Srila saccidananda bhaktivinoda thakura

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--- a songbook of 62 Bengali songs ---



(Published in 1880)

Translation by

Dasaratha-suta dasa
Published by






* 1486 - 1986 *























Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 2

Basic Outline fo Kalyan Kalpa-taru . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 4

Index of song topics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 6

VANDANAM (Introductory Prayers) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 13

MANGALACARANA (Auspicious Invocation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 16


1) FIRST BRANCH: UPADESA (Spiritual Advice)

19 songs, each treating a different

subject of discussions . . . . . . . . . . . page 21

2) SECOND BRANCH" UPALABDHI (Attainment of Realization)

I) Anutapa-laksana-upalabdhi (Attainment

of the symptoms of heartfelt repentance)

5 songs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 56

II) Nirveda-laksana-upalabdhi (Attainment

of the symptom,s of despondent, disinterested callousness towards material worldly affairs)

5 songs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 64

III) Sambandha-abhideya-prayojana upalabdhi

vijnana (Attainment of the realization of one's relationship with the Lord, actions according

to that final relationship, and realization of

the final goal) 4 songs. . . . . . . . . . . page 74

3) THIRD BRANCH: UCCHVASA (Overflowing Spiritual Emotions)

I) Prarthana dainya-mayi (Prayers of utter

humility) 5 songs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 84

II) Prarthana lalasa-mayi (Prayers of eager

longing) 12. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . page 89

III) Vijnapti (Confidential confessions)

4 songs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 104

IV) Ucchvasa kirtana (The chanting aloud of

swelling and overflowing spiritual emotions)

8 songs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .page 112

A) nama-kirtana (Chanting of the Lord's name)

2 songs

B) rupa-kirtana (Chanting of the Lord's beauty)

1 song

C) guna-kirtana (Chanting of the Lord's qualities)

2 songs

D) lila-kirtana (Chanting of the Lord's pastimes)

2 songs

E) rasa-kirtana (Chanting of the Lord's mellows)

1 song





Fathomless eternal mercy of Sri Sri Guru-Gauranga has descended to enable the present publication of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's famous Bengali songbook, Kalyan Kalpa-taru, for the first time in the English language.

Feeling great concern for the sufferings of the conditioned souls, Lord Caitanya's own close associate Om Visnupada Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has brought Sri Kalyan Kalpa-taru from the forest of ultimate welfare in Vaikuntha down to this miserable desert-like material worlds, which is scorched by kali-yuga. From this special desire-tree, he has distributed the fruits of maha-kalyan (topmost spiritual welfare) to the fallen souls, a benefit which cannot possibly be described in the languages of this worlds. Even the hearts of the atheists, the sinners, the distracted sense-gratifiers and the puffed-up egoists can become soothed by the cooling shade offered by this merciful Kalyan Kalpa-taru, or Desire-tree of Auspiciousness.

Thakura Bhaktivinoda states his purpose for bringing the tree in his original Bengali introduction, ". . . Those whose lives have been carried away by numerous problems such as useless arguments, idle gossip, sense-gratification, laziness and sleep will sometime get illumination in their lives by the rays offered by the glance of Bhaktidevi (the Goddess of Devotion), due to getting the systematic mercy of the sadhus and Lord Krsna. This illumination will flash in their lives exactly like a brilliant bolt of lightning darts across the cloud-darkened midnight sky, bathing the ground with its dazzling effulgence. Similarly, all the instructions and prayers to the lotus feet of the Lord which are meant for purifying the polluted mind have been compiled and published in this book, Kalyan Kalpa-taru. . ."

In his original preface, the Thakura has revealed his own humble mood while presenting all these instructions, which are meant to educate the mass public, ". . . The real reason for publishing this book is as follows; If those Vaisnavas who are very fond of the lotus feet of Sri Hari will read this book and then cast their merciful glance in my direction, then without a doubt I will become,by their grace, a suitable recipient of the mercy of Nanda-nandana, Sri Krsna. And this most insignificant soul has no sustenance in life other than the said mercy of these Vaisnavas. . ."

