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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...............


  1. Actually I have always heard china rose aka hibiscus called ¨jaba.¨

  2. A look through different 'china-rose' wikis show different flowers.