Thursday, September 25, 2008

More Yugala Upasana

The meaning of seeing God in the direction of love means that the presence of love confirms the presence of God. What is interesting here is that physical love is not excluded, but is accepted as being at the very basis of love itself, since the expression of romantic love in Radha and Krishna is seen as the ultimate truth.

Just as Ashley Montague discovered in the 60's how important the skin and the sense of touch were to the healthy psychological development of the infant, and to the further spiritual sense of well-being in the adult, the sense of touch is also an integral part of love and bhakti.

Therefore it is said, tviṣaḥ phalaṁ tvādṛśa-gātra-sparśaḥ, sudurlabho bhāgavato hi loke. "The fruit of the skin is to touch your body, for great devotees like you are so rare in this world."

Radha and Krishna are Love; they are the core of love. Love is formless, anaṅga, but it takes form. The form it takes must be dual, because the very basis of love is interaction, the attraction of opposites.

In one of the dualistic concepts of the Deity, where the jiva and God are set in a juxtaposition as opposites and love is primarily seen as being the relationship of the jiva with God, i.e., in the concept where God is the puruṣa and the jiva is prakṛti -- valid concepts all -- we must recognize that certain elements of understanding are still incomplete. You could call this the old paradigm of bhakti, which leads to the idea of sambhoga and all the other kinds of bridal mysticism that dot the religious landscape, east and west.

Though historically it grows out of the above, the Radha and Krishna concept is different because it comes out of an understanding of the idea of universal love. In this concept, God is not Krishna alone, but Radha and Krishna together. The Shakti and the Shaktiman are God together, not independently of one another: pṛthak, apṛthak. They are love manifest, and the jiva stands in relationship to them as the devotee of Love Incarnate.

Sakhī bistāriyā āra sakhī āsvādaya. The position of the jiva is that she serves Love. She expands the pastimes of love and she relishes the results. Not through attempting to split the Divine Syzygy by some misplaced idea that they can bring pleasure to one or the other Moieties (as Siddhanta Saraswati called them) of the Divine Unity, but by serving that Divine Unity in all instances. Basically, that means in the widest sense of the concept, unifying the unified. Starting with oneself, of course: harmonizing the disharmony of the psyche. And then expanding outward.

The jiva, as Jiva Goswami so nicely explains in Prīti-sandarbha, does not give God joy, because God is vibhu, and the bliss of the jiva is infinitesmal. Therefore, in order for the jiva to give God pleasure, she must become joined with the Internal Potency. That is where bhakti comes from. This is why the siddhanta about bhakti coming from outside the jiva is so significant. Those who think that by purification one finds the inherent bhakti within have not understood properly.

Anyway, in Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi class today, there was one compound word in the commentary that I spent the whole class talking about, basically repeating the above. The context in the commentary is that Krishna, being Radharani's servant, and being dependent on her, is not in control of when and where he will get this famous fortunate fragrant breeze that emanates from her cloth (the word kadāpi in the verse limits the occasions). In other words, being under the influence of Yogamaya, Krishna is dependent on circumstances.

However, the commentator says sahṛdayaika-bhāvanīyāvasare, the occasion that Krishna receives this good fortune is dependent on the meditation of the sahṛdaya or sympathetic audience alone.

In order to explain this, I had to talk about rasa theory and what it means to be a sahṛdaya-sāmājika or properly prepared recipient of the rasa. This I developed up to the point of one's practicing identification with the siddha gopi-deha and hearing, chanting and doing sādhanā in consciousness of this identity. This is what makes you a sahṛdaya, or an audience qualified to relish the rasa.

दुकूलं बिभ्राणम् अथ कुचतटे कञ्चुकपटं
प्रसादं स्वामिन्याः स्वकरतलदत्तं प्रणयतः।
स्थितां नित्यं पार्श्वे विविधपरिचर्यैकचतुरां
किशोरीम् आत्मानं किम् इह सुकुमारीं नु कलये॥

dukūlaṁ bibhrāṇam atha kuca-taṭe kañcuka-paṭaṁ
prasādaṁ svāminyāḥ sva-kara-tala-dattaṁ praṇayataḥ 
sthitāṁ nityaṁ pārśve vividha-paricaryaika-caturāṁ
kiśorīm ātmānaṁ kim iha sukumārīṁ nu kalaye
I meditate on myself as a beautiful young girl, wearing a cloth and a blouse that were the remnants of my Swamini’s clothing and given to me by her own hand. I am standing next to her always, expert in various kinds of service. (RRSN 53)
From there I went on to explain that the sakhis are the real sahṛdayas. Then I talked again about the verse,

sakhī binu ei līlāra puṣṭi nāhi haya
sakhī vistāriyā āra sakhī āsvādaya

"The sakhis develop the līlā and the sakhis are the ones to relish it."

As stated above, the sakhis are actually worshiping Love Itself. What was good is that I explained in Hindi about masculine and feminine qualities inside everyone and balance, etc. I quoted the same imau gaurī-nīle verse that inspires the first part of this blog. How it is the sakhis' job to bring Radha and Krishna together and then they relish the delight of seeing, as here, Krishna feeling the sense of fulfillment that comes from Radha's breezes.

In all this, the intelligent or rational person has to keep the symbol and its meaning simultaneously one and different. A living symbol is precisely a symbol that has life. In other words, a living symbol is one that emanates meaning. Since Radha and Krishna are a living symbol of love, they are reflected (to the devotee) in all manifestations love; at the same time, meditation on them produces love in the heart. If one learns through sādhanā to develop a synergy between the two, i.e., the experience of love and the worship of the symbol, then they mutually feed each other upwards to infinity.


3 comments:

Jagannathdas said...

Nice post Jagat. Bhaktirasa in a nutshell. Sometimes in trying to understand the nature of rasa we end up scouring lists of bhavas and other technical details,and loose sight of the essence, the apparent 'simplicity' of your statements make it far more tangible to access and relish. Well done!

Jagat said...

Rereading it, it seems a little awkward, because it was written in two parts, one before the class, the other after.

sainath said...

Could you perhaps point me to a primer of Rupa's Rasa Theory? It would be most appreciated. My mind absorbs the details better when I can see the entire picture in one view, instead of just detailed segments.