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Shastra Hermeneutics—How to Understand …?
Questions & Answers

Shastra Hermeneutics—How to Understand …?

Radha-Krsna Maur-kutir

Question: Can you explain the term “inertia,” pertaining to the bahiraṅgā-śakti? It is clear to me that a stone or inanimate object lacks consciousness, the power of cognition, and the ability to testify, feelings, and so on. From the point of view of quantum physics, every atom is a hurricane of energy, a vortex of energy, an energy field, an information field; it possesses photons of light, an invisible electromagnetic field, and its subatomic particles are in motion. What is the role of Paramātmā as the Supersoul in every atom? All this seems to me to be contrary to the notion of inertness.

Answer: The problem comes because of translation. Jada means inert and not inertia. It means devoid of consciousness but not a lack of movement. Any limited substance, inert or non-inert, can have movement.

Sat, cit, and ānanda are the three primary characteristics of Bhagavān. The bahiraṅgā-śakti has only the sat part, i.e., it is existence without consciousness. The role of Paramātmā within an atom or any other object is to regulate. He is the Supreme Regulator.


Question: Can the word bhuli mean “oblivious” instead of “forgetfulness?” How do you translate bhuli in CC Madhya 20.117:

kṛṣṇa bhuli’ sei jīva anādi-bahirmukha

“Forgetting Kṛṣṇa, the living entity has beginninglessly turned away from Kṛṣṇa.”

Answer: Yes that is what it means here.


Question: Regarding the translation of SB 10.14.8, there seems to be a considerable difference between Gītā Press—“Enjoying the fruit of his own (virtuous) actions (in a detached manner),” and BBT—“Patiently suffering the reactions of his own misdeeds.” How would you translate this? 

tat te’nukampāṁ su-samīkṣamāṇo
bhuñjāna evātma-kṛtaṁ vipākam
hṛd-vāg-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jīveta yo mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk

Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, in his Śārārtha Darśinī, comments: “A devotee understands that the happiness and distress he undergoes due to performing bhakti and committing aparādhas are the Lord’s mercy.

Is the śloka referring to before or after initiation or can it be applied to both?

Answer: It can be applied to both, and the translation would vary. The BBT translation would match a person before dikṣa, while the SVCT comment would apply to a devotee after dikṣa.


Question: This question is in regard to SB 10.44.14, which begins with an expression, “What austerities the gopīs must have performed!” These sorts of exclamations are found elsewhere regarding Yaśodā and others, suggesting that their position is somehow related to their past austerities. Of course, we know from Mādhurya Kādambanī and Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu that the only cause of bhakti is bhakti herself.

Can you then explain the meaning of these expressions? Why are devotees (and especially nitya-siddha devotees) glorified like this? Is it figurative or literal?

Answer: There are two points to be understood here. First, tapas does not always mean nondevotional austerity. Dhruva did tapas, which was nothing but the chanting of Om namo Bhagavate Vāsudevāya while controlling his senses. Brahmā also did tapas at the beginning of creation. In fact, the first instruction he got was to do tapas (SB 2.9.6). As a result of tapas, he got a vision of Vaikuṇṭḥa and Bhagavān. Such a tapas cannot be some material activity. So tapas here should be understood as intense devotional activity, as the performed by Dhruva, Kardama, etc.

The second point is that these statements do not apply to nitya-siddha associates like Yaśodā or the gopīs but to sādhana-siddha bhaktas. Although the question may be about Nanda and Yaśodā, it is applicable to sādhana-siddha bhaktas in vātsalya-bhāva, who got the opportunity to become one with the eternal Nanda and Yaśodā in prakata-līlā.

The question can also be seen as spoken with the mindset of common people who think that to achieve any great position, one must perform tapas.




  • Kala Atita das September 1, 2022

    “it is applicable to sādhana-siddha bhaktas in vātsalya-bhāva, who got the opportunity to become one with the eternal Nanda and Yaśodā in prakata-līlā.”

    What does it mean that they “become one with the eternal Nanda and Yaśodā”?
    I do not understand this.

    • Babaji September 1, 2022

      This is difficult to understand but may be some examples will be helpful.
      When Krsna appeared on earth, some of the devas and their wives also came on earth to participate in Krsna-lila.For example, Pradyumna is a son of Krsna and also Kamadeva. The material Kamadeva was in Pradyumna.
      When Krsna decided to leave earth, the Mausala-lila happened in which all Krsna’s family members died.
      Those who died were the devas and this was a lila to separate them from the eternal associates and send them back to their respective places. The eternal associates did not come to Prabhasa, they remained in Dwaraka and became invisible.

      Sri Advaitacarya is a combination of Mahavishnu and Siva.

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