Saturday, September 19, 2015

(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's Bālacarita, another early source which mentions Krishna's comparatively innocent dancing with the gopis, they would appear to be young unmarried girls. By the time of the ViP, however, it is clear that at least some of the gopis were considered to be married (v.13.59, 24.16) and at around the same time, Magha's Shishupala rails against Krishna's being a lover of the wives of other men. (3)

The secular poetic tradition, meanwhile, gingerly delved into some aspects of the paroḍhā relationship. Hāla has a few humorous verses in which an adulterous woman (Pkt. asaī) advertises her availability to a stranger, (4) or cleverly deceives her husband as he catches her red-handed with her lover. (5) There are also some wistful verses in which the asaī is seen in a more positive light and her activities are taken as serious expressions of love. In the later poetic tradition as found in the Sanskrit anthologies, the asati is most often described either in her role as a serious flirt or as an anxiety-ridden but beautiful abhisārikā on her way to the trysting place. It would appear, surprisingly, that these themes only gradually found their way into writing about Krishna, and furthermore that Krishna's love affairs were not taken up seriously as a literary subject to any great extent by poets of stature. Only a handful of muktakas (individual or stand-alone verses not necessarily belonging to any larger work) are found in the early Sanskrit anthologies in which the gopis are described in accordance with the abhisārikā theme, etc., but no complete work of literature with such a relation as its basis and dating from the pre-Chaitanya period survives to the present day.

In general the poeticians or dramatic theoreticians did not consider the parakīyā-nāyikā to be a relishable topic for literature or drama. The critics and the poets using the Sanskrit medium, starting with Bharata, themselves had roots in a courtly tradition steeped in its own peculiar tastes and values. The overwhelming number of heroes in Sanskrit dramas are kings, of whom only Rama is monogamous. Theparakīyā woman was avoided, even when, as in Krishna's case, theological considerations might have absolved the author of fault. The ambivalence to the subject was so strong in the courtly circles, that in the 14th century, Vishwanath gave an example of an exchange between Krishna and a gopi as an example of rasābhāsa, even while including the benedictory formula, hariḥ pātu vaḥ.(6)

Though the South-Indian Alvar Vaishnavas who promoted the erotic spirit in devotionalism were primarily interested in the mood of the young virgin who seeks a marital relation with Krishna, when their traditions were joined to that of the ViP in BhP, the paroḍhā relation was wholeheartedly adopted. In addition to the paroḍhā in BhP, however, the kanya mood of Kotai also finds a place (in x.22) and other Alvar themes are also used in the descriptions of the sentiments of the queens of Dvaraka (x.52, x.90).

The court of the Bengal Sen dynasty, whose roots were in Karnataka, also cultivated Krishnaite eroticism. The verses about Krishna in Sridhara's Sad-ukti-karnāmṛta contain some of the most unambiguous paroḍhā material. At the same time and place, however, Jayadeva's Gīta-govinda appears to reflect the idea of a transcendental Krishna, one who incarnates in ten avataras, but whose original form is engaged in an eternal cycle of love-games with Radha in a world which has no place for other men; Krishna is the only male in the Vrindavan of GītaG. In this unreal world there is no need for a formal marital relationship. We are occasionally reminded of the activities of Krishna's other incarnations in which existed the parakīyā relation to Radha (1.1) or the married relation to Lakshmi (12.25). Though some find evidence in the GītaG for the parakīyā mood, (7) it is not strong, while the words pati and dampati can also be found referring to Krishna's relation with Radha. (8) Thus it would appear that the dichotomy of the prakaṭa and aprakaṭa relations was intuited by Jayadeva, if it were not already a matter of dogmatic belief amongst the Vaishnavas of the day. (9)

Jayadeva's vision of Radha and Krishna had an all-pervasive influence in both the secular and devotional worlds, but probably more in the latter than the former. Poets such as Surdas and Hit Harivams seem to have visualized the relationship of the divine Radha and Krishna in terms not dissimilar to his. There are a few isolated examples of later works, secular in character, in which Krishna is said to have been married to Radha. (10) On the other hand, those puranic sources which discuss Radha's marriage to Ayana or mention Krishna's marriage to Radha, all appear to be of eastern Indian provenance and very late in their composition. They were most likely unknown to Jiva. (11)

The popularity of the Radha-Krishna theme in the vernacular song-writing and literature of eastern India in the 15th century gave particular impetus to the parakīyā conception. Badu Chandi Das (Krishna Kirtan) seems to have been the first to record the name of Radha's husband and his relation to Krishna's mother, adding a further forbidden dimension to their liaison. At the same time, another Chandi Das poignantly expressed the emotional dimension of such forbidden love. Paradoxically, though it is generally thought that Chandi Das used Radha and Krishna as a metaphor for his own deeply-felt love for a married woman, he was responsible for respiritualizing that which to a great extent had lost its spiritual dimension.

In this period of flourishing Bengali culture, the BhP seems to have made a sudden appearance. Whether or not the BhP in its present form was current in Bengal prior to this period cannot be stated with absolute certainty. We know that Lakshman Sena's work Adbhuta-sāra (late 12th c.) contains a few verses from BhP iii, but other than this, the learned works of the early medieval period show a complete ignorance of this purāṇa. (12) Those aspects of BhP which are the most profound are only marginally influential on the vernacular works referred to above. In the late 15th century, however, translations of BhP started to appear in Bengali and this purāṇa became the main religious text for the bhakti revival of Chaitanya.

