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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanāmṛta chapters 8 and 9

Chapter Eight

Unless one is a knower of the text it is highly recommended to keep my English translation of Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanāmṛta at hand, in order to follow these additional notes:

8.6 Madhusūdana Vācaspati elaborates on the mūla śloka: mūrccha (swoon), who is hard to remove, is broken, yet also not. At every moment Rādhā's heart is broken at the thought of Kṛṣṇa going to the forest - She faints again and again."
8.17 Madhusūdana Vācaspati elaborates on the mūla śloka: "How amazing! Though you are absorbed in the bliss of smelling Kṛṣṇa's bodily fragrance you doubt its existence!"
8.22 Instead of 'blowing life airs' I should have written 'throbbing' (original word is spandana). Madhusūdana Vācaspati elaborates on the mūla śloka: "Where's the limit to Her tenderness? She cannot even feel the presence of Her life-airs!"
8.23 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma comments: antar udghūrṇataḥ āturaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ śokena ruddha-vāk san vāṣpa-pūrṇa nayane madhumaṅgalasya mukhe akṣipat - "Kṛṣṇa was unable to speak out of sorrow and affliction."
8.24 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma quotes Madhumaṅgala as saying: śleṣeṇa vanaṁ padminīṁ ānaya padminẏāḥ duḥke bhavatīnāmavadhānam eva kāraṇam - "Why are you causing this golden lotus to suffer by keeping ḥer out of the forest (water)? You are the cause of Her distress! A Rādhā-lotus is sure to suffer outside of Śyāma-water!"
8.27 Madhusūdana Vācaspati elaborates on the mūla śloka: "Wherever there's a true hearts' meeting, the two hearts are tied into one. As soon as one heart is hit, the other one will reverberate. Thus Rādhā experiences Kṛṣṇa's pain of separation at every stage and experiences even His slightest heartache. Therefore the joy She felt from the scent of His forest garland at once vanished."
8.28 Madhusūdana Vācaspati elaborates on the mūla śloka: "Rādhā's strong eagerness gradually crossed the borders of Her gravity and became like a powerful river that filled up the lake of Her heart." Ref. Rāy Śekhar's padāvalī, song nr. 50
8.30 Ref. Rāy Śekhar song nr.53
8.31 I forgot to include here bhallabhāṇi priyāṇi, 'The sweets are very dear to the gopīs too.'
8.33 Ref. Rāy Śekhar song nr.57
8.34 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma ṭīkā - kanaka srak yathā jaḍatayā paravaśā tathā iyam apīti bhāvaḥ - "Just as the golden garland is dependent and subservient, due to being material, so is this (Priyatamā)."
8.36 In the footnote is a sweet song by Prasād ḍās, but unfortunately I am unable to fully figure it out. It is about Kṛṣṇa's feelings of separation, His swoon, His fluteplaying and His meeting with Rādhikā.
8.40 Madhusūdana comments it is an autumn moonlight.
8.44 I forgot to translate here 'āpa āpurapi nimnagāśritā yajjaḍatva mihakā vicitratā' (The translation of this line was clearly mentioned in Rādhikānāth Gosvāmī's Bengali translation, shame on me!)" The current of the powerful Yamunā has also become stunned? Isn't that amazing?" Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma adds:"If Sarasvatī ends up in such a condition in misunderstanding the meaning of the word 'go', then is it very amazing that downward-flowing rivers become stunned?"
8.46 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma, Rādhikānātha Gosvāmī and Madhusūdana Vācaspati have all given elaborate translations to this verse, which I originally translated with just one sentence. This is what they write (translated from the Bengali translation of Madhusūdana): "Sakhi! Is this the glory of Muralīdhara (Kṛṣṇa) or the astonishing power of the flute itself? This is not to Muralīdhārī's credit, because the flute-song "Hey cows,come!" is not a throat-sound - it doesn't wait for the wish of its employer Muralīdhara - just see how powerfully it creates awe (sambhrama) in everyone, by explaining the meaning of the word 'go' as meaning 'the earth', etc., with its inebriating power, totally independently! Or this word 'go' can be taken as a mere throat sound without any second meaning and is simply giving its own meaning beyond the control of its employer - 'Kṛṣṇa is calling me', causing complete (samyak) illusion (bhrama, together forming the word sambhrama mentioned in the śloka). The Alaṅkārikas call the ability of one word to have different meanings 'śakti', but the alternate meaning of a word is only understood through vyañjanā (suggestion). This is not to the credit of Vaṁśīdhārī but of the amazing power (or multi-interpretations) of the word (go)!"
8.47 "And look! The cows understood the purport of the speaker through abhidhā (the mukhya artha or main, obvious meaning of a word). Thinking: 'He is calling us!', they blissfully prick up their ears towards Him and reply to Him with their bellowing!" The pun of this verse wasn't understood by me either at the time. The verses deal with the various layers of understanding of a word explain in the Kavya scriptures.
A song from Pada Kalpataru is added as a footnote to verses 48-49 by an unknown author:

