First Ray

by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura

kali-yuga-pāvanāvatārāya namaḥ
(Obeisance unto the avatāra who is the deliverer of Kali-yuga)

Pramāṇa Nirdeśaḥ
(Assertation of Evidence)

janmādy asya yato’nvayād itarataś cārtheṣv abhijñaḥ svarāṭ
tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye muhyanti yat sūrayaḥ
tejo-vāri-mṛdāṁ yathā vinimayo yatra tri-sargo’mṛṣā
dhāmnā svena sadā nirasta-kuhakaṁ satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.1.1)


The Marīci Prabhā Commentary
of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura

śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya-candrāya namaḥ
(Obeisance unto Śrī Kṛṣna Caitanya-candra)

yat kṛpāya pravṛtto’ham etasmin grantha-saṅgrahe
taṁ gaura-pārṣadaṁ vande dāmodara-svarūpakam

I offer my obeisance to Dāmodara Svarūpa, the associate of Gaura, by whose grace I begin the compilation of this book.

The marginal jīva-śakti is the finite manifestation of Bhagavān’s internal svarūpa-śakti, and it’s shadow manifestation is the external māyā-śakti. The jīvas are separate, possess distinct intelligence, and because of false identification due to transformation, they have come into contact with this world. Thus, from the direct and indirect consideration, the Lord is responsible for this world with its animate and inanimate creatures.

The Supreme Enjoyer (puruṣa), material nature (prakṛti), the mahat-tattva etc. are the twenty-eight principles (tattvas).* Amongst the explanations of all these principles, the jīva is the cognizant principle and is compared to the abhijñā (the Lord who is cognizant) in other words, He who is sarvajñā (omniscient).*

He who is constantly served by all potencies is complete and independent by the power of His own svarūpa-śakti.

Out of compassion, He has expanded the entire Vedas in the heart of the original poet, Brahmā, making them difficult even for the wise to comprehend, thus spreading abundant bewilderment.

Sarga, in other words, creation, is of three types – cit-sarga (the creation of spiritual consciousness), jīva-sarga (the creation of the jīva) and jaḍa-sarga (the creation of dull matter). Cit-sarga can almost be compared to fire, in other words, the element of light. Fire remains imperceivable. Friction and similar actions cause its emergence. Spiritual phenomenon always remains in its appropriate form. It arises due to the will of Bhagavān. Jīva-sarga can almost be compared to water, which solidifies in cold conditions and becomes liquid in warm conditions. The jīva is a pencil-ray spark of the sun-like Bhagavān, and when he eventually becomes averse to Him, he is ensnared by taking refuge in the transformative nature of māyā. Jaḍa-sarga can almost be compared to earth. Its transformation, in other words, it’s eventual transmutation (vinimaya) is in the form of pots, dishes etc. These transformations occur by His acintya-śakti (inconceivable potency), and although in some instances these three creations (tri-sarga) seem to be perishable, they emerge as real (satya).

He mercifully manifests His own abode by the function of His potency, in other words, His nature is eternally separate – Bhagavān is unchanging, omnipotent, and the object of love for those jīvas who are devotees.

We worship the embodiment of Supreme Truth, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of Goloka and Vraja-dhāma, through remembrance of His Name which is replete with divine bliss, through kīrtana and through the process of meditating upon His form, qualities and pastimes.

Through an explanation on the Supreme Truth in the form of acintya-bhedābheda as taught by Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu, this maṅgalācaraṇa (auspicious invocation) has been made.

* This is found in Chapter 10, verse 3.

* Translator’s Note: Because the jīva and īśvara are the only two sentient principles amongst the twenty-eight tattvas, they are both similar in nature. However, despite being compared to the omniscient Lord, the jīva is never omniscient.

Firstly, in relation to evidence from the Vedas, Bhagavān tells Uddhava:

kālena naṣṭā pralaye vāṇīyaṁ veda-saṁjñitā
mayādau brahmaṇe proktā dharmo yasyāṁ mad-ātmakaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.14.3)

Bhagavān said – O Uddhava! During cosmic annihilation, the instructions of the entire Vedas almost vanished at that time. Within these Vedas, the nature of being attached to the ātmā was described. At the beginning of the kalpa, I spoke the Vedas to Brahmā.

tena proktā sva-putrāya manave pūrva-jāya sā
tato bhṛgv-ādayo ‘gṛhṇan sapta brahma-maharṣayaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.14.4)

Brahmā gave these teachings to his first son, Manu. The seven sages headed by Bhṛgu attained it form Manu.

tebhyaḥ pitṛbhyas tat-putrā deva-dānava-guhyakāḥ
manuṣyāḥ siddha-gandharvāḥ sa-vidyādhara-cāraṇāḥ
kindevāḥ kinnarā nāgā rakṣaḥ-kimpuruṣādayaḥ
bahvyas teṣāṁ prakṛtayo rajaḥ-sattva-tamo-bhuvaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.14.5-6)

From them, all their sons such as the Devas, Dānavas, Guhyakas, men, Siddhas, Gandharvas, Vidyādharas, Cāraṇas, Kiṁdevas, Kinnaras, Nāgas, Rakṣasas and Kimpuruṣas all received it. They were influenced by their multifarious natures, born from the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance.

yābhir bhūtāni bhidyante bhūtānāṁ patayas tathā
yathā-prakṛti sarveṣāṁ citrā vācaḥ sravanti hi
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.14.7)

Through these various natures, it was observed that all these species became distinct from their masters. According to the natures, all kinds of diverse statements came from them.

evaṁ prakṛti-vaicitryād bhidyante matayo nṛṇām
pāramparyeṇa keṣāñcit pāṣaṇḍa-matayo ‘pare
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.14.8)

In this way, due to the differentiation of nature, various types of philosophies amongst humans also emerged. Some of these philosophies gradually continued through the guru-paramparā. Moreover, some persons propagated atheistic philosophies.

man-māyā-mohita-dhiyaḥ puruṣāḥ puruṣarṣabha
śreyo vadanty anekāntaṁ yathā-karma yathā-ruci
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.14.9)

O best among men! With their intellect bewildered by My illusory energy, all men describe the jīva’s ultimate welfare using many names, according to their own actions and inclinations.

The purport of this statement of Bhagavān is that pure bhakti is taught in the Veda-śāstra. Due to the faulty nature of the followers of the Vedas, there are various philosophies and various provisions for karma and jñāna. Actually, the Vedas are the only evidence and is the śīkṣa-guru for humanity. By inserting other doctrines into it, different philosophies have been propagated apart from the teachings of pure bhakti.

dharmam eke yaśaś cānye kāmaṁ satyaṁ damaṁ śamam
anye vadanti svārthaṁ vā aiśvaryaṁ tyāga-bhojanam
kecid yajñaṁ tapo dānaṁ vratāni niyamān yamān
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.14.10)

Some say that dharma alone is beneficial, some say that prestige leads to the jīva’s highest benefit. Some say that only desire is beneficial, some say that truth alone is beneficial, and some say that sense-control is beneficial. Some say that wealth is beneficial, some say that renunciation, in other words, sannyāsa, is beneficial. Some say that enjoyment, i.e. enjoying worldly things is beneficial, some say that yajña is beneficial. Some say that austerity is beneficial, some say that charity alone is beneficial. and others say that vows, rules, and observances are beneficial.

ādy-anta-vanta evaiṣāṁ lokāḥ karma-vinirmitāḥ
duḥkhodarkās tamo-niṣṭhāḥ kṣudrā mandāḥ śucārpitāḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.14.11)

All these persons attain a destination produced by their karma. i.e. beginning from their initial existence here and ending with their final result – in other words, they are impermanent, ultimately filled with sorrow, based upon ignorance, trivial, full of mundanity, and enveloped in grief.

mayy arpitātmanaḥ sabhya nirapekṣasya sarvataḥ
mayātmanā sukhaṁ yat tat kutaḥ syād viṣayātmanām
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.14.12)

O pious Uddhava! Those who achieve bhakti, which is the primary purpose of the Vedas, offer their very selves unto My Supreme eternal form, and thus they become indifferent to mundane pleasures. Can those who are thirsty for material objects achieve the same happiness derived from Me?

