A Grand Festival for the Ear and Heart
Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj
Śrīla Gurudev introduces Śrī Śrī Prema-dhāma-deva-stotram.
The following in a translation of the introduction to the first complete edition of Śrī Śrī Prema-dhāma-deva-stotram published in Bengali.
Śrī Śrī Prema-dhāma-deva-stotram Introduction
This is the first effort to publish in book form Śrī Śrī Prema-dhāma-deva-stotram with purport-based translations. Previously, a few editions gradually increasing in size were published in the monthly spiritual periodical Śrī Gauḍīya Darśan.
The author of this stotra (poetic eulogy) is the foremost follower and exalted associate of the universally worshippable Āchārya Bhagavān Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Goswāmī Ṭhākur, our most revered and beloved divine master Śrīmad Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj. His Śrī Śrī Prapanna-jīvanāmṛta and jewel-like poems composed in Sanskrit in various meters are highly adored by the wise and have become necklaces of the Sāraswat Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas (Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas in the line of Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur). His original explanation of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā is also a highly valuable asset for the Śrī Gauḍīya sampradāya.
The present stotra is written in a meter known as Tūṇaka. Śrī Rūpa Prabhu and Śrīla Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāj Goswāmī Prabhu wrote very sweet poems in this meter about Śrī Yamunā Devī and about Śrī Rādhikā and Śrī Kṛṣṇachandra.
The speciality of this stotra for Śrī Śrī Gaurasundar is that within it all of His Pastimes and His axiom of achintya-bhedābheda siddhānta (inconceivable difference and nondifference) have been concisely summarised. By virtue of the wonderful synthesis of sweetness and profundity that has been created herein by combination of poetry and philosophy, the wise naturally consider this stotra to be in the line of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam and Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta.
Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s original overview of abstruse sound theory (sphoṭavād) associated with the study of the meaning of words in connection with His preaching of the Holy Name during His Pastimes in Nabadwīp, His proof of the nature of the king of rasa, the embodiment of all rasas, as the enjoyer of the Rāsa Dance and the son of Mahārāj Nanda for the establishment of the self-manifest playful nature of the fundamentally joyful Truth in order to ascertain the nature of non-dual Truth within the assembly of scholars in Varanasi studying the Vedānta-sūtra during His explanation of the four essential verses (chatuḥ-ślokī) of its commentary Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, and the realisation in the embodiment of dancing and chanting Śrī Gaura of the fundamental nondual joyfulness of the origin of all Avatārs whose end is to serve and distribute Himself (Svabhajana-vibhajana-prayojanāvatārī)—there is no doubt that the wise and highly intelligent will be amazed and delighted by the perfect reasoning that has demonstrated even these conclusions regarding abstruse truths and simultaneously surveyed the insubstantial and deplorable nature of the illusionists’ (māyāvādīs’) consummation in nonduality (advaita-siddhi) and the supremacy of a life of love for the Lord given by the axiom of achintya-bhedābheda siddhānta. In the midst of discussion of these principles, I am unable to check my desire to quote the enigmatic verse from Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta written below:
kṛṣṇa-līlāmṛta-sāra tāra śata śata dhāra
daśa-dike vahe yāhā haite
se chaitanya-līlā haya sarovara akṣaya
mano-haṁsa charāha tāhāte
[“Kṛṣṇa’s Pastimes are the essence of nectar, and Śrī Chaitanya’s Pastimes are the inexhaustible reservoir from which hundreds of streams of that nectar flow in the ten directions. There, may the swan of your heart play.”]
The minds of poets are captivated by the sweetness of the nectar (rasa) in this stotra to the same extent [that they are by the verse quoted above]. As it is pleasing to recite, pleasing to hear, and heart-melting, so too it is heart-capturing and pleasing to taste. Be it Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s appearance, or description of His divine form, or His childhood Pastimes, or His chanting and preaching, or His Pastime of accepting sannyās, or His Pastime of touring the South, of His conversation with Rāmānanda, or His journey to Śrī Vṛndāvan on the path through Jhāḍakhaṇḍa, or His wonderful Pastime of touring Vṛndāvan, or His divine madness in Śrī Jagannāth Purī, or His Pastime of floating out into the ocean, or description of anything else—everywhere—it is like a grand festival of an elixir for the ear and heart is being celebrated. This stotra again and again bathes wise readers in the stream of nectar released by the author of Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta, who is completely devoted to Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Raghunāth, and blesses them. In fact, this sort of jewel-like stotra of extended length replete with a wonderful combination of the condensed nectar of all of Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s Pastimes and the light of the principles taught by Him is extremely rare in this world. It truly, truly is an invaluable jewel in the treasure-house of Sāraswat Gauḍīya literature.
So that this stotra can be kept with you easily, it has been published in a light form. Needless to say, responsibility for mistakes and errors in the publication of this book is wholly that of this fallen soul. For this, I beg the pardon of the most worshippable author of this stotra and all its cordial readers.
Finally, our heartfelt prayer to all our wise readers is that they will properly study this stotra with faith, and thereby make a poor and fallen soul like me a recipient of the merciful glance of Śrī Guru and Śrī Gaurāṅga and thus supremely fortunate.
Humbly, The editor