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Shri Sanmodana Bhashyam
This shloka describes the consciousness of the jiva who reaches the sublime platform of krishna-prema. “That Supreme adulterer, that libertine Krishna, may bestow upon me, a servant who is totally surrendered to His lotus feet, endless bliss by forcing me into excruciating depths of despair by not being present before me. He may do anything He wishes with me, even to the extent that He enjoy the company of another beloved gopi in my presence. Yet He will remain always the Lord of my heart. For me there will never be any other.”
In Shrimad-Bhagavatam [11.29.34] we find other examples of such fully surrendered souls and their unique position:
“When the mortal beings decide to relinquish all fruitive
activities and their results, and fully surrender unto Me, I reciprocate by
giving them the nectar of immortality, elevating them to become My eternal
The conclusion is that on the platform of prema, Krishna becomes the life, the soul, and the greatest treasure of the devotee. In this stage the sublime exchanges of love between the devotee and the Lord, due to their natural attraction for each other, flowers into full bloom.
Shri Prahlada Maharaja says in Shrimad-Bhagavatam [7.5.14]:
“Just as pieces of iron rush of their own volition to the magnet, similarly, by the independent will of the Supreme Lord, my heart and mind have shaken off their enthrallment to material life and are forcibly being drawn to the magnet of His lotus feet.”
This statement establishes the principle of an inherent and eternal relationship between the infinitesimal jiva and the infinite Supreme Lord. This relationship becomes obscured however when the spirit soul turns away from Krishna. But when by good fortune the jiva's consciousness becomes purified, then the eternally mutual relationship between the Lord and the jiva is rejuvenated; just as a clean and shiny piece of iron is most efficiently magnetic prone. Purification is thus necessary in order to manifest their inherent and eternal relationship; other than this the process of purification has no real function. Therefore the purified jivas who are sadhakas of the prema-dharma, or the path of loving devotianal service to the Supreme Lord, should realize that this path is highly allergic to all other results, save and except krishna-prema.
Lord Krishna Himself substantiates this truth in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam [10.32.22]:
“My dear gopis, you have severed all family bindings for My sake.
Such an achievement is very rare, even for great philosophers and yogis. Our
meetings with each other are completely pure and unblemished. If I wanted to
repay the debt that I have incurred by your love, devotion, service and renunciation,
even with My immortal body for all eternity, I would be unable. I am obligated
to you life after life. You may succeed in acquitting Me of this debt by your
gentle and divine demeanor-nay, your sublime love; but I will always remain
indebted to you.”
From the Lord's own statement it is clear that in order to please and attract Him, one must love and satisfy His devotees. (Since Krishna feels that He cannot repay the debt He owes His pure devotees, such as the gopis, on account of His default He becomes their property eternally. Therefore although Krishna is the independent Personality of Godhead, He considers Himself a subject to the permission of His devotees, even in the matter of awarding His mercy and bestowing His association. Thus Krishna is approachable only through the mercy of the pure devotees who have already purchased Him with their love.-Ed.
Though the phrase marma-hatam, 'deeply afflicted in the heart', has been used in this shloka, in truth the devotee feels not grief, but exultation.
To emphasize this point, Shri Krishna says in Shrimad-Bhagavatam [10.32.21]:
“O beloved gopis, there is no doubt that for My sake you have
disregarded social taboos, Vedic injunctions, even cut yourselves off from your
relatives and family members. Your meditation on Me has been single-minded, not
thinking at all of your beauty or your nuptial bliss. In order to increase your
love for Me I disappeared from your sight. Please do not blame Me for this act
of love, because you are as extremely dear to Me as I am to you.”
Another important point in this shloka is that, though it speaks of 'giving Me bliss by Your loving embrace', there is no trace of selfish pleasure. In fact, the only thought here is of loving Krishna and giving Him pleasure. Such a statement is therefore very much in conformity with the true emotions of pure love.
shShtiashShtiashShtiashShtiaLet's now discuss in brief the preeminence of these eight shlokas known as Çikñäñöaka. Just how glorious is Çrématé Rädhäräné as the personification of Çré Kriñna's internal spiritual potency, and how glorious is Her magnificent love? Kriñna also desires to know how She alone fully relishes the wonderful qualities in Him, and the happiness She feels when She realizes the sweetness of His love. Longing to fulfil these desires, the Supreme Lord Çré Kriñna, in His eternal form of Çré Chaitanya Mahäprabhu, the Absolute Divinity of audarya, or magnanimity, performs manifold pastimes and savors the loving moods in an exclusive section of Goloka known as Çré Navadvipa-dhama, the highest realm of the Vaikunöha planets and the playground of the Supreme Lord.
Adorned with the ecstatic sentiments and lustrous complexion of Çrématé Rädhäräné, Lord Çré Kriñna as Chaitanya Mahäprabhu appears on this earth once in a day of Lord Brahma. His most recent descent to the mortal plane occurred in the year 1486 of the Christian era in the West Bengal district of Nadia, in the town of Navadvipa, situated on a river bank purified by the waters of the Mother Ganga. This abode is non different from Vrndavana. The time of His appearance is recorded as a full lunar eclipse on the full-moon night in the month of Phalguna (February-March).
The whole town of Navadvipa was reverberating with the sounds of God's names being chanted, as was the custom during an eclipse. His father was Pandita Jagannätha Misra, and His mother was Çrématé Çacédevé. The Lord's childhood was filled with childlike mischievousness and miraculous adventures. His boyhood days were spent in studies. His marriage in youth was a perfect example of upholding Vedic culture, as was His household life. Thereafter He went to Gaya and accepted spiritual initiation in the ten-syllable Gopala mantra from Çrépad Isvara Puri, a great servant of the Lord and torch-bearer of the disciplic succession coming down from Lord Brahma to Madhväcärya. The Lord's wish was to teach the living entities their duty of taking shelter of a self-realized spiritual master, as instructed by the scriptures.
After His return from Gaya He performed congregational chanting of the holy name with His associates and devotees, and inundated all Bengal with the nectarean river that had its source in these ecstatic kértanas. It was during this time that He flooded Bengal with the nectar of the holy name of God, while propagating the message of devotional service to the Supreme Lord. At age twenty-four, He received sannyäsa initiation from Çrépad Kesava Bharati of the Sankara-sampradaya and forever severed all links with home and family life. The next six years found Him journeying on pilgrimage throughout Bengal, Orissa, South India, Maharastra, Uttar Pradesh (Mathura, Vrndavana, Prayag, Kasi), and Bihar (Kaukai, Natshala, Rajmahal). In His travels, He blessed millions of conditioned souls by giving them the highest transcendental pleasure of the holy name and by propagating the science of pure devotion. He refuted all philosophical speculations and conclusions that contradicted the statements of authorized scriptures, and firmly established the unique supra-mundane principle of acintya bheda-abheda tattva, which He Himself delineated for the first time, and which is the quintessence of the teachings of all four schools of Vaiñnava philosophy.
For the next eighteen years He remained in Jagannätha Puri, where He fulfilled His spiritual desires and relished them in the company of His intimate associates, enjoying the nectar of love of Godhead. He sent self-realized and empowered preachers from among His followers everywhere, to propagate the path of pure devotional service to the Supreme Lord. In this way He inundated all India in the waves of kriñna-prema.
While this was taking place, He was busy grooming many of His intimate associates, like Çré Svarupa-dämodara, Çré Rämänanda Raya, Çré Prabhodänanda Sarasvati, Çré Rupa Gosvämé, Çré Sanätana Gosvämé, Çré Raghunätha dasa Gosvämé, Çré Gopala Bhaööa Gosvämé, Çré Jéva Gosvämé, Çré Kavi Karnapura, and others, to write voluminous books revealing the recondite meaning of His teachings. For this purpose He impregnated their hearts with His divine potency. These selfsame teachings He compressed into the eight Çikñäñöaka prayers, reaching out to and instructing all levels of devotees. Many times the Lord would immerse Himself in the rasa, or ambrosia, of these eight shlokas, tasting their esoteric conclusions in the association of Çréla Svarupa-damodara and Çré Rämänanda Raya. Later the shlokas were discussed in important scriptures like Chaitanya-caritämrita.
The Supreme Lord Çré Chaitanya Mahäprabhu, on the one hand, taught by His own example how to lead an ideal householder life, enacting transcendental pastime of a householder. On the other hand, He also taught the renunciants and sannyäsés how to uphold the highest standards of devotion and detachment by His own exemplary behavior. These super excellent teachings are all contained in the eight shlokas.
The Çikñäñöaka prayers are the essence of all Vedic scriptures for the rasika-bhakta, or the pure devotees who relish rasas. These prayers, having emanated from the lips of the Supreme Lord Himself, are indeed the Absolute Truth. Hence, they should be read, recited and worshipped daily by sincere and fortunate souls. These prayers should be their constant companion, learnt and taken to heart.
Those surrendered souls who read the Çré Çikñäñöaka prayers, which are the nectarean words flowing from the mouth of the Supreme Lord Gauränga, with devotion, will certainly be attracted to the honey from Lord Chaitanya's lotus feet, and like intoxicated bees, plunge into the lily-filled lake of kriñna-prema. Four hundred and one years after the advent of Lord Gauränga, the commentary called Çré Sanmodana Bhäñyam, has been composed by me-Çréla Kedarnath Bhaktivinoda.
Further scriptural evidence is found in Chaitanya-caritämrita [Antya-lila 20.48-52]:
“I am a maidservant at the lotus feet of Kriñna. He is the embodiment of transcendental happiness and mellows. If He likes, He can embrace Me tightly and make Me feel one with Him, or He may corrode My mind and body by not giving Me His audience. Nevertheless, He alone is the Lord of My life. My dear friend, just hear the decision of My heart. Kriñna is the Lord of My life'in all conditions, whether He shows Me affection or kills Me by making Me unhappy. Sometimes Kriñna gives up the company of the other gopis controlled, mind and body, by Me. Thus He manifests My good fortune and gives others distress by performing His loving affairs with Me. After all, since He is a cunning and obstinate debauchee with a propensity to cheat, He takes to the company of other women. He indulges in loving affairs with them in front of Me just to give distress to My mind. Nevertheless, He is still the Lord of My life. I do not mind My personal distress, I only wish for the happiness of Kriñna, for His happiness is the goal of My life. However, if He feels great happiness by giving Me distress, that distress is the best of My happiness.”