Sloka books are a kind of abridged versions of the essential knowledge and realizations which are kept in the hearts of realized souls and rasika Vaisnavas. The slokas are like portals for entering into the confidential realm of pure bhakti and the mood we aspire for in the line of Mahaprabhu and the Six Goswamis (manjari bhava).
We need to know or be familiar with some slokas in order to perform our bhajan. At first we meditate on a particular pastime through its corresponding sloka and this is called mantra mayi upasana, 'worshiping through mantra.' For instance, the following sloka opens up many possibilities for visualizing this particular pastime which takes place on the banks of Sri Radha Kund.
yasyah kadapi vasanancala-khelanottha dhanyati-dhanya-pavanena krtartha-mani yogindra-durgama-gatir madhusudano 'pi tasya namo 'stu vrsabhanu-bhuvo dise `pi
Sri Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi 2
yasyah-of whom; kadapi-sometimes; vasana-of the garment; Ocala-the corner (hem); khelana-playfully; uttha-lifted; dhanyati-dhanya-very fortunate and glorious; pavanena-by the breeze; krtartha-mani-considering successful; yogindra-durgama-gatih-the goal unattainable even by the kings of yogis; madhu-sudanah-Krisna, the propagator of honey-like pastimes; api-also; tussah-of Her; namah-obeisances; astu-may be; vrsabhanu-bhuvah-of the land of King Vr5abheinu; dies-to the direction; api-even.
'Let us bow down even to the direction of the land of Vrsabhanu Maharaja, for Madhusudana Krishna, who is the rarely attained goal of great yogis, considers that His life is completely fulfilled by the mere touch of that glorious, playful breeze that has touched the tip of Srimati Radhika's garment. He thinks, "Oh, My life has now returned."'
Srila Narayan Maharaja explained that Srimati Radhika was in a sulky mood (mana) on the bank of Radha Kund and didn't want to meet with Krishna. Krishna was standing on the opposite bank lamenting in separation. The breeze wanted to help bring the Divine Couple together again and so it brushed against the corner of Radhika's dress and wafted across the Kund to brush against Krishna's face, carrying the aroma of Her body to Krishna's nose. Then Krishna felt that Radhika was with Him again in the form of Her bodily fragrance and was encouraged to try and make another attempt to break Her mana.
Finally, it must be stated that we are merely instruments and all the credit should go to our diksha Guru, Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayan Goswami Maharaja, by whose mercy and inspiration such a compilation has manifested.
With these songs and slokas the acaryas share their confidential moods of love with us and as practitioners we can share these jewels of the heart with each other. We can connect with the spiritual world in Vraja-bhava by memorizing these slokas and using them in mantra-mayi-upasana - chanting slokas from the scriptures and meditating on the particular pastime they evoke, thus we follow the proper sequence for remembering Sri Radha-Krishna's name, form, qualities and pastimes.
As beginners we may start with slokas from Sri Upadesamrita, hearing or reading the commentaries and taking Harinam ('chanting japa') along with these slokas. Then our sadhana-bhajan will gradually evolve as we add more slokas to our repertoire, eventually leading up to rasika scriptures such as Sri Vilapa Kusumanjali. Deeper levels of the meanings of these verses will manifest spontaneously in our hearts when it is done according to the traditional method. Srila Gurudeva describes this as follows,
When sadhakas study and learn these verses, deeply meditating within themselves on their meanings while chanting the holy name, they will act as stimuli to fully experience the mood described in the verse above (naharh vande tava caranayor-dvandvam advanda hetoh - Bhakti Rasayana, p.1, GVP). Then one's mind will not wander here and there. We should not just walk around talking to others while chanting, but taking our chanting beads we should sit in a solitary place and give it our mind and heart. Our previous acaryas chanted all night long, meditating on one verse after another. For half an hour the waves of the bhava of one particular verse would be coming to them: sometimes they would be fully submerged in those waves, sometimes they would rise to the surface and float on those waves, and then they would move on to the next verse. As they did this more and more the whole night would pass, and where it went, they wouldn't know. This is the traditional method of performing bhajan.
Like in the previous edition of Sri Slokamritam, the slokas are grouped according to different tattvas or topics in the proper sequence of first sambandha, then abhidheya and finally prayojan. Short commentaries follow some of the slokas to elucidate their meanings. This Slokamritam edition has been thoroughly revised and some material added for information and for expanding the potential readership or audience of this compilation.
Finally, here are some words of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who introduced Krishna consciousness on a grand scale outside India 50 years ago, "...we have forgotten our eternal relationship with the Lord. Every living being out of many, many billions and trillions of living beings has a particular relationship with the Lord eternally. That is called svarupa. By the process of devotional service, one can revive that svarupa, and that stage is called svarupa-siddhi - perfection of one's constitutional position." (Bhagavad-gita As It Is, page 4-5, 1972, BBT)
The slokas of the Vaisnava scriptures are not merely words on paper - they are alive and conscious, and can reciprocate with us. They are transcendental personalities like the personified Vedas. Therefore, one should approach them with humility and respect and not try to master them as if they were mundane objects of knowledge. When we develop affection for anyone, we naturally become interested in them and want to know more about them. Consequently, they become interested in us and reciprocate in kind. It is a matter of making a relationship. Similarly with slokas, as we recite them and meditate on their meanings, we develop a relationship with them. As this relationship becomes deeper over time, the slokas gradually unfold and reveal ever-new and fresh meanings - not merely meanings but realizations and insights. They become familiar like old friends. They nourish the bhakti lata bija (the sprout of bhakti) in our hearts, and become relish able. Thus Slokas are not some mundane information in a foreign language that we have to commit to memory but allies who help us cultivate the spiritual mood we aspire for.
(Editorial note): The above Introduction is a rephrasing in my own words of the original Introduction written by Srila Narayan Maharaja for the first edition of Sri Slokamritam. Gurudeva ended his introduction with the following words:
"My heartily blessings to all the devotees who helped to compile this book and to all its future readers. May Sri Radha-Krishna give you Their blessings in the form of pure bhakti?"
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend