VMA 1.20 : The gold and black jewel light


kasyāpi divya-rati-manmatha-koṭi-rūpa-
dhāma-dvayasya kanakāsita-ratna-bhāsam|
atyadbhutair madana-keli-vilāsa-vṛndair
vṛndāvanaṁ madhurimāmbudhi-magnam īkṣe ||
I see Vrindavan,
filled with the gold and black jewel light
of some Divine Couple, a duo of effulgent entities
that is more beautiful than ten million RatiKama pairs.
This Vrindavan has been immersed
in the ocean of sweetness
that is their most amazing loving dalliances. (1.20)

Commentary

We have been exploring the theme of the bhauma and nitya Vrindavan Dhams, which is really the underlying problem that the Vrindavan Today website seeks to address. Just as there are prakaṭa and aprakaṭa līlās of Radha and Krishna, the Dham also has its prakaṭa and aprakaṭa līlā. Prabodhanada Saraswati here is saying that he sees the nitya Vrindavan, and indeed, there is no point in looking at the Dham as merely another material place in the world.

All religions have their sacred places, which are characterized by the concept that here, in this place, the Divine World meets our conditioned existence; it is here that we can “cross over.” And although we all know that God is present in every atom of creation, and that therefore the whole universe is sacred, these specially designated spiritual places are the scenes of special epiphanies, sometimes experienced by one particularly powerful visionary, and at others, such as in the case of Vrindavan, where such epiphanies affect numerous such visionaries simultaneously.

Each of the Vrindavan sampradāyas claims precedence for its own vision and the glory of its own founder. And each of them has a legitimate claim. But in the end, the unique feature of Vrindavan is that all eyes are focused on this dual form of the Divine Person, Radha and Krishna. The theological implications of this concept itself are far reaching and we will perhaps have recourse in these meditations to explore them. Radha and Krishna transcend the individual sects, and the debates between them are the method by which the symbol is enriched and immortalized.

Prabodhananda Saraswati was a Mayavadi sannyasi who before become an ecstatic devotee of Sri Sri Radha Shyam was attached to the Brahman conception of the Absolute. As a result, he often refers to Radha and Shyamas a black and golden effulgence. The word dhāma means both abode and effulgence. Radha and Krishna are non-different from their effulgent abode. That is the reality of the nitya Vrindavan.

But the very point of an Absolute Reality that is differentiated and takes form is that it implies that this world is also real in its underlying form. It makes all differentiated reality connected to the Absolute Reality simply by virtue of their similarities, but without making the connection between the ideal world of Radha and Krishna and our world of experience, this world is experienced as inadequate and unfulfilled.

We hunger for the world of the Sacred and those who have a spiritual thirst seek to make every aspect of their experience that of the Sacred.

We do that first through filling our minds and senses with the vision of the Ideal. In different religions that Ideal reality is depicted differently, but in our case, we see it as the Divine Couple, more beautiful than ten million Rati-Kama pairs, engaged in amazing loving dalliances that spread an ocean of sweetness, flooding their perfect world and then through the incarnations, through the acharyas, through Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, through Rupa Goswami, through the other saints and visionaries of Vrindavan Dham, into this world of names and forms.

And just as Krishna manifests to the individual through senses that are purified through devotional service, Radha and Krishna become manifest more fully in the external world through the community of devotees and the ambiance they create out of their love for Radha and Krishna and the devotees, through the Vrindavan that they live in and interact with.

In other words, the living devotees manifest the living Vrindavan through their living prema.

Ten Previous posts

VMA 1.19 : Who's mind will not be stolen?
VMA 1.18 : How to meditate on Vrindavan
VMA 1.17 : Grant me residence here until the end of life
VMA 1.16 : A prayer for the siddha Vrindavan to manifest
VMA 1.15 : Rolling in the dust of Vrindavan
VMA 1.13 : Offenses to the residents of the Dham break my heart
VMA 1.12 : The Upanishads take birth as cows in Braj
VMA 1.11 : The defects we see in the Dham are not real.
VMA 1.10 : More glories of Radharani's kunj

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