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Skandha 1 - Adhyāya 1
This is the first Adhyāya (Lesson) belonging to the first Skandha (Section). It consists of 23 stanzas.
There will be no formal commentary, but into the explanatory notes I will insert, when necessary, fragments of the authoritative commentary of Śrīdhara Svāmī. There will be alternative translations too in order to enrich the meanings.
Important: All that is in parentheses and italicized within the translation has been added by me in order to complete the sense of a particular phrase or sentence. In turn, all that is between double hyphen (--...--) constitutes clarifying further information also added by me.
ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय॥
जन्माद्यस्य यतोऽन्वयादितरतश्चार्थेष्वभिज्ञः स्वराट् तेने ब्रह्म हृदा य आदिकवये मुह्यन्ति यत्सूरयः।
तेजोवारिमृदां यथा विनिमयो यत्र त्रिसर्गोऽमृषा धाम्ना स्वेन सदा निरस्तकुहकं सत्यं परं धीमहि॥१॥
Om̐ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya||
Janmādyasya yato'nvayāditarataścārtheṣvabhijñaḥ svarāṭ tene brahma hṛdā ya ādikavaye muhyanti yatsūrayaḥ|
Tejovārimṛdāṁ yathā vinimayo yatra trisargo'mṛṣā dhāmnā svena sadā nirastakuhakaṁ satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi||1||
Om̐ (Om̐), salutation (namas) to the Fortunate (bhagavate) Vāsudeva (vāsudevāya)1:
Let us always think (sadā... dhīmahi) of the Highest (param) Truth (satyam), which is devoid (nirasta) of deception --i.e. Māyā or illusion-- (kuhakam), (as staying) in His own (svena) Abode (dhāmnā). (The Highest Truth is) the Self-ruler (svarāṭ) that knows (abhijñaḥ) the things (artheṣu) by means of association or connection (anvayāt) and also (ca) in the opposite way (itaratas), (and) by whom (yatas) the creation (janma), etc. (ādi) of this (universe) (asya) (is carried out. It was Him) who (yaḥ) spoke (tene) the Vedic knowledge (brahma) to the primordial (ādi) sage (kavaye) --i.e. to Brahmā--2 by His Heart (hṛdā). The learned and wise men (sūrayaḥ) (who are conversant with) that (Vedic knowledge) (yad) become bewildered (muhyanti) just as the water (may be erroneously seen) (vāri) in the fire (tejas), (or) the earth (mṛdām) in the water (vāri). (He is) certainly (amṛṣā) (the One) in whom (yatra) the creations of the three Guṇa-s or qualities of Prakṛti (tri-sargaḥ)3 (interact) reciprocally (vinimayaḥ)||1||
1 "Vāsudeva" is an epithet of Lord Kṛṣṇa. It means "descendant of Vasudeva". Kṛṣṇa is one of the incarnations of Lord Viṣṇu. The father of Kṛṣṇa was Vasudeva. Hence the meaning of the epithet. There are more profound implications in the meaning of Vāsudeva, but this is enough for now.
2 The god Brahmā, in charge of the universal creation, is said to have been born in a lotus sprung from the navel of Nārāyaṇa (an epithet of Lord Viṣṇu).
3 The three Guṇa-s or qualities are: Sattva (goodness, light, knowledge and the like), Rajas (passion, action, pain and the like) and Tamas (darkness, dullness, laziness and the like). Prakṛti is the Primal Nature. Another name of Prakṛti is "Pradhāna". There are different viewpoints about the relationship of Prakṛti and the three Guṇa-s. According to the Sāṅkhya system, the latter constitute the former, while Viśiṣṭādvaita-vedānta states that the three Guṇa-s are the qualities of Prakṛti but not its constituents, and so on. Well, it is a complex subject as you can see. More information about it in First Steps (2) and First Steps (3).
धर्मः प्रोज्झितकैतवोऽत्र परमो निर्मत्सराणां सतां वेद्यं वास्तवमत्र वस्तु शिवदं तापत्रयोन्मूलनम्।
श्रीमद्भागवते महामुनिकृते किं वा परैरीश्वरः सद्यो हृद्यवरुध्यतेऽत्र कृतिभिः शुश्रूषुभिस्तत्क्षणात्॥२॥
Dharmaḥ projjhitakaitavo'tra paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ vedyaṁ vāstavamatra vastu śivadaṁ tāpatrayonmūlanam|
Śrīmadbhāgavate mahāmunikṛte kiṁ vā parairīśvaraḥ sadyo hṛdyavarudhyate'tra kṛtibhiḥ śuśrūṣubhistatkṣaṇāt||2||
Here (atra... atra), in the venerable and beautiful (śrīmat) Bhāgavatapurāṇa (bhāgavate) composed (kṛte) by the great (mahā) sage (muni) --i.e. Vedavyāsa, or Vyāsa plainly--, the supreme (paramaḥ) Dharma (dharmaḥ)1 that is without any deceit or fraud (projjhita-kaitavaḥ) (is expounded. In turn,) the genuine (vāstavam) Reality (vastu) which gives (dam) welfare (śiva) (and) uproots (unmūlanam) the three (trayas) pains or afflictions (tāpa) is made known (vedyam) for the noble beings (satām) lacking envy or jealousy (nir-matsarāṇām). (Therefore,) what is the use (kim vā) of other (scriptures) (paraiḥ)? In this world (atra), the Lord (īśvaraḥ) is secluded (avarudhyate) in the heart (hṛdi)2 at once (sadyaḥ), (to wit,) immediately (tad-kṣanāt), by the virtuous people (kṛtibhiḥ) who wish to hear (suśrūṣubhiḥ) (the Śrīmadbhāgavatapurāṇa)||2||
1 Although this word may be translated as "religion, duty, righteousness, etc.", no "single" word in English can translate it adequately in all contexts. That is why, I will not translate it in the text itself ever. Now an approximate translation: Dharma is "that which holds everything together", to wit, "it is the foundation on which all social, moral and religious order is built". Even by using long sentences, the meaning cannot rightly expressed, as you can see. Well, then Dharma is... Dharma. Remember what I said previously when you read this term again in the scripture.
