky. Like Lord Krishna Himself, it possesses all transcendental attributes, such as the six opulences. That Vaikuntha region is all-pervading, infinite and supreme. It is the residence of Lord Krishna and His incarnations. That abode is manifested within the material world by the will of Lord Krishna. It is identical to that original Gokula; they are not two different bodies.” The Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 5.78, 80-82) says: “Although Kshirodashayi Vishnu is called a kala of Lord Krishna, He is the source of Matsya, Kurma and the other incarnations. That purusha [Kshirodakashayi Vishnu] is the performer of creation, maintenance, and destruction. He manifests Himself in many incarnations, for He is the maintainer of the world. That fragment of the Maha-purusha who appears for the purpose of creation, maintenance, and annihilation is called an incarnation. That Maha-purusha is identical with the Personality of Godhead. He is the original incarnation, the seed of all others, and the shelter of everything.” The Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 5.131-132, 127-128, 133) says: “When the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna appears, He is the shelter of all plenary parts. Thus at that time all His plenary portions join in Him. In whatever form one knows the Lord, one speaks of Him in that way. In this there is no falsity, since everything is possible in Krishna. But I accept it as the truth because it has been said by devotees. Since He is the source of all incarnations, everything is possible in Him. They know that there is no difference between the incarnation and the source of all incarnations. Previously different people regarded Lord Krishna in the light of different principles. Therefore Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has exhibited to everyone all the pastimes of all the various incarnations.”
It is also stated in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 20.263-264): “The form of the Lord that descends into the material world to create is called an avatara, or incarnation. All the expansions of Lord Krishna are actually residents of the spiritual world. However, when they descend into the material world, they are called incarnations [avataras].”
For the meaning of the word vishvambhara, please see the purport of the first verse.
CB Adi-khanda 1.8
“amara bhaktera puja-ama haite bada”
sei prabhu vede-bhagavate kaila dadha
That same Supreme Personality of Godhead has declared in the Vedas and Shrimad Bhagavatam, “Worship of My devotees is superior to worship of Me.”
The devotees who worship the opulent feature of the Lord first develop in their hearts the conception that only the worship of the Supreme Lord is important. This conception, however, diminishes the glories of worshiping the devotees and exhibits their lack of love and devotion for the Supreme Lord.
As stated in the Padma Purana:
aradhananam sarvesham vishnor aradhanam param
tasmat parataram devi tadiyanam samarcanam
arcayitva tu govindam tadiyan narcayet tu yah
na sa bhagavato jneyah kevalam dambhikah smritah
“Of all types of worship, worship of Lord Vishnu is best, and better than the worship of Lord Vishnu is the worship of His devotee, the Vaishnava. One who performs worship of Lord Govinda but fails to worship His devotees should be understood to be not a devotee of the Lord but simply a victim of false pride.”
The word dadha means dridha, or “determination.” In the path of awe and reverence, the Supreme Lord alone is worshiped and His servants are the worshipers. But in the path of spontaneous attachment, awe and reverence are not prominent in the relationship between the object of worship and the worshiper; rather, the attitude of service is prominent. The servants have great pride in their service. Therefore the servants in madhurya-rasa consider themselves greater than their worshipable Lord Krishna. In other words, such persons consider their worshipable Lord as their subordinate, or under their control.
The superiority of worshiping the Lord’s devotees is celebrated in the Vedas. Some examples are found in the following statements.
The Mundaka Upanishad (3.1.10) states: tasmad atma-jnam hy arcayed bhuti-kamah-“By worshiping the devotees of the Lord, all one’s desires will be fulfilled.” Baladeva Vidyabhushana has written in his Govinda-bhashya commentary on the Vedanta-sutras (3.3.51): atma-jnam bhagavat-tattva-jnam tad bhaktam ity arthah; bhuti-kamo moksha-paryanta-sampatti-lipsur ity arthah. In other words, if one wants the highest benediction, he should serve the devotees of the Lord.
In Madhvacarya’s commentary on the Vedanta-sutras (3.3.47), he quotes the following from the Poshayana-shrutis: tanupasva tanupacarasva tebhyah shrinu hi te tamavantu-“Worship the devotees of the Lord, serve the devotees of the Lord, and hear from the devotees of the Lord, for they will protect you.”
In the Shvetashvatara Upanishad (6.23) it is stated:
yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah prakashante mahatmanah
“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.” There are many similar statements found in the Vedas.
In the Itihasa-samuccaya it is stated:
tasmad vishnu-prasadaya vaishnavan paritoshayet
prasada-sumukho vishnus tenaiva syan na samshayah
“In order to attain the mercy of Lord Vishnu, one should satisfy the Vaishnavas. There is no doubt that by their mercy, Vishnu will be pleased.” There are many similar statements in the Vaishnava literatures.
CB Adi-khanda 1.9
mad-bhakta-pujabhyadhika sarva-bhuteshu man-matih
“Worshiping My devotees is better than directly worshiping Me.”
When the great devotee Uddhava inquired about pure devotional service and knowledge of the Supreme Lord for the welfare of the living entities, Lord Krishna glorified His devotees in this verse from the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.19.21) while describing the various limbs of pure devotional service.
CB Adi-khanda 1.10
eteke karila age bhaktera vandana
ataeva ache karya siddhira lakshana
I have therefore offered my prayers first to the devotees, as this is the secret for attaining perfection.
In the Adi Purana, it is stated:
ye me bhakta-janah partha na me bhaktash ca te janah
mad bhaktanam ca ye bhaktas te me bhaktatamah matah
“My dear Partha, those who claim to be My devotees are not My devotees, but those who claim to be devotees of My devotees are actually My devotees.”
Also in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.17.2) it is said:
durapa hy alpa-tapasah seva vaikuntha-vartmasu
yatropagiyate nityam deva-devo janardanah
“Persons whose austerity is meager can hardly obtain the service of the pure devotees who are progressing on the path back to the kingdom of Godhead, the Vaikunthas. Pure devotees engage one hundred percent in glorifying the Supreme Lord, who is the Lord of the demigods and the controller of all living entities.”
In the Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda, it is stated:
arcayitva tu govindam tadiyan narcayet tu yah
na sa bhagavato jneyah kevalam dambhikah smritah
tasmad sarva-prayatnena vaishnavan pujayet sada
sarvam tarati duhkhaugham mahabhagavatarcanat
“One who performs worship of Lord Govinda but fails to worship His devotees should be understood to be not a devotee of the Lord but simply a victim of false pride. One should always worship the Vaishnavas by all means, for by worshiping the great devotees one is freed from all miseries.”
In this way various other statements glorifying the worship of pure devotees are found in the scriptures.
The word karya-siddhi is explained by Baladeva Vidyabhushana in his Govinda-bhashya commentary on the Vedanta-sutras (3.3.51), wherein he quotes from the Shandilya-smriti as follows:
siddhir bhavati va neti samshayo ‘cyuta sevinam
nihsamshayas tu tad bhakta paricaryaratatmanam
kevalam bhagavat-pada- sevaya vimalam manah
na jayate yatha nityam tad bhakta-caranarcanat
“One may doubt whether the servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead will attain perfection, but there is absolutely no doubt that those who are attached to serving His devotees will attain perfection. One’s mind is not as fully purified by serving the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord as it is by serving the feet of His devotees.”
Shrila Kaviraja Gosvami has written in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 1.20-21) as follows: “In the beginning of this narration, simply by remembering the spiritual master, the devotees of the Lord, and the Personality of Godhead, I have invoked their benedictions. Such remembrance destroys all difficulties and very easily enables one to fulfill his own desires.”
CB Adi-khanda 1.11
ishta-deva vandon mora nityananda-raya
chaitanya-kirti sphure yanhara kripaya
I offer my respectful obeisances unto Shri Nityananda Raya, for He is my worshipable Lord. By His mercy the glories of Lord Chaitanya become manifest.
After first offering respects to the Vaishnavas, the author offers obeisances to his own spiritual master and then begins to describe the pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The mercy of Lord Nityananda, the author’s spiritual master, is the main qualification in his endeavor.
It is to be remembered that svayam-prakasha Shri Nityananda-Baladeva, who is nondifferent from svayam-rupa Shri Gaura-Krishna, is the source of the following vishnu-tattvas: Mula-Sankarshana, Maha-Sankarshana, the three purushavataras-Karanodakashayi Vishnu, Garbhodakashayi Vishnu, and Kshirodakashayi Vishnu-as well as the thousand-headed Ananta Shesha.
CB Adi-khanda 1.12
sahasra-vadana vandon prabhu-balarama
yanhara sahasra-mukhe krishna-yashodhama
I offer my respectful obeisances unto the thousand-headed Lord Balarama. His thousands of mouths are the abode of Lord Krishna’s transcendental glories.
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.2.13) the Supreme Lord glorifies Balarama before Yogamaya as follows: “He will be called Rama because of His ability to please all the inhabitants of Gokula, and He will be known as Balabhadra because of His extensive physical strength.”
In the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 5.116-117 and 120-122) it is said: “That Lord Vishnu is but a part of a part of a plenary portion of Lord Nityananda, who is the source of all incarnations. That same Lord Vishnu, in the form of Lord Shesha, holds the planets upon His heads, although He does not know where they are, for He cannot feel their existence upon His heads. That Ananta Shesha is the devotee incarnation of Godhead. He knows nothing but service to Lord Krishna. With His thousands of mouths He sings the glories of Lord Krishna, but although He always sings in that way, He does not find an end to the qualities of the Lord. The four Kumaras hear Shrimad Bhagavatam from His lips, and they in turn repeat it in the transcendental bliss of love of Godhead.”
The word yashodhama means “the storehouse of all transcendental qualities and glories.”
It is to be understood that svayam-prakasha Shri Nityananda-Baladeva, who appears in a two-armed humanlike form holding a plow, increases the ecstasy of krishna-prema by constantly engaging in the service of Shri Gaura-Krishna in the mood of a devotee. Shri Ananta Shesha, the plenary portion of Lord Baladeva, holds all the universes on His hoods. His matchless service of always glorifying the qualities of Shri Gaura, His worshipable Lord, is being described here. Shri Anantadeva constantly recites Shrimad Bhagavatam to the great brahmana sages headed by the four Kumaras. He is the Lord and guru of the author, who is the incarnation of Vyasadeva for describing the pastimes of Shri Gaura-Krishna.
The thousand-headed Lord Anantadeva’s recitation of Shrimad Bhagavatam, which is full of the glories of Lord Krishna, is described in Citraketu’s prayers to Lord Sankarshana in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (6.16.40, 43) as follows: “O unconquerable one, when You spoke about bhagavata-dharma, which is the uncontaminated religious system for achieving the shelter of Your lotus feet, that was Your victory. Persons who have no material desires, like the Kumaras, who are self-satisfied sages, worship You to be liberated from material contamination. In other words, they accept the process of bhagavata-dharma to achieve shelter at Your lotus feet. My dear Lord, one’s occupational duty is instructed in Shrimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita according to Your point of view, which never deviates from the highest goal of life. Those who follow their occupational duties under Your supervision, being equal to all living entities, moving and nonmoving, and not considering high and low, are called Aryans. Such Aryans worship You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
Another meaning of krishna-yashodhama is Shrimad Bhagavatam, which is the treasure house of Lord Krishna’s transcendental glories.
CB Adi-khanda 1.13
maha-ratna thui yena mahapriya-sthane
yasho-ratna-bhandara shri ananta-vadane
Lord Ananta’s mouths are the storehouse of the gemlike glories of Lord Krishna, for valuable jewels are kept in a most appropriate place.
The word thui in this verse means “to keep.”
As people keep valuable jewels in the care of a dear and faithful person, Shri Gaurasundara Mahaprabhu, who is nondifferent from the son of the king of Vraja, has kept the unlimited treasure of His qualities and pastimes with Anantadeva, who is the plenary portion of Baladeva-Nityananda. Thus Gaura gives the thousand-headed Anantadeva the opportunity to serve Him by reciting His glories in the form of Shrimad Bhagavatam.
