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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Alternative readings of Rādhārasa Sudhānidhi 9 and 59

I translated Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi verse 59 as follows, following the Bengali translation of Pandit Anantadās ji Mahārāj –

“When will I joyfully serve the best ladylove, Śrī Rādhikā, and the best of lovers, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Whose cheeks became moistened with sweat drops of fatigue from Their incomparible dancing during the wonderful enchanting Rāsa-festival, which is full of laughter, by massaging Their feet and nicely fanning Them?”

Pandit Anantadās ji Mahārāj says in the end of his purport – ‘lālana’ śabdera artha sneha-pūrbok pālanā -  “The word lālana means affectionately rearing or maintaining. The kinkarī loses herself while massaging these lotus-feet after spending so much time hankering for the sweetness of the rasa of massaging.” Pandit Anantadās ji Mahārāj seems to translate lālana as lālasā, hankering, but lālana means only ‘fondling’ according to the dictionaries. Haridās Śāstri’s translation follows that of Puri Dās Mahārāj, who says the word-before-last, vījanam or fanning should be jīvanam or life. Then the meaning is very clear and very sweet too. Originally I translated pada as ‘position’ and lālana as ‘desiring’ in my word-for-word translation. That is, according to Puridās Mahārāja, Haridās Śāstrījī, and common logic, wrong. Of course we speak of poetry here so anything is possible. So according to Puridās Mahārāja and Haridās Śāstrī, now followed by me too, the last line of this verse should be – “I make my life lovely by worshiping them by fondling their feet”. In this verse there is no ‘fanning’ because vījanam or fanning, reads jīvanam, my life, instead.

Puri Dās Mahārāja was a very meticulous scholar with a great reputation who did thorough research in all genuine libraries. His conclusion is considered highly reliable. He published almost all of the Goswāmīs granthas with Sanskrit-to-Bengali word-for-word translations.

So my new translation of the verse runs as follows –

“When will I joyfully worship the best ladylove and the king of connoisseurs, whose cheeks are moist with sweat drops of fatigue from Their excellent dancing in the Rāsa-festival of enjoyment, which is captivating, astonishing and full of laughter, making my life lovely by fondling Their feet?”

There is a dispute too on Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi’s verse 9. The word mahatām is sometimes translated as ‘great things’, like the four human goals of life, or as ‘great persons’, which is the reading followed by Sādhu Bābā, who personally wrote this śloka to me on a postcard, and by Haridās Śāstrījī. Puridās Mahārāj here gives the same reading as Ananta dāsjī.

I wrote this paragraph in my translation of Ananta Dās jī’s edition –

Another reading of this verse can be: "O Mind, beware of random association with the residents of Vraja! It is as difficult to associate with devotees in a purely Kṛṣṇa conscious way, without falling into frivolous and mundane talks, as it is to control the mind!"  Many great saints have therefore preferred a life of solitude in Vraja over a life full of social engagements there. In this way they could easily catch that divine jewel named Rādhā, Who redeems Her surrendered devotees with the nectar stream of Her good feelings.”

Speaking of avoiding association even of the saints, or nirjon bhajan, the verse in Rūpa Goswāmī’s Upadeśāmṛta, sanga tyāgo, can meaning different things on different levels. On the first level it means ‘giving up bad company, material attachments, women etc.’ but on a higher level it also means ‘giving up all company and just contemplate in solitude’, the uttam bhajan.

Finally, I mistranslated the word rañjita in Vraja Vilāsa Stava’s verse 68 as rakṣita. Rañjita means ‘pleased’ and rakṣita means ‘protected’. The flowing translation of that verse remains unaffected by this.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Images of Sītānāth's utsav 2013

A bit late this year, images of Adwaita Prabhu's festival in Sādhu Bābā's āshram, Navadwīp, February 17, 2013
My Guru-sister Yugal Di

Cooking in the ashram

Iswar Dās with Kumkam dā and wife

Kumkum Dā in āshram

Satīnāth Dā during the utsav

Kīrtan in the new kīrtan-hall

Yugal Di with Madangopāl's bhog

Tulsī Dī near the kīrtan hall

Tapan Dā after bestowing dīkṣā upon Dāmodar

Friday, March 08, 2013

Vṛndāvana's skyscrapers and dugdha-ekādaśī

Vraja diary
March 1, 2013
My first trip to Vṛndāvana in 5 years, though I have been travelling to Rādhākund every year since. It is surrealistic to see the skylline of Vṛnḍāvana dotted with skyscrapers now as I have the usual birds eye view of Vṛndāvana from Dvādaśāditya tīlā. There is Hartal for Yamunā Ko Bāchāo but I manage my shopping still easily.
I take darśan of Bihārījī, who blesses me with a prasādī mālā.
Then I go down to Advaita Vat, which has become very opulent with even a luxury glass mandir for Bijoy Kṛṣṇa Goswāmī and Yogamāyā Mātā,
Kālidaha is now walled and surrounded by buildings. Still Vṛndāvan remains sweet and divine, as always.

