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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.


  1. Dyslexic Sanskritists--jivanam/vijanam. hahaha. A suggestion about the translation for lAlana, fondling is not a positive word in English. While the alternative would be caressing, I think this would be more appropriate.

  2. "Fondling" is often associated with deviant sexual activity and sex scandals in the news. "Caressing" is a little more innocent or chaste, depending on use of course. Both are from the do-er's pleasure. "Massaging" might indicate more for Their pleasure.

  3. So fondling is something like 'groping'? That'd be bad - my Govinda Līlāmṛta is full of it!

    I think padalālana should be 'massaging the feet'. It is translated like that too [pāda samvāhana] in Bhāvana Sār Sangraha, Govinda Līlāmṛta 11.136, by Siddha
    Kṛṣṇa dās Bābā's Bengali translator Gurucaran Dās.

  4. Dandavat Pranamas Prabhuji. I was sincerely wondering, its probably been 20 plus years since you published your beautiful renderings in english of sri sri radha rasa sudhanidhi and sri vilapa kusumanjali and sri sri stavavali and others. Like swami b g narasingha, swami tripurari, gour govind maharaj, srila ,narayana maharaj and srila prabhupada, it would be great and wonderful if your works are also available in pdf. They are not being printed, I co firmed from rasbiharilal. I have just ordered prem bhakti chandrika from them with your translation. Please Prabhuji, its 2013, and its time I think that all your works sbould be available to us as well. Please think over this. What good is it if Vaishnavas cant read your labor of love?

  5. Anonymous, unfortunately we live in a practical world in which Advaitadas has bills to pay. The sadhus you mentioned here were backed up by rich organizations, so they may have been able to afford to proliferate their writings for free.

  6. Furthermore, the publications of the sadhus you mentioned, with the exception of those of Narayan Maharaj, do not deal with the intimate topics my works deal with. Free distribution of such works would be offensive. Both AC Bhaktivedanta Swami and Anantadas Babaji said that people have to pay for these books to show they are sincere about learning their topics.

  7. Hare Krsna! Thank you for your response Prabhu, certainly valid points. Thats undisputed. I remember reading how much trouble sri Ananta Das Panditji had to take in the 70's to get the transcript of the lectures from the early 50's by Ananda Gopal Gosvami. And then in the 90's you have translated those writings in english. But as of now, they are unvailable. So thats why pdf scans of all works is a must. Also I may be wrong, but making pdfs dont actually affect the book sales. Because a book is a book. Reading on the computer is not so great. Indeed, when people read for example srila prabhupadas or srila narayana maharajs books in pdf, they infact end up donating much more precicely because theyhave made them available for free. The economics of the internet users, especially this young generation is like this. They will infact support you more. Sharing in this way only increases the original works demand not decreases. The more people see what a gem it is, the more they will demand it in all forms. This is just my experience and I may be wrong. Just a viewpoint I know I share with almost all I know. Indeed, the writings are confidential. However making them available as pdf wont affect that confidentiality. Perhaps one day then Prabhu, and we hope the day is soon.

  8. Anon thank you for your understanding. Releasing PDFs is not just a big economic risk, it may also incite the owner of a PDF to put on the printing press himself and bootleg the book, causing me even further ruination. And there also remains the point of the confidentiality of the texts. This may also not be respected by greedy bootleggers.