Śloka Class

June 18, 2009
Śloka Class
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.2.39

[Śrīla Gurudeva called on his śloka students – Acyutānanda dāsa, Sundara-gopāla dāsa, Premānandī dāsī, Brajanāth dāsa, Vṛndā-devī dāsī, Govinda dāsa, Balarāma dāsa, Kṛṣṇa-devī dāsī, and finally Līlā-puruṣottama dāsa – to individually recite the day’s verse.]

śṛṇvan su-bhadrāṇi rathāṅga-pāṇer
janmāni karmāṇi ca yāni loke
gītāni nāmāni tad-arthakāni
gāyan vilajjo vicared asaṅgaḥ

[An intelligent person who has controlled his mind and conquered fear should give up all attachment to material objects such as wife, family, and nation. He should wander freely without embarrassment, hearing and chanting the holy names of the Lord, the bearer of the chariot wheel. The holy names of Kṛṣṇa are all-auspicious because they describe His transcendental birth and activities, which He performs within this world for the salvation of the conditioned souls. Thus the holy names of the Lord are sung throughout the world.]

Acyutānanda dāsa: The nine Yogendras are giving teachings to Nimi Mahārāja. The first Yogendra, Kavir, explains that one should wander without any attachment to house, family, sons, daughters, wife, etc. One should wander freely without any shame (vilajjo), singing and hearing the names of rathānga-pāṇer Śrī Kṛṣṇa, because these names are all-auspicious (subhadrāṇī), as they describe the birth and activities of the Lord.

Śrīla Gurudeva: What is the meaning of gītāni nāmāni tad-arthakāni?

Acyutānanda dāsa: Mmmm. The…

Śrīla Gurudeva: Gītani means ‘all the songs that are composed by ṛṣis, maharṣis, and bhakta-kavis.’ Nāmāni refers to the names of Kṛṣṇa, such as Dāmodara, Rādhā-kānta, Rāsabihārī, Nandanandana, with pastimes appropriate to those names. Tad-arthakāni indicates the meanings behind those pastimes. And gāyan vilajjo means ‘singing without shame.’

Very good.

[To Sundara-gopāla dāsa] Can you explain this?

Sundara-gopāla dāsa: One should, without any sense of shame, wander…

Śrīla Gurudeva: Who is speaking these words, and why? This reference should be given first.

Sundara-gopāla dāsa: The Nava Yogendras, headed by Śrī Kavir, is saying this to…

Śrīla Gurudeva: Not ‘headed’ by him. He is one of them.

Sundara-gopāla dāsa: He is explaining in this verse that one should wander without any vilajja, or any sense of shame, without any material association (asaṅga); always hearing the pastimes – the birth and activities – of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who holds in His hand a chariot wheel (rathāṅga-pāṇeḥ). One should also continuously sing the songs about Śrī Kṛṣṇa and chant His names.

Śrīla Gurudeva, I was thinking to add the words ‘in the association of pure Vaiṣṇavas,’ because in his commentary to the second śloka of Upadeśāmṛta, Śrīla Sarasvatī Ṭhākura says that avoidance of bad association is only possible, and automatically possible, if one has the association of a pure Vaiṣṇava.

Premānandī dāsī: The Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam describes the conversation between Nimi Mahārāja and the Nava Yogendras. Therein one of the Nava Yogendras, named Kavir, is explaining the goal of life to Nimi Mahārāja. Kavir says that an intelligent person who has left material life – wife, family, and material possessions – should wander, simply chanting Kṛṣṇa’s names and remembering His pastimes. Just as Kṛṣṇa was running to kill Bhīṣma with the chariot wheel, the devotee must be bold. Regarding the devotee, the ‘weapon’ to conquer material life is to chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa.

Śrīla Gurudeva: Sufficient.

[To Kṛṣṇa-devī dāsī] Can you explain?

Kṛṣṇa-devī dāsī: This śloka from the Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam describes how a person who has conquered fear and has conquered the mind should wander around the world without any fear or embarrassment, preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness and chanting the holy names. Here, Kṛṣṇa is described as the holder of the chariot wheel as He is rushing towards Bhīṣma-deva. I believe this means that, without attachment, one should be very bold. Wandering and preaching, free from material association (asaṅga) and in the association of pure devotees, one should chant the glories of the names of Kṛṣṇa for the benefit of the conditioned souls.

Śrīla Gurudeva: Very good.

[Excerpted from the Gaudiya Vedanta Publication “Walking With a Saint 2009”]
[CC-by-ND GVP]

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