Sri Baladev Tattva (1)

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Sri Nrisingha Palli, West Bengal
Lord Baladev's appearance day
Reading from a Sri Gaudiya Math publication
26 August 2018, part 1

 

Jay Om Vishnupad Jagad Guru Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj ki jay
Jay Om Vishnupad Jagad Guru Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj ki jay
Jay saparikara Sri Sri Guru Gaura Nityananda Sri Prahlad Maharaj Sri Laksmi Nrisinghadev ki jay
Sri Nrisinghadev tala ki jay
Jay Sri Baladev Prabhu ki jay
Harinam sankirtan ki jay
Nitai Gaura premanande Hari bol

By the mercy of Srila Gurudev, we have come here today and assemble in front of Sri Nityananda Prabhu, Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu, as well as Sri Prahlad Maharaj, Sri Laksmi-Nrisinghadev.

We have just sung Sri Dasa-Avatara-Stotram. There are ten avatars of the Lord—Matsya avatar, Kurma avatar, Varaha avatar, Nrisingha avatar, Vaman avatar, Parasuram avatar, Ramachandra avatar, Baladev avatar, Buddha avatar and Kalki avatar. Baladev, or Balaram, is one of these ten avatars of the Lord. We also sing in one of the kirtans, "Balaram haila Nitai: Balaram has become Nitai." Baladev-tattva, or Nityananda-tattva, is Guru-tattva—Baladev is non-different from the Guru.

Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur writes in his commentary to Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita that there are twenty-five lila-avatars of the Lord, and one of them is Pralambhari Balaram (the slayer of the demon Pralamba).

siddhantatas tv abhede 'pi
srisa-krsna-svarupayoh
rasenotkrsyate krsna-
rupam esa rasa-sthitih

"According to transcendental realization, there is no difference between the forms of Narayan and Krishna. Yet in Krishna there is a special transcendental attraction due to the conjugal mellow, and consequently He surpasses Narayan. This is the conclusion of transcendental mellows."

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya, 9.117)

Sri Vedavyasa Muni also writes:

ekonavimse vimsatime
vrsnisu prapyajanmani
rama-krsnav iti bhuvo
bhagavan aharad bharam

"In the nineteenth and twentieth incarnations, the Lord advented Himself as Lord Balarama and Lord Krishna in the family of Vrsni [the Yadu dynasty], and by so doing He removed the burden of the world."

(Srimad Bhagavatam, 1.3.23)

yanra bhagavattd haite anyera bhagavatta
'svayam-bhagavan'-sabdera tahatei satta

"Only the Personality of Godhead, the source of all other Divinities, is eligible to be designated svayam bhagavan, or the primeval Lord."

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, Adi, 2.88)

Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami expressed the difference between anuvada (subject) and vidheya (predicate). That which is known is called anuvada and that which is unknown is called vidheya:

taichhe inha avatara saba haila jnata
kara avatara?—ei vastu avijnata

"In the same way, all these incarnations were known, but whose incarnations they are was unknown."

'ete'-sabde avatarera age anuvada
'purusera amsa' pachhe vidheya-samvada

"First the word 'ete' ['these'] establishes the subject [the incarnations]. Then 'plenary portions of the purusa-avataras' follows as the predicate."

taichhe krsna avatara-bhitare haila jnata
tanhara visena-jnana sei avijnata

"In the same way, when Krishna was first counted among the incarnations, specific knowledge about Him was still unknown."

ataeva 'krsna'-sabda age anuvada
'svayam-bhagavatta' pichhe vidheya-samvada

"Therefore first the word 'krsna' appears as the subject, followed by the predicate, describing Him as the original Personality of Godhead."

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi, 2.79-82)

Bhagavan Krishna Himself is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Baladev is His expansion. In Vrindavan, He plays a cowherd boy, and in Dvaraka, He plays in the form of a ksatriya.

