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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Desire trees, rainbows, Dāsya Ras, Balarām Bhakti and Vṛndāvan’s Cupid

Bhakta: "Have you ever seen a kalpa taru?"

Advaitadas: "Every tree in Vraja is a kalpataru, as far as there are any left now. First the Muslims chopped down the forests, then the British and now the Hindus themselves get so much money that they all need to build a house in Vṛndāvana, as a socio-religious status symbol, without actually ever living there even. So there go the last kalpatarus. Anyway, kalpatarus only fulfill pure devotional desires, so only a pure devotee really benefits from them. In the Ānanda Vṛndāvana Campu it is described how the gopīs get all the paraphernalia of their services from the kalpa tarus in Vṛndāvana.  It is said, for instance, that when Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa finished frolicking in the water of Rādhākuṇḍa, the mañjarīs open the pumpkins on the branches of the kalpatarus and take out clean and fresh towels to dry Them with."

Bhakta: "Whenever Kṛṣṇa claims, in the līlā granthas, that He is the proprietor of all that is in Vraja, isn't that aiśvarya buddhi seeping through?"

Advaitadas: "No. You have to see it in the context of the līlā's socio-economic situation - Kṛṣṇa is not the son of a cobbler, His father is the king of Vraja. In such a feudal environment the political ruler is also the proprietor of the place. But the proprietor is Nanda, not Kṛṣṇa. Such is Nanda's influence that Jaṭilā is adviced by Paurṇamāsī, who is the authoritative local brahmin, to send her daughter in law Rādhā to go to his home daily to cook for Kṛṣṇa, though normally that is a breach of the etiquette."

Bhakta: "So dāsya rasa in Vraja is also still not aiśvarya?"

Advaitadas: "No way. The servants like Raktaka and Patraka consider Kṛṣṇa to be the son of the king and therefore an important local master, but never God Himself."

Bhakta: "In rasik literature Cupid is often called 'almighty'. Isn't that aiśvarya?"

Advaitadas: "No of course not. Mādhurya means that anyone in Kṛṣṇa's environment can be almighty, be it Cupid, Kaṁsa, Nanda Mahārāja, Jaṭilā, Lord Nārāyan (Nanda's deity) but never Kṛṣṇa Himself. In mādhurya-jñāna Kṛṣṇa is subjugated, in aiśvarya the devotees are. Of course in actual fact Kṛṣṇa IS almighty, but the rāgānugā bhakta forgets this at one stage (as does Kṛṣṇa Himself). If you see Kṛṣṇa as merely human without first realizing His almight everything becomes mundane or sentimental."

Bhakta: "Why is there a need for a separate Cupid in Vraja, often referred to in Rasik literature, while Kṛṣṇa is Himself also hailed as the Supreme Cupid?"

Advaitadas: "In his Rādhā Kṛṣṇa Gaṇoddeśa Dīpikā (38) Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has identified Cupid in Vraja as the gopa Ujjvala (it is quoted in Haridās Dāsjī's commentary on Dānakeli Cintāmaṇi verse 138). Just as Yogamāyā is omnipresent as an energy in Vraja līlā but she is also present as the person Paurṇamāsī, so it is with Cupid and Ujjvala. As a matter of fact, Hlādinī energy is present as Rādhikā Herself personally as well.”

Bhakta: "You quoted Sanātan Gosvāmī's Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta that the Gokula (prakaṭ) līlā of Kṛṣṇa and the Goloka (aprakaṭ) līlās are just the same, but is there not a verse someone that says that the light shines brighter in the dark (Kṛṣṇa's līlā in the material world) than in the light?"

Advaitadas: "Yes, that is in Viśvanāth Cakravartīpāda's comment on Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.14.37 - prapañca niṣprapañco'pi viḍambayasi bhūtale. However, this is for those who are on the outside looking in. When you are on the inside looking out (in the middle of the līlā) it wont make any difference. You won’t notice the difference."