2 This means, metaphorically speaking, that the Lord, though completely free, is secluded in the heart of all virtuous people who desires to hear this scripture, which narrates mostly His pastimes and stories.
निगमकल्पतरोर्गलितं फलं शुकमुखादमृतद्रवसंयुतम्।
पिबत भागवतं रसमालयं मुहुरहो रसिका भुवि भावुकाः॥३॥
Nigamakalpatarorgalitaṁ phalaṁ śukamukhādamṛtadravasaṁyutam|
Pibata bhāgavataṁ rasamālayaṁ muhuraho rasikā bhuvi bhāvukāḥ||3||
Ah (aho), men full of feeling (rāsikāḥ)1 who have a taste for the beautiful and poetical (bhāvukāḥ) on the earth (bhuvi), drink (pibata) constantly (muhur) till dissolution (ā-layam)2 the elixir or sap (rasam) (called) Śrīmadbhāgavatapurāṇa (bhāgavatam), which consists (samyutam) of the nectarean (amṛta) fluid (drava) (that came out) from the mouth (mukhāt) of Śuka --the son of Vyāsa-- (śuka) (and is) the fruit (phalam) fallen down (galitam) from the wishing tree (kalpa-taroḥ) (known as) Nigama --i.e. the Veda-s-- (nigama)!||3||
1 According to Śrīdhara "rāsikāḥ" means "rāsikajñāḥ" or "knowers (jñāḥ) of the Rasa-s (rasa)". The term "Rasa" in turn means "flavor" in the sense of "sentiment". They are differently enumerated. One of the interpretations list the following: (1) śṛṅgāra (love), (2) vīra (heroism), (3) bībhatsa (disgust), (4) raudre (fury), (5) hāsya (mirth), (6) bhayānaka (terror), (7) karuṇa (pity), (8) adbhūta (wonder), (9) śānta (tranquility or contentment) and (10) vātsalya (paternal fondness). Another interpretation speaks of five Rasa-s in the sense of "degree-s of devotion to the Lord": (a) śānti (peace), (b) dāsya (servitude or service), (c) sākhya (friendship), (d) vātsalya (paternal fondness) and (e) mādhurya (conjugal love).
2 The term "ālayam" literally means "till (ā) dissolution (layam)". According to Śrīdhara: "... Ālayaṁ layo mokṣaḥ...", i.e. "... Ālayam (ālayam) (means: till) dissolution (layaḥ) (or) Liberation (mokṣaḥ)...". Liberation is Emancipation or Enlightenment.
नैमिषेऽनिमिषक्षेत्रे ऋशयः शौनकादयः।
सत्त्रं स्वर्गाय लोकाय सहस्रसममासत॥४॥
Nāmiṣe'nimiṣakṣetre ṛṣayaḥ śaunakādayaḥ|
Sattraṁ svargāya lokāya sahasrasamamāsata||4||
The Seers (ṛṣayaḥ), beginning with (ādayaḥ) Śaunaka (śaunaka), performed (āsata) a great Soma sacrifice (sattram)1 lasting a thousand (sahasra) years (samam) in the Naimiṣa woods --i.e. Naimiṣa forest-- (naimiṣe), a place (kṣetre) (sacred to) Animiṣa --i.e. "the One who does not wink", an epithet of Viṣṇu-- (animiṣa). (They did so) in order to attain the Celestial (svargāya) World (lokāya)2||4||
1 Firstly, the real word is "sattra" [here it appears declined in Accusative case as "sattram" (see Declension)], and not "satra". The latter is an erroneous but common way to write "sattra". Secondly, a "sattra" is not any sacrifice but one in which Soma (the juice of the Soma plant) is offered in libations to the gods. Of course, this subject is much more complicated and cannot be fully explained in a mere note.
2 Śrīdhara gives an elaborate explanation of "svargāya lokāya":
"... Svaḥ svarge gīyata iti svargāyo hariḥ sa eva loko bhaktānāṁ nivāsasthānaṁ tasmai| Tatprāptaya ityarthaḥ|...", to wit, "Hari or Viṣṇu (hariḥ) (is named) Svargāya (svargāyaḥ), (because) He Himself (svaḥ) is praised by means of songs (gīyate) in Svarg_S or Heaven (svarge... iti). That (saḥ) very (eva) world or loka (lokaḥ), which is (also) the place (sthānam) of residence (nivāsa) of (His) devotees (bhaktānām), is intended for that (i.e. for praising Hari with songs) (tasmai). (The Ṛṣi-s or Seers look to) attain (prāptayaḥ) that (loka or world) (tad). This is the sense (iti arthaḥ)".
