Śrī Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā Prakāśinī CommentaryŚrī Brahma-saṁhitā Prakāśinī Commentary – Verses 21-30
Śrī Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā Prakāśinī CommentaryŚrī Brahma-saṁhitā Prakāśinī Commentary – Verses 41-50

Verses 31 – 40

With the Prakāśinī Commentary by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura

(translated by Swami B.V. Giri)

ratnāṅgadaṁ praṇaya-keli-kalā-vilāsam
śyāmaṁ tri-bhaṅga-lalitaṁ niyata-prakāśaṁ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

I worship Govinda, the original Person, who is adorned with a beautiful shimmering peacock feather and whose neck is decorated with a garland of forest-flowers. His two hands hold a flute and are adorned with jewelled ornaments. He is always engaged in loving pastimes, and He eternally manifests His graceful three-fold bending form of Śyāmasundara.

The transcendental abode and the Divine Names beginning with ‘Govinda’ are found within the ślokacintāmaṇī prakara.’ The śloka, ‘veṇuṁ kvaṇvantam’ describes His transcendental form, and in this śloka, His own nature and playful amorous pastimes that embody sixty-four qualities are described. All those transcendental activities that can be described in relation to madhura-rasa are included iwithin these loving amorous pastimes.

aṅgāni yasya sakalendriya-vṛtti-manti
paśyanti pānti kalayanti ciraṁ jaganti
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

I worship Govinda, the original Person, whose form is replete with bliss, consciousness and eternality, and thus it is supremely splendorous. Each of the limbs of that form is endowed with the functions of all the other senses, and at all times He eternally observes, maintains and creates unlimited spiritual and material worlds.

An unusual doubt arises in those who are bound by mundane knowledge due to their lack of spiritual taste. After hearing descriptions of kṛṣṇa-līlā, they think that scholars have fabricated kṛṣṇa-tattva through the power of their imagination based on their mundane experiences. With the objective of removing this doubt which is born from anarthas, Brahmā, in this śloka and the three following ślokas,

distinguishes between the two elements of spirit and matter, (cit and acit) in a scientific way. He endeavours to present an understanding of kṛṣṇa-līlā, obtained through śuddhasamādhi (pure, divine meditation). Brahmā’s intention is to establish Kṛṣṇa’s form as sac-cid-ānanda (comprised of eternity, consciousness and bliss). Everything else is always comprised of gross physical darkness. However,

although there are specific differences between the two (spirit and matter), the fundamental principle is that those activities consisting of a spiritual nature are the primary substance. Specification and variagatedness are always present within them. Through these, Kṛṣṇa’s divine abode, divine form, divine name, qualities and pastimes are established. Those pastimes are relished by those who possess pure, transcendental intelligence and are devoid of any connection with māyā. The transcendental abode, the centre of pastimes, which manifests from the cit-śakti and is comprised of cintāmaṇi, as well as the form of Kṛṣṇa, are all spiritual. Just as māyā is the shadow of the cit-śakti, the variegatedness created by māyā is also a perverted reflection of the variegatedness found in transcendence. Therefore, a semblance of spiritual diversity may be observed in this māyika world. Although both varieties are similar, they are mutually exclusive. The degradation of matter is its defect, but the variegatedness of spiritual reality is devoid of any defect.

Kṛṣṇa’s ātmā and body are not separate from each other. The ātmā and body of the jīva who is bound by matter are completely separate. In the spiritual sphere there is no such difference as that between the body and soul, between the limbs and their proprietor, between the attributes and the object possessing them, of this world. Within spiritual nature, there is no distinction between the body and the possessor of the body, the limbs and the possessor of those limbs, the qualities and the possessor of those qualities – yet there is with the materially incarcerated jīva.  Although Kṛṣṇa possesses limbs, each limb is fully Kṛṣṇa. All spiritual functions are present within all His limbs. Therefore, He is an indivisible, complete transcendental Reality.

Both the jīvātmā and Kṛṣṇa are inherently spiritual, thus they are identical. However, the difference between the two is that the divine qualities present within the jīvātmā are finite and those that are present within Kṛṣṇa are infinite. These kinds of qualities manifest themselves in a minute proportion when the jīva attains his pure transcendental svarūpa. By the mercy of Kṛṣṇa, when the power of knowledge and bliss appear in the jīva, he attains unlimited perfections that are similar to the Lord. However, because He possesses some specific attributes, Kṛṣṇa always remains worshippable to all. Four specific qualities are not manifest within the Lord of Paravyoma (Nārāyaṇa) or the puruṣāvatāras.  Not even Girīśa (Śiva) and other Devatās possess them – what to speak of the jīvas?

advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam
ādyaṁ purāṇa-puruṣaṁ nava-yauvanaṁ ca
vedeṣu durlabham adurlabham ātma-bhaktau
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

I worship Govinda, the original Person, who is inaccessible, even to the Vedas, but is attainable by pure bhakti. He is without a second, infallible, without beginning, with unlimited forms, primeval, and the most ancient personality, yet He is always beautiful, possessing fresh youth.

