Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Translation (with Creative Interpretation) of the Third Verse of the Nama Ghosa

matsya kurmma narasimha          bamana parasurama
halirama baraha srirama
buddha kalki name dasa    akrti dharica krsna
tayu pave karoho pranama           

The ‘fish’, the ‘tortoise’, the ‘man-lion’, the ‘dwarf’, the ‘axe-wielding Rama’,
‘Rama-with-plough’, the ‘boar’, ‘the all-opulent Rama’,
‘the intellectual one (Buddha)’ and ‘the destroyer of heretics (Kalki)’—by these names, in ten forms (akrti) you appear, Krsna;
at your feet I pay obeisance. 3

My Lord, you are showing favour even to the material units! It is you, O supremely compassionate immanent pure person, who are responsible for the creation and development of this material universal body. It is through your personal intervention that the transcendental personality known in material terms as the jiva, gets its body.
Becoming immanent into this microcosm also, you protect the senses; you manifest the structures necessary for the development of this little-universe. My lord, the material entities of the microcosm like the mind, intellect, organs of sense and action and the internal parts, the vital airs, the basic substances—all derive their strength from you. Appearing to them as one of them—in the manner of a very powerful material unit (deva)—you become their only refuge and object of salutation. You are presiding over their internal disputes and their internecine wars. My lord, you even take sides! In this way, O Krsna, implementing by yourself your own general policy of preservation, you protect the jiva, in the initial stages of development of its body, from various evil effects, and thus you make its life possible. O supreme personality of grace! Surely, surely it is solely for the jiva that you are performing all these innumerable and diverse acts of redemption! When you are showering your kindness on even material units—the parts of material nature (prakrti)—how much more you must love the jiva—your very own part (amsa)—O my own father!
O supremely beneficial Paramatma, lord of the microcosm! O non-dual (advaita), transcendental pure person, supreme creator who is distinct from His creation and yet, immanent in it! O compassionate Krsna, abode of grace, preserver of the obeisant ones, I pay obeisance at your supreme transcendental feet.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Indispensability of the Story of Creation to the Philosophy of Sankaradeva

I am inclined to believe that in the discussions on Sankaradeva’s philosophy, there is not as serious a consideration of the account of creation that is found in the Bhagavata—rendered by Sankaradeva in his Anadi Patana—as there should be. If this story of creation is properly understood then not only would the symbolism of ‘personalities’ like Laksmi, Brahma, Siva, the devas and asuras be understood, but also, the fact that the jiva (purusa) is a spiritual personality (similar to Isvara) separate from these (anthropomorphized) material entities would be internalized; the endless grace of the Lord for the jiva would be understood—for then it would be grasped that the creation of the material universe by Isvara, both macro-cosmic and micro-cosmic, external as well as internal, is for the use and benefit of nobody else but the spiritual personality known (in material terms) as jiva.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Translation (with Creative Interpretation) of the Second Verse of the Nama Ghosa

yara rama krsna nama-      nave bhavasindhu tari
pave parampada papi yata
sadananda sanatana                        henaya krsnaka sada
upasa karoho hrdayata

yannamadheyena bhavabdhimanjasa tarya samuttirya narah param padam
prapnoti patakyapi tam sanatanam sada sadanandamupasmahe hrdi

By means of whose name-boat ‘Rama-Krsna’, crossing the ocean of worldly existence (bhava sindhu),
all sinners obtain supreme-destination (parampada); eternal, ever-joyous, such a Krsna,
in my heart I always worship. 2

This verse, the critical edition indicates, is also quoted by Sankaradeva in his Bhakti Ratnakara (v. 1).

If you say, O Lord, “Ah! But won’t forsaking all the prescribed acts and writ-dictates—the karmas of the Vedas—make you a sinner (papi)?” then, O my Lord, please listen: your names ‘Rama’ and ‘Krsna’ are extremely simple and easy to pronounce; they consist of so few aksaras or syllables! And yet they are the only boat—the only means— by which one can cross the colossal and extremely uncrossable ocean of this God-concealed-dross-revealed state of material existence (bhava sindhu). Boarding this very boat ‘Rama-Krsna’, Lord, all the sinners (papis)— including myself—fallen into the ignorance of material nature (maya), due to our supreme original sin (papa) of neglect of your service, my Lord, will effortlessly traverse, without any travail, this fearsome bhava sindhu and, reaching the shore of the God-revealed-maya-neutralized state of spiritual existence, feel the transcendental nectar-like joy of pure devotion that obtains in your ever-blissful, eternal supreme abode (vaikuntha).
            If you will say, ‘Such a pure devotion is fine in vaikuntha—I am present there in person—but where in this material world would you find me, the one who is transcendent, to do such a worship (upasana), such pure devotion to me? Are you going to ‘call’ me into any material statue (murti) or something like that?’ Then listen, my Lord: I have found you, the transcendent one, residing in person in the heart of all creatures. I am not in need of any murti because I have come to know that you are staying in the heart (hrdaya) of all living entities. O eternal, ever-joyous Krsna, staying in the company of your pure devotees, I now celebrate your glory in name and song, O omnipresent, immanent supreme pure personality (paramatma)!          

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Translation of the Opening Lines of the Nama Ghosa of Madhavadeva

A Translation of the Opening Lines of the Nama Ghosa of Madhavadeva

muktito nisprha yito    sehi bhakataka namo
rasamaya magoho bhakati
samasta mastaka mani nija bhakatara basya
bhajo hena deva yadupati

The one disinterested in salvation—that devotee I salute.
Nectar-flavored (rasamaya) is the devotion I demand.
Crown-jewel of all, in own devotee’s control,
I engage in devotion—pure—to such a deity, the Lord of Yadus.     1

The very first verse of the Nama Ghosa beginning ‘muktito nisprha yito…’ is indicated in the critical editions as being a rendering of the opening lines ‘ye muktavapi nisprha…’ of Visnupuri’s Kantimala commentary (tika) to his own Bhakti Ratnavali:

ye muktavapi nisprha pratipadapronmiladanandadam
yamasthaya samastamastakamanim kurvanti sve vase
tan bhaktanapi tanca bhaktimapi tam bhaktapriyam sriharim
vande santamarthaye’nudivasam nityam saranyam bhaje

In this very first verse (ghosa) of the Nama Ghosa is the proclamation of pure devotion.
Madhavadeva salutes that desireless devotee who is spurning even the highest form of liberation; but, Madhavadeva, it seems, is not without desire for he makes it clear, in the very next line, that it is the nectar-flavored devotion that he really is after. Ah! So this is the reason behind saluting the uninterested devotee!
‘I salute, at the outset, that supreme devotee who is uninterested even in salvation—the highest form of liberation—in which one merges, as it were, into God, the supreme cause;
‘But why; what can be the reason behind my salutation? I salute the supreme devotee because I crave for that devotion which is full of sweet joy. I reject salvation but certainly, oh certainly do I want a share of that supremely tasteful nectar of pure devotion which is available in the company of such desireless pure devotees. Surely, by taking their company, I will be able to fulfill my craving for such a rasamaya bhakti?
‘But what gives you such an assurance? What makes you think that you will be able to fulfill your desire? I am not even in an iota of doubt that I will be able to fulfill my wish because the Lord Himself comes and distributes this nectar among His pure devotees who too have no other wish but to partake of this invaluable nectar. Our demands are similar, it seems!
‘Oh! But how can the supremely powerful Lord ever be made to distribute this nectar! How can you bring Him under your control—He who is the crown-jewel of all heads, the supreme Lord of the entire creation? I have no doubt in this matter because although my Lord is the crown-jewel of all, He is of such a graceful nature that He becomes subservient to His own devotee! He is so fond of His pure devotees that He gives even Himself to them as a slave, as it were, and does whatever they ask Him to do! And since these pure devotees would ask nothing of Him save the distribution of this nectar-flavored devotion, I am supremely assured that I will get to taste my desired flavor staying in their company.
‘I see! But in what specific way will you place your demand? By what specific means do you plan to capture or bring under your control the supremely gracious Lord? Specifically, we plan to capture the personality of supreme grace, the supreme cosmic entity—who is maintaining even the material entities of the microcosm—solely by the singing of His name and qualities forsaking all prescribed acts and writ-dictates. Doing so in this manner will make my devotion pure and the supreme pure personality will be satisfied. Therefore, from this point onwards, I dedicate myself solely to the pure devotion of the distributor of this pure joy—the eternal, ever-joyous supreme Lord Krsna.’

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Understanding Sankaradeva: An Observation

I have a feeling that the more one reads the original texts of the Vedantic-Puranic framework, the more one will appreciate Sankaradeva. The more one reads the Upanisads, the Gita and the Bhagavata, the more one will understand Sankaradeva. Little learning may prove to be a hindrance in apprehending the exhortations and admonitions of Sankaradeva.

No Means apart from Bhakti for Purifying the Consciousness

According to the Bhagavata , for the purpose of purifying the consciousness, there is no means apart from devotion ( bhakti ): p. 148 ...