Garbha Stotra Commentary (Prayers to Kṛṣṇa in the Womb)Introduction to Garbha Stotra
Garbha Stotra Commentary (Prayers to Kṛṣṇa in the Womb)Garbha Stotra Verse Two

Verse One

With the Sambandha Tattva Candrikā Commentary by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura

satya-vrataṁ satya-paraṁ tri-satyaṁ
satyasya yoniḥ nihitaṁ ca satye
satyasya satyam ṛta-satya-netraṁ
satyātmakaṁ tvāṁ śaraṇaṁ prapannāḥ

O You who always maintains His vow, who is beyond relative truth, who is true in all the three phases of time, who is the cause of truth, who is established in truth, who is the very essence of truth, whose two eyes are that truth which is deduced and that truth which is fundamental, who is truth personified – we fully surrender unto You. (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.2.26)

Sambandha Tattva Candrikā Commentary

Before creation, only the Supreme was there, and nothing else. He is the possessor of all potencies and the embodiment of completeness. Amongst His unlimited potencies, there are three that are manifested to the jīvas who reside in this universe. The other complete potencies are inconceivable and unseen by the jīva. Although the jīva is himself transcendental (aprākṛta) and is embellished with jñāna and ānanda, due to a deficiency of completeness, he cannot fully comprehend the Supreme Lord in His entirety. The names of these three potencies are cit-śakti, jīva-śakti and māyā-śakti, otherwise known as antaraṅga, taṭasthā and bahiraṅga. The nature of the Supreme is cit-śakti. The māyā-śakti is the opposite of that nature. The jīva-śakti is the vibhināṁśa (expansion) of the cit-śakti and is susceptible to turn its face towards māyā. The cit-śakti is completely transcendental, the jīva-śakti is the incomplete characteristic of transcendence, and the māyā-śakti is the opposite of transcendence, in other words, mundane. The entire material world can be said to be mundane, hence it can be explained as a manifestation of the māyā-śakti.

If these three potencies of Jagadīśvara are not accepted, then there can be no conclusion to any kind of philosophical deliberation. This is because if transcendental qualities are not accepted in the Supreme, then the danger of māyāvāda arises. The Personality within whom all contradictory qualities exist in proper proportion, is considered to be the Supreme – even the creational activity of the formless, as well as the ānandamaya-vilāsa (blissful pastimes) of the cit-śakti, and the continuous functioning of the deep ignorance of māyā-śakti are simultaneously visible without any conflict within the Supreme. Human beings are incapable of understanding the existence of such a synthesis because of their innate deficiencies. Māyā is asat (mundane), in other words, there is nothing within this material world apart from the misery due to the jīva’s lack of determination (abhāva saṅkalpa). It is not that māyā manifests because of this world, but the world itself emanates from the womb of māyā. Māyā is merely the potency of Jagadīśvara. When this beginningless potency is agitated by the Supreme, then this universe manifests. With all its suns and constellations, the entire material cosmos is born from māyā. Based upon inheritance, all the qualities of the mother are bestowed upon the universe. Goodness, passion, ignorance, space and time – all these great qualities and all their corresponding sub-qualities such as expansion, contraction, form, pervasiveness, location, establishment, attraction etc. possess their own attributes. Perceivable material nature is derived from māyā.

