Narrations on the pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha-Krishna.
The Great Pearl Dispute - Mukta-carita of Raghunath Das Goswami
Jagat - Wed, 24 Mar 2004 19:58:39 +0530
IntroductionA couple of versions of Mukta-carita have been made available to devotees. The best is Dasarath Suta's edition ("The Story of the Pearls", Union City, GA: Nectar Books, 1991), which is based on the Bengali verse translation of Narayan Das, dated 1624 AD. Narayan Das was the great-grandson of Srinivas Acharya and disciple of the noted pada-kartä, Jagadananda Prabhu. Narayan Das's version differs from the original in various ways, with both omissions and additions, some which may well be considered improvements. He has divided the story into six chapters, not found in the Sanskrit edition, translated by Dasarath Suta as: The Planting, the Trading, The Trading Continues, Sri Krishna's Atonement, The Rulership of Vrindavan, and The Mood of the Vraja-vasins.
Our own Advaita Dasji has also done a translation, but I have not seen it. I would appreciate any criticisms or input from him as I do this here.
Another version of the Mukta-carita has been made available on the Internet. I am rather sad to say that I am partially responsible for this text, though I did not myself publish it online, nor would I have done so in its present state.
This translation began as a combined project. While I was working at the British Library and Indian Office in 1991-2, I helped an American acquaintance of mine from India, Kiranasa Das (Kiran), search through the library’s holdings in Gaudiya Vaishnava literature. He expressed an interest in translating some of these works. We settled on Mukta-carita as a good first project. Kiran Prabhu worked from the Bengali translation by Sri Sachinandan Goswami, which was published by Nitya Svarupa Brahmachari from the Devakinandana Press in 422 Chaitanyabda (1918). I agreed to correct his translation against the original Sanskrit. When I started making these corrections, I found not only that the translation from the Bengali was flawed, both from a stylistic and linguistic point of view, but that it had also preserved a number of errors in the learned Goswami’s Bengali rendering of the Sanskrit.
I went through the text twice making revisions in which I am sorry to say I erased a great deal of Kiran's contribution, much to his chagrin. He felt that I had eliminated much of his individual interpretation of the story and flavorful language.
I would like to see this nice little book presented in a translation that is as faithful to the original as possible, so I have decided to go through it again, carefully comparing it to the original Sanskrit to assure the most accurate translation possible. I am adding notes in order to bring out anything that a pure translation cannot. The Sanskrit of this work is available in transliteration on the Gaudiya Grantha Mandira. I have updated the file today and will continue to make corrections as I go through it here.
I am doing so here in order to serve the devotees visiting this site and in order to keep my own level of inspiration elevated. I ask the Vaishnavas for their indulgence and their blessings.
The Great Pearl DisputeSrila Raghunath Das Goswami
InvocationnamaH zrI gAndharvA-giridharAbhyAm
To him who is more attractive
than tens of millions of Cupids,
whose bodily luster resembles
that of a blue lotus in full bloom,
and whose pastimes have completely enchanted
the world of animate and inanimate beings,
to Sri Govinda, the son of Nanda, chief of the cowherds,
I offer my respectful salutations.
I adore the Divine Couple, Sri Sri Radha Madhava,
which has become immersed in an ocean of playful pastimes,
each desirous of victory over the other,
as they wrangle over the buying and selling of pearls.
I take shelter of the full moon, Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu,
who has risen in the sky of Mother Sachi’s womb,
with the intention of bestowing the nectar
of his own pure devotion upon the inhabitants of the world.
I bow my head again and again to the holy preceptor,
through whose most celebrated mercy
I have received the best of all names, the initiation mantra,
Sri Sachinandana Mahaprabhu, Swarup,
Rupa and his older brother Sanatan,
the extensive dominions of Mathura Puri,
a dwelling place in the pasturing grounds [of Krishna],
Radha Kund, the chief of all mountains, Sri Govardhan,
and most pointedly of all, the hope of attaining
the lotus feet of Sri Radha and Madhava.
NOTE 1. Raghunath Das here he pays obeisance to a number of Chaitanya (referred to here by the matronymic Sachinandana) Mahaprabhu’s disciples, including Swarup Damodar, under whose guidance he was trained in Vaishnavism during his years in Puri.
For the greatest pleasure of those divine persons,
the celebrated devotees of the Lord
who are conversant with the [devotional] sentiments,
I will now churn the ocean known as Sri Vrindavan,
so that the waves of nectar produced therefrom,
namely the wonderful character and qualities of Sri Hari,
may expand [causing the devotees to be inundated therein].
Jagat - Wed, 24 Mar 2004 20:17:23 +0530
Satyabhama Devi, after hearing briefly about Krishna’s previous activities in Vrindavan [namely that he had cultivated a creeper which produced pearls], submissively inquired from him, expressing her desire to hear in full about this wonderful event,
“My Lord! So the pearls set in my bracelets
were originally produced as the fruits of a creeper!
What sanctified country is it
that produces such fascinating plants?”
NOTE. This verse is quoted in UN 11.66 as an example of maugdhya or bewilderment. This is defined as deliberately asking questions about something one already knows.
Satyabhama’s question awakened within Krishna’s mind the memories of that wonderful pastime, and that in turn produced in him a deep affliction. Externally, however, he smiled as he began his reply,
“Dear one! The time has long passed
since pearls were produced from creepers.
At present, all pearls come only from oysters.”
Satyabhama listened carefully to this statement, which only served to increase her intense eagerness to hear more, and she requested him repeatedly to tell her more about those wonderful events. As a result, Krishna finally started to narrate the following tale:
In Gokula, one day during the month of Karttika, the Festival of Lights was going on at Govardhan Hill. At that time the residents of Gokula were carefully preparing all kinds of decorations and ornaments suitable for the celebration of the festival and making it a grand success. Though the cowherd men had adorned themselves and the members of their families with various ornaments, they were especially preoccupied with decorating their cows, buffalo and other animals. The cowherd women and girls had finished beautifying their homes and now turned their attention to cleaning and preparing various ornaments in order to adorn their own delicate bodies. Srimati Radharani, however, was not in her own house, but in a cottage of madhavi creepers by the banks of the lake known as Malyaharana, where she was making various ornaments from a collection of exquisite pearls in the company of her girlfriends.
When I was informed of this through a clever young parrot aptly named Vichakshan, I immediately proceeded there, thinking I would have some fun. On arriving, I presented a request with great solicitude to Radha and her friends for some pearls with which I might decorate the objects of my fondest love, the two cows celebrated by the names of Hamsi and Harini. Though they heard my petition, the girls barely glanced at me, and even that was done with seeming indifference. They looked at me from only the corners of their lovely, half?open eyes, which exceeded the beauty of a blue lotus perfumed by their coquettishness. They remained absorbed in stringing their necklaces with great concentration, only responding with the diamonds of their smiles, reddened by the lacquer of their silence.
At this point I smiled and addressed them once again, “Friends! Has your pride, the natural result of your recently obtaining the priceless touchstone of maidenly beauty, attained such mountain-like proportions that it somehow blocks your hearing? Please heed for a moment the matter which I, who am your dear friend, submit before you.”
This time my words caused ripples of laughter to spread amongst the girls as they exchanged glances. Finally the intrepid and impertinent Lalita accosted me with angry words, as though she were offended, “Indeed, gallant one, why should we not give you these extremely costly pearls, fit to be worn by the wives of kings (rAja-mahiSI
), so that you can decorate your she-buffalo (mahiSI
After I heard these mocking words of Lalita, I addressed the gopis with words which though intended to pacify them were spoken in the same playful spirit: “You girls are yourselves very attractive ornaments! You don’t have to give me all of your pearls, but at least you could give me enough to decorate the horns of my two favorite cows.”
Lalita listened to my words, then rummaged through all the sakhis’ pearls, examining each one while turning it round and round in her fingers. Finally she turned to me and said, “Alas Krishna, what can we do? Not one of these pearls is fit for your cows.”
I replied, “Be off with you, Lalita! You think you are quite clever, don’t you? But after this, you will never be able to call me a miser again.”
After reproaching her with these words, I quickly went home to my mother and asked her, “Mother! Please give me some of your pearls. I want to plant them and make a garden.”
I requested her again and again in this way until finally she laughed aloud and said, “My darling! Pearls do not grow when you plant them in the soil.”
I answered, “Mother! You must give me some pearls. They will definitely sprout within three days. You will be able to see this with your own eyes.”
Seeing my lively enthusiasm, Mother could not refuse me and so she gave me a large number of her pearls. I bound them in a cloth and immediately proceeded to the banks of the Yamuna in Gokula, just near the spot where everyone came to collect water. I chose a low?lying plot the length of three men, and while a group of laughing gopis watched, seeded my freshly prepared beds with my mother’s pearls. Once they were all in the ground, I covered them with fresh earth. Then I constructed a sturdy wooden fence around the field.
Then, in order that the gopis would not have any chance to request pearls from me in the future, I sent some of my friends to them to ask for milk to water my plants. Naturally, the gopis only laughed very loudly as they answered them, “Is it appropriate to use our cows’ milk to water Krishna’s pearl garden? We think you should use the milk of those cows you want to decorate and for whose sake you are going to so much trouble. As far as we are concerned, we shall not covet any of the fruits that might grow in his garden.”
When I heard what they had to say, I proceeded to abundantly water the pearls on a daily basis with milk from our own household cows. On the fourth day, our pearl bushes began to sprout. I was delighted to see this and excitedly ran to announce the news to my Mother. I caught hold of her sari and brought her to the garden to show her my seedlings. She was quite surprised and returned speechless to the cowherd settlement wondering what on earth was going on. When the gopis heard the news, however, they simply joked among themselves, saying that it was only weeds that were sprouting.
Jagat - Thu, 25 Mar 2004 19:41:42 +0530
Our pearl creepers grew as rapidly as hemp plants. When I saw that they were growing very quickly and spreading out luxuriantly, I attached them to some nearby kadamba trees that they might climb up on them. In only a few days, a heavenly scent began to emanate from the flowers that were now blooming, driving the bees mad. It brought amazement to the gopis and joy to the whole of Gokula. Then pearl fruits, more radiant than the eight original kinds of pearl, began to appear on these vines.
According to the Indian tradition, pearls come from oysters, conch shells, bamboo stems, clouds and the heads of wild boar, elephants, the king cobras and fish.
muktA-phalAni prathitAni loke
teSAM tu zukty-udbhavam eva bhUvi |!
All the residents of Vraja, the gopis in particular, were dumbfounded when they saw that every one of our creepers had produced pearls. Allured, they started coming daily to look covetously at the wonderful plants. They began to discuss amongst themselves, “Friends! You know very well that Krishna will never give us any of his pearls. But so what? It’s not that we didn’t witness the procedure he followed to grow them. So, let’s stop sitting around doing nothing. Why shouldn’t we begin cultivating our own pearl garden, making it twice as big as his?”
The supremely intelligent Lalita heard this and scoffed, saying, “Dear friends, you have surely gone mad! Krishna’s deeds, such as the lifting of Sri Govardhan and producing pearls from the earth, are miraculous accomplishments that even the gods cannot imitate, yet he realizes them without any effort. He has no doubt received special potions and spells from some powerful mystic that make such feats possible. All the residents of Vraja are agreed on this, otherwise how can we explain where Krishna got all the power needed for such achievements? After all, he is a mere cowherd boy, as soft and delicate as a blue lotus born from the pond of Yashoda’s womb and educated only in the work and customs of his own caste. You are aware of this, and yet you still wish to undertake this project even though you have no such mystic spells or magic potions. In the end, this resolution of yours will most certainly amount to nothing more than falling into an ocean of embarrassment and ridicule. Take it from me, this is the truth.”
Jagat - Tue, 30 Mar 2004 19:40:50 +0530
Tungavidya suggested, "We could also get a spell with esoteric powers from Nandimukhi, who is Bhagavati Paurnamasi's most accomplished disciple. Once we have done that, why shouldn't we enthusiastically persevere in this matter?"
Agreeing that Tungavidya's counsel was the best, all the gopis approached Nandimukhi and humbly revealed their desire. Nandimukhi listened to their account of the aforementioned events and exclaimed to herself, "How lucky I am! For so long I have desired to see Krishna and the gopis engage in their amusing buying and selling games. Now the chance has finally presented itself for me to plant the seed of that desire tree. These gopis are most clever, so it will take excellent arguments to convince them, but I must try so that this desire tree may quickly sprout and bear fruit."
After deliberating in this way, she cheerfully addressed the gopis, "O friends! The truth is that these pearls were produced from the earth and not by the power of any mantras uttered by Mukunda."
The sakhis replied, "O Nandimukhi! How can you say that? Everyone knows that pearls only come from oysters. It is impossible for them to be produced from the earth."
