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Often purport are used to understand verses of scripture in clearer way. In purport S.B. 4.25.41, Sri AC Bhaktivedanata Prabhupada comments in the last part of commentary as:

In this regard, the word vikhyātam is very significant. A man is always famous for his aggression toward a beautiful woman, and such aggression is sometimes considered rape. Although rape is not legally allowed, it is a fact that a woman likes a man who is very expert at rape.

Sri AC BhaktiVedanta swami belongs to Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, he is affiliated to acintya bheda abheda philosophy and is considered by thousands to be authentic source of knowledge who brings deep hidden meanings of scriptures.

But in the above commentary Prabhupada states that if a man is expert in skill of raping, women likes him. He uses this in the context of the Sanskrit word 'Vikhyata' present in the verse 4.25.41.

Is this an acceptable interpretation?

Have any other Acharyas of the same tradition (Gaudiya) or other commentators of Srimad Bhagvatam like Sridhara Swami generated similar contexts while explaining the verse?

How is the word 'Vikhyata' there interpreted in detail by other commentators?

  • It's better you read the original verse and verses before and after that rather than the purport. How can you judge a verse without reading that? There is more content in the purport. Why are you only picking this paragraph? – Sarvabhouma Aug 1 '18 at 6:39
  • @Sarvabhouma If anyone has a trouble understanding a paragraph, he can post a question, It's not an issue. – TheLittleNaruto Aug 1 '18 at 7:02
  • @TheLittleNaruto My objection is quoting only some part of purport and leaving out other part which explains the context of the verse.Also leaves original verse and translation. If that is read carefully, there rises no question at the first place. – Sarvabhouma Aug 1 '18 at 7:58
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    Again "Is this an acceptable interpretation?" is opinion based. – Pandya Aug 1 '18 at 8:50
  • @Pandya You should read complete question. – TheLittleNaruto Aug 1 '18 at 9:00
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No it doesn't say so.

Translation of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 4.25.41 is as follows:

O my dear hero, who in this world will not accept a husband like you? You are so famous, so magnanimous, so beautiful and so easily gotten.

Alternate translation from Motilal Publications:

Oh girl, what girl in my position (like me) would not accept a husband a famous, munificent, good looking, love personage like you?

So, it's clear that she is speaking of herself and it is a word of a woman. And not of a sage or esteemed personality or god himself to follow it in our daily life.

We have to see who is speaking to whom and in which situation. That is the most important thing we have to do when we read something. Every line in a book should not be taken out of context and as a generalizing statement. We don't consider a word from a rakshasa of an evil conduct as a guideline or an advice. Similar situation here too. The verse 4.25.41 is from the chapter whose theme is emphasizing how living a material life can be harmful to the progress of spirituality. It is just an introduction of story of king Puranjana.

The words are from a woman who lives in a city with pleasures. She has body guards and women always surrounding her. She was infatuated by the king Puranjana and she personally believes in material happiness. It is clear from preceding verses from the same chapter. She talks to Puranjana and cajoles him. She persuades him to marry her and lead a householder life and enjoy material happiness. She says (emphasis mine)

The woman continued: In this material world, a householder’s life brings all kinds of happiness in religion, economic development, sense gratification and the begetting of children, sons and grandsons. After that, one may desire liberation as well as material reputation. The householder can appreciate the results of sacrifices, which enable him to gain promotion to superior planetary systems. All this material happiness is practically unknown to the transcendentalists. They cannot even imagine such happiness. [SB.4.25.39]

So, in this verse, she totally opposes the path of Yatis, transcendentalists and says they cannot imagine such happiness. She is of opinion that path taken by them is wrong which is not true.

In the next verses, it is said what happens after this dialogue. The couple (Puranjana and that woman) entered mutual agreement and stayed for 100 years in the city. They enjoyed a lot in the company of other woman in the hot summer.

Many professional singers used to sing about the glories of King Purañjana and his glorious activities. When it was too hot in the summer, he used to enter a reservoir of water. He would surround himself with many women and enjoy their company. [SB 4.25.44].

The above verse can raise eyebrows of some people. The purana or the chapter contains what the couple did. So, it should not be taken as a decision of all the women and generalize. The behaviour of some women of that psychology. It is natural that different people have different opinions on everything. We can't question them.

Hence, the verse and its meaning should be taken literally as it looks.

No other Gaudiya Vaishnava acharya or other commentator have commented on this verse as it is not an important verse in the chapter. It is just a statement by a woman to a man who is in love with.

Srila Prabhupada has a different style of explanation than others as he is a modern day figure. He takes examples of contemporary world and incidents which happened after lives of Gaudiya Vaishnava acharyas. Before explaining the purport of 4.25.41, he explains the type of character of that woman and refers her as a Visha kanya. So, this should not be taken as a generalizing statement that every woman is of that type. So, he should have said it to indicate the personality of that woman. Why prabhupada said "it as a fact" is an opinion based question as he might have heard or read something like a survey or research like this that women like aggressive men. That may be true or false. It is again subjective.

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    What about vikhyata? Who will decide verse is important or not – Rakesh Joshi Aug 1 '18 at 10:48
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    @RakeshJoshi If it is important, any one commentator would talk about it. No one commented on it. Vikhyata means famous. Women are known to think like that. The king is famous. Nothing else to it. Prabhupada said Vikhyata is important to understand the verse. Others didn't even mention about the verse. No vere is commented in the chapter. – Sarvabhouma Aug 1 '18 at 16:51

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