The following translation and commentary is formatted in this order:
- The original text of each verse in Devanagari script,
- Its Roman transliteration,
- Its verse-ordered word by word gloss,
- Its prose-ordered word by word gloss,
- Its prose translation,
- Explanatory notes where applicable.
Śrī Śrī Śachī-sūnv-aṣṭakam
Obeisance unto the Divine Son of Śrī Śachī
हरिर्दृष्ट्वा गोष्ठे मुकुर-गतमात्मानमतुलं
स्वमाधुर्य्यं राधा-प्रियतर-सखीवाप्तुमभितः ।
अहो गौड़े जातः प्रभुरपर-गौरैकतनु-भाक्
शचीसूनुः किं मे नयन-शरणीं यास्यति पुनः ॥१॥
harir dṛṣṭvā goṣṭhe mukura-gatam ātmānam atulaṁ
svamādhuryaṁ rādhā-priyatara-sakhīvāptum abhitaḥ
aho gauḍe jātaḥ prabhur apara-gauraika-tanu-bhāk
śachī-sūnuḥ kiṁ me nayana-śaraṇīṁ yāsyati punaḥ 
hariḥ–Hari; dṛṣṭvā–having beheld; goṣṭhe–near; mukura–mirror; gatam–situated; ātmānam–form; atulam–incomparable; svamādhuryam–own beauty; rādhā–Rādhā; priyatara–dearmost; sakhī–friend; iva–like; āptum–to experience; abhitaḥ–in full; aho–a particple expressing wonder; gauḍe–in Gauḍa; jātaḥ–manifested; prabhuḥ–Lord; apara–own (lit. ‘not other’); gaura–golden lustre; eka–one; tanu–figure; bhāk–assuming; śachī–Śachī; sūnuḥ–son; kim–will; me–my; nayana–eye; śaraṇīm–path; yāsyati–will come; punaḥ–again. 
hariḥ–Hari goṣṭhe–closely dṛṣṭvā–beheld [His own] atulam–incomparable ātmānam–form gatam–situated mukura–in a mirror, [and then] āptum–to experience [His] svamādhuryam–own beauty abhitaḥ–in full iva–like [His] priyatara–dearmost sakhī–friend rādhā–Rādhā, aho–aho! prabhuḥ–The Lord jātaḥ–manifested gauḍe–in Gauḍa, bhāk–assuming eka–one tanu–figure [Her] apara–own gaura–golden lustre. kim–Will [the] sūnuḥ–son śachī–of Śachī [ever] yāsyati–appear śaraṇīm–on the path [of] me–my nayana–eyes punaḥ–again? 
Hari closely beheld His own incomparable form within a mirror, and then to experience His own beauty in full like His dearmost sakhī Rādhā, aho! The Lord manifested in Gauḍa, assuming a figure with Her own golden lustre. Will the son of Śachī ever appear on the path of my eyes again?
In this verse Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī expresses his longing in separation for darśan of Śrī Chaitanya in remembrance of the internal cause of Śrī Chaitanya’s līlā.
harir: “Hari.” Here Hari refers specifically to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, He who is Svayaṁ Bhagavān and the Prince of Vraja Dhām, and not to any of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s Avatārs. The name Hari rather than the name Kṛṣṇa, however, has been used in this verse because the name Hari, which means literally ‘He who takes’, naturally suits the marvel described in this verse: Śrī Kṛṣṇa captivates (‘takes’) all living beings, including His own self, with His beauty (svamādhuryaṁ). Rāmānanda Rāy discussed this with Śrī Chaitanya Himself:
āpana-mādhurye hare āpanāra mana
āpanā āpani chāhe karite āliṅgana
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 8.147)
“Kṛṣṇa’s beauty captivates (hare) His own mind, and He thus desires to embrace His own self.”
Śrīla Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāj Goswāmī further illuminates Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s intention to experience His own beauty:
darpaṇādye dekhi’ yadi āpana mādhurī
āsvādite haya lobha, āsvādite nāri
vichāra kariye yadi āsvāda-upāya
rādhikā-svarūpa ha-ite tabe mana dhāya
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Ādi-līlā, 4.144−5)
[Kṛṣṇa muses:] “When I see My own beauty in this mirror or elsewhere, I hanker to taste it but I am unable to do so. When I consider the best way to taste it, My mind runs to become Rādhikā.”
kṛṣṇa-mādhuryera eka svābhāvika bala
kṛṣṇa-ādi nara-nārī karaye chañchala
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Ādi-līlā, 4.147)
“Kṛṣṇa’s beauty has this natural power: it excites all men and women, beginning with Kṛṣṇa Himself.”
goṣṭhe: “Near.” While goṣṭha usually alludes to ‘a place where cows reside’, that is, Vraja Dhām, here goṣṭha means ‘in a place nearby’ according to an alternate sense of the word discussed by Śrīla Sanātan Goswāmī in his Daśama-ṭippanī. Moreover, in Lalita-Mādhava (8.34) when Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī describes Śrī Kṛṣṇa beholding His own reflection and desiring to embrace Himself, he states that this līlā took place in Dvārakā, not Vraja:
aparikalita-pūrvaḥ kaś chamatkāra-kārī
sphurati mama garīyān eṣa mādhurya-pūraḥ
ayam aham api hanta prekṣya yaṁ lubdha-chetāḥ
sarabhasam upabhoktuṁ kāmaye rādhikeva
[Seeing His own reflection, Kṛṣṇa muses to Himself:] “Who exhibits such an abundance of never before seen, astonishing beauty greater than My own? Lo! Seeing Him, My mind is captivated, and even I desire to eagerly embrace Him like Rādhikā.”
rādhā-priyatara-sakhī: “Dearmost sakhī Rādhā.” Śrī Rādhā is known to be Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s dearmost beloved:
sarva-gopīṣu saivaikā viṣṇor atyanta-vallabhā
“Amongst all the gopīs, She alone [Śrī Rādhā] is Viṣṇu’s dearest beloved.”
