Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravarti’s commentary on the 10th canto is invaluable in understanding Krṣṇa līlā. We have already seen in a couple of posts how he teaches the significance of the Dāmodara līlā. Here we discuss a verse that in his opinion functions as a paribhāṣā sūtra of Krṣṇa līlā. Before examining his commentary, we first discuss the meaning of a paribhāṣā sūtra.
What is a paribhāṣā sūtra’?
We turn to Śrī Jīva Goswami’s Harināmāmṛta vyākaraṇam where we find definitions of the term sūtra more generally and paribhāṣā more specifically. These definitions are given by Śrī Jīva Goswami and the commentator Śrī Hare Kṛṣṇa ācārya, in his commentary called Bāla toṣaṇi tīkā.
The word ‘sūtra’ is defined as follows:
स्वल्पाक्षरमनल्पार्थं विशुद्धं सर्वतोमुखम्, विशेषकथनापेक्षं सूत्रं सूत्रविदो विदुः
Knowers of sūtras know a sūtra to be that which has a small number of letters but not a small meaning, clear, applicable everywhere, and which is meant to be precise and spoken.
Sūtras are of six types:
संज्ञा च परिभाषा च विधि नियम एव च अतिदेशोSधिकारः च षड्विधं सूत्रलक्षणम् : sañjā, paribhāṣā, vidhi, niyama, atideśa and adhikāra are the six types of sūtras.
We present the definitions of each of these six types of sūtras below.
संज्ञा- नामकरणं संज्ञा (४२) – यथा ‘तत्रादौ चतुर्दश सर्वेश्वराः’ इत्यादि – the giving of a name is sañjā. For example, the sūtra tatrādau caturdaśa sarveśvaraḥ is a nāma-sañjā. [The first fourteen letters are named sarveśvara]
परिभाषा अनियमे नियमकारिणी (स प्र ॰५)- अनियमे नियमं कर्तुं शीलं यस्या सा परिभाषा – paribhāṣā is that which creates a rule where there is none. It’s nature is to create a rule in the absence of a rule. An example of paribhāṣā is: पूर्वपरयोः परविधिर्बलवान् – between a previous and a latter vidhi, the latter vidhi is more powerful.
विधिः (स प्र ४७) – कर्तव्यत्वेनोपदेशो विधिः – a vidhi is an instruction for performing a specific operation.
नियमः (वि प्र २५७) – बहुत्र प्राप्तौ सङ्कोचनं नियमः – A niyama is that which narrows down from several possibilities.
अधिकारः (वि प्र ३४५) – उत्तरप्रकरणव्याप्यधिकारः – an adhikāra is that which pervades the section that follows.
अतिदेशः – अन्यतुल्यत्वविधानमतिदेशः – An atideśa is an instruction of similarity with another.
The ‘paribhāṣā sūtra’ of Krṣṇa līlā
Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravarti explains that the following verse from the Bhāgavata is a paribhāṣā sūtra of Krṣṇa līlā:
trayyā copaniṣadbhiś ca sāṅkhya-yogaiś ca sātvataiḥ |
upagīyamāna-māhātmyaṁ hariṁ sāmanyatātmajam ||
Hari’s aiśvarya or Lordship is greatly sung about by the followers of the Vedas [who consider Him the yajña-puruṣa], the Upaniṣads [who consider Him to be Brahman], the Sāṅkhya śāstras [who consider Him the Puruṣa], the Yoga-śāstras [who consider Him as Paramātmā] and the Pāñcarātra śāstras [who consider Him as Bhagavān]. [Despite hearing this glorification directly and indirectly] Yaśodā continued to consider Hari as her child.
Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravarti explains the following two crucial points about Krṣṇa līlā –
- Just as the followers of the different śāstras consider Hari as the yajña-puruṣa and so on, and cannot change their views about Him, in the same way, Yaśodā considers Hari as her son due to her vātsalya-prema for Him. Her view of Him does not change despite hearing His glorification by these other followers, whether directly from them or indirectly.
