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CHATUSHSLOKI BHAGAVATAM (Srimad Bhagavatam in just four slokas)

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The four slokas discussed here appear in Canto 2, chapter 9 (verses 32 to 35) and were taught by Bhagavan (Narayana, Vishnu, Krishna) Himself to Brahma and are often considered to be the very essence of the Srimad Bhagavatam. After Brahma was created, at the start of the kalpa (the day of Brahma), he found himself seated on top of the lotus that extended from the navel (nabhi) of Bhagavan. Brahma looked around and found nothing but the waters of pralaya. He wondered, Who I am?, or Koham ( ), which is the sandhi form of Kaha aham ( ) . The word Kaha () which is nominative singular of ka () means who and Kaha aham instead of being taken as a question can also be interpreted as a statement with the meaning, I am ka. Thus, the consontant ka, as in Keshava means Brahma. From ka is also derived the word kaaya which means the body that we all possess. Brahma is created by Bhagavan and we are all created by Brahma and therefore our bodies are called kaayaa, as in the well-known sloka, Kaayena vaacaa manasendriyaih vaa buddhyaatmana vaa.. So, when Brahma saw only the waters of pralaya all around him, and looked around to explore his own surroundings, four faces magically appeared so that Brahma could easily see in all the four directions; thus he came to possess four faces and is called Chaturmukha or Naanmugan in Tamil. When Brahma was wondering, he realized that he was seated on top of a lotus. So, he decided to go down the stem of the lotus and explore it. The stem was, of course, attached to the navel of Bhagavan and Brahma could not penetrate that navel area which acted as an impenetrable barrier. So, Brahma was dejected and returned back and seated himself on the top of the lotus. And, he kept wondering. Then, all of a sudden, Brahma heard a voice (verse 6 of chapter 9, Canto 2). As described by Vyaasa, the voice mentioned the 16th and the 21st consonants (shoDasha and ekavimsha). The 16th consonant in the Sanskrit language is ta
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and the 21st consonant in pa and hence the voice that Brahma heard was understood to mean tapa which means, Now you should perform penance, or tapas as in performing austerities. So, Brahma dutifully started meditating and did so for 1000 divine years (one human year equals one divine day and 360 divine days, or 360 human years, equals one divine year and so 1000 divine years equals 360,000 years by human reckoning). Pleased with Brahmas penances, Bhagavan revealed Himself and appeared and also took Brahma with Him to VaikunTha. Bhagavan said that I have been made happy by you, tvayaaham toshitah, verse 19 of chapter 9, Canto 2. Such a penance as you have performed is very difficult indeed. Then, Bhagavan asked Brahma to ask for a boon and Brahma responded that he would like to blessed with all knowledge. Thus, during this trip with Bhagavan to VaikunTha, Brahma also received the instructions from Bhagavan, in the form of the four slokas known as the Chatushsloki Bhagavatam. The slokas are reproduced below, see also the link given which gives the translation and the purports by Srila Prabhupada.

The Sanskrit text is given below followed by the English transliteration. I have provided some short explanations at the end following Prabhupadas translation of the verses of this chapter, which has also been reproduced for convenience.

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l S S ll..ll

s l SS ll..ll

l ll..ll

l ll .. ll

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(with the sandhis)

