Nivedana (A Request)

Sahajiya Matera HeyatvaSahajiyā Matera Heyatva (The Disgusting Beliefs of the Sahajiyās)
Kuṭīnāṭī (Politics and Duplicity)Kuṭīnāṭī (Politics and Duplicity)

Nivedana (A Request) was the editorial for Sajjana Toṣaṇī, Vol 10. Issue 5 printed in 1898. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura writes about the purpose of his magazine, as compared to mundane magazines and newspapers of the time.

Nivedana (A Request)

by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura
(translated by Swami B.V. Giri)

The promise of Sajjana Toṣaṇī magazine is that we will never discuss anything other than spiritual truths. Other magazines always discuss mundane issues in this place (their editorial), but Sajjana Toṣaṇī discusses nothing but hari-kathā, hari-tattva and topics about the ātmā. Therefore, hari-bhakti is the life of this magazine. Wherever jñāna and vairāgya assist pure hari-bhakti, then jñāna and vairāgya will be discussed here in this magazine.

The purpose of this magazine is to describe the lives of devotees and hari-līlā. The inclination of describing hari-līlā is of two types, namely the inclination for hari-līlā emanating from thoughts on pure bhakti, and the chanting of harināma etc. whenever possible. This magazine is inclined towards harikathā emanating from thoughts about pure bhakti. It is not the intention of this magazine to indulge in evil philosophies such as māyāvāda etc which view harikathā as an aid to bhoga (sense-enjoyment) and mokṣa (impersonal liberation) which are anti-devotional.

Modern people do not follow pure hari-bhakti as described by the great thinkers of the East. The appearance of pure bhakti as seen in wonderful texts such as Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā, Śrī Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta, Śrī Hari-bhakti-rasāmṛta etc. is not seen in the writings of modern people. That is why we publish Sanskrit texts of the previous mahājānas in this magazine. The unalloyed bhakti of pure-minded personalities emerges from their writings. Since the Sanskrit language is not accessible to everyone, we quickly produce Bengali translations. With the help of these translations, everyone can relish the rasa of these books. Although all those books have been reprinted elsewhere, we are in the process of reprinting them for a particular reason. The commentaries to the Sanskrit ślokas give them life. We provide all the commentaries that have not been printed previously with the book. We are also providing new Bengali commentaries. Those who relish bhakti-rasa remember us for his.

Some people think that if one can read the original that has already been printed, then what is the necessity of a new commentary? The answer to this is that no one, except for a devotee, can understand it. Pure devotees consider devotional books written by the mahājanas to be like beehives. The newer those beehives are, the more fresh rasa emerges from them. For this reason, Śrī Śukadeva has said about the Bhāgavata, “O rasikas! O ecstatic devotees! This Bhāgavata is full of sweet rasa.” The significance of this is that hari-līlā is full of sweetness. The more you taste, the more you will be able to relish the sweetness. That person who has tasted rasāmṛta (nectarean rasa) has no attachment to other objects. The symptom of a rasika is that he never gives up rasa. One who is a rasika, a relisher of rasa, is immersed in that rasa.

Lord Gaurāṅga, who is the be-all and end-all of our life, used to recite Chandī Dāsa, Vidyāpati, Kṛṣṇa-karnāmṛta and Brahma-Saṁhitā many times, but He used to relish these works every day with rasikas. We will also gradually print all these books in this magazine with the intention of increasing the happiness of our avid readers. Just as you are not satisfied when you only read a book once, similarly, satisfaction is not found if you don’t read them every day. Newspapers make their readers happy by writing about new topics every day, and they only describe the variety found within the material world. Hari-kathā is not like that. Hari-kathā is never old. The more one can speak it or hear it, the more rasa arises.

O readers! If you have attachment for hari-kātha, then relish the descriptions written by the mahājanas again and again. Although this magazine is very small, nevertheless in every issue the descriptions of bhakti-rasa written by the previous mahājanas are published part by part. Since there are no mundane stories here, we must publish the works of previous learned scholars. This mundane world is full of useless talks. Do not avoid relishing the descriptions of līlā and the science of hari-bhakti found in the small publication of Sajjana Toṣaṇī. Undoubtedly, the compositions of the previous sādhus will be covered more than our own writings.

Another thing is that those who find happiness in reading should certainly read the devotional compositions of previous sādhus. Gradually the rasa of those books will enter and increase the happiness within their hearts. Unfortunately, we prefer our own writings or new compositions, but when we enter into the rasa found in the works of the previous mahājanas, we no longer like our modern compositions. The implication is that we think we can create better compositions than the previous mahājanas, but when this illusion is removed, we no longer like new texts.

Great personalities and poets do not always come into this world. They are rare. Therefore, good poets after the time of Śrī Jayadeva, Śrī Rūpa etc, cannot be found. When some recipients of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s mercy appear again in this world, then we will see other books like Śrī Gītā-Govinda, Śrī Bhāgavatāmṛta etc. To feel the happiness from the poems or compositions of modern poets is like believing that one is tasting milk by drinking buttermilk, only because there is an absence of milk.

Nothing seems sweeter to us than the writings of the previous mahājanas. Oh! Who can write a more instructive rasa-grantha (treatise on rasa) than the Hari-bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu? How glorious is Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī! How glorious is Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī! We do not find any compositions more philosophical and sweeter than their works. O readers! Kindly relish the rasa of Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā, Śrī Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta, and Śrī Bhāgavatāmṛta every day.

(Nivedana – A Request – was first published in Sajjana Toṣaṇī, Vol 10. Issue 5 in 1898. This was translated into English by Swami B.V. Giri)
Sahajiya Matera HeyatvaSahajiyā Matera Heyatva (The Disgusting Beliefs of the Sahajiyās)
Kuṭīnāṭī (Politics and Duplicity)Kuṭīnāṭī (Politics and Duplicity)

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