Sri Sri Prapanna Jivanamrtam - Positive
and Progressive Immortality, a Sanskrit devotional treatise
on the subject of Divine Surrender by Srila
Sridhar Maharaj, has become a standard text-book for devotees
everywhere. "This is the first book to read -- and it is also
the last," says Srila Govinda Maharaj
in Chapter 4 of his book, Golden
Reflections, which is condensed here. "If you read this book
carefully, you will get everything. It is divided into the six kinds
of saranagati, or surrender, and many
examples are given from the scriptures as well as from the devotees'
lives. Everything is covered here, and if you read it minutely you
must stand in the plane of dedication. It is a very valuable book."
And in an excerpt from Chapter 3 of Sermons
of the Guardian of Devotion, Volume III, Srila Sridhar Maharaj
tells us what inspired him to compose this book.
Srila Govinda Maharaj reciting the Foreword and Chapter One
of Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamritam.
Golden Reflections by Srila Govinda Maharaj
- Chapter 4, "The Solution In A Nutshell."]
joined in the Krishna consciousness movement in the last chapter
of Srila Sridhar Maharaj's Pastimes, therefore you did not hear
the earlier installments; what you heard was the last chapter, the
final chapter. If you read the final lesson before reading the earlier
lessons, that can sometimes be very harmful to digest. Only after
reading the first three lessons, can you read [and understand] the
by the time the Western devotees came to Srila Guru Maharaj, he
could not wait, and therefore he expressed his fourth lesson. For
example, he expressed the explanation of the Gayatri Mantram --
gayatry artha viniryyasam gita gudhartha gauravam
-- which previously no one had done widely. Srila Guru Maharaj's
conception is very high, and he gave that Gayatri explanation in
the last chapter of his life. But it is also necessary to know his
previous presentation. We can receive that from his book Sri
Sri Prapanna Jivanamrtam. We must take this scripture into
our hearts and then we shall be able to understand the other things.
The first stage for us has been given by Srila Guru Maharaj there.
is there, including the very highest things, but mainly there is
one theme: saranagati, or surrender. The first thing is saranagati.
The fully surrendered soul can understand everything, and this is
shown in Sri Sri Prapanna Jivanamrtam
along with many examples. If we can think in that way, and try to
proceed in that way, then no problems will come to us. In the middle
stage is Srila Guru Maharaj's Srimad Bhagavad
Gita explanation. There are some sections in particular,
where Srila Guru Maharaj gave high explanations; especially worth
mentioning are verses 9:30-31 and 10:9-10. And in his last manifest
Pastimes Srila Guru Maharaj gave, amongst other things, his Rig
Mantram explanation of Gayatri.
Guru Maharaj expressed to me, "Srila
Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Prabhupad gave me the property and
Nityananda Prabhu ordered me: 'You must try to give this to others,'
therefore lastly I am trying to do so. Also others including Candidas,
Vidyapati, and Narottama Thakur expressed some high conceptions.
Who is able to understand shall understand it in future, but what
I have I want to express now." That was Srila Guru Maharaj's desire
and in that way he gave such high conceptions. But if someone tries
to read the fourth lesson without first reading from the beginning
the first, second, and third lessons, then that will be very difficult
-- and that can also be harmful.
I tried, by the order of Srila Guru Maharaj, to read the Harinamamrta
Vyakarana in order to learn Sanskrit, there was one book,
Amarakosa, the meaning of which I could
not understand. Nobody can understand its meaning at first because
it is only a book of words, a selection of words. It lists the main
names of Vishnu, of Indra, and so many main alternative names of
others. Everything in heaven has so many names, not just a single
name, and Srila Guru Maharaj instructed me, "You must memorize it
otherwise you will not be able to read or write Sanskrit, because
you will not be able to understand its meaning." To only memorize
names without any meanings is very hard for me, but those first
lessons are necessary. Recently I saw that book and was reminded
this book and you will get everything
it is necessary to complete the first lesson, the second lesson, and
the third lesson -- then it is possible to understand the fourth lesson.
Srila Guru Maharaj gave those first three lessons in Sri
Sri Prapanna Jivanamrtam, as well as the fourth lesson. If
you read this book carefully, you will get everything.