Rupa Gosvamin was the first to write in Sanskrit to any great length about the paroḍhā relationship, and certainly the first to have made Krishna the centerpiece of an entire drama, Vidagdha-mādhava, that is filled with paroḍhā themes. Furthermore, in his influential theoretical works, Rupa glorified the parakīyā loves of the gopis in terms which rendered anti-climactic the existence of any svakīyā relation with them. Nevertheless, Jiva was not only convinced that scripture supported the view that Krishna was married to the gopis, but that Rupa Gosvamin also supported it.

Jiva's arguments can be divided into two categories as they were for the establishment of Krishna's return to Vraja: those based entirely on revealed statements from BhP and other purāṇas, and those based on the divine aesthetics and writings of Rupa Gosvamin.


1. Kāvyālaṁkāra 12.30: parakīyā tu dvedhā kanyoḍhā ceti. The virgin is included somewhat artificially under the parakīyā rubric ostensibly because she is under the protection of her father. Cf. Dhanika's Avaloka to Daśarūpaka 2.20: kanyakā tu pitr-ādy-āyattatvād apariṇītāpy anya-strīty ucyate. Bharata in Nāṭya-śāstra, 22.154, uses different terminology for slightly different categories of nāyikā, bahiraṅga, etc. Kāmasūtra also clearly distinguishes the kanyā from the paradāra; the former is in fact discussed as a svīyā nāyikā for men expected to wed a virgin.

2. Hāla 435.

3. Sis 16.8;
kṛta-gopa-vadhū-rater ghnato vṛṣam ugre narake'pi samprati
pratipattir adhaḥ-kṛtainaso janatābhis tava sādhu varṇyate //

The verse has a double meaning: Sisupala intends to insult Krishna, but the poet protects him from the blasphemy. Thus despite Krishna's engagement in what is universally accepted as sinful activity, e.g. adultery and cattle slaughter, he was not adversely affected by such activity.

4. Hala 669:
etthā nimajjai attā etthā aham etthā pariano sayālo
e pahiya rattiyāndhayā mā mahā sayane nimajjihisi

[ito nivasati śvaśrur atrāham atra parijanāḥ sakalāḥ
he pathika rātry-andho mā mama śayane nimaṅkṣyase //

5. ibid. 397, 401.

6. SāhD 3.82.

7. Lee Siegel writes in Sacred and Profane ṭraditions of Love in Indian Traditions, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1978, 119. "Radha is clearly a parakīyā nāyikā - her love-making with Krishna is in defiance of Nanda, Krishna's foster father, who as a representative of authority exemplifies the social order, the ideal of dharma." But later, "Jayadeva avoids clarity; the relationship is ambiguous." (ibid., 120)

8. Gīta-govinda 5.19: dampatyor iha ko na ko na tamasi vrīḍāvimiśro rasaḥ; 12.13: patyur manaḥ kīlitam.

9. J. S. Hawley, "A Vernacular Portrait: Radha in the Sur Sagar", in (ed.) Hawley, The Divine Consort, p.53. "If anything, Sur seems to relish the ambiguity of Radha's position somewhere between wife and mistress. Its lack of definition adds to her fascination and ... acts as a factor that makes her ultimately worthy of worship.... It is not her position that matters but her feeling, and the ambiguity of her position serves to underscore that effect."

10. Pañcatantra, (ed.) D. D. Kosambi, Bombay: Nirnayasagara Press (9th edn.), 1950, p.54: rādhā nāma me bhāryā gopa-kula-prasūtā prathamam āsīt sā tvam avatīrṇā, Campū-bhāgavata 6.67ff.

11. Of these Brahma-vaivarta-purāṇa is perhaps the most significant and has had the widest appeal. Radha is Krishna's wife: BVP ii.48.47: svayam rādhā kṛṣṇa-patnī kṛṣṇa-vakṣaḥ-sthala-sthitā prāṇādhiṣṭhātṛ-devī ca tasyaiva paramātmanaḥ // Brahma conducts Krishna and Radha's wedding ceremony in rather unusual circumstances: BVP ii.49.37-43, iv.15.119-131. This same story is retold in Garga-saṁhitā, Goloka-khaṇḍa, ch. 16. On the other hand Radha's marriage to Ayana is spoken of in BVP ii.51.34:
tāṁ rādhām upaśamyāmy āyana-gopo mahāmune |
klībatvaṁ sahasā prāpa śambhor icchānusārataḥ //

Different combinations of these elements, apparently derived from BVP are to be found in Mahā-bhāgavata-purāṇa, Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa, DevI-bhāgavata-purāṇa. Cf. R. C. Hazra, Studies in the Upapurāṇas (Calcutta University, 1969), for the eastern Indian provenance of these works. PadP iv.82 contains material on the 24 hour day of Krishna which follows closely that of Govinda-līlāmṛta. This entire section of PadP (iv.69-83) is almost certainly an interpolation by someone influenced by Gaudiya Vaishnava ideas. Most notably, comp. BRS i.2.22 and PadP iv.77.62 or Pv 83 (= CC ii.19.106) and PadP iv.77.52. Major citations found frequently in Gaudiya works, such as PadP iv.81.54 (Bṛhad-gautamīya-tantra, GC i.15.14), iv.76.8-12 (ibid., GC i.1.18), iv.69.23 (BrS 5.2, GC i.1.21) etc., etc., are never attributed to PadP.