akiñcanasya dāntasya śāntasya sama-cetasaḥ
mayā santuṣṭa-manasaḥ sarvāḥ sukha-mayā diśaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.14.13)

All My devotees are akiñcanas, i.e. they do not consider material possessions as objects of enjoyment. They are self-restrained, meaning they have conquered their senses. They are peaceful, in other words, their minds are under their control. Their consciousness is equipoised, in that they consider spirit with equanimity, and consider matter to be insignificant. They are content in attaining Me. Happiness surrounds them from all sides.

na pārameṣṭhyaṁ na mahendra-dhiṣṇyaṁ
na sārvabhaumaṁ na rasādhipatyam
na yoga-siddhīr apunar-bhavaṁ vā
mayy arpitātmecchati mad vinānyat
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.14.14)

Those who have offered their hearts to Me do not aspire for the position of Brahmā or Indra, sovereignty over the universe, lordship over the subterranean regions, any type of mundane yogika perfections, nor do they desire the liberation of ātma-nirvāṇa (extinguishing the self). They only pray for My divine service.

Independently searching for evidence in relation to the subject of non-dual transcendental knowledge is impossible.

śrutiḥ pratyakṣam aitihyam anumānaṁ catuṣṭayam
pramāṇeṣv anavasthānād vikalpāt sa virajyate
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.19.17)

Those who consider logic to be primary, search for evidence in śabda-pramāṇa, i.e. the śruti, pratyakṣa, i.e. knowledge derived from direct sense-perception, aitihya, i.e. traditional narrative found in history, and anumāna, i.e. knowledge of indirect perception, found in knowledge born from direct perception. When even that leads to further searching, then they consider these evidences to be simply unstable and they cease.

The Devas tell Bhagavān:

na hi virodha ubhayaṁ bhagavaty aparimita-guṇa-gaṇa īśvare ‘navagāhya-māhātmye ‘rvācīna-vikalpa-vitarka-vicāra-pramāṇābhāsa-kutarka-śāstra-kalilāntaḥkaraṇāśraya-duravagraha-vādināṁ vivādānavasara uparata-samasta-māyāmaye kevala evātma-māyām antardhāya ko nv artho durghaṭa iva bhavati svarūpa-dvayābhāvāt
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 6.9.36)

O Bhagavān! Your position of being self-satisfied and possessing individual divine qualities do not contradict each other. You are the Supreme Controller, Your glories are unfathomable. The followers of wicked and troublesome philosophies – whose hearts are agitated by modern, fraudulent, argumentative literature that are replete with imperfect evidence and false arguments – when they cease their rhetoric, then all the deceptions of māyā vanish. Whatever you wish to do by accepting that which is perceived by the senses, and that which is perceived by the ātmā, i.e. the inconceivable cit-śakti, is not difficult for You. That is because Your nature is one without a second. There is no duality in Your form of sac-cid-ānanda as there is between the māyika gross and subtle bodies and the ātmā of the bound jīva. In other words, in You, there is no duality between the form and the possessor of the form, the qualities and the possessor of qualities, the features and the possessor of the features. This cannot be known through logic.

The Śrutis tell Bhagavān:

sata idaṁ utthitaṁ sad iti cen nanu tarka-hataṁ
vyabhicarati kva ca kva ca mṛṣā na tathobhaya-yuk
vyavahṛtaye vikalpa iṣito ‘ndha-paramparayā
bhramayati bhāratī ta uru-vṛttibhir uktha-jaḍān
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.87.36)

If this world is said to be real because it has emanated from sac-cid-ānanda-tattva, then this gives rise to logical inconstancies. Furthermore, if the world is said to be a transformation of Brahman, than it can be argued that this is also a lie. Therefore, the truth is established by stating that this world is real, yet perishable. Just as a cintāmaṇi stone produces gold, the Supreme Lord’s potency produces this perishable world – nothing more needs to be said on this matter. O Lord, Your statements in the Vedas make the aforementioned materialistic people wander around like the blind leading the blind. Determining when a statement is true or false solely depends on the use of language. Factually, it should be understood through the explanations of the Vedas that the world is real, and it is also false due to its impermanence. Thus, logic is incapable of ascertaining the truth, and due to misunderstanding the śāstra, many false philosophies are propagated.

