ŚRĪLA RŪPA GOSWĀMĪ'S STAVAMĀLĀ
Bhakta: "In one English translation of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī's Tribhaṅgī cchanda, verse 2, Kṛṣṇa's nails are said to be red, tāmra nakham. Are His nails painted with lac or so?"
Advaitadas: "I cannot remember any descriptions in the Gosvāmīs books of Kṛṣṇa's servants anointing His nails with lac. Besides, tāmra means copper colour, not red. It must be their natural colour."
Bhakta: "In his single Stavamālā-verse viracaya mayi daṇḍa, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī says that like a Cāṭak-bird he will tolerate the thunderbolt as long as he can get the rain. But I don't think the Cāṭak-bird likes the thunderbolt. Does a devotee relish punishment?"
Advaitadas: "This verse is like a commentary on the final verse of Śikṣāṣṭakam, āśliṣya vā padaratam. Punishment is another matter. Advaita Prabhu offended Mahāprabhu by preaching Jnana just to receive Mahāprabhu's attention, even if that would mean getting beaten up by Him. After two times Mahāprabhu told Him not to do it again because it would be harmful to His followers. Advaita Prabhu actually lost disciples to this type of preaching, but He was willing to pay that price just to get Mahāprabhu's attention somehow. Eagerness is what is stressed here. Just like Bilvamaṅgal - he hurt himself badly and almost drowned in his eagerness to meet the courtesan Cintāmaṇi. Returning to punishment, that takes place in the spiritual world as well - look at Vilāpa Kusumāñjali verse 95, where Tulasī gets thrashed for even a slight mistake, and she says māro, dhoro, jāy koro, tomār caran chere āmi kothāy jābo? "Kick me or embrace Me, whatever You do, where shall I go other than to Your lotus-feet?" Eagerness and camatkāra, astonishment, increases all the time in the spiritual sky - vibhur api kalayann sadāti vṛddhim."
(Dāna-keli Kaumudī 1)
Bhakta: "In Mukunda Muktāvali, verse 5, the translator says that Kṛṣṇa carries the Śārṅga bow. But isn't that Vaikuṇṭha/Dwārkā apparel?"
Advaitadas: "This may be just a name of Kṛṣṇa, just as He is also called Cakrī and so. Śārṅgī means archer in Sanskrit. It could mean flower-archer, as in Kām-gāyatrī's Puṣpa-bāṇa. There is always a rasik fix to all these names you know. The Sanskrit dictionary also says it can be a horn-player, and of course Kṛṣṇa's bugle horn is an item of His mādhurya."
Bhakta: "What could be a rasika explanation of Cakrī then?"
Advaitadas: "Rādhākuṇḍa's Pandit Vaiṣṇava Pada Bābājī gave a nice one, see my blog of October 10, 2005. Another one can be that Kṛṣṇa spins around like a disc out of enchantment with Śrī Rādhikā, as we can read in Vilāpa Kusumāñjali 38 - cakravad bhramayatam mura-śatrum." Expert rasiks say that names like Murāri, Kaṁsa-śatru etc. are used only to show that Kṛṣṇa's heroic behaviour impresses and thus attracts the girls of Vraja."
Bhakta: "In verse 23 of the same Mukunda Muktāvali, the English translator says: "Please develop love for Lord Hari's splendid toenails."
Advaitadas: "This is not right. Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī says here nata śaraṇe hari caraṇe - Bow down and surrender to Hari's feet. The nails are merely an item of these feet."
Bhakta: "The translation only speaks of the toenails, not of the feet at all."
Advaitadas: "That is clearly wrong - the words hari-caraṇe are clearly there."
Bhakta: "The translator says: "Oh friend who is busy hurrying about...."
Advaitadas: "That is also wrong. The text and both the Bengali flowing and padya-translations put that in the imperative case, 'O friend, please quickly do the bhajan of Hari-Charan."
Bhakta: "In verse 29, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī says that the universe is in Kṛṣṇa's tummy. Isn't this aiśvarya?"
Advaitadas: "There is no book so rasik or it will contain some aiśvarya. Perhaps the ācāryas inserted these images to create a contrast. After all, light shines brighter in the dark than in the light. So also mādhurya becomes sweeter when placed in contrast with aiśvarya."
