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Friday, April 27, 2007

Sarakāra's Caitanya Caritāmṛta


(This file has since been removed from Jeej's site and thus this blog has been a bit rewritten on September 13, 2007:)

Jijaji once posted a 338-page pdf file of an English Caitanya Caritāmṛta rendering by Yadunāth Sarkāra from 1913, in medieval English, hark thee. There is a whole lot missing in this book, but Gaura līlā is nectar in any sequence, language or style, I suppose. On page 10 is the above awesome - vertical - picture of Gaur visiting Sītānāth's house - with Acrobat Reader 8 it can be rotated to horizontal view. It interestingly shows that devotees kept long hair and shaved heads at about a 50/50 rate. The translation-style of 100 years ago is charming and interesting - the Guṇḍica Mandir is named Jagannātha's 'garden house' for instance. There is an interesting list of temples in South India. Sarkāra Bābu claims that many of the temples he charts were not built yet when Mahāprabhu was down south.

This is only a rough script, which starts only with Madhya līlā chapter 3. The author sometimes asks himself questions as is always done in a raw unedited script [fill in names] [ surname?] etc. The last 260 (!) verses have been truncated from Madhya līlā chapter 20, Chapters 23 and 24 seem to be merged and a large piece is truncated about Mahāprabhu teaching Sanātan Goswāmī the Haribhakti Vilāsa. The antya līlā is just summarised in the last 5 chapters, here the entire story of Raghunāth Dās Gosvāmī, the conclusion of the Choṭa Haridās story and the table of the Gosvāmīs' books are missing. Its really a pity that this text is incomplete - I think the style and quality of the translation is - at first sight - OK.

At the end Jayānanda's Caitanya Maṅgal is quoted, about Mahāprabhu's disappearance-pastime. Here it is described that He stubbed His toe at a brick on the road and deceased one evening a week later. "Celestial garlands of many-coloured flowers were thrown on Him from the unseen. Celestial singers (vidyadhar) began to dance on the highway. The gods began to cry out, "Bring the heavenly chariot !" The Master mounted into Vishnu's car with the figure of Garuda on its spire. His material body lay behind on the earth, while He went to Vaikuntha (Vishnu s heaven). Many of His servants killed themselves by serpent-bite. Meteors and thunderbolts fell on the earth. At the news Nityananda and Adwaita Acharya, Vishnupriya and Shachi swooned away Purushottam and other servitors of the Master grew speechless at His departure."

The file is no longer online, but can be attained from me on request via rapidshare.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sādhu Bābā's ticket and the sewn sweater

While working through my Bengali archives I found more nectarean anecdotes about Sādhu Bābā, from Baba's tīrtha brāhmin Rādhācaran Deslā of Rādhākund (interview I made and recorded November 26, 2004):

"Once he (Bābā) went by plane to Assam for a week to lecture - the ticket cost a lot of money, but guess what happened after 3 days? Bābā said: "Bhāi, I am leaving". The devotee who paid the ticket said in shock: "What are you doing? I paid so much money for that plane ticket!" Bābā said: "Bhāi, have you purchased me by paying that money? I don't want to leave my deities (any longer)" So he left right then - he had no interest in money at all. He would tell people to do this and do that, and if they would ask him how much it may cost he said: "Oh I have no idea about that- if you like you can do this for me, but I don't know anything about the costs." Bābā had a very rich merchant disciple who spent a lot of money on him, but still Bābā got into a fight with him and said: 'You are so rich, you think you purchased me? Don't come to my place anymore with this false esteem!"

These anecdotes are added to page 20 of Sādhu Bābā's biography and can be found on http://www.madangopal.com, linktab Nikunja Gopal Gosvami.


Today I also found this verse in the Haribhakti Vilāsa (4.154), for those who claim one cannot use the big toilet wearing a sewn sweater, even if it is wool - chinnaṁ vā sandhitaṁ dagdham āvikaṁ na praduṣyati - "Lambs-wool is not contaminated, even if it is torn, sewn or burned."
Edited 25 april 2007 7.23 CET Thanks anon!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

antaryāmī guru-sāpekṣā...


While converting my Bengali files into Unicode I found this charming and deep exchange with Niranjan Babu:

Advaita Dās: “Guru seems to be prominent in the statement mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ (Mahābhārata) “The path is that which the great souls have tread” (śrutayo vibhinna – “Scriptures say different things”) while the Bhagavad Gītā (ch. 16) again exalts the importance of scripture.” Whom should we follow?

Niranjan Prasād Dās: śāstra pramāṇa śirodhārya – We carry the authority of scripture on our heads. We can make mistakes but the scriptures’ authority is flawless. Bābā also said wholeheartedly:


tasmācchāstraṁ pramāṇaṁ te kāryākārya vyavasthitau. 
jnātvā śāstra-vidhānoktaṁ karma kartum ihārhasi


(Bhagavad Gītā 16.24) 

“Therefore the scriptures decide what is to be done and what is not to be done. When one knows the rules of scripture one should act accordingly.”

If there is any doubt then ‘mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ – follow the path of the saints. Now Bābā is aprakaṭa (unmanifest, deceased); when he was alive it is regretted that we were not fortunate enough to ask him many things. Now the many difficult problems and issues must be dhyāna-sanniviṣṭa mane cintanīya (deliberated by a mind absorbed in meditation) and are antaryāmī guru-sāpekṣā (dependent on the Guru within the heart).”

- Letter, May 25, 1996

Added to 'Satsanga with Niranjan Prasad Das', page 2, linktab 'Articles' athttp://www.madangopal.com/


PS While working on the conversions I also found instructions my Gurudeva, Sadhu Baba, gave me on offering bhoga. Without going into the ritual details, it is interesting to note that he said I should meditate on my mañjarī svarūpa while doing this, despite all the cautionary blogs I have been posting recently on smaranam. And Bābā told me this on August 7, 1983, when I was still a real newbie. Very interesting discovery....

Last paragraph added 21.03 CET April 17, 2007 . Blog edited August 15, 2008 20.49 CET

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Nectar of the holy name


Review: Nectar of the holy name
By Manindranath Guha
Original written in 1976. English translation published in 2005 by Blazing Sapphire Press.

I had the honour of meeting Maṇīndranāth Guhā or Maṇi Bābu twice, in his flat in Rādhā-raman Gherā in Vṛndāvana, in September 1982 and November 1985. A very powerful and ‘begeisterd’ gentleman who greatly stressed the chanting of the holy name.

