VMA 1.61 :: The fullness of ānanda
The words bṛhad-upaniṣad-ānandajānanda-kandāḥ are probably a reference to Bṛhad-āranyaka Upanishad 3.9.28(7), where Shankara goes into a prolonged discussion of the word ānanda and how it means Brahman. Prabodhananda is here saying that the joy spoken of in the "Brihad Upanishad" is thus Brahman, and the joy born of Brahman realization is rooted in the parikaras of the Divine Couple in Vrindavan. And all parikaras have their original in Radha.
sthira-cara-nikareṣv astu me hanta ke vā
devā brahmādayaḥ syus /
tata uru-mahitā vallabhā ye vrajendoḥ |
ete hy advaita-sac-cid-/
May I always render service to the creatures of Vrindavan, moving or still. Ah! What are great gods like Brahma to me? Those dear to the Moon of Braj are far greater in glory than they! All have non-dual bodies of condensed spiritual being and consciousness and their wonders have burst forth to the far, far corners of the universe! They are the roots of the joy born of the joy of the great Upanishads. (Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛta 1.61)
QUESTION: Do you interpret the ānanda in Upanishads to reflect the bliss of Divine Couple? Is this because we always try to interpret all verses of anything we read in terms of what we believe in, though there is no way to know which one is true?
I found this discussion online with Patrick Olivelle where he discusses his views on these topics. The portion after 20 minutes (continuing into part 2) was particularly interesting to me. He denies that the Upanishads have one single philosophy as Balaji said, and he denies that Shankara's advaita can be derived just from the Upanishads or that the Upanishads can be called as being advaitic. Let me know what you think of it. Obviously to interpret any verse as Gaudiya also will be problematic.
I like Radhakrishnan's statement that just as all of Western philosophy can be called footnotes to Plato, all of Indian philosophy can be called footnotes to the Upanishads.
The Upanishads are ecstatic revealed utterances, first glimpses of revelation that have a "numinous" quality. This gave them the authority of Veda. Of course there is no consistency in the Upanishads which come from a variety of times and places over a period of several hundred years. There are really only the seeds of a consistent philosophy.
Later writers, especially like Badarayana in the Vedanta Sutra, tried to find patterns of consistency and applied a certain vision to the interpretation of those revelations. Clearly, not everyone thought the same way subsequently.
But certain themes have been persistent throughout. Atma, Brahman, sac-cid-ānanda, etc. It is the delving into the potential that these words have that the different schools and practices of Hinduism have developed.
So, when a statement like raso vai saḥ, yam hy evāyam labdhvānandi bhavati is taken seriously and meditated upon (srotavyaḥ, mantavyaḥ, nididhyāsitavyaḥ), then its potential is realized gradually, over time.
So, yes, of course, I believe that Radha and Krishna represent the fullness of ananda. Radhe Radhe!
See a fuller explanation of VMA 1.61 here.