Advaita (one without a second) means advaya-jñāna-akhaṇḍa-tattva (the undivided Absolute Truth who is one without a second). Even though the effulgence of the unlimited Brahman emanates from Him and He appears as His Paramātmā expansion, He is akhaṇḍa (undivided). Acyuta (infallible) means that even though He externally manifests millions of avatāras as His svāṁśas (personal expansions), and infinitely unlimited jīvas manifest from Him as vibhinnāṁśas (separated expansions), He is supremely complete. Even after creating His pastimes of birth etc., He is anādi (without beginning). Although He withdraws His pastimes, He is ananta (unlimited). Despite being anādi, He displays a beginning (ādya) in His manifest pastimes such as His birth etc. Also, though He is actually an eternal personality, He eternally possesses fresh youth. The main point is that although He has so many contradictory qualities, all these attributes are harmonised through his acintya-śakti (inconceivable potency). This is His spiritual nature – in other words, His nature specifically differs from that which is mundane.

His beautiful, dark, three-fold bending form which carries the flute is always endowed with youth and He transcends the degradation of time and space that is present in māyā. The spiritual abode is devoid of past and future – only the spiritual present exists. The division between an object and it’s qualities, which is present in the fluctuating material plane, is not present in spiritual activities. Thus, all those qualities that seem to be contradictory according to an intelligence limited by the māyikā space and time of the mundane world, exist in the spiritual world in a compatible and excellent way. How does the jīva experience such an unprecedented existence? The mundane intellectual function of the jīva is always contaminated by the defects of time and space and he is incapable of relinquishing this māyika conception. If the intellectual function cannot perceive transcendence, then which function can experience pure spiritual variagatedness? In response, Brahmā states that spiritual activities are inaccessible to the Vedas. The Vedas originate from sound, and sound originates from material nature. Therefore, the Vedas cannot directly reveal the transcendental Goloka. When the Vedas are imbued with the cit-śakti, they can say something about this subject matter. However, a jīva can experience Goloka through the influence of the samvit-śakti when it combines with hlādinī, the essence of the cit-śakti (which arises as the tendency for bhakti within the jīva). The function of hlādinī in bhakti is infinite. It is comprised of pure transcendental knowledge. This knowledge, combined with bhakti, reveals the reality of Goloka – in other words, such knowledge does not identify itself as a separate reality, but as acquainted with exclusive bhakti.

panthās tu koṭi-śata-vatsara-sampragamyo
vāyor athāpi manaso muni-puṅgavānām
so ‘py asti yat-prapada-sīmny-avicintya-tattve
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

I worship Govinda, the original Person, the mere tips of whose lotus feet are achieved by those yogīs who practice prāṇāyāma, the path of regulating the breath, who desire that Reality who transcends mundane thought, and the great sages who reject whatever is unnecessary to attain the non-differentiated Brahman by following the path of contemplating jñāna for hundreds of millions of years.

Relishing pure bhakti is the attainment of Govinda’s lotus feet. After hundreds of millions of years, the aṣṭāṅga-yogīs achieve kaivalya (oneness) through the method of samādhi. The great sages following the philosophy of Advaitavāda, who also sit for a similar period of time, contemplate matter and spirit and reject māyika elements one by one, saying, “Not this, not this!” – eventually they achieve absorption into the non-differentiated Brahman (brahma-laya) who transcends māyā and whom they consider to be devoid of all qualities. That is merely the outer region of the tips of Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet, and not the lotus feet themselves. The main point is that kaivalya and brahmalaya are situated between  the māyika world and the spiritual world. This is because without crossing beyond these two states (kaivalya and brahmalaya), one can never achieve the variegatedness of spiritual qualities. All these states are merely the absence of misery that appears in connection with māyā – they are not happiness. Even if the absence of such suffering is said to be some amount of ‘happiness,’  it is very little and insignificant. Eliminating the material condition is not enough. However, true benefit is the establishment of the jīva’s transcendental state. This is only found by the mercy of the spiritual nature of bhakti – not through the path of dry mental speculation.

eko’py asau racayituṁ jagad-aṇḍa-koṭiṁ
yac-chaktir asti jagad-aṇḍa-cayā yad-antaḥ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

I worship Govinda, the original Person, who is one Reality as there is no difference between the potency and the possessor of the potency. In the creation of millions of universes, His potency remains inseparable. All the universes exist within Him and simultaneously He is fully present in each atom.