In the introduction to this book Nitāi Dās confirms that stress and also his cautions on smaranam (cautions which I have expressed in this blog earlier, particularly my blog of June 9, 2006). Nitai writes: “In Maṇīndranātha’s view one should not on one’s own initiative take up (smaraṇam). To do so would be to diminish the importance of saṅkīrtan. Rather, remembering will grow organically out of the practise of utterance of sankirtan… when the time is right. It should not be undertaken artificially before one is ready. He uses a rather odd example …..It is like being possessed by a ghost…. In the way that without desiring a ghost, a ghost may come and possess one and having taken one over may refuse to leave, so does remembering come uninvited and possess one and once it arrives it never again departs. One need not strive separately for remembering. Instead one should devote all one’s efforts…to saṅkīrtan  when the time is ripe uninterrupted remembering of Kṛṣṇa will land on one’s shoulders like a ghost dropping from a tree and take possession of one’s heart. Like a ghost, too, once it arrives it will not easily depart…… Constant remembering of Kṛṣṇa is in fact a sign of having arrived at the highest level of religious cultivation in Caitanya Vaiṣṇavism. Someone who deeply loves Kṛṣṇa will constantly be thinking of Him and saying His name, will not forget Him for even a second. Although Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda, in his Rāga vartma Candrika, calls rāgānugā bhakti a ‘mainly mental religion’ he does add this qualifier, quoted on page 11 of this book: ‘The subservience of smaraṇa, the central practise in rāgānugā, to kīrtana must also be emphasized because kīrtana has authority in this age and because it is established by all scriptures as the most excellent among all of the various paths of bhakti.”

On page 7 an answer is given to the question whether saṅkīrtan is for one’s own pleasure or for the benefit of others. In his commentary on Haribhakti Vilasa 11.456, Sanātan Gosvāmī says saṅkīrtya samyag uccair uccāryeti sadyaḥ sva-parānanda viśeṣārtham uktam “Loud chanting is at once causing bliss to oneself and to others as well.”

After that the book effectively starts; it is built around a conversation between Goswāmī, a Guru, and Laghu, a disciple, whom Nitāi Dās claims are none other than Maṇīndranāth Guhā himself (Laghu, or ‘light’) and his Guru Kānupriya Gosvāmī (Goswāmī).

Interestingly Nitāi Dās translates the word sevonmukhe from the famous ataḥ śrī kṛṣṇa nāmādi-verse in Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu as ‘being ready for service’ and that does comply with the dictionary meaning of the word unmukha (waiting for, expecting, near to).

Chapter 2.1 explains the difference between kṛpā siddhi and sādhana siddhi, and 2.2 discusses nāmābhāsa, where Nitāi Dās disagrees with Maṇi Bābu, who writes: “It is the first unfolding of the holy name in the mind of a practitioner engaged in cultivating the holy name, like the early stages of the rising of the sun. (When the holy name is not present on the tongue, but is in the mind, it is ābhāsa of the holy name. When it is present on the tongue, too, it is the holy name itself, not a semblance). He quotes Caitanya Caritāmṛta Antya 3.182-185.

Nitāi Dās responds in a footnote: ‘It is not clear what Maṇīndranāth Bābu means here nor where he got his idea. If he means that the holy name begins to manifest itself as a result of the practitioner’s diminishing offences its first reflections appear in the mind of the practitioner and then later the name itself appears on the tongue of the practitioner, I am unaware of the foundation of such a belief in Caitanya Vaiṣṇavism. Certainly the passage he cites from the Caitanya Caritāmṛta immediately following says nothing of the idea”

Neither Nitāi Dās nor Maṇi Bābu quote or translate these Caitanya Caritāmṛta verses, so I will just do it myself, to make sure everyone knows the disputed text here:

haridās kohen – yaiche sūryera udoy;
udoy na hoite ārambha tamer hoy khoy
Caura preta rākṣasādi bhoy hoy nāśa;
udoy hoile dharma karma ādi parakāśa
aiche nāmodoyārambhe pāpa ādira khoy;
udoy koile kṛṣṇapade hoy premodoy

(The above first 3 verses are essential:) Haridās said to the Lord: ‘Just as the sunrise destroys the darkness and with it, fear of ghosts, demons and thieves, and shows the beginning of virtue and activity (with the beginning of a new day), similarly the rise of the holy name destroys sins and so on and causes the rise of love for the feet of Kṛṣṇa.”

Nitāi Dās continues: “If he means that the holy name chanted in the mind is merely nāmābhāsa, whereas the holy name chanted on the tongue, that is audibly, is the name itself, he is probably wrong. Numerous modern practitioners would disagree with him. It appears that one major source for this understanding that nāmābhāsa is the ‘first ray’ of the sun-like holy name which about to rise in the mind of the practitioner seems to be a verse from the Padma Purāṇa cited by Rūpa Gosvāmī in his Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu, 2.1.103: “Ocean of good qualities! With your mind illumined by faith you should worship him free from all insincerity, him who is the purifier of purifiers, the crown of those praised by the finest verse, the reflection (ābhāsa) of whose sun-like name rising in the cave of the mind destroys the flood of darkness that consists of great sin.”…. Though this does connect nāmābhāsa with the mind as does Maṇi Bābu, no commentator on the verse has suggested the rest of with Maṇīndra says here.”

In 2.3, dealing with nāmāparādha, its devastating effects are described. Viśvanātha says it causes one to see spiritual things as material and Maṇi Bābu says that due to a slight Vaiṣṇava aparādha (the first nāmāparādha) even Prahlāda changed from a lover to a hater of Viṣṇu and even rode out against Him with a demon army. Nitāi rightly wonders in a footnote what the source of the story is….

While I don’t admire each translation-invention of Nitāi’s, some are very nice and depicting, like ‘Quality-descent’ for ‘guṇāvatāra’, ‘dimness’ for rajoguṇa and ‘darkness’ (which I also used) for tamoguṇa. He translates guṇas as ‘threads’ (literally correct) that are woven criss-cross through material existence.

While discussion the ten offences to the chanting of the holy name, Maṇi Bābu quotes Jīva Gosvāmī’s ṭīkā on Śrīmad Bhāgavat 2.1.11 when he comes to the mysterious offence nr.6: hari-nāmni kalpanaṁ tan māhātmya gauṇatākaraṇāya gatyantara cintanam… ..undertaking some other means of practise in order to trivialise the greatness of the holy name……if, however, out of mental anguish, the thought of some other means arises for the purpose of arriving at the goal faster, it is not an offense.” The second sentence comes from Maṇi Bābu, not Jīva Gosvāmī.

Chapter 3.1, called ‘wealth’ condemns wealth as being much more dangerous than many devotees think it is, and Goswāmī quotes Mahāprabhu’s criticism of Raghunātha Dās Gosvāmī’s parents, who may be Vaiṣṇavas but are nonetheless tainted by their wealth, that they even used in the service of the Brāhmins (Caitanya Caritāmṛta Antya 6,196). Maṇi Bābu sounds like Sādhu Bābā, uncompromising, as he says (p.32-33): “Any of the possessions that have fallen off the rotting, foul-smelling body of today’s society into the hands of holy men are not just ordinary poisons but are likely to be the very strongest and most dangerous poisons……Are these things to be thoughtlessly accepted and used in offerings to Gaura and Govinda, who are more dear to us than life itself? Didn’t they reject offerings prepared with the wealth of Raghunātha’s father and Duryodhana’s offerings of all the four different types of sumptuous food arranged beautifully on a plate of pure gold? If they reject such offerings, then whose nectar-like touch will neutralize their poisonous natures and turn them into the nature of Mādhava?"

