uvāca puratas tasmai
tasya divyā sarasvatī
kāma kṛṣṇāya govinda-
ṅe gopījana ity api
vallabhāya priyā vahner
mantraṁ te dāsyati priyam
divyā sarasvatī – divine Sarasvatī; uvāca – then spoke a message; tasya – from Bhagavān; tasmai – to Brahmā (who was looking in the darkness); purataḥ – in his presence; kāma-kṛṣṇāya – klīṁ kṛṣṇāya (kāma indicating the seed of the mantra, klīṁ); govinda-ṅe – govindāya, unto Govinda (ṅe indicates the dative declension, meaning “unto”); api – also; gopījana-vallabhāya iti – unto the beloved of the gopīs; priyā vahneḥ – she who is dear (priyā) to fire (vahni) i.e. svāhā; thus the eighteen-syllable mantra, klīṁ kṛṣṇāya govindāya gopījana-vallabhāya svāhā; mantram – this mantra; dāsyati – will bestow; te priyam – your most cherished desire.
Śrī Bhagavān’s transcendental Sarasvatī spoke to Brahmājī as he was looking at the darkness in all directions. “O Brahmā, klīṁ kṛṣṇāya govindāya gopījana-vallabhāya svāhā. This mantra will fulfill your cherished desires.”
Why did Divya Sarasvatī give this rare and precious kṛṣṇa-mantra to Brahmājī so easily? It was only possible by the mercy of Bhagavān. And why was such unexpected mercy suddenly available? It should be understood that Brahmājī had worshiped Bhagavān in his previous life. This mercy of Bhagavān is being described in this verse. Everything else described here is self-evident.
The eighteen-syllable kṛṣṇa-mantra, prefixed by the kāma-bīja klīṁ, is the highest of all mantras, and it has two functions. One is to attract the pure living entities toward the supremely attractive master of Gokula and beloved of the gopīs, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. This is the highest attainment of the living entity’s transcendental pursuit. When the sādhaka is free from material desires, he attains the fruit of this perfect prema. However, in the case of the sādhaka who has material desires, this superlative mantra only fulfills those cherished desires. In regard to spiritual matters, the kāma-bīja is situated within the lotus flower of Goloka. In regard to mundane affairs, it is the reflection of the kāma-bīja that bestows the fulfillment of all types of worldly aspirations.
The eighteen-syllable mantra
The Divine Couple, Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda, who are full of unlimited sweetness, are seated splendidly upon a throne of jewels, surrounded by thousands upon thousands of cowherd maidens, at the foot of a desire tree upon a thousand-petaled lotus flower in the yoga-pīṭha in the transcendental abode of Śrī Vṛndāvana. The supreme method for attaining the loving service of Their divine lotus feet is embodied in the monarch of all mantras (mantra-rāja), the eighteen-syllable mantra. This mantra-rāja is divided into five parts.
The first syllable klīṁ is the seed, or kāma-bīja. Joined together with this seed, the mantra is klīṁ kṛṣṇāya govindāya gopījana-vallabhāya svāhā. The mantra is called a ṣaḍ-aṅga ṣaṭ-padī mantra, meaning that its six words (pada) comprise its six limbs (aṅga). The six words are (1) kṛṣṇāya, (2) govindāya, (3) gopījana, (4) vallabhāya, (5) svā and (6) hā. The mantra is formed by arranging the words in this order. Klīṁ is the original one-syllable seed (kāma-bīja), whose meaning has been expressed as follows in the Gautamīya-tantra and in the Upaniṣads. “Śrī Bhagavān created the universe by the kāma-bīja, klīṁ. In this kāma-bīja, the letters k, l, ī, the sign of the half moon and the dot (bindu) above it have given rise to the elements water, earth, fire, air and sky respectively.” Therefore this mantra, whose heart is the kāma-bīja, is the root cause of all living beings.