l S S ll..ll

s l SS ll..ll

l ll..ll

l ll .. ll
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Aham evaasam evaagre naanyat yat sadasat param l Pashcaat aham yadetat ca yOvashishyeta sOsmyaham ll 2.9.32 ll RutErtham yat prateeyEta na prateeyEta caatmani l Tad vidyaat aatmanO maayaam yathaabhaasO yathaa tamah ll 2.9.33 ll Yathaa mahaanti bhootaani bhooteshu uccavaceshu anu l PravishTaani apravishTaani tathaa teshu na teshvaham ll 2.9.34 ll Etaavat eva jijnaasyam tattva jijnaasunaa atmanaa l Anvaya vyatirekaabhyam yat syaat sarvatra sarvadaa ll 2.9.35 ll The following version is with the Sanskrit sandhis (compounding of words). Ahamevaasam evaagre naanyat yat sadasat param l Pashcaadaham yadetacca yOvashishyeta sOsmyaham ll 2.9.32 ll RutErtham yat prateeyeta na prateeyEta caatmani l TadvidyaadaatmanO maayaam yathaabhaasO yathaa tamah ll 2.9.33 ll Yathaa mahaanti bhootaani bhooteshooccavaceshvanu l PravishTaanyapravishTaani tathaa teshu na teshvaham ll 2.9.34 ll Etaavat eva jijnaasyam tattva jijnaasunaatmanaa l Anvaya vyatirekhaabhyam yat syaat sarvatra sarvadaa ll 2.9.35 ll

In Prabupadas version, the sloka numbers are 33 to 36, not 32 to 35. The above text, used for the Sanskrit, is from Gorakhpur Press. In the text by Gorakpur Press verses 2.9.11 and 2.9.12 of Prabhupada are together given as 2.9.11; hence the discrepancy in verse numbers for all subsequent verses. Therefore 2.9.32 of Gorakhpur Press becomes 2.9.33 of Prabhupada (see image from Gorakhpur Press text on following page).
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SB 2.9.33: Brahm, it is I, the Personality of Godhead, who was existing before the creation, when there was nothing but Myself. Nor was there the material nature, the cause of this creation. That which you see now is also I, the Personality of Godhead, and after annihilation what remains will also be I, the Personality of Godhead. SB 2.9.34: O Brahm, whatever appears to be of any value, if it is without relation to Me, has no reality. Know it as My illusory energy, that reflection which appears to be in darkness. SB 2.9.35: O Brahm, please know that the universal elements enter into the cosmos and at the same time do not enter into the cosmos; similarly, I Myself also exist within everything created, and at the same time I am outside of everything. SB 2.9.36: A person who is searching after the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, most certainly search for it up to this, in all circumstances, in all space and time, and both directly and indirectly. The full story of the penance of Brahma and the meeting with Bhagavan and the instructions received by Brahma can be read by clicking on the link given here (http://vedabase.net/sb/2/9/en or click here).

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Canto 2: The Cosmic Manifestation

Chapter 9: Answers by Citing the Lord's Version

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: rmad Bhgavatam SB 2.9.1: r ukadeva Gosvm said: O King, unless one is influenced by the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there is no meaning to the relationship of the pure soul in pure consciousness with the material body. That relationship is just like a dreamer's seeing his own body working. SB 2.9.2: The illusioned living entity appears in so many forms offered by the external energy of the Lord. While enjoying in the modes of material nature, the encaged living entity misconceives, thinking in terms of "I" and "mine." SB 2.9.3: As soon as the living entity becomes situated in his constitutional glory and begins to enjoy the transcendence beyond time and material energy, he at once gives up the two misconceptions of life [I and mine] and thus becomes fully manifested as the pure self. SB 2.9.4: O King, the Personality of Godhead, being very much pleased with Lord Brahm because of his nondeceptive penance in bhakti-yoga, presented His eternal and transcendental form before Brahm. And that is the objective goal for purifying the conditioned soul. SB 2.9.5: Lord Brahm, the first spiritual master, supreme in the universe, could not trace out the source of his lotus seat, and while thinking of creating the material world, he could not understand the proper direction for such creative work, nor could he find out the process for such creation. SB 2.9.6: While thus engaged in thinking, in the water, Brahmj heard twice from nearby two syllables joined together. One of the syllables was taken from the sixteenth and the other from the twenty-first of the spara alphabets, and both joined to become the wealth of the renounced order of life. SB 2.9.7: When he heard the sound, he tried to find the speaker, searching on all sides. But when he was unable to find anyone besides himself, he thought it wise to sit down on his lotus seat firmly and give his attention to the execution of penance, as he was instructed.