So then at what stage can one ‘dovetail’ money in Kṛṣṇa's service? Sanātan Gosvāmī cites the Pāṇḍavas in his comment on Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta 1.4.115 – kṛṣṇa eva samyaṅ niṣkāmatvādinā’rpitāḥ – “Yudhiṣṭhira’s wealth was completely offered to Kṛṣṇa, without any desire.” So at what stage is the mind completely free from desire and attachments? Up through the stage of bhāva or rati a little attachment remains. Only on the stage of full blown love (prema) is the mind completely free of desire.

Chapter 4, named 'Saṅkīrtan in single form practise', tells us that, although Rūpa Gosvāmī teaches in Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu 1.2.264 that one can achieve perfection through one or all the items of sādhana, still that can never exclude harināma saṅkīrtan – that remains fixed. kalau nāstyeva gatir anyathā ('it is the only way in Kali yuga') – it automatically causes smaraṇa and all the rest.

On page 42, Laghu then asks the obvious question: "Narottam Dās Thākur says sādhane bhāvibe yāhā siddha dehe pābo tāhā – ‘Whatever I think of in my sādhana I will attain in my siddha deha”. Isn't that a contradiction with the teachings of Sanātan and other Gosvāmīs (mentioned in the first pages of this review)?” Goswāmī replies: “It is a contradiction merely fabricated within your mind. Listen: Śrī Rūpa in his Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu and later Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāja in the Caitanya Caritāmṛta have written: “Some practise one form, some practise many. If one becomes unwavering in practise, the wave of love will arise. By one form many devotees have reached success (Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 22.76-77)"…..Here two separate channels of worship (bhajan praṇāli) are mentioned, each of which has the same potency to bestow love. Śrī Narottam Dās Ṭhākur described the second channel – the form of remembering in which kīrtana of the Holy Names is dominant. This applies to the phrase ‘What one meditates on in practise one will achieve in perfection”. He has not mentioned the first channel. The first channel that he does not mention should not be brought in for comparison. If someone says that Rāma can lift five maund (410 lbs) does it lead to the conclusion that Lakṣmaṇa cannot? It doesn’t. If one wanted to convey that meaning one would have to say…..’Only Rāma can lift five mound, no one else.” Since Narottama Dās Thākur has not said that, worrying about a contradiction is useless, just a figment of the imagination.” (See my blog of July 31, 2006)

Laghu: “Is a practitioner of the single form, kīrtan… then deprived of remembering the holy sports or performing mental service to Rādhā-Govinda …..?”

Goswāmī: “No, he is not cheated out of anything. By the mercy of the holy name he will easily remember the holy sports and attain mental service and the rest – not in the form of means or method of cultivation (sādhana) but in the form of end or ultimate realisation (sādhya). (Wherever there is greed it will ultimately be fulfilled) How can one think that by planting the seed of a Langra mango one will get some other kind of mango? So let the practitioner practise remembrance or not, remembering will come and take hold of him in due time. This taking hold can take place in the stage of practise or in the stage of accomplishment – if it grips one in the stage of practise the flow of practise will be multi-formed; if it grips one in the stage of accomplishment (sādhya) practise will be single-formed…..”

Goswāmī later cautions Laghu that in the stage of anartha one should not meditate on the Lord’s erotic pastimes and quotes Jīva Gosvāmī’s rahasya līlā tu pauruṣa vikāravad indriyaih..nopāsya ("When male transformations take place in the senses this (Rāsa-lila) is not to be contemplated"), which, according to Nitāi Dās, is part of Jīva’s comment on the final verse of the Rāsa līlā, vikrīḍitaṁ vraja-vadhūbhir idaṁ ca viṣṇoh  (10.33.39).

In chapter 5, about initiation, Maṇi Bābu quotes Bhakti Sandarbha about lecturing and lecturers, warning that a materially attached lecturer may do more harm than good and assuring (in paragraph 261, quoting a ṭīkā of Śrīdhara Swami) that if a good lecturer is not available one can study śāstra privately at home. When Laghu asks Goswāmī about an unqualified Guru, Goswāmī replies: “…….The unqualified teacher is….capable of saying something incorrect, the following of which would bring death and the not following of which would also bring death. Even in this kind of difficulty one cannot reject or disregard the teacher as long as no contempt for or dislike of Viṣṇu or Vaiṣṇavas is evident in him. ….one has to pay honour to such a teacher from afar. Keeping him pleased as far as possible by service from afar, and with faith and respect relying completely on the holy name, a practitioner can still succeed in everything.” “Therefore beware! Although there is no positive worth in such a teacher – that is, he is not able to drag his students to the feet of Hari – there is a thoroughly negative side to such a teacher. By disrespecting him one can commit an offence to the holy name, that of disrespecting the teacher. Then even the practitioner’s last resort, the holy name itself, will not work.”

Chapter 6.1 quotes Srī Jīva’s commentary of Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu 1.1.35, interpreting the word anāsaṅgair there, which apparently says that bhakti is very hard to attain if practised without skilfulness, in such a way that it means jñāna karmādyanāvṛta – if it’s covered with jñāna and karma. Worried that Rūpa’s stern statement would discourage bhakti-aspirants, Śrī Jīva further quotes from Śrīmad Bhāgavat 2.8.4 and 1.5.26 to show that bhakti’s not all that hard to get, really. The full texts of his ṭīkā are both in this book and in Bhānu Swāmī’s Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu.

