Book excerptsŚrī Brahma-saṁhitāŚrī Brahma-saṁhitā. Verse 1

Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā. Verse 1

Verse 1

īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ
anādir ādir govindaḥ
sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam

Anvaya

kṛṣṇaḥ – Vrajendra-nandana Kṛṣṇa (is); paramaḥ īśvaraḥ – the Supreme Controller, that is to say the controller of all other controllers, and the original source of all incarnations; sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ – His body is endowed with the three potencies of existence, knowledge and bliss (sandhinī, saṁvit and hlādinī); govindaḥ – (He is) known as Govinda, meaning He to whom service should be rendered through the senses, and He is the presiding deity of the practical process of devotional service (abhidheya-tattva); anādiḥ – without a beginning; ādiḥ – the original form of all else; sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam – the cause of all causes, or the original form.

Translation

Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Govinda, is the embodiment of eternity, knowledge and bliss. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the controller of all lesser controllers, and the source of all incarnations. He has no beginning or origin, though He is the source of everything and the cause of all causes.

Translation and explanation of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī’s ṭīkā (bhāvānuvāda)

I offer my obeisances to Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda, by whose grace I have been inspired with the desire to comment upon Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā. May the glory of the beautiful form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa arise most excellently within my heart.

It is impossible for me to illuminate the thoroughly consistent, genuine purports and pleasing considerations within the heart of the greatest of sages, Śrī Brahmā, but he is nonetheless my only refuge.

Although this Brahma-saṁhitā is complete with one hundred chapters, still this Fifth Chapter, being the condensed essence of the entire book, brings the subject matter within our grasp.
The deep philosophical considerations in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and other śāstras that are seen by persons endowed with immaculate intelligence are all found collected together here. This brings extreme jubilation to my heart.

In order to deliberate further on what I described elaborately in Śrī Kṛṣṇa-sandarbha, I am touching upon the content of this scripture with full thoughtful deliberation.

The following verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam has been ascertained to be the defining statement (paribhāṣā): “ete cāṁśa-kalāḥ puṁsaḥ, kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam – all the incarnations of Godhead are either plenary expansions or expansions of the expansions of the Supreme Person, but Śrī Kṛṣṇa is Himself the original Personality of Godhead.”

Similarly, in the verse at hand, Kṛṣṇa has also been called the supreme controller, or the controller of all other controllers (īśvaraḥ-paramaḥ). Other incarnations of Kṛṣṇa are also called controllers (īśvara); therefore, only the origin of all incarnations, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, has been called the supreme controller (parameśvara).

It is stated in śāstra, “Let me try to understand Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is the supreme controller of all controllers, the supreme worshipable deity among all worshipable deities, the supreme progenitor of all progenitors, and the master of the entire creation.”

In this first verse, the word kṛṣṇa is the subject, and all the other words take the role of adjectives. All the famous perfect authorities, including Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī, have established Śrī Kṛṣṇa as the source of all incarnations by phrases such as “kṛṣṇāvatāra-mahotsava – the great festival of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s descent.” The invocation of Sāmopaniṣad also supports this through the kīrtana of Kṛṣṇa’s names in verses such as kṛṣṇāya vāsudevāya devakī-nandanāya.

At the time of Kṛṣṇa’s appearance, when Gargācārya came to Nanda-Gokula and performed Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s name-giving ceremony, Garga Ṛṣi said, “O Nanda, your son has appeared in previous ages as well. He came in a white form in Satya-yuga, a red form in Tretā-yuga, a yellow form in Kali-yuga, and now in Dvāpara-yuga He has appeared with a blackish complexion. Therefore this boy’s name is Kṛṣṇa.” In that statement of Gargācārya the phrase kṛṣṇatāṁ gataḥ means kṛṣṇa-svarūpatāṁ gataḥ, entered into Kṛṣṇa’s original form. It is evident from this statement that all the incarnations attain identity with Kṛṣṇa by entering into Kṛṣṇa’s original form.

This conclusion is supported by the logic of filling a pot with milk. Just as a pot is full of milk, so the śāstra is filled with the names of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The all-in-all, the Supreme Truth, the supreme non-dual reality has been called Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

In the Prabhāsa-khaṇḍa of the Padma Purāṇa, there is a discussion between Śrī Nārada and Kuśadhvaja, in which the following verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam has been cited: “nāmnāṁ mukhyatamaṁ nāma kṛṣṇākhyaṁ me parantapa – O subduer of enemies, the name Kṛṣṇa is foremost amongst all My names.” Therefore it is said in Śrī Kṛṣṇa-aṣṭottara-śata-nāma-stotra in the Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa (2.3.36.19):

sahasra-nāmnāṁ puṇyānām
trir āvṛttyā tu yat phalam
ekāvṛttyā tu kṛṣṇasya
nāmaikaṁ tat prayacchati

The result that comes from reciting the entire Viṣṇu-sahasra-nāma (Thousand Names of Viṣṇu) thrice is attained by reciting the name Kṛṣṇa only once.

In this way the specific glories of the name of Kṛṣṇa have been highlighted. In the present verse also, Brahmājī has offered prayers to Śrī Kṛṣṇa by the name Govinda. Govinda is Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself – the protector of cows, gopīs, cowherd boys and all the residents of Vraja. To illuminate this special quality of His, He has been called Gavendra, Lord of the cows. Kṛṣṇa’s supremacy is proven by the logic of giving free rein (mukta-pragraha-vṛtti) and solid evidence from scriptures. Adjectives such as īśvara etc. in the first verse also specifically confirm this point.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s supremacy is also pointed out through His endless qualities. For example, Śrī Gargācārya has said:

āsan varṇās trayo hy asya
gṛhṇato ’nuyugaṁ tanūḥ
śuklo raktas tathā pita
idānīṁ kṛṣṇatāṁ gataḥ
bahūni santi nāmāni
rūpāṇi ca sutasya te
guṇa-karmānurūpāṇi
tāny ahaṁ veda no janāḥ
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.8.13, 15)

O Nanda Mahārāja, your son has many qualities and activities, in accordance with which He has many names at different times. This is known only to me and to no one else. In every yuga He appears in different incarnations, and now He has appeared as Kṛṣṇa.

All the incarnations who have appeared since the beginning of the creation, such as Śukla, have come within Kṛṣṇa (idānīṁ kṛṣṇatāṁ gataḥ); that is, all incarnations have combined together in Kṛṣṇa. Therefore Kṛṣṇa’s superiority is revealed by His status as the actual agent. All the avatāras are only forms of Kṛṣṇa. From the verse beginning bahūni santi nāmāni rūpāṇi, it is understood that all names and forms are names and forms of Kṛṣṇa. Thus, His distinguishing uniqueness is also proven by His qualities.

