Another Side of Bhaktivinoda Thakur 26 : Gadadhar and Gauranga's Yugal Upasana (I)

Gadadhar Praner Pran Gaura Gadadhara.
In this chapter, Gadadhar Pran Prabhu explores some of the early poetry of the Gaudiya Vaishnava school that focuses on Gaura-Gadadhar worship.

Please take note of the notes on Bengali pronunciation and transliteration HERE.


Chapter 26

Gadadhar and Gauranga's Yugal Upasana (Part I)

After completing 25 chapters, now we come to our favorite topic—Gadadhar and Gauranga's yugal bhajan—which also happens to be Thakur Bhaktivinoda's life and soul—and the counterpart of Radha-Madhava's madhura upasana in Vraja.

In this chapter some examples of their bhāvāḍhya worship will be given. Then in the next chapter we shall investigate what their rasātmikā worship entails. When we say bhāvāḍhya, this refers to the madhura bhavas of Nabadwip and Vrindavan that Gauranga and His bhaktas relish within their minds, when everyone remains in a male form. But when Gadadhar and his rasika bhakta followers assume female forms and then go on to relish loving affairs with Gauranga—just as Krishna does with Radha and Her sakhis—such worship is called rasātmikā.

Bhaktivinoda himself worshipped Gadadhar and Gauranga's yugal vigraha, and as time went on, he handed down Their seva-puja to his son, Lalita Prasad Thakur, whom he initiated with an 18-syllable Gadadhar-Radha Gaura-Krishna yugal mantra with its appropriate Kama and Rati bija. The mantra tells that Gaura-Gadadhar and Radha-Krishna are non-different—one tattva.

Now in Gauranga's vigraha worship don't we usually find Nityananda included, and standing on Mahaprabhu's right side? For Gaura and Gadadhar's worhip is rare. So how did we become attracted to this? Let us tell you the story:

The idea first entered our mind back in 1975 in ISKCON's Honolulu temple, when we were fortune enough to hear a conversation between two of Srila Prabhupada's senior disciples, namely Subal and Sudhama (who were sannyasis back in those days). We listened to Subal as he told about a deity installation that once took place when Prabhupada was present. On that occasion the pujaris mistakenly placed Nitai on Gaura's left side. When he saw the mix-up, Prabhupada said: "So this will be Gaura and Gadadhar."

Subal commented, "They became more fortunate because Gaura and Gadadhar are Radha-Krishna."
Upon hearing his statement, we became intrigued and from that moment a seed was planted in our heart.

Not long after this that desire-seed got sprinkled with some mercy upon discovering Bhaktivinoda's following poem:

hā hā mora gaura kiśora
kabe daẏā kari śrī godruma bane, dekhā dibe mana cora
svānanda sukhada kuñjera bhitare, gadādhare bāme kari
kāñcana baraṇa cāñcara cikure, naṭana subeśa dhari
dekhite dekhite śrī rādhā mādhaba, rūpete karibe ālā
sakhī gaṇa saṅge karibe naṭana, galete mohana mālā
anaṅga mañjarī sadaẏa haiẏā, ei dāsī karete dhari
duhā nibedibe duhāra mādhurī, heriba naẏana bhari

O my Gaura-kishora! O Thief of my mind! When will You mercifully reveal Yourself to me within Godruma's forests? I will see You standing in my kunja, Svananda-sukhada, with Gadadhar to your left; both of You are of golden complexion, with beautiful curling hair, both of You are attractively dressed like dance performers.

But O my! Upon seeing Your yugal murati suddenly turn into the effulgent form of Radha-Madhava—we will find ourself dancing with the sakhis—as an enchanting flower mala swings from our neck! That is when Ananga Manjari will lead this nava dasi by the hand and mercifully surrender us unto Radha-Madhava's lotus feet. And then our eyes will become satiated with the sweetness of their yugal darshan! (Kalyāṇa-kalpa-taru Prārthanā-lālasāmayī 10)

"O what a beautiful bhava!" we thought. "How Thakur Bhaktivinoda first sees Gaura-Gadadhar, then They transform into Radha-Madhava, and at last he attains Their carana seva by the mercy of Ananga Manjari!"

