INTRODUCTION TO SRI GARGA-SAMHITA
Appreciating the necessary qualification to read this exalted text.
Translated into English from the original Bengali introduction to the text.
By the boundless mercy of our most worshippable Sri Guru-pada-padma Om Visnupad Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj and the prolonged sincere efforts of the devotees, today Garga-samhita, filled with the sweetness of Vraja-rasa, has manifested and increased the spiritual joy of the devotees who relish such supramundane rasa.
Because the public does not have the qualification to perform ablutions in the most difficult to attain ocean of the nectar of the rasas of bhakti (bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu) for the Akhila-rasamrta-murtih, Svarajya-laksmy-apta-samasta-kamah Svayam Bhagavan Radha-preyan Viduh Sri Krishna, the ground-breaker in the present age of propagation of the current of pure bhakti Param Guru-pada-padma Bhagavan Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur, considering the qualifications of the people of the time, did not show enthusiasm to publish this exalted text apparently just to resist the spread of prakrta-sahajiyaism. Following his time, however, his disciple and follower Pujyapad Tridandi Swami Srimad Bhakti Kamal Madhusudan Maharaj showed great attraction towards this exalted text and became extremely eager to publish it but could not find an original manuscript of it anywhere. When he requested me for a xerox copy of the edition of the text present in my small library, I read some parts of it before giving it to him and I became speechless: this is why we have heard through our mother and grandmother all these descriptions of Sri Krishna’s Pastimes since our childhood, and here the Acharya of the Yadu dynasty and embodiment of welfare for the entire world Maharsi Garga Muni has blessed the world by giving through this text what even Srimad Bhagavatam has kept highly confidential.
At that time, a dormant desire also arose in my mind that if for any reason Pujyapad Srila Madhusudan Maharaj is not able to publish this text, then we will try to fulfil his desire. Today, by the mercy of Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga, we are remembering him and considering him satisfied with our efforts.
aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa-tanayas tad-dhama vṛndavanam
ramya kachid upasana vraja-vadhu-vargeṇa ya kalpita
srimad-bhagavatam pramaṇam amalam prema pumartho mahan
sri-chaitanya-mahaprabhor matam idam tatradaro naḥ paraḥ
[“‘The worshippable Supreme Lord is the son of the King of Vraja. His abode is Vrndavan. His worship is that performed by the most pleasing wives of Vraja. Srimad Bhagavatam is the flawless authority, and prema, divine love, is the ultimate goal of human life.’ This is the conception of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and we adore it as supreme.”]
In this verse by the crown-jewel of the devotees who relish rasa Srila Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur, which presents a general survey (dig-darsan) of the axiom of inconceivable difference and nondifference (achintya-bhedabheda-siddhanta) of Lord Sri Chaitanyachandra, the source of all Avatars and Svabhajana-vibhajana-prayojanavatari, He whose purpose is service to and distribution of Himself, we find in summary form the entire gift of Sriman Mahaprabhu as the crown-jewel of givers: His worshippable Lord Krishna the prince of Vraja, His abode Sri Vrndavan, the confidential way of natural love (svarasiki prema) within His worship, His flawless authority Sri Krishna Himself in the form of Srimad Bhagavatam, and the crown-jewel of ideals above all: Sri Krishna-prema, divine love for Sri Krishna.
Srimad Bhagavatam, the ripened fruit of the wish-fulfilling tree of the Vedas (Nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam), is filled with unadulterated Krishna-prema, and Garga-samhita is like its extended supplement: it is filled with confidential Pastimes. Therefore, the question of who is qualified to read this highly exalted text automatically arises as,
naitat samacharej jatu manasapi hy anisvarah
vinasyaty acharan maudhyad yatharudro ’bdhi-jam visam
(Srimad Bhagavatam: 10.33.30)
[“Anyone who is not in total control (of their senses) should never, even mentally, act that way (imitate the Pastimes of Lord Krishna). Anyone who acts that way out of foolishness is destroyed, just as anyone other than Lord Siva is by drinking the poison produced by (the churning of) the ocean.”]
