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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rāghava Paṇḍit, Jaḍa Bharat, falling from Brahman, rāga-tattva and transcendental punks

Mahaprabhu's sitting-place at Syamakund, around 1970

Bhakta: "It is said that the book Kṛṣṇa-bhakti Ratna Prakāśa is written by Rāghava Paṇḍit, who made the bags of delicacies for Mahāprabhu during His pastimes? Is that so?"

Advaitadas: "No, this book is written by another Rāghava, who was named Rāghava Goswāmī who was a contemporary of Narottama and Śrīnivāsa, pastimes that took place more than a century later. He lived in a cave in Puccharī, at the base of Mt. Govardhana."

Bhakta: "In the Bhāgavata (5.8.26) it is said that Mahārāja Bharat got a deer-body in the next life, despite having attained the stage of bhāva. How is that possible?"

Advaitadas: "It is explained by Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda in his commentary on that verse:

mṛga-dārakam ābhāsayati prakāśayati yat tena svārabdha-karmaṇeti | prārabdhaṁ hi dvividhaṁ—śobhanam aśobhanam ca | tatrādyaṁ bhakta-priyeṇāpi nayana-tīvrāñjana-dāna-nyāyena sva-bhakty-utkaṇṭhā-varṇana-vidagdhena bhagavataiva svecchayaiva prārabdha-tulyatvāt prārabdham upapādyate yad udarko viṣayābhiniveśa eva syāt | atra tu śobhanenārabdheneti sākṣāt suśabda evopanyastaḥ

"There are two kinds of prārabdha karma - śobhana and aśobhana (beautiful and not-beautiful). The first one is like a stinging eye-ointment administered by the Lord, who is dear to His bhakta (bhakta-priyena), which serves to increase the devotee’s eagerness (to attain Him) and which is freely (independently) bestowed by this Vidagdha (clever) Lord. It appears to be just like ordinary prārabdha. This is even possible to happen to those who have attained rati or bhāva bhakti level. The second type of prārabdha is made of one’s old karma and is caused by absorption in the sense objects. The former, śobhana, is mentioned in this verse.” Viśvanātha Cakravartī's commentaries on Śrīmad Bhagavat 10.87.40 and 10.88.8 explain about devotees' suffering in general. They are too long to present here in this blog, though."

Bhakta: "Rūpa Gosvāmī says in Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu 1.2.249:

jñāna-vairāgyayor bhakti-praveśayopayogita
īṣat prathamam eveti nāṅgatvam ucitam tayoḥ

'Knowledge and renunciation are helpful for entering the path of devotion, but only in the very beginning. They are never integral parts of devotion."

Jīva Gosvamī's commentary:
 prathamam evety anyāveśa-parityāga-mātrāya te upadīyete tat-parityāgena jāte ca bhakti-praveśe tayor akiñcitkāratvāt tat-tad-bhāvanayā bhakti vicchedatkatvācca 
'"In the beginning" means: only to help the person give up other (mundane) absorptions. Knowledge and renunciation are only marginally helpful in entering the path of devotion. Meditating on these things form an obstacle to devotion."

Verse 250:

yad ubhe citta-kāṭhinya-hetū prāyaḥ sataṁ mate
sukumāra-svabhāveyam bhaktis taddhetur īrita

'Both cause the heart to be hardened, while Bhakti itself is very tender by nature."

Q. What does knowledge here refers to? We read śāstras all our lives, getting knowledge. How it is an obstacle?"

Advaitadas: "Knowledge here refers to brahma jñāna and karma jñāna, knowledge of the matters that had already been rejected by Śrī Rūpa earlier on. It does not mean devotional knowledge, because that would contradict Śrī Rūpa's definition of the uttama adhikārī in Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu 1.2.17 - śāstre yuktau ca nipunaḥ sarvathā dṛḍha niścaya - "He is expert in śāstra and logic and firmly convinced too." Jīva and Viśvanātha comment on Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu 1.2.248: 

jñānam atra tvam-padartha-viṣayaṁ tat-padartha-viṣayaṁ tayor aikya-viṣayam ceti tri-bhūmikam brahma-jñānam ucyate. tatreṣad iti aikya-viṣayam tyaktvety arthaḥ  

"Jñāna which is rejected here refers to the knowledge of the oneness of the jīva and brahman." Knowledge should not lead to an increase of pride, though (unfortunately it often does). For instance, in Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa's commentary on Bhagavad Gītā 18.58:
 atha ced ahaṅkārāt kṛtyākṛtya-viṣayaka-jñānābhimānāt tvam mad-uktam na śrosyaṣi tarhi vinaṅkṣyaṣi svārthāt vibhraṣṭo bhaviṣyasi  
"Thus, if you are proud of knowing what is to be done and not to be done and you do not listen to My word, you will perish, which means you will fall from your own interest."

Madhusūdan Saraswati speaks on the same verse:
atha ced yadi tu tvam mad-ukte visvāsam akṛtvāhaṅkārāt paṇḍito’ham iti garvān na śroṣyasi mad-vacanārtham na kariṣyasi tato vinankṣyasi puruṣārthād bhraṣṭo bhaviṣyasi
"Thus, if you do not believe My words and will not act (according to it), due to the pride of 'I am a scholar', and do not follow My instructions, you will perish, meaning you will fall from your own interest."

Śrīdhar Swami:
atha cet yadi punas tvam ahaṅkārān jñātṛtvābhimānāt mad uktam evaṁ na śroṣyasi tarhi vinaṅkṣyasi puruṣārthād bhraṣṭo bhaviṣyasi. 
"Thus, again if out of pride you think you know it all and do not listen to My words, you will perish and thus fall from the supreme goal of human life."

Bhakta: "Some say that one will fall down from brahman due to loneliness or even due to boredom?"