It was our yearning for this yugal seva in Nabadwip and Vraja that led us to the Thakur's son, Lalita Prasad Thakur back in 1980. And during our initiation, when Prabhu mercifully uttered his father's Gadadhar-Radha Gaura-Krishna yugal mantra in our ear, it marked a turning point in our life. It was a moment of great joy as we could understand that our eternal relationship with Gaura-Gadadhar and Radha-Krishna was just beginning. And we also became a nava kinkari member in Ananga Manjari's amnaya siddha manjari parivar.

Prabhu then mercifully gave us two instructions, saying, "I want you to worship Gaura and Gadadhar's yugal vigraha, and always chant the holy name in japa."

So from 1980 up to 1990, we began our worship in the bhāvāḍhya mood, as this is the process that we learned in the beginning. During this period we wrote Nabadwip Vraja Madhuri to document some of the Guṭikā's siksa that we imbibed from our siksa guru at Radhakund about Gaura-Govinda's ashtakala lila. In this book Vishnupriya and Gadadhar's ashtakala lila with Gauranga is also included.

The First Phase [the bhāvāḍhya worship]

Ancient, traditional Vaishnava kirtan is born from and centers around Mahajana padavali. Padavali are padas or poems that Mahaprabhu's nitya parshadas and their close followers wrote in rhyming Bengali verse to express the deep bhavas and the beautiful expressions of prema found in Gaura lila and Krishna lila. And most of these songs represent a first-hand account of the lila that these Gaura parshadas directly experienced. Hence these padas are invaluable for their historical accuracy as well.
Let us begin by sampling Narahari Sarkar Thakur's padavali, since he is the foremost participant in Gaura and Gadadhar's madhura pastimes. As Gadadhar's priya sahacara (intimate friend), he writes about Him like this:

amara karuṇāra bāna, anātha janāra prāṇa, gadādhara paṇḍita gosāi
jagatera citta cora, gokula nāgara gora, yāra rase ullāsa sadāi
yāra mukha nirakhiẏā, bhūmi paḍe murachiẏā, tileka dhairya nāhi more
jala keli pasa sari, phāgu khelā ādi kari, kīrtana nartane yāra sane
gadādhara prabhura guṇe, divā niśi nāhi jāne, sukha sayare sadā bhāse
prabhura manete yāhā, samaẏa bujhiẏā tāhā, yogāẏena rahi prabhura pāśe
kahe dāsa narahari, gāo gāo mukha bhari, ei hena gadāi guṇa sukhe

Like a powerful arrow Gadadhar Pandita Goswami's unceasing karuna can penetrate the heart and become the very life for the shelterless who earnestly seek His shelter.

Gora, who is Gokula's nagar Krishna, and the mind thief of the whole world, always hankers to relish Gadadhar's prema rasa.

But when seeing His Prana-Gaura (after a brief separation) Gadadhar often faints, falling unconscious after failing to maintain His composure!

So Gaurasundar always brings Gadadhar along in all of the pastimes such as jala-keli, pasa khela, vasanta holi, kirtan and dancing, etc.

When contemplating His Prananatha's qualities Gadadhar simply loses Himself and floats in an ocean of bliss. So Gadadhar offers whatever His Prabhu desires, from one moment to the next, as He remains constantly by His side.

Narahari says, "Let me always go on singing the glories of Gadai."

In the following pada (poem), Vamsivadana's foremost disciple Jagadananda tells something about Gauranga, Gadadhar and Narahari's madhura lila:

dekha dekha goracānda nadiẏā nagare
gadādharera saṅge raṅge sadāi bihare
bāme priẏa gadādhara dakṣiṇe narahari
suradhunī tīre duhu nāce phire phire
kibā se binoda beśa, binoda cāturī
binoda rūpera chaṭā binoda mādhurī
dekhite dekhite hiẏāẏa sādha lāge hena
nayana añjana kari sadā rākhi yena
soɱarite hṛdaẏa uthali yāẏa tathā

O look! Just look at Gorachand's exciting pleasure-pastimes with Gadadhar in Nadiya. On Gaura's left is Gadadhar, and to His right is Narahari—they are both dancing round and around Gauranga on the Suradhuni Ganga's picturesque shore.
This reminds me of the enchanting bhavas, enchanting dress, enchanting bodily splendor, and the enchanting lila madhuri that we previously witnessed in Vraja (when they were Radha, Krishna and Madhumati).

