Based on a series of lectures delivered by
Çré Çrémad Bhaktivedänta Näräyaëa Gosvämé Mahäräja
on Çréla Sanätana Gosvämé’s commentary to the final verse
of Çré Bhakti-rasäyanain in Çré Båhad-bhägavatämåta
An Ocean in the Palm of One’s Hand
Çréla Bhaktivedänta Näräyaëa Gosvämé Mahäräja
[NOTE: This page uses Balarama font (available here)
for better transliteration of Sanskrit into English]
jayati jana-niväso devaké-janma-vado
yadu-vara-pariñat svair dorbhir asyann adharmam
vraja-pura-vanitänäà vardhayan käma-devam
Çré Båhad-bhägavatämåta (2.7.154)
All glories to Çré Kåñëa who is known as jana-niväsaù, He who lives in the hearts of all living entities, or He who is their ultimate resort. Although He is famous as having taken birth from the womb of Devaké, there is some controversy about this. He is served by the exalted Yadus, who are His associates. With His mighty arms, the Päëòavas, He kills the demons; and by thus destroying irreligion, He dispels the suffering of all living entities, both moving and inert. His gentle, smiling lotus face always increases the käma (prema) of the gopés of Våndävana, as well as the queens of Mathurä and Dvärakä.
Setting the Scene
As Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé spoke this verse, he remembered the sweet pastimes of Çré Kåñëa – from His birth to His final days in Dvärakä. This verse not only encompasses the Mahäbhärata battle, but all pastimes leading up to it and following it.
After hearing this verse, Mahäräja Parékñit was about to leave the place where he had been hearing hari-kathä. Çré Çukadeva Gosvämé, who was also preparing to depart, said to him, “Don’t waver or be afraid. Always remember that guru and Kåñëa are with you.”
Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé gave Mahäräja Parékñit the fruit of mahat-saìga, or association with a pure devotee – namely, the paramour mood of a gopé. This was Çré Parékñit’s eternal, constitutional position. Çré Parékñit said to Çré Çukadeva Gosvämé, “Now that I have received what you wanted to give me, I feel fully satisfied.” Çré Parékñit did not think he would actually
be fortunate enough to receive this gift, but mahatsaìga bestows complete perfection. He never thought this highest fruit would come to him, but it did.
If you are sincere and focused exclusively on Çré Kåñëa, and if you have guru-niñöhä, unshakable faith in çré guru, then your life will very quickly be successful and you will attain this same goal. Be one-pointed like Parékñit Mahäräja. During Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé’s
seven-day narration of Çrémad-Bhägavatam, he asked Parékñit Mahäräja if he wanted to drink some water, and Parékñit Mahäräja replied, “No, I am satisfied drinking the nectar of your hari-kathä.”
“Glory unto Çré Kåñëa!”
jayati jana-niväso devaké
Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé remembered the entirety of Çré Kåñëa’s sweet pastimes and said, “Jayati – may Çré Kåñëa be glorious.” What does “glorious” mean here? Why do we pray “Nityänanda Prabhu ki jaya, Gauracandra ki jaya, Vaiñëava-jana ki jaya”? Jaya, or glory, means “victory”, the opposite of defeat. By this prayer we mean, “May the Lord and His associates be victorious over me. May they conquer over all my anarthas – my lust, anger, greed, pride, illusion and envy. May they defeat me. Then I too will be glorious.”
Çré Kåñëa: The Shelter of All Souls
Jana-niväso means Çré Kåñëa is everywhere. He resides within all beings and all beings exist within Him. Niväsa means “abode” or “shelter”. Çré Kåñëa is the reservoir and shelter of every living being, whether demon or demigod, and He supports and nourishes all living creatures.
The word jana has two meanings. It refers, first, to non-devotees in whose hearts Çré Kåñëa sits as a witness to their activities. Don’t doubt that Çré Kåñëa sees when we misbehave. He is all-pervading. If you want to hide your activities from others, it means you are doing something
crooked. Çré Kåñëa is everywhere, as is çré guru. You cannot conceal anything from Him.
The general meaning of jana-niväsa is “You are always in the hearts of all beings as the Supersoul”, but Kåñëa cannot reside in the hearts of His devotees in this form. He can be there only as their worshipable deity – that is, as their master, friend, son or lover.