Furthermore, the following verse exclusively describes Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and cannot be applicable to anyone else:

kṛṣir bhū-vācakaḥ śabdo
ṇaś ca nirvṛtti-vācakaḥ
tayor aikyaṁ paraṁ brahma
kṛṣṇa ity abhidhīyate
Mahābhārata (Udyoga-parva 71.4)

The word kṛṣ is the attractive feature of the Lord’s existence, and ṇa means spiritual pleasure. When the verb kṛṣ is added to ṇa, it becomes Kṛṣṇa, which indicates the Absolute Truth.

The verbal root kṛṣ indicates all that exists (bhū-vācaka), and ṇa indicates attraction that negates everything else (nirvṛtti-vācaka). The combined form of these two is Śrī Kṛṣṇa. In the Gautamīya-tantra – one of the Sātvata-tantras, which are all primarily concerned with the worship of Śrī Kṛṣṇa – there is a similar verse in the description of the eighteen-syllable mantra (2.60):

kṛṣi-śabdasya sattārtho
ṇaś cānanda-svarūpakaḥ
sukha-rūpo bhaved ātmā
bhāvānandamayas tataḥ

The word kṛṣi indicates “existence or truth,” and ṇa refers to the embodiment of natural bliss. The combined meaning is “one whose existence is characterized by bliss” or “one who attracts all and bestows bliss upon them.”

Such is the constitutional nature of Śrī Kṛṣṇa; He is the embodiment of happiness and His very nature is the topmost transcendental bliss. Many meanings can be derived from this name. The verbal root bhū, found in the verse at the bottom of the previous page, refers to existence. The meaning can also be taken in this context as “attraction.” In the Gautamīya-tantra, the word bhū has been accepted as a statement of existence. For example, both syllables of the Sanskrit word ghaṭa, which refers to a narrow-mouthed waterpot, are required to distinguish it as the word that refers to “waterpot.” Thus, when we say ghaṭa, it is understood that we are referring to a waterpot. Although the word paṭa (cloth) differs from ghaṭa by only one syllable, it is completely distinct from the word ghaṭa and the object referred to by ghaṭa. Similarly, in the present context, bhū and sattā can only proclaim the all-attractiveness of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Furthermore, nirvṛtti can only be taken to mean “bliss” (ānanda). The two words together (tayor aikyam) give a distinct meaning, according to the grammatical rule of giving preference to the composite meaning when two words refer to the same subject. This is the etymology of the word kṛṣṇa.

Tayor aikyaṁ paraṁ brahma: When combined, the words for undivided existence (sattā) and unbroken bliss (ānanda) indicate that Parabrahma, who is supreme in every possible way, and who is the greatest of the great, is called Kṛṣṇa. But here, taking the verbal root kṛṣ as meaning “attractive,” and taking ṇa as ānanda, one should understand that the description of their inseparable nature has been given in the mood of relation between cause and effect, and not by the grammatical rule of taking them as referring to the same subject.

The logic of “ghee is life” (āyur ghṛtam) is used to show that in the form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, existence has an abundant measure of attraction. It is stated in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa (1.12.55):

bṛhatvād bṛhaṇatvāc ca yad brahmaṁ paraṁ viduḥ

One who is great and makes others great is Parabrahma.

It is also stated in the śruti:

atha kasmād ucyate brahma bṛṁhati bṛṁhayati ca

What is Brahman? Brahman is one who is great and who makes others great.

The impersonalists accept that the words sattā (existence) and ānanda (bliss) mean the same, but such logic is inconsistent. The literal meaning of the word sattā (existence), being a statement of the existence of the Supreme Being, indicates that all sages and saints are attracted to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. In the śruti it is said: “sa deva saumya idam agram āsīt – O Saumya, before the creation, only the eternal form (sat-svarūpa) of Bhagavān existed.” Bhagavān, whose intrinsic form and nature is eternal, has both complete bliss and complete attraction. Thus, it is certain that the word kṛṣṇaḥ in this first verse of Brahma-saṁhitā is a noun and the other words are adjectives. The impersonalists use the analogy of the tree, but in the phrase vṛkṣa-taruḥ, there is no relationship of noun and adjective since both words refer equally to “tree.” Therefore, the impersonalists’ statement that sattā and ānanda have the same meaning is completely irrational. The verse from the Gautamīya-tantra is explained thus.

In the first half of this verse beginning īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ, the most attractive personification of bliss, who is distinguished by His inconceivable energies, is called Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The all-attractiveness of Kṛṣṇa’s form and His quality of being the original form of all pleasure are mentioned in the second half of the verse. Here the word sarva refers to the living entities, because Śrī Kṛṣṇa attracts them and makes them blissful. The cause of this is love (bhāva). Thus, Śrī Kṛṣṇa is He who is always immersed in the joy of love (premānanda) and who immerses others in it as well. Therefore, the word kṛṣṇa can only refer to the embodiment of bliss, who is supremely attractive due to His form and qualities. The word kṛṣṇa finds its limit in Devakī-nandana (Kṛṣṇa, the son of Devakī). The all-attractiveness of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is mentioned in the Vāsudeva Upaṇiṣad: “devakīnandano nikhilam ānandayet – Devakī-nandana Kṛṣṇa gives bliss to all moving and non-moving living entities.” In this first śloka of Brahma-saṁhitā, the word ānanda (bliss) is not declinable according to the rules of Sanskrit grammar, and is therefore independently meaningful. Therefore, this word ānanda should not be taken out of context. It has been used to indicate Śrī Kṛṣṇa. As Bhaṭṭajī has said:

labdhvātmikā satī rūḍhir
bhaved yogāpahāriṇī
kalpanīyā tu labhate
nātmānaṁ yoga-vādhataḥ

Śrī Kṛṣṇa is clearly specified as Parabrahma in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: “gūḍhaṁ paraṁ brahma manuṣya-liṅgam – Śrī Kṛṣṇa is Parabrahma hiding in human form.” “Yan mitraṁ paramānandaṁ pūrṇa-brahma sanātanam – Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the friend of the cowherd folk headed by Nanda Mahārāja. That very Śrī Kṛṣṇa is Parabrahma, the supremely blissful, ultimate and eternal Absolute Truth.” In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa it is stated: “yatrāvatīrṇaṁ kṛṣṇākhyaṁ param brahma narākṛtiḥ – Parabrahma, who is known as Kṛṣṇa, descended and exhibited His human-like pastimes.” In Bhagavad-gītā it is said: “brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāham – I am the basis of the formless and imperishable Brahman.” And in Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad it is said: “yo ’sau paraṁ brahma gopālaḥ – He who is Parabrahma, the Supreme Spirit, is Gopāla (Kṛṣṇa).” These scriptural statements clearly establish the supremacy of Śrī Kṛṣṇa as Parabrahma.