Bhakta: "In another song on your website (1st song of Rāi Rākhāl) it is described how the gopīs get mesmerised by the flute playing of Balarām and all the other gopas."

Advaitadas: "In this līlā, called Gopāṣṭamī, once a year, Rādhā joins the cowherd boys in the meadows. They don't get mesmerised by the gopas' flute-playing as they do by Kṛṣṇa's flute-playing – that is not the point of it. Rādhā dresses up as Subal and goes out in the daytime with Kṛṣṇa. The gopas’ flute-playing is a signal that this unique opportunity is arising for Her and that delights Her. This is not an amorous līlā involving Balarām or so. What Balarām does with the gopīs is not our concern. It is not described in any grantha at all in our entire sampradāya. The only description of Balarām and the gopīs is in chapter 65 of the 10th canto and the ācāryas have written practically no comments on it. We are devotees of Kṛṣṇa, not of Balarām - ārādhyo bhagavān vrajeśa tanayaḥ

Bhakta: ‘I read in Smṛti Śāstra that one should not look at a rainbow. Is that because it will remind a brahmacārī of women?”

Advaitadas: First of all, the Caitanya Caritāmṛta says ‘indra-dhanu śikhi-pākhā’, the rainbow reminds us of Kṛṣṇa’s peacock-feather crown’, secondly what will you do on the speedway, 100 m/h, when suddenly a rainbow appears in the sky? Close your eyes, crash and get killed? Thirdly, even the strictest brahmacārī cannot avoid seeing attractive women – they are simply there. One must transcend them. Viśvanatha Cakravartī says about that (SB 7.15.22 tika) : asankalpāt strī ramaṇādinā kāmotpattāvapi naiva strī mayā sambhoktavyeti sankalpa sadṛśān niścayāt kāmaṁ jayet  “The desire for women can be defeated by having a firm resolve, even if lust has arisen, realizing ‘This woman is not enjoyable for me’.


  1. Desire trees, rainbows, Dasya Ras, Balaram Bhakti and Vrindavan’s Cupid

    ...and a partridge in a pear tree...

    but seriously, do newly planted trees in Braj qualify as kalpataru?

  2. Let's ask the first Cakora bird that lands on it to make a nest.....

  3. Let's ask the first Cakora bird that lands on it to make a nest.....

    Whats that now, the cakora sampradaya, doe it mean we get a bir-brain for acarya?

    (great reply Advaita, thanks for the humor, ha ha...)

  4. Prabhu

    I have a general question to ask you.

    I recently heard from a Swami saying that when one takes diksa from the spiritual master, 99% of his/her previous karma is destroyed and the disciple is no longer under the influence of previous karmas.

    This will then implies that we don't need to take guidance of vedic astrology because all our karmas are vanquished after taking diksa.

    Is there a sastric evidence for the statement made by that Swami? What is your personal opinion in this regard?

    Radhe Krishna

  5. Both Haribhakti Vilasa and Bhakti Sandarbha carry this verse:

    divyam jnanam yato dadyat kuryat papasya sanksayam
    tasmad dikseti sa prokta desikais tattva-kovidaih

    Which means that diksa bestows divine knowledge and destroys all sins.
    However, there is an additional factor which is harinama:

    mriyamano harer nama grnan putropacaritam
    ajamilo'pyagad dhama kim punah sraddhaya grnan

    'When he died Ajamil attained the Supreme Abode, though he just called out for his son.
    What to speak then of those who chant with faith?" SB 6.2.49

    It is not that one cannot sin again after diksa though and that the Guru will just suffer those
    results. Each individual jiva is responsible for his/her own actions and will have to suffer or
    enjoy the consequences, also after diksa. See my blog of March 26, 2006.
    As for astrology, since it has been mentioned nowhere in the Gosvamis books we must consider
    it to be totally irrelevant to devotees' lives.