PROF. DIMOCK'S EDITION OF ŚRĪ CAITANYA CARITĀMṚTA:
Bhakta: "In Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 22.181, a quotation from Lalita Mādhava, Prof. Dimock translates the verse as Kṛṣṇa saying : 'Displaying My duality of abhīra līlā (cowherd pastimes)..."
Advaitadas: "That is clearly wrong - the word dvaitam here refers to the 'second' form of Kṛṣṇa. This verse describes how Kṛṣṇa watches a drama on His own pastimes in Vraja performed by Gandharvas in Mathurā. The second form is Kṛṣṇa's original form in Vraja, the 'first' one is Vasudeva of Mathurā, who watches the drama."
Bhakta: "In Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 20.196, among the Viṣṇu-murtis one Govinda is mentioned, but I thought that Govinda was the original Kṛṣṇa in Goloka."
Advaitadas: "Govinda is also a name of Nārāyaṇa, as is Hari, Kṛṣṇa and Mādhava. Look at the second line of that verse: 'e anya govinda - nahe vrajendra-nandana' "This is another Govinda, not the son of Nanda Mahārāja (the sweet Kṛṣṇa in Goloka)."
Bhakta: 'Another Kṛṣṇa in Vaikuṇṭha? But isn't that the name and form of the original God who has the 4 types of sweetnesses (of the flute, His form, His pastimes and His love)?"
Advaitadas: "No, they are forms of Nārāyaṇa who happen to have the same name as Kṛṣṇa in Goloka. The name Kṛṣṇa can be explained in so many different ways. Each name of the Lord has an aiśvarya- and a mādhurya-reading. There is also Mādhava in Vaikuntha, which can mean the Lord of Lakṣmī (aiśvarya) or the reveller in Spring (mādhurya). So Mādhava is also both in Vaikuṇṭha and in Goloka."
Bhakta: "Then if Govinda is in Vaikuṇṭha too, does that mean Nārāyaṇa does something with cows too?"
Advaitadas: "go means a million things - it means cows, senses, earth, rays (of light), milk, flesh, the sun, water, the eye, the sky, a billion and speech. Take your pick."
Bhakta: "What if Nārāyaṇa wants a change and starts tending cows too?"
Advaitadas: 'Wanting a change would indicate boredom and boredom is a sign of lack of ānanda - there is no question of a lack of ānanda in any corner of the spiritual world - it would mean it was not the abode of sac cid ānanda, and that is wholly unacceptable. sat also means durable, not just existence. Everything is durable in the spiritual sky. Apart from the exemplary pastime in Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta of Nārāyaṇa herding cows just to make Gopakumāra feel at ease, which is purely an example in a textbook on devotional mellows, rather than a concrete eternal pastime, there is no mentioning of Nārāyaṇa herding cows in Vaikuṇṭha. Such mundane conceptions, that siddhas or the svarūpa śakti will have a change of mind in the spiritual sky, lie at the cradle of apasiddhāntas and speculations like fall-vāda, too."
Bhakta: 'What about naimittika līlā (occasional pastimes like Kṛṣṇa's birthday and Diwālī) then?"
Advaitadas: 'That they are occasional doesn't mean they are performed out of boredom. They exist for the fulfillment of nara-līlā (sweet, human-like pastimes). And since everything in the spiritual sky is eternal, these pastimes are, too. "
Bhakta: "If Nārāyan can have such mādhurya names, can Lakṣmī also sometimes be called Rādhā? After all, the consort of Nṛsiṁha is Nṛsiṁhī and the consort of Varāha is Varāhī."
Advaitadas: 'We should be careful not to look beyond and beside śāstra. I know of no Lakṣmī who is named Rādhā."
Bhakta: "In Caitanya Caritāmṛta Antya 3.71, it is said that all moving and nonmoving beings danced and sang in Mahāprabhu's saṅkīrtan. Do trees and plants have feelings just like us?"
Advaitadas: "I don't think they feel quite as much as we do, but yes, in his Bhāgavat-commentary (10.35.9) Prabhupāda Rādhā-binod Goswāmī quotes Manu saying: anta-saṁjñā bhavanty ete sukha-duḥkha samanvitā 'The least conscious creatures (like trees and plants) are aware of happiness and distress." This shows that all the symptoms that are shown in the Bhāgavat of trees dripping honey, cows getting stunned with tears in their eyes etc. when Kṛṣṇa plays His flute are not exaggerations or hyperboles of glorification."