12. Cf. Sukumar Sen, Bāṅglā Sāhityer Itihās, ii.1 (1978), 98-9.

3.2 Arguments from the religious texts

To establish the eternal wedded condition of Krishna with his consorts, Jiva is faced with even more problems than he had in establishing the return of Krishna to Vraja. Just as Krishna's return to Vraja is nowhere stated overtly in BhP, his chief source of evidence, neither is there any wedding of Krishna to the gopis. The BhP author's vision of the gopis seems to be ambivalent. On the one hand, certain verses describe the gopis as ignorant sinners who are redeemed by their love for Krishna (Cf. x.47.59), whereas others in Uddhava's eulogy of them show the seeds of an understanding that they are goddesses even more glorious than Lakshmi (Cf. x.47.60ff). Nevertheless, Krishna's chief queen Rukmini is positively identified as Lakshmi and her fortune (and that of the other queens) at having Krishna's constant company is stated to be out of the reach of the gopis. (13)

It is doubtful that the purāṇas and upapurāṇas of east-Indian provenance such as Brahma-vaivarta or Mahā-bhāgavata were available at that time in their current form. Jiva, in any case makes no use of any evidence that these works might have provided toward proving his case. He is rather left once again to argue valiantly from whatever weak evidence he finds to confirm his dogma. He felt it necessary to show, not only that Krishna has an eternal relationship with the gopis which is self-evident (svataḥ-siddha), but that this relation had to be established by ritual means, viz. a wedding, in the manifest līlā also after the false relationship with the gopis' so-called husbands had been revealed as a sham.

The evidences marshalled together by Jiva can be roughly divided into three categories. First, those that argue that the gopis are eternally united with Krishna in the eternal or aprakaṭa-līlā, i.e. that they belong to his hlādinī śakti or pleasure-giving potency and are thus his de facto wives. Next are those evidences that are used to argue that the gopis desired to become his wives and even considered themselves to be such during the course of the prakaṭa-līlā, when others understood them to be wives of other men. Finally, Jiva argues on the basis of weaker evidence, that after Krishna return to Vraja, he actually did sanctify his relation with the gopis by a wedding ceremony.


13. Rukmini is named as Śrī several times in BhP x.49.46, x.54.60, x.53.37, x.60.9, etc. Cf. KṛṣṇaS 185. BhP i.10.28:

nūnaṁ vrata-snāna-hutādineśvaaḥ
samārcito hy asya gṛhīta-pāṇībhiḥ/
pibanti yāḥ sakhy-adharāmṛtaṁ muhur
vraja-striyaḥ saṁmumuhur yad-āśayāḥ//

Naturally the Gaudiya commentators see praise of the gopis in this verse, a testimony to the depth of their love. Cf. also i.10.30:

etāḥ param strītvam apasta-peṣalam
nirasta-śaucaṁ bata sādhu kurvate/
yāsāṁ gṛhāt puṣkara-locanāḥ patir
na jātv apaity āhṛtibhir hṛdi spṛśan//

3.3. The gopis are Krishna's śaktis

The problem of the divine Krishna's dealings with the gopis required answering from the time that the parakīyā relation was first mooted. Thus in ViP, the first attempt at rationalization and justification is made by recalling Krishna's divine position in terms not unlike those encountered in Krishna's reminders to the gopis of their eternal aprakaṭa state of union:
That Krishna is the god who like the air pervades their husbands, the gopis themselves and indeed every created thing in the form of the soul. Just as the ether, fire, earth, water and air pervade all the elements, so too is the soul Krishna situated within all. (14)
This appeal to the divine majesty of Krishna, for whom nothing is "other" (parakīyā) and to whom all is his own (svakīyā), there can be no sin in any activity he chooses to engage in. Property relations of this world are subject to the world's inherent limitations which he transcends.

BhP expands on the lead given by ViP: Shukadeva concludes the Rāsa section with answers to Parikshit's questions about Krishna's apparently immoral behaviour. He first answers that the powerful are not subject to the same rules as the rest of humanity, but goes on to say:

