Commentary on verse 8 of Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s Śikṣāṣṭakam.

By Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur

Śrī Śikṣāṣṭakam Verse Eight

आश्लिष्य वा पादरतां पिनष्टु मा-
मदर्शनान्मर्म्महतां करोतु वा ।
यथा तथा वा विदधातु लम्पटो
मत्प्राणनाथस्तु स एव नापरः ॥८॥

āśliṣya vā pāda-ratāṁ pinaṣṭu mām
adarśanān marma-hatāṁ karotu vā
yathā tathā vā vidadhātu lampaṭo
mat-prāṇa-nāthas tu sa eva nāparaḥ [8]

āśliṣya–embracing; –or; pāda–foot; ratām–engaged; pinaṣṭu–may embrace; mām–me; adarśanāt–because of separation; marma–heart; hatām–broken; karotu–may do; –or; yathā–as; tathā–so; –or; vidadhātu–may ac; lampaṭaḥ–debauchee; mat–My; prāṇa–heart; nāthaḥ–Lord; tu–still; saḥ–He; eva–alone; na–not; aparaḥ–another.

āśliṣya vā–He may embrace pāda-ratām–this servant of [His] feet [and] pinaṣṭu–squeeze mām–me, –or karotu–He may hatām–break [My] marma–heart adarśanāt–with separation. yathā tathā–Howsoever lampaṭaḥ–that debauchee vidadhātu vā–may act, tu–still saḥ–He eva–alone, [and] na aparaḥ–no one else, [is] nāthaḥ–the Lord mat–of My prāṇa–heart. [8]

He may tightly embrace this servant of His feet, or He may break My heart with separation. Howsoever that debauchee may act, He alone, and no one else, is the Lord of My heart.


The following is an English translation of Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur’s Bengali Vivṛti commentary on the first 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 8

By Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur

“I am a maidservant of the gopīs engaged in the service of His feet. He may embrace Me, He may take Me as His own, or He may break My heart with separation. May the desires of the debauchee of the gopa’s wives be fulfilled, whatever they may be. In any case, He is the Lord of my heart, and He will never be otherwise.”

“Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the independent Supreme Person. Following His will is My one and only purpose (dharma). I am not so wayward that I could show any propensity for service that is contrary to His desires.”

In perfection (siddhi), neither of the jīva’s appendages (upādhis), the [material] body and mind, remain. At that stage, simply fulfilling Kṛṣṇa’s desires with one’s supramundane senses in one’s spiritual body (siddha-deha) as an follower of the ladies of Vraja on the field of the son of Nanda’s whimsical play in supramundane Vṛndāvan is itself devotion in divine love (prema-bhakti).

The jīva should never consider themself the āśraya-vigraha [a principal associate of Kṛṣṇa under whose direction service to Kṛṣṇa is offered] because by doing so one engages in worship of oneself (ahaṁ-grahopāsanā). Subservience (ānugatya) to the āśraya-vigraha is the unalloyed state of the pure jīvātma. Even when the jīva becomes dear to Kṛṣṇa, the jīva by nature remains by Kṛṣṇa’s will connected with Him as a separated part (vibhinnāṁśa).

In the eight verses of Śrī Śikṣāṣṭakam, the tattvas (tenets) of sambandha (the relationship), abhidheya (the process), and prayojan (the goal) have been presented through discussion of abhidheya. In the first verse, general instruction is found on the practice (sādhana) of Śrī Kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtan; in the second, realisation of one’s own disqualification for this topmost practice; in the third verse, the process to chant the Divine Name; in the fourth, rejection of unfavourable desires and deceit; in the fifth verse, knowledge of the true self; in the sixth, description of one’s good fortune in Kṛṣṇa’s presence; in the seventh, description of the rasa of separation in the advanced stage; and in the eighth verse, attainment of one’s goal (svaprayojana-siddhi).

In the first five verses, there is instruction on sambandha-jñān (knowledge of the jīva’s relationship with Kṛṣṇa) based on abhidheya. In all eight verses, instruction on abhidheya is found, and in the final three verses, instruction on prayojan is found. In the first five verses, in discussion of abhidheya, sādhana-bhakti is fully expressed; in the next two verses, bhāva-bhakti is fully expressed; and in verses six to eight, in particular in the seventh and eighth verses, the goal of prema-bhakti is fully expressed.

Now, I offer obeisance at the holy feet of all readers, citing a verse of Śrī Chakravartī Ṭhākur:

ārādhyo bhagavān vrajeśa-tanayas tad-dhāma vṛndāvanam
ramyā kāchid upāsanā vraja-vadhū-vargeṇā yā kalpitā
śrīmad-bhāgavataṁ pramāṇam amalaṁ premā pumartho mahān
śrī-chaitanya-mahāprabhor matam idaṁ tatrādaraḥ naḥ paraḥ

[“‘The object of worship is Bhagavān, the son of the King of Vraja, whose abode is Vṛndāvan. The most pleasing worship is that performed by the wives of Vraja. Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is the flawless authority, and prema is the ultimate goal of human life.’ This is the conception of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu. We adore it as supreme.”]