The Prajāpatis speak to Bhagavān:

yac-chaktayo vadatāṁ vādināṁ vai
vivāda-saṁvāda-bhuvo bhavanti
kurvanti caiṣāṁ muhur ātma-mohaṁ
tasmai namo ’nanta-guṇāya bhūmne
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 6.4.31)

Contemplating the Lord’s infinite potencies, philosophers engage in debate with each other, and such debates only give rise to constant bewilderment within them. I offer respects unto the omniscient Lord who possesses unlimited divine qualities.

Manu tells Dhruva:

kecit karma vadanty enaṁ svabhāvam apare nṛpa
eke kālaṁ pare daivaṁ puṁsaḥ kāmam utāpare
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 4.11.22)

Some define karma as the Supreme Controller, some claim it is nature, some state that it is time, and others say it is desire.

Nārada tells Prācīnabarhi:

svaṁ lokaṁ na vidus te vai yatra devo janārdanaḥ
āhur dhūmra-dhiyo vedaṁ sakarmakam atad-vidaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 4.29.28)

Persons who are ignorant of the principle of the Supreme (īśvara-tattva) cannot understand the destiny of the jīva. Their intellect is shrouded by the smoke of karma and logic. All such persons think that the Vedas expound the philosophy of karma, and they cannot comprehend the reality of Vaikuṇṭha.

Manu tells Dhruva:

avyaktasyāprameyasya nānā-śakty-udayasya ca
na vai cikīrṣitaṁ tata ko vedātha sva-sambhavam
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 4.11.23)

The Prajāpatis speak to Bhagavān:

astīti nāstīti ca vastu-niṣṭhayor
eka-sthayor bhinna-viruddha-dharmaṇoḥ
avekṣitaṁ kiñcana yoga-sāṅkhyayoḥ
samaṁ paraṁ hy anukūlaṁ bṛhat tat
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 6.4.32)

Manu said to Dhruva – O child! Who can comprehend the activities of the Supreme, the source of various unfathomable, unmanifest potencies? Does anyone know the origin of this universe? In both the śāstra pertaining to Aṣṭāṅga Yoga and Sāṅkhya, there are opposing views regarding the existence and non-existence of the Lord’s form. It is only according to the philosophy. The Supreme Lord is the bṛhat-tattva (highest reality), within Him, all contradictory theories find harmony. Thus, any philosophical conclusion that takes shelter in only one of His potencies is indeed worthless.

Arguing about various kinds of philosophies is futile. Bhagavān tells Uddhava:

yuktaṁ ca santi sarvatra bhāṣante brāhmaṇā yathā
māyāṁ madīyām udgṛhya vadatāṁ kiṁ nu durghaṭam
naitad evaṁ yathāttha tvaṁ yad ahaṁ vacmi tat tathā
evaṁ vivadatāṁ hetuṁ śaktayo me duratyayāḥ

(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.22.4-5)

In this context, the implication is that apart from the philosophy of the Brahma-sūtras, all other concepts are mutually contradictory, and hence opposed to the Vedas. Just as the pseudo-followers of the Vedas are antagonistic, similarly, the followers of logic are also antagonistic. Therefore, depending upon those śāstras alone is futile.

Drunk with pride and accepting My māyā, whatever the brāhmaṇas have written seems to be reasonable. “What you say may not be true, what I say may be true” – in this way, various opinions arise from certain inclinations. This is caused by My insurmountable potency.

Bewilderment in accepting the meaning of the Vedas is explained by Avirhotra to the king:

karmākarma vikarmeti veda-vādo na laukikaḥ
vedasya ceśvarātmatvāt tatra muhyanti sūrayaḥ

(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.3.43)

The debate regarding karma, akarma, and vikarma is understood through the Vedic philosophy. The Vedas are the Lord Himself. Thus, no matter how persons who are proud of their learning display their intelligence, they still become bewildered by it.

parokṣa-vādo vedo ’yaṁ bālānām anuśāsanam
karma-mokṣāya karmāṇi vidhatte hy agadaṁ yathā
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.3.44)

