Follow by Email

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta Canto 2, chapter Six

Continuation of my review of Gopīprāṇadhan Dāsa's rendering of Sanātan Goswāmī's Bṛhad Bhāgavatāmṛta-

2.6.55, purport: "Kṛṣṇa recognizing Sarūpa does not mean he fell from the spiritual world. Kṛṣṇa knows everybody anyway, be they conditioned or liberated. The original text of this purport just says prApta, Kṛṣṇa  attained Sarūpa, not that He re-cognized him, as in 're-aquaintance'. Even if the word recognized would have been there in some form in the ṭīkā, still, in the stage of sādhana the sādhaka has communicated so intensely with Kṛṣṇa that Kṛṣṇa would anyway recognize him upon arrival in the spiritual world.

2.6.62 When Sarūpa arrives in Goloka, the gopīs ask each other "ko'trāgato' 'Who has come here?" If Sarūpa had fallen from the spiritual world, they would have recognized him.
2.6.89 Gopīprāṇadhan says in the purport: "Gopa-kumāra has now assumed his original identity as Kṛṣṇa's friend Sarūpa." This 'original identity', indicating fall-vāda, or predetermined-vāda, is not mentioned in the ṭīkā of Sanātan Goswāmī.

2.6.92 and 88 seems to have inspired Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda in Saṅkalpa Kalpadruma and Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanāmṛta - there also, by Yogamāyā's arrangement, mother Yaśodā naively considers the gopīs/mañjarīs innocent little girls. Out of vātsalya prīti for Kṛṣṇa she also considers Kṛṣṇa to be still just a little boy. The mothers-in-law may not be aware that the gopīs also massage Kṛṣṇa when they are asked to come and cook for Him. Further dalliances of Kṛṣṇa with the gopīs are described in verses 140-145. They appear to be quite intimate for Yaśodā to allow it, especially as she knows, in Sanātan Goswāmī's words, that they can never marry Kṛṣṇa.

2.6.120 Sweet rice (pāyas, paramānna or kṣīra) is always eaten warm, never cold. There isn't even any way to make it ice cold without refrigerators, whose existence is not described in the spiritual sky. Perhaps in earthen or clay pots, but even then - no śāstra speaks of cold sweet rice nor have I come across it even once in my wanderings throughout all branches of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Sampradāya in India during the 1980s decade. In September 1983 I attended a feast in Nandagrām where the sweet rice was served so hot that it wasn't possible to touch it and by the time it had cooled off we were already expected to get up and wash our hands. Now that is an extreme example, but here it is clearly stated that sweet rice must be warm (koṣṇaṁ pāyasaṁ), not cold. This is not just a local, Vrajavāsī, custom either - in Bengal also I attended many feasts at many different places, and nowhere they were serving cold sweet rice. Some say that the morale of the famous story of the brahmin from Prāg-jyotiṣpur, who burned his finger on the hot sweet rice which he offered in his meditation (see Jīva Goswāmī's comment on Bhakti Rasāmṛta Sindhu) is that sweet rice should be served cold, but that is not true - the morale is that the subtle world of meditation gets crystallized in the gross external world instead. The brahmin should have let it cool off a bit more of course, but it should have been offered warm still, not cold. Before putting the offering on the altar, the pūjārī should hold the cups with the preparations with his/her [right] hand, and if it is too hot to hold the pūjārī needs to wait before offering it, otherwise Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa-Guru will burn their delicate tongues and a sevāparādha will be made. One should never offer things one will not like to enjoy oneself and out of hunger or lust after the tasty dishes one should not rush through the offering. As for the habit of drinking boiling hot milk, the Bhagavad Gītā (17.9) says that atyuṣṇa, food that is very hot, is in the mode of passion (āhāra rajasasyeṣṭā). The end of the purport of verse 124 says: "Then the mixture is kept for some time in a vessel packed in ice." This is not in Sanātan Goswāmī's text - there is no such a thing as ice in pre-industrial pre-colonial Vraja. Kṛṣṇa is said here to start with eating sweets instead of salties - this is a Vrajabāsī custom even now. Who knows, they might have inherited it from Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself, all those years ago! Even now, when there are Bengalis coming to Vrajabāsī feasts they give a howl of disapproval when they start serving sweets first and then the subji.