The Supreme Lord (the Prime Cause of all causes) Sri Krishna's first expansion, Sri Baladev—the original Sankarsan (Mul-Sankarsan)—has the form of a cowherd boy in Vraja and that of a ksatriya in Dvaraka. Sankarsan of the first chatur-vyuha (quadruple expansion) in Dvaraka is an amsa-avatar of Mul-Sankarsan (cowherd Baladev). Sankarsan, who is in the second chatur-vyuha of Narayan in Vaikuntha, is Maha-Sankarsan—an amsa-avatar of Mul-Sankarsan in the form of a ksatriya belonging to the first chatur-vyuha in Dvaraka. Karanodakasayi Maha-Vishnu, the first purusa-avatar, is the amsa-avatar of Maha-Sankarsan and the Supersoul of Maya-Prakriti. Karanodakasayi Maha-Vishnu's expansion as Garbhodakasayi Vishnu—the second purusa-avatar (Pradyumna), enters into all the universes.

Garbhodakasayi Vishnu's expanded form is the third purusa-avatar—Sri Ksirodakasayi Vishnu in the form of Aniruddha who is the indwelling Supersoul of the individual universes, as well as the individual living beings. It is Sri Ksirodakasayi Vishnu, who, upon being prayed to by the demigods, appears millennium after millennium to annihilate the miscreants, to deliver the pious and to re-establish the principles of religion. Sri Ksirodakasayi Vishnu's expanded form (amsa-avatar) is Sesa Anantadev. In his explanation of Nityananda-tattva, Sri Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami has explained Sri Baladeva-tattva as being non-different from Nityananda-tattva.

sankarsanah karana-toya-sayi
garbhoda-sayi cha payobdhi-sayi
sesas cha yasyamsa-kalah sa nitya-
nandakhya-ramah saranam mamastu

"May Sri Nityananda Rama be the object of my constant remembrance. Sankarsan, Sesa Naga and the Vishnus who lie on the Karana Ocean, Garbha Ocean and ocean of milk are His plenary portions and the portions of His plenary portions."

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi, 5.7)

Srila Svarup Damodar Goswami spoke this verse above.

Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur also writes that Baladev is a vaibhav (expansion) of Krishna, and, while Govinda manifests madhurya-lila, Baladev sometimes manifests aisvarya-lila.

isvarah paramah krsnah sach-chid-ananda-vigrahah
anadir adir govindah sarva-karana-karanam

"Krishna, who is known as Govinda, is the supreme controller. He has an eternal, blissful, spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin, for He is the prime cause of all causes."

(Sri Brahma-samhita, 5.1)

(Govinda menas "Gah vindati iti govindah"—the word 'go' can mean knowledge, senses, earth, cow, etc.) Baladev is also non-different from Narayan, who always stays in Vaikuntha.

Sri Baladev is non-different from the original Narayan and is the vaibhava-prakas of Govinda. He is the original cause of all emanations. He is the propagating prime cause of Personality of Godhead and he is all-pervading function-holder. His colour is white, different from Krishna. Krishna plays the flute, and Baladev plays his horn and the sound that comes from His horn is louder than that of the flute. Therefore He is known as Sirigadhrk (horn-holder). Sri Baladev possesses qualities like Krishna, He is the fountainhead or prime source of the all-embracing, all-pervading and all-extending energy.

The actual meaning of these definitions cannot be understood completely by using limited mundane terminology. Vibhu and Prabhu are interdependent. The one who is manifested as vaibhava-prakas is Vibhu (the opulent manifested form), and the Divinity from whom He is manifested is Prabhu. There exists inconceivable non-distinction and distinction between Vibhu and Prabhu. Prabhu is Vasudev and Vibhu is Sankarsan. Vibhu and Prabhu's oneness aspect—the third manifestation, is Pradyumna. Similarly, Their fourth manifestation is in the form of Aniruddha. These four constitute the original chatur-vyuha in Dvaraka and are the origin of all other chatur-vyuhas. Their second manifestation is the second chatur-vyuha in the paravyoma or Vaikuntha. They are also pure and turiya (transcendental) like the original chatur-vyuha. Baladeva, who is Sri Krishna's vilas form, is the Original Sankarsan. In the paravyoma or spiritual sky, Maha-Sankarsana is the svarupa-amsa—Balarama's own amsa-avatara. He is the source of the first purusa-avatar, Karanarnavasayi Maha-Vishnu. He (Baladeva or His manifestation, Karanarnavasayi Maha-Vishnu) is the cause of Rama, Nrisingha and other avataras, as well as Goloka and Vaikuntha, and is also the cause of the cosmos. All of the above-mentioned five forms of Vishnu are of the same nature. Any number of lamps can be lit from the original lamp, and they will all be capable of burning all things. Similarly, the original lamp is svayam-rupa Sri Krishna and there is no difference in tattva (essence) ontologically between the second, third, fourth and fifth Visnu Deity or between one form and another of Visnu. There is only difference in the characteristics of Their pastimes.

Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami writes in Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Sri Krishna's three different forms are: svayam-rupa (the original form), tadekatma-rupa (the same form, non-different from, svayam-rupa but with different bodily features and specific activities), and avesa-rupa (an empowered form). Svayam-rupa is of two types—svayam-rupa and svayam-prakas.

'svayam rupe—eka krsna vraje gopamurti'

"In His original form as svayam-rupa, Krishna is observed as a cowherd boy in Vrndavan."

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya, 20.166)

sarva-avatari krsna svayam bhagavan
tanhara dvitiya deha sri-balarama

"The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is the fountainhead of all incarnations. Lord Balarama is His second body."

eka-i svarupa donhe, bhinna-matra kaya
adya kaya-vyuha, krsna-lilara sahaya

sei krsna—navadvipe sri-chaitanya-candra
sei balarama—sange sri-nityananda

"These two are one and the same identity. They differ only in form. Lord Balarama is the first bodily expansion of Krishna, and He assists in Lord Krishna's transcendental pastimes."

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi, 5.4-6)

sri-balarama gosani mula-sankarsana
pancha-rupa dhari' karena krsnera sevana

"That original Lord Krishna appeared in Nabadwip as Lord Chaitanya, and Balaram appeared with Him as Lord Nityananda."

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi, 5.8)

Balaram always serves Krishna with ten bodies manifesting five kinds of forms:

apane karena krsna-lilara sahaya
srsti-lila-karya kare dhari' chari kaya

"He Himself helps in the pastimes of Lord Krishna, and He does the work of creation in four other forms.

srsty-adika seva,—tanra ajnara palana
'sesa'-rupe kare krsnera vividha sevana

"He executes the orders of Lord Krishna in the work of creation, and in the form of Lord Sesa He serves Krishna in various ways.

sarva-rupe asvadaye krsna-sevananda
sei balarama—gaura-sange nityananda

"In all the forms He tastes the transcendental bliss of serving Krishna. That same Balarama is Lord Nityananda, the companion of Lord Gaurasundara."

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi, 5.9-11)

Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur describes in his commentary:

The Sesa who is the supporter-potency (adhara-sakti) of the bedstead of Vishnu (wielder of the Sarnga bow), is in the category of God (Vishnu-tattva). The Sesa who is the bearer of the planets, is of the category of saktyavista jiva-tattva. The Sankarsan of the second chatur-vyuha appears as Rama, taking with Him Sesa who bears the global spheres. There are two features of Sesa—one is He who supports the planetary systems on His hoods, and the other is He who is the bedstead servitor. Sri Krishna Himseff performs His own service in His form of Baladev. Therefore Sri Baladev is the original spiritual master. By the mercy of Baladeva, one obtains the service of Sri Krishna.

If we get the service of Baladev, then we can get the service of the Lord—without the mercy of Baladev you cannot get service of Krishna; and Gurudev is non-different from Baladev, or Nityananda Prabhu.

Gurudev is non-different from Baladev and Nityananda. The only difference between Gurudev and Baladev is that Gurudev is sakti-tattva while Sri Baladev is omnipotent Vishnu-tattva, the possessor of all opufences, powers. Tulasi can be offered to the fotus feet of Sri Baladev, but since Gurudev is sakti-tattva, Tulasi cannot be offered to his fotus feet.

We can offer Tulasi at the feet of Baladev, but we cannot place Tulasi at the lotus feet of Gurudev. When Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur was giving lecture on Baladev-tattva, he also wrote:

'Nayamatma balahinena labhyah' —'Without the grace of Baladeva, no one can get God'. There can be no auspiciousness or eternal bliss without taking shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Gurudeva.

You cannot prosper in your spiritual life without taking shelter of Baladev. If you take shelter of Gurudev, then you will get everything.

 

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