Nandimukhi replied, "It is all due to the natural fertility of this soil. We have heard Paurnamasi repeatedly describe how the transcendental earth of these forest lands of Vraja produces many varieties of jewels. Furthermore, I have personally experienced this to be true. In Vrindavan, we have clearly seen golden trees sprout and grow, with new twigs made of coral, fresh green leaves of emerald, buds of diamonds and pearls, and ruby fruits. Therefore, if pearls are planted in these fields of Vraja Bhumi and are seen to produce creepers which bear fruits similar to them, what is so strange or wonderful about that? So you should also cultivate pearls, but water your plants carefully with fresh, fragrant butter. In this way you will get fruits superior even to those of Sri Krishna Chandra."
These gopi maidens of Vraja drank in the sweetness of Nandimukhi's words and with happy hearts and great praise, believed everything she said completely. After they had all embraced her, they returned to their own plantation where they set about their work in a great spirit of competition. In order to gain victory over me, they paid some servants two or three times their regular fee in milk products to go out and prepare the fields. They took down all the pearls that had not yet been strung and were still being stored in strong-boxes and those which had already been made into bodily ornaments of various types, setting only a few aside, as was proper. They even took the pearls with which they had decorated their own bodies. Then the gopis planted every last one of them in the ground and began to water them daily, morning, noon and evening, with cow's milk, butter and the most fragrant ghee.
When Chandravali and all the other gopis of Vraja heard that Radha and her friends had taken up the cultivation of pearls, they were also moved by intense jealousy and greed to prepare fields in various places even more extensive than any that had been thus far prepared, and there planted each and every pearl that could be found in their homes and on their bodies, without even setting a single one aside for any other purpose. Within a few days, when they saw that plants had begun to sprout in their fields, they became very proud and began to ridicule my friends, taunting them in various ways.
One day, the cowherd men noticed that large amounts of milk products were missing and that all the pearls had disappeared from their homes. In an angry mood they demanded an explanation, to which the elderly gopis replied, "O blessed cowherd men! There is no reason to get worked up about this. True, these girls have spent abundantly for the sake of their pearl gardens, but they will very soon be making an even a greater return. We have seen that Krishna's fields have already begun to produce pearls of an even higher quality than those worn by queens."
One day, Vishakha Devi, after carefully observing the plants that were sprouting in her own field, confided to some of her girlfriends, "O sakhis! The young plants in our fields do not appear to be the same as those we saw in Krishna's garden. I don't know what the outcome of all this will be. We have to make sure that Krishna's friends don't notice this, so let’s hide them by building a very high fence, ostensibly to protect our plants."
It did not take many more days, however, before the plants in Radha's and her friends' fields, as well as the ones in those of the other gopis, clearly exhibited their real nature as they sprouted thorns. The news spread throughout the length and breadth of Gokula that the gopis' fields had produced nothing but weeds. When I came to know of this myself, I sent some of my friends to the gopis' meeting place, and through them sarcastically conveyed my congratulations: "I have heard that your fields are producing many wonderful pearls. Since I am your dearly beloved, you should present me and my friends with the first pearls produced in your gardens."
To this the gopis haughtily replied, "Had we engaged in any agricultural activities, then the pasturing grounds would undoubtedly have become completely covered with pearls. But just because your friend Krishna has become a cultivator, what makes you think that anyone else is prepared to give up their traditional duty of cow protection to do the same?"
When I heard this, I began to decorate all of my friends, the cows and calves, the she-buffalo who pull the carts, the female goats and their kids, and even the female monkeys who cavort all over Vrindavan, with pearl garlands and ornaments. Seeing this, the gopis became self-conscious of their ornamentless state and afraid of being severely reprimanded by the cowherd men for the great loss of household wealth. They now held counsel together and someone said, “That Nandimukhi is a fraud. She is partial to Krishna and so she gave us bad advice just to deceive us.”
Jagat - Wed, 31 Mar 2004 02:53:20 +0530
The girls decided to go to Nandimukhi to rebuke her, and, after describing everything that had happened, hotly criticized her for her duplicity. But she replied, "Friends! I am prepared to swear on the strength of whatever austerities I have performed that I have not deceived you in any way! It is rather you yourselves who are at fault."
The gopis retorted, "Fraudster! How can you say that it is our fault?"
Nandimukhi replied, "You were overly haughty and pretentious. You made such a great din and bustle, like a town-crier with his big kettle drum, and so insured that Krishna and his friends would be aware of everything you were doing. You thus publicly planted all of your pearls in the fields and yet left not a single person there to guard them."
The gopis all exclaimed in shock, "And that is why nothing came up?"
Nandimukhi calmly answered, "You think that you are so clever! I will tell you exactly what happened: With the idea of soundly defeating you, your paramour Krishna, the prince of knaves, very cleverly enticed his friend, the greedy buffoon Madhumangal, with bowls and bowls of sweet rice. He told him to zealously uproot all of your pearl plants just when they had begun to sprout and replace them with thorny creepers. Some of the pearls taken from your gardens were then planted into one of Krishna's own fields, while others were thrown into the deep waters of the Yamuna. I have come to know that this is the whole and honest truth."
The gopis now retorted, "That is quite enough! You are a great director of the drama of crooked double dealings and have staged it flawlessly. Indeed, you have no other purpose in life. You are that rapscallion Madhumangal's classmate, almost fit in fact to be his guru. You are the darling dancer of Krishna’s troupe, a fit partner for that deceitful dancer who is famous throughout Vraja! You are a female ascetic worthy of this fallen age, the Kali Yuga!"
The gopis hurled these insults with arched eyebrows and then returned home. There they continued to discuss the matter until finally Radha spoke out: "Friends! What is the point of determining now whether it was Nandimukhi or that rascal Krishna who beguiled us? At present, our real problem is the punishment we are going to face from our superiors. We will only be free of that fear if we can somehow or other show them the missing pearls. Pearls of such quality, however, are especially rare here in Gokula. Our only recourse, therefore, is to buy some from Krishna. Let’s work out how we can do that."
After some more deliberation, everyone concluded, “Chandramukhi is very cunning by nature. If we give her the money, she will be able to buy the pearls we need from Krishna at a reasonable price.”
Chandramukhi, however, submitted, "I will not be able to go there alone. After all, we have been rebuking him so harshly. Let Kanchanalata come with me."
Thus it happened that, with all of the gopis' approval, Chandramukhi and Kanchanalata arrived at a lean-to within the pearl gardens, carrying with them an abundant quantity of gold. They addressed Subala, the proprietor of that garden house, who was sitting there next to me: "O Subala! We have heard from reliable sources that you are selling your pearl crop. Please accept all of this gold, which is of the purest quality, and give us in return a choice selection of your pearls of equivalent value."
To this I smiled and replied, "My friends! Only a few days ago, I humbly entreated you to give me a few pearls, but you wouldn't even give me one. After that, I requested you for just one bucket of milk to irrigate our fields, but you denied me that, too. I would rather throw all the pearls into the waters of the Yamuna before selling you any. Even if you give us everything of value that you possess, even your own homes, we will not give you even a single pearl of the poorest quality."
Kanchanalata spoke up, "Were we not afraid of our husbands and elders on account of the pearls, would any of us tolerate such demeaning words from this fellow? So be it, what can we do? There is a large variety of jewels available in the Mathura market, but that is too far away at the moment. Please, Subala, act as middle-man in this affair. We are quite prepared to pay more than the going market rate."
Jagat - Wed, 31 Mar 2004 17:43:21 +0530
These were the words I was waiting to hear and so I laughed aloud and replied, "Well, after all is said and done, I am very soft-hearted by nature, so I won't be able to remain as intransigeant as you have been with me. After all, what else am I going to do with all these pearls? But who will negotiate the price for all those who want to buy? You two?"
Chandramukhi and Kanchanalata replied, "That’s right."
So I told them, "So, what exactly are you willing to give ‘over the going market rate’?"
Chandramukhi laughed slightly and looked at Kanchanalata, who then shyly addressed Subala, "O dear friend, Subala! Please be the arbitrator. By resolving this problem, you will enhance your well-deserved reputation."
Subala turned to me and said, "Buddy! Due to the secretive nature of such negotiations, Kanchanalata does not wish to state overtly how much they are willing to pay. Why don't you simply say yourself, in clear terms, the price that you expect?"
I replied, "My dear Subala! I know what Chandramukhi has in mind. Radha and the others think Kanchanalata is a priceless object and so have sent here to be given to me in exchange for the pearls. But it is known everywhere that these pearl fruits are worth much more than heaps and heaps of gold (kAJcana). So how could a mere gold creeper (kAJcana-latA) be sufficient payment for such a great collection of pearls? Even if Chandramukhi says that the two fruits on Kanchanalata's chest are golden caskets containing many priceless touchstones, it still would not be enough, because just one of my pearl fruits is worth millions of times more than even the kaustubha jewel on the Lord of Vaikuntha’s neck."
Kanchanalata's brows contracted into a threatening scowl. She fixed her eyes on me and fumed in anger, "You foolish girl, Chandramukhi! I told you before that I didn't want to go anywhere near this brazen Krishna. Still, with great persistence you managed to bring me here anyway, simply to be harassed. You can get the pearls yourself! I'm leaving this place right now!"
Chandramukhi: "Friend Kanchanalata! You're perfectly right. But how can I negotiate the price all by myself? Worse still, how can I remain alone in this secluded place with these fellows? It is said that those who have been sent together on a mission should either accomplish it or abandon it together. So, if you're leaving, then I am too!"
When I saw them about to leave I told Subala, "Buddy Subala! Didn't I say that these two were incapable of negotiating?"
But Subala approached the two gopis and said accomodatingly, "Chandramukhi! I think that my friend is very eager to price his commodities. If our dear friends Radha, Lalita and the others come here themselves to negotiate a fair price, I see no reason why they shouldn't be able to get all the pearl fruits they long for. I will do everything I can to mediate in this matter."
Jagat - Fri, 02 Apr 2004 00:46:14 +0530
Even after hearing his counsel, Chandramukhi and Kanchanalata were still boiling in anger when they returned to Sri Radha and the other gopis. After they narrated their encounter with Krishna and Subala, Radha, Lalita and the others arrived outside the pearl garden lean-to and sent Chandramukhi to call Subala. On behalf of Radharani, Chandramukhi said, "Dear friend Subala! You are naturally very affectionate towards us. Therefore, please do whatever must be done so that we can get these pearls at an honest price."u
Subala came and informed me of their submission, and then, on my instructions, brought Lalita and the other gopis before me. Radha, however, said to Subala, "Don't you dare tell your bosom buddy, who gives me so much trouble, that I have come." And, so saying, she hid in a nearby cluster of kadamba trees and sat down to listen to the proceedings. In the meantime, I began to look around for Radha amongst the gopis, and being unable to find her, exclaimed, "Why is Radha nowhere to be seen?"
Tungavidya replied, "O prince of Gokula! Her mother-in-law, Jatila, has lovingly kept Radha at home today in order to do some housework. So that’s where she is."
While she was saying this, Madhumangala came in and signalled to me that Radha was hiding somewhere nearby. I smiled slightly and said to Tungavidya, "It would appear that Radha is no longer interested in obtaining any pearls."
To this she replied, "No, it isn't that. Not at all. We will be buying pearls on her behalf, too."
I said, "Well, Vishakha is Radha and Radha is Vishakha, so I suppose that Vishakha can pay for her. Anyway, I'm not terribly enthusiastic about selling anything to Radha at the present moment. My friends and I have firmly decided that anyone who does not personally come here to make her purchase will have to pay four times the price and will only get pearls of inferior quality."
Visakha and Radha are both astronomical names for the same asterism
Then I turned to Subala and said, "Bring the casket of pearls here and spread them out on the ground. Pick out the smallest ones. Then, disregarding the miserliness Radha showed to us, first give these to Vishakha on her behalf and collect the fair price. If she is unable to pay in cash, then take her, as she is non-different from Radha, to the madhavi-kunja prison where we keep the cowherd girls who have been caught stealing shoots (pravAla
) and flowers."
Madhumangala spoke up, "Dear friend! These women are the wives of other men(*), and so are all well versed in the science of escape."
(*) para-rAmA means “other’s woman” which is synonymous in most poetics and drama texts with "adulteress." The category can also include the unmarried virgin. Para can also be a superlative, thus the word has another meaning, "the best women." Since the Vaishnavas believe that the gopis are never really married to anyone but their eternal husband Krishna, the pun should be understood wherever the term is used. However, here Madhumangal is insinuating that as married women they are naturally adept at sneaking out of the house to meet their lovers.
I replied, "I am aware of that, comrade, but there is nothing to worry about. Though it is completely unworthy for a person like myself to abandon restraint and touch another man's wife, even in dreams, let us recall the following wise saying:
'A wise man takes care to achieve his objectives
even if it requires acts that are condemned.
The words used here are similar to those of the Panchatantra (1.237):
apamAnaM puraskRtya mAnaM kRtvA tu pRSThataH |
svArtham abhyuddharet prAjJaH kArya-dhvaMso hi mUrkhatA ||
A wise man stands ready to accept criticism and disregards his own personal prestige, but in every undertaking he achieves his objectives. To not do so is foolishness.
This verse is actually quoted in full further along in this text.
"Furthermore, it is said,
'In feasting (AhAra) and in business (vyavahAra), one should abandon all shame.'
This is similarly a paraphrase of Chanakya (7.2)
dhana-dhAnya-prayogeSu vidyA-saGgrahaNeSu ca |
AhAre vyavahAre ca tyakta-lajjaH sukhI bhavet ||
One who is shameless in money matters, farming, learning, eating and business, is happy.
"In light of these scriptural statements, I am prepared to stay up the whole night to guard her."
Subala laughed, "Best of men! How long will our dear friend Vishakha have to remain incarcerated like this?"
I replied, "For as long as Radha, on whose account she will be held, does not remit the total amount due for her pearls. On the other hand, if Radha feels sorry for her, she can come here with a partial payment and take Vishakha's place while Vishakha goes to bring full payment."
Madhumangala: "Comrade! Radha is the leader of all these gopis and as such is more expert than any of them at everything, especially escaping. We have noticed this many times at the toll station where we collect customs duties in the form of milk and yoghurt. Not only that, but it worries me that you are often seen to be quite tired and sleepy at night."
At this remark I smiled and took him aside. "Friend," I said, "There is no point in your entertaining these fruitless anxieties; I won't feel sleepy with her. If perchance I should, then I will make the lotus stem of her left arm a pillow for my head, while placing my tender left hand, as pink as the eastern sky in the morning, upon the exquisite, yellow silk bed sheet situated like the moon over her breast. We shall thus pass the time discussing the price of pearls, so that in the happiness of those wakeful hours, the four watches of the night will quickly come to an end. If I do feel tired, I will place her in the dark, impervious cell of my chest. I will shackle her very firmly with my two arms, like hardened emerald bolts. Thus, without any worry that she will escape, I will very happily drift off into the world of dreams."
The gopis overheard me speaking to Madhumangala and their faces lit up with sweet smiles. Radha looked up from her hiding place and while looking at me, Vishakha and the other sakhis, said in secret chastisement, "Oh you who are nothing more than Chandravali's little pet deer, be quiet!" Despite chastising me in this way, her face also brightened with a smile. Vishakha, however, looked askance at me while saying, "Go on, get away, you arrogant knave of Vraja!" And she merged into the group of sakhis.
They turned to Subala and said, "Stop behaving like clowns. If you are at all desirous of selling us some pearls, then show us the merchandise, take the proper payment, and give us the goods. Otherwise, we'll just go home. We shall just have to arrange to have pearls brought from Mathura."
Jagat - Fri, 02 Apr 2004 09:49:48 +0530
At this point, Subala opened up the treasure chests and showed Vishakha and Chandramukhi the pearls. At the same time, he said to me, "Beloved comrade! These pearls are priceless. Even if they sell their husbands and families, as well as their entire stock of cattle, they still won't have enough money to purchase even a single pearl. However, these girls love you so much they know nothing other than you. So you should just forget their previous miserly behavior. Knowing me to be your faithful friend, allow me to now distribute these pearls, so coveted by all of them, for a nominal price or for free."
I replied, "No, no, my friend. That we cannot do. We are businessmen now. What should I do? I have to keep your word, too. So, extract a nominal price from them and then give them the pearls. On the other hand, someone has told me that you repeatedly accept bribes and in this way manage to spoil much of my profit from customs duties. I think I had better do the collecting myself."
Subala laughed a little and said, "Well spoken. But you should allow each of them to choose the pearls they like and make a little pile of them. Then, when you see the ones they have selected, you can name your price."
I replied, "Fine. So have them show me which pearls they want and I will tell them the price."
Then Subala said, "Dear comrade! The gopis are making a humble proposition. If it pleases you, then kindly accept it."
I replied, "Tell me what it is. If it's reasonable, then of course I will accept."
Subala said, "Their proposal is this: 'Mathura is quite far away and it will take us a couple of days to collect all the goods needed for payment. The problem is that our elders are continually telling us how upset they are at our having lost all our pearls and ornaments, and they chastise us for this. Knowing you to be a very agreeable fellow, we have abandoned all shame to come to this lonely place. We therefore request you to loan us the pearls for which we will repay you later, so that we may very quickly leave. We will repay the loan within one or two days along with any interest fees you may charge. If your friend Krishna does not trust us, then please vouch for us.'
Subala continued, "So if you have confidence in the truthfulness of these gopis, then go ahead and give them the pearls now, knowing that you will shortly collect the barter items with interest. This kindness will also greatly strengthen the affectionate bonds between you and the gopis."
I laughed, "O Subala, you are so gullible. You know absolutely nothing about their dealings. These gopis are like actresses playing some diplomatic game. If they decide to abscond with the pearls and, without making any payment, take shelter of their elders who are like mountains surrounded by the great fortress walls of their husbands, then what will you do?"
"I'm certain they wouldn't do such a thing. And even if they did, I would take Ujjvala, Vasanta, Arjuna, Kokila and other cowherd boys and tell their husbands that they had promised to pay for the pearls with the nectar of their lips and fond embraces. I will threaten them and say that they must send their wives immediately to make the payment."
Madhumangal angrily intervened, "Ah Subala! Only in name are you endowed with great strength (subala
). You are a male in name only. Indeed, this is not the first time that I have noticed your appearance to be just like that of the weaker sex (abalA
).(*) Anyway, it quite befits your timid nature that you can think of nothing better to do than to simply blow hot air at the gopis' exceedingly insignificant guardians. Better that you should just sit down here while I dress myself for battle. I will surround the gopis' husbands, along with their cows and buffalo, and will confine them in Nandishwarpur where they can be guarded. Then the gopis will be forced to come themselves to liberate their husbands and cattle by paying you properly."
(*)Subala's nature is remarked on in Ujjvala-nilamani (2.13, where he is said to have the temperament of a girlfriend (sakhI-bhAvam AzritaH). This is the characteristic of a priya-narma-sakha, which qualifies him to be a knower of Krishna's most intimate secrets. Of course, here, this is just Madhumangala posturing.
Madhumangal's words pained me, so I asked him, "My dearest friend Madhumangal! What kind of counsel is this you are giving? All the residents of Vraja, even those who belong to the aboriginal tribes known as the Bhils and Pulindas, are still dearer to me than anything. But the cowherds especially are our family relations and brothers; they are non-different from my very self. Consequently, this advice of yours is most inappropriate. I am more inclined to support Subala's proposal, except for the fact that bargaining with one's dearest friends and relatives puts a strain on one's friendship. This is mentioned in the smriti-shastra:
'The practice of lending and borrowing
should not be taken up among friends.
If done, it first extinguishes the affectionate bond between them,
and ultimately ends up in dispute.'
"Therefore, simply have them pay the price and carry away their merchandise."
Angry that their proposal had been rejected, the gopis now flared up. They looked at Subala and said, "You are quite the expert double-dealer! You brought us back here only to deceive us. Go ahead then with your plans to build up your kingdom through trade and commerce in pearls, we are leaving!"
Jagat - Fri, 02 Apr 2004 21:36:04 +0530
As the girls were preparing to go, Subala again approached them amiably and spoke very softly to Lalita, "Sakhi Lalita! Our friend Krishna is only afraid that if he extends credit to his friends and lets them incur a debt toward him, it will prove in the long run injurious to your loving relationship with him. That is why he has decided that he will not hand any goods over until the proper price for the goods has been ascertained and paid. So, let's first get together and fix the price. You can consider how to make the payment afterward."
Their tempers calmed by Subala's entreaties, the gopis came back with him again. This time, Subala said, "Comrade! Stop joking around now and tell us the price."
I replied, "Whose pearls' price should I quote first?"
"Since Lalita is the chief amongst them, first tell us what she should pay for the pearls she will take."
With a playful smile on my lips I replied, "I am a lion among men: if Lalita, the greatest warrior within this redoubtable phalanx of women, is able to even once blunt my weapons by exhibiting her prowess on the battlefield, then I will never again bear weapons before her. Indeed, I will never again release any of my weapons at all, but simply sing the glories of her prowess. In this way I will become her servant. This is the small payment I ask of her."
This paragraph contains references to the reversal of sexual roles.
etad-vAhinInAM pravINayA lalitayA samare pauruSeNa yadi mAdRzaH puruSa-siMhaH sakRd api kuNThitAstrIkartuM zakyate | tadAsyAH samakSaM sarvathaivAstrI na bhaviSyAmi | kiM vA santatam amuktAstrI bhUtvA etaM pauruSam evAnukIrtayann imAm evAnucariSyAmIti idam eva yat kiJcin mUlyaM dattvA gRhNAtu |
Thus the word pauruSa ("prowess") refers to Lalita's adopting the masculine role, while kuNThitAstrIkartuM ("blunting my weapons") is a pun meaning "make me into a meek non-man." AstrI ("not bearing weapons") can also be read as astrI ("non-woman," i.e., man), and amuktAstrI ("not releasing weapons") can be understood as amuktA strI ("an unliberated, i.e. submissive or dependent wife"). samara ("battle") can also mean, as does samiti "sexual congress," for both have "coming together" as their root meaning.
Subala smirked as he replied, "O champion of Gokula! For a period of seven days and seven nights here in Vraja, you held the mount Govardhan aloft on the tip of the little finger of your left lotus hand, which is as soft as the outer covering of a lotus seed, as though it were nothing more than a bee perched there. You did all this in order to shrink the mountain of pride of the king of the gods, Indra, who had become so puffed up by his accumulated opulence and power. Now, how will Lalita, who is more delicate than the softest young girl, contest such a ferocious(*) warrior as you in battle?"
(*) uccaNDa = passionate.
Madhumangal spoke up, "Subala! Why are you acclaiming Krishna's childhood(*) prowess so highly? Now that he, the wish-fulfilling tree of love, has been sprinkled with the nectar of adolescence, he has extended his branches and creepers in all directions, thus far surpassing his previous virtues."
Krishna was only seven years old when he lifted Govardhan.
Subala asked, "And how have you come to know all this?"
"Well, just as Krishna previously gave much distress to all his enemies, he has now also, without any difficulty whatsoever, caused even greater perturbation by cutting the great mountains situated over Lalita's heart to bits with the weapons of his nails, even though they are very difficult to approach, and then afflicting it with the great pestilence of passionate desire."(*)
mahAmArAdibhiH can also be taken to refer to "great desire" as well as to pestilence or the plague.
I laughed and addressed Subala, "My friend Subala! You have spoken truthfully. Most of the time and in most cases I am as you have described me, but not when I am with this girl Lalita. For Lalita, who is so strangely wonderful in all her diverse ways, so wise and intelligent, has on many occasions in our previous intense battles completely paralyzed me with nothing more than a battle cry and the twanging of her fierce, bow-like eyebrows. In view of this, I don't know how she can properly be described as a member of the weaker sex."
Hearing me say this, Lalita looked towards the other gopis and grinned. Though she felt great joy, she concealed it and spoke as if absolutely infuriated. "You clown Subala! It seems that even you have become possessed by the same goddess of buffoonery who is worshipped by Madhumangal's friend, the greatest buffoon and cheat of Gokula, since we find that you have brought us before him only to cast us into the ocean of frustration and then to watch with amusement as we flounder."
Using phrases such as this and piercing me with dirty looks, Lalita called the other gopis, "Come on you simple-hearted gopi girls, it's time to leave!" And indeed, she started to depart along with all the others, when who should arrive on the scene but the disciple of Bhagavati Paurnamasi, Nandimukhi. Seeing that everyone was about to leave, she addressed Lalita, "Sakhi Lalita! Are you going to forget what you came for and leave just because this comic Vrajendra-nandana made a few jocular remarks? I beseech you, tarry with me for a few moments, for,
'Ready to accept the insults that await him
and to leave his prestige behind,
a wise man always keeps to his own objectives;
to lose sight of one's goals is foolishness.'
"According to this and other similar wise proverbs, you should remain patient and tolerate whatever mocking or harassment you may face in order to fulfil your objectives. It is my solemn oath to you, though you may find it hard to accept, that this jesting itself will act as a go-between and induce Krishna to bestow his pearls upon you all. If Krishna, who as you know is very proud, were truly disturbed by your parsimoniousness, it would be impossible for him to continue joking like that. Therefore, when he has told you his asking price for the pearls, you should adopt whatever course of action will have the best results."
Having thus spoken, Nandimukhi caught hold of Lalita and brought her against her resistance, along with the other gopis, near the mountain of pearls. Then she addressed me as follows, "O Prince of Gokula! Along with hundreds of her blessings, the worshipful Bhagavati sends you a message."
In Gaudiya Vaishnava works like Govinda-lilamrita, Nandimukhi is often cast in the role of a go-between, carrying messages from Paurnamasi to Krishna or Radha, or intervening as a referee in their lovers' spats.
Jagat - Fri, 02 Apr 2004 23:59:18 +0530
I replied, “Nandimukhi! I hope that the venerable Bhagavati Devi is keeping well. Please tell me what she commands, that my soul may be comforted by the nectar of her good instructions.”
Nandimukhi read: “Paurnamasi writes: “You are the son of the sovereign of Vraja, who is the master of vast wealth. All of these darling young girls here, beginning with Sri Radha, are the favored objects of our affection and are also exclusively devoted to you, for whose long life we pray. Therefore, look toward us kindly: give up your excessive stubbornness and accept whatever they are capable of giving. You can make us happy by bestowing upon them the pearls they so cherish.’”
Nandimukhi continued, “Accept these instructions spoken by Bhagavati and give up your facetiousness. Give these young girls their pearls and send them on their way home. It is up to you, but remember that you are the on who brings joy to all of Braja.”
To this I replied respectfully, “Nandimukhi! Previously, when I received Bhagavati’s order through Subala, I accepted it like a bouquet of flowers on my head and discarded all ideas about exorbitant prices. In collaboration with Lalita, I agreed to accept a derisory sum for the pearls she sought. If you hear directly from her what that was and still I think I should give it up any part of it, I am prepared to do so.”
When Nandimukhi saw that all the sakhis were smiling upon hearing my reply, except for Lalita, whose lips were trembling and whose eyebrows were crooked up into quite a frown, she smiled and quietly addressed me, “Prince of Vraja! I have heard from all the girls about your 'derisory sums.' But now it is time to leave all joking aside. So please determine realistic prices for everyone here and quote them for me.”
I replied, “Nandimukhi, Jyeshtha is the oldest gopi here. Arrange between you what price she is ready to pay for her pearls and tell me what you decide.”
Nandimukhi said, “The usual system is that the merchant begins the bartering by proposing his price. So you should first tell us how much you are asking.”
"Alright then,” I replied, “I am the lord of the night (the moon). Jyeshtha should abandon her usual trajectory and rise up with passion on the sky of my breast, between Radha who has already appeared there, and Anuradha, who is now in the process of rising. Once there, either by herself or in their company, she should very slowly and gently kiss the moon of my mouth with her lotus-soft lips."
As Radha, Visakha and Anuradha, etc. are all names of asterisms, so too is Jyeshtha. “Abandon her usual trajectory” indicates that Jyeshtha does not generally appear in the sky near the moon at the same time as Radha and Anuradha. Krishna is often known as Vidhu, the moon, or “the lord of the night.” candrarUpI mataH kRSNaH kalA-rUpAs tu tAH smRtAH (Skanda-purana Prabhasa-khanda, quoted in KrishnaS 183).
Conceits and metaphors concerning the players in Braja and the various celestial bodies are rife in the writings of Rupa Goswami and other Gaudiya Vaishnava authors: e.g., BRS 1.1.1, LalM 2.22, ViM 1.10, Danakeli-kaumudi 100, etc. This leads many to conclude that they originated as part of a mythology surrounding the night sky (See S.B. Dasgupta, Sri Radhara Krama-vikasa). The name Jyeshtha is not found in the three main puranic lists of gopi names cited by Jiva in Krishna-sandarbha (189).
The following notes were provided by Toke Knudsen:
The order of the three nakSatras mentioned is as follows:
This means that when AnurAdhA is rising, RAdhA has just risen, while JyeSThA is still beneath the horizon and thus invisible. The passage, as I see it, is a call to JyeSThA not to follow the usual order of things (i.e. rise after AnurAdhA), but to appear even while AnurAdhA is rising and take her place between RAdhA and AnurAdhA.
- VizAkhA (another name of which is RAdhA), nakSatra no. 16
- AnurAdhA, nakSatra no. 17
- JyeSThA, nakSatra no. 18
An asterism is a constellation or a group of stars. Another translation that would be good in the given context is "lunar mansion."
The Sanskrit word in question is nakSatra. The nakSatras are a group of 27 or 28 (depending on the list in question) constellations, i.e. collections of stars. They are supposed to be near the ecliptic (the path of the Sun around the Earth), but some of them are a bit off (for example, according to BhAskara's star list, the yogatArA (junction-star) of the nakSatra SvAti has a declination of 37 degrees North, taking it quite a distance from the ecliptic; however, the three nakSatras in your passage are all fairly close to the ecliptic). According to the mythology, these are the daughters of DakSa who married the Moon, and the Moon spends one night with each of them. In other words, during one night the Moon will be in conjunction with one nakSatra, the next night with the next nakSatra, etc. Since a sidereal month (the time it takes for the Moon to return to the same position with respect to the fixed stars) is roughly 27 1/3 days long, this works relatively well with 27 or 28 nakSatras. This tradition goes back to Vedic times, although I am not sure that the name of DakSa was involved at that early stage; still, the idea of the Moon conjoining with a different nakSatra every night was there.
I then noticed that Radha, who was still hiding in the bushes, as well as Vishakha, Lalita and Jyeshtha, were all knotting their eyebrows in terrible frowns expressing great anger. I turned to Nandimukhi and asked, “Why are they so angry to hear my words, which are so propitious for their personal fulfilment?”
Nandimukhi replied, “O most beautiful one! These chaste girls are married to men other than the dark lord of the Gokula night and they consider simply touching another man to be a great sin, what to speak of kissing him on the moon of his mouth. Is it any wonder they are angry?”
Jagat - Sat, 03 Apr 2004 03:25:34 +0530
Having heard the narration of these pleasurable pastimes to this point, Satyabhama asked Krishna to following question, 'My husband! When enumerating the stars, rather than using Vishakha, which is a well-known name of Radha, you purposefully used the name of Anuradha. It is perfectly reasonable that when Radha and Vishakha heard these teasing words directed towards themselves, they could understand your innuendo and felt enraged. But why did Lalita also become angry at your display of wit?"
Krishna replied, "Dear one! Because Anuradha is another name for Lalita."
Satyabhama: "O Lord of the Yadus! My mind has been abundantly satisfied by hearing the narration of these unprecedented pastimes, but not to the point of satiation. Please therefore, continue describing these events to me in all their detail."
At this point, I turned and looked at Champakalata's moon-like face, which was lit up with a smile. While rolling the pearls she had chosen through my fingers, I said: "Nandimukhi! I have long suspected that this dear sakhi of yours, Champakalata, has attained supernatural powers from some perfected spiritual adept."
Nandimukhi queried, "And how did you arrive at this conclusion?"
I replied, "This champak vine is normally unable to move, and this one is furthermore weighed down by a brace of huge fruit. Even so, she is still quite easily able to move about, hither and thither. Since she shows she has the power to change form in this way, let her become a golden champak garland and grace my beautiful black cloud of a chest with her sweet fragrance. And I too will, by my mystic powers, with her permission, adopt the form of a garland of tiny emeralds about her neck, with its centerpiece being a great Mahendranila sapphire falling in between her breasts."
Subala then spoke up: "My dear friend! All of us have experience of Champakalata's mystic powers, as we have seen her move about as she does, and so forth. However, no one has at any time or place witnessed these powers of yours that you speak of. So if you are unable to immediately accomplish the difficult task that you have just described, we shall become the laughing-stock of all these girls present here. I hope you can understand, after carefully considering the matter at hand, that it is incumbent upon you now to demonstrate your abilities."
To this I replied, "Subala! You have seen my mystic powers, and yet you say you haven't? How can I do anything about that?"
Then Nandimukhi addressed me, "O you of graceful limbs and delicious appearance! Please tell us exactly when and where you used your super powers. All of us are quite curious to hear about them."
I replied, "Well, once we went on pilgrimage to Ambikavana and my father was attacked by a large python. When he took shelter of me, I touched the snake with my big toe and he was immediately transformed into a prince of the Vidyadharas, fully decorated with all ornaments. Then again, I held up Govardhan, the king of all great mountains, like an umbrella for an entire week, using only one hand. On another occasion, Subala and my other friends were bewitched by the poison of Kaliya, and I brought them back to consciousness simply by glancing over them. And then, on a couple of occasions I transformed great forest fires into nectar and then drank them up with one swallow, like child's play. Is there anyone in Gokula who hasn't seen these and the many other manifestations of my mystic potency? What then is the need for me to give further proof of my powers?"
The following words now emanated from Lalita's sweetly smiling lips: "Nandimukhi! This lecherous lover of yours has spoken the truth, but the days when he was capable of such miracles have long passed. He was able to do such things due to the potency acquired from being celibate (brAhmacArya
). Nowadays however, as a result of continuously enjoying wanton pastimes with Chandravali, the wife of the cruel Kamsa's servant Govardhan Malla, along with her friends Padma, Shaibya and the other of Braja beauties, his brahmacharya has been vitiated and his mystic powers have all vanished."
To this I replied with a smile, "Lalita!tejIyasAM na doSAya
vahneH sarva-bhujo yathA
'For the powerful, such things are not counted as faults,
the omnivorousness of fire is proof of this."(10.33.29)
"You have only been able to speak as you have because you cannot understand the true meaning of this verse. Therefore, listen carefully as I explain it in detail: Fire does not lose any of its vigor by consuming indiscriminately everything that is fed to it. On the contrary, its strength is increased. Similarly, through the sweet satisfaction of constantly enjoying pleasures of the erotic kind with beautiful young girls like you, my mystic potencies are kindled and constantly blaze forth, brighter and brighter."
Jagat - Sat, 03 Apr 2004 05:37:45 +0530
Now Madhumangal spoke up, "Lalita! Our dear friend has spoken correctly. If his powers hadn't increased, then how would it have been possible for him to plant pearls in the ground and then get them to sprout? Not only that, but they all grew luxuriantly and produced a great abundance of flowers and fruits."
Lalita laughed, "Revered Madhumangal! You think this was all due to your dear friend's supernatural powers, then?"
Madhumangal: "If not his powers, then what?"
Lalita: "Surely it was the potency of Vrindavan's soil."
Radha whispered, "Lalita! Say that it was also due to his association with young girls!" Vishakha heard Radha and repeated it to everyone.
I replied, "Then how is it that your pearls turned into thornbushes?"
Lalita: "O most clever one, crest jewel among the most cunning! Can liberated souls ever become cruel or savage?"
Lalita interprets Krishna's words to mean something different: “Can liberated souls (muktA = pearls) ever be cruel or savage (hiMsrAH = thornbushes, weeds)?”
I pressed her, "Then why were no pearls produced from your garden?"
Lalita: "It must have been some defect in either the soil or the seeds."
Radha again, off to the side, "Lalita! Say that no pearls were produced because of the properties of that particular field!" Once again Vishakha repeated Radha's words.
Nandimukhi: "Lalita! I think Vishakha may have something there!"
Lalita: "What do you mean?"
Nandimukhi: "This land of Vrindavan is barren soil for the poisonous creeper of liberation, yet most fertile terrain for the heavenly creeper of the devotional ambrosia that is brightened by an abundance of spiritual love, the source of supreme and eternal joy. Any living creature who happens to wander into these lands becomes a devotee, what to speak of simply being liberated!"(*)
The passage is as follows:
yasmAt sarvadA sarvAGgINa-mukti-viSa-vallari-mahoSara-bhUmau santata-paramAnanda-kara-prema-bharojjvalita-bhakti-pIyUSa-sura-valli-sarasatara-mahA-kSetre’smin vRndAvane dhruvam AgantukA ye kecana jantavo bhaktA eva bhavanti kathaM nu muktA bhavantu |
Here again the pun on muktA (“pearl”) and mukta (“liberated person”) is being exploited. kSetra can mean both “field” as in Radha’s previous statement, and here as “place of pilgrimage.” The type of liberation or mukti which leads to the total disintegration of the ego is not desired by devotees because it gives no opportunity for devotion for Krishna. But a devotee is considered to be more than liberated, liberation being a mere side-effect of devotion.
Lalita laughed and said to Vishakha, "You told us before that it was through his association with young women that he was successful in his gardening activities. Please explain this to us."
Jagat - Sat, 03 Apr 2004 06:35:47 +0530
Lalita laughed and said to Vishakha, "Didn't you also say something about it being through his association with young women that he was successful in his gardening activities? Please explain this to us."
Vishakha : "It is said,ArUDha-yogo’pi nipAtyate’dhaH
saGgena yogI kim utAlpa-siddhiH
"'Bad association causes even a great yogin who has ascended the ladder of yoga to fall from the path of sense control; what then can it do to one with negligible spiritual achievements?'
"According to this principle, through even only a moment's association by touch, thought or conversation with this person of the darker sort who is thoroughly addicted to women and who relishes the company of those of flawed descendance, even liberated persons have had to enter a mother's womb on this earth and be born, leading flawed lives bound by the three qualities of material nature.