As I watch Them my heart remains spellbound, and my yearning to always behold their splendor ever increases.

In relating this Gaura-prema-katha, Jagadananda says, 'When I remember this pastime my heart dances along with them too.

Rasa Analysis

Because Jagadananda is Vamsivadana's dearest disciple, wouldn't this poem imbibe the internal mood of Vamsi as well? And this brings to mind how the Baghnapara Goswamis traditionally perform a Sastha tattva puja. In other words, they worship the Pancha tattva and include Vamsivadan, who stands on Gadadhar's left side. So in this worship, as Gadadhar serves Gaura in the place of Radha, Vamsivadan serves Gaura-Govinda and Gadadhar-Radha from their left side. It is a wonderful bhava and seva for those who wish to follow in Vamsi's footsteps.

Gadadhar's close disciple, Kastha-kata Jagannatha, has written the next selection in the mood of viraha:

suradhunī tīre heri kata uṭhe mane, yāhā biharaẏe gorā gadādharera sane
marma sangi jar ṭhākura narahari, sadā āsbādaẏe gorā rūpa mādhurī
gadādhara narahari saṅge biharita, mukunda madhu sbare gāna śunāita
kothā heẏa naṭuā gorā gadāi prāṇanātha, bāreka darśana diẏe kara ātmasāt
karicha lukāẏe līlā cakṣu antarāle, jagannātha dāsa kene vañcita karile

As I look to the Suradhuni Ganga's forest banks a great feeling overwhelms me; for this is where Gora performed His pleasure pastimes with my Gadadhar.
And Gadai's close companion Thakur Narahari was present to also relish Gora's rupa madhuri.

When Gadadhar and Narahari danced with Gauranga, Mukunda sang enchanting songs which followed after Gauranga's madhura bhava.

O my Natua Gora—where have You gone—O Prananatha of Gadai? For after hiding from my vision those madhura lilas Your fallen das Jagannath feels the most deprived!

The padavali of Jagadananda and Jagannath bear testimony to a hidden realm in Gaura Kishor's Nabadwip lila that we don't get to hear about in Caitanya Bhāgavata or Caitanya Caritāmṛta. Perhaps this is because these two poems both pre-date the time when these two Caitanya shastras were written. And another reason to believe them is that these two Mahajanas happen to be closely related to Gadadhar—especially Jagannath Das, who is Gadadhar Pandit's mantra disciple.
Some of the family descendants of Jagannath Das were recently residing in Nabadwip. One was Harimohan Shiromani Goswami, the gurudeva of Haridas Das Babaji Maharaj, who founded the Haribol Kutir, and who inaugurated Gaura and Gadadhar's nitya seva-puja there. One of our siksha gurus (of whom we will speak in the next chapter) also took diksha from this branch of Gadadhar's parivar.

In Krishna lila, Jagannatha das is one of Radha's 64 priya sakhis, namely Tilakini, who serves under Chitra Sakhi. And in Gaura lila, he is one of Gauranga's renowned 64 Mahantas.

In the following pada, Shivananda Sena tells about Gadadhar's inseparable tie with Gauranga:

jaẏa jaẏa paṇḍita gosāi, yāra kṛpā bale se caitanya guṇa gāi
hena se gaurāṅga candre yāhāra pirīti, kṣetra bāsa kṛṣṇa sevā yāra lāge chāḏe
gadāi gaurāṅga gaurāṅga gadādhara, śrī rāma janakī yena eka kalebara
yena eka prāṇa rādhā bṛndābana candra, tena gaura gadādharera prema taraṅga
kahe śivānanda pahuɱ yāra anurāge, śyāma tanu gaurāṅga haiẏā prema māge

Glories, glories to Pandita Goswami, by Whose mercy we can sing about Gauranga's glories. Gadadhar's prema is such: He renounced His ksetra sannyasa and Gopinatha's seva for Gaura.

Gadai-Gauranga and Gauranga-Gadadhar are one—just as Sita and Rama are one body, and Radha and Krishna are one soul—so do the waves cascade in Gaura and Gadadhar's prema lila ocean.

