Though all-pervading, it increases at every moment;
Nothing as serious, yet always lighthearted;
Full of twists and turns, yet always straight and pure:
Ever glorious is Radha’s love for the enemy of Mura.
The second verse of the nāndī shares several common features with the first. First of all, both differ from the usual invocatory prayers in no particular god is being addressed, invoked or supplicated. Here, as in the first verse, where Radha’s anubhāva known as kilakiñcita was seen as the source of blessings, the sthāyi-bhāva of anurāga has been singled out for a declaration of victory.
The basic definition of anurāga, which will be discussed in greater detail below, is given in the Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi as follows:
When Rāga becomes ever newer and makes the beloved seem always newer and newer, though he is constantly being experienced, it is called anurāga. (UN 14.126)The word jayati marks the second verse as a namaskāra type of nāndī, while also showing signs of the vastu-nirdeśa. But whereas the first verse specified a particular moment of the play and its general premise, the second describes the underlying type of love that is displayed by Radha in this play.
There is, moreover, a further playful hint at the paradoxical character of this Divine Love. Just as the kilakiñcita manifestation was the result of contradictory emotions clashing, the state of love known as anurāga is characterized by inner contradictions.
This verse plays a significant role in Krishnadas Kaviraj’s explanation of Chaitanya’s incarnation in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta. He there says that just as the Supreme Truth is the place where all contradictions are resolved, so too is Radha's love is full of paradox. This is indeed a significant element in the Vedantic definition of the Divinity, the embodiment of all paradox. In the synthetic philosophy of the Gaudiyas, the multiplicity of God’s creation, a necessity for the sake of experiencing love, is at the same time paradoxical, since it appears to disrupt his essential unity. The contrast between the plurality of the creation and this ideal, underlying state of primal and unbreakable unity, is the paradox of play. Both are simultaneously necessary for the creation of rasa.
Radha’s love is vibhu
Vibhur api kalayan sadābhivṛddhiṁ. Vishwanath states in his commentary that vibhu means belonging to the cit śakti. As Krishna is all-pervading, so is Radha’s love. The word vibhu is a term that is generally used only in reference to the Supreme Absolute Truth, for by definition that alone can be all-pervading. But since Radha is Krishna's energy, she is not different from him. Wherever she is, there is Krishna. Wherever Krishna is, there she is. Radha is not different from Love or from her love for Krishna. Though this verse does not explicitly refer to this ontological unity of Radha and Krishna, this underlying foundation of the acintya-bhedābheda doctrine should be seen as informing the entire concept of the paradox of play or līlā.
rādhā-prema taiche sadā viruddha-dharma-maya
rādhā-premā vibhu yāra bāḍite nāhi ṭhā‘i
tathāpi se kṣaṇe kṣaṇe bāḍaye sadāi
Radha's love is simultaneously full of apparent contradictions, but by its transcendent character, it resolves them all. Her love is all-pervading, leaving no room for expansion and yet it expands constantly. (CC 1.4.127-128)
Rupa Kaviraja in his Sāra-saṅgraha explains it a little differently: "The supreme glory of Radha's mahā-bhāva comes from its being beyond the power of reason to comprehend it. This is because it is paradoxically both with a cause and without one, since its source, rāga, arises out of samartha-rati (which is identified with mahā-bhāva). It is like Krishna, who according to the evidence of the scriptures is simultaneously the Cause of all causes and yet appears as the son of Nanda Maharaj." (Sāra-saṅgraha 1.1)
Rupa Kaviraja's quote indicates the direction in which devotees look for and delight in the paradox of the Lord. It consists in his simultaneously being the Supreme Absolute Truth and yet appearing in a human form for the sake of love. This diminution, multiplied to infinity, is necessary to keep the infinite expanding. He expands in terms of love.
