Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Gopala-vijaya Dana-lila translation, Part III



(5) Chapter 40 (43)
[Krishna said] 1. "What you are saying is all very good and sweet, Radhe, but it crushes my heart like a thunderbolt. 2. So I have let you go, now you tell me how much you are going to pay me in taxes."

This back and forth banter is the only such conversation in the GoVi Dana-lila, whereas it is a prominent feature of SKK.

[Radha] 3. "Alright, you want to collect taxes and so you are blocking our way. If you know how to collect taxes, then you will end up in Kamsa's hands."

[Krishna] 4. "Why are you threatening me with King Kamsa? I don't consider even a million kings like Kamsa any better than a dog."

[Radha] 5. "No one becomes great by putting others down. The sun does not seem so beautiful to a firefly."

[Krishna] 6. "O Radhe! Don't, just don't, go comparing me to Kamsa. Where was he when I killed Putana? 7. What did he do to me when I sucked the life out of the witch [sister bhaginī, probably wrong for ḍākinī] Putana's breasts."

[Radha] 8. "That was purely coincidental. Putana was dying anyway, and seeing that you were just a child [Kamsa/she] did not cause you any suffering."

[Krishna] 9. "Look, I cannot tell you of all my accomplishments. But in this world it is true that no one tolerates another's success."

[Radha] 10. "If one tolerates a worthless person's flaws out of disgust, then the whole world glorifies its own greatness." (ghṛṇā kori adhamera jadi sahe doṣe, āpana baḍāi dekho jaga-jane ghoṣe)

[Krishna] 11. "Lord Brahma knows a little bit about my glories. As for the strength of my arms, Mount Govardhan knows something about that."

[Radha] 12. "All the cowherds got together to lift Govardhan, and now everyone is saying you did it."

This idea is found earlier in a verse in Padyāvalī (ref.). It is important to bear in mind that many of the folk themes that we associate with the Goswamis go back several hundred years before that and are found in collections like Padyāvalī, though not necessarily in coherent works like Gīta-govinda and the Puranas.

[Krishna] 13. "You don't know me for who I am, you foolish cowherd woman. In the entire three worlds, I am the essence, Vanamali."

[Radha] 14. "Why are you making so much effort to talk. A person is known by his behavior. If you are a deity, then why are you taking the role of a tax collector."

15. When he heard Radha's words, the rasika Gopala felt the intolerable pain of Cupid's arrow pierce him. 16. He dwelt over Radha's words like a deer that has been pierced with a poisonous arrow. 17. He then signaled to Barai and began to reveal his heartfelt emotions.

[Krishna] 18. "Why is Radha so unhappy with me, Barai. Let her go freely to the market. I won't ask for any duties from her. 19. Forget everything I said before. Just let her give me my life back as a gift. May she just smile and give me a drink of the nectar of her lips. 20. Whatever I said in anger about paying customs duties, just ignore it. Just think of me as a lowly servant. 21. Go Barai and talk to Radha Chandravali [Radha is Chandravali here and in SKK], explain to her that by embracing me, she will make me ever her servant. 22. Such an opportunity never comes. It is my good fortune that it has come for me today. 23. If after all this Radha does not hear my plea and does not give me this gift, then ill fortune will come of it. 24. I have put my life on the line for Radha's sake, whatever people may say, that is all I want. 25. O mother, go to Radha and tell her my humble plea [of my love, alt.]. Why does she cursh under her feet this treasure that has been handed to her? 26. Go, Barai, talk to the moon-faced Radha. Tell her to hold me in her arms and bring me happiness.

27. Barai the repeated all that Krishna had said to Radha. 28. Hearing these words, Radha became sad and said the following to deceive Barai: 29. "That's really great, Barai. You are really telling me some wonderful things. How can I answer you? 30. In the name of exacting customs duties, Krishna is sayin all these things. Now you tell me, what woman would find any of this acceptable? 31. I know all these games Krishna plays to pick up girls. He just does it to trick and deceive them.

32. "But how can anyone blame him? He was born a cowherd, so how can we expect him to have any real knowledge about how to attract women (rasika caturāli jānibo koto kāle)? Not only is he a cowherd by caste, but a blockhead from birth. He takes pleasure in the company of his friends, herding cows from wood to wood. 34. So where will he learn the finer arts of love? You can polish brass all you want, it won't become gold for that. 35. Kanu never listens to anyone and so he does not know that one without any good qualities can have no hope of attracting a married woman. Tell him that he after a mirage: a woman like Radhika does not find cowherd boys suitable for her. A grasshopper does fit with a blossoming lotus, nor a crow with a koil. A diamond does not go with a pauper (? rāṅga), so why, old woman, do you want to join me with Kanu?"

36. "On hearing Radha say all this, Barai repeated them to Krishna, greatly expanding on them [making 100 words out of one]. 37. Krishna felt ill on hearing it, and fell down at Barai's feet, holding them in his hands. 38. "If you are merciful, Barai, and allow me, then I will say something, and hopefully will be able to see the beautiful maiden, Radha."

39. Kavishekhara recounts the dāna-līlā. Whoever hears of Krishna's fun-filled pastimes will easily cross over samsara. 40. Hear, O mankind, the Gopāla-vijaya, and you will cross the ocean of material life, singing and dancing.

(6) Chapter 41 (76)

1. After saying this, Krishna went to Radha and started teasing her, 2. “Look, I am the master of Gokula; my name is Vanamali. With hands folded and head bowed, I ask you 3. not to think of me as the son of Nanda, for the Veda and Puranas are all engaged in explaining me alone. 4. Even Lord Brahma cannot disobey me, for the three worlds are entirely under my control. 5. I am Narayan, the essence of the creation (saṁsārera sāra) and have descended (avatāra) in Gokula in order to remove the burden of the world. 6. The three worlds cannot rest on account of my Maya, but what person glorifies himself like this? 7. Look around, you won’t find anyone like me anywhere. And yet, here I am, pleading with you. 8. Keep me by your side, calling me your own. Just give me a glance and make the Lord of the Three Words your slave. 9. Your beauty and virtues are beyond Brahma’s capacity to create. So tell me yourself, whence have you descended?

10. "The Kamadeva that Tripurari burnt to a crisp, now seems to pervade the three worlds. 11. The demons all tremble in fear on hearing the name of Murari, but that Murari has become helpless from the dart of your sidelong glance. 12. I easily held up the Mandara mountain with my left hand, but just seeing the hill of your breast makes me tremble with anxiety. 13. Look at the amazing fire that burns on these breast mountains—from afar it burns, but if one can touch them, it is cooling. 14. In a previous lifetime, Radhe, you were my wife. This is why when I think of you, I lose my sense of who I am. 15. This is why I have come to you, Radhike! Out of fear of Kamadeva, I am taking shelter of your feet."

16. After Murari had said all this, the beautiful Radha gave a little smile and answered, 17. “Your words are like sky-flowers, Kanai. They sound nice, but they have no substance when you examine them closely. 18. You are just a cowherd but you make fun of the Creator. If you are the ruler of the universe, what are you doing here asking for customs duties?

What I think I like best about Krishna is that he is a god with few airs. After telling Radha, "I know it is not proper to boast, but I am the ruler of the three worlds," Radha answers him in this way. "Get off it, Krishna. You are just a cowherd like the rest of us."

There is a quote making the rounds about a God that expects the groveling of sinners to be rather a poor excuse for a God. Rupa Goswami would have said amen to that.

19. "If you are really the husband of the Goddess of Fortune, then why have you given yourself over to sinful acts like this? 20. The things you are saying are unbelievable, I am embarrassed to even answer. 21. You are taking shelter of the gopis’ feet, but what will that do? What power do the gopis have? 22. You claim to be of noble lineage, but you are asking for the road toll. You don’t even understand what you are saying. 23. Why should the supreme person spoken of in the Veda and Puranas want to violate another man’s wife?

24. "You claim to know the essence of the Vedas. Well, tell me then, what scripture says to engage in adultery? 25. I have heard from good people that there is no sin equal to adultery in this world. 26. At every step adulterers have to suffer so much and they have no salvation in this world or the next. 27. Indra was ruined by his affair with Ahalya. And Ravana and his entire family were destroyed because he kidnapped Sita. 28. If you have made a hobby of stealing other men’s wives, Krishna, just consider how much happiness comes of it. 29. Give it up Krishna, give it up. Such a lowly deed does not become you. 30. You know this leads to infamy, so why do you speak such things at all? 31. I am falling at your feet, Kahnai, stop this joking around.”

32. When Radha had finished speaking, Krishna became agitated, like a fire on which ghee has been poured. 33. He looked at her face and with troubled eyes, began to answer her. 34. “O Radhe, you are really criticizing me, like a learned person, just like a saintly person does not listen to a prostitute. 35. As though I have to inquire from others about what is right or wrong. Don’t think less of me because I am asking for toll payments on the road.

The way the people speak in the books of toll or tax collection as an occupation, it really seems to have been pretty low on the totem pole of socially acceptable jobs. (Like in the New Testament, also.) Nobody likes the taxman, and from the descriptions given, especially in Chandi Das, you get the impression that they were capricious (could ask whatever they felt like asking) and their extortion could include sexual favors, which would diminish them even further.

