Day: August 14, 2016

Mahabharata

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In this series, we shall be presenting the characters of the epic Mahabharata. Mahabharata was composed by the great sage Krishna Dwaipayan Vyasa or Ved Vyasa. Mahabharata is a great epic comprising of 1,00,000 verses and hence, it is called Maha Bharata or Great India.

Originally composed in 8,000 verses by Ved Vyasa himself, it was titled as Jaya Samhita, which was then expanded to 24,000 verses by Vaishampayana and termed as Bharata then, finally narrated by Ugrashrava Sauti in 1,00,000 verses.

As per Srimad Bhagwatam (1.4.25),

स्त्री-शूद्र-द्विजबन्धूनां
त्रयी न श्रुति-गोचरा|
कर्म-श्रेयसि मूढानां
श्रेय एवं भवेद् इह|
इति भारतम् आख्यानं
कृपया मुनिना कृतम्||

strī-śūdra-dvijabandhūnāṁ
trayī na śruti-gocarā
karma-śreyasi mūḍhānāṁ
śreya evaṁ bhaved iha
iti bhāratam ākhyānaṁ
kṛpayā muninā kṛtam
Translation:
Out of compassion, the great sage thought it wise that this would enable men to achieve the ultimate goal of life. Thus he compiled the great historical narration called the Mahābhārata for women, laborers and friends of the twice-born.
Purport:

The friends of the twice-born families are those who are born in the families of brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas and vaiśyas,or the spiritually cultured families, but who themselves are not equal to their forefathers. Such descendants are not recognized as such, for want of purificatory achievements. The purificatory activities begin even before the birth of a child, and the seed-giving reformatory process is called garbhādhāna-saṁskāra. One who has not undergone such garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, or spiritual family planning, is not accepted as being of an actual twice-born family. The garbhādhāna-saṁskāra is followed by other purificatory processes, out of which the sacred thread ceremony is one. This is performed at the time of spiritual initiation. After this particular saṁskāra, one is rightly called twice-born. One birth is calculated during the seed-giving saṁskāra, and the second birth is calculated at the time of spiritual initiation. One who has been able to undergo such important saṁskāras can be called a bona fide twice-born.

If the father and the mother do not undertake the process of spiritual family planning and simply beget children out of passion only, their children are called dvija-bandhus. These dvija-bandhus are certainly not as intelligent as the children of the regular twice-born families. The dvija-bandhus are classified with the śūdras and the woman class, who are by nature less intelligent. The śūdras and the woman class do not have to undergo any saṁskāra save and except the ceremony of marriage.

The less intelligent classes of men, namely women, śūdras and unqualified sons of the higher castes, are devoid of necessary qualifications to understand the purpose of the transcendental Vedas. For them the Mahābhārata was prepared. The purpose of the Mahābhārata is to administer the purpose of the Vedas, and therefore within thisMahābhārata the summary Veda of Bhagavad-gītā is placed. The less intelligent are more interested in stories than in philosophy, and therefore the philosophy of the Vedas in the form of the Bhagavad-gītā, is spoken by the Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Vyāsadeva and Lord Kṛṣṇa are both on the transcendental plane, and therefore they collaborated in doing good to the fallen souls of this age. The Bhagavad-gītā is the essence of all Vedic knowledge. It is the first book of spiritual values, as the Upaniṣads are. The Vedānta philosophy is the subject matter for study by the spiritual graduates. Only the postgraduate spiritual student can enter into the spiritual or devotional service of the Lord. It is a great science, and the great professor is the Lord Himself in the form of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. And persons who are empowered by Him can initiate others in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.

The book was originally written for the less witted people, since they were unable to understand the complicated philosophies of Vedic literature. As people in Kaliyuga are dull headed, they need stories to make them understand the things and the philosophy. Therefore, this great literature was compiled out of mercy on them. This literature describes the events of the whole world, which was known as Bharatvarsha i.e. the whole land on the earth being ruled by the descendants of King Bharata.

We shall be describing each character of them as per their information available.

Srila Rupa Goswami

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Srila Rupa Goswami is the central acharya of the Gaudiya Vaishnava school of devotional service. He is the direct disciple of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the incarnation of Godhead in the iron age of Kali who appeared 500 years before in the land of West Bengal, at Mayapur.

He is the foremost of  the six goswamis, who are the direct disciples of Mahaprabhu himself and they were empowered by him to preach the message of Bhakti cult, write devotional literatures and discover the places of pastimes of Sri Sri Radhika and Madhav.

He made his appearance in the year 1489, his exact date of appearance is not known. He was the son of a south Indian brahmin Kumaradeva and his lineage traces back to Bharadwaja, one of the important rishis. He had two brothers as well, Sri Sanantan and Sri Anupama.

On the demise of Kumaradeva, the three sons moved to Sakurma, near the capital of Gaudadesha (Bengal) where they continued their studies. The three brothers studied the Nyaya-shastras (treatise on rhetoric) from the famous logician Vasudeva Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya and his brother Madhusudana Vidyavachaspati. They also studied Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian.
Due to their noble characters and academic proficiency, Rupa and his elder brother Sanatana were later forced into government service by the Sultan of Bengal, Alauddin Hussein Shah (1493-1519) which led to their excommunication from Hindu society by the orthodox caste brahmanas of Gauda. Rupa became the Sultan’s chief secretary (dabir khas), while Sanatana became the state revenue minister (sakara mallika).
But when he met Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he immediately devised plans to get out of Nawab’s responsibility and get into the sankirtan movement of Mahaprabhu. And after distributing all his wealth as per the shastras, he came with his brother Anupama to Vrindavan and met Mahaprabhu again at Kashi
There, mahaprabhu instructed him in the science of Krishna Consciousness and gave him a 10 day instruction, thereby empowering him and making him eligible to preach.
 Rupa Goswami was specifically commanded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to carry out two tasks:
(1) To find and establish the lost ancient and original Deities of Lord Krishna as well as to re-discover and restore the holy places associated with His leela in Vrindavan
(2) To write and preach Gaudiya Vaishnava theology.
He then sent Rupa Goswami to Vrindavan to carry out these tasks. Rupa Goswami first arrived in Vrindavan along with his elder brother Sanatana Goswami in the year 1516, after receiving the direct order of Lord Chaitanya. Through his writings Shrila Rupa Goswami chalked out the perfect spiritual path for all the followers of Lord Chaitanya down through the ages.
Throughout his life, he dedicated himself to the order of Mahaprabhu and served his beloved deities, Sri Sri Radha Govinda which are in a beautiful temple in Vrindavan, built by Sawai Man Singh.
 Shri Rupa Goswami completed many literatures, among them: Shri Hamsaduta Kavya, Sgri Uddhava-sandesh, Sgri Krishna-janma-tithi-vidhi, Brhat Radha-Krishna-ganoddesha-dipika, Laghu Radha-Krishna ganoddesah-dipika, Stavamala, Vidagha-madhava, Lalita-madhava, Dana-keli-kaumudi, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Ujjvala-nilamani, Prayuktakhyata-manjari, Mathura-mahima, Padyavali, Nataka chandrika, Laghu-Bhagavatamrta, among others.
He disappeared from this material world on the Shukla Paksha Dwadashi of Shravan.