Guru Maharaj has given the meaning of saranagati in this book. In
verse 1:35 in particular, he says:
governed by the faith that all success is achieved by serving the
Supreme Lord, to abandon servitude even to scriptural injunctions
and take exclusive refuge in the lotus feet of Sri Krishna in every
time, place, and circumstance, is known as saranagati -- unconditional
bhagavad-bhaktitah sarvam / ity utsrjya vidher api
kainkaryam krsna-padaika / srayatvam saranagatih
is saranagati? It is bhagavad-bhaktitah sarvam.
It is not even necessary to serve any other god or demigod, but
only through service to Krishna we can get everything. Therefore
we must take shelter at the lotus feet of Krishna. Service to Krishna
can give us everything, and this type of faith is called saranagati.
If you can memorize just one sloka,
or verse, and put that in your heart, then from this one sloka you
will get everything ever given in any scripture.
tried before to know, in one sentence, what is saranagati. We know
that saranagati is surrender, but that is not sufficient. Therefore
I asked Srila Guru Maharaj. He replied, "Have you not read Prapanna
said, "Yes Maharaj, I have, but is the explanation there?" Then
he quoted the above sloka, and this is the main thing. There are
six kinds of saranagati. In Prapanna Jivanamrtam
this is explained and in each case there are examples and expressions
of the feelings of other devotees. If you read this book you can
understand. There Srila Guru Maharaj explains the subject very clearly
and very nicely. Saranagati is the first thing -- and saranagati
is the last thing. If you want to enter into transcendental knowledge
you must first take shelter of saranagati. This is the first lesson
and this is the last lesson.
is a very valuable book
is covered in this book, and if you read it minutely you must stand
in the plane of dedication. Many examples are given there from the
scriptures as well as from the devotees' lives. It is a very valuable
book. It is not necessary to have gone through Srimad
Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, and Sri
Chaitanya Charitamrita before reading it. This is the first
book of to read -- and it is also the last. Srimad
Bhagavad Gita, of course, is also the first and last book
to read, but there are many things in there that are mixed in with
bhakti, or devotion.
Prapanna Jivanamrtam only bhakti
is found, and nothing else. But in the Gita
there are description about karma, yoga, jnana,
and many other things; that is why everybody likes it. The karmis
like it, the terrorists it, the yogis like it, Mahatma Gandhi liked
it, Jawaharlal Nehru liked it -- everybody likes the Bhagavad
Gita! The reason is that they each receive something from
it to fulfill their own purpose. But in Sri
Sri Prapanna Jivanamrtam, everything that is included is
only for the purpose of devotion -- the relationship between Krishna
and the jiva. It is a very pure devotional book.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj said
to his sister: "This Prapanna Jivanamrtam
is a very important and nice book. You have money, so please you
spend some money for the printing of this book." Her name was Bhavani
Didi. We called her Pishima or "Madan's Mother," and it was she
who subsequently gave the money for the first printing of this book.
of the very high type of slokas in this book, is verse 4:3 by Sri
nastha dharme na vasu-nicaye naiva kamopabhoge
yad yad bhavyam bhavatu bhagavan purva-karmanurupam
etat prarthyam mama bahu-matam janma-janmantare 'pi
tvat padambhoruha-yuga-gata niscala bhaktir astu
Lord, I have no faith in religiosity, economic development, or sense
enjoyment. May all these things come to pass as they are ordained
according to my previous karma. But my earnest prayer is that birth
after birth I may have unflinching devotion for Your lotus feet."
is not very difficult to understand what Krishna-bhakti is, but
what is necessary is the mood of surrender. If you surrender you
can understand everything; if you do not fully surrender then many
difficulties will come. There is no difficulty for the surrendered
Inspiration for Sri Sri Prapanna Jivanamrtam
Sermons of the Guardian of Devotion,
Volume III by Srila Sridhar Maharaj
- Chapter 3, "Personal Glimpses."]
I left the association of the disciples of our Srila
Bhakti Siddhanta Prabhupad to live alone, I felt some sort of
helplessness within me. I knew that saranagati,
or surrender, is the indispensable necessity in the life of a devotee,
and felt, "I have left, or somehow or other I am excluded from the
company of Prabhupad's association. I am helpless, but saranagati
may come to my relief." So I especially came to think, "Saranagati
is the basis, but what is saranagati?" On reading Srila
Bhaktivinoda Thakur's book Saranagati,
this point impressed me most. He wrote:
you want Nanda Kumar, you must have this six-fold saranagati." [The
six limbs of saranagati are: acceptance of the favorable; rejection
of the unfavorable; full confidence in the Lord's protection; embracing
the Lord's guardianship; full self-surrender; and surrender in humility.]
sad anga saranagati haibe yanhara
tanhara prarthana sune sri nanda-kumara
wanted to culture that, so at that time, after coming to live alone
I recollected all I had imbibed in my Math life, and also consulted
about saranagati in Hari Bhakti Vilasa,
in Srila Jiva Goswami's Bhakti Sandarbha,
and in the Ramanuja Sampradaya's writings. I then tried to collect
it all together and arrange it in a particular way as I thought
best. In this way I began to write the book Sri
Sri Prapanna Jivanamrtam, that it may also help others who
might come in such a position as mine. That was the real reason.
title Sri Sri Prapanna Jivanamrtam
means, prapannanam, jivane, amrta-svarupam:
"The nectar in the life of the surrendered souls." This was my conception
from the beginning: prapanna-jivanamrta.
Those who have come to take this, to feel it, this will be like
nectar to them. To those who have surrendered, it will be nectar
to them, but others, the ordinary people, may not appreciate it.
in the life of the surrendered souls
will be the nectar in the life of those who have surrendered, those
who have the real adhikara, or the proper
qualified standard of faith to receive it. Srila Jiva Goswami wrote,
"Those who have faith in the Veda, in Srimad
Bhagavatam and such things, they are to read this book; otherwise,
I put a curse, that those who do not have such faith should not come
to read my book." Jiva Goswami has written in such a way: "You unbelievers
won't come to touch my book. You who are unbelievers, it is not meant
for you! It is only for those who have faith in such things. Others
are discarded. You -- the ordinary public -- are discarded. You must
not touch my book because you will misunderstand it."
is also a custom of proper behavior. If one ventures to read such
things, at least he must approach with some caution, and not with
the mood of curiosity, "Oh, why does he say this?" for that will
be dangerous. So, adhikari nirnaya.
Whoever will come to read the Veda, if he has not attained the standard,
he will misunderstand, or mutilate it. Paroksa-vado
vedo 'yam / balanam anusasanam [Srimad
Bhagavatam - 11:3:44]. "The Vedic purport is presented in
an indirect, veiled manner, in order to instruct undisciplined,
childishly foolish persons."
his Uttara Mimamsa of the Vedanta
Sutra, Vedavyasa has written athato
brahma-jijnasa. Sri Shankaracharya says that in relation
to this aphorism -- athato -- means
anantaram, "after this." After what?
"After one has attained sama, dama, titiksa,
all these qualifications. One who has qualities such as having controlled
his senses and his mental speculations [sama,
dama], has a very tolerant and persevering spirit [titiksa],
and so on, he will come to study this book. After he has acquired
a certain grade in such qualities, he will come to study this. It
is not for the ordinary people who will misunderstand, misinterpret,
and mutilate it, thus creating trouble in society."
for the benefit of society Shankaracharya says that only such persons
will come, and they will gain a clear and proper understanding.
They will then preach that to the public in particular installments,
and all will be benefitted thereby.
says, "No, athato does not mean that
-- athato means, "after finishing the
Purva Mimamsa of Jaimini." There is
purva-mimamsa [primary teaching] and
uttara-mimamsa [higher teaching]. So,
after one has finished the course of purva-mimamsa,
that is, niskama varnasrama-dharma,
he will then come to understand the study of this uttara-mimamsa.
When he has finished successfully the karmadhikara,
he will come to enter into jnanadhikara,
and that will be beneficial to him." This is Ramanuja's opinion.
Baladeva Vidyabhusan says, "Whoever he may be, whether a karmi,
or jnani, 'atha' means he must have
sat-sanga, sadhu-sanga. From any position,
if he can get the association of a proper sadhu,
he is qualified to study this book and he will understand the real
everywhere there is consideration of adhikar,
that is, yogyata, or "fitness." One
must acquire the standard of qualification, and have healthy association,
then he can try to understand that particular plane.
Srila Govinda Maharaj reciting the Foreword and Chapter One
of Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamritam.
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