Similarly, in various ways, as Krishnadas Kaviraj explains in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Radha's love (bhāva) makes it possible for her to experience Krishna (rasa) fully, but her increasing love has the effect of also increasing his qualities and loving reciprocation. In this way, Krishna's qualities and Radha's love are in constant competition, eternally trying to outdo one another.
paraspara bāḍe keha mukha nāhi muḍi
In this way, a competition takes place between them, in which no one acknowledges defeat, despite their constantly increasing efforts. (CC 1.4.193)
Radha’s love is guru
Gurur api gaurava-caryayā vihīnaḥ. Various translators have treated this line differently. Surendranath Shastri has, "Although sublime, it lacks dignified deportment." Others have "Although important, it is devoid of pride." (BBT) "Though weighty, never for a moment does it take on a submissive and compliant attitude."
Kaviraja Goswami himself gives the following Bengali version, which helps a little:
tathāpi gurura dharma gaurava-varjita
There is certainly nothing greater than her love. Even so, it is devoid of any self-importance. That is the sign of its greatness. (1.4.129)But since the same words are used in Bengali as in Sanskrit, the difficulty inherent in the translation of the words guru and gaurava remains.
Guru can mean weighty, serious or important; or, as a noun, a teacher or elder, respectable person. Similarly, gaurava means: related to, belonging to, or appropriate to a guru; weight, heaviness, difficulty, cumbrousness, gravity, respectability, venerability, or the respect shown to a person. The word gaurava actually means the same as gurura dharma ("the sign of its greatness") in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta couplet.
Bhaktivedanta Swami's translation of guru ("pride") appears to be based on Bhaktivinoda Thakur, who glosses it as ahaṅkāra (“egoism”). R.G. Nath doesn’t really discuss gurura dharma, but interprets gaurava as aiśvarya ("majesty"): “Radha’s love has not a whiff of aiśvarya about it. Therefore it neither asks for honors from anyone else, nor does she herself offer them.”
Though all these translations contribute to our understanding, I chose “serious” and “lighthearted” as most representative. Radha takes her love as the most serious thing: it is her life. And yet when with Krishna, especially as shown in this short comic play, her mood harmonizes perfectly with Krishna’s lighthearted dhīra-lalita personality. Her love is the most profound thing in the creation, and yet it does not weigh her or her beloved down. It is light.
A verse that expresses this mood of love nicely can be found in Rupa’s Vidagdha-mādhava:
nindāpi pramadaṁ prayacchati parīhāsa-śriyaṁ bibhratī |
doṣeṇa kṣayitāṁ guṇena gurutāṁ kenāpy anātanvatī
premṇaḥ svārasikasya kasyacid iyaṁ vikrīḍati prakriyā ||
What you are seeing is the working
of some spontaneous kind of love:
where praise is seen as a sign of indifference
. . . and even causes the beloved pain,
where insults cause hilarity
. . . and only make the loved one laugh.
No lapse makes this love disintegrate,
no virtue can cause it to inflate.
It is hard, however, to avoid the suggested sense of the word guru as teacher or venerated person, with all that this entails. According to Gaudiya Vaishnava theology, Radha is personification of love of God. She is the hlādinī śakti: she is thus the means by which God is pleased, the ultimate medium by which God is attained. Therefore she is the original guru; her love manifests externally as the guru, spiritual teacher of all souls in the world. But the paradox here is that she is even the guru of Krishna himself. Krishnadas has Krishna say:
sadā āmā nānā nritye nācāya udbhaṭa
Radha’s love is my teacher, and I am pupil, her puppet. Her love constantly makes me dance in extraordinary ways. (1.4.124)
Of course, Radha's is the guru of the other gopis (e.g. GLA 11.126) and the queen of Vrindavan. If there was any doubt about who wins the war of the sexes as represented by the Divine Couple, Krishnadas provides his own example to show how Radha's love rules over her disciple Krishna:
kuṇḍāraṇye. kim iha kurute ? nṛtya-śikṣāṁ. guruḥ kaḥ ?
taṁ tvan-mūrtiḥ prati-taru-lataṁ dig-vidikṣu sphurantī
śailūṣīva bhramati parito nartayantī sva-paścāt
"Where are you coming from, friend Vrinda?"Despite this power, however, in the anurāga state, Radha is oblivious to it, for anurāga makes her unable to recognize the power of her own love. She is therefore without pride, either in her thoughts or in her actions.
