Introduction to Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu.
The following is translated from the Bengali text first published in 1947 in Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math’s edition of Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu.
All glory to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga
In Sri Mayapur within Nabadwip in land of Gauda at the outset of the Age of Kali during the 28th quadruple age of the era of Vaivasvata Manu following the lotus-birth of Brahma, the Supreme Lord Sri Krishnachandra, appearing in the form of Sri Gaurangasundar—the embodiment of Sri Krishna-kirtan engaged in distributing divine love for Krishna—searched for the wealth of His own self—the indescribable, supreme spiritual truth known as divine love, relished this with His associates, and distributed it to the fallen souls of this world. Amongst the invaluable texts that the foremost of Sri Gaura’s associates, Sri Rupa Prabhu, who was bathed in Sri Gaura’s grace, wrote as the Acharya of scriptures about supramundane rasa, Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu is unparalleled. The school following Sri Chaitanyachandra identifies itself as the Sri Rupauga sampradaya (the school that follows Sri Rupa). The reason for this is that Srimad Rupa Goswamipad, the Acharya of scriptures about supramundane rasa, first and before all, described the practice of raga-bhajan (devotion in pure love). All endeavours to overstep this practice and make an exaggerated show of devotion to the Lord are simply obstinacy—disgraceful, inauspicious acts which do nothing more than disturb society and destroy the world.
Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu is an authentic and systematic text on the science of devotion and is the foundation for all supramundane scriptures about rasa. In this text, Sri Rupa Goswami Prabhupad, the crown jewel amongst the countless scholars of the rasa of devotion, has in a scientific and extremely subtle manner perceived, analysed, and presented as the Absolute Truth the eternal transcendental nature, relationships, definitions, divisions, play, and so forth of the three principles of transcendental rasa—devotion, the devotee, and the Lord. For wise, faithful souls who aspire for authentic transcendental devotion in divine love, this great text is unavoidably necessary to study. Devotion’s primary stage, its gradual development, and its relationship with varnasram-dharma, knowledge, yoga, and other practices, as well as the all-surpassing transcendental natures of devotion in divine love and supramundane rasa, along with their limbs and sub-limbs, have been described in this text in great detail.
Srimad Jiva Goswami Prabhu, the best of the followers of Sri Rupa and the sole guardian of the Sri Gaudiya sampradaya, who is revered by all Vaisnava Acharyas, has written a commentary known as Durgama-sanga-mani and made an ideal arrangement for devotees to swim without hesitation in this ocean [Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu]. This widely renowned commentary, and before that, a comprehensive and straight-forward prose order rendering of the text (anvaya) made according to the commentary have been included here to aid the understanding of faithful readers. Apart from this, the meanings of all the verses have been finely analysed as far as possible according to the teachings (siddhanta) of the goswamis and presented in Bengali language in this edition. In addition to this and in accordance with the commentary, simple synonyms for special or particular words have been placed beneath the meanings of the verses, and in some places references have also been added. In this way, special effort has been made to make this text suitable for people in general to read. If scholars appreciate this text and devotees are pleased by it, then we will consider our efforts successful.
The year 1463 of the Saka era [Gregorian year 1541] has been ascertained from the end of the text itself as the time Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu was written. There is hearsay that a commentary on this text has been written by Srila Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur, the crown jewel of erudite, scholarly Acharyas, but still today it is not know whether this text has been printed. Srila Chakravarti Thakur’s concise composition known as Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu-bindu is well-known within the society of devotees.
Two separate editions of Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu can be found printed in Bengali and Devanagari scripts respectively by the scholar Sriyukta Ram Narayan Vidyaratna and the logician Sriyukta Damodar Sastri. It is known from a few other places that other endeavours to publish this text have also been made.
In the present age, the vehement preacher of the pure devotion established for the entire world by Sri Gaura, the personification of Krishna-kirtan and best of Acharyas, Om Visnupad Sri Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupad, while publishing numerous scriptures as an auxiliary aspect of his endeavours to flood the entire world with Krishna-kirtan, published a succinct edition of Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu consisting of its original text and an index. Just prior to the disappearance of the best of Acharyas and renowned founder of Sri Gaudiya Math, work started at his request on an elaborate edition of Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. As a result of the withdraw of Srila Prabhupad’s Pastimes, however, this worked stopped for various reasons. Here, taking up this thread, is our small effort.