muralīra ālāpane, pavana bohiyā śune, yamunā bohoi ujāna.
nā cole rabira ratha, bājī nā dekhaye path, darabaya dāruṇapāṣāṇa -

'As soon as the wind carried Kṛṣṇa's flute song the Yamunā began to flow upstream and the sun's chariot stopped, since its horses had lost the way. The hardest stones melted."

śuniyā muralīdhvani, dhyāna chāḍe joto muni, japa tapa kichu nāhi bhāy.
tṛṇa-mukhe dhenu joto, ūrdhva mukhe herato, bāchure dugdha nāhi khāy"

Hearing the flute-sound the Munis gave up their meditations and lost interest in their japa and tapa. The cows left their grass unchewed within their mouths, their heads raised, and their calves stopped drinking the milk from their udders."

8.49 Madhusūdana Vācaspati adds: "When She heard the Muralī resound, many sweet waves of bliss and passion billowed in Śrī Rādhā's heart. Wherever She cast Her glance She perceived the vast impact of this sound, and moment by moment She experienced delusion, paralysis and astonishment. With a voice filled with astonishment She said: (Follows regular verse translation)
8.52 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma ṭīkā: āsāṁ tu muralī iti asmākaṁ tāsāñca phalataḥ sāmyam iti dhvaniḥ "We gopīs are stopped by our husbands but these does by the flute. As a result we end up in an equal situation."
8.53 Madhusūdana Vācaspati adds: "The sakhīs that accompanied Śrī Rādhikā also became astonished beholding the amazing strenght of the flute-sound. Their hearts became covered with joy and astonishment. Lalitā then said with trembling voice: (Follows regular translation)
8.55 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma ṭīkā: tathā cācintya yogamāyayā kṛtāt sthāna-saṅkocād eva tatra jagmur ityarthaḥ "Through her inconceivable power Yogamāyā contracted the place (shrank Vraja bhūmi) for the gopīs so that they could reach the kuñja in time, despite their paralysis."
8.56 Ref. Rāy Śekhara song nr.56
8.60 Madhusūḍana Vācaspati adds: "When the sun rises Madhusūdana (a bumblebee, or Kṛṣṇa) thinks his beloved lotus-flower will surely be in the water of a nearby pond (Rādhākuṇḍa), surrounded by alis (bees or sakhīs), (Follows regular translation).
8.62 A better translation would have been: "Just as the devatās can read the minds of the humans, similarly Kṛṣṇa's dear pal Madhumaṅgala could read Kṛṣṇa's mind" (follows regular translation):
8.70 Madhusūdana Vācaspati adds: "A garland of clouds in the form of Śyāma's body is accomplishing the beauty of the forest grounds and it showers the Rādhā-lake with the nectar shower of its luster, so that it becomes filled with sweet water and attains ghūrṇā (dizziness or whirlpools). As the forest is thus beautified and the lakes filled with water and whirlpools, the thirst for this nectar is only increased by it, rather than quenched. This is exactly how Rādhā experiences the sweetness of Śyāmasundara's cloud-like luster.
8.71 Ref. Rāy Śekhara song nr.60

As in Govinda Līlāmṛta, in Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanāmṛta also the pūrva-rāga, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa's ever increasing eagerness before the midday-midday, is described in chapter 8. Govinda Līlāmṛta's chapter 8 is so fascinating it can simply not be superseded and Viśvanātha indeed did not manage that, though he did try very hard.

