Sri Caitanya Caritamrita

Madhya-lila
Chapter 24: The Sixty-One Explanations of the Atmarama Verse

Text* 1: All glories to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who acted as the eastern horizon where the sun of the ātmārāma verse rose. He manifested its rays in the form of different meanings and thus eradicated the darkness of the material world. May He protect the universe.
Text* 2: All glories to Lord Caitanya! All glories to Lord Nityānanda! All glories to Advaitacandra! And all glories to all the devotees of Lord Caitanya!
Text* 3: Thereafter, Sanātana Gosvāmī clasped the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and humbly submitted the following petition.
Text* 4: Sanātana Gosvāmī said, “My Lord, I have heard that previously, at the home of Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, You explained the ātmārāma verse in eighteen different ways.
Text 5: “ ‘Those who are self-satisfied and unattracted by external material desires are also attracted to the loving service of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, whose qualities are transcendental and whose activities are wonderful. Hari, the Personality of Godhead, is called Kṛṣṇa because He has such transcendentally attractive features.’
Text* 6: “I have heard this wonderful story and am therefore very inquisitive to hear Your explanation again. If You would kindly repeat it, I would be very pleased to hear.”
Text* 7: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied, “I am one madman, and Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya is another. Therefore he took My words to be the truth.
Text* 8: “I do not recall what I spoke in that connection, but if something comes to My mind due to association with you, I shall explain it.
Text* 9: “Generally by Myself I cannot give an explanation, but by the strength of your association something may manifest itself.
Text 10: “There are eleven clear words in this verse, but when they are studied separately, various meanings glitter from each word.
Text* 11: “The seven different meanings of the word ‘ātmā’ are the Absolute Truth, the body, the mind, endeavor, firmness, intelligence and nature.
Text 12: “ ‘The following are synonyms of the word “ātmā”: the body, mind, Absolute Truth, natural characteristics, firmness, intelligence and endeavor.’
Text* 13: “The word ‘ātmārāma’ refers to one who enjoys these seven items [the Absolute Truth, body, mind and so on]. Later, I shall enumerate the ātmārāmas.
Text* 14: “My dear Sanātana, first hear the meanings of the other words, beginning with the word ‘muni.’ I shall first explain their separate meanings, then combine them.
Text* 15: “The word ‘muni’ refers to one who is thoughtful, one who is grave or silent, an ascetic, one who keeps great vows, one in the renounced order and a saint. These are the different meanings of the word ‘muni.’
Text* 16: “The word ‘nirgrantha’ refers to one who is liberated from the material knots of ignorance. It also refers to one who is devoid of all regulative principles enjoined in the Vedic literature. It also refers to one who does not have knowledge.
Text* 17: “ ‘Nirgrantha’ also refers to one who is illiterate, lowborn, misbehaved, unregulated and devoid of respect for the Vedic literature. The word also refers to one who is a capitalist and to one who has no riches.
Text 18: “ ‘The prefix “niḥ” may be used for a sense of ascertainment, gradation, construction or forbidding. The word “grantha” means “riches,” “thesis” and “composition.”’
Text* 19: “The word ‘urukrama’ refers to one whose krama [step] is great. The word ‘krama’ means ‘throwing the foot forward,’ that is, ‘stepping.’
Text 20: “ ‘Krama’ also means ‘power,’ ‘trembling,’ ‘a systematic method,’ ‘argument’ and ‘a forcible attack by stepping forward.’ Thus Vāmana caused the three worlds to tremble.
Text 21: “ ‘Even if a learned man is able to count all the minute atoms in this material world, he still cannot count the potencies of Lord Viṣṇu. In the form of the Vāmana incarnation, Lord Viṣṇu, without hindrance, captured all the planets, extending from the root of the material world up to Satyaloka. Indeed, He caused every planetary system to tremble by the force of His steps.’
Text 22: “Through His all-pervasive feature, the Supreme Personality of Godhead has expanded the entire creation. He is holding and maintaining this creation by His extraordinary potency. By His conjugal potency, He maintains the planetary system known as Goloka Vṛndāvana. Through His six opulences, He maintains many Vaikuṇṭha planets.
Text* 23: “The word ‘urukrama’ indicates the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who, by His external potency, has perfectly created innumerable universes.
Text 24: “ ‘These are the different meanings of the word “krama.” It is used in the sense of potency, systematic arrangement, step, moving or trembling.’
Text 25: “The word ‘kurvanti’ means ‘they do something for others,’ since it is a form of the verb ‘to do’ indicating things done for others. It is used in connection with devotional service, which must be executed for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa. That is the purport of the word ‘kurvanti.’
Text 26: “ ‘The terminations of the ātmane-pada are employed when the fruit of the action accrues to the agent of verbs having an indicatory ñ or a svarita accent.’
Text* 27: “The word ‘hetu’ [‘cause’] means that a thing is done for some motive. There can be three motives. One may act to enjoy the result personally, to achieve some material perfection, or to attain liberation.
Text* 28: “First we take the word ‘bhukti’ [‘material enjoyment’], which is of unlimited variety. We may also take the word ‘siddhi’ [‘perfection’], which has eighteen varieties. Similarly, the word ‘mukti’ has five varieties.
Text* 29: “Causeless devotional service is unmotivated by sense enjoyment, perfection or liberation. When one is freed from all these contaminations, he can bring Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is very funny, under control.
Text 30: “There are ten meanings for the word ‘bhakti’ [‘devotional service’]. One is sādhana-bhakti, execution of devotional service according to the regulative principles, and the other nine are varieties of prema-bhakti, ecstatic love of Godhead.
Text* 31: “Next are explained the symptoms of love of Godhead, which can be divided into nine varieties, beginning with attraction and extending up to ecstatic love and finally up to the topmost ecstatic love [mahābhāva].
Text* 32: “The attraction to Kṛṣṇa of devotees on the platform of neutrality increases up to love of Godhead [prema], and the attraction of devotees on the platform of servitorship increases to spontaneous attachment [rāga].
Text* 33: “Devotees in Vṛndāvana who are friends of the Lord can increase their ecstatic love to the point of anurāga. Parental affectionate lovers, Kṛṣṇa’s father and mother, can increase their love of Godhead up to the end of anurāga.
Text* 34: “The gopīs of Vṛndāvana who are attached to Kṛṣṇa in conjugal love can increase their ecstatic love up to the point of mahābhāva, the greatest ecstatic love. These are some of the glorious meanings of the word ‘bhakti.’
Text* 35: “Please hear the meaning of the word ‘ittham-bhūta-guṇa,’ which is found in the ātmārāma verse. ‘Ittham-bhūta’ has different meanings, and ‘guṇa’ has other meanings.
Text* 36: “The word ‘ittham-bhūta’ is transcendentally exalted because it means ‘full of transcendental bliss.’ Before this transcendental bliss, the bliss derived from merging into the existence of the Absolute [brahmānanda] becomes like a piece of straw in comparison.
Text 37: “ ‘My dear Lord, O master of the universe, since I have directly seen You, my transcendental bliss has taken the shape of a great ocean. Being situated in that ocean, I now realize all other so-called happiness to be like the water contained in the hoofprint of a calf.’
Text* 38: “Lord Kṛṣṇa is so exalted that He is more attractive than anything else and more pleasing than anything else. He is the most sublime abode of bliss. By His own strength, He causes one to forget all other ecstasies.
Text* 39: “Pure devotional service is so sublime that one can very easily forget the happiness derived from material enjoyment, material liberation and mystic or yogic perfection. Thus the devotee is bound by Kṛṣṇa’s mercy and His uncommon power and qualities.
Text* 40: “When one is attracted to Kṛṣṇa on the transcendental platform, there is no longer any logical argument on the basis of revealed scripture, nor are there considerations of such conclusions. This is His transcendental quality that is the essence of all transcendental sweetness.
Text* 41: “The word ‘guṇa’ means ‘quality.’ The qualities of Kṛṣṇa are transcendentally situated and are unlimited in quantity. All of the spiritual qualities are full of transcendental bliss.
Text* 42: “Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental qualities of opulence, sweetness and mercy are perfect and full. As far as Kṛṣṇa’s affectionate leaning toward His devotees is concerned, He is so magnanimous that He can give Himself to His devotees.
Text* 43: “Kṛṣṇa has unlimited qualities. The devotees are attracted by His uncommon beauty, mellows and fragrance. Thus they are differently situated in the different transcendental mellows. Therefore Kṛṣṇa is called all-attractive.
Text* 44: “The minds of the four boy sages [Sanaka, Sanātana, Sanandana and Sanat-kumāra] were attracted to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa by the aroma of the tulasī that had been offered to the Lord.
