Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Madhurya Kadambini

Rasaraj Dasji has just reminded us all that hundreds of copies of the Mādhurya-kādambinī we all worked so hard on several years ago are just gathering dust in various people's basements.

It is really wonderful, when you think of it. In the Gaudiya Discussions days, an almost magical kind of synergy developed, and this publication was probably its most concrete and permanent fruit.

Advaita Dasji did the original translation, and that was then gone over with a fine tooth comb by yours truly. Many wonderful posts and discussions on the Gaudiya Discussions resulted from that work and my reflections on it. Advaita Dasji later renounced all credit for any work that he had done because he did not wish to be associated with anything that had my name on it (sigh!) but later he generously admitted that I had done a good job. Anandaji did a great job on the layout, Rasaraj and Braja provided funds... I think that everyone who participated in this work could and should feel proud of what they accomplished.

Also, the Grantha Mandir edition benefited as I went carefully through the Sanskrit, correcting and in many places editing the text so that it is one of the most reliable ones on the site. This was always my idea for the GGM, that when people actually worked on a text in Sanskrit, they would make the fruits of their labor available freely.

While going through the text, I consulted numerous versions in Hindi, Bengali and English, including the translations by Sarvabhavana Das and Dinabandhu Das, which are currently available and treated by people in Iskcon/Gaudiya Math as authoritative. I can assure you that these translations are full of mistakes as well as misunderstandings.

Moreover, this edition is adorned with the commentary of Radha Kund Mahanta and unparallelled scholar of the rasika tradition of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Ananta Das Babaji, who surely needs no introduction to most of the readers on this site. But if you have never read anything by Ananta Das, this is a great book to start with. You really get a feel for the Radha Kund mood of bhakti. It is the same Chaitanya Gaudiya sampradaya, don't worry, but the mood is so sweet. And no one distributes that sweetness with more profound understanding and feeling than Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj.

The Mādhurya-kādambinī is a unique work in the Gaudiya Vaishnava sampradaya. In Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Srila Rupa Goswamipada has given an outline of the various stages that a devotional practitioner goes through before attaining the ultimate goal of prema. Though there are a great many books on Vaishnava practice, there is very little, at least in one place, that speaks practically of these different stages to help a sadhaka recognize his or her particular level of advancement.

Many of Vishwanath Chakravarti Thakur's insights are unique and relishable, such as his analysis of the different substages of anartha-nivritti, or his analysis of ruchi, asakti and bhava. It certainly belongs on the bookshelf of anyone seriously interested in Gaudiya Vaishnavism.

Even for scholars of Vaishnavism who have little interest in the practice, this text is valuable for its accuracy and authenticity.

So, although the participants in this project dispersed like that banana slurpy that sprays everywhere when the mixer's top suddenly comes off, we have this wonderful testimonial to what was, in fact, a magic time in all of our spiritual lives. I hope that reflecting on this, we will all be able to bury some of the acrimony that still persists and get back some of that love that we all felt in those days. All was not lost!!

At an amazingly reasonable price!! Too generous in fact.
United States - $10 US
International - $20 US
All prices include shipping

Here is contact info. Each of these links gives some additional information about the publication:

Radhe Radhe !


Anonymous said...

10 US dollars in the US including shipping?!! Wow, thats a great price. I am getting at least 10 copies right away, this is a great book, especially being it the version of Ananta Das Babaji.

Indeed your review is right on the spot Jagat, "no one distributes that sweetness with more profound understanding and feeling than Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj". Right on. Such amazing personality.

Jagat said...

Yes, I think you have to contact Robert Fish to get that price.

Anonymous said...

If you order 10 copies it will be cheaper than $10 per book.