Svadhina Bhartrika

So, seeing that the time was ripe for Hari Katha, I have decided to try a daily serial. So we are going to do the last song of Jayadeva's Gita Govinda, which is the image of the svādhīna-bhartṛkā. So, just to prepare, as a prerequisite, you go and enjoy the following about Jayadeva's Krishna.

What is a nāgara? And why is God a nāgara?

But that will have to await another today, for today, Radha is on the stage and it is the final dramatic scene of the Gita Govinda, the lovers have just made love and it is a HAPPY ending! And now to culminate the scene, Radha, like an empress on her flower bed, looks toward Krishna and says, "Peel me a grape."

And Krishna, well I don't have to tell you what Krishna has been through!! If I were to tell that story, I would have to start the Gīta-govinda at the very beginning and that would take us a bit out of the way. Let us just say, he is very, very thankful to all the gods and saints that Radha has finally accepted him back into her good graces and is letting him back into the kunj as it were.

So it is a clear victory. The flag was thrown down in song 19 full capitulation, and now Radha enjoys the peace and camaraderie that comes when the empress of love is recognized in all her glory. The svādhīna-bhartṛkā!

And Krishna pays homage.

So, for the next few days, this will be our meditation. We will dwell slowly on this image of the divine couple. We will not look for a story for there is no story. There is just an image, an icon of love in a certain significant moment of total pleasure.

So, just to complete today's āsvādana, I will give the definition of svādhīna-bhartṛkā as given by Bharata Muni.
suratātirasair baddho yasyāḥ pārśve tu nāyakaḥ |sāndrāmoda-guṇa-prāptā bhavet svādhīna-bhartṛkā ||215||vicitrojjvalaveṣā tu pramododyotitānanā |udīrṇa-śobhā ca tathā kāryā svādhīna-bhartṛkā ||225|| 

Now this is the way that the nāyikā should be played on the stage, the main characteristics. The nāyaka is bound to her now because the nectar of lovemaking is so completely blissful, so is constantly by her side. Her dress will be bright and colorful, her face will be bright with pleasure, her effulgence spreading, that is how she should be depicted. Radhe Shyam.

We have much to talk about this Braja nāgara some other time. Suffice it to say here that he has reached the limits of the dhīra-lalita nāyaka, completely under the control of his beloved.

Now these poems are very sensuous. They are meant to be. They are not vulgar, but they are very suggestive. As I may already have stated, when it comes to erotic love, the eros and the love are not separated by any kind of distinction or by and overlay of prudery. Sannyāsa culture, yoga, jñāna, what have you, not a whisper. No sāṅkhya philosophy of counting tattvas and this and that. It has all been forgotten. Even the characters have been pared to the bone.

There is a shadowy sakhi, a go-between who passes from her to him and him to her, but she has no personality. The drama is purely between Radha and Krishna. It is the drama of the eight nāyikā avasthās, and it culminates with the svādhīna-bhartṛkā, Radha's complete victory.

Radha and Krishna are in love, but practically speaking there is no why to their love. There is no real introduction, no reason why or how they fell in love.

In Gīta-govinda we have the ten avatar stotra, but that is almost a formality. And even that is given little or no explanation, even though it indicates the implicit acceptance of Krishna as the supreme form of the Godhead, and not just the Krishna of the Puranas, but a Krishna meant for the nagara. Krishna has long ago left the realm of tattva and is simply an archetype and the story being told is really just the a bare bones of an archetypal tale, a myth, and that is precisely where its power and message lie.

We can only assume that the court audience of cultivated connoisseurs would have been in on the fact that Krishna is God, or an avatar, or a divinity of some kind. But what would that have meant for them?

So here, after Krishna kneels next to Radha, his hands folded like Garuda in expectation of an order, Radha begins to speak.

So here, after Krishna kneels next to Radha, his hands folded like Garuda in expectation of an order, Radha begins to speak.

kuru yadu-nandana candana-śiśira-
tareṇa kareṇa payodhare |
mṛgamada-patrakam atra mano-bhava-
maṅgala-kalaśa-sahodare ||17||

nijagāda sā yadu-nandane krīḍati hṛdayānandane ||

The refrain or dhruva pada: She said to Yadu Nandana, the delight of her heart, as he played with her.

The verses are what she said: "Do..." She opens with an order, kuru. Ah, what a long path these two syllables, once analyzed, will take us, all the way from the opening words of the Bhagavad Gita to here...

Oh Yadu Nandan! With your hand cooler than sandalwood, make musk decorations on my breasts, which are like twins of the auspicious pots marking the sacrifice of Cupid.

So karma-yoga is based on ritual, and here the sacrificial ritual is the act of lovemaking. And here, Krishna is the priest who makes auspicious markings of black musk or red vermilion to invoke the gods into the jugs, full of nectar, that mark the sacrificial ground. But is he the priest, or Radha the priestess? She is the acharya for she dictates how the sacrifice is to be performed.

Prabodhananda says that the mention of Krishna's cool hands are only a way of saying that she intends to light his fire once again by having him touch her intimately.


Jagadananda Das said…
This blog is littered with unfinished projects and broken promises. Hay!
ashu said…
Further, to your above comment, this blog is also littered with broken links which no longer work!

Request the blogger to fix the broken links.


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