March 4, 2013
My first Girirāja Parikrama, without blisters or sore feet, the weather is still okay at noontime. Not too hot yet. At the end I got dugdha mādhukari [milk alms] which I offer to Giridhari, hot.

March 8, 2013
On Ekādaśī I get dugdha mādhukarī again. It is not that devotees with money cannot do mādhukarī (though I really don't have a cash surplus). mādhukarī has nothing to do with economics. One can also save cash by going to the many feasts that are always held in Vraja, but Sādhu Bābā forbade me to go there. Instead, mādhukarī nourishes humility and also bestows vairāgya rasa, the divine flavour of renunciation. Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī said in Vilāpa Kusumāñjali (6) - vairāgya-yug bhakti rasaṁ - bhakti can be enriched by the flavour of renunciation. The Goswāmīs were rich, but they gave it all up to do mādhukarī. They could have kept their cash too if they wanted it, and they even kept a quarter of it, but still they went on mādhukari - vipra gṛhe sthūla bhikṣā kāhā mādhukarī - They begged from brahmins houses. One of Raghunāth Dās Goswāmīs vows in Swaniyam Daśakam was 'vrajotpanna kṣīrāśana' - "I will drink milk produced in Vraja."
(That's one for the vegans!)

I can understand why some bābājīs have separate pots for cooking on Ekādaśī - it was almost impossible to wash all the small grain particles out of the bowl I use to knead āṭā in, for cooking the milk in today.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

A sinner's gurūpasatti

At Rādhākuṇḍa with Sādhu Bābā's new kṛpā pātra, Dāmodar

Bhakta :
"I am not a vegetarian and teetotaller. You said that the Guru is not responsible for the sins of the disciple, so can I still get initiated?"

Advaitadas: "The Guru is not responsible when he accepted the disciple in good standing, and he trusts the disciple will follow the rules. If the disciple later starts breaking the rules the Guru is not responsible, but if he allows the candidate dīkṣā while knowing that he/she is not following the rules then he will suffer the reactions, because it is a premeditated breach of the rules by both Guru and śiṣya. Śrīdhara Swāmī teaches: nānubadhnīta pralobhanādinā balān nāpādayet "Not binding a disciple means the Guru should neither tempt nor force the candidate into initiation." Such initiation is useless. If the śiṣya is materialistic then -

yāvat pāpais tu malinaṁ hṛdayaṁ tāvad eva hi
na śāstre satya buddhiḥ syāt sad buddhiḥ sad gurau tathā

(Bhakti Sandarbha 1st paragraph, quoting Śrī Brahma Vaivarta Purāṇa)

“As long as sin pollutes the heart one cannot accept śāstra as truth or see the genuine Guru as genuine.”

And if the Guru is materialistic then -

sa guru paramo vairī bhraṣṭaṁ vartma pradarśayet.
taj janma nāśaṁ kurute śiṣya hatyāṁ bhaved dhruvam

(Śrī Nārada Pancarātra  2.8.26)

“That Guru is the greatest enemy, if he shows the path of immorality and decay. He destroys the birth of his disciple and kills him instead.”


Bhakta: In your blog of April 19,2006, you claimed that ignorance is an excuse, but what about this statement?

“Those who are not in knowledge, who commit violations of the standard laws, are subject to be punished under criminal laws. Similarly, the laws of nature are very stringent. If a child touches fire without knowing the effect, he must be burned, even though he is only a child. If a child violates the law of nature, there is no compassion.”

Advaitadas: This is a material example. Śrīdhara Swāmī comments on Śrīmad Bhāgavat 11.21.17:

doṣasya kvacid doṣatvābhāve guṇatve codāharaṇaṁ darśayati | samānasya tasyaiva karmaṇaḥ surā-pānāder ācaraṇam apatitānāṁ patana-hetur api jātyā karmaṇā vā patitānāṁ punaḥ pātakam adhikāra-bhraṁśakaṁ na bhavati, pūrvam eva patitatvāt | ato’tra doṣasyāpi doṣatā nāstīty arthaḥ

'One man's fault is another man's virtue or at least lack of fault. It is the same act (samāna karma), but if an apatita (brahmin or Vaiṣṇava) drinks alcohol, it is the cause of his/her falldown, but for those anyway fallen (śūdras or non-devotees) this does not cause further degradation because it is their normal way to be. Thus, though it is a flaw (for some) there is no flaw."
In the Manu Saṁhitā (8.337-8) it is said:

aṣṭāpādyaṁ tu śūdrasya steye bhavati kilbiṣam
ṣodaśaiva tu vaiśyasya dvātriṁśat kṣatriyasya ca
brāhmaṇasya catuḥ ṣaṣṭiḥ pūrṇaṁ vāpi śataṁ bhavet
dviguṇā vā catuḥ ṣaṣṭis tad doṣa guṇa vid hi saḥ

“In (a case of) theft the guilt of a śūdra shall be eightfold, that of a vaiśya sixteen-fold, that of a kṣatriya thirty-twofold, that of a brāhmana sixty-fourfold, or quite a hundredfold, or (even) twice four-and-sixtyfold; (each of them) knowing the nature of the offence.”