Those on the path of rāgānuga-bhakti interpret the meaning as follows:
- (1) Klīṁ: The letter k indicates the very form of eternity, knowledge and bliss, the Supreme Person, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The letter l signifies the highest bliss in the ocean of happiness born from the love of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. The letter ī indicates Vṛndāvaneśvarī, the supreme potency, Śrī Rādhā. The sign of the half-moon and the bindu, which together form the ending ṁ, signify the supremely ecstatic sweetness derived from the mutual kissing of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.
The kāma-bīja klīṁ is the intrinsic form and nature of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. For example, it is stated in the Sanat-kumāra-saṁhitā, “O Nārada! This kāma-bīja is not something that is only made of letters; it is the very embodiment of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s divine transcendental form, because each one of its component letters is one of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s limbs. One should understand the letter k (ka) to be Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s head, specifically the crown of His head, His forehead, His two eyebrows, His nose, His two eyes and His ears. The letter l (la) embodies His cheeks, the upper portion of the cheeks, His chin, neck, throat and His fingernails. The half-moon is His chest, His belly, the sides of His body, His navel and His waist. One should understand the bindu to be His thighs, His knees, His calves, the center of His knees, the backs of His heels, His feet, the lower part of His thighs, His toes and His toenails.”
Furthermore, it is stated, “O Nārada! This kāma-bīja, composed of five letters, indicates five flower arrows: k (ka) indicates a budding mango blossom (āmra-mañjarī), l (la) is an aśoka blossom, ī is a jasmine flower (mallikā), the half-moon is a mādhavī flower, and the bindu is a maulaśrī flower. These five types of flowers are the five flower arrows.”
- (2) Kṛṣṇāya: In the Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad it is stated: “pāpa-karṣaṇo hi kṛṣṇaḥ – Kṛṣṇa is He who completely takes away all pāpa.” Here pāpa means “all kinds of sins and offenses.”
Moreover, He even vanquishes the offenses of the demons. Therefore, the etymology of the word kṛṣṇa indicates that Śrī Kṛṣṇa destroys all the offenses of everyone.
That very Kṛṣṇa is Parabrahma and the form of eternity, knowledge and bliss. In this connection, it is stated in the Gautamīya-tantra: “kṛṣṇa eva paraṁ brahma sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ – Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Absolute Truth, Parabrahma, and His form consists of eternality, cognizance and bliss.”
Also, in Brahma-saṁhitā it is stated: “īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ – Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the supreme controller, and His form is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss.” This has been explained earlier in the text.
In the Mahābhārata (Udyoga-parva 71.4) it is stated:
kṛṣir bhū-vācakaḥ śabdo
ṇaś ca nirvṛti-vācakaḥ
tayor aikyaṁ paraṁ brahma
kṛṣṇa ity abhidhīyate
Śrī Kṛṣṇa attracts the hearts of all moving and stationary living beings throughout the three worlds by the exceptional sweetness of His flute-playing, His form, His pastimes and His qualities. Therefore, this Supreme Brahman, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is the supreme and only object of our worship.
- (3) Govindāya: The following description is found in the Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad: “go-bhūmi-veda-veditā govindaḥ – Govinda is He who pleases the senses, the earth and the Vedas, and who nourishes all, thereby increasing their bliss.” Although the word go has many meanings, three of them are: (a) the cows (prasiddha-paśu-jāti-viśeṣa), (b) the world and (c) the Vedas.
The phrase paśu-jāti-viśeṣa indicates the cows in Śrī Nanda-Gokula. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is complete in His unparalleled opulence and sweetness, yet He is surrounded by cows, and in that simple village setting He is absorbed in playing according to His own independent will. He abides splendidly in Śrī Nanda-Gokula in His beautiful form, which has the color of a fresh raincloud, stealing the hearts of the residents of Vraja, and expanding His exquisitely endearing pastimes there. The whole world and all the Vedas loudly sing of the sweetness of those pastimes. Thus Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the moon of Gokula in cowherd boy attire, who is celebrated throughout the world and the Vedas, is addressed as Govinda.