Further, Śrī Rādhā’s ability to experience Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beauty is unparalleled:
svamādhurya dekhi’ kṛṣṇa karena vichāra
“adbhuta, ananta, pūrṇa mora madhurimā
trijagate ihāra keha nāhi pāya sīmā
ei prema-dvāre nitya rādhikā ekali
āmāra mādhuryāmṛta āsvāde sakali
yadyapi nirmala rādhāra sat-prema-darpaṇa
tathāpi svachchhatā tāra bāḍhe kṣaṇe kṣaṇa
āmāra mādhurya nāhi bāḍite avakāśe
e-darpaṇera āge nava nava rūpe bhāse
man-mādhurya rādhāra prema—do̐he hoḍa kari’
kṣaṇe kṣaṇe bāḍe do̐he, keha nāhi hāri
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Ādi-līlā, 4.137–42)
“Beholding His own beauty, Kṛṣṇa considers, ’My beauty is extraordinary, infinite, and complete. No one in the three worlds can find its limit. Only Rādhikā through Her prema continuously tastes all the nectar of My beauty. Although the mirror of Rādhā’s pure prema is spotless, still its clarity increases from moment to moment. My beauty similarly has no scope to expand, yet in front of this mirror it shines in newer and newer forms. My beauty and Rādhā’s prema thus complete with each other. At every moment They increase, and neither accepts defeat.’”
āptum abhitaḥ: “To experience in full.” This alludes to the continuous and complete direct perception of Śrī Kṛṣṇa which only Śrī Rādhā is capable of.
aho: “Aho!” Aho is an emotive particle which in this context expresses wonder: Kṛṣṇa’s beauty has compelled the supreme male to desire the role of the supreme female? How wonderful!”
prabhur: “Lord.” One may ask, “How can the Supreme Person’s nature (svabhāva) become concealed when He adopts the bhāva of Śrī Rādhā?” To answer this Śrīla Dās Goswāmī describes Him here as Prabhu, meaning, “He who can do anything, not do anything, and do anything otherwise (kartum akartum anyathā kartuṁ samarthaḥ).”
apara: “Own.” Although apara often means ‘other’ or ‘belonging to another’, here it means ‘own’ (ātmīya) in the sense of not (a) another’s (para) and is referent to Śrī Rādhā.
eka-tanu: “A figure.” Eka-tanu means literally ‘one figure’ and alludes to Śrīla Svarūp Dāmodar’s description of Śrī Chaitanya’s identity,
rādhā kṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtir hlādinī-śaktir asmād
ekātmānāv api bhuvi purā deha-bhedaṁ gatau tau
chaitanyākhyaṁ prakaṭam adhunā tad-dvayaṁ chaikyam āptaṁ
rādhā-bhāva-dyuti-suvalitaṁ naumi kṛṣṇa-svarūpam
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Ādi-līlā, 1.5)
“Rādhā is a transformation of Kṛṣṇa’s love, His hlādinī-śakti. Although [Rādhā and Kṛsṇa are thus] one by nature, They are forever existent in two distinct forms. Now these two have become one and manifest as Chaitanya. I offer my obeisance unto [Him,] Kṛṣṇa Himself adorned with Rādhā’s heart and halo.”
Here it may be noted that Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa have not become one in the way that two drops of water become one when they touch each other but rather that Kṛṣṇa has revealed His eternal form of Śrī Chaitanya in which He envelopes Himself in Rādhā’s bhāva and lustre and is one with Her in this sense alone.
śachī-sūnuḥ: “Son of Śachī.” Śrī Chaitanya is known as the crown jewel amongst those devoted to their mother (Mātṛ-bhakta-śiromaṇi; Cc: Antya, 19.1). When Mother Śachī would become overwhelmed by feelings of separation from her beloved son, He would invariably come from Śrī Puruṣottam Kṣetra to Nabadwīp in a subtle form, accept her offerings, and give her experience within her heart of union with Him even while physically in separation from Him. Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī refers to Śrī Chaitanya throughout this Śachī-sūnv-aṣṭakam as the son of Mother Śachī (Śachī-sūnuḥ) to evoke remembrance of this līlā which illustrates Śrī Chaitanya’s supremely merciful disposition towards His devotees. Further, he does so to earnestly appeal to the Lord: “As You showed such affection to Mother Śachī while she was suffering in separation from you, so please show Your grace to me, as I am also suffering in separation for You and longing for Your darśan.”
शचीसूनुः किं मे नयन-शरणीं यास्यति पुनः ॥२॥
purī-devasyāntaḥ praṇaya-madhunā snāna-madhuro
śachī-sūnuḥ kiṁ me nayana-śaraṇīṁ yāsyati punaḥ 
purī–Īśvara Purī; devasya–of master; antaḥ–of heart; praṇaya–love; madhunā–by honey; snāna–bath; madhuraḥ–sweetness; muhuḥ–continuous; govinda–Govinda; udyat–emanating; viśada–pure; paricharya–service; archita–worshipped; padaḥ–feet; svarūpasya–of Svarūp; prāṇa– arvuda–hundreds of millions; kamala–lotus; nīrājita–illuminated; mukhaḥ–face; śachī–Śachī; sūnuḥ–son; kim–will; me–my; nayana–eye; śaraṇīm–path; yāsyati–will come; punaḥ–again. 
[He who has received] snāna–a bath madhunā–with the honey praṇaya–of the love antaḥ–within the heart purī-devasya–of Purīdeva [and thus become so] madhuraḥ–sweet [to him, He whose] padaḥ–feet [are] archita–worshipped [by the] muhuḥ–continuous viśada–pure paricharya–service udyat–emanating govinda–from Govinda, [and He whose] mukhaḥ–face [is] nīrājita–illuminated arvuda–by the hundreds of millions kamala–of lotuses [that are] prāṇa–the life svarūpasya–of Svarūp— kim–will [the] sūnuḥ–son śachī–of Śachī [ever] yāsyati–appear śaraṇīm–on the path [of] me–my nayana–eyes punaḥ–again? 2]
He who has been bathed in the honey of the love within the heart of Purīdeva and thus become so sweet to him, He whose feet are worshipped by the continuous pure service emanating from Govinda, and He whose face is illuminated by the hundreds of millions of lotuses that are the life of Svarūp—will the son of Śachī ever appear on the path of my eyes again?