Śrīdhara uses an acrostic interpretation of "Svargāya" as meaning an epithet of Hari: "One who is praised by songs (gāya) in Svar or Heaven (svar)" -Note that "Svar" and "Svarg_S" are synonymous-. Anyway, careful here because the word "svargāya" in the original Vyāsa's text is the Dative case of the noun "Svarg_S" (Heaven) and means "to attain Svarg_S". In turn, "Svargāya" such as explained by Śrīdhara is a noun in its crude form or Prātipadika (i.e. no declension) and means what I said before. That is why he had to decline it in Nominative case to include it in his sentence: "svargāyaḥ". On the other hand, "lokāya" means "to attain the World". So, the phrase "svargāya lokāya" literally means "to attain Svarg_S, to attain the World", and since Svarg_S is Heaven, a better English translation is "to attain the Celestial World". If Vyāsa had meant to say "to attain the world of Svargāya, i.e. the world of Hari", he would have joined both terms together: "svargāyalokāya" instead of "svargāya lokāya", but this is not the case as the words are separate in the stanza. Therefore, the interpretation of Śrīdhara is poetical and worthy to be heard but not one to be taken literally. The translation I have given is the right one in my opinion. Hopefully, you have fully understood what I meant. Oh yes, this is such a complex topic... but you are in the Sanskrit universe now, where nothing is really simple, hehe. Read the subsection "Declension" within the "Sanskrit" section if you want more information about declension.
Still, Śrīdhara shows clearly something: Svargaloka or the Celestial World referred to by Vyāsa is not the usual "Indra's heaven" in this context. Indra's heaven is a temporary world and those great Seers would never be desirous to reach such a miserable place. This should be clearly understood because the term "Svargaloka" is commonly interpreted as "Indra's heaven". And who is Indra?... Well, it is a long story I cannot tell you here.
त एकदा तु मुनयः प्रातर्हुतहुताग्नयः।
सत्कृतं सूतमासीनं पप्रच्छुरिदमादरात्॥५॥
Ta ekadā tu munayaḥ prātarhutahutāgnayaḥ|
Satkṛtaṁ sūtamāsīnaṁ papracchuridamādarāt||5||
However (tu), on a certain time (ekadā), those (te) sages (munayaḥ) offering oblations to the sacrificial fire (huta-huta-agnayaḥ) in the early morning (prātar), after having honored (satkṛtam) Sūta (sūtam), who was sitting (there as well) (āsīnam), asked (papracchuḥ) (him) respectfully (ādarāt) about this (idam)||5||
त्वया खलु पुराणानि सेतिहासानि चानघ।
आख्यातान्यप्यधीतानि धर्मशास्त्राणि यान्युत॥६॥
Tvayā khalu purāṇāni setihāsāni cānagha|
Ākhyātānyapyadhītāni dharmaśāstrāṇi yānyuta||6||
The Seers (ṛṣayaḥ) said (ūcuḥ):
Oh faultless one (anagha), those (yāni) dharmic (dharma)1 scriptures (śāstrāṇi) (such as) Purāṇa-s --ancient stories-- (purāṇāni) and (sa... ca) Itihāsa (itihāsāni)2 have been explained (ākhyātāni) as well as (api... uta) studied (adhītāni) by you (tvayā) indeed (khalu)!||6||
2 Itihāsa are the historical accounts such as Mahābhārata and Rāmāyaṇa.
यानि वेदविदां श्रेष्ठो भगवान्बादरायणः।
अन्ये च मुनयः सूत परावरविदो विदुः॥७॥
Yāni vedavidāṁ śreṣṭho bhagavānbādarāyaṇaḥ|
Anye ca munayaḥ sūta parāvaravido viduḥ||7||
Oh Sūta (sūta), glorious (bhagavān) Bādarāyaṇa --i.e. Vyāsa-- (bādarāyaṇaḥ), the best (śreṣṭhaḥ) among the knowers (vidām) of the Veda-s (veda), and (ca) other (anye) sages (munayaḥ) seeing --lit. knowing-- (vidaḥ) both distant and near --or also, past and future-- (para-avara)1, knew (viduḥ) them --i.e. those aforesaid dharmic scriptures-- (yāni) (too)||7||
1 Śrīdhara interprets "para-avara" as "saguṇa-nirguṇa" such as he puts it in his commentary:
"Parāvare saguṇanirguṇe brahmaṇī vidantīti tathā", i.e., "Those who know (vidanti) para-avara (para-avare), i.e. saguṇa --that which is endowed with attributes-- and nirguṇa --that which has no attributes-- (saguṇa-nirguṇe), also (iti tathā) know (vidanti) those two (areas of the) Vedic knowledge --viz. Purāṇa-s and Itihāsa-- (brahmaṇī)".
Saguṇa and nirguṇa ultimately mean "that which is manifest" and "that which is not manifest". Then, those other sages are able to see or know both that which is manifest and that which is not manifest according to Śrīdhara.
वेत्थ त्वं सौम्य तत्सर्वं तत्त्वतस्तदनुग्रहात्।
ब्रूयुः स्निग्धस्य शिष्यस्य गुरवो गुह्यमप्युत॥८॥
Vettha tvaṁ saumya tatsarvaṁ tattvatastadanugrahāt|
Brūyuḥ snigdhasya śiṣyasya guravo guhyamapyuta||8||
Oh excellent man (saumya)!, you (tvam) truly (tattvatas) know (vettha) all (sarvam) that (tad) due to their (tad) Grace (anugrahāt)1. The guru-s (guravaḥ)2 doubtless (api uta)3 speak (brūyuḥ) to a gentle (snigdhasya)4 disciple (śiṣyasya) about that which is secret and mysterious (guhyam)||8||
1 Due to the Grace of Vyāsa and those other sages.
2 The term "guru" is generally translated as "spiritual preceptor", but, in the highest sense, a guru is the embodiment of divine Grace. Hence, I always prefer to leave the word "guru" untranslated.
3 Here "api" (even, also, etc.) strengthens the Potential Mood, i.e. it strengthens "brūyuḥ" (lit. "they would speak") derived from the root "brū" (to speak). Also, in this case the Potential Mood has force of Present Tense and it must be translated as "they speak" and not "they would speak". Oh well, some grammatical explanations to make the things any more interesting.
