by Shrila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami
Shri Shri Krishna Chaitanya Candraya namah
pranamya sacchidanandam jagatam sevyamishvaram
shri krishnam paramanandam ananya bhishthadayakam
vakti grihidvijadinam anayanam visheshatah
paddhatim tam vivahadeh sat kriya sara dipikam
shrimad gopala bhatto ‘yam sadhunam-ajnaya bhrisham
bhagavad dharma rakshartham bhaktanam vaidiki tu ya
krita yapy-aniruddhena bhima bhattena ya krita
shrimad govindanandena karminam paddhatih krita
shri narayana bhattena karmatananta vaidiki
bhatta shri bhavadevena chandogananta ya krita
varnashramantyaja dinam vedaih pauranikadibhih
manvadi dharma shastroktair vacanaih sapramanakaih
shrimad govinda bhaktanam seva-namaparadhatah
kriteyam paddhatih kintu pitri-devarcanam vina
“Offering obeisances to Lord Shri Krishna, who is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss, is worshipped by the whole world, the controller of the universe, situated in supreme bliss, and the bestower of the desired goal to the unalloyed devotees, I, Gopala Bhatta, receiving the order from saintly, exalted devotees, present a manual on vedic samskaras called “Sat Kriya Sara Dipika”. By this, the householders within the varnashrama system ( brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyas and shudras) and those outside the varnashrama system (candalas, mlecchas, yavanas etc.) can maintain the principles of Vaishnava teachings. In presenting this, I have always kept in mind the supreme position of devotional service.
Shri Aniruddha Bhatta, Shri Bhima Bhatta and Shri Govindananda Bhatta have compiled manuals for the fruitive workers; Shri Narayana Bhatta also compiled one; and Shri Bhavadeva Bhatta compiled one for the followers of the Sama Veda.
For the devotees of Lord Govinda, inside or outside of the varnashrama system, I will explain the process of performing Vedic samskaras taking evidences from the Vedas, Puranas, Manu and other Smritis, avoiding injunctions which call for worship of the devatas and pitris, as this would cause seva and namaparadha for the devotees.”
It is not proper from me to write my own name as the compiler of this book as others would do, for I fear becoming bewildered by false ego, as the Bhagavad Gita states: “Those who are bewildered by the false ego think themselves the doer.” (BG 3.27) But by the order of the saintly devotees of the sampradaya, I am obliged to write my name as Gopala Bhatta. This spirit soul, having tasted the nectar of service to the lotus feet of Shri Krishna Chaitanya, always follows the instructions of the devotees.
(Here the author begins to explain the previous verses phrase by phrase.)
With these qualifications, I offer my obeisances unto Lord Shri Krishna. The meaning of the word ‘krishna” has been explained above. What is the form of Krishna? That form which is full of eternity, knowledge and bliss, beyond the modes of material nature, beyond all speech. Krishna is all attractive, full of sweetness and beauty, the very form of happiness.
He is thus to be worshipped by the whole universe. “Jagatam sevya” means that he is worshipable by all because he is always full of all powers such as anima and laghima, and is full of all happiness. As He is the Supreme Lord, He is worshipable not only by all the inhabitants of the universe such as Brahma, but also by the avataras such as the universial form. As Krishna, complete with six opulences is beyond the modes of matter, He is worshipable by Matsya and other avataras. What more can be said? He is even worshipable by Narayana of Vaikuntha and by Karanashayi Mahavishnu, what to speak of the devatas.
Why is this? Because He is the very form of bliss (paramanandam). Amongst all those living in this material world, for the hankering devotees fixed in worship of the Lord, He is bliss itself. He only gives that bliss to those devotees who, with great desire, are fully dedicated to Himself alone, and to no other Vaishnavas, what to speak of others.
(Here is the explanation of the next four lines.)
This book is only for those who are householders dedicated solely to Lord Govinda. The word “grihi dvijadi” refers to household brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyas, shudras, mixed varnas (sankara) and those not within the varnashrama system, who have been initiated with mantra and name of Lord Krishna by a bone fide guru. I have written this manual for those persons so that they can protect the principles of bhagavata dharma perfectly (bhrisham).
The meaning is this: Bhagavata dharma is devoid of pious activities such as daily duties(nitya), periodic duties(naimittika), those arising from personal desire (kamya) and of worship of devatas and pitris. This manual is meant for those persons who are initiated with the Lord’s name and mantra from a bona fide guru, so that they do not have to give up bhagavata dharma. As the philosophy of those fixed in bhagavata dharma is superior to that of those fixed in karma, this manual of Vedic samskaras following bhagavata dharma is superior to all those works.
The necessity of protection of bhagavata dharma is now explained in detail. Previously Shri Aniruddha Bhatta compiled a paddhati for the followers of the Rig, Yajur and Atharva Veda; later on Bhima Bhatta, who craved for fruitive results like a madman, also compiled a book; then Shrimad Govindananda Bhatta wrote another work for those who are expert in all types of karmas. Shri Narayana Bhatta also compiled a work for those gross materialists who pretend to be followers of the Vedas. Then Bhavadeva Bhatta prepared another manual for those who are expert in performing Sama Veda rites. After that, the Bhattas of South India, knowledgeable of Rig, Yajur, Sama Veda, the Puranas and other scriptures, compiled more works for those engrossed in karma.
(Here is the explanation of the last four lines.)
In this work, proofs are cited from the Vedas, from the Puranas, Upa-Puranas, Shrimad Bhagavatam, Pancaratra, Yamalas, Ramayana and other scriptures, and from the eighteen Dharma Shastras including Manu Smriti, to show the superiority of following bhagavata dharma as opposed to following the above mentioned manuals. I have written this manual for those within the varnashrama system such as brahmanas, and for those outside, such as illegitimate offspring, who are also unalloyed devotees of the Lord. By following this manual they can avoid seva and namaparadhas by avoiding worship of devatas and pitris.