Advaitadas: "One does not fall either from brahman or from Goloka. Bored? brahma bhūta prasannātma na śocati na kaṅkṣati (Bhagavad Gītā 18.54) - Brahman realization makes one prasannātma, a delighted self. So how can this ānanda then also be boring and unfulfilling? It is just not our ānanda, but that doesn’t mean it is not ānanda - the Bhāgavat says tattvam yajjñānam advayam brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate - "The Absolute Truth is threefold and consists of Brahman Paramātma and Bhagavān - not that two features of the Absolute Truth are material and one is spiritual. Lonely? Look at Śrīmad Bhāgavat 7.9.44 - the brahmanandis go in solitude, not just because there is no disturbance there, but also because they do not need any more company. brahmānanda has its own fulfillment. None of the ācāryas that commented on the famous verse ye'nye'ravindaksa vimukta manina (Śrīmad Bhāgavat 10.2.32), which is sometimes used to suggest that one can fall down from Brahman, interpret the verse like that. See my blogs of March 15, 2006 and April 7, 2007.

Bhakta: "Some say brahman is material because it is attained by neti neti, negation of the material."

Advaitadas: "neti neti means it is not this and that material thing - that does not mean it is not a spiritual thing. The Śrīmad Bhāgavat (1.2.11) says the Absolute Truth is a non-dual substance (advaya jñāna) and consists of Brahman Paramātma and Bhagavān.

Bhakta: "What about śūnyavāda? Can we cease to exist altogether, as the Buddhists claim?"

Advaitadas: "Kṛṣṇa's first lesson in Bhagavad Gītā (2.12) is: 

na tvevāhaṁ jātu nāsaṁ na tvaṁ neme narādhipāḥ
na caiva na bhaviṣyāmaḥ sarve vayam ataḥ param 

'Never was there a time when I did not exist nor you nor all these kings, nor will there ever be a time when any of us will cease to exist."

Bhakta: "What about playing punk or rock music for preaching?"

Advaitadas: "I am dead against this. The audience are left with a saṁskāra of extremely gross sound vibrations in their citta, not with the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra that the devotee-punkers may sing along with it. Devotees say they play this music to attract people to Kṛṣṇa, but
1. this is just an excuse for their own indulgence in this music, to which they themselves are attached, and
2. what type of people do you attract by catering to their demands like this?
This is just orchestrated by institutional bigshots that crave for large numbers of followers by lowering the threshold further and further and thus attracting lower and lower quality people.
What about the old motto 'Purity is the force'?"

Bhakta: "Why aren't the steps of Rādhākuṇḍa (in the aprakaṭ līlā) made of mud instead of platforms and steps as is described in Govinda Līlāmṛta?"

Advaitadas: "Though it would be more romantic, it would create a mess during the jala-keli (water-pastimes), which is a pretty wild event. All the water would be muddled. Plus mud can get very slippery when wet, it could cause accidents for Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs as they descend into or ascend out of the water. Here I suppose the pastoral sweetness has to make way for some luxurious facilities to safeguard Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs."

Read recently:
A transcendental dialectic by OBL Kapoor.
Dr. Kapoor says, quoted in the harmonist "Raganuga-bhakti means the natural, spontaneous, and continuous flow of pure devotion, free from scriptural forms and sanctions regarding what ought to be done and what ought not to be done."

This is not just incorrect, but highly irresponsible too to preach to an audience that has hardly given up hippie-life. It encourages ex-hippies, that have built up just a wafer-thin layer of Vaiṣṇava-discipline, to fall back into their lives of tāmasik indulgence on the pretext of, or seriously thinking this to be 'rāgānugā bhakti'. It is only the attainment, but not the practise of rāgānugā bhakti that is free from scripture, Śrī Viśvanāth has abundantly proven this in his Rāga Vartma Candrikā. He closes the book by saying: 

ye tu rāgānugā bhaktiḥ sarvathaiva sarvadaiva śāstra-vidhim atikrāntā eva iti bruvate 'ye śāstra vidhim utsṛjya yajante śraddhayānvitaḥ'. iti 'vidhi hīnam asṛṣṭānnam' ityādi gītokter garhām arhanto muhur utpātam anubhūtavanto'nubhavanto'nubhaviṣyanti cety alam ati vistārena.

"Those who say that rāgānugā bhakti  always totally surpasses all scriptural injunctions in all respects are denounced by Gītā-verses such as 'those who give up all scriptural injunctions to worship with mere faith' (17.1), and 'food made without regulations' (17.13), have always caused disturbance, are causing disturbance and will cause disturbance. There is no need to say anything more."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Gaṇoddeśa Dīpikā, part 5

Sangam in the 1970s - courtesy of Acyutananda

I have added idiom to this, the 5th and final part of the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Gaṇoddeśa Dīpikā:

2.116 I believe that there are two things in the second half of this verse – a kuñja named Kāma Mahātīrtha and a jewelled pavillion named Mandara, or perhaps with Mandara (trees), though the Bengali translator and Bhūmipati say it is one thing.

2.117 Kuśakrath says anaga, this is probably a typo. It should be anaṅga.

2.119 Kuśakrath’s maru maruta should be madhu māruta, perhaps a typo.

2.120 maṇibandha means the wrist (as the place on which jewels are fastened) according to the dictionary, so Kuśakrath is not necessarily wrong, but I believe that Bhūmipati’s translation is correct and Maṇibandha is the name of the ends of the bow, because of the three items the last and the first have a name and the middle one should then have one too.
Idiom: karmana = magic vilāsa, the bow he may keep at home for sporting.

2.121 kartari means knife or scissors, but I don’t think it means either chopper (Bhūmipati) or scissors (Kuśakrath) because it seems to me that a cowherd needs neither of those tools. It may mean a knife for cutting the calves’ ropes. Tuṣṭidā means ‘giver of satisfaction’.

2.122 Idiom: madana jhaṅkṛti - twanging of Cupid's bow
muralī - sarala - the flute is straight in form but not in function.

2.123 kākalī means a soft sweet sound. mūki or dumbfounding is not explained by Kuśakrath, hence Bhūmipati’s version should get the benefit of the doubt.

