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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Going west, Rādhā's elephant, playful beasts of prey and Krishna Bhava Tadatmya

Bhakta: "Is it not said that the further west one goes the more degraded things get?"

Advaitadas: "No that is nonsense. The writers of shastra either did not know of regions outside of India or they did not care. You must be referring to Adi Lila 10.89 of Caitanya Caritamrita: paścimer lok sab mūḍha anācāra ['western people are all fools who are impure'] which refers to residents of Western India. Look at the context of this statement: - anupama ballabha śrī rūpa sanātana; ei tin śākhā vṛkṣera paścime gaman (verse 10.84) mātṛ icchāy dui śākhā bahut bāḍhilo. bāḍhiya paścim deśa sob ācchādilo (verse 86)  āsi sindhu nadī tīra āro himāloy; vṛndāvan mathurādi joto tīrtha hoy (verse 87) - "Anupam and Ballabh, and Śrī Rūpa-Sanātana, these three branches, went to the west. By the (Gaur-) gardener's wish these branches grew, so that they covered all of the west. The Caitanya-tree reached the bank of the Sindhu-river (the far-west, now in Pakistan) and the Himalaya, as well as all the holy places in Vṛndāvan and Mathurā."

It is clear that 'the west' here means western India, not Europe or America. Not that I consider the western hemisphere culturally superior to the east....."

Bhakta: "I heard that Rādhā has a pet elephant."

Advaitadas : "I have not seen this in any śāstra. The Vrajabasis do not even ride horses. Horses and elephants are used in Dwarka and Mathurā but not in Vraj. In fact Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa walk all over Braja day and night, very long distances, in order to meet each other. That is the mādhurya of nara-līlā [human pastimes]."

Bhakta: "I was reading in the Garga Samhita that in Vraja the fawns play with the tiger cubs, the does play with the eagles and the snakes play with the mongoose. There is no enmity, no hunger and no envy. Is this true?"

Advaitadas: "Yes this is true. Though I doubt the validity of Garga Samhita we should not throw the baby away with the bathing water. It is confirmed in Srimad Bhagavat 10.13.60, which is quoted in the story of Mahāprabhu making the wild animals dance and embrace each other in the Jharikhanda forest - "Vṛndāvana is the transcendental abode of the Lord, where there is no hunger anger or thirst. Though naturally inimical, both human beings and fierce animals live together in transcendental friendship."
There can be no hatred and no bloodshed in the spiritual world. Yet, to preserve a human atmosphere, there may be fear of tigers or lions. For example, in Padyāvalī a verse is quoted which says that Kṛṣṇa roars like a lion from within the kuñja, where He enjoys with Rādhā, to scare away unauthorized cowherdboys who come too close. Like domestic dogs that bark but are not allowed to bite."

Bhakta: "We know about bhāva tādātmya of the kiṅkarīs, in which their feelings become one with Rādhikā's feelings. Is such a thing also possible with Kṛṣṇa?"

Advaitadas: "Not without becoming a complete advaita-vādī or sahajiya - Rādhā is aśraya tattva [the enjoyed, the servant] and Kṛṣṇa is biṣaya tattva [the enjoyer, the served]. bhāva tādātmya with Kṛṣṇa would mean one would assume the position of enjoyer or biṣoya tattva, whereas our theology says 'jīvera svarūpa hoy kṛṣṇer nitya dās' - the innate position of the soul is to be the eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa."

Bhakta: "But then at least the cowherd boys should have some bhāva-tādātmya with Kṛṣṇa?"

Advaitadas: "Why? Because they are the same gender as Kṛṣṇa? No - whether boy or girl, everyone tries to please Kṛṣṇa only as the āśray tattva. Though it is true that the gopas share Kṛṣṇa's love for sporting, frolicking and fighting, they do so with the intention to please Kṛṣṇa with their service while Kṛṣṇa's spirit is one of enjoyment." ekala īśvara kṛṣṇa - āro sobāi bhṛtya - There is only one Lord and that is Kṛṣṇa. Everyone else is His servant."


  1. Radhe Radhe!
    You wrote that
    ""I heard that Radha has a pet elephant."

    Advaitadas : "I have not seen this in any shastra. The Vrajabasis do not even ride horses. Horses and elephants are used in Dwarka and Mathura but not in Vraj."

