Book excerptsŚrī Brahma-saṁhitāŚrī Brahma-saṁhitā. Verse 3-4

Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā. Verse 3-4

Verses 3–4

karṇikāraṁ mahad-yantraṁ
ṣaṭ-koṇaṁ vajra-kīlakam
prakṛtyā puruṣeṇa ca
rasenāvasthitaṁ hi yat
jyotī-rūpeṇa manunā
kāma-bījena saṅgatam
tat-kiñjalkaṁ tad-aṁśānāṁ
tat-patrāṇi śriyām api


karṇikāram – the center of that thousand-petaled lotus which is the central part of Vraja; mahad-yantram – is a great and unique mystic device; ṣaṭ-koṇam – with six corners; vajra-kīlakam – of which Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is completely transcendental and who is the possessor of all potencies, is the pivot in the form of a thunderbolt, which is as brilliant as a diamond; ṣaḍ-aṅga-ṣaṭ-padī-sthānam – in that place is manifest the king of mantras, composed of eighteen syllables with six limbs in six divisions; prakṛtyā puruṣeṇa ca – and therein are situated the original potency and the original enjoyer; yat hi premānanda-mahānanda-rasena avasthitam – that Gokula, whose nature is the bliss of pure, spiritual love, is the abode of supremely blissful transcendental mellows; saṅgatam – it is endowed; kāma-bījena – with kāma-bīja; jyotī-rūpeṇa – and the effulgent; manunā – kāma-gāyatrī-mantra; tat-kīñjalkam – the saffron filaments of the lotus; tad-aṁśānām – are the supremely loving devotees, who are personal expansions of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s svarūpa, and who are none other than Kṛṣṇa’s intimate (sva-jātīya) gopas; tat-patrāṇi – all the leaves of the lotus; śriyām api – are the groves of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beloveds headed by Śrī Rādhā.


The pericarp or central part of that transcendental lotus is Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s abode. It is characterized by a six-pointed device (yantra), presided over by the predominated and predominating principles (prakṛti and puruṣa). Like a diamond, the omnipotent, radiant, transcendental kṛṣṇa-tattva is present as the central pivot. The eighteen-syllable king of mantras, which has six integral parts in six sections, is manifest in the form of a hexagonal place with six divisions.

This pericarp of the eternal abode called Gokula is the six-pointed realm of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s residence. The filaments are the residences of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s supremely loving parts and parcels, the intimate gopa friends who consider Him their very own. They beautify all four directions, forming an enclosure. The expanded petals of this lotus are the special sub-forests of the divine abode that belong to Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beloved Śrī Rādhā and the other gopīs.

Ṭīkā translation

In these two verses, starting from karṇikāram, there is a description of the chief seat among the many seats of the divine eighteen-syllable king of great mantras, which is attended by all other mantras. The setting of this seat is characterized by a vast device, whose facsimile is drawn everywhere in the form of a symbolic diagram (yantra) for the sake of formal worship. Now the svarūpa of that device is being described.

This yantra has six corners, which are made by the overlapping of two mutually reversed triangles, and the middle is decorated by the pivot in the form of a brilliant thunderbolt. The purport is that the central portion of the thousand-petaled lotus is embellished by a diamond stud in the form of the bīja-mantra (klīṁ). In this mantra (verse 3), the syllable ca indicates the four-letter kāma-bīja, which is situated as the central pivot of the pericarp. What is the necessity of the six points? In response to this question, it is said that these six limbs constitute the locations of the sixfold integral parts of the divine eighteen-syllable invocation. Therefore the yantra is exhibited with six corners, and is presided over by the predominated and predominating principles (prakṛti and puruṣa). Prakṛti is present as the abode of the mantra. That prakṛti is also Śrī Kṛṣṇa in person. He has been called prakṛti in this context because He is the cause of prakṛti.

In remembering the presiding deity of this mantra, it is stated thus: kṛṣṇaḥ prakṛtiḥ. The significance is that Kṛṣṇa is prakṛti. Puruṣa also refers to the personality who is present in the form of the presiding deity of the mantra. Therefore, in this mantra, Śrī Kṛṣṇa presides as prakṛti and puruṣa. He is experienced in four ways: as the cause of the mantra, as the syllables of the mantra, as the presiding deity of the mantra, and as the personality who is to be worshiped by the mantra. Among these four conceptions, Śrī Kṛṣṇa is presented here as the cause of the mantra and the presiding deity of the mantra, and He has been described previously as the worshipable deity (ārādhya-devatā) in the verse īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda vigrahaḥ. How He is experienced in the form of syllables will be mentioned later in the verse kāmaḥ kṛṣṇāya (verse 24).