Shivananda says, 'Krishna left His shyam form in Vraja and came to Nadiya to beg for Gadadhar's prema as Gaura—simply to satiate His anuraga (deep yearning) for Him.

Vasudeva Ghosh's following two padas reveal how Gadadhar's lila-role is special, just as Radha's role in Vrindavan is special. The first selection is called phula dhola, the battle with flowers, and the second is called nauka vihara, when Gaura and His bhaktas enjoy a boat ride over the Ganga.

(1) Phula dola

phula bana goracānda dekhiẏā nayane, phulera samara gorāra paḏi gela mane
ghana jaẏa jaẏa diẏā pariṣada gaṇe, gorā gāẏa phula pheli jane jane
priẏa gadādhara saṅge āra nityānanda, phulera samare gorāra haila ānanda
gadādhara saṅge pahuɱ karaẏe bilāsa, bāsudeba ghoṣa tāi karila prakāśa

When entering a flower garden Goracanda's desire awakens to have a flower battle. And knowing Prabhu's desire the bhaktas cry out 'Jaya! Jaya!' as everyone starts throwing flowers over Gora's body!

But Gora's attention goes to His priya Gadadhar and to Nityananda—as His flower battle with Them turns out to be the most exciting. Then at last, Gora enjoys vilasa with Gadadhar, as Vasudeva Ghosh testifies.

(2) Nauka vihara

nā jāniẏe gorācāndera kona bhāba mane, suradhunī tīre gela sahacara sane
priẏa gadādhara ādi saṅgete kariẏā, naukā corila gorā premāviṣṭa haiẏā
āpani kāndāri haiẏā baya nauka khani, dhubilo dhubilo boli sinche sabe pane
pariṣada gaṇa saba hari hari bole, pūraba smariẏā keha bhāse prema jale
gadādhara mukha heri mane mane hāse, bāsudeba ghoṣa kahe manera ullāse

Who knows what kind of bhava overtakes Goracanda as He brings His sahacaras (close associates) to the Ganga shore.

Holding priya Gadadhar's hand, Prabhu gets into a boat with all of the bhaktas.
Aha! As Gora becomes the boatman and enters the Ganga's mainstream, it becomes frightening—because when everyone gets wet, they cry out, "The boat will sink! The boat is going to sink!"

But actually the bhaktas simply shout 'Hari Hari bol!' and submerge in prema—as they remember Radha Krishna's nauka vihara in Vraja.

While looking to Gadadhar's lovely face Gora smiles—while Vasudeva Ghosa joyfully relates this pastime.

Rasa Analysis

What do Sivananda Sena and Vasudeva Ghosh have in common? Well, previously they both belonged to Radha's ashta sakhi group in Vraja, as Campakalata and Sudevi Sakhi. Hence, as they were previously the most dear to Radha, now they share that same love and affection with Gadadhar.

Vasudeva Ghosh's padavali is simple, down to earth and sweet. Hence these songs (which are meant to be sung in kirtan) are refreshing to hear and each one of them paints a beautiful picture. So it is not difficult for one to become attracted to his poetry. Vasudeva Ghosh has written hundreds of songs like these two—a contribution that places him at the very top of the list among the other Mahajana poets who sing of Gauranga.

Many may not know that Murari Gupta is also a staunch follower of Gaura and Gadadhar's madhura pastimes. In the following pada, he tells about his fascination for Them:

gadādhara aṅge pahu aṅga milāiya, bṛndābana guṇa gāẏa bibhora haiẏā
khone hase hone kade bahya nāhi jāne, rādhār bhave akula prana golula pore mone
ananta anaṅga jini dehera bālani, kata koṭi cānda kade heri mukha khāni
tribhubana darabita ei dohāra rase, na jāni murāri gupta bañcita kona doṣe

While tightly clasping Gadadhar in His arms Gauranga becomes overwhelmed while singing about the bhavas of Vrindavan. While sometimes laughing and sometimes crying Prabhu's external consciousness disappears in His madness for Radha as He remembers His previous Gokula lilas. Aha! Their divine forms are more captivating than millions of Cupids, and millions of moons simply fade away when viewing Their beautiful faces.

