Third Discourse: Protected Journey
Yesterday someone asked, "How do we see that Baladev Vidyabhusana is in the line of Visvanath Chakravarti and Rupa Goswami?" Actually they are protectors of our sampradaya from the illusory environment created by the pandit section.
When Baladev Vidyabhusana began writing the Govinda-bhasya, he first gave his obeisances to Krishna, then to Jiva Goswami. He considered Jiva Goswami to be our Guru by giving protection from the pandits. Baladev Vidyabhusana wrote the following pranam mantram:
yah samkya pankena kutarka pamsuna
This is a very difficult sloka and hard for me to explain in English. What I am explaining is not a literal translation but it gives the mood, the bhava. He says, "I offer my full dandavats unto the lotus feet of Srila Jiva Goswami who is the protector of our spiritual life. He rescues us from the whole illusory environment."
He protects us from sankhya philosophy which he compares to quick-sand. When the jivas want to cross over the ocean of material existence, they first come across muddy quick-sand. In the nyaya sastra, the endless dry arguments are likened to ashes, soot, and smoke blowing in the wind and covering the eyes, sky, and everything around so we cannot see what is really in our front. Through the wind of bad arguments, everything is covered and we cannot see Krishna.
Next he mentions vivarta-gartena. Vivarta-vada is Sankar Acharya's philosophy of nirvisesa-vada which is compared to a hole in the road.
You want to go to Krishna but cannot. Why? Because in the road there are these kinds of disturbances. The first disturbance comes from sankhya philosophy; compared to mud. Not only can you not cross it, but it is the kind of mud, like quick-sand, from which you cannot extract yourself. The next disturbance is kutarka, which means nyaya-sastra, argument, which is compared to the blowing of soot and smoke. Still you try to progress on your journey, but suddenly many large blind holes appear in the road. These holes are like Sankar Acharya's vivarta-vada. This is, mayavada: vivarta-gartena cha lupta didhitim. The mayavada philosophy is waiting for you in the road like a hole; if you fall into that hole you may be lost forever. In that hole you lose your body, nobody gives you any food or nourishment, nothing is there and you die there. But, Baladev Vidyabhusana says, "Suddham vyadhat vak sudhaya mahesvaram—Jiva Goswami is the rescuer from that environment, and he has shown Sri Krishna in His exalted position—jyotira bhyantare rupam atulam syamasundaram. I offer my everything to him." It is difficult for me to explain in English, but this is the line of thought.
So Jiva Goswami is our protector, and Baladev Vidyabhusana is a pandit of similar standing to him. He was initiated into the Madhva-sampradaya and later, after reading the literature of Jiva Goswami Prabhu and Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur he became a devotee of the Gaudiya-Vaisnava-sampradaya—Mahaprabhu's sampradaya.
Both Radha-Govinda and Narayana are worshipped in the king's palace in Jaipur. The tradition was always that the devotees and the King of Jaipur would first worship Radha-Govinda and then Narayana. But there was another sampradaya who objected and they created a conflict. They said, "First Narayana should be worshipped then Radha-Govinda." They challenged the Gaudiya-Vaisnavas: "This Deity is a Deity of the Gaudiya-Vaisnavas so whoever is a qualified Gaudiya-Vaisnava within your sampradaya, bring him; we shall debate with him and certainly we will defeat him!" Then all the Vaisnavas went to Visvanath Chakravarti who was at that time in Vrindavan. He was very old and he was disinclined to go there or to engage in the debate. He thought, "Those opposing in Jaipur have a very bad argument but they do not know it." But who was to go?
At that time Baladev Vidyabhusana was with Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur. Visvanath Chakravarti examined him to see if he could establish our conception of the worship of Radha-Krishna before the worship of Narayana. Visvanath Chakravarti became very satisfied and thought him to be the best person to establish this Gaudiya-Vaisnava principle. He therefore requested Baladev Vidyabhusana, "Please, you go to Jaipur."
Taking his blessings he went alone to the king's assembly in Jaipur. His body was very thin, and he had all the appearance of a Gaudiya-Vaisnava. He was not old but at that time his age was perhaps only thirty to forty. On first seeing his age the devotee king was not satisfied, but when seeing his bright face, he considered, "Yes, the better representatives may all be elderly and unable to come, but they have sent this bright younger devotee. Now we eagerly wait to see what he will be able to do."
Baladev Vidyabhusana then faced the Ramanuja-sampradaya's challenge. The Ramanuja pandits asked their first question: "Whose bhasya are you following?" Bhasya means interpretation. At that time a sampradaya would be recognised only if they had a bhasya of Vedanta, a bhasya of Upanisad, a bhasya of Visnu-sahasra-nama stotra, and a bhasya of Gita. In many places this criterion is mentioned that a sampradaya can be recognised when these are present. Such bhasya did not exist in the Gaudiya-sampradaya, so the pandits said, "We shall not talk with you because you are not following any sampradaya."
Baladev Vidyabhusana responded, "If it is necessary to have such bhasya for me to talk with you, give me seven days. After seven days I shall talk with you, and at that time I shall inform you whose bhasya I am following."
They replied, "Yes, take seven or ten days." So he went to Govindadev, the Deity of Srila Rupa Goswami, and taking the blessings of the Vaisnavas of our sampradaya, he bowed down to Govindadev and took permission from Him to make the bhasya.
After seven days he again met with the opposing pandits and presented to them: "I am following this Govinda-bhasya of Vedanta-darsan, it is in our sampradaya."
"Who made it?"
Like Sankar Acharya and Ramanuja Acharya, he composed his own bhasya. Looking at his face and talking with him, the pandits were surprised: "Within only seven days he composed it. He is a very great pandit."
Very easily Baladev Vidyabhusana then defeated them by clearly showing them that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Narayana is coming from Krishna, not that Krishna is coming from Narayana. He established this principle in that meeting and he proved that Radha-Krishna are both to be worshipped by everybody, and They are the Supreme Personality. The pandits became very happy, and until the present day this process of worshipping Radha-Govinda followed by the worship of Narayana is still being practised in Jaipur.
When writing the bhasya, he made his pranams to Krishna and then to Jiva Goswami. Included there is this sloka:
yah samkya pankena kutarka pamsuna
When Guru Maharaj would explain this sloka, his mood and expression would change in such a way that, seeing his face, we would think him to be just like Jiva Goswami. It was as if Jiva Goswami was actually sitting there in front of us!
So this is the history of the Govinda-bhasya, and this is how Baladev Vidyabhusana made his commentaries. Since that time Baladev Vidyabhusana, though he was a young man, has been worshipped by the Gaudiya-Vaisnava-sampradaya. His contribution is our wealth.
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