There is one supreme element of transcendence that exists within Kṛṣṇa, which is different from the māyika concept. By His own desire He creates unlimited universes through His acintya-śakti. The entire world is a transformation of His potency. Moreover, His position is unique. This is because all the spiritual and material worlds are within Him, and simultaneously He is within all the worlds. In fact, He is fully present within every atom in every world. This all-pervading aspect is merely a fragment of Kṛṣṇa’s majesty. Yet in spite of His all-pervading nature, He is fully present everywhere with a medium-sized form – that is His spiritual power, which is beyond this world. By this consideration, the doctrine of acintya-bhedābheda (simultaneous oneness and difference) is accepted, and all corrupt theories such as māyāvāda etc. are rejected.

yad-bhāva-bhāvita-dhiyo manujās tathaiva
samprāpya rūpa-mahimāsana-yāna-bhūṣāḥ
sūktair yam eva nigama-prathitaiḥ stuvanti
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

I worship Govinda, the original Person whose form is glorified by those persons whose hearts are imbued with devotional ecstasy (bhāva-bhakti), who receive forms, praise, location, vehicles and ornaments and praise Him with the mantra-sūktas of the Vedas.

Deliberating on bhāva-bhakti in rasa, there are five types – śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and śṛṅgara.  Devotees who advance to these particular bhāvas engage in appropriate regulated service to the form of Kṛṣṇa and finally achieve a suitable situation. According to their rasa, they attain a spiritual nature,  appropriate glorification, a suitable place of service, a vehicle for coming and going, and all kinds of appropriate divine ornamental qualities that enhance one’s own beauty. Those eligible for śānta-rāsa achieve the abode of Brahman or Paramātmā, the place of tranquility. Those eligible for dāsya-rāsa achieve the abode of Vaikuṇṭḥa, replete with awe and majesty. Those eligible for pure sakhya, vātsalya and madhura-rāsa achieve the abode of Goloka which is situated above Vaikuṇṭha. In these various places, they obtain all the paraphernalia and ingredients which are appropriate for their particular rasa, and they chant the sūktas mentioned in the Vedas. In some places, when supported by the citśākti, the Vedas speak about Bhagavān’s līlā-kathā (narratives of His pastimes). In these places, according to their particular qualities, the liberated devotees engage in kīrtana etc.

tābhir ya eva nija-rūpatayā kalābhiḥ
goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūto
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

I worship Govinda, the original Person, eternally resides in His abode of Goloka and is always absorbed in the rasa of divine bliss and consciousness with Rādhā, His own counterpart. She is non-different from Him, the personification of the hlādinī-śākti, and endowed with the sixty-four arts, along with Her personal expansions, the sakhīs. Govinda regards them all as His very self. 

Although the potency and the possessor of the potency are identical, through the agency of the hlādinī-śakti, Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa eternally reside as two separate forms. That bliss (hlādinī, or Rādhā) and consciousness (Kṛṣṇa) both exit as inconceivable śṛṅgara-rasa. Rasa-vibhāva (the cause of rasa) is twofold – namely, ālambana (supportive) and uddīpana (awakening). Within ālambana there are two types, namely āśraya (the recipient) and viṣaya (the object). The āśraya is Rādhikā Herself and Her direct expansions, and the viṣaya is Kṛṣṇa Himself. Kṛṣṇa is Govinda, the Lord of Goloka. The counterpart āśraya of that rasa are the gopīs. They are with Kṛṣṇa in Goloka in His eternal pastimes.