In chapter 7 Goswāmī explains the texts smaraṇaṁ tu śuddhāntaḥkaraṇatam apekṣate, "Smaranam depends on a pure heart”, Jīva Gosvāmī’s ṭīkā to Śrīmad Bhāgavat 7.5.25 and Bhakti Sandarbha 275 and 276) as follows: “If the texts had said ‘viśuddha’ it would mean that one would have to be completely pure to practise smaraṇa, but then it would no longer be a sādhana but a symptom of siddhi. Therefore, Jīva Gosvāmī is talking about only partial purity of the mind here – then one can commence smaraṇam. He then quotes Śrīmad Bhāgavat 11.14.26 yathā yathātmā parimṛjyate’sau, (describing a gradual process of purification – “To the degree that the mind is cleansed by hearing of and repeating my auspicious deeds one becomes able to see My forms, qualities and sports….”) also quoted in both Rāga-vartma Candrikā and Mādhurya Kādambinī. Goswāmī then quotes from Mādhurya Kādambinī that the mind becomes fully fit for smaraṇam at the stage of niṣṭhā – as in the verse tadā rajas tamo bhāva kāma lobhādayaś ca ye (Śrīmad Bhāgavat 1.2.19). Goswāmī also quotes Bhagavad Gītā 12.9, atha cittaṁ samādhātuṁ na śaknosi mayi sthiram - ‘If you cannot fix your mind on me then (patiently and repeatedly) practise (bhakti-) yoga….” At the stage of niṣṭhā one can perform the dual practise of sevā sādhaka-rūpena siddha rūpena cātra hi (both in the external and in the mentally conceived spiritual body), as prescribed in Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 22 and Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu 1.2.295.” (page 69:) “…………one should not start the remembering form of bhakti when the mind is just in any condition or by merely memorising texts…..regular practise of saṅkīrtan is required to attain the qualification for smaranam – ceto darpana mārjanam.….” “…..by means of kīrtan the names, forms, qualities and sports by themselves become connected with the mind. Those things that run away when one tries to capture them come of their own accord and allow themselves to be held like snakes when they hear the flute of the snake-charmer. What wonderful magic this saṅkīrtan is….” Rūpa Gosvāmī writes in Upadeṣāmṛta: Tan nāma rūpa caritādi sukīrtanānusmṛtyoḥ kramena rasanā manasi niyojya ‘Constantly remembering and doing nice kīrtan of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s names, forms and pastimes, one gradually engages the tongue and the mind..”

Interestingly Maṇi Bābu quotes a verse from Caitanya Caritāmṛta, which I cannot find in my own Bengali GM edition, nor in the BBT edition, supposedly verse 75 of Antya 3. It’s a very strong one though –

japa-kartā hoite ucca sankīrtan-kārī;
śata guṇa adhika se purāṇete dhari

“The Purāṇas say that a person who is doing loud saṅkīrtan is 100x better than someone who does japa.” Even if that verse would be an interpolation, later, on page 77, Maṇi Bābu produces further evidence to the same extent from Sanātan Gosvāmī's ṭīkā to his own Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta 2.5.218 (a bit too long to quote in this blog-review).

Laghu asks why there are so many rules and so many different types of chanting - japa, kīrtan (loud pronunciation) and saṅkīrtan (song with melody and rhythm), and Goswāmī replies with a comparison, “If your doctor prescribes you three kinds of medicine – a cream, a syrup and an injection and you speculate and take only the first two without taking the most powerful third one (saṅkīrtan) how will you get cured?”
Previously I read in Viśvanātha’s writings that a single utterance of offenseless harinām can bring one to Golok, here on page 84-5 it is quoted from Śrī Jīva, too (SB 6.2.23 ṭīkā): “…..at death one must offer worship at least once. In that case, someone who has performed, either in a previous life or in this life, worship of the Lord is certain to utter the name of the Lord, even if only once. In their case the holy name exerts its own influence and immediately such a person meets the Lord (quotes Gītā 8.6)……because there is an absence of offence, there is no need to repeat the holy name over and over again in order to destroy it……….”

A delay in that is quoted in the case of the gopīs – Kṛṣṇa abandoned them in the beginning of the Rāsa dance, but that was not due to offence but just to increase their eagerness for Him.
Jīva Gosvāmī comments on SB 6.2.20 that such a delay was there also for Ajāmila, so that he could cultivate eagerness first through harinām, since he had no history of devotion to Viṣṇu, because, as Maṇi Bābu assures, the single-track sādhakas (who practise only kīrtan without smaraṇam) will attain this remembrance and all other items of bhakti at the right time and as the need arises.

There are brief descriptions of the acaryas in the appendix of the book, of which Sanātan Gosvāmī’s one is interesting. Nitāi writes: ‘The ‘father’ of Caitanya Vaiṣṇava theology. Without Sanātan Gosvāmī’s contribution Caitanya’s movement would have remained mostly sentimental fluff. He gave it direction and substance. His younger brother Rupa gave it wings and the ability to fly and his nephew Śrī Jīva gave it muscle and thought.”

Generally I must admit that Nitāi’s books are much more interesting than I expected them to be, both in content and in language. He really managed to make them interesting and attractive to both his targeted audiences – the academic and the devotees. This book is soundly based on the precepts of the Six Gosvāmīs and casts refreshing new light on them. I was fascinated throughout while reading this booklet, cover to cover…..

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Experiences in bhakti


Review: Experiences in bhakti - the science celestialBy Dr. OBL Kapoor
163 pages, Published by Blazing Sapphire Press, 2006

For starters, the cover of the book is really charming. I am having some trouble with the very title of the book, though, since I have learned that ‘celestial’ refers to the mundane joys of the material heavens, and I would suggest that words like ‘divine’ or ‘transcendental’ would be more suitable. Dr OBL Kapoor has written his book for an intellectual audience and it shows. I cannot understand all the scientific stuff he writes but I did notice that he consistently makes the point that science cannot give the clues that bhakti can, so I trust everything is allright.

On page 4 Dr. Kapoor says: “The whole of spiritual life is governed by the Law of Harmony. Love is the Law of Harmony in its highest form. Self-surrender on our part and mercy on the part of God are the manifestations of the Law of Harmony. In the yoga of self-surrender the soul strikes a divine chord and relishes an inner harmony which is of the highest order and a poise and equilibrium which is much more than intellectual.” I think that is a bold statement.

However, on page 7 he says that the jñānīs ‘attain release (mukti) and immersion in Brahman after a great deal of effort but there is every possibility of their again falling prey to māyā.” Dr. Kapoor then quotes a verse from the Yoga Sūtra quoted in the Bhakti Sandarbha (110) jīvan muktā api punar bandhanaṁ yānti karmabhiḥ, without stressing the word jīvanmukta here. It is not clear from this whether or not Dr. Kapoor has understood that jīvanmukta is not the same as atyantika mukta, because the atyantika mukta is merged in Brahman, period. He has no more material body, while the jīvanmukta is still situated within a material body. In other words, only the jīvanmukta can still fall down, but not the atyantika mukta.

On page 23 Kapoorji makes an interesting 4-fold division of bhakti: 1. The law of gravitation, 2. The law of reciprocation, 3. The law of subjugation, and 4. The law of unification, and provides examples of them too. He says that the law of gravitation in bhakti means that bhakti attracts Kṛṣṇa, as in Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu – śrī kṛṣṇākarṣiṇi. He also quotes Jīva Gosvāmī, though there is no exact reference here, saying that “..blowing air around is nice, but when you blow that air into the holes of a flute there are wonderful sounds coming out of it. Similary, the hlādini śakti has a relish of its own which is sweet beyond description when it resides in Kṛṣṇa, but its relish increases a thousand-fold when it is implanted in the heart of a devotee.”