In the Hayaśīrṣa-pañcarātra, it is stated, “O brāhmaṇa, enlightened visionaries of the truth say that the words of a mantra and one who is indicated by those words – that is, the mantra itself and its deity – are one, or non-different.”

In the Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad, it is also stated, “Just as the air within the body is one, and yet is known by various names and forms – such as prāṇa, apāna, udāna, vyāna and samāna – similarly Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the benefactor of the universe, is also present in five integral parts in the form of mantra.”

There are some rare references mentioning that the presiding deity of this mantra is Durgā-devī. This is because potency and the possessor of potency are non-different. For example, in the Gautamīya-tantra, it has been stated:

yaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ saiva durgā syād
yā durgā kṛṣṇa eva saḥ
anayor antarādarśī
saṁsārān no vimucyate

Kṛṣṇa is Durgā and Durgā is Kṛṣṇa. Those who see any difference between these two are never liberated from the endless chain of birth and death.

Therefore, in this quotation, Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s own internal potency has been referred to by the name of Durgā. This Durgā is not the Durgā who is a partial manifestation of māyā. In the Nirukti dictionary it is mentioned: “kṛcchreṇa durārādhanādi-bahu-prayāsena gamyate jñāyate – that personality who is known with great endeavor by the performance of extremely severe sādhana is called Durgā.”

It is also stated in the Nārada-pañcarātra:

jānāty ekā parā kāntā
saiva durgā tadātmikā
yā parā paramā śaktir
yasyā vijñāna-mātreṇa
parāṇāṁ paramātmanaḥ
muhūrtād eva devasya
prāptir bhavati nānyathā
ekeyaṁ prema-sarvasva-
bhāvā śrī-gokuleśvarī
yathā mugdhaṁ jagat sarvaṁ


She who is the highest, most excellent potency, or Mahā-Viṣṇu-svarūpiṇī, whose very self is Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇātmikā), and who is the best of all His beloveds, is called Durgā. One who realizes Her surely attains the supreme Paramātmā, Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, in less than a moment; there is not even the slightest doubt in this regard. She is Gokuleśvarī Śrī Rādhā, the full embodiment of spontaneous love and the personification of mahābhāva. Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is the supreme īśvara of all existence and the God among gods, is attained by Her mercy. Śrī Rādhā is Kṛṣṇa’s internal potency, and She performs worship of Her most beloved Śrī Kṛṣṇa with the entire wealth of Her devotion and service. [Alternatively, Her most beloved Śrī Kṛṣṇa always engages in Her worship with the entire wealth of His devotion and service.] That very Śrī Rādhā, the dearmost internal potency of Bhagavān, is known only to those who perform extraordinarily difficult worship. Therefore, saintly persons refer to Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beloved mistress of undivided rasa by the name of Durgā.10 His covering potency, Mahāmāyā, is the controller of all the mundane worlds, and it covers and bewilders the entire population of living beings who identify with their material bodies.

The following statement by Śrī Durgā can be found in the Sammohana-tantra:

yan nāmnā nāmni durgāhaṁ
guṇair guṇavatī hy aham
yad vaibhavān mahā-lakṣmī
rādhā nityā parādvayā

The name Durgā, by which I am known, is Her name. The qualities for which I am famous are Her qualities. The majesty with which I am resplendent is Her majesty. That Mahā-Lakṣmī, Śrī Rādhā, is non-different from Śrī Kṛṣṇa. She is His dearmost sweetheart and the crest-jewel of His beloveds.

Thus, the svarūpa that is the embodiment of transcendental love, bliss and supremely ecstatic transcendental mellows, who is the pinnacle of mahābhāva, and who is the self-illuminating effulgence in the form of mantra, is called Śrī Rādhā. The expression kāma-bījena saṅgatam means that kāma-bīja is included in that mantra which is the origin of all others, kāma-gāyatrī. However, in some places it is stated that kāma-bīja is completely independent of the gāyatrī-mantra.

