The Remedy for Grief

By Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur

The Pastime of Srivas Thakur’s son passing away during Sriman Mahaprabhu’s kirtan recounted.

Sri Gitavali

Soka-satana

Songs 1—13

Songs 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Song 1

pradosa-samaye srivasa-angane
sangopane goramani
sri-hari-kirtane nache nana-range
uthila mangala-dhvani [1]

In the evening in the seclusion of Srivas’ courtyard, the jewel Sri Gora danced in various ways as the auspicious sound of the chanting of the Lord’s Name arose.

mrdanga madala baje karatala
majhe majhe jayatura
prabhura natana dekhi’ sakalera
ha-ila santapa dura [2]

Mrdangas, madalas, and kartals resounded in the midst of calls of “Jay!” Seeing the Lord’s dancing, everyone’s woes vanished.

akhanda premete matala takhana
sakala bhakata-gana
apana pasari’ gorachade gheri’
nache gaya anuksana [3]

Maddened with unabated love, all the devotees forgot themselves, surrounded Gorachad, and danced and sang continuously.

emata samaye daiva-vyadhi-yoge
srivasera antahpure
tanaya-viyoge nari-gana soke
prakasala uchchaihsvare [4]

At this time, as a result of a disease prescribed by providence, one Srivas’s sons departed, and the women in the inner quarters of Srivas’ house began to loudly express their grief.

krandana uthile habe rasa-bhanga
bhakati-vinoda dare
srivasa amani bujhila karana
pasila apana ghare [5]

When the crying arose, Bhakti Vinod feared the Lord’s joy would be disrupted. Srivas immediately understood the reason for the crying and entered his house.

Song 2

pravesiya antahpure nari-gane santa kare
srivasa amiya upadese
suna pagalini-gana soka kara akarana
kiba duhkha thake krsnavese [1]

Srivas entered the inner quarters of the house and solaced the women with nectarean advice: “Listen, you hysterical women, you grieve without reason. What grief is there in love for Krishna?

krsna nitya suta yara soka kabhu nahi tara
anitye asakti sarva-nasa
asiyachha e samsare krsna bhajibara tare
nitya-tattve karaha vilasa [2]

“One whose eternal son is Krishna never grieves. Attachment to the impermanent, however, causes total ruination. You have come to this world to serve Krishna, so delight in the eternal truth.

e dehe yavat sthiti kara krsnachandre rati
krsne jana dhana jana prana
e deha-anuga yata bhai bandhu pati suta
anitya sambanda bali’ mana [3]

“As long as you remain in this body, love Krishna and know Krishna to be your wealth, companion, and life. Understand your relationships with everyone related to this body—your brothers, friends, husband, and sons—to be impermanent.

keba kara pati suta anitya-sambandha-krta
chahile rakhite nare tare
karama-vipaka-phale suta haye base kole
karma-ksaya ara raite nare [4]

“Who is anyone’s husband or son? These are impermanent relationships. Even if you want to maintain your relationships with them, you cannot. As a result of the consequences of his actions, someone became your son and sat on your lap, but when his karma is finished, he cannot remain with you any longer.

ithe sukha duhkha mani’ adhogati labhe prani
krsna-pada haite pade dure
soka samvariya ebe namanande maja sabe
bhakati-vinoda-vanchha pure [5]

“Living beings who identify with the happiness and sadness of such relationships become degraded and fall far from Krishna’s feet. Subdue your grief now and immerse yourselves in the joy of the Name.” Thus fulfil the desire of Bhakti Vinod.

Song 3

dhana jana deha geha krsne samarpana
kariyachha suddha-chitte karaha smarana [1]

[Srivas Thakur says to his wife and relatives:] “You have offered your wealth, companions, body, and home to Krishna. With a pure heart, remember this.

tabe kena mama suta bali’ kara duhkha
krsna nila nija-jana tahe tara sukha [2]

“Why do you grieve, ‘O my son’? Krishna has taken someone who is His own for His satisfaction.

krsna-ichchha-mate saba ghataya ghatana
tahe sukha-duhkha-jnana avidya-kalpana [3]

“Everything happens according to Krishna’s will. Conceptions of happiness and sadness based on such events are products of ignorance.

yaha ichchha kare krsna tai jana bhala
tyajiya apana ichchha ghuchao janjala [4]

“Know whatever Krishna wills to be good and end your suffering by giving up your independent desires.

deya krsna neya krsna pale krsna sabe
rakhe krsna mare krsna ichchha kare jabe [5]

