Sanskrit Sloka

जन्माद्यस्य यथोऽन्वयाद् इतरतश्चार्थेषु अभिज्ञः स्वराट्
तेने ब्रह्म हृदा य आदिकवये मुह्यन्ति यत्सूरय: ।

तेजोवारिमृदां यथा विनिमयो यत्र त्रिसर्गोऽमृषा
धाम्ना स्वेन सदा निरस्तकुहकं सत्यं परम् धीमहि ॥

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English Transliteration

janmAdhyasya yatOnvayAditarataschArthEshvabhigna svarAt
tEnE brahma hrudAya AdikavayE muhyanti yatsUraya: |

tEjovArimrudAm yatA vinimayO yatra trisargO mrusHA
dhAmnA svEna sadA nirastakuhakam satyam param dhImahi ||

Synonyms

धीमही& Let us meditate
परम् सत्यं on the supreme Lord of the nature of Truth
स्वेन धाम्ना Who, by his self-effulgence
सदा always
निरस्थकुहकं  dispels falsity of every nature
यत: From whom
जन्मादि अस्य the creation, sustenance and dissolution of their entire universe proceed and
अर्थेषु अन्वयात् which is indicated by his presence in all the created entities beginning from Akasha
इतरत: च and His absence in all the totally non existent entities like sky-lotus, hare’s horn etc.,
आभिज्ञ् Who is omniscient (all-knowing)
स्वराट्   Who revels in his own glory
य: Who
आदिकवये तेने made Brahma realize
ब्रह्म ह्रुदा the Vedas through his mind
यत् (the Vedas) which
मुह्यन्ति सूरय: are stupefying even for the great souls:
यत्र त्रिसर्ग: In Whom the creation which is caused by three-fold Maya (Sattva, Rajas, Tamas)
अमृषा    appears to be true (though not in reality)
तेजोवरिमृदां विनिमयो यथा just as Fire, Water and Earth appear in one another (as in a mirage)

Verse Meaning

Let us meditate on the supreme Lord of the nature of Truth, Who, by his self-effulgence, always dispels falsity of every nature, From whom the creation, sustenance and dissolution of their entire universe proceed and which is indicated by his presence in all the created entities beginning from Akasha and His absence in all the totally non existent entities like sky-lotus, hare’s horn etc., who is omniscient (all-knowing), who revels in his own glory, who made Brahma realize the Vedas through his mind which are stupefying even for the great souls, in whom the creation which is caused by three-fold Maya (Sattva, Rajas, Tamas) appears to be true (though not in reality) just as Fire, Water and Earth appear in one another (as in a mirage).

Commentary

Srimad Bhagavatam begins with a call to all seekers of truth to meditate upon the supreme. Sri Swamiji says—“It is to be noted that the very first verse of the Bhagavatam describes the supreme as beyond all names and forms and hence declares its universality. Then Bhagavatam is for all real seekers of God beyond the limitations of caste, creed and country”.

Sage Vyasa who wrote Bhagavatam has also compiled the essence of all Upanishads in the form of aphorisms in the work called Brahma Sutra. This work begins thus – “ जन्माध्यस्य यत:”. The first word of Srimad Bhagavatam , also being the same indicates that it contains all the lofty ideals of Vedanta.

Any creation must indeed have a creator. Sri Swamiji says—“The perfection with which the entire universe is created is really amazing. Just look at the sky in the night. There are innumerable stars and heavenly bodies which do not collide with each other. Who is holding them in their places? Look at the ocean! Who has drawn its boundaries which it never crosses? All the five basic elements, namely, Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth which are mutually opposed to each other work in perfect co-ordination to provide us all the bounties of nature which we enjoy! Whose work is this? If these elements were not to be controlled by a Super Intellect, then just imagine the situation—a Tsunami, an earth quake, a cyclone etc., for eg.”. Similarly, this verse of Bhagavatam says that this supreme Intelligence which creates, sustains and destroys the entire Universe is to be meditated upon. This Intelligence or the highest truth is present in all created entities like Akasha or rather all the created entities owe their existence to this Truth. And this Truth is absent in all non-existent entities like sky-lotus, hare’s horn. A lotus in the sky or a hare’s horn are unheard of as there is no underlying truth in the form of Brahman in these entities.

The supreme Intelligence creates this universe after every Mahapralaya only as prescribed by the Vedas. What are these Vedas—The Vedas are declared to be the very breath of the Lord and are thus eternal and infinite. Even great realized souls are unable to comprehend the import of the Vedas which is verily the infinite Brahman or the Supreme Truth.

The knowledge of these Vedas were imparted by the Lord through his mind (without oral communication) to ‘Aadikavi’ or Brahma (who undertakes the work of creation). The entire creation is a product of the combination of the three qualities namely Tamas, Rajas and Sattva, of Maya or Ignorance. With the Supreme Truth as the substratum, the entire illusory creation of the universe appears to be real in it, just as Water appears on Earth (land) in the presence of element of Fire (heat), in a mirage.

This supreme Truth is referred to in this verse as Swarat – which means one who is the master of his own self. Bhagavatam hence beckons us all to contemplate upon the Supreme Lord who by his mere self-effulgence has cast off all falsity, in the past, present and future.