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SB 2.9.8: Lord Brahm underwent penances for one thousand years by the calculations of the demigods. He heard this transcendental vibration from the sky, and he accepted it as divine. Thus he controlled his mind and senses, and the penances he executed were a great lesson for the living entities. Thus he is known as the greatest of all ascetics. SB 2.9.9: The Personality of Godhead, being thus very much satisfied with the penance of Lord Brahm, was pleased to manifest His personal abode, aikuntha, the supreme planet above all others. This transcendental abode of the Lord is adored by all self-realized persons freed from all kinds of miseries and fear of illusory existence. SB 2.9.10: In that personal abode of the Lord, the material modes of ignorance and passion do not prevail, nor is there any of their influence in goodness. There is no predominance of the influence of time, so what to speak of the illusory, external energy; it cannot enter that region. Without discrimination, both the demigods and the demons worship the Lord as devotees. SB 2.9.11: The inhabitants of the aikuntha planets are described as having a glowing sky-bluish complexion. Their eyes resemble lotus flowers, their dress is of yellowish color, and their bodily features very attractive. They are just the age of growing youths, they all have four hands, they are all nicely decorated with pearl necklaces with ornamental medallions, and they all appear to be effulgent. SB 2.9.12: Some of them are effulgent like coral and diamonds in complexion and have garlands on their heads, blooming like lotus flowers, and some wear earrings. SB 2.9.13: The aikuntha planets are also surrounded by various airplanes, all glowing and brilliantly situated. These airplanes belong to the great mahtms or devotees of the Lord. The ladies are as beautiful as lightning because of their celestial complexions, and all these combined together appear just like the sky decorated with both clouds and lightning. SB 2.9.14: The goddess of fortune in her transcendental form is engaged in the loving service of the Lord's lotus feet, and being moved by the black bees, followers of spring, she is not only engaged in variegated pleasure service to the Lord, along with her constant companions but is also engaged in singing the glories of the Lord's activities.
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SB 2.9.15: Lord Brahm saw in the aikuntha planets the Personality of Godhead, who is the Lord of the entire devotee community, the Lord of the goddess of fortune, the Lord of all sacrifices, and the Lord of the universe, and who is served by the foremost servitors like Nanda, Sunanda, Prabala and rhana, His immediate associates. SB 2.9.16: The Personality of Godhead, seen leaning favorably towards His loving servitors, His very sight intoxicating and attractive, appeared to be very much satisfied. He had a smiling face decorated with an enchanting reddish hue. He was dressed in yellow robes and wore earrings and a helmet on his head. He had four hands, and His chest was marked with the lines of the goddess of fortune. SB 2.9.17: The Lord was seated on His throne and was surrounded by different energies like the four, the sixteen, the five, and the six natural opulences, along with other insignificant energies of the temporary character. But He was the factual Supreme Lord, enjoying His own abode. SB 2.9.18: Lord Brahm, thus seeing the Personality of Godhead in His fullness, was overwhelmed with joy within his heart, and thus in full transcendental love and ecstasy, his eyes filled with tears of love. He thus bowed down before the Lord. That is the way of the highest perfection for the living being [paramahamsa]. SB 2.9.19: And seeing Brahm present before Him, the Lord accepted him as worthy to create living beings, to be controlled as He desired, and thus being much satisfied with him, the Lord shook hands with Brahm and, slightly smiling, addressed him thus. SB 2.9.20: The beautiful Personality of Godhead addressed Lord Brahm: O Brahm, impregnated with the Vedas, I am very much pleased with your long accumulated penance with the desire for creation. Hardly am I pleased with the pseudo mystics. SB 2.9.21: I wish you good luck. O Brahm, you may ask from Me, the giver of all benediction, all that you may desire. You may know that the ultimate benediction, as the result of all penances, is to see Me by realization.

