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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.

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