The Vedas themselves speak indirectly. This is to discipline foolish persons. Karma is prescribed therein only in order to free them from karma. Just as medicine is prescribed for the treatment of afflicted individuals, similarly, the performance of karma is prescribed in the form of activities for the alleviation of suffering.

nācared yas tu vedoktaṁ svayam ajño ’jitendriyaḥ
vikarmaṇā hy adharmeṇa mṛtyor mṛtyum upaiti saḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.3.45)

If an ignorant and uncontrolled person fails to perform the actions prescribed by the Vedas, then by engaging in unrighteous activities opposed to the Vedas he will die again and again.

vedoktam eva kurvāṇo niḥsaṅgo ’rpitam īśvare
naiṣkarmyaṁ labhate siddhiṁ rocanārthā phala-śrutiḥ

(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.3.46)

Furthermore, one who is not attached to the results of his actions (karma) and offers his actions to the Lord as prescribed by the Vedas, becomes free from karma and achieves naiṣkarmya-siddhi (perfection through selfless activities). Naiṣkarmya-siddhi is the actual result of karma – other results mentioned in the śruti are only meant to produce naiṣkarmya-siddhi.

Camasa tells the king:

vipro rājanya-vaiśyau vā hareḥ prāptāḥ padāntikam
śrautena janmanāthāpi muhyanty āmnāya-vādinaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.5.5)

Brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, and vaiṣyas acquire the eligibility for hari-bhajana by śrauta-janma (birth through initiation). If they become attached to the literal interpretation of the Vedas even after acquiring that eligibility, they remain ensnared in delusion. The followers of the karma-mīmāṁsaka philosophy belong to this category.

Camasa tells the king:

loke vyavāyāmiṣa-madya-sevā
nityā hi jantor na hi tatra codanā
vyavasthitis teṣu vivāha-yajña
surā-grahair āsu nivṛttir iṣṭā
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.5.11)

Being attached to the literal interpretation of the Vedas, some people conclude that association with women, consumption of meat, and the drinking of alcohol are ordained by the Vedas – in other words, these things have been prescribed and established in particular yajñas. However, they do not know that all these tendencies are only meant for animals, thus, there is no need to prescribe them. For the cessation of all those tendencies, the Vedas have arranged association with women through marriage, and the eating of meat and the drinking alcohol through specific yajñas. Thus, cessation of all these is the confidential explanation of the Vedas.

yad ghrāṇa-bhakṣo vihitaḥ surāyās
tathā paśor ālabhanaṁ na hiṁsā
evaṁ vyavāyaḥ prajayā na ratyā
imaṁ viśuddhaṁ na viduḥ sva-dharmam
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.5.13)

In specific instances, wine is only smelt and not consumed, and although animal sacrifice is prescribed, animal slaughter is prohibited. Similarly, association with women is ordained solely for procreation, not for pleasure. It is certainly one’s duty to follow this pure Vedic philosophy, however, those who misinterpret the Vedas do not understand this.

ye tv anevaṁ-vido ’santaḥ stabdhāḥ sad-abhimāninaḥ
paśūn druhyanti viśrabdhāḥ pretya khādanti te ca tān

(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.5.14)

The person who is ignorant of this explanation of the Vedas is dishonest, obstinate, and arrogant. Such people fearlessly kill animals and after their death, all those animals devour them.

dviṣantaḥ para-kāyeṣu svātmānaṁ harim īśvaram
mṛtake sānubandhe ’smin baddha-snehāḥ patanty adhaḥ

(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.5.15)

Behold! In His form as the Supersoul, the Supreme Lord Hari, resides within all bodies. The foolish, who are envious of Hari residing in the bodies of others, are attached to the killing of animals in order to maintain their temporary corpse-like bodies, and thus they fall down.