Text 45: “ ‘When the breeze carrying the aroma of tulasī leaves and saffron from the lotus feet of the lotus-eyed Personality of Godhead entered through the nostrils into the hearts of those sages [the Kumāras], they experienced a change in both body and mind, even though they were attached to the impersonal Brahman understanding.’
Text* 46: “Śukadeva’s mind was carried away by hearing the pastimes of the Lord.
Text 47: “[Śukadeva Gosvāmī addressed Parīkṣit Mahārāja:] ‘My dear King, although I was fully situated in the transcendental position, I was nonetheless attracted to the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Therefore I studied Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from my father.’
Text 48: “ ‘I offer my respectful obeisances unto Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the son of Vyāsadeva and the destroyer of all sinful reactions. Being full in self-realization and bliss, he had no material desire. Still, he was attracted by the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and out of compassion for the people he described the transcendental historical literature called Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. This is compared to the light of the Absolute Truth.’
Text* 49: “Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa attracts the minds of all the gopīs with His beautiful, transcendental bodily features.
Text 50: “ ‘Dear Kṛṣṇa, we have simply surrendered ourselves as Your maidservants, for we have seen Your beautiful face decorated with tresses of hair, Your earrings falling upon Your cheeks, the nectar of Your lips, and the beauty of Your smile. Indeed, because we have also been embraced by Your arms, which give us courage, and seen Your chest, which is beautiful and broad, we have surrendered ourselves.’
Text* 51: “The queens in Dvārakā, headed by Rukmiṇī, are also attracted to Kṛṣṇa simply by hearing about His transcendental beauty and qualities.
Text 52: “ ‘O most beautiful Kṛṣṇa, I have heard about Your transcendental qualities from others, and therefore all my bodily miseries are relieved. If someone sees Your transcendental beauty, his eyes have attained everything profitable in life. O infallible one, I have become shameless after hearing of Your qualities, and I have become attracted to You.’
Text* 53: “Lord Kṛṣṇa even attracts the mind of the goddess of fortune simply by vibrating His transcendental flute.
Text 54: “ ‘O Lord, we do not know how the serpent Kāliya attained such an opportunity to be touched by the dust of Your lotus feet. For this end, the goddess of fortune performed austerities for centuries, giving up all other desires and taking austere vows. Indeed, we do not know how this serpent Kāliya got such an opportunity.’
Text* 55: “Kṛṣṇa attracts not only the minds of the gopīs and the goddesses of fortune but the minds of all the young girls in the three worlds as well.
Text 56: “ ‘My dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, where is that woman within the three worlds who would not be captivated by the rhythms of the sweet songs coming from Your wonderful flute? Who would not fall down from the path of chastity in this way? Your beauty is the most sublime within the three worlds. Upon seeing Your beauty, even cows, birds, animals and trees in the forest become stunned in jubilation.’
Text* 57: “The women of Vṛndāvana who are on the level of superior guardians are attracted to Lord Kṛṣṇa maternally. The men of Vṛndāvana are attracted as servants, friends and fathers.
Text* 58: “The qualities of Kṛṣṇa captivate and attract everything, living and nonliving. Even birds, animals and trees are attracted to Kṛṣṇa’s qualities.
Text* 59: “Although the word ‘hari’ has many different meanings, two of them are foremost. One meaning is that the Lord takes away all inauspicious things from His devotee, and the second meaning is that He attracts the mind by ecstatic love for God.
Text 60: “When the devotee somehow or other always remembers the Supreme Personality of Godhead anywhere and everywhere, Lord Hari takes away life’s four miserable conditions.
Text 61: “ ‘As all fuel is burned to ashes by a full-fledged fire, all sinful activities are totally erased when one engages in devotional service to Me.’
Text* 62: “In this way, when all sinful activities are vanquished by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one gradually vanquishes all kinds of impediments on the path of devotional service, as well as the ignorance resulting from these impediments. After this, one totally manifests his original love of Godhead through devotional service in nine different ways — hearing, chanting and so forth.
Text* 63: “When the devotee is freed from all sinful material activities, Kṛṣṇa attracts his body, mind and senses to His service. Thus Kṛṣṇa is very merciful, and His transcendental qualities are very attractive.
Text 64: “When one’s mind, senses and body are attracted to the transcendental qualities of Hari, one gives up the four principles of material success. Thus I have explained the chief meanings of the word ‘hari.’
Text* 65: “When the conjunctions ‘ca’ [‘and’] and ‘api’ [‘although’] are added to this verse, the verse can assume whatever meaning one wants to give it.
Text* 66: “The word ‘ca’ can be explained in seven ways.
Text 67: “ ‘The word “ca” [“and”] is used to connect a word or sentence with a previous word or sentence, to give the sense of aggregation, to assist the meaning, to give a collective understanding, to suggest another effort or exertion, or to fulfill the meter of a verse. It is also used in the sense of certainty.’
Text* 68: “There are seven chief meanings of the word ‘api.’ They are as follows.
Text 69: “ ‘The word “api” is used in the sense of possibility, question, doubt, censure, aggregation, appropriate application of things, and extravagance.’
Text* 70: “I have now described the different meanings of the eleven separate words. Now let Me give the complete meaning of the śloka, as it is applied in different places.
Text* 71: “The word ‘brahma’ indicates the summum bonum, the Absolute Truth, which is greater than all other truths. It is the original identity, and there can be nothing equal to that Absolute Truth.
Text 72: “ ‘I offer my respectful obeisances to the Absolute Truth, the summum bonum. He is the all-pervasive, all-increasing subject matter for the great yogīs. He is changeless, and He is the soul of all.’
Text* 73: “The proper meaning of the word ‘brahma’ is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is one without a second and without whom nothing else exists.
Text 74: “ ‘Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth say that it is nondual knowledge and is called impersonal Brahman, localized Paramātmā and the Personality of Godhead.’
Text* 75: “That Absolute Truth without a second is Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the supreme truth in the past, present and future. That is the evidence of all revealed scriptures.
Text 76: “ ‘Prior to the cosmic creation, only I exist, and no phenomena exist, either gross, subtle or primordial. After creation, only I exist in everything, and after annihilation only I remain eternally.’
Text* 77: “The word ‘ātmā’ [‘self’] indicates the highest truth, Kṛṣṇa. He is the all-pervasive witness of all, and He is the supreme form.
Text 78: “ ‘Hari, the Personality of Godhead, is the all-pervasive original source of everything; He is therefore the Supersoul of everything.’
Text* 79: “There are three ways to attain the lotus feet of the Absolute Truth, Kṛṣṇa. There is the process of philosophical speculation, the practice of mystic yoga and the execution of devotional service. Each of these has its different characteristics.
Text* 80: “The Absolute Truth is the same, but according to the process by which one understands Him, He appears in three forms — as Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Text* 81: “ ‘Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth say that it is nondual knowledge and is called impersonal Brahman, localized Paramātmā and the Personality of Godhead.’
Text* 82: “Although the words ‘brahma’ and ‘ātmā’ indicate Kṛṣṇa, their direct meaning refers only to the impersonal Brahman and the Supersoul respectively.
Text* 83: “If one follows the path of philosophical speculation, the Absolute Truth manifests Himself as impersonal Brahman, and if one follows the path of mystic yoga, He manifests Himself as the Supersoul.
Text* 84: “There are two kinds of devotional activity — spontaneous and regulative. By spontaneous devotional service, one attains the original Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, and by the regulative process one attains the expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Text* 85: “By executing spontaneous devotional service in Vṛndāvana, one attains the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa.
Text 86: “ ‘The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, the son of mother Yaśodā, is accessible to those devotees engaged in spontaneous loving service, but He is not as easily accessible to mental speculators, to those striving for self-realization by severe austerities and penances, or to those who consider the body the same as the self.’
Text* 87: “By executing regulative devotional service, one becomes an associate of Nārāyaṇa and attains the Vaikuṇṭhalokas, the spiritual planets in the spiritual sky.
Text 88: “ ‘Those who discuss the activities of Lord Kṛṣṇa are on the highest platform of devotional life, and they evince the symptoms of tears in the eyes and bodily jubilation. Such persons discharge devotional service to Kṛṣṇa without practicing the rules and regulations of the mystic yoga system. They possess all spiritual qualities, and they are elevated to the Vaikuṇṭha planets, which exist above us.’
Text* 89: “The devotees are divided into three categories — akāma [desireless], mokṣa-kāma [desiring liberation] and sarva-kāma [desiring material perfection].
Text 90: “ ‘One who is actually intelligent, although he may be a devotee free from material desires, a karmī desiring all kinds of material facilities, or a jñānī desiring liberation, should seriously engage in bhakti-yoga for the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.’