Lord Ananta is described by Shri Shukadeva Gosvami to Maharaja Parikshit in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.25.1) as follows: “My dear King, approximately 240,000 miles beneath the planet Patala lives another incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the expansion of Lord Vishnu known as Lord Ananta or Lord Sankarshana. He is always in the transcendental position, but because He is worshiped by Lord Shiva, the deity of tamo-guna or darkness, He is sometimes called tamasi.”
In his commentary of the Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.17.17), Shrila Madhvacarya quotes from the Brahmanda Purana as follows: anantantah sthito vishnur anantash ca sahamuna-“Because Vishnu is the shelter of the unlimited, He is called Ananta, or unlimited.”
In Part 2 of the Vishnu Purana (5.13-27) there is a description of Ananta Shesha’s unlimited prowess. He is the object of all devotees’ worship, He possesses a thousand hoods or heads, He holds a club and plow, and He has various opulences such as an enormous body.
CB Adi-khanda 1.14
ataeva age balaramera stavana
karile se mukhe sphure chaitanya-kirtana
Therefore in the beginning I offer my prayers to Lord Balarama, so that the glories of Lord Chaitanya will manifest from my mouth.
For further descriptions of the glories of Lord Balarama, please see Lord Shiva’s prayers to Lord Sankarshana in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.17.17-24), Shri Shukadeva Gosvami’s prayers to Lord Sankarshana in Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.25.1-13), Narada Muni’s glorification of Lord Sankarshana to King Citraketu in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (6.16.18-25), King Citraketu’s prayers to Sankarshana in the same chapter (verses 34-48), and Lord Krishna’s prayers to Baladeva in the Vishnu Purana, Part 5 (9.22-31). By considering these statements from the scriptures, it is understood that by offering prayers or glorifying the names and qualities of Lord Nityananda Rama, who is the personification of Vaishnava scriptures, a living entity’s material designations or bondage, which are born out of nescience, are destroyed. The purified living entity then accepts Lord Nityananda Rama as his spiritual master, and with a purified tongue he glorifies the worshipable Lord Shri Krishna Chaitanya under Nityananda Prabhu’s guidance.
CB Adi-khanda 1.15
yateka karaye prabhu, sakala-uddama
Lord Balarama has thousands of hoods, and all of His activities are extraordinary.
Lord Ananta’s thousands of hoods are described in Lord Shiva’s prayers to Lord Sankarshana in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.17.21) as follows: “All the great sages accept the Lord as the source of creation, maintenance, and destruction, although He actually has nothing to do with these activities. Therefore the Lord is called unlimited. Although the Lord in His incarnation as Shesha holds all the universes on His thousands of hoods, each universe feels no heavier than a mustard seed to Him. Therefore, what person desiring perfection will not worship the Lord?”
Shri Shukadeva Gosvami tells Maharaja Parikshit in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.25.2): “This great universe, situated on one of Lord Anantadeva’s thousands of hoods, appears just like a white mustard seed. It is infinitesimal compared to the hood of Lord Ananta.”
In this connection, please see verses 12 and 13 of the same chapter of Shrimad Bhagavatam, quoted by the author as verses 56 and 57 of this first chapter. King Citraketu also prays to Lord Sankarshana in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (6.16.48) as follows: “The Supreme Personality of Godhead holds all the universes on His heads like seeds of mustard. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You, that Supreme Personality, who has thousands of hoods.”
The word uddama in this verse means “independent” or “moving by one’s own will,” as well as “exceedingly powerful.” In this connection one may refer to Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.17.17-24, 5.25.1-13, and 6.16.34-48).
CB Adi-khanda 1.16
chaitanya-candrera yashomatta mahadhira
The Supreme Lord Balarama carries a plow and possesses a gigantic body. Although He is exceptionally grave, He is intoxicated by the glories of Lord Chaitanya.
Shri Shukadeva Gosvami describes the characteristics of Anantadeva, who sustains the universes and is the Lord of Patalaloka, in the following words from Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.25.7): “Dressed in bluish garments and wearing a single earring, He holds a plow on His back with His two beautiful and well-constructed hands.”
While describing the prabhava and vaibhava features of the Lord in his Laghu-bhagavatamrita (Purva 62), Shrila Rupa Gosvami writes: “Lord Ananta, the plenary portion of Shri Baladeva who holds the universes on His hoods, resides in Patalaloka. This Sankarshana recited Shrimad Bhagavatam to the brahmanas and sages headed by the four Kumaras. His neck is beautified with a forest flower garland, His hoods are decorated with brightly shining jewels, He is dressed in blue garments, and He holds a plow, a club, and a trident in His hands.”
The word mahaprabhu is explained in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (7.14) as follows: “One of Them is Mahaprabhu, and the other two are prabhus. These two prabhus serve the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu.” Nevertheless the plow-carrying Shri Baladeva Prabhu is the personal manifestation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Gaura-Krishna; He is the predominating Deity of the sandhini energy, the original Sankarshana, the reservoir of all living entities, and the original source of all vishnu-tattvas. Being a fully devoted servant of Baladeva, the author therefore uses the title Mahaprabhu to address Shri Ananta Shesha, who is the plenary portion of Balarama and nondifferent from Him. The author’s conclusion is therefore justified.
The word prakanda-sharira in this verse is explained in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (5.119) as follows: “The universe, which measures five hundred million yojanas in diameter, rests on one of His hoods like a mustard seed.”
King Citraketu prays to Lord Sankarshana in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (6.16.37) as follows: “There are innumerable universes besides this one, and although they are unlimitedly large, they move about like atoms in You. Therefore You are called unlimited [ananta].” Please also refer to the Shrimad Bhagavatam verses (5.17.21, 5.25.2, and 6.16.48) as cited in verse 15 of this chapter.
Another reading for the second line is chaitanya-candrera rase matta mahadhira-“Although He is exceptionally grave, He is intoxicated by the transcendental mellows of Lord Chaitanya.”
CB Adi-khanda 1.17
tatodhika caitanyera priya nahi ara
niravadhi sei dehe karena vihara
There is no one more dear to Lord Chaitanya than Nityananda, therefore Lord Chaitanya always enjoys pastimes within Him.
The Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 5.4-6) further states: “The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is the fountainhead of all incarnations. Lord Balarama is His second body. They are both one and the same identity. They differ only in form. He is the first bodily expansion of Krishna, and He assists in Lord Krishna’s transcendental pastimes. That original Lord Krishna appeared in Navadvipa as Lord Chaitanya, and Balarama appeared with Him as Lord Nityananda.” Then in Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 5.8-11) it is stated: “Lord Balarama is the original Sankarshana. He assumes five other forms to serve Lord Krishna. He Himself helps in the pastimes of Lord Krishna, and He does the work of creation in four other forms. He executes the orders of Lord Krishna in the work of creation, and in the form of Lord Shesha He serves Krishna in various ways. In all the forms He tastes the transcendental bliss of serving Krishna. That same Balarama is Lord Nityananda, the companion of Lord Gaurasundara.” In the same chapter (verses 120, 124, 137, and 156) it is said: “That Ananta Shesha is the devotee incarnation of Godhead. He knows nothing but service to Lord Krishna. He is thus called Lord Shesha, for He has attained the ultimate end of servitude to Krishna. He takes many forms for the service of Krishna, and thus He serves the Lord. He considers Himself a servant and knows Krishna to be His master. Thus He regards Himself as a fragment of His plenary portion. Lord Chaitanya is the same Lord Krishna, and Lord Nityananda is Lord Balarama. Lord Nityananda fulfills all of Lord Chaitanya’s desires.”
It should be understood that Shri Nityananda-Sankarshana Prabhu is the Supreme Absolute Truth, Lord Vishnu, so He is the qualitatively equal personal manifestation of the original Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna. In other words, Shri Nityananda Prabhu is the predominating Deity of the sandhini energy, the sustainer of the spiritual world, and the source of pure goodness.
In the Chaitanya-bhagavata (Madhya 12.55-58) it is stated: “Lord Chaitanya said: Whoever worships Lord Nityananda with faith and devotion also worships Me. The lotus feet of Nityananda are worshiped by Shiva and Brahma, therefore you should all worship Him with love. If one has even a fraction of a portion of envy towards Nityananda, he is not accepted by Me even if he’s a devotee. Lord Krishna will never give up one who has been touched by the air that has touched the body of Nityananda.”
CB Adi-khanda 1.18
tanhara caritra yeba jane shune, gaya
shri krishna chaitanya-tanre parama sahaya
Shri Krishna Chaitanya is most satisfied with one who chants or hears the characteristics of Lord Nityananda.
The glories of those who chant or hear the qualities of Sankarshana, or Shri Nityananda Rama, are mentioned in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.17.18-19). In Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.25.8) it is stated: “If persons who are very serious about being liberated from material life hear the glories of Anantadeva from the mouth of a spiritual master in the chain of disciplic succession, and if they always meditate upon Sankarshana, the Lord enters the cores of their hearts, vanquishes all the dirty contamination of the material modes of nature, and cuts to pieces the hard knot within the heart, which has been tied tightly since time immemorial by the desire to dominate material nature through fruitive activities. Narada Muni, the son of Lord Brahma, always glorifies Anantadeva in his father’s assembly. There he sings blissful verses of his own composition, accompanied by his stringed instrument [or a celestial singer] known as Tumburu.” Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.25.11), which is quoted as text 55 of this chapter, should also be seen.
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (6.16.34, 44) Citraketu prays to Lord Sankarshana as follows: “O unconquerable Lord, although You cannot be conquered by anyone, You are certainly conquered by devotees who have control of the mind and senses. They can keep You under their control because You are causelessly merciful to devotees who desire no material profit from You. Indeed, You give Yourself to them, and because of this You also have full control over Your devotees. My Lord, it is not impossible for one to be immediately freed from all material contamination by seeing You. Not to speak of seeing You personally, merely by hearing the holy name of Your Lordship only once, even candalas, men of the lowest class, are freed from all material contamination. Under the circumstances, who will not be freed from material contamination simply by seeing You?”
CB Adi-khanda 1.19
mahaprita haya tanre mahesha-parvati
jihvaya sphuraye tanra shuddha sarasvati
Lord Shiva and Parvati also become pleased with such a person, and the transcendental goddess of learning, Sarasvati, manifests on his tongue.
Lord Sankarshana is situated in the heart of Lord Shiva. Considering Lord Sankarshana their worshipable Lord, Shiva and Parvati eternally worship Him with prayers. In this regard please see Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.17.16-24). Therefore one who hears or chants the characteristics of Lord Nityananda, who is the original Sankarshana, pleases Shiva and Parvati, who accept that person as a servant of their worshipable Lord.
That Lord Baladeva always steadfastly increases the happiness of Lord Krishna. The words that are spoken in connection with Krishna’s service by pure living entities who desire to serve Lord Krishna under the guidance of Baladeva Prabhu are called shuddha (transcendental) Sarasvati. The words that are devoid of connection with Krishna’s service spoken by those who desire to satisfy their senses and ignore the guidance of Baladeva Prabhu are called asati or dushta (unchaste or wicked) Sarasvati.
CB Adi-khanda 1.20
parvati-prabhriti navarbuda nari lana
sankarshana puje shiva, upasaka hana
Along with Parvati and innumerable maidservants, Lord Shiva engages in the worship of Sankarshana.
Shri Shukadeva Gosvami glorifies Sankarshana before Parikshit Maharaja in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.25.1) as follows: “Lord Ananta is the predominating Deity of the material mode of ignorance as well as the false ego of all conditioned souls. When a conditioned living being thinks, ‘I am the enjoyer, and this world is meant to be enjoyed by me,’ this conception of life is dictated to him by Sankarshana. Thus the mundane conditioned soul thinks himself the Supreme Lord.” See also Shridhara Svami’s Bhavartha-dipika commentary on this verse. In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.2.13) the Supreme Lord says to Yogamaya: “The son of Rohini will also be celebrated as Sankarshana because of being sent from the womb of Devaki to the womb of Rohini.”