First published on June 14th, 1880 from Calcutta Hari-bhakti Pradayini

Sabha, Kalyan Kalpa-taru was revised by Bhaktivedanta and saw its second edition published 17 years later in 1897. After Bhaktivinoda passed on in 1914, the book has been reprinted under the supervision of his son Sri Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura up to the eight edition. He also published it in the Oriya script for distribution in Orissa. Afterwards, the disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati have continued further publications up to the 15th edition, adding an explanatory commentary for difficult words and phrases in 1941.

Several songs originating in this book have already been presented in the ISKCON songbook, "The Songs of the Vaisnava Acharyas". They are 1) Vijnapti, popularly known as "Gopinatha" (3 III. 1-3) and 2) Nama-kirtana, popularly known as "Vibhavari-sesa" (3. IV. A. 2). Srila Prabhupada's own explanation of the latter song is also included herein. Also the well-known song "Durlabha manava janma" can be found originating from the 2nd chapter of Kalyan Kalpa-taru (2. II. 4).

The book Kalyan Kalpa-taru is a description of one special desire-tree which has been brought from Vaikuntha. It has three branches called Upadesa (instructions), Upalabdhi (attainment), and Ucchvasa (overgushing). It bears fruits of special supreme auspiciousness. The three divisions present a systematic path of self-realization in the form of a tree for easy understanding.

We pray that all the devotees, who are also like wish-fulfilling desire trees, will be pleased by our attempt at presenting Kalyan Kalpa-taru. If the honest readers will show their favor, then the grace of all the previous acaryas may descend again to allow future publications of their books.

Gratitude is herein extended to all the well-wishing devotees who helped me to complete this book. This includes several who helped look after the English editing, and especially certain Bengali devotees, whose intimate familiarity with the ecstatic moods of Thakura Bhaktivinoda, coupled with utmost patience in conveying the same to me, is solely responsible for enabling my struggling attempt at translation to be completed. Hari-bol!

Dasaratha-suta dasa

September 19, 1988

Appearance day of

Sri Radha


Anyone desiring information about other nectar translations, please feel free to contact Dasaratha-suta dasa

4120 Stacks Road

College Park, Georgia 30349

(404- 768-6672)



The first branch, Upadesa, contains the most basic,primary lessons of spiritual advice. Addressing his own mind, Thakura Bhaktivinoda gives the foundation of spiritual insight towards various problems which can deviate one in this world from the path of pure devotional service. Treating one specific problem in each of 19 songs, the Thakura expands the first branch of the Kalyan Kalpa-taru in various directions to cover most of the anarthas (or unnecessary distractions) which can hinder one who is on the path back to Godhead. Beginning with the first reason why the jiva soul has come into this world ---namely lust --- he branches out through numerous other materialistic topics until he finally ends up chastising those who have apparently taken to the devotional path but have fallen short of the mark --- due to the same lust all over again. With his sharp sword of pure transcendental knowledge, Bhaktivinoda cuts bare these final devotional impediments to prepare the reader for the next stage, presented in the following chapter --- assimilation and living realization of the advice.

SECOND BRANCH (Attainment)

Next, the second branch of the Kalyan Kalpa-taru, called Upalabdhi, spreads a purview of the platform of attainment, assimilation, realization and application of all the advice received from the first branch, Upadesa. This stage of Upalabdhi is further divided into three categories: 1) anutapa - repenting due to genuine realization; 2) nirveda - thorough detachment from material temptations due to genuine spiritual realization; 3) sambandha-abhidya-prayojana-vijnana - realization of practical action in accordance with that relationship, and realization of the final goal of life. All the preliminary realizations presented in this chapter prelude the outburst of gushing spiritual emotions which are to be revealed in the next chapter.

THIRD BRANCH (Overgushing)

The third and final branch presents various types of ecstatic Ucchvasa or outbursts of spiritual emotions which overflow and gush out of one's heart after he attains self-realization. This chapter is divided into four sections as 1) prarthana dainyamayi - prayers offered by a pure soul in genuine transcendental humility; 2) prarthana lalasamayi - prayers which express specific transcendental hankerings or longings for devotional service; 3) vijnapti - confessions of one's own mind accompanied by repeated pleading in order to petition the Lord; and 4) ucchvasa kirtana - those songs of worship and praise which express overflowing emotions saturated with pure progressive realization of the Lord's nama (name), rupa (beauty), guna (qualities), lila (pastimes), and finally rasa (mellows). All these features of the Lord's absolute existence are inseparable and identical, but they are progressively realized in these graduating levels as increasing manifestations of sweetness.

