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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanāmṛta ch.1-3

Book review - Śrī Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanāmṛta by Viśvanātha Cakravartipāda.
Published by Bhṛgunāth Mishra, Vrindavan, 2007

To my knowledge, this is the first Bengali edition of Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanamṛta since the one of Rādhikānāth Gosvami from 1903 (not counting its partial inclusion in the Bhāvanā Sāra Saṅgraha from Haribol Kutir in the 1970s), though some years ago I saw pamphlets on the walls of Rādhākund advertising a new Bengali edition available from Gopīnāth Gherā in Vrindāvan. However, I never got my hands on that one. This most excellent edition is packed with extras - a Sanskrit ṭīkā by Viśvanātha's disciple Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma and many elaborate footnotes with padānuvādas from all the famous padakartās like Govinda Dās, Uddhava Dās and Rāy Śekhar, definitions from the rasa śāstras and elaborate descriptions of all the sakhīs, sakhās, pitās and mātās of Vraja. The Bengali verse prose translation dates from 1919 and is done by Madhusūdan Vācaspati, aka Madhusūdan Dās Adhikārī, who also wrote commentaries on Rādhārasa Sudhānidhi, partly translated by yours truly. Many comments in the footnotes are from an unknown source but it is presumed that they are also from Madhusūdan Vācaspati. For properly understanding the following notes it is highly recommended to have a copy of my English translation of Kṛṣṇa Bhavanamrita at hand.

I personally think that Viśvanātha's puns linking madhura līlā with jñāna and yoga in chapter two are not so attractive and inciting.

Kṛṣṇadeva Sarvabhauma comments on 3.4: rādhāyāḥ svatantra vāsa-sthānaṁ - "Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja made a mansion for Rādhā's independent residence (on the yard of Abhimanyu)."

3.8 sarvādau peṭikodghaṭanañca vastrālaṅkārādi darśanārtham. tāsāṁ svabhāva eva - "It is the nature of the kinkaris to first open the trunk to check the garments and ornaments."

3.10 remains troublesome to me - vyatividhāna mitho'vadhāyi - "The brahmins and the cows compete in outsounding each other - in the end no one can hear each other anymore." Seems distressful and reminds me of modern India.

3.13 Carries a footnote about Mukharā - 'She is a friend of Pātlā, Yaśodā's mother, and used to affectionately breastfeed Yaśodā. (That is from Rādhā-kṛṣṇa gaṇoddeśa dīpikā 1.43)
Due to this parental affection Mukharā daily comes to see Kṛṣṇa at Nandālaya. Mukharā's husband is called Bindugopa." (This may be from Kṛṣṇadās Bābājī of Kusum-sarovara)

3.14 pītavasanaṁ vīkṣyāpi rādhā lajjitā bhaviṣyatīti śaṅkayā - "Though she does see the yellow cloth Mukharā does not say anything about the yellow cloth so as not to embarrass Rādhā."

3.15 Footnote (source unknown): "In most other writings Paurṇamāsī wakes up Rādhā, but that is because the līlā differs per day."

3.18 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma comments that, although Śyāmalā is an independent yūtheśvarī, still the wheat of her joy can only flourish through her meeting with Rādhā. The anonymous commentator classifies her as a suhṛt pakṣa sakhī, though she is a friend of Candrāvalī's. In his tīkā on the first verse of Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī writes there are three kinds of Vrajagopīs - avara-mukhyā, madhyama mukhyā and parama mukhyā. Śyāmalā belongs to the middle class, Rādhā to the top class. atha madhyama mukhyābhyām āha kalite ātmasātkṛte śyāmā śyāmalā lalitā ca.

Rādhākṛṣṇa Gaṇoddeśa Dīpikā says: suhṛt pakṣatayā khyātā śyāmalā mangalādayaḥ "Śyāmalā and Maṅgalā belong to the friendly party."

3.19 Madhusūdana Dāsa Adhikārī comments that due to the joy of meeting Śyāmalā, Rādhā completely forgets Her nocturnal pastimes with Kṛṣṇa, but I doubt this.

3.23 Here is an elaborate footnote on sthāyībhāva and anurāga. Quoting from Alaṅkāra Kaustubha and Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi.3.25 Madhusūdana Dāsa Adhikārī writes: "Hearing priya-sakhī Śyāmalā's words, Rādhā shyly stares at ḥer own chest and sees that actually the karāgra-kalā (moonbeams or nailmarks) of the full kalā-kauśala (moon or artful Kṛṣṇa) are there, illuminated by Her vilāsa, beautifying Her breasts. Taking this as evidence confirming Śyāmalā's words, She laughs and speaks (then follows the regular translation of verse 25):

3.26 Rādhikānātha Gosvāmī's addition that a sadācārī doesn't do anything before his morning bath is confirmed by Kṛṣṇadeva Sarvabhauma's ṭīkā.

3.29 A sūtradhāra is someone who, after the recitation of the maṅgalācaraṇa or Nāndī-verse, circumambulates the stage and recites a brief synopsis of the drama.

3.32 Mādhurikā: ṣhe belongs to Raṅgadevī's yūtha, and is thus one of the 64 priya sakhīs (8 sakhīs of the aṣṭasakhīs, 8x8=64, ed.)

3.35 The mantra : 'avyād ajo'ṅghri maṇimān' originates from S.B 10.6.19.

3.37 According to the Harivamsa Rohiṇī was Kaśyapa's wife Surabhī in the last life - devakī rohiṇī ceme vasudevasyadhīmataḥ rohiṇī surabhīr devī aditir devakī hyabhūt. (Unknown commentator:) "To accomplish Kṛṣṇa's nikuñja vilāsa and Rāsa līlā in Vṛndāvana there is Vṛndā, but for the full accomplishments of goṣṭha- and vana-līlās there is Paurṇamāsī."

3.38 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma comments: rāmasya baladevasya gūḍhārtaśca ca rāmāyā ambareṇa - "Paurṇamāsī means the cloth of Rāmā (Rādhā), but Yaśodā thinks she means the cloth of Rāma (Balarāma).

3.41 Madhusūdana Vācaspati says that Madhumangala has a red glow, but Rūpa Gosvāmī says he is śyāma.

3.56 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma comments: uṣṇīṣe śekharīkṛtaḥ kānaka sūtrajālaḥ torarā iti khyātaḥ suvarṇa nirmita sūtra samūhaḥ - ṭhe golden string-net on Kṛṣṇa's turban is called torarā.

3.60 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma comments: cāru sundaraṁ tavaiva mukhaṁ yena tad guṇān kathayasi. ramaṇya iti tā eva ramante vayaṁ tu sadaiva duḥkiṇya - 'ṣince you speak of Kṛṣṇa's beautiful attributes you are called cārumukhī. ḹe are, however, always unhappy."


  1. Radhe Radhe

    Please give the names and addresses of the praptisthans listed on the back of the title page. In addition, please let us know about any book dealer that would take orders for this book and ship to destinations outside of India.

    Radhe Radhe

  2. 1. Jiva Institute, Sheetal Chaya (I believe the number is 138, but anyway everyone there knows Jiva),
    Vrindavan, UP 281124
    phone 0091-565-2540542
    Mobile 09837172853

    2. Sri Nitai Gopal Cand
    Teksal Galli, Vrindavan
    Mobile 9927461642

    3. Sri Khandelwal and Sons
    Athkhamba Bazar, Vrindavan

    4. Mahesh Library
    2/1 Syam Charan De Street
    Kolkata 73

    5. Sanskrit Pustak Bhandar
    38 Vidhan Sarani, Kolkata 6

  3. "I personally think that Visvanatha's puns linking madhura lila with jnana and yoga in chapter two are not so attractive and inciting."