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.17.16) it is said: “In Ilavrita-varsha, Lord Shiva is always encircled by ten billion maidservants of goddess Durga, who minister to him. The quadruple expansion of the Supreme Lord is composed of Vasudeva, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, and Sankarshana. Sankarshana, the fourth expansion, is certainly transcendental, but because his activities of destruction in the material world are in the mode of ignorance, He is known as tamasi, the Lord’s form in the mode of ignorance. Lord Shiva knows that Sankarshana is the original cause of his own existence, and thus he always meditates upon Him in trance by chanting the following mantra.” The mantra chanted by Lord Shiva is found in Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.17.17-24).
Shrila Madhvacarya writes in his commentary on Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.17.17): “In Ilavrita-varsha, the Lord is worshiped by Lord Shiva, who is considerate to the jivas and dependent on the Supersoul.”
In the Brihad-bhagavatamrita (1.2.97-98, 1.3.1, and 2.3.66) it is stated: “Lord Shiva worships the most enchanting, equally powerful and opulent Lord Sankarshana, who is adored with camaras and an umbrella and surrounded by associates. Is it not wonderful that even Shiva accepts Sankarshana as his worshipable Lord? In Shivaloka, Narada Muni watches the most opulent Shiva become absorbed while chanting and dancing in the mood of a devotee as he worships Lord Sankarshana. Although Shiva is the lord of the universe, he accepts the mood of a servant and eternally worships the thousand-headed Shesha with love.”
In his description of the lila-avataras in the Laghu-bhagavatamrita (Purva 87-88) Shrila Rupa Gosvami writes: “He who is the second expansion of the catur-vyuha in Goloka is known as Sankarshana. He merges with Shesha, who supports all universes, and then appears as Lord Balarama, a lila-avatara. Shesha has two forms-one supports all universes, and one serves as the bed for the Vishnu incarnations. The former Shesha is the empowered incarnation of Sankarshana and is therefore also known as Sankarshana.” In the description on the prabhava and vaibhava features of the Lord in the Laghu-bhagavatamrita (Purva 62) it is stated: “Lord Ananta, the plenary portion of Shri Baladeva who holds the universes on His hoods, resides in Patalaloka. This Sankarshana recited Shrimad Bhagavatam to the brahmanas and sages headed by the four Kumaras. His neck is beautified with a forest flower garland, His hoods are decorated with brightly shining jewels, He is dressed in blue garments, and He holds a plow, club, and trident in His hands.” Again, in the description on the catur-vyuha expansions of the Lord in the Laghu-bhagavatamrita (Purva 167), it is stated: “As the second expansion of the catur-vyuha, Shri Sankarshana is the vilasa-vigraha of Vasudeva, the first expansion of the catur-vyuha. Since He is the reservoir of all living entities, He is also known as jiva.”
CB Adi-khanda 1.21
panca-skandera ei bhagavata-katha
sarva vaishnavera vandya balarama-gatha
The topics in the Fifth Canto of the Shrimad Bhagavatam concerning Lord Balarama, the original Sankarshana, are glorified by all Vaishnavas.
Please see Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.17.16-24) in this regard. Those who accept Vishnu as the Supreme Lord are called Vaishnavas, and Mula-Sankarshana, or Balarama, is the source of all vishnu-tattvas. Therefore it is the duty of all Vaishnavas to glorify Mula-Sankarshana, who is nondifferent from Lord Balarama. As Shukadeva Gosvami explains to Maharaja Parikshit in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.25.4, 7-8): “When the unalloyed devotees and the leaders of the snakes offer their obeisances to Lord Sankarshana with great devotion, they become very joyful. The demigods, the demons, the Uragas [serpentine demigods], the Siddhas, the Gandharvas, the Vidyadharas and many highly elevated sages constantly offer prayers to the Lord. He pleases His personal associates, the heads of the demigods, by the sweet vibrations emanating from His mouth. Narada Muni, the son of Lord Brahma, always glorifies Anantadeva in his father’s assembly. There he sings blissful verses of his own composition, accompanied by his stringed instrument [or a celestial singer] known as Tumburu.” In this regard one may also see verses 53-57 of this chapter.
CB Adi-khanda 1.22
tana rasa-krida-katha-parama udara
vrindavane gopi-sane karila vihara
The narrations of Lord Balarama’s rasa-lila pastimes with the gopis in Vrindavana are most exalted.
The definition of rasa-krida is given by Shridhara Svami in his Bhavartha-dipika commentary on the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.33.1) as follows: “Rasa-lila refers to a particular type of dance involving many women dancers.” In his Brihad-vaishnava-toshani, Sanatana Gosvami gives the characteristics of the rasa dance as follows: “When many women join hands in a circle and are embraced around the neck by male dancers it is called a rasa dance.” In the book named Sangita-sara it is stated: “When a male dancer performs, being surrounded by a circle of many women dancers moving about, it is called a hallishaka. When a hallishaka dance is accompanied by various refined talas (tunes), dance steps, and gestures, it is called a rasa dance. As it does not exist even in heaven, what is the question of it existing on earth?” In his Sarartha-darshini commentary on the Shrimad Bhagavatam, Vishvanatha Cakravarti states: “Rasa-krida refers to a rasa dance in which there is a mixture of ingredients such as dancing, singing, kissing, and embracing.”
The word udara in this verse means “great” or “exalted.”
Jiva Gosvami describes Balarama’s rasa-krida in his Laghu-toshani or Vaishnava-toshani commentary on Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.65.16) as follows: “Shri Baladeva, who is nondifferent from Sankarshana, solaced the damsels of Vrindavana by singing the glories of Krishna’s names. Sometimes Shri Baladeva draws Krishna from Dvaraka by His mind and presents Him before a particular gopi in a secluded place, therefore He is known as Sankarshana.” He then says, “In this way it is reasonable to say that Shri Baladeva performed rasa-lila with His own gopis. Because He is the all-knowing Supreme Lord and endowed with all potencies, He knows the internal feelings of His eternal beloved gopis. If one explains this verse in another way it would dimish the prestige of Dvaraka, so there is no need to further elaborate on this.” He further says, “At this juncture, Baladeva’s mood as the older brother did not manifest in order to protect the pathetic gopis.” He also gives a description in his Krama-sandarbha commentary as follows: “The all-attractive Baladeva, who is also known as Sankarshana, attracts Krishna by His mind and reveals Him. The word tah refers to Krishna’s beloved girlfriends.” Also in his Brihat-krama-sandarbha, Jiva Gosvami says that the word tah refers to Krishna’s gopis.
For an explanation of gopi-sane vihara, see the purport of verse 25.
There is a difference between the rasa-krida of Krishna with His gopis and the rasa-krida of Balarama with His gopis. The arenas of the two rasa-lilas are situated in different places within Vrindavana. Such spiritually variegated activities are of two types-maryada, or awe and reverent, and madhurya, or sweet. We must be extremely careful to protect our vision of spiritual variegatedness from the attack of monism. Although svayam-rupa Krishna and svayam-prakasha Baladeva are nondifferent, the distinction between Their pastimes must not be denied. Even though Shri Baladeva belongs to the category of the supreme shelter, He is the prime example amongst the subordinates of the Lord.
CB Adi-khanda 1.23
dui-masa vasanta, madhava-madhu-name
halayudha-rasa-krida kahaye purane
The Puranas describe how Lord Balarama performs His rasa-lila in the two months of spring-Madhava and Madhu.
According to Shridhara Svami’s commentary, the word madhu in this verse means Caitra (March-April) and madhava means Vaishakha (April-May). Halayudha refers to Balarama, and purane means in the Shrimad Bhagavatam and in the Vishnu Purana (5.24.21 and 5.25.18).
CB Adi-khanda 1.24
se sakala shloka ei shuna bhagavate
shri shuka kahena, shune raja-parikshite
Now please hear those verses that were spoken by Shukadeva Gosvami to Parikshit Maharaja in the Shrimad Bhagavatam.
In the following four verses from the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.65.17-18 and 10.65.21-22), Shri Shukadeva Gosvami narrates to Parikshit Maharaja the full moon night rasa-lila of Balarama and His gopi friends. Shukadeva had previously just described Baladeva’s arrival in Gokula to receive the affection of His juniors, meet His former Vraja friends, and solace those who were afflicted by separation from Krishna, such as the elders, headed by Nanda and Yashoda, the friends of the same age, and the gopis, who had fully dedicated their lives to Krishna.
CB Adi-khanda 1.25
dvau masau tatra cavatsin madhum madhavam eva ca
ramah kshapasu bhagavan gopinam ratim avahan
Lord Balarama, the Personality of Godhead, resided there for the two months of Madhu and Madhava, and during the nights He gave His cowherd girlfriends conjugal pleasure.
Balarama’s rasa-lila is described by Shri Sanatana Gosvami in his Brihad-vaishnava-toshani commentary as follows: “In this way Shri Baladeva first solaced those gopis who were attached to Krishna and thus fulfilled the principle purpose of His visit. He thus exhibited His affection for the residents of Vraja. Thereafter He enjoyed spring pastimes with other gopis.” He then says, “Regarding the words ratim avahan, rati refers to the original mellow, adi-rasa, or conjugal love, the prefix a means ‘properly,’ and the word vahan means ‘having received.’ Because He is ramah, He is expert in conjugal affairs. He is also the Supreme Lord, so He is very expert in the various types of conjugal pastimes mentioned in the Kama-shastras. Or the word tah (in the previous Bhagavatam verse) can also refer to those gopis who are greatly afflicted out of separation from Krishna and whose only desire was to see Krishna. Therefore Balarama resided in Vrindavana for two months in order to please the gopis of Vraja with conjugal pastimes at night. By the use of the word ca it is understood that Lord Balarama remained in Vrindavana for more than two months, because the gopis were greatly afflicted by feelings of separation and because Lord Baladeva is most merciful and gives happiness to everyone.”
In his Laghu-toshani commentary, Shri Jiva Gosvami writes: “The word gopinam in this verse refers to other gopis, for the use of the word gopi does not always refer to Krishna’s gopis. If one says that both subject matters are the same-Krishna enjoyed pastimes at night with the gopis, and Baladeva also enjoyed pastimes at night with the gopis-so there is no difference between Krishna’s gopis and Balarama’s gopis. In reply to this it may be said that no one should have such doubts, because the gopis described in the previous rasa pastimes are different from these gopis. Therefore one should understand that Balarama’s gopis are different. So Shri Baladeva expertly pacified Krishna’s beloved gopis and then went to those gopis in whose presence He was once teased by Krishna, who said, ‘My dear older brother, the gopis are desiring the touch of Your broad chest and the embrace of Your two arms.’ These joking words indicated that although Balarama did not touch those gopis at the time, it would take place in the future. There no mention that after Krishna killed Shankhacuda and played Holi with His beloved gopis that these gopis, described as subordinate to Krishna’s beloved gopis, received Krishna’s touch, so it should be understood that Krishna instructed these gopis to carefully protect their chastity for the pleasure of Balarama. According to this, it should be understood that Krishna solaced these gopis as explained above. The word kshapasu means ‘most confidential.’ The word ramah in this verse refers to one who is qualified for enjoying.” In his Krama-sandarbha, Jiva Gosvami writes: “The gopis refered to in this verse as Balarama’s gopis are those who played Holi along with Krishna’s gopis after the killing of Shankhacuda. It should be understood at this point that these gopis remained chaste under Krishna’s instrutions. There is no mention of these gopis receiving the touch of Balarama in His earlier Vraja pastimes; there is only some mention of their strong attachment for Balarama. Therefore Krishna mercifully requested them to protect their chastity for the pleasure of Balarama.” In his Brihat-krama-sandarbha, Jiva Gosvami writes: “‘He pleased His gopis’ means that He pleased His own group of gopis.”
In his Sarartha-darshini commentary, Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has quoted Shridhara Svami as follows: “The conjugal affairs of the gopis mentioned in this verse relate with those gopis who had either not taken birth when Krishna enjoyed His rasa-lila pastimes or who were too young to take part. This is the standard understanding of the previous acaryas. Our Prabhupada, Shri Sanatana Gosvami, has stated that these beloved gopis of Balarama were those who had joined Krishna’s beloved gopis in the Holi pastimes after the killing of Shankhacuda.”
CB Adi-khanda 1.26
yamunopavane reme sevite stri-ganair vritah
In the company of numerous women, Lord Balarama enjoyed in a garden by the Yamuna River. This garden was bathed in the rays of the full moon and caressed by breezes bearing the fragrance of night-blooming lotuses.
Balarama’s rasa-lila is described by Shri Sanatana Gosvami in his Brihad-vaishnava-toshani commentary as follows: “In order to please Balarama and increase the beauty of Vrindavana, the eternal full moon of the transcendental abode appeared. In this verse the phrase sevite stri-ganair-’in the company of numerous women’ refers to gopis other than those who enjoyed pastimes with Krishna.”
In his Sarartha-darshini commentary, Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura states: “Shri Balarama enjoyed His rasa-lila pastimes on the banks of the Yamuna at the famous place called Rama-ghata. This place is far away from the place of Krishna’s rasa-lila pastimes.”
CB Adi-khanda 1.27-28
upagiyamano gandharvair vanita-shobhi-mandale
reme karenu-yuthesho mahendra iva varanah
nedur dundubhayo vyomni vavrishuh kusumair muda
gandharva munayo ramam tad-viryair idire tada
As the Gandharvas sang His glories, Lord Balarama enjoyed within the brilliant circle of young women. He appeared just like Indra’s elephant, the lordly Airavata, enjoying in the company of she-elephants. At that time kettledrums resounded in the sky, the Gandharvas joyfully rained down flowers, and the great sages praised Lord Balarama’s heroic deeds.
Some editions have udgayan instead of upagiyamano and mahendro varano yatha instead of mahendra iva varanah. [In either case the meaning is the same.] Since these two verses from Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.65.21-22) have not been commented on by Shridhara Svami, Sanatana Gosvami, Jiva Gosvami, or Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, it appears that these verses are not found in some editions of Shrimad Bhagavatam. Explanations on these two verses may be found in the Bhagavata-candra-candrika commentary of Viraraghava Acarya, who comes in the Ramanuja-sampradaya, and in the Pada-ratnavali commentary of Vijayadhvaja Tirtha, who comes in the Madhva-sampradaya.
CB Adi-khanda 1.29
ye stri-sanga muni-gane karena nindana
tanrao ramera rase karena stavana
Sages condemn the association of women, yet they glorify Lord Balarama’s association with the cowherd girls in the rasa dance.
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.1.3-4) Shri Shukadeva Gosvami condemns the association of women and those who are attached to women in the following statement to Parikshit Maharaja: “O King, the lifetime of such an envious householder is passed at night either in sleeping or in sex indulgence, and in the daytime either in making money or maintaining family members. Persons devoid of atma-tattva do not inquire into the problems of life, being too attached to the fallible soldiers like the body, children, and wife. Although sufficiently experienced, they still do not see their inevitable destruction.”
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (3.31.32-42) Lord Kapiladeva says to His mother, Devahuti, “If, therefore, the living entity again associates with the path of unrighteousness, influenced by sensually minded people engaged in the pursuit of sexual enjoyment and the gratification of the palate, he again goes to hell as before. He becomes devoid of truthfulness, cleanliness, mercy, gravity, spiritual intelligence, shyness, austerity, fame, forgiveness, control of the mind, control of the senses, fortune, and all such opportunities. One should not associate with a coarse fool who is bereft of the knowledge of self-realization and who is no more than a dancing dog in the hands of a woman. The infatuation and bondage which accrue to a man from attachment to any other object is not as complete as that resulting from attachment to a woman or to the fellowship of men who are fond of women. At the sight of his own daughter, Brahma was bewildered by her charms and shamelessly ran up to her in the form of a stag when she took the form of a hind. Amongst all kinds of living entities begotten by Brahma, namely men, demigods, and animals, none but the sage Narayana is immune to the attraction of maya in the form of woman. Just try to understand the mighty strength of My maya in the shape of woman, who by the mere movement of her eyebrows can keep even the greatest conquerors of the world under her grip. One who aspires to reach the culmination of yoga and has realized his self by rendering service unto Me should never associate with an attractive woman, for such a woman is declared in the scripture to be the gateway to hell for the advancing devotee. The woman, created by the Lord, is the representation of maya, and one who associates with such maya by accepting services must certainly know that this is the way of death, just like a blind well covered with grass. A living entity who, as a result of attachment to a woman in his previous life, has been endowed with the form of a woman, foolishly looks upon maya in the form of a man, her husband, as the bestower of wealth, progeny, house, and other material assets. A woman, therefore, should consider her husband, her house, and her children to be the arrangement of the external energy of the Lord for her death, just as the sweet singing of the hunter is death for the deer.”
Narada Muni speaks the following words to Maharaja Pracinabarhi in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (4.25.6): “Those who are interested only in a so-called beautiful life-namely remaining as a householder entangled by sons and a wife and searching after wealth-think that such things are life’s ultimate goal. Such people simply wander in different types of bodies throughout this material existence without finding out the ultimate goal of life.”
Narada Muni describes the story of Puranjana and Puranjani to Maharaja Pracinabarhi in the Fourth Canto of the Shrimad Bhagavatam from Chapter Twenty-five, verse 10, to Chapter Twenty-nine, verse 51. Yet he particularly points out the ill effects of associating with women and the benefits of pleasing Lord Hari in verse 28 of the Twenty-eighth Chapter.
Again in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (4.29.54-55) Narada Muni further explains to Maharaja Pracinabarhi, “My dear King, woman, who is very attractive in the beginning but in the end very disturbing, is exactly like the flower, which is attractive in the beginning and detestable at the end. With woman, the living entity is entangled with lusty desires, and he enjoys sex, just as one enjoys the aroma of a flower. He thus enjoys a life of sense gratification-from his tongue to his genitals-and in this way the living entity considers himself very happy in family life. United with his wife, he always remains absorbed in such thoughts. He feels great pleasure in hearing the talks of his wife and children, which are like the sweet humming of bumblebees that collect honey from flower to flower. He forgets that before him is time, which is taking away his life-span with the passing of day and night. He does not see the gradual diminishing of his life, nor does he care about the superintendent of death, who is trying to kill him from behind. Just try to understand this. You are in a precarious position and are threatened from all sides. My dear King, just try to understand the allegorical position of the deer. Be fully conscious of yourself, and give up the pleasure of hearing about promotion to heavenly planets by fruitive activity. Give up household life, which is full of sex, as well as stories about such things, and take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead through the mercy of the liberated souls. In this way, please give up your attraction for material existence.”
In his narration about the householder Vaishnava, King Priyavrata, Shri Shukadeva Gosvami spoke to Parikshit Maharaja in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.1.29) as follows: “He greatly loved his wife Barhishmati, and with the increase of days, their exchange of nuptial love also increased. By her feminine behavior as she dressed herself, walked, got up, smiled, laughed, and glanced about, Queen Barhishmati increased his energy. Thus although he was a great soul, he appeared lost in the feminine conduct of his wife. He behaved with her just like an ordinary man, but actually he was a great soul.”
In the same chapter of the Shrimad Bhagavatam, verse 37, King Priyavrata condemned his life of material enjoyment as follows: “Alas, how condemned I have become because of my sense gratification! I have now fallen into material enjoyment, which is exactly like a covered well. I have had enough! I am not going to enjoy any more. Just see how I have become like a dancing monkey in the hands of my wife. Because of this, I am condemned.”
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.5.2, 7-9) Lord Rishabhadeva speaks to His sons as follows: “It is the verdict of all shastras and great personalities that by serving a pure devotee, one attains the path of liberation. However, by associating with materialistic people who are attached to material enjoyment and women, one attains the path of darkness. Even though one may be very learned and wise, he is mad if he does not understand that the endeavor for sense gratification is a useless waste of time. Being forgetful of his own interest, he tries to be happy in the material world, centering his interests around his home, which is based on sexual intercourse and which brings him all kinds of material miseries. In this way one is no better than a foolish animal. The attraction between male and female is the basic principle of material existence. On the basis of this misconception, which ties together the hearts of the male and female, one becomes attracted to his body, home, property, children, relatives, and wealth. In this way one increases life’s illusions and thinks in terms of ‘I and mine.’ When the strong knot in the heart of a person implicated in material life due to the results of past action is slackened, one turns away from his attachment to home, wife, and children. In this way, one gives up the basic principle of illusion [I and mine] and becomes liberated. Thus one goes to the transcendental world.”
After Ajamila was freed from the clutches of the Yamadutas by the mercy of the Vishnudutas, he condemned his life of material enjoyment in the following verses from the Shrimad Bhagavatam (6.2.36-38): “Because of identifying oneself with the body, one is subjected to desires for sense gratification, and thus one engages in many different types of pious and impious action. This is what constitutes material bondage. Now I shall disentangle myself from my material bondage, which has been caused by the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s illusory energy in the form of a woman. Being a most fallen soul, I was victimized by the illusory energy and have become like a dancing dog led around by a woman’s hand. Now I shall give up all lusty desires and free myself from this illusion. I shall become a merciful, well-wishing friend to all living entities and always absorb myself in Krishna consciousness. Simply because I chanted the holy name of the Lord in the association of devotees, my heart is now becoming purified. Therefore I shall not fall victim again to the false lures of material sense gratification. Now that I have become fixed in the Absolute Truth, henceforward I shall not identify myself with the body. I shall give up false conceptions of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ and fix my mind on the lotus feet of Krishna.”
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (6.3.28) Yamaraja says to his servants, “Paramahamsas are exalted persons who have no taste for material enjoyment and who drink the honey of the Lord’s lotus feet. My dear servants, bring to me for punishment only persons who are averse to the taste of that honey, who do not associate with paramahamsas, and who are attached to family life and worldly enjoyment, which form the path to hell.”
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (6.4.52-53) it is described how Prajapati Daksha and his descendants, who were expert in associating with women and who followed the path of pravritti, or sense enjoyment, were instructed by Lord Hari to continually engage in material enjoyment and follow the nondevotional path of associating with women.
When the king of the Vidyadharas, Citraketu, saw the lord of the paramahamsas and foremost of the avadhutas, Lord Shiva, embracing Parvati, he spoke the following words in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (6.17.8): “Ordinary conditioned persons generally embrace their wives and enjoy their company in solitary places.”
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (7.6.11-13, 17) Prahlada Maharaja instructs his demoniac friends as follows: “How can a person who is most affectionate to his family, the core of his heart being always filled with their pictures, give up their association? Specifically, a wife is always very kind and sympathetic and always pleases her husband in a solitary place. Who could give up the association of such a dear and affectionate wife? Simply for the satisfaction of two important senses-the genitals and the tongue-one is bound by material conditions. How can one escape?”
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (7.9.45) Prahlada Maharaja says to Lord Nrisimhadeva: “Sex life is compared to the rubbing of two hands to relieve an itch. Grihamedhis, so-called grihasthas who have no spiritual knowledge, think that this itching is the greatest platform of happiness, although actually it is a source of distress. The kripanas, the fools who are just the opposite of brahmanas, are not satisfied by repeated sensuous enjoyment. Those who are dhira, however, who are sober and who tolerate this itching, are not subjected to the sufferings of fools and rascals.”