In this verse Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī longs for Śrī Chaitanya’s darśan meditating on the abundance of love, affection, and service that always envelop Śrī Chaitanya in His līlās with His eternal associates.
purī-devasya: “Of Purīdeva.” This refers to Śrī Īśvara Purī, who played the role in Śrī Chaitanya’s līlā of being Śrī Chaitanya’s affectionate Dīkṣā-guru.
madhuro: “Sweet.” Śrī Chaitanya “becoming so sweet to him” means that Śrī Chaitanya has great affection for Śrī Īśvara Purī and set a perfect standard for the world of how to affectionately serve Śrī Guru.
govinda: “Govinda.” Govinda was a dear disciple of Śrī Īśvara Purī who greatly satisfied Śrī Īśvara Purī with his service and was instructed by Īśvara Purī at his passing to thereafter personally serve Śrī Chaitanya (Cc: 2.10.131–3).
svarūpasya: “Of Svarūp.” Svarūp Dāmodar was Śrī Chaitanya’s closest assistant during all His later līlās in Puruṣottam Kṣetra:
prabhura atyanta marmī, rasera sāgara
sākṣāt mahāprabhura dvitīya svarūpa
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 10.102, 111)
“Svarūp Dāmodar is Mahāprabhu’s extremely intimate friend and an ocean of rasa. He knows the nature of Kṛṣṇa-rasa, and His body is an embodiment of prema. He is a second form of Mahāprabhu Himself.”
दधानः कौपीनं तदुपरि बहिर्वस्त्रमरुणं
प्रकाण्डो हेमाद्रि-द्युतिभिरभितः सेवित-तनुः ।
शचीसूनुः किं मे नयन-शरणीं यास्यति पुनः ॥३॥
dadhānaḥ kaupīnaṁ tad-upari bahir-vastram aruṇaṁ
prakāṇḍo hemādri-dyutibhir abhitaḥ sevita-tanuḥ
mudā gāyann uchchhair nija-madhura-nāmāvalim asau
śachī-sūnuḥ kiṁ me nayana-śaraṇīṁ yāsyati punaḥ 
dadhānaḥ–donning; kaupīnam–sacred loincloth; tad–it; upari–atop; bahiḥ–outer; vastram–cloth; aruṇam–saffron; prakāṇḍaḥ–magnificent (lit. ‘prior branch’, i.e. the trunk of a tree, viz. anything pre-eminent of its kind); hemādri–Mount Sumeru (lit. ‘gold-mountain’); dyutibhiḥ–by radiance; abhitaḥ–in full; sevita–worshipped; tanuḥ–figure; mudā–joyfully; gāyann–singing; uchchhaiḥ–sonorously; nija–own; madhura–sweet; nāmāvalim–Names; asau–He; śachī–Śachī; sūnuḥ–son; kim–will; me–my; nayana–eye; śaraṇīm–path; yāsyati–will come; punaḥ–again. 
dadhānaḥ–Having donned kaupīnam–the sacred loincloth [and] upari–atop tad–it [the] aruṇam–saffron bahiḥ–outer vastram–cloth, [His] prakāṇḍaḥ–magnificent tanuḥ–figure [is] sevita–worshipped abhitaḥ–in full dyutibhiḥ–by the radiance hemādri–of Mount Sumeru [as] asau–He mudā–joyfully[and] uchchhaiḥ–sonorously gāyann–sings [His] nija–own madhura–sweet nāmāvalim–Names. kim–Will [the] sūnuḥ–son śachī–of Śachī [ever] yāsyati–appear śaraṇīm–on the path [of] me–my nayana–eyes punaḥ–again? 
Having donned the kaupīn and over it the saffron outer cloth, His magnificent figure is worshipped in full by the radiance of Mount Sumeru as He joyfully and sonorously sings His own sweet Names. Will the son of Śachī ever appear on the path of my eyes again?
In this verse Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī longs for Śrī Chaitanya’s darśan meditating on Śrī Chaitanya’s mercy upon the world, the beauty and brighness of His figure, and the sweetness of His saṅkīrtan.
dadhānaḥ: “Donning.” Although Śrī Chaitanya is Bhagavān Himself, the supreme recipient of all service, He adopts the garb and role of a renunciant out His supreme magnanimity for the highest spiritual benefit of all living beings and the sanctity of human society.
hemādri: “Mount Sumeru.” According to Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, Mount Sumeru is the foremost mountain on the earth and is situated at the earth’s very centre (SB: 5.16.7, 27): “Nābhyām avasthitaḥ sarvataḥ sauvarṇaḥ kula-giri-rājo merur: situated at the centre is Meru (Mount Sumeru), the king of mountains, made entirely of gold; ’Gnir iva paritaś chakāsti kāñchana-giriḥ: this mountain [made] of [solid] gold shines brilliantly in all directions like fire.” Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself also states (SB: 11.16.21): “Dhiṣṇyānām asmy Ahaṁ merur: amongst residences, I am Mount Sumeru.”
abhitaḥ sevita: “Worshipped in full.” To say that Mount Sumeru worships the magnificent form of Śrī Chaitanya in full is to say that upon seeing the molten gold lustre of Śrī Chaitanya, Mount Sumeru gave up its pride in its own beauty and out of captivation joyfully began to worship Śrī Chaitanya with all the rays of its golden radiance. In other words, Śrī Chaitanya’s golden lustre eclipses the beauty of fire, gold, and even that of an unimaginably vast mountain made of pure gold.
nija-madhura-nāmāvalim: “His own sweet Names.” Śrīla Prabodhānanda Saraswatī has similarly described Śrī Chaitanya’s chanting of His own Name during His līlā as a householder in Śrī Nabadwīp Dhām:
ko ’yaṁ paṭṭa-dhaṭī-virājita-kaṭī-deśaḥ kare kaṅkaṇaṁ
hāraṁ vakṣasi kuṇḍalaṁ śravaṇayor bibhrat pade nūpurau
pīḍaḥ krīḍati gaura-nāgara-varo nṛtyan nijair nāmabhiḥ
(Śrī Chaitanya-chandrāmṛta: 132)
“Wearing a silk sash around His waist, bracelets on His wrists, a necklace across His chest, earrings on His ears, bells on His ankles, and a garland-crown of blooming jasmine flowers atop His tied-back wavy hair—who is that golden king of revellers who frolics, dancing to the chanting of His own Names?”
Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj has described how Śrī Chaitanya’s experiencing the bliss of His own nature is the cause of His chanting His own Names and thereby automatically distributing this bliss to others:
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram
(Śrī Śrī Prema-dhāma-deva-stotram: 66)
“I offer my obeisance to the divine abode of prema, Śrī Gaurasundar, the embodiment of complete, self-manifest, dynamic bliss. Maddened by experience of Himself, He dances, chants [His own Names], and thus distributes Himself. Replete with this unparalleled characteristic, He is the Supreme Absolute Truth.”
अनावेद्यां पूर्व्वैरपि मुनिगणैर्भक्ति-निपुणैः
श्रुतेर्गूढां प्रेमोज्ज्वल-रसफलां भक्ति-लतिकाम् ।
कृपालुस्तां गौड़े प्रभुरति-कृपाभिः प्रकटयन्
शचीसूनुः किं मे नयन-शरणीं यास्यति पुनः ॥४॥
anāvedyāṁ pūrvair api muni-gaṇair bhakti-nipuṇaiḥ
śruter gūḍhāṁ premojjvala-rasa-phalāṁ bhakti-latikām
kṛpālus tāṁ gauḍe prabhur ati-kṛpābhiḥ prakaṭayan
śachī-sūnuḥ kiṁ me nayana-śaraṇīṁ yāsyati punaḥ 
anāvedyām–not fully known; pūrvaiḥ–by the previous; api–even; muni–sage; gaṇaiḥ–by groups; bhakti–devotion; nipuṇaiḥ–by expertise; śruteḥ–of the Śruti (Veda) gūḍhām–hidden; prema–divine love; ujjvala–bright; rasa–rasa; phalām–fruit; bhakti–devotion; latikām–creeper; kṛpāluḥ–merciful; tām–this; gauḍe–in Gauḍa; prabhuḥ–the Lord; ati-kṛpābhiḥ–out of profound mercy; prakaṭayan–manifesting; śachī–Śachī; sūnuḥ–son; kim–will; me–my; nayana–eye; śaraṇīm–path; yāsyati–will come; punaḥ–again. 
kṛpāluḥ–The merciful prabhuḥ–Lord, ati-kṛpābhiḥ–out of [His] profound mercy, prakaṭayan–manifested gauḍe–in Gauḍa tām–this latikām–creeper bhakti–of devotion, [which was] anāvedyām–not fully known pūrvaiḥ–by the previous muni-gaṇaiḥ–sages api–even nipuṇaiḥ–with [their] expertise bhakti–in devotion, [which was] gūḍhām–hidden śruteḥ–within the Vedas, [and which bears] phalām–the fruit prema–of divine love [in] ujjvala–madhura rasa–rasa. kim–Will [the] sūnuḥ–son śachī–of Śachī [ever] yāsyati–appear śaraṇīm–on the path [of] me–my nayana–eyes punaḥ–again? 
The merciful Lord, out of His profound mercy, manifested in Gauḍa the creeper of bhakti, which was not fully known by the previous sages even with their expertise in bhakti, which was hidden within the Vedas, and which bears the fruit of prema in madhura-rasa. Will the son of Śachī ever appear on the path of my eyes again?
In this verse Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī longs for Śrī Chaitanya’s darśan meditating on His incomparable mercy and topmost spiritual gift to the world.
bhakti-latikām: “Creeper of bhakti.” Śrī Chaitanya personally used the metaphor of a creeper to describe both the bestowal and cultivation of bhakti:
brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva
guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja
mālī hañā kare sei bīja āropaṇa
śravaṇa-kīrtana-jale karaye sechana
upajiyā bāḍe latā ‘brahmāṇḍa’ bhedi’ yāya
‘virajā’, ‘brahmaloka’ bhedi’ ‘paravyoma’ pāya
tabe yāya tad-upari ‘goloka-vṛndāvana’
‘kṛṣṇa-charaṇa’-kalpa-vṛkṣe kare ārohaṇa
‘prema-phala’ pāki’ paḍe, mālī āsvādaya
ei ta’ parama-phala ‘parama-puruṣārtha’
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 19.151–4, 162, 164)
“After wandering throughout the world, a fortunate soul by the grace of Śrī Guru and Kṛṣṇa receives the seed of the creeper of bhakti. Becoming a gardener, the fortunate soul sows the seed within their heart and sprinkles it with the water of hearing and chanting. The creeper grows and crosses beyond this universe. It crosses through the Virajā and Brahmaloka and reaches Paravyoma. It then goes beyond that to Goloka Vṛndāvan and climbs into the wish-fulfilling tree of Kṛṣṇa’s feet. There, the fruit of prema ripens and falls, and the gardener tastes it. This is the highest attainment, the highest end of life.”
premojjvala-rasa-phalāṁ: “The fruit of prema in madhura-rasa.” Śrī Chaitanya descended not only to distribute bhakti in general, but specifically prema-bhakti in madhura-rasa, which He praised as the most splendid (ujjvala) and exalted (unnata) of all rasas. Śrīla Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāj Goswāmī begins his Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta (Ādi, 1.4) with a verse of Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī to make such emphasis abundantly clear:
anarpita-charīṁ chirāt karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam
sadā hṛdaya-kandare sphuratu vaḥ śachī-nandanaḥ
“He mercifully descended in the Age of Kali to distribute in full His own wealth of bhakti, the most splendid and exalted rasa (madhura-rasa) which had never been distributed before. May Hari, abundantly radiant with beautiful golden lustre as the son of Śachī, shine forever within the core of your heart.”