2.6.125 "Kṛṣṇa’s lovely tongue, rising to His dawn-pink upper lip while He chewed, sported within the cheeks of His lotus face" indicates that Kṛṣṇa eats with His mouth open. This (smacking the lips, flopping) is considered indecent in the West, but many items of Western etiquette are not done in Vedic culture and vice versa. Belching and passing air actually releases the life-airs during the digestive process and are healthy practises that help the digestion. Of course passing air (adho vāyu-tyāga) is forbidden in the temple and obviously in front of Guru-Vaiṣṇava too, but in solitude it is a healthy practise.

2.6.131 'In the family of Rādhārāṇī's brother' does not mean becoming Her brother yourself. This is an indication that the story of Sarūpa is fictional, but even if one takes birth in Rādhārāṇī's family it could be at most as a grand nephew, grand niece, or in-law.

2.6.136  Balarāma, according to the ṭīkā, knows of Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs' pastimes - vicakṣaṇa iti kṛṣṇasya rahaḥ krīḍāvasaro'yam ityādikaṁ jānam.

2.6.137 The pastime of Kṛṣṇa taking a stroll with the gopīs is called cankramāna in Sanātan Goswāmī's ṭīkā, and just means that they take a walk, so that it is acceptable for Yaśodā. It may be a pastime that just provides some subtle gratification for Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs.

2.6.147-155 shows how naively Yaśodā observes Kṛṣṇa's dishevelled state caused by His dalliance with the gopīs. This was later included in aṣṭakālāya granthas like Govinda Līlāmṛta and Kṛṣṇa Bhāvanāmṛta.

2.6.161 Here Kṛṣṇa gets His lunch-box along in the morning. Later Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāja, in Govinda Līlāmṛta, revealed a higher level of service, which is to send the lunch along with Dhaniṣṭhā, so that the meal is more fresh when Kṛṣṇa eats it at noon. yāta yāma - food should be eaten within three hours after it is cooked. Gopīprāṇadhan fails to mention that Sanātan Goswāmī comments on this verse that alternatively, Yaśodā may give the lunch box to Śrīdāma to carry. That makes it also better that Dhaniṣṭhā comes and brings the lunch later in the day - Kṛṣṇa (or Śrīdāma) will not have to carry it along for hours.

2.6.174 Yaśodā did not literally hold a straw between her teeth - it is a figure of speech, that she spoke in a plaintive, yet pressing manner.

2.6.177 "And she [Yaśodā], crying, milk dripping from her breasts, stood right there, motionless like a painted picture,......" later appeared in Govinda-līlāmṛta.

2.6.179 The gopīs may be able to kiss Kṛṣṇa in secret in the village, not in the open, but in the fields there is really no hiding place to even do such a thing. "According to a well-known psychological principle, nivedya duḥkhaṁ sukhino bhavanti: “Unhappy people can regain their peace of mind by revealing the cause of their distress.” But here the gopīs couldn’t even express themselves, so they remained adrift in the vast ocean of their misery.

2.6.189 Nanda Mahārāja is sending out his messengers to find out if Kṛṣṇa is safe, so one may ask here: then how can Kṛṣṇa freely enjoy Himself? I suppose here too Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāja provided a higher level of service (in Govinda-līlāmṛta)  by Yaśodā sending bodyguards like Vijay along with Kṛṣṇa so that she will not have to worry about His safety. But whether messengers or bodyguards are sent along with Him, Kṛṣṇa sheds them all at noontime and finds a pretext to go and see Rādhikā at Rādhākuṇḍa, just with some trusted friends. These messengers of Nanda may of course also be secret cronies of Kṛṣṇa, who will not tell Nanda Mahārāja of His secret exploits in the forest.

2.6.190, commentary - "The gopīs spent the entire day fully absorbed in the saṅkīrtana of singing about the Rāsa-dance and other pastimes they had shared with Kṛṣṇa." Since this takes place in the village-limits they probably did not sing too loudly.