The pun on mukta continues. The Sanskrit text is:
kAye manasi gotre ca zyAmalatarasya sa-cchidra-vaMza-rasikasya rata-nArIkasya kSaNa-mAtra-saGgena muktA api bhUmau garbha-vAsena jananam AsAdya sa-cchidrIbhUya saMsAra-guNa-baddhA babhUvuH |
The alternate meaning is as follows: "According to this principle, through even only a moment's association by touch, thought or conversation with this person of the darker sort, who is thoroughly addicted to women and who enjoys playing his flute, which is full of holes, the pearls were placed in the womb of the earth, sprouted, and then were pierced with holes so that they could be strung on the string of material nature."
Thereupon I said, "Vishakha! Everything you have said is completely true."
Subala: "Comrade! How's that?"
"Well, though the sages of Dandakaranya were liberated while still embodied, they took up severe penances and austerities after hearing in detail from Narada Muni and other saintly persons about me, who am the professor of passionate pastimes, and my auspicious qualities, beauty and wit. As a result, they took birth in the homes of the foremost cowherd men of the forests of Gokula as the Vraja gopis.(*) Endowed with an abundance of good qualities,(**) beginning with wisdom and good humour, like these other gopis they too now reside on my chest like beautiful necklaces. So many other great liberated souls have been similarly attracted by my inconceivable qualities to take up residence in the forests of Vraja as a multitude of eternally perfected animate and inanimate creatures, bushes, creepers, birds and beasts, simply to increase my pleasure and to thus enjoy the highest happiness themselves."(***)
(*)The reference is to PadmaP 6.272.166-7: "‘All of them were born as women in Gokula; there they attained Krishna through sexual desire, by which they were liberated from the material ocean." This assertion is sufficiently important to have been cited several times by Rupa (BRS 2.2.302, UN 3.40) and Jiva (BhaktiS 321, Radhakrsnarcana-dipika 80, Gopala-campu 1.23.38).
(**)The word guna means “knot” in which sense it has been used in connection with the pearls above, where it also carried the sense “quality of nature”, i.e. sattva, rajas and tamas.
(***)The flora and fauna of Vraja are often likened to sages in BhP, e.g. 10.15.5-6, 21.14, 47.18.
prAyo batAmba munayo vihagA vane’smin
kRSNekSitaM tad-uditaM kala-veNu-gItam |
Aruhya ye druma-bhujAn rucira-pravAlAn
zRNvanti mIlita-dRzo vigatAnya-vAcaH ||
O Mother, the birds in this forest have practically become sages observing a vow of silence. After seeing Krishna, they have taken their places on the tree branches with their beautiful twigs and listen with closed eyes to the sweet vibrations of his flute, without making any other sound. (10.21.14)
Subala: "Well spoken, comrade!"
Lalita smiled slightly, "If in fact you did possess such great esoteric powers so that you could produce pearls irregardless of the specific qualities of the soil, then why are you engaged in the mundane occupation of selling pearls simply for the purpose of accumulating superfluous commodities?"
I responded, "Silly girl, Lalita! Just because you gopis are so puffed up with the treasure of your youthful beauty that you have given up your religious duties and are now loitering about here and there, does that mean that I too, the only son of the King of Vraja, the crest jewel amongst the vaishyas who is so devoted to religious duty, should also renounce mine like a wilful child? The scripture permits us vaishyas four professions: "Agriculture, trade, animal husbandry, and usury is the fourth." (BhP 10.24.21) The practice of any one of these professions can lead to all perfections, but by engaging in all four of them, my powers have ascended beyond the perfectional limit and reign supreme."
Nandimukhi smiled and said sarcastically, "Well, well, O Prince, aren't we devoted to our duty! We have experience of your first three occupations, agriculture, cow protection and commerce, but we have seen anyone in our community engage in usury."
In the Bhagavad Gita, 18.48, usury is not mentioned as one of the duties of the vaishya caste as are the other three, though it is in this verse from the Bhagavatam, taken from the pastime of Krishna's lifting Govardhan Hill. This indicates that historically, money-lending was perhaps a later addition to accepted vaishya functions. It is however mentioned in Manu 1.90. As in many pre-capitalist societies, however, money-lending was considered somewhat unworthy occupation.
I replied to her, "Didn't you know that we were doing this? These girls are presently very perturbed due to the complete unavailability of pearls, so I have taken up money-lending in order to facilitate my real vocation, this lucrative pearl trading business."
sAmpratam api muktAtyantAbhAva-saGkSobhinIbhir etAbhiH saha saGkAmita-svadharmaM muktApAra-vyApAra-vRddhi-vRttiM vidhAtum ArabdhavAn asmi |
There are some hidden meanings here: "Now that these gopis have become greatly afflicted by the ecstatic symptoms that arise out of meeting me, erasing entirely all the suffering they experience when we are apart. Now I have taken up this most desirable vocation of increasing our pastimes together through eliminating entirely all my other activities such as herding the cows, etc."
Vishakha laughed, "O Subala! Those who are attached to certain actions will praise them to the skies even if they are blameworthy. Therefore I suppose it is not terribly surprising that your fine friend here describes his impious activities in such a splendid fashion."
Subala laughed and said to Nandimukhi, "Not only does Krishna extract interest on loans, but he also takes every opportunity to do so on other items, causing growth in them as well."
Nandimukhi: "Such as?"
Subala: "For instance, in his every limb he increases the fresh bloom of youth, which can conquer Cupid tens of millions of times over; in the corners of his eyes he increases the movements which surpass the waving of lotus flowers in the wind; and in his speech, he increases the sweetness, which is as brilliant as the essence of ambrosia."
Madhumangal: "Subala! Have you forgotten the other things which have similarly enjoyed growth?"
Subala: "Please remind me. To what are you referring?"
Madhumangal: "The sweet, playful pastimes of his pride in the supreme beauty manifested through his shark-shaped earrings, jewelled anklets, armlets and rings."
Lalita: "Sir, there is one more thing that has also increased. I wonder why you haven't mentioned it?"
Nandimukhi: "What is that?"
Lalita: "The tasting of leftover nectar from the chaste cowherd girls's lips."
Srimati Radha smiled and whispered, "Lalita! Rightly is it said that we are what we eat (vapur AkhyAti bhojanam
).(*) The roundness of Krishna's arms more than trample the pride of exquisite, perfectly shaped sapphire bolts; the broadness of his chest totally destroys the vanity of an emerald door; the shapeliness of his thighs goad the pride of emerald banana tree trunks; the graceful beauty of his face embarrasses the full moon of the autumn season with its exquisite sweetness; the softness of his feet causes all praise of new mango leaves to fall to pieces; the construction of his delicious bodily limbs bestows well-being and modesty to all symmetrical beauty, most pleasing to the eyes; and his body steals away the lustre of a new blue lotus flower just ready to blossom, lending its radiance to sapphires. All this has happened because Krishna's innards have been pervaded by this most wonderful elixir, the effects of which have expanded to his every limb."
Thus, the increase in the beauty of Krishna’s physical appearance is attributed to his consumption of the gopis’ adharamrita.
This ambrosial speech of Radha's was made even more fragrant by Vishakha when she repeated it aloud, adding to it the blossoming flower of her smiling voice.
Jagat - Tue, 06 Apr 2004 19:19:41 +0530
Then Madhumangal spoke, taking an advisory tone: "Comrade! You are so greedy for the delicious lips of other men’s wives that these extremely shrewd gopis have by their sweet, sweet words been able to entice you with promises of immense profits. In the end, however, I am afraid they will simply take all their pearls and hide themselves in the inaccessible fortresses of their homes where they will be protected by Jatila and other family members. Thus they will not pay you even the principal, what to speak of any interest. This is all very clear to me, and so I have, as your friend, spoken these words for your benefit. But you may, of course, do as you please."
I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing. Still I managed to reply, "My friend! Gandharva Radha and the other girls are respectable family women. They are very upright and pure in their exchanges of the objects of desire. You have spoken as you did only because you are unaware of this. So listen carefully as I tell you about some recent events that will show how wrong you are. Gandharva herself, after wholly satisfying me with a bribe of lip-nectar, left in the morning adorned with a pair of ruby-colored necklaces (or, scratch marks) on her breasts. On the evening of the very same day, she came and decorated my chest with four times as many necklaces of the same type. Similarly, just the day before yesterday in the evening, Lalita took one lodestone (or, kiss), oozing with nectar, from me. After some haggling, she paid me back at an interest of 300%. One night, Vishakha very eagerly took the sweet nectar of my lips. She repaid me multifold in the morning, gratifying me to the utmost with the wealth of her entire being. All the others from Champakalata have energetically taken their most desired objects from me on many occasions, and then paid me back most satisfactorily, some at double my original investment, some at triple. Of all the gopis, only two have displayed any contrariety in the matter of repayment."
Nandimukhi: "Who are they?"
I replied, "One of them is Ranganamala. She once agreed to place the two round fruits of her bosom on my chest three times, but then after accepting the two fruits of my massaging hands, she only offered her fruits to me once. The other two that she still owes me, after much delay and procrastination, have, to this day, yet to be paid. Similarly, Ranganamala's constant companion, Tulasi, told me after accepting a large number of embraces from me that she would pay me double, but now she only teases me, saying, 'I'll pay you now. No, not now, later...' However, a lot of time has passed and she still hasn't paid the price we had agreed upon."
Raghunath knows Rupa Goswami in his manjari form by this name. The reluctance of the manjaris to engage in direct sexual activity with Krishna is here being expressed. It is believed that Tulasi is the name by which Raghunath knew his own manjari form. Rupa Goswami is more commonly identified as Rupa Manjari, Raghunath as Rati Manjari.
Madhumangal said, "Really, Ranganamala and Tulasi! Are you so ungrateful? My friend has such a simple and affable nature that he speaks well of you even though you have not paid back any of the celestial commodities you own him. Do you have no fear of what the people in general, or even what the gods will think of you if you behave in such a deceitful manner with those who are so simple and sincere?"
Lalita gave a lovely little laugh at hearing all of this. Then she retorted, "O most venerable Madhumangal! Is there anyone in this assembly who does not hold the words just uttered by your friend to be dearer than the most ambrosial nectar? If only it weren't for the fact that the smell of the bhang of lies permeates his every word, nay every syllable!"
All of the sakhis laughed uproariously and embraced Lalita while exclaiming, "Bravo! Well done, Lalita! You summed that up pretty well!" Srimati Radharani also embraced Lalita within her mind.
Nandimukhi turned to me and said, "O most charming one! Why do you doubt these girls? Ranganamala is Lalita's dearmost protégé, and Tulasi is Vishakha's disciple. It is certain that Lalita and Vishakha will bring them around to your way of thinking and make them present you with the goods remaining in arrears. Your relations with them will then take on the unsullied character they had before. If Lalita and Vishakha are unable to make Ranganamala and Tulasi pay, then I'm sure that out of their deep affectione to them, they will personally present you with your goods. And if even they refuse to come through with immediate payment, they will never again be able to ask anything of you, no matter how great their need. Otherwise, if you stand in front of Ananga Manjari's sister (Radha) and begin to complain very loudly, then they just might get frightened and anxious enough to immediately agree to give you whatever you want, along with the agreed upon interest."
Jagat - Wed, 07 Apr 2004 20:26:56 +0530
At this the gopis frowned and looked askance at both Nandimukhi and myself. Now Tungavidya came forward slightly and smiling to herself, said, “Hallo, friends! I have a juicy bit of news for you all!”
Everyone asked, “Yes, what is it?”
Tungavidya: "There is a teacher by the name of Kantadarpa. Have you heard of him?"
kAnta-darpa = the pride of a lover, or kAnta=kandarpa, thus "the pride of Cupid."
Lalita: "I have heard the name but I don't know much about him."
Tungavidya: "His dear disciple, Shyamala Misra, has written a commentary called Sandhi-catushtayakhyata-krid-vrittayah
on the four explanations of the verbal derivatives based on the aphorisms of his guru. Have you seen what is described in that commentary?"
Sandhi-catuSTayAkhyAta-kRd-vRttayaH. The implication here is that the work of Kantadarpa is a grammatical one. sandhi refers to the rules surrounding the euphonic combination of certain sounds in Sanskrit; AkhyAta is the grammatical term for the verb, while kRt refers to the verbal derivative forms, such as participles and verbal nouns, etc. vRtti refers to either the changes that words undergo when the various applications are made to them according to part of speech, tense, person, number, etc., or to an explanation. The second meaning of these terms will come later. [I]catasro vRttayaH. Collections of sutras such as the Yoga-sutra, the Vedanta-sutra, etc., frequently contain four divisions, each of which is again subdivided into four. Each chapter of Panini’s Astadhyayi is also subdivided into four sections.
Vishakha: "My God! I have never even heard of this commentary, what to speak of seeing it!"
Lalita purposefully questioned her, "Tungavidya! Where did you become acquainted with this acharya?"
Tungavidya: "One evening I met a very beautiful river goddess called Mahapadma coming from Sakhisthali (Chandravali's village). She was looking for Shyamala Misra, that she might hear a reading of his commentary."