Text* 91: “The meaning of the word ‘udāra-dhī’ is buddhimān — intelligent or considerate. Because of this, even for one’s own sense gratification one engages in the devotional service of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
Text* 92: “The other processes cannot yield results unless they are associated with devotional service. Devotional service, however, is so strong and independent that it can give one all the desired results.
Text 93: “With the exception of devotional service, all the methods of self-realization are like the nipples on the neck of a goat. Therefore an intelligent person adopts only devotional service, giving up all other processes of self-realization.
Text 94: “ ‘O best among the Bharatas [Arjuna], four kinds of pious men render devotional service unto Me — the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.’
Text* 95: “Materialistic devotees take to devotional service and worship Kṛṣṇa when they are distressed or in need of money. Those who are actually inquisitive to understand the supreme source of everything and those who are in search of knowledge are called transcendentalists, for they desire liberation from all material contamination.
Text* 96: “Because they have a pious background, all four types of people are to be considered greatly fortunate. Such people gradually give up material desires and become pure devotees.
Text* 97: “One is elevated to the platform of devotional life by the mercy of a Vaiṣṇava, the bona fide spiritual master, and by the special mercy of Kṛṣṇa. On that platform, one gives up all material desires and the association of unwanted people. Thus one is elevated to the platform of pure devotional service.
Text 98: “ ‘The intelligent, who have understood the Supreme Lord in the association of pure devotees and have become free from bad, materialistic association, can never avoid hearing the glories of the Lord, even though they have heard them only once.’
Text* 99: “Cheating oneself and cheating others is called kaitava. Associating with those who cheat in this way is called duḥsaṅga, bad association. Those who desire things other than Kṛṣṇa’s service are also called duḥsaṅga, bad association.
Text 100: “ ‘The great scripture Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, compiled by Mahāmuni Vyāsadeva from four original verses, describes the most elevated and kindhearted devotees and completely rejects the cheating ways of materially motivated religiosity. It propounds the highest principle of eternal religion, which can factually mitigate the threefold miseries of a living being and award the highest benediction of full prosperity and knowledge. Those willing to hear the message of this scripture in a submissive attitude of service can at once capture the Supreme Lord in their hearts. Therefore there is no need for any scripture other than Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.’
Text* 101: “The prefix ‘pra’ in the word ‘projjhita’ specifically refers to those desiring liberation or oneness with the Supreme. Such a desire should be understood to be the foremost cheating propensity. The great commentator Śrīdhara Svāmī has explained this verse in that way.
Text* 102: “When merciful Lord Kṛṣṇa understands that a foolish devotee desires material prosperity, He gratefully gives him the shelter of His lotus feet. In this way, the Lord covers the devotee’s undesirable ambitions.
Text 103: “ ‘Whenever Kṛṣṇa is requested to fulfill one’s desire, He undoubtedly does so, but He does not award anything which, after being enjoyed, will cause one to petition Him again and again to fulfill further desires. When one has other desires but engages in the Lord’s service, Kṛṣṇa forcibly gives one shelter at His lotus feet, where one will forget all other desires.’
Text 104: “Association with a devotee, the mercy of Kṛṣṇa, and the nature of devotional service help one to give up all undesirable association and gradually attain elevation to the platform of love of Godhead.
Text* 105: “In this way I shall progressively explain all the words in the ātmārāma verse. It should be understood that all these words are meant to enable one to taste the transcendental qualities of Kṛṣṇa.
Text* 106: “I have given all these explanations just to give some indication of the verse’s meaning. Now let Me explain the real meaning of the verse.
Text* 107: “There are two kinds of worshipers on the path of philosophical speculation — one is called brahma-upāsaka, a worshiper of the impersonal Brahman, and the other is called mokṣākāṅkṣī, one who desires liberation.
Text* 108: “There are three types of people who worship the impersonal Brahman. The first is the beginner, the second is one whose thoughts are absorbed in Brahman, and the third is one who is actually merged in the impersonal Brahman.
Text* 109: “One cannot attain liberation simply through philosophical speculation devoid of devotional service. However, if one renders devotional service, he is automatically on the Brahman platform.
Text* 110: “Characteristically, one in devotional service is attracted away from the impersonal Brahman platform. He is offered a transcendental body to engage in Lord Kṛṣṇa’s service.
Text 111: “When one gets a devotee’s spiritual body, he can remember the transcendental qualities of Kṛṣṇa. Simply by being attracted to Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental qualities, one becomes a pure devotee engaged in His service.
Text 112: “ ‘Even a liberated soul merged in the impersonal Brahman effulgence is attracted to the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. He thus installs a Deity and renders the Lord service.’
Text* 113: “Although Śukadeva Gosvāmī and the four Kumāras were always absorbed in the thought of impersonal Brahman and were thus Brahmavādīs, they were nonetheless attracted by the transcendental pastimes and qualities of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore they later became devotees of Kṛṣṇa.
Text* 114: “The minds of the four Kumāras were attracted by the aroma of the flowers offered to Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet. Being thus attracted by the transcendental qualities of Kṛṣṇa, they engaged in pure devotional service.
Text 115: “ ‘When the breeze carrying the aroma of tulasī leaves and saffron from the lotus feet of the lotus-eyed Personality of Godhead entered through the nostrils into the hearts of those sages [the Kumāras], they experienced a change in both body and mind, even though they were attached to the impersonal Brahman understanding.’
Text* 116: “By the mercy of Śrīla Vyāsadeva, Śukadeva Gosvāmī was attracted by the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Being thus attracted by Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental qualities, he also became a devotee and engaged in His service.
Text 117: “ ‘Being very much attracted by the transcendental pastimes of the Lord, the mind of Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī was agitated by Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He therefore began to study Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam by the grace of his father.’
Text* 118: “From their very births, the nine great mystic yogīs [Yogendras] were impersonal philosophers of the Absolute Truth. But because they heard about Lord Kṛṣṇa’s qualities from Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and the great sage Nārada, they also became Kṛṣṇa’s devotees.
Text* 119: “In the Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam there is a full description of the devotional service of the nine Yogendras, who rendered devotional service because they were attracted by the Lord’s transcendental qualities.
Text 120: “ ‘The nine Yogendras entered Lord Brahmā’s association and heard from him the real meaning of the topmost Vedic literatures, the Upaniṣads. Although the Yogendras were already conversant in Vedic knowledge, they became very jubilant in Kṛṣṇa consciousness just by listening to Brahmā. Thus they wanted to enter Dvārakā, the abode of Lord Kṛṣṇa. In this way they finally achieved the place known as Raṅga-kṣetra.’
Text* 121: “Those who wish to merge into the impersonal Brahman are also divided into three categories — those desiring to be liberated, those already liberated and those who have realized Brahman.
Text* 122: “There are many people within this material world who desire liberation, and for this purpose they render devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa.
Text 123: “ ‘Those who want to be relieved from the material clutches give up the worship of the various demigods who have fearful bodily features. Such peaceful devotees, who are not envious of the demigods, worship the different forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa.’
Text 124: “If those who are attached to demigod worship fortunately associate with the devotees, their dormant devotional service and appreciation of the Lord’s qualities gradually awaken. In this way they also engage in Kṛṣṇa’s devotional service and give up the desire for liberation and the desire to merge into the existence of impersonal Brahman.
Text 125: “ ‘O great learned devotee, although there are many faults in this material world, there is one good opportunity — the association with devotees. Such association brings about great happiness. Due to this good quality, our strong desire to achieve liberation by merging into the Brahman effulgence has become weakened.’
Text* 126: “By associating with the great saint Nārada, Śaunaka and other great sages gave up the desire for liberation and engaged in Kṛṣṇa’s devotional service.
Text* 127: “Simply by meeting Kṛṣṇa or receiving Kṛṣṇa’s special favor, one can give up the desire for liberation. Being attracted by the transcendental qualities of Kṛṣṇa, one can engage in His service.
Text 128: “ ‘In this Dvārakā-dhāma, I am being attracted by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, who is personified spiritual bliss. Simply by seeing Him, I am feeling great happiness. Oh, I have wasted so much time trying to become self-realized through impersonal cultivation. This is a cause for lamentation!’
Text* 129: “There are many people who are liberated even in this lifetime. Some are liberated by discharging devotional service, and others are liberated through the philosophical speculative process.
Text* 130: “Those who are liberated by devotional service become more and more attracted by the transcendental qualities of Kṛṣṇa. Thus they engage in His service. Those who are liberated by the speculative process eventually fall down again due to offensive activity.
Text 131: “ ‘O lotus-eyed one, those who think they are liberated in this life but are without devotional service to You are of impure intelligence. Although they accept severe austerities and penances and rise to the spiritual position, to impersonal Brahman realization, they fall down again because they neglect to worship Your lotus feet.’