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SB 2.9.22: The highest perfectional ingenuity is the personal perception of My abodes, and this has been possible because of your submissive attitude in the performance of severe penance according to My order. SB 2.9.23: O sinless Brahm, you may know from Me that it was I who first ordered you to undergo penance when you were perplexed in your duty. Such penance is My heart and soul, and therefore penance and I are nondifferent. SB 2.9.24: I create this cosmos by such penance, I maintain it by the same energy, and I withdraw it all by the same energy. Therefore the potential power is penance only. SB 2.9.25: Lord Brahm said: O Personality of Godhead, You are situated in every living entity's heart as the supreme director, and therefore You are aware of all endeavors by Your superior intelligence, without any hindrance whatsoever. SB 2.9.26: In spite of that, my Lord, I am praying to You to kindly fulfill my desire. May I please be informed how, in spite of Your transcendental form, You assume the mundane form, although You have no such form at all. SB 2.9.27: And [please inform me] how You, by Your own Self, manifest different energies for annihilation, generation, acceptance and maintenance by combination and permutation. SB 2.9.28: O master of all energies, please tell me philosophically all about them. You play like a spider that covers itself by its own energy, and Your determination is infallible. SB 2.9.29: Please tell me so that I may be taught in the matter by the instruction of the Personality of Godhead and may thus act instrumentally to generate living entities, without being conditioned by such activities. SB 2.9.30: O my Lord, the unborn, You have shaken hands with me just as a friend does with a friend [as if equal in position]. I shall be engaged in the creation of different types of living entities, and I shall be occupied in Your service. I shall have no perturbation, but I pray that all this may not give rise to pride, as if I were the Supreme.

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SB 2.9.31: The Personality of Godhead said: Knowledge about Me as described in the scriptures is very confidential, and it has to be realized in conjunction with devotional service. The necessary paraphernalia for that process is being explained by Me. You may take it up carefully. SB 2.9.32: All of Me, namely My actual eternal form and My transcendental existence, color, qualities and activities let all be awakened within you by factual realization, out of My causeless mercy. SB 2.9.33: Brahm, it is I, the Personality of Godhead, who was existing before the creation, when there was nothing but Myself. Nor was there the material nature, the cause of this creation. That which you see now is also I, the Personality of Godhead, and after annihilation what remains will also be I, the Personality of Godhead. SB 2.9.34: O Brahm, whatever appears to be of any value, if it is without relation to Me, has no reality. Know it as My illusory energy, that reflection which appears to be in darkness. SB 2.9.35: O Brahm, please know that the universal elements enter into the cosmos and at the same time do not enter into the cosmos; similarly, I Myself also exist within everything created, and at the same time I am outside of everything. SB 2.9.36: A person who is searching after the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, most certainly search for it up to this, in all circumstances, in all space and time, and both directly and indirectly. SB 2.9.37: O Brahm, just follow this conclusion by fixed concentration of mind, and no pride will disturb you, neither in the partial nor in the final devastation. SB 2.9.38: ukadeva Gosvm said to Mahrja Par ksit: The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, after being seen in His transcendental form, instructing Brahmj, the leader of the living entities, disappeared. SB 2.9.39: On the disappearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, who is the object of transcendental enjoyment for the senses of devotees, Brahm, with folded hands, began to re-create the universe, full with living entities, as it was previously.
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SB 2.9.40: Thus once upon a time the forefather of living entities and the father of religiousness, Lord Brahm, situated himself in acts of regulative principles, desiring self-interest for the welfare of all living entities. SB 2.9.41: Nrada, the most dear of the inheritor sons of Brahm, always ready to serve his father, strictly follows the instructions of his father by his mannerly behavior, meekness and sense control. SB 2.9.42: Nrada very much pleased his father and desired to know all about the energies of isnu, the master of all energies, for Nrada was the greatest of all sages and greatest of all devotees, O King. SB 2.9.43: The great sage Nrada also inquired in detail from his father, Brahm, the great-grandfather of all the universe, after seeing him well satisfied. SB 2.9.44: Thereupon the supplementary Vedic literature, rmadBhgavatam, which was described by the Personality of Godhead and which contains ten characteristics, was told with satisfaction by the father [Brahm] to his son Nrada. SB 2.9.45: In succession, O King, the great sage Nrada instructed rmadBhgavatam unto the unlimitedly powerful ysadeva, who meditated in devotional service upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, on the bank of the River Sarasvat. SB 2.9.46: O King, your questions as to how the universe became manifested from the gigantic form of the Personality of Godhead, as well as other questions, I shall answer in detail by explanation of the four verses already mentioned.