Gaura and Gadadhar's pastimes can melt the hearts of everyone in the three worlds. Thus Murari Gupta says, "I do not know by what fault I have been left out!"

Although Murari humbly says that he missed out from taking part in these madhura pastimes, he is actually among the most fortunate, as we will discover from his own testimony in the next chapter.

The Spring Holi Festival

In the following pada, Srinivasa Acarya's disciple, Mohan Das, nicely shows how the moods of Vrindavan enter Gaura and Gadadhar's vasanta holi pastime.

dekho dekho aparūpa gaurāṅgera līlā
ṛtu basante, sakala priẏa gaṇa mili, suradhunī tīre calilā
eka dike gadādhara, saṅge sbarūpa dāmodara, bāsu ghoṣa gobinda ādi meli
gaurī dāsa ādi kari, candana picakāri bhari, gadādharera aṅge deẏa pheli
sbarūpa nija gaṇa sāthe, ābhira loiẏā hāte, saghane phelāẏa gorā gāẏa
gaurīdāsa kheli kheli, gaurāṅga jitala bali, karatali diẏā āge dhāẏa
ruṣiẏā sbarūpa kaẏa, hārila gaurāṅga rāẏa, jitala āmāra gadādhara
kāka tāli diẏā keha, nāce gāẏa ūrdhba bāhu, ei dāsa mohana manohara

O my! Just look at Gauranga's amazing lila! Seeing that it is spring, Prabhu takes His priya bhaktas to the Ganga's shore to begin Holi.

Gauranga and Gadadhar form two groups: On Gadadhar's side there is Svarupa Damodar, Basu Ghosh, Govinda Ghosh and many others. Then on Gaura's side there are Gauridas, Abhirama, Sundarananda, Nityananda and other sakhas.

[In other words, today's Holi festival is re-enacted just as Lalita, Sudevi, Rangadevi and Radha's other sakhis contest Krishna with His group of sakhas that include Subal, Sridhama, Sudama, Balarama and His other Vraja sakhas.]

The sporting begins when Gauridas (Subal) comes running over to spray Gadadhar with the chandan and rose petal fluid from his pichkari (syringe)!

But then Svarupa Damodar (Lalita) leads Gadadhar's followers to bombard Gaurasundar with handful after handful of scented, colored powder!

After a round of competition, however, Gauridas emerges from the cloud of colors while clapping his hands to announce: "Gauranga has won!"

This infuriates Svarupa who then retorts: 'Na, na! Gauranga has lost, the winner is my Gadadhar!'

As the competition continues, some of the bhaktas slap their sides in frolic, as others raise their arms to the sky to sing and dance. Mohan Das thus sings this enchanting song.

Gaura and Gadadhar's Jhulan lila

suradhunī tīre āju gaura kiśora, jhulana raṅga rase pahuɱ bhela bhora
bibidha kusume sabe raci hindola, saba sahacara ānande bibhora
jhulaẏe gaura punaḥ gadādhara saṅge, tāhe kata upajaẏe prema taraṅga
mukunda mādhaba bāsu haridāsa meli, gāota pūraba rabhasa rasa keli
nadiẏā nagare kaha aiche bilāsa, rāmānanda dāsa karata soi āśa

After arriving at the Suradhuni Ganga's shore today, Gaurakishora becomes eager to enjoy His jhulan lila.

So in great bliss the bhaktas start decorating the swing with lots of various scented flowers.

When Gaura swings with Gadadhar seated beside Him Their darshan awakens waves of prema in the bhaktas!

Mukunda, Madhava Ghosh, Vasudeva Ghosh and Haridas are singing about the conjugal bliss that Radha Krishna relish in their jhulan pastime.

As such vilasa goes on in Nadiya, Ramananda always desires to see and relish this pastime.

Rasa Analysis

This song's author Ramananda Das happens to be the Kulinagram resident Ramananda Basu, the brother of Satyaraja Basu, and the grandson of Maladhar Basu who wrote Śrī Kṛṣṇa Vijaya. Every year this family of bhaktas would go to visit Mahaprabhu at Nilacala. And during the Rathayatra they formed their own kirtan sampradaya, as it is stated in Caitanya Caritāmṛta:

kulina gramer eka kīrtana samāja, tāhe nāce rāmānanda satyarāja

Another kirtan sampradaya is formed by the residents of Kulina grama, and within it dance Ramananda and Satyaraja.