“Krishna gives, and Krishna takes. Krishna cares for all. Krishna protects and Krishna kills when He so desires.

krsna-ichchha-viparita ye kare vasana
tara ichchha nahi phale se paya yatana [6]

“The desires of those who want what is contrary to Krishna’s will do not bear fruit. Such persons simply suffer.

tyajiya sakala soka suna krsna-nama
parama ananda pabe purna habe kama [7]

“Give up all your grief and listen to Krishna’s Name. You will find the greatest joy, and all your desires will be fulfilled.”

bhakati-vinoda mage srivasa-charane
atma-nivedana-sakti jivane marane [8]

At the feet of Srivas, Bhakti Vinod begs for the strength to surrender himself in life and in death.

Song 4

sabu meli’ balaka-bhaga vichari’
chhodabi moha soka chitta-vikari [1]

“All of you get together, consider the fortune of this boy, and give up the delusion and grief that are disturbing your hearts.

chaudda-bhuvana-pati nanda-kumara
sachi-nandana bhela nadiya-avatara [2]

“The Lord of the fourteen worlds, the son of Nanda, has descended in Nadia as the son of Sachi.

sohi gokula-chada angane mora
nacha-i bhakta-saha ananda-vibhora [3]

“He, the moon of Gokula, dances in ecstasy in our courtyard with the devotees.

sunata nama-gana balaka mora
chhodala deha hari-priti-vibhora [4]

“While listening to the chanting of the Name, our son left his body, overcome with love for the Lord.

aichhana bhaga yaba bhai hamara
tabahu hau bhava-sagara-para [5]

“If I can attain such fortune, then I will be able to cross over the ocean of material existence.

tuhu sabu vichhari ehi vichara
kahe karabi soka chitta-vikara [6]

“You all should consider his fortune. Why do you engage in this grief that disturbs your hearts?

sthira nahi haobi yadi upadese
vanchita haobi rase avasese [7] pasibu hama sura-tatini-mahe
bhakati-vinoda pramada dekhe tahe [8]

“If you are not pacified by my advice, then ultimately you will be deprived of the Name’s joy, and I will submerge myself in the Ganges.” Bhakti Vinod observes such hysteria.

Song 5

srivasa-vachana sravana kariya
sadhvi pati-vrata-gana
soka parihari’ mrta sisu rakhi’
hari-rase dila mana [1]

Hearing the words of Srivas, the chaste ladies gave up their grief over the dead child and turned their attention to the joy of the Lord’s Name.

srivasa takhana anande matiya
angane aila punah
nache gora sane sakala pasari’
gaya nanda-suta-guna [2]

Srivas then returned to the courtyard, overwhelmed with joy. He danced with Gora, forgetting everything, and chanted Krishna’s glories.

chari danda ratre marila kumara
angane keha na jane
sri-nama-mangale trtiya prahara
rajani atita gane [3]

His son died an hour and a half after sunset, but no one in the courtyard knew this. Everyone spent the nine hours of the night chanting the  Name.

kirtana bhangile kahe gaurahari
aji kena pai duhkha
bujhi ei grhe kichhu amangala
ghatiya harila sukha [3]

When the kirtan came to an end, Gaurahari said, “Why do I feel sadness today? I think something inauspicious has occurred in this house and taken away My happiness.”

tabe bhakta-jana nivedana kare
srivasa-sisura katha
suni’ gora raya bale haya haya
marame painu vyatha [5]

The devotees then explained what had happened to Srivas’ son. Hearing this, Gora Ray said, “Oh! I am pained at heart.

kena na kahile amare takhana
vipada-samvada sabe
bhakati-vinoda bhakata-vatsala-
snehete majila tabe [6]

“Why didn’t anyone tell Me about this tragedy then?” Bhakti Vinod then became immersed in the affection of the Lord who cares for His devotees.

Song 6

prabhura vachana takhana suniya
srivasa lotana bhumi
bale suna natha tava rasa-bhanga
sahite na pari ami [1]

Hearing the Lord’s words, Srivas rolled on the ground and said, “Listen, O Lord! I could not bear to disrupt Your joy.

ekati tanaya mariyachhe natha
tahe mora kiba duhkha
yadi saba mare tomare heriya
tabu ta’ paiba sukha [2]

“One of my sons has died, O Lord, but why should I be sad about that? If they all die seeing You, then I will be happy.

tava nrtya-bhanga ha-ile amara
marana ha-ita hari
tai kusamvada na dila tomare
vipada asanka kari’ [3]

“If I had disrupted Your dancing, I would have died, O Lord. So, I did not give You the bad news, fearing such a disaster.

ebe ajna deha mrta suta laye
satkara karuna sabe
eteka suniya gora dvija-mani
kadite lagila tabe [4]

“Please give us permission now, and we can take my dead son and perform the funeral.” Hearing this, Gora, the jewel of the twice born, began to cry.

kemane e saba chhadiya yaiba
parana vikala haya
se katha suniya bhakati-vinoda
manete paila bhaya [5]

“How can I leave you all? My heart will break.” Hearing these words, Bhakti Vinod became frightened.

