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Nityananda Balarama Ananta Sankarsana - Caitanya Bhagavata
Gaurasundara - Wed, 10 Aug 2005 07:54:31 +0530
I have lately taken up the reading of Caitanya-bhagavata. I decided that since I flick through it all the time and quote from it, my "study" would still be incomplete since I really should read it from beginning to end. So I am looking forward to this. It is said that CB represents the 'first half' of Mahaprabhu's lila, whereas CC elaborates more on the 'second half' and so it makes sense that I should read CB and then perhaps CC straight after.
The first chapter is exclusively dedicated to the glories of Nityananda Prabhu/Balarama/Ananta/Sankarsana, depending on how you view it. Ths is because the author (Sri Vrndavan das Thakur) pays tribute to his guru (Nityananda) before outlining the contents of the entire work, and the second chapter is when all the real hot stuff starts regarding the story of Sri Gauracand. One thing that confuses me is the interchangeable referring to Nityananda as Balaram, Balaram as Nityananda, Nityananda as Ananta, Ananta as Sankarsana, Sankarasana as Nityananda, Balaram as Sankarsana, and so on.
It is said that "Baladeva-tattva" is the svayam-prakasa whereas Krsna is the svayam-rupa. There is factually no difference between the Two in tattva, but Baladeva is still the "servitor Godhead" as some might put it. It is the sheer complication of the Baladeva-tattva and how He serves Caitanya/Krsna that astounds me. Sometimes the verses are also hard to interpret if you don't have a familiarity with the concepts involved. Nityananda being Nityananda, Balarama being Balarama, Ananta being the thousand-headed snake and Sankarshana being the second (?) member of the catur-vyuha, these are all names for the same actual personality. Reading the verses in context is important to figure out who in particular is being referred to. Obviously I am familiar with the basic concepts here but it all gets confusing when the same four-in-one personality is praised in so many different ways.
I thought I had it down pat when I figured out that 'Ananta' would always
refer to the thousand-headed snake and the other names refer to those particular personalities, until I found this:
yateka karaye prabhu sakala uddAma
Prabhu Balarama has thousands of heads,
and all of His activites are extraordinary.
I was curious if anyone else has any insights into how they keep track of all the descriptions and glorifications, as well as if there are any other names for the Baladeva-tattva? I have elsewhere heard references to Mula-Sankarsana and Maha-Sankarsana. Ohhhhh, so confusing!
Also, anyone have any valuable insights into Caitanya-bhagavata?
Oh by the way, I've never been able to figure out the catur-vyuha either. All these tattvas are SO complicated!
Lancer - Wed, 10 Aug 2005 10:57:21 +0530
QUOTE(Gaurasundara @ Aug 9 2005, 08:24 PM)
I was curious if anyone else has any insights into how they keep track of all the descriptions and glorifications, as well as if there are any other names for the Baladeva-tattva?
He wants other names for Balarama, does he? Howzabout this
Gaurasundara - Thu, 11 Aug 2005 05:23:56 +0530
Oh my,... lol...
And then you hear all of those verses about the many different ways that Nityananda serves Gauracand, by being His footstool; bed; brahmana-thread, and so on. Mystery upon mystery upon mystery..
Gaurasundara - Mon, 15 Aug 2005 06:10:39 +0530
sahasra phaNAra eka-phaNe 'bindu' yena
ananta vikrama, nA jAnena, 'Ache' hena
sahasra-vadane kRSNa-yaza nirantara
gAite Achena Adi-deva mahI-dhara
gAyena ananta, zrI-yazera nAhi anta
jaya-bhaGga nAhi kAru, doGhe - balavanta
adyApiha 'seSa'-deva sahasra-zrI-mukhe
gAyena caitanya-yaza anta nAhi dekhe
He [Ananta] is so large and powerful that this universe rests on one of His hoods just like a mustard seed. He Heimself does not know where it is. While bearing the universe, He chants the glories of Krishna with each of His thousands of mouths. While chanting such glories, He still hasn't come to their end. Both of them [Krsna and Balaram] are unconquerable. To this very day, Sesadeva continues to chant the glories of Caitanya with His thousands of beautiful faces, but still He sees no end to them. (CB 1.1.65-69)
But how come we can't hear any of this glorification?
Gaurasundara - Mon, 15 Aug 2005 06:14:29 +0530
To explain, the first chapter of Caitanya-bhagavata is almost exclusive in its praise of Baladeva-tattva. The descriptions of Baladeva in His form as Ananta conjures up images of huge enormity as illustrated by that verse describing this universe as a bindu, the location of which Anantadeva does not know.
Having occupied all of His time glorifying Krsna (and Caitanya) since time immemorial, and sound being one of the 'universal' elements, how is it that we miss out on the reverberation of these glories that are being sounded throughout the universe?
Gaurasundara - Mon, 15 Aug 2005 06:18:36 +0530
QUOTE(Gaurasundara @ Aug 11 2005, 12:53 AM)
the many different ways that Nityananda serves Gauracand, by being His footstool; bed; brahmana-thread, and so on.
Just for reference:
sakhA, bhAi, vyajana, zayana, AvAhana
gRha, chatra, vastra, yata bhUSaNa, Asana
[Balarama serves Krsna as His:] Friend, brother, fan, bed, carrier, residence, umbrella, garments, ornaments, and sitting-place. (CB 1.1.44)
Gaurasundara - Mon, 15 Aug 2005 06:26:23 +0530
QUOTE(Gaurasundara @ Aug 10 2005, 03:24 AM)
One thing that confuses me is the interchangeable referring to Nityananda as Balaram, Balaram as Nityananda, Nityananda as Ananta, Ananta as Sankarsana, Sankarasana as Nityananda, Balaram as Sankarsana, and so on.
'dvija', 'vipra', 'brAhmaNa' yehena nAma-bheda
ei-mata 'nityAnanda', 'ananta', 'baladeva'
"Just as 'dvija', 'vipra' and 'brahmana' are different names [for the same person],
so does 'Nityananda', 'Ananta' and 'Baladeva' [refer to the same personality]." (CB 1.1.79)