Commentary on verse 7 of Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s Śikṣāṣṭakam.

By Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur

Śrī Śikṣāṣṭakam Verse Seven

युगायितं निमेषेण चक्षुषा प्रावृषायितम् ।
शून्यायितं जगत्सर्व्वं गोविन्द-विरहेण मे ॥७॥

yugāyitaṁ nimeṣeṇa chakṣuṣā prāvṛṣāyitam
śūnyāyitaṁ jagat sarvaṁ govinda-viraheṇa me [7]

yugāyitam–seems like an age; nimeṣeṇa–with a moment; chakṣuṣā–with eyes; prāvṛṣāyitam–seem to shower rain; śūnyāyitam–seems void; jagat–world; sarvam–entire; govinda–Govinda; viraheṇa–with separation; me–my.

viraheṇa–In separation govinda–from Govinda, me–to me nimeṣeṇa–a moment yugāyitam–feels like an age, [my] chakṣuṣā–eyes prāvṛṣāyitam–seem to shower rain, [and] sarvam–the whole jagat–world śūnyāyitam–feels void.

In separation from Govinda, a moment feels like an age, my eyes seem to shower rain, and the whole world feels void.


The following is an English translation of Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur’s Bengali Vivṛti commentary on the seventh 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 7

By Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur

“O Govinda, in separation from You, my entire world feels void, tears stream from my eyes like the torrents of the rainy season, and the blink of the eye feels like an age.”

This is an excellent example of the rasa of separation (vipralambha). The proposition of this verse is to show that for a devotee who has developed rati, there is greater necessity for separation than for union (sambhoga). In mundane separation only sorrow is present, but the land of supramundane (aprākṛta) separation is full of the highest bliss, although externally it is painful:

yata dekha vaiṣṇavera vyavahāra duḥkha
niśchaya jāniha sei parānanda sukha
(Śrī Chaitanya-bhāgavat: Madhya-khaṇḍa, 9.24o)

[“Know for certain that all the activity and suffering you see in a Vaiṣṇava is actually transcendental bliss and joy.”]

Separation nourishes union. Moreover, to external vision, union exists within separation in the state known as prema-vaichitya (‘the madness of divine love’). In times of separation, there is no forgetfulness of Kṛṣṇa because of the profusion of remembrance of Him [that arises from His separation]. This is the culmination of service (bhajan).

The perversion of the rasa of union seen in the Kṛṣṇa-averse Gaura Nāgarī party is simply an obstacle to supramundane rasa because of its aversion to Kṛṣṇa. Those who claim that union is the goal (sambhogavādīs) desire the satisfaction of their own senses, and therefore they are devoid of bhakti to Kṛṣṇa.

kṛṣṇendriya-prīti-ichchhā dhare ‘prema’ nāma
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Ādi-līlā, 4.165)

[“Desire to satisfy Kṛṣṇa’s senses bears the name ‘prema’.”]

When they can understand this principle, then they will not be eager to goad the rasa of their own union and will not run to dress Śrī Gaurāṅga as a libertine (nāgara). The secret of Śrī Gaura-līlā is that Śrī Kṛṣṇa has taken the mood (bhāva) of the āśraya (the offerer of love [not the recipient of love]) and is always situated in the rasa of separation! To nourish the rasa of union, the culmination of the full development of the jīva, who is of the āśraya class, is situated in separation. Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s Avatār in the rasa of separation—the eternal form of Śrī Gaura—appeared specifically to reveal this. The misendeavours of the proponents of union (sambhogavādīs) regarding Him can never be successful.