Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Letting Serendipity do the Walking

Well I am having a grand old time in Vrindavan. I really should have someone to take care of me, because I just slip into avadhuta mode so easily. Yesterday I decided to walk to Athkhamba and check out the bookstores and dropped into the Radha Vallabha temple on the way. I have some feeling of affinity with Radha Vallabhis for some reason, don’t ask me to explain. Their cheerful jai radha-vallabha hita-hari-vamsa kirtan rattles around in my brain. So Harivams ate pan on ekadashi... and if Radha gave it him the pan, well who could object? Gopal Bhatta, I guess.

Anyway, they were having kirtan of Chaurasi Pada and I joined in. After it was over, the lead singer took me to his room and gave me a box of prasad and we talked for a while. He (and others there) kept asking me if I was Mr. Rupert, meaning Rupert Snell, who wrote his doctorate on the Chaurasi Pada and, as it happens, is the source of most of what I know about it. He is now, if I am correct, head of Indology at SOAS. So that was the kind of unexpected detour that often happens to me in Vrindavan.

And to add to that, I went on the Athkhamba and picked up a rare Gopala-tapini with commentary by Ranchor Sharan, a Nimbarki contemporary of Baladeva Vidyabhushan’s, and a Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi with a very elaborate Sanskrit commentary by Harilal Vyasa, which was completed in 1781. This morning I naturally spent some time typing out a sample commentary to verse 102, and found it quite agreeable. There are quotes from Ujjvala-nilamani and Vidagdha-madhava. He also quotes frequently from Brajabhasha songs of Surdas and of course Harivams. The primary source he refers to is Vrindavana-mahimamrta, which seems natural enough.

This morning was perfect. I finally seem to be adjusted timewise. It was cool, but not cold, even though everyone seems to be complaining that it is. I did yoga, pranayam, japa, had a nice European style breakfast and I feel fine.

I was going to do something else today, but since I got distracted, I will humbly offer you a verse from the RRSN and the verse from Vidagdha-madhava that was quoted—


sā lāvaṇya-camatkṛtir nava-vayo-rūpaṁ ca tan-mohanaṁ
tat-tat-keli-kalā-vilāsa-laharī-cāturyam āścarya-bhūḥ
no kiñcit kṛtam eva yatra na nutir nāgo na vā sambhramo
rādhā-mādhavayoḥ sa ko’pi sahajaḥ premotsavaḥ pātu vaḥ

May Radha and Madhava’s spontaneous, natural festival of love deliver you:
that loving festival, which is full of loveliness that ever surprises,
full of forms that are ever fresh with youth and enchantment,
full of displays of waves of talent in the arts of loving playfulness,
and where there are never obeisances, offences, or fear. (RRSN 103)


stotraṁ yatra taṭasthatāṁ prakaṭayac cittasya dhatte vyathāṁ
nindāpi pramadaṁ prayacchati parīhāsa-śriyaṁ bibhratī
doṣeṇa kṣayitāṁ guṇena gurutāṁ kenāpy anātanvatī
premṇaḥ svārasikasya kasyacid iyaṁ vikrīḍati prakriyā

(Paurnamasi to Madhumangala) What you are seeing is the workings of some spontaneous kind of love, where praise is seen as a sign of indifference and causes pain to the loved one, where insults only make the beloved laugh, and causes hilarity. In this love, no fault causes it to be diminished, and no quality causes it to increase. (VM 5.4)

Satya Narayanji has been using many examples of love in the last couple of days. He was talking about the nature of advaya in the Vaishnava context. Among the things that I retained was that bhakti is said to be easy, and indeed in terms of physical actions on the basic level, it is. But it becomes hard precisely in the learning of what is in the mind of the beloved object. The oneness of spirit being the essence of love. He also said that advaya means that there is a oneness of consciousness even in the variegatedness of the spiritual world. He gave the example of a lamps that are all connected to one switch and all go on at the same time.

This seems rather the same as some of the things referred to yesterday in the discussion of sakhi bhava. I will try to get back on program tomorrow with a resume of what I have been reading in A History of Celibacy by Elizabeth Abbott, an important overview of celibate practices and problems over the centuries.


1 comment:

Harisaran said...

Greetings Jagat,

Seems like you are having a good time in the holy Dham.

Thanks for keeping this blog and say hello to everyone over there.

Mahalo!