Gaura and Gadadhar's Milan

Gadadhar's disciple, Jagannath Das, has written another pada that has attracted our attention, and here it is:

śayana mandire gorā śutiẏā āchila, akasmāt ki jāni ki manete paḏila
gabakṣera randhre dekhi cāɱdera kirana, bhābera āveśe kaila bāhire gamana
gabhīra rajanī prabhura keha nāhi saṅge, bhābākrānta gaura hari calilena raṅge
kothāẏa yāibe prabhu tiɱho mātra jāne, tāhāra bhābera gatike bujhibe āne
madamatta hāti yena heli dhuli yāẏa, ākuli byākuli kare mora gorā rāẏa
aparūpa kahe kathā cāhi cānda pāne, birahe byākula hiẏā dhārā bāẏa naẏana
bhramite bhramite prabhu āila suradhunī, ācambite dekhe basa gadāi guṇamaṇi
dohe mātra dekhiẏā dohar śrī badan, galā dhari lāgila karite krandana
gadādhara saṅge paiẏā gaura kiśora, sukhera nāhika ora ānande bibhora
ki durdaiba jagannātha tāhā na dekhila, bañcita jībana la
e baciẏā rahila

As Gora lies asleep in His sayana mandira He has an amazing dream that suddenly awakens Him! Looking out the window and seeing the moon's rays awakens his bhava. Thus He comes outside. It is late at night and Prabhu is alone, so He simply becomes carried along by His stirring emotions. O where is He going? It appears that He doesn't have a clue.

Gora-raya is swaying this way and that as He moves along like an intoxicated elephant. He cries out in distress and while staring to the moon what sort of amazing katha does He speak as tears of viraha pour from His eyes?

Wandering and wandering Gora arrives at the Ganga's shore, and there He sees Gadai gunamani. Aho! As the two recognize each other they tightly embrace and shed tears of ecstasy! In getting Gadadhar's company Gaura Kishor is pacified, and His happiness knows no bounds!

Jagannatha Das confesses, "Due to my misfortune I missed seeing Their madhura milana. So how will I be able to carry on?"

Vasanti Rasalila

In Vasudeva Ghosh's following pada, Gaura assumes His Krishna bhava and calls the bhaktas for enjoying the Rasa:

akhaṇḍa maṇḍala ākāra, heri śaśi pūrṇimāra, ḍhāke gadādhara bali
eso he gaṅgāra kule, khelāiba kutūhale, hari bol hari bol bali
gaurāṅger kaṇṭha dhbani, sakala bhakta śune, dhāy sabe dvani anusare
gaura gato prana, sakalakore gamana, dekhiẏā na pay dekhibare
manohara vesa dhori, toru tale gaurahari, hari boli dhake ucchaisvore
dvani anusare bhakata, holo sabe upanita, animithe mukha sashi heri
gaurahari bhakta gane, kahe kaha ki karane, hetha asiyacho rajanite
vasudeva ghosh koy, gadādhara chari bhaya, goracande lagilo kahite

In seeing the full moon's rays lighting up the sky and the Ganga's forest nikunjas Gora calls out to Gadadhar: O come to the Ganga's shore, for tonight we shall enjoy enchanting pastimes together!

Upon hearing Prabhu's loud cries of 'Hari bol!' the bhaktas madly come running, for they are all gaura-gato-prana, (deeply in love with Gauranga). And now He stands waiting for them under a desire tree dressed in His manohara vesa, mind-enchanting attire.

When the bhaktas arrive, they cannot help but stare upon Gauranga's exquisite beauty with unblinking eyes. Then he inquires, "O what has brought you into this forest so late at night?"

Vasudeva Ghosa says, "As Gauracanda speaks to the bhaktas, His only fear lies in losing Gadadhar."

