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December 21, 1999   VNN5125  Comment on this storyAbout the AuthorOther Stories by this Author

Catuh-sloki 'With Powerful Brilliance'


BY SWAMI B.V. TRIPURARI

EDITORIAL, Dec 21 (VNN) — "As his devotees search for him everywhere, begging from door to door only on his behalf, suffering ridicule, and shedding tears for him, he is aware of all these things. He knows the trouble they take to come to him, and it is difficult for him to bear."

The last in a series of discussions on the famous nutshell verses of the Bhagavad-gita by Swami B.V. Tripurari.

Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has called verses eight through eleven of the tenth chapter of the Bhagavad-gita the catuh-sloki, playing off the well-known four (catur) essential verses (sloka) of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, originally spoken by Krsna to Brahma . All four verses have a general meaning for practicing devotees (sadhakas), as well as an esoteric meaning relative to Krsna's devotees of Vraja and the gopis in particular, as well as those following in their footsteps in advanced stages of practice.

"Out of compassion for them alone, I dwelling within their soul destroy the darkness born of ignorance with the effulgent lamp of knowledge." (Bg. 10.11) Krsna shows compassion to practitioners on the path of devotion by illuminating their hearts with the highest knowledge of himself and their relationship with him. This knowledge is not of the nature of sattva-guna.

It is transcendental. Krsna reveals it from within the devotee who keeps him on the altar of his heart.

While other means of removing ignorance are available to those on paths other than unalloyed bhakti, Krsna's devotees rely solely on him for destroying their ignorance. Thus he is only personally involved in removing the ignorance of his devotees, and only in their hearts does he personally dwell, witnessing their trials and tribulations life after life. As his devotees search for him everywhere, begging from door to door only on his behalf, suffering ridicule, and shedding tears for him, he is aware of all these things. He knows the trouble they take to come to him, and it is difficult for him to bear it.

Thus he illumines their path, holding a lamp to their dark night of separation, revealing himself within their hearts and enabling them to realize all that they have heard about him from scripture. As jnana also refers to scriptural knowledge, the lamp of knowledge (jnana-dipena) also refers to Krsna's illuminating from within his devotee's heart the esoteric meaning of the sacred literature, its deepest import regarding the practice of raganuga-bhakti.

Relative to Vraja bhakti and the feeling of this verse, Krsna continues to speak of the Vraja gopis and how their love affects him. In consideration of this, the present verse appears to suffer from the same inconsistency found in the previous verse. What need do the Vraja gopis have for the lamp light of knowledge (jnana-dipena)? This is the query of Swami B. R. Sridhara, who bases his esoteric rendering on Visvanatha Cakravarti's claim that the jnana mentioned in this verse is not the knowledge of this world (sattva-guna) leading to purity and transcendental realization, rather vilaksana-jnanam, "extraordinary knowledge." Swami B. R. Sridhara goes on to offer an alternative translation based on the words 'tesam evanukampartham,' which have been rendered above as "out of compassion for them alone."

Swami B. R. Sridhara, however, informs us that it can also be rendered, "I want their favor, I aspire for the favor of those devotees of the highest order. Being conquered by the love of those devotees, when I cannot tolerate their pain of separation, I at once come running to satisfy them, and reveal to them with special light, special consciousness, 'I have returned to you—see me now.' With powerful brilliance (jnana-dipena) I show them my presence when they are very much in need of me, and I relieve their pain of separation."

Perhaps the best example in all of the sacred literature of Krsna's brightening the dark night of the soul's separation from him is Krsna's return to the gopis after his disappearance during the rasa-lila.

'Bhagavad-gita: Its Feeling and Philosophy' by Swami B.V. Tripurari is scheduled for publication next year.

Questions or comments may be sent to sadhusanga@swami.org.

[Reprinted with permission from Sanga 12/15/99 http://www.swami.org]


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