śruter gūḍhāṁ: “Hidden within the Vedas.” As an invaluable jewel is always kept in a secret place with great care, so the Vedas have always held prema-bhakti in madhura-rasa to be their essence yet only spoken of it in veiled terms to ensure it is not misunderstood or misused, leaving it to Bhagavān Himself in His līlā as Śrī Chaitanya to appropriately reveal it to the world.
ati-kṛpābhiḥ: “Out of His profound mercy.” The Lord has not only taken up the position of a devotee, donned the garb of a renunciant, and propounded the chanting of His Names to teach dharma for the benefit of all jīvas: He has openly distributed prema-bhakti. This is no standard form of mercy. It is ati-kṛpā: profound mercy.
In Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.1.17), Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī states that bhāva- and prema-bhakti are extremely rare to attain (sudurlabhā). To illustrate this, he cites a statement in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam (5.6.18) in which Śukadev Goswāmī explains to Mahārāj Parīkṣit that the Pāṇḍavas and their descendants are supremely fortunate because they have been given prema-bhakti by Śrī Kṛṣṇa:
rājan patir gurur alaṁ bhavatāṁ yadūnāṁ
daivaṁ priyaḥ kula-patiḥ kva cha kiṅkaro vaḥ
astv evam aṅga bhagavān bhajatāṁ mukundo
muktiṁ dadāti karhichit sma na bhakti-yogam
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 5.6.18)
“O King, Bhagavān Mukunda is the maintainer, guru, object of worship, friend, and patriarch of all of you [Paṇḍavas] and the Yadus. O King, sometimes He even [out of His affection for His devotees] becomes the servant of you [Paṇḍavas, thus showing that He has even greater love for you than the Yadus]. He may give liberation to those who serve Him, but not always bhakti-yoga [meaning prema-bhakti, which He has given you Pāṇḍavas, who are thus supremely fortunate].”
Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī explains in his Durgama-saṅgamanī-ṭīkā that Bhagavān “not always” (karhichit na) giving bhakti-yoga means that He seldomly gives this, that is, He gives bhāva-bhakti only to those who have reached the stage of intense āsakti (as per the progression of śraddhā, sādhu-saṅga, etc. given in Brs: 1.4.15–16). Śrīla Sanātan Goswāmī in his Dig-darśinī-ṭīkā on Bṛhad-Bhāgavatāmṛta (2.4.225) explains that Bhagavān does not give bhakti-yoga, meaning prema-bhakti-yoga, to those who are not cognisant of rasa (He gives this only to those rare few who are). He further states (2.4.226) that Bhagavān does not often give prema-bhakti-yoga because by doing so He looses His supreme independence: He comes under the control of those devotees to whom He grants prema-bhakti. Śrīla Viśvanāth Chakravartī Ṭhākur further explains in his Bhakti-sāra-pradarśinī-ṭīkā and Sārārtha-darśinī-ṭīkā that “not always” (karhichit na) giving bhakti-yoga means that Bhagavān grants liberation (a greatly inferior thing) to those who serve Him with desire for liberation, but He gives bhakti (bhāva-bhakti) only to pure devotees who serve Him free from such desire. Yet He further states, “Abhajadbhyo ’pi parama-premādhikya-dānasya vārtā kiyatī vaktavyā ? sā sarvopari virājatām: what more is to be said of these tidings of Bhagavān’s giving the superabundance of the highest prema even to those who do not worship Him? This is illustrious above all else.” That Bhagavān Himself will freely distribute the highest form of bhakti by which even He comes under the control of those who have it is truly astonishing, and it is here that we find the supremely exalted nature of Śrī Chaitanya which Śrīla Dās Goswāmī is meditating on. Being capable of doing anything (Prabhur), Śrī Chaitanya is freely distributing not only prema-bhakti in general, by which He becomes controlled, but He is distributing the most exalted and intense form of prema-bhakti, that is, madhura-rasa prema-bhakti (premojjvala-rasa). This is is ati-kṛpā: profound mercy.
Śrīla Prabodhānanda Saraswatī has stated in this regard that all who may feel themselves to be unfit for this creeper of bhakti, which bears the fruit of prema-bhakti in madhura-rasa, will invariably find shelter in Holy Name of the profoundly merciful Śrī Chaitanya:
hā hanta chitta-bhuvi me paramoṣarāyāṁ
sad-bhakti-kalpa-latikāṅkuritā kathaṁ syāt
hṛdy ekam eva paramāśvasanīyam asti
chaitanya-nāma kalayan na kadāpi śochyaḥ
(Śrī Chaitanya-chandrāmṛta: 53)
“Oh! Alas! How will the wish-fulfilling creeper of pure bhakti sprout within the utterly barren land of my heart? There is only one source of great hope within my heart: by chanting the Name of Śrī Chaitanya, no reason to lament can ever remain.”
निजत्वे गौड़ीयान् जगति परिगृह्य प्रभुरिमान्
हरेकृष्णेत्येवं गणन-विधिना कीर्त्तयत भोः ।
इति प्रायां शिक्षां जनक इव तेभ्यः परिदिशन्
शचीसूनुः किं मे नयन-शरणीं यास्यति पुनः ॥५॥
nijatve gauḍīyān jagati parigṛhya prabhur imān
hare-kṛṣṇety evaṁ gaṇana-vidhinā kīrtayata bhoḥ
iti prāyāṁ śikṣāṁ janaka iva tebhyaḥ paridiśan
śachī-sūnuḥ kiṁ me nayana-śaraṇīṁ yāsyati punaḥ 
nijatve–as [one’s] own; gauḍīyān–people of Gauḍa; jagati–in world; parigṛhya–accepting; prabhuḥ–Lord; imān–these; hare-kṛṣṇa iti–“Hare Kṛṣṇa” evam–so; gaṇana–counting; vidhinā–according to method; kīrtayata–induced to chant; bhoḥ–oh; iti–thus; prāyām–similar; śikṣām–instruction; janaka–father; iva–like; tebhyaḥ–to them; paridiśan–giving; śachī–Śachī; sūnuḥ–son; kim–will; me–my; nayana–eye; śaraṇīm–path; yāsyati–will come; punaḥ–again. 
parigṛhya–Accepting imān–these gauḍīyān–people of Gauḍa jagati–in the world nijatve–as [His] own, prabhuḥ–the Lord kīrtayata–induced [them] to chant hare-kṛṣṇa iti evam–“Hare Kṛṣṇa” vidhinā–according to a method gaṇana–of counting. [And] bhoḥ–oh! iva–Like janaka–a father paridiśan–He gave tebhyaḥ–them iti–such prāyām–such śikṣām–intructions. kim–Will [the] sūnuḥ–son śachī–of Śachī [ever] yāsyati–appear śaraṇīm–on the path [of] me–my nayana–eyes punaḥ–again? 
Accepting the people of Gauḍa as His own in the world, the Lord inspired them to chant “Hare Kṛṣṇa” according to a quota. And bhoḥ! Like a father He gave them such instructions. Will the son of Śachī ever appear on the path of my eyes again?
In this verse Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī longs for Śrī Chaitanya’s darśan meditating on Śrī Chaitanya’s supreme magnanimity in blessing the world with the Holy Names of Kṛṣṇa.
kīrtayata: “Inspired to chant.” Whenever the common people of Gauḍa would come to visit Śrī Chaitanya, He would advise them to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra:
prabhu bale, “kṛṣṇa-bhakti hauka sabāra
kṛṣṇa-nāma-guṇa vai nā baliha āra”
āpane sabāre prabhu kare upadeśe
“kṛṣṇa-nāma mahā-mantra śunaha hariṣe
‘hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare’”
prabhu kahe, “kahilāṅ ei mahāmantra
ihā japa’ giyā sabe kariyā nirbandha
ihā ha-ite sarva-siddhi ha-ibe sabāra
sarva-kṣaṇa bala’ ithe vidhi nāhi āra”
(Śrī Chaitanya-Bhāgavata: Madhya-līlā, 23.74–78)
“The Lord would say, ‘May you all attain Kṛṣṇa-bhakti. Do not speak about anything other than Kṛṣṇa’s Names and qualities.’ The Lord would personally instruct everyone, ‘Happily hear the mahāmantra of Kṛṣṇa’s Names: “Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare, Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare.”’ The Lord would say, ‘Now I have told you this mahāmantra. All of you chant it consistently [according to a daily quota]. By doing this, you will attain everything. Chant at all times. There are no other injunctions in this regard.’”
It may be noted here that Śrī Chaitanya instructed people to engage in both japa according to a quota (ihā japa’ giyā sabe kariyā nirbandha) and in congregational chanting of the mahāmantra (saṅkīrtan).
On His last night in Śrī Nabadwīp Dhām before leaving and accepting sannyās, Śrī Chaitanya mysteriously attracted countless people to Him and gave them these priceless instructions:
ājñā kare prabhu sabe, “kṛṣṇa gāo giyā
bala kṛṣṇa, bhaja kṛṣṇa, gāo kṛṣṇa-nāma
kṛṣṇa vinu keha kichhu nā bhāviha āna
yadi āmā’ prati sneha thāke sabākāra
tabe kṛṣṇa-vyatirikta nā gāibe āra
ki śayane, ki bhojane, kibā jāgaraṇe
ahar-niśa chinta kṛṣṇa, balaha vadane”
(Śrī Chaitanya-bhāgavata: Madhya-līlā, 28.25–8)
“The Lord instructed them all, ‘Sing of Kṛṣṇa. Speak of Kṛṣṇa, serve Kṛṣṇa, and sing Kṛṣṇa’s Names. Do not think of anything other than Kṛṣṇa. If you all have any affection for Me, then do not sing of anything except Kṛṣṇa. Whether you are resting, eating, or awake, day and night think and speak aloud of Kṛṣṇa. ’”
bhoḥ: “Bhoḥ!” Bhoḥ is an vocative particle which in this context expresses endearment.
janaka iva: “Like a father.” As a father out of great care and with great affection guides his children to abandon things that are harmful and adhere to things that beneficial, so Śrī Chaitanya most mercifully guided the people of Gauḍa and everyhwere else He visited to give up a life based on aversion to Kṛṣṇa and take up a life of devotion to Kṛṣṇa filled with the chanting of His Holy Names.
क्षरन्नेत्राम्भोभिः स्नपित-निज-दीर्घोज्ज्वल-तनुः ।
सदा तिष्ठन् देशे प्रणयि-गरुड़स्तम्भ-चरमे
शचीसूनुः किं मे नयन-शरणीं यास्यति पुनः ॥६॥
puraḥ paśyan nīlāchala-patim uru-prema-nivahaiḥ
kṣaran netrāmbhobhiḥ snapita-nija-dīrghojjvala-tanuḥ
sadā tiṣṭhan deśe praṇayi-garuḍa-stambha-charame
śachī-sūnuḥ kiṁ me nayana-śaraṇīṁ yāsyati punaḥ 
puraḥ–before; paśyan–beholding; nīla–blue; achala–mountain; patim–Lord; uru–immense; prema–divine love; nivahaiḥ–by profusions; kṣaran–streaming; netra–eye; ambhobhiḥ–by waters; snapita–bathed; nija–own; dīrgha–lofty; ujjvala–lustrous; tanuḥ–figure; sadā–always; tiṣṭhan–remaining; deśe–in place; praṇayi–cherished; garuḍa–Garuḍa; stambha–pillar; charame–at back; śachī–Śachī; sūnuḥ–son; kim–will; me–my; nayana–eye; śaraṇīm–path; yāsyati–will come; punaḥ–again. 
