SARANAGATI (SURRENDER) | Sri Laghu-chandrika-bhasya
With overflowing joy in my heart, I would like to begin by offering my obeisance unto my spiritual masters, the devotees, and the readers of Saranagati, praying this publication is pleasing to them all.
In this introductory note I will briefly explain the content of this book and the method by which it has been presented. Following this introduction is a short compilation of expressions by Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj and Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj in praise of Saranagati, and an English translation of the Editor's Note from the original 1949 Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math Bengali edition. Thereafter, the text of Saranagati herself is presented along with the Sri Laghu-chandrika-bhasya.
In accordance with the 1949 edition, sections entitled Saranagatera Prarthana (a collection of prayers compiled from Srimad Bhagavatam and other scriptures) and Sri Sri Hari-Guru-Vaisnava-vandana (a set of prayers recited daily in Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math) have been included. These sections conclude the Sri Laghu-chandrika-bhasya. Following them, a poem by the commentator entitled Ma Muncha Pancha-dasakam, which deeply illustrates saranagati's integral mood of dainya, humility, is presented as an appendix. Lastly, an introductory guide to reading and pronouncing Bengali is provided.
The verses of Saranagati have been presented in a five-fold format: 1) the Bengali text of each verse; 2) its Roman transliteration; 3) its word-for-word gloss; 4) its prose translation; and 5) a translation of the commentary on the verse from the Sri Laghu-chandrika-bhasya.
The Sri Laghu-chandrika-bhasya consists of three types of annotations: 1) synonyms: common sadhu-bhasa or chalit-bhasa forms of rare or esoteric sadhu-bhasa and Vraja-bhuli expressions; 2) scriptural references: citations of verses from texts such as Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, and Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu which reveal the origins and profundity of the expressions within the verses; and 3) explanatory prose: short explanations of significant or enigmatic words or concepts within the verses (in many cases the Bengali prose explanations are themselves citations from other writings of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur).
The Bengali synonyms given in the Sri Laghu-chandrika-bhasya have been presented in parentheses within the word-for-word gloss. Where the synonyms are virtually identical in meaning to the original text, no additional translation of them has been given. In all other instances the synonyms have been translated and presented in parentheses. All the scriptural references have been translated and presented as notes below the prose translations of the verses to which they refer. The Bengali explanatory prose has been translated and presented in some instances in parentheses within the word-for-word gloss, and in all others as notes.
With regard for the direct, heart-touching simplicity of the original text, as well as the brevity and feel of the commentary (styled laghu, lit. 'light' or 'gentle'), the translation has aimed at simply and clearly conveying the concepts and sentiments expressed within the text using language that is succinct and readily understandable. As far as possible, the use of English idioms, embellishments, affectations, and so forth, has been avoided. The axiom mitancha sarancha vacho hi vagmita, 'True eloquence is concise, essential speech' (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Adi-lila, 1.106), has been the guiding principle.
All translation has been undertaken with reference to relevant treatises: most commonly Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj's Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrtam, Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur's Amrta-pravaha-bhasya and Piyusa-varsini-vrtti, and Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur's Anubhasya and Anuvrtti.
Out of affection and appreciation, I feel compelled to mention the numerous devotees who helped with this publication. Sripad Bhakti Prapanna Tirtha Maharaj supported and guided me over the course of the project. Kanai Lal Prabhu, Purusottam Jagannath Prabhu, and Anindita Devi Dasi assisted with translation. Sri Lekha Devi Dasi, Krishna Prema Prabhu, Nrsimha Chaitanya Prabhu, Jagadananda Prabhu, and Sundar Gopal Prabhu proofread the text. Rasa Mayi Pandita Devi Dasi prepared the Bengali text and assisted with proofreading. Bisakha Devi Dasi provided indispensable assistance with all aspects of the project: proofreading, formatting, editing, type-setting, and so on. Lalita Madhav Prabhu provided essential guidance regarding methodology and thoroughly edited the text. His work greatly improved both the accuracy and clarity with which the original text and the concepts it expresses have been represented. I am deeply indebted to him for his contribution and consider that this publication really should be credited to him. Mahamantra Prabhu prepared the photos of the Guru-parampara and designed the cover. Srila Bhakti Sudhir Goswami Maharaj and Sripad Mahananda Prabhu Bhakti Ranjan did the final checking of the book as a whole.
Despite all the assistance I have received from these devotees it is inevitable that, as one who is perpetually subject to misunderstanding (bhram) and erroneous perception (karanapatava), I have made mistakes within this publication. I beg all the revered readers' forgiveness for this.
To conclude this introduction I would like to explain how this publication of Saranagati came about. In gist, I was present in a class given by our beloved Gurudev, Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj, in February of 2009 in which His Divine Grace spoke as follows:
"There are many very sweet, sweet songs in the book Saranagati. It is my request to the devotees that, if possible, they try to memorise those songs. When I joined the Mission of Srila Guru Maharaj he gave me this book and said, 'If you can memorise it, you take it.' ...Now I am thinking, 'After me, who will be able to recite?' I have some hope that in our sampradaya there must be someone who will be able to continue. There are many very sweet, sweet songs in Saranagati, and at least devotees can learn songs like Atma-samarpane gela abhimana and Sarvasva Tomara charane sampiya. There are so many sweet songs in Saranagati which are very nice to chant every day."
The next day I enquired from Srila Govinda Maharaj as follows:
Kamal Krishna Das: Yesterday you requested the devotees to memorise the songs of Saranagati. You mentioned that Srila Guru Maharaj tick-marked thirty-two songs for you to memorise. Could you tell us which songs those were? And would it be pleasing to you for us to print an English version of this book?
Srila Govinda Maharaj: It is not necessary to print only those thirty-two songs; it is necessary to print all of the songs. Actually, all of the songs in Saranagati are very important. Sometimes some songs are a little less important, but otherwise all of the songs are very important. I can tick-mark the songs Srila Guru Maharaj chose for me though, no problem.
Kamal Krishna Das: So it would be pleasing to you for us to try to make an English version of this book?
Srila Govinda Maharaj: That would be very good.
Kamal Krishna Das: With Srila Guru Maharaj's Laghu-chandrika commentary?
Srila Govinda Maharaj: It has not been printed already?
Kamal Krishna Das: No.
Srila Govinda Maharaj: Okay. If you can do it, that is very good, because you know: the only life of a practitioner is saranagati, surrender.
In his introduction Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur similarly sings: sikhaya saranagati bhakatera prana, 'the teachings of saranagati are the life of the devotees.'
In closing, it is my earnest prayer that, by the grace of Srila Govinda Maharaj, everyone will find in this presentation of Saranagati a profound source of spiritual vitality and thus receive inspiration to dedicate their lives to surrendered service unto Sri Guru and Vaisnav (anugatya-bhajan).
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