2.124 Bhūmipati makes typo here – maṇḍala instead of maṇḍana. maṇḍana means decoration. Kuśakrath forgets that Rādhā-mantra is Kṛṣṇa’s sādhya, or goal.

2.126 About the yellow cloth being named Nigama Śobhana, Kuśakrath may be right just because there are four items in the verse and the other three were named, so the yellow cloth should also get a name, while this is not done in Bhūmipati’s translation. Bhūmipati instead says ‘extensively described in all the śāstras’. Śobhana does not mean famous but beautiful. It is most reasonable to accept Kuśakrath’s verdict here. The meaning given by Bhūmipati is not necessarily wrong, though.

2.127 Bhūmipati says a Kuraṅga is a bird while it is a deer.
Idiom: haṁsa - gañjana means ‘excelling swans’.

2.128 Kuśakrath says there is a picture in the locket and Bhūmipati says reflection. Both could apply. From the common sense point of view it should be reflection and not picture because Kṛṣṇa’s superiors would get suspicious if Kṛṣṇa wore Rādhā’s image at home.

2.129 The nāga-patnīs giving Kṛṣṇa the Kaustubha gem is a special līlā, just as Paraśūrām gave Kṛṣṇa the Sudarśana Cakra in Sandīpanī Muni’s school and Viṣṇu got the Kaustubha-gem and Lakṣmī during the Samudra Manthan. Actually these items eternally belong to Him.

2.130 Both the meaning, given by Bhūmipati, and the name, given by Kuśakrath, are all right. Bhāmipati first speaks of one earring and then in a new sentence of two earrings, as if there are two items discussed there, but that is not so.
Kuśakrath says cuḍa means crest jewel and Bhūmipati says turban, but cāmara is ‘plume’, and ḍāmara is ‘extraordinary’, so cūḍa most probably means a topknot of hair, as says - that would explain the hairy meaning of cāmara ḍāmara.

2.131 Bhūmipati provides a handy translation of nava ratna viḍamba here.
Idiom: dṛṣṭi-mohana = captivating the eyes.
rāga-valli = vine of passion due to red colour of guñjā.
vaijayantī - garland= a decoration for victors

2.132 Kuśakrath speaks of one garland, named Vaijayanti, while Bhūmipati speaks of two garlands – Vanamālā and Vaijayanti. The word tu indicates that Bhūmipati is right.

2.134 Kuśakrath’s translation is good and Bhūmipati’s is not.

2.136 Idiom: śaibyā most probably related to a river as females tend to be named after rivers
pālikā can mean cheese, which is related to vaiśya dharma, but I believe it means obviously protectress. candra-śālikā means moonlight.

2.138 Idiom: śāradākṣi = shy-eyed, or white-lotus-eyed, viśāradā = beautifully autumnal
śivā = Durgā, river, or a musical metre.

2.141.Bhūmipati has lumped in 140, in which Rūpa Gosvāmī changes the topic, with 136-139, which deals with Candrāvalī’s group. In 141, however, a general description is given, including Rādhā. That Rūpa Goswāmī changes the topic is lost if verse 140 is lumped in with 136-139. Kuśakrath has rightly disconnected 140 from 136-139, so the change of topic is clear there.

2.142 Bhūmipati forgets mṛgī-dṛśa, doe-eyed gopīs.

2.143 Bhūmipati forgets that Gandharvā is a name from the Śruti śāstra but he adds instead that “She possesses all the talents of a Gandharvā such as singing, dancing and playing upon musical instruments”, whereas this again is not mentioned in the original verse.

2.145 Bhūmipati’s ‘amorous pastimes’ is strictly not in the śloka.

2.147 Bhūmipati’s “reflected” is not in the verse, nor is “swinging back and forth”. Vicitram is forgotten – it means wonderful. Kuśakrath’s translation is OK here.

2.148 Bhūmipati’s ‘pearl string’ and ‘flower garland’ are singular, not plural. Kuśakrath takes Rādhā to be the central topic of this verse, but it is Her hair instead, so the garland and pearls decorate Her hair separately here, apart from those around Her neck.

2.149 Bhūmipati translates citra-patra with ‘tilak’ while Kuśakrath does not mention it at all.

2.150 Bhūmipati fails to translate anaṅga-daṇḍa, Cupid’s staff, though that is mentioned both in the śloka and in the Bengali translation that he followed.

2.151 Bhūmipati forgets they are lotus-eyes. Kuśakrath wisely says ‘almost’ up to the ears because totally up to the ears would not be beautiful, although Rūpa Gosvāmī literally does say that (ā-karṇa) he obviously does not mean it literally.

2.153 oṣṭhādhara means both the lower and the upper lip, not just the lower. According to my VS Apte dictionary tāḍaṅka means earring or ear-ornament which would make Kuśakrath right and Bhūmipati (nose-ring) wrong.

2.154 Kuśakrath misses the point that the tongue increases the beauty of the teeth, and he forgets the Bimba (cherry-lips) as well.

2.155 cibuka means chin, not cheeks. Bhūmipati has that wrong.

2.159 Bhūmipati forgets that the lotus-hands are red.

2.160 Bhūmipati’s heading is wrong here – it should be Rādhā’s hands, not Her feet.

2.161 Kuśakrath says: “These auspicious marks are manifest in various ways” it comes from nānā citra virājita, which means ‘various images exist on Her hand in the form of these signs’, not that one image manifests in different ways.

2.162 udara means neither waist (Kuśakrath) nor lower part of the body (Bhūmipati), it means belly. Neither translator has properly translated the words madhu-lābaṇya (honey and glittering beauty). Bhūmipati also fails to translate sudhā rasa pūrṇa, ‘filled with nectar-juice.’

2.163 Bhūmipati forgot ‘vali-trayi latā baddha’, it is bound by a creeper of three folds of skin, which is included by Kuśakrath.