- (4) Gopījana: It is stated in the Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad: “gopījanāvidyā-kalā – gopījana means āvidyā-kalā in the form of the gopīs.” Here the word āvidyā is formed from ā (complete), and vidyā (knowledge). Thus āvidyā refers to the best knowledge of all, namely the potency to attract Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The word kalā means the embodiment of prema-bhakti. Therefore one should understand gopījana to indicate those gopīs who are the very embodiment of that prema-bhakti that is itself the power to attract Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is only controlled by this type of prema-bhakti. The prema of mādhurya-rasa reigns splendidly above all, having conquered the prema of the mellows of servitorship, friendship and parenthood.
Here, gopījana can also be interpreted in another way. The word gopī is derived from the verbal root gup, which means “to protect or to maintain.” Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s special potency that bestows prema upon the devotees and nourishes and protects them is called gopī, or the pleasure potency (hlādinī-śakti), and Śrī Rādhā is the original embodiment of the pleasure potency. Therefore, the word gopī indicates the embodiment of the pleasure potency, the aggregate of the predominated principle, namely Śrī Rādhikā, the beautiful daughter of Vṛṣabhānu-rājā.
In the statement, gopī tu prakṛtī rādhā janas tad-aṁśa-maṇḍalaḥ, gopī means the predominated principle, Śrī Rādhā; and jana means the circle of Her plenary expansions, or those who are expansions of Her personal form (kāya-vyūha-rūpā), the sakhīs such as Śrī Lalitā and Viśākhā.
- (5) Vallabhāya: The word vallabha means “one who stimulates” or “a lover.” He who stimulates the gopīs through His endearing pastimes, or the most excellent hero who enjoys the sweetest amorous sports with the gopīs, is called Gopījana-vallabha. Thus, Gopījana-vallabha is the dearest life-breath of Śrī Rādhā, who is always accompanied by Her friends, such as Śrī Lalitā and Viśākhā.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the son of Nanda Mahārāja, is chief among those who are expert in tasting transcendental mellows. He is splendidly situated in Vṛndāvana, surrounded by His beautiful, lotus-eyed, adolescent beloveds, the gopīs. In the company of Śrī Rādhikā, He manifests as Madana-mohana, the form that infatuates the mind of Cupid. However, He is only Madana-mohana when He is alongside Śrī Rādhikā, the crown-jewel of the gopīs. “Rādhā saṅge yadā bhāti tadā madana-mohanaḥ – He shines attractively in the presence of Śrī Rādhikā, surrounded by the circle of cowherd girls. He is therefore eternally called Madana-mohana.” Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who as Govinda is the attractor of Cupid (Madana-mohana), is Gopījana-vallabha.
The expression gopījana-vallabha is therefore properly interpreted to mean Śrī Madana-mohana, who is the form eternally embraced by Śrī Rādhā (rādhāliṅgita-vigraha). Since gopījana-vallabha evidently refers to the Divine Couple, Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Yugala, the eighteen-syllable and ten-syllable yugala-mantras are each called the most excellent monarch of transcendental invocations.
- (5 and 6) Svāhā: It is stated in the Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad that the word svāhā means tan-māyā ca (meaning “and His energy”). Thus svāhā is understood as Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s māyā, or Śrī Yogamāyā. Yogamāyā is the spiritual potency that manifests from Gopījana-vallabha Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s intrinsic nature, and she offers the devotees unto the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Hence the appropriate meaning of the word svāhā is “she by whose help one’s ātmā is absolutely and irrevocably offered” (svāhayātma-samarpaṇam iti). By uttering or remembering the word svāhā, the devotees accomplish totally unconditional self-surrender. Therefore one should recite or remember the word svāhā with this specific contemplation. This is the method of completely selfless dedication unto Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Yugala.