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SHORT EXPLANATIONS (Posted on my Facebook Page)


Sloka No. 1 BEFORE THE BIG BANG

It is now generally accepted that Universe started with a Big Bang several billions of years ago. The idea of a "Big Bang" that led to the creation of the Universe, was suggested from the empirical observations by the astronomer Edwin Hubble, published in a famous paper in 1927. Hubble, after whom NASA's famous telescope is now named, showed that galaxies are moving away from the earth at incredible speeds. (The term nebula was used in Hubbles original paper, instead of the modern term galaxy.) The greater the distance D of the galaxy from the earth, the higher was its observed velocity V (or speed). This is called the recessional speed of the galaxy. Based on his observations on several galaxies, Hubble proposed a simple relationship V = HD, where the slope of the V-D graph, H, is a constant, now called the Hubble constant. This is called Hubble's law and astronomers have tried to measure the constant H accurately. The significance of this law is that the universe must be expanding. Also, at some point when D = 0, V = 0. What happens when D = 0 and V = 0? Even Einstein was stunned by this astronomical observation because in his theory of relativity (which includes the effects of gravity), Einstein had proposed a static universe and actually introduced a "cosmological constant" into the mathematical equations of his General Relativity theory to STOP what seemed like an expansion predicted by the equations. Later, after Hubble's paper was published, Einstein called it the biggest blunder of his life. Why did Einstein commit such a blunder?

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Einstein admitted that he was partly influenced by his own religious beliefs, or what he had learned from Judaism (and other "Western" religions). In these religions, unlike Hinduism, the universe is considered to be "static" and never changing. Hindus on the other hand believe in a dynamic universe. Creation and dissolution are taking place continuously. In the first of the four slokas, of the Chatushsloki Bhagavatam (see image), Krishna says (Shree Bhagavan uvaaca), that "In the beginning (agre), there was only Me -- aham eva -- only Me -- aasam was, agre -- in the beginning. What is this beginning? The beginning, as described in the Bhagavatam, is BEFORE there was anything, including the so-called BIG BANG. The sloka continues, Na anyat or naanyat, there was nothing else. It also says, Paschcaadaham, which means after there is no Universe, there will still be only Me. And, whatever is left, remnants (yo avashisshyeta), is also Me. So, the material universe, the remnants of what is seen between GIG BANGS is nothing more than His power, His manifestation. This is the implication of the first sloka of the Chatushsloki Bhagavatam.

V. Laxmanan September 5, 2013 Sloka No. 3: The Five Gross Elements The ingredients that make up material nature, the five gross elements, are referred to in the third verse. The five gross elements enter into everything that constitute material nature. Does this "entering" mean that they (the five gross elements) no longer exist and are all "used up"? For example, money enters into every economic transaction. Does it mean that "money" no longer exists and is all "used up"? If a new economic transaction is
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to take place, which needs money, where does it come from? Likewise, if a new galaxy is to be created (modern astronomers are witnessing this) where do the gross elements that are part of the material of this new galaxy come from, if it is all "used" up? This is what is meant by pravishTaani (that which has entered) and apravishTaani (that which has not entered). The five gross elements enter and also appear to be "unentered". Likewise, The Supreme Being has entered into everything yet is also "unentered", tathaa teshu na teshu aham.

V. Laxmanan September 4, 2013

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