The Padma is the main branch of the Ganges that flows through Bangla Desh. Here the implication is that this is Padma, Chandravali's girlfriend.
At this point I spoke up, "Tungavidya! How did a river goddess end up this deep in the forest?"
Tungavidya: "By her ability to flood extensively." [or, "By the power of a flood of desire!"]
Everyone smiled on hearing this reply. Lalita asked, "And then?"
Tungavidya: "Inseparable from Shyamala Misra is the royal scholar Alika Pandit, who after first having written the precepts of the Narma-panjika
("The Joke Guidebook") and the Kraya-vikraya-panjika
("The Buying and Selling Guidebook'), and more recently he produced the Alika-panjika
("The Guidebook to Deception") and the Adana-pradana-panjika
("The Give and Take Guidebook") as well. I'm sure you must have heard of these four treatises, though you may know them under different names."
Lalita: "We certainly have. We have also had first-hand experience of them."
Tungavidya: "His fellow class-mate, Kuhaka ("Tricky") Bhatta, who is even more erudite and sharp than any of these other scholars, began his glosses on the four vrittis of Shyamala Mishra at the same time."
Champakalata: "Tungavidya! As you are well-versed in all the branches of knowledge, we are all intently desirous of learning from you the meaning of the titles of these four well-known authors of scripture."
Vishakha: "The meaning of the two titles, AcArya
, is clear enough, but we would appreciate it if you would elucidate the etymology of mizra
Acharya is a title given to any teacher. It is derived from A/car, and is generally taken to mean “one who knows the proper conduct from scripture, who follows it himself and who instills such behaviour in his students." Bhatta is taken to be an corrupt form of bhartR (nom. sing., bhartA), meaning "master." It is a title, like acharya, fixed to the names of learned scholars, etc.
Tungavidya laughed, "One may have faults as well as attributes. Because they have been confused together in the person of Shyamala Mishra, he has been given the name mizra
. The meaning of the word is self-evident."
mizra has the meaning "best, worshipable." It is used as title or surname for brahmins. The root meaning is "mixed" and I am not sure how it came to have this other meaning.
Nandimukhi: "What are the faults and what the attributes to which you refer?"
Tungavidya: "Getting involved with all women without making a judgement of whether they are clever and dextrous in the matters of love is a fault. On the other hand, getting involved with all women without discriminating between superior or inferior out of a simple nature, is a great attribute."
Lalita laughed, "Then this title is quite appropriate for him."
The point is that Krishna is kind to all, he is equal to all. He accepts everyone’s service, whether done with expertise or not. He is equal to all, regardless of their individual qualifications. Such egalitarianism is a virtue in the Almighty God. He is not impressed by a person's external achievements or failures. He responds to devotion. And yet, Tungavidya teases Krishna precisely because he accepts the devotion of those who don’t understand the highest mood that is incarnate in Radharani. See UN 9.47, where she expresses her intolerance of Chandravali's mood as "avidagdha."
yA madhyastha-padena saGkulatarA zuddhA prakRtyA jaDA
AzAyAH sphuraNaM harer janayituM yuktAtra candrAvalI
sApi syAd iti locayan sakhi janaH kaH soDhum ISTe kSitau
Chandravali has an ambiguous attitude; she tries to cover all bases; her approach to love is simple-minded; I think she is naturally dumb. She makes the lotus of expertise in pleasing a man wither up and die, and what is more, she delights in these flaws. And yet somehow she is engaged in trying to bring life to Krishna’s hopes! Sakhi, who in this world will stand for this?
Jagat - Mon, 19 Apr 2004 02:21:48 +0530
Chitra: “Now please explain the etymology of the title paNDita
Tungavidya: “The word paNDA
means the intelligence to distinguish truth from falsehood. One who is possessed of such intelligence is called a pandit. Yet this person, thinking himself to be very intelligent, has decided that since there is a maxim saying ‘Of earlier and later injunctions, the latter carries more weight,’ true intelligence consists of understanding only how to tell falsehoods. Because he has taken this definition fully to heart, he is appropriately called a pandit.”
The Sanskrit words here are sad-asad-vicAra. Sad-asad is a combination of sat and asat, good and evil, right and wrong, truth and falsehood. But, after consideration of the maxim, “between former and latter precepts, the latter is more important,” then we are left with only asad-vicAra, or, bad judgment, wherein paNDA is clearly existing. The title is thus appropriate to the pandit’s first name, alIka, or “illusion, falsehood”, etc.
Though the word paNDA is found in the Gana-patha (101.63), it is not widely used except as an etymon for paNDita. (Exception: commentary to Govinda-lilamrita 8.55.) Shankaracharya defines it as Atma-viSayA buddhiH in his commentaries to Gita 2.11, and Atma-vijJAnam in the commentary to Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad (3.5.1). The latter passage defines pANDitya as the kind of knowledge that places one above the moral law (See Vedanta Sutras 3.4.17).
Chitra: “Sakhi Tungavidya! Now please elaborate on the meanings of the four words, sandhi, etc., that are found in the title of his opus.”
Tungavidya: “Since Lalita is the most expert in these matters among us, she should be the one to expand on them before us.”
Lalita: “I haven’t the foggiest notion of what these are about. I have never even heard of them. Tungavidya brought the subject up, so she must know it better than anyone else.”
Chitra: “Tungavidya! I beg you to please explain this lore.”
Tungavidya was too shy to say anything herself, however, but she smiled and with her eyes gave a signal to the comedienne Tunganarma, who had been born into a family of famous performers. Tunganarma was the apple of Radharani’s eyes and knew exactly how to bring her happiness without being told what to do by any other person. She stepped slightly forward, and looking at me with a smile, addressed Chitra, “We do not know this subject matter in all its details, but the heavenly nymph mentioned earlier, who came here on repeated occasions to very humbly study these four commentaries under that able scholar, appropriately named Mishra, after satisfying him completely with her exuberant service. She then repeated everything she had learned to Tungavidya and myself, and I shall now tell you what she said in its entirety. Please listen:
“First of all, she explained that the word sandhi
means the union of lovers that come about after being arranged personally or through messengers. Its vritti
, or development, comes through acts such as the abhisAra
The abhisara refers to the rendez-vous of lovers, especially the act of going to secretly meet a lover. Going out on the abhisara is one of the eight conditions of the leading lady, described throughout the literature on rasa. Cf. Ujjvala-nilamani (5.71-74).
“Now the word catuSTaya
in the title refers to the four categories of union or erotic activity, namely touching of the breasts, embracing, kissing and drinking the nectar of the lover’s lips. The further development or vritti of these erotic acts includes respectively scratching with the nails, various ways of binding the other person in one’s arms, covering the cheeks with wanton kisses, nibbling expertly the lover’s lips.
“The next word of the title, AkhyAta
refers to the arts of conducting pleasant or amusing conversation. Its developments include such things as the use of riddles and word games with hidden meanings in order to puzzle and stimy one’s companion.”
Chitra smiled, "Tunganarma ! You have expertly explained these unprecedented and previously unheard topics. Now please be kind enough to describe to us what is meant by kRd-vRtti
Tunganarma: "Because it brings so much pleasure, sexual union or sambhoga is called ananda-kRt
. Examples of its developments (vRtti
) are hissing sounds and amorous cries, closing of the eyes, and so on. Kalapa Priya, the origin of the incarnations of Kantadarpa Acharya and others, the young prince of mystic potencies who in a different form wrote the Kalapa
grammar to Sarvavarman, did not openly reveal everything there because these matters are excessively delectable and exceedingly mysterious. But that which he did hide within that work through the use of other names, in an indirect fashion can be perfectly comprehended by persons like yourself who are well-versed in æsthetics, affectionate and clever in such matters, after consulting with your girlfriends, who similarly endowed with sufficient wit to understand the matter."
*The words used here play on various names of Karttika, also known as Kumara ("prince"). Karttika is said to have revealed the Kalapa grammar to Sarvavarman. The word kalapa also means peacock, Karttika's carrier, or peacock feathers, thus making Kalapa Priya a name of Krishna.
** The words Atyantopadeyatvena and rahasyatvena remind one of Rupa Goswami's verse at the beginning of his chapter on madhura-rasa in Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (3.5.2) when explaining the brevity of that discussion and its reservation for extensive coverage in a separate volume, i.e. Ujjvala-nilamani.
nivRttAnupayogitvAd durUhatvAd ayaM rasaH
rahasyatvAc ca saMkSipya vitatANgo vilikhyate
The madhura rasa has many different aspects that need discussion, but because it is inappropriate for those following the path of renunciation, because it is difficult to understand, and because it is meant to be kept secret, we have only given a brief summary here.These three points have been nicely explained in the commentary of Vishnu Das to UN 1.2.
- This spiritual discussion is unedifying for those who, though they are devotees of Krishna, have no inclination toward erotic sacred rapture and for those who, considering the Lord’s erotic dalliances to be the same as mundane sexuality, feel dispassion or lack any taste for them.
- Although there are many devotees who are attracted to erotic sacred rapture, because they have not been properly trained or purified, are not necessarily proficient at experiencing it. For them, this discussion is difficult to grasp.
- It is improper to discuss this topic before those whose minds are deeply absorbed in the path of material injunctions (vidhi), who, because of having various tendencies, are by nature unaware of the path of passion. The superiority of the path of passion means, after all, that there are unlimited lesser natures unsuited for it.
Champakalata smiled, "Tungavidya! This great scholar has only two arms, and they are very delicate at that. How is it then, that he was able to write four commentaries all at the same time?"
Tungavidya: "Silly girl! This scholar possesses the magical power to even manifest four arms if he wants."
Lalita: "Yes! Yes! That is true. During the spring rasa festival, near Para-rasa-sthali, the place of the dance, in a kunja in the section of the forest known as Pravishtaka, in order to veil the sweetness and suavity of manner that would have given him away, he used his power of enchantment (kuhaka) to manifest four arms. He did this to plunder the precious jewel of other men's wives and to deceive the entire group of cowherd girls."
Para-rasa-sthali is known in Braj as Parasauli (BRK 5.619). Pravishtaka is known as Paitha (BRK 5.624-629). This incident is based on a verse by Rupa Goswami from Lalita-madhava (6.14), used to illustrate the gopis' attachment to the form of Krishna alone.
gopInAM pazupendra-nandana-juSo bhAvasya kas tAM krtI
vijJAtuM kSamate durUha-padavI-saJcAriNaH prakriyAm
AviSkurvati vaiSNavIm api tanuM tasmin bhujair jiSNubhir
yAsAM hanta caturbhir adbhuta-ruciM rAgodayaH kuJcati
What clever person can truly understand the quality of the gopis' love for Krishna, the son of Nanda, or the actions that result from this love, which operates in a realm that is totally incomprehensible to us? When they came across Krishna in the glorious form of Vishnu, effulgent with four arms, instead of being pleased, they found their passion diminishing.The verse has been quoted and expanded upon by Krishna Das Kaviraj in his Chaitanya Charitamrita (1.17.279ff). See also Ujjvala-nilamani 5.5-6.
Vishakha: "Actually, all this has expanded from the influence of his magic (kuhaka
). While enjoying pleasant and amusing conversation in the assembly with his beloved Radha, he seeks, through the charms of his erudition, to overcome her by weaving an ever-increasing web of illusion with the help of so many nice words in the form of prose and poetry. As of late, we have also sometimes seen that as he engages in this business of usury, he is increasing the activity of buying and selling. [So in this way, it's not just his arms, but his two feet that are also increasing in number.]"
The word pada has numerous meanings, expanding out from "place, step, foot, position." The Bengali translator takes it here to be a pun on two feet or two business affairs, namely buying and selling. In keeping with the grammatical theme, it can also refers to a word. As we have already seen, vriddhi, which means "growth" or "expansion," also means "interest, usury."
Sudevi: "Vishakha! How is it that all four of these authors of scripture seem to have the same objective?"
Nandimukhi: "Sudevi, weren't you listening to the brief description just given by Tunganarma?"
Sudevi: "I was thinking of our dear friend who is presently in Javat village at present, so I did not follow everything. Please be so kind as to explain it all to me again."
Nandimukhi: “Sudevi! Listen carefully! All four of these persons are in actuality the same person: this one young bachelor named Kuhaka Bhatta. With his highly developed illusory powers, he has assumed the form of Kantadarpa Acharya in order to accomplish various pleasurable ends through different means; similarly, in this other form he has achieved titles and honors as Shyamala Mishra. Moreover, you should know that this Alika Rajpandit is not someone different from Kuhaka Bhatta. It is always this same young prince who acts through him, simply assuming the alias of Alika Rajpandit in a slightly different manifestation in order to experience further exultations of a particular kind. In these various forms, he takes pleasure in increasing the waves of joy for both himself and those close to him.”
At this point I had to intervene: “Hold on there! These foolish, caustic female magicians (kuhaka-bhatta) are claiming that the very things that I have so easily accomplished through my own mystic powers, such as the manifesting of four arms and other kinds of pastimes, have been done through their own inferior magical powers."
Hearing this, all the girls replied, “This self-styled perfected sense-controller has thinks that his illusions are real mystic powers, and then he proclaims as much with his own mouth!"
This set everyone laughing, making me think, “Well well, this is quite astonishing! These talkative cowherd girls have very cleverly established that I am nothing more than an illusionist.” Embarrassed, I pretended not to have heard. Then after considering the matter carefully, I smiled and said, "Oh you enchanting and wanton young girls, you are so blinded by your newly found youth, that you disbelieve in my mystic perfection. So, I will exhibit these siddhis in front of all of you, first of all by taking the form of a forest flower garland around the neck of Champakalata."
With that, I started moving toward Champakalata, but Madhumangala laughingly dissuaded me by saying, “O comrade! It is not at all proper for a perfected mystic like yourself to touch another man’s wife!"
Momentarily stopped by his words, I answered, “But friend, close contact between male and female adepts is permitted if the purpose is that of attaining the supreme ecstasy together. This has been stated by the divine seer Narada:
'In order to attain the greatest ecstasy,
one should take refuge in those of the same type.'"
The last portion of this quote, sva-yUthAn eva saMzrayet, has the same wording as Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.229, but I have not been able to find the rest of the citation.
Everyone laughed heartily to hear me say this. Champakalata however, disguised here own ecstatic joy, pretending that her trembling was the result of fear, and she immediately fled to the kunja where Radha was, and hid there hugging her tightly from behind.
This is a very slow process. Looking at the previous product and comparing it to the Sanskrit and other translations, it's amazing how many mistakes are there. I have now come to the place where I last left off correcting. This is now the most correct version in existence, but it still needs a little smoothing out. We're about a third of the way through here.
Jagat - Mon, 19 Apr 2004 19:38:07 +0530
I then spoke to Chitra, as I played with the pearls, letting them fall through my fingers, "O Chitra! Please come here to hear the price of these pearls. Your dearest friend Radhika has told me that you are very expert at dressing and decorating with various ornaments (zRGgAra), and that you have many wonderful ornaments in the treasure-chest of your body that serve this purpose. So I ask that you tastefully decorate all of my limbs with these ornaments, in as many different ways as you can think of. I will in turn satisfy you by adorning the two golden pots on your bosom with crescent moons [marks from my nails] and paintings of musk and sandalwood. When I describe all of your artful ways to Radha, I will bring her the greatest delight."
The word zRGgAra means: erotic sentiment; amorous passion; love; coition; toilet; marking with vermilion and sandal paste; and red lead. Therefore, an implied meaning is, "Because I have heard that you are very expert at making love, and that your delicate form is possessed of such exquisite beauty, just suitable for accomplishing such purposes, you should now apply your expertise in decorating my body with such erotic passions."
Chitra replied in a huff, completely filled with anger, “Hmff! You seem to be possessed by the fierce goddess of the most outrageous deceptions. You are the emperor of the great city inhabited by the most notorious rogues and audacious cheats in the three worlds! You are the private dancer of the doe-like women living in the village by the seora tree. Those women are worthy of you and are expert in performing the kinds of tasks you have asked me to do. And since they have satisfactorily decorated you, My Lord, you should lavishly sing their glories in a sweet voice, and then depart from here in all haste.”
With this, everyone burst into laughter and applauded Chitra's retort.
There is a variant reading here that has led to some confusion. The Devakinandan Press edition reads sAkoTa and gives a footnote glossing this as "safe garden surrounded by a rampart." The alternative, zAkhoTa, seems superior. zAkhoTa is the name of a tree (Trophis Aspera or Streblus Aspera, Bengali "syAoRa"), described by Monier-Williams as "a small, crooked ugly tree." In his edition, Dasaratha Suta Das states that this is Chandravali's sakhi Padma's village. At this point, with the materials I have available to me, I have found no reference to any place with this name in the Vraja area, but I assume that the 1624 AD Bengali translation by Narayan Das, the great-grandson of Srinivas Acharya and disciple of Jagadananda Goswami, of which Dasarath Suta's edition is a translation, had some basis for making this statement. The subsequent sentence provides a context that confirms this assumption. It is possible that Sakota may also be a corruption of Sakhisthali, Chandravali’s village, which is also known as Sakhithora. Linguistically, however, I must admit that this is unlikely, especially as the original name of her village has been used elsewhere in Mukta-carita.
Jagat - Wed, 28 Apr 2004 16:12:26 +0530
I pretended that their laughter had hurt me and looked downcast. Nandimukhi said, "O glory of Gokula! The light of your moon-like face is the only thing that enables us, the residents of Gokula, to sustain our lives. We are totally devoted to you, so when we see you apparently discomposed, a burning pain wells up in our hearts like a malignant cancer penetrating our most vital parts. So please tell us what is the cause of your sadness, for once you do, we can immediately approach Bhagavati Paurnamasi and ask her for its remedy. If we are able to please you, who are endowed with beauty and fortune, it will be as though water has been poured on the flames of our own distress."
I answered wanly, "Listen, Nandimukhi. There is a great goddess,
the primal preceptor of that most obtuse science that deals with wit and its works,
which she possesses through a cunning charm, never before seen, never before heard, through ineffable natural talent and instinctive grace;
who is a treasure chest of the rarest jewels of the most auspicious qualities;
whose speech is like ambrosia, scented with the fresh camphor of her smile, that is the life subsistence of her attendants;
whose exceeding good fortune is paid homage to by the most fortunate damsels of the heavenly regions, headed by Sachi, the wife of Indra,
the radiant loveliness of the tips of whose toenails is continually searched out by Lakshmi and other nymphs of fair complexion as the emblem or source of all beauty;
whose lotus feet are worshipped by the goddesses of innumerable universes, who are themselves glorified by gods and men, Gandharvas, Vidyadharas and sages;
whose status as Supreme Goddess was consecrated at her coronation bath on the lion-throne at the great Yoga Pith within the forest of Vrindavan, the expanse of which completely dwarfs the all Vaikuntha planets, nay, the entire spiritual sky itself;
the two syllables of whose name, Radha, rA
, were produced from the churning of the ocean of nectar, the condensed form of which was placed in two golden jugs,* the further transformation of which is the exceptional essence of the essence of the nectar of immortality whereby the fourteen worlds are gratified and enlivened;
whose feet are continually perfumed with the sweetest fragrance, infinitely, boundlessly beautiful and incomparably soft, and which put to shame, by their dawn-like, pinkish color, the combined elegance of the aggregate of all red lotus flowers,
and the service to which is life itself to me.
"And yet, though I am expert in all branches of such ministration,
and though I long to serve her every limb without reticence,
she does not call on me.
"So, I guess she doesn't love me. But having determined this, I shall now seek out the aptly named Tungavidya,** who Bhagavati Paurnamasi tells me is a plenary form of Radha. I will take her as my guru and request her to immediately initiate me with the mantra of that great Goddess, that I might achieve the most cherished object of my desire. To this end I take shelter of you, who are not different from Bhagavati Paurnamasi herself."
* The churning of the milk ocean produced only one pot of nectar.
** tuGga, "lofty, elevated'; vidyA, "learning, education"; it also refers specifically to the mantra and the esoteric or magical powers associated with it. Thus the name is appropriate in this context, where Tungavidya is acting as the Agamacharya, or teacher of mantras.
Nandimukhi laughed, "Krishna, you have all the auspicious characteristics of a good disciple,* so I think you should first of all worship the guru as ordained in the scriptures."
I replied, "Well spoken. But it is also appropriate that the prospective guru and disciple first examine one another.** So I suggest that for three nights, Tungavidya should demonstrate the extent of her esoteric knowledge in some secluded kunja by transforming me back and forth from a man into a woman and then back again.*** This will naturally instill in me a great faith in her powers, and so I will very reverently and with the utmost regard decorate her feet with vermilion, massage her buttocks, scratch her itching breasts, braid her hair and worship her in every way, completely forgetting the external world. If I am able to carry this out, she will no doubt be very satisfied with me and say, 'You have given me the utmost pleasure by your service.'"
The four following notes could be expanded quite extensively and I'll have to decide to what extent that should be done.
* Krishna's attribute of sarva-sal-lakSaNAnvitaH is described in BRS 2.1.47-51. There are two kinds of auspicious signs, those that arise out of his virtues, the other out of physical features.
** The HBV lists the qualifications of a disciple at 1.59-63.
***The mutual testing of guru and disciple is also to be found in HBV at 1.73-78.
**** The changing into a woman is a reference to puruSAyitam, the transformation of the woman in the midst of sexual congress, when she loses her passivity to take an leading role in lovemaking. The changing back and forth refers to the loss of sexual distinctions in the depths of lovemaking when the lovers become a single entity.
"Being an authoritative teacher of the mantra sciences (AgamAcAryA
), Tungavidya will then take me to the altar in the bower that brings delight to Cupid, and say, 'My clear-sighted disciple! First touch the two auspicious golden waterpots on my chest with your hands. Then smear them with musk and saffron, and adorn them with garlands of jewels and flowers.'
“Once the golden pots have been consecrated with the appropriate formulas, she will bless me by marking tilak on my forehead and other limbs, using the maha prasad of saffron from her bosom. With musk she will write the syllables of the mantra of the Great Goddess on my chest, mark my arms with the symbols of that goddess's lotus feet and other auspicious signs. She will remove her own single-stringed pearl necklace and place it around my neck. Then she will perform the six-fold aGga-nyAsa
ritual by placing her two breasts on either side of my chest, her creeper-like arms on my two shoulders, her lips on my mouth, then touching all my other limbs with hers in the proper order, all of which is entirely unknown to me who am ignorant of these esoteric scriptures (Agamas).
Anga-nyasa means purifying the various parts of the body by applying mantras through touch and sound.
She will then continue the preparatory rituals by stating that this six-syllable king of mantras has the seer Svayambhu ("the self-born') as its rishi, its metre is Gayatri, its titular deity is Sri Gandharva, its energy (zakti
) is the seed syllable, which is the first letter (a
) accompanied by the nasal anusvAra
, and its application (vinimaya
) is for the attainment of the desired perfection of amorous union between the worshipful object and the worshiper.
"Then Tungavidya will make me meditate on my tutelary deity for a very long time with the following verses: atha svIya-saras-tIra-kuJja-raGga-sthale mudA |
sabhyAnAlI-gaNAn bhaGgyA dhinvantIM narma-nartanaiH ||
gaurIM raktAmbarAM ramyAM sunetrAM susmitAnanAm |
zyAmAM zyAmAkhilAbhISTa-sAdhikAM rAdhikAM zraye ||
"'Her very being overflowing with exultation,
in a clearing within the kunja, by the banks of her own pond,
she dances in such an amusing fashion,
exhibiting an abundance of gestures and postures,
just to bring delight to her sakhis, assembled there to watch her.
"’She is fair-skinned and wears red-colored garments.
Her face lights up with a slight smile.
Her eyes are extremely beautiful;
in fact, she is the most exquisite
and delectable feast for the eyes.
I take shelter of this Sri Radhika, my worshipful Deity,
the personification of the erotic sentiment (zyAma),
for she alone can achieve the fulfilment of Shyama's desires.'
Once all these preliminaries have been completed, Tungavidya will make my life a success by kindly initiating me, who am so full of desire, with the king of all mantras, joined at the beginning and at the end with the sacred syllable of the god of love.
No real further explanation is needed here, except to say that all the elements customarily forming a part of the initiation ritual have been spoofed here. All of which certainly begs the question, what is going on here? In the world of love, the ritual is not a serious thing, but rather just a subordinate part of the whole, an ingredient in the flirtation and lovemaking, and of no consequence in itself.
Note: look up: the bija aM. The mantra would be, I assume klIM aM rAdhAyai svAhA klIM, but I’ll have to check around to see whether this speculation can be backed up.
That was supposed to be my 1000th post, but it turns out to be 1001. Jai Radhe!
Jagat - Wed, 28 Apr 2004 17:26:49 +0530
She will then instruct me to chant this following, most glorious hymn of praise to my Goddess:mahA-bhAvojjvalac-cintA-ratnodbhAvita-vigrahAm
Her body is the veritable form of mahA-bhAva, kAruNyAmRta-vIcibhis tAruNyAmRta-dhArayA
conceived in the most resplendent chintamani gem,
anointed with the sweet-smelling love of her sakhis,
and shining with an inconceivable lustrous splendor.
lAvaNyAmRta-vanyAbhiH snapitAM glaptendirAm
She bathes in waves of the nectar of compassion, hrI-paTTa-vastra-guptAGgIM saundarya-ghusRNAJcitAm
in a shower of the nectar of youthfulness,
and then a flood of the nectar of charming loveliness,
so that the Goddess of Fortune
languors in lassitude at her side.
Her graceful form, hidden kampAzru-pulaka-stambha-sveda-gadgada-raktatAH
under the silken garment of shyness,
is decorated with the kunkum of graceful beauty,
and dappled with the black musk
of erotic sentiments for Shyama.
unmAdo jADyam ity etai ratnair navabhir uttamaiH
She puts on her natural ornaments, kLptAlaGkRti-saMsliSTAM guNAlI-puSpa-mAlinIm
fashioned from the nine jewels of ecstasy:
shivering, tears in the eyes, horripilation,
stupor, perspiration, faltering of the voice,
blushing, madness and inertness.
She is garlanded with the flowers of wondrous virtues, pracchanna-mAna-dhammillAM saubhAgya-tilakojjvalAm
such as her sweet-tongued speech.
She is adorned with the perfumed powders
exuding her sometimes sober
and sometimes restless moods.
Her imperceptible amour-propre is concealed rAga-tAmbUla-raktauSThIM prema-kauTilya-kajjalAm
within the coils of her hair.
Her forehead is brightened with the tilak
of her immense good fortune.
Hearing Krishna’s name and qualities are the ornaments
that swing in splendor and jubilation from her ears.
The reddish colour of her lips is produced saurabhAntaH-pure garva-paryaGkopari lIlayA
from the betelnut of her obsession for Krishna.
The black collyrium on her eyes
is the crookedness of her loving affairs.
Her body is perfumed by the camphor of her sweet smile,
and the joking words that spill from it.
Within the inner apartments of her bodily fragrance praNaya-krodha-sac-colI-bandh-guptI-kRta-stanAm
is a bed of pride upon which she sits, bemused,
while wearing the restless necklace of prema-vaicittya,
the love-in-separation felt even in union.
Her breasts are concealed, madhyatAtma-sakhI-skandha-lIlA-nyasta-karAmbujAm
bound in a bodice of wounded vanity.
The sounds of her lute, her fame and her beauty,
dessicate the faces and hearts of her competitors.
She is personification of the erotic sentiment.tvAM natvA yAcate dhRtvA tRNaM dantair ayaM janaH
She places her lotus hands on the shoulder
of her friend, adolescent youth personified,
just before beginning to distribute the honey
of infatuated love for Krishna.
sva-dAsyAmRta-sekena jIvayAmuM suduHkhitam
Please bring back to life this very sombre somebody, na muJcec charaNAyAtam api duSTaM dayAmayaH
who is bowing down before you with straw in his teeth:
sprinkle him with the nectar of your servitorship.
ato gAndharvike hA hA muJcainaM naiva tAdRzam
Oh Gandharvika! A truly compassionate person premAmbhoja-marandAkhyaM stava-rAjam imaM janaH
will not reject even a rascal who has surrendered to him.
Please, therefore, do not ever abandon this person
who is similarly surrendered to you.
zrI-rAdhikA-kRpA-hetuM paThaMs tad-dAsyam ApnuyAt
Whoever recites this hymn
named “The Nectar of the Lotus of Love,"
will induce Sri Radhika to shower her mercy,
and will gain from her the service to her lotus feet.’
These verses, PremAmbhoja-maraNDa-stava-rAja, are also found separately in the Raghunath Das Goswami's Stavavali. Krishna Das Kaviraj paraphrases them in Bengali in Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya 8.164-180. Many of the terms in the stotra are extensively discussed in Ujjvala-nilamani.
Jagat - Wed, 28 Apr 2004 19:01:40 +0530
“Thereafter, with these words, ‘I have received that most cherished object of my desire from my Sri Gurudeva,’ choked up in my throat and my body trembling, I will fall down at her lotus feet. Then she will most certainly pick me up and embrace me, herself thrilling with ecstasy, while she feeds me and places the chewed remnants of her betelnut prasad saturated with the nectar of her lips, into my mouth.
“But if she will not give me betelnut because I am a brahmachari, then she may give me the remnants of her own breath freshener,* scented with camphor. Thereafter, coming to the realization that my life is now successful, I will present as dakshina** immense quantities of pearl fruits, both those she desires and many others as well. By accepting them, she will demonstrate that her favor is upon me.”
*Mukha-vAsa or mukha-zuddhi—like an after dinner mint; something to freshen and scent the mouth after having taken a meal.
** The alms given to the guru after receiving initiation. Cf Krama-dipika 6.21, HBV 2.111:guruM ca bhagavad-dRSTyA parikramya praNamya ca
dattvoktAM dakSiNAM tasmai sva-zarIraM samarpayet
The gops all giggled as they looked at Tungavidya. Trying to conceal her inner ecstasy by knitting her eyebrows into a great frown and giving me a furious sidelong glance, she called out to Nandimukhi, “Ah, Nandimukhi! You are a perfected renunciate, therefore you should be the one to initiate him according to this procedure. He will quickly attain the desired result (kama) if he receives the mantra from some perfected person who has developed mystic powers.”
Having said this, she was preparing to go home in a great huff, but Vishakha caught hold of her and brought her back. Vishakha laughed and said, “Nandimukhi! The acharya, Tungavidya, is angry with you because it would be very improper to initiate this character who has engaged in sinful activity.”
The initiation section is over and now we go on to establishing Krishna's sins and the atonement he must undergo to be expiated.
Jagat - Mon, 03 May 2004 18:04:32 +0530
Nandimukhi: “You are such a liar, Vishakha. The king of Gokula, Sri Nanda, is like the sun shining on the lotus of righteousness. How is it that you are prepared to accuse his saintly son of being a sinner?”
Vishakha: “I swear that I am telling the truth. He has committed a terrible transgression.”
Nandimukhi: “What transgression is that, exactly?”
Vishakha: “He ate someone else’s leftovers.”
Vishakha: “A maidservant’s.”
Indian culture has a complex system of pollutions related to the subtle effects of karma. Taking the remnants of a spiritually or socially elevated person is a way of sharing in their merit, while taking those of someone who is sinful or of lower status means sharing in their sin. The taking of remnants has both symbolic and metaphysical meaning. A "maidservant" (or "slave girl") would have been of a lower status.
Nandimukhi laughed, “And who might this maidservant be?”
Vishakha: “She is a forest-dweller from Shakhot, who took on the appearance of a milkmaid by her magic powers. She went to the house of Chandravali, the wife of Kamsa’s servant, Govardhan Malla, and said to her: ‘Oh Chandravali, you are the dearmost servant of the universal goddess Chandi. I too am one of her attendants and this makes me feel overwhelming affection for you. I am desirous of becoming your friend.’ To this Chandravali replied, ‘That seems appropriate,’ and she embraced the one whose friendship she had just accepted.”
I'll have to change my earlier note about Shakhot (Syaora), as clearly this confirms the conclusions there and eliminates the other possibilities. Further on she will be identified as a "shankhini" or witch. It is possible that the words "vana-vAsini" carries this implication, just as in the Occident, a hermit woman would have been suspected of witchcraft.
Nandimukhi: “But who is that person?”
Vishakha: “It is Padma, who is renowned far and wide. I’m sure that you also must know of her.”
Nandimukhi: “What are her remnants that you spoke of?”
Vishakha: “The supremely purifying honey kept in the small flask of her blue-black lips.”
"Supremely purifying" (parama-pAvana) is a bit of a mystery. If purifying, why a sin to partake of them?
Radha smiled as she heard this and all the gopis laughed when they saw this. Nandimukhi asked Vishakha, “Are there any witnesses?”
Vishakha: “Of course!”
Vishakha: “Just the day before yesterday, our dear girlfriend Gandharva sent the two girls Malli and Bhringi to fetch some cloth dyed with various forest minerals. They saw all of these supremely purifying activities going on the barren banks near the Manasa Ganga. When they returned they discussed what they had seen with all the other gopis.”
The repetition of "supremely purifying" (parama-pAvana) leads me to believe that this is meant to be sarcastic. Malli and Bhringi are aboriginal girls of the Pulinda and Bhringa tribes from the Govardhan area, known for their devotion to the Divine Couple.
Nandimukhi became thoughtful as she said, “Krishna is the life of all Gokula. How can this fault of his be extirpated?”
Vishakha replied, “He will have to observe some rites of atonement.”
Nandimukhi: “Let us find out from Bhagavati Paurnamasi what the proper penance is. Then once this best of men (purushottama) has been absolved of his sin, you girls can initiate him [in the ritual worship of the Great Goddess Gandharvika].”
Champakalata spoke up, “Foolish one! The method of atoning for this sin has already been given in the Ujjvalamani Samhita. In the course of conversations with Paurnamasi, she has told us that even she has practically never seen it.”
The Sanskrit text I have reads "bhavatyAH" which would translate "you have never seen it." From Dasarath Suta's version, it would appear that this is an error and should read "bhagavatyAH."
Nandimukhi: “Who then knows this Samhita in these parts?”
Champakalata: “Only our dear girlfriend, Gandharva.”
Nandimukhi: “But she is not present in our assembly just now. So how can Krishna's penance be performed without delay?”
Vishakha: “Lalita here is a second Gandharva. She is not different from her. She has studied this Samhita under her, along with all of its related treatises. She has read this text over and over again and has become quite proficient in it. So I think she can determine what is a proper penance for him.”
Nandimukhi turned to Lalita and pleaded, “Friend, judge what is the most suitable atonement for Krishna and instruct us.”
Lalita laughed slightly and said, “Priya-sakhi! If a guilty party voluntarily comes into the midst of a public assembly and gives a complete and straightforward account of his crimes, and expresses regret for what he has done, then he can be given a penance to perform. This has been stated by the authors of the Puranas in the following way: saMkathya svam aghaM goSThyAM
pazcAt tapati yaH sphuTam |
tasyaiva niSkRtiH sAGgA
Having publicly confessed his crimes,
whoever openly feels remorse for them,
can be shown the way of atonement
by the holy saints in detail.
Hearing this, Nandimukhi gave me a meaningful glance. So I went to Lalita with Subala and Madhumangal, but as I was about to speak to her, Vishakha said, “Oh hero! Lustful persons feel neither shame nor disgust. Whatever you have done due to your naturally libidinous character is over and done with. However, you should now reflect on it and make your confession here before Lalita.”
Controlling my urge to laugh, I spoke like one thoroughly regretful of his past misdeeds: “Lalita! Four days ago, when I was looking for some cows that had strayed off, I came to Gauri Tirtha. where I saw a certain Charchika, a companion of the goddess Gauri, coming out of her temple. She suddenly came up to me and struck me on the chest with her left breast. Then, after taking me into the jasmine garden house, she forced the remnants of her chewed tambula between my trembling lips. What more she did I cannot say exactly, since I was in a state of shock, and cannot remember anything very clearly any more.
Gauri Tirtha, Radha’s rival Chandravali daily worships the goddess Gauri at this particular spot. Padma is Chandravali’s best friend.
“Then again, just the day before yesterday, I was carrying a flower garland strung with golden thread, absorbed in thoughts of my sweetheart, Gandharva, the mistress of the bowers on the shores of Radha Kund, when I wandered into the coral tree garden just by the side of Malyaharana Kund. Who should appear on the scene there but that same Charchika (“highly perfumed one"), who again forcefully kissed me on my left cheek and entrusted the nectar of her lips to my mouth. So that these two sinful and wicked activities might be annulled, please give your permission for me to drink the honey remnants of your lotus mouth.”
Alternate readings here "your mouth" (tvan-mukham) or "her mouth" (tan-mukham). The former is deduced from Narayan Das's translation through Dasarath Suta. The latter is found in the Sanskrit edition I have. "her" is ambiguous and though it may be interpreted as Radha, it most logically refers back to Charchika. "Your mouth" is more in keeping with Krishna's direct and indiscriminate character.
Madhumangal laughed, “Comrade! What an excellent means of atonement! What you suggest will only contribute to the further increase of the very same sin!”
I replied, “You fool! Shame on you! Don’t you know anything? Is it not said, viSasya viSam auSadham
? The best medicine to counteract poison is the poison itself. It is also said: vahni-santApato nazyed
A burn caused by heat is to be removed by the application of heat.
"And also,darayet kaNTakaM viddhaM
A wise person removes a thorn with another thorn.
“In pursuance of these proofs, the best means of righting the wrong of tasting someone’s remnants, is to again taste remnants.”
Madanmohan das - Tue, 29 Jun 2004 10:41:33 +0530
Dear Jagat, I've not yet gone through the whole of this Mukta carita that you are doing here, but i wondered if it might not be too much trouble to number the verses so that i can raise questions with referances.It is very relishable reading and i look forward to read more.
Jagat - Tue, 29 Jun 2004 17:49:18 +0530
Unfortunately, there are no references. The best thing to do would be to reference by the number of the post, which you should be able to find in the Address space in your Explorer toolbar.
By the way, I intend to prioritize completing this and Dana-keli-kaumudi to the exclusion of all other secondary tasks, including Gaudiya Grantha Mandir. I will be finishing Lalita Madhava over there in a couple of days and then I'll be dropping it for a while.