Transgressing this instruction of Srimad Bhagavatam means drinking poison and committing suicide. Still, Srimad Bhagavatam’s given statement of hope is this:
vikriditam vraja-vadhubhir idan cha visnoh
sraddhanvito ’nusrnuyad atha varnayed yah
bhaktim param bhagavati pratilabhya kamam
hrd-rogam asv apahinoty achirena dhirah
(Srimad Bhagavatam: 10.33.39)
[“A sober soul who faithfully hears about and then describes Visnu’s play with the wives of Vraja quickly attains pure bhakti for the Lord and simultaneously leaves behind the heart disease of selfish desire.”]
Here, submissive hearing (anusravan) and repetition (anukirtan) filled with genuine faith (sraddha) are our one and only hope and source of sustenance. When unadulterated, spotless faith is led up to the level of constancy (nistha) in the plane of dedication (sevamaya bhumika), only then will we attain the full qualification (adhikar) for genuine hearing (sravan) and chanting (kirtan). Before that (and after that as well) we must with a proper conception of our relationship with the Lord (sambandha-jnan) very cautiously endeavour to utilise our time in the association of the pure devotees and Sri Guru, the giver of sambandha-jnan. That is to say, only through submissive hearing and chanting (anusravan and kirtan) in the shelter of the pure goddess of faith (visuddha Sraddha Devi) and in subservience to a genuine spiritual Guru and genuine Vaisnavas will the soul upon reaching the highest attainment become fortunate. Apart from this, there is no other way.
Relying entirely upon the text edited a long time ago for the benefit of the speakers of the Bengali language by the widely renowned and highly distinguished scholar Sriyukta Panchanana Tarka Ratna Mahoday, printed and published by Banga Vasi Press, the present publishers have endeavoured to reproduce the text for the benefit of all souls. Here, I convey my respectful gratitude to them.
The united service efforts of the devotees of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math from London and Europe in the service of publishing this text is praiseworthy in every respect. It goes without saying too that I convey my gratitude in particular to Sripad Svarupananda Prabhu, who has selflessly engaged to his full capacity in this service as the producer of every aspect of it and attracted the respect of all. Here, I pray for the good fortune of all at the feet of Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga.
Amidst mistake-ridden material nature it is nearly impossible to reach the plane of faultlessness, so we must pray for the forgiveness of our wise readers for any mistakes and errors in this publication.
On the appearance day of Srila Gadadhar Pandit,
10 Vaisakh 1808 (23 April 2001),
A servant of the Lord’s devotees,
Sri Bhakti Sundar Govinda
1: akhila-rasamrta-murtih: “The embodiment of the joy of all rasas” (Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu: Purva-vibhaga, 1.1). ⬆︎
2: svarajya-laksmy-apta-samasta-kamah: “He whose every desire is fulfilled by the fortune of His sovereignty” (Srimad Bhagavatam: 3.2.21). ⬆︎
3: Svayam Bhagavan: lit. ‘the possessor of fortune Himself’; the Supreme Lord, the Supreme Being replete with all qualities which naturally inspire all other living beings to serve Him unconditionally for eternity; the rightful eternal proprietor of all things, esp. the six primary forms of opulence: majesty, power, fame, beauty, knowledge, and detachment. ⬆︎
4: radha-preyan vidhur: “The lover of Sri Radha, the moon Sri Krishna” (Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu: Purva-vibhaga, 1.1). ⬆︎
5: prakrta-sahajiyaism: mundane imitationism; imitating the behaviour of the Supreme Lord or those who have pure love for the Lord and real taste of rasa; wrongly believing that one has pure love for the Lord and that one tastes rasa when in fact one does not. ⬆︎
nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam
pibata bhagavatam rasam alayam
muhur aho rasika bhuvi bhavukah
(Srimad Bhagavatam: 1.1.3)
“The ripened fruit of the wish-fulfilling tree of the Vedas,
Enriched with liquid nectar from the mouth of Sri Sukadev Goswami—
Continuously drink the rasa of the Bhagavatam,
Until you fall still,
O relishers of rasa! O thoughtful ones!” ⬆︎