Song 7

gorachadera ajna peye grha-vasi-gana
mrta sute anganete ane tata-ksana [1]

Receiving Gorachad’s permission, the family members then brought the dead child into the courtyard.

kali-mala-hari gora jijnase takhana
srivase chhadiya, sisu, yao ki karana? [2]

Gora, the purifier of the Age of Kali, then asked, “My child, why are you leaving Srivas and going away?”

mrta-sisu-mukhe jiva kare nivedana
loka-siksa lagi’ prabhu tava acharana [3]

Through the mouth of the dead child, the soul replied, “O Lord, You act to teach the world.

tumi ta’ parama-tattva ananta advaya
para-sakti tomara abhinna tattva haya [4]

“You are the Supreme Being, infinite and non-dual. Your divine energy is nondifferent from You.

sei para-sakti tridha haiya prakasa
tava ichchha-mata karaya tomara vilasa [5]

“Your divine energy manifests in three ways, and according to Your will, it arranges Your Pastimes.

chich-chakti-svarupe nitya-lila prakasiya
tomare ananda dena hladini ha-iya [6]

“In the form of Your spiritual energy, the hladini-sakti, it manifests Your eternal Pastimes and gives You pleasure.

jiva-sakti hana tava chit-kirana-chaye
tatastha-svabhave jiva-gane prakataye [7]

“As the jiva-sakti, it manifests the souls, the rays of spirit that are marginal in nature.

maya-sakti hana kare prapancha-srjana
bahirmukha jive tahe karaya bandhana [8]

“As the maya-sakti, it creates the material world and binds there the souls who are averse to You.”

bhakati-vinoda bale aparadha-phale
bahirmukha haye achhi prapancha-kavale [9]

Bhakti Vinod says, “As a result of my offences, I am averse to the Lord and caught in the clutches of material existence.”

Song 8

purna-chid-ananda tumi tomara chit-kana ami
svabhavatah ami tuya dasa
parama svatantra tumi tuya paratantra ami
tuya pada chhadi’ sarva-nasa [1]

“You are the embodiment of complete spiritual joy, and I am a particle of Your spiritual energy. By nature, I am Your servant. You are completely independent, and I am dependent on You. Leaving Your feet, I have become utterly ruined.

svatantra haye yakhana maya prati kainu mana
sva-svabhava chhadila amaya
prapanche mayara bandhe padinu karmera dhandhe
karma-chakre amare phelaya [2]

“When I became independent and inclined towards maya, my true nature abandoned me. I fell into the bondage of maya and the bewilderment of karma in the material world; the cycle of karma entangled me.

maya tava ichchha-mate badhe more e jagate
adrsta nirbandha lauha-kare
sei ta’ nirbandha more ane srivasera ghare
putra-rupe malini-jathare [3]

“According to Your will, maya has bound me in this world with the iron chains of fate, and that fate has brought me to the house of Srivas as a son from the womb of Malini.

se nirbandha punaraya more ebe laye yaya
ami ta’ thakite nari ara
tava ichchha suprabala mora ichchha sudurbala
ami jiva akinchana chhara [4]

“Now again, that fate is taking me away. I cannot remain any longer. Your will is all-powerful, and my will is extremely weak. I am just a poor, insignificant soul.

yathaya pathao tumi avasya yaiba ami
kara keba putra pati pita
jadera sambandha saba taha nahi satya-lava
tumi jivera nitya palayita [5]

“I will certainly go wherever You send me. Who is anyone’s son, husband, or father? These are all material relationships. There is not even a tinge of truth in them. You are the eternal maintainer of the soul.

samyoge viyoge yini sukha-duhkha mane gani
tava pade chhadena asraya
mayara gardabha haye majena samsara laye
bhakti-vinodera sei bhaya [6]

“Those who identify with the happiness and sadness of mundane union and separation reject the shelter of Your feet. They turn into asses of maya and absorb themselves in material existence.” This is the fear of Bhakti Vinod.