Nija-rūpatayā means they possess all the arts that are revealed by the hlādinī-śakti. These arts are sixty-four in number – nṛtya (dance), gīta (singing), vādya (playing musical instruments), nāṭya (drama), ālekhya (painting), viśeṣakacchedya (painting the body and face), taṇḍulakusumavalīvikāra (making designs with rice and flowers), puṣpāstaraṇa (making a bed of flowers), daśanavasanāṅgarāga (creating colours for one’s teeth, clothes and body), maṇi-bhūmikā-karma (decorating the floor with jewels), śayyā-racana (covering a bed), udaka-vādya (playing music with pots full of water), udaka-ghāta (the art of splashing with water), citra-yoga (applying secret mantras), mālya-grathana-vikalpa (preparing and designing garlands) śekharāpīḍa-yojana (setting a tiara on the head), nepathya-yoga (art of changing clothes in a dressing room), karṇapātra-bhaṅga (decorating the ear), sugandha-yukti (the art of applying perfumes), bhūṣaṇa-yojana (decorating with ornaments), aindrajāla (creating illusions), kaucumāra (the preparation of ointments), hasta-lāghava (sleight of hand), citra-śākāpūpa-bhakṣya-vikāra-kriyā (the art of preparing various vegetables, cakes and other delicious foods), pānaka-rasa-rāgāsava-yojana (preparing wonderful drinks), sūcī-vāya-karma (needlework), sūtra-krīḍā (the art of playing with string), prahelikā (creating puzzles), pratimālā (the art of reciting a verse and then creating another verse which begins with the same letter that the last verse ended with), durvacaka-yoga (reciting verses that are difficult to repeat), pustaka-vācana (reciting from books), nāṭikākhyāyikā-darśana (enacting short plays and writing them), kāvya-samasyā-pūraṇa (solving enigmatic verses), paṭṭikā-vetra-bāṇa-vikalpa (making a bow from a strip of cloth and a stick), tarku-karma (spinning yarn on a spindle), takṣaṇa (carpentry), vāstu-vidyā (expertise in vastu-śāstra, or architecture), raupya-ratna-parīkṣā (testing silver and gems), dhātu-vāda (metallurgy), maṇi-rāga jñāna (tinting jewels with different colours), ākara jñāna (mineralogy), vṛkṣāyur-veda-yoga (expertise in herbal medicines), meṣa-kukkuṭa-lāvaka-yuddha-vidhi (training rams, cocks and quails for fighting), śuka-śārikā-pralāpana (teaching male and female parrots how to speak and answer humans), utsādana (healing others with ointments), keśa-mārjana-kauśala (hair dressing), akṣara-muṣṭikā-kathana (guessing what is written in a book without seeing it and what is hidden in another’s fist), mlecchita-kutarka-vikalpa (expertise in various foreign philosophies), deśa-bhāṣā-jñāna (knowledge of regional dialects), puṣpa-śakaṭikā-nirmiti-jñāna (knowledge of making toy carts using flowers), yantra-mātṛkā (creating mystical yantras), dhāraṇa-mātṛkā (making amulets), sampāṭya (cutting gems), mānasī kāvya-kriyā (composing poetry in the mind), kriyā-vikalpa (designing books or creating medicinal remedies), chalitaka-yoga (building small temples), abhidhāna-koṣa-cchando-jñāna (lexicography and the knowledge of poetic metres), vastra-gopana (disguising one kind of cloth to appear like another), dyūta-viśeṣa (knowledge of various forms of gambling), ākarṣa-krīḍā (playing dice), bālaka-krīḍanaka (playing with children’s toys), vaināyikī-vidyā (proper behaviour and knowledge of the military sciences), vaijayikī-vidyā (knowledge of acquiring victory), vaitālikī-vidyā (knowledge of appropriate praise).

All these types of knowledge are personified and eternally manifest in the abode of Goloka as the ingredients of rasa, and within the mundane world they are manifest in vraja-līlā through the agency of the cit-śakti’s yogamāyā. This is why Śrī Rūpa has said:

sadānantaiḥ prakāśaiḥ svair līlābhiś ca sa dīvyati
tatraikena prakāśena kadācit jagad-antare
sahaiva sva-parīvārair janmādi kurute hariḥ

kṛṣṇa-bhāvānusāreṇa līlākhyā śaktir eva sā
teṣāṃ parikarāṇāṃ ca taṃ taṃ bhāvaṃ vibhāvayet

prapañca-gocaratvena sā līlā prakaṭā smṛtā
anyās tv aprakaṭā bhānti tādṛśyas tad-agocarāḥ

tatra prakaṭa-līlāyām eva syātāṃ gamāgamau
gokule mathurāyāṃ ca dvāravatyāṃ ca śārṅgiṇaḥ

yās tatra tatrāprakaṭās tatra tatraiva santi tāḥ
(Laghu-Bhāgavatāmṛta 1.5.436-440)

In other words, Kṛṣṇa is always beautifully splendorous, manifesting limitless pastimes in Goloka. Sometimes there are variations of those līlās manifest in this world. Śrī Hari manifests the līlā of birth etc, along with His associates. The līlā-śakti causes particular bhāvas to appear within His associates according to the mood of Kṛṣṇa. All the pastimes that are perceived in this physical world are prakaṭa-līlā (manifest pastimes). Moreover, all these līlās of Kṛṣṇa exist in Goloka, yet in the physical world they are in an unmanifest form (aprakaṭa-rūpa). In the prakaṭa-līlā Kṛṣṇa is coming and going within Gokula, Mathurā and Dvārakā. All the līlās that are not manifest in these three places are manifest in the spiritual abode of Vṛndāvana. We know from all these conclusive statements that there is no difference between the prakaṭa-līlā and the aprakaṭa-līlā.

In the commentary on this śloka and in the commentaries on Ujjava-Nīlamaṇi, Kṛṣṇa Sandarbha etc., our revered ācārya, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī has said that Kṛṣṇa’s prakṭa-līlā is created by Yogamāyā. One may observe some activities that are clearly recognised as being related to māyā or connected with the illusory nature, which cannot exist within intrinsic spiritual reality – for example, the slaying of Asuras,  the taking of others’ wives, His birth etc. The gopīs are a principle stemming from Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s svarūpaśakti, therefore they belong to Him. How is it possible that they are the wives of others? Then their being the wives of others in the prakaṭa-līlā is simply an illusory concept. When the confidential meaning of the words of Śrī Jīva Gosvāmīpāda are revealed, no doubts can remain. Śrī Jīva Gosvāmīpāda is our tattvācārya (the ācārya who describes philosophical truths). Thus he constantly remains under the command of Śrī Rūpa-Sanātana. Furthermore, he is also a specific mañjarī in kṛṣṇalīlā. Therefore, he is thoroughly conversant with all philosophical truths.