4 "Snigdhasya" comes from "snigdha". Śrīdhara interprets "snigdha" as "premavat" or "full of love".
तत्र तत्राञ्जसायुष्मन्भवता यद्विनिश्चितम्।
पुंसामेकान्ततः श्रेयस्तन्नः शंसितुमर्हसि॥९॥
Tatra tatrāñjasāyuṣmanbhavatā yadviniścitam|
Puṁsāmekāntataḥ śreyastannaḥ śaṁsitumarhasi||9||
Therefore (tatra), oh long-lived one (āyuṣman)!, whatever (yad) you --bhavān-- (bhavatā) has ascertained (viniścitam) straightforwardly --also, "frankly, honestly"-- (añjasā) regarding that (secret and mysterious knowledge) (tatra), please, tell (śaṁsitum arhasi) us (naḥ) about that (tad), (because it is) invariably (eka-antatas) auspicious and conducive to welfare (śreyas)1 of men (puṁsām)2||9||
1 On one hand, Śrīdhara interprets the "avyaya" or indeclinable term "ekāntatas" as "avyabhicāri" (permanent, invariable) in the sense that that secret and mysterious knowledge is imperishable. On the other hand, "śreyas" is the same as "sādhana" (effective, efficient, leading straight to a goal) to him.
2 The word "puṁsām" derives from "puṁs" (man). The word "puṁs" may also be interpreted as "servant or attendant", but only in this Purāṇa (i.e. in the Śrīmadbhāgavatapurāṇa). Of course, by "men" the author is including "women" as well. That is why, another meaning of "puṁs" is "human being". Anyway, I stuck to the literal translation of the term, i.e. "man". Remember this when you see this word again later on, please.
प्रायेणाल्पायुषः सभ्य कलावस्मिन्युगे जनाः।
मन्दाः सुमन्दमतयो मन्दभाग्या ह्युपद्रुताः॥१०॥
Prāyeṇālpāyuṣaḥ sabhya kalāvasminyuge janāḥ|
Mandāḥ sumandamatayo mandabhāgyā hyupadrutāḥ||10||
Oh refined one --i.e. of honorable parentage-- (sabhya)1!, people (janāḥ) in this (asmin) Kaliyuga (kalau... yuge)2 (are) mostly (prāyeṇa) short-lived (alpa-āyuṣaḥ), lazy (mandāḥ), very slow-witted (su-manda-matayaḥ), unfortunate (manda-bhāgyāḥ) (and) undoubtedly (hi) oppressed (upadrutāḥ)3||10||
1 According to Śrīdhara "sabhya" means "sādho" (Oh holy one!).
2 Kaliyuga is the age of quarrel or discord. Read the introduction to Śrīmadbhāgavatapurāṇa (approximately in the middle of the text).
3 Śrīdhara adds "... upadrutā rogādibhiḥ", i.e. "... oppressed (upadrutāḥ) by disease (roga), etc. (ādibhiḥ)".
भूरीणि भूरिकर्माणि श्रोतव्यानि विभागशः।
अतः साधोऽत्र यत्सारं समुद्धृत्य मनीषया।
ब्रूहि भद्राय भूतानां येनात्मा सुप्रसीदति॥११॥
Bhūrīṇi bhūrikarmāṇi śrotavyāni vibhāgaśaḥ|
Ataḥ sādho'tra yatsāraṁ samuddhṛtya maniṣayā|
Brūhi bhadrāya bhūtānāṁ yenātmā suprasīdati||11||
(There are) many (scriptures) (bhūrīṇi)1 (and) a lot of (bhūri) special duties (karmāṇi)2 to be heard (in those scriptures) (śrotavyāni) separately --i.e. according to different divisions-- (vibhāgaśaḥ). For this reason (atas), here (atra), oh holy one (sādho)!, by extracting (samuddhṛtya) their --i.e. of such scriptures-- (yad) essence (sāram) through (your) wisdom and reflection (manīṣayā), speak (brūhi) for the benefit (bhadrāya) of the living beings (bhūtānām). By that (act) (yena), (one's own) self (ātmā) becomes extremely pleased (su-prasīdati)3||11||
1 According to Śrīdhara "bhūrīṇi" means "bahuśāstra..." or "many (bahu) scriptures (śāstra)...".
2 The term "karmāṇi" is generally translated as "actions", but in this context I prefer to interpret it as "special duties" by following the Śrīdhara's concept: "Bhūrīṇi karmāṇyanuṣṭheyāni yeṣu tāni", in other words, "('Bhūrikarmāṇi' in the stanza means) those (tāni) many (bhūrīṇi) duties (karmāṇi) to be observed (anuṣṭheyāni) (occurring) in which --i.e. in those many scriptures previously described-- (yeṣu)".
3 Śrīdhara makes the meaning of this last sentence clear: "Yenoddhṛtavacanenātmā buddhiḥ samprasīdati samyagupaśāmyati", i.e. "By means of those (yena) extracted (uddhṛta) words (vacanena), (i.e. by means of the essence of such scriptures), one's own self (ātmā), (to wit,) buddhi or intellect (buddhiḥ), becomes pleased (samprasīdati). (In short,) it becomes completely calm (samyak upaśāmyati)".
