Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Vrindavan bestows all rasas on Radha's dasis

kiṁ brūmo'nyatra kuṇṭhī-kṛtaka-jana-pade dhāmny api śrī-vikuṇṭhe
rādhā-mādhurya-vettā madhupatir atha tan-mādhurīṁ vetti rādhā |
vṛndāraṇya-sthalīyaṁ parama-rasa-sudhā-mādhurīṇāṁ dhurīṇā
tad-dvandva-svādanīyaṁ sakalam api dadau rādhikā-kiṅkarīṇām ||
In this land of Vrindavan, Krishna knows Radha's sweetness and Radha knows the sweetness of Krishna. But can we say the same of other places, even the Holy Dham of Vaikuntha, which renders insignificant the abodes of Brahma and other gods and men [where no one knows either of them]? This abode of Vrinda's forest is charged with all the varieties of sweetness of the ambrosia of the highest rasa and it has bestowed everything this Yugala relishes to Radha's dasis [alone]. (RRSN 175)
Now there is a siddhānta. Prabodhananda is interesting in that he is one of the few personalities who seems to be accepted by all the Vrindavan sampradāyas, thought there may be some differences of detail. In this verse, however, his attitude is the core conclusion accepted by all rasika schools.

Vrindavan is established as above Vaikuntha because it is the place where Radha knows Krishna and Krishna knows Radha. In other words the āśraya and viṣaya of the supreme love (prema) know each other in full in Vrindavan alone. This is the hierarchy of rasa we are already familiar with.

So Vrindavan is the container charged with, or filled up with (dhurīṇā) that essence of the divine ambrosia of the spiritual world where this "knowing" is going on.

And Vrindavan bestows all (sakalam api) of the rasa that this Divine Couple (tad-dvandva) seeks to relish (svādanīyaṁ) on Radha's dasis.

Is this artha-vāda? In other words, is this statement just someone praising his own mood and not objectively stating the truth about Vrindavan tattva? I don't think so. Just as it is wrong to think the glories of the Holy Name are exaggeration, it is wrong to think that this verse is an exaggeration.

Nevertheless, when there are such praises of Radha's dasis, what is their purpose? Again, is it just to encourage those who have this particular mood, or is it to excite those who are interested in relishing the glories of madhura-rasa to take up this approach to experiencing it?

Of course, artha-vāda is one of the six distinguishing features of a text by which its overall purpose is determined. What is praised in a text? Clearly, Rādhā-dāsya is what is being praised here.

But it is not artha-vāda in the sense that an impartial person judges the level of advancement of someone on a lower level of spiritual achievement and praises something with the purpose of helping him to get to another level, calling it the ultimate achievement just to enthuse him when in fact it is only a step on the way. This is a siddhānta verse presenting the objective conclusion of the rasika sampradāyas.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do you know of any books specifically about tantra in relation to Hinduism or specifically Radha and Krishna?

All I've been able to find so far are books about tantra written from the Buddhist point of view, like this one:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/6kg1b4dexuvcpzr/Great-Bliss-Tantric-Sex-and-the-Path-to-Inner-Awakening_John-T-Houseman.pdf?dl=0

Can you recommend any books? Thanks