gopīnāṁ tat-patīnāṁ ca sarveṣām api dehinām
yo'ntaś carati so'dhyakṣa eṣa krīḍana-deha-bhāk
He who dwells within the gopis, their husbands, indeed within all embodied beings, is the director partaking of a body meant for recreation.
Jiva (in GC) says that the immediately available meaning of this verse, in which Krishna is identified with the antaryāmin or indwelling oversoul is intended for the uninitiated (bahiraṅga). The following meaning is intended for the aware (antaraṅga):
That there are two types of gopis, some married and some unmarried, is a worldly understanding only. In fact, they are all the eternally liberated beloved wives of Krishna, superior to all women in all respects. (gopīnāṁ) They, as well as the other women of Vraja, all of whom are enriched with feeling for Krishna, whether young girls, young women or aged; (tat-patīnāṁ) the gopis' husbands as well as the unmarried men, all of whom are to be inferred from "husband"; (sarveṣām api dehinām) indeed, all the creatures residing in Vrindavan know only Krishna as the centre of their lives. All of them possess bodies which are paraphernalia for his recreational activities (krīḍana-deha), because they are possessed of qualities suitable to such a purpose. Krishna becomes attached (bhāk) to those bodies and dwells (carati), i.e. plays, in that celebrated place indicated by the word "within" (antaḥ), his eternal, non-mundane personal opulence which is not visible to worldly eyes. He is the director (adhyakṣaḥ) who sometimes becomes perceptible (adhyakṣaḥ) to this world and plays here. Therefore, the bond of Krishna to his eternally beloved (wives) exists since time immemorial; thus the suggestion that he is merely their unmarried lover is improper; a marital relation such as that of the lords of the spiritual world, Lakshmi and Narayana, is befitting to them. (16)
The gopis are, like all the rest of the Vrajavasins, Krishna's eternal associates. Their bodies are meant for his pleasure, thus their relationship is fixed as his eternal wives. But the gopis are much more than this, they are the personal energies of Krishna, his svarūpa-śakti. The various functions of the svarūpa-śakti, primary amongst which is the pleasure-giving (hlādinī), are described in BhagS. (17) This energy is identified with Lakshmi or Sri, or as the wife of the personified god. (18) She never leaves his side: when he appears as a god, she is a goddess, when he appears in human form, she is there as a woman. Whenever he becomes incarnate in whatever form, she is there as his helper. (19) The gopis in particular are predominantly characterized by a surfeit of love for Krishna, which is the essential pleasure-giving function. (20)

In the last nine sections (anucchedas) of the KṛṣṇaS, Jiva focuses on the gopis and their special relation with Krishna as his śaktis. Though BhP verses can be summoned to show that Rukmini is the goddess of fortune or Lakshmi, the gopis too must be identified as Krishna's śaktis or Lakshmis. In fact, they are super-Lakshmis for on the occasion of the rasa dance, they are said to have received a mercy that was never attained even by Narayana's consort Lakshmi. (21) It is this logic, which identifies the gopis and the chief amongst them, Radha, as Krishna's eternal consorts, related to him in the same way that Lakshmi is to Narayana, that leads Jiva to insist on the gopis relation to him as svakīyā nāyikās.

His favoured pramāṇa for this contention comes from Brahma-saṁhitā:
I worship the primeval man, Govinda. who although he is the all-pervading soul, resides particularly in Goloka with those portions of his who are imbued with ecstatic conscious pleasure, being, as they are, manifestations of his very self. (22)
To this he adds the following comment in Dig-darśinī:
By the word nija-rūpatayā is meant that the gopis act as his own wives and not as the wives of others as they do in the prakaṭa-līlā. Because they are the supreme Lakshmis, there is no possibility of their being the wives of anyone else. Such a relation was displayed by Māyā in order to nourish a feeling of eager desire through playfully disguising the taste of the marital relation. By saying, ya eva the author wishes to emphasize that the very person who in his activities displayed in the world of matter lived with them who behaved as the wives of other men, in theaprakaṭa-līlā in Goloka, he lives with them where they are revealed in their true forms (nija-rūpatā).... By saying "in Goloka alone", it is emphasized that this married līlā is nowhere else revealed. (23)
In KṛṣṇaS, Jiva adds that "in Goloka alone" means that there is no possibility that the parakīyā relation could exist in the unmanifest activities. (24)

The BrS calls the gopis Lakshmis in at least two other places, (25) but their identity as goddesses of fortune (Lakshmi) should be seen in the same light that the Pandavas are considered to be Kauravas: though they belong to the same genus, they form a special species within it. Thus as one can say "the Pandavas defeated the Kurus" even though in truth the Pandavas are themselves Kurus, similarly one can state that the gopis, though themselves Lakshmis, are superior in every respect to the Lakshmi who is Narayana's consort. (26) As goddesses of fortune in their own right, identified as even more fortunate than she who is Narayana's consort, the parakīyā concept could not reasonably apply to them for they are eternally joined with Krishna.

Another favourite set of evidences comes from the Gautamīya-tantra (2.22-4) in which the meaning of the 10-syllable mantra (klīṁ gopī-jana-vallabhāya svāhā) is explained. There, the epithet of Krishna, gopī-jana-vallabha, is glossed in three ways, the word gopī interpreted as prakṛti for the first two. The third and conclusive interpretation is given as follows:
Or, it means "the husband of the gopīs",
who are perfect throughout many births;
he is also known as the son of Nanda,
who increases the joy of the three worlds. (27)
The word aneka-janma-siddhānām means that the gopis have accompanied Krishna throughout his eternal incarnations on earth, just as Krishna told Arjuna [Gita 4.5] that he was such a companion. The word pati negates the possibility of Krishna's being their paramour, as he illusorily appears to be in his manifest pastimes.


14. ViP v.13.61-2:
tad-bhartṛṣu tathā tāsu sarva-bhūteṣu ceśvaraḥ
ātma-svarūpa-rūpo'sau vyāpī vāyur iva sthitaḥ
yathā samasta-bhūteṣu nabho'gniḥ pṛthivī jalam
vāyuś cātmā tathaivāsau vyāpya sarvam avasthitaḥ//

15. BhP x.33.35. The reading here is that given by Jiva. The reading given in BhP is as follows:
gopīnāṁ tat-patīnāṁ ca sarveṣām eva dehinām
yo'ntaś carati so'dhyakṣa krīḍaneneha deha-bhāk