In his book named Harinama-cintamani, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura presents a clear interrelation of these different aspects,which may be paraphrased here briefly:

The Lord's nama or holy name, is just like the freshly sprouted bud of a flower.

When the bud opens up slightly, then His rupa or beautiful form manifests.

The fragrance of this slightly opened bud is His guna, or qualities.

When the bud finally blooms fully and open wide, then His lila, or eternal daily pastimes are manifested.

Thus, the internal spiritual advancement similarly develops for a fortunate soul who properly chants this third branch of Kalyan Kalpa-taru.

Then, the final song entitled rasa-kirtana reveals the culmination of the spiritual life of the aspiring devotee --- in the perfect spiritual body of a gopi, one hears Krsna's flute calling and becomes stricken with anxiously frantic insanity. Then, due to the overwhelming transcendental desire to please Krsna with the whole of her existence, she madly rushes to the forest to meet Him for the rasa dance. Coming into the clearing and beholding Krsna in her mood of total self-surrender, the gopi. . . Just then Thakura Bhaktivinoda, fearing that the reading may not have the adhikara (qualification) to hear about what happens next, trows his pen down violently on the table and cries out in exasperation, "why in my pen so feeble? It cannot possibly express all these ecstatic pastimes with Krsna which are causing my heart to throb incessantly! Curses on this weak, useless pen! But maybe it's trying to tell me something. The persons who read this book may not be fit to hear the confidential pastimes that are enjoyed by meeting with Krsna and sporting in the forest with Him in thousands of different ecstatic lilas. So therefore, I better take heed of this message hinted to me by my crippled, impotent pen, thus end my kirtana here." Thus Thakura Bhaktivinoda ends Kalyan Kalpa-taru, leaving those readers who do have the adhikara on the edge of their seats. . .




FIRST BRANCH: "UPADESA" (Spiritual Advice)

1) The soul's Real Position

2) Mundane Lust vs. Spiritual Lust

3) Scientific Doubt Resolved

4) Demigods Worship Put Into Perspective

5) Impersonal Doubts vs. Personal Truth

6) Scholarly Logic Kicked out

7) Hatha-yoga is Unnecessary

8) Merging with Brahman is Foolish

9) Caste-Pride is False

10) Mundane Knowledge is Most Harmful

11) Bodily Beauty is Temporary

12) Madness for Wealth is Ridiculous

13) Sannyasa Not as Important as Devotion

14) Traveling on Pilgrimage Not Necessary

15) Austerities and Penance Defined

16) Cheating Devotees are Rejectable

17) Fault-Finders of the Disciplic Succession Rectified

18) Bogus Ecstatic Symptoms

19) Lust is Not Love

SECOND BRANCH: "UPALABDHI" (Attainment of Realization)

I ANUTAPA (Repentance)

1) Whole Life Wasted

2) Bereft of Devotees'' Association

3) Time Wasted in Karma

4) Poisonous Mayavada Philosophy

5) Remedy for Mayavada and Misery

II NIRVEDA (Despondency)

1) Material Life is Not Nice

2) How Material Hopes Increase

3) Bhukti & Mukti Rejected

4) Rare Human Birth Wasted

5) The Nature of the Misled Siddha-Deha



1) Sambandha (Relationship with Krsna)

2) Vaisnava Truth

3) Imitation Vaikuntha

4) Worship Now, Not Later

THIRD BRANCH: "UCCHVASA" (Overflowing Spiritual Emotions)

I DAINYA-MAYI (Utter Humility)

1) Vaisnavas Can Give Krsna

2) Lord Caitanya is the Deliverer of the Fallen

3) The Ocean of Material Existence

4) A Prayer to Yoga-maya

II LALASA-MAYI (Eager Longing)

