Thursday, September 10, 2015

Gopala Champu 4: Uttara-champu (Krishna leaves Vraja)



I merged the first two sections. As explained earlier, there are six champus in the Gopala Champu, three in the Pürva, three in the Uttara. The links don't work, but the footnotes are there at the bottom of the page.



2.1 Uddhava-pūrṇa-vraja-vilāsa


Activities ending with Uddhava's visiting Vraja (Chapters 1-12)

Chapter 1: A description of Vraja's ocean of affection

The introductory chapter to the Uttara-campū begins with a brief summary of the contents of the Pūrva-campū. The morning recital commences with a maṅgalācaraṇa to the BhP, by whose rasa and siddhānta, this new work of poetry becomes authoritative. (31) The review of the Pūrva-campū is fundamentally a glorification of the Vrajavasins' love for Krishna. In the evening session, Snigdhakantha continues with the themes begun in GCP 33. First there is a description of the development of the mutual love of the gopis and Krishna. He then prepares us for the mood of separation which will dominate GCU:
Thus far, whatever sadness we have somehow or other managed to describe, and that even greater distress which it is now almost time to relate, is all meant to bring us closer to the supreme joy that will come in the very end, like the fortress that must be overcome by dwellers in a spring-less desert in order to arrive at some wetlands. (32)
Krishna's kaishora age, i.e. his adolescence comes to an end just as he and his beloved gopis arrive at the stage of maha-bhava.(33) The people of Vraja started to become aware of this great love and remembered Garga's warning which had been given in order to prevent their marriage taking place (GCP 6.81):
If these girls have intercourse with Krishna, then the entire cowherd settlement will soon be plunged into separation from him. (34)
In fear of this possibility, the elders, who have by now started to suspect their romance, confine the gopis to their homes. Krishna joins his intimate friend Madhumangala to discuss why the gopis no longer seem able to meet him. To the question of how they had been found out, Madhumangala says,
When a woman’s mind is turbulent with love, 
she can no longer distinguish subjective from objective reality 
and so can no longer conceal anything.
When this is true of ordinary women, will it not be true of the gopis? (35)
The situation has become even worse, he says, quoting the guardians of the harems as they chastise their wards, and then the gopis' sisters-in-law, charged with the supervision of these guardians, who report to their mothers as follows:
Mother, why then are you needlessly angry with me? 
We have engaged the guardians of the harem 
to impede Radha's vision by standing in front of her, 
her ears by conversing with her, 
and her nostrils by burning sweet-smelling incense. 
But what means can we employ 
to cover the Krishna-drenched state of her mind? (36)
Krishna realizes that no doubt his own parents are also being put into distress by the rumours which have spread. Due to shame and fear, Krishna feels unable to approach them, even though they are so dear to him. Thus he decides that the only solution is to distance himself from Vraja. 

Chapter 2: The cruelty of Akrura 

This chapter corresponds to BhP x.38.24-x.39.17, from Akrura's arrival in Vraja until the morning of Krishna and Balaram's departure with him. The bulk of x.38 (1-23), containing Akrura's trip to Vrindavan and his expectations upon meeting Krishna, has been dropped.

Krishna continues to contemplate his imminent departure on the day of killing Keshi and meeting Narada (GCP 33). Then Akrura arrives; he discusses with Krishna the condition of the Yadavas under Kamsa and tells him of his responsibility to Vasudeva as well as revealing to him that he is his real father. Though Krishna knows the details of his birth as discussed in GCP 3, he concludes that he has a responsibility toward Vasudeva, both as father and as uncle. (37) We then hear for the first time in GC of Kamsa's cruelties toward Vasudeva and his wife (BhP x.1-3). Akrura is, however, Kamsa's envoy and he conveys his invitation to Krishna to come to Mathura for a wrestling match. The matter is discussed in an assembly of cowherds, where Upananda approves Krishna's departure. Paurnamasi also contributes to the general approval by telling them,
Your son's departure for Mathura will result in everyone's happiness. Kamsa and the other cruel persons will meet with destruction. I do foresee, however, that his return to Vraja will be delayed. Thus you should act accordingly. (38)
Nanda announces that all the gopas are to go to Mathura as well. Madhukantha ends here, but the assembly becomes emotional as they remember the sad occasion of Krishna's departure. Krishna calms his parents by reminding them that he has long since returned to Vraja. In the evening session Madhukantha describes the anxieties of the gopis on the eve of Krishna's departure.

Chapters 3-12

The remainder of this division of GC is taken up with the events described in BhP x.39-47. These are Krishna's departure from Vraja, his arrival in Mathura where he kills Kamsa, etc. Important original aspects of Jiva's account are in the aftermath of this event. Krishna and Balaram wish to return to Vraja, but are prevented from doing so by their Mathura family. The two brothers are given the sacred thread and go to Avanti to study with Sandipani for two months, after which they miraculously return his son from the world of the dead. Upon their return to Mathura, Krishna appoints Uddhava his messenger to assuage the residents of Vraja and assure them of his eventual return. Uddhava is privileged amongst the Mathura associates of Krishna to witness the depth of the Vrajavasis' love for Krishna, including Radha's maha-bhava, and remains for several months to imbibe the atmosphere before returning to Mathura. Three chapters (10-12) are devoted to Uddhava’s visit.