The second meaning of jana is “personal associates”. Here it means “nija-jana”, the pure Vaiñëavas – that is, His very own devotees. The Vrajaväsés are this kind of jana. The residents of Mathurä are also pure devotees, but they are not as exalted as the Vrajaväsés, for whom Kåñëa is their very life air. Çré Kåñëa’s nija-jana include Yaçodä-maiyä, Nanda Bäbä, the cowherd boys like Çrédäma and Madhumaìgala, and the gopés. The Vrajaväsés are His life as much as He is theirs. The gopés are the highest class of jana. Yaçodä-maiyä is exalted, but the gopés are more so; and among all the gopés, Çrématé Rädhikä is the highest and the most dear to Kåñëa. If you think Kåñëa is mahat-saìga, exalted association, then Çrématé Rädhikä is mahéyasé-saìga, the most exalted association. Her association is even more elevated and desirable than Çré Kåñëa’s.
Çré Kåñëa takes shelter in the hearts of His nijajana and rests there. In others words, He personally manifests there. And to remove the pain of separation of His devotees in this world He manifests here as His many incarnations.
The Impartial Lord
Once, at the time of the Räjasüya-yajïa, Yudhiñöhira Mahäräja asked Çré Närada Åñi a question. This was the same question Parékñit Mahäräja asked Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé: “Çré Kåñëa is equal to all. Why, then, does He side with the demigods and fight against the demons to protect them? As Çré Nåsiàhadeva, Çré Räma and other incarnations, He killed Hiraëyakaçipu, Rävaëa, Kumbhakarëa and other demons. These activities seem to indicate that the Lord is partial.”
In reply, Çré Närada spoke Canto Seven of Çrémad- Bhägavatam. As the Supersoul, Çré Kåñëa lives in the hearts of all beings and is therefore equal to all, just as the sun shines impartially upon everyone. But if an owl shuts its eyes and refuses to come out of its hideout, how will it ever be able to see the sun? It will never be able to. Demons do not perform bhakti and are like that owl. They don’t believe in God. Nonetheless, Çré Kåñëa descends to this world in His
various incarnations and bestows His
mercy upon them.
Çré Kåñëa, the Son of Yaçodä
Devaké-janma-vado. The residents of Mathurä and people in general say that Kåñëa took birth from the womb of Mother Devaké. This statement, however, can be challenged for two reasons. No one can become the father or mother of the Supreme Lord. Çré Kåñëa is the master and father of everyone, including Devaké, but He is truly the son of Çrématé Yaçodä-devé. She is His real mother. He is partly the son of Devaké and Vasudeva, but fully the son of Nanda and Yaçodä.
When Kåñëa released Devaké and her husband Vasudeva from jail, they returned to their palace and Devaké wept. She lamented, “How fortunate Yaçodä is to have directly experienced and relished Kåñëa’s childhood pastimes. I did not get the chance to experience this. Çré Kåñëa would beg roöis and butter from Yaçodä, but He never once begged anything from me. He would tell lies to Yaçodä, but He never once lied to me. Yaçodä is more fortunate than I am.”
Çré Kåñëa is para-brahma, the Supreme Truth. He is the Supersoul, the controller of everything and the source of all incarnations. His opulence is unsurpassed. When, as a young boy, Kåñëa put some earth in His mouth, the gopés complained to Yaçodä-maiyä, but Çré Kåñëa denied what He had done. Yaçodä-maiyä forcibly made Him open His mouth, and there she beheld His universal form. She saw that He is in fact the Supreme Truth, the controller of all controllers, the Supersoul, Çré Nåsiàhadeva, etc., and that all existence lies within Him.
This verse does not mention Çré Kåñëa’s name directly, but the previous verse does, and this verse refers to that same Çré Kåñëa. He took birth from the womb of Yaçodä-maiyä, Devaké being but another name of Yaçodä, and He killed Aghäsura, Bakäsura, Pütanä and other demons, and fought in the Mahäbhärata battle. The context of this verse indicates that it is referring to Çré Kåñëa. May that Çré Kåñëa be glorious.