Bhagavān states to Uddhava:

śabda-brahmaṇi niṣṇāto na niṣṇāyāt pare yadi
śramas tasya śrama-phalo hy adhenum iva rakṣataḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.11.18)

Even by having dedication to the words of the Vedas, which are the form of śabda-brahma, if one does not absorb oneself in the Supreme Person, who is the purport of the Vedas, then one’s endeavours only result in futile labour, like maintaining a cow who has no calf.

gāṁ dugdha-dohām asatīṁ ca bhāryāṁ
dehaṁ parādhīnam asat-prajāṁ ca
vittaṁ tv atīrthī-kṛtam aṅga vācaṁ
hīnāṁ mayā rakṣati duḥkha-duḥkhī

(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.11.19)

Just as a barren cow, an unchaste wife, a body that depends upon others, a useless son and great wealth in the hands of an unworthy recipient are causes of misery, similarly, one who rejects Me and endeavours to follow the statements of the Vedas becomes extremely miserable.

Bhagavān tells Uddhava:

vedā brahmātma-viṣayās tri-kāṇḍa-viṣayā ime
parokṣa-vādā ṛṣayaḥ parokṣaṁ mama ca priyam
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.21.35)

For the ordinary man, the Vedic statements are of three categories – karma (actions), devatā (worship of the demigods) and yajñā (sacrifices). However, if we understand their meaning, it will be seen that all the Vedic statements are related to the Supreme and bhagavad-bhajana. All the mantras of the Vedas are indirect – in other words, what appears to be their meaning is not their ultimate purpose; rather, their ultimate purpose is confidential and only for the ultimate goal of life. Knowing the indirect path to be My favourite, the ṛṣis who compiled these mantras, have followed the indirect process.

śabda-brahma su-durbodhaṁ prāṇendriya-mano-mayam
ananta-pāraṁ gambhīraṁ durvigāhyaṁ samudra-vat

(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.21.36)

The followers of the Vedas consider the explanation of the Vedas to be ordinary, but śabdabrahma (the Lord as transcendental sound) is extremely difficult to understand. It is perceivable to the life-airs, the senses and the mind, yet it is beyond measure, deep and hard to comprehend like the ocean.

Bhagavān tells Uddhava:

kiṁ vidhatte kim ācaṣṭe kim anūdya vikalpayet
ity asyā hṛdayaṁ loke nānyo mad veda kaścana
māṁ vidhatte ’bhidhatte māṁ vikalpyāpohyate tv aham
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.21.42-43)

No one other than Myself knows what these Vedic statements prescribe, what object is being indicated, and what are the various alternatives to those prescriptions – in other words, all these statements are ambiguous. Actually, the Vedic statements themselves define Me. The prescribe My śuddha-bhakti and demonstrate that I am everything, and there is no other separate from Me.

etāvān sarva-vedārthaḥ śabda āsthāya māṁ bhidām
māyā-mātram anūdyānte pratiṣidhya prasīdati

(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.21.43)

The purport of all the Vedas is this – through sound, the Vedas initially establish duality as merely the effects of māyā, and then attain they attain satisfaction by establishing My nature as non-dual and transcendental, finally negating the dualities produced by māyā.

Bhagavān tells Uddhava:

ahiṁsā satyam asteyam asaṅgo hrīr asañcayaḥ
āstikyaṁ brahmacaryaṁ ca maunaṁ sthairyaṁ kṣamābhayam

(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.19.33)

To understand the meaning of the Vedas, it is necessary to know the meaning of some of its words. Thus, O Uddhava, listen as I explain these words to you. Ahiṁsā (non-violent), satya (truthful), asteya (in control of the mind and senses), asaṅga (detached), hrī (modest), asañcaya (non-possessive), āstikya (theistic), brahmacarya (celibate, mauna (silent), sthairya (steadfast), kṣamā (forgiving) and abhaya (fearless) – these twelve are known as yama (rules)

śaucaṁ japas tapo homaḥ śraddhātithyaṁ mad-arcanam
tīrthāṭanaṁ parārthehā tuṣṭir ācārya-sevanam

(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.19.34)

Śauca (internal purity), japa (chanting the Holy Name), tapa (austerity), homa (performing sacrifices), śraddhā (faith), atithya (hospitality), bhagavatarcana (worship of Bhagavān), tīrthāṭana (visiting holy places), parārtheha (helping others), tuṣṭi (satisfaction), ācārya-sevā (worship of the ācārya) – these are known as niyama (regulations).

ete yamāḥ sa-niyamā ubhayor dvādaśa smṛtāḥ
puṁsām upāsitās tata yathā-kāmaṁ duhanti hi

(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.19.35)

O Uddhava, by observing these twelve yamas and twelve niyamas, a person will achieve their desired results.

