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Hari-bhakti-vilasa :: 01-10 :: Gopala Bhatta Gosvamin

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Hari-bhakti-vilasa :: 01-10
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This is the mula-matra edition. The text being used is Haridas Shastri's 1986 edition. (Jagat 2004-06-05)

Henceforward, the individual chapters of Haribhaktivilasa will be updated to include the Digdarsiini commentaries, and all individually posted chapters will also include this commentary. The second half of HBV (chapters 11-20) will be posted separately on completion.
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Original written in: Unknown
Entry added: June 5th 2004
Entry updated: June 5th 2004
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Added by: Jagat
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Text version: 1.00 (legend)
Keywords: Gopala, Bhatta, Goswami, Hari, bhakti, vilasa
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Additional notes from the editors' research and selected discussion forum contributions.
Bhaktivedanta Swami and Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati's opinion · Posted by Jagat on June 7th 2004 - 20:37 +0200
The opinion of Bhaktivedanta Swami is as follows:
"According to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, the regulative principles of devotional service compiled by Gopala Bhatta Gosvami do not strictly follow our Vaisnava principles. Actually, Gopala Bhatta Gosvami collected only a summary of the elaborate descriptions of Vaisnava regulative principles from the Hari-bhakti-vilasa. It is Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami's opinion, however, that to follow the Hari-bhakti-vilasa strictly is to actually follow the Vaisnava rituals in perfect order. He claims that the smarta-samaja, which is strictly followed by caste brahmanas, has influenced portions that Gopala Bhatta Gosvami collected from the original Hari-bhakti-vilasa. It is therefore very difficult to find out Vaisnava directions from the book of Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. It is better to consult the commentary made by Sanatana Gosvami himself for the Hari-bhakti-vilasa under the name of Dig-darsini-tika. Some say that the same commentary was compiled by Gopinatha-puja Adhikari, who was engaged in the service of Sri Radha-ramanaji and who happened to be one of the disciples of Gopala Bhatta Gosvami." (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami commentary to CC Madhya 1.35)
I compared this to the original Bengali text of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati and found the differences to be substantial. This is my translation:
In CC Madhya 24, Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami has given a summary of that portion of the Hari-bhakti-vilasa that Gopala Bhatta Goswami collected. The current edition of the book written by Gopala Bhatta does not seem to be a complete version of a Vaishnava Smriti as, due to considerations of time and place, it contains only a portion of the material that Sanatan Goswami gathered on Gaurasundara's order. If Sanatan Goswami's Hari-bhakti-vilasa, the complete desire tree of directives for Vaishnava conduct, were ever to be published, the penury of such directions in Vaishnava society would be eliminated.

Gopala Bhatta's "Bhakti-vilasa" contains only a portion of Sanatan Goswami's "Hari-bhakti-vilasa." For this reason, in the face of the powerful influence of the Smartas, not all questions of conduct have been properly resolved in it. "Digdarsini," Sanatan Goswami's commentary to his own "Hari-bhakti-vilasa," is partially available as a commentary to Gopala Bhatta's Bhakti-vilasa. Some people attribute this commentary to Gopala Bhatta Goswami's disciple Gopinath Goswami, who was a servant in the Radha Raman temple in Vrindavan.
This is quite an original approach to the question, which though somewhat parallel to Haridas Das's solution to the question, states that the current version of HBV is the incomplete one and that the integral text is not currently available. Needless to say, there is no proof of this, but the manuscripts mentioned by Haridas Das would probably shed some light on these questions.
Some notes on the authorship of HBV and its commentary · Posted by Jagat on June 7th 2004 - 17:02 +0200
Here are some of S.K. De's comments:
It contains namaskriyas to Chaitanya at the commencement of each of its twenty chapters, called vilasas. It is a voluminous and almost exhaustive metrical compendium in Sanskrit of some of the corpus of Vaishnava ritual and religious practices. ... It is a work of patient and extensive Puranic and Tantric erudition, and each rule is copiously illustrated and supported by large quotations from the Puranas, Samhitas, Tantras and other scriptures and sectarian religious treatises. It is, in brief, a complete guide to the Vaidhi Bhakti, in which devotional acts proceed from Vidhis or Shastric injunctions. Some omissions, however, are remarkable. No treatment is accorded to the purificatory rites, known as samskaras, although a section is devoted to initiation or diksha, in which the incorporation of Tantric ideas is a noteworthy feature... (Vaishnava Faith and Movement, 137-138)
On the whole, the HBV and its commentary together form quite a monumental work, which required profound commitment to this Pancharatrik approach to Vaishnavism. It was one of the very first Goswami works (it is cited in Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, which was written in 1541), but was clearly marginalized historically, and other puja paddhatis quickly appeared to take its place.

