Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Manjari-bhava and sambhoga

The RRSN class yesterday was wide-ranging, but one thing I spoke on was the following verse (Govinda-līlāmṛta 10.16, CC 2.8.209) in glorification of Radha’s dasis. Here it is with Gadadhar Pran’s (orthodox) translation and commentary:

sakhyaḥ śrī-rādhikāyā vraja-kumuda-vidhor hlādinī-nāma-śakteḥ
sārāṁśa-prema-vallyāḥ kiśalaya-dala-puṣpādi-tulyāḥ sva-tulyāḥ
siktāyāṁ kṛṣṇa-līlāmṛta-rasa-nicayair ullasantyām amuṣyāṁ
jātollāsāḥ sva-sekāc chata-guṇam adhikaṁ santi yat tan na citram

Nandimukhi goes on: “And look! As Radha and the sakhis’ pleasure is synonymous, the sakhis are one with Radha. Krishna is like the moon for the ‘lilies of Vraja’ (the gopis), and Srimati Radhika is the essence of his pleasure potency. She is likened to a desire creeper of prema (prema-kalpa-lata) and the sakhis are the leaves, flowers and new buds on this creeper, and as such are non-different from her. So it isn’t surprising that when the Radha creeper is nourished by the shower of Krishna’s lilamrita rasa, the leaves, flowers and buds naturally experience bliss a hundred times more than if they were splashed with this rasa themselves!”

Rasa-tarangini Tika:
Although Krishna is Ananda-maya, or pleasure personified, Radha, being the main shelter of his pleasure, is in the best position to relish his infinite madhurya—even more than Krishna himself. Morever, Srimati Radhika is Prema-mayi, or prema personified, and hence, as the counter-whole of the Supreme Divinity, she has her own limitless madhurya. But the sakhis are the topmost relishers of all because their focus is not on Sri Krishna or on Sri Radha alone, but on Sri Sri Radha Krishna combined. Hence the supreme source of Prema and Ananda is at their very fingertips, and this forms the highest relish of all.

GP’s commentary is succinct, but touches all the important bases. It is rather odd, then, that he seems to have abandoned this siddhanta, due to incomprehension of how this oneness with Radharani works. There are many others who are confused about this point as well, and who think that sambhoga with Krishna (or Radharani) is superior to this mystic participation in the sambhoga of the Divine Couple.

This comes from a multiple confusion about the nature of transcendental reality and its essentially advaita nature. The non-duality is the basic characteristic of the spiritual world. Harivamsa’s followers (and other sakhi-sampradayas) say that there are four elements in the Nitya-vihara, which are indispensible: Krishna, Radha, Vrindavan and the sakhis. But they all form one single tattva. True liberation means becoming ONE with that reality.

The idea of being a sambhogi in competition with Radha (or heaven forfend! with Krishna) is giving in (in my humble opinion) to elements of ahankara. It is a shift from the pure samartha rati to samanjasa and sadharani. Samartha rati only really exists in Radha, whose prema is parama mahAn.

The manjaris are part and parcel of Radha. Radha’s lila is their lila. They don’t see themselves as different from Radha. And yet, they are distinct. Therefore Kaviraj Goswami says:

sakhī binu ei līlāra puṣṭi nāhi hoy
sakhī līlā vistāriyā sakhī āsvādoy

Without the sakhis, this lila does not find nourishment. The sakhis are the ones who expand this lila, and they are the ones who relish it. (CC 2.8.201)
The verse that is often pointed to is Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi 8.88:

cāturyottaram eva sevanam ahaṁ govinda samprārthaye
notsukyaṁ bhavad-aṅga-saṅgama-rase'py ālambate man-manaḥ

Govinda, I have only one desire:
to have the ever expanding intelligence
to be able to serve you and Radha
on the field of your ever-expanding, ecstatic romance,
so that you can experience newer and newer bliss;
for by such service, unlimited gopis have attained
the very limits of the fulfillment of their desires.
Therefore, O Lord of Gokula, my mind
never becomes eager for your direct embrace;
it does not crave for such enjoyments,
please just engage me in that service.

The point being that it is simply inconceivable for the manjaris to imagine sambhoga with Krishna. It is entirely beside the point. It is not even a real source of joy to them. It is superfluous, extraneous, contrary to nature.

In my class, I briefly pointed out, and this will develop as we go along, is that this is a direct result of an understanding of rasa-tattva. If you understand the mechanics of experiencing rasa as described by Rupa Goswami, then this becomes rather simplified. Rasa exists in Radha and Krishna, but it exists in the sahṛdaya-sāmājika--the cultivated audience, also. The cultivated audience, in this case, is the pure devotee in mañjarī-bhāva (tad-bhāvecchātmikā).


Anonymous said...

Rasa exists in Radha and Krishna, but it exists in the sahridaya samajika--the cultivated audience, also. The cultivated audience, in this case, is the pure devotee in manjari bhava (tad-bhavecchatmika).

Indeed, if the rasa wasn't shared with the audience, it could be said that it didn't exist even for Radha and Krishna themselves! In other words, the purpose of the lila is rasa, and rasa is obtained from a specific setting. Caitanya Mahaprabhu, speaking in the mood of Srimati Radharani, said to Krishna/Jagannath, "For most people, the mind and heart are one, but because my mind is never separated from Vrndavana, I consider my mind and Vrndavana to be one. My mind is already Vrndavana, and since you like Vrndavana, will you please place your lotus feet there? I would deem that your full mercy."

Vrindavana lila requires the participation of newer and newer participants. In RRS Prabhodananda Sarasvati wrote, "yat kinkarisu bahusah khalu kaku vani nityam parasya prursya sikhanda mauleh
tasyah kada rasa nidher vrsabhanu jayas tat keli kunja bhavanagana marjani syam."

The manjaris, Rupa and Rati, set the pace and the mood in this lila. Krishna begs these two to be allowed in to the kunja where Srimati Radharani is angry and refuses to see him. The manjaris will or will not let him in. He places his head at their lotus feet and begs, "Just for a moment, let me take darshan of my beloved". And Rupa and Rati manjari reply, "Never! This can never be!" And so goes the lila, on and on. This is shared rasa - Radha, Krishna, and their assistants. Indeed, rasa cannot be without sharing.

visnudas said...

so nice...
the typed words on the screen don't match the feelings reading your post has given me.
i'll whisper...
thank you... ...radhesyamradhesyamradhesyam...

rahul said...

I read Govinda lilamrita for the first time the other day , it was the first time i had read a book about intimate pastimes of Radha and Krishna. I was quite shocked actually , the words lovemaking are used very frequently , there is a bed , they spend all night in the bed partaking in lovesports and if a manjari is lucky she can watch , they are greeted the next morning by parrots and woken up. In my mind when i was reading all i could comapre it to was modern lusty affairs. What are these love sports and what do they do for so long in the bed.