The hero’s quest for the extraordinary, a recurring theme in literature, reflects the urge of every heart at its noblest to discover the full possibilities of life. Anyone dissatisfied with the scant potential of mundane existence is naturally stimulated by the prospect of finding, even vicariously, a world of greater liberty. There should be some better place for the soul. Why should happiness be so elusive, and why should confusion and resentment always shroud the mind’s eye, making it unable to clearly see what is in front of it?
The hero’s quest for the extraordinary, a recurring theme in literature, reflects the urge of every heart at its noblest to discover the full possibilities of life. Anyone dissatisfied with the scant potential of mundane existence is naturally stimulated by the prospect of finding, even vicariously, a world of greater liberty. There should be some better place for the soul. Why should happiness be so elusive, and why should confusion and resentment always shroud the mind’s eye, making it unable to clearly see what is in front of it? Srila Sanatana Goswami’s Brihad-bhagavatamrita, written in Sanskrit nearly five hundred years ago, is a gemlike example of the quest genre, but different from the sort commonly encountered in fable and fiction. Narada and Gopa-kumara, the respective heroes of this book’s two parts, are searching for a key to fulfillment much subtler than wealth, influence, mundane love, the Fountain of Youth, or even the Holy Grail. Narada has vast experience of the cosmos; Gopa-kumara is illiterate and naive; yet they share the same vision of what is most valuable. What both want is not to conquer or exploit on any level, but to explore the mystery of selfless service. As Narada already knows, and Gopa-kumara will gradually learn, the superior mode of life they seek is personal and defined by the interplay of those who take part in it, rather than by the material laws of nature.
Follow the search for the Lord’s mercy with these two great spiritual personalities and further your own search for the Lord’s mercy on you.
This book begins the story of Gopa-kumara, a simple cowherd boy who wanders throughout the universe, to higher and higher abodes, in his search to attain the highest spiritual destination. The story, both instructive and delightful, comprises Part 2 of the two parts of this classic Sanskrit work by Srila Sanatana Goswami. It is presented here with the original Sanskrit, word-for-word meanings, a flowing translation, and an English commentary that follows the commentary written by Srila Sanatana Goswami himself to illuminate his own book. This volume brings us with Gopa-kumara into Vaikuntha, the majestic kingdom of God. Volume 3 will bring us to Goloka Vrindavana, the personal abode of Lord Krishna. The work is complete in three volumes. The appendixes include a glossary, bibliography, general index, verse index, quoted-verse index, Sanskrit pronunciation guide, and list of variant readings.
From the back cover:
“Our divine master has revealed in his Bhagavatamrita all the sweet conclusions of devotional philosophy, including its most confidential secrets.”
Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhupada
“Anyone who wants to know about the subject matter of devotees, devotional service, and Krishna must read this book.”
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Conscoiusness
Gopiparanadhana Dasa’s English prose version reads clearly and crisply. Moreover, it conveys the excitement, wonder, and devotion of spiritual discovery that animates Sanatana’s own composition. The more I read, the more fascinated I became.… The further I read, the less was I conscious that I was reading a translation, so naturally does one unit of the narrative flow into the next. When I did shift to the task of comparing portions of the translation with the Sanskrit, I was pleased to discover that the English prose is indeed very faithful to the Sanskrit original. One might quibble over the choice of certain idiomatic English phrases, but even these convey the basic sense. From the literal meaning of the original, little is left out, and very little is added, in the passage from Sanskrit to English. Inevitably, of course, some resonance is lost in any transition from poetic verse to prose translation. But, fortunately, because the Brihad-bhagavatamrita is mostly narrative and dialogue, it lends itself more readily to prose rendering than would other types of poetic verse. I would like to think that Sanatana Goswami would welcome his modern prose translator as a kindred spirit and an able expositor of his work.