Song 9

badhila maya ye dina hate
avidya-moha-dore
aneka janma labhinu ami
phirinu maya-ghore [1]

“Since the day maya bound me with the ropes of ignorance and delusion, I have taken many births and wandered in maya’s darkness.

deva danava manava pasu
patanga kita haye
svarge narake bhu-tale phiri
anitya asa laye [2]

“Having been a god, demon, human, animal, insect, and worm, I am have wandered throughout heaven, hell, and earth with desires for the impermanent.

na jani kiba sukrti-bale
srivasa-suta hainu
nadiya-dhame charana tava
darasa parasa kainu [3]

“I do not know by what good fortune I have become the son of Srivas and been able to see and touch Your feet in the land of Nadia.

sakala bare marana-kale
aneka duhkha pai
tuya prasange parama sukhe
e-bara chale yai [4]

“I suffer greatly every time at the moment of death, but because of Your presence, I depart this time with great joy.

ichchhaya tora janama yadi
abara haya, hari!
charane tava prema-bhakati
thake, minati kari [5]

“If by Your will, I am to be born again, O Lord, then I pray only that I may have love and devotion to Your feet.”

yakhana sisu niraba bhela
dekhiya prabhura lila
srivasa-gosthi tyajiya soka
ananda-magana bhela [6]

When the child fell silent, Srivas’ family, having seen this Pastime of the Lord, give up their grief and became overwhelmed with joy.

gaura-charita amrta-dhara
karite karite pana
bhakti-vinoda srivase mage
yaya yena mora prana [7]

Bhakti Vinod begs Srivas, “May I drink these streams of the nectar from Gaura’s Pastimes as my life passes away.”

Song 10

srivase kahena prabhu tuhu mora dasa
tuya prite badha ami jagate prakasa [1]

The Lord said to Srivas, “You are My servant, and bound by your love, I have appeared in this world.

bhakta-gana-senapati srivasa pandita
jagate ghusuka aji tomara charita [2]

“O Srivas Pandit, you are leader of the devotees. May your glory be proclaimed today throughout the world.

prapancha-kara-raksini mayara bandhana
tomara nahika kabhu dekhuka jagaj-jana [3]

“May the people of the world see that you are never subject to the bondage of Maya, the warden of the prison of material existence.

dhana, jana, deha, geha amare arpiya
amara sevara sukhe achha sukhi hana [4]

“You have offered your wealth, companions, body, and home to Me, and you are happily immersed in the happiness of My service.

mama lila-pusti lagi’ tomara samsara
siksuka grhastha-jana tomara achara [5]

“You have a family only to enhance My Pastimes. May all householders learn from your conduct.

tava preme baddha achhi ami, nityananda
ama duhe suta jani’ bhunjaha ananda [6]

“I am bound by your love. Considering both Nityananda and Me your sons, you feel only joy.

nitya-tattva suta yara anitya tanaye
asakti na kare sei srjane pralaye [7]

“One who has eternal sons does not maintain any attachment to an impermanent son at birth or at death.

bhaktite tomara rni ami chira-dina
tava sadhu-bhave tumi ksama mora rna [8]

“I am forever indebted to you for your devotion. Out of your virtious nature, please forgive My debt to you.”

srivasera paya bhakti-vinoda kujana
kakuti kariya mage gauranga-charana [9]

At the feet of Srivas, the wretched Bhakti Vinod earnestly begs for the feet of Sri Gauranga.

Song 11

srivasera prati chaitanya-prasada
dekhiya sakala jana
jaya sri-chaitanya jaya nityananda
bali’ nache ghana ghana [1]

Seeing Sri Chaitanya’s mercy upon Srivas, everyone repeatedly called out “Glory to Sri Chaitanya! Glory to Nityananda!” and danced.

srivasa-mandire ki bhava uthila
taha ki varnana haya
bhava-yuddha sane ananda-krandana
uthe krsna-premamaya [2]

What sort of love arose in the home of Srivas? How can it be described? A battle of emotions and tears of joy filled with love for Krishna arose.

chari bhai padi’ prabhura charane
preme gadagada svare
kadiya kadiya kakuti kariya
gadi’ yaya prema-bhare [3]

The four brothers fell at the Lord’s feet. With voices choked by love, they wept earnestly and rolled on the ground, overwhelmed with love.

ohe pranesvara e hena vipada
prati-dina yena haya
yahate tomara charana-yugale
asakti badhite raya [4]

“O Lord of our hearts, let such a tragedy occur every day whereby our attachment to Your feet continually increases.

vipada-sampade sei dina bhala
ye dina tomare smari
tomara smarana- rahita ye dina
se dina vipada, hari [5]

“Be there tragedy or good fortune, any day that we remember You is a good day, and any day that we do not remember You is a tragedy, O Lord.”

srivasa-gosthira charane padiya
bhakati-vinoda bhane
tomadera gora krpa vitariya
dekhao durgata jane [6]

Bhakti Vinod falls at the feet of Srivas’ family and prays, “Please be merciful and show this fallen soul your Gora.”