2.164 The meaning of the word rasākarau is not clear to me, so I don’t really know which translation is correct here.

2.165 Kuśakrath’s “toe rings as beautiful as the treasure of Varuṇa.” Is interesting. It must refer to the word baṅkarāja, which has been a problematic word for me when I was translating Bengali songs for Ananta Dāsjī’s books in the past. The dictionary gives no entries to this word, which I always thought was Bengali and not Sanskrit. If we enter vaṅka instead of baṅka we get ‘roamer, tramp’, but ‘the king of tramps’ seems an unlikely name for toe-rings. vaṅka can also mean crooked. It is still unclear if that refers to Varuṇa and Kuśakrath cannot be questioned on it anymore, unfortunately.

2.166 Bhūmipati calls ‘Domara’ a fig and Kuśakrath calls it a drum. It seems Kuśakrath is right here.

2.168 Yaśodā loves Rādhā more than millions of mothers in general, there is no mentioning of Rādhā’s mother, as Bhūmipati did. The text just says mātṛ, which could be stretched into meaning Rādhā’s mother but that is a far-fetched interpretation. mātṛ just means mother. The same is mentioned in Vilāp-kusumāñjali's verse 66.

2.170 Bhūmipati forgot Rādhā’s third uncle, Ratnabhānu.

2.172 According to the Bengali translator and Bhūmipati, the husband of the first lady is mentioned last and of the last lady is mentioned first. Kuśakrath did that the wrong way around.

2.176 Kuśakrath writes Mātalī instead of Mālatī and Mankiundala instead of Maṇikuṇḍala.

2.183prāya’ means ‘in a sense’. The Bengali translator explains the word prāya with: they assume separate forms for the pastimes, but in svarūpa they are one. Kuśakrath translated ‘prāya’ as ‘for the most part’ which is not very clear.

2.185 sakhī bhāva viśeṣa bhāk means she has a clear-cut, explicit feeling of a sakhī. Bhūmipati’s translation of this is not very clear.

2.186 If we are to believe the Bengali translator both Kuśakrath and Bhūmipati are wrong here – it should be that Bindumati and Nāndīmukhī arrange for the reconciliation of the divine Pair after They fell out with Each other.

2.188 Kuśakrath forgets Smaroddhurā-sakhī and that the sakhīs sing songs of Gandharvā or Rādhā.

2.189 Kuśakrath forgets Premavatī devī.
Idiom – kusuma-peśala means flower-decorated.

2.190 There are not four but five kinds of sakhīs. Bhūmipati and the Bengali translator forgot the first class – Sakhīs. They are a separate group, it is not a collective term.

2.191 Divākīrti means barber but it could also be someone’s name. I think it is the former, thus Bhūmipati would be right here.
Idiom – mañjiṣṭhā is a purifying herb growing on vines. It has red flowers, because Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī says in Caitanya Candrāmṛta (73): eko devaḥ kaṭi-taṭa-milan-mañju-māñjiṣṭha-vāsā  “He is one God who wears a lovely dress colored like a Mañjiṣṭhā, on His waist.” And Prabodhānanda speaks of Mahāprabhu’s Purī-svarūpa throughout, so the Mañjiṣṭhā flower is red or saffron coloured, the color of His sannyāsa-cloth.

2.192 tāriṇī could mean protectress, which is included in Bhūmipati’s translation.

2.193 It is unclear from my dictionaries whether haḍḍipa means sweeper or potter. It could be interpreted to mean either.

2.194 Kuśakrath says that the Pulindīs could be in Rādhā’s group too, perhaps he read cāsyāḥ (and these) for cānyāḥ (and others…). Bhūmipati says they are all in Kṛṣṇa’s parivāra (community).

2.196 Idiom: Piśaṅgī means reddish-brown. Kala-kandalā means tender sprig or vine. An alternative spelling for sandhā is nandā, which means delight.

2.197 Kuśakrath failed to note that the first class of cows give birth to calves each year.
Idiom: sunadā – making nice sounds or a nice river (nadī). Bahulā can mean indigo plant or lunar digit. It is also a prototype name for a cow. Kakkhaṭī comes from kakkhata, which means hard.

2.198 Kuśakrath speaks of a pet elephant which of course Rādhārāṇī does not have. Instead it is a peahen (mayūrī). He mistakes the word mayūrī (peahen) for mādhurī (his imaged name of the imagined elephant).

2.199 I prefer Kuśakrath’s translation – its more charming.

2.200 Bhūmipati mistakes the ghrāṇa muktā (nose-pearl) for a necklace, and here the two translators again disagree about the meaning of tāḍaṅka, Kuśakrath saying (rightly, see 2.153) they are earrings and Bhūmipati (wrongly) saying they are bangles.

2.201 Kuśakrath says that Rādhā’s locket contains a picture of Kṛṣṇa, but the word prati-chāyā means reflection and that also makes more sense. See verse 2.128

2.202 Kuśakrath’s “Her anklets are called caṭaka-rava because their tinkling sounds resemble the warbling of Caṭaka-birds.” Is clearer than Bhūmipati’s translation, but Bhūmipati is again clearer than Kuśakrath about the bracelets – they are called maṇi kurvara “because it is studded with colorful jewels.” Idiom: karbura is variety.

2.203 Idiom: kāñcana citrāṅgī means a wonderful golden female body.

2.205 darpa really means pride, as Kuśakrath says, and not ‘beauty’ as Bhūmipati says.

2.206 Bhūmipati and the Bengali translator call Narmadā a hairpin, Kuśakrath says it is a stick for applying eyeliner. Kuśakrath is right, and he is also right on the material of the comb – it is jewelled (ratna-kaṅkatī) and not golden (as Bhūmipati says). Hair-pin in Sanskrit is roma-sūci, not śalākā. Idiom – kuhalī is something like a magic trick.

2.207 It seems the Bengali translator mistook the word nīpa (Kadamba-tree) for nīla (blue), so the mistake of blue platform comes into being, whereas it is a platform under a Nīpa- or Kadamba-tree. Kuśakrath again does not mention the platform but he does mention the Kadamba tree.

