Sri Goloka-mahatmyam The glories of Sri Goloka
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In the Second Canto of Sri Brhad-bhagavatamrta, Srila Sanatana Gosvami examines all the manifestations and incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, culminating in Sri Nandanandana, the beloved son of Sri Nanda Maharaja. He does so by narrating the story of Gopa-kumara and his fascinating journey throughout the material and spiritual universes as he searches for the Lord of his heart. “Sri Brhad-bhagavatamrta alone is the main foundation of all the scriptures written by Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and so on. All the other books of our Gosvamis manifested from this one book alone.” [Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja]
"Srimad-Bhagavatam is the essence of all scriptures, such as the Vedas, Vedanta, Puranas, Itihasas, and so on. By churning that essence, this book, aptly named Sri Brhad-bhagavatamrta – the Essential Nectar of the Bhagavatam – has become manifest. Throughout this book, all topics regarding devotional service to Bhagavan have been presented. The original discourse of the book between Sri Jaimini and Janamejaya is based on a conversation between Sri Pariksit and Uttara. After Sri Pariksit had heard Srimad-Bhagavatam from the lips of Sri Sukadeva Gosvami, and before the snake-bird Taksaka arrived, Pariksit’s mother, Sri Uttara-devi, said to him, “O my dear son, please narrate to me, in simple, easy-to-understand language, the essence of what you have heard from Sri Sukadeva Gosvami.” Sri Brhadbhagavatamrta begins with this inquiry."
CONTENTS: Preface to the First Hindi Edition, Editor’s Preface
First Chapter: Vairagya – Renunciation
Sri Janamejaya asks about the conversation between the mother and her son; In reply, Sri Jaimini begins an explanation of the glories of Goloka; Sri Uttara inquires about the realm attained by those who aspire to serve the Vraja gopis, and in particular, the crest jewel of the Vraja gopis, Sri Radhaji.
Sri Pariksit relates his own glorious fortune; In reply to the questions asked by his mother, he describes the glories of Sri Goloka with a story of a brahmana who resided in Pragjyotisa-pura; The brahmana obtains the ten-syllable gopala-mantra; He becomes renounced; He develops firm faith in the chanting of the mantra; He has a divine vision of the Deity of the mantra; In a dream, Sri Siva orders him to go to Sri Mathura.
The brahmana sees the festival of the worship of Sri Madhava in Prayaga; He enters into dialogue with the Vaisnavas there, and he hears the Puranas; He experiences uncertainty about his worshipable Deity; In a dream, he obtains the order of Sri Madhava to go to Mathura without delay; He goes to Mathura; He bathes at Visranti-tirtha (Visrama-ghata); He becomes happy to see the opulence of Vrndavana.
The brahmana hears the sound of weeping coming from the east of Kesi-tirtha, and he goes to a grove of kadamba trees there; He has darsana of Sri Gopa-kumara, who is youthful in appearance; He offers obeisances to Gopakumara and inquires from him about what his goal should be and what practice he should adopt to achieve it; Gopakumara narrates his own story to the brahmana to assure him that 'only through sri-nama-kirtana' can he directly see his worshipable Deity.
Sri Gopa-kumara obtains the gopala-mantra from a brahmana who is firmly attached to sri-nama-kirtana; Chanting the mantra, he cleanses his heart by the mantra's influence; He renounces home; After receiving instruction from a brahmana who worships Sri Salagrama on the banks of the Gaìga River, Gopa-kumara sees the service of Sri Narayana in the royal capital of that country.
Sri Gopa-kumara is accepted as the son of the childless king, and he becomes absorbed in the worship of Sri Narayana; Still, he is dissatisfied at heart due to his connection with the kingdom; Saintly persons arrive from South India on a tour of different holy places. Gopa-kumara hears from their lotus mouths about the great mercy of Sri Nilacala-pati, and he develops a desire to see this form of the Lord; He travels to Sri Jagannatha Puri and, upon witnessing the great, everfresh
festivals in Sri Jagannatha Puri, develops a desire to directly render some specific service to Sri Jagannatha.
On the shore of the ocean at Nilacala, Sri Gopa-kumara again has darsana of the brahmana who gave him his mantra,
and he receives his instruction; Upon becoming monarch of that kingdom, Gopa-kumara manages the service of Sri
Jagannatha-deva very well; He experiences dissatisfaction in his heart by dint of his dealings with the kingdom; Upon
receiving the order of the Supreme Lord in a dream, he again goes to Mathura.
Second Chapter: Jnana – Knowledge
After residing in Mathura for some time, Sri Gopa-kumara develops the desire to see Sri Jagannatha; En route to Nilacala, he hears from saintly persons how opulent is the service of Sri Upendra (Sri Vamana-deva); By the influence of the chanting of his mantra, a celestial airplane arrives, and he boards it to go to heaven; At some point in time, in Indra’s absence, Gopa-kumara obtains the kingdom of heaven and makes formal arrangements for Sri Upendra’s service.
After residing among the demigods of heaven for one year, Sri Gopa-kumara has audience of Bhrgu and other great sages; He hears Sri Brhaspati describe Maharloka, and he goes there on the strength of chanting his mantra; He serves Sri Yajnesvara; He goes to Janaloka; He sees Sanat-kumara and hears the glories of Tapoloka from the great sages; He goes to Tapoloka by the influence of chanting his mantra.
Sri Gopa-kumara sees the four Kumaras in Tapoloka and receives instruction from Sri Pippalayana about smarana (remembrance) and samadhi (deep meditation); The four Kumaras display many forms of Sri Bhagavan in their practice of dhyana-yoga (meditation); Sri Brahma arrives in Tapoloka; Gopa-kumara hears about the fundamental reality of Brahma and Satyaloka from the four Kumaras.
Sri Gopa-kumara's departs for Satyaloka; He sees the Supreme Lord, Sri Maha-purusa; He obtains the affectionate mercy of Sri Laksmi-devi; He sees the destruction of the three worlds at the end of Brahma's day; He obtains the position of Brahma when Brahma disappears due to fear of a demon; The personified Vedic scriptures describe knowledge about the nature of liberation and devotion
The personified Vedic scriptures describe the superiority of devotion over liberation; They describe the distinction of devotion in comparison with karma (fruitive work), jnana (knowledge), vairagya (renunciation), and samadhi (yogic trance); They describe the eight layers that comprise the egg of the universe; Gopa-kumara’s devotion increases upon hearing the glories of devotion; He goes to Sri Vrndavana, directly ordered to do so by Sri Bhagavan
Third Chapter: Bhajana – Devotional Service
While wandering in Vrndavana, Sri Gopa-kumara finds his gurudeva and receives instruction from him; He obtains a spiritual body by the influence of chanting his mantra, and he crosses the eight layers of the universe and goes to the abode of liberation, known as muktipada, which is beyond material nature; He has darsana of Sri Siva and Sri Parvati there.
Sri Gopa-kumara hears the truth about the nondifference between Sri Madana-gopala and Sri Siva from Sri Nandisvara; Gopa-kumara reassures his mind; The eternal associates of Vaikuntha arrive; They have obtained sarüpya, a type of liberation characterized by possessing bodily features like the Lord’s.
Ordered by Sri Parvati, Sri Ganesa describes the glories of Vaikuntha, which is situated above the innumerable material universes; Hearing that description, Gopa-kumara yearns to reside in Vaikuntha, and Sri Mahadeva praises and encourages that desire; The Lord’s eternal associates glorify Sri Siva and instruct Gopa-kumara; They speak the glories of kirtana; Gopa-kumara arrives in Vraja, as instructed by the eternal associates.
Fourth Chapter: Vaikuntha – the Spiritual World
Sri Gopa-kumara wanders in Vraja in an ecstatic state of consciousness and absorbed in sri-nama-saìkirtana; Upon seeing a divine vision of His worshipable Deity, he faints; The eternal associates of Sri Bhagavan transport him to Vaikuntha.
A description of the opulence of Vaikuntha; Sri Gopakumara sees the Lord of Vaikuntha before his eyes; Because of this vision, he experiences loving bewilderment and swoons; The eternal associates bring Gopa-kumara back to consciousness; Gopa-kumara approaches the Lord, and the Lord orders him to stay in Vaikuntha.
Staying close to the Lord, Sri Gopa-kumara plays the flute; He converses with the eternal associates of Sri Vaikuntha.
His heart grows restless upon remembering the mercy of Sri Madana-gopala; Sri Narada suddenly arrives; Understanding the heart of Gopa-kumara, Sri Narada describes the transcendental truth about Vaikuntha.
Sri Gopa-kumara asks questions about worship of the Deity of Sri Bhagavan, and Sri Narada describes the glory of Deity worship.
Understanding Gopa-kumara’s desire to directly see His worshipable Lord, Sri Narada instructs him to have darsana of Sri Ramacandra.
Gopa-kumara arrives in Ayodhya and Hanuman welcomes him; Gopa-kumara receives darsana of Sri Ramacandra and glorifies Him; Sri Ramacandra graciously summons Gopakumara and orders him to go to Dvaraka.
Appendix, A Guide to Sanskrit Pronunciation, Glossary, Index of Quoted Verses, Index of Original Sanskrit Verses
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