The Garga-samhita was spoken by the sage Sri Garga Muni; thus it is appropriate to discuss his identity. The Sanskrit word samhita is defined by the Monier-Williams Dictionary as;
1. Any methodology arranged collection of texts or verses (such as the Ramayana, the various law-books, the medical works of Caraka and Sarngadhara, or the complete system of natural astrology, etc.)
2. There is also a samhita of the Puranas said to have been compiled by Vyasa, the substance of which is supposed to be represented by the Visnu-Purana, Mahabharata, etc.
Sri Garga Muni, recognized as highly elevated in austerity and penance (su-maha-tapah), lived at the time of Lord Krsna's appearance on earth as the family priest (purohitah) of the yadu-vamsa. Nanda Maharaja, the foster father of Lord Krsna, could appreciate that Garga Muni was adhoksaja; that is, he was not an ordinary person seen by material senses. In addition, Garga Muni was a great authority in the knowledge of astrology and Vasudeva and Nanda Maharaja engaged him to perform the name-giving ceremony for Krsna and Balarama. The Srimad-Bhagavatam, Tenth Canto, Chapter 10 summary, describes this as follows:
One day, Vasudeva [the father of Lord Krsna] sent for Garga Muni, the family priest of the yadu-vamsa [dynasty], and thus Garga Muni went to the house of Nanda Maharaja, who received him very well and requested him to give names to Krsna and Balarama. Garga Muni of course, reminded Nanda Maharaja that Kamsa was looking for the son of Devaki and said that if he performed the ceremony very gorgeously, the ceremony would come to the notice of Kamsa, who would them suspect that Krsna was the son of Devaki. Nanda Maharaja therefore requested Garga Muni performed this ceremony without anyone's knowledge, and Garga Muni did so. After thus informing Nanda Maharaja and completing the name-giving ceremony, Garga Muni advised Nanda Maharaja to protect his son very carefully and then departed.
Garga Muni gave the names for Balarama and Krsna.
Garga Muni said: This child, the son of Rohini, will give all happiness to His relatives and friends by His transcendental qualities. Therefore, He will be known as Rama. And because He will manifest extraordinary bodily strength, He will also be known as Bala. Moreover, because He unites two families Vasudeva's family and the family of Nanda Maharaja He will be known as Sankarsana. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.8.12)
Your son Krsna appears as an incarnation in every millennium. In the past, He assumed three different colors white, red and yellow and now He has appeared in a blockish color. [In another Dvapara-yuga, He appeared (as Lord Ramacandra) in the color of suka, a parrot.] All such incarnations have now assembled in Krsna. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.8.13)
The famous verse above, beginning with asan varnas states that the Lord incarnates in a yellow feature (pita) indicating Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Garga Muni explained precisely the position of Sri Krsna as having appeared previously as Narayana to annihilate the miscreants and to protect the devotees. Sri Garga Muni is also the author of Garga Upanishad, where he says to his wife:
etasya va aksarasya prasasane gargi surya-candramasau vidhrtau tisthatah;
My dear Gargi, everything is under the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Even the sun, the moon and other controllers and demigods like Lord Brahma and King Indra are all under His control.
Srila Rupa Gosvami in his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu includes a brief description of Garga Muni in Chapter 28 entitled "Existential Ecstatic Love" as follows:
None of the above symptoms can be manifested without the basis principle of strong attachment for Krsna. In the smoky condition of such ecstatic expressions, the symptoms could otherwise be hidden. This type of symptom was experienced by Priest Garga Muni, who was performing some ritualistic ceremony in the house of Nanda Maharaja. When he heard about Krsna's killing of the Aghasura demon, there were some tears visible in his eyes, his throat was trembling, and perspiration covered his whole body. In this way Priest Garga Muni's beautiful face assumed a nice condition. (Nectar of Devotion)
The senior-most member of the six Gosvamis of Vrndanana, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, has included Sri Garga-samhita in his list of the most authorized books on the confidential science of pure devotional service.
The confidential science of pure devotional service is taught explicitly only in a few Vedic scriptures little known to the public. Amongst these rare texts are the Gopala-tapani Upanishad, the Narada-pancaratra, the Garga-samhita, the Visnu Purana, the Hari-vamsa Upapurana, the Uttara-khanda of the Padma Purana, and the Bhagavata Maha-purana.
-- (Sanatana Gosvami's Dig-darsini commentary or Brhad-bhagavatamrta, 1.1.21-23)
Lord Siva and his wife Parvati elaborately glorified the Garga-samhita in a scripture called Sammohana-tantra. This book is considered authorized by leading Vaisnavas such as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's original follower, Srila Raghava Gosvami [Srila Raghava Pandita], who quotes it in his own work, entitled Sri Krsna-bhakti-ratna-prakasa (The Splendor of the Jewel of Krsna-bhakti).