śamo man-niṣṭhatā buddher dama indriya-saṁyamaḥ
titikṣā duḥkha-sammarṣo jihvopastha-jayo dhṛtiḥ

daṇḍa-nyāsaḥ paraṁ dānaṁ kāma-tyāgas tapaḥ smṛtam
svabhāva-vijayaḥ śauryaṁ satyaṁ ca sama-darśanam
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.19.36-37)

Dedication to Bhagavān is known as śama, sensual restraint is called dama, tolerating distress is titikṣā, conquering the urges of the belly and genitals is known as dhṛti. To pardon someone from punishment is called dāna, rejecting lust is called tapasya, conquering over one’s lower nature is known as śāurya (heroism), and seeing everything equally is satya (truth).

anyac ca sunṛtā vāṇī kavibhiḥ parikīrtitā
karmasv asaṅgamaḥ śaucaṁ tyāgaḥ sannyāsa ucyate
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.19.38)

All poets describe beautiful words as satya (truth). Detachment from karma is called śauca (purity). Renunciation is called tyāga (detachment).

dharma iṣṭaṁ dhanaṁ nṝṇāṁ yajño ’haṁ bhagavattamaḥ
dakṣiṇā jñāna-sandeśaḥ prāṇāyāmaḥ paraṁ balam
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.19.39)

Dharma is the desired wealth of men. I, Bhagavān, am yajña itself. Distribution of knowledge is called dakṣiṇā (charity). Prāṇāyāma (regulating the breath) is supreme strength.

bhago ma aiśvaro bhāvo lābho mad-bhaktir uttamaḥ
vidyātmani bhidā-bādho jugupsā hrīr akarmasu

(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.19.40)

Bhaga (opulence) refers to My sovereignty. The greatest attainment is bhakti unto Me. Rejecting the perception of duality within the ātmā is known as vidyā (knowledge). Hatred for inaction is called hṛī (modesty).

śrīr guṇā nairapekṣyādyāḥ sukhaṁ duḥkha-sukhātyayaḥ
duḥkhaṁ kāma-sukhāpekṣā paṇḍito bandha-mokṣa-vit

(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.19.41)

Impartiality and other such qualities are called śrī (opulence). The removal of pleasure and distress is known as sukha (happiness). The pursuit of sensual pleasure is called duḥkha (misery). A person who knows both subjugation and liberation is a paṇḍita (scholar).

mūrkho dehādy-ahaṁ-buddhiḥ panthā man-nigamaḥ smṛtaḥ
utpathaś citta-vikṣepaḥ svargaḥ sattva-guṇodayaḥ

(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.19.42)

One who considers himself to be the body etc. is a mūrkha (fool). The Vedas, or My instructions, are the panthā (true path). The distraction of one’s consciousness is utpatha (the wrong path). The predominance of sattva-guṇa is svarga (celestial).

narakas tama-unnāho bandhur gurur ahaṁ sakhe
gṛhaṁ śarīraṁ mānuṣyaṁ guṇāḍhyo hy āḍhya ucyate

(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.19.43)

The increase of tamo-guṇa is called naraka (hell). O friend, I am the only companion and guru. A person’s body is called gṛha (home). A person endowed with virtues is āḍhya (prosperous).

daridro yas tv asantuṣṭaḥ kṛpaṇo yo ’jitendriyaḥ
guṇeṣv asakta-dhīr īśo guṇa-saṅgo viparyayaḥ

(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.19.44)

A person who is dissatisfied is daridra (poor). A person who cannot control his senses is a kṛpaṇa (miser). One who is unattached to the material modes is īśa (a controller). One who associates with the material modes is anīśa (a slave).