2.6.196 - Commentary: "For all its sweetness, Nanda Mahārāja’s town is more magnificent than Vaikuṇṭha." This juxtaposition is not made by Sanātan Goswāmī himself. In the verse translation also, Gopīprāṇadhan speaks of the 'opulence' of Nanda, which does not occur in the Bengali translation.

2.6.202-3 Śrī Rūpa Goswāmī's Lalita Mādhava-drama shows that Madhumaṅgala is present in Dwārkā too, where Rādhā is Satyabhāmā and Candrāvalī is Rukmiṇī. So it should be no surprise that all Vrajaloka have their expansions in Vaikuṇṭha. The demigods' shadow-forms of the Vrajabāsīs may be like Rati-Kāma, who are said to be in material bodies but having Lakṣmī-Nārāyan within them, as is described in the comments on SB 5.18.15.

2.6.209 Here Kaṁsa is said to be an eternal associate in Goloka but in Bhakti Sandarbha 286 (a quotation there from SB 10.14.61) it is said that the demons there are just reminders of Kṛṣṇa's manifest pastimes. So I suppose that the Kṛṣṇas in the material world share this knowledge with the Kṛṣṇas in the spiritual world.

2.6.264 That the stones in Vraja actually melt is proven in Nandagrām's Caran Pāhārī, where there is a footprint of Kṛṣṇa in a stone, that melted when Kṛṣṇa played His flute there.

2.6.359 Sarūpa calls himself a newcomer (nūtnānāṁ mādṛśā), which proves he had not fallen from the spiritual world, but Gopī-prāṇadhan instead says: "Some devotees, however, can be distinguished as nūtna (“new”) because they were conditioned souls and have recently been reinstated in their original position by devotional practice and the Supreme Lord’s personal grace." This contradicts the word nūtana (new) and is nowhere in Sanātan Goswāmī's ṭīkā. He speaks there of ādhunika (new) devotees, which is the same as nūtana.

2.6.366 Both in the verse and the tika Sanātan Goswāmī says the Goloka-vāsīs don't want to go anywhere else, even if Kṛṣṇa is not present. Let alone that they become envious of Him and leave to imitate Him in the material world..... That is reiterated in verse 369, kadāpi kenāpi na hātum īśe lava leśam apyaham - 'Never, for any reason, can I give up Kṛṣṇa's lotus-feet'.

2.6.375 Is interesting, as there does seem to be some travel involved, involving time and space, while moving from Goloka to the manifest pastimes in the material world.

1 comment:

  1. I was asked to explain this comment:

    "2.6.209 Here Kamsa is said to be an eternal associate in Goloka but in Bhakti Sandarbha 286 (a quotation there from SB 10.14.61) it is said that the demons there are just reminders of Krishna's manifest pastimes. So I suppose that the Krishnas in the material world share this knowledge with the Krishnas in the spiritual world.."

    The point is that Krishna sometimes likes to relish the pastimes of His previous avatAras with His friends. This point is made by Jiva Goswami in that Bhakti Sandarbha section by quoting
    Srimad Bhagavat 10.14.61, which describes how Krishna and His chums were playing like monkeys, making bridges. Sri Sanatan Goswami explains this as follows in his Bhagavat tika:
    kadAcijjala-vihArAdau sri raghunAtha-kRta setubandhaM didRkSamANAnAM vayasyAnAM prItyai vAnarAyitais tair eva sarovara madhye setu-nirmANam -
    "Sometimes they played in the water. Along with His chums, that were eager to experience Lord Sri Rama's pastime of making the bridge (to Lanka), He lovingly made them monkeys so they could make a bridge in the lake."
    Sri Jiva Goswami comment on SB 10.14.61 - setubandhair iti sri raghunAtha-lIlAnukaraNaM - "Setubandha means they imitated Sri Rama's pastime of making the bridge to Lanka."
    Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti comments: setubandha lankA prayANa kSIrAbdhi mathanAdibhir avatArAntara caritaiH - "Krishna remembered pastimes from His other avatAras such as
    travelling to Lanka by building a bridge and the churning of the milk-ocean (in which He was Kurma)." This pastime takes place at Ramesvar Setubandha Sarovar in Kamyavan.