paśyan–Beholding patim–the Lord nīla–of the blue achala–mountain puraḥ–before [Him], [His] nija–own dīrgha–lofty, ujjvala–lustrous tanuḥ–figure [is] snapita–bathed ambhobhiḥ–by waters kṣaran–streaming netra–from [His] eyes nivahaiḥ–as a result of [His] profusion uru–of immense prema–divine love [as He] tiṣṭhan–remains sadā–always deśe–in place charame–at the back [of His] praṇayi–cherished stambha–pillar garuḍa–of Garuḍa. kim–Will [the] sūnuḥ–son śachī–of Śachī [ever] yāsyati–appear śaraṇīm–on the path [of] me–my nayana–eyes punaḥ–again? 
Beholding the Lord of the blue mountain before Him, His own lofty and lustrous figure is bathed by the tears streaming from His eyes arising from His profusion of immense prema as He remains always at His place behind the cherished Garuḍa Stambha. Will the son of Śachī ever appear on the path of my eyes again?
In this verse Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī longs for Śrī Chaitanya’s darśan meditating on Śrī Chaitanya’s daily līlā of beholding Śrī Jagannāthdev in Śrī Puruṣottam Kṣetra.
nīlāchala-patim: “The Lord of the blue mountain.” Lord Jagannāth is known as the Lord of the blue mountain because the site where He resides in His Temple is said to be a blue mountain which is situated in the centre of Puruṣottam Kṣetra.
garuḍa-stambha: “Pillar of Garuḍa.” Garuḍa is the carrier (vāhana) of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Śrī Viṣṇu. He is always present in the Temple of Jagannāth (and customarily so in numerous other Temples of the Lord) atop a pillar where he can continuous behold the Lord and be on call should the Lord ever wish to travel anywhere. Śrī Chaitanya would stand behind the Garuḍa Stambha whenever He came to have darśan of Śrī Jagannāth and there He would offer His obeisances and prayers. Śrīla Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāj Goswāmī has described this (Cc: Madhya, 2.54):
garuḍera sannidhāne rahi’ kare daraśane
se ānandera ki kahiba bale
garuḍa-stambhera tale āchhe eka nimna khāle
se khāla bharila aśru-jale
“Remaining beside the Garuḍa Stambha, Mahāprabhu would behold Jagannāth. What can I say about the strength of His bliss? There is a deep ditch at the base of the Garuḍa Stambha, and this ditch would fill with His tears.”
It is said that Śrī Chaitanya’s tears would also soften the Garuḍa Stambha itself and that as a result of this impressions of Śrī Chaitanya’s hands can still be found on the side of the pillar today.
मुदा दन्तैर्दष्ट्वा द्युति-विजित-बन्धूकमधरं
करं कृत्वा वामं कटि-निहितमन्यं परिलसन् ।
समुत्थाप्य प्रेम्नागणित-पुलको नृत्य-कुतुकी
शचीसूनुः किं मे नयन-शरणीं यास्यति पुनः ॥७॥
mudā dantair daṣṭvā dyuti-vijita-bandhūkam adharaṁ
karaṁ kṛtvā vāmaṁ kaṭi-nihitam anyaṁ parilasan
samutthāpya premnāgaṇita-pulako nṛtya-kutukī
śachī-sūnuḥ kiṁ me nayana-śaraṇīṁ yāsyati punaḥ 
mudā–joyfully; dantaiḥ–with teeth; daṣṭvā–biting; dyuti–brightness; vijita–defeated; bandhūkam–midday flower (Pentapetes Phoenicea); adharam–lip; karam–hand; kṛtvā–doing; vāmam–left; kaṭi–hip; nihitam–placed; anyam–other; parilasan–playfully waving; samutthāpya–raising; premnā–as a result of divine love; agaṇita–countless; pulakaḥ–horripilation; nṛtya–dancing; kutukī–eagerly immersed; śachī–Śachī; sūnuḥ–son; kim–will; me–my; nayana–eye; śaraṇīm–path; yāsyati–will come; punaḥ–again. 
mudā–Joyfully daṣṭvā–biting dantaiḥ–with [His] teeth [His] adharam–lips [which have] vijita–defeated bandhūkam–the bandhūka [with their] dyuti–brightness, nihitam kṛtvā–having placed [His] vāmam–left karam–hand kaṭi–on [His] hip, [and] samutthāpya–raising [and] parilasan–playfully waving anyam–the other, [He is] kutukī–eagerly immersed nṛtya–in dancing [as His] agaṇita–countless pulakaḥ–bodily hairs stand on end premnā–as a result of [His] divine love. kim–Will [the] sūnuḥ–son śachī–of Śachī [ever] yāsyati–appear śaraṇīm–on the path [of] me–my nayana–eyes punaḥ–again? 
Joyfully biting with His teeth His lips which have defeated the bandhūka with their brightness, placing His left hand on His hip, and raising and playfully waving His right hand, He is eagerly immersed in dancing as His countless bodily hairs stand on end as a result of His prema. Will the son of Śachī ever appear on the path of my eyes again?
In this verse Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī longs for Śrī Chaitanya’s darśan meditating on Śrī Chaitanya in the ecstatic moods He experiences as a result of His feelings of separation from Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
bandhūkam: “Bandhūka.” The bandhūka flower (viz. Pentapetes Phoenicea, Midday Flower, Scarlet Mallow) is known for its brilliant red colour. Śrīla Dās Goswāmī’s description of Śrī Chaitanya’s lips defeating the bandhūka is meant to imply that Śrī Chaitanya’s lips are an even brighter scarlet than the bandhūka flower.
premnā: “As a result of His prema.” Śrī Chaitanya’s prema here is that of Śrī Rādhikā in separation from Śrī Kṛṣṇa in Mathurā as She feels the bliss of Śrī Kṛṣṇa reappearing before Her.
