sarveṣāṁ kāraṇañ ca vedmy-ekaṁ kāraṇaṁ kṛpam
vidhināṁ hetu-bhutānāṁ dhātuḥ kṛṣṇa-svarūpiṇaḥ
We know that Kṛṣṇa’s inherent nature is merciful. He is the controller of all injunctions that are the cause of all elements, and He is the source or sole cause of all causes.
I know that the svarūpa (inherent nature) of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the cause of all things, that He is the controller of all injunctions and that He is the origin of all causes.
abādhya-bhrama-hānāya samarthā ye narātmajāḥ
vadantu kāraṇaṁ kṛṣṇa-kṛpāyā dīna-cetasām
Let all those persons who are capable of dispelling unbreakable illusions, explain the cause for Kṛṣṇa’s mercy to the those with weak intelligence (those akiñcanas who are lowly and possess nothing).
Here, abādhya means incurable illusion. Dīna-citta (weak intelligence), in other words, an akiñcana Vaiṣṇava, is in relation to us (the author). This is clearly stated.
vayaṁ tu dāsya-bhāvānāṁ āśvādana-vimohitāḥ
kṛṣṇecchā-hetu-nirddeśe hy-aśaktāḥ kṣudra-buddhayaḥ
However, possessing meagre intelligence, we are perplexed with all the tastes of dāsya-bhāva and are incapable of explaining the cause of Kṛṣṇa’s desire.
By using the phrase dāsya-bhāva in the plural case, all bhāvas up to śṛṅgara are indicated. Due to a lack of subordination to the laws of Kṛṣṇa, the cause of His desire is inexplicable – this is the meaning.
kintv-eko niścayo’smākaṁ pareśaḥ karuṇāmayaḥ
ekānta śaraṇāpannaṁ na muñcati kadācana
hā kṛṣṇa karuṇa-sindho paramānanda-vāridhe
sudaṇḍyam ātma-cauraṁ māṁ badhāna prema-rajjutaḥ
However, we have one firm conviction – the merciful Supreme Lord never forsakes those who are exclusively surrendered unto Him. O Śrī Kṛṣṇa, You are an ocean of mercy, an ocean of supreme bliss! Therefore, because I have deprived myself, I am the most fit to be punished, so bind me with the ropes of prema.
Although a cause for Kṛṣṇa’s mercy is not perceived, because Kṛṣṇa is not bound by rules, then He out of His mercy He does not forsake that jīva who is exclusively surrendered. While reflecting upon the infinite mercy of Bhagavān, these prayers beginning with hā kṛṣṇa etc. spontaneously arose from the author. The nature of the ātmā is servitude to Bhagavān – apart from this, one engages in ātma-caurya (depriving oneself). Thieves are punishable. Firstly, it is one’s duty to bind them. I am an ātma-caura, so You should bind me tightly with the ropes of Your prema and submerge me in the ocean of supreme bliss – this is the explanation of this particular mood. If he achieves supreme bliss, then how is this punishment? Fearing this kind of question, I have said, “O Kṛṣṇa, in other words, O attractor of the jīvas! What is inauspicious in You? O ocean of mercy! Due to You being full of mercy, how can Your punishment be inauspicious? One should know that this prayer is a characteristic of surrender (śaraṇāgati).
kadācit kurvataḥ karma jñāna-mārgāśritasya me
jagatāṁ maṅgalārthāya prārthanādau ratasya ca
arūpa-dhyānasaktasya śānta-bhāva-gatasya ca
prādurāsīn mahān bhāvo vraja-līlātmakaś citi
Sometimes I have been engaged in the ritual performance of karma, sometimes I have taken shelter of the path of jñāna, sometimes I have been busy in praying for the welfare of the world, sometimes I have been engrossed in meditating on the formless Absolute, and sometimes I have taken refuge in the mood of neutrality However, the greatest truth has appeared within my conscious existence (or self) as the pastimes of Vraja.
In the ślokas beginning with kadācit etc., the author tells his own story. My consciousness (conscious existence) was attached to śānta-rasa and the worship of the formless īśvara, and at some point in time, by Bhagavān’s mercy, rasa-tattva within the pastimes of Vraja appeared along with the topmost relationship. With the appearance of the Lord’s form of existence, consciousness and bliss, meditation upon the formless disappeared – this is the meaning.
tadādi sthūla liṅgākhyau pṛthag bhūtau dehau mama
svadharma-sādhane kintu niratau ca yathā purā
At that time, both my gross and subtle bodies separated (from my spiritual body). However, I continued to execute my previous duties.
