Garbha Stotra Commentary (Prayers to Kṛṣṇa in the Womb)Garbha Stotra Verse Four
Garbha Stotra Commentary (Prayers to Kṛṣṇa in the Womb)Garbha Stotra Verse Six

Verse Five

With the Sambandha Tattva Candrikā Commentary by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura


tvayy ambujākṣākhila-sattva-dhāmni
tvat-pāda-potena mahat-kṛtena
kurvanti govatsa-padaṁ bhavābdhim

O Lotus-eyed One, O abode of all transcendental existence, by fully and exclusively meditating upon You and by accepting Your feet as a boat, as great personalities have done, then one can cross over the ocean of material existence, just as one steps over the hoof-print of a calf. (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.2.30)

Sambandha Tattva Candrikā Commentary

In this way, the Devas stated that amongst infinite avatāras, those forms of Bhagavān endowed with qualities of viśuddha-sattva are the sole object of refuge for the jīvas. “O Lotus-eyed one! Through samādhi-yoga, those persons that possess discrimination, immerse their consciousness in Your form which consists of the quality of pure goodness. Considering Your lotus feet, which are worshipped by great personalities, to be like a boat, they cross over the ocean of worldly existence just as one crosses over the hoofprint of a calf.”

There are many reasons why Bhagavān is addressed as Ambujākṣa (‘lotus-eyed One’) in this section. Bhagavān is the seer of the entire universe, yet no one can perceive Him. He is the witness of all, yet no one can prove His existence through logic or reasoning. However, one who can only explain His śānta-rasa aspect will not be able to describe the svarūpa-lakṣaṇa (intrinsic nature) of Bhagavān, beyond their own satisfaction. Bhagavān’s jñāna-svarūpa (His nature of supreme knowledge) is likened to an eye and the example of a lotus is given in order to explain His characteristic of being premamaya (fully replete with prema). His sac-cidānanda nature is represented by His lotus-eyes. The Devatās first addressed His sac-cidānanda form as Ambujākṣa in order to explain that His form is endowed with the qualities of viśuddha-sattva.

Deliberating upon the true meaning of the abode of pure goodness (viśuddha-sattva-dhāma) is the unequivocal duty of the Vaiṣṇavas, because that is what they are meant to attain. Firstly, among the three fundemental modes of māyā, sattva-guṇa is considered to be the best. The superior aspect of the material world is referred to as sattva-guṇa. Those who are primarily bound by material nature will first rely upon sattva-guṇa and strive to overcome the qualities of rajas and tamas. However, sattva-guṇa is not the ultimate goal, since even within that, one can still be bound by material nature. There are many kinds of sattvika conduct such as purity, compassion, discernment, knowledge, pure happiness, the desire to associate with virtuous persons, prayer, constant contemplation, welfare activities, Vaiṣṇava family life, service to Vaiṣṇavas, improvement of the body and mind, control of the senses etc. – but these are all still mundane. Whatever is bound by the physical is mundane. Discussions concerning the aforementioned types of conduct in the context of worldly activities are considered to be materialistic. Although giving medicine to sick persons is an act of compassion, such compassion cannot do anything apart from give some material benefit. There is no possibility of attaining transcendental results from mundane physical activities because results depend upon karma. Form, expansion, attraction, maintenance, establishment etc. are all qualities of physical things. However, in order to comprehend what substance the ātmā is, it is first necessary to purify one’s intellect of all mundane qualities. The unfortunate thing is that as long as a person maintains a connection with the body, it is not possible for their supramundane nature to completely manifest – therefore the process of sattva-guṇa is especially employed. However, that alone is not what the jīva needs to achieve. The opposite state of all material qualities is called aprākṛta-tattva (transcendental reality).

When a human being, as a seeker of reality, enquires from a guru about the subject of aprākṛta-tattva, the guru then allows him to relinquish mundane thoughts. In this way, the guru will say, “O śiṣyā! You yourself are transcendental, nirguṇa (devoid of qualities), and a servant of the Lord. The Lord of the universe is transcendental, nirguṇa, and He is the Master.” The disciple asks, “What is my form and what is the form of Lord, and where are we situated?”
In order to discourage materialistic thoughts, the guru says, “You and the Lord are both nirākāra (formless), so there is no necessity to inquire about your location.”
At first, the disciple deliberates upon this point with extreme difficulty and understands that ātma-tattva is completely different to everything that is material, yet it is not non-existent. The mind cannot relate to the subject of the ātmā because it is structured by thoughts that are produced by the senses. When the mind attempts to grasp the ātmā, which is beyond the senses and the material modes, it becomes marred by anomalies. However, It is one’s duty to know what is the ātmā, and it should be understood by any means. Thinking in this way and being disturbed, he again asks the guru, “O guru! You said that the ātmā is devoid of form and qualities, but in what way can the jīva perceive his own ātmā, or the Paramātmā who is the ātmā of the ātmā, considering that realisation based on qualities is impossible? Therefore, in what form does the jīva leave the physical world to become established in its own true nature?”
The guru observes that the disciple is now capable of understanding ātmā-tattva because he has become specifically aware of the material state of all things, and is searching for the state of transcendence. The guru says with joy, “O worthy disciple, when I mentioned the two words nirguṇa and nirākāra, their meaning is that the ātmā and the Supreme Lord transcend all material states but are not non-existent – because they are substances that are beyond matter, they are described by the word aprākṛta. All transcendental qualities exist in the ātmā and the Supreme Lord, and in the current state of the jīva, knowledge and bliss are directly perceptible. The ātmā is the observer in the material world, just like an eye sees material objects but cannot see itself. Similarly, the ātmā and you cannot see yourselves directly. The knowledge and the bliss derived from the perception of material objects by the eye are known to you. In the same way, the ātmā, being all-seeing, experiences its own knowledge and bliss. This experience itself is the direct perception of the ātmā. Indeed, the ātmā experiences this knowledge and bliss. The Supreme Lord is the complete embodiment of that knowledge and bliss. Therefore, O disciple, when I previously mentioned nirguṇa and nirākāra, their actual meaning is that you and the Supreme Lord are endowed with pure knowledge and pure bliss. You are not really formless or devoid of qualities, but I mentioned this to convey the conception of your aprākṛta form and qualities. You are extremely fortunate since you can understand my hints and are capable of attaining the Supreme Truth. If you were a fool, then from my previous statement, you would have considered yourself and the Supreme Lord to be non-existent, being confined to physical elements by direct perception and inference, thus remaining bound by false concepts in regards to the Supreme Truth. Perceptions stemming from the senses which are experienced and felt by the mind yield to the knowledge of ātmānanda (the bliss of the ātmā). In this way you will be able to experience some aspects of transcendental qualities and gradually attain the abode of pure bliss. The experience of ātmānanda is itself the gateway to pure bliss. The experience of this ultimate truth is called samādhi. Logical reasoning based upon meagre knowledge acquired by the senses lacks the capacity for such matters and does not have the potential to provide any specific benefit for experiencing the nature of Supreme Truth through self-realisation. The experience of bliss itself is not the ultimate attainment – it is simply a gateway to the ultimate attainment, the realm of viśuddha-sattva. Through samādhi, the jīvātmā gradually begins to perceive the abhautika-deśa (transcendental abode) of viśuddha-sattva and everything associated with it, and eventually the ātmā is brought there. O disciple, do not perceive any contradiction with the term abhautika-deśa, since words are merely an expression of the mind which is a product of all the senses. Therefore, whatever description I give of that divine realm will be tainted by the impurity of language, but you should understand its essence to be transcendental – this is my specific instruction. The word deśa typically refers to a physical place characterised by a particular shape, extension, and specificity, but when I used the term abhautika-deśa, I meant something beyond that which is physical. Then you will perceive the transcendental world through the gateway of the experience of ātmā-jñāna, and my words will not spoil your perception.
O disciple! When you explore the transcendental realm through samādhi, you will abandon mundane conceptions and perceive the extraordinary Virajā River. By bathing in the Virajā, you will achieve a transcendental form. Subsequently, you will behold the unparalleled abode of Vaikuṇṭha known as Paravyoma. There you will see the Supreme Lord in full, adorned with six types of opulence. Being the pure servant of Jagadīśvara is the only true nature of the jīva, and leads to the realisation of one’s highest form. Softness, fame, skill, invincibility, cheerfulness, beauty, splendour, wealth, knowledge, various regulations and other divine qualities manifest in the form of the Lord who is of a dark hue, holding the conch, discus, club and lotus, who is adorned with the fragrance of tulasī and decorated with forest garlands. You will also see all the associates of Bhagavān such as Lakṣmī, Garuḍa, and Viśvaksena etc. Although you will experience much joy here, you will not feel fully satisfied by the happiness derived from opulence because through it, you will only attain the ecstatic joy born from reverence and not by coming in contact with the bliss of Bhagavān’s inherent nature. Your ātmā will generally pray to advance, therefore you will quickly ascend and enter the innermost abode named Goloka. As soon as you enter beyond the great boundary of Goloka-dhāma, you will be in a state of wonder. You will then abandon your own masculinity and will be considered as a woman. Even more astonishing is that you will no longer remember that you were once a man – instead, you will feel that you were previously a housewife in that world.
Formerly, you were associated as one who was characterised by the disciplines of vidhi-mārga (the path of rules and regulations). You had acquired the name pati-vrata (‘one who is devoted to her spouse’) due to faithfully serving your husband in various ways according to vidhi. But at some point, a wonderful, sweet flute-sound from within a kadamba grove on the banks of the Yamunā entered your ears and agitated you. Amidst the backdrop of this world, with the help of some sakhī, you became further agitated by seeing the attractive form of Vaṁśivadana. All the eulogists in śāstra have sung about your Attractor, and described that the miserable condition you fell into is your pūrva-rāga (feelings before union). Due to detachment stemming from this pūrva-rāga, you relinquished your previous household duties, and going in search of your Attractor, you became an abhisārikā in Vṛndāvana on the banks of the Yamunā.* (1) The moment you reach the boundary of that aforementioned Goloka-dhāma, with all these bhāvas surging within you, in a state of divine madness, you will wander from one forest to another in the transcendental Vṛndāvana, and you will not remain alone there. You will encounter many companions who have also attained your state of being. Then you will think that the other companions of the village where you were the wife of a cowherd have joined you, thus they are your eternal acquaintances and dearmost friends. You will experience two types of supreme bliss there – vipralambha (separation) and sambhoga (union). The supreme sweetness of the Lord, devoid of all opulence, will manifest as the uddīpaka (stimuli) and ālambana (support) of your prema. Finally, by achieving the pure bliss of direct contact with Kṛṣṇa, you will progress up to mahā-bhāva.

Persons who are taught in this way attain the abode of Bhagavān through samādhi-yoga. The servants of Bhagavān are referred to as mahat-kṛta because such great personalities have discovered this transcendental abode. By adopting this form of samādhi as the supreme process, persons can easily cross over this arduous ocean of material existence. There is no other means to cross over the ocean of worldy existence; thus, it is the duty of all discerning jīvas to take up this pure process. This abode of viśuddhasattva is characterised by pure prema alone, which is the fifth goal of life for the jīva. Those who are qualified candidates for such prema possess complete disdain for the other four goals of life, namely dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa.”



(1) Abhisārikā refers to a young woman who engages in a tryst with her lover.

Garbha Stotra Commentary (Prayers to Kṛṣṇa in the Womb)Garbha Stotra Verse Four
Garbha Stotra Commentary (Prayers to Kṛṣṇa in the Womb)Garbha Stotra Verse Six

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