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Monday, October 10, 2016

The flowers on the desire-vine of prema.


The whole of Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa is pervaded by manjari bhāva like no other place. Śrīla Raghunāth-Dās Goswāmī said in his Rādhākuṇḍāṣṭakam (5): praṇaya suralatā syāt tasya goṣṭhendra sūnoḥ sapadi kila mad īśā-dāsya puṣpa praśasya – “The divine creeper of prema for Kṛṣṇa instantly yields excellent flowers of my īśā-dāsya (Rādhā-dāsya) for anyone who renders any service there. It expands on the bhakti-latā analogy of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, which He taught Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmīpāda: 

brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva; guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja
mālī hoiyā kore sei bīja āropaṇa; śravaṇa-kīrtana-jale koroye secana
upajiyā bāḍe latā ‘brahmāṇḍa’ bhedi’ yāya; ‘virajā’, ‘brahma-loka’ bhedi’ ‘para-vyoma’ pāya
tabe yāya tad-upori ‘goloka-vṛndāvana’; ‘kṛṣṇa-caraṇa’-kalpa-vṛkṣe kore ārohaṇa
tāhā vistārita hoiyā phale prema-phala; ihā mālī sece nitya śravaṇādi jala

(Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya 19.151-155)

“Some fortunate soul who wanders through the cosmos (taking birth after birth in different species of life) may, by the grace of the Guru or Kṛṣṇa, receive the seed of the vine of devotion. Becoming a gardener, he plants that seed and waters it with his practices of hearing and chanting (Kṛṣṇa’s glories). The vine will then grow and pierce the shell of the cosmos, crossing the intermediary cosmic river Virajā and Brahma-loka, and attaining the Para-vyoma (spiritual sky, or Vaikuṇṭha). Crossing even that divine realm he attains Goloka-vṛndāvana, ascending to the desire-tree of Kṛṣṇa’s lotus-feet, clinging on to it. There it will sprout the fruit of prema, divine love for Kṛṣṇa. Meanwhile the gardener continues to water the vine with his practice of hearing and chanting (Kṛṣṇa’s glories).”
After the latā grew up, what kind of flowers will it sprout? That was too confidential for Caitanya-caritāmṛta, written by Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāj Goswāmī, who wrote a lot about manjarī-bhāva in his Govinda-līlāmṛta, but deliberately kept it out of Caitanya-caritāmṛta.

Śrīla Raghunāth-Dās Goswāmī continues the analogy - mad īśā dāsya puṣpa praśasya – the service of my mistress’ service is the flower of the devotional creeper. praśasya means excellent, excellent flowers. The crux is that it is a part of 'jīvera swarūp hoy kṛṣṇa nitya dās' (‘The true form of the soul is being Kṛṣṇa’s eternal servant’)- it is it’s culmination and eternally remains an integral part of it. Sādhu-bābā said that rādhā-dāsya is ultimately also kṛṣṇa-dāsya, for that is the one and only swarūp of the soul. Preferring Rādhā over Kṛṣṇa is MOST pleasing to Kṛṣṇa.

Some claim the words api jana (anyone) in this verse mean that any backpacker with a bottle of vodka and a chillum in the backpack can / should live full-time in Rādhākuṇḍa, having illicit sex with one partner after the other, and this will yield the flowers of manjarī-bhāva, but in my opinion it means that the service rendered at Rādhākuṇḍa, indeed even by taking a single bath there, will yield these flowers in the long term, also after doing sādhana OUTSIDE Rādhākuṇḍa. The seed of manjari bhāva may be planted in Rādhākuṇḍa but may have to be watered elsewhere, in order to avoid the hazard of ‘familiarity breeds contempt’. Aparādha is another factor that limits, delays or blocks the benefits offered in this verse. We also see thousands taking that single bath in Rādhākuṇḍa that should yield rādhā-prema but it does not happen. The same condition and restriction counts for this verse.

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