At the beginning of Ratha-yäträ, Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu chanted this verse in the mood of Çrématé Rädhikä meeting with Çré Kåñëa at Kurukñetra. By their sentiments, the gopés brought Kåñëa to Våndävana at that time and decorated Him with flowers. In their hearts they forcibly handed Him the flute He left with Yaçodä-maiyä in Våndävana, along with His peacock feather, and they whispered in His ear, “Don’t think that Your father and mother are Vasudeva and Devaké. Don’t believe that You have come from the Yadu dynasty and that You are a Yädava. Consider Yourself to be a gopa only.” Çré Kåñëa replied, “Yes, I will accept what you say.”
Vanquisher of the Demons
yadu-vara-pariñat svair dorbhir asyann adharmam
All members of the Yadu dynasty are the nija-jana of Çré Kåñëa who resides in Dvärakä, for they are His associates. His arms, the Päëòavas, destroyed all the demons. He did not vanquish the demons with His own hands, but through the hands of Bhéma, Arjuna and others. Although He did kill demons personally, in the Mahäbhärata war it was Arjuna and Bhéma who annihilated the entire army of the enemy. Out of affection for His devotees, He gave all the credit for killing wicked kings like Jaräsandha to His devotees, although He could have easily performed such a feat Himself, simply by desiring it.
This verse seems to describe Kåñëa’s pastimes in Dvärakä, but in its deeper meaning it in fact glorifies Vrajendra-nandana Çré Kåñëa. In Våndävana, Kåñëa killed Pütanä and other demons with his own arms. Moreover, in Våndävana He killed the greatest of demons – the deep separation experienced by Çrématé Rädhikä and the gopés.
He Who Removes All Suffering
Sthira-cara-våjina-ghnaù means “He who removes life’s endless pain and suffering”. Çré Kåñëa takes away the suffering of all moving and nonmoving living entities in the endless cycle of birth and death. It also means “He whose flute playing removes all suffering”. Çré Kåñëa’s smiling face increases the love and affection of the gopés and relieves them from their pangs of separation from Him. May this Çré Kåñëa be glorious.
Sthira-cara-våjina-ghnaù describes Çré Kåñëa’s supreme magnanimity in the form of bestowing His prema-bhakti to all living beings. Here, sthira refers to non-moving entities of Våndävana, like creepers, grass and bushes, and cara to moving living entities, including worms. Çré Kåñëa does not first look for a reason to bestow His prema-bhakti – such as the recipient’s qualification. Through the gift of prema, He destroys the material miseries of all beings, as well as the suffering that comes from separation from Him. When one lights a fire for cooking, darkness and cold are dissipated as a secondary result. Similarly, when one performs bhakti, the cycle of birth and death is halted as a secondary result. Thus, He is truly glorious.
In Våndävana, Kåñëa’s smiling face and flute playing remove the suffering of the Vrajaväsés. What distress do they endure? They suffer only from feelings of separation from Him. They have no other problem.
“When one lights a fire for cooking,
Çré Kåñëa’s Sweet Smile
This verse contains the pastimes of Gokula,
Våndävana, Rädhä-kuëòa and Çyäma-kuëòa, as well as
the räsa-lélä and all the other pastimes of Vraja:
vraja-pura-vanitänäà vardhayan käma-devam
The smile on Kåñëa’s beautiful face always increases the käma (prema) of the damsels of Våndävana and the queens of Dvärakä. Here, käma-devam does not refer to material lust, but to prema. What kind of prema? Sneha, mäna, praëaya, räga, anuräga, bhäva and mahäbhäva. The gopés tell Kåñëa, “You are the personification of that Kämadeva.”
Käma-devam refers to that Çré Kåñëa who causes the desire to satisfy Him to appear in the hearts of His devotees. It also means that by increasing the käma (prema) of the gopés, He destroys any remaining attachment they may have for their relatives in this world. In other words, He cuts their material entanglement. This käma is known to vanquish all types of goals. For the gopés, however, that same käma, or prema, uproots their entanglement in family life. The limits of that käma increase at every moment, assuming ever new forms.
Çré Kåñëa resides in the hearts of the gopés as Kämadeva. The function of käma acts everywhere in this world, but Çré Kåñëa Himself performs that function in the gopés’ hearts. As Kämadeva, He stimulates käma, and therefore He exists eternally in full splendour. Here the words çré-mukhena mean “whose gentle, smiling lotus face is full of beauty and sweetness”. He expands the playful activities of käma, which are characterised by His enjoyment with the
gopés of Vraja, and thus He exists gloriously.