Rasa Analysis

Doesn't this pada by Vasudeva Ghosh remind us of the Bhagavatam's narration—where Krishna lures the gopis into the forest with His flute-song to begin the Rasalila? But instead of using His murali, Gaura's amazing Haribol vibration carries the same akarshini sakti, or alluring potency. Thus the bhaktas come running as they each perceive that Gora is calling "their" name. But amongst the bhaktas Gaura's attraction for Gadadhar is the greatest.

It is also amazing that after running to Him in the middle of the night, Gora behaves indifferently, and surprisingly asks, "O why have You all come here at such a late hour?" Krishna similarly behaved with the gopis like this after luring them with His flute.

The following Rasalila pada is written by Gadadhar's nephew and close disciple, Nayanananda Mishra:

madhu ritu jamini suradhunī tira, ujora sudhakora malaya samira
sahacara saṅge gaura naṭarāja, viharaye nirupama kīrtana samāja
khola karatala dvani naṭana hilola, bhuja tuli ghana ghana hari hare bol
narahari gadahare viharaye saṅge, nacato gaoato kotohu bibhaṅge
kokila madhukara pancham bhasa, naẏanānanda pahu karaẏe bilāsa

As the spring's beautiful full moon night brightly lights up the Suradhuni Ganga's shore, a gentle southern breeze is blowing there. In this splendid setting Gora-nataraj enjoys Rasa sankirtan with His priya bhaktas who are all expert singers and dancers.

The bhaktas dance in waves of bliss along with the mridanga and karatal's sweet rhythm—and raise their arms to feelingly cry out 'Hari Hari bol!'
In the center Gauranga is dancing with Gadadhar and Narahari—and their dancing poses are simply amazing.

So as the kohilas coo in the fifth note and the bumblebees buzz from flower to flower, Nayanananda says: "Gauranga thus enjoys vilasa."

Rasa Analysis

Now what is Nayanananda referring to when he ends by saying "Gauranga thus enjoys vilasa"?
If we take the bhāvāḍhya definition, as we are describing the rasa in this chapter, the passage will read: "In this way Prabhu enjoys amusing pastimes."

But if we understand the word vilasa with its rasatmika definition, the last line will read: "Prabhu thus enjoys conjugal loving pastimes." Now which version is right?

Here it must be admitted that our Gaudiya Mahajan poets use the word vilasa purposefully, as they know that either meaning can be understood by it. So what usually happens is that most readers will interpret that here Gauranga is relishing amusing pastimes with His bhaktas, and go on.

But in the present topic, we could surely question: Since Gauranga is Krishna, wouldn't His rasa-relish in the Rasalila happen in the same way that Krishna enjoys it with the gopis in the rasatmika mood?

To search for the correct answer, we would do well to investigate the internal mood in which Nayanananda and Vasudeva Ghosh worship Gauranga, since the two poems that we are presently analyzing are written by them. And as we read Nayanananda's following testimony, we may note that he has a hidden female svarūpa in Gaura lila:

koribo mui ki koribo ki, gopata gaurāṅga preme thekiyachi
dighal dighal cacora kesha rasal duti akhi, rūpe gune preme tanu makha jeno dekhi
acambite asiẏā dhoralo mora buka, svapane dekhinu hama goracander mukha
baper kule mui kuler jhiyari, soshur kule mui kuler bouhari
pativrata mui sei achilun patir kole, sakal bhasiẏā gelo gorar prema jale
kahaẏe naẏanānanda bhujilāma ihā, kona parakare kahena nibhāriba hiẏā?

O sakhi! Please tell me, what shall I do, O what shall I do? For I have secretly fallen in love with Gauranga.

When looking to His long curling hair and moist beautiful eyes, I see that His bodily splendor, prema and wonderful qualities all combine into one exquisite, mind-enchanting form of romantic love.

O sakhi! Let me confess, when I was asleep He suddenly entered my dream and started fondling my breasts—as I saw Goracanda's moon-face rise over my chest!
Although I am the beloved daughter in my parents' home, and behave like a chaste housewife in my father-in-law's house, the vow of chastity that I pledged to my husband has been drowned in the ocean of my secret love for Gauranga!

Nayanananda says, 'Now please tell me sakhi, how will I restrain these deep feelings of love which have arisen in my heart?'"