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura also refers by name to the scripture Sri Garga-samhita in his book entitled Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya by quoting from it more than 20 times. Here is a sample:
Mayapura is the Lord's yogamaya potency. It is filled with ever-increasing bliss. In the Garga-samhita it is described as "the destroyer of sins." (Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya, Chapter3; Text 19 by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura) Notes
In addition to the excellent translation work rendered by Sri Kusakratha dasa Prabhu, we consulted four other scholarly translations works on the Garga-samhita:
Sri Vibhuti-bhusana-bhattacaryana samsodhita
kulapateh om mandana-misrasya prastavanaya samalankrta
Published by: Dr. Harish Chandra Mani Tripathi (Publication officer; Sampurnananda Sanskrit University), Varanasi India
2. Sri Garga-samhita
Hindi tika sahita
Tikakarah Pam Devisahaya Sarma, Khemaraja Sri Krsnadasa
Prakasana >P> Bombai 4 India
Printed by Shri Sanjay Bajaj for M/s Khemraj Shrikrishnadass
Shri Venkateshwar Press Mumbai
3. Sri Garga-samhita
Pam Sri Ramanarayanadattaji Sastri Pandeya "rama"
Pam Sri Gargadharaji Sarma, Pam Sri Ramadharaji Sukla
Gitapress, Gorakhpur, India
4. Garga-samhita, By sage Garga: The Family Priest of Yadu Race Rendered into English by Shantilal Nagar, B.P. Publishing Corporation [A Division of BRPC (India) Ltd.], Delhi-110052, India
Analyzing all five editions, one finds an incredible agreement of Sanskrit consistency. Only very minor differences appear and in each case the meanings remain the same.
Throughout this volume, the term "Srila Prabhupada" or "His Divine Grace" refers to His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, unless otherwise indicated.
I wish to express my deep appreciation and acknowledgement for the service of those who helped make this volume available. They are: Maharsi dasa Brahmacari, Lalita Sakhi devi dasi (Linda MacMillan), Anandavidya dasa Brahmacari, Bhakta Blake, BBT International, BBT Artists, Madhava Priya devi dasi, Anjana Das, Yugala Priya devi dasi, Mandala Publishing. Arya Siddhanta dasa (Aero Sabin), Narakriti dasa, Prague Yatra, Bhakta Wallace Dorian, Bhaktin Jenny Ladeen, Dr. A. N. Singh, Gayatri dasa Adhikari, Tulsi dasa Adhikari, Gopiparanadhana dasa Adhikari, Dravida dasa Brahmacari, Nitai Gaurasundara dasa Adhikari, Yamunacarya dasa Vanacari, Tracy Sabin, Roger Hunt, Raya Nitai dasa, Bhakta Srinatha and many others.
Regarding the Merit of Garga-samhita In the following section, we have included "The Merit of Garga-samhita," taken from Sammohana-tantra mentioned earlier. Long, long ago, at the request of Brahma, Sri Krsna Himself narrated His life story to Sri Radha. He also narrated it to Sesa-naga, who had prayed for Him to do so. Subsequently Lord Sesa narrated it to Brahma, who then narrated it to Dharma, at his request. Dharma then gave the nectarean description to his son, Nara and Narayana Rsi. Narayana Rsi narrated the life story of Sri Krsna to his student, Narada Muni, who in turn narrated it to Garga, the great teacher. After hearing the story of Krsna from Narada, the sage Garga attained divine knowledge and devotion to the Supreme Lord.
Narada said to Sri Garga Muni: "O sage, I have narrated to you the glory of Lord Krsna in brief. This story fulfills the desires of all and increases Krsna bhakti. However due to my fondness for it and because the Vaisnavas are so well devoted towards Him, I request you to create an astonishing work which further expands the story. O brahmana, the great sage Vyasa composed Srimad-Bhagavatam at my instance. O brahmana, your composition should present my instructive conversation to King Bahulasva which will protect the samhita at the same time.
On hearing the words of Srila Narada Muni, the great sage Gargacarya smiled and said, "O brahmana, your request is indeed quite a difficult task, but still I shall perform it, by your grace." Then, after returning to his hermitage known as Gargacala, poet Garga composed the extremely remarkable Garga-samhita, containing the conversation between sage Narada and King Bahulasva. It is comprised of 12,000 honey-sweet verses describing various episodes relating to Sri Krsna. Garga heard about these episodes from the months of his teachers and witnessed the sports of Sri Krsna with his own eyes. He incorporated all of them in the form of a samhita. The story of Garga-samhita bestows devotion of Krsna to all and listening to it accomplishes all takes.
Then 5,000 years ago, at the forest of Naimisaranya, Saunaka Rsi requested his teacher Sage Suta Gosvami as follows:
O brahmana, I have heard in considerable detail from your mouth about the glory of the Puranas, which is quite pleasing to the ears. Now, O sage, kindly narrate to me in detail the merit of Garga-samhita, having considered it quite deeply. O lord, the Garga-samhita is gracefully filled with divine stories of glorious and Madhava.
Suta Gosvami replied that Narada revealed the glory of the Garga-samhita to him. Narada had also explained some of the glorious merits of hearing Garga-samhita and in particular of Lord Krsna's great, great grandson named King Pratibahu, the son of Vajra. Pratibahu's queen, Malini, and he dwelled in Mathura, the city of Krsna. There, he gave cows in charity to pure brahmanas, performed several yajnas giving away huge amounts in daksina and he performed several vratas all with the aim of getting a son. Yet, in spite of feeding his teachers and brahmanas sumptuously and offering charity to them, he could get no son and consequently he was extremely worried.
Both king and queen grieved thinking that the departed ancestors accepted the water offered to them as tears. With this idea hunting his mind and the sight of his graying hair, disgusted, King Pratibahu always remained restless and full of gloom.
Once, one of the seven great sages of the universe named Sandilya occasioned to visit Mathura and met King Pratibahu. Finding the sage suddenly appearing before him, the king got up to welcome him. He offered the great saintly person a seat and worshiped him with madhuparka. The sage was surprised to find the king so sad and thus, offering his blessings, he asked the king about the welfare of his kingdom and all else.
The king then informed the sage, "What can I say about the sins I have earned in my previous births? Nothing is unknown to great sages like you. I do not feel happy anywhere in my country or this city. What should I do and where should I go? Where could I gate a son? Who will protect this kingdom when I am no more? Even my people are sad because of me. O brahmana, you possess divine vision, kindly tell me some way out by which I may achieve a spotless son so that my family line shall continue." On hearing the pathetic words of the king, the sage Sandilya spoke to remove the grief of the king. The sage Sandilya said,
O king, you must have tried many ways to get a son to continue your dynasty, but none were successful. Now you should listen to the Garga-samhita along with your wife. This will purify you; provide riches, a son and devotion for the Lord all at once. In this age of Kali-yuga, Lord Visnu bestows sons and all other riches to those who listen to Garga-samhita. O best of kings, by performing the great yajna of hearing Garga-samhita, the people get purified and after enjoying all the pleasures in this world, they proceed to Goloka. By hearing Garga-samhita, an ailing person is relieved of all ailments, a terrified person is freed from terror, and a person in bondage is freed from bondage. On hearing this story, the poor person becomes rich while a foolish person achieves wisdom. If one hears this narration, a brahmana becomes learned, a ksatriya becomes victorious, a vaisya be becomes rich and a sudra is purified. Anyone who listens to it gets his desires fulfilled. Women achieve all that is difficult to be achieved by them. The one who listens to Garga-samhita, without having any desire in his mind, achieves Goloka, surpassing both the demigods and the brahmanas.
The arrangement of the Garga-samhita is beyond the conception of anyone and it bestows the merits of a thousand births. There is nothing specifically prescribed for the listening of the Garga-samhita, which provides devotion and all riches. It can be heard at all times.
On hearing the words of sage Sandilya, King Pratibahu was immensely pleased and he said to the sage quite humbly, "O sage, I take refuge in you. Please recite the Garga-samhita to me yourself and bestow me with a son." On hearing the words of the king, Sandilya arranged for a huge mandapa to be constructed on the bank of the Yamuna and them started the recitation of the Garga-samhita. On hearing about this, all the people of Mathura joined in narration. Pratibahu, the king of the Yadava dynasty, offered in charity enormous amount of riches and served all the people with food at the start of the yajna as well as on its completion. The speaker, Sandilya, received worship, a chariot, horses, riches, cows, elephants and gems. At the end of the relation, at the instance of the sage, the king invoked the Lord of Vraja (Sri Krsna) and His consort Srimati Radharani and they both personally appeared! Sage Sandilya, King Pratibahu and all the Lord's Cupid-charming dark face and His hands holding a flute.
Lord Krsna said, O Great sage, King Pratibahu and all others present here listen carefully. The words spoken by you will meet with success. The samhita composed by the sage Garga removes all ills. It is quite auspicious and bestows dharma, artha, kama and moksa in the age of Kali. In the age of Kali, whatever is desired by anyone can be achieved by the grace of the recitation of the Garga-samhita.
Soon afterwards, by contact with the noble king, the chaste queen conceived and in due course gave birth to a virtuous son. Upon birth of the son, the king gave away in charity cows, land, gold, clothing, elephants and horse. After consulting the brahmanas and astrologers, King Pratibahu named his son Subahu. Thus the king enjoyed all worldly pleasures and ultimately achieved the transcendental place beyond the reach of great yogis. The Garga-samhita bestows upon its listeners damsels, sons, riches, vehicles, enormous glory, houses, kingdoms, pleasures and ultimately liberation.
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