In this way, after describing Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s divine abode, Śrī Brahmā describes the covering of that abode in the half śloka beginning with the words tat kiñjalkam (verse 4). If the dhāma is in the form of the pericarp of a lotus, then the filaments of that lotus form the lines of its enclosure. The word kiñjalka (filaments) has been used to indicate that there is a row of peaks, or that the lines of the enclosure are endowed with peaks, which surround the dhāma in all four directions. One should also understand the expression tat-tad-aṁśānām to indicate the Supreme Personality Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s expansions such as His gopa and gopī associates.

Gokula is that abode in which Śrī Kṛṣṇa resides with His intimate associates who have a similar mood, and are the vessels of the highest love. In describing Gokula, the abode of such associates, Śrīmat Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vedavyāsa said:

evaṁ kukudminaṁ hatvā
stūyamānaḥ sajātibhiḥ
viveśa goṣṭhaṁ sabalo
gopīnāṁ nayanotsavaḥ
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.36.15)

After the killing of Vṛṣabhāsura, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is a festival for the eyes of the gopīs, entered the cowherd village along with Baladeva. At that time the cowherd folk began to praise Him with poetry of their own composition.

The petals of this lotus are the abodes of His most beloved sweethearts, the gopīs headed by Śrī Rādhā, and are in the form of sub-forests. That Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beloveds are called gopīs has been clearly stated by the use of the word gopī in His mantra, and among all the gopīs, Śrī Rādhā is the most excellent. Just as Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the origin of everything, while being personally without beginning, similarly Śrī Rādhā, being non-different from Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is also the origin of everything, while being without origin Herself.

It is therefore stated in the Gautamīya-tantra:

devī kṛṣṇamayī proktā
rādhikā para-devatā
sarva-lakṣmīmayī sarva-
kāntiḥ sammohinī parā

Śrī Rādhikā is the Supreme Goddess (para-devatā), the exclusive abode of Kṛṣṇa’s loving pastimes (Devī), and the shelter of all goddesses of fortune (Mahā-Lakṣmī). She is the most beautiful. Her inside and outside are nothing but Kṛṣṇa, and She is incessantly absorbed in Kṛṣṇa. She is the embodiment of all splendor, and is the enchantress of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s heart.

Furthermore, Śrī Rādhikā is the supreme ruler of Vṛndāvana, as stated in the Matsya Purāṇa:

vārāṇasyāṁ viśālākṣī
vimalā puruṣottame
rukmiṇī tu dvārāvatyāṁ
rādhā vṛndāvane vane

Viśālākṣī reigns in Vārāṇasī, Vimalā-devī in Puruṣottama-dhāma, Rukmiṇī in Dvārakā and Śrī Rādhā in Vṛndāvana.

Similarly, it is also stated in the Ṛk-pariśiṣṭa: “rādhayā mādhavo devo mādhavenaiva rādhikā vibhrājante janeṣvā – the handsomeness of Mādhava is enhanced by Rādhā, and the exquisite loveliness of Rādhā is heightened by Mādhava.”

Tatra patrāṇām: One should understand that in the central section where the lotus petals of that Gokula-dhāma join together, there is a multitude of paths as well as the residences and pastures of the cows. Gokula is one undivided lotus flower in which everything is incorporated. Thus, dairy farming is also splendidly present there. Gokula-dhāma is described as a thousand-petaled lotus in other places in śāstra as well. For example:

sahasrāraṁ padmaṁ dala-tatiṣu devībhir abhitaḥ parītaṁ go-saṅghair api nikhila-kiñjalka-militaiḥ. kavāṭe yasyāsti svayam akhila-śakti-prakaṭita-prabhāvaḥ sadyaḥ śrī-parama-puruṣas taṁ kila bhaje.

Gokula-dhāma is a thousand-petaled lotus, on whose petals are situated the residences of the gopīs. There are dwellings for innumerable cows in all four directions. I render service to the Supreme Personality, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the son of the Chief of Vraja, who is radiantly present along with all His beloved gopīs on the pericarp of the transcendental lotus.

