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Sravanam-kirtanam versus Manu-samhita

Saturday, 15 December 2012 / Published in Articles / 2,469 views

Govardhan Retreat – Day 6

By Madhavananda Das

This is such a deep pastime it is difficult to cover it completely, we can just touch the peaks of it.

The sadhana of the yajna-patnis has been described:

SB 10.23.23


yasmin nimagna-manasas tam athaksi-randraih

antah pravesya su-ciram parirabhya tapam

prajnam yathabhimatayo vijahur narendra

O ruler of men, for a long time those brahmana ladies had heard about Krsna, their beloved, and His glories had become the constant ornaments of their ears. Indeed, their minds were always absorbed in Him. Through the apertures of their eyes they now forced Him to enter within their hearts, and then they embraced Him within for a long time. In this way they finally gave up the pain of separation from Him, just as sages give up the anxiety of false ego by embracing their innermost consciousness.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.23.24

The word tapa in this verse may means also ‘distress’, or ‘heat’ – of separation. This verse shows how the yajna-patnis have attained the shelter of Krishna’s loturs fee. It reminds me of the verse from SB6 which it is said describes the attitude we should have in our practice:

ajata-paksa iva mataram khagah

stanyam yatha vatsatarah ksudh-artah

priyam priyeva vyusitam visanna

mano ‘ravindaksa didrksate tvam

O lotus-eyed Lord, as baby birds that have not yet developed their wings always look for their mother to return and feed them, as small calves tied with ropes await anxiously the time of milking, when they will be allowed to drink the milk of their mothers, or as a morose wife whose husband is away from home always longs for him to return and satisfy her in all respects, I always yearn for the opportunity to render direct service unto You.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 6.11.26

It describes the three levels of hankering for Krsna. Bhativinoda Thakura says this is should be our attitude in our Nama-bhajana – like a baby bird, who cannot fly and is dependant on the parents.

The word vishanna (morose) is cognate with the word visha, for ”poison” – that is how a wife longs to serve her husband.

Yesterday the beautiful form of Krsna was described. He welcomed, said He is disturbed they brought such heavy burdens, helped to take them down.

SB 10.23.25

svagatam vo maha-bhaga

asyatam karavama kim

yan no didrksaya prapta

upapannam idam hi vah

[Lord Krsna said:] Welcome, O most fortunate ladies. Please sit down and make yourselves comfortable. What can I do for you? That you have come here to see Me is most appropriate.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.23.25

The commentators say Krsna did not welcome the yajna-patnis properly, telling them asyatam – “sit down”, which cuts all the formalities.

In Bhagavatarka-marici-mala Sri Bhaktivinod Thakura expands on SB 10.23.26

nanv addha mayi kurvanti

kusalah svartha-darsinah

ahaituky avyavahitam

bhaktim atma-priye yatha

Certainly expert personalities, who can see their own true interest, render unmotivated and uninterrupted devotional service directly unto Me, for I am most dear to the soul.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.23.26

Why such a formal address now? Sri Visvanatha says that although Krsna was very moved by the yajna-patnis prema, the lila-sakti moved to bring out some aisvarya in His mind. He sends them home.

In CC Krsnadasa Kaviraja says: “aisvarya sithila preme” – aisvarya shrinks prema.



yat-samparkat priya asams

tatah ko nv aparah priyah

It is only by contact with the self that one’s vital breath, intelligence, mind, friends, body, wife, children, wealth and so on are dear. Therefore what object can possibly be more dear than one’s own self?

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.23.27

You should thus return to the sacrificial arena, because your husbands, the learned brahmanas, are householders and need your assistance to finish their respective sacrifices.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.23.28

Very interesting and important verse for our discussion. Krsna is sending them back (yajna cannot be carried out without the wives). “Now go home ON MY ORDER and then you will see me in that function”. The exact same worse was told to the gopis. And the patnis said:

sri-patnya ucuh

maivam vibho ‘rhati bhavan gaditum nr-samsam

satyam kurusva nigamam tava pada-mulam

prapta vayam tulasi-dama padavasrstam

kesair nivodhum atilanghya samasta-bandhun

The wives of the brahmanas replied: O almighty one, please do not speak such cruel words. Rather, You should fulfill Your promise that You always reciprocate with Your devotees in kind. Now that we have attained Your lotus feet, we simply wish to remain here in the forest so we may carry upon our heads the garlands of tulasi leaves that fall from Your lotus feet. We are ready to give up all material relationships.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.23.29

They quoted sastra, “One who comes to Your lotus feet does not come back”:

Sri Visvanatha: “29. The wives speak just as the gopis endowed with the greatest prema spoke to Krsna before the rasa dance. “You should not speak such harsh words (nrsamsam). The Vedas (nigama) say “na sa punar avartate” (he does not return, having attained your feet.). Make you own words true (mam eve ye prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham).”

“He Arindama, conqueror of enemies, vanquish all the obstacles that prevent us from attaining you!”

Krsna says:

sravanad darsanad dhyanan

mayi bhavo ‘nukirtanat

na tatha sannikarsena

pratiyata tato grhan

It is by hearing about Me, seeing My Deity form, meditating upon Me and chanting My names and glories that love for Me develops, not by physical proximity. Therefore please go back to your homes.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.23.34

Association is not physical:

girirajo hare rupam

sriman govardhano girih

tasya darsana-matrena

naro yati krtarthatam

Glorious Govardhana Hill, the king of mountains, is the person form of Lord Krsna. Simply by *seeing* it, a person attains the supreme goal of life.


The mosquito is very close to the king. Does the king appreciate it? The association is on the platform of the heart. Externally Krsna acts very harshly.

[our friend Nrsimhananda moved into the temple, the parent started a campaign, Srila Prabhupada called him and told him “Go home”, he started crying – “Go and cook vegetarian form” very informally Srila Prabhupada initiated him with the name Nrisimhananda] This is a very deep principle – it is not with the physical association with the guru and even with the movement [that one associates] – there is a story about Srila Prabhupada eating moori on a plane and in a bizarre way the stewardess snatched and ate some and developed some service mood. The part of the story that not many devotees heart is about book distributors in some remote village finding a lady with Krsna’s pictures in her home – “How did this happen”, – “Before retiring I was a stewardess and…” – so she got the mercy.

If someone has a sincere desire… Krsna will make the arrangements. … Like a pressure cooker gradually gathering steam.

Srila Sukadeva Gosvami said: Thus instructed, the wives of the brahmanas returned to the place of sacrifice. The brahmanas did not find any fault with their wives, and together with them they finished the sacrifice.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.23.34

Sri Visvanatha: The yajna-patnis went back and the gopis didn’t – but both obtained the supreme prema.

Jiva Gosvami comments: “The brahmanas completed the sacrifice with their wives, who had received the mercy of the Lord. Because the Lord disregarded their immediate request, the fault in the sacrifice was removed and became endowed with all good qualities.”

In Gopal-campu he comments that when the patnis returned with the empty pots, they found the pots full of jewels (like the fruit sellers).

The brahmanas then began to lament:

SB 10.23.39

drstva strinam bhagavati

krsne bhaktim alaukikim

atmanam ca taya hinam

anutapta vyagarhayan

Taking note of their wives’ pure, transcendental devotion for Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and seeing their own lack of devotion, the brahmanas felt most sorrowful and began to condemn themselves.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.23.40

Sri Visvanatha in Sarartha-darsini says something amazing:


tataçca svabhäryä api gurüniva mänayasto bhaktirahitamätmänaà vyanindannityäha, dåñöeti. alaukikéà lokeñvasambhaväm. –

“Though the women were their wives, they regarded them as their gurus, and they criticized themselves since they had no devotion. The bhakti of their wives was impossible to see in ordinary society (alaukikam).”

