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Verses, prayers and quotes of choice. If you come across something you find inspiring, please post it here. You can also start threads on a particular theme and regularly post in something related.

Selections from rasikapriyA of keshavadAsa -

braja - Wed, 23 Mar 2005 08:11:51 +0530
Example of manifest meeting by seeing the loved one's portrait

The bosom companion says to the nAyikA:

'O! friend mine! how can darkness flee
Without a lamp, by thinking on
A flame? Can hunger be appeased
By showing food to a hungry man?
O! Princess! how can thirst be quenched
By tales of water? Oh! moon-faced,
Say how can wealth to him descend
Who does on Lakshmi's picture gaze?
So, foolish girl, waste not your days
In vain thus--how can fall to you
The pleasure of meeting your mate,
Merely his picture thus to view?'

Example of hidden meeting of the nAyaka by seeing the loved one's portrait.

How can her lifeless picture show
Her varying moods--sometimes displeased,
And then content? Her smile's fresh glow--
Her lovely eyes that sport and tease?
Can love without words be complete?
Can lovers speak not, yet remain
Close? How long shall my eyes I feed
On her insipid picture framed?
Deprived of water how can fish
Their restfulness retain? Even so
When on her picture I look, 'tis
As if my mind does burn fourfold.

Example of the manifest meeting of the nAyaka by seeing his loved one's portrait.

The glorious wives of demigods
Past skies who move, kinnari maids,
Are nought before her; women all
At her feet bow--snake-women frail,
Slim dancing girls, hill-women tall,
She-demons, heavenly damsels pale:
As if lightning took form divine:
E'en Kama's wife poor beside her shows!
Like Lakshmi or Sita she shines,
and even her picture steals my soul!


'My Krishna, where did you pass the night?'
'Pining for you, oh! my delight!'
'Why nail-marks on your limbs appear?'
'Thorns in the forest scratched them, dear!'
'Why thus your eyes burn, and red glow?'
'Grief of your parting made them so!'
When thus did Krishna remove her doubt
With crafty words, her to console,
Reluctantly him she allowed
To clasp her his bosom close!


Meeting at a function

On Balarama's birthday belles divine
Of Braja all night did hold carouse,
Their bodies decked in gold did shine
Great crowd was there at Nandaji's house.
And everywhere people did throng
In all the three stories where they stayed,
No corner empty was ere long;
The women sang, and danced, and played,
As if a sea of pleasure had sprung;
'Twas then that sleepy Radha spied
Krishna's empty bed and dropped thereon,
And as she slept he himself hied
And seeing his Radha sleep alone,
He went to her as to a bride,
First come unto her husband's home,
And lay by his beloved's side!

Madanmohan das - Wed, 23 Mar 2005 14:04:25 +0530
Wow! What's that all about? I've not seen this book before. Can you tell more?
Is it a book that one might purchase?
braja - Wed, 23 Mar 2005 19:57:27 +0530
Actually I meant to dedicate this thread to you, Madanmohan-ji. I think your versification is superior to Bahadur's.

RasikapriyA is a Hindi text from the time of Akbar and Jahangir. KeshavadAsa, the author comments:

By reading RasikapriyA understanding of love increases, knowledge is gained of all love's ways, and both pleasure and salvation are attained. As amorous men appear unhappy day after day without their beloveds, so do the poets appear without RasikapriyA.

He seems quite confident of the work he has put together! smile.gif

This is a Motlilal title from 1972. ISBN: 8120807340. I found it by chance in a local secondhand bookstore (near the Kripalu center in Lenox, thus the store carried a large section on Eastern religion.) I gave that copy to Jagat but purchased another on my last trip to India. You'll find it listed at ABE or you can contact Motilal directly. It's a fascinating book, right from the introductory matter on Akbar to the "bosom friends" and dutis.

You'll often find artwork associated with the text also, example.
Madanmohan das - Thu, 24 Mar 2005 17:41:20 +0530
Na na . This Bahadur is really good, I never did anything so good. The verse on the link was beautifull too.
evakurvan - Thu, 24 Mar 2005 20:41:19 +0530
How can her lifeless picture show
Her varying moods--sometimes displeased,
And then content? Her smile's fresh glow--
Her lovely eyes that sport and tease?
Can love without words be complete?
Can lovers speak not, yet remain
Close? How long shall my eyes I feed
On her insipid picture framed?
Deprived of water how can fish
Their restfulness retain? Even so
When on her picture I look, 'tis
As if my mind does burn fourfold.

This reminds me of the sevenfold bliss of experiencing exstacy indirectly as a manjari.

I am half sick of shadows, she said.

Here are parts of a poem by Tennyson about this lady who lives alone on an island. Her business is to look at the world outside her window in a mirror, and to weave what she sees into a tapestry. She is forbidden to look at the outside world directly.

The lady sees loving couples reflected in her mirror. Although she knows that it is forbidden, one day she directly looks out the window. The mirror shatters, the tapestry flies off on the wind, and the lady feels the power of her curse.

But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly

And by the moon the reaper weary
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers " 'Tis the fairy
Lady of Shalott.

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stray

She knows not what the curse may be
And so she weaveth steadily
And little other care hath she

And moving through a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.

There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls...

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often through the silent nights
A funeral with plumes and lights
And music...

Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed:
"I am half sick of shadows," said
the lady of Shalott.

From the bank and from the river
He flashed into the crystal mirror,
"Tirra lirra," by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

Tirralirra: A verbal imitation of a musical sound
evakurvan - Thu, 24 Mar 2005 20:53:42 +0530
She left the web she left the loom,
She made three paces through the room,
She saw the water lily bloom

Out flew the the web and floated wide;
The mirror cracked from side to side;
"The curse is upon me, " she cried.

In the stormy east wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining

Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shallot.

And down the river's dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance
With a glassy countenance

And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay
evakurvan - Thu, 24 Mar 2005 21:01:18 +0530
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly.

Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darkened wholly
For ere she reached upon the tide
The first house by the waterside,
Singing in her song she died.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high

Out upon the wharfs they came,
And round the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
The people crossed themselves for fear.

But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The lady of Shalott."

Madanmohan das - Fri, 25 Mar 2005 01:05:56 +0530
The lady of Shalott got her lot biggrin.gif
Anyway the book Rasikapriya is apparently available from Motilal so next pay check will see to it.
I found some interesting insights about tragedy in Milton's words, as you quoted The Lady of Shalott, I was wondering about the usefulness of tragedy in poetry and drama.
"TRAGEDY, as it was anciently composed, hath been ever held the gravest, moralest, and most profitable of all other poems: therefore said by Aristotle to be of power, by raising pity and fear, or terror, to purge the mind of those and such-like passions, - that is, to temper and reduce them to just measure with a kind of delight, stirred up by reading or seeing those passions well imitated......." blink.gif
braja - Fri, 25 Mar 2005 01:31:57 +0530
Interesting. Smashan(?) vairagya. Or like Ayurveda and it's bitter taste (which apparently corresponds to grief) that is said to "clean the palate." I've often thought that we modern Westerners have too much sweetness and therefore cannot really enjoy the sweet taste.

Here's Bahadur and Keshavadas on Death:

When e'en by force and by deceit,
A meeting, lovers can't achieve,
Says Keshavadasa, whate'er be done,
Then of a sudden 'death' does come!
Says Keshavadasa, I cannot, friend,
The state of death describe of him
Who no decay knows, and no end,
For he is the immortal Krishna.

There can be no ultimate tragedy here!
evakurvan - Fri, 25 Mar 2005 01:44:03 +0530
Here are some things some critics say this poem speaks about.

The necessity of experiencing things indirectly in order to feel them most intensely, as through a veil, a picture or a mirror.

Interesting to think of this in terms of the notion that separation is the highest mood.

On a different note

Also interesting to think of this in terms of the sevenfold bliss of experiencing exstacy indirectly as a manjari
Rad - Fri, 25 Mar 2005 04:30:36 +0530
Thanks, evakurvan. I haven't thought about the Lady of Shalott in quite some time.

The manjaris are so fortunate. Just by being maidservants of Srimati Radhika, they are tadatmiya with Her. Every ecstasy She feels in Her trysts with Krsna are felt by them simultaneosly.

The Lady of Shalott , on the other hand, is cursed in the same manner as the conditioned soul in the material world. Krsna Himself says "of seasons, I am the flower bearing spring."

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and its

when the world is puddle-wonderful

- e.e cummings

Who wouldn't want to go out and delight in the senses, yet the Lady of Shalott is forced, for no good reason that she can think of to abstain. When she hears the song of Sir Lancelot, she loses all restraint. She rushes out and she is annihilated. On top of that Lancelot is never even aware that he was the reason she risked everything. How sad. Not knowing where to repose her natural loving propensity, she is vanquished.
Luckilly for the devotee, every flower can be offered to Krsna, thus the senses become like serpents with no fangs.

Madanmohan das - Fri, 25 Mar 2005 13:30:42 +0530
What is this seven-fold bliss of the manjaris you've ( Evakurvan) mentioned twice on this thread?
evakurvan - Fri, 25 Mar 2005 13:42:50 +0530
I am referring to the passage where it says that manjaris experience the pleasure of radha as she separates and unites with krsna, sevenfold, even though they are not the ones directly engaging in these amorous sports. But as (say) 'voyeurs.'

I am not sure if the number is seven but it is something like that!
This passage has been mentionned a few times on this board already i do not have it right now before me.
Madhava - Fri, 25 Mar 2005 13:53:19 +0530
It is from Murali-vilasa. Read more from here.
Madanmohan das - Fri, 25 Mar 2005 21:01:06 +0530
Great! By seven fold I thought you meant like a list of seven, but you meant multiplied by seven. Very good.