Our highly respected elder godbrother Sriyukta Ram Gopal Vidya Bhusan M.A., despite his advanced age, put tremendous effort into the current of work of editing, in particular the service of preparing the verse translations, in various ways inspired us in the work of editing, and bestowed special mercy upon us. The scholar Sriyukta Bankimchandra Kavya-tarka-tirtha prepared the prose order renderings (anvaya) published here and has thus become especially endeared to us. Our worshippable Tridandi godbrothers Sripad Bhakti Bhudev Srauti Maharaj and Sripad Bhakti Vichar Jajavar Maharaj assisted in various ways with corrections and other matters, and bestowed profuse mercy on us. Our highly respectable, affectionate, and illustrious elder godbrother, the greatest noblemen in the family of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur, the great soul Sriyukta Sakhi Charan Bhakti Vijay Prabhu—who openhandedly donated funds to fulfil in all ways the heart’s desires of Sri Guru-pada-padma—in particular the service of Sri Guru and Sri Gaura’s abode—and exemplified the ideal that the fulfilment of worldly wealth is in spiritual ends—contributed all the funds for the publication of the first edition of the Eastern Division of Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu and has thus become an object of all sincere and wise souls’ eternal appreciation and gratitude.
On account of our various disqualifications, there is no doubt that some errors will be found even in this most exalted of texts. We, therefore, hope that our cordial readers will graciously rectify these faults.
Last of all, the prayer of this humble soul at the lotus feet of Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga is that this king of scriptures, Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, upon becoming well-received and well-loved from country to country and house to house, will inundate and churn the entire world with overflowing waves of joy produced by the supramundane nectar of its rasas and, while surging with a joyous tumult into the earholes of the embodiment of the nectar of all rasas, Sri Krishnachandra, and His associates, raise its victory flag and shine forever.
On the appearance day of Sri Gauranga,
462 Gaurabda (1947),
Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math,
Sri Dham Nabadwip,
The servant of Sri Chaitanya’s followers—
Tridandi Bhiksu Bhakti Raksak Sridhar
Invocation of Auspiciousness
[Verses by Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj published at the beginning of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math’s edition of Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu.]
gaura-vag-vigraham vande gaurangam gaura-vaibhavam
(Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrtam: 1.2)
“I offer my obeisance to the embodiment of the message of Sri Gaura, whose body resembles Sri Gaura, who is a manifestation of Sri Gaura, who is maddened by the sankirtan of Sri Gaura, and who reveals the beauty of Sri Gaura’s mercy.”
guru-rupa-harim gauram radha-ruchi-ruchavrtam
nityam naumi navadvipe nama-kirtana-nartanaih
(Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamrtam: 1.3)
“I offer my obeisance to Sri Gaura, the Supreme Lord as Sri Guru, who is adorned with the heart and halo of Sri Radha and eternally dances and chants His own Name in Sri Nabadwip Dham.”
radha-syama-rasamrtabdhi-makara-vrataika-samrad hi yah
sa sri-rupa ihamrtabdhi-lahari-sparse sprham yachchhatu
“May the carrier of the current of the nectar of Sri Chaitanya’s grace, the giver of joy to Svarup Damodar, the life and lord of the followers of Ramananda and Sanatan led by Raghunath and Sri Jiva, the foremost leader amongst the kingfish in the ocean of the nectar of love for Radha and Syam, Sri Rupa, fulfil my desire to touch the waves of that ocean of nectar.”
lila-sangopa-kale nirupadhi-karuna-karina svaminaham
yat padabje ’rpito yat pada-bhajanamayam gayayitva tu gitam
yogyayogyatva-bhavam mama khalu sakalam dusta-buddher agrhnan
sa sri-rupah kada mam nija-pada-rajasa bhusitam samvidhatte
(Srimad Rupa-pada-rajah-prarthana-dasakam: 10)
“Just before the withdrawn of his Pastimes, my unconditionally merciful master, Srila Saraswati Thakur, offered me to the lotus feet of Sri Rupa by having me sing a song about the service of his feet. When will Sri Rupa, disregarding all the qualifications and disqualifications of this fallen soul, adorn me with the dust of his feet?”