Showing posts from September, 2015

5. The Parakiya Rebuttal

Some of the following is repetition and there is still work needed on the footnotes, some of which appear to have gotten lost.

5.1 The controversy

According to Karnānanda, at some time after the GC had arrived in Bengal, a controversy arose in Yajigrama between Vyasacharya, Narottamadasa, Ramachandra Kaviraja, Govindadasa Kaviraja, and other Vaishnavas. The subject of contention was that of sādhya and sādhanā. Narottama states in his Prema-bhakti-candrikā that "that which is desired for in the course of one's devotional practices is matched in the stage of perfection".(1)

Jiva's GC appeared to contradict this by postulating a svakīyā rather than parakīyā state in the nitya-līlā. The dispute was referred to Jiva Goswami for his final verdict and letters were received from him which supposedly settled the matter.(2) Whatever the truth of the Karnānanda account, and it is undoubtedly true that the arrival of Gopāla-campū provoked controversy amongst the disciples of Shr…

(4) The Rasa Shastra Perspective

This is the second last of the series. I have some reflections that I will make in a subsequent article, but for the time being, just getting this file up on line has been time consuming. I will give a table of contents with links as soon as I can. I will try to put a bit of order into everything. The files have been fairly long for a blog and the Sanskrit puts the spell checker through a frenzy, poor beast, and I do not know what magic words to whisper in his ear to quieten his spirits.

(4) Does Krishna Marry the Gopis in the End? Rasa Shastra.

Rupa's UN commences with an outline of the romantic hero (nāyaka), who to the author can only be Krishna. He describes him as being of two kinds, either a husband (pati) or a paramour (upapati). His incarnation as husband takes place in Dvaraka, while that of paramour is found in Vraja. As an example of Krishna the paramour, Rupa quotes with relish an old verse by Acarya Gopika found in SKM (275) and also in Pv (205). He footnotes that vers…

For Radhashtami: The glory of Radha Nam

anullikhyānantān api sad-aparādhān madhupatir
mahāpremāviṣṭas tava parama-deyaṁ vimṛśati
tavaikaṁ śrī-rādhe gṛṇata iha nāmāmṛta-rasaṁ
mahimnaḥ kaḥ sīmāṁ spṛśatu tava dāsyaika-manasām

Krishna discounts even an unlimited number
of great offenses to the sadhus and,
being completely overwhelmed with love,
puzzles over what great gift he can bestow
on the person who simply pronounces
your immortal nectar-like name,
O Sri Radhe!

Who then could ever reach
the outer edges of the glory
of those whose minds are entirely
devoted to your service? (RRSN 156)

I often translate purely as a technician, making sure all the parts fit and that the car (for the sake of the metaphor) is remade in the mother tongue, rolls off the tongue. At least in a rationally sequential model. Rather than rasa, is what I mean. My primary goal is purely technical rather than artistic.

But that long run on sentence, and then the second one, has a rather "Sanskrit" effect to it in the way it rhythmically builds up t…

The purpose of the historical quest

The evolution of religious ideas

As I return to this theme of svakīyā-parakīyā and the research work I did while doing my doctoral dissertation in connection with the current work on Kṛṣṇa-sandarbha, some thoughts have been coming to me about the general thrust of my own thought about the history of religions and what I see as being the purpose of my own intellectual quest in this regard.

Krishna consciousness, like any other thought system, is based in positive principles that are universal and should be exportable to other religions and ideologies. In other words, they are translatable.

Now in order to translate religious experience from one linguistic and symbolic conversation, often one that has been going on for thousands of years, first one must discover what that experience is, not just by looking at the entire complex in isolation, but also by looking at the universal experience of humanity.

This is the logic behind the study of comparative religion, just as it is with compa…

(3) Does Krishna Marry the Gopis in the End?

3.1 The background to the svakīyā-parakīyā controversy

The term parakīyā arises from the literary critical tradition rather than the puranic. The word means "belonging to another" and generally indicates "the wife of another", the equivalent of para-dāra (in Kāma-sūtra), para-yoṣit, para-kalatra, etc. According to the Kavyālaṁkara of Rudrata, the first extant work which makes the division of the nāyikā into parakīyā and svakīyā, it includes both unmarried virgins (kanyā) and adulteresses (paroḍhā).(1)

Though it is clear that the gopis were always conceived of as being parakīyā, there is some uncertainty about which of its two categories they belonged to. The earliest epic/puranic source, Harivaṁśa, and the earliest secular source, Hala's Gāhāsattasāi, make no definitive clarification of the matter, though in a verse pertaining to the Sattasāi tradition, the gopis are depicted as still hoping for marriage to Krishna, thus indicating they are kanyas. (2) In Bhasa…