2.208 The Bengali translator and Bhūmipati say that Rudra-Vallakī is the name of Rādhā’s Vīṇā, while Kuśakrath says it is the name of a dance. Kuśakrath is wrong here.

2.210 Like Bhṛgu Muni Dāsjī said, the book indeed ends rather abruptly. Bhūmipati has nāthayo wrong, it is not the singular Lord of Śrī Rādhā, but the dual lords, or rather Lord and Lady of Vṛndāvana, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Kuśakrath’s monarchs is more or less all right. It is sweeter to consider Nanda-Yaśodā the monarchs of Vṛndāvana rather than Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, who in the nara-līlā should be just a boy and a girl.

It is sad but true that there is hardly any verse in this important booklet which has been properly translated by both translators. This review is probably far from perfect too, but hopefully it has set a number of things straight.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Rādhā Kṛṣṇa Gaṇoddeśa Dīpikā, part 4

Yajña performed on the Saṅgam during Rādhākuṇḍa Saṁskāra of 1940

This is part four of my 5-part book review of Bhūmipati Dās and Kuśakratha Dās' editions of Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmīpāda's Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Gaṇoddeśa Dīpikā:


2.2 Kuśakrath fails to include navya, Kṛṣṇa is like a fresh Tamāl tree, Bhūmipati forgets puñja, a mass of clouds, not just a cloud.

2.5 The word pāṭīra is not clear, nor is it translated by anyone. Bhūmipati overlooks the word alaka, Kṛṣṇa's curly locks.

2.7 Kuśakrath forgot the second line of the verse, in Bhūmipati’s words: 'Because of the effulgence emanating from these jewels, His cheeks brightly shine.'

2.8 nānā hāsya sumadhura is translated by Kuśakrath as ‘many charming jokes’ and by Bhūmipati as ‘His attractive smile’ – since the word nānā indicates a variety, and hāsya does not mean ‘smile’, Kuśakrath’s work is the best here.

2.9 tribhaṅga is a separate word, and is not an adjective of the word grīva (neck), this is wrong in Kuśakrath’s work, and right in Bhūmipati’s.

2.12 Bhūmipati forgets the parasol on Kṛṣṇa’s hands. Bhūmipati’s 'anchor' should be 'elephant-driver’s hook'. Same in 2.17.

2.13 Kṛṣṇa’s charming, ambrosial back and sides seem to long for keli (love pastimes) with the ramaṇīs (girls). These verses 11-18 seem the source of Govinda Līlāmṛta chapters 11 and 16, tip to toe description.

2.14 Bhūmipati says “perfect lotus flower” but it should be “nectar lotus flower (sudhāmbhojaṁ)”. utsuka means ‘enthuse’, not ‘enchants’ [Bhūmipati] or ‘bewilders’ [Kuśakrath]

2.15 Java is not a China rose or rose it is just Java – bright red poppy.

2.18 aruṇa is red or pink, not ‘bright’ as Bhūmipati claims.

2.20 Kuśakrath should have mentioned that Balarāma is the killer of Pralamba.

2.22 Kuśakrath places all the boys in the same category in this verse, of those who join Kṛṣṇa in the forest, while Bhāmipati divides them into two groups – the first four being in the group of Kṛṣṇa’s cousins and the other three in the group that accompany Kṛṣṇa into the forest.

2.23 I have a feeling that Yakṣa and Indrabhaṭa are two separate gopas, as I think I read such names elsewhere, and that it should not be one boy named Yakṣendra-bhaṭa.

2.25 Should Ambikā’s son not be called Vijaya instead of Vijayakṣa? Ananta Dās Bābājī, in his purport to the Vijaya-verse of Vraja Vilāsa Stava (18), quotes the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Gaṇoddeśa Dīpikā as saying vijayākhya, which simply means: ‘known as Vijaya’. Bhūmipati and Kuśakrath may have worked with the same Sanskrit text with such a typo. The Gaudiya Grantha Mandir-version also says Vijayākṣa, though. This may be the same edition that I am using here, of course. It is distributed by BH Bon Maharaj’s Gauḍīya Maṭh Vrindavan, published in 1971.

2.26 Kuśakrath’s ‘dark’ is not wrong but unclear, as dark can also mean grey or black.

2.27 Kuśakrath says Kundalatā WILL become Subhadra’s wife. This is not right, there is no future in this world. Bhūmipati justly says that she IS his wife.

2.30-31 Bhūmipati forgets to mention Vilāsī. He adds this line: “Among them, Śrī-dāmā is known as Pīṭhamardda, because he possesses all the qualities of a hero. Yet, he remains subordinate to Kṛṣṇa.” The word pīṭha mardak is in the śloka, but not the explanation given by Bhūmipati.

2.32 reference to 1.135 Kuśakrath doesn’t translate pratyantara, Bhūmipati and the Bengali translator call it ‘the opposite camp’, but this is not possible. That may solve 1.135, meaning they are for and not against.

2.33 Bhūmipati forgets to mention daṇḍa-yuddha, stick-fighting.

2.34 The sakhās are Kṛṣṇa’s prāṇa (as Bhūmipati says), but of course Kṛṣṇa is also their prāṇa, as Kuśakrath says, though perhaps that is not the meaning of the text.

2.36 mūrtimān eva rasarāṭa means ‘the embodiment of Cupid’. Kuśakrath says ‘personified ruler of all transcendental mellows.’ Bhūmipati says Ujjvala shines very brightly in his service, as his name suggests. He is aware of all the intricacies of transcendental mellows. Bhūmipati says Kṛṣṇa is the object of śṛṅgāra rasa, which, though true, is not strictly in the text In the līlā Kṛṣṇa is subdued by Ujjvala as Cupid. Kuśakrath has it more or less right here.

2.37 Kuśakrath’s ‘dark’ is unclear. It could mean 'grey' or 'black', while it should be śyāma.

2.40 gaur means either pale, white or gold, so both Kuśakrath and Bhūmipati are right. You need to see it with your own eyes I suppose.

2.41 Sudāmā is not very young, as Kuśakrath says, but su-kiśora-vayo, of full adolescence.

2.43 Kuśakrath misses the point of sakhī bhāva. Sakhī sometimes means boyfriend in Sanskrit, perhaps Kuśakrath stumbled on this one. sakhībhāva means he is confided in Kṛṣṇa’s intimate pastimes. Bhūmipati’ “assuming the mood of a gopī” does not mean Subal is effeminate or camp. He is as close to Kṛṣṇa as the sakhīs in the amorous context, as an assistant in these pastimes. samāśrita means he takes shelter of the feelings of a sakhī. Neither Kuśakrath nor Bhūmipati made that clear.

2.44 Bhūmipati forgets nānā guṇa sukhopeta, he is happy and qualified in different ways. Kuśakrath did translate it. Both of them overlook ‘madhuro bhāva bhāvita’ he is absorbed in the amorous pastimes.

2.45 Bhūmipati separates ‘bodily color’ and ‘complexion’ – it is one. Kuśakrath has it right – ‘Glistening red lotus’.

2.50 Gandharvā’s father is named Vināka, not Vinoka as Kuśakrath says.

2.51 īṣat means slightly, not splendid [Kuśakrath] īṣat gaurāṅga, which is also 2.59 is like creme-colour

2.53 Kuśakrath fails to translate paramojjvala, which means Ujjvala is most splendid obviously because of his complexion and his dress.

2.59 Bhūmipati overlooked that Sanandana is like the embodiment of ujjvala rasa, the erotic flavour, greatly effulgent.

2.60 Kuśakrath just says that Vidagdha has blue garments though Rūpa Gosvāmī specifically says śikhi-kaṇṭha-vāsa, they are colored like a peacock’s neck. Bhūmipati has this right.

2.64 Bhūmipati should have mentioned that Paurṇamāsī is Madhumaṅgal’s paternal grandmother.

2.68 cūḍa can mean both crown and topknot but in Vraja’s mādhurya it is most likely a topknot because Kṛṣṇa also wears a turban, not a crown.

2.71 Yaśodā is a mother but not the mother of Balarāma. Rohiṇī is mentioned as His mother just in the previous verse. Kuśakrath has erred here.

2.73 The Bengali translator translates Kaḍāra, Bhāratībandha and Gandhaveda as names of the viṭas, not of their skills. Both Kuśakrath and Bhūmipati translated these names instead as ‘expert in music, drama, literature etc.’ The meanings they ascribe to these names are also not in the dictionary.

2.74 Kuśakrath fails to mention these boys are called ceṭas. Bhūmipati mentions it.

2.76 ghaṭaka is not clearly explained by Kuśakrath but Bhūmipati says it is related to dhātu, the minerals, making it minerals of clay. ghaṭaka normally means a pot [loṭā], though.

2.77 The first betel servant is called Pallava, Kuśakrath said Pallva.

2.78 Kuśakrath fails to translate tāmbūla pariskāra vicakṣaṇa, the boys are expert in cleaning the betel nuts. Bhūmipati mentions it.

2.79 upacāra means attendance in general. Kuśakrath says ‘washing’ and Bhūmipati says ‘washing and arranging’. That should be ok though it is not strictly in the verse. Washing, folding and presenting are about all you can do with clothes.

2.81 The question is here whether Karpūra, Sugandha and Kusuma are boys’ names or they mean services like providing camphor, scents and flowers, which these words can also mean. Since puṣpālaṅkāra kārina, they may flower-ornaments, is already mentioned elsewhere in this extended verse, it seems to me that Bhūmipati, who translated these words as being boys’ names, may be right.

2.82 nāpita is more than a barber, although the dictionary says just barber; it also means engaging in massage, pedicure and manicure. koṣādhikāra means treasurer or accountant, which is an odd combination in the western culture – being both barber and accountant. The boy is named Komala and not Kamala according to my Bengali edition. Kuśakrath’s ‘caring for the Lord’s kitchen’ is wrong, Bhūmipati is right – they carry Kṛṣṇa’s plates and seats.

2.84 The Bengali translator and Bhūmipati say these ladies are the wives of the ceṭas – Kuśakrath fails to mention that.

2.85 Bhūmipati’s ‘they bring the gopīs’ replies to Kṛṣṇa secretly’ is atirikta (redundant).

2.86 viśārada can mean ‘expert’ as Bhūmipati says, it can also mean the name of a servant boy as Kuśakrath says. The verse gives much space for interpretation so it is not clear who has made the right translation here. Bhūmipati takes a lot of license by adding “Tuṅga can get anything done, Vāvadīka is most outspoken, and Manoramā attracts everyone's mind” because all of that is not mentioned in the verse.

2.88 Kuśakrath’s translation is wrong, Bhūmipati’s right.

2.89 Here is the contradiction Bhṛgu Muni Dāsjī mentioned: In 1.67 Paurṇamāsī is described as wearing kāṣāya vasana, which means saffron cloth, and here, in 2.89 she is said to wear śukla vastra, or a white dress.

2.91 Kuśakrath overlooks that Paurṇamāsī is expert in investigations.

2.92 Kuśakrath says: “She (Vīrā) can speak very arrogantly and boldly and she can also speak sweet and flattering words, as Vṛndā-devī does.” That is not right. Bhūmipati’s is correct – Vīrā speaks boldly and Vṛndā is expert in flattery.

2.94 Kuśakrath forgets that Vīrā is expert in searching for things. It may mean ‘acting as a detective’. Spying is closely to related to messaging, like in embassies.

2.95 Bhūmipati says Vṛnda’s mother is named Pullarā – this should be Phullarā.

2.98 Nāndīmukhī’s garments are silken (as Bhūmipati says), not exquisite (as Kuśakrath says).

2.99 Bhūmipati simply says that Paurṇamāsī is Nāndīmukhī’s grandmother, while Kuśakrath rightly says she is her paternal grandmother.

2.100 Kuśakrath forgets to mention that Nāndīmukhī is expert in various investigations. Bhūmipati mentions it.

2.101 Both Bhūmipati and Kuśakrath forget to mention that these boys also play the Mahatī (a Vīṇā like Nārada’s). The Bengali translator does mention it.

2.104 Bhūmipati is wrong - they are not undressing Kṛṣṇa but are washing His clothes.

2.105 There is no particular area mentioned in the verse which they are supposed to keep clean. The best for both translators would have been to just say they are cleaners.

2.108 śikya is a kind of loop or swing made of rope and suspended from either end of a pole or yoke to receive a load , carrying swing (also applied to the load so carried); the string of a balance. It seems both Kuśakrath and Bhūmipati’s differing interpretations can be right.

2.112 Kuśakrath and Bhāmipati are not wrong in their elaborations on Girirāj but strictly speaking Rūpa Goswāmī says that it is properly named as krīḍā giri, the play-mountain, nothing else.

2.113 nīla maṇḍapikā can mean a sapphire platform, as Bhūmipati says or it could be the name of a place, like Kuśakrath says. Both are possible.

2.114 ‘as if’ is not there – Lakṣmī really resides there. In Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.31.1 Indirā is also mentioned but it doesn’t mean Vaikuṇṭheśvarī, it means beauty as an element. If that meaning is accepted then both Kuśakrath and Bhūmipati are wrong. Nārāyan is of course worshipable in Vraj-līlā, too, so it could be interpreted in this way too.

2.115 Kuśakrath says Kṛṣṇa did grow up in Nandagrām and it is a small stone house, none of this is in the verse. It is slabs of stone as Bhūmipati says. Bhūmipati forgets to mention the stones are white. My translation in the Vraja Vilāsa Stava-purports of Ananta Dās Pandit - "On the white slabs of stone adjoining Nandīśvara Hill is Asthānī, the place where Kṛṣṇa sits with His friends. When He sits on this platform His brightness is really revealed. Another name of this place, which is always scented by the greatest perfumes, is 'Amoda Vardhana." be continued...............

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The true vastra-haran boys

Today The Harmonist posted this article on sakhya bhāva, based on a booklet by Nayanānanda Thākur. There are some philosophical flaws in it. The article states:

"All of the confidential Vraja-līlās like vastra-haraṇa (the stealing of the gopīs clothes) are fully known to these four boys."

and later on,

"There are no confidential pastimes that Sri Krishna Chandra secretly performs in Vraja that is not witnessed by these four boys."

However, according to Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda, in his comment on Śrīmad Bhāgavat 10.22.8, the four boys that took part in the Vastra Haran līlā were 2-3 year old toddlers without lust, bālair api vakṣyamāṇatvāt dvi-trī-varṣīyāḥ strī-puṁ-bheda-viveka-śūnyā dig vāsasaḥ - they could not even discriminate between male and female. Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa gives the same comment on this verse: vayayas tri-catura-varṣīyaiḥ strī-puṁ bheda-dhī-śūnyaiḥ dig vasanair iti bodhyaṁ. The only difference being that he says they are 3-4 instead of 2-3. Besides, of the four, Śrīdāma is Smt. Rādhārāṇī's elder brother and therefore does not participate in Kṛṣṇa's intimate pastimes (this was pointed out in my blog of may 29, 2009). In the context of this līlā the four boys represented Kṛṣṇa's antaḥ karaṇa, or subtle body, as the author of the article acknowledges. In no other context could Smt. Rādhārāṇī's brother participate, and then only as a 2-3 year old boy. The boys' innocence and ignorance about loving affairs is later reiterated by Viśvanātha in his ṭīkā of SB 10.22.9, where Kṛṣṇa and the boys were laughing about the gopīs ("Taking the girls' garments, He quickly climbed to the top of a Kadamba tree. Then, as He laughed loudly and His companions also laughed, He addressed the girls jokingly.", BBT Edition) - hasadbhir bālair ity ati bālyā niṣkāraṇa hāsyavadbhhis taiḥ... "The boys were so small, so they laughed with no reason."

The Nayanānanda Thākur whose booklet is quoted in this article is not the same as the Pārṣad of Mahāprabhu, Nayanānanda Miśra. This Nayanānanda Thākur is not necessarily most authoritative. He comes 3rd in the paramparā from one Pānuyā Gopāl of Bīrbhūma. Pānuyā Gopāl was a śiṣya of Sundarānanda Gopāl, who was a Pārṣad of Mahāprabhu. Being the 4th generation disciple of a Pārṣad of Mahāprabhu does not necessarily make one an infallible authority. As we all know, Advaita Prabhu Himself rejected even three of His very own sons for not being in line with His teachings.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Dhāmāparādha, is bhajan selfish pt.6, Kṛṣṇa's welfare, Vaikuṇṭha stopover pt.4

Revelation of Kankan Kund in 1940. Note the mass of trees over Ma Jahnava's sitting place.

Bhakta: "I have questions related to Dhamāparādha (offences to the holy places):

1. Is there any fixed number for Dhāmāparādha as in the case of nāmāparādha (10)?
2. Which scripture they are mentioned in?
3. Who becomes monkey-dog-hog in Dhām?
4. What is the rectification of Dhamāparādh?
5. Does Sad Goswamis mention ‘Dhamāparādh’ anywhere?
6. If somebody does some sinful act in Dhām then what is the rectification?

