varaṁ vṛṇīmahe ’thāpi
nātha tvat parataḥ parāt
na hy antas tvad-vibhūtīnāṁ
so ’nanta iti gīyase
varam—benediction; vṛṇīmahe—we shall pray for; atha api—therefore; nātha—O Lord; tvat—from You; parataḥ parāt—beyond the transcendence; na—not; hi—certainly; antaḥ—end; tvat—Your; vibhūtīnām—of opulences; saḥ—You; anantaḥ—unlimited; iti—thus; gīyase—are celebrated.
Dear Lord, we shall therefore pray for Your benediction because You are the Supreme, beyond all transcendence, and because there is no end to Your opulences. Consequently, You are celebrated by the name Ananta.
There was no need for the Pracetās to ask any benediction from the Supreme Lord because the devotees are simply satisfied by the presence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Dhruva Mahārāja practiced severe austerities and penances to see the Supreme Lord, and his intention was to receive benediction from the Lord. He wanted to acquire the throne of his father—or attain an even better position—but when he was actually in the presence of the Supreme Lord, he forgot everything. He said, “My dear Lord, I do not wish to ask any benediction.” This is the actual position of the devotee. The devotee simply wants to be in the presence of the Supreme Lord—either in this world or in the next—and engage in His service. That is the ultimate goal and benediction for the devotees.
The Lord asked the Pracetās to pray for some benediction, and they said, “What kind of benediction should we pray for? The Lord is unlimited, and there are unlimited benedictions.” The purport is that if one must ask for benediction, he must ask for unlimited benediction. The words tvat parataḥ are very significant in this verse. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is parataḥ parāt. The word para means “transcendental, beyond this material world.” The impersonal Brahman effulgence is beyond this material world, and this is called paraṁ padam. Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padam (Bhāg. 10.2.32). Merging into the impersonal effulgence of the Lord is called paraṁ padam, but there is a higher transcendental position, which is the association of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate (Bhāg. 1.2.11). The Absolute Truth is realized first as impersonal Brahman, then as Paramātmā, and finally as Bhagavān. Thus the Personality of Godhead, Bhagavān, is parataḥ parāt, beyond Brahman and Paramātmā realization. In this connection, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī points out that parataḥ parāt means “better than the best.” The best is the spiritual world, and it is known as Brahman. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, is known as Parabrahman. Therefore parataḥ parāt means “better than Brahman realization.”
As will be explained in the next verses, the Pracetās planned to ask the Lord for something that has no limit. The Lord’s pastimes, qualities, forms and names are all unlimited. There is no limit to His name, forms, pastimes, creation and paraphernalia. The living entity cannot conceive of the unlimitedness of the unlimited. However, if living entities are engaged in hearing about the unlimited potencies of the Supreme Lord, they are factually connected directly to the unlimited. Such understanding of the unlimited becomes unlimited by hearing and chanting.
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