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

Verse Seven

With the Sambandha Tattva Candrikā Commentary by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura

VERSE 7

ye’nye’ravindākṣa vimukta-māninas
tvayy asta-bhāvād aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ
āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ
patanty adho’nādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ

O lotus-eyed one! All other persons who abandon their inherent service to You, attain an impure intellect. In vain, they consider themselves to be liberated and with great difficulty, they attain the highest position, but achieve degradation by disrespecting the refuge of Your feet.

Sambandha Tattva Candrikā Commentary

Parampada, the supreme destination that one attains through karma-yoga and jñāna, is not permanent.*(1) The absence of attachment in the relationship between the aprākṛta-jīva and the material elements is called parampada. The jīva’s own present state, however, is not his inherent nature. Servitorship to Bhagavān is the inherent nature of the jīva. Many, many persons, who proudly identify themselves as scholars, consider bhakti to be inferior and establish karma and jñāna as superior. These three kinds of processes are observed throughout all the Vedas.

Karma-kāṇḍa is diverse. All the various arrangements based on the differentiation of varṇa and āśrama for establishing worldly existence are forms of karma. The ancient system that exists in various ways as the saṁskāras (purificatory rites) in the different varṇas and the ceremonies in the different āśramas are referred to as Dharma-śāstra. The Karma-kāṇḍa which is written about in the Dharma-śāstra is endless, thus it is extremely difficult to achieve. However, renouncing the ultimate results of all such actions is advocated in the Vedas. Through Karma-kāṇḍa, the jīvas gradually progresses and ultimately attain the state of Brahman. By the end of the lifetime of Brahmā, they enter into the Supreme Lord. When Brahmā is reborn into the material universe at the beginning of a kalpa, then those jīvas who achieved all the results of karma must again begin wandering in the cosmos. Therefore, although one can achieve parampada through karma with extreme difficult, the eternal welfare of the jīva is not feasible through that – rather, misfortune repeatedly occurs. On the other hand, all those persons who, through jñāna-yoga, perceive themselves as distinct from all the elements of this world, remain merged in the vast entity of Brahman – they too return to the material world at the dissolution of Hiraṇyagarbha (Brahmā). Therefore, even through the extremely difficult practice of pursuing brahma-jñāna (knowledge of Brahman), there is apprehension of falling from parampada.

The effulgent region in the outer portion of the transcendental sky is known as Brahmaloka. Being present there, the jñānīs briefly experience ātmānanda (the bliss of the ātmā) and, when they are free from that desire, they simply fall down and attain suffering. Thus, even though the karmī and the jñānī considers himself to be liberated, in actuality, it cannot be so. Their arrogance remains their limitation. The specific reason why transcendental bliss is not achieved through karma and jñāna is that although jñāna and karma may lead to a state of renunciation in the jīva through great difficulty and for a long period, they are not capable of firmly establishing the jīva in that state of detachment, because as soon as the jīva exists in his own state, his association with jñāna and karma ceases. If there is renunciation, then karma and jñāna are no longer necessary, because if the result is obtained, then what is the need for the means? What is the need of a boat after crossing a river? However, without engaging in one’s inherent functions, weakness arises in one’s state of existence. The jīva cannot remain inactive even for a moment. Therefore, when the jīva is established in his own state, he desires proximity and camaraderie with his previous companions, karma and jñāna. The word for desire is kāma, and the word for the results of kāma and karma is fate (daiva). As a consequence of fate, the jīva achieves worldly existence.

The word asta-bhavāt used by the Devatās in this śloka means that the light of the sun is one’s intrinsic nature (svabhāva), and the setting of the sun is the opposite. An analogy is given comparing the jīva with the sun – its effulgence is his servitude to Bhagavān and its setting is his averseness to Bhagavān. All those jīvas who misuse their God-given independence and accept the sunset of opposition to Bhagavān, thereby ruin their own progress. They take refuge in karma and jñāna, proudly considering themselves to be liberated. However, if all those persons ultimately take refuge in the shelter of the feet of Bhagavān according to their own intrinsic nature, then they do not attain the cycle of birth and death again.

Many, many people, who consider themselves to be open-minded, cunningly establish bhakti, and then above that, they establish jñāna. They say that by practicing bhakti, jñāna gradually arises. This statement is completely useless. Bhakti is the inherent nature of the jīva. Those jīvas who are eternally liberated know nothing beyond bhakti. When the jīva, through knowledge concerning that which is eternal and not eternal, attains his own state in the form of renunciation, then he remains engaged in his inherent nature by serving the feet of Bhagavān.

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Translator’s Note

*(1) Although the word parampada can refer to Vaikuṇṭha, in this particular context, it refers to Brahman.

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

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