While describing the four ashramas, Shri Narada Muni spoke to Maharaja Yudhishthira the following verses in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (7.12.6-7, 9-11): “Fully controlling his senses, he should associate only as much as necessary with women or those controlled by women. A brahmacari, or one who has not accepted the grihastha-ashrama [family life], must rigidly avoid talking with women or about women, for the senses are so powerful that they may agitate even the mind of a sannyasi, a member of the renounced order of life. Woman is compared to fire, and man is compared to a butter pot. Therefore a man should avoid associating even with his own daughter in a secluded place. Similarly, he should also avoid association with other women. One should associate with women only for important business and not otherwise. As long as a living entity is not completely self-realized-as long as he is not independent of the misconception of identifying with his body, which is nothing but a reflection of the original body and senses-he cannot be relieved of the conception of duality, which is epitomized by the duality between man and woman. Thus there is every chance that he will fall down because his intelligence is bewildered. All the rules and regulations apply equally to the householder and the sannyasi, the member of the renounced order of life. The grihastha, however, is given permission by the spiritual master to indulge in sex during the period favorable for procreation.”
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (7.14.12-13) Narada Muni says to Yudhishthira Maharaja, “Therefore if one can give up his attachment to such a wife, he conquers the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is never conquered by anyone. Through proper deliberation, one should give up attraction to his wife’s body because that body will ultimately be transformed into small insects, stool, or ashes. What is the value of this insignificant body? How much greater is the Supreme Being, who is all-pervading like the sky?”
Narada Muni further explains to Yudhishthira Maharaja in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (7.15.18): “One who is driven by the senses, especially by the tongue and genitals, must accept the position of a household dog to satisfy his senses.”
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (9.6.51) Saubhari Muni repents after his extended association with women as follows: “A person desiring liberation from material bondage must give up the association of persons interested in sex life and should not employ his senses externally [in seeing, hearing, talking, walking, and so on]. One should always stay in a secluded place, completely fixing his mind at the lotus feet of the unlimited Personality of Godhead, and if one wants any association at all, he should associate with persons similarly engaged.”
While describing the characteristics of Lord Rama and Sita, Shri Shukadeva Gosvami says to Parikshit Maharaja in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (9.11.17): “The attraction between man and woman, or male and female, always exists everywhere, making everyone always fearful. Such feelings are present even among the controllers like Brahma and Lord Shiva and is the cause of fear for them, what to speak of others who are attached to household life in this material world.”
In Shri Shukadeva Gosvami’s description of the topics of Urvashi and Pururava to Parikshit Maharaja, Urvashi speaks the following statement in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (9.14.36-38): “My dear King, you are a man, a hero. Don’t be impatient and give up your life. Be sober and don’t allow the senses to overcome you like foxes. Don’t let the foxes eat you. In other words, you should not be controlled by your senses. Rather, you should know that the heart of a woman is like that of a fox. There is no use making friendship with women. Women as a class are merciless and cunning. They cannot tolerate even a slight offense. For their own pleasure they can do anything irreligious, and therefore they do not fear killing even a faithful husband or brother. Women are very easily seduced by men. Therefore, polluted women give up the friendship of a man who is their well-wisher and establish false friendship among fools. Indeed, they seek newer and newer friends, one after another.”
See also the Ninth Canto, Nineteenth Chapter, particularly verses 1-20 and 24-28, wherein Maharaja Yayati, speaking to Devayani, condemns the association of women with the story of a he-goat and she-goat.
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.3.18-19) Shri Prabuddha, one of the Nine Yogendras speaks the following words to Maharaja Nimi, the king of Videha: “Accepting the roles of male and female in human society, the conditioned souls unite in sexual relationships. Thus they constantly make material endeavors to eliminate their unhappiness and unlimitedly increase their pleasure. But one should see that they inevitably achieve exactly the opposite result. In other words, their happiness inevitably vanishes, and as they grow older their material discomfort increases. Wealth is a perpetual source of distress, it is most difficult to acquire, and it is virtual death for the soul. What satisfaction does one actually gain from his wealth? Similarly, how can one gain ultimate or permanent happiness from one’s so-called home, children, relatives, and domestic animals, which are all maintained by one’s hard-earned money?”
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.5.13, 15) Shri Camasa instructs King Nimi as follows: “Religious sex life is also permitted, but only in marriage for begetting children, and not for sensuous exploitation of the body. Unfortunately, however, the less intelligent materialists cannot understand that their duties in life should be performed purely on the spiritual platform. The conditioned souls become completely bound in affection to their own corpselike material bodies and their relatives and paraphernalia. In such a proud and foolish condition, the conditioned souls envy other living entities as well as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, who resides in the heart of all beings. Thus enviously offending others, the conditioned souls gradually fall down into hell.”
Lord Krishna’s narration to Uddhava on the conversation between Maharaja Yadu and the self-realized mendicant, who tells the story of a pigeon and his wife in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.7.52-74) may also be discussed in this regard.
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.8.1, 7-8, 13-14, and 17-18) the mendicant brahmana further instructs Maharaja Yadu as follows: “O King, the embodied living entity automatically experiences unhappiness in heaven or hell. Similarly, happiness will also be experienced, even without one’s seeking it. Therefore a person of intelligent discrimination does not make any endeavor to obtain such material happiness. One who has failed to control his senses immediately feels attraction upon seeing a woman’s form, which is created by the illusory energy of the Supreme Lord. Indeed, when the woman speaks with enticing words, smiles coquettishly, and moves her body sensuously, his mind is immediately captured, and thus he falls blindly into the darkness of material existence, just as the moth maddened by the fire rushes blindly into its flames. A foolish person with no intelligent discrimination is immediately aroused at the sight of a lusty woman beautifully decorated with golden ornaments, fine clothing, and other cosmetic features. Being eager for sense gratification, such a fool loses all intelligence and is destroyed just like the moth who rushes into the blazing fire. A saintly person should never touch a young girl. In fact, he should not even let his foot touch a wooden doll in the shape of a woman. By bodily contact with a woman he will surely be captured by illusion, just as the elephant is captured by the she-elephant due to his desire to touch her body. A man possessing intelligent discrimination should not under any circumstances try to exploit the beautiful form of a woman for his sense gratification. Just as an elephant trying to enjoy a she-elephant is killed by other bull elephants also enjoying her company, one trying to enjoy a lady’s company can at any moment be killed by her other lovers who are stronger than he. A saintly person dwelling in the forest in the renounced order of life should never listen to songs or music promoting material enjoyment. Rather, a saintly person should carefully study the example of the deer, who is bewildered by the sweet music of the hunter’s horn and is thus captured and killed. Becoming attracted to the worldly singing, dancing, and musical entertainment of beautiful women, even the great sage Rishyashringa, the son of Mrigi, fell totally under their control, just like a pet animal.”
Pingala’s words of frustration are narrated by Lord Krishna to Uddhava in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.8.30-34) as follows: “Just see how greatly illusioned I am! Because I cannot control my mind, just like a fool I desire lusty pleasure from an insignificant man. I am such a fool that I have given up the service of that person who, being eternally situated within my heart, is actually most dear to me. That most dear one is the Lord of the universe, who is the bestower of real love and happiness and the source of all prosperity. Although He is in my own heart, I have completely neglected Him. Instead I have ignorantly served insignificant men who can never satisfy my real desires and who have simply brought me unhappiness, fear, anxiety, lamentation, and illusion. Oh, how I have uselessly tortured my own soul! I have sold my body to lusty, greedy men, who are themselves objects of pity. Thus practicing the most abominable profession of a prostitute, I hoped to get money and sex pleasure. This material body is like a house in which I, the soul, am living. The bones forming my spine, ribs, arms, and legs are like the beams, crossbeams, and pillars of the house, and the whole structure, which is full of stool and urine, is covered by skin, hair, and nails. The nine doors leading into this body are constantly excreting foul substances. Besides me, what woman could be so foolish as to devote herself to this material body, thinking that she might find pleasure and love in this contraption? Certainly in this city of Videha I alone am completely foolish. I neglected the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who awards us everything, even our original spiritual form, and instead I desired to enjoy sense gratification with many men.” Please see verses 35, 39, and 42 in the same chapter.
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.9.27) the mendicant brahmana instructs King Yadu as follows: “A man who has many wives is constantly harassed by them. He is responsible for their maintenance, and thus all the ladies constantly pull him in different directions, each struggling for her self-interest. Similarly, the material senses harass the conditioned soul, pulling him in many different directions at once. On one side the tongue is pulling him to arrange tasty food; then thirst drags him to get a suitable drink. Simultaneously the sex organs clamor for satisfaction, and the sense of touch demands soft, sensuous objects. The belly harasses him until it is filled, the ears demand to hear pleasing sounds, the sense of smell hankers for pleasant aromas, and the fickle eyes clamor for pleasing sights. Thus the senses, organs, and limbs, all desiring satisfaction, pull the living entity in many directions.”
Lord Krishna instructs Uddhava in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.10.7, 25, 27-28) as follows: “One should see one’s real self-interest in life in all circumstances and should therefore remain detached from wife, children, home, land, relatives, friends, wealth, and so on. Accompanied by heavenly women, the enjoyer of the fruits of sacrifice goes on pleasure rides in a wonderful airplane, which is decorated with circles of tinkling bells and which flies wherever he desires. Being relaxed, comfortable and happy in the heavenly pleasure gardens, he does not consider that he is exhausting the fruits of his piety and will soon fall down to the mortal world. If a human being is engaged in sinful, irreligious activities, either because of bad association or because of his failure to control his senses, then such a person will certainly develop a personality full of material desires. He thus becomes miserly toward others, greedy and always anxious to exploit the bodies of women. When the mind is so polluted one becomes violent and aggressive and without the authority of Vedic injunctions slaughters innocent animals for sense gratification. Worshiping ghosts and spirits, the bewildered person falls fully into the grip of unauthorized activities and thus goes to hell, where he receives a material body infected by the darkest modes of nature.”
Lord Krishna tells Uddhava in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.14.29): “Being conscious of the eternal self, one should give up association with women and those intimately associated with women. Sitting fearlessly in a solitary place, one should concentrate the mind on Me with great attention.”
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.17.33, 56) Lord Krishna says to Uddhava: “Those who are not married-sannyasis, vanaprasthas, and brahmacaris-should never associate with women by glancing, touching, conversing, joking, or sporting. Neither should they ever associate with any living entity engaged in sexual activities. But a householder whose mind is attached to his home and who is thus disturbed by ardent desires to enjoy his money and children, who is lusty after women, who is possessed of a miserly mentality, and who unintelligently thinks, ‘Everything is mine and I am everything,’ is certainly bound in illusion.”
Lord Krishna gives the following instructions to Uddhava in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.21.18-21): “By refraining from a particular sinful or materialistic activity, one becomes freed from its bondage. Such renunciation is the basis of religious and auspicious life for human beings and drives away all suffering, illusion, and fear. One who accepts material sense objects as desirable certainly becomes attached to them. From such attachment lust arises, and this lust creates quarrel among men. From quarrel arises intolerable anger, followed by the darkness of ignorance. This ignorance quickly overtakes a man’s broad intelligence. O saintly Uddhava, a person bereft of real intelligence is considered to have lost everything. Deviated from the actual purpose of his life, he becomes dull, just like a dead person.”
Lord Krishna further instructs Uddhava in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.26.3): “One should never associate with materialists, those dedicated to gratifying their genitals and bellies. By following them one falls into the deepest pit of darkness, just like a blind man who follows another blind man.”
In the same chapter, verses 4 through 24 describe the results of association with women obtained by Ila’s son, Pururava.
In the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (Dakshina 5.72) the following verse is found: “Since I have been engaged in the transcendental loving service of Krishna, realizing ever-new pleasure in Him, whenever I think of sex pleasure, I spit at the thought, and my lips curl with distaste.”
Also in the Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (Uttara 7.8) it is stated: “Alas, how can an intelligent person who has awakened even a little attachment for Krishna enjoy this material body, which is full of blood, covered with skin and flesh, and stinks of mucus.”
And in the Eighth Wave it is said:
(1) “Alas, I am enthusiastically engaged in relishing varieties of enjoyment in this gross body, which is composed of mucus, semen, and blood and covered by skin! O my God! I’m so wretched that I am too lazy to remember Krishna, who is the Supersoul and the personification of transcendental bliss.”
(2) “When will I give up affection for this gross body, which is full of flesh, blood, and pus and again expertly engage with love in the service of fanning with camara the Supreme Lord Hari, who is beyond the reach of argument and who sits on a golden throne?”