On p.25 he gives the following example: ‘The attraction of the devotee’s loving service makes Him come down to his level in the form of the Śrī Vigraha or the holy image and accept all its limitations. He suffers hunger and thirst and heat and cold to enjoy the food and drink and the clothes lovingly offered to him by the devotee.” Then follow the typical examples Kapoorji is so expert in narrating – bhakta caritas of saints like Kṛṣṇa Prem (Ronald Nixon), Lālā Bābu, Pisi Mā and their adventures with their Thākurs.

2. The law of reciprocation is defined by Kapoorji by quoting the famous Gita phrase ‘ye yathā māṁ prapadyante’ I worship those who worship Me accordingly” and other stanzas. He explains that “Kṛṣṇa has as many forms as the devotional attitudes of His devotees and in each form his figure, attitude and divine sport correspond to the attitude of the devotee. In other words each devotee’s Kṛṣṇa is his own and no one else’s.”

3.The law of subjugation is described as Kṛṣṇa voluntarily allowing His devotee to control Him with his/her love. Jīva Gosvāmī describes in Prīti Sandarbha how Kṛṣṇa enjoys more transcendental bliss from his svarūpa śakty ānanda (the love in the hearts of His devotees) than from His own innate internal bliss (svarūpānanda).

4. The law of unification means how Kṛṣṇa and the devotee enter into each other’s hearts. This is illustrated by quotations from the Gītā and Bhāgavata, and this one from the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, where Kṛṣṇa tells the gopīs: ‘You are the same as I. There is no difference between you and me. I am your life breath and you are like my life breath to me.”

In chapter 4 Kapoorji makes the point that though bhakti’s verification is based on revelation it can still be verified in its own way, experientially, and he quotes from the Upaniṣads and the gospel of John how we are actually chosen by the Lord and not vice versa. Once that choice is made, though, the longing for giving and receiving service always increase in the hearts of both Kṛṣṇa and the bhakta. Kapoorji elaborates on the point of verification in chapter 5 with famous examples of how Rādhā-Vinod came to Lokanātha Gosvāmī and Madanmohan to Sanātan Gosvāmī.

Chapter 5 contains the for me hitherto unknown and charming story of the milk of the Gujari woman from Karauli, Rājasthān. The story of Karamā Bāi and the khichuri for Jagannāth I recently read in Rādhāballabh Patrikā, but the story of Govinda Deva’s pomegranates is again new to me. I can't remember if these stories are already mentioned in other English publications of Kapoorji, if not then it increases the value of this book. One problem with these miraculous stories, in which the Lord tolerates violation of sadācāra is that western devotees, the main target audience of this book, will neglect sadācāra, thinking it isn't necessary, because Karamā Bāi etc also didn’t practise it. They have already no or little upbringing and education in this from birth – perhaps they aren’t the right target audience for this, or at least while narrating these stories the narrator should put more stress on the compulsory status of sadācāra, especially for them. Some topmost devotees were exempt from sadācāra because of their complete and pure devotion, but this should and cannot be imitated by ordinary devotees.

In chapter 6, ‘Verification of the law of reciprocation, p.94, Kapoorji repeats the story of Krishnaprem of page 26. I think it should have been mentioned just once, preferably in the second instance.

On page 97 Nitai Das makes an interesting literal translation of the word raja-guṇa, comparing it to dust in the wind – it is very nice, but is strictly for knowledgeable devotees (who should already be) aware of the philosophical-practical meaning of the word.

On page 110 Kapoorji interestingly claims that Kṛṣṇa never married Mīrā Bāi in Vṛndāvan but only played hide and seek with her, and that it was on the instigation of Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī that she finally went to Dwārkā to marry Kṛṣṇa there since such a thing was impossible in Vṛndāvan.

Many stories in this book have not been published in English before and that is a great asset of this book. Many of them narrate how Kṛṣṇa came to devotees and performed their chores for them in their absence, or brought them food etc., events that took place in different places and different times and that are quoted from many different sources, which makes the narrations credible. The original story about a statue coming alive to serve the devotee is, as far as I remember, the story of Sākṣi Gopāl testifying for the Brahmin boy that he was promised a certain girl in marriage, in Caitanya Caritāmṛta.

I personally am irritated at the repeated use of the word ‘grace-food’ for ‘prasāda’, though I admit the translation is technically correct. Somehow I prefer the original word, which, as I pointed out earlier, will be understood by everyone and simply sounds better.

All in all a book which will inspire many mostly because of the wonderful stories about the deities coming alive or Kṛṣṇa taking the form of His devotees – one will have to chew through the first 20 'science'-pages, though, or just perhaps skip them altogether to get to the gist.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanāmṛta, Chapter Two


THE ENTIRE 29-PAGE UPDATE OF KṚṢṆA BHĀVANĀMṚTA IS NOW UPLOADED TO THE LITERATURE LINKTAB OF WWW.MADANGOPAL.COM . Click there on 'Corrections to Kåñëa Bhāvanāmṛta'.

Final installment of the whopping update of my Kåñëa Bhāvanāmṛta translation. Please read this with my published translation at hand:


Chapter Two:
2.2 In the footnote there is a very elaborate description of Lalitä sakhé from different scriptures.

2.4 Kåñëadeva Särvabhauma adds: sambhoga samaye cüòä veëyor grahaëena vyäkñiptam – ‘Their crowns and braids have been dishevelled or loosened during Their amorous enjoyment.”

2.5 In the footnote there is a similar elaborate description of Viçäkhä sakhé from different books.
Madhusüdana Väcaspati here explains that this verse shows it is a draw between Rädhä-Kåñëa.

2.7 In the öékä Kåñëadeva Särvabhauma explains that the word anumodana means ‘relishing’, which changes the translation: “In the unblinking eyes of Lalitä and the other anurägé sakhés the luster (rüpa maïjaré) of the Divine Pair (‘s clothes and ornaments) became more and more relishable (aidhata).“ tathä ca tat bhüñaëädikaà vinaiva tatkälénotpannät saundaryäd eva çobhätiçayo jäta “At that time They look even more beautiful without ornaments (naked).”
In an elaborate footnote all the information on Rüpa and Rati Manjaré is given, as well as a full definition of maïjaré bhäva.

2.9 Kåñëadeva Särvabhauma adds: nidräveçe sati padärthäntara bhojanasya kañöadäyakatve péyüña baöyä ati komalatvännätra bhojanänuküla.. “This péyüña bäöé (a type of soft cake or pie, not a nectar-drink as I originally wrote) is more convenient for them to eat than other eatables, since They are still half asleep.”

2.11 Madhusüdana Väcaspati comments that the nectar eases the pain of the piercing by the arrows. Kåñëadeva Särvabhauma says it is anyonyaà puñöau – it nourishes both of Them.
A song by Jïänadäsa is added in the footnote.

2.13 Rüpa Gosvämé is quoted here as saying Rädhikä’s jewelled earrings are called Rocana and Her nose-ring is called Prabhäkaré.

2.16 Kåñëadeva Särvabhauma comments that paraspara mukha darçanärthaà kià darpaëaà märjitaà cakära – “Have they cleaned Their mirror-like faces so that They could see Each others faces better (in these mirrors)?”

2.17 The most famous maìgalärati songs are added in a footnote here, like maìgala ärati yugala kiçora- ratiraëe çrama-yuta, nägaré nägara, plus this really charming song:

çeña rajané kusuma çayane, baiöhalo duhu jägi;
alase avaça, rahalo räi çyäma uraja lägi
sahaje caturä, saba sakhégaëa, milalo samaya jäni;
nirakhata doha, vadana kamala, divasa saphala mäni

            “At the end of the night, Rädhä and Kåñëa woke up and sat up. Exhausted, Räi leaned against Çyäma’s chest. The naturally clever sakhés then met, knowing the time had come (to serve). Beholding the lotus-faces of the Divine Pair, they considered their day to be a success.”

ratana pradépa, ghåta samayuta, ägara dhüpa jväli
lalitä liyata, käïcana jhäri, diyata néra òäri
maìgala ärati kusuma varikhe, gokula sukumäré
jaya jaya våñabhänu kumara, jaya girivaradhäré
upajilo koto änanda sarase virasa mukha vibhaìga
nirakhata dohe caraëäravinda, govinda däsa bhåìga

            “A jewelled ghee lamp and a standard with incense were burning and Lalitä sakhé poured water from a golden jar. The tender girls of Gokula showered flowers over Våñabhänu Mahäräja’s daughter and Girivaradhäré. So much bliss was there! Govinda Däs is like a bee that relishes the honey-like view of Their lotus-like feet.”

2.18 Kåñnadeva Särvabhauma adds: äjahära änétavaté çré kåñëa dvärä yütheçvaryä veçärtham -  “The maidservant brings the ornaments, understanding that Çré Kåñëa Himself will today dress Yütheçvaré Rädhä.”

2.21 In a footnote it is said that Rädhikä’s mirror is named Maëibändhava, but in Rädhä-Kåñëa Gaëoddeça Dépikä Rüpa Gosvämé calls it ‘Sudhäàçu darpa-haraëa’, he who removes the pride of the moon’. Kåñëa’s mirror is indeed named ‘Çarad Indu’ (autumn moon).

2.22 Premamayé Rädhikä’s loving pride increased at this, and then naturally She assumes the mood of svädhéna bhartåkä, the heroine who rules over Her lover. The footnote quotes the definition of this svädhéna bhartåkä from Ujjvala Nélamaëi.

2.25 Bhänumati is not just the name of a sakhé-maïjaré but it also means ‘the lustrous one’, as an adjective for the hair, according to Kåñëadeva Särvabhauma (kacävalé kédåçé bhänumaté käntimaté).  Kåñëadeva Särvabhauma promises that all the maïjarés’ names in this book will have double meanings – atra granthe sarvatra kiìkaréëäà çleñeëaivollekha

2.26 Same for Rägalekhä Maïjaré – it is the name of a maidservant but also means that the substances like musk, sandal and vermilion are all made of the essence of divine passion (anuräga-çreëyä samyäg vibhävitair väsitaiù). Rädhikänäth Gosvämé’s translation of this verse was totally insufficient and incomplete, and thus my translation of the same, too.
The correct translation should be: “After this, Rägalekhä Maïjaré prepared musk, sandal and vermilion that is filled with anuräga, placed them on different golden trays along with a brush to make pictures, and placed all this before Kåñëa. Çré Kåñëa smiled and reappeared before Rädhikä to make Her tilaka on Her forehead with the brush. Although this was His first attempt, He at once defeated hundreds of expert decorators with His expert drawings. First He made a black circle of musk, then He made an eight-petalled lotus with the pollen of vermilion and within that He placed some sandal-spots.” All this is from Kåñëadeva Särvabhauma’s öékä. A sample is: prathamataù kasturikäyäù çyämaà maëòalaà tasya caturdikñu keçareëäñöadala kamala racanä madhye madhye candana binduù. “First he makes a çyäma circle of musk, then he makes an eight-petalled lotus with keçara (vermilion), and in between sandal spots.”

2.27 Labaìga maïjaré is here also identified with clove-buds (labaìga puñpasya maïjaryä), of which she crafts Rädhikä’s earrings. She hands these to Kåñëa, who praises her expertise in crafting a hundred times.  At that time Labaìga Maïjaré brings a cup with eyeliner and a golden pencil to apply it to Rädhikä’s eyes with, and Kåñëa is doing just that then. There are three footnotes to this verse, one giving a full description of Labaìga Maïjaré, one describing the Täöaìka earrings (shaped like peacocks, lotus flowers or crescent moons), and one naming Rädhikä’s eyeliner pencil as ‘Narmadä’.

2.30 In the footnote it is said that Lélä Maïjaré is none other than Maïjuläli Maïjaré. Kåñëadeva Särvabhauma has an interesting öékä here: prasädhanasya arthaù prayojanaà sambhogas tasya pratipädane jïäpane unmukhyo yä çré rüpa lélä raténäà maïjaryaù mukhe yasya saù “The luster of form, pastimes and amorous attraction (rati) shone in Kåñëa’s face, indicating His desire for amorous enjoyment.” The names of Rüpa Rati and Léla Maïjaré are all hidden in here.

2.31 The signs were deliberately wiped out by Hari’s chest.

2.32 In a footnote it is explained that of the four types of sambhoga, samåddhimän is the most intense and it takes place after meeting in a dream, distant journey of the lover, viparéta viläsa, bhojana kautuka (dinner!), sleeping together and svädhéna bhartåkä. Sambhoga here takes place after svädhéna bhartåkä.  Songs are quoted from Ghanaçyäma Däs and Govinda Däs.

2.34 There is a song by Yadunandana in the footnote.

2.35 There is a song by Govinda Däs in the footnote.

2.36 Kåñëadeva Särvabhauma comments: kiìkarégaëasya sähäyyaà vinä sakhi prativyaktavyasya vikäçäsambhavät “Without the help of the maidservants it is impossible to make the sakhés forget what has happened. (that is why She made them loyal to Her with Her arched eyebrows)”

2.43 It is not Rädhä-Kåñëa, but Their dharma that gave up its body at Prayäga.

2.46 The conventional meaning was wrongly translated by me. It should have been: “”Behold this young brahmacäré! To experience the bliss of the full Brahman he has subdued mäyä and took shelter of Yoganidrä. Fully liberated souls are worshipping Mukti-Çré to become eligible for liberation and then sit on a great seat of yoga. It seems this king of yogés has attained siddhi!”

2.49 It should be: (Kåñëa said:) “It is clear that your dear sakhé has attained greater yoga siddhis! Look! Even on My chest there are beautiful moonbeams, that destroy the illusion of darkness and indicate Her experience of the bliss of Brahman!”

2.59 Ref. Räy Çekhara song # 5. There is also a nice pada by Yadunandana here.

2.60 Kakkhati is admonished here in Madhusüdana’s translation, which is not backed up by either the müla or the öékä – ‘Alas! Kakkhati! What have you done? Are you a stone or so? With your false thunderbolt-words you destroyed such a festival which delights the eyes! You have no affection or sensitivity at all!”

2.64 There is a debate here between Çaìkä (anxiety, about the obstacles) and Autsukya (eagerness for further union). Çäìkä says: “It is better to give up the desire for bodily union altogether now.” Autsukya, however, says: “Why? If there is no apparent reason for breaking the union, then let there be mutual bodily satisfaction!” As long as Jaöilä is not in sight Çaìkä is somewhat in check and seems to be defeated by Autsukya. The Vijaya-mäla (victor’s garland) in the form of Kåñëa’s arm on Rädhikä’s shoulder, is a sign of Autsukya’s victory.

2.66 Here, as in many other verses, Madhusüdana Väcaspati adds a lengthy emotional commentary, which, in my opinion, is a bit distracting and unnecessary, especially since it is not found either in the çloka nor in the öékä. “Their embrace” in the original translation should, of course, be “Each other’s embrace”. A song by Mädhava Ghoña is quoted here to illustrate the intense scene.

2.67 Madhusüdana explains that just as innocent citizens get scared of thugs when there is no longer a king around to protect them, the gopés also get scared when the thug-like sunrise removes their protector, the dark night.

2.68 Normally the lotus flowers rejoice when their friend the sun rises, but not so for the lotus-like gopés, who now lose their lover. “Cupid failed to shoot his darts” means that fear of Jaöilä contracts their lusty desires.

2.69 Now Çaìkä finally defeated Autsukya (see verse 64). Kåñëadeva Särvabhauma explains that ‘Vraja’ means ‘the nikuïja’ (because all of this takes place in Vraja anyway).

2.70 In all these verses ‘fear’ is the combatant called Çaìkä. Madhusüdana admonishes Çaìkä as follows: “Alas! Alas! Even the stones would melt if they saw this scene of separation! O heartless Çaìke! What have you done? Why have you separated this golden vine from the neck of the Tamäla tree? Why have you ruined the sweet meeting of these two moons? Tell me Çaìke! Why have you broken the festival of the eyes of the loving devotees? Oh what a heartbreaking scene!” (Follows regular translation)

2.71 What is added to the regular translation between brackets comes from the Sanskrit comment of Kåñëadeva Särvabhauma, and is strangely not included by Madhusüdana, who otherwise adds so many of his own elaborations.

2.72 The first sentence, between brackets, can be ignored.

2.73 apära ruk means, according to Kåñëadeva Särvabhauma, ‘endless luster’ and (giving) endless pain. The warm tears blurred Kåñëa’s vision and made it hard for Him to find His way. He also lost His intelligence, so it was hard for Him to find the way and made Him likely to fall on the way.

2.74 Ref. Räya Çekhara song # 7.

2.76 A song is quoted by Govinda Däs.

2.79 yoga means union with Kåñëa, that caused Rädhikä to be absorbed in the nectar of His form, taste and voice. Now, however, She is separated and She tastes poison (kälaküöaà viñaà adarçayat). In the añöäìga-yoga-context nirveda paddhati means ‘self-condemnation’, which is a part of the teaching of renunciation. Acyutänanda means the joy of liberation or the joy of union with Kåñëa. viyoga or falling down from yoga-principles leads to custums that are opposed to the Vedas and result in the poison (kälaküöa) of death.

2.80 Kåñëadeva Särvabhauma  explains that anuräga parabhägavaté does not mean ‘Supreme Goddess’, as I wrongly translated, but para-bhäga means excellence, so it is “She who excels in anuräga (constant passion).”
Madhusüdana says Rädhikä couldn’t understand because She was too upset.
In the footnote a song is quoted from Känu Däs.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanāmṛta, Chapter One

I had not yet reviewed the first two chapters of the book, which are also packed with new items, and gave me a better view of the text . In order not to increase the bulk of each blog I will do chapter for chapter. This book has been such a great asset that it’s probably to 2007 what Bhānu Swāmī’s Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu was to 2006 - the book of the year!

1.1 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma comments that surrender to the Lord has two results for a devotee - a complete cessation of misery and the relish of the Lord's form, attributes and pastimes. duḥka-nivṛttis tathānusaṁhita bhagavad rūpa guṇādi mādhuryāsvādaś ceti.

1.2 The purport originally translated by me from Rādhikānātha Gosvāmī comes from Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma's Sanskrit ṭīkā.

1.10 It should be śṛṅgāra-dhura, not śṛṅgāra-dhu.

1.12 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma explains that yadā madano bālyaṁ dūrīkṛtya rādhāṅga-rājyam āgrahīt tadaiva lajjā-svarūpaṁ nija deśasya pālikam…… “When Rādhā grew up Cupid seized the kingdom of Her body and removed childhood from Her. Then bashfulness became the protectress of Her land….”

1.13 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma explains that the offence was committed to Cupid himself, as a result of which Cupid removed her: kim u asmai kandarpāya aparādhyatisma yena aparādhena hetunā kandarpena dūrīkṛta. Or perhaps he removed her just to delight our eyes? kimvā asmad akṣṇaṁ sukhabhoga hetuḥ ….kandarpa svarūpena lajjā dūrīkaraṇārtham abhyudeti

1.14 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma explains that this verse is spoken by another sakhī - antaram āha.

1.15 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma explains: megha pakṣe sthira acapalā cañcalālyo vidyut śreṇyas tābhiḥ kṛṣṇa pakṣe autsukya vāmyabhyaṁ sthira ca cañcala ca ya ali rādhā …..”Rādhā embraced Kṛṣṇa as a lightning strike that was both steady and restless out of simultaneous eagerness and opposition (vāmya)….”

1.18 A famous kuñja bhaṅga-song is added in a footnote:

ālikula jāgalo alikula gaṇe.
camakita cāha-i cakita nayane.
cañcala cita ati calali nikuñje.
sukhada śeja taṅhi kusuma puñje.
vigalita kuntala vigalita vāse;
heri heri sahacari kuru parihāse

“The alis (sakhīs) woke up from the songs of the alis (bees) and looked all around with startled eyes. With restless minds they entered the kunja where there was a delightful bed made of lots of flowers. The sakhīs cracked jokes when they saw (Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s) loosened hair and garments.”

1.20 A song is quoted in the footnote:

rāginī bhairavī— tāla eka tālā

KĀNANA DEVATI HERI NIŚI AVASĀNA
ĀDEŚILĀ DVIJA KULE KOROITE GĀNA

"When the sylvan goddess (Vṛndā) saw that the night was over she ordered her birds to sing."

SĀRI ŚUKE KOHE DOHE JĀGĀHO TURITE
ARUṆA UDOY HERI NĀHI MĀNA BHĪTE

"The Śārī (Mynah) told the Śuka (the male parrot) "Quickly awaken Them both! The sun is rising, and They are (too oblivious and hence) not afraid."

BĀNARĪGANE PUNAḤ KOROLO ĀDEŚA
TURITE ŚABADA KORO NIŚI AVAŚEṢA

"Then again she ordered the female monkeys: "Quickly resound! The night is over!"

ŚUNAITE IHA VANA DEVATI BOL
KĀNANA BHARIYĀ UTHILO MAHĀ ROL


"When the forest creatures heard these words of the sylvan goddess, the forest became filled with a great noise."

HERAITE AICHANA NIŚI PARABHĀTA
MĀDHAVA DĀSA ŚIRE DEI HĀT
"Seeing that the night has thus ended and the morning has come, Mādhava dāsa strikes his head with his hand."

1.22 A song is added in the footnote:

vṛnda vacana hi, uṭho hi phukāra-i,
śuka pika śārikā pāṅti
śunata hi jāgi, punahuṅ pahuṅ ghūmalo
nāyarī kora hi jānti

“On Vṛndā’s order the male and female parrots woke up and began to sing. Hearing this, Kṛṣṇa woke up but then again fell asleep in the arms of His beloved.”

hari hari! jāgaho nāgara kāna!
boḍo pāmara bihi kiye duḥka deolo,
korolo rajanī avasāna (Dhru)

Refrain: “Hari Hari! Wake up, Kṛṣṇa! This big rascal Fate is giving You distress by ending the night!”

āoli bāuri, varaja maheśvari,
boloto puna dadhilol
śunaite kātara, vidagadha nāyara,
thora nayāna duhu khol

“Dadhilol, the monkey, said: Mother Yaśodā is coming!” Hearing this, our clever hero became upset and slightly opened His eyes.”

nāyari heri, punahi diṭhi mudalo,
pulaka mukula bhoru aṅge
balarāma herato, kaba sukha śāyara,
nimajabo raṅga taraṅge

“Seeing His beloved, He closed His eyes again while goosepimples studded His limbs. Balarām Dās says: ‘When will I be immersed in the waves of that ocean of bliss?”

1.24 I forgot to translate keli-vani, which means ‘The birds of this small play-forest.”

1.28 I forgot to translate premāspadatvānupamaḥ, which means ‘the parrots are the matchless objects of Kṛṣṇa’s love…”

1.30 netyucitam does not mean ‘That’s not improper’, but ‘That’s not proper’.

1.32 Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma adds: prasūneti nandad api goṣṭheśvaryā āsaktir adhika ataeva sāpyadhuna tvanmukhālokanārtham ayasyatīti bhāvaḥ “Mother Yaśodā loves You even more than Nanda, what if she would come here to look at Your face?” A song is added here:

khojati phirati, jananī yaśomatī,
āoli kuñja kuṭīra
śunaite dakṣa vicakṣaṇa bhāṣana,
camakita gokula vīra

“When Kṛṣṇa, the hero of Gokula, hears from the parrots Dakṣa and Vicakṣaṇa that ‘Your mother Yaśomati is coming to the kuñja kuṭīra, searching for You!’, he becomes startled.”

hari hari! āba duhu ghumaka lāgi

kore agori, carama bhare śutala, rati raṇe yāminī jāgi


(Chorus: ) ‘Hari Hari (oh oh)! Now both lovers are sleeping at Each others chests after staying up all night in an amorous battle!”

rati rase avaśa kalevara nāgara,
uṭhahi ṭhorahi ṭhora
prāṇa piyārī, nehari punahu panhu,
bhori rahoi tachu kora

“Kṛṣṇa made a slight effort to get up, exhausted as He was from His amorous exploits. He was absorbed in staring at His heart’s beloved, keeping Her at His chest.”

rāi mukha ghana ghana, cumbai sādara,
kātara hṛdaya murāri
nayanaka nirahi, śayana bhigaya-i,
heri balarāma bolihāri

“Murāri was anxious at heart and affectionately kissed Rādhā’s face, His tears moistening the bed.” Balarāma Das praises this when he sees it.

1.33 I made one error in the translation here. It should be ‘Glory to You, my Queen! You increase the desire in the hearts of all the leading ladies, headed by Lakshmi-devi, who are themselves blessed with great fortune of vilāsa (form or pastimes). (not that ‘they desire the beauty of Your face’. śrī-mukha means ‘headed by Lakṣmī’) Kṛṣṇadeva Sārvabhauma adds the following comment: pakṣe śubha kathambhūta sūkṣmadhiḥ evaṁ sāpi kathambhūta śubha tatra dṛṣṭāntaḥ yathā care pāśaka krīḍopayukta kaṣṭādi nirmita bala iti prasiddha śārī yathā devanaiḥ pāśakaiḥ saha sammata sthitir yasyaḥ sa. “Just as a game of dice requires both dice (devana) and wooden pieces (śārīs), in Vṛndāvana also there are also two śārīs (Mynahs) called Śubhā and Sūkṣmadhī, who know the limit of Śrī Rādhā-Śyāma’s pastimes (devana also means pastimes).”

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Time for abhisāra......


This morning I remembered a charming līlā of Sādhu Bābā, which I then promptly added to his online hagiography.

"Generally....., Bābā was very frugal with gopī-kathā – he avoided the topic, even when asked about it. Once he sat in front of the straw hut (where I lived myself at the time), surrounded by some disciples, and I asked him about some details of my siddha svarūpa-service. He briefly replied: “Yes, you can do all these things”, and then immediately changed the subject by saying: “Come sakhi, it is time for abhisāra now.” He said this at 11 in the morning, when Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa go out daily to meet Each other (abhisāra). Basically, he instructed me fully on these things on the day he gave me siddha praṇāli and practically never again."

One may then argue: "Well, you've been serving us plenty of gopī-kathā yourself recently (the Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanāmṛta reviews) - perhaps you should follow suit!"

Yes that is true. This will be an exception, though. I think I owe these corrections and additions to Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanāmṛta to those who faithfully study my English publication of the same. When you say A you must say B too. As a rule, though, I will be frugal, too, with gopī-kathā on the worldwide web....

The anecdote is added to page 41 of Sādhu Bābā's biography, at linktab 'Nikunja Gopal Gosvami' of http://www.madangopal.com/