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From: A. Bharat (kbharat_at_giasbg01.vsnl.net.in)
Date: Thu Sep 02 1999 - 07:08:04 PDT
Date: Wed, 1 Sep 1999 07:21:33 +0100 (BST) From: Bharat Asur <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Sri BH To: email@example.com Dear BhAgavatottama- While we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Sri Krishna this year,Mani suggested I should give a short write-up about the various commentaries on Srimad Bhagavatham which has been the source book for so many Vaishnava Sampradayas in the past.In summarising the facts available,my main sources are Pandit Baldev Upadhyay's series of volumes on Bhagavata Darsan, and Sri N.Raghunathan's superb translation and notes on Srimad Bhagavatham. There is a saying in Sanskrit <vidyAvatAm BhAgavatE parIksha> -it is the touchstone of one's learning. Hence it has attracted a host of commentators through the centuries,belonging to all schools of Krishna worshippers. 1.SrIdhara swamI - "BhAvArtha-dIpikA" This is the oldest and most influential commentary available today,though he himself refers to an earlier commentary by ChitsukhAchArya.He was a Nrisimha upAsaka and advaitin.He also wrote commentaries on Sri VishNu PurANam and GItA.His philosophical leanings haven't prevented AchAryAs of other schools from praising his commentary.In fact excepting where they differ,most of them have simply repeated his words.Sri Chaitanya had great regard for him .It is narrated by Sri NAbhAdAs in his BhaktamAl,that SrIdhara wrote the commentary at the command of his guru ParamAnanda at KASI,and as a test it was placed before Lord BindumAdhava with other books,and after a 'prahara' the curtain was removed to find SrIdhara's work right on top of the other works. SrIdhara's period is considered to be 1300-1350 AD (VISISHTADVAITA COMMENTARIES) 2.SudarSana SUrI - "Suka-pakshIyam" This is a short commentary by Sri Sruta-prakASikAcharya. It was later elaborated by - 3.VIrarAghava - "BhAgavata-ChandrikA" He was the son of SrISailaguru belonging to SrIvatsa gotra and belonged to the 14th cent.This is a very detailed commentary where every single word of the original text is explained. (DVAITA COMMENTARY) 4.Vijayadhvaja - "Pada-RatnAvalI" The founder of Dvaita schoolSri Ananda TIrtha has written a work called "BhAgavatha-tAtparya-nirNaya" which is not a regular commentary.Hence his follower Vijayadhvaja wrote a full commentary in which he has acknowledged his debt to the works of Sri AnandatIrtha and another AchArya Vijaya- Tirtha(whose work is not extant).The text is conspicuous for its substantial additions,as well as variant readings. (VALLABHA SAMPRADAYA ) 5.VallabhAchArya - "SubodhinI" Sri Vallabha belongs to the SuddhAdvaita school.His commentary,excepting touching upon a few earlier Skandhas,is almost totally on the DaSama Skandha.The commentary is simple and totally devotional.Another AchArya of this school Giridhar MaharAj has also written a commentary which goes much deeper into the individual sectors and elaborates and supplements the earlier book. (NIMBARKA or HAMSA SAMPRADAYA) 6.SukadEvAchArya - "SiddhAnta-pradIpa" He was a follower of SrI NimbArka,the founder of the school,and his commentary is comprehensive,while others of the school have written commentaries on specific sections like RAsa-LIlA. (CHAITANYA SAMPRADAYA or GAUDIYA VAISHNAVISM) 7.SanAtana GOswAmI - "Brhad-vaishNava-tOshiNI" While sri Chaitanya considered SrIdhara's commentary as adequate,some of his followers wrote various commentaries,of which this is the oldest and considered the most authoritative.It however deals with the DaSama Skandha only. 8.JIva GOswAmI - "Krama-Sandarbha" He was the son of Roopa and nephew of SanAtana GoswAmI- who were the immediate disciples of Sri Chaitanya.He was a geat scholar and he wrote the commentary in seven sections,each called a "sandarbha",of which this was the seventh. 9.ViSvanAtha ChakravarthI - "SArArtha-DarSinI" He has written a simple commentary in which he has put together the gist of the commentaries of SrIdhara SwAmI,Prabhu Chaitanya and his guru. while he is generally in sympathy with the school sometimes he takes an independent stand. Out of the above main works,with the exception of Brhad-VaishNava-tOshiNI,the other eight were published together from VrndAvan in 1958.I have seen a copy in Madras Sanskrit college library. But it is not generally available. There were many other commentaries on SrImad BhAgavatham which are referred to here and there.For example JIva GOswAmI mentions works like,Hanumad-BhAshya, VAsanA-BhAshya,SambandhOkti,Vidvat-kAmadhEnu,Tattva- DipikA,BhAvArtha-DIpikA,Paramahamsa-PriyA and Suka-Hrdayam. There was a great devotional poet called SrIHari who was a brahmin belonging to KASyapa gOtra,and who lived on the banks of GOdAvarI.He wrote a poem of 5000 SlOkas as a commentary on the first half of DaSama Skandha.Called "Hari-bhakti-rasAyanam" its date is taken to be 1759 AD.While being a commentary it is also an independent imaginative work. To show that both these could be possible simultaneously let us see this example: As is well-known,while VasudEva carried the baby Krishna to Gokula on his head,the deep and roaring Yamuna suddenly became shallow to allow his passage. While narrating this incident the poet reasons within himself:why did she suddenly come down to the level of Vasudeva's throat or waist or knee at various places? Because she knew that the baby Krishna had already started wondering how He would be able have water-sports with the Gopis in the future if the river was so deep;and so in order to set His mind at rest she gave a preview of her ability to adapt herself to circumstances!- <AgAdhE jalE-syAh katham vAmbu-kElir mamA-grE vidhEyE-ti SankAm pramArshtum kvachi-jjAnu-daghnA kvachi-nnAbhi-daghnA kvachit-kanTha-daghnA cha sA kim tadAnIm ?> EmberumAnAr TiruvaDigaLE SaraNam!