(3) “A devotee of Lord Vishnu who intensely loathes seeing a padmini woman endowed with all good qualities, considering her bad association, can travel anywhere, dancing and remembering the lotus feet of the Lord.”
(4) “As soon as remembrance of associating with women awakens in my mind, my lips curl with disgust. My mind is not satisfied with the activities meant to attain impersonal samadhi, like hearing and remembering, and I have no interest for attaining the mystic perfections, because, O Lord, my mind is extremely attached only to the worship of Your lotus feet.”
Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna and Baladeva are the eternal shelter of all devotees, They are the suitable personalities for enjoying with the gopis, who are under the shelter of madhurya-rasa. The gopis have no material conceptions like conditioned souls. In other words, the living entities of this material world consider themselves enjoyers and enjoy the company of women only due to material conceptions. But when Lord Balarama, who is the source of all vishnu-tattvas, performs rasa-lila there is no possibility of any material abominations or illicit behavior. Therefore when the most fortunate munis who are conversant with the Supreme Lord Baladeva’s glories see His pastimes through divine eyes, they offer prayers with folded hands.
CB Adi-khanda 1.30
yanra rase deve asi’ pushpa-vrishti kare
deve jane-bheda nahi krishna-haladhare
The demigods came and showered flowers on His rasa-lila, because they know there is no difference between Krishna and Balarama.
The Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 5.4-5) also states that there is no difference between Krishna and Balarama in the following words: “The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is the fountainhead of all incarnations. Lord Balarama is His second body. They are both one and the same identity. They differ only in form. He is the first bodily expansion of Krishna, and He assists in Lord Krishna’s transcendental pastimes.” Also in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 20.174) it is stated: “The first manifestation of the vaibhava feature of Krishna is Shri Balaramaji. Shri Balarama and Krishna have different bodily colors, but otherwise Shri Balarama is equal to Krishna in all respects.” Lord Krishna glorifies Balarama, who is nondifferent from Himself, in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.15.8): “You have embraced the young cowherd women between Your two arms-a favor hankered after by the goddess of fortune herself.”
CB Adi-khanda 1.31
cari-vede gupta balaramera carita
ami ki baliba, saba-purane vidita
The characteristics of Lord Balarama are confidential to the Vedas, but they are elaborated in the Puranas. What will I describe?
Whatever is confidential to the Vedas is known to the Vaishnava Puranas. Regarding the glories of the Puranas, one may refer to verses 12-17 of the Tattva-sandarbha, one of Jiva Gosvami’s six Sandarbhas. In the Mahabharata (Adi 1.267) it is stated: “One should expand and accept the meaning of the Vedas with the help of the Itihasas (histories) and Puranas. The Vedas are afraid of being mistreated by one who is ignorant of the Itihasas and Puranas.” The Naradiya Purana says: “O beautiful one, I consider the message of the Puranas to be more important than that of the Vedas. All that is established in the Vedas is also in the Puranas without doubt. If a person rejects the Puranas, even if he is controlled in senses and mind, he will take birth as an animal. He can never attain the goal of life.” In the Skanda Purana, Prabhasa-khanda it is stated: “O best of the brahmanas, I consider the Puranas as equal to the Vedas. All that is established in the Vedas is also in the Puranas without doubt. The Vedas feared that their purport would be distorted by inattentive listening, but their purport was established long before by the Itihasas and Puranas. Moreover, O brahmanas, what is not found in the Vedas is found in the smritis. And what is not found in either is described in the Puranas. A person who knows the four Vedas along with their angas, the Upanishads, but does not know the Puranas is not very learned.”
The characteristics of Lord Baladeva are described in all Vaishnava Puranas, especially in the Shrimad Bhagavatam, Fifth Canto, Chapters 16 and 25, Sixth Canto, Chapter 16, Tenth Canto, Chapters 34 and 65, and also in the Vishnu Purana (5.9.22-31).
CB Adi-khanda 1.32
murkha-doshe keha keha na dekhi’ purana
balarama-rasa-krida kare apramana
Due to foolishness, some people neglect the Puranas and refuse to accept the authenticity of Balarama’s rasa-lila.
The word murkha-doshe means “due to foolishness.” One who cannot realize the purport or essence of the scriptures is called a fool. Some living entities are proud of their material designations due to being averse to Lord Vishnu, who is beyond material conceptions. They never care to discuss important Puranas like the Shrimad Bhagavatam. Others simply commit offenses by misinterpreting the conclusions of the Shrimad Bhagavatam, which is the ripened fruit of the desire tree of Vedic knowledge, the destroyer of nescience, and the source of knowledge of the Absolute Truth. These two categories of people refuse to accept the rasa-lila of Lord Balarama. The author has properly condemned these people in verses 38-41 of this chapter. Those who attempt to establish that Lord Balarama is not the supreme enjoyer without understanding that He is the supreme shelter, the Personality of Godhead, are polluted with the defect of foolishness.
CB Adi-khanda 1.33
eka thani dui-bhai gopika-samaje
karilena rasa-krida vrindavana-majhe
The two brothers, Krishna and Balarama, both performed rasa-krida pastimes in the company of the gopis at the same place in Vrindavana.
The word rasa-krida in this verse refers to the Holi festival, as explained by Shrila Jiva Gosvami in his Laghu-toshani commentary on Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.34.13).
CB Adi-khanda 1.34
kadacid atha govindo ramash cadbhuta-vikramah
vijahratur vane ratryam madhya-gau vraja-yoshitam
Once Lord Govinda and Lord Rama, the performers of wonderful feats, were playing Holi in the forest at night with the young girls of Vraja.
After Shri Shukadeva Gosvami narrated to Parikshit Maharaja the Shiva-caturdashi pastime of Krishna’s liberating Nanda Maharaja from the clutches of the snake, who was actually the Vidyadhara named Sudarshana, he described Krishna and Balarama’s Holi festival with the gopis on the full moon evening. Beginning with the above verse, the author now quotes four verses from the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.34.20-23) describing this pastime.
The word atha in this verse indicates after Shiva-ratri. The word kadacit refers to the night of Holi Purnima. The word rama means “He who makes Krishna enjoy.” It is therefore understood that since Krishna and Balarama had sported together since Their births, They enjoyed mutual feelings of friendship. The mood of friendship between Krishna and Balarama was particularly prominent in Vraja, while in Dvaraka Balarama acted more in the role of an elder brother. In this verse the word ca is used with the desire to establish that Balarama’s mood of being the elder brother is secondary. This mood is found in the observance of the Holi festival described in the Bhavishya Purana, Uttara-khanda, and in central India. The word vane refers to the subforests of Vrindavana. This is the understanding from Shrila Jiva Gosvami’s Laghu-toshani.
CB Adi-khanda 1.35
upagiyamanau lalitam stri-janair baddha-sauhridaih
sv-alankritanuliptangau sragvinau virajo-’mbarau
Krishna and Balarama wore flower garlands and spotless garments, and Their limbs were beautifully decorated and anointed. The women sang Their glories in a charming way, bound to Them by affection.
According to Shrila Jiva Gosvami’s Laghu-toshani, Lord Balarama had His own group of gopi friends.
CB Adi-khanda 1.36
nisha-mukham manayantav uditodupa-tarakam
mallika-gandha-mattali- jushtam kumuda-vayuna
The two Lords praised the nightfall, signaled by the rising of the moon and the appearance of stars, a lotus-scented breeze and bees intoxicated by the fragrance of jasmine flowers.
CB Adi-khanda 1.37
jagatuh sarva-bhutanam manah-shravana-mangalam
tau kalpayantau yugapat svara-mandala-murcchitam
Krishna and Balarama sang, producing the entire range of musical sounds simultaneously. Their singing brought happiness to the ears and minds of all living beings.
In his Laghu-toshani, Shrila Jiva Gosvami quotes the following description of murcchana from the Sangita-sara: “A murcchana is a scale using the seven notes in ascending and descending sequences. There are three modes, or gramas, each with seven subdivisions, or murcchanas, making a total of twenty-one murcchanas.” [These are the precursors of ragas.]
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (6.16.38) King Citraketu prays to Lord Sankarshana as follows: “O Lord, O Supreme, unintelligent persons who thirst for sense enjoyment and who worship various demigods are no better than animals in the human form of life. Because of their animalistic propensities, they fail to worship Your Lordship, and instead they worship the insignificant demigods, who are but small sparks of Your glory. With the destruction of the entire universe, including the demigods, the benedictions received from the demigods also vanish, just like the nobility when a king is no longer in power.”
The glories of Shri Balarama, or Sankarshana, who is worshipable by all living entities, are described in the Shrimad Bhagavatam, Tenth Canto, Chapters 34 and 65, Fifth Canto, Chapters 17 and 25, and Sixth Canto, Chapter 16. Those who are indifferent to these descriptions can never make advancement on the path of devotional service. In spite of their material intelligence and mundane knowledge, which is a product of their own mental speculation, such people are unable to appreciate the topics of Shri Baladeva, or Sankarshana, who is the source of all vishnu-tattvas.
In the Chaitanya-caritamrita, Adi-lila, Chapter 5, appropriate conclusions on this topic are given as follows: “Shri Balarama is the counterform of Lord Govinda. Balarama’s own expansion is called Maha-Sankarshana. The marginal potency of the Lord is known as the jiva. Maha-Sankarshana is the shelter of all jivas. His fragment, the purusha, is counted as a kala, or a part of a plenary portion. The first purusha casts His glance at maya from a distance, and thus He impregnates her with the seed of life in the form of the living entities. A part of a part of a whole is called a kala. I say that this kala is Maha-Vishnu. He is the Maha-purusha, who is the source of the other purushas and who is all-pervading. Garbhodashayi and Kshirodashayi are both called purushas. They are plenary portions of Karanodashayi Vishnu, the first purusha, who is the abode of all the universes. That purusha [Kshirodakashayi Vishnu] is the performer of creation, maintenance and destruction. He manifests Himself in many incarnations, for He is the maintainer of the world. That Lord Vishnu is but a part of a part of a plenary portion of Lord Nityananda, who is the source of all incarnations. Lord Chaitanya is the same Lord Krishna, and Lord Nityananda is Lord Balarama. Lord Nityananda fulfills all of Lord Chaitanya’s desires. These two brothers are like one body; They are identical manifestations. If you do not believe in Lord Nityananda, you will fall down. If you have faith in one but disrespect the other, your logic is like the logic of accepting half a hen. It would be better to be an atheist by slighting both brothers than a hypocrite by believing in one and slighting the other.”
CB Adi-khanda 1.38
bhagavata shuni’ yara rame nahi prita
vishnu-vaishnavera pathe se jana-varjita
One who has no love for Lord Balarama after hearing the Shrimad Bhagavatam is rejected by both the Lord and His devotees.
As long as the living entity is conditioned, he is not considered on the path of worshiping Lord Vishnu, who is eternally full of knowledge and bliss and the worshipable Lord of the Vaishnavas. In other words, he is unable to realize that the Lord is eternally full of knowledge and bliss. As soon as the living entity realizes the truths regarding the three purushas, he is freed from illusion or mundane intelligence. In other words, this realization awakens transcendental intelligence in the heart of the living entity and helps him advance on the path of worshiping Lord Vishnu, who is eternally full of knowledge and bliss and the worshipable Lord of the Vaishnavas. It is stated in the Satvata-tantras: “The first purusha, Maha-Vishnu, is the creator of the total material energy [mahat], the second is Garbhodakashayi, who is situated within each universe, and the third is Kshirodakashayi, who lives in the heart of every living being. He who knows these three becomes liberated from the clutches of maya.”
CB Adi-khanda 1.39
bhagavata ye na mane, se-yavana-sama
tara shasta ache janme-janme prabhu yama
One who does not accept Shrimad Bhagavatam is no better than a Yavana, and Lord Yamaraja punishes him birth after birth.