Rasa Analysis

Here Gadadhar's own nephew and intimate disciple, Nayanananda Mishra, reveals a hidden world in Gauranga's pastimes that very few people know about: that His bhaktas have supremely beautiful female forms that are hidden. For it is with these nagari svarupas that they share very exciting and pleasure-filled parakiya pastimes with Him—just as Krishna does with Radha and Her sakhis.
In reality this is Prabhu's most favorite activity, and hence, everything else that He does is secondary.

Here is Vasudeva Ghosh's testimony:

se bahu-ballabha gorā, jagatera citta cora, āmāre karite cāi ekā
hena dhana anye dite, pāre bala kāra cite, bhāgābhāgī nāhi yāẏa dekhā
sajani lo manera marama ka-i tore
nā heri gaurāṅga mukha, bidariẏā yāẏa buka, ke curi karila mana core
lao kula lao māna, lao śīla lao prāṇa, lao mora jībana yaubana
deo more gorā nidhi, yāhe cāhi nirabadhi, sei mora sarabasa dhana
na tu suradhunī nīre, paśiẏā tejiba prāṇa, parāṇera parāṇa mora gorā
bāsudeba ghoṣa kaẏa, se dhana dibāra naẏa, daṇḍe daṇḍe tile ha-i hārā

This translation includes some further explanation:

When addressing Gauranga as bahu ballabha, Vasudeva admits that He enjoys loving pastimes with limitless consorts. Because like Krishna, He is by far the most captivatingly handsome purush in the universe Who can easily steal the mind of every pretty young girl.

Nevertheless, in his nagari svarupa she craves for the chance to share loving pastimes with Him alone—"For where can the beautiful woman be found who could bear to share such a treasure with others?" she says.

[This brings to mind a previous Caitanya Caritāmṛta passage we quoted where Radharani craves just the opposite: to share Krishna's love with all of her sakhis. Then She automatically relishes millions of times more for Her generosity. In contrast, however, Vasudeva's prema for Gauranga has a deep, possessive nature which demonstrates a totally different nayikabhava, a bhava which captivates and enslaves Gauranga into behaving the same way with her. Thus a mood of great dependence is nurtured between them—that neither can live without the other—and this is very intense.]

In his nagari svarupa Vasudeva confides in an intimate girlfriend to confess:

O sakhi! Let me tell you about what is always running through my mind (for who else can I tell?):

Without seeing Gauranga's lovely face I suffer tremendous heart pain, for He has stolen my mind. I have surrendered myself unto Him, saying, "You may take away my family reputation and self-esteem, take my shyness, take my very life and take my youthful and glamorous body—for it is Yours to enjoy."

But let me have my Gauranga-jewel, Whom I always crave, Who is my all in all, and Who is the very life of my life. Otherwise, if I fail to attain Him, I shall drown myself in the Ganga!

Vasudeva Ghosh confesses, "Although I can never renounce the wealth of my Gauranga's loving company, that treasure seems to flee from me always—from hour to hour and second to second!"

Rasa Analysis

This poem and the previous one are very instructive for a number of reasons. Because if we stop to think about it, why would they write such an intimate confession about themselves for others to read? Could they be wishing to share these invaluable secrets about Sri Gauranga's internal lila tattva so that people such as you and I can become attracted and wish to take up such an exalted form of bhajan? Personally speaking, we cannot fathom any other reason.

This poem is also instructive as it imbibes an ideal example of atma nivedhan, full surrender. Of all the nine processes of bhakti-sadhana, atma nivedana is the most powerful way to attract the Lord—especially when such a mood comes from Gauranga's most dearly beloved consorts.
Now from whom did Vasudeva Ghosh receive the courage to write such a confession? Here he admits the following:

śrī sarakāra ṭhākurera padāmṛta pāne,
padya prakāśiba bali icchā kainu mane
sarakāra ṭhākurera adbhuta mahimā,
braje madhumati ye guṇera nāhi sīmā

After sampling the nectar of Narahari Sarkhar Thakur's poetry I became inspired to write like him. Narahari's glories are amazing, for in Vraja he is Madhumati Sakhi whose qualities are endless.

So, in the next chapter, we will first take shelter of Thakur Narahari's madhura rasa siddhantas in order to understand and enter the beautiful world of Gaura and Gadadhar's rasatmika pastimes.


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