Song 12

mrta sisu laye tabe bhakata-vatsala
bhakata-sangete gaya sri-nama-mangala [1]

The Lord, affectionate to His devotees, then picked up the dead child and began chanting the Name in the company of the devotees.

gaite gaite gela jahnavira tire
balake satkara kaila jahnavira nire [2]

As He chanted, He came to the bank of the Ganga and performed the child’s funeral with water from the Ganga.

jahnavi balena, mama saubhagya apara
saphala haila vrata chhila ye amara [3]

Ganga Devi said, “My good fortune is unlimited. The vows I observed have now born fruit.”

mrta sisu dena gora jahnavira jale
uthali’ jahnavi devi sisu laya kole [4]

Gora put the dead child in the waters of the Ganga, and Ganga Devi surged forward and took the child in her arms.

uthaliya sparse gora-charana-kamala
sisu-kole preme devi haya talamala [5]

She then surged further forward and touched Gora’s lotus feet. With the child in her arms, the goddess overflowed with love.

jahnavira bhava dekhi’ yata bhakta-gana
sri-nama-mangala-dhvani kare anuksana [6]

Seeing Ganga Devi’s love, all the devotees repeatedly chanted the Name.

svarga haite deve kare puspa-varisana
vimana sankula tabe chhaila gagana [7]

From heaven, the demigods showered flowers as the sky filled with their airplanes.

ei-rupe nana bhave haiya magana
satkara kariya snana kaila sarva-jana [8]

In this way, absorbed in various emotions, the funeral was completed, and everyone bathed.

parama anande sabe gela nija ghare
bhakati-vinoda maje gora-bhava-bhare [9]

With great joy, everyone then went to their homes. Bhakti Vinod rejoices with love for Gora.

Song 13

nadiya-nagare gora-charita amrta
piya soka bhaya chhada sthira kara chita [1]

Drink the nectar of Gora’s Pastimes in the town of Nadia, give up your grief and fear, and steady your heart.

anitya samsara bhai krsna matra sara
gora-siksa-mate krsna bhaja anivara [2]

The material world is impermanent brother. Krishna is the be-all and end-all, so constantly serve Krishna according to Gora’s teachings.

gorara charana dhari’ yei bhagyavan
vraje radha-krsna bhaje, sei mora prana [3]

Fortunate souls who clasp Gora’s feet and serve Radha and Krishna in Vraja are my life.

radha-krsna gorachada na’de vrndavana
ei matra kara sara pabe nitya dhana [4]

Accept Radha-Krishna, Gorachad, Nadia, and Vrndavan as your be-all and end-all, and you will attain the eternal wealth.

vidya-buddhi hina dina akinchana chhara
karma-jnana-sunya ami sunya-sadachara [5]

I have neither education nor intelligence. I am fallen, poor, and worthless. I have neither piety, nor renunciation, nor proper conduct.

sri-guru-vaisnava more dilena upadhi
bhakti-hine upadhi haila ebe vyadhi [6]

Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas have given me a designation (‘Bhakti Vinod’), but because I have no devotion, this designation has now become an affliction.

yatana kariya sei vyadhi nivarane
sarana lainu ami vaisnava-charane [7]

To alleviate this affliction, I have carefully taken shelter at the feet of the Vaisnavas.

vaisnavera pada-raja mastake dhariya
e ‘soka-satana’ gaya bhakti-vinodiya [8]

Taking the dust of the feet of the Vaisnavas on my head, Bhakti Vinod sings this Soka-satana (remedy for grief).

About the Author:

Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur is the foremost pioneer of progressive modern Gaudiya Vaisnavism. Scholarly and systematic yet compassionate, loving, and joyful, Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur has succeeded in spreading the divine love brought to the world by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu all over the world through his prolific literature, profound forethought, and devout followers. For more information on Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur, please visit his biography page.

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