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Reviews of titles by Gaudiya authors, as well as by other relevant spiritual and secular authors. Tips for reading. Discussions on various books.

Rasikapriya Of Keshavadasa :: K.P. Bahadur - Motilal Banarsidass

braja - Fri, 02 Apr 2004 01:01:04 +0530
This is another text I just obtained, this time from a wonderful second hand bookstore in Western Massachussetts. As it is near the Kripalu Yoga Center, it had a surprisingly large array of Eastern philosophy books. I took it off the shelf and opened it to find the word "nAyaka," calling me. (I'm sure the echo "Jagat" could also be heard in the distance).

Keshavadasa was active in the court of Akbar and a contemporary of Birbal. The introduction contains an interesting account of Akbar--if anyone has recommendations on authoritative books on akbar, please post them here. I'll post some excerpts from the introduction later.

Rasikapriya seems to be very well known and even has accompanying artwork. The entire text seems to cover the nature of loving exchanges between Radha and Krsna. Can anyone comment on whether this text was referenced at all by Gaudiyas or post other feedback on its position?
Jagat - Fri, 02 Apr 2004 01:16:39 +0530
I believe it's a Radha-vallabhi text in Brijbhasha. I'd like to see it, though.
Madanmohan das - Mon, 05 Sep 2005 02:43:55 +0530
A couple of stanzos; call you 'em stanzos? biggrin.gif

In illustration of secret parting in the section on concealed and open love.

The nayika says to her friend:

" O, friend ! the harsh words I did speak
In arrogance, now my ears do vex
As by worms bit, and deafen me quite,
When he arrives: those eyes which wept,
At his departure long have lain
On lonesome Braja of him bereft
For whom wait I, O ! soul, in vain?
I live, a challenge unto death.

An example of open parting

Radha says to her maid-servant:

" O ! fan me not with breezes cool
And keep the moon's soft light away,
For these my pleasure have removed
And sorrowful have made my days.
Scatter the flowers, dust camphor off
From me, this sandal me afflicts,
A dying fish from water cast
Can be by water saved - not milk!
My suffering do you comprehend?
Or knowing not, you tend my pain?
Who by this fire is burnt, my friend
Is by that same fire cooled again!"

Trans. K P Bahadur
Madanmohan das - Mon, 05 Sep 2005 03:07:36 +0530
An example of the hidden deceitful nayaka. The nayaka, of course meaning the amorous hero Sri Gopijanavallabha Krsna.

Seeing the redness of anger in the eyes of his nayika the nayaka, in an effort to conceal his misdemeanour, says to her:

" The redness of your eyes is like
Bright lillies red, red sandal-paste
No whit their splendid redness vies
With burnished gold, or champa pale.
O ! why do you thus on me glance?
Who is that man on whom you throw
Your gaze, with eyebrows made aslant?
Seeing your eyes red, I guess they glow
Not from night's rage : my body burns
Red hot with parting; e'er your eyes
Dwell in my heart, and heated turn
Bright red; so in them redness lies.

The sixteen adornments for women. ( I guess SoDasAlankAra )

First come ablutions of all kinds,
Second the bath, then raiment clean;
Fourth braiding hair, and then applying
Cosmetics; putting vermillion in
The parting of the hair; on brow
Crescent of sandal-paste - then paint
A black mole on the chin, enow
With sandal paste the limbs anoint,
And palms with paint of myrtle leaves,
With flowers and ornaments then deck,
Chew betel-leaves to sweeten breath,
And cardamom - and then the teeth
With powder black stain, lips paint red;
Last collyrium in the eyes that tease -
Thus with sixteen adornments helped,
Each moment you your spouse should please
By speech, laughter, and elegant gait:
Says Keshava, O ! Radhe you yourself
With sixteen aids thus lovely make.
Madanmohan das - Wed, 07 Sep 2005 20:45:52 +0530
Here's an illustration of vicitravibhrama which is defined thus;

Attracted by whose splendour strong
The woman messenger does speed
To take her to her spouse lovelorn,
She vicitravibhrama is indeed.


Her elegant gait his mind bewitched,
Waves of desire did in him course,
He gazed on at the playful bliss
Of her eyebrows, her laughter soft:
The fragrance of her limbs, her glance
Sidelong, entranced so Nandakumar,
Kamadeva he turned, and so perchance
His flowery arrows he forgot:
And her eyes burning with love's fire
Themselves his shafts were of desire!

The adhira nayika

She who is on the surface harsh
But in her mind her spouse adores,
As sugarcane's rough outer bark
Shows not the sweetness in it's core.

An example;

The nayika says to her wayward nayaka;

My heart is sorrowful, do not speak
To me, and cease to laugh and chat,
Within the mirror glance, and see
How drowsy are your eyes - alack!
Nice do they look! today to wound
Me, you have come again, distraught:
Your vows of yesterday, so soon,
O ! husband mine, you have forgot!

Madanmohan das - Wed, 07 Sep 2005 21:01:26 +0530
The Udha and the Anudha

The udha is a married woman,
Anudha one not wed; and now
Says Kesavadasa, so that you know them,
Their hid and clear charms I'll recount.

The example of the anudha is one of the loveliest in the book, the whole book as the title suggests is a treat, if you like that sort of thing biggrin.gif I've only once come accros any referance to Sri Caitanya and that was in the introductory material somewhere. Otherwise no mention of Sri Rupa at all, which is dissapointing, still by Rupa's blessing the subject becomes extreemly relevant.

Here's the anudha nayika;

Amidst the belles of Braja one day
Sat Radha, daughter of Vrsabhanu;
The lovely game of dice she played
With bosom friends; and when far gone
She was in it, perchance there stole
Softly behind, her lover Krsna;
Whom hearing, restless awoke
Within her mind, and none took in
This secret; and they wondered why
So suddenly were roused her eyes.
Madanmohan das - Wed, 07 Sep 2005 21:12:16 +0530
Some amazing verses are also found in the end notes.
This is by the Hindi poet Dulah

She says "no!" when his fond hands creep,
"No!" when to climb the bed he says;
"No!" when he wishes her to speak,
"No!" when to lift the veil he prays;
In kissing and embracing " no!"
In laughing and lovemaking " no!"
Oh ! lady wherefrom learnt you this
"No!" which far more than " yes" is sweet?

Another by poet Bihari;

Even a little untruth some would say
Is evil, but who would this counsel keep?
For when the work of love does start the " no! "
From the beloved's lips though false is sweet!

There is so much nectar in this book that one might end up quoting every stanza. There's only a very few that don't seem so apt, but that could well be my own shortcoming.
Madanmohan das - Mon, 19 Sep 2005 19:09:07 +0530
Another irresistable stanza;

Emotions arising from the love of Radha and Krsna.

When for lovemaking of Sri Krsna
And Radha, endeavours arise,
These are emotions such, wherein
The poets and poetesses surmise,
As is their understanding, these;
Love's amorous sport, and elegance,
Intoxication, dalliance sweet,
Deception, and bewilderment,
That which is planned, and coquetry;
The gestures fond which lovers use,
Vivvoka, mottayita, kuttamita,
And feelings which the heart can move.