In the Bhagavata-mahatmya of the Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda, Chapter 63, it is stated: “The topics of the Supreme Lord are realized by discussing Shrimad Bhagavatam. One can understand the purport of the Vedas from every line of every shloka.” There are many other similar statements in the various Vaishnava Puranas.
The result of disregarding Shrimad Bhagavatam is described in the Hari-bhakti-vilasa (10.2.77) as follows: “In this age of Kali, one who considers Shrimad Bhagavatam more dear than his own life will never suffer the punishment of Yamaraja, even for a hundred kalpas.” Also in Hari-bhakti-vilasa (10.2.81) it is stated: “The wretched person who does not appreciate the study of Shrimad Bhagavatam and who hinders others in its study causes a hundred generations of family members to go to hell.” In the Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda, Chapter 63, it is stated: “One continues to wander in the cycle of birth and death as long as he does not for even a moment hear the Shrimad Bhagavatam, which was recited by Shukadeva Gosvami. A person who does not hear anything from the Shrimad Bhagavatam throughout his entire life is no better than a candala or an ass. The result of his birth was only his mother’s delivery pains. Indra, the king of the demigods in heaven, declares that the sinful man who never hears the topics of Bhagavatam is simply a burden to the earth, and although living, he is actually dead.”
The word yavana refers to a mleccha who does not follow proper behavior and is averse to Vedic literatures. In the Mahabharata (Adi 84.13-15) King Yayati curses Turvasu in the following words: “O Turvasu! Although you were born from my heart, you are not giving me your youth. Therefore your sons will not inherit the kingdom. You fool! You will be the king of low-class persons who are candalas, meat-eaters, or born from intercaste marriages. You will be the king of those sinful mlecchas who are lusty for the wife of their guru and those whose mentality and activities are no better than animals.” Elsewhere in the Mahabharata (Adi 85.34) it is said: “The descendants of Yadu Maharaja are called Yadava kshatriyas, and the descendants of Turvasu are known as Yavanas. The descendants of Druhya are known as Bhojas, and the descendants of Anu are known as mlecchas.” In the Mahabharata (Adi 174.36) it is stated: “The Pahlavas were created from her tail, the Dravidas and Shankas were created from her udder, the Yavanas were created from her genital, and the Shabaras and Bahunas were created from her dung.” In the Ramayana (Bala-kanda 55.3) it is stated: “The Yavanas were born from the genital.” The Hari-vamsha (Hari-vamsha-parva 14.25-26) says: “Keeping his promise and respecting the words of his guru, King Sagara did not kill them but destroyed their religious principles and changed their dress. He shaved half the heads of the Shakas and the full heads of the Yavanas and Pahlavas.” The following statement is found in the Manu-samhita (10.44-45): “The Paundras, Codas, Dravidas, Kambogas, Yavanas, Shakas, Paradas, Pahlavas, Cinas, Kiratas, Daradas, and Khashas, all of whom were not born from the mouth, arms, thighs, or feet of the Lord, are called dasyus, whether they speak the language of the mlecchas or that of the Aryans.” In the Prayashcitta-tattva, the Bodhayana-smriti is quoted as follows: “Those persons who eat cow flesh, who always speak critically, and who are devoid of proper conduct are called mlecchas. Persons born in the place called Yavana are called Yavanas.” In the Vriddha-canakya it is stated: “Wise persons have said that among thousands of candalas, one is a Yavana. There is no person more degraded than a Yavana.”
The living entities are born in higher and lower castes according to the fruits of their activities. By the influence of sattva-guna, living entities are born in the families of brahmanas, and by the influence of rajo-guna and tamo-guna living entities are born in sinful lower castes, like the Yavanas. The living entities who are born in the families of brahmanas receive ample opportunity to become swanlike knowers of the Absolute Truth through the study of the Vedas, but living entities who are born in the families of lower castes like Yavanas are not qualified to study the Vedic literatures. Shrimad Bhagavatam is the ripened fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literature and the crest jewel of all scriptures. The Yavanas have no respect for Shrimad Bhagavatam whatsoever. If someone is born in the family of a caste higher than that of a Yavana and he unfortunately does not respect Shrimad Bhagavatam, which is the personification of devotional service to Lord Krishna, the shelter of everyone, and equal to Krishna, then due to the lack of good instructions from the spiritual master, such misguided people become degraded to the status of foolish uncultured Yavanas or no better than asses. At present in the pious land of India there are people who belong to societies that are supposedly opposed to the non-Aryans, and although they unfortunately advertise themselves as followers of the Vedas, because they are extremely averse to understanding the meaning of the Shrimad Bhagavatam, they are envious of its conclusions. These people are similar to foolish asslike Yavanas. On the other hand, although Haridasa Thakura was born in a family of Yavanas, he was faithful to the Shrimad Bhagavatam and fully conversant with its conclusions. He was therefore the crest jewel of the brahmanas and a swanlike pure devotee.
In this verse the word prabhu refers to one who is able to kill or protect. In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (6.3.7) the Yamadutas spoke to Yamaraja as follows: “The supreme judge must be one, not many. It was our understanding that you are that supreme judge and that you have jurisdiction even over the demigods. Our impression was that you are the master of all living entities, the supreme authority who discriminates between the pious and impious activities of all human beings.” In the Nrisimha Purana (and Vishnu Purana 3.7.15) it is stated: “Shri Yamaraja, who judges the pious and impious activities of the living entities, offers his obeisances to the devotees of the Lord and punishes those who are envious of Vishnu and the Vaishnavas by forcing them to suffer in hell according to the results of their activities. Rather than attaining eternal happiness, those who are averse to serving the Supreme Lord certainly suffer miseries born from their attempts to enjoy separately from the Lord.”
CB Adi-khanda 1.40
ebe keha keha napumsaka-veshe nace
bole-“balarama-rasa kon shastre ache?”
Nowadays some faithless persons [eunuchs] challenge, “In which scripture is Balarama’s rasa-lila described?”
The impersonalists consider the wonderful transcendental rasa-lila of Balarama, who is the Lord of lords, as uncorroborated by Vedic literatures. Even after giving up material enjoyment, they are unable to enter the transcendental arena of the rasa dance, which is the eternal goal for the pure living entities. Although their mentality is like that of the eunuchs, who unnaturally abstain from sense enjoyment, they are deprived of serving the Lord in any of the five types of relationships. That is why such people are known as eunuchs or impersonalist sannyasis.
CB Adi-khanda 1.41
kona papi shastra dekhileha nahi mane
eka arthe anya artha kariya vakhane
Some sinful persons do not accept this pastime even if they read about it in the scriptures. They distort the actual meaning of the scriptures into some other meaning.
To distort the meaning of the scriptures is cheating and an offense against the holy names.
It is impossible to realize the Absolute Truth with a sinful heart. Faithless persons are always confused when trying to understand the Absolute Truth. They are blind in attaining their goal of life and, rather than accepting the truth, they distort the meanings of the scriptures.
CB Adi-khanda 1.42
chaitanya-candrera priya-vigraha balai
tana-sthane aparadhe mare sarva thani
Lord Nityananda is the dearmost object of Shri Chaitanyacandra, therefore anyone who commits an offense at His lotus feet is vanquished.
Shri Acyutananda, the son of Shri Advaita Prabhu, served Lord Hari under the guidance of Shri Gadadhara Pandita. Although two of Advaita’s other sons sometimes accepted the guidance of Lord Chaitanya, there is no mention of their devotion for the lotus feet of Lord Nityananda. One of Shri Advaita Prabhu’s sons was named Balarama, and his son was Madhusudana. He was particularly affectionate towards the smarta Raghunandana Bhattacarya, the son of Harihara Bhattacarya of Bandaghata. The son of Madhusudana, Radharamana Bhattacarya, followed the path of the smartas and became faithless towards Shri Nityananda-Baladeva. The author of Chaitanya-bhagavata, who is a pure devotee and spiritual master, has perhaps written these verses (38-42) with these people in mind. The statements of Shrila Vrindavana dasa Thakura are not inapplicable to the unqualified descendants of Shri Nityananda Prabhu’s disciples.
CB Adi-khanda 1.43
murti-bhede apane hayena prabhu-dasa
se-saba lakshana avatarei prakasha
Lord Balarama appears in various forms as the servant of the Lord. He manifests these symptoms in His various incarnations.
For the benefit of the readers, we are again quoting the verses written by Shrila Krishnadasa Kaviraja in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 5.4-5, 8-11, 45-46, 48, 73-74, 76, 80-81, 113, 115-117, 120-121, 123, 125, 134-135, 137, and 156), which state: “The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is the fountainhead of all incarnations. Lord Balarama is His second body. They are both one and the same identity. They differ only in form. He is the first bodily expansion of Krishna, and He assists in Lord Krishna’s transcendental pastimes. Lord Balarama is the original Sankarshana. He assumes five other forms to serve Lord Krishna. He Himself helps in the pastimes of Lord Krishna, and He does the work of creation in four other forms. He executes the orders of Lord Krishna in the work of creation, and in the form of Lord Shesha He serves Krishna in various ways. In all the forms He tastes the transcendental bliss of serving Krishna. That same Balarama is Lord Nityananda, the companion of Lord Gaurasundara. There is one marginal potency, known as the jiva. Maha-Sankarshana is the shelter of all jivas. Sankarshana is the original shelter of the purusha, from whom this world is created and in whom it is dissolved. That Sankarshana, who is transcendental pure goodness, is a partial expansion of Nityananda Balarama. Shri Balarama is the counterform of Lord Govinda. Balarama’s own expansion is called Maha-Sankarshana, and His fragment, the purusha, is counted as a kala, or a part of a plenary portion. Garbhodashayi and Kshirodashayi are both called purushas. They are plenary portions of Karanodashayi Vishnu, the first purusha, who is the abode of all the universes. That purusha [Kshirodakashayi Vishnu] is the performer of creation, maintenance and destruction. He manifests Himself in many incarnations, for He is the maintainer of the world. That fragment of the Maha-purusha who appears for the purpose of creation, maintenance and annihilation is called an incarnation. In the ages and millenniums of Manu, He appears as different incarnations to establish the principles of real religion and vanquish the principles of irreligion. He then descends to maintain the material world. His unlimited opulences cannot be counted. That Lord Vishnu is but a part of a part of a plenary portion of Lord Nityananda, who is the source of all incarnations. That same Lord Vishnu, in the form of Lord Shesha, holds the planets upon His heads, although He does not know where they are, for He cannot feel their existence upon His heads. That Ananta Shesha is the devotee incarnation of Godhead. He knows nothing but service to Lord Krishna. With His thousands of mouths He sings the glories of Lord Krishna, but although He always sings in that way, He does not find an end to the qualities of the Lord. He serves Lord Krishna, assuming all the following forms: umbrella, slippers, bedding, pillow, garments, resting chair, residence, sacred thread and throne. He is thus called Lord Shesha, for He has attained the ultimate end of servitude to Krishna. He takes many forms for the service of Krishna, and thus He serves the Lord. That person of whom Lord Ananta is a kala, or part of a plenary part, is Lord Nityananda Prabhu. Who, therefore, can know the pastimes of Lord Nityananda? Thus Lord Nityananda has unlimited incarnations. In transcendental emotion He calls Himself a servant of Lord Chaitanya. Sometimes He serves Lord Chaitanya as His guru, sometimes as His friend and sometimes as His servant, just as Lord Balarama played with Lord Krishna in these three different modes in Vraja. He considers Himself a servant and knows Krishna to be His master. Thus He regards Himself as a fragment of His plenary portion. Lord Chaitanya is the same Lord Krishna, and Lord Nityananda is Lord Balarama. Lord Nityananda fulfills all of Lord Chaitanya’s desires.”