There are some who, being unable to understand the drift of his statements, give meanings of their own invention and indulge in useless controversies. Being unable to understand his intentions, some people create imaginary explanations and argue for and against. According to the opinion of Śrī Rūpa and Sanātana, the prakaṭa-līlā and aprakaṭa-līlā are non-different. One manifests beyond the physical world and the other manifests within the physical world – this is the only difference. In those that manifest beyond this physical world, there is complete purity in the seer and the seen. By good fortune and the grace of Kṛṣṇa, one may abandon his connection with this physical world and enter the spiritual world. Furthermore, if at the time of performing sādhana he fully relishes the varieties of rasa, only then can he see and taste the completely pure pastimes of Goloka. Such a recipient is rare, and one who, though present in this physical world is able to perfect bhakti by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa, and attains experience of transcendental rasa, can see goloka-līlā within the earthly gokulalīlā. There are gradations amongst these two types of eligible persons. Until vastu-siddhi (ultimate spiritual perfection) is achieved, a few māyika obstacles remain in attaining darśana of goloka-līlā. Moreover, it must be accepted that there are various gradations of goloka-darśana according to one’s progress in svarūpa-siddhi (the clearing stage before perfection), which is determined by the devotee’s experience of svarūpa-darśana (comprehending one’s spiritual form and nature). Those persons completely bound by māyā are devoid of devotional eyesight. Amongst them, some are only bound by the variagatedness of māyā, and some, taking refuge in knowledge which is averse to Bhagavān, hope for complete annihilation. When they see Bhagavān’s prakaṭa-līlā, only a material conception of those pastimes arises which has no connection with aprakaṭa (transcendence). Therefore, according to differences in the eligibility of a person, the darśana of Goloka varies accordingly.

The subtlety of this principle is that, like Goloka, Gokula is also pure and completely devoid of impurity, yet it is manifested in the material world by the cit-śakti, yogamāyā. In either prakaṭa or aprakaṭa dealings, there is no māyika contamination, deficiency or imperfection. It is only according to the qualification of the jīva who is perceiving that they seem to have some difference. Contamination, deficiencies, false designations, illusion, ignorance, impurities, inadequacies, scarcity, grossness – these are only present in the mundane thinking of the perceiving jīva’s eyes, intelligence, mind and false ego, but not within the object which is perceived. The more one is free from such defects, to that extent he is able to perceive transcendental reality. The reality that has been revealed in śāstra is free from contamination. Only according to the qualifications of a discerning person, will all perceptions be considered as full of contamination or free from contamination. All the aforementioned sixty-four arts exist within Goloka in their original pure forms. Inferiority, insignificance and grossness will be seen in them according to the qualification of the observer. In the opinion of Śrī Rūpa-Sanātana, the various līlās that are manifest in Gokula are all fully present in Goloka without any trace of māyā. Therefore, according to this consideration, parakīya-bhāva (the mood of paramour love) must certainly also exist in Goloka in an inconceivably pure manner. All the manifestations created by Yogamāyā are pure. The concept of ‘another’s wife’ is created by Yogamāyā, thus it’s basis is transcendental reality. Let us consider what this transcendental reality is. Śrī Rūpa has written:

pūrvokta-dhīroddāttādi-catur-bhedasya tasya tu
patiś copapatiś ceti prabhedāv iha viśrutau

uktaḥ patiḥ sa kanyāyā yaḥ pāṇigrāhako bhavet
(Ujjvala-Nīlamaṇi 1.10-11)

rāgeṇollaṅghayan dharmaṃ parakīyā-balārthinā
tadīya-prema-vasatir budhair upapatiḥ smṛtaḥ
(Ujjvala-Nīlamaṇi 1.17)

laghutvam atra yat proktaṃ tat tu prākṛta-nāyake
na kṛṣṇe rasa-niryāsa-svādārtham avatārini
(Ujjvala-Nīlamaṇi 1.21)

atra nāyikā-bheda-vicāraḥ
nāsau nāṭye rase mukhye yat paroḍhā nigadyate
tat tu syāt prākṛta-kṣudra-nāyikādy-anusārataḥ
(Ujjvala-Nīlamaṇi 5.2)

Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī has deeply considered all these ślokas and has ascertained that the concept of ‘another’s wife’ is like the vibhrama-vilāsa (bewildering pastime) of the janma-līlā (Kṛṣṇa’s birth pastime) which is created by Yogamāyā. Tathāpi patiḥ pura-vanitānāṁ dvitīyo vraja-vanitānām (‘He is a husband to the women of Dvāraka and the opposite for the women of Vraja’)he has expressed his deep intentions through this statement. The philosophy of Śrī Rūpa-Sanātana accepts this as the vibhrama-vilāsa created by Yogamāyā. However, when Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī describes Goloka and Gokula as one, then it must be accepted that the foundational reality of all pastimes is found within Gokula. According to the laws of marriage, one who accepts the hand of an unmarried girl is a pati (husband), and one who, through passion, considers his love to be superior and transgresses dharma by accepting a woman as a lover – he is an upa-pati (a paramour). In Goloka there is no dharma that binds one to the laws of marriage. Thus, there is no definition of husbandhood there. Moreover, since the gopīs are not married to anyone else, having taken shelter of their own intrinsic natures (as belonging to Kṛṣṇa), they cannot have a paramour. In this way, both svakīya (legally wedded) and parakīya (paramourship) cannot have separate existences. In the prakaṭa-līlā of this physical world, there is dharma in the form of the bonds of marriage – Kṛṣṇa is beyond such dharma. Therefore, any dharma found within the circle of madhurya-rasa is created by Yogamāyā. Such dharma is transgressed so that Kṛṣṇa can relish parakīya-rasa. The pastimes of transgressing dharma, which are manifested by the agency of Yogamāyā, are seen by those eyes covered with gross elements within this physical world. In actuality, there are no such trivialities within kṛṣṇa-līlā. Parakīya-rasa is the essence of all rasas.

“It is not there in Goloka!” – if this is said then one minimises Goloka. It is not that the most supreme relishable rasa is not present within the most supreme Goloka. Kṛṣṇa, the source of all avatāras, relishes it in one form in Goloka, and in another form in Gokula. Therefore, even if there is an impression of transgressing dharma in the guise of taking the wives of others according to the perception of māyika eyes, in some ways it is true in Goloka.

ātmārāmo ’py arīramat

“Although He was self-satisfied.” (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.29.42)

ātmany avaruddha-saurataḥ

“He harboured conjugal feelings within Himself.” (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.33.25)

reme rameśo vraja-sundarībhir
yathārbhakaḥ sva-pratibimba-vibhramaḥ

“The Master of Ramā found pleasure with the women of Vraja, just as a child plays with his own reflection.”  (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.33.25)

It is perceived through these statements of śāstra that ātmārāma (self-satisfaction) is the very nature of Kṛṣṇa. In the spiritual world where awe and majesty prevail, Kṛṣṇa manifests His own potency in the form of Lakṣmī. As the mood of svakīya is prevalent there, rasa properly ascends to dāsyarasa. However, in Goloka He separates His own potency into hundreds and thousands of gopīs and, forgetting svakīya, He eternally enjoys with them. That rasa which identifies as svakīya is not so rare. Therefore, from time without beginning, the gopīs naturally identify themselves as the wives of others, and due to this identification, Kṛṣṇa accepts the identity of an upa-pati, and with the help of His dear friend, the flute, He performs the rāsa-līlā and other pastimes. Goloka is eternally perfect, and is the seat of rasa beyond māyika conceptions. Therefore, the current of rasa is perfected simply by identifying with this parakīya mood. Furthermore, vātsalya-rasa is not present in Vaikuṇṭha since it is sheltered by the source of all avatāras (Śrī Kṛṣṇa) – this is the way of awe and reverence (aiśvarya). Yet in the supremely sweet Goloka, there is nothing except identifying with the source of this rasa. Nanda-Yaśodā are present there, but there is no occurrence of birth. Nanda-Yaśodā assume the identities of father and mother, yet in the absence of birth, it is not factual. It is only a conceptual identity. Therefore – jayati jana-nivāso devakī-janma-vādaḥ (‘Glories unto He who is the refuge of all beings, who is said to be born from Devakī’). To perfect rasa, such an identification is eternal. Even though in śṛṅgara-rasa the identification of being another’s wife and a paramour is eternal, there is no defect and it is not opposed to the śāstra. When the principle of goloka-tattva manifests in Vraja, then these two concepts (of svakīya and parakīya) are considered more substantial from the mundane perception of the physical world – this is the only difference. In vātsalya-rasa, Nanda and Yaśodā’s parental identification is perceived in a substantial way in the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa’s birth pastimes etc. and in śṛṅgara-rasa, the gopī’s identification of being married to another is substantially perceived in the form of their marriages with Abhimanyu, Govardhana Malla etc. Actually, there is no separate existence of husbandhood with the gopīs in neither Goloka or Gokula. For this reason, the śāstra states, na jātu vraja-devīnāṁ patibhiḥ saha saṅgamaḥ (‘those goddesses of Vraja did not associate with their husbands at any time’). Therefore, Śrī Rūpā, the rasa-tattvācārya, has written that there are two types of hero in ujjvalarasa – patiś copapatiś ceti prabhedāv iha viśrutau (‘we find two categories described – husband and paramour’). Śrī Jīva says in his commentary, patiḥ pura-vanitānāṁ dvitīyo vraja-vanitānāṁ (‘Kṛṣṇa is a husband to the women of Dvāraka and the opposite for the women of Vraja’). By this statement, it is accepted that Kṛṣṇa is a husband in Vaikuṇṭha and Dvārakā, and an eternal paramour in Goloka and Gokula. The characteristic of being a paramour is fully perceived in the Lord of Goloka and the Lord of Gokula. Desiring union with another’s wife, Kṛṣṇa disregards His own nature as ātmārāma (self-satisfied) – this is the cause of His violating dharma. The state of eternally being another’s wife is only an assumed identification on the part of the gopīs. In reality, even though their husbands do not possess a separate existence, this identification supports the mood of paramourship. Therefore, rāgeṇollaṅghayan dharmam (‘disregard for dharma due to love’) and all such characteristics are eternally present at the mādhurya-pīṭha (the centre of sweet, amorous dalliances). In Vraja, this is seen to a certain extent in a gross form to those persons possessing mundane vision. Therefore in Goloka svakīya and parakīya are inconceivably one and different. It may be said that there is non-difference, and it may also be said that there is difference.

The essence of parakīya is the negation of svakīya, and the essence of svakīya is the denial of parakīya-rasa’s enjoyment with the cit-śakti – in other words, the denial of parakīya enjoyment with the svarūpa-śakti means the denial of enjoyment within the legal confines of marriage. However, both are one rasa, and both exist to support diversity. It is the same in Gokula, yet it seems to something else to those possessing mundane vision. In Govinda, the Hero of Goloka, both husbandhood and paramourhood exists in a pure form devoid of dharma and adharma. Even though it is also like this in the Hero of Gokula, it’s perception is diversified by Yogamāyā. If one states, “Whatever Yogamāyā manifests is the highest truth created by the cit-śakti, therefore the perception of being the wife of another must also be true” – the answer to that is in relishing rasa, the perception of such an identification can be there and there is no fault. That is because it is not unsubstantiated. However, the perception of it being repulsive according to one’s mundane intelligence is false. That could not exist within the transcendental world. Actually, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī has given the correct conclusion and inconceivably, the conclusion of the opposition is also true. The vain, mundane disputes concerning svakīyavāda and parakīyavāda are simply full of lies and blather. Whoever thoroughly analyses all the commentaries of Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī and all the commentaries of the opposition in an unbiased fashion will not have any doubts concerning these disputes. Whatever a pure Vaiṣṇava says its completely true. There is no argument and counter-argument, but there is a mystery to their words. Those possessing māyika intelligence do not understand the controversies amongst pure Vaiṣṇavas concerning the secret of prema since they themselves lack the qualities of pure Vaiṣṇavas – therefore they ascribe to them the fault of squabbling.

gopīnāṁ tat-patināṁ ca

“The gopīs and their husbands…”(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.33.35)

Considering the analysis of this śloka from the rasa-pañcādhyāyī (five chapters on the rasa dance) by Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī in his Vaiṣṇava Toṣaṇī, the devotee Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī has held it on his head without objection. In considering the transcendental pastimes of Goloka etc. we should bear in mind one point of instruction given by Śrīman Mahāprabhu and the Gosvāmīs – it is that bhagavat-tattva is always variagated through transcendental qualities. In other words, it is beyond material attributes and never without qualities. The rasa of Bhagavān is beautiful with the variegatedness of the four kinds of distinction – vibhāva (the causes of bhāva), anubhāva (the intimation of bhāva), sāttvika (ecstatic symptoms), and vyabhicārī (transitory bhāva) and they always exist in Goloka and Vaikuṇṭha. By the strength of Yogamāya, the rasa of Goloka manifests in the world for the benefit of the devotees and is perceived as vraja-rasa. And everything that is seen in this gokula-rasa must also certainly be perceived in detail in goloka-rasa. Thus the various kinds of heroes and heroines, the diverse rasas of the different personalities, the land, water, rivers, hills, homes, forest bowers, cows, etc., all the features of Gokula are fully present appropriately in Goloka. Only material perceptions in relation to those persons with mundane intellect are absent in Goloka. In the variagated pastimes of Vraja there are different revelations of Goloka according to the various qualifications of the devotee. It is difficult to conclude which part of those revelations are mundane and which parts are pure. As much as the eye of bhakti is tinged or beautified with the salve of prema, clear revelations will eventually arise. Therefore, it is unnecessary to argue about this. Qualification does not arise through debate because goloka-tattva is comprised of inconceivable sentiments. Researching inconceivable sentiments through the thought process is a useless endeavour, like the futile effort of beating empty rice-husks. Therefore, rejecting the pursuit of jñāna, one should strive to achieve an experience in pursuit of bhakti. Accepting those things that ultimately give rise to the perception of non-differentiation must certainly be rejected. Pure parakīya which is devoid of any mundane perception is extremely rare. It is described in goloka-līlā and the sādhana of rāgānuga-bhaktas takes support from that, and at the time when they attain perfection, they achieve the most excellent fundamental truth. In many situations, for those persons possessing material intelligence, their attempts at parakīya in bhakti generally turn into mundane illicit activities. Seeing this, our tattvācārya, Śrī Jīva became anxious and spoke all these things. Pure Vaiṣṇavism is to accept the essence of that. It is an offence to disrespect the ācārya by trying to establish an opposing opinion.

santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti
yaṁ śyāmasundaram acintya-guṇa-svarūpaṁ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

I worship Govinda, the original Person, whom the sādhus, whose eyes are tinged by the salve of prema, behold in their hearts as Śyāmasundara Kṛṣṇa, possessing inconceivable qualities.

The form of Śyāmasundara is Kṛṣṇa’s inconceivable personal manifestation as well as the opposite – His impersonal manifestation. In their bhakti-samādhi (devotional meditation), the sādhus see this within their hearts. His blackish form is not a material black colour, but a colour which is spiritually diverse and awards eternal bliss. It is not seen with material eyes.

bhakti-yogena manasi samaḥ praṇihite’male
apaśyat puruṣam pūrṇam

“Within his mind which was completely pure and fully connected to bhakti, Vyāsadeva saw that Supreme Personality.” (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.7.4)

If we analyse Vyāsa’s samādhi, it can be seen that the intrinsic form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the complete Personality, appears during the devotee’s devotional samādhi and is seated within his heart. At the time when He manifested in Vraja, devotees and non-devotees all saw him with their eyes. However, only the devotees adored Kṛṣṇa, situated in Vraja, as the supreme wealth of their hearts. Even now, although the devotees do not see Kṛṣṇa with their eyes, they take darśana of Him in Vraja-dhāma when their hearts are absorbed in bhakti. The eyes of that jīva who possesses a pure transcendental form are the eyes of bhakti. To the extent that they manifest through the cultivation of bhakti, to that extent the pure darśana of Kṛṣṇa’s form appears. When sādhana-bhakti achieves this state, then by the power of Kṛṣṇa’s mercy, the salve of prema is applied to the eyes of bhāva-bhakti. Only then does sākṣād-darśana (a direct vision of Kṛṣṇa) occur. Hṛdaye (‘within the heart’) means that He is seen in the heart according to the extent of one’s qualification in bhakti. The main point is that the three-fold bending form of Śyāmasundara who is the best of dancers and holds the flute is not imaginary. He is seen through the eyes of samādhi.

rāmādi-mūrtiṣu kalā-niyamena tiṣṭhan
nānāvatāram akarod bhuvaneṣu kintu
kṛṣṇaḥ svayaṁ samabhavat paramaḥ pumān yo
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

I worship Govinda, the original Person, that Supreme Personality who, existing as various avatāras in forms such as Rāma etc., as well as personal expansions and plenary portions, is manifest in this world and personally appears in the form of Kṛṣṇa.

Avatāras such as Rāma etc. are svāṁśa-avatāra forms (personal expansions) from Vaikuṇṭha, and Kṛṣṇa Himself descends in this physical world along with Vraja-dhāma of Goloka. Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, who is non-different from Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality, also manifests in His original form – this is the esoteric meaning here.

yasya prabhā prabhavato jagad-aṇḍa-koṭi-
koṭiṣv aśeṣa-vasudhādi vibhūti-bhinnam
tad brahma niṣkalam anantam aśeṣa-bhūtaṁ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

I worship Govinda, the original Person, from whose radiance the non-differentiated Brahman spoken of by the Upaniṣads originates, and is distinct from the earth and other opulences found within millions of universes, and is perceived as the undivided, infinite, unlimited Reality.

The multitude of universes produced by māyā are Govinda’s ekapāda-vibhūti (one quarter of His manifestation). Above this is the reality of the non-differentiated Brahman. That is the radiance situated outside the spiritual domain which is Govinda’s tripāda-vibhūti (three quarters of His manifestation). It is undivided, in other words it is devoid of parts (unchangeable) – therefore it is perceived as ekam evādvitīyam (‘that One which is without a second’). It is an infinite and non-qualitative principle.

Śrī Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā Prakāśinī CommentaryŚrī Brahma-saṁhitā Prakāśinī Commentary – Verses 21-30
Śrī Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā Prakāśinī CommentaryŚrī Brahma-saṁhitā Prakāśinī Commentary – Verses 41-50

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