Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hindola Lila

One week to go before I leave. It is a nice day, one of those bright, blinding white, after snowfall days. Did some more shoveling out back; been shoveling for three days.

I chanted the gopī-gīta and went for a walk, then I read about 30 pages of my sakhī-bhāva book.

On page 155, Sharan Bihari Goswami, whose stated thesis is that Haridas Swami is the originator and main man in advancing the cause of sakhi-bhāva, finally admits that there is no equal to the Gaudiya Sampradaya for an analysis of gopi-bhāva, sakhi-bhāva and madhura-rasa. It had been a bit startling to see him restate his principal idea on page 137, after having quoted two pages earlier Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu about the sambhogecchāmayī and tad-bhāvecchā-mayī moods. If any concept makes a clear and official distinction between nāyikā and sakhī-bhāva, it is there.

I found the following verses, which seem worthy of reflection, taken from the Skanda Purana--

līlaiva dvividhā tasya vāstavī vyāvahārikī
vāstavī tat-svayaṁ-vedyā jīvānāṁ vyāvahārikī
ādyā vinā dvitīyā na dvitīyā nādyagā kvacit
āvayor gocareyaṁ tu tal-līlā vyāvahārikī
yatra bhūr-ādayo lokā bhuvi māthura-maṇḍalau

The lila is of two kinds: vāstavī (fundamental, real) and vyāvahārikī (functional, temporary). The fundamental is that experienced by Krishna alone; that experienced by the jivas is functional. The second cannot exist without the first, nor the first without the second. So what we experience of his līlā is the vyāvahārikī, which manifests where exist this earthly plane, and on this earth, the district of Mathura. (Skanda Purana, Vaishnava Khanda, Marga-sirsha, 1.25-27)
And, so that Shiva can pack his arsenal of quotes further, if he does not have these already:

yaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sāpi rādhā yā rādhā kṛṣṇa eva saḥ
ātmārāmasya kṛṣṇasya dhruvam ātmāsti rādhikā
tasyā evāṁśa-vistārāḥ sarvāḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāyikāḥ

He who is Krishna is also Radha. She who is Radha is verily Krishna. Krisha is known as Atmaram, one who takes pleasure in the Self. But his Self is verily Radha. All of Krishna's nayikas are the expansions of her parts. (Brahmanda Purana, Radha-stava)
These verses are also quoted in Hanuman Prasad Poddar's Rādhā-Mādhava Cintan, which is a real classic. Interestingly, as I was verifying this (he credits Skanda Purana), I found a couple of verses from the hindola lila in Govinda-līlāmṛta (14.65-66, 68-70), which he did not identify but which I recognized, as I just finished chapter 14 of GL for the Grantha Mandir.

rādhā-dṛg-iṅgita-nayāl lalitām aghārir
ākṛṣya dakṣiṇa-bhujaṁ vinidhāya tasyāḥ |
kaṇṭhe paraṁ bhujam asau dayitāṁsa-deśe
madhye tayoḥ sa vibabhau taḍitor ivābdaḥ ||65||

kaundy abravīt paśyatālyo jyotiś-cakre cale puraḥ |
rādhānurādhayor madhye pūrṇo’yam udito vidhuḥ ||66||
Honoring Radha’s hint, Krishna seats Lalita on his right and rests his arm on her shoulder. Then he embraces Radha on his left. Aho! Is a dark cloud now illumined by two streaks of lightning? Kundalata addresses everyone: “O sakhis! Just see! The full moon has rised in between the two shining stars, Radha and Anuradha!”
athāvaruhya hindolād dvābhyāṁ dvābhyāṁ virājatam |
viśākhā-lalitādibhyāṁ śrī-rādhāndolayat priyam ||68||

tato’varūḍhā lalitādayas tadā
rādheṅgitaiḥ kāñcanavallikādikāḥ |
ārohayāmāsur adhaḥ sthitāḥ sakhīr
hindolikāṁ tāṁ kramaśo balāc chalaiḥ ||69||

tāsāṁ dvayī-dvayī-pūrṇa-pārśvaṁ taṁ kramaśo mudā |
govindaṁ dolayāmāsur gāyantyas tāḥ sa-rādhikāḥ ||70||
Next, Radha gets down to enjoy swinging the hindola as Lalita and Vishakha, and then other pairs of sakhis sit next to Krishna. When these sakhis have finished and get down, Radha hints that they should let Kanchanalata and others have a turn. The sakhis push them on the swing, as one pair after another sits on either side of Krishna. Radha joins Lalita and the remaining sakhis who push the hindola and sing. (Gadadhar Pran's translations.)
The context is Radha's unselfish generosity to her sakhis, and it was rather interesting to see that Gadadhar Pran and Hanuman Prasad Poddar both refer to the idea of Krishna being the prema-kalpa-latā and the sakhis being her leaves, flowers and fruits.
Rasa-taraṅgiṇī-ṭīkā (Gadadhar Pran): Radhika is the prema-kalpa-latā, and the sakhis are this golden lata’s leaves and flowers. Therefore, just as they satisfy Radha Thakurani, she strives to satisfy them; this is her nitya-vrata (eternal vow). So, Radha nudges Rasikendra to let her sakhis sit beside him, and he agrees by first seating Lalita.

Without satisfying her sakhis, Jagadanandini Rai’s own desires remain unfulfilled. Thus when Krishna kisses, hugs and enjoys her sakhis, enjoying prema keli with them, Radha plunges into an ānanda-sindhu. Rasika bhaktas may note that this is called eka-prāṇatā ("oneness in spirit"). Radha and her sakhis are one life in many forms. Although Lalita, Vishakha and the other leading sakhis are qualified to be Yutheshvaris themselves, they consider such a position insignificant in comparison to their intimate friendship with Radha.
Actually, it is not so amazing, as Poddar and Gadadhar are both following a common source, which becomes clear from the rest of Poddar's description.


Anonymous said...

What is the name of the sakhi-bhava book? Is it available somewhere?

Jagat said...

Saranabehari Goswami. Krishna-bhakti kavya men sakhi-bhava. (Varanasi: The Chowkhamba Vidyabhawan, 1966)

It's in Hindi and it's pretty old. It is available from The Chowkhamba Orientalia. Bungalow Road, 9 U.B. (Near Kirorimal College), Delhi 110007. Phone 2911617.

Hanuman Prasad Poddar's book has been published many times. It is available from Gita Press, Gorakhpur.