"I have just been with Krishna."
"And where is he?"
"In the woods over by your pond, Radha Kund."
"And what is he doing there?"
"He is learning to dance."
"And who, pray tell, is his teacher?"
"It is you, Radhe! It is your image,
which he sees manifest in every tree and vine,
which he sees whirling in every direction like a great dancer,
that makes him prance as he tries in vain to catch it."
(CC 1.4.125; Govinda-līlāmṛta 8.77)
Radha’s love is śuddha
Now the last of the three paradoxes is given: Radha's love is pure. Bearing in mind the previous contradiction, it may well be asked how there can be any place for Radha’s love pouts, her bouderies, and her persistent recalcitrance? Is her lack of straightforwardness in dealings a sign that it is not free of pride or impurity? But here Sri Rupa says that any appearance of impurity in her love is to be discarded as a misunderstanding, muhur upacita-vakrimāpi śuddhaḥ. In fact, this again is, practically speaking, to be taken as an axiomatic truth.
tathāpi sarvadā vāmya-vakra-vyavahāra
Nothing is purer than her love. Even so, her behavior is complex and quarrelsome. (1.4.130)Besides the obvious explanation of the word śuddha as śuddha-sattva, which we will discuss briefly below, it means that Radha is without any motivation other than love, in the sense that both consciously and unconsciously, she has Krishna’s pleasure as her only object. Radha’s samartha-rati means that she is not consciously manipulative, for without complete purity, how could her love subjugate Krishna?
The word śuddha also implies a kind of honesty, straightforwardness or simplicity. And yet, Radha’s love shows all these crooked qualities, particularly those born of her non-submissiveness. (upacito vakrimā kauṭilya-paryāya-vāmya-lakṣaṇo yasmin, so’pi śuddhaḥ śuddha-sattva-viśeṣātmakatvāt nirupādhitvāc ca). Radha seems incapable of simple surrender, of admitting to her love. She says no before she says yes. She says one thing, but means another. Her love makes her dance in ways that bring Krishna the maximum pleasure. Radha’s love makes Krishna dance, but it makes her dance as well. Their love is the divine force driving the līlā.
As already mentioned above, anurāga is one of the divisions of the sthāyi-bhāva, as conceived by Rupa Goswami in his theoretical works. Ordinarily, the earliest poeticians conceived of the sthāyi-bhāva, as its name indicates, as a sort of unconscious, potential pool of emotion. Everyone can be angry, afraid, or in love, but one is not necessarily experiencing any of these emotions openly at any one moment.
Any work of art, to be effective, is dominated by one of these emotions, which it aims to reproduce in its audience. Nowadays, the dominant mood (sthāyi-bhāva) of a film is usually indicated by its “genre”: horror, action, romantic, comedy, etc. A play is successful to the degree that its audience is affected by such emotions. The degree to which the author succeeds in communicating any message to his or her audience is measured by the extent to which they experience rasa.
We must remember that the entire discussion of rasa begins with Bharata and the dramatic arts. The objective of any work of art is to produce an emotional response, an aesthetic experience, in the audience. The analysis of the various factors or ingredients that go into successfully producing rasa forms the basis of Sanskrit literary criticism. It is based in an understanding that there is a difference between direct experience of an emotion and the same emotion as mediated through art. In the latter, it is produced in a kind of transcendent fashion: the audience is in an artificial environment detached from worldly concerns and transported into another realm of vicarious experience.
The transposition of such aesthetic experience into the world of religious devotion is something that no doubt developed over a lengthy period of time, but clearly had its apotheosis in the writings of Rupa Goswami. The changes he made in the theory itself are based primarily in the way he looked at the sthāyi-bhāva itself.