Text 132: “ ‘One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.’
Text 133: “ ‘Although I was worshiped by those on the path of monism and initiated into self-realization through the yoga system, I have nonetheless been forcibly turned into a maidservant by some cunning boy who is always joking with the gopīs.’
Text* 134: “One who has attained his constitutional position by the strength of devotional service attains a transcendental body even in this lifetime. Being attracted by Lord Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental qualities, he fully engages in service at His lotus feet.
Text 135: “ ‘The living entities and other potencies merge into Mahā-Viṣṇu as the Lord lies down and winds up [destroys] the cosmic manifestation. Liberation means being situated in one’s eternal, original form after giving up the changeable gross and subtle bodies.’
Text* 136: “By opposing Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one becomes conditioned and fearful due to the influence of māyā. By executing devotional service faithfully, one is liberated from māyā.
Text 137: “ ‘When the living entity is attracted by the material energy, which is separate from Kṛṣṇa, he is overpowered by fear. Because he is separated from the Supreme Personality of Godhead by the material energy, his conception of life is reversed. In other words, instead of being the eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, he becomes Kṛṣṇa’s competitor. This is called viparyayo ’smṛtiḥ. To nullify this mistake, one who is actually learned and advanced worships the Supreme Personality of Godhead as his spiritual master, worshipful Deity and source of life. He thus worships the Lord by the process of unalloyed devotional service.’
Text 138: “ ‘This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.’
Text* 139: “One does not attain liberation without rendering devotional service. Liberation is attained only by devotional service.
Text 140: “ ‘My dear Lord, devotional service unto You is the only auspicious path. If one gives it up simply for speculative knowledge or the understanding that these living beings are spirit souls and the material world is false, he undergoes a great deal of trouble. He only gains troublesome and inauspicious activities. His actions are like beating a husk that is already devoid of rice. His labor becomes fruitless.’
Text 141: “ ‘O lotus-eyed one, those who think they are liberated in this life but are without devotional service to You are of impure intelligence. Although they accept severe austerities and penances and rise to the spiritual position, to impersonal Brahman realization, they fall down again because they neglect to worship Your lotus feet.’
Text 142: “ ‘If one simply maintains an official position in the four varṇas and āśramas but does not worship the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu, he falls down from his puffed-up position into a hellish condition.’
Text* 143: “When one is actually liberated by executing devotional service, he always engages in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.
Text 144: “ ‘Even a liberated soul merged in the impersonal Brahman effulgence is attracted to the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. He thus installs a Deity and renders the Lord service.’
Text 145: “These six kinds of ātmārāmas engage in the loving service of Kṛṣṇa. The varieties of service are indicated by adding ‘ca,’ and they also bear the meaning of ‘api’ [‘indeed’].
Text* 146: “The six kinds of ātmārāmas render devotional service to Kṛṣṇa without ulterior motives. The words ‘munayaḥ’ and ‘santaḥ’ indicate those who are very much attached to meditating upon Kṛṣṇa.
Text* 147: “The word ‘nirgranthāḥ’ means ‘without ignorance’ and ‘devoid of rules and regulations.’ Whichever meaning fits may be applied.
Text* 148: “The use of the word ‘ca’ in different places produces different meanings. Over and above them, there is another meaning that is very important.
Text* 149: “Although the words ‘ātmārāmāś ca’ would be repeated six times, simply by adding the word ‘ca,’ five ‘ātmārāmas’ are deleted.
Text* 150: “Therefore there is no need to repeat the word ‘ātmārāma.’ One is sufficient, and that one word indicates six persons.
Text 151: “ ‘Of words having the same form and case termination, the last one is the only one retained. For example, the word “rāmāḥ” is used to stand for “rāmaś ca, rāmaś ca, rāmaś ca, etc.”’
Text* 152: “By the aggregate use of the word ‘ca,’ it is indicated that all the ātmārāmas and saints serve and worship Kṛṣṇa.
Text* 153: “ ‘Api’ added to the word ‘nirgranthāḥ’ is used for exposition. Thus I have tried to clarify seven meanings [of the ātmārāma verse].
Text* 154: “The yogī who worships the Supersoul within himself is also called ātmārāma. There are two types of ātmārāma-yogīs.
Text 155: “The two types of ātmārāma-yogīs are called sagarbha and nigarbha. Each of these is divided into three; therefore there are six types of worshipers of the Supersoul.
Text 156: “ ‘Some yogīs think of the Lord within their hearts as measuring about six inches. The Lord has four hands, in which He holds a conchshell, club, disc and lotus flower. Those who worship this form of Viṣṇu within the heart are called sagarbha-yogīs.’
Text 157: “ ‘When one is in ecstatic love with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one’s heart is melted by bhakti-yoga and one feels transcendental bliss. There are bodily symptoms manifest, and due to eagerness, there are tears in the eyes. Thus one is subjected to spiritual bliss. When the heart is overly afflicted, the meditative mind, like a fishing hook, is gradually separated from the object of meditation.’
Text* 158: “By these three divisions of advancement in yoga — yogārurukṣu, yogārūḍha and prāpta-siddhi — there are six kinds of mystic yogīs.
Text 159: “ ‘For those saintly persons who wish to rise to the platform of yogic perfection, the means consists of practicing the yoga system by strictly following its regulative principles and practicing the yoga postures and breathing exercises. And for those who are already elevated to this platform, the means consists of maintaining mental equilibrium [śama] by rejecting all material activity and practicing meditation to keep the mind on the Supreme Lord.
Text* 160: “ ‘When a person is no longer interested in acting for sense gratification and when he renounces all material desires, he is said to be situated in perfect yoga [yogārūḍha].’
Text* 161: “When a purified yogī associates with devotees, he engages in Lord Kṛṣṇa’s devotional service, being attracted by the Lord’s transcendental qualities.
Text* 162: “The meanings of the words ‘ca’ and ‘api’ can be applied here. The meanings of the words ‘muni’ and ‘nirgrantha’ are the same as before.
Text 163: “The word ‘ahaitukī’ is always applicable to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Urukrama. In this way I have described thirteen complete meanings [of the ātmārāma verse].
Text* 164: “These thirteen types of yogīs and munis are called śānta-bhaktas, for they render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the neutral stage.
Text* 165: “The word ‘ātmā’ sometimes means ‘the mind.’ In this case the word ‘ātmārāma’ means ‘a person who is satisfied by mental speculation.’ When such a person associates with a pure devotee, he takes to devotional service at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa.
Text 166: “ ‘Those who follow the path of great, saintly mystic yogīs take to the yogic gymnastic process and begin worshiping from the abdomen, where it is said that Brahman is located. Such people are called śārkarākṣa, which means that they are situated in the gross bodily conception. There are also followers of the ṛṣi known as Āruṇa. Following his path, they observe the activities of the arteries. Thus they gradually rise to the heart, where subtle Brahman, Paramātmā, is situated. They then worship Him. O unlimited Ananta! Better than these persons are the mystic yogīs who worship You from the top of their heads. Beginning with the abdomen and proceeding through the heart, they reach the top of the head and pass through the brahma-randhra, the hole at the top of the skull. Thus these yogīs attain the perfectional platform and do not enter the cycle of birth and death again.’
Text* 167: “Being attracted by the transcendental qualities of Kṛṣṇa, such yogīs become great saints. At that time, not being hampered by the yogic process, they engage in unalloyed devotional service.
Text* 168: “ ‘Ātmā’ also means ‘endeavor.’ Being attracted by Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental qualities, some saints make a great endeavor to come to the point of rendering service to Him.
Text 169: “ ‘The transcendental position cannot be attained by wandering up and down from Brahmaloka and Satyaloka to Pātālaloka. If one is actually intelligent and learned, he should endeavor for that rare transcendental position. By the force of time one attains whatever material happiness is available within the fourteen worlds, just as one attains distress in due course of time. But since spiritual consciousness is not attained in this way, one should try for it.’
Text 170: “ ‘Those who are eager to awaken their spiritual consciousness and who thus have unflinching, undeviated intelligence certainly attain the desired goal of life very soon.’
Text* 171: “The word ‘ca’ may be used in place of ‘api,’ which gives emphasis to something. Thus it means that without sincere endeavor in devotional service, one cannot attain love of Godhead.
Text 172: “ ‘Devotional perfection is very difficult to attain for two reasons. First, unless one is attached to Kṛṣṇa, he cannot attain devotional perfection even if he renders devotional service for a long time. Second, Kṛṣṇa does not easily deliver perfection in devotional service.’
Text 173: “ ‘To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.’