Then they speak verse which I like very much in this chapter:

dhig janma nas tri-vrd yat tad

dhig vratam dhig bahu-jnatam

dhik kulam dhik kriya-daksyam

vimukha ye tv adhoksaje

[The brahmanas said:] To hell with our threefold birth, our vow of celibacy and our extensive learning! To hell with our aristocratic background and our expertise in the rituals of sacrifice! These are all condemned because we were inimical to the transcendental Personality of Godhead.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.23.40

– because we have become PROUD.

The same prayer that Kunti devi utters:


edhamana-madah puman

naivarhaty abhidhatum vai

tvam akincana-gocaram

My Lord, Your Lordship can easily be approached, but only by those who are materially exhausted. One who is on the path of [material] progress, trying to improve himself with respectable parentage, great opulence, high education and bodily beauty, cannot approach You with sincere feeling.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.8.26

“Do you have any problem” – “Yes, I am too aristocratic.” – Anything else? – “I am too rich” [how many of us pray so?:-) , and I don’t know how many ladies would say this:] – “Another problem I have is I am too beautiful” :-) )

“These women have never undergone the purificatory rites of the twice-born classes, nor have they lived as brahmacaris in the asrama of a spiritual master, nor have they executed austerities, speculated on the nature of the self, followed the formalities of cleanliness or engaged in pious rituals. Nevertheless, they have firm devotion for Lord Krsna, whose glories are chanted by the exalted hymns of the Vedas and who is the supreme master of all masters of mystic power. We, on the other hand, have no such devotion for the Lord, although we have executed all these processes.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.23.43, SB 10.23.44, SB 10.23.43-44

“These ladies never got second initiation. They never lived in their gurus’ asramas, they never studied sastra very deeply, but they got love for Krsna.” Through hearing and chanting.

This is an important point. In all religions, Sri Bhaktivinod Th. Says there are internal and external persons, the external ones are called sanistha in the language of Baladeva Vidyabhusana, they have more faith in the external varnasrama rules, “We shall go to hell if we don’t follow all these rules”.


SB 3.33.7

aho bata sva-paco ‘to gariyan

yaj-jihvagre vartate nama tubhyam

tepus tapas te juhuvuh sasnur arya

brahmanucur nama grnanti ye te

Oh, how glorious are they whose tongues are chanting Your holy name! Even if born in the families of dog-eaters, such persons are worshipable. Persons who chant the holy name of Your Lordship must have executed all kinds of austerities and fire sacrifices and achieved all the good manners of the Aryans. To be chanting the holy name of Your Lordship, they must have bathed at holy places of pilgrimage, studied the Vedas and fulfilled everything required.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.33.7

This is Srila Prabhupada’s mood. In the comments from this verse it shows that even the dog-eaters by chanting the holy name has “performed all rituals, taken all the baths…”

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura comments that the chanting of the holy name of the Lord has special significance that distinguishes it from the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies of atonement for severe, more severe or most severe sinful actions. There are twenty types of religious scriptures called dharma-sastras, beginning with the Manu-samhita and Parasara-samhita, but herein it is stressed that although one may become free from the reactions of the most sinful activities by following the religious principles of these scriptures, this cannot promote a sinful man to the stage of loving service to the Lord. On the other hand, chanting the holy name of the Lord even once not only frees one immediately from the reactions of the greatest sins but also raises one to the platform of rendering loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is described as uttamasloka because He is famous for His glorious activities. Thus one serves the Lord by remembering His form, His attributes and pastimes. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that this is all possible simply by chanting the Lord’s holy name because of the Lord’s omnipotence. What cannot be achieved through the performance of Vedic rituals can be easily achieved through the chanting of the Lord’s holy name.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 6.2.11

Our process is not the process of the yajna-brahmanas. In a letter SRila Prabhupada writes:

“We do not want all these rituals. Chanting Hare Krishna is our only business. According to the Manu-samhita you are all mlecchas and yavanas. You cannot touch the Manu-samhita,

[ – So much for Manu-samhita study.-]

what to speak of translating it. So if you try to follow the Manu-samhita then you become a mleccha and yavana and your career is finished.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => From: Tamal Krishna – SL_770519_A1

