Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Radha and Krishna Yugala Upasana

The Gopāla-campū has a very nice verse, which appears at the beginning of the descriptions of madhura-rasa, when Snigdhakantha and Madhukantha start their recitations in the assembly of Radha and the gopis along with the select priya-narma-sakhas. This is actually part of the maṅgalācaraṇa, but as is often the case with Jiva Goswami, there is a big siddhānta involved.

imau gaurī-śyāmau manasi viparītau bahir api
sphurat tat-tad-vastrāv iti budha-janair niścitam idam
sa ko’py accha-premā vilasad-ubhaya-sphūrtikatayā
dadhan mūrti-bhāvaṁ pṛthag apṛthag apy āvirudabhūt

Wise persons have determined that
[though] these two are of a black and golden hue [respectively],
in their minds they are of the opposite colors,
so externally, also, are their clothes.
This is some pure unblemished love that has become incarnate,
taking on this form with a dual manifestation,
which is both divided and a unity.

Radha and Krishna are absorbed in thoughts of each other, so their minds have taken on the shape of the beloved and become entirely identified with the beloved. At the same time, Krishna wears a golden cloth, Radha a dark blue dress. Cf. UN 4.9, CC ii.8.39. These are said to symbolize their absorption in thought of one another.

But what I like is the hint at this little play of ideas: Love is some kind of impersonal force, Jiva seems to be saying, that has taken the form of Radha and Krishna. But of course, the formless is ultimately dependent on the formed, and what impersonal love force exists originates with Radha and Krishna, and is also dependent on form to become manifest.

There are many verses that illustrate the niṣṭhā for the Divine Couple. Anyone who says that either Krishna or Radha is the iṣṭa of Gaudiya Vaishnavas certainly hasn't been reading his Bhaktivinoda Thakur--

rādhā virahita kṛṣṇa nāhi māni
kṛṣṇa eka bhaje so abhimānī
I do not accept Krishna without Radha. One who worships Krishna alone without Radha is puffed up.

And actually that comes from Raghunath Das--

anādṛtyodgītām api muni-gaṇair vaiṇika-mukhaiḥ
pravīṇāṁ gāndharvām api ca nigamais tat-priyatamām
ya ekaṁ govindaṁ bhajati kapaṭī dāmbhikatayā
tad-abhyarṇe śīrṇe k
aṇam api na yāmi vratam idam
It is my vow to never go for even a moment into the arid vicinity of the hypocrite who worships Govinda alone out of pure obstinacy, diminishing the glories of Gandharvika Radha, whose virtues are extolled by the great sages headed by Narada, who is celebrated in the scriptures as Krishna's dearmost beloved.
Tough words, Raghunath Dasji. I wonder what you would say to someone who worships Radha alone without Krishna.

Jiva also ends the first four Sandarbhas with the statement: tasminn api sambandhe śri-rādhā-mādhava-rūpeṇaiva prādurbhavasya sambandhinaḥ paramaḥ prakarṣaḥ: "It has been demonstrated that the supreme form in this discourse on the nature of the ultimate reality (sambandha) is that of Sri Sri Radha and Madhava."

There are a number of nice verses using the vinokti alaṅkāra, in which the word "without" (vinā) is used several times to nice rhetorical effect. The Ujjvala-nilamaṇi appears to have the first example, and the others were probably calqued on it, variants on the same theme. Each has its respective merits, but what they have in common is that they not only mention Radha and Krishna as being inextricably connected, but also places the sakhis and manjaris in the picture with them.

vinā kṛṣṇaṁ rādhā vyathayati samantān mama mano
vinā rādhāṁ kṛṣṇo‘py ahaha sakhi māṁ viklavayati
janiḥ sā me mā bhūt kṣaṇam api na yatra kṣaṇa-duhau
yugenākṣṇor lihyāṁ yugapad anayor vaktra-śaśinau

This is the translation from Mañjarī-svarūpa-nirūpaṇa, with input from Vishwanath Chakravarti:
One day, when Srimati Radharani and Krishna were separated as a result of some misdeed of his, Shyama’s friend Bakulamali came and revealed her mind to Champakalata, “Dear friend, when Radha is separated from Krishna, then to see her gives me a pain in the heart. And when I see Krishna without Radha, I truly feel great suffering. What misery! O beautiful one, I pray therefore that I shall never take any birth in which I shall not be able to drink with my eyes the beauty of Radha and Krishna’s moon-like faces, creating a joyful festival, together.” (8.129)
From Alaṅkāra-kaustubha--

vinā rādhāṁ kṛṣṇo na sakhi sukhadaḥ sā na sukhadā
vinā kṛṣṇaṁ rādhā tābhyām api sakhi vinālyā na rasadāḥ
vinā rātriṁ nendus tam api na vinā sā ca rucibhāk
vinā tābhyāṁ jṛmbhāṁ dadhati kumudinyo’pi nitarām
O sakhi! Without Radha Krishna does not give any pleasure. Without Krishna, Radha does not give any pleasure either. And without the two of them together, their girlfriends do not give any rasa. Without the night, the moon does not shine bright, and the night has no loveliness without the moon. And in the absence of that combination of night and moon, the night-lilies yawn in constant boredom (8.89).
And Govinda-līlāmṛta--

vināpy ākalpaiḥ śrī-vṛṣaravi-sutā kṛṣṇa-savidhe
mudotphullā bhāvābharaṇa-valitālīḥ sukhayati
vinā kṛṣṇaṁ tṛṣṇākulita-hṛdayālaṇkṛti-cayair
yutāpy eṣā mlānā malinayati tāsāṁ tanu-manaḥ

I made a stab at a poetic translation in MSN (30 years ago now), that I copy and paste for the sake of saving time rather than any pretensions that it is anything more than doggerel:
Without her jewels, King Bhanu’s girl
If put by Krishna’s side,
Her eyes blossom in happiness,
Love’s beauty shines inside;
To see her full in joy with him
Her friends all swell with pride.


Without her Lord, King Bhanu’s girl
Trembles in lonely fright,
Though decked in jewels and finery
She is not a happy sight.
She wilts and so do all her friends
Like lotuses at night. (11.134)

OK, I am going to finish here with a verse from Narahari's Radhikashtaka--

kṛṣṇaṁ vinā jagad idaṁ na hi vetti rādhā
rādhāṁ vinā jagad idaṁ na hi vetti kṛṣṇaḥ
etena sarvam anugacchati sarva eva
kṛṣṇa-prakāśa-vasatiḥ khalu rādhikaiva

Radha knows nothing other than Krishna in this world. Krishna knows nothing other than Radha. Everything follows from this. Everything indeed. Radha alone is the abode of Krishna's light and revelation. (8)
Can't resist ONE more. Saṅgīta-mādhava -- a little different this time, taking a Rādhā-snehādhikā position, but fits into the general theme:

vinā prāṇair dehaḥ katham iha bhavet ko nu salilaṁ 
vinā mīnaś candro vilasati vinā ko nu rajanīm |
vinānnaṁ kā prāṇa-sthitir ahaha! kṛṣṇo'pi nitarāṁ
vinā rādhāṁ premonmāda-madana-līlā-rasa-nidhim ||

How could the body exist without life? And how a fish without water? And does the moon manifest its full beauty without the night? How can one maintain one's body without food? It is the same for Krishna when he is without Radha, the ocean of the rasa of his maddening, intoxicating loving dalliances. (Saṅgīta-mādhava 7.9)
So, there you have it. I like the Divine Couple, together. And this seems to be what our acharyas liked also. Pure coincidence, or pure mercy. Coincidentia oppositorum, maybe.

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