Text* 174: “Another meaning of ‘ātmā’ is dhṛti, or endurance. A person who endeavors with endurance is ātmārāma. With endurance, such a person engages in devotional service.
Text* 175: “The word ‘muni’ also means ‘bird’ and ‘bumblebee.’ The word ‘nirgrantha’ refers to foolish people. By the mercy of Kṛṣṇa, such creatures contact a sādhu [spiritual master] and thus engage in devotional service.
Text 176: “ ‘My dear mother, in this forest, all the birds, after rising on the beautiful branches of the trees, are closing their eyes and, not being attracted by any other sound, are simply listening to the vibration of Kṛṣṇa’s flute. Such birds must be on the same level as great saints.’
Text 177: “ ‘O good fortune personified! O original Personality of Godhead, all these bees are chanting about Your transcendental fame, which will purify the entire universe. Indeed, they are following Your path in the forest and are worshiping You. Actually they are all saintly persons, but now they have taken the form of bees. Although You are playing like a human being, they could not forget that You are their worshipable Deity.’
Text 178: “ ‘All the cranes and swans in the water are being enchanted by the melodious song of Kṛṣṇa’s flute. They have approached and are worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead with full attention. Alas, they are closing their eyes and are becoming completely silent.’
Text 179: “ ‘Kirātas, Hūnas, Āndhras, Pulindas, Pukkaśas, Ābhīras, Śumbhas, Yavanas and members of the Khaśa races, and even others who are addicted to sinful acts, can be purified by taking shelter of the devotees of the Lord, due to His being the supreme power. I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto Him.’
Text* 180: “The word ‘dhṛti’ is also used when one is fully perfect in knowledge. When, due to having obtained the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one has no material miseries, he attains mahā-pūrṇa, the highest level of perfection.
Text 181: “ ‘Dhṛti is the fullness felt due to the absence of misery and the attainment of knowledge of the Supreme Lord and pure love for Him. The lamentation that accrues from not obtaining a goal or from losing something already attained does not affect this completeness.’
Text* 182: “A devotee of Kṛṣṇa is never in a miserable condition, nor does he have any desire other than to serve Kṛṣṇa. He is experienced and advanced. He feels the transcendental bliss of love of Kṛṣṇa and always engages in His service in full perfection.
Text 183: “ ‘My devotees, having fulfilled their desires by serving Me, do not accept the four kinds of salvation that are easily earned by such service. Why then should they accept any pleasures that are lost in the course of time?’
Text* 184: “ ‘In this material world, all living entities are disturbed due to their flickering position. A devotee, however, is fixed in the service of the lotus feet of the Lord, the master of the senses. Such a person is to be considered situated in endurance and patience.’
Text* 185: “The word ‘ca’ is for emphasis, and the word ‘api’ is used to indicate an aggregate. Thus it is to be understood that even dull creatures [birds and illiterates] can also be situated in endurance and engage in Kṛṣṇa’s devotional service.
Text* 186: “The word ‘ātmā’ is also used for a particular type of intelligence. Since all living entities generally have some intelligence, more or less, they are included.
Text* 187: “Everyone has some kind of intelligence, and one who utilizes his intelligence is called an ātmārāma. There are two types of ātmārāmas. One is a learned scholar and philosopher, and the other is an uneducated, illiterate, foolish person.
Text* 188: “By the mercy of Kṛṣṇa and by the association of devotees, one increases his attraction to and intelligence for pure devotional service; therefore one gives up everything and engages himself at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa and His pure devotees.
Text 189: “ ‘I [Kṛṣṇa] am the original source of everything. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My service with love and devotion.’
Text 190: “ ‘Women, fourth-class men, uncivilized hill tribes, hunters and many others born of low families, as well as birds and beasts, can engage in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead — who acts very wonderfully — and follow the path of the devotees and take lessons from them. Although the ocean of nescience is vast, they can still cross over it. What, then, is the difficulty for those who are advanced in Vedic knowledge?’
Text* 191: “Considering all these points, when one engages in the service of Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet, Kṛṣṇa gives one the intelligence by which he can gradually progress toward perfection in service to the Lord.
Text 192: “ ‘To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.’
Text* 193: “To be elevated to the platform of devotional service, the following five items should be observed: association with devotees, engagement in the service of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the reading of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the chanting of the holy names and residence at Vṛndāvana or Mathurā.
Text* 194: “One’s dormant love for Kṛṣṇa gradually awakens if one is a little advanced in one of these five items and is intelligent.
Text 195: “ ‘The power of these five principles is very wonderful and difficult to understand. Even without faith in them, a person who is offenseless can awaken his dormant love of Kṛṣṇa simply by being a little connected with them.’
Text* 196: “If a person is actually liberal and intelligent, he can advance and become perfect in devotional service even if he has material desires and serves the Lord with some motive.
Text 197: “ ‘Whether one desires everything or nothing, or whether he desires to merge into the existence of the Lord, he is intelligent only if he worships Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by rendering transcendental loving service.’
Text* 198: “Devotional service is so strong that when one engages in it, he gradually gives up all material desires and becomes fully attracted to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. All this is brought about by attraction for the transcendental qualities of the Lord.
Text 199: “ ‘Whenever Kṛṣṇa is requested to fulfill one’s desire, He undoubtedly does so, but He does not award anything which, after being enjoyed, will cause one to petition Him again and again to fulfill further desires. When one has other desires but engages in the Lord’s service, Kṛṣṇa forcibly gives one shelter at His lotus feet, where one will forget all other desires.’
Text* 200: “Another meaning of the word ‘ātmā’ is ‘one’s characteristic nature.’ Whoever enjoys his particular type of nature is called ātmārāma. Therefore, all living entities — be they moving or nonmoving — are also called ātmārāma.
Text* 201: “The original nature of every living entity is to consider himself the eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa. But under the influence of māyā he thinks himself to be the body, and thus his original consciousness is covered.
Text 202: “In that case, by the word ‘ca,’ the word ‘eva’ is meant. The word ‘api’ can be taken in the sense of aggregation. Thus the verse would read ātmārāmā eva — that is, ‘even all kinds of living beings worship Kṛṣṇa.’
Text* 203: “Living entities include great personalities like the four Kumāras, and also low-class foolish people, trees, plants, birds and beasts.
Text* 204: “The devotional service of Vyāsa, Śuka and the four Kumāras has already been well celebrated. Now let Me explain how immovable living entities like trees and plants engage in the Lord’s devotional service.
Text 205: “Everyone is eligible to receive Kṛṣṇa’s mercy — including Vyāsadeva, the four Kumāras, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, lowborn creatures, trees, plants and beasts. By Kṛṣṇa’s mercy they are elevated and engaged in His service.
Text 206: “ ‘This land of Vṛndāvana [Vrajabhūmi] is glorified today because Your lotus feet have touched her earth and grass, Your fingernails have touched her trees and creepers, and Your merciful eyes have glanced upon her rivers, hills, birds and beasts. The gopīs have been embraced by Your arms, and even the goddess of fortune desires this. Now all of these are glorified.’
Text 207: “ ‘My dear friend, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma are passing through the forest leading Their cows with Their cowherd boyfriends. They both carry ropes with which, at the time of milking, They bind the rear legs of the cows. When They play on Their flutes, all moving living entities are stunned, and nonmoving living entities experience ecstatic jubilation by Their sweet music. All these things are certainly very wonderful.’
Text 208: “ ‘The plants, creepers and trees were full of fruits and flowers due to ecstatic love of Kṛṣṇa. Indeed, being so full, they were bowing down. They were inspired by such deep love for Kṛṣṇa that they were constantly pouring showers of honey. In this way the gopīs saw all the forests of Vṛndāvana.’
Text* 209: “ ‘Kirātas, Hūnas, Āndhras, Pulindas, Pukkaśas, Ābhīras, Śumbhas, Yavanas and members of the Khaśa races, and even others who are addicted to sinful acts, can be purified by taking shelter of the devotees of the Lord, due to His being the supreme power. I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto Him.’
Text 210: “I have already spoken about thirteen meanings [of the ātmārāma verse]. Now there are six more. Combined, these make nineteen.
Text 211: “I have already explained nineteen different meanings. Now please hear further meanings. The word ‘ātma’ also refers to the body, and this can be taken in four ways.
Text* 212: “One in the bodily conception worships his own body as Brahman, but when he comes in contact with a devotee, he gives up this mistaken idea and engages himself in the devotional service of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
Text 213: “ ‘Those who follow the path of great, saintly mystic yogīs take to the yogic gymnastic process and begin worshiping from the abdomen, where it is said that Brahman is located. Such people are called śārkarākṣa, which means that they are situated in the gross bodily conception. There are also followers of the ṛṣi known as Āruṇa. Following his path, they observe the activities of the arteries. Thus they gradually rise to the heart, where subtle Brahman, Paramātmā, is situated. They then worship Him. O unlimited Ananta! Better than these persons are the mystic yogīs who worship You from the top of their heads. Beginning with the abdomen and proceeding through the heart, they reach the top of the head and pass through the brahma-randhra, the hole at the top of the skull. Thus these yogīs attain the perfectional platform and do not enter the cycle of birth and death again.’