The description here is in accordance with the first verse of Brahma-saṁhitā. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is that īśvara who is replete with names, forms and qualities. Īśvara means one who keeps everything under His control and who is able to accomplish anything. This is also inferred in the Gautamīya-tantra, where another meaning of the word kṛṣṇa is found:

athavā karṣayet sarvaṁ
jagat sthāvara-jaṅgamam
kāla-rūpena bhagavāṁs
tenāyaṁ kṛṣṇa ucyate

That Bhagavān who, in the form of all-devouring time draws along all moving and non-moving living entities, is called Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

“Kalayati niyamayati sarvam iti hi kāla-śabdārthaḥ – one who regulates everything in the form of time is called kāla.” In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the great devotee Śrī Uddhava has expressed his opinion thus:

svayaṁ tv asāmyātiśayas tryadhīśaḥ
svarājya-lakṣmyāpta-samasta-kāmaḥ
baliṁ haradbhiś cira-loka-pālaiḥ
kirīta-kotīḍita-pāda-pīṭhaḥ
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.2.29)

Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa is that personality who is complete and indivisible, who has no equal or superior, who is the master of all three planetary systems, whose desires are completely satisfied by His supreme Lakṣmī, and to whose lotus feet all the universal authorities, such as the millions of Brahmās, bow down their millions of heads in order to attain the fulfillment of their desires.

This is also supported by Bhagavad-gītā: “viṣṭabhyāham idaṁ kṛtsnam ekāṁśena sthito jagat – through only one of My expansions, I pervade and support this entire universe.”

It is also stated in the Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad (21): “eko vaśī sarvagaḥ kṛṣṇa īḍyaḥ – Śrī Kṛṣṇa is one. He controls everyone, knows everything and is worshipable by all.” Such an īśvara can be referred to as parama. Para means “the most excellent” and mā means “Lakṣmī, the sum total of all potencies.” Therefore, one who is eternally accompanied by the most excellent Lakṣmī, namely Śrī Rādhā, is called parameśvara Śrī Kṛṣṇa. For example, it is stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: “reme ramābhir nija-kāma-samplutaḥ – Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa enjoyed His pastimes with Śrīmatī Rādhikā and the other gopīs.” Also: “nāyaṁ śriyo ’nga u nitānta-rateḥ prasādaḥ – the great fortune attained by the gopīs in the pastime of the rāsa dance with Śrī Kṛṣṇa was not available for the queens of Dvārakā headed by Rukmiṇī and Satyabhāmā, nor for the Lakṣmīs of Vaikuṇṭha or Devaloka, not to mention the demigoddesses of heaven.”

Furthermore, in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is stated: “tatrātiśuśubhe tābhir bhagavān devakī-sutaḥ – Devakī-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa began to look even more beautiful amidst all those gopīs.” In the latter part of this Brahma-saṁhitā (56), we will find: “śriyaḥ kāntāḥ kāntaḥ parama-puruṣah – in Goloka Vṛndāvana there is only one hero, namely parama-puruṣa Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Lakṣmīs, in the form of gopīs, are His beloveds.” The Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad confirms this: “kṛṣṇo vai paramaṁ daivatam – Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the only supreme worshipable deity.”

In the same way that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Person (parama-puruṣa), He is also the original person (ādi-puruṣa).

śrutvā ’jitaṁ jarāsandhaṁ
nṛpater dhyāyato hariḥ
āhopāyaṁ tam evādya
uddhavo yam uvāca ha
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.72.15)
After conquering all directions, Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was contemplating how to defeat Jarāsandha, who appeared to be invincible. At that moment Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the original personality (ādi-puruṣa), suggested a method that He had heard from Uddhava.

Commentators on this verse have confirmed: “ādyo hariḥ śrī-kṛṣṇaḥ – the original Hari is Śrī Kṛṣṇa.”

In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.29.49), the supremacy of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His status as the origin of everything are both mentioned: “puruṣam ṛṣabham ādyaṁ kṛṣṇa-saṁjñaṁ nato ’smi – I offer my obeisances to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is the origin of all, the eternal and supreme personality (puruṣa). He is the origin (ādi) because He is the source of all incarnations, though He is beginningless.”

In the Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad (21) it is said: “eko vaśī sarvagaḥ kṛṣṇa īḍyaḥ – Svayam Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa is He who is one without a second, who controls everyone, who can go anywhere, who is omnipotent, who knows everything and who is worshipable by all.” In the Upaniṣads it is stated: “nityo nityānām – there is one Supreme Eternal amongst all eternals, one Supreme Consciousness among all conscious beings. Although He is one, He fulfills the desires of all.”

According to the statements of śruti, He is the origin of everything, and He is the cause of all causes. He is also the cause of Kāraṇodakaśāyī Mahā-Viṣṇu, who is the creator of the material world. For example, in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.85.31) Mother Devakī says to Śrī Kṛṣṇa:

yasyāṁśāṁśāṁśa-bhāgena
viśvotpatti-layodayā
bhavanti kila viśvātmaṁs
taṁ tv ādyāhaṁ gatiṁ gatā

I take shelter of Govinda, who is the indwelling supersoul of the entire universe. O original Puruṣa, Your plenary portion is the great Lord of Vaikuṇṭha, Nārāyaṇa, whose further partial expansion is Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. Material nature is a partial manifestation of His potency.

The creation, destruction and maintenance of this world are accomplished through the modes of ignorance, passion and so on, which are only constituent portions of this material nature.
It is also stated in Brahmā’s prayers (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.14.14): “nārāyaṇo ’ṅga nārāyaṇa-bhū-jalāyanāt – O Kṛṣṇa, You are the origin of Nārāyaṇa. Nāra means ‘the collective group of living entities,’ and ayaṇa means ‘You are the shelter.’ Bhū means ‘the shelter of all the worlds’ and sākṣī means ‘one who knows past, present and future.’ Nārāyaṇa is Your part and parcel; He is one of Your pastime expansions (vilāsa-mūrti). This is Your constitutional nature, which is indivisible. If Your nature is indivisible, how can You take shelter of water that is divisible? To answer this doubt, it is said that Your divisibility is not factual, but it seems to be so because of māyā. Although You are indivisible, You seem to be situated in divisibility by the influence of Your inconceivable potency. Even though this is true, Your form as Nārāyaṇa is not a false imaginary form like Your universal form. Therefore, Nārāyaṇa is Your limb, and You are His fundamental origin.”

In Bhagavad-gītā (10.42) it is also stated: “viṣṭabhyāham idaṁ kṛtsnam ekāṁśena sthito jagat – this entire world exists on the basis of one of My expansions.” The etymological meaning of the word kṛṣṇa has also been proven here. As described previously, His all-attractiveness and His supremely blissful nature have been indicated by the combination of both kṛṣ and ṇa. He is one without a second; there is no other entity or truth besides Him, nor can anyone be compared to Him. That is why He is the non-dual Supreme Truth, who is one without a second and the cause of all causes. There is no separate substance or energy that can be imposed on Him, because nothing else has any existence separate from Him or independent of Him.

It is also said in the śruti, “ānandaḥ brahmeti – Brahman is the original form of bliss.” “Ko hy evānyāt kaḥ prāṇyād ya ākāśa ānando na syāt – if He were not the original form of bliss, how could anyone else maintain their life?” “Ānandād dhīmāni bhūtāni jāyante – all living beings have been produced from this blissfulness.”

na tasya kāryaṁ karaṇaṁ ca vidyate
na tat samaś cābhyadhikaś ca dṛśyate
parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate
svābhāvikī jñāna-bala-kriyā ca
Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (6.8)

He does not have any mundane work to perform, nor does He possess material senses. There is no one like Him, and certainly no one is greater than Him. He has an eternal and natural superior energy which is manifested in various ways, and which is the source of knowledge, strength and activity.

Someone may say, “According to etymology, ‘Śrī Kṛṣṇa’ certainly refers to the all-attractive supreme ānanda, but this analysis does not establish that He has a personal form, because bliss has no form; it is unembodied.” This is partly true, but Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the supremely original perfect form of ānanda. That is why He has been called sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha in this first verse of Brahma-saṁhitā. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the embodiment of concentrated existence, knowledge and bliss.

In Brahmā’s prayers in the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.22) it is stated: “tvayy eva nitya-sukha-bodha-tanau – the entire world is temporary. That is why it is dreamlike, ephemeral, insentient, dull and distressful. On the other hand, You are the embodiment of eternity, knowledge and bliss, infinite and unlimited. The creation and destruction of this world takes place only by the influence of Your inconceivable illusory energy, but even so, the world appears to be reality.”

The Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad (1.1) and the Hayaśīrṣa-pañcarātra also give evidence for Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s sac-cid-ānanda form:

sac-cid-ānanda-rūpāya
kṛṣṇāyākliṣṭa-kāriṇe
namo vedānta-vedyāya
gurave buddhi-sākṣiṇe

I offer my obeisances to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is the concentrated form of eternity, knowledge and bliss; who is the subject matter defined by Vedānta; who effortlessly creates, maintains and destroys the entire world; who frees His devotees from the five types of suffering beginning with ignorance; and who is our guru. As guru He inspires the intelligence of all, and He is the witness of our activities. Unto that Śrī Kṛṣṇa I offer my obeisances again and again.

In the Śatanāma-stotra section of the Brahmānda Purāṇa, it is also said: “nava-vraja-janānandī sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ – Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is the concentrated form of eternity, knowledge and bliss, increases the ānanda of Śrī Nanda-Vraja, and all the residents of Vraja.”

Later, it will be stated: “sattvaṁ khalv avyabhicāritvam ucyate – Śrī Kṛṣṇa is pure transcendental existence. His existence can never be inhibited.”

In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.2.26) the same conclusion has been established by the statements of the demigods, headed by Brahmā: “satya-vrataṁ satya-paraṁ tri-satyam – O Bhagavān, whatever You desire becomes reality (satya-saṅkalpa). You are true to Your vow (satya-vrata), because You are responsible for manifesting Your own desires (saṅkalpa).

Truthfulness is the means to attain You, and therefore You are the Supreme Truth (satya-para). You are unchanged during creation, maintenance and destruction. You are truth itself. You are the root cause of the five major ingredients of creation: earth, water, fire, air and space. After these elements are again manifested during creation, You are present within them as the indwelling Supersoul, and after the devastation only You remain. You are the origin of both truthful speech and equal vision. Therefore, we are taking shelter of You, who are the original form of the Absolute Truth.”

This conclusion is also supported by the statements of Mother Devakī:

naṣṭe loke dviparārdhāvasāne
mahābhūteṣv ādibhūtaṁ gateṣu
vyakte ’vyaktaṁ kāla-vegena yāte
bhavān ekaḥ śiṣyate śeṣa-saṁjñaḥ
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.3.25)

At the time of devastation at the end of Brahmā’s life, the eternal time factor destroys all moving and non-moving objects in the world. The five gross elements beginning with earth revert to their subtle state, and all manifested objects disappear into their unmanifested form. Only You remain.

Furthermore, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.3.27) states: “martyo mṛtyu-vyāla-bhītaḥ palāyan sarvāl lokān nirbhayaṁ nādhyagacchat – the entities of this mortal world are terrified of the great snake of death. Although they flee throughout all the planets headed by Brahmaloka just to find shelter, they cannot become fearless anywhere. However, if such a fearful living entity associates with a liberated soul, then by the influence of devotion to You he attains the shelter of Your lotus feet and becomes liberated from the fear of the material world forever. Even death abandons him and flees far away.”

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.18) states: “eko ’si prathamam – before the creation, only I existed.” Brahmājī has also said: “tad idam brahmādvayaṁ śiṣyate – in the end, only the indivisible Supreme Spirit remains.” In Bhagavad-gītā it is said: “brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāham – I am also the basis of that Brahman.”

yasmāt kṣaram atīto ’ham
akṣarād api cottamaḥ
ato ’smi loke vede ca
prathitaḥ puruṣottamaḥ
Bhagavad-gītā (15.18)

I am beyond the manifest nature, and I am also superior to the unmanifest. That is why I am celebrated throughout the world and in the Vedas as Puruṣottama.

Bhagavān is eternally masculine (puruṣa-tattva); He is not feminine or impotent. When the conception of masculinity (puruṣa-tattva) is understood, the mistaken conception of His being feminine or neuter cannot remain. Amongst all the viṣṇu-tattva expansions, Puruṣottama Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the most excellent.

In the Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad (23) it has been said:

janma-jarābhyāṁ bhinnaḥ sthāṇur ayam
acchedyo ’yaṁ yo ’sau saurye tiṣṭhati
yo ’sau goṣu tiṣṭhati
yo ’sau gāḥ pālayati yo ’sau gopeṣu tiṣṭhati

Bhagavān is without desire. He is not affected by the six transformations, namely birth, death, hunger, thirst, old age and sorrow. He is Parabrahman, and always exists in a form that never deteriorates. He is the central feature of the solar system (sūrya-maṇḍala, or Sauri). He protects and nourishes the wish-fulfilling cows, surrounded by His cowherd boy companions. He also performs His pastimes in the cottages and groves on the banks of the Yamunā, who is the daughter of the sun-god Sūrya. Even death personified is afraid of Him. That Supreme Personality is Śrī Govinda.

Here one should understand the word saurye to mean the Saurī, or Yamunā River, and also Śrī Vṛndāvana, which is situated on its bank.

Having discussed the eternal form (sat-svarūpa) of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, we will now establish the cognizant nature (cit-svarūpa) of that form. Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s original form is self-manifested, so He can also manifest others.

