Adventures in Humility

News, Views, and Chews on spiritual issues.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Mahaprabhu in the Upanishads!

I have known about these references for some time, as I got them from Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati's Gaudiya-bhashya to the Caitanya-bhagavat. It seems fitting that while I'm on my current Vedanta craze, I may as well post them here. I can no longer find that purport in the CB so I just found these two bookmarked in my Upanishads book. How nice to see my dear Mahaprabhu in the Upanishads! :-)

yadA paszyaH pazyate rukma-varNaM
kartAram Izam puruSam brahma-yonim
tadA vidvAn puNya-pApe vidhUya
niraJjanaH paramaM sAmyam upaiti

"When a seer sees that creator of golden hue, the Lord, the Person, the source of Brahma, then being a knower, shaking off good and evil and free from stain, he attains supreme equality with the lord." - Mundaka Upanishad 3.1.3

mahAn prabhur vai puruSaH sattvasyaiSa pravartakaH
surnirmalAm imAm prAptim IzAno jyotir avyayaH

"That person is indeed the great lord, the impeller of the highest being. (He has the power of) reaching the purest attainment, the ruler, the imperishable light." - Svetasvatara Upanishad 3.12

And here's another one which I found today:

vedAham etam puruSam mahAntam
Aditya varNaM tamasaH parastAt
tam eva viditvA atimRtyum eti
nAnyaH panthA vidyate'yanAya

"I know the Supreme Person of sunlike colour (lustre) beyond the darkness. Only by knowing Him does one pass over death. There is no other path for going there." - Svetasvatara Upanishad 3.8

Alternative translations welcome. I'm not very happy with the translation of Line 2 in Svet. U. 3.12 but anyway it is better than nothing and the verse itself is nice since it names Mahaprabhu!


  • At 14 August, 2006 13:45, Anonymous Yadupati said…

    I dont want to be a partypooper but Svet.Up. 3.12b:
    "He (Mahaprabhu = Paramatma here) guides the intellect of all beings so as to enable them to gain that extremely pure state."

    As far as I know this is the general Gaudiya interpretation of the term MahAn Prabhu here.

    BTW the title Mahaprabhu was also used to address Vallabhacharya.
    But it still is a beautiful verse!
    The Svet.Up. is IMHO one of the best upanishads.

  • At 15 August, 2006 01:23, Blogger "Gaurasundara das" said…

    Yes I agree, it is a beautiful Upanishad.

    I think that the definition you provided it the correct definition because Radhakrishnan's translation makes it look like Mahaprabhu (whoever He is!) is a sadhaka.

    I tried looking in Sri Bhaktisiddhanta's bhashya to CD today but I couldn't find the place where he lists this and other verses as indication of Mahaprabhu's mention in the Upanishads. Strange, I swaer that I've read it somewhere in his works. Probably his intro to Brahma-samhita? Ah yes, I just found it:

    "This is also clear from the Vedic declarations, viz., asan varnas trayah, krsna-varnam tvisakrsnam, yatha pasyah pasyati rukma-varnam, mahan prabhur vai and various other statements of the theistic scriptures."

    Interesting search.

    Looks like the Gaudiya Kanthahara has this for a translation of that Mundaka Upanishad verse:

    "When one realizes the golden form of that Lord [Sri Gauranga] who is the ultimate actor and the source of the Supreme Brahman, he attains the highest knowledge, transcends both pious and impious activities, becomes free from wordly bondage and gains entrance into the divine abode of the Lord."

    And the WVA forum has this:

    "In his Namartha-sudhabhidha commentary on Visnu-sahasra-nama-stotra, Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana, remarking on this verse, asserts that Sri Caitanya is the Supreme Absolute Truth, according to the evidence of the Upanisads. He explains that suvarna-varno means 'golden complexion' and that the word varanga means 'exquisitely beautiful.' He also quotes the Vedic injunction yada pasyah pasyate rukma-varnam kartaram isam purusam brahma-yonim. Rukma-varnam kartaram isam, he says, refers to the Supreme Absolute Truth as the Supreme Person having a complexion the color of molten gold. Purusam means the Supreme Person, and brahma-yonim indicates that He is also the Supreme Brahman."


  • At 15 August, 2006 15:19, Anonymous Yadupati said…

    IF Mahaprabhu is Radha-Krsna is He then also the Paramatma mentioned in Mundaka Up. 3.1.3. about the two birds in the tree wherein the jiva-soul sees the Lord (isha), that brilliant Maker, Lord, Person...?
    Isnt the Paramatma a shining, four-armed Form of Sri Vishnu?

    And secondly, IF there are texts prophesying Mahaprabhu, like krsna-varnam tvisakrsnam, then why could Srila Sridhara Swamipad not read the Advent of Mahaprabhu into that text? (Only after the event people started to read that into that text. 20/20 hindsight)
    To me this prophecy business in texts is very, very tricky ;)


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