The followers of Śaṅkarācārya, who hanker after knowledge, have explained māyā and the world that emanates from her as false, and have not accepted any other elements or qualities apart from Brahman. Within their deliberations, there arises various faults. Firstly, where does the form of the universe emanate from – this cannot be concluded through logic in any way. Secondly, if one accepts their conclusion, then impiety, piety, duty, non-duty etc. all become unreal. Also, that prema, which is most fundamental to Vaiṣṇava dharma and essential to human life, also becomes uprooted, and all jīvas fall into a well of bewilderment, adopting behaviour of a whimsical nature and in this way, they attain inauspiciousness. In order to deliver all the jīvas from such barren logic, the Vaiṣṇava sādhus, who are well-versed in proper tattva, have directed us to have faith in all the potencies of the Supreme Lord. He is embellished with complete bliss by His own cit-śakti. By His directing the jīva-śakti during the time of maintenance, He regulates their existence, and through the māyā-śakti, He manifests this material world, which is actually false, but is real at the time of maintenance. The jīvas are transcendental, yet being under the influence of Jagadīśvara’s potency, they are almost forced to be bound within this material world. However, those Vaiṣṇavas who are sāragrāhīs (seekers of the essence), consider the Supreme Lord to be the advaya-tattva (singular non-dual Substance). This is because these two potencies, which are the foundational nature of the jīva and matter, are only the potencies of the Supreme Lord, and are not independent elements.

The Supreme Controller is never a multiple Personality at any time, because by the fourfold pramāṇa (proofs) based upon the revelation of the śruti, namely yukti (logic), aitihya, meaning the statements of the mahājanas, and anumāna (inference), the Vaiṣṇavas have declared the Supreme to be non-dual. At the end of laborious debating, Vaiṣṇavas who are adherents of the philosophies of dual tattva and threefold tattva, attribute the final result to rest in the one Supreme Truth. They give proof from the Gītā that the two elements, jīva and matter, are anādi (without beginning) and ananta (unlimited). However, it must be said that there is an error in their deliberation on the meaning of the Gītā because Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, in explaining His own two potencies as anādi and ananta, has not accepted all the activities which are the transformation of those two potencies, as anādi. Even that which is transformed can also be further transformed – hence, by the will of Jagadīśvara, all those elements can be annihilated. This is accepted everywhere. From an impartial consideration, the Supreme Lord is non-different from His own potencies. For example, light and its burning propensity are both potencies of fire, but they are not independent of fire. The jīva-śakti and māyā-śakti are anādi and ananta, yet these qualities are not produced independently by the jīva and matter. This means that their perishability must be accepted. But the Vaiṣṇavas cannot say that the jīva and matter are false because the Supreme Lord, the embodiment of reality, is their original source. Thus, in order to separate the conclusions of those persons blinded by the bewilderment of the māyāvādīs from Vaiṣṇava philosophy, many great personalities have explained both cit and acit, in other words, the jīva and matter, to be eternal.

Because Jagadiśvara is the cause of creation, due to His own desire, and because of His satya-saṅkalpa (one whose resolve becomes a reality), the Devas refer to Him as satya-vrata (‘one whose resolve is real’). Although matter and the jīvas are real, still the self-existent reality of Jagadiśvara cannot be compared with the momentary existence of matter and the jīva. This is because The Supreme Lord is eternal reality, that is why the Devas call Him satya-param (‘the Supreme Reality’). When the Devatās referred to Bhagavān as satya-vrata, then such fear came into them that if the word satya-vrata was used to give an eternal designation to those elements created by Bhagavān, then a great offence may be incurred. In the hope of dispelling this fear, they immediately applied the designation, satya-param. In this way, although they had become inoffensive towards the Lord, the Devatās were not satisfied because the meaning of the short sentence, satya-vrataṁ satya-paraṁ could only be understood by Bhagavān, yet other jīvas would understand an opposite meaning and become Advaitavādīs, or they would compare the eternality of matter and the jīvas with the Supreme, and would become contaminated.

Thinking in this way, Brahmā and other Devas offered prayers to the Supreme Lord with this statement, satyasya yoniḥ nihitaṁ ca satye satyasya satyam, “O Jagadīśa, You are the ‘mother’ of satya (the origin of truth), in other words, You are the upadāna-kāraṇa (the ingredient cause) of the universe. Moreover, You reside in the temporary reality of this universe, yet You are also the inherent reality of the reality of this universe (satyasya satyam). In other words, You are it’s very life.” This consideration that Bhagavān is within this universe is most excellent, and at the same time, amazing. It is not conceivable in which part of the universe the Supreme Lord exists, because He is transcendental and beyond time and place.

