Adventures in Humility

News, Views, and Chews on spiritual issues.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Now I've actually got it! :-)

And am I excited about it or what?! It's a major honour to hold it in my hands. This is the Gaudiya commentary on the Vedantasutra, penned by none other than Sri Baladeva Vidyabhushan himself! Looks like it was first printed in 1912 so it is quite old (this reprint, 2002). It doesn't look like the inside jacket-cover was written by the author (Rao Bahadur Srisa Chandra Vasu) because there is a very silly error claiming that Sri Baladeva was a disciple of Sriman Mahaprabhu, obviously incorrect.

Interestingly the intro says that "Baladeva, the author of the Govinda Bhasya, was a follower of Sri Caitanya, the last of the Avataras." Wow. Did Vasu believe that Mahaprabhu was an avatar? If so, does this mean that Vasu was a Gaudiya Vaishnava? It's quite possible that this is a devotional commentary after all!

But we should pay special attention to the following:

"This translation of the Govinda Bhasya is more in the nature of a paraphrase than a literal translation. I have not hesitated in expanding the author's arguments, and supplementing his short references by fuller quotations from the sacerd texts."

Having peeked through the text, I noticed that there were long Upanishadic quotations used as "proofs" and clearly it may not have been done like that by Sri Baladeva, who may have referred to these passages with the like of bracketed references and footnotes. On the other hand the Upanishadic quotations prove useful in proving the point and I can always cross-check them because I have a huge copy of the Upanishads too! It is possible (thankfully) to discern between the writings of Sri Baladeva and the translator (Vasu).

The only thing that I'd complain about is that there is no Romanised Sanskrit text, only the Devanagari is included and I can't read Devanagari. It doesn't matter because the Vedantasutras are available in both Devanagari and Romanised text online, and the Sanskrit of the full Govinda-bhashya is included in the GGM database I think.

But other than that, it's brilliant! I found the bit I was looking for (about Radha-Krishna worship being authorised) which was one of the contentious points brought forth by the Ramanandis of Galta, but I think I'll need to digest that before I discuss it here. It's full of other tidbits too, very exciting ones.

There are two appendices; one, Vasu's own essay where he discusses the influence of Christianity on the Bhakti traditions of medieval India, and two, a very nice translation of Sri Baladeva's Prameya Ratnavali. Again the text of the PR is in Devanagari but I can download a romanised version from GGM with no problems.

You readers have no idea how excited I am about this book! :-) I have been waiting for this one for years and now I have finally got it! :-)


  • At 29 June, 2008 13:11, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hare Kṛṣṇa! I am writing a book about Govinda-bhasya with additional comments and references, and also have Chandra Vasu's edition, which AFAIK is the only complete English translation available. Vasu reveals himself as a sympathiser of the Brahmos' POV in the Adhikarana on 'Sudras Cannot Study the Vedas' in the First Adhyaya. He thinks that everyone should be able to study the Vedas regardless of their qualification (or the lack of it). But thankfully he leaves his speculations as notes, so we can clearly tell them apart from Baladeva's commentary. Anyway the expanded Upanisadic references are very valuable, since there are no authorized English translations of most of these Upanisads. His work thus also serves as an introduction to the most important sections of the Upanisads for the English-speaking reader.

  • At 30 June, 2008 18:13, Blogger "Gaurasundara das" said…


    Very interesting to hear that you are writing a book. Please let me know further details if possible.

  • At 17 November, 2010 08:09, Anonymous Madhumati Adhikari said…

    Jay Nitai ! Jay Gour ! Please can you send me the link to the original version of Govinda Bhashya available on internet ? i can read and understand Devnagari. i can understand Sanskrit too. Please accept my gratitude in advance.

  • At 01 May, 2011 17:20, Anonymous Rohan Twa said…

    Can anyone tell me from where can I get govind bhashya !!
    I have been searching for this book for a long time now

  • At 12 July, 2012 17:30, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    please would you send us a link....I would really like to read an authorized english translation of BVB's Govinda Bhasya.


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