A necessary interim step in the historical development of the concept, romantic love was isolated from the other dominant emotions as the essence of them all. A hint at what this means can be seen to some extent in modern film, where the element of romantic love is almost always present, whether the dominant mood of the film is horror or heroic, comedy or other. There is an almost Freudian understanding that the desire for love is directly or indirectly behind all the other passions, and that none of them are truly fulfilled without making that connection explicit.
The contribution of Rupa Goswami as a theoretician was to say that this underlying desire for love is realized in the love of God, and thus it is the unique worthwhile emotion that should be produced in any work of art or literature. This is a development of the classical goal, which sees rasa as a distilled, idealized, transcendent, almost spiritual, experience. But Rupa recognizes that though the "natural" man, who seeks fulfillment in sexual love, has a spontaneous capacity to identify with heroes and heroines in worldly creations of art and literature, he is required to undergo a process of transformation (saṁskāra) in order to retrieve a basic relation with God, or Krishna, before it is possible for him to experience all rasas in connection with the Divine Person. That process is called sādhana-bhakti.
According to Rupa, the sādhya, or goal of the practices, which are both internal and external, is twofold--bhāva and prema. In fact, however, prema is described in BRS 1.4.1 as an intensification of bhāva. In his all important commentary to BRS 1.3.1, where the subject of bhāva is introduced for the first time, Sri Jiva Goswami explains as follows:
Devotion has an active side (ceṣṭā-rūpā) and an emotional side (bhāva-rūpā). The emotional side of devotion is also of two kinds: in the realm of rasa, there is the underlying mood (sthāyi-bhāva) and the passing emotions (sañcārī). The former, i.e., sthāyi-bhāva is again of two kinds: the first is called prema, which includes a number of other levels, such as praṇaya; the other is synonymous with rati, which is the first manifestation of prema. Now, in the present context, the general form of sthāyi-bhāva, which is at the basis of both these last two is being indicated.
This division of sthāyi-bhāva into two can be confusing. To simplify the matter, the term rati, which is here said to be synonymous with one aspect of the abovementioned sthāyī, is identified with what I will call the category of love. These are defined by the category of loving relation. Followers of Rupa Goswami generally speak of five rasas, namely dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and madhura, but these are technically given different names when speaking of the sthāyi-bhāvas or of the corresponding rasas. The second kind of sthāyī may more accurately be viewed as the levels and characteristics of love as it matures and increases in intensity. These are in theory applicable across the board to all of the five principal categories, though in fact, the highest degrees of love are only present in the romantic affection.
So, to resume, we have three kinds of sthāyi-bhāva--those belonging to the poeticians' original concept of the rasas ("genres"), which in Rupa Goswami are seen as a secondary and somewhat irrelevant category, practically speaking equivalent to the sañcārīs. The second is the five principal kinds of love with their various subdivisions, i.e., types of relation, and finally, a set of categories based primarily on degrees of intensity. Anurāga belongs to this third division.
In the following chart, I have tried to show the two latter kinds of sthāyi-bhāva and the relations between them:
- The definitions for prema are given in BRS 3.2.81 (“strong bond”) and in the context of madhura-rasa in UN 14.63 (“unbreakable bond”).
- Sneha is characterized by melting of heart and the inability to tolerate even a moment’s separation (BRS 3.2.84, UN 14.79).
- In BRS (3.3.108), praṇaya is given as a special category that only applies to friendship. It is characterized by trust (viśrambha). In madhura-rasa, praṇaya is the sense of trust that comes in the wake of māna. Māna, quite logically, is not found in any of the other sthāyis
- Raga is characterized by the perception of even unhappiness in love as happiness (BRS 3.2.87, UN 14.126). It has several subdivisions.
- Rāga is the springboard to anurāga and then to bhāva, which also have numerous subdivisions, but are only found in the madhura-rasa.
The question we will have to ask as we go through the Dāna-keli-kaumudī is what specific elements in the play are particularly revealing of the anurāga state and thus justify its special mention here in the introduction.