Here it is correct to read the expression go-saṅghaiḥ as go-saṅkhyaiḥ. Thus it is understood to indicate the community of gopas, because the Amara-koṣa dictionary has described many meanings of the word go, such as gopī (cowherd damsel), gopāla (cowherd), go-saṅkhya (community of cowherds), godhu (one who milks cows), gābhīra (calf) and ballava (cowherd boy-friend). The central part of the pericarp, situated in the middle of the lotus, is indicated by the word kavāṭa. The fundamental purport of this verse is that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the supreme predominator and enjoyer, who eternally manifests His influence through His diverse potencies.


Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes are of two types: manifest and unmanifest. The vṛndāvana-līlā that are exhibited to the eyes of ordinary people are called manifest pastimes, and the pastimes that are not visible to material eyes are called unmanifest pastimes. In Goloka, the unmanifest pastimes are perpetually occurring. When Śrī Kṛṣṇa so desires, those unmanifest pastimes become visible to material eyes in Gokula. At such times they are called manifest pastimes.
In Kṛṣṇa-sandarbha Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmipāda has said: “aprakaṭa-līlātaḥ prasūtiḥ prakaṭa-līlāyām abhivyaktiḥ – the manifest pastimes are a revelation of the unmanifest pastimes.”

Furthermore, it is stated in Kṛṣṇa-sandarbha: “śrī vṛndāvanasya prakāśa-viśeṣo golokatvam, tatra prāpañcika-loka-prakaṭa-līlāvakāśatvenāvabhāsamānaṁ prakāśo goloka iti samarthanīyam – the pastimes of Goloka remain in an unmanifest state in the special manifestation of Goloka within this material universe, called Vṛndāvana. Those pastimes are manifested whenever there is an opportunity.” Therefore, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmipāda has reconciled this subject in his Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta (5.498):

yat tu goloka-nāma syāt
tac ca gokula-vaibhavam
tādātmya-vaibhavatvaṁ ca
tasya tan-mahimonnateḥ

The higher aspect of the greatness of Gokula is its non-difference from Goloka. Thus Goloka is simply the greatness or vaibhava of Gokula.

Although Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes are not always manifest in Gokula, they are eternally manifest in Goloka-dhāma.

This mystery is such that Goloka and Vṛndāvana (Gokula) are both one and the same tattva; there is no difference between them. One is above, in the spiritual realm, and the other manifests or appears below, in the material world. However, from the angle of vision of one special conception, just as Gokula is in Mathurā-maṇḍala, Vṛndāvana is also present in Goloka. According to this specialized deliberation, Goloka is considered to be only the external manifestation of Vṛndāvana. There is sameness between these two abodes from the perspective of līlā, in which case a difference is seen only in regard to manifest and unmanifest pastimes. Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s līlā is eternally manifest in Goloka.

Yet, from the point of view of differentiation, one will observe that the pastimes of Goloka are integrated with a reverential mood, whereas the pastimes of Vṛndāvana are integrated with pure human-like sweetness. That is why Goloka has been called the vaibhava or greatness of Gokula.

The unmanifest pastimes of this Goloka that are revealed to the conditioned soul are of two types. The purport is that there are two types of process adopted by practicing devotees in order to realize these pastimes. One is mantramayī-upāsanā and the other svārasikī-upāsanā. These will now be explained.

Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī has stated: “tat tad ekatara sthānādi – niyata-sthitika evaṁ tat-tan-mantra-dhyānamayaḥ – mantramayī-upāsanā is the process in which any one particular pastime, which is situated in one location, is being contemplated continuously by means of a mantra, and the worship of that pastime is being accomplished by this method.” The pastimes in which various types of spontaneous playful revelry are strung together of their own accord in an uninterrupted succession extending over several locations are called svārasikī or svābhāvikī, meaning “natural.”

This verse explains both mantramayī-upāsanā and svārasikī-upāsanā. The first meaning (indicating mantramayī-upāsanā) is as follows. In the līlā indicated by eighteen syllables, the bases of the mantra, which are arranged in different places, manifest only one particular līlā of Kṛṣṇa. For example: klīṁ kṛṣṇāya govindāya gopījana-vallabhāya svāhā. This mantra has six limbs made of the following components: (1) kṛṣṇāya, (2) govindāya, (3) gopījana, (4) vallabhāya, (5) svā and (6) hā. The mantra is formed when these six parts are arranged in sequence one after the other.

The six-pointed mahā-yantra is as follows. The kāma-bīja, klīṁ, is situated in the middle of the diagram as the pivot. If one draws the yantra in this way and meditates on the transcendental tattva, knowledge of reality arises in the heart, as it did for Mahārāja Candradhvaja. The Gautamīya-tantra gives the following instruction: “svā-śabdena ca kṣetrajño heti cit-prakṛtiḥ parā – the word svā indicates the individual jīvātmā, who is the knower of his own field of activities, and hā indicates the spiritual dominated potency, the eternal nature of the jīva.”

According to Śrī Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (1.87): “uttarād govindāyety asmāt surabhiṁ gojātim. tad-uttarād gopījanety asmād vidyāś caturdaśa. tad-uttarād vallabha – the word govindāya after the word klīṁ indicates Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is known as Govinda because He tends the surabhī cows and nurtures their pleasure. After that, the word gopījana indicates the society of Vraja gopīs, who are the embodiments of the fourteen types of knowledge of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s internal potency. Then the word vallabhāya indicates that Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the lover of those gopīs, is the paramour hero of Vraja.” When worship is performed by mantra through meanings such as these, realization awakens of a līlā occuring in one location. This is the purpose of mantropāsanā. The general meaning is that those who cherish the exclusive aspiration to enter into Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental pastimes will engage in Kṛṣṇa’s service in accordance with their own svarūpa by incessantly cultivating their particular relationship with Him, which gives rise to bhakti-rasa.

The living entity’s relationship with Kṛṣṇa is established when realized knowledge of the following six svarūpas arises: (1) Kṛṣṇa’s svarūpa (intrinsic form and nature), (2) the svarūpa of His transcendental pleasure pastimes, (3) the svarūpa of His associates, the gopīs, (4) the svarūpa of unconditional surrender of the self to Kṛṣṇa, following in the wake of the gopīs, (5) the svarūpa of the pure soul in full spiritual cognizance and (6) the svarūpa of service to Kṛṣṇa. The happiness of service to Bhagavān is the only relishable mellow. It is accomplished by an unwavering conviction in the process of bhakti, whose very nature is such that the soul becomes established in the following relationship: “The ultimate shelter is the Supreme Enjoyer, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and I am the predominated or enjoyed principle in the form of a maidservant of Śrī Rādhā.” This is the essential purport of the verse.

In the stage of sādhana, when bhakti is initiated by the material senses, the practicing devotee realizes the type of pastime in Goloka or Gokula that is the object of meditation by mantra (mantropāsanā-dhyānamayī-līlā). In the stage of perfection, the perfect devotee realizes the pastimes of Goloka or Gokula in their feature of totally uninhibited revelry. This is the condition of affairs in Goloka or Gokula; it will be revealed gradually.

The expression jyotī-rūpeṇa manunā in verse 3 indicates that the transcendental meaning may be illuminated or realized in the mantra. Having integrated pure kṛṣṇa-prema in the form of transcendental amorous love in this mantra, the practicing devotee who goes on rendering service becomes situated in the form of a perfect associate of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and realizes the astonishing mellows of the greatest blissful love (premānanda-mahānanda-rasa). This type of eternal līlā is always radiant in Goloka.

The shape of the transcendental Gokula resembles a fully blossomed lotus flower, whose central pericarp has a six-pointed shape. Within this lies the embodiment of the purport of the eighteen-syllable mantra, namely śrī rādhā-kṛṣṇa-tattva, surrounded by Their direct bodily expansions, the attendant gopīs who are manifested by the internal potency. Here Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Yugala are the full manifestation of the seed of the mantra. It is stated in the Uttara-gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad (13):

tasmād oṁkāra-sambhūto
gopālo viśva-sambhavaḥ
klīm-oṁkārasya caikatvaṁ
paṭhyate brahma-vādibhiḥ

Oṁkāra, the sacred syllable oṁ, is the perfect and complete truth, the combination of potency and the possessor of potency, Gopāla, from whom the entire universe has arisen. Those who know the Absolute Truth, Brahman, regard oṁkāra and klīṁ as synonyms.

Consequently, oṁkāra is Gopāla and klīṁ is also oṁkāra. Therefore kāma-bīja indicates rādhā-kṛṣṇa-tattva.

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