Text* 214: “Those who are in the bodily conception mainly engage in fruitive activity. Those who perform yajñas and ritualistic ceremonies are also considered in the same category. However, when such persons come in contact with the pure devotee, they give up their fruitive activity and fully engage in the service of the Lord.
Text 215: “ ‘We have just begun performing this fruitive activity, a sacrificial fire, but due to the many imperfections in our action, we are not certain of its result. Our bodies have become black from the smoke, but we are factually pleased by the nectar of the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead, Govinda, which you are distributing.’
Text* 216: “The tapasvīs, those who undergo severe austerities and penances to elevate themselves to the higher planetary systems, are also in the same category. When such persons come in contact with a devotee, they give up all those practices and engage in Lord Kṛṣṇa’s service.
Text 217: “ ‘The taste for loving service is like the water of the river Ganges, which flows from the feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Every day that taste diminishes the results of sinful activities acquired over a period of many births by those who perform austerities.’
Text* 218: “As long as one labors under the bodily conception, he must fulfill volumes and volumes of material desires. Thus a person is called ātmārāma. When such an ātmārāma is favored by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa, he gives up his so-called self-satisfaction and engages in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.
Text 219: “[When he was being blessed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Dhruva Mahārāja said:] ‘O my Lord, because I was seeking an opulent material position, I was performing severe types of penance and austerity. Now I have gotten You, who are very difficult for the great demigods, saintly persons and kings to attain. I was searching after a piece of glass, but instead I have found a most valuable jewel. Therefore I am so satisfied that I do not wish to ask any benediction from You.’
Text 220: “In addition to the nineteen meanings of the verse mentioned previously, there are these four further meanings when the word ‘ātmārāma’ is taken to mean ‘those laboring under the bodily conception.’ This brings the total to twenty-three. Now hear of another three meanings, which are very suitable.
Text* 221: “As mentioned above, the word ‘ca’ can be used to mean ‘aggregate.’ According to this meaning, all the ātmārāmas and munis engage in Kṛṣṇa’s service. Besides ‘aggregate,’ there is another meaning of the word ‘ca.’
Text 222: “The word ‘nirgranthāḥ’ can be used as an adjective, and ‘api’ can be used in the sense of certainty. For instance, rāmaś ca kṛṣṇaś ca means that both Rāma and Kṛṣṇa enjoy walking in the forest.
Text* 223: “The word ‘ca’ can also present a secondary thing to be done at the same time. This way of understanding the word ‘ca’ is called anvācaye. An example is ‘O brahmacārī, go out to collect alms and at the same time bring in the cows.’
Text 224: “Saintly persons who are always meditating upon Kṛṣṇa are engaged in the devotional service of the Lord. The ātmārāmas are also engaged in the Lord’s service. That is the indirect import.
Text* 225: “The word ‘ca’ can also be used to indicate the certainty that only saintly persons are engaged in rendering devotional service to Kṛṣṇa. In the combination ‘ātmārāmā api,’ ‘api’ is used in the sense of censure.
Text* 226: “The word ‘nirgrantha’ can be taken as an adjective modifying ‘muni’ and ‘ātmārāma.’ There is another meaning, which you may hear from Me, indicating association with a devotee. Now I shall explain how it is that through the association of devotees, even a nirgrantha can become a devotee.
Text* 227: “The word ‘nirgrantha,’ when combined with ‘api’ used in the sense of certainty, indicates a person who is a hunter by profession or who is very poor. Nonetheless, when such a person associates with a great saint like Nārada, he engages in Lord Kṛṣṇa’s devotional service.
Text* 228: “The words ‘kṛṣṇārāmaś ca’ refer to one who takes pleasure in thinking of Kṛṣṇa. Even though such a person may be a hunter, he is still worshipable and is the best of devotees.
Text* 229: “I shall now narrate the story of how a hunter became a great devotee by the association of such an exalted personality as Nārada Muni. From this story, one can understand the greatness of association with pure devotees.
Text 230: “Once upon a time the great saint Nārada, after visiting Lord Nārāyaṇa in the Vaikuṇṭhas, went to Prayāga to bathe at the confluence of three rivers — the Ganges, Yamunā and Sarasvatī.
Text* 231: “Nārada Muni saw that a deer was lying on the path through the forest and that it was pierced by an arrow. It had broken legs and was twisting due to much pain.
Text* 232: “Farther ahead, Nārada Muni saw a boar pierced by an arrow. Its legs were also broken, and it was twisting in pain.
Text* 233: “When he went farther, he saw a rabbit that was also suffering. Nārada Muni was greatly pained at heart to see living entities suffer so.
Text* 234: “When Nārada Muni advanced farther, he saw a hunter behind a tree. This hunter was holding arrows, and he was ready to kill more animals.
Text* 235: “The hunter’s body was blackish. He had reddish eyes, and he appeared fierce. It was as if the superintendent of death, Yamarāja, were standing there with a bow and arrows in his hands.
Text* 236: “When Nārada Muni left the forest path and went to the hunter, all the animals immediately saw him and fled.
Text* 237: “When all the animals fled, the hunter wanted to chastise Nārada with abusive language, but due to Nārada’s presence, he could not utter anything abusive.
Text* 238: “The hunter addressed Nārada Muni: ‘O gosvāmī! O great saintly person! Why have you left the general path through the forest to come to me? Simply by seeing you, all the animals I was hunting have now fled.’
Text* 239: “Nārada Muni replied, ‘Leaving the path, I have come to you to settle a doubt that is in my mind.
Text 240: “ ‘I was wondering whether all the boars and other animals that are half-killed belong to you.’
Text* 241: “Nārada Muni then inquired, ‘Why did you not kill the animals completely? Why did you half-kill them by piercing their bodies with arrows?’
Text* 242: “The hunter replied, ‘My dear saintly person, my name is Mṛgāri, enemy of animals. My father taught me to kill them in that way.
Text* 243: “ ‘When I see half-killed animals suffer, I feel great pleasure.’
Text 244: “Nārada Muni then told the hunter, ‘I have one thing to beg of you.’
Text* 245: “ ‘I have many skins, if you would like them. I shall give you either a deerskin or a tiger skin.’
Text* 246: “Nārada Muni said, ‘I do not want any of the skins. I am asking only one thing from you in charity.
Text* 247: “ ‘I beg you that from this day on you will kill animals completely and not leave them half-dead.’
Text* 248: “The hunter replied, ‘My dear sir, what are you asking of me? What is wrong with the animals’ lying there half-killed? Will you please explain this to me?’
Text 249: “Nārada Muni replied, ‘If you leave the animals half-dead, you are purposefully giving them pain. Therefore you will have to suffer in retaliation.’
Text 250: “Nārada Muni continued, ‘My dear hunter, your business is killing animals. That is a slight offense on your part. But when you consciously give them unnecessary pain by leaving them half-dead, you incur very great sins.’
Text 251: “Nārada Muni continued, ‘All the animals that you have killed and given unnecessary pain will kill you one after the other in your next life and in life after life.’
Text 252: “In this way, through the association of the great sage Nārada Muni, the hunter was a little convinced of his sinful activity. He therefore became somewhat afraid due to his offenses.
Text 253: “The hunter then admitted that he was convinced of his sinful activity, and he said, ‘I have been taught this business from my very childhood. Now I am wondering how I can become freed from these unlimited volumes of sinful activity.’
Text 254: “The hunter continued, ‘My dear sir, please tell me how I can be relieved from the reactions of my sinful life. Now I fully surrender unto you and fall down at your lotus feet. Please deliver me from sinful reactions.’
Text 255: “Nārada Muni assured the hunter, ‘If you listen to my instructions, I shall find the way you can be liberated.’
Text 256: “The hunter then said, ‘My dear sir, whatever you say I shall do.’
Text 257: “The hunter replied, ‘If I break my bow, how shall I maintain myself?’
Text 258: “Being thus assured by the great sage Nārada Muni, the hunter broke his bow, immediately fell down at the saint’s lotus feet and fully surrendered. After this, Nārada Muni raised him with his hand and gave him instructions for spiritual advancement.
Text 259: “Nārada Muni then advised the hunter, ‘Return home and distribute whatever riches you have to the pure brāhmaṇas who know the Absolute Truth. After you have distributed all your riches to the brāhmaṇas, you and your wife should leave home, each of you taking only one cloth to wear.’