The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam has been presented to help alleviate the jīvas, due to the inaccessibility of the Vedas, and is a compilation of the condensed essence of the Vedas.

purāṇa-saṁhitām etām ṛṣir nārāyaṇo ’vyayaḥ
nāradāya purā prāha kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyanāya saḥ

sa vai mahyaṁ mahā-rāja bhagavān bādarāyaṇaḥ
imāṁ bhāgavatīṁ prītaḥ saṁhitāṁ veda-sammitām
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 12.4.41-42)

The necessity of compiling the condensed essence of the Vedas, to address their inaccessibility, resulted in the Śrīmad Bhāgavata being considered as the quintessence of all the Purāṇas. This Purāṇa Saṁhitā was narrated by Nārāyaṇa Ṛṣi to Nārada in ancient times. Nārāda spoke this Purāṇa to Kṛṣna Dvaipāyana. Śukadeva said – O king! Out of affection, Bādarāyaṇa Ṛṣi presented me with this compilation of the Bhāgavata, which is in accordance with all the Vedas.

imāṁ vakṣyaty asau sūta ṛṣibhyo naimiṣālaye
dīrgha-satre kuru-śreṣṭha sampṛṣṭaḥ śaunakādibhiḥ

(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 12.4.43)

O best of the Kurus! Being asked by the ṛṣis headed by Śaunaka, that Sūta will explain this Purāṇa to the sages at Naimiṣa-kṣetra during a lengthy sacrifice.

Śrī Śuka says:

atrānuvarṇyate ’bhīkṣṇaṁ viśvātmā bhagavān hariḥ
yasya prasāda-jo brahma rudraḥ krodha-samudbhavaḥ

(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 12.5.1)

That Supreme Ātmā of the universe, Bhagavān, whose mercy gave rise to Brahmā, and whose anger produced Rudra, is constantly glorified within the Śrīmad Bhāgavata.

Sūta has stated that the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is the sun amongst all Purāṇas.

tad idaṁ grāhayām āsa sutam ātmavatāṁ varam
sarva-vedetihāsānāṁ sāraṁ sāraṁ samuddhṛtam

(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.3.41)

The Śrīmad Bhāgavata has arisen from the compilation of the essence of the essence of all Vedas and histories such as the Rāmāyaṇa, Mahābhārata etc. Vedavyāsa compiled this book, and taught it to His own son, Śrī Śukadeva, the crest-jewel amongst the self-realised.

kṛṣṇe sva-dhāmopagate dharma-jñānādibhiḥ saha
kalau naṣṭa-dṛśām eṣa purāṇārko ’dhunoditaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.3.43)

When Śrī Kṛṣṇacandra, the Lord of Goloka Vṛndāvana, ended His own worldly pastimes, then for the benefit of the jīvas, this sun-like Purāṇa, which is His direct representative, arose, complete with dharma, jñāna etc., in order to award the perfection of life unto those persons who had lost their vision in the age of Kali.

Śrī Sūta says:

rājante tāvad anyāni purāṇāni satāṁ gaṇe
yāvad bhāgavataṁ naiva śrūyate ’mṛta-sāgaram

(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 12.13.14)

Until that time, all other Purāṇas held prominence in the community of sādhus, as long as the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, is not heard among them. It’s very nature is like an ocean of nectar.

The point is that, in determining the Ultimate Truth, the Vedas alone stand as the sole evidence. Mundane evidence such as pratyakṣa (direct perception), anumāna (deductive reasoning ) etc. cannot be applied to transcendental topics, thus all the spiirtual śāstras that have been written based upon them do not benefit the jīva. Transcendental knowledge can only be explained by the Vedas which are apauruṣeya (not composed by ordinary people). However, the Vedas are also unfathomable, especially in Kali-yuga. After compiling all the explanations of the Vedas, Vedānta etc, the supremely merciful Nārāyaṇa, for the benefit of the jīvas, has offered the world this Bhāgavata Purāṇa, the quintessence of all evidence.  May all the most fortunate jīvas accept this Bhāgavata, which is the Paramahaṁsa Saṁhitā, as the conclusive evidence regarding matters of Supreme Truth.


This is the First Ray of Śrīmad Bhāgavatārka Maricī-Mālā
called ‘Pramāṇa Nirdeśa’ (
Assertation of Evidence)

Here ends the Gauḍīya Commentary known as the Marīci Prabhā
on the First Ray of Śrīmad Bhāgavatārka Maricī-Mālā
called ‘Pramāṇa Nirdeśa’.

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