If we take the word pura to denote Mathurä and Dvärakä also, the meaning becomes “He who
stimulates the käma of the vraja-gopés and the queens of Mathurä and Dvärakä exists in full glory.” The word pura also implies Kåñëa’s going to Mathurä, and thus indicates the gopés’ highest pangs of separation from Him. Therefore His pastime of leaving Gokula and
then returning manifests the supreme excellence of His prema.
Another meaning can be taken: “That person who increases the paramour mood of käma (prema) in others’ wives, namely, the gopés, intensifies the highest level of suffering. But for this He cannot be blamed. It is the nature of the gentle, sweet smile on His lotus face to burn the hearts of others.” The gopés glorify Çré Kåñëa’s smile, knowing that it captivates the hearts of all the living entities and destroys the heat of lust in His devotees. But they also criticise this same smile, because it has severed their worldly attachments. This severance, however, is in fact nothing but Çré Kåñëa’s compassion.
The Essence of All Vedic Scriptures
It is with this verse that Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé concluded his description of Kåñëa’s pastimes in Çrémad-Bhägavatam. Mahäräja Parékñit later recited this same verse at the end of Çré Båhadbhägavatämåta. With this one verse, Çréla Çukadeva Gosvämé gave Parékñit Mahäräja – in one handful – the essence of the entire purport of the Vedas, Puräëas, Mahäbhärata, Bhagavad-gétä and Rämäyaëa.
verse is indeed the essence of the vast
Mahäräja Parékñit first drank that nectar himself, thus becoming immortal and rasika, that is, realized in all transcendental mellows. He thereafter imparted this essence to his mother, telling her, “Don’t think of Çré Kåñëa as the Supreme Lord and the knower of all truths. Don’t think of Him as He who has unlimited opulence. Think of Him only as the gopés’ most beloved, and remember Him as your most beloved. May that very Çré Kåñëa, the son of
Yaçodä-maiyä, be victorious.”
The Power of the Holy Name
All the deep purports of this verse can be realised by taking shelter of Çré Kåñëa’s holy name. Agastya Åñi’s chanting of the holy name was so powerful that he was able to control the ocean. By sipping a mere palmful of water from the sea he dried up the entire ocean. Don’t think that your chanting will not bear fruit. Through continuous chanting, anarthas will disappear and rati (bhävabhakti) and sthäyibhäva, your permanent relationship with Kåñëa, will manifest. You will become more powerful than Agastya Åñi. Chanting the holy name will end your repeated birth and death in this world:
harer näma harer näma
harer nämaiva kevalam
kalau nästy eva nästy eva
nästy eva gatir anyathä
Çré Caitanya-caritämåta (Ädi-lélä 17.21)
In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy the sole means of
deliverance is chanting the holy name of Çré Kåñëa.
There is no other way. There is no other way. There
is no other way.
All of Çré Kåñëa’s sweet pastimes will enter the heart of the devotees who chant His holy name:
harinäma tuwä aneka svarüpa,
Harinäma Tuwä (1)
O Harinäma, you possess unlimited forms, such as
Yaçodä’s beloved son, He who increases the bliss of
Gokula, the son of Nanda, and the deep well of rasa.
All the pastimes of Çré Kåñëa reside in the mahämantra: Hare Kåñëa Hare Kåñëa Kåñëa Kåñëa Hare Hare / Hare Räma Hare Räma Räma Räma Hare Hare.
In his Båhad-bhägavatämåta, Çréla Sanätana Gosvämé quotes this verse from Canto Ten, which has many profound meanings. Previously, Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu had explained to him sixty-one meanings of the ätmäräma verse (Çrémad-Bhägavatam 1.7.10). Çréla Sanätana Gosvämé similarly offers numerous explanations for each word of the verse jayati jananiväsaù.
His sole purpose is to convince his readers to enter the line of kåñëa-bhakti. He and Caitanya
Mahäprabhu can explain this verse in countless different ways – each meaning being deeper and more difficult to fathom than the previous one.
Based on the following lectures:
24–29 September 2004
(Çré Keçavajé Gauòéya Maöha, Mathurä)
Rays of the Harmonist No. 14 Karttika 2004