Advaitadas: "Dhāma aparādha is not mentioned in any śāstra. There are 10 nāmāparādhas and 32 sevāparādhas, these are mentioned in Haribhakti Vilāsa and Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu. One should certainly beware of sinful acts in the holy dhām - they are not more sinful than elsewhere, but it is certainly not the purpose of going to holy places to commit sin there. It is the abode of the Lord and it is a place for surrender. Mahāprabhu said sarva tyaji jīber kartabya kāhā bās? Dhām-bās is for those who have given up everything, not for those who want to build huge ashrams, make lots of money, pursue a Guru career or chase the opposite sex. That much is obvious. That is why most devotees are adviced not to stay there too long - Jagadānanda Pandit served as the model for that in Gaura līlā. Monkey-dog-hog? It is up to Kṛṣṇa and one's own karma. There is no fixed rule for that. It is often said that fallen bābās and other sādhus take birth as monkeys. This is not in śāstra, but it is very well possible. Since Dhāmāparādha is not mentioned in śāstra, prāyaścit (atonement) of it is neither."

Bhakta: "What about the belief that sinful reactions are more severe to sins committed in the dhāma?"

Advaitadas: "This too is not in śāstra, but I did notice that those who misbehaved in the dhāma often ended up in a bad situation, losing their bhakti and getting into a lot of trouble. śāstra or no śāstra,  it is obviously very disrespectful and foolish to come to the holy dhāma and forget what you came there to do, and engage in gossip, sin, gross materialism etc."

Is bhajan selfish, pt.6

Bhakta: "Prahlāda Mahāśay speaks this verse in Śrīmad Bhāgavata (7.9.44) -

naitān vihāya kṛpaṇān vimumukṣa eko
nānyaḿ tvad asya śaraṇaḿ bhramato 'nupaśye

(BBT Translation:
My dear Lord Nṛsiḿhadeva, I see that there are many saintly persons indeed, but they are interested only in their own deliverance. Not caring for the big cities and towns, they go to the Himalayas or the forest to meditate with vows of silence [mauna-vrata]. They are not interested in delivering others. As for me, however, I do not wish to be liberated alone, leaving aside all these poor fools and rascals. I know that without Kṛṣṇa consciousness, without taking shelter of Your lotus feet, one cannot be happy. Therefore I wish to bring them back to shelter at Your lotus feet."

Advaitadas: "This deals with Munis (munaya) who covet mukti (sva vimukti kāma, impersonal liberation), this verse is not about nor does it mention Vaiṣṇavas who go and serve Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in rāgānuga bhajana in Vraja bhūmi. The desire for liberation is already rejected in the beginning of the Bhāgavata (1.1.2) - tāra madhya mokṣa vāñchā kaitava pradhāna - 'The desire for liberation is the main type of cheating-religion.' (CC Adi 1,92) pra-śabdena mokṣābhisandhir api nirastaḥ (Śrīdhara Swāmī quoted in Ādi 1.93). bhajanānandīs are not after liberation - they endeavour to just please Kṛṣṇa with their hearing and chanting.

man mana bhava mad bhakto mad yaji māṁ namaskuru
mam evaiṣyasi satyaṁ te pratijāne priyo'si me

"Think of Me, be My devotee and worship Me. Bow down to Me and you will surely attain Me. I promise you that because you are dear to Me."

(See my blogs of December 25, 2006, July 15, 23 and 30, 2007 (last paragraph) and June 2, 2008)

Bhakta: "In the Bhagavat (1.14.34) Maharaj Yudhisthir inquires from his brother Arjun about the welfare of Bhagavan Govinda. Visvanatha Cakravarti writes in his commentary that it is improper to inquire about the welfare of the Lord. Why then did Yudhisthir do that anyway?"

Advaitadas: "I do not know that for sure, I surmise that it is Yudhiṣṭhira's mixture of vātsalya and sakhya rati for Kṛṣṇa. In Vilāpa Kusumāñjali (47) it is said prasūr iva bhavat kuśalasya pṛccham 'Mother Yaśodā inquires about Your (Rādhā's) welfare' - this may be some mixture of aiśvarya and mādhurya, because Yudhiṣṭhira speaks of Bhagavān (the Supreme Lord) and Govinda at the same time, plus he inquires about His welfare, which is mādhurya. In sweet pastimes Kṛṣṇa is perceived as a human being who needs to be protected etc. In his commentary on this vers (Śrīmad Bhāgavat 1.14.34) Śrīpād Madhvācārya quotes an interesting verse from the Nāradīya Purāṇa:

atyuttamānāṁ kuśala-praśno loka-sukhecchayā
nityadāpta-sukhatvāt tu na teṣāṁ yujyate kvacit

'Because the ati-uttamas (supreme ones) are always blissful it is not appropriate to inquire about their welfare'

Vaikuṇṭha stopover, pt. 4

Bhakta: "As for the queens that were kidnapped by Kṛṣṇa in the form of a band of criminal cowherds in Śrīmad Bhāgavat 1.15.20, Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda says in his commentary that they became gopīs in another prakāśa (manifestation or pastime) of Kṛṣṇa.  Isn't that a sign that one can progress in rati for and sambandha with Kṛṣṇa, and that being a queen in Dwārkā can be a stopover before proceeding?"

Advaitadas: "Hardly. This does not apply to regular sādhakas like you and me; it is all in the context of the endless game of cursing and blessing in the Purāṇas. They were not nitya siddhas but devīs who were blessed by Aṣṭavakra Muni that they would be the wives of Viṣṇu but because they laughed at his misformed body he also cursed them that they would be touched by naughty cowherds before becoming gopīs. To make the curse come true the cowherds even managed to defeat the invincible Arjun in this līlā. Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda explains a little further on, in his tika to Śrīmad Bhāgavat 1.15.34, that after the Mauṣala-līlā the devatās that had merged with the nitya siddha Yādavas (as Droṇa and Dharā had merged with the nitya siddha Nanda-Yaśodā to become Kṛṣṇa's parents), mystically separated from them and then returned to Swarg. This too illustrates the difference between Kṛṣṇa's nitya siddha associates and deva/devīs that temporarily merge with them. But as sādhakas we practise according to our sthāyi bhāva and then realize that - tam tam evaiti kaunteya sadā tad bhāva bhāvitā.

(More on stopover-vāda, see my blogs of August 3, 2007, July 23, 2007, and July 4, 2007.)