16. GCP 15.78;
atrāntaraṅgān prati tv ayam arthah gopīnāṁ kāścid vyūḍhāḥ kāścid avyūḍhā iti dvidhātra loka-mātra-prasiddhānām vastutas tu nitya-siddhānāṁ sarvataḥ śreyasīnāṁ tat-preyasīnām anyāsām api nānā-bhāva-samṛddhānāṁ kumārī-taruṇī-vṛddhānāṁ tathā yathā-sambhavaṁ tāsāṁ patīnāṁ tad-upalakṣitatayā kumāra-tatīnāṁ kiṁ bahunā sarveṣām api tad-eka-jivānāṁ vraja-jīvānāṁ yāni tat-tad-ucitata-cita-tadīya-krīḍa-sādhana-dehāni tad-āsaktāḥ sann antaḥ śabdābhihite mahite jagan-netrād antarhite sad-abhāve sva-vaibhave yaś carati krīḍati sa eṣa evādhyakṣaḥ kadācij jagan-netra-pratyakṣaḥ san krīḍati| tasmān nija-preyasībhiḥ samam anādita eva mithunateti kathanād aupapatyam asya nopapatty-arhaṁ kintu parama-vyomādhipa-lakṣmī-nārāyaṇavad dāmpatyam eva tad-arham bhavatīti|

17. KṛṣṇaS 117f, pp.149-60;
athaivam bhūtānanta-vṛttikā yā svarūpa-śaktiḥ sā tv iha bhagavad-dhāma-savartinī mūrtimatī lakṣmīr evety āha anāpāyinī bhagavatī śrīḥ sākṣād ātmano harer iti. [BhP xii.11.20]. Cf. RKAD, 10-4.

18. ibid. p.158;
tathā yato bhagavad-vigraha-prakāśaka-viśuddha-sattvasya mūrtitvaṁ vāsudevatvam ca tato tat-prādurbhāva-viśeṣe dharma-patnyā mūrtitvaṁ prasiddham.

19. ViP i.8.17;
nityaiva sa jagan-mātā viṣṇoḥ śrīr anapāyinī
yathā sarva-gato viṣṇus tathaiveyaṁ dvijottama

Two other verses attributed by Jiva to ViP but not found in the text:
evaṁ yathā jagat-svāmī devadevo janārdanaḥ
avatāraṁ karoty eṣa tathā śrīis tat-sahāyinī
devatve deva-dehā sa manuṣatve ca mānuṣī
harer dehānurūpaṁ vai karoty eṣātmanas tanum
// See RKAD, p.14.

20. KṛṣṇaS 188, p.111;
tāsāṁ mahattvaṁ tu hlādinī-sāra-vṛtti-viśeṣa-prema-rasa-sāra-viśeṣa-prādhānyāt. Radha stands out amongst even the gopis (KṛṣṇaS 189, p.112): tad evaṁ parama-madhura-prema-vṛtti-mayīṣu tāsv api tat-sārāṁśodreka-mayī śrī-rādhikā tasyām eva premotkarṣa-parākāṣṭhayā darśitatvat.

21. BhP x.47.63;
nāyaṁ śriyo'ṅga u nitānta-rateḥ prasādaḥ
svar-yoṣitāṁ nalina-gandha-rucām kuto'nyāḥ
rasotsave'sya bhuja-daṇḍa-gṛhīta-kaṇṭha-
labdhāśiṣāṁ yā udagād vraja-sundarīṇām

22. BrS 5.48;
tābhir ya eva nija-rūpatayā kalābhiḥ
goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūto
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam aham bhajāmi //

23. BrSc 5.48;
nija-rūpatayā sva-dāratvenaiva na tu prakaṭa-līlāvat para-dāra-tva-vyavahāreṇety arthah| parama-lakṣmīṇāṁ tāsāṁ tat-paradāratva-sambhavād asya svadāratva-maya-rasasya kautukāvaguṇṭhitatayā samutkaṇṭhā-poṣanārthaṁ prakaṭa-līlāyāṁ māyayaiva tādṛśatvam vyañjitam iti bhāvaḥ| yā evety eva-kārena yat prāpañcika-prakaṭa-līlāyāṁ tāsu para-dāratā-vyavahāreṇa nivasati so'yam ya eva tad aprakaṭa-līlāspade goloke nija-rūpatā-vyavahāreṇa nivasatiti vyajyate… goloka evety eva-kārena seyam līlā tu kvāpi nānyatra vidyata iti prakāśyate.

24. KṛṣṇaS 177, p.98; goloka eva nivasatīti prakaṭa-līlāyām iva parakīyātva-prapañcanam niṣiddham.

25. BrS 5.29: lakṣmī-sahasra-śata-sambhrama-sevyamānam; 5.58: śriyaḥ kāntāḥ, etc. See GCP 1.24.

26. UNc 1.21; lakṣmī-sahasra-śata-sambhrama-sevyamānam ity atra ca saṁhitāyāṁ khalu lakṣmītvena ta nirdiśati tathāpi pāṇḍava-śabdasyeva gopī-śabdasyaiva prācuryeṇa prayogāt pāṇḍavaiḥ kuravo jitā itivat nāyaṁ śriyo'ṅga iti pravartate. See also GCP 1.25.

