Preparing for Radhashtami.

Still preparing for Radhashtami. This commentary on Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi by Harilal Vyas is pretty good. The point of view is a bit different from the Gaudiya, but sometimes his take is actually more accurate than Ananta Das's, in terms of following what the original actually says.

I have also been relishing some of the songs by Harivams which are quoted. I bought Caurāsi Pada (84 songs by Harivams) when I was in Vrindavan last time.

There is so much to memorize, to learn, in order to be able to glorify Radha. And I have been stuck on the Gita and the Yoga-sutras, like I keep having to go back there. It is turning into something of a punishment. I came to India to learn to glorify Radharani. That is really it.

देखौ मा अबला के बल रासि ।
अति गज मत्त निरंकुस मोंहन, निरखि बंधे लट पासि ॥
अबहीं पंगु मन की गति, बिनु उद्दिम अनियास ।
तबकी कहा कहौं जब प्रिय प्रति, चाहति भृकुटि बिलास ॥
कच संजमन ब्याज भुज दरसति, मुसकनि वदन विकास ।
हा हरिवंश अनीति रीति हित, कत डारति तन त्रास ॥

dekhau māī abalā ke bala rāsi
ati gaja matta niraṁkusa mohana, nirakhi baṁdhe laṭa pāsi
abahīṁ paṁgu mana kī gati, binu uddima aniyāsa
tabakī kahā kahauṁ jaba priya prati, cāhati bhṛkuṭi bilāsa
kaca saṁjamana byāja bhuja darasati, musakani vadana vikāsa
hā harivaṁsa anīti rīti hita, kata ḍārati tana trāsa

Oh look, Ma, at the heaps of power this “powerless” girl possesses!
Mohan Krishna is a drunken elephant, with no one to control him, but she ties him down with one braid of her hair.
Tied down, his mind’s movements have become like those of a cripple—and she has not even made any conscious effort of any kind! So tell me what will happen if she decides to look at him, to give him one of her playful glances?
[Oh no, she's gone and done just what we were afraid she would do!] Pretending to fix her hair, she lifts her arms, with a knowing smile spreading brightly across her face. Harivamsa says, “It’s not fair! This love business does not follow the rules. You should not beat a man when he is down.” (Chaurasi-pada, 53)

The idea is an old one, but the presentation is charming. This is really the mood of the Radha pāramya-vādis. Like this famous verse from Sudhā-nidhi--

वेणुः करान् निपतितः स्खलितं शिखण्डं
भ्रष्टं च पीतवसनं व्रजराजसूनोः।
यस्याः कटाक्षशरघातविमूर्च्छितस्य
तां राधिकां परिचरामि कदा रसेन॥

veṇuḥ karān nipatitaḥ skhalitaṁ śikhaṇḍaṁ
bhraṣṭaṁ ca pīta-vasanaṁ vraja-rāja-sūnoḥ
yasyāḥ kaṭākṣa-śara-ghāta-vimūrcchitasya
tāṁ rādhikāṁ paricarāmi kadā rasena

The prince of Vraja's flute is sliding from his hand, the peacock feather in his crown is askew; his yellow cloth is slipping from his waist. All this as he falls into a faint from Radha's arrow-like glance. Oh, when will I serve that Radhika with relish? (39)

An old idea? Try this from Bhartrihari's Śṛṅgāra-śataka--

नूनं हि ते कविवरा विपरीतवाचो
ये नित्यम् आहुरबला इति कामिनीस्ताः
शक्रादयोऽपि विजितास्त्वबला कथं ताः

nūnaṁ hi te kavivarā viparīta-vāco
ye nityam āhur abalā iti kāminīs tāḥ
yābhir vilolitara-tāraka-dṛṣṭi-pātaiḥ
śakrādayo'pi vijitās tv abalā kathaṁ tāḥ

It seems that the great poets were speaking in riddles when they called beautiful women the weaker sex. Even gods like Indra have been conquered on being glanced at by women with their rolling star-like pupils, so how can they be called weak?

There is a Bhāgavata verse that is often quoted to show that Krishna is not really affected by these external features or coquettishness, such as in the case of the queens, but only by the internal devotion. This inner devotion is then translated into externals for the sake of lila.

व्रीडावलोकनिहतो मदनोऽपि यासाम्।
सम्मुह्य चापम् अजहात् प्रमदोत्तमास्ता
यस्येन्द्रियं विमथितुं कुहकैर्न शेकुः॥

vrīḍāvaloka-nihato madano'pi yāsām
sammuhya cāpam ajahāt pramadottamās tā
yasyendriyaṁ vimathituṁ kuhakair na śekuḥ
Stung by their guileless and winsome smiles and bashful looks, which bespoke of their profound love, even Cupid fainted and dropped his bow. These jewels among women could not, however, disturb the serenity of Krishna's mind by their amorous gestures. (1.11.37 Gita Press translation)

Who will ever understand the divine lila? Jai Vrindavana-viharini Sri Radhe!


There are a couple of guava trees bearing fruit over by the stream side border of the SRSG property. My students have been picking them and bringing me some every day. They left three for me this morning and I just got another three. This is an apple for the teacher? Anyway, Giridhari got one today with his lunch.

It looks like the rainy season is over. The last couple of days have been clear. Tonight there are threatening clouds and lightning, but little in the way of moisture. People leave Rishikesh when the rains come, but I found the last three or four months quite pleasant.

... boy did I ever speak too soon. The rain is lashing down like the wrath of Indra.


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