1) Longing

2) Servant of the Servant

3) Give up Non-devotees

4) The Secret of Lord Caitanya's "Enemies"

5) How to take Shelter of Vrndavana

6) Favorable Practices

7) The Pure Devotee

8) Prayer to the Pure Devotee

9) My Worshipping-Cottage at Navadvipa

10) Prayer to Lord Caitanya in Navadvipa

11) The Splendor of Vrndavana at Navadvipa

12) Wandering Madly in Navadvipa

III VIJNAPTI (Confidential Confessions)

1) Gopinatha

2) Gopinatha

3) Gopinatha

4) A Humble Petition for Service

IV UCCHVASA KIRTANA (Overflowing Chanting)

A) NAMA-KIRTANA (Chanting His Names)

1) Names of Lord Caitanya

2) Names of Lord Krsna


B) RUPA-KIRTANA (Chanting His Beauty)

1) Description of Lord Krsna's beauty

C) GUNA-KIRTANA (Chanting His Qualities)

1) Krsna's Quality of Mercy

2) Krsna's Unlimited Qualities

D) LILA-KIRTANA (Chanting His Pastimes)

1) Krsna's Human-like Pastimes

2) Krsna's Pastimes with the Gopis

E) RASA-KIRTANA (Chanting His ecstatic mellows)

1) Rendezvous: Called for the Rasa Dance






vande vrndatavi-candram radhikaksi-mahotsavam

brahmatmananda-dhikkari purnananda-rasalayam

vande - I offer my respectful obeisances; vrnda-atavi - the forest of Vrndavana; candram - the moon; radhika - Srimati Radharani; aksi - eyes; maha-utsavam - grand festival; brahmatma-ananda - the bliss of merging into the Brahman effulgence; dikkari - puts to shame; purna-ananda - full in spiritual joy; rasa-alayam - the abode of transcendental mellows.

Those aspirant practitioners who have first had profound meditation on the purport of great statements like "tattvamasi", etc., and who have attained unity with the bliss of merging into the Brahmana effulgence, themselves find that such so-called bliss is put to shame before the completely ecstatic spiritual relationship between the taster and tasted mellows. I offer my respectful obeisances unto that most astonishing abode of such totally blissful mellows, the very moon over Vrndavana: Sri Krsna, Who is the delightful festival for Sri Radhika's eyes.




caitanya-caranam vande krsna-bhakta-janasrayam

advaita-mata-dhaureya bharapanodanam param

caitanya-caranam - the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya; vande - I offer my respectful obeisances; krsna-bhakta - the devotees of Lord Krsna; jana-asrayam - the refuge of such persons; advaita - undifferentiated monism; mata - the opinion; dhaureya - fit for a burden; bhara - the weight; apanodanam - throws away; param - the only.

I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, which are the only shelter for all of the greatly fortunate devotees of Lord Krsna. His lotus feet cast out to a distant place the unbearable burden of the doctrine of undifferentiated monism, as it was propounded by Sripada Sankaracarya.




gurum vande mahabhagam krsnananda-svarupakam

yan mude racayisyami kalyana-kalpa-padapam

gurum - unto the spiritual master; vande - I offer my respectful obeisances; maha-bhagam - most worshipable; krsna - of Lord Krsna; ananda - bliss; svarupakam - the original form; yat-mude - the cause of the increase of whose bliss; racayisyami - I will write; kalyana-kalpa-padam - the book named Kalyan Kalpa-taru.

I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my most worshipable Gurudeva, who is the personified form of blissful Krsna consciousness. Jut to increase his transcendental happiness, I will compose the book known as "Kalyan Kalpa-taru".




aprakrta-rasanande na yasya kevala ratih

tasyedam na samalocyam pustakam prema-samputam

aprakrta - transcendental; rasa-anande - in the bliss of transcendental mellow; na - not; yasya - whose; kevala - unalloyed; ratih - love; tasya - his; idam - this; na - not; samalocyam - subject to criticism; pustakam - the book; prema-samputam - a box for the safekeeping of the most extremely confidential jewels of ecstatic love.

The aggregate of the following 24 elements i called "prakrti": the 5 gross elements, the 5 objects of the senses, the 5 working senses, the 5 knowledge-acquiring senses, mind, intelligence, ego, & mahattattva. The truth that is above and beyond all these is called "transcendental truth". That truth although being the original reservoir of all blissful spiritual mellows, is not appreciated by all persons, indeed, those who have not developed unalloyed love and attachment to this transcendental truth will not read this book, which is just like a small jewel box for guarding the most confidential gems of ecstatic love. Thus they simply remain attached to meditating on material bodily happiness, becoming completely submerged and drowned in the insignificant ocean of lust.




ayam kalpa-taror-nama kalyana-padapah subhah

vaikuntha-nilaye bhati vane nihsreyasahvake

ayam - this; kalpa-taror-nama - named "kalpa-taru"; kalyana-padapah - the desire-tree of auspiciousness; subhah - auspicious; vaikuntha-nilaye - in the abode of Vaikuntha; bhati - conspicuously present; vane - in the forest; nihsreyasa-ahvake - named the "ultimate welfare".

In the abode of Vaikuntha, within the forest of ultimate good, there is one special wish-fulfilling desire tree of supreme auspiciousness, conspicuously present among all the others.



tasya skandha-trayam suddham vartate vidusam mude

upadesas thatha copalabdhistucchvasakah kila

tasya - that tree; skandha - branch; trayam - three-fold; suddham - principle; vartate - is existing; vidusam - of learned men; mude - for the purpose of increasing the joy; upadesah - advice; tatha - that; ca - and; upalabdhih - attainment; tu - and; uchvasakah - overflowing emotions; kila - known as.

This tree is divided into three principle branches known as "Upadesa" (spiritual advice), "Upalabdhi" (attainment of realization), and "Ucchvasa" (overflowing spiritual emotions), which increase the joy of all persons who are actually wise.



asritya padapam vidvan kalyanam labhate phalam

radha-krsna-vilasesu dasyam vrndavane vane

asritya - taking shelter; padapam - of the desire-tree; vidvan - most learned persons; kalyanam - in the form of auspiciousness; labhate - attaining; phalam - the fruit; radha-krsna-vilasesu - in the performance of Sri-Sri-Radha-Krsna's pastimes; vrndavane vane - within the transcendental forest called Vrndavana, beyond the abode of Vaikuntha.

The shelter of this special desire-tree produces the attainment of fruits in the form of auspiciousness. This means eternal servitude to the performance ce of Sri-Sri-Radha-Krsna's pastimes in the realm of the transcendental fores named Vrndavana, within the innermost secret abobe of Vaikuntha.



sampujya vaisnavan vipran sarva-jivamsca nityasah

kirtayami vinito 'ham gitam vraja-rasasritam

sampujya - fit for being worshipped; vaisnava - to all vaisnavas who are residents of Sri Navadvipa, Sri Ksetra, and Sri Vraja-dhama; vipran - to all the brahmnanas who are followers of the Vaisnavas; sarva-jivan ca - and also to all souls from Lord Brahma down to the untouchable outcastes and dogs; nityasah - always; kirtayami - I perform kirtana; vinitha - humbly; aham - I; gitam - songs; vraja-rasa - the mellow of Vraja; asritam - sheltered.

I now humbly perform the chanting of all the songs which are sheltered under the mood of Vraja, just to worship all of Lord Krsna's jiva souls. This includes all the Vaisnava residents of Vraja-dhama, Ksetra-dhama, and Navadvipa-dhama, as well as all the brahmanas who are beyond fruitive activities and speculative knowledge, as well as all the souls from Lord Brahma down to the untouchable outcastes and dogs.






NOTE: The word for word translations are fused on Bhaktivinoda's own Bengali translation of his Sanskrit verses. Therefore expanded explanation are evident.



jaya jaya sri-caitanya patita-pavana

jaya nityananda-prabhu anatha-tarana

All glories, all glories to Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the deliverer of all the fallen soul! All glories to Sri Nityananda Prabhu, the divine saviour of those who are lost and helpless in this world!

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