Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj’s introduction to Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu.
The following is translated from the Bengali text first published in 1947 in Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh’s edition of Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu.
All glory to Śrī Guru and Śrī Gaurāṅga
In Śrī Māyāpur within Nabadwīp in land of Gauḍa at the outset of the Age of Kali during the 28th quadruple age of the era of Vaivasvata Manu following the lotus-birth of Brahmā, the Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇachandra, appearing in the form of Śrī Gaurāṅgasundar—the embodiment of Śrī Kṛṣṇa-kīrtan engaged in distributing divine love for Kṛṣṇa—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 Śrī Gaura’s associates, Śrī Rūpa Prabhu, who was bathed in Śrī Gaura’s grace, wrote as the Āchārya of scriptures about supramundane rasa, Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu is unparalleled. The school following Śrī Chaitanyachandra identifies itself as the Śrī Rūpāuga sampradāya (the school that follows Śrī Rūpa). The reason for this is that Śrīmad Rūpa Goswāmīpād, the Āchārya of scriptures about supramundane rasa, first and before all, described the practice of rāga-bhajan (devotion in pure love). All endeavours to over step 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.
Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-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, Śrī Rūpa Goswāmī Prabhupād, 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 varṇāśram-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.
Śrīmad Jīva Goswāmī Prabhu, the best of the followers of Śrī Rūpa and the sole guardian of the Śrī Gauḍīya sampradāya, who is revered by all Vaiṣṇava Āchāryas, has written a commentary known as Durgama-saṅga-manī and made an ideal arrangement for devotees to swim without hesitation in this ocean [Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-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 (siddhānta) of the goswāmīs 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 Śāka era [Gregorian year 1541] has been ascertained from the end of the text itself as the time Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu was written. There is hearsay that a commentary on this text has been written by Śrīla Viśvanāth Chakravartī Ṭhākur, the crown jewel of erudite, scholarly Āchāryas, but still today it is not know whether this text has been printed. Śrīla Chakravartī Ṭhākur’s concise composition known as Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu-bindu is well-known within the society of devotees.
Two separate editions of Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu can be found printed in Bengali and Devanagari scripts respectively by the scholar Śrīyukta Rām Nārāyaṇ Vidyāratna and the logician Śrīyukta Dāmodar Śāstrī. 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 Śrī Gaura, the personification of Kṛṣṇa-kīrtan and best of Āchāryas, Om Viṣṇupād Śrī Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Goswāmī Prabhupād, while publishing numerous scriptures as an auxiliary aspect of his endeavours to flood the entire world with Kṛṣṇa-kīrtan, published a succinct edition of Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu consisting of its original text and an index. Just prior to the disappearance of the best of Āchāryas and renowned founder of Śrī Gauḍīya Maṭh, work started at his request on an elaborate edition of Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu. As a result of the withdraw of Śrīla Prabhupād’s Pastimes, however, this worked stopped for various reasons. Here, taking up this thread, is our small effort.
Our highly respected elder godbrother Śrīyukta Rām Gopāl Vidyā Bhūṣaṇ 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 Śrīyukta Baṅkimchandra Kāvya-tarka-tīrtha prepared the prose order renderings (anvaya) published here and has thus become especially endeared to us. Our worshippable Tridaṇḍi godbrothers Śrīpād Bhakti Bhūdev Śrauti Mahārāj and Śrīpād Bhakti Vichar Jājāvār Mahārāj 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 Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur, the great soul Śrīyukta Sakhī Charaṇ Bhakti Vijay Prabhu—who openhandedly donated funds to fulfil in all ways the heart’s desires of Śrī Guru Pāda-padma—in particular the service of Śrī Guru and Śrī 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 Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-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 Śrī Guru and Śrī Gaurāṅga is that this king of scriptures, Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-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, Śrī Kṛṣṇachandra, and His associates, raise its victory flag and shine forever.
On the appearance day of Śrī Gaurāṅga,
462 Gaurābda (1947),
Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh,
Śrī Dhām Nabadwīp,
The servant of Śrī Chaitanya’s followers—
Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar
Invocation of Auspiciousness
Verses by Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj published at the beginning of Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh’s edition of Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu.
gaura-vāg-vigrahaṁ vande gaurāṅgaṁ gaura-vaibhavam
(Śrī Śrī Prapanna‑jīvanāmṛtam: 1.2)
“I offer my obeisance to the embodiment of the message of Śrī Gaura, whose body resembles Śrī Gaura, who is a manifestation of Śrī Gaura, who is maddened by the saṅkīrtan of Śrī Gaura, and who reveals the beauty of Śrī Gaura’s mercy.”
guru‑rūpa-hariṁ gauraṁ rādhā-ruchi-ruchāvṛtam
nityaṁ naumi navadvīpe nāma‑kīrtana-nartanaiḥ
(Śrī Śrī Prapanna‑jīvanāmṛtam: 1.3)
“I offer my obeisance to Śrī Gaura, the Supreme Lord as Śrī Guru, who is adorned with the heart and halo of Śrī Rādhā and eternally dances and chants His own Name in Śrī Nabadwīp Dhām.”
rādhā-śyāma-rasāmṛtābdhi-makara-vrataika-samraḍ hi yaḥ
sa śrī-rūpa ihāmṛtābdhi-laharī-sparśe spṛhaṁ yachchhatu
“May the carrier of the current of the nectar of Śrī Chaitanya’s grace, the giver of joy to Svarūp Dāmodar, the life and lord of the followers of Rāmānanda and Sanātan led by Raghunāth and Śrī Jīva, the foremost leader amongst the kingfish in the ocean of the nectar of love for Rādhā and Śyām, Śrī Rūpa, fulfil my desire to touch the waves of that ocean of nectar.”
līlā-saṅgopa-kāle nirupadhi-karuṇā-kāriṇā svāmināhaṁ
yat pādābje ’rpito yat pada-bhajanamayaṁ gāyayitvā tu gītam
yogyāyogyatva-bhāvaṁ mama khalu sakalaṁ duṣṭa-buddher agṛhṇan
sa śrī-rūpaḥ kadā māṁ nija-pada-rajasā bhūṣitaṁ saṁvidhatte
(Śrīmad Rūpa-pada-rajaḥ-prārthanā-daśakam: 10)
“Just before the withdrawn of his Pastimes, my unconditionally merciful master, Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur, offered me to the lotus feet of Śrī Rūpa by having me sing a song about the service of his feet. When will Śrī Rūpa, disregarding all the qualifications and disqualifications of this fallen soul, adorn me with the dust of his feet?”