Commentary on verse 6 of Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s Śikṣāṣṭakam.

By Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur

Śrī Śikṣāṣṭakam Verse Six

नयनं गलदश्रु-धारया
वदनं गद्गद-रुद्धया गिरा ।
पुलकैर्निछितं वपुः कदा
तव नाम-ग्रहणे भविष्यति ॥६॥

nayanaṁ galad-aśru-dhārayā
vadanaṁ gadgada-ruddhayā girā
pulakair nichitaṁ vapuḥ kadā
tava nāma-grahaṇe bhaviṣyati [6]

nayanam–eye; galat–flowing; aśru–tears; dhārayā–with stream; vadanam–face; gadgada–faltering; ruddhayā–with block; girā–words; pulakaiḥ–with hair standing on end; nichitam–covered; vapuḥ–body; kadā–when; tava–Your; nāma–Name; grahaṇe–while chanting; bhaviṣyati–will be.

kadā–When [will my] nayanam–eyes bhaviṣyati–be [filled] dhārayā–with streams galat–of flowing aśru–tears, [when will my] vadanam–mouth [be] ruddhayā–blocked by gadgada–faltering girā–words, [and when will my] vapuḥ–body [be] nichitam–covered pulakair–with hair standing on end grahaṇe–while chanting tava–Your nāma–Name? [6]

When will tears stream from my eyes, my voice falter, and the hair on my body stand on end as I call Your Name?


The following is an English translation of Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur’s Bengali Vivṛti commentary on the sixth 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 6

By Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur

“O beloved of the gopīs, when while chanting Your Name will streams of tears flow from this gopī’s eyes? When will I stammer and my voice falter? When I become enraptured and the hair on my body stand on end?” This is an example of a prayer of ardent longing.

kadāhaṁ yamunā-tīre nāmāni tava kīrtayan
udbāṣpaḥ puṇḍarīkākṣa rachayiṣyāmi tāṇḍavam

[“O lotus-eyed one! When will I dance on the banks of the Yamunā chanting Your Names as tears pour from my eyes?”]

This verse is worthy of discussion in this regard.

In the secondary Names [of Kṛṣṇa], there is no opportunity for complete chanting of the Name in divine love (Prema-nām-saṅkīrtan). Therefore, Śrī Gaurasundar has said:

śrutam apy aupaniṣadaṁ dūre hari-kathāmṛtāt
yan na santi dravach-chitta-kampāśru-pulakādayaḥ
(Padyāvalī: 39)

“The Brahma in the Upaniṣads is far from having connection with the nectar of discussion of Hari, where melting of the heart, trembling, crying, horripilation, and so on are observed.”

The emotions (vikāras) of persons who have naturally watery (nisarga-pichchhala) eyes and are fond of pseudo-ecstasy (bhāvābhās) have not been described in this verse. Rather, it is only when the pure jīvātma becomes intent upon the service of Kṛṣṇa that their favourable mind and gross body and limbs do not stand in opposition to their eternal nature (bhāva). Therefore, melting of the heart and sentimental (sāttvika) and bodily transformations are seen only in pure devotees of Bhagavān who are free from anarthas. The behaviour of persons with soft faith who cheat the public by deceitfully making a show of sentimental and bodily transformations in imitation of advanced devotees (mahābhāgavatas) is antithetical to pure bhakti.

Bhagavan Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur was the most influential proponent of the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the 20th century. As a vehement spiritual revolutionary, he denounced all conventional religious dogmas, broke through society’s false notions of spirituality, and compelled all to appreciate the true path of divine love. For more information on Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, please visit his biography page.
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