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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Three questions on Vilāpa Kusumāñjali

Three questions on Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī's Vilāpa Kusumāñjali:

Bhakta: "It is said (in Vilāpa Kusumāñjali verse 60) that Nandīśvara (Nandagrām) is dearer to Kṛṣṇa than even Govardhana, but in Śrī Rūpa Goswāmī's Upadeśāmṛta it is said that Govardhana is higher than Vṛndāvana, and Rādhākuṇḍa is even higher than Govardhana, without mentioning Nandagrām. How does it work?"

Advaitadas: "No explanation has been given by any ācārya, but I can think of two answers -

1. Rūpa Goswāmī may have just given a summary list in the Upadeśāmṛta, with the main aim of praising Rādhākuṇḍa. In this way one can read between the lines that Nandagrām is rated between Rādhākuṇḍa and Govardhana.
2. In Vilāpa Kusumāñjali's context of mañjarī bhāva we can say - mañjarīs don't have business in Govardhana but Nandīśvara is very important to them - they accompany Śrī Swāminījiu to Nandagrām in the morning when She goes there to cook for Kṛṣṇa,  and accomplish Her meeting with Him there too (as described in Vraja Vilāsa Stava, verse 33). In the evening they go there again to bring Kṛṣṇa His evening-meal and to exchange messages with Him. In aṣṭakālīya līlā Rādhikā generally does not enjoy with Kṛṣṇa at Govardhan, though some exceptional pastimes are mentioned here and there. Overall Nandīśvara is more central to mañjarīs than Govardhan, which is mainly a place where Kṛṣṇa tends His cows and plays with His boyfriends. In fact the mañjarīs do not even pass through Govardhan. They escort Śrī Rādhikā directly from Yāvat to Rādhākuṇḍa and back at midday."

Bhakta: "In Vilāpa Kusumāñjali (54) it is said that Rādhikā decorates Her bed by dreaming on it. How is that possible?"

Advaitadas: "Śrīla Ānanda Gopāl Goswāmī explains that in his famous Vilāpa Kusumāñjali ommentaries - Her body is the ornament of the bed. In fact, in the Bhāgavat it is said that Kṛṣṇa's body beautifies His ornaments instead of vice versa. Similarly Rādhikā decorates the bed with Her body, as She sleeps and the sleep itself makes Her body even a more beautiful ornament of the bed because of the lovely body language caused by Her dreams - She smiles, rolls on the bed, moves Her legs, toes, fingers and arms in certain ways. The mind dictates the active senses, so actually its not Her body but Her mind which decorates the bed."

Bhakta: "Next in Vilāpa Kusumāñjali (53) it is mentioned that Lalitā offers ārati to Rādhā. Isn't that aiśvarya, since Arati is only offered to Gods?"

Advaitadas: "Mādhurya does not mean there is no service - how can a bhakta live without worshipping His iṣṭa? Kṛṣṇa is also offered Arati in Nandagrām, even by His own mother Yaśodā. We must serve, anyhow, in mādhurya or aiśvaryamañjarīs call themselves dāsī or maidservant, not for nothing. In Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Ādi līlā chapter 6, it is explained how all Kṛṣṇa's associates in Vraja, however intimate they may be with Him, consider themselves (maid-) servants of Him as well, with evidence from the 10th Canto to prove it." Jīva Goswāmī says - bhaj ityeṣa vai sevāyāṁ parikīrtita - Bhajan means service. Besides all of this, even in the village setting of Barsānā / Yāvat, Śrī Rādhikā is also the daughter of the local chieftain/village elder, so She is a superior person there too."

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