    Advaita Dasji:

    Would it be possible for you to explain this, esp with translations if possible (but puns are usually quite hard to translate without losing their humor)

  4. It seems to me that these yoga and jnana puns, which give an atmosphere of shanta rasa at best, are incompatible with the madhura rasa that prevails in the chapter. Examples:
    2.2-3 VizAkhA told LalitA: "Sakhi! Look how beautiful the erotic signs on RAdhA and KRSNa's bodies are! Although They are nirAMzuka (without clothes) They are beautified with much aMzuka (spiritual luster), and although They are vihArI (enjoyers, or: without necklaces) They are also atihArI (very beautiful). Although They are anaGgada (without armlets) They are anaGgada (giving erotic joy to Each other). Although They are niraJjana (without eyeliner) They are niraJjana (very pleasing to Each other). Their lipstick was washed away during Their playful absorption and Their playbed was messed up. Such are the signs of Their enjoyment!"
    2.45-47: "We truly know that zrI RAdhikA had attained the acyuta yoga siddhi (infallible mystic perfection, or: union with Acyuta, KRSNa) through vairAgya dhurAdhara (carrying the weight of renunciation, or: having the pAn-colour removed from Her lips by KRSNa's kisses), nairguNya mukta hAriNI (liberation by transcending the modes of material nature, or: having Her muktamAlA, pearl necklace, broken by KRSNa) and niraJjanodAra dRk (objective transcendental vision, or: having Her eyeliner wiped away by kRSNa)."
    "And KRSNa took shelter of His subservient YoganidrA (mystic slumber, or feigned sleep) to experience His full AtmabhUtva (Selfborn nature, or: erotic experience). He is worshiped by transcendentalists for liberation (atimuktA or MAdhavI-flowers) as He sits on His yoga Asana (or on His bed of flowers in the kuJja, where He unites (yoga) with the gopIs) having attained siddhi (mystic perfection, or sexual satisfaction)."
    "But look, O friends, (of the Two) RAdhikA's siddhi is greater! There are wonderful moonbeams of Selfborn bliss shining on Her sky-like chest (or: Her chest is full of nailmarks) and She has destroyed (the chance of) rebirth (punarbhava-kSata means either 'destruction of rebirth' or 'nailmarks') and mental affliction (manobhava tApa means mental distress or erotic agitation)."
    And all the way at the end:
    2.79: LalitA said: "O naive girl! Today the yoga of nocturnal union with KRSNa recited the nirveda-manual (nirveda = impious acts like adultery that are forbidden by the Vedas) to You! Now Your separation is also reciting the nirveda-manual (here nirveda means lamentation) to You. The union made You taste the nectar of Acyuta('s words, lips and form) and the separation made You taste bitter poison! Alas!"

  5. Jai Radhe, Advaitaji.

    Does this Bengali edition have Krishnadeva Sarvabhauma's commentary and the 1903 edition Radhikanath Goswami's commentary. Or does this edition have both? Is Radhikanath Goswami's the one published by Devakinandan Press in Devanagari, without any vernacular translation? Which edition did you use to make your translation? (Sorry, I don't have a copy.)

    I have a partial photocopy of the Devakinandan Press edition refered to above, but since it is not in front of me, I might be misrepresenting it. I have typed up a couple of chapters for the GGM, editing the original verses that I you provided (through Madhavanandaji), but haven't been able to make much progress of late.

  6. This edition has the Sanskrit tika by KDS, the original Sanskrit text by VCT, a flowing Bengali translation by Madhusudan Vacaspati, footnotes of an unknown source and padavali. I have Radhikanatha Gosvami's translation too, in Bengali script, in the 1903 Edition, but the translation in the new book is from 1919, by MV only, not others. My 1903 copy is from Devakinandanda Press too but does not carry the Sanskrit text, just the Bengali translation in Bengali script.

  7. The Padavali is Gopinath Basak's ? Sounds like a pretty good edition. I didn't even know there was a second commentary, if there are indeed two different ones. Looks like I'll have to get a copy.

  8. The Padavali is by various poets, mainly Ray Shekhar but also others like Uddhav Das and Prasad Das. There's no commentary as such, but the usual extended Bengali commentaries. Most of these extensions are based on the Tika by Krishnadeva Sarvabhauma though.