सूत जानासि भद्रं ते भगवान्सात्वतां पतिः।
देवक्यां वसुदेवस्य जातो यस्य चिकीर्षया॥१२॥
Sūta jānāsi bhadraṁ te bhagavānsātvatāṁ patiḥ|
Devakyāṁ vasudevasya jāto yasya cikīrṣayā||12||
Prosperity (bhadram) to you (te)1, oh Sūta (sūta)! You know (jānāsi) with which intention (yasya cikīrṣayā)2 the Fortunate One --i.e. Kṛṣṇa-- (bhagavān), who is the Lord or Protector (patiḥ) of (His) followers (sātvatām), was born (jātaḥ) (as the son) of Vasudeva (vasudevasya) by Devakī (devakyām)||12||
1 Something like "God bless you!".
2 Śrīdhara explains this clearly: "Yasyārthaviśeṣasya cikīrṣayā vasudevasya bhāryāyāṁ devakyāṁ jātaḥ", that is, "(Sūta knew) with which intention (yasya... cikīrṣayā), i.e. the special (viśeṣasya) goal (artha) of Him --Kṛṣṇa-- (yasya) who had been born (jātaḥ) (as the son) of Vasudeva (vasudevasya) by (his) wife (bhāryāyām) Devakī (devakyām)".
यस्यावतारो भूतानां क्षेमाय च भवाय च॥१३॥
Yasyāvatāro bhūtānāṁ kṣemāya ca bhavāya ca||13||
Please (aṅga)1, deign to describe (arhasi... anuvarṇitum) that (tad) for us (naḥ), who are desirous to hear (you) (śuśrūṣamāṇānām), (since) His (yasya) Avatāra or Incarnation (avatāraḥ) (is always) for the welfare (kṣemāya) and (ca... ca) prosperity (bhavāya) of the living beings (bhūtānām)2||13||
1 According to Śrīdhara, "aṅga" means in this context "he sūta" (oh Sūta!).
2 This is made clear by Śrīdhara: "Sāmānyatastāvadyasyāvatāro bhūtānāṁ kṣemāya pālanāya | Bhavāya samṛddhaye", i.e. "His (yasya) Avatāra or Incarnation (avatāraḥ) is in general (sāmānyatas) really (tāvad) for the welfare (kṣemāya) of the living beings (bhūtānām), (that is, such an Incarnation is) for protecting (them) (pālanāya). (The word) 'bhavāya' (bhayāya) (means) 'samṛddhaye' - 'for samṛddhi or great prosperity and success' (samṛddhaye)".
Of course, the term "Avatāra", despite it is in singular number, it refers to "all" Viṣṇu's Avatāra-s or Incarnations.
आपन्नः संसृतिं घोरां यन्नाम विवशो गृणन्।
ततः सद्यो विमुच्येत यद्बिभेति स्वयं भयम्॥१४॥
Āpannaḥ saṁsṛtiṁ ghorāṁ yannāma vivaśo gṛṇan|
Tataḥ sadyo vimucyeta yadbibheti svayaṁ bhayam||14||
The one who, having entered (āpannaḥ) into the terrible (ghorām) Saṁsāra or Transmigration (saṁsṛtim)1, pronounces (gṛṇan) His (yad) Name (nāma), (even) devoid of will (to do so) (vivaśaḥ), he is at once (sadyaḥ) completely liberated (vimucyate) of that (Saṁsāra) (tatas). (In fact,) fear (bhayam) itself (svayam) is afraid (bibheti) of that (Name) (yad)||14||
यत्पादसंश्रयाः सूत मुनयः प्रशमायनाः।
सद्यः पुनन्त्युपस्पृष्टाः स्वर्धुन्यापोऽनुसेवया॥१५॥
Yatpādasaṁśrayāḥ sūta munayaḥ praśamāyanāḥ|
Sadyaḥ punantyupaspṛṣṭāḥ svardhunyāpo'nusevayā||15||
Oh Sūta (sūta), the pacific --lit. "walking in tranquility"-- (praśamāyanāḥ) sages (munayaḥ) who have gone for refuge and protection (saṁśrayāḥ) to His (yad) feet (pāda), purify (punanti) at once (sadyaḥ) the ones who are touched or(, figuratively,) bathed (upaspṛṣṭāḥ) (by them, just as) the waters (āpas) of Gaṅgā --i.e. the river Ganges-- (svardhunī) (purify) when frequently visited (anusevayā) --in other words, those sages purify immediately, while the waters of Ganges need to be visited frequently to do so--1||15||
1 My explanation occurring between double hyphens is confirmed by Śrīdhara: "Svardhunī gaṅgā tasyā āpastu... anusevayā punanti na tu sadya...", i.e. "But (tu) its (tasyāḥ) waters (āpas), (in short, the waters) of Ganges (gaṅgā), (which is also known as) Svardhunī --lit. 'river of heaven'-- (svardhunī)... purify (punanti) when frequently visited (anusevayā) but (na) not (na) immediately (sadyaḥ)...".
को वा भगवतस्तस्य पुण्यश्लोकेड्यकर्मणः।
शुद्धिकामो न शृणुयाद्यशः कलिमलापहम्॥१६॥
Ko vā bhagavatastasya puṇyaślokeḍyakarmanaḥ|
Śuddhikāmo na śṛṇuyādyaśaḥ kalimalāpaham||16||
Who possibly (kaḥ vā), if he desires (kāmaḥ) (to attain) purification (śuddhi), would not listen (na śṛṇuyāt) to the glory --also, "fame"-- (yaśas), which removes (āpaham) the impurity (mala) (called) Kaliyuga --the age of quarrel or discord-- (naimiṣe), of that (tasya) Fortunate One (bhagavataḥ) whose actions (karmaṇaḥ) must be praised (īḍya) by auspicious (puṇya) stanzas (śloka)1?||16||
1 The Śrīdhara's commentary deserves to be quoted in its entirety: "Puṇyaślokairīḍyāni stavyāni karmāṇi yasya tasya yaśaḥ| Kalimalāpahaṁ saṁsāraduḥkhopaśamanam||16||", in short, "(The first part of his commentary specially indicates the purport of 'puṇyaślokeḍyakarmaṇaḥ':) To the glory --also, 'fame'-- (yaśas) of that (Fortunate One) (tasya) whose (yasya) actions (karmāṇi) (are) praiseworthy (stavyāni), i.e. (whose actions) must be praised (īḍyāni) by auspicious (puṇya) stanzas (ślokaiḥ). (And the last part specifies that the phrase) 'Kalimalāpaham' (kali-mala-āpaham) (means) 'to that which mitigates or appeases (upaśamanam) the pain (duḥkha) of Saṁsāra or Transmigration (saṁsāra)'||16||".