36. "If I did not set up this toll booth here on the highway, then how would I ever get to you? 37. All these things you have said about the sin of going with other people’s wives does not apply to me. 38. Just like anything that goes into the fire turns to ashes, so no sin sticks to this body. 39. Lord Shiva swallowed the same poison that caused distress to the gods and demons just by seeing it from afar. 40. These are secrets that I am telling you, moon-faced one. So why do you say all these hurtful things? 41. Stand up, Radhe, lift your face and look at me. Speak some laughter-filled words and bring me joy. 42. Don’t keep covering your face, cruel one. Let my thirsty chakora eyes drink it in. 43. Smile and say something. Pour nectar on me and save my life.

44. "If you must give me one more instruction, then I will worship the Shiva-lingas of your breasts with my lotus-flower hands. 44. Then seeing how I am trying to fight this Kamadeva, Radha, you should see it as your religious duty to accept me. 47. I am in drowning in the ocean of separation, so give me you banana-tree trunk thigh as a raft. 48. It would take so little to save the master of the three worlds, and so would bring you fame and honor throughout the universe.

Typically, banana trees are used in Bengal for makeshift rafts.

49. "For me, the colour of your lips, like the red of tambula, is the essence of the universal creation. I would drink the sweetness of your lips both day and night. 50. O Radha, I see you show compassion for all creatures, so why are you turning away from me? 51. Who knows how much good I have done in previous lives that Fate would bring us together today? Would that I could kiss your lips through day and night. 52. This love is the essence of the universal creation. I would drink the sweetness of your lips both day and night.

eta anurāga tribhuvane sāra kori
aho niśi pie tora adhara-mādhuri

53. No one anywhere could be more fortunate than the one who can constantly touch your breasts. 54. Nothing is more fortunate than your skirt, which clings so closely to your buttocks. 55. When I see the fortune of these lesser beings, I feel great pain.”

56. When Radha heard these words, smiled and slowly answered. 57. “All these joking words are really great. I don’t think there is a cowherd as foolish as you anywhere. 58. You are so lusty, Nagara-shekhara, why don’t you go and tell your father to get you married? 59. Just look through all the cowherd maids and pick the most beautiful one and marry her. 60. And if for some reason you can’t get married, then become a vairagi and go travelling."

এত কামাতুর তুহ্মি নাগরশেখর । বাপেরে বলিঞা কেহ্নে বিভা নাহি কর ।।
দেখিঞা দেখিঞা জত গোআলা কুমারী । বাছিঞা করহ বিভা পরম সুন্দরী ।।
জদি বা আপনে বিভা করিতে না পারি । বইরাগী হইঞা বুল দেশ দেশান্তরে ।।

61. Hearing this, Krishna laughed and said, “You are giving me good instructions, Radha. 62. But I have given up my wealth, family, home and duties and made you my everything. For me, you are all the holy places in one. 63. Your face is as effulgent as the moon and even more beautiful. Saraswati resides on your tongue. 64. The mistress of all the gods, Durga, is in your throat, and the Jamuna has taken up residence in your hair. 65. Lord Shiva and Hari (Harihara) reside in your breasts, so your body is unequalled as a place of pilgrimage in this world. 66. I am immersed in devotion for you. So may my desires be fulfilled. O Radhe, in your duty and your actions, do not be contrarian.”

67. Radha lowered her head in embarrassment. Weighing all these words in her mind, she traced lines on the ground with her toes. She thought: 68. "Krishna is foremost in qualities, the nāgara-śiromani. What woman can remain calm in her house when he plays his flute? 69. Simply by hearing his name, a day becomes auspicious, and seeing him makes one’s life successful. 70. That rasika guru whose sight the heavenly magicians seek, is suddenly before me. 71. He by touching whose feet one is liberated, the one who is glorified by Brahma and the other gods, 72. whose feet the Siddhas and Vidyadharas serve, that treasure is now thinking of me. 73. There can be no greater fortune than this, that such a priceless jewel should suddenly fall into one's hands. 74. Kanu’s love is a rare gift, the only fear is that my family should fall into disrepute. 75. The sakhis are gossips and Barai untrustworthy. But Kanu does not understand the situation and just keeps on pressing me."

So Radha knows Krishna's glories, it is just this social and religious consideration that is holding her back.76. Taking all this into consideration, Radha did not give Krishna her word, but saying no she joined her sakhis.

76. Listen to every word of the Gopala-vijaya, O people. It is pleasant to hear and brings an end to worldly troubles. 77. Kavishekhar says, “Watch and enjoy all the humorous banter that Radha and Madhava enjoyed.” jata parihāsa ka:ila rādhikā mādhave.


(7) Chapter 42 (38)

1. When Radhika went to her sakhis, then Krishna fell to the ground calling Radha’s name. 2. Like fearful deer having heard the roar of a lion, they looked all around. 3. Krishna had fallen in a faint and did not know anything; even this moment of separation felt like a entire age to him. 4. When he came back to his senses, Krishna still saw Radha wherever he looked. 5. His body was still burning so much he did not know what was going on, so he went to Barai.

6. “Holding your feet, Barai, let me speak to you truthfully. Wherever I look, I see Radha. This is unbelievable. 7. When I open my arms, she runs away. When I plead with her, she makes no answer. 8. The truth is that when I see Radha, my life airs are revived. But now, remembering her qualities is burning my insides. 9. Just a few minutes ago Radha was here and we were laughing and joking. I don’t know what happened at the last minute. 10. I don’t know if she has gone home, or if I will see her again, or whether she has hidden away in my mind. 11. O Barai, I am holding your feet. Tell me where I must go to find Radha.

চরণে ধরিঞা বোলোঁ প্রাণের বড়াই । কহনা সে চন্দ্রমুখী কথা গেলে পাই ।।

12. "Why did that cruel woman let me see her? What did she do to drive me crazy? 13. I try to convince myself to forget her, but nothing works. I cannot forget her. 14. She is young and beautiful, and she knows the arts of love. 15. As I remember her, my life wants to abandon my body. I don’t know why it stays, when it only means suffering. 16. Like a fire of rice husks, it cannot be extinguished. And the flames crackle Radha’s name. 17. When I hear Radha’s name, I feel some relief, but she thinks of my name like a spear in her heart. 18. O Barai, my misfortune is so great that I have never seen a smile touch Radha’s lips. 19. It gives my heart such pain that Radha did not laugh when talking with me. 20. This time Radha may have brushed me off, but she will remember me in the end. 21. Go and tell her that Kahnai cannot bear being separated from her.


আজি হইতে ছাড়িনু মো বিষঅ বিলাসে । রাধা লাগি করিলাঙ বৃন্দাবন বাসে ।।২৪।।
মো রহিলুঙ নিকুঞ্জে কামের তীর্থ পাঞা । দিবস গোঙাব রাধার নাম মান্ত্র লঞা ।।২৫।।
ইষ্টদেবী করি ভাবি রাধিকা জুবতী । বিরহ আনলে দিব আপন আহুতি ।।২৬।।
দুই কুল ভরি তার রহিব খাঁখার । পুরুষ বধিনী বলি ঘুষিবে সংসার ||২৭||

22. "From today onward, I am giving up all pleasures in life and will go live in the Vrindavan forest for Radha's sake. 23. I will stay in a kunja at Kama Tirtha and spend my days chanting the mantra of her names. 24. The maiden Radha will be my worshipable goddess, and I will offer myself as a sacrifice into the fire of her separation. 25. Both her families will be vilified and the whole world will accuse of having killed a man."

Krishna turns this around here. He is the one who is giving everything up for Radha. He is the one burning in separation from Radha. This is the essential twist in the folk narrative through Gita Govinda. Anyway, you can see how great the difference is here from the Krishna in Chandidas. See the Bana-khanda post.
26. On hearing Krishna’s words, Barai said, “Kahnai, what words that you spoke brought you happiness? 27. What kind of good words did you speak? You cannot see Radha anywhere now. 28. You made her angry and she ran off to be with her sakhis. So when you called to her, she would not talk to you. 29. But you are her man and she is your woman. No one can change this truth. 30. Don’t be anxious, Kahnai, but listen to my advice. Radha and Madhava’s playground is this Vrindavan. 31. You are stupid and so you don’t understand this, and so you are acting all crazy. Radha herself will make sure that everything happens. 32. She was afraid of being chastized by her in-laws and so she could not openly give you any assurances. 33. But you are supposed to be a playboy. Couldn’t you spot the hints she was giving you? A chaste married woman cannot act openly.

34. “Let me give you a word of advice, O son of Nanda. Go and get yourself a ferryboat on the Jamuna. 35. By taking the gopis across the river, all your goals will be achieved and you will become famous in the society of the gopis.”

36. On hearing these words of the old woman, Krishna felt as happy as someone who catches a burglar just as he is about to break into the house.

37. Listen attentively to the pastimes of Gopala, everyone. Every last drop of nectar that spills from Radha and Krishna will be given you. 38. Kavishekhara says, “O intelligent ones, know that by laughing and laughing, you will attain the supreme knowledge.”

So, the lila finishes without a forced milan like in the SKK. As in both DKK and DKC, it has been put off to a future date.


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