In some editions the word lakshana appears as lakshmana, which then means: “This is demonstrated in His incarnation as Lakshmana.” As explained in the Chaitanya-caritamrita (Adi 5.149-154): “Lord Nityananda Svarupa formerly appeared as Lakshmana and served Lord Ramacandra as His younger brother. The activities of Lord Rama were full of suffering, but Lakshmana, of His own accord, tolerated that suffering. As a younger brother He could not stop Lord Rama from His resolution, and so He remained silent, although unhappy in His mind. When Lord Krishna appeared, He [Balarama] became His elder brother to serve Him to His heart’s content and make Him enjoy all sorts of happiness. Shri Rama and Shri Lakshmana, who are plenary portions of Lord Krishna and Lord Balarama, entered into Them at the time of Krishna’s and Balarama’s appearance. Krishna and Balarama present Themselves as elder or younger brother, but in the scriptures They are described as the original Supreme Personality of Godhead and His expansion.”
CB Adi-khanda 1.44
sakha, bhai, vyajana, shayana, avahana
griha, chatra, vastra, yata bhushana, asana
Lord Balarama serves Krishna in ten different ways, as His friend, brother, fan, bed, carrier, residence, umbrella, garments, ornaments, and sitting place.
Please refer to the Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita verses quoted in the purport of verse 43.
CB Adi-khanda 1.45
apane sakala-rupe sevena apane
yare anugraha karena, paya sei jane
In all these forms He serves Himself. Whoever receives His mercy can understand this truth.
Svayam-rupa Shri Krishna has personally appeared as svayam-prakasha Shri Baladeva in order to relish spiritual happiness. Please refer to the Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita verses quoted in the purport of verse 43.
CB Adi-khanda 1.46
sharira-bhedais tava sheshatam gatair
yathocitam shesha itirite janaih
O my Lord, when will I satisfy You and Lakshmi, who are both seated on the bed of Ananta? Although He is Your transcendental personal expansion, He has accepted Your service in the form of Your residence, bed, sitting place, slippers, garments, pillow, and umbrella. Therefore He is appropriately known by people as Shesha. (Stotra-ratna 37)
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.3.25) Devaki prays to the Supreme Lord in the following words: bhavan ekah shishyate ‘shesha-samjnah-“At that time, You alone remain, and You are known as Ananta Shesha-naga.” In his Laghu-toshani commentary on this verse, Jiva Gosvami has stated: “You alone remain and are therefore called Ashesha, the complete. Eka can refer to the spiritual realm as well, which is nondifferent from the Lord (and does not meet destruction). Ashesha, meaning ‘complete,’ can also refer to the Vaikuntha planets. The word samjna, or ‘definition,’ refers to the true nature of an object, indicated by its particular form. According to the Shri Vaishnavas, shesha means ‘He who remains (shishyate) after the dissolution.’ This is also an acceptable definition. The word can also be taken as shesha-’He who remains,’ instead of ashesha. This can include the Lord’s associates as well, but it does not include the material world or the jivas therein (who disappear during the maha-pralaya).”
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.2.8) the Supreme Lord speaks the following words to Yogamaya: “Within the womb of Devaki is My partial plenary expansion known as Sankarshana or Shesha. Without difficulty, transfer Him into the womb of Rohini.” In his Laghu-toshani commentary on this verse, Jiva Gosvami says: “Shesha means ‘that which remains’ or ‘part.’ Akhya means ‘known.’ He is known as Shesha because of being an expansion of Me. Sankarshana is My own form and the shelter of the spiritual abode, My transcendental forms, and various energies.”
When the angry Lord Baladeva was pulling the city of Hastinapura into the Yamuna with His plow, the Kauravas prayed to Him in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.68.46) as follows: “O unlimited one of a thousand heads, as Your pastime You carry this earthly globe upon one of Your heads. At the time of annihilation You withdraw the entire universe within Your body and, remaining all alone, lie down to rest.”
In his commentary on this Bhagavatam verse, Sanatana Gosvami writes: “I am Shesha, the upholder of the earth, and though different from the Supreme Lord, why am I glorified as being nondifferent from Him? In answer to this, the next line says: even at the time of annihilation, Shesha does not fail to perform His duty of protection, because He withdraws the universe within Himself. He remains there (paritah shishyamanah) as the only evidence of the Lord, and therefore is called Shesha, the remainder.”
In his commentary on the descriptions of the characteristics of Rudra in the Nineteenth Chapter of the Laghu-bhagavatamrita, Shrila Baladeva Vidyabhushana writes: “The Shesha who holds a buffalo horn and bow, who is the bed of Lord Vishnu, and who is replete with the all-accommodating potency is the Supreme Lord. The Shesha who supports the earth is among the living entities who are empowered by the Supreme Lord.” In the description of Balarama from the Laghu-bhagavatamrita (87) it is stated: “The Sankarshana from the second catur-vyuha merges with the Shesha who supports the earth and appears as Lord Balarama. The two forms of Shesha are He who supports the earth and He who is the bed of Lord Vishnu. The Shesha who holds the earth is also known as Sankarshana, because He is an empowered incarnation of Sankarshana. The Shesha who is the bed of Lord Narayana considers Himself the friend and servant of Narayana.”
CB Adi-khanda 1.47
anantera amsha shri garuda mahabali
lilaya balaye krishne hana kutuhali
The most powerful Shri Garuda, the expansion of Anantadeva, enjoys his pastimes as Krishna’s carrier.
The powerful Shrila Garudadeva, who is the expansion of Anantadeva, is simultaneously Lord Vishnu’s servant, friend, sitting place, flag, and carrier.
As stated by Shri Yamunacarya in Stotra-ratna (38):
dasah sakha vahanam asanam dhvajo
yas te vatanam vyajanam trayi-mayah
upasthitam tena puro garutmata
“O Lord, when will I satisfy You, who are present before me with Garuda, Your servant, friend, carrier, sitting place, flag, canopy, camara, and the personified Rig, Sama, and Yajur Vedas. He is decorated with symptoms of having massaged Your lotus feet.”
Other editions have bulaye or vahaye in place of balaye. Balaye means “surrounding” or “prosperity in service.” Bulaye means “traveling,” and vahaye means “carrying.”
CB Adi-khanda 1.48
ki brahma, ki shiva, ki sanakadi ‘kumara’
vyasa, shuka, naradadi, ‘bhakta’ nama yanra
Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva, the four Kumaras (Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanandana and Sanat-kumara), Vyasadeva, Shukadeva Gosvami, and Narada are all pure devotees, eternal servants of the Lord.
Please refer to the purport of verse 21.
CB Adi-khanda 1.49
sabara pujita shri-ananta-mahashaya
Lord Shri Ananta is worshiped by all the uncontaminated devotees mentioned above. He has thousands of hoods and is the reservoir of all devotional service.
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.2.5) Shri Shukadeva Gosvami says to Maharaja Parikshit: “A plenary portion of Krishna entered her womb as her seventh child, arousing her pleasure and lamentation. That plenary portion is celebrated by great sages as Ananta, who belongs to Krishna’s second quadruple expansion.”
Lord Brahma speaks to the demigods in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.1.24) as follows: “The foremost manifestation of Krishna is Sankarshana, who is known as Ananta. He is the origin of all incarnations within this material world. Previous to the appearance of Lord Krishna, this original Sankarshana will appear as Baladeva, just to please the Supreme Lord Krishna in His transcendental pastimes.”
In the Krishna-sandarbha (86) Shrila Jiva Gosvami writes: “Vasudeva refers to the son of Vasudeva. His first part, or kala, is Sankarshana, or Ananta. As Sankarshana, He is the original form. Svarat means He exists independently. The name Ananta indicates that He is not restricted by space and time. That Shesha has thousands of mouths.”
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.65.28) Yamuna offers the following prayer to Lord Balarama:
rama rama maha-baho na jane tava vikramam
yasyaikamshena vidhrita jagati jagatah pate
“Rama, Rama, O mighty-armed one! I know nothing of Your prowess. With a single portion of Yourself You hold up the earth, O Lord of the universe.”
The word ekamshena-“with a single portion,” is explained in the commentary as refering to the Lord’s expansion as Shesha. Therefore the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.2.8) says: “My partial plenary expansion is known as Sankarshana or Shesha.” In the commentary on this verse it is stated: “He who remains after dissolution is called Shesha. This statement indicates that Shesha is a permanent form, or amsha, of the Lord, or He who finds the glories of the Lord as endless.”
CB Adi-khanda 1.50
adideva, maha-yogi, ‘ishvara’, ‘vaishnava’
mahimara anta iha na janaye saba
Lord Ananta is the first incarnation of the Lord and the master of all mystic power. At the same time, He is a servant of God, a Vaishnava. Since there is no end to His glories, no one can understand Him fully.
The word adideva is found in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.7.41) as Lord Brahma describes the lila-avataras of Lord Krishna to Narada Muni in the following words: “Even [Adideva] the first incarnation of the Lord, namely Shesha, has not been able to reach the limit of such knowledge, although He is describing the qualities of the Lord with ten hundred faces.”
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.25.6) Shri Shukadeva Gosvami tells Parikshit Maharaja: “Lord Sankarshana is the ocean of unlimited spiritual qualities, and thus He is known as Anantadeva. He is [Adideva] nondifferent from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For the welfare of all living entities within this material world, He resides in His abode, restraining His anger and intolerance.”
Lord Sankarshana is Adideva or adi-purusha, the original Personality of Godhead. In this regard one should refer to Shrimad Bhagavatam (6.16.31 and 10.15.6).
The word mahayogi has two meanings: the first is yogeshvara, or “master of all mystic power.” In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.78.31) after Baladeva killed the show-bottle devotee Romaharshana Suta, the disciple of Vyasa, the sages of Naimisharanya lamented and offered prayers to Baladeva as follows: “Of course, even the injunctions of revealed scripture cannot dictate to You, the Lord of all mystic power.”
The second meaning of mahayogi is yoga-mayadhisha, or “controller of mystic power.” In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.78.34) Lord Balarama accepts the sages’ prayers and replies to them as follows: “O sages, just say the word, and by My mystic power I shall restore everything you promised him.” In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (11.30.26) it is stated: “Lord Balarama then sat down on the shore of the ocean and yogam asthaya paurusham, fixed Himself in meditation upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” In his commentary on this verse, Shridhara Svami writes: “The words paurusham yogam indicate parama-purusha-dhyana, or ‘meditation on the Supreme Personality of Godhead.’”
The word ishvara is described in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (6.16.47) as King Citraketu prays to Lord Sankarshana in the following words: “My dear Lord, You are the creator, maintainer, and annihilator of this cosmic manifestation, but persons who are too materialistic and who always see separateness do not have eyes with which to see You. They cannot understand Your real position, and therefore they conclude that the cosmic manifestation is independent of Your opulence. My Lord, You are the supreme pure, and You are full in all six opulences. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.”
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.15.35), while describing the killing of Dhenukasura, Shri Shukadeva Gosvami glorifies Balarama by saying, “My dear Parikshit, that Lord Balarama killed Dhenukasura is not such a wonderful thing, considering that He is the unlimited Personality of Godhead, the controller of the entire universe. Indeed, the entire cosmos rests upon Him just as a woven cloth rests upon its own horizontal and vertical threads.”
When the angry Lord Baladeva was pulling the city of Hastinapura into the Yamuna with His plow, the Kauravas prayed to Him in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.68.45) as follows: “You alone cause the creation, maintenance, and annihilation of the cosmos, and of You there is no prior cause. Indeed, O Lord, authorities say that the worlds are mere playthings for You as You perform Your pastimes.”
The word vaishnava is used in reference to Anantadeva in the following statement of Shukadeva Gosvami to Maharaja Parikshit in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (10.2.5):
saptamo vaishnavam dhama yam anantam pracakshate
garbho babhuva devakya harsha-shoka-vivardhanah
“A plenary portion of Krishna [the Vaishnava Ananta] entered her womb as her seventh child, arousing her pleasure and lamentation. That plenary portion is celebrated by great sages as Ananta.”
Not everyone can understand that the glories of Anantadeva are unlimited. This is confirmed in the Shrimad Bhagavatam (5.17.17, 5.25.6, 9, 12-13 (quoted as verses 56 and 57 of this chapter) and 6.16.23, 46-47).
Commentary and Chapter Summaries of His Divine Grace Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Shri Shrimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada.