Follow by Email

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tilaka, Svakīya bhāva and the good Yamadūtas

Bhakta: "Kṛṣṇa is described as wearing sandalwood tilak. I thought tilak was made of clay."

Advaitadas: "tilak for sadhakas is different from tilak of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, according to the rules. Rādhārāṇī's tilak is made of vermilion according to Govinda Līlāmṛta (2.77) and musk according to Vilāpkusumāñjali (24). Kṛṣṇa's tilak is made either of Gorocana (a bright yellow pigment secreted from a cow's kidney), or kunkum. Other sources say: kastūrī tilakaṁ lalāṭa paṭale "Kṛṣṇa has musk tilak on the forehead." As for the Vaiṣṇavas, Mahāprabhu put on Rādhākuṇḍa tilak after He discovered Rādhākuṇḍa, and since then Vaiṣṇavas who are dedicated to Rādhārāṇī do the same. Actually, throughout Haribhakti Vilāsa gopī candana tilaka is prescribed. "

Bhakta: "Why not Rādhākuṇḍa tilak then?"

Advaitadas: "Haribhakti Vilāsa was written purely on the basis of the ancient Purāṇas and śāstras, in order to give it, and thus our sampradāya, maximum credibility. That is also why festivals like Rādhāṣṭamī and Gaura Pūrṇimā are not included in it - these are not mentioned in any ancient Vedic śāstra. In this way other sampradāyas could not point their fingers at us and say: "You see, they are making all kinds of things up for their own group." That is why, despite the fact that they are not mentioned in Haribhakti Vilāsa, we do observe Gaur Pūrṇimā and Rādhāṣṭamī and we do wear Rādhākuṇḍa tilak. Of course Rādhākuṇḍa is but a small pond and there are millions of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas in north eastern India, so it is understandable that most Vaiṣṇavas cannot get their hands on it, so they may either use gopi candan or not wear tilak at all."

Bhakta: "A marriage of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa would spoil the parakīya rasa, but it is described in Padma Purāṇa and Garga Saṁhitā."

Advaitadas: "It does not spoil the parakīya rasa -  it simply isn't parakīya rasa.  Kṛṣṇa is complete and there is no feature missing in Kṛṣṇa, barring rasābhāsa and viruddha siddhānta of course, so Kṛṣṇa also has a married feature in Vraja. There is also bālya līlā, kumāra, paugaṇḍa, kiśora, Brahman, Paramātmā, Rāma, Narasiṁha, Nārāyaṇa...."

Bhakta: "All at the same time?"

Advaitadas: "Yes, as I just quoted from Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta in my last blog, verse 2.5.52:
"Just as God is one, but Śrī Kṛṣṇa still stays in many places in many forms, so it is with us, His servants."
We don't focus on Kṛṣṇa's childhood pastimes, but that doesn't mean they don’t exist. Similarly with the married Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Gopāl-Campū describes how Mother Yaśodā and Rādhārāṇī wait for Kṛṣṇa when He returns from the pastures, just like any wife and mother await a man when he returns from His job. That is there, but it does not provide the excitement of an extramarital affair as in parakīya bhāva."

Bhakta: "I thought that this marriage was just a play. Otherwise how can Rādhārāṇī be married to both Kṛṣṇa and Abhimanyu?"

Advaitadas: "In the svakīya rasa Rādhārāṇī is not married to Abhimanyu, only to Kṛṣṇa.  Their marriage can also be a play, performed as a joke. Parallel worlds."

Advaitadas: "Can you give more details about the process of death?"

Bhakta: "There are two types of Yamadūtas - the nice and the horrid looking. The nice ones take the pious souls on the dharma mārga to Yamarāj and the horrible looking Yamadūtas take the soul to Yamarāj on the path where there is a lot of suffering. Citragupta reads the pious activities, and Vicitragupta notes down all the impious activities. All are taken to Yamarāj. Devotees who did not attain perfection too; even Janaka Maharāj went there."

Advaitadas: "Can you quote some śāstra on this?"

Bhakta: "Sri Bhīṣma said to Yudhiṣṭhira (Skanda Purāṇa 6.226.19-28):
19. The hells in the abode of Yama are twenty-one in number. Creatures go there in accordance with their Karma.
20. Two Kāyasthas (scribes) in the abode of Yama are well known as Citra and Vicitra.
21. Citra records in writing the entire virtuous acts of a living being. Vicitra exerts himself and writes in full all the sins with great care.
22. The messengers of Yama born of Dharmarāja, are eight in number. They all take men under their control (to Yama's place) from the mortal world.
23. They are Karṇa, Vikarṇa, Vakranāsa, Mahodara, Saumya, Śānta, Nanda and the eighth one Suvākya.
24. Among these the first four are terrible in form. All of them take sinning people to the abode of Yama.
25. The latter four are gentle in form and features. All of them take virtuous people to the abode of Yama.
26. Those virtuous people ride in aerial chariots. They are attended upon by groups of Apsarās (celestial damsels).
27. The people are taken in accordance with the written report about their sinful and virtuous acts. There is no limit to the servants of these people."


  1. RadheRadhe!
    Can you get "Gorocana (a bright yellow pigment secreted from a cow's kidney)" without killing the cow? So many questions about how this is done--cutting to get to the kidney, use of cows who have died naturally, and, of course, why.

  2. Satya,
    The same question applies to musk, which is obtained by cutting it from the navel of a musk deer (mRga-nAbhi, which is mentioned in Vilapkusumanjali). Some say it effectively kills the deer. My personal take on this is that it is only used (or usable) in the spiritual world, where there is no birth, death, old age and disease, no decaying effect of time, no beginning no end etc. In other words it is never produced there but eternally present. Here in the material world these substances would be the product of great violence and therefore, in my opinion, should not be used. Or indeed, if possible, only from animals that are already dead anyway. I have seen deer musk in Vraja, friends brought it (not to me), but I have never seen Go-rocana being used in my presence. In fact I have never seen it at all, not even on photos.

  3. I know it's been a long time since I wrote this, but I've just read this from a lecture of Srila Narayana Maharaja about Srimati Lalita-devi.

    . . . gorocana ) (a bright golden pigment that comes when rain-water from the svati-naksatra constellation hits the hoof of a cow)

    It's part of a translation of Sri Lalitastakam, verse 3.

    Here's the web source:

    Have you heard of this?

    Radhe Radhe! Or, rather, Lalita he!

  4. Satya,
    Yes I heard, or read, that before. Here is the entry from the Cologne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon:

    1 gorocanA a bright yellow orpiment prepared from the bile of cattle (employed in painting , dyeing , and in marking the Tilaka on the forehead)