At that time, from the five gross elements to the false ego, both my gross and subtle bodies naturally separated. Nevertheless, those two bodies were engaged as before in their respective practical duties such as eating, etc. – this is the meaning.
ahaṁ tu śuddha-cid-dharmī nija-preṣṭha-samāśritaḥ
carāmi yāmune deśe cit-kadambānilānvite
With my pure conscious nature, I take refuge in my beloved (Śrī Kṛṣṇa) as I roam along the banks of the Yamunā where the transcendental kadambas are served by soft breezes.
Myself, as the pure jīva, am separated from both the gross and subtle bodies and I assist my most beloved Lord of my life in His pastimes, becoming especially intoxicated by relishing various rasas. I constantly roam around the supremely blissful abode of Vraja, near the Yamunā which is full of divine nectar, where the transcendental stamens of the kadambas stand on end as they are served by pleasurable breezes. This is the meaning.
etad ātmā-pratītaṁ me sadā sākṣād yathā dṛśi
prāgāsīj-jaḍa-brahmāṇḍam idānīñ ca pṛthak kṛtam
Although I previously saw the material universe with my eyes, now I constantly perceive it differently (from matter) through realisation of the ātmā.
“Is this imaginary or due to some particular illness?” This śloka beginning with etad etc. answers the suspicions of such a challenge. This perception cannot possibly arise from imagination or illness. This is because it is obtained from the pure ātmā, devoid of any material connection, and the physical body continues to be involved in its previous affairs. Just as the material world was previously an object of my conviction, now this perception which stems from the ātmā brings pleasure to me with an indescribable blissful conviction. This is the meaning.
duṣpāre’py-anusaṁpraviśya vimalaḥ śāstrāmbudhau kaustubhaḥ
pratyakṣānumiti-pramāṇa-vidhinā saṁgṛhya sāro maniḥ
dattāḥ sāra-juṣe mahāmati-mate kedāra-nāmnādhunā
lupta prāya gatiḥ pramāda-kalinā rādhā-priya-prītaye
This divine and supreme Kaustubha jewel, whose knowledge was practically lost due to the bewilderment of the age of Kali, has now been seized by a person named Kedāra through the evidences of pratyākṣa (direct perception) and anumāna (inference) who penetrated the ocean of śāstra, which is difficult to cross, and has presented it to the wise sāra-grāhīs for the satisfaction of Śrī Rādhā-kānta, the Lover of Śrī Rādhā.
Although it is difficult to cross, I, Kedāranātha Datta, have penetrated the ocean of śāstra by the processes of pratyakṣa and anumāna and grasped the pure essence of the Kaustubha gem. I have presented this to the supremely wise sāra-grāhīs, in other words, those who seek the essence. What is the essence? Pramāda-kali – this means that mundane attachment and envy within the sampradāya is Kali, and through him, this knowledge and relationship was practically lost. The meaning of rādhā-priya-prītaye is that the hlādinī-śakti, the embodiment of Bhagāvan’s inherent bliss for all bhāvas up to mahā–bhāva for those jīvas who are eligible for śṛṅgara–rasa, is Rādhā. Her lover is Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the abode of supreme sweetness – this book is for His satisfaction.
kaustubheśa pradatto me dattasya kaustubho mudā
vaiṣṇavānāṁ śirodhāryyaḥ sāra-bhājāṁ viśeṣataḥ
This Kaustubha which was presented to me by Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of the Kaustubha gem, should be blissfully held to the heads of the Vaiṣṇavas, especially the sāra-grāhīs.
Having been raised from the ocean of śāstra by Bhagavān, the Lord of the Kaustubha, it was given to Datta. This means that the those who are surrendered souls, the Vaiṣṇavas, and especially the sāra-grāhīs, should hold this Kaustubha upon their heads. It is inappropriate to disrespect all those books that are in relation to Bhagavān because of faults in grammar or literary ornamentation. This book should especially be given respect since, by the power of its words, it is helpful to entering into great works such as Śrī Bhāgavata etc.
aṣṭa-daśa-śate śāke pañcābdārahite mayā
nirmitaṁ kaustubhaṁ kṣudraṁ kṣetre śrī-puruṣottame
This brief book, the Kaustubha, was composed by us in Purī-dhāma in 1795 Śakābda (1873 of the Christian Era, 1280 of the Bengali Calendar).
(Here ends the book)