Thus, Śrīdhara makes clear that "īḍya" (must be praised) in the stanza means "stavya" (praiseworthy). In his commentary, the whole thing is in plural (neuter gender), i.e. "īḍyāni" and "stavyāni" because they refers to "karmāṇi" (actions), which is the plural number of "karman" (action), a neuter noun ending in "n". And of course, "Saṁsāra" or "Transmigration" means to be born to die and to die to be reborn, over and over again. In other words, bondage. And I would add the following: "Saṁsāra" does not just refers to the body but mind too. When the mind changes, one dies and is born again, i.e. at this moment one thinks like this, but the next moment he thinks like that, and so on. From this last viewpoint, one is being born, dying and being reborn at every moment. This is not a desirable state, obviously. The Highest Reality is without Saṁsāra, that is, It does not change and consequently It is beyond suffering. Therefore, the goal of life is to attain that immutable condition in order to extinguishes the eternal pain known as Saṁsāra.
तस्य कर्माण्युदाराणि परिगीतानि सूरिभिः।
ब्रूहि नः श्रद्दधानानां लीलया दधतः कलाः॥१७॥
Tasya karmāṇyudārāṇi parigītāni sūribhiḥ|
Brūhi naḥ śraddadhānānāṁ līlayā dadhataḥ kalāḥ||17||
His (tasya) actions (karmāṇi) are exalted (udārāṇi). (They are) sung (parigītāni) by wise and learned beings (sūribhiḥ). Speak (brūhi) to us (all) (naḥ) who have faith (śrad-dadhānānām) about the Kalā-s --i.e. primary forms-- (kalāḥ) (emanated) from the Creator or Generator (dadhataḥ) for (His) mere diversion --also, "like a play or pastime"-- (līlayā)1||17||
1 Śrīdhara specifies the following: "... Udārāṇi mahānti viśvasṛṣṭyādīni| Sūribhirnāradādibhiḥ| Kalā brahmarudrādimūrtīḥ||17||", that is, "(His actions) are exalted (udārāṇi), (i.e. they are) great (mahānti) (acts such as) the universal (viśva) emanations (sṛṣṭi), etc. (ādini). (By the word 'sūribhiḥ', the author means to say) by (wise and learned beings such as) Nārada --the Vyāsa's guru-- (nārada), etc. (ādibhiḥ). (The term) 'kalāḥ' (kalāḥ) (means) 'of the forms (mūrtīḥ) (such as the gods) Brahmā (brahma), Rudra (rudra), etc (ādi)'||17||".
Kalā, Sarga, Avatāra, etc. are of course lastly "incarnations" of Lord Kṛṣṇa, but one should translate the terms properly in every case: Kalā (primary form), Sarga (creation), Avatāra (incarnation), etc. My translation of Kalā as "primary form" (the gods Brahmā, Rudra, etc. according to Śrīdhara) is very likely imperfect, but I could not find a better one. I think that to translate it as "incarnation" or "creation" is even worse, because Kalā might be mistaken for Sarga or Avatāra, respectively.
अथाख्याहि हरेर्धीमन्नवतारकथाः शुभाः।
लीला विदधतः स्वैरमीश्वरस्यात्ममायया॥१८॥
Athākhyāhi harerdhīmannavatārakathāḥ śubhāḥ|
Līlā vidadhataḥ svairamīśvarasyātmamāyayā||18||
Now (atha), oh wise one (dhīman), tell (us) (ākhyāhi) about the splendid (śubhāḥ) stories (kathāḥ) related to the incarnations (avatāra) of Hari --Viṣṇu-- (hareḥ). (Those) Plays or Pastimes (līlāḥ) of the Doer (vidadhataḥ) (are produced) by the essential (ātma) Māyā --i.e. Power-- (māyayā) of the Lord (īśvarasya) according to (His) own Will (svairam)1||18||
1 Śrīdhara adds the following: "... Avatārakathāḥ sthityarthameva tattadavasare ye matsyādyavatārāstadīyāḥ kathāḥ svairaṁ līlāḥ kurvataḥ...", to wit, "(The term 'avatārakathāḥ' means) stories (kathāḥ) (narrating) the Līlā-s or Pastimes (līlāḥ) of the Doer (kurvataḥ), (which He displays) according to (His) own Will (svairam). (Such stories) are related to them (tadīyāḥ), i.e. to the various (tad tad) Incarnations (avatārāḥ) such as Matsya --Fish-- (matsya), etc. (ādi) that (ye) (appear) at the right moment (avasare) for the sake of (artham) Sthiti --maintenance of the world, Dharma, etc.-- (sthiti)".
As plain as the nose on your face, hehe.