--o)0(o--

2.2 Rāma-pūrṇa-vraja-vilāsa

 
Activities ending with Balaram's visit to Vraja (Chapters 13-21) This portion of GC deals w ith the events covered in BhP x.50-66, with some minor changes of order and some additional material from HV incorporated in chapter 14.

Upon his return to Dvaraka, Uddhava makes arrangements for messengers to make regular trips back and forth from Vraja to Mathura for the sake of carrying news. Thus from chapters 13-28, wherever the activity does not concern the Vrajavasins directly (i.e. 20, where Balaram visits Vraja and 23-4, where Nanda, etc. meet Krishna at Kurukshetra), Snigdhakantha and Madhukantha simply repeat the descriptions of Krishna's exploits as they had been transmitted by these messengers to Nanda et al.

The morning sessions of this division of the Uttara-champu are dominant, containing the messengers' accounts of Krishna's defeats of Jarasandha (whose massive armies also bring disruption to the not distant Vrindavan), and victory over Kalayavana (13-14), Balaram's marriage to Revati (15), Krishna's abduction of Rukmini (16) and marriages to the other chief queens (17), the defeat of Naraka and marriage to 16,000 princesses (19) and finally the defeat of Bana (by which time Krishna already has grandchildren, i.e. Aniruddha, of marriageable age, ch.19). The shorter evening sessions contain the emotional exchange of letters describing the gopis and especially Radha's sufferings in separation and Krishna's assurances of his approaching return and undying love for them. Typically, at the end of chapter 15, Krishna writes:
I have planted vasantika creepers and watered them; 
they have grown up in their thousands to make a bower. 
My dear ones, please fulfill my desire 
and become my wives according to religious principles. (39)
The gopis respond:
We wished to water the madhavi creepers 
you had gathered together to make a bower, 
but alas, once they have been moistened with cool waters, 
they wither on account of our hot tears. (40)
After Krishna carries Rukmini off to Dvaraka, he hesitates before marrying her. Vasudeva, understanding the reasons for Krishna's recalcitrance, asks Nanda to bless the union. This is discussed in Vraja amongst the elders of the cowherd community and finally it is decided that such permission should be given, for even though Krishna has promised to return, his demon-killing activity has kept him longer than expected and its completion does not seem imminent. Krishna was past the marriageable age and his older brother Rama was already married, thus his remaining a bachelor was not proper.(41) Nanda thus writes to his son:
Son, you know my mind: I do not consider myself to be distinct from the son of Shura; thus if you do his will, you should know it to be mine also. Were it to be otherwise, how could I long tolerate this poverty of deprivation of your beautiful lotus face? I could not do it, alas, I could not. (42)
In the evening session it is described how the gopis also received a letter through Uddhava in which Krishna says that though he had vowed not to marry, he felt obliged to save Rukmini's life. The gopis, showing the generosity of the great, approve that he should have so done rather than be responsible for the death of a woman and the harm to his reputation that would have resulted. (43)

Krishna continues to be reluctant about marriage in the case of Satyabhama and Jambavati despite Vasudeva and Devaki's eagerness, but Nanda gives a letter of permission for as many marriages as Krishna should wish because of the devotedness of his prospective queens. (44) Jiva states that the queens have similar qualities to the gopis and this similarity brings him a certain happiness. The marriages brought a kind of pleasure to the gopis also, for the queens are ontologically related to them. Just as massaging the feet is beneficial to the eyes, so too the queens' enjoyment of a relation with Krishna brought some satisfaction to the gopis. (45)

Nevertheless, such satisfaction was not complete of itself, and as the feelings of separation increased further, Krishna felt it necessary to send Balaram, a more reliable representative than even Uddhava to confirm his promises of return, reminding the gopis that only seven or eight enemies remain to be disposed of. In the evening session we are told that the gopis gave Balaram a pair of talking parrots (shuka-shari), who carry a message for Krishna. These parrots repeat verses taught them by the gopis. The male parrot (shuka) says,
Until I return, dear ones, keep yourselves alive; 
the chataki birds survive until the rainy season arrives. (46)
To this the sharika responds,
True, the lives of the chataki await the coming of the rains; 
but if the rainy season too should be without clouds, would the poor thing still survive? (47)




NOTES

31. GCU 1v7
gīr-devīm anuyāmaḥ sakala-śruti-sāra-bhāgavata-rūpām
yad-rasa-siddhāntābhyāṁ navam api kāvyaṁ pramāṇatāṁ yāti

