Commentary on verse 5 of Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s Śikṣāṣṭakam.

By Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur

Śrī Śikṣāṣṭakam Verse Five

अयि नन्दतनुज किङ्करं
पतितं मां विषमे भवाम्बुधौ ।
कृपया तव पादपङ्कज-
स्थित-धूली-सदृशं विछिन्तय ॥५॥

ayi nanda-tanuja kiṅkaraṁ
patitaṁ māṁ viṣame bhavāmbudhau
kṛpayā tava pāda-paṅkaja-
sthita-dhūlī-sadṛśaṁ vichintaya [5]

ayi–O; nanda–Nanda; tanuja–son; kiṅkaram–servant; patitam–fallen; mām–me; viṣame–into terrible; bhava–material existence; ambudhau–into ocean; kṛpayā–with mercy; tava–Your; pāda–foot; paṅkaja–lotus; sthita–situated; dhūlī–particle of dust; sadṛśam–like; vichintaya–consider.

ayi–O tanuja–son nanda–of Nanda, kṛpayā–mercifully vichintaya–consider mām–me, [Your] kiṅkaram–servant patitam–who has fallen viṣame–into the terrible ambudhau–ocean bhava–of material existence, sadṛśam–like dhūlī–a particle of dust sthita–situated [at] tava–Your paṅkaja–lotus pāda–feet. [5]

O son of Nanda, mercifully consider me, Your servant who has fallen into the terrible ocean of material existence, like a particle of dust at Your lotus feet.


The following is an English translation of Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur’s Bengali Vivṛti commentary on the fifth verse Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu’s Śrī Śikṣāṣṭakam.

At the request of Western devotees in the 1980s, Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj discoursed extensively in English on Śrī Śikṣāṣṭakam, and as he concluded his discussion of the first verse, he commented (as recorded in The Golden Volcano of Divine Love): “Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur has given his Sanskrit commentary on the Śikṣāṣṭakam, as well as his Bengali translation, and his is a most original presentation. Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur Prabhupād has also given his commentary on the Śikṣāṣṭakam. They should be carefully studied in order to understand these points more completely.”


Śrī Śikṣāṣṭakam Vivṛti 5

By Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur

The jīva’s object of worship is the son of Nanda. Servitude to Kṛṣṇa is present in the jīva’s eternal nature (svarūp), but when the jīvas, although servants of Kṛṣṇa, remain indifferent to such servitude, then they flounder in the fearsome and insurmountable ocean of material existence (saṁsāra). In this condition, Bhagavān’s mercy is their one and only support. Only when Kṛṣṇa bestows His mercy and accepts the jīva as a particle of dust at His lotus feet is the jīva’s covered eternal propensity [for service to Kṛṣṇa] again manifest. It is not the jīva’s prerogative to ascend to Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet by intensifing their own desires. Rather, the jīva should act in accord with Kṛṣṇa’s will and develop the propensity to serve [Kṛṣṇa]. This is the purport [of the verse]. By the use of the word pada-dhūli (‘foot-dust’), the jīva’s nature of being a separated part (vibhinnāṁśa) of Bhagavān is substantiated.

Anarthas remain until the jīva becomes situated in their true nature (svarūp). In this stage, the purity produced by realisation of the highest attainment (paramārtha) is absent [in the jīva]. From the development of sambandha-jñān arises the ability to engage in complete chanting of the Name in divine love (Prema-nām-saṅkīrtan). In that stage, the jīva is said to have developed attachment (rati). There is a difference between the chanting of the Name by a practitioner (sādhaka) who has not developed rati and that of a relisher of bhāva (bhāvuka) who has developed rati. Deceitfully presenting ourselves like a devotee who has developed rati before our time is not beneficial. After the cessation of anarthas (anartha-nivṛtti) is constancy (nairantarya) [in bhakti-sādhana], then volitional effort (svechchha-pūrvikā) [to meditate on Bhagavān’s līlā], then the three stages of spontaneous flow (svārasikī) [Bhagavān’s līlā automatically manifesting in one’s heart], and then the land of prema.