    But I found this:

    Naimittika Lila
    Occasional Pastimes Of SriSri Rädhä-Krsna
    Narrated By Siddha Krsna Däs Bäbäji
    Source: "SriSriGaura Govinda Lilamrita Gutika", by Siddha Krsna Däsa Baba, presented by Rädhäkunda Mahanta Pandita Sri Ananta Däsa Bäbäji Mahäräja.

    Janmastami lila, Saptami
    .....On the seventh day of the dark lunar quarter everyone in Vrsabhänupura finishes
    their morning duties, bathes, dresses, ornaments and takes a light breakfast before departing
    to Nandisvara, taking garments and ornaments along as presents for Krsna's birthday. Sri
    Vrsabhänu Mahäräja and his brothers mount elephants and leave Varsänä, accompanied by
    musicians and soldiers. Sri Kirtidä Mätä and her sisters-in-law, wet-nurses and other relatives
    also depart in topmost bliss, sitting in covered palanquins, carried by four bearers each.
    Sridäma-candra, Sri Rädhikä's brother, mounts his own horse and departs for Nandisvara
    with his soldiers and musicians, followed by Sri Rädhikä and Her sakhis in palanquins and
    Candrävalé and the yütheçvarés (gopé-groupleaders) in different vehicles...

    Please, kindly comment.

    Dvijati Pujaka dasa

  2. Dvijati Pujaka, thank you for that tip. What I meant with 'shastra' is actually the Puranas or the Sanskrit scriptures written by the 6 Goswamis, not recently Bengali smaran manuals. I consider them appendixes, meant to enhance detailed contemplation.

  3. An English translation I have of Radha Krishna Ganoddesh Deepika says that Radha's pet elephant is named Madhuri, but I cannot find this anywhere in the original Sanskrit text. My point about Siddha Krishnadas Baba is that he describes a naimittika lila here, an occasional pastime. I have, however, not found any mentioning of horses and elephants as vehicles for the Vrajavasis in the writings of the primary GV acaryas.

  4. Allright, I have seen what the problem is. Kushakrath Das has written in his translation of verse 184 of the last chapter of Rup Goswami's Radha Krishna Ganoddesh Deepika that Radha's pet elephant is named Madhuri. That is wholly wrong. Rupa Goswami writes mayUrI tuNDikA nAmnA - the peahen [mayuri, not madhuri] is named Tundika [a name, it does not mean 'elephant']. He has reversed the name and the animal and given the wrong translation of both. There is no pet elephant in this book at all.

  5. Radhe Radhe!

    Out of curiosity, what is problematic about the authenticity of Garga Samhita?

    On an unrelated note, do you have plans on reviewing Aindra dasji's book?


  6. Anon, see my blog of January 22, 2009 on the Garga Samhita-issue.

    I have written a review on the book of Aindra, it needs to be edited still. I will publish it later this year.

  7. No that is nonsense. The writers of shastra either did not know of regions outside of India or they did not care

    This comment itself is full of ignorance. Writer of Shastras - you are mentioning are Vyasa, Goswamis (mainly Jiva, Rupa and Sanatana). They are free from 4 defects which normal Human being especially people of Kali have. Don't try to make staement lkike this that writers of Shastras were not aware. Prtobably your false ego due to having western body is getting hurt and you are not able to digest it. Refer to famous quote by Mahaprtabhu Himself - "bharata bhumi janam haile yaar kar par upkara" You will even try to say that Cai9tanya Mahgaprabhu never travelled to west hence He only talked about Bharata (in your word India). People take birth not by chance but by qualification and tp get human birth in India is rare and even rare is to get birth in Vrindavana or other Dham.

  8. Revered anonymous.
    I am afraid you have totally misunderstood that part of my blog.
    I am not a westerner who claims equality with Indians at all, like most western devotees. You see, I wrote in the end of my comment :

    "Not that I consider the western hemisphere culturally superior to the east....."

    I am initiated by an Advaita Vamsa Goswami and have been properly informed of my racial inferiority and if you read my blog carefully you will also recognize that.
    My point was only that paścima deśa does mean western India, not America, which did not even exist as a country at the time, etc.
    In a later blog you will also find that the ācāryas speak of China in their commentaries on Ujjvala Nīlamani. In no way I intended to play down the omniscience of the ācāryas. I have always preached that they, and the śāstras, are free from the 4 human defects.