Chapter Nine

9.1 Kṛṣṇadeva ṣārvabhauma adds: pakṣe kusumeṣu kandarpas tatra 'Not only your desire for picking flowers (kusumeṣu) will be fulfilled but also Your amorous (kusumeṣu= Cupid, the flower-archer) desires.' Madhusūdana Vācaspati adds that this verse is spoken not by any sakhī but by Viśākhā.
9.2 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma adds: atra ānandājjātaṁ jāḍyādikaṁ bhaya-janyatvena khyāpayati balad iti "You don't shiver of fear but of ecstasy (because Kṛṣṇa is approaching)." Madhusūdana adds to Rādhā's reply: "Just as Your doe-like eyes are restless, so you are too - I can see it!"
9.4 Should have been in plural case: kintu prācīnāparādha-vaśāt asmāsu saruṣā iva vidhātrā ayaṁ lampaṭaḥ sādhvī vratarūpāndhakārasya dhvaṁsana etc."But due to offences committed in the past Fate has become as if angry with us, so this debauch is now ravishing our vows of chastity...."
My original translation wasn't so good altogether. This is how Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma explains it: yaḥ sūrya-rūpaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sarvāḥ padminīḥ pakṣe vrajasundarīḥmukha mudraṇād virahitāḥ arthāt praphullāḥ kṛtvā tāḥ padminīḥ svasmin āsaktā iti pravāda mātraṁ loke nayan nandati sukhaṁ prāpnoti. tena padminīnāṁ yathādūra sthitenaiva sūryeṇa pravāda mātraṁ na tu saṅga iti dṛṣṭānta sūcitenānurāgeṇa sthāyinā tṛṣṇātireko dhvanitaḥ "That sun-like Kṛṣṇa causes all the lotus-like gopīs to blossom (mukha mudraṇāḍ virahitāḥ is just the opposite of what ī translated originally, it means opening, not closing). This is however just popular hearsay (loke pravāda) that serves to delight common people. In fact the sun is very far away from the lotus flowers, they cannot really unite with him. Can I ever in this life unite with my beloved?" This utterance shows Rādhā's sthāyibhāva of anurāga."
9.6 Madhusūdana Vācaspati adds: "The waves of ecstasy caused by their seeing Kṛṣṇa were so powerful that they swiftly eroded the sand-dyke of false anger."
9.7 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma explains: rasena jalena pakṣe śṛṅgāra-rasenāplutāntaratayā – “They were thus inundated by a flood of śṛṅgāra (amorous) rasa.”
9.8 Madhusūdana Vācaspati adds: "Their patience was flushed away like blades of grass on a current of nectar."
9.9 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma explains: ānanda-jāḍyena tāsāṁ prati-vācam aprāpya - "He did not get a reply from the gopīs because they were stunned of ecstasy."
9.14 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma: "puṣpeṣu means 'We are eager to pick flowers' or: 'We are eager to engage in the sports of the flower-archer Cupid."
9.15 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma: vāmya ityanena krīḍā-samaye vāmyaṁ na kartavyam atrāpi śapathaṁ kuruteti bhāvaḥ. Kṛṣṇa means to say here: "You must take an oath that during the time of love-making you will not resist!"
9.18 Madhusūdana Vācaspati adds: "I will test your fidelity to your husbands in this kunja!"
9.20 Madhusūdana Vācaspati adds: "Kṛṣṇa was not at all taken aback by this show of force by Lalitā. He did not budge an inch, rather He began to proudly taunt her: (follows regular translation) vigata śaṅka means 'You lost all fear'
9.21 Madhusūdana Vācaspati adds: 'Lalitā was angry like a trampled snake. She said: 'You are always frightening innocent women, but that won't work with me - I am not like them, look - I am Lalitā!"
9.23 Madhusūdana Vācaspati adds: 'Each word of the crown-jewel of rasikas Śrī Kṛṣṇa caused a fountain of delight within Rādhā's heart, but externally She pretended to be angry, so She said: "(follows regular translation). Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma comments: tasyā me mama śreṣṭha dharma vartmani ratāḥ sadā nikaṭe sthirā imāḥ sakhyaḥ. pakṣe atanoḥ kandarpasya dharma vartmani ratāḥ "atanu dharma means the path of the greatest virtue or the path of erotic practises."
9.27 All directions were inundated by the sweet waves of Śrī Rādhā's moon-like, uncovered face.
9.28 Was completely misunderstood by me back in '88, though I must say in my defence that it was a sweltering hot Vṛndāvana-summer and the translation of Rādhikānātha Gosvāmī leaves room for misunderstanding. Madhusūdana's translation is clearer: "At that time Rādhikā's wild unkempt hairlocks above Her moon-like face enchanted Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who thought to Himself (Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma starts his ṭīkā with 'snāna samaye śrīkṛṣṇasya vitarkam āha' Śrī Kṛṣṇa wonders during (His or Her) bath.' This makes little sense at this point of the aṣṭakāla līlā, where there is no question of bathing.) "Oh how sweet! This mass of darkness is not destroyed by the spotless full moon shining under it! It should be destroyed by that pure moonlight. Then what, has the darkness defeated the moonlight in combat and is now ruling over him? No, no - that is also not possible, for though the moonlight is situated under the darkness it shines with full force. Can a loser ever shine with such amazing beauty? Or perhaps they have made friends? No, if that were so there wouldn't be one above the other. That'd be totally improper - they should then stay on equal levels. Then did the dvija-rāja (best of brahmins or the moon) accept the service of tama (darkness)? That would be very embarrassing. Brahmins are in the mode of goodness, it would be embarrassing for them to accept servitude to tama."
9.29 Madhusūdana Vācaspati adds: "Again, when Kṛṣṇa beheld the sweetness of Rādhā's eyes, that were half closed due to bashfulness, He thought to Himself:" (Follows regular translation)
9.30 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma adds: atra ekasya pāna kartṛtvaṁ anyasya mattatā aparasya vivaśatā anyasya sukhitāityetair asaṅgatyalaṅkāraḥ sūcitaḥ "One sakhī drank honey-wine (of this vision), another was already inebriated, another was overwhelmed and another was in bliss. This indicates the asaṅgata alaṅkāra."
9.33 Madhusūdana Vācaspati adds: "Śrī Rādhā cast sidelong reddened with external (feigned) anger at Kṛṣṇa and asked with an examining voice: (Follows regular translation)
9.34 Madhusūdana Vācaspati adds: (Kṛṣṇa said:) "Afterwards You can examine My expertise in this fruitive sacrifice of Cupid!"
9.35 Madhusūdana Vācaspati adds: 'Hearing these funny and rasika words of her cousin-in-law, Kundalatā beams a spotless smile around her cherry-like lips." (Follows regular translation)
9.36 Madhusūdana Vācaspati adds: "Hearing these very intimate jokes of Kundalatā Śrī Rādhā bloomed of love and said:" (Follows regular translation)
9.37 Madhusūdana Vācaspati adds: "Waves of ecstatic love played in the hearts of the sakhīs and with an excited voice Viśākhā said: "Priyasakhi Rādhe! Let's first test the expertise in Cupid's sacrifice of this crown-jewel of crooks through Kundalatā!"
9.39 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma adds: svena kartavyasya karmaṇaḥ parīkṣārthaṁ svasakhīḥ prārthayati ataḥ sva mukhenaivasambhoga prārthanā kṛteti tāsāṁ hāsye kāraṇam "She is asking Her own girlfriend to get tested, which is a roundabout way of asking for Her own enjoyment. That is the cause of the sakhīs smiling."
9.40 Madhusūdana Vācaspati adds: Viśākhā's lips bloom with a smile as she says: "Rādhe! If you go to test that mantra then who will protect You? Until now only indifference has been Your protectress...."(continues regular translation) "...I see You feel heartache now that indifference can not protect You anymore...." Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma adds: kintu sāhāyyaṁ karotīti vyutpattyā siddhaḥ agre eṣa sahakāraḥ āmravṛkṣas tava avitā rakṣitā bhavitā ata ekānte sahakāra kuñjaṁśaraṇaṁ vraja "The word sahakāra (mango) is derived from sahāyya (assistant or protector). Thus this mango grove in front of You will surely protect You. Or: If You desire Your own welfare, or: if you want to be immersed in the nectar-ocean of bliss of intercourse, then enter that grove without delay!"
9.45 Madhusūdana Vācaspati adds: "When ṣhe heard Nāndīmukhī's words, Śrī Rādhā was tossed about on the waves of doubt and was scorched by flames of suffering. At each moment Her full-moon face was covered by foul clouds of lamentation. With anxious eyes She looked eagerly towards Lalitā for consolation. Out of pride Her lips pouted and trembled but She was unable to produce a sound. (Follows regular translation) Last sentence should have been: "Would any wise person leave an ocean of nectar (sudhāmbu) to go anywhere else?"
9.49 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma says: āli-śreṇīr api mohayan san "Not only should you delude Rādhā but also Her girlfriends!"
9.51 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma says: anyā capalā cañcalā iva ghanarucer nibiḍa spṛhasya te aṅkaṁ rādhikā kiṁ samārokṣyati. pakṣe ghana rucer megha sadṛśasyacapalā vidyud iveti bhaṅgyā āśvāsa eva kṛtaḥ 'Should Rādhikā just sit on the lap of a cloud (ghana-ruci means cloud or intense desire)?' Pun: Paurṇamāsī consoles Kṛṣṇa: "The pastimes of a lightning strike are observed near a cloud, so the Rādhā-lightning will surely shine beautifully near You cloud-like one!"
9.52 Madhusūdana Vācaspati adds: "Hearing this, Kṛṣṇa was tossed between hope and despair, and between joy and sorrow. Then He went home. Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma adds: patrīsthāṁ vārtāṁ na jānāmītyarthaḥ (Nāndīmukhī said:) "I don't know what is written in the letter."
9.53 Madhusūdana Vācaspati adds: "Hearing this, Śrī Rādhā told Her girlfriends in astonishment and agitation: (Follows regular translation). I made a mistake here. tatraiva sūryārcitam means 'We will do sūrya pūjā at home today" instead of 'and then do our sūrya pūjā'.
9.55 Madhusūdana Vācaspati adds: "Nāndī's bold words left Śrī Rādhā a bit embarrassed. Nevertheless She replied with a sarcastic voice: (Follows regular translation)
9.56 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma interprets vana to be ocean, because the moon actually rises from the ocean "The moon suddenly rose from the horizon of the blue ocean" Madhusūdana translates. Kṛṣṇadeva adds further: jyeṣṭha māsīya sūryajāpi suṣamā sambhrānteti citram. mantrabala-bhāk ataevātiśaya śobhā-pūrṇaḥ sa -"On the strenght of this mantra japa Kṛṣṇa has attained a beauty like the powerful sun in June (scorching sun in Indian summer)."
9.59 yāntīṁ means Rādhā was going to the kuñja.
9.62 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma adds in the ṭīkā: gavāṁ nārāyaṇasya śapathaḥ - 'Rādhikā took oaths on the cows and Lord Nārāyaṇa again and again."
9.63 Madhusūdana Vācaspati and Kṛṣṇādeva Sārvabhauma say that Rādhā initially would not 'let Cupid show his skill in dancing" (resisted), but Madhusūdana forgets to translate that Kṛṣṇa bit Her cherry like lips while abducting Her.
9.65 According to Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma the word nabhinna (I translated it as "undifferentiated") means that the pastimes of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa are totally different from mundane lusty affairs and non-different from transcendental love. Sārvabhauma quotes the verse 'premaiva gopa-rāmāṇāṁ kāma ityagamat prathām'.


  1. So I hope you will revise and republish your translation.

  2. I would like to do that, but there are some practical problems with that. For now, as I announced at the beginning of these reviews, these additions and corrections will be available on my website only. Remember that none of the additions I mentioned here were available to me in the edition of Radhikanath Goswami. It's all new to me too....