In a previous post, we saw how the Bhāgavata is an independent pramāṇa meaning that it does not depend on the Vedas even for its authority. Here, we examine the essence of the Bhāgavata derived by Śrī Jīva Goswami in the following statement in the Tattva Sandarbha Anuccheda 8:
yasya brahmeti saṁjñāṁ kvacid api nigame yāti cin-mātra-sattāpy
aṁśo yasyāṁśakaiḥ svair vibhavati vaśayann eva māyāṁ pumāṁś ca |
ekaṁ yasyaiva rūpaṁ vilasati parama-vyomni nārāyaṇākhyaṁ
sa śrī-kṛṣṇo vidhattāṁ svayam iha bhagavān prema tat-pāda-bhājām
I will present his Sarva-saṁvādinī commentary on his own writings, which presents the meanings of the words first, along with my notes in brackets, and then present the translation.
sarva-granthārthaṁ saṅkṣepeṇa darśayann api maṅgalācarati
– The author [Śrī Jīva Goswami refers to himself], states the maṅgalācaraṇa (auspicious invocation) by stating the essence of all scriptures.
According to Śrī Jīva Goswami, these four lines are the essence of all the scriptures. How wonderfully compact and beneficial for the sādhaka!
kvacid api satyaṁ jñānam anantaṁ brahma [tai.u. 2.1.2] ity ādāv api-śabdena tatraiva brahmatvaṁ mukhyam ity ānītam |
The words ‘kvacid api’ – in some portions of the Vedas [nigame] – refer to statements like satyam, jñānam, anantaṁ brahma from the Taittiriya Upanisad (2.1.2) – “Brahman is the real existent, consciousness and unlimited”.
[A Caitanya Vaiṣṇava recently argued with me on this site that there is no such thing as ‘contentless knowledge’, and that such a claim amounts to impersonalism. There is no end to self-styled pundits in the Caitanya tradition! Unfortunately for this proposition, Śrī Jīva Goswami accepts nirvikalpaka pratyakṣa or contentless perception as a valid type of pratyakṣa in his Sarva-saṁvādinī commentary in the next Anuccheda, and here he accepts the existence of pure consciousness [the word ‘pure’ indicates no content to this consciousness or object of knowledge] by using the words ‘cin-mātra-sattāpi’. This means that Sri Krsna exists as ‘pure consciousness alone’ in his feature as the afore-mentioned ‘Brahman’. ‘Pure consciousness alone’ also means that there is no possessor of that consciousness, i.e. no separate knower who knows. So there is no knower, no knowledge, and no possessor of that knowledge. Brahman is simply consciousness. If you ask what consciousness is here, it is a denial of non-consciousness. Nothing positive can be said about it. All this shows that Śrī Jīva Goswami clearly accepts the existence of Brahman, because it is described very clearly in the Upaniṣads which he cites here.]
aṁśakaiḥ līlāvatāra-rūpair guṇāvatāra-rūpaiś ca | pumān puruṣaḥ sarvāntaryāmī paramātmākhyaḥ |
The word aṁśakaiḥ means ‘by the līlāvatāras and the guṇāvatāras’. The word pumān means puruṣa, who is the antaryāmī of all, and is called Paramātmā.
[the second line describes Paramātmā].
ekaṁ śrī-kṛṣṇākhyād anyat | yasyaiva iti tasya bhagavattva-sāmye’pi śrī-kṛṣṇasyaiva svayaṁ-bhagavattvaṁ darśitam | nārāyaṇākhyaṁ rūpaṁ pādottara-khaṇḍādi-pratipādyaḥ parama-vyomākhya-mahā-vaikuṇṭhādhipaḥ śrīpatiḥ |
The word ‘ekam’ or ‘one’ implies He who is different from the one named Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The words yasya eva (whose) mean the following – Even though He [eka] is the same as Śrī Kṛṣṇa in that He is also Bhagavān, Śrī Kṛṣṇa is Svayam Bhagavān [i.s. Nārāyaṇa is His form]. The form called Nārāyaṇa is established in the Uttara khaṇḍa of the Padma Purāṇa and elsewhere. Parama-vyoma refers to a Mahā-vaikuṇṭha of that name. He is the Lord of that Mahā Vaikuṇṭha and the husband of Lakṣmi.
“svayaṁ bhagavān” iti, kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayaṁ [bhā.pu. 1.3.28] iti śrī-bhāgavata-prāmāṇyam iheti sūcitam | śrīr iti tad-avyabhicāriṇī svarūpa-śaktir api darśitā | iha jagati |
The words ‘Svayaṁ Bhagavān’ indicate the sole authority of Śrī Bhāgavata in these Sandarbhas because it contains the statement kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayaṁ (1.3.28). The word śrī in śrī-kṛṣṇo also indicates His undeviating svarūpa-śakti [Śrī Rādhā]. The word ‘iha’ means ‘in this world’.
[Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Śrī Rādhā, and that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is Svayam Bhagavān, has been established in the fourth line].
tat-pāda-bhājāṁ tac-caraṇāravindaṁ bhajatām | prema prīty-atiśayam | vidhattāṁ kurutāṁ prādurbhāvayatv ity arthaḥ
tat-pāda-bhājāṁ means those who worship His Lotus feet. Prema means unsurpassed love. vidhattāṁ means ‘may he do so’, that is, ‘may he manifest’.
[this line disproves the existence of dormant prema. The word vidhattāṁ means that Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself has to manifest the prema, not that it is already present in the jīva]
So the translation is (Śrī Babaji’s translation, but I modified it somewhat to include elements of the above)
In one feature, Śrī Kṛṣṇa exists as pure consciousness, without any manifest characteristics, and is referred to as Brahman in some portions of the Vedas. In another feature, He expands as the Puruṣa, who regulates māyā by His līlāvatāras and guṇāvatāras. In yet another of His principal forms, He is Nārāyaṇa, resplendent in the spiritual sky, Mahā-Vaikuṇṭha. May that Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the original complete Bhagavān (Svayaṁ Bhagavān), bestow unsurpassed love for Himself on those who worship His lotus feet in this world.
Line 1 establishes Brahman,
Line 2 establishes Paramātmā, His various avatāras, and māyā
Line 3 establishes Nārāyaṇa, the husband of Lakṣmi, as one form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa,
line 4 establishes Śrī Rādhā and Śrī Kṛṣṇa,
Line 4 establishes sādhana (worship of His lotus feet),
Line 4 establishes prema, the goal,
Line 4 establishes Śrī Kṛṣṇa as the giver of that prema.
The rest of the Sandarbhas are expansions of these four lines. Śrī Jīva Goswami Prabhupāda ki jaya! Svayaṁ Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa ki jaya!