VMA 1.83 I worship the two splendors

rati-ratipati-koṭi-sundaraṁ tat
pramuṣita-koṭi-ramā-ramāpati-śri |
kanaka-marakatābha-mūrti vṛndā-
vipina-vihāri maho-dvayaṁ bhajāmi ||

I worship the two splendors
that cavort in the Vrindavan forest,

one with the effulgence of gold,
the other that of sapphire. 
They have more beauty
than millions of Ratis and Kamadevas,
and it seems they have stolen the glory

of millions of Lakshmis and Narayans.

I missed a few days of posting VMA. Actually, verse 1.83 had no commentary and I wanted to write one, but it took a little time. I am still in Birnagar but will be traveling back to Vrindavan on the coming Wednesday. I am busy typing out a commentary to the 17th Century (śataka) and hoping I can finish it before leaving so I can return the book to the author. Before proceeding with the rest of VMA, I thought it was important to do the 17th, since I am quite certain that this was written before the other 16. In actual fact, I was a bit uncomfortable about continuing with VMA at all until I had a more deeper grasp of the work as a whole. Nevertheless, the purpose of these posts that I have been making is to revise and consolidate the work that I have already done and to fill in the gaps.

This VMA commentary is a bit strange and sometimes has an adhoc bloggy diary type of feel, which I don't really mind. I wanted it to be a bit of a Vrindavan diary rather than a scholarly explanation of a Sanskrit text.


Vrindavan is the dhāma, which means it is the effulgence of the Lord. dhāmnā svena sadā nirasta-kuhakaṁ satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi. The Lord always remains fixed in his mahimā, wherever he goes, the Dhāma must of necessity follow. At the same time, nothing is outside of his glory. His glory is his energy. It is just that the glow is strongest where it is closest to the center of God's being itself. Vrindavan is the highest manifestation of his internal sandhinī potency, his dhāma, because the highest manifestation of the Lord's svarūpa is that which is accompanied with Radha. Because they are in effect the source of that effulgence, they are identified with it. This is why Prabodhananda returns again and again to this metaphor.

In that absolute center of God's being, all the attractive qualities reign, of which the most important is beauty. The name Krishna above all means "universally attractive bliss."

kṛṣir bhū-vācakaḥ śabdo ṇaś ca nirvṛti-vācakaḥ |
tayor aikyaṁ paraṁ brahma kṛṣṇa ity abhidhīyate ||

"The word kṛṣ expresses a state (of attraction), and ṇa denotes bliss; their combination kṛṣṇa thus denotes the Supreme Spirit." Thus, in fact, the name Krishna includes both Radha and Krishna, since Krishna is the attractive force and object of desire and Radha is the fulfillment of that desire, bliss.

Krishna is frequently compared to a multitude of Cupids or Kāmadevas (kandarpa-koṭi-kamanīya-viśeṣa-śobham, sākṣāt manmatha-manmathaḥ), because Kāma, the god of desire, is the archetype of worldly attractiveness and beauty. But the worldly god of desire, who so easily conquers the minds of the people in this material condition, is a mere spark of Krishna's splendor:

ānanda-cinmaya-rasātmatayā manaḥsu
yaḥ prāṇināṁ pratiphalan smaratām upetya
līlāyitena bhuvanāni jayaty ajasram
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

I worship Govinda, the original Purusha, whose intrinsic nature as eternal existence, pure consciousness and the bliss of love is reflected in the minds of the living beings whereby he takes the form of Kamadeva (smara = "memory"); by this playful pastime he easily triumphs over the limitless mundane worlds.

And Rati is always with Kāmadeva as the completion of desire in erotic pleasure. But she too is a mere fragment of Radha's glory. These two represent unbridled passion, the parakīya-rasa. And similarly Lakshmi and Narayan are the expansions of Radha and Krishna in a more staid svakīya mood. Radha and Krishna are the embodiment of all the varieties of moods of love, for all exist in them. They are Rasa-rāja and Mahā-bhāva.

imau gaurī-śyāmau manasi viparītau bahir api
sphurat-tat-tad-vastrāv iti budha-janair niścitam idam
sa ko'py accha-premā vilasad-ubhaya-sphūrtikatayā
dadhan mūrti-bhāvaṁ pṛthag apṛthag apy āvirudabhūt

Wise persons have determined that though
these Two are of a black and golden hue respectively,
in their minds they are of the opposite colors;
so too, externally, are their clothes.
This is some pure, unblemished love,
which has become incarnate,
taking on this form with a dual manifestation,
at once divided and a unity. (GC 1.15.2)

It is Radha and Krishna together that emit the effulgence that is Vrindavan Dham. They are the root source of all joy, all bliss and all love, which pervades the world.

I am heading back to Vrindavan in a couple of days after spending nearly two months in Bengal, mostly at my Guru's ashram in Birnagar. I have been meditating on the word mamatā this morning. It means possessiveness, but is also used as a synonym for love.

Ego has two aspects, aham and mama. In this world they are the essence of the conditioned state, Maya, but when turned to Krishna, they do the work of Yogamaya, connecting or uniting us to him. One definition of prema given in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu is ananya-mamatā" when Krishna is the only thing you possess. It is, in fact, the sense of relationship (sambandha). It is one's self-definition in relation to another thing or person. It is the sense of belonging.

ananya-mamatā viṣṇau mamatā prema-saṅgatā
bhaktir ity ucyate bhīṣma-prahlādoddhava-nāradaiḥ

When the sense of relationship is invested in Krishna, and such a relationship is defined by love, that is called bhakti by great authorities like Bhishma, Prahlada, Uddhava and Narada. (BRS 1.4.2)

I am feeling mamatā for my Guru's ashram and my two Godbrothers, Harigopal and Vamshi Das who are serving here. This morning there were just the three of us at mangal arati, three old guys who have been connected to this place for 40-50 years, connected by a familiarity that has grown into a kind of affection. I suppose I am the latecomer, but I felt it today -- the sense of belonging.

The air is calm, the temple on the second floor is open on all sides and surrounded by gardens, woods and orchard. Birds are chirping -- doves cooing and crows cawing while the gongs chime and the dawn slowly rises. This too is Vrindavan.


VMA 1.82 : See the real Vrindavan: God's playground
VMA 1.81 : Where will they be?
VMA 1.80 : Run, run, to Vrindavan
VMA 1.79 : Break the unbreakable shackles
VMA 1.78 : Do you know when you will die, my friend?
VMA 1.77 : i-bow-down-to-those-who-serve the residents of Vrindavan
VMA 1.76 : We bow to those who never leave Vrindavan
VMA 1.75 Lament your misfortune if you cannot live in Vrindavan
VMA 1.74 : Serve those who live in Vrindavan absorbed in Krishna rasa


Anonymous said…

Yes, you have correctly associated the term “Kamadeva” with स्मर (smara) to distinguish the kind of memory being ‘called to mind’ (relating to the seventh planetary mansion [Vyāhṛti] of Satyam), but have not expounded the suffix तम् (tam) which places स्मर (smara) in its correct context (i.e. the love play [taken above the skull in union] being a precursor to the breath stopping prior to entering the light of samadhi).

स्मर (smara):


तम् (tam):

Anonymous said…

My apology, the dictionary entry for स्मर (smara) should be on page 1272:

Prem Prakash said…
I really like the concluding two paragraphs. The mood is conveyed very well. Thank you.

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