Text* 260: “Nārada Muni continued, ‘Leave your home and go to the river. There you should construct a small cottage, and in front of the cottage you should grow a tulasī plant on a raised platform.
Text 261: “ ‘After planting the tulasī tree before your house, you should daily circumambulate that tulasī plant, serve her by giving her water and other things, and continuously chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra.’
Text 262: “Nārada Muni continued, ‘Every day I shall send sufficient food to you both. You can take as much food as you want.’
Text* 263: “The three animals that were half-killed were then brought to their consciousness by the sage Nārada. Indeed, the animals got up and swiftly fled.
Text* 264: “When the hunter saw the half-killed animals flee, he was certainly struck with wonder. He then offered his respectful obeisances to the sage Nārada and returned home.
Text 265: “After all this, Nārada Muni went to his destination. After the hunter returned home, he exactly followed the instructions of his spiritual master, Nārada.
Text 266: “The news that the hunter had become a Vaiṣṇava spread all over the village. Indeed, all the villagers brought alms and presented them to the Vaiṣṇava who had formerly been a hunter.
Text* 267: “In one day enough food was brought for ten or twenty people, but the hunter and his wife would accept only as much as they could eat.
Text* 268: “One day, while speaking to his friend Parvata Muni, Nārada Muni requested him to go with him to see his disciple the hunter.
Text* 269: “As the saintly sages approached the hunter’s place, the hunter could see them from a distance.
Text* 270: “With great alacrity the hunter began to run toward his spiritual master, but he could not fall down and offer obeisances because ants were running hither and thither around his feet.
Text 271: “Seeing the ants, the hunter whisked them away with a piece of cloth. After thus clearing the ants from the ground, he fell down flat to offer his obeisances.
Text 272: “Nārada Muni said, ‘My dear hunter, such behavior is not at all astonishing. A man in devotional service is automatically nonviolent. He is the best of gentlemen.
Text 273: “ ‘O hunter, good qualities like nonviolence, which you have developed, are not very astonishing, for those engaged in the Lord’s devotional service are never inclined to give pain to others because of envy.’
Text* 274: “The hunter then received the two great sages in the courtyard of his house. He spread out a straw mat for them to sit upon, and with great devotion he begged them to sit down.
Text 275: “He then fetched water and washed the sages’ feet with great devotion. Then both husband and wife drank that water and sprinkled it on their heads.
Text* 276: “When the hunter chanted the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra before his spiritual master, his body trembled and tears welled up in his eyes. Filled with ecstatic love, he raised his hands and began to dance, waving his garments up and down.
Text 277: “When Parvata Muni saw the ecstatic loving symptoms of the hunter, he told Nārada, ‘Certainly you are a touchstone.’
Text 278: “Parvata Muni continued, ‘My dear friend Nārada Muni, you are glorified as the sage among the demigods. By your mercy, even a lowborn person like this hunter can immediately become attached to Lord Kṛṣṇa.’
Text 279: “Nārada Muni then asked the hunter, ‘My dear Vaiṣṇava, do you have some income for your maintenance?’
Text 280: “The former hunter said, ‘Please do not send so much grain. Only send what is sufficient for two people, no more.’
Text* 281: “Nārada Muni approved his not wanting more than a daily supply of food, and he blessed him, saying, ‘You are fortunate.’ Nārada Muni and Parvata Muni then disappeared from that place.
Text 282: “Thus I have narrated the incident of the hunter. By hearing this narration, one can understand the influence of association with devotees.
Text* 283: “In this way we have found three more meanings [of the ātmārāma verse]. Combine these with the other meanings, and the total number of meanings adds up to twenty-six in all.
Text 284: “There is yet another meaning, which is full of a variety of imports. Actually there are two gross meanings and thirty-two subtle meanings.
Text 285: “The word ‘ātmā’ refers to all the different Personalities of Godhead. One of them is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, Kṛṣṇa, and the others are different incarnations or expansions of Kṛṣṇa.
Text* 286: “One who always engages in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is called ātmārāma. There are two types of ātmārāmas. One is an ātmārāma engaged in regulative devotional service, and the other is an ātmārāma engaged in spontaneous devotional service.
Text* 287: “Both the ātmārāmas engaged in regulative devotional service and those engaged in spontaneous devotional service are further categorized into four groups. There are the eternal associates, the associates who have become perfect by devotional service, and those who are practicing devotional service and are called sādhakas, of whom there are two varieties.
Text* 288: “Those who are practicing devotional service are either mature or immature. Therefore the sādhakas are of two types. Since the devotees execute either regulative devotional service or spontaneous devotional service and there are four groups within these two divisions, altogether there are eight varieties.
Text* 289: “By executing regulative devotional service, one is elevated to the platform of an eternally perfect associate, such as a servant, friend, superior or beloved woman. Each of these is of four varieties.
Text* 290: “Among those who have perfected themselves by devotional service, there are servants, friends, superiors and beloved damsels. Similarly, there are four types of mature devotees.
Text* 291: “Within the category of regulative devotional service, there are also immature devotees. These are also of four varieties. Thus in regulative devotional service there are altogether sixteen varieties.
Text* 292: “On the path of spontaneous devotional service, there are also sixteen categories of devotees. Thus there are thirty-two types of ātmārāmas enjoying the Supreme Lord on these two paths.
Text* 293: “When these thirty-two types of devotees are qualified with the words ‘muni,’ ‘nirgrantha,’ ‘ca’ and ‘api,’ the meanings can be increased in different ways and very soundly elaborated upon.
Text* 294: “When we add the twenty-six types of devotees to these thirty-two, they altogether number fifty-eight. You may now hear from Me of further manifestations of meanings.
Text* 295: “In this way, as I add the word ‘ca’ to one word after another, I make a compound. Thus the different names of ātmārāmas can be taken fifty-eight times.
Text* 296: “In this way, one can repeat the word ‘ātmārāmāḥ’ with ‘ca’ for each of the fifty-eight meanings. By following the rule previously stated and rejecting all but the last, we retain that which represents all the meanings.
Text 297: “ ‘Of words having the same form and case termination, the last one is the only one retained.’
Text* 298: “When all the ca-kāras, or additions of the word ‘ca,’ are taken away, fifty-eight different meanings can still be understood by the one word ‘ātmārāma.’
Text* 299: “ ‘By the plural word ‘vṛkṣāḥ’ [‘trees’], all trees, such as banyan trees, fig trees, kapittha trees and mango trees, are indicated.’
Text* 300: “The ātmārāma verse is like the sentence ‘In this forest many different trees bear fruit.’ All ātmārāmas render devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa.
Text* 301: “After uttering the word ‘ātmārāmāḥ’ fifty-eight times and taking ‘ca’ in a sense of aggregation, one may add the word ‘munayaḥ.’ That will mean that great sages also render devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa. In this way there are fifty-nine meanings.
Text* 302: “Then taking the word ‘nirgranthāḥ’ and considering ‘api’ in the sense of sustenance, I have tried to explain a fifty-ninth meaning of the verse.
Text 303: “Taking all the words together, there is another meaning. Whether one is an ātmārāma, a great sage or a nirgrantha, everyone must engage in the service of the Lord.
Text* 304: “The word ‘api’ is then used in the sense of ascertainment, and then the word ‘eva’ can be uttered four times with four words.
Text* 305: “The words ‘urukrama,’ ‘bhakti,’ ‘ahaitukī’ and ‘kurvanti’ are added to the word ‘eva’ again and again. Thus another meaning is explained.
Text* 306: “Now I have given sixty different meanings of the verse, and yet there is another meaning which is also very strongly evident.
Text* 307: “The word ‘ātmā’ also refers to the living entity who knows about his body. That is another symptom. From Lord Brahmā down to the insignificant ant, everyone is counted as the marginal potency of the Lord.
Text 308: “ ‘The potency of Lord Viṣṇu is summarized in three categories — namely the spiritual potency, the living entities and ignorance. The spiritual potency is full of knowledge; the living entities, although belonging to the spiritual potency, are subject to bewilderment; and the third energy, which is full of ignorance, is always visible in fruitive activities.’
Text 309: “ ‘The word ‘kṣetrajña’ refers to the living entity, the enjoyer, the chief and material nature.’
Text* 310: “The living entities are wandering in different species of life on different planets, but if by chance they get the association of a pure devotee [sādhu], they give up all other engagements and engage in the service of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
Text* 311: “I have thus explained sixty different meanings, and all of them aim at the service of Lord Kṛṣṇa. After giving so many examples, that is the only meaning.
