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The RAdhopaniSad - Some comments

Elpis - Thu, 23 Sep 2004 06:18:43 +0530
Yesterday I posted the Sanskrit text of the RAdhikopaniSad (see here), which is now also available at GGM (see here). In a private message, Jagadananda mentioned that it is interesting that the word pusuSabodhinI is found in the colophons of the RAdhopaniSad (RU), and further told me that RU and the PuruSabodhinIzruti (PBZ) have a verse in common. I had noticed the colophons, but not looked into it. My curiosity peaked, I printed out both texts from GGM and had a look at them in the train on my way home.

Interestingly enough, it turns out that both PBZ and RU represents the same text, although with a number of variants between them and small portions in one which are not in the other.

Both PBZ and RU have four prapAThakas, but I should mention that while searching the Internet, I found reference to a verse from a sixth prapAThaka of the "Purusa-bodhini Upanisad-Atharva-veda" (see here)--it is one of the verses which are usually cited to show that Caitanya is predicted in the vedas. If anyone knows the source of this citation, I would be interested to hear about it.

I will not go into the details of the variations between PBZ and RU (it will take some time to sort it out and many of them are minor), except for one which I feel may be of interest to the readers of GD.

In his PrameyaratnAvalI (1.15, on p. 83 in Dr. Delmonico's edition found here), Baladeva VidyAbhUSaNa cites the PuruSabodhinI in the AtharvopaniSad as follows: dve pArzve candrAvalI rAdhikA ca, "On the two sides, CandrAvalI and RAdhikA" (Dr. Delmonico's translation). The PBZ edition on GGM has this passage (with RAdhA instead of RAdhikA). However, in the RU we read: pArzve rAdhikA ceti, "At [KRSNa's] side is RAdhikA." No mention of CandrAvalI being at the side of KRSNa. (Her name is, however, mentioned in the fourth prapAThaka of RU.) It would be interesting to investigate which of the two is the more proper reading.

Surrounding and facing KRSNa, CandrAvalI and RAdhA (or just KRSNa and RAdhA) are eight gopIs, each assigned to one of the cardinal directions. The names in PBZ and RU agree (West--LalitA; North-West--ZyAmalA; North--ZrImatI; North-East--HaripriyA; South-East--ZraddhA; South--PadmA; South-West--BhadrA), except for the name of the gopI associated with East, which is VizAkhA in PBZ and VizAlA in RU. Does anyone have any comments on this? Which is the correct name, or are both possible?

Further on are sixteen more gopIs. The list of these in the two texts differ (and there are mistakes in the GGM edition of PBZ), but what I am curious about here is the name of the first gopI in this series. It is CandrAvalI in PBZ and CandrAvatI in RU. Now, I can easily see how a scribe could misread a la-kAra for a ta-kAra and vice versa (in fact, I have seen it a number of times while cataloguing manuscripts). I am wondering here about the consistency of PBZ: if CandrAvalI is at KRSNa's side, can she simultaneously be in the second section consisting of 16 gopIs? Are we talking about two different gopIs called CandrAvalI? Is the reading of RU (CandrAvatI) the better one? Is there a gopI named CandrAvatI?

I would be interested in references to other texts where this arrangement of gopIs is described.

I will end here by mentioning that both the GGM online edition of the PuruSabodhinIzruti and my version of the RAdhopaniSad needs proofreading. My printouts are full of corrections and things that should be checked. Making a careful study and translation of the two would be an interesting project.
Jagat - Thu, 23 Sep 2004 06:30:29 +0530
There are so many mistakes, everywhere. I have been proofreading things piecemeal and I almost always discover tons of mistakes. So I am not surprised at all.

VizAkhA (correct) and VizAlA might just be scribal error. For the CandrAvalI question, it is not unlikely that there are contradictions. The list of names given here does not match entirely any other similar list, though there are some common features. These gopi lists in themselves would make for interesting comparative study. There are a couple given in the Krishna-sandarbha, and in the comments to BRS 1.1.1. The Padma-purana also has a couple of such lists in Vaisakha-mahatmya, I believe.

Jiva favors a list he says comes from Brahmanda Purana (off top of head).