सरित्तीरारामे विरह-विधुरो गोकुलविधो-
र्नदीमन्यां कुर्व्वन्नयन-जलधारा-विततिभिः ।
मुहुर्मूच्छां गच्छन्मृतकमिव विश्वं विरचयन्
शचीसूनुः किं मे नयन-शरणीं यास्यति पुनः ॥८॥
sarit-tīrārāme viraha-vidhuro gokula-vidhor
nadīm anyāṁ kurvan nayana-jala-dhārā-vitatibhiḥ
muhur mūrchchhāṁ gachchhan mṛtakam iva viśvaṁ virachayan
śachī-sūnuḥ kiṁ me nayana-śaraṇīṁ yāsyati punaḥ 
sarit–river; tīra–bank; ārāme–in grove; viraha–separation; vidhuraḥ–overwhelmed; gokula–Gokula; vidhoḥ–from moon; nadīm–river; anyām–another; kurvan–creates; nayana–eye; jala–water; dhārā–stream; vitatibhiḥ–with diffusions; muhuḥ–repeatedly; mūrchchhām–falling unconscious; gachchhan–goes; mṛtakam–lifeless; iva–as though; viśvam–the world; virachayan–causes; śachī–Śachī; sūnuḥ–son; kim–will; me–my; nayana–eye; śaraṇīm–path; yāsyati–will come; punaḥ–again. 
ārāme–In a grove tīra–on the bank sarit–of a river, vidhuraḥ–overwhelmed viraha–by separation vidhoḥ–from the moon gokula–of Gokula, kurvan–He creates anyām–another nadīm–river vitatibhiḥ–with the diffusions dhārā–of the streams jala–of the water nayana–from [His] eyes [as He] muhuḥ–repeatedly mūrchchhām gachchhan–falls unconscious [and] virachayan– causes viśvam–the world [to become] iva–as though mṛtakam–lifeless. kim–Will [the] sūnuḥ–son śachī–of Śachī [ever] yāsyati–appear śaraṇīm–on the path [of] me–my nayana–eyes punaḥ–again? 
In a grove on the bank of a river, overwhelmed by separation from the moon of Goluka, He creates another river with the streams of tears from His eyes as He repeatedly falls unconscious and causes the world to become as though lifeless. Will the son of Śachī ever appear on the path of my eyes again?
In this verse Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī longs for Śrī Chaitanya’s darśan meditating on Śrī Chaitanya as He is overwhelmed by the experience of reuniting with Kṛṣṇa after prolonged separation.
gokula-vidhor: “From the moon of Goluka.” This refers to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the source of life, light, and nectar for all the residents of Gokula.
viśvaṁ: “The world.” This refers to all the people present therein.
mṛtakam iva viśvaṁ virachayan: “Causes the world to become as though lifeless.” Śrī Chaitanya is the very life of His devotees and the world. Thus, when they see Him in an unconscious state, they feel as though their own lives are in danger of being lost.
सदा दैन्योद्रेकादति-विशद-बुद्धिः पठति यः ।
प्रकामं वैतन्यः प्रभुरति-कृपावेश-विवशः
पृथु-प्रेमाम्भोधौ प्रथित-रसदे मज्जयति तम् ॥९॥
śachī-sūnor asyāṣṭakam idam abhīṣṭaṁ virachayat
sadā dainyodrekād ati-viśada-buddhiḥ paṭhati yaḥ
prakāmaṁ chaitanyaḥ prabhur ati-kṛpāveśa-vivaśaḥ
pṛthu-premāmbhodhau prathita-rasade majjayati tam 
śachī–Śachī; sūnoḥ–of son; asya–about Him; aṣṭakam–poem of eight verses; idam–this; abhīṣṭam–desire; virachayat–fulfils; sadā–constant; dainya–humility; udrekāt–because of abundance; ati-viśada–very pure; buddhiḥ–intelligence; paṭhati–recites; yaḥ–who; prakāmam–according to desire; chaitanyaḥ–Chaitanya; prabhuḥ–Lord; ati-kṛpā–profound mercy; āveśa–absorption; vivaśaḥ–overcome; pṛthu–vast; prema–divine love; ambhodhau–in ocean; prathita–exalted; rasade–in giving rise to rasa; majjayati–immerses; tam–them. 
[One of] ati-viśada–very pure buddhiḥ–intelligence yaḥ–who udrekāt–out of abundant [and] sadā–constant dainya–humility paṭhati–recites prkāmam–according to [one’s] desire idam–this aṣṭakam–poem of eight verses asya–about Him, sūnoḥ–the son śachī–of Śachī, [who] virachayat–fulfils [one’s] abhīṣṭam–desires— prabhuḥ–Lord chaitanyaḥ–Chaitanya, vivaśaḥ–overcome āveśa–by absorption ati-kṛpā–in profound mercy, majjayati–immerses tam–them [in the] pṛthu–vast ambhodhau–ocean prema–of divine love [which gives rise to the most] prathita–exalted rasade–rasa. 
One of very pure intelligence who out of abundant and constant humility recites to one’s heart’s content this poem of eight verses about the son of Śachī, who fulfils one’s desires—He, Lord Chaitanya, overcome by absorption in profound mercy, immerses them in the vast ocean of prema which gives rise to the most exalted rasa.
prathita-rasade: “Which gives rise to the most exalted rasa.” Here rasa refers to the ocean of rasa found in pure bhakti to Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
Composition: This Śachī-sūnv-aṣṭakam is also referred to in some places as the Chaitanyāṣṭakam of Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī. It is composed in the seventeen syllable meter known as Śikharaṇī (‘the crested one’). The majority of the points made in the above commentary are derived from Baṅgeśvara Śrī Vidyā Bhūṣaṇ’s Kṛti-kṛtā-ṭīkā on the text.