In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.23), Śrī Brahmā says: “ekas tvam ātmā puruṣaḥ purāṇaḥ, satyaḥ svayaṁ jyotir ananta ādyaḥ – O Bhagavān, You are the only truth, because You are the ātmā of all ātmās; that is, You are situated as paramātmā in everyone’s heart. You are different from the perceptible world around us. You are the root cause of the creation, maintenance and destruction of this world; You are the primeval personality and the eternal supreme reality; You are completely immersed in eternal bliss; You are the embodiment of nectar, beyond all material designations; You are supremely pure, or in other words free from the modes of material nature; and You are self-illuminating, endless and indivisible. You are the supreme non-dual Absolute Truth (advaya-jñāna-para-tattva).”

In the Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad (1.24), it is stated:

yo brahmāṇaṁ vidadhāti pūrvaṁ yo
brahma-vidyāṁ tasmai gā pālayati sma kṛṣṇaḥ
tāṁ hi devam ātma-vṛtti-prakāśaṁ
mumukṣur vai śaraṇam amuṁ vrajet

In the beginning of creation Parameśvara first manifested Brahmā, and then, in the forms of Matsya, Hayagrīva and other incarnations, He delivered the Vedas from sinking into the ocean of devastation. He gave instructions to Brahmā on spiritual science. He is the supreme worshipable deity, and He is self-manifest in His eternal form as Śrī Kṛṣṇa. All devotees take shelter of Him.

In the śruti it is stated: “na cakṣuṣā paśyati rūpam asya – it is not possible to see Him with these material eyes.” Katha Upaniṣad (1.2.23) states: “yam evaiṣa vṛṇute tena labhyas tasyaiṣa ātmā vivṛṇute tanuṁ svām – He manifests Himself in the hearts of those who are surrendered to Him.” The self-manifested original form of the Supreme Personality is Svayam Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa. He is therefore called the form of knowledge, which means that He is self-manifest.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa is also the original form of bliss (ānanda-svarūpa). The purport of ānanda-svarūpa is “sarvatobhāvena nirupādhika-parama-premāspada – He is in every respect the supreme abode of prema, without any material designations.”

It is stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.49) that after Mahārāja Parīkṣit heard Brahmājī’s prayers, he inquired from Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī: “brahman parodbhave kṛṣṇe – O brāhmaṇa, how is it that the residents of Vraja had such prema for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, which they did not possess even for their own sons?”

Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī replied, “O King, every living entity only holds his own self (ātmā) dear. Besides one’s self, all other objects of affection such as sons and wealth are dear in a secondary way, not directly, and only because of fondness for the ātmā. Living entities who have accepted a material body have more attachment for their own selves than for their sons, wealth, house and other paraphernalia. Therefore, all living beings are most attached to their own selves. In this world of moving and non-moving entities, any sense of happiness is due to the ātmā. The conclusion is that one should understand Śrī Kṛṣṇa to be the original Self (ātma-svarūpa) of all living entities. He mercifully appears in this world for the benefit of all. The entire universe is the external form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa; in other words Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the root cause of everything. Thus there is nothing that is not related to Him.”

Śrī Vasudeva has described his own realization of this:

vidito ’si bhavān sākṣād
īśvaraḥ prakṛteḥ paraḥ
kevalānubhavānanda-
svarūpaḥ sarva-buddhi-dṛk
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.3.13)

O Prabhu, You are the Supreme Controller beyond the material nature, and You are that Supreme Personality who enters within everything. You are the original form of pure knowledge, and You are directly the Supreme Godhead, Bhagavān.

It is also said in the śruti: “ānandaṁ brahmaṇo rūpam – ānanda is the form of Brahman.”

Therefore, on the basis of all the evidence compiled from śruti, it is established that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the form of eternity, knowledge and bliss (sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha). One should understand that Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s form is His very self, and Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s self is His form; vigraha is ātmā and ātmā is vigraha. This is the conclusion of all scripture. Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa is His eternal, original form, so the idea that He is materially embodied like the conditioned souls, or that He has accepted a material form from the illusory energy (māyā), is totally erroneous.

Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī has remarked:

kṛṣṇam enam avehi tvam
ātmānam akhilātmanām
jagad-dhitāya so ’py atra
dehī vābhāti māyayā
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.55)

O King, you should understand that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is Parabrahma and Paramātmā, the soul of all living entities. He has mercifully descended for the benefit of the whole world in such a way that He appears to be an ordinary person with a physical human body that can be perceived by the senses of the living entities. Although His pastimes resemble those of a common person, He is not an ordinary human being.

The human-like activities performed by Bhagavān during His manifest pastimes in this world are called mādhuryamayī-līlā, meaning that these pastimes are full of sweetness. His pastimes are manifested in this world only out of compassion for the living entities. In this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam verse, the word māyā means “mercy.” In the Viśva-prakāśa dictionary, the word māyā has been defined as either “deceit” or “mercy.”

Now that the supremacy of Śrī Kṛṣṇa has been firmly established on the basis of śāstra and logic, His absorption in His pastimes will be discussed. His pastimes are of two types:

  • aiśvaryamayī pura-līlā (pastimes related to transcendental opulence) and
  • mādhuryamayī vraja-līlā (the sweet pastimes of Vraja).

He performs His aiśvaryamayī-līlā while residing sometimes in Mathurā Purī and sometimes in Dvārakā. At that time He is called Yādavendra or Vṛṣṇīndra. When the pastimes of His infancy, childhood and adolescence take place in Vraja, He is called Vrajendra-nandana or Govinda.

In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī has said:

śrī kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa-sakha vṛṣṇy-ṛṣabhāvani-dhrug
rājanya-vaṁśa-dahanānapavarga-vīrya
govinda gopa-vanitā-vraja-bhṛtya-gīta-
tīrtha-śravaḥ śravaṇa-maṅgala pāhi bhṛtyān
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (12.11.25)

O Kṛṣṇa, O friend of Arjuna, O chief among the descendants of Vṛṣṇi, You are the destroyer of those political parties who are disturbing elements on this earth. Your prowess never deteriorates. You are the proprietor of the transcendental abode, and Your most sacred glories, which are sung by Vṛndāvana’s cowherd men and women and their servants, bestow all auspiciousness just by being heard. O Lord, please protect Your devotees.

In this śloka, Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī has introduced his worshipable deity Śrī Kṛṣṇa as the friend of Arjuna. This indicates Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s intense affection for the Pāṇḍavas, which renders Him subordinate to them. It is also clear from the sequence of address in this verse that He has even more affection for the Yādavas (Vṛṣṇis). Śrī Kṛṣṇa not only destroyed the kings who were oppressing the Earth, He also protected the Pāṇḍavas and the Yādavas, and maintained them in every respect. Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī is also saying, “You have still more affection for the Vrajavāsīs than for the Yādavas, and amongst the residents of Vraja, You have shown the most affection of all for the Vraja damsels. When Your dear devotee Uddhava came to Vraja, he repeatedly offered prayers to the dust of the lotus feet of the gopīs.”

Śrī Brahmā considers that the form of Bhagavān that is most desirable for him is his own worshipable deity, Śrī Govinda. Later in this saṁhitā, Śrī Brahmā offers prayers beginning with the verse cintāmaṇi-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vṛkṣa-lakṣāvṛteṣu, wherein he glorifies his worshipable Lord, Śrī Govinda, who is always endowed with His transcendental names, form, qualities and pastimes.

In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.27.20), the cow Surabhī performs abhiṣeka (ceremonial bathing) of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, giving Him the name Śrī Govinda: “tvaṁ na indro jagatpate – O You who possess inconceivable and unlimited energies, O indwelling soul of the universe, O creator of the universe, O infallible Acyuta, O Śrī Kṛṣṇa, O master of the universe, You are our only worshipable deity. You are the real Indra (monarch) because you are the maintainer of cows, brāhmaṇas, saintly persons and demigods. O Soul of the universe, You have descended to the surface of the Earth planet to remove her burden. The father of the worlds, Brahmājī, has engaged us in performing the abhiṣeka of You, who are worshipable for all.” After saying this, Surabhī, along with Indra and the great sages, performed the abhiṣeka of Kṛṣṇa. Surabhī bathed Śrī Kṛṣṇa with her own milk, and Indra and the sages offered the pure waters of Mandākinī (the celestial Gaṅgā), which had been brought there in the trunk of Indra’s elephant Airāvata. In this ceremony they gave Śrī Kṛṣṇa the name Śrī Govinda (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.27.19–23). After describing this abhiṣeka, Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī has also prayed: “priyān na indro gavām – O Indra (master) of the cows (Govinda), be pleased with us.” Calling Him master of the cows does not minimize Him or decrease His position. On the contrary, it establishes His unrivaled monarchy, because it is stated in the Go-sūkta:

gobhyo yajñāḥ pravartante
gobhyo devāḥ samutthitāḥ
gobhir devāḥ samudgīrṇāḥ
sa-ṣaḍ-aṅga-pada-kramāḥ

All the different types of sacrifice have come from the cows of Goloka Vṛndāvana; the demigods have come from those cows; and the Vedas with their six limbs have also appeared from those cows.

Since Śrī Kṛṣṇa has descended from Goloka-dhāma, the planet of cows, He is the master of the cows. In the Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad (35), Śrī Brahmā relates to the sages headed by Sanaka how he has prayed to His worshipable deity:

govindaṁ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaṁ
sūrabhū-ruha-talāsīnaṁ satataṁ sa-marud-gaṇo ’haṁ toṣayāmi

Along with the demigods headed by Indra, I offer praise to Vāsudeva, who is eternally ornamented with pure transcendental qualities and pastimes. Although He is the Supreme Truth, one without a second, He is also the embodiment of eternity, knowledge and bliss, resplendently situated beneath a desire-fulfilling tree in Śrī Vṛndāvana-dhāma.

Brahmājī has also prayed in the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.34): “tad bhūri-bhāgyam iha janma kim apy aṭavyāṁ yad gokule – the Vedas are still searching, even today, for the dust of the lotus feet of Bhagavān Mukunda, who is the very life and soul of the residents of Vraja. My life will be successful only if I can take birth in any species whatsoever in this earthly forest of Vraja, or in a border region of Gokula, so that I may be completely bathed in the foot-dust of the residents of Gokula.”

Here the words bhagavān mukundaḥ directly refer to Vrajarāja-nandana, Kṛṣṇa, the son of Nanda Mahārāja. This form is found only in Vraja.

Brahmājī has also prayed:

naumīḍya te ’bhra-vapuṣe taḍid-ambarāya
guñjāvataṁsa-paripiccha-lasan-mukhāya
vanya-sraje kavala-vetra-viṣāṇa-veṇu-
lakṣma-śriye mṛdu-pade paśupāṅgajāya
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.1)

O Prince of Vraja, You are worshipable for the whole world. O Nava-Ghanaśyāma, Your yellow upper garment beautifies Your dark, fresh raincloud-colored limbs like a steady streak of lightning. Your ears are decorated with ornaments made of guñjā berries, and Your head with a crown of peacock feathers. A garland of forest flowers and leaves adorns Your neck, a morsel of rice mixed with yogurt is in Your hand, Your eyes are shaped like lotus petals, and Your appearance with Your flute and buffalo horn is exquisitely beautiful. Your lotus feet, which are the shelter of Lakṣmī-devī, are very soft and full of affection for Your devotees. You are always moving here and there in Vṛndāvana forest with Your soft lotus feet to enjoy Your pleasure pastimes. All glories unto You, son of Nanda Mahārāja, who tend the cows. Please accept my obeisances.

Thus Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s supreme opulence is expressed by names such as Govinda. This is the significance of the name Govinda in this first verse of Brahma-saṁhitā.

After Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s status as controller (īśvara) and Supreme Controller (parameśvara) has been established, in conclusion, His unique qualities are being described. In an explanation of the ten-syllable mantra, the Gautamīya-tantra (2.18–19, 22–23) reveals the following:

gopīti prakṛtiṁ vidyāj
janas tattva-samūhakaḥ
anayor āśrayo vyāptyā
kāraṇatvena ceśvaraḥ
sāndrānandaṁ paraṁ jyotir
vallabhena ca kathyate
athavā gopī prakṛtir
janas tad-aṁśa-maṇḍalam
anayor vallabhaḥ proktaḥ
svāmī kṛṣṇākhya īśvaraḥ
kārya-kāraṇayor īśaḥ
śrutibhis tena gīyate
aneka-janma-siddhānāṁ
gopīnāṁ patir eva vā
nanda-nandana ity uktas
trailokyānanda-vardhanaḥ

Śrī Govindadeva is famous throughout the Vedas, upon planet Earth and among the cows. He nourishes them and is always with them. Although complete with incomparable opulence and sweetness, He is absorbed in enjoying His independent pastimes while surrounded by herds of cows. He is celebrated in all worlds and throughout the Vedas, which means that He steals the hearts of the residents of Vraja in Śrī Nanda-Gokula. His complexion is like a fresh monsoon raincloud, and He expands His endearing pastimes, the sweetness of which is continuously sung in a loud voice by all the Vedas and throughout the worlds. Only that Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the moon of Gokula, the cowherd boy who carries a flute, is worthy of the name Govinda.

On examining the mood that Brahmā expresses in this verse, it seems that he surrendered himself fully unto the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa from the very beginning. However, as the ecstatic mellows of prema-rasa increased in his heart, his greed to realize the sweetness of Śrī Kṛṣṇa also increased. Therefore he began to offer himself to Kṛṣṇa’s form of Govinda, meaning Vrajarāja-nandana, the son of the King of Vraja, and Gopāla, who is the treasure of the life of Mother Yaśodā. Moreover, when Brahmājī’s mood increased and matured completely, with his heart immersed in and relishing prema-rasa, he became desperate to attain the supremely beautiful fresh youth, Śyāmasundara – the expert dancer who, being surrounded by the lotus-eyed damsels of Vraja, bewilders the mind of Cupid. At that time, intoxicated by the incomparable nectar of gopī-prema, Brahmājī offered his life to Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s form as Gopījana-vallabha. His heart was so thirsty for gopī-prema that he could not be satisfied by uttering only kṛṣṇāya svāhā, or even kṛṣṇāya govindāya svāhā. Helplessly overwhelmed with prema, he began to utter kṛṣṇāya govindāya gopījana-vallabhāya svāhā. When Brahmājī spoke thus, his intense yearning was fulfilled.

In the aforementioned verses from the Gautamīya-tantra that explain the ten-syllable mantra, the word gopī has been derived from the verbal root gup meaning “to protect and maintain.” Therefore the special energy that bestows prema and maintains the devotees is called gopī, or hlādinī-śakti. Śrī Rādhā is that hlādinī-śakti, so one should understand that the word gopī refers to Śrī Rādhā. Also, in the statement, gopī tu prakṛtī rādhā janas tad-aṁśa-maṇḍalaḥ, the word jana refers to those gopīs who are direct expansions of Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s divine form. So gopījana refers to Śrīmatī Rādhikā and Her own direct expansions such as Lalitā and Viśākhā. Thus the word vallabha (beloved) can only refer to their most dearly beloved sweetheart, prāṇa-priyatama Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

The word vallabha means “one who gives inspiration,” “the instigator,” or “the lover (ramaṇa).” That hero who enjoys supremely sweet pastimes with the gopīs is Śrī Gopījana-vallabha. Gopījana-vallabha also means “the pati or sole refuge of the gopīs,” and specifically prāṇapati, the only shelter of the life’s breath of Śrī Rādhikā, who is always surrounded by Her sakhīs headed by Śrī Lalitā and Viśākhā. Nanda-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the crown-jewel among connoisseurs of ecstatic transcendental mellows (rasika-śekhara). As Madana-mohana, the enchanter of the god of amorous love, He is elegantly present in Śrī Vṛndāvana with Śrīmatī Rādhikā, who stands in the midst of Her supremely beautiful, ever-fresh, lotus-eyed friends. Therefore only this budding youth, the Madana-mohana form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa – also called Govinda or Gopāla – is actually Śrī Gopījana-vallabha. Gopījana-vallabha is the eternal form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa who is always held in Śrī Rādhikā’s loving embrace. Therefore it is automatically understood that gopījana-vallabha refers to the Divine Couple, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Yugala.

aneka-janma-siddhānāṁ
gopīnāṁ patir eva vā
nanda-nandana-ity uktas
trailokyānanda-vardhanaḥ
Gautamīya-tantra (2.23)

The purport of this verse is that those gopīs who had been performing sādhana for many lifetimes attained Nanda-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa as their husband or beloved paramour, who is dearer than life itself. He increases the bliss of all the three planetary systems, and He is the ever-fresh Kāmadeva, who awakens transcendental desire in the heart of every living entity in the universe, and then fulfills it. He increases the spontaneous, transcendental dedication in the hearts of the devotees, and He increases the prema of His dearmost associates. That original form of Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the ever-new deity of amorous love in Vṛndāvana.

This same Śrī Kṛṣṇa is thus the worshipable deity of the first guru of our sampradāya, Śrī Brahmā, who is seated upon a lotus flower.

The word prakṛti in the previously quoted verses from the Gautamīya-tantra indicates the illusory energy called māyā, which is the shelter of all the principal ingredients, beginning with the aggregate of primal matter (mahat-tattva), from which all the universes are manifested. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the highly concentrated form of condensed bliss, and He is supremely effulgent like a blue sapphire. Īśvara means vallabha, beloved. Another sense of the word īśvara is “one who is everywhere” or “one who pervades the vraja-gopīs’ hearts, minds, intelligence and so on.” The fundamental meaning of prakṛti (dominated energy) is Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s intrinsic personal potency, which is radiantly present as the gopīs of Vraja, and famous by the name of Mahā-Lakṣmī in realms such as Vaikuṇṭha, which are situated far beyond this material world.

The word aṁśa-maṇḍala (circle of expansions) is generally interpreted as a reference to the catur-vyūha: Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. However, in this context, one should understand aṁśa-maṇḍala to mean the expansions of Śrī Rādhā (kāya-vyūha-rūpā).

In aneka-janma-siddhānām, aneka means “many;” for many lifetimes the gopīs have been perfect in their prema. This proves that both the gopīs and Śrī Kṛṣṇa have taken birth many times before.

It is stated in Bhagavad-gītā (4.5): “bahūni me vyatītāni janmāni tava cārjuna – O Arjuna, both you and I have already taken birth many times.” Similarly, the gopīs and Nanda-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa have also taken birth many times.

Gargācārya has also said (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.8.14): “prāg ayaṁ vasudevasya kvacij jātas tavātmajaḥ – O Nanda Mahārāja, at some time in the past, this son of yours appeared as the son of Vasudeva.” This is also logical. Although Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the son of Nanda Mahārāja, He had appeared previously in the mind of Vasudeva Mahārāja (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.2.16): “āviveśāṁśa-bhāgena mana ānaka-dundubheḥ – the expansion of Kṛṣṇa appeared in the mind of Ānaka-dundubhi, Vasudeva Mahārāja.” In the same way, Śrī Kṛṣṇa also appeared in the heart of Vrajeśvara Nanda Mahārāja, but there is a specific distinction between the two appearances. The partial manifestation of Śrī Kṛṣṇa who appeared in Vasudeva’s heart is called the full manifestation (pūrṇa-prakāśa), whereas the form who appeared in Vrajeśvara Nanda Mahārāja’s heart is called the most complete form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa (pūrṇatama-prakāśa). Just before the appearance of Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Nanda Mahārāja began to have His darśana in his heart and everywhere else.

The appearance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa in the heart is not sufficient to attain Him as one’s son, however. Intense parental prema is also absolutely necessary. Such pure fatherly love is only found in Vrajarāja Śrī Nanda Mahārāja. Bhagavān may appear as one’s son, but unless pure parental love is present, this does not constitute a relationship in which one genuinely feels, “Kṛṣṇa is my son.” Although Varāhadeva appeared from the nostril of Brahmā, He is not considered the son of Brahmā, because Brahmājī had no parental love for Him.

Knowledge of Kṛṣṇa’s opulence is an obstacle for the spontaneous love based on a relationship resembling intimate relationships with dear ones in this world. Vasudeva has knowledge of Kṛṣṇa’s opulence, and Vrajarāja Nanda has pure parental love. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is present according to the degree of one’s prema. Since the highest pinnacle of prema is found in the gopīs, Śrī Kṛṣṇa is manifest to the superlative degree among them. Thus the purport of the ten-syllable mantra also ultimately refers to Nanda-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s commentary:

Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā-prakāśinī-vṛtti
pracura-siddhānta-ratna, saṅgrahe viśeṣa yatna
kori’ brahmā śrī-kṛṣṇe stavila
ei granthe sei stava, mānavera suvaibhava
pañcama adhyāye niveśila
śrī gaurāṅga kṛpā-sindhu, kali-jīvera eka bandhu
dakṣiṇātya bhramite bhramite
e ‘brahma-saṁhitā’-dhana, korilena uddharaṇa
gauḍa-jīve uddhāra korite
nānā-śāstra vicāriyā, tāra ṭīkā viraciyā
śrī jīva gosvāmī mahodaya
śrī gauḍīya-bhakta-gaṇe, mahā-kṛpā-pūrṇa mane
e grantha arpilā sadāśaya
sei vyākhyā anusāre, āra kichu balivāre
prabhu mora vipina-bihārī
ājñā dilā akiñcane, e dāsa harṣita mane
baliyāche kathā dui cāri
prākṛtāprākṛta bhedi, śuddha-bhakti-saha yadi
bhakta-gaṇa korena vicāra
kṛtārtha hoibe dāsa, puribe manera āśa
śuddha-bhakti hoibe pracāra
bhakta-jana-prāṇa-dhana, rūpa, jīva, sanātana
tava kṛpā samudra-samāna
ṭīkāra āśaya gūḍha, jāte bujhi āmi mūḍha
sei śakti karaha vidhāna
śrī jīva vacana-caya, puṣpakali śobhāmaya
prasphuṭita koriyā jatane
guru kṛṣṇe praṇamiyā, śuddha-bhakta-kore diyā
dhanya hoi – ei icchā mane

It was by Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s mercy that the four-headed Śrī Brahmā received the eighteen-syllable mantra through the medium of divine Sarasvatī (daiva-vāṇī). Then he performed worship by means of mantra-japa for a prolonged period of time. As a result of this worship, he received the kāma-gāyatrī-mantra through the sound of Kṛṣṇa’s flute, and attained twice-born status. Then he offered prayers to Śrī Kṛṣṇa with invaluable jewel-like statements that embodied the essential conclusions of the Vedas. For the benefit of all living entities, these precious jewels have been collected together in the jewelry-box of this scripture, Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā, whose Fifth Chapter is especially full of the most valuable jewels. Śrī Śacīnandana Gaurahari, who is the ocean of compassion and the only friend of the living entities suffering in Kali-yuga, found this book while traveling in the holy places of Southern India, and carefully kept it with Him. Then, after having many copies made, He gave it to His associates. Later, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī wrote a beautiful, comprehensive commentary on this book, full of examples and conclusions from various scriptures, and mercifully gave it to the devoted followers of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

Considering Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā with Śrī Jīva Gosvāmipāda’s commentary to be extremely beneficial for the devotees, my Gurudeva, Śrī Vipina-bihārī Gosvāmī, ordered me to write a further explanation of the aforementioned commentary in readily accessible language. Taking his order on my head, I have included several additional points of consideration in my Tātparya (purports). If the faithful devotees study this book with pure and simple hearts, keeping in mind the difference between the mundane (prākṛta) and the transcendental (aprākṛta), then this servant will consider his life successful and śuddha-bhakti will be propagated everywhere.

O Rūpa Gosvāmī, you are the life and soul of the devotees! O Sanātana Gosvāmī! O Jīva Gosvāmī! Your mercy is like an unlimited and fathomless ocean. The significance of your commentary on this Brahma-saṁhitā is also extremely profound. Therefore, have mercy on this foolish person. Kindly invest me with the power to comprehend this commentary and express its hidden meanings. The statements of Śrī Jīva Gosvāmipāda are elegant like a row of tender flowerbuds. It is my internal desire to make those fragrant flowerbuds blossom so that, after offering praṇāma to śrī guru and Kṛṣṇa, I may offer them into the lotus hands of the śuddha-bhaktas.

Purport by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura (Tātparya)

Only Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is endowed with His own eternal names, form, qualities and pastimes, is the topmost transcendent reality. His eternal name, Kṛṣṇa, indicates the supreme existence, characterized by the attractive power of love. Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s own eternal form is the embodiment of concentrated eternal existence, cognizance and bliss. His dark complexion is enchanting and He holds a flute in His two hands. Although He is the Supreme Master, by the influence of His inconceivable potency He appears in His original form in medium-sized or human-like proportions as a fresh youth, the best of dancers, in the simple dress of a cowherd boy, playing upon a flute. Therefore His eternal form is full of astonishing transcendental qualities that have the power to attract everything. He is naturally the supreme predominating male enjoyer with His own transcendental senses. All contradictory qualities, including features which could not ordinarily coexist, are simultaneously fully present and coexisting harmoniously within Him. Concentrated existence (sat), cognizance (cit) and bliss (ānanda) are exhibited most elegantly in Him.

His expansions, known as Īśvara, Paramātmā or Viṣṇu, who manifest the material universes, are merely partial expansions of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s original form. Therefore only Śrī Kṛṣṇa can be called the Supreme Controller, Parameśvara. Although His transcendental senses and qualities are distinct from each other, by the influence of His own inconceivable energy, they are combined together in their appropriate places to make the most beautiful, unprecedented spiritual form.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s form is His self, and His self is His form; there is no difference between Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s self and His form. The śrī vigraha of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the very form of the condensed principle of eternality, cognizance and bliss (sac-cid-ānanda). Therefore the impersonal Brahman, which is the formless, diluted sac-cid-ānanda-tattva, is merely the bodily effulgence of the aforementioned condensed sac-cid-ānanda-tattva Śrī Kṛṣṇa, while the thumb-sized form of Paramātmā situated in the hearts of all living beings, who is the universal witness and regulator, is a partial expansion of that Supreme Absolute Truth Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Thus, the concentrated sac-cid-ānanda form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is beginningless and without origin. He is the origin of Brahman and Paramātmā.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beauty shines splendidly through His pastimes as Go-pati (owner of the cows), Gopa-pati (the chief of the cowherds), Gopī-pati (the beloved of the gopīs), Gokula-pati (the protector of Gokula) and Goloka-pati (the Lord of Goloka). That very Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is also served by numerous Lakṣmīs or goddesses of fortune, is called Govinda.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the cause of all causes in the form of the dominant principle (puruṣa), and the predominated principle (prakṛti). The glance of His expansion, namely the puruṣa-avatāra Kāraṇodakaśāyī Mahā-Viṣṇu, inspires the inferior material nature to give birth to the mundane universes. Through the marginal energy of Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu or Paramātmā, innumerable living entities are manifest, just as unlimited particles are manifest in the rays of the sun. This Brahma-saṁhitā establishes the ontology of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and therefore the utterance of His names in this first verse constitutes the auspicious invocation of this book.

[CC-by-ND GVP]

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