The main reason for this is in the following:
... The most important Vaishnava festival of Rasa-yatra, which the Smarta Raghunandan also omits in his Yatra-tattva, is conspicuous by the absence of all reference. It is also important to note that this ritual authority does not recognize the cult of Chaitanya worship or the worship of Chaitanya's image. There are no directions for the construction of images of Radha and Krishna, although there are rules for those of Lakshmi and Narayan, Krishna and Rukmini and other forms of the deity. The work departs in many details from the accepted views of the sect. The Krishna in this work is Chaturbhuja Chakradhara, and not Dvibhuja Muralidhara, and the Radha cult does not figure as prominently as it should, Radha being even omitted in the dhyana of Krishna.
De has many interesting things to say about the authorship of this work. There are questions about the identity of Gopala Bhatta Goswami, several later authors give Sanatan credit for the authorship or ascribe some kind of collaboration between the two. The other of the commentary has not named himself, but De does not mention Gopinatha-puja Adhikari, so I don't know where this particular ascription comes from.

At any rate, the question would really be WHY. Why did Sanatan put so much emphasis on compiling and commenting on religious rituals that (1) are too complex, and ultimately against the very spirit of Chaitanya Vaishnavism, i.e., inclusiveness and simplicity; (2) and seem to neglect its most essential theological feature--the worship of Radha and Krishna.

S.K. De on the authorship of HBV:
On the HBV there is a Sanskrit commentary, named Digdarsani, which is attributed to Sanatan Goswami, but there is also the tradition that the original work itself was composed, not by Gopala Bhatta, but by Sanatan. The story of its origin as given by Narahari Chakravarti (Bhakti-ratnakara 1.197-198) relates that the idea of composing a Vaishnava Smriti originated in the mind of Gopala Bhatta, but the work was actually composed by Sanatan in Gopala's name. Manohara Das (Anuraga-valli, 1) also believes that Sanatan wrote the work himself, but Gopala Bhatta was responsible for the illustrative passages culled from the Puranas and other scriptures.

As the statements of Narahari and Manohar are not always beyond question, the extraordinary reverence paid to Sanatan's learning and piety may be held responsible for this attribution. But Sanatan's authorship of both text and its commentary is also recorded by no less an authority than his nephew and associate, Jiva Goswami, in the list he gives of Sanatan's works at the end of his Laghu-Vaishnava-toshani commentary on the Srimad Bhagavatam. This is also confirmed by Krishna Das Kaviraj, who was a disciple of the Goswamis at Vrindavan, for he makes Chaitanya teach a rapid summary (Madhya 24) of the HBV to Sanatan, with an express command to write a Vaishnava smriti on the basis of the outlines taught. Moreover, Krishna Das expressly ascribes this work to Sanatan in two passages (Madhya 1.35 and Antya 4.221). These testimonies cannot indeed be lightly set aside, but in the text of the HBV itself on the other hand, Gopala Bhatta's authorship is unambiguously declared, and there is nothing to show that the opening verses, which declare it, are spurious.

If Sanatan's authorship was known from 1582-3 (the date of Laghu-toshani) and expressly recorded by Jiva and Krishnadas, there could be no point in gratuitously adding such verses in favor of Gopal Bhatta's authorship, and the very uneasiness of later authors, who never reject them, but try to explain them away, would imply their genuineness. If Manohara's proposed solution of the difficulty implies that Sanatan wrote an outline of the work, which Gopal Bhatta elaborated with copious illustrative passages, the presumption is ingenious but is entirely without evidence.

That Sanatan had, besides writing the commentary, a direct connection with the text, seems highly probable, even if we do not know exactly what this connection was. At the same time, Gopala Bhatta's authorship, expressly stated in it, cannot be easily dismissed. It is undisputed that Sanatan, with his equally able brother Rupa, was the acknowledged center of inspiration of the Bengali Vaishnava group at Vrindavan, but if Gopala Bhatta is presumed to have merely elaborated a previous work of Sanatan, it is extremely unlikely that he should have failed to acknowledge this basis of his labors and appropriated the work to himself, especially as he actually mentions that he wrote the work for the satisfaction of Sanatan and others.

In a similar case, Jiva Goswami does not fail to express his indebtedness to an outline prepared by an unnamed Dakshinatya Bhatta (by which reference he is supposed to mean Gopala Bhatta himself), on which he based his elaborate Sat-sandarbha. It seems probable, therefore, that Gopala Bhatta, as stated in the work itself, was the actual author of HBV, but the attribution to Sanatan might have arisen from a kind of close collaboration, which will remain undetermined, between this doyen of the Vaishnava sastra and Gopala Bhatta in making this voluminous compilation.
In the footnotes, S.K. De makes short shrift of the suggestion that Sanatan dissimulated his authorship because, as a result of his association with Muslims, his reputation would have besmirched any smriti work ultimately destined for brahmins. He there adds:
If it is a fact that the sect for some time looked askance at the injunctions laid down in HBV (Amar Nath Ray in Indian Culture v, 1938-9, p.202), it goes only to strengthen the point that Gopala Bhatta was the real author, for some of the views, stated in the work itself, could not have been the strictly orthodox views of Sanatan, but of one who had some lingering Sri Vaishnava leanings. Sanatan's other works are never known to have met with disrespect. On the contrary, it is possible to argue that the legend of Sanatan's authorship may have been a pious afterthough meant to impart greater authoritativeness to a work which did not meet with the entire approval of the orthodox circle. (pp. 142-3)
Here is Haridas Das's comment on Dig-darsini:
Gopala Bhatta wrote HBV and collected the greater part of the pramans found there. However, as Mahaprabhu instructed Sanatan to collect these evidences, it was he who gave direction to Gopala Bhatta. In other words, he appointed Gopala Bhatta to search through the scriptures for these proofs and to write the text of HBV. It was his wish that this book meet with society's approval through the sterling character of Gopala Bhatta, who was a lifelong brahmachari from a brahmin family in good status. Therefore full credit for Gopala Bhatta's authorship is given in the colophon to every chapter.

This commentary, however, is Sanatan's own. Without it, much of the HBV's contents would be incomprehensible. In particular, the astrological directions given in chapters 12-16 are clarified by him there.
In his article on HBV, Haridas Das writes:
...being too busy with other writing projects, he engaged Gopala Bhatta to do this work. Gopala Bhatta wrote a work called HBV. An as yet unpublished work named Laghu Haribhaktivilasa is found in several places, such as the Jaipur library, the Radharaman temple, etc.; this is the work of Gopala Bhatta. This work was then expanded by Sanatan Prabhu.
Clearly, this Laghu HBV would shed some light on this question of authorship. A project for some researcher here.

Naresh Jana ([i]Vrindavaner Chay Gosai[/i], page 87) indicates that the ascription of the commentary to Gopal Bhatta Goswami's disciple Gopinath Goswami comes from an article in [i]Vishnupriya Gauranga Patrika[/i], Bengali year 1330, page 39. (He does not give the author's name.) But these arguments appear totally speculative.

The Digdarsini commentary is quite extensive, tending to supplement rather than explicate the HBV text. I don't really know why this book is called a "smriti" as it has more of the characteristics of an Agama than a Smriti. (The former deals with the rules of puja, the latter with more general issues. Of course, there is crossover.) The main distinguishing feature of HBV when compared to other Agama or Pancharatra literature is the 10th and 11th chapters, where aspects of what we could call "Bhagavata-dharma" are emphasized. This is also where the greater part of the Bhagavata verses have been quoted.

The commentary tends to bring out the Agamic tendencies of the text--rituals, mantras, mandalas, yantras, etc., are all expanded on. In several places, HBV acknowledges the importance of Krama-dipika, the Nimbarka Agama text. I have often wondered to what extent this dependance on KD is an indication of more substantial links to that sampradaya. Another important work that has influenced HBV, especially in the more ritual portions, is Sarada-tilaka, which seems to be a really pivotal Vaishnava Agama work that we'll need to track down for GGM.
Contents of this volume. · Posted by Jagat on June 5th 2004 - 15:53 +0200
The first ten chapters of Hari-bhakti-vilasa are named : [list=1][*] Gauravah -- The importance of taking a spiritual master, the qualifications of guru and disciple; the efficacy and importance of the initiation mantra.
[*] Daiksikah -- Initiation rituals.
[*] Sauciyah -- Purificatory rituals.
[*] Vaisnavalankarah -- Tilak and other Vaishnava symbols or decorations.
[*] Adhisthanakah -- The next four chapters cover various aspects of puja.
[*] Snapanikah -- Bathing the deity.
[*] Pauspikah -- Flowers used in puja, with a lengthy section on Tulasi.
[*] Pratar-arca-samapanah -- Ending morning puja.
[*] Maha-prasadah -- Honoring the remnants of worship.
[*] Sat-sangamah -- Vaishnava association.[/list]
As of June 6, 2004, the tika has been added for chapters 1, 2, 4, 7, and 17 only.