- Kṛṣṇa gives the result to each of the followers of śāstra according to their concept of Him, and thus remains as their controller in the form of the giver of the result. But He lacks the ability to reciprocate the motherly prema that Yaśodā has for Him. Therefore He remains in her debt, and remains situated as someone who is controlled. For example, He cries for her breast milk despite being fully satisfied within Himself.
Śrī Viśvanātha writes:
padyam idaṁ kṛṣṇa-līlāyāṁ paribhāsā-sūtra-rūpaṁ jñeyam
this verse should be understood as a paribhāsā-sūtra of Kṛṣṇa-līlā.
paribhāṣā hy eka-deśasthā sakalaṁ śāstram abhi prakāśayati yathā veśma-pradīpa iti | iko guṇa-vṛddhī [pā. 1.1.2] iti yatra guṇa-vṛddhī śrūyate tatra tatra ik-paribhāṣopatiṣṭhate yathā tathaiva kaumāra-kaiśora-māthura-kurukṣetrādi-gata-līlāsu yatra yatra aiśvarya-prasaṅgas tatredam upatiṣṭhata iti –
A paribhāṣā is that which is present in one place in śāstra, but illuminates the entire śāstra, just as a lamp situated in one place illuminates the entire house. [He gives an example from Pāṇini grammar] Consider the sutra iko guṇa-vṛddhī. Wherever one hears about guṇa or vṛddhī [i.e. when these types of grammatical operations are instructed], there the ik-paribhāṣā applies [i.e. it is understood that the forms of specific vowels denoted by ik must be changed]. In the same way, when there is mention of aiśvarya in Kaumāra, Kaiśora, Māthura or Kurukṣetra-līlās, this paribhāṣā applies.
An example of application of the paribhāṣā sūtra
Śrī Babaji explained the following to me in an email –
The sūtra is to be used to understand how His love for His devotees is supreme and not aiśvarya, and also to understand that the intensity of love of a devotee is understood from how much intimacy the devotee has and not how much aiśvarya-jñāna the devotee has.
Śrī Viśvanātha’s commentary provides an example of how to apply this sūtra:
asmad-abhīṣṭa-daivatenāvayor vrata-niyama-santata-pūjanādibhiḥ santuṣṭena parjanyābhidhāna-madīya-śvaśura-kṛta-niravadya-bahu-tapaḥ-santoṣitena śrī-nārāyaṇena kṛpayā datto lokottaraḥ putro’yaṁ yat karmi-prabhṛtibhis trayyādi-pratipādyatvena stūyate, yatra khalu nārāyaṇa-samo guṇaiḥ iti sarvatra gargeṇa gīyatayā nārāyaṇa-sāmya-prathayā anya-duṣkara-pūtanādi-vadhānām etat-kartṛkatva-prathayā cāyam eva nārāyaṇa iti teṣāṁ viśvāsa eva hetuḥ | vastutas tu ayaṁ mat-putra eva | māṁ mātaraṁ kṣaṇam apy adṛṣṭvā vikalībhavati | ahaṁ cainaṁ sva-nimeṣa-vyavahitaṁ jñātvā vihvalībhavāmi | ity avayor janya-jananyor anubhava evātra pramāṇam iti manasi sā samādhatte |
[This is Yaśodā’s rationale when she is confronted with the greatness of her son ] Our īṣṭa-deva, Nārāyaṇa, out of His grace, has given us this extraordinary son, because He was pleased by our continuous worship consisting of vows and rules. He was also pleased by the faultless austerities performed by my father-in-law, Parjanya. My son is praised as the object of the Vedas and other scriptures by the pūrva-mīmāṁsakas and others, and He is considered Nārāyaṇa Himself, as he became known everywhere as having the same the qualities as Nārāyaṇa owing to Garga’s honoring of Him as such, and as the performer of nearly impossible deeds like the killing of Pūtanā. But all this is just their belief. In reality, this boy is my just my son. He becomes anxious if He does not see me, His mother, for even a moment. I also become disturbed if I do not see Him for even a moment. Our experience of being mother and son to each other is the only valid pramāṇa. She remains firmly fixed in this concept.
If there is no lamp, the house remains dark. In the same way, Krṣṇa līlā will remain beyond our understanding till we assimilate and apply this paribhāṣā sūtra.