The most insignificant elements of the material world may be referred to as atomic particles (paramāṇu). In each of those atomic particles, the Supreme exists along with His complete sixfold opulence. All the Vedas sing how Jagadīśvara is the smallest amongst the smallest and heaviest amongst the heaviest. All the Vedas have employed the word ota-prota* to describe the existence of the Supreme in the universe, because they could not properly explain Him in any other way. This is because, being unable to find Him, the mind and words retreat – any attempt to describe that inconceivable Lord in words becomes inherently corrupt. However, the jīva has no other way apart from glorification and remembrance of the fame of Jagadiśvara, which means constant meditation on Him (nididhyāsana). Due to this reason, whatever way the sādhu-Vaiṣṇavas describe Bhagavān with embellishing words, one needs to reject the mundane meaning of all statements and accept the transcendental explanation. In this way, although the Supreme exists in completeness in every atomic particle, still the universe and the Lord, in their relationship of the sustainer and the sustained (ādhāra and ādheya), are mutually different.

*Translator’s Note: The phrase ota-prota literally means ‘crosswise and lengthwise’ or ‘interweaving.’ In other words, the Lord and His energies permeate every aspect of creation.

Upon discussing these intrinsic points, many become doubtful of the existence of the universe and explain it as a transformation (vivarta) of the infinite substance, Brahman. With the hope of counteracting such a dangerous conclusion, the Devas have given Him the designation, satyasya satya. This universe, although real, is not the Supreme. Jagadiśvara is the satyasvarūpa (the real inherent form of the Supreme). When this visible world, by the will of the Supreme Lord ends, then the final result is only the highest truth, the Supreme Lord will remain. This momentary truth finally ends in Jagadīśvara only. By the will of Jagadīśvara, this world has manifested from the māyā-śakti, and by entering it, the Supreme Lord has protected it. Later, when that pure desire of His is fulfilled, then nothing will remain of it. Then only Bhagavān, with His complete opulence, will exist.

Here there may be some apprehension that before creation, when there was no universe or jīvas, then incompleteness in the form of an absence of the universe may be perceived within the Supreme – therefore, here, the mahātmās who propound the philosophy of three tattvas could say that their conclusion is the best and that one should accept the eternality of the jīva and matter. But sāragrāhi Vaiṣṇavas do not conclude in this way. Since the previous existence of the jīva and matter is within the potency of Jagadīśvara, He was never incomplete in any sense before the creation occurred. After the annihilation of an infinite number of universes, they will enter into the potency of the Supreme. Here, within the three phases of time, one can never perceive that He is incomplete.

Speaking like this, the Devatās came to the conclusion that if satya becomes the only greatness of the Supreme, then since it is accepted by all, it will become ordinary. “Alas! By describing the Supreme in this way as satya-svarūpa (He who is inherently the Supreme Reality), how offensive we have become!” Lamenting in this way, Brahmā and other Devas addressed Him as ṛta-satya-netra (‘the origin of whatever truth is pleasing’). That Brahman, who is the inherent reality of reality and its promoter, in other words, that Supreme Person, Parabrahma, who is the Controller, is Bhagavān. The sum total of the potency of Bhagavān is Brahman, who has been given the title satya. That Personality who is the shelter of that satya is the Supreme Lord alone.

If that Personality is referred to as satya, then one must classify Him as the possessor of that quality. Thus, the Devas said, “O satyātmaka! We surrender unto You!” When they applied their knowledge and transcended all mundane qualities, they became closer to the Supreme Person, the possessor of all qualities. Then the mundane knowledge of the Devas was completely eradicated. They immersed themselves in the ocean of bhakti, and singing about the nectar of Bhagavān’s lotus feet, which are the object of surrender, they attained that bliss which is devoid of jñāna.

Garbha Stotra Commentary (Prayers to Kṛṣṇa in the Womb)Introduction to Garbha Stotra
Garbha Stotra Commentary (Prayers to Kṛṣṇa in the Womb)Garbha Stotra Verse Two

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