वयं तु न वितृप्याम उत्तमश्लोकविक्रमे।
यच्छृण्वतां रसज्ञानां स्वादु स्वादु पदे पदे॥१९॥
Vayaṁ tu na vitṛpyāma uttamaślokavikrame|
Yāchṛṇvatāṁ rasajñānāṁ svādu svādu pade pade||19||
Certainly (tu), we (vayam) do not (ever) (na) become satiated (vitṛpyāmaḥ) with the "goings" (vikrame) of the Highly Renowned One (uttama-śloka)1. (Such goings are) extremely sweet (svādu svādu) for (those) knowers (jñānām) of the Rasa-s or divine Tastes (rasa)2 who hear (śṛṇvatām) them (yad) at every moment (pade pade)3||19||
1 Here Śrīdhara explains the profound meaning of "uttama-śloka". Besides, according to Śrīdhara, the word "tu" is really "viśeṣeṇa" or "specially": "... Udgacchati tamo yasmātsa uttamāstathābhūtaḥ śloko yasya tasya vikrame tu viśeṣeṇa na tṛpyāmo'lamiti na manyāmahe...", in other words, "We do not (ever) (na) become satiated (tṛpyāmaḥ), i.e. we do not (na) think (manyāmahe) 'Enough of this!' (alam iti), specially (tu viśeṣeṇa) regarding the 'goings' (or adventures) (vikrame) of that One (tasya) (known as Uttamaśloka --an epithet of Viṣṇu--). That (saḥ) (is called) 'uttama' (uttamāḥ) (because) through which (tasmāt) the darkness (of ignorance) (tamas) disappears (udgacchati). (As) the stanza(s) (ślokaḥ) addressed to Him (yasya) are of such kind --i.e. uttama-- (tathā-bhūtaḥ), (He is named 'Uttamaśloka')".
So, for Śrīdhara "uttama" (lit. highest, best, etc.) is an abbreviation of "udgacchati tamas" or "the darkness of ignorance disappears". And "śloka" means, of course, "stanza". Therefore, a stanza is "uttama" if it produces the disappearance of Tamas (darkness of ignorance). Lord Viṣṇu is praised by means of such stanzas and consequently He is known as Uttamaśloka. It is that simple... oh my God!
3 Śrīdhara explains "pade pade" and "svādu svādu" as follows: "Pade pade pratikṣaṇaṁ svāduto'pi svādu", that is, "'Pade pade' (pade pade) (means) 'at every (prati) moment (ksaṇam)', (while 'svādu svādu' means) 'even (api) sweet(er) (svādu) than the sweet(est) (svādutaḥ)', or also 'even (api) sweet(er) (svādu) than sweetness (svādutaḥ)'".
कृतवान्किल कर्माणि सह रामेण केशवः।
अतिमर्त्यानि भगवान्गूढः कपटमानुषः॥२०॥
Kṛtavānkila karmāṇi saha rāmeṇa keśavaḥ|
Atimartyāni bhagavāngūḍhaḥ kapaṭamānuṣaḥ||20||
The Fortunate One (bhagavān), (also known as) Keśava --one having long or much or handsome hair-- (keśavaḥ), deceitfully (kapaṭa) disguised (gūḍhaḥ) as a human being (mānuṣaḥ), has done (kṛtavān kila) superhuman (atimartyāni) actions (karmāṇi)1 along (saha) with Balarāma (rāmeṇa)2||20||
1 Śrīdhara explains: "Atimartyāni martyānatikrāntāni govardhanoddharaṇādīni", or "(The term 'atimartyāni' means actions) surpassing (atikrāntāni) (those done by mere) mortals (martyān), (such as) the act of lifting up (uddharaṇa) the Govardhana hill (govardhana), etc. (ādīni)".
That hill located in Vṛndāvana was lifted up and supported by Lord Kṛṣṇa upon one finger for seven days, as if it were a big umbrella, to protect the cowherds from a storm of rain sent by Indra himself. Kṛṣṇa did many other superhuman acts too, of course.
2 The number 3 is sometimes named "Rāma". Why? Because there are three famous Rāma-s: Rāmacandra (the one who is commonly called "Rāma" plainly), Paraśurāma ("Rāma with the axe"; this is the name of the terrifying warrior also known as Bhṛgu) and Balarāma ("Rāma of the force or strength", who is the elder brother of Lord Kṛṣṇa). Obviously, now Vyāsa is speaking of the third Rāma or Balarāma.
कलिमागतमाज्ञाय क्षेत्रेऽस्मिन्वैष्णवे वयम्।
आसीना दीर्घसत्त्रेण कथायां सक्षणा हरेः॥२१॥
Kalimāgatamājñāya kṣetre'sminvaiṣṇave vayam|
Āsīnā dīrghasattreṇa kathāyāṁ sakṣaṇā hareḥ||21||
Noticing (ājñāya) that the Kaliyuga --the age of quarrel or discord-- (kalim) has arrived (āgatam), we (vayam), who have leisure (sa-kṣanāḥ)1 for (listening to) the story (kathāyām) of Hari --i.e. Viṣṇu-- (hareḥ), are sitting (āsīnāḥ) in this (asmin) place (kṣetre) sacred to Lord Viṣṇu (vaiṣṇave) for (the purpose of performing) a long (dīrgha) sacrifice (sattreṇa)||21||
1 Śrīdhara explains the term "sakṣaṇāḥ" as meaning "labdhāvasarāḥ". Listen up: "... Hareḥ kathāyāṁ sakṣaṇā labdhāvasarāḥ", that is, "(We,) who have leisure (sa-ksanāḥ), i.e. '(We,) who have found an opportunity or obtained leisure (labdha-avasarāḥ)', for (listening to) the story (kathāyām) of Hari (hareḥ)".
त्वं नः सन्दर्शितो धात्रा दुस्तरं निस्तितीर्षताम्।
कलिं सत्त्वहरं पुंसां कर्णधार इवार्णवम्॥२२॥
Tvaṁ naḥ sandarśito dhātrā dustaraṁ nistitīrṣatām|
Kaliṁ sattvaharaṁ puṁsāṁ karṇadhāra ivārṇavam||22||
Due to (divine) providence (dhātrā), you (tvam), the helmsman (karṇa-dhāraḥ), as it were (iva), has appeared (sandarśitaḥ) before us (naḥ) who are desirous to cross (nistitīrṣatām) the unconquerable (dustaram) ocean (arṇavam) (called) Kaliyuga --the age of quarrel or discord-- (kalim), which destroys (haram) the quality of goodness (sattva) in the people (puṁsām)1||22||
1 The complete Śrīdhara's commentary on this stanza will elucidate several obscure points: "Asmiṁśca samaye tvaddarśanamīśvareṇaiva sampāditamityabhinandanti - Tvamiti| Kaliṁ saṁsāraṁ nistartumicchatām| Arṇavaṁ titīrṣatāṁ karṇadhāro nāvika iva||22||", to wit, "(The sages) rejoice (abhinandanti) (at the following:) 'And (ca) at this (asmin) time (samaye), your (tvat) darśana or presence (here) (darśanam) has been brought about (sampāditam) by the Lord (īśvareṇa) indeed (eva... iti)!' - (This is what) 'You' (tvam iti) (implies). For those who wish (icchatām) to cross (nistartum) Kaliyuga (kalim), i.e. Saṁsāra or Transmigration (saṁsāram), (in other words,) for those who are desirous to cross (titīrṣatām) (such an) ocean (arṇavam), (you are) like (iva) a helmsman (karṇadharaḥ) (or) pilot (nāvikaḥ)||22||".
Here Śrīdhara makes clear several things: (1) the word "dhātrā" (due to divine providence) means "brought about by the Lord" (it refers to "darśana" or presence of Sūta amont such sages). (2) "Nistitīrṣatām" is tantamount to both "nistartumicchatām" and "titīrṣatām", which lastly mean "for those who are desirous to cross", i.e. for the sages themselves. Note that "nistartum" is the Infinitive Mood of the root "nistṝ" (to cross). In turn, "icchatām" is the Genitive case, plural number, of the present participle "icchat" (one who desires) derived from the root "iṣ" (to desire)... these minor details may make a translator confused sometimes. (3) Kaliyuga is identical with Saṁsāra or Transmigration in this context, according to Śrīdhara. (4) Finally, the term "karṇadhara" (helmsman) is synonymous with "nāvika" (pilot) such as is pointed out by Śrīdhara Svāmī.
ब्रूहि योगेश्वरे कृष्णे ब्रह्मण्ये धर्मवर्मणि।
स्वां काष्ठामधुनोपेते धर्मः कं शरणं गतः॥२३॥.
Brūhi yogeśvare kṛṣṇe brahmaṇye dharmavarmaṇi|
Svāṁ kāṣṭhāmadhunopete dharmaḥ kaṁ śaraṇaṁ gataḥ||23||
(When) Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇe), the pious (brahmaṇye)1 Lord (īśvare) of Yoga (yoga), who is like an armour (varmaṇi) for Dharma (dharma)2, (has) now (adhunā) entered (upete) into His own (svām) Abode (kāṣṭhām), tell (us) (brūhi) (the following:) Which (kam) refuge (śaraṇam) (has) Dharma (dharmaḥ) gone to (gataḥ)? --i.e. where has Dharma gone for refuge?--3||23||
1 This word also means "related to sacred knowledge".
3 A fragment of the Śrīdhara's commentary will help you to understand the inner purport of such a crucial question asked by the sages headed by Śaunaka: "... Dharmasya varmaṇi kavacavadrakṣake| Svāṁ kāṣṭhāṁ maryādām| Svasvarūpamityarthaḥ| Asya cottaraṁ kṛṣṇe svadhāmopagate dharmajñānādibhiḥ saha ityayaṁ ślokaḥ", to wit, "(The phrase) 'dharmavarmaṇi' (in the stanza) (dharmasya varmaṇi) (means) 'dharmasya... kavacavadrakṣake' (dharmasya... kavacavat rakṣake), i.e. '(when) the protector (rakṣake), who is like (vat) an armour (kavaca) for Dharma (dharmasya)'. (The phrase) 'svām kaṣṭhām' (in the stanza) (svām kaṣṭhām) (means) 'maryādām' or '(into His) goal' (i.e. into His final Dwelling-place) (māryādām). (In sum, He entered into His) own (sva) Essential Nature (sva-rūpam). This is the sense (iti arthaḥ). And (ca) the (final) conclusion (uttaram) of (all) this (asya) (is), according to this (iti ayam) stanza (ślokaḥ): '(When) Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇe) has gone (upagate) to His own (sva) Abode (dhāma) together (saha) with Dharma (dharma), Knowledge (jñāna), etc. (ādibhiḥ)'" - Note that "dharmajñānādibhiḥ" in the Śrīdhara's commentary may also be translated as "with dharmic knowledges (dharma-jñāna), etc. (ādibhiḥ).
इति श्रीमद्भागवते महापुराणे प्रथमस्कन्धे नैमिषेयोपाख्याने प्रथमोऽध्यायः॥१॥
Iti śrīmadbhāgavate mahāpurāṇe prathamaskandhe naimiṣeyopākhyāne prathamo'dhyāyaḥ||1||
Thus ends (iti) the first (prathamaḥ) Lesson (adhyāyaḥ) within the first (prathama) Section (skandhe) (known as "Naimiṣeyopākhyāna" or) "The account --upākhyāna-- (upākhyāne) related to the Naimiṣa woods (naimiṣeya)", belonging to the Śrīmadbhāgavata (śrīmat-bhāgavate), the great (mahā) Purāṇa (purāṇe)||1||
This document was conceived by Gabriel Pradīpaka, one of the two founders of this site, and spiritual guru conversant with Sanskrit language and Trika philosophy.
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