[Jagannatha worship – one towel – from LA early days story – we did not include it into our magazine out of fear :-) ]

One devotee got his right hand blown off in a war – devotees said “you cannot get a Brahmin initiation, you can’t wrap the thread around your right thumb” – Srila Prabhupada said, “Wrap it around your left thumb” :-)

…With the return of the patnis the brahmanas regained their intelligence and condemned their ‘karma-vartmasu’

Let us offer our obeisances unto Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. His intelligence is never bewildered, whereas we, confused by His power of illusion, are simply wandering about on the paths of fruitive work.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.23.50

Brahma-vaivarta-purana gives some interesting details about the destination of the brahma-patnis.

Text 51

çré-vipra-patnya ücuù

varaà vatsa na gåhëémo

naù spåhä tvat-padämbuje

dehi sva-däsyam asmäbhyäà

dåòhäà bhaktià su-durlabhäm

The brähmaëas’ wives said: O child, we do not wish any ordinary boon. We desire only Your lotus feet. Please give us service to You. Give us sincere devotion to You, devotion that is very difficult to attain.

Text 52

paçyämo ‘nukñaëaà vaktra-

sarojaà tava keçava

anugrahaà kuru vibho

na yäsyämo gåhaà punaù

We wish to gaze always on Your lotus face. O Kåñëa, O Almighty Lord, please be merciful to us. Do not make us return again to our homes.

Text 53

dvija-patné-vacaù çrutvä

çré-kåñëaù karuëä-nidhiù

om ity uktvä tri-lokeças

tasthau bälaka-saàsadi

Hearing the brähmaëas’ wives’ words, Lord Kåñëa, who is the master of the three worlds and an ocean of mercy, and who was surrounded by the gopa boys, said, “Yes. So be it.”

Then Lord Kåñëa accepted the brähmaëas’ wives offering of delicious foods sweet like nectar. He ate it and He had the boys also eat.

And after that:

When Lord Kåñëa and the boys had finished eating, the brähmaëas’ wives saw descending from the sky a beautiful golden chariot, . . .

. . . splendid with jewel mirrors, jewel furniture, jewel pillars, jewel domes, . . .

. . . glorious like a hundred moons, beautiful, traveling as fast as the mind, filled with splendid liberated associates of the Lord, associates decorated with forest garlands!!*,

. . . wearing yellow garments and jewel ornaments, dark, handsome, in the full bloom of youth, . . .

. . . having two arms, *!!holding flutes!!* in their hands, dressed as gopa boys, and their hair decorated with peacock feathers and guïjä.

62: “The brahmanas’ wives at once left their human forms and became liberated gopis. They bowed down before Lord Krsna and went to Goloka, where they yearned to go.”

You may say, but the SB says Krsna sent them back – how can you say they went to Goloka and became gopis?

…[different Mahabharatas, divya-yugas – one possible answer]…

But Brahma-vaivarta-purana gives another answer:

Text 63

haris chayam vinirmaya

tasam ca visnu-mayaya

prasthapayam asa grhan

brahmananam svayam vibhuh

“ Then, employing His yogamaya potency, Lord Krsna created shadow forms of the wives and placed them in the brahmanas’ homes.”

The only difference the brahmanas notices was that the ladies became more diligent, dutiful, beautiful.

The yajna-brahmanas did not have proper faith in Krsna. That is our problem in our bhajan.

Gaur Govinda Svami says in a lecture, “How can we develop sraddha, faith? By loud sankirtan. By hearing, chanting the brahma-patnis developed faith and their husbands by attachment to rituals did not. Never feel desperate… there is all optimism. In my tour in America I have seen pessimism. My Guru Maharaj has sowed the seed” – now the process is Nama-sankirtan.


The full recordings (without my -APD- mistakes, omissions, and miscomprehensions:-) will be available at under “Audio”, in a couple weeks time.

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Begging for your kind blessings,
on behalf of your servants at VIHE,
Das Adi Purusha

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