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Steady Vision

Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur’s commentary on the sixth verse of Śrī Upadeśāmṛta.

The following is a translation of Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur’s poetic Bengali translation, Bhāṣā, and Bengali prose commentary, Pīyūṣa-varṣiṇī-vṛtti, on Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī Prabhu’s Śrī Upadeśāmṛta.

These texts were published in Śrī Gauḍīya Darśan, in Volume 2, Issue 11, 10 June 1957,  Volume 2, Issue 12, 12 July 1957, and Volume 3, Issue 1, 12 August 1957. In combination with Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur’s Anuvṛtti, they were also published as a book from Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh by Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj in 1970.

The Upadeśāmṛta of Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī is also extremely good for us; we published Upadeśāmṛta before.”

Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj,
Affectionate Guidance

Śrī Upadeśāmṛta Verse Six

dṛṣṭaiḥ svabhāva-janitair vapuṣaś cha doṣair
na prākṛtatvam iha bhakta-janasya paśyet
gaṅgāmbhasāṁ na khalu budbuda-phena-paṅkair
brahma-dravatvam apagachchhati nīra-dharmaiḥ [6]

dṛṣṭaiḥ–Because [you have] vision doṣaiḥ–of the faults svabhāva-janitaiḥ–within the inborn nature cha–and vapuṣaḥ–the body bhakta-janasya–of a devotee iha–in the material world, na paśyet–do not see [them to be] prākṛtatvam–mundane. ambhasāṁ–The water gaṅgā– of the Ganges na khalu–never apagachchhati–loses [its] brahma-dravatvam–nature as spiritual liquid nīra-dharmaiḥ–because of water’s nature— budbuda-phena-paṅkaiḥ–because of bubbles, foam, and mud.[6]

“Do not consider devotees in this world mundane because you see faults in their inborn nature and body. The water of the Ganges never loses its spiritual nature because of bubbles, foam, and mud, which are natural in water.”

Bhāṣā

nīra-dharma-gata phena-paṅkādi-saṁyukta
gaṅgā-jala brahmatā ha-ite nahe chyuta [1]

Ganges water does not lose its spiritual nature because it has mud, bubbles, and foam in it, which are natural in water.

sei-rūpa śuddha bhakta jaḍa-deha-gata
svabhāva vapura doṣe na haya prākṛta [2]

Similarly, pure devotees are not mundane because of faults within the nature and form of their material body.

ataeva dekhiyā bhaktera kadākāra
svabhāvaja varṇa kārkaśyādi doṣa āra [3]
prākṛta baliyā bhakte kabhu nā nindibe
śuddha-bhakti dekhi’ tā̐re sarvadā vandibe [4]

Therefore, upon seeing faults produced by a devotee’s nature or class, such as ugliness or roughness, never consider a devotee mundane and criticise them. Rather, see their pure devotion and always revere them.

Pīyūṣa-varṣinī-vṛtti

One should not consider pure devotees to be mundane after seeing faults within them. This is what is being taught in the sixth verse. There is no possibility of pure devotees keeping bad association or making offences to the Name. They may, however, have some bodily or innate faults. Bodily faults include being ugly, diseased, deformed, or unsightly because of disease or other causes. Innate faults include being low-class, rough, lazy, and so on. As Ganges water does not lose its nature of being liquid spirit because of mud, bubbles, and form, which are natural in water, so self-realised Vaiṣṇavas are not contaminated by any fault of mundanity because of their birth or the inherent transformations of the material body. Therefore, if persons practising devotion consider pure Vaiṣṇavas condemnable because they see such faults within them, then they become offenders of the Name.

Reference

Read Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur’s commentary on Śrī Upadeśāmṛta: verses onetwothreefour, and five.

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