27. aneka-janma-siddhānāṁ gopīnāṁ patir eva vā |
nandanandana ity uktas trailokyānanda-vardhanaḥ ||

3.4. The appearance of a marriage elsewhere is illusory
If the gopis are Krishna's eternal śaktis, then they cannot possibly "belong" to anyone else. The entire event of marriage has been managed by Krishna's yoga-māyā, of whom he is said to have taken shelter at the beginning of the rasa dance (x.29.1). In BhP, the gopis' husbands are said to have been bewildered by this Māyā and so they did not feel angry with Krishna. (28) Rather they thought, "How could Krishna, who is the very centre of our religion, our meaning, our friends, our dear ones, our hearts, our children, our lives and our souls, possibly do anything inauspicious like accept the wife of another man?" (29)
In order to protect Krishna's eternal wives from the sexual approaches of others, she created duplicate forms of them which their so-called husbands saw by their sides. The BhP states that this took place on the night of the rasa dance, but of course, the supremely powerful Yogamāyā had been constantly vigilant to protect the gopis from dishonour ever since they were married to the other cowherds. (30) In some editions of KṛṣṇaS, KūrmaP (32.513-30) is quoted in full to show how Sita prayed to the household sacrificial fire when she realized that Ravana sought to abduct her. By the fire god's grace, Ravana was not able to abduct the real Sita, but was left with a Doppelgāngerin. This was later revealed at the time of her trial by fire after her safe return to Ayodhya. Jiva adds, "As the same rule is seen to take effect for any devoted wife in similar circumstances by the power of her devotion to her husband, then why would Māyā, who serves the husband of the gopis, not especially protect them in the way that Rama's fire protected Sita? For Garga said about devotees in general that Krishna's enemies will never overcome those who take shelter of him (x.8.18), what to speak of the gopis who never abandon him even in error."(31)

A similar statement is made in Rupa Goswami's LalM by Paurnamasi, the personification of Yogamāyā, in answer to questions by Gargi:
Gargi: Then surely the marriage of Govardhana and the other cowherds to Candravali and the other gopis was arranged by Māyā. 
Paurnamasi: What else? The gopis are the wives of these cowherds only in the sense that the latter claim possession of them, but that is all. In fact, they rarely even see one another. (32)
Thus, when an apparent reference is made to the gopis' children in BhP and elsewhere, it should be otherwise understood, for if such children existed a contradictory sentiment (rasābhāsa) would result. (33)They might be considered the offspring of other women, such as their sisters-in-law, etc. as in x.29.6 where pāyayantyah śiśūn payaḥ is to be so interpreted, for had these children indeed been the gopis', the words sutān stanam would have been used. In x.29.20, where Krishna says that "Your mothers, fathers, sons, brothers and husbands are searching for you", it should be taken that Krishna is joking, otherwise there would have been rasābhāsa in view of the fact that he was about to accept them.


28. BhP x.33.37;
nāsūyan khalu kṛṣṇāya mohitās tasya māyayā/
manyamānāḥ svapārśvasthān svān svān dārān vrajaukasaḥ//

29. KṛṣṇaS 177, p.101.
tasya māyayā mohitāḥ santo nāsūyan tasya sva-nitya-preyasī-svīkāra-lakṣaṇe katham asāv asmad-dharmārtha-suhṛt-priyātma-tanaya-prāṇaśaya-jīvātutamaḥ para-dāra-svīkāra-mangalam angīkarotīti doṣāropaṁ nākurvann iti.

30. ibid.;
parama-samarthayas tasya māyayā nija-prabhu-preyasīnāṁ tad-ekānurāga-svabhāvānāṁ maryādā-rakṣanārthaṁ pariṇayam ārabhya sadaiva sāvadhānatayā yogyatvāt tad-dinam upalakṣaṇam eveti.

31. ibid. (fn.1);
tad evam pati-vratā-mātrāṇāṁ viśeṣataḥ śrī-bhagavat-preyasya prabhave sati,
ya etasmin mahābhāge prītim kurvanti mānavāh/
narayo.abhibhavanty etan viṣṇu-pakṣān ivāsura // iti
sāmānya-viṣaye garga-vacane ca sati tadṛśīnāṁ bhrame.api nitya-kāntam aparityajantīnāṁ nityaṁ tat-kāntam paricaranti mayā śrī-rāmāvasathyāgnivad api kim rakṣām na kurvīta?
Jiva also gives the example of Sita's being saved by Agni in this way in GCU 32.58.

32. LalM 1.54-5, p.15;
Gārgī: "nūnaṁ goaḍḍhanaigoehim candavali-pahudinam ubbaho maae nivvahido." [nūnaṁ govardhanādi-gopaih candrāvalī-prabhṛtīnām udvāho.api māyayā nirvāhitaḥ.]
Paurṇamāsī: "atha kim. patiṁmanyānāṁ ballavānāṁ mamatāmātravaśeṣitā tāsu dāratā. yad ebhiḥ prekṣaṇam api tāsāṁ durghaṭitam.

33. ibid., p.102;
svāpatyatve sati vibhāva-vaiguṇyena rasābhāsatvam āpadyeta.

3.5. Marriage with Krishna is the fulfilment of the gopis' desire

The proponents of the parakīyā position, though not denying that the gopis are Krishna's eternal śaktis, deny that they desire a married relation with Krishna. The general view of all Vaishnavas is that one's spiritual attainments match the quality of one's desires. This is, of course, in keeping with the Bhagavad-gītā's statement that, "As one surrenders to me, so do I deal with him." (34) Jiva's primary source for believing that the gopis did indeed possess such a desire is the words mat-kāmā ramaṇam in BhP xi.12.13 discussed in the next section below, but he finds other evidences also. The gopis' praises of Krishna's flute show the proprietary feelings that they had for him, "Oh gopis! What penances did this flute do that it should enjoy the nectar of Krishna's lips which rightfully belongs to us gopis?" (35) Similarly, when Krishna turned them away on the night of the rasa dance, telling them to serve their husbands, the gopis responded by saying,
That which you, the knower of religion,
have told us is the duty of women,
to follow the needs of her husband, children and relatives,
may it all be done for you who are the Lord,
the ultimate object of the instruction;
you who are the most dearly beloved,
the friend and soul of all embodied beings.(36)

Not only did the gopis desire Krishna as their husband, but they actually thought of him as such, as is revealed by their use of the honorific ārya-putra, generally reserved for use by a wife for her husband.(37)

Krishna, too, is said to have thought of the gopis as his wives, as Jiva argues in GC: (38)

While sending Uddhava to Vraja (x.46.3-6), Krishna said to him, "Go to Vraja, gentle Uddhava, and convey my affection to my parents." [By calling Nanda and Yasoda his own parents] he revealed that he identified himself as a cowherd, thus when he says "My cowherdesses (ballavyaḥ) are my very life" (x.46.6) it should be understood that he is speaking in the same way that a brāhmaṇa speaks of his brāhmaṇī, meaning his wife.

Similarly, in the half-verse, "They think of me as their husband, their dear one, as their very self", it is abundantly clear that though to the vision of the uninitiated it sometimes seems that Krishna is the gopis' unmarried lover, to the vision of those in the inner circle he is constantly perceived to be their married husband.(39)

Other scriptures are marshalled forth to show that de facto such a relation was accepted by their authors. The strongest of these statements is found in the Gopāla-tāpanī (2.28), where Durvasas says to the gopis after being questioned by them about Krishna's identity, "He is verily your husband." Sukadeva also calls them Krishna's wives in the course of describing the rasa dance.(40) Similarly, he points out that a few verses after this usage, the word ṛṣabha appears and is interpreted to mean husband by no less an authority than Sridhara.(41) Jayadeva's Gīta-govinda, Saṅgīta-śāstra, the Yamunā-stotra attributed to Sankara and even a verse found in Padyāvalī sometimes said to be by Chaitanya, are all similarly cited.(42)



36. BhP x.29.32-33;
yat paty-apatya-suhṛdām anuvṛttir eva
strīṇāṁ sva-dharma iti dharma-vidā tvayoktam |
astv evam upadeśa-pade tvayīśe preṣṭho
bhavāṁs tanu-bhṛtāṁ kila bandhur ātmā ||

37. BhP x.47.21: ārya-putra

38. GCP 15.71 etc. See also KåñëaS 177ff.

39. ibid.
tad idaṁ gacchoddhava vrajaṁ saumya pitror naḥ prītim āvaha iti vallabhābhimānitāmātmani vyajya śrīkṛṣṇasya vacanaṁ brāhmaṇādīnāṁ mama brāhmaṇītyādivat|
tathā mām eva dayitaṁ preṣṭham ātmānaṁ manasā gatāḥ [bhā.pu. 10.46.4] iti pracuraṁ pracuratārdhapadyena ca tābhir api bahir-dṛṣṭyā paraṁ tatra kvacid upapatitvaṁ pratīyate |


A wedding takes place in the prakaṭa-līlā

The relation that the gopis have with Krishna as nitya-kanta is based on their sense of identity rather than on a ceremonial marriage as such. Such a ceremonial relationship should of course not be necessary any more than is Krishna's birth in the womb of Yasoda in Goloka.(43) Though Jiva feels that this relation is nitya-siddha, like that of Lakshmi-Narayan and would not need any ceremony to validate it, nevertheless, just as in the prakaṭa-līlā union was felt to be necessary after the long separation, the gopis needed to be ceremoniously wed to Krishna in order that their desires be properly fulfilled. In his commentary to UN 1.21, Jiva says,
If the gopis are thus eternally married to Krishna, their so-called parakīyā relation is not only false but is ultimately dispelled when the illusory force which promoted the falsehood is retracted, at which time the beginningless and eternal state again comes into force. However, if no actual wedding ceremony took place, there would be a danger of clash of sentiments, i.e. of disgust marring their pure love as a result of the knowledge of the previous relation.(44)

Jiva refers to LalM where Krishna's marriage to Radha takes place in the last act named "The fulfilment of all desires" (purna-manoratha). Jiva takes it that the wedding of Krishna to the gopis is a logical corollary of the samṛddhimat sambhoga, for as mentioned above, the removal of all dependancy (paratantrya) is part of its definition. The union after prolonged separation must be without disturbances (nirvighna); the repetition of separation is likened by Jiva to the bath of an elephant which sprinkles itself with dust after bathing, and must not be allowed to happen. Thus marriage is a necessary part of samṛddhimat sambhoga.

In KṛṣṇaS, therefore, Jiva's point of departure in substantiating his belief in the gopis' marriage to Krishna comes after he has demonstrated his return to Vraja. Of the verses of BhP said to "prove" that Krishna returned to Vraja to award the gopis the fulfilment of their desires, Jiva focusses on those in the eleventh book, spoken by Krishna to Uddhava in Dvaraka not long before he departs from the world, or in Jiva's parlance, from the prakaṭa-līlā of his Dvaraka manifestation. Again, Jiva's exegesis is interesting. The most important of these verses are as follows:

When I was taken with Rama to Mathura by Akrura,
the gopis, their hearts attached to me,
suffering a great malaise of separation
out of their deep feeling for me,
saw nothing else which could give them pleasure.

Those nights which were stolen
by me, their most dear one in Vrindavan,
seemed to pass in a brief moment.
Without me, their nights took on the length of aeons.

Their intelligence bound up in attachment to me,
they knew not their own selves, nor "mine", nor "not mine";
as sages merge into trance, or rivers into the sea,
or name into form, they merged into me.

Desiring me, [though] they knew not my real identity,
they attained me, their lover and paramour,
who am the supreme brahman,
a hundred-thousand fold by virtue of association.(45)

Of these four verses, the first two are said to describe the period of Krishna's departure from Vraja. The use of the perfect tense indicates, according to Jiva (and Sanatana before him (46) that these events are of the distant past. The third verse is said to indicate Krishna's return to Vraja; the word anuṣaṅga having as its primary meaning "close adherence" or "association". Such association would only have been attainable upon his return there. At this time, they had no further knowledge of their identities, or this or that, i.e. they had no further confusion about their existence in this prakaṭa manifestation or the eternal one, the separation of the manifest activities of Krishna has merged with the unmanifest. Just as rivers which form part of both land and sea, the gopis were not aware of any distinction between the two.

The last of these verses is said to indicate the nature of the gopis' attainment. Jiva's interpretation is, again, somewhat at variance with the immediately understood meaning of the verse. Of the two words in apposition to brahma māṁ paramam, ramaṇam ('lover, husband') is treated separately from jaram in syntactical relation to the first of the two adjectives describing the gopis, mat-kāmāḥ, while asvarūpa-vidaḥ is read in relationship with jāra. Ramaṇa is taken to mean husband alone, and not as a synonym of jāra, which can only be defined as "paramour."(46) Thus, according to Jiva's gloss, the verse is to be read: "They attained me, the supreme brahman named Krishna. Not knowing their own identities as my eternal beloved [wives] (preyasī) they first attained me as their paramour. Nevertheless, since their desire was to have me for their husband, they later attained me as such. Not only they, but hundreds of thousands of other gopis also realized the same goal through their association." (47) Jiva's conclusion is that the gopis were indeed wed to Krishna.

In order further to substantiate this, Jiva returns to the two PadP verses found within the prose portion quoted above (2.6). There it was said that Krishna "frolicked constantly" (aniśam) and "enjoyed pleasant sports" (ramya-keli) with "a great taste of love" (bahu-prema-rasena). Constant enjoyment is felt by Jiva to indicate that the secrecy which had characterized his earlier relations with the gopis was no longer maintained.(48) That the sports were pleasant also indicates that the dangers, etc., involved in a parakīyā relationship were not present.(49)




Anonymous said...

Ādi-līlā - Verses 4.45 to 4.50

yathottaram asau svāda-
viśeṣollāsamayy api
ratir vāsanayā svādvī
bhāsate kāpi kasyacit

"Increasing love is experienced in various tastes, one above another. But that love which has the highest taste in the gradual succession of desire manifests itself in the form of conjugal love."

ataeva madhura rasa kahi tara nāma
svakīyā-parakīyā-bhāve dvi-vidha saṁsthāna

Therefore I call it madhura-rasa. It has two further divisions, namely wedded and unwedded love.

parakīyā-bhāve ati rasera ullāsa
vraja vinā ihāra anyatra nāhi vāsa

There is a great increase of mellow in the unwedded conjugal mood. Such love is found nowhere but in Vraja.

vraja-vadhū-gaṇera ei bhāva niravadhi
tāra madhye śrī-rādhāya bhāvera avadhi

This mood is unbounded in the damsels of Vraja, but among them it finds its perfection in Śrī Rādhā.

prauḍha nirmala-bhāva prema sarvottama
kṛṣṇera mādhurya-rasa-āsvāda-kāraṇa

Her pure, mature love surpasses that of all others. Her love is the cause of Lord Kṛṣṇa's tasting the sweetness of the conjugal relationship.

ataeva sei bhāva ańgīkāra kari'
sādhilena nija vāñchā gaurāńga-śrī-hari

Therefore Lord Gaurāńga, who is Śrī Hari Himself, accepted the sentiments of Rādhā and thus fulfilled His own desires.


Anonymous said...

A truly beautiful text Jagadananda Das, thank you. M. N.

Ādi-līlā - Verse 4.72

tābhir ya eva nija-rūpatayā kalābhiḥ
goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūto
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who resides in His own realm, Goloka, with Rādhā, who resembles His own spiritual figure and who embodies the ecstatic potency [hlādinī]. Their companions are Her confidantes, who embody extensions of Her bodily form and who are imbued and permeated with ever-blissful spiritual rasa."


Ādi-līlā - Verse 4.83

devī kṛṣṇa-mayī proktā
rādhikā para-devatā
sarva-lakṣmī-mayī sarva-
kāntiḥ sammohinī parā

"The transcendental goddess Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the direct counterpart of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. She is the central figure for all the goddesses of fortune. She possesses all the attractiveness to attract the all-attractive Personality of Godhead. She is the primeval internal potency of the Lord."