Text 312: “Now, due to your association, another meaning has awakened. It is due to your devotional service that these waves of meaning are arising.
Text 313: “[Lord Śiva said:] ‘I may know; Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the son of Vyāsadeva, may know; and Vyāsadeva may know or may not know Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. On the whole, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the spotless Purāṇa, can be learned only through devotional service, not by material intelligence, speculative methods or imaginary commentaries.’ ”
Text* 314: After hearing all the explanations of all the different meanings of the ātmārāma verse, Sanātana Gosvāmī was struck with wonder. He fell down at the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and began to offer prayers.
Text* 315: Sanātana Gosvāmī said, “My dear Lord, You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, the son of Mahārāja Nanda. All the Vedic literatures are vibrated through Your breathing.
Text 316: “My dear Lord, You are the original speaker of the Bhāgavatam. You therefore know its real import. But for You, no one can understand the confidential meaning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.”
Text* 317: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied, “Why are you glorifying Me personally? You should understand the transcendental position of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Why don’t you consider this important point?
Text* 318: “Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is as great as Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Lord and shelter of everything. In each and every verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and in each and every syllable, there are various meanings.
Text* 319: “The form of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is given in questions and answers. Thus the conclusion is established. By hearing these questions and answers, one is highly astonished.
Text 320: “ ‘Now that Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Absolute Truth, the master of all mystic powers, has departed for His own abode, please tell us by whom religious principles are presently protected.’
Text* 321: “ ‘After Lord Kṛṣṇa departed for His abode along with religious principles and transcendental knowledge, this Purāṇa, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, has arisen like the sun in this Age of Kali to enlighten those who have no spiritual vision.’
Text* 322: “In this way, like a madman, I have explained the meaning of just one verse. I do not know who will take this as evidence.
Text 323: “If one becomes a madman like Me, he may also understand the meaning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam by this process.”
Text* 324: Folding his hands, Sanātana Gosvāmī said, “My Lord, You ordered me to write a directory about the activities of Vaiṣṇavas.
Text 325: “I am a most lowborn person. I have no knowledge of good behavior. How is it possible for me to write authorized directions about Vaiṣṇava activities?”
Text 326: Sanātana Gosvāmī then requested the Lord, “Please personally tell me how I can write this difficult book about Vaiṣṇava behavior. Please manifest Yourself in my heart.
Text* 327: “If You would please manifest Yourself within my heart and personally direct me in writing this book, then, although I am lowborn, I may hope to be able to write it. You can do this because You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead Yourself, and whatever You direct is perfect.”
Text 328: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied, “Whatever you want to do you will be able to do correctly by Lord Kṛṣṇa’s favor. He will manifest the real purport.
Text* 329: “Because you asked Me for a synopsis, please hear these few indications. In the beginning describe how one must take shelter of a bona fide spiritual master.
Text 330: “Your book should describe the characteristics of the bona fide guru and the bona fide disciple. Then, before accepting a spiritual master, one can be assured of the spiritual master’s position. Similarly, the spiritual master can also be assured of the disciple’s position. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, should be described as the worshipable object, and you should describe the bīja-mantra for the worship of Kṛṣṇa, as well as that for Rāma and for other expansions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Text 331: “You should discuss the qualifications necessary for receiving a mantra, the perfection of the mantra, the purification of the mantra, initiation, morning duties, remembrance of the Supreme Lord, cleanliness and washing the mouth and other parts of the body.
Text* 332: “You should describe how in the morning one should regularly brush his teeth, take his bath, offer prayers to the Lord and offer obeisances to the spiritual master. You should also describe how one should render service to the spiritual master and paint one’s body in twelve places with ūrdhva-puṇḍra [tilaka], as well as how one should stamp one’s body with the holy names of the Lord or the symbols of the Lord, such as the disc and club.
Text* 333: “After this, you should describe how one should decorate his body with gopīcandana, wear neck beads, collect tulasī leaves from the tulasī tree, cleanse his cloth and the altar, cleanse his own house or apartment and go to the temple and ring the bell just to draw the attention of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
Text 334: “Also describe Deity worship, wherein one should offer food to Kṛṣṇa at least five times daily and in due time place Him on a bed. You should also describe the process for offering ārati and the worship of the Lord according to the list of five, sixteen or fifty ingredients.
Text* 335: “The characteristics of the Deities should be discussed, as well as the characteristics of the śālagrāma-śilā. You should also discuss visiting the Deities in the temple and touring holy places like Vṛndāvana, Mathurā and Dvārakā.
Text 336: “You should glorify the holy name and explain that one must carefully give up offenses when chanting the holy name. You should also describe the symptoms of a Vaiṣṇava and explain that one must give up or nullify all kinds of sevā-aparādha, offenses in Deity worship.
Text 337: “The items of worship, such as water, conchshell, flowers, incense and lamp, should be described. You should also mention chanting softly, offering prayers, circumambulating and offering obeisances. All these should be carefully described.
Text 338: “Other items you should describe are the method of performing puraścaraṇa, taking kṛṣṇa-prasādam, giving up unoffered food and not blaspheming the Lord’s devotees.
Text* 339: “You should describe the symptoms of a devotee, how to associate with devotees, how to satisfy a devotee by rendering service, and how to give up the association of nondevotees. You should also explain the value of regularly hearing the recitation of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
Text* 340: “You should describe the ritualistic duties to be performed every day, and you should also describe the fortnightly duties — especially how to observe the fortnightly Ekādaśī fast. You should also describe the duties to be observed every month, and you should especially describe the observance of ceremonies like Janmāṣṭamī, Rāma-navamī and Nṛsiṁha-caturdaśī.
Text* 341: “Ekādaśī, Janmāṣṭamī, Vāmana-dvādaśī, Rāma-navamī and Nṛsiṁha-caturdaśī — all these should be described.
Text* 342: “You should recommend the avoidance of mixed Ekādaśī and the performance of pure Ekādaśī. You should also describe the fault in not observing Ekādaśī. One should be very careful as far as these items are concerned. If one is not careful, one will be negligent in executing devotional service.
Text* 343: “Whatever you say about Vaiṣṇava behavior, the establishment of Vaiṣṇava temples and Deities, and everything else should be supported by evidence from the Purāṇas.
Text* 344: “You should give general and specific descriptions of the behavior and activities of a Vaiṣṇava. You should outline things that are to be done and things that are not to be done. All this should be described as regulations and etiquette.
Text 345: “I have thus given a synopsis of the Vaiṣṇava regulative principles. I have given this in brief just to give you a little direction. When you write on this subject, Kṛṣṇa will help you by spiritually awakening you.”
Text* 346: Thus I have narrated Lord Caitanya’s mercy upon Sanātana Gosvāmī. When one hears these topics, one’s heart will be cleansed of all contamination.
Text* 347: The authorized poet Kavi-karṇapūra has written a book named Caitanya-candrodaya-nāṭaka. This book tells how Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu blessed Sanātana Gosvāmī with His specific mercy.
Text 348: “Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, the elder brother of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, was a most important minister in the government of Hussain Shah, the ruler of Bengal, and he was considered a most brilliant gem in that assembly. He possessed all the opulences of a royal position, but he gave up everything just to accept the youthful goddess of renunciation. Although he externally appeared to be a mendicant who had renounced everything, he was filled with the pleasure of devotional service within his heart. Thus he can be compared to a deep lake covered with moss. He was the object of pleasure for all the devotees who knew the science of devotional service.
Text* 349: “As soon as Sanātana Gosvāmī arrived in front of Lord Caitanya, the Lord, seeing him, became merciful to him. The Lord, who has the complexion of a golden campaka flower, opened His arms and embraced him while expressing great affection.”
Text* 350: “In the course of time, the transcendental news of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in Vṛndāvana was almost lost. To enunciate explicitly those transcendental pastimes, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu empowered Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī with the nectar of His mercy to carry out this work in Vṛndāvana.”
Text* 351: I have thus explained the mercy bestowed on Sanātana Gosvāmī by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. If one hears this description, all moroseness in the heart will diminish.
Text* 352: By reading these instructions to Sanātana Gosvāmī, one will become fully aware of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s various expansions and the process of devotional service according to the regulative principles and spontaneous love. Thus everything can be fully known.
Text* 353: By reading these instructions, a pure devotee can understand love of Kṛṣṇa, the mellows of devotional service and the conclusion of devotional service. Everyone can understand all these things to their ultimate end by studying these instructions.
Text* 354: The conclusion of these instructions can be known to one whose life and soul are the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu and Advaita Prabhu.
Text 355: Praying at the lotus feet of Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Raghunātha, always desiring their mercy, I, Kṛṣṇadāsa, narrate Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, following in their footsteps.
Text 0: Chapter Summary