32. GCU 1.30
tad evaṁ duḥkha-nigīrṇaṁ yathā kathayñcana yad varṇitaṁ yac cānyad ito'py atitarāṁ varṇayitum abhyarṇīkriyate tat khalu sarvāyatyāṁ parama-sukhāgatyāḥ pratyāsattaye sampatsyate durgama-kūpa-maru-bhū-bhuvām anūpagamanāya durga-laṅghanavat|

33. GCU 1.32. Mahābhāva is described as the highest stage of love’s different degrees or sthāyis. Cf. UN 14.183.

34. GCU 1.36 yadi kṛṣṇena samam āsām aṅga-saṅgaḥ syāt tadārvāg eva sarvam eva gokulam tad-virahākulaṁ syād iti.

35. GCU 1v41 nāntar bahir api yasyāṁ sphurati jzānaṁ manovikṛtau ekasyāpi na tasyā na vyaktih syād amūdṛśāṁ kim uta

36. GCU 1v43
dṛg-vīthīm kula-pālikāḥ śruti-pathaṁ tāsāṁ kathā nāsikā-
vartmāneka-sugandhi-dhūpa-racanā vavrur mayā yojitāḥ
tasyāḥ kṛṣṇa-mayī daśā manasi yā sā kena yatnena vā
gacched āvṛtatāṁ tato janani kiṁ mahyaṁ vṛthā kupyasi

37. GCU 2.32 bhavatu mayā tu pitṛvyatāyāḥ pitṛtāyāś cānusartavyatay ā kartavya eva tayor uddhāraḥ .

38. GCU 2.51 bhavan-nandanasya mathurā-prayāṇe sarvānanda eva syāt. kaṁsādayaḥ sarva eva nṛśaṁsā dhvaṁsāya sampatsyante. kintu vrajāgatāv asya vilamba-saṁvalanaṁ paśyāma iti yathā-yuktaṁ adhyavasyantu.

39. GCU 15v12
vāsantikāḥ santi mayābhisiñcitāḥ
puñjīkṛtāḥ kuñja-kṛte sahasraśaḥ
priyābhir ardhāṅgatayā sadharmabhir
manorathaḥ pūryatāṁ mama

40. GCU 15v13
kuñjīkartuṁ yās tvayā puñjitāṅgā
mādhavyas tāḥ sektu-kāmā vayaṁ smaḥ
hā dhik kintu prāpya śītāmbu-siktīr
apy uṣṇair naḥ śuṣkatāṁ yānti bāṣpaih

41. GCU 16.67 yadyapi satya-saṁkalpasya tasya vrajāgamana-saṁkalpaḥ kadācid vyabhicārāya na kalpaḥ syāt tathāpi yāvad vipakṣa-pakṣa-kṣapaṇaṁ vilambam evālambate. tac ca na pratipadyate kadā samutpadyate tatra sati rāmasyāpi gṛhārāmatāyāṁ jātāyāṁ kumārasya tu tasya tāvat kumāratā-sthitir na sukumārā bhavati.

42. GCU 16v37
vatsa tvaṁ vetsi cittaṁ mama tu yad abhidāṁ śūra-putreṇa manye
tasmāl lipsāṁ tadīyāṁ racayasi khalu yāṁ tāṁ madīyām avehi
evaṁ ced anyathā syād bata katham abhitas tvan-mukhāmbhoja-lakṣmī
śūnyaṁ dāridryam etac ciram iha visahe hā sahenaiva naiva

43. GCU 16v43
vayam asad adṛṣṭam asṛṣṭaṁ varam ahaha sahāmahe kaṣṭam
na tu hari-yaśasi kalaṅkaś candramasīva kvacid bhavatu

44. GCU 17v11
icchā yāsīt purastān mama tu bahuvidhā sā vidhātrāvakīrṇā
sampraty etad vidhatsva tvam atanu-mad-anujñāv aśād ūddhavākhya
tāsāṁ tad-bhakti-pātrī kṛta-carita-yujāṁ yena sādguṇyaleśaṁ
dhātrībhir vatsa-vatsaḥ pratigṛham abhitaḥ sevyate sa snuṣābhiḥ

45. GCU 17.196 na kevalam ekadharmatvam iti kṛṣṇasyaiva śarmakāraṇam āsīt kintu caraṇābhyaṅge na dṛṣṭīnām iva tattadbhogenaitāsām api katham apy aikyāṁśavaśād yat kiñcit santarpaṇam eva jātam. kāla-kṣepa eva tena jajñe na cātivikṣepaḥ.

46. GCU 21v24 āyāsyāmy atha yāvat tāvat prāṇān priyā vahata jīvanti hi sāraṅgyo yāvan meghāgamo bhavati

47. GCU 21v25
satyaṁ sāraṅgīnāṁ ghana-samayāpekṣi santy api prāṇāḥ
ghana-samaye'pi samantād aghane katham ahaha santu te dīnāḥ




Introduction and Purva-champu chapters 1-2
Purva-champu, Balya Vilasa
Purva-champu, Kaishora-vilasa
Uttara-champu, Uddhava and Balaram’s visits to Vraja
Krishna returns to Vraja and marries the gopis



No comments: