Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pratah Stava: 3rd Shloka

Acharya Shri abandoned his masculine identity and assumed a female form as a sakhi in order to have access into the divine play of Lord Krishna. He exalted,

Pratarbhjami shayanotithat yugam rupan,

Sarveshvaran sukhkaran rasikeshabhoopam.

Anyonyakeli raschihan-sakhidrigaughan,

Sakhyavritan surat kam manoharan cha.

So we focus on the morning following the night of rapturous lovemaking. The sakhis had forayed into the scene of sensual frolic and had no inkling when they went to their respective homes. Waking up early in the morning, they gathered somehow.The collective identity of the sakhis reflects an interdependence characteristic of women in communal village society, but it also serves as an element in their devotional strength since they have the same eager desire of union with Krishna, the supreme lover.

Sitting in a forest bower it struck one of them, that without further delay they should review the enchanting tale of Shri Radha-Krishna's triumph. The whole lot approved of the plan and strode towards that charming nikunja where they had left their Priya-Priyatam fond of dallying romantically, engaged in their most intimate transcendental exchanges, the night before.

After midnight the herd had arrived and some of them had stayed on, peeking from behind the creeper thickets.The group reached the forest arbour and saw that Shri Radha-Krishna, the paridgmatic lovers, had just woken up...adulating each other shyly with side-long glances. They really wanted to erase the tell-tale signs of worldly sensual pleasures before the sakhis arrived but could not because of fatigue.

Absorbed in the exotic scene, Shri Acharyaji raves,' In the early morning I meditate upon the supreme moment of ecstatic response, evoked by both the impassioned Rasikas who wake up, having abandoned sleep. The Yugal, Shri Radha-Krishna... supreme lords of the sakhis' hearts-bestow joyous abandon every day and through the signs printed on their fragrant limbs grant fusions of delight and desire to the sakhis gathered around. The portrayal of this enchanting Yugal by the sakhis is ethereal. Yes...I do bhajan or sing songs of a devotional nature, focusing upon them at the crack of dawn.'

In the evening when the ardently youthful Shri Radha-Krishna had come to the nikunja hideaway they were beautifully dressed from head to toe; ornamented with jewellery. By morning these ornaments had engraved the escapade unconsciously on their tender bodies. Sandalwood spots, dots of saffron...and other kinds of makeup went haywire in the erotic love-play of the bedecked Yugal, and they hadn't the slightest inkling.

Their passion quelled, the dishevelled but triumphant state of the Yugal was imprinted in various ways. Shri Radha-Krishna are both on an equal footing. The duo have had a drawn game forever wherein both are triumphant and defeated. No one except the love-spots can give an account of the clashing Yugal's valiant manoeuvres. Both of them are aroused in such a fashion that their precious jewels and flower garlands assist in the prints of passion. Somewhere there is an etching of golden gems and the scratch of a gold edging; the multi-hued blossoms of a flower garland are impressed on other limbs.

The sakhis watch and loving entreaties make them rapturous. Teasing, one of them pointed to the outward signs of passion apparent on Priyaji's arm and asked,' What is this? Okay tell me the truth.' Soon after someone made a sarcastic remark and Radha stammered,' Nothing sakhis. I do not know what you fantasize about. This is just a scratch from the golden trimming of my veil. I had gone to sleep wearing the odhni.'

The sakhis laughed in unison. One of them coaxed,' And what is this bruise...on your throat...milky white breast! Did the bordered veil hurt you here as well?'

Now the young Kishori shuddered and could not speak a word. One of the sakhis pinpointed,'Oh! Lustful Kishore ... Shyam Sundar, be concerned about our tender Kishori...soft like a budding lotus.' Laughter delighted mischievous Krishna's lips...and passion loaded his expressive eyes. His lips quivered to answer but were unable to do so.

Another sakhi barged in,' Okay forget it....Just let us know what is the matter...A golden border impacted Kishori...but what about you...the poor trimming is not to be blamed in this case...' The shy sheepish faces of the duo with embarassed smiles. What is the answer to these queries?

Meanwhile an expert sakhi came up with an idea...getting a clean mirror...she propped it in front of them. Soon after Shri Radha-Krishna lifted their gaze once...Saw the impassioned reflection in the mirror and lowered their eyes. A surge of enthused exultation...rapturous intoxication stirred their heart.

A sakhi teased,'Delightful are the outward expressions of your love play! Just explain how this capricious black-bee rests on the reddish lotus lips before sunrise. Well got it! It is collyrium which darkens Radha's eyes, otherwise seeing us gather at dawn...scared, the bee would have flown away. O Enchanter! Truly you are looking ineffably beautiful with collyrium smudged on your lotus lips.'

Today the supreme Rasika is resorting to silence. Though the fusion of laughter and smiles makes him more captivating. The irresistibly attractive Kishori sort of steeped in shyness, sits with a bowed head.

Another sakhi raising Priyatam's chin commented, 'The vibrant red stain of the chewed betel leaf on your blue-skinned cheek in no doubt a visual allusion of the passionate nature of your love which Kishori has seen closely...' The supreme lover did not utter a word today.The sakhis laughed...some of them stupefied, sat absorbed in the joyous abandon of the dalliance.

Acharya Shri is meditating upon this portrayal of intense passion in the early morning. Let us also imitate him with madhurya bhava where the devotee is seen as God's beloved (Radha and Krishna.) Nimbarkacharyaji seeks to express in some tangible form the desire for union with the divine. We can imagine, experience and share his vision of the union and ultimate indivisibility between Krishna and Radha by focusing on whatever he saw and wrote.

May recollection and resolution becoming allies make us long for the lovers' blissful union. What is the use of operating by way of visions, fantasies and meditations...if Lord Krishna does not actually manifest before us...In case our ardour is sufficient and understanding complete, we can identify our passion and consummation of our love with Radha, the supreme object of Krishna's passionate love. We entreat the Acharya and other rasikas for such an ecstatic condition.

Highly revered Shri Sakhaji (a sakhi of the nitya lila parikar) revealed,' May the hidden treasure trove of dedicated devotees and their charming annotations' bestow us with some virtues from its fund and enrich us. And the herd of Braj beauties, rightful owners of this secret wealth... teach us the method of construing the sensual marks...And the Yugal who delight these rasikas, make us sight and sense their divine play; immersing us forever in the deeper ecstasies of devotion, as we closely attend to the lovable needs of Shri Radha-Krishna.

Now is the same time span when both feign sleep...yawning, are seated on the romantic dalliance bedstead in the forest bower. Sakhis leave the two in isolation due to their slightly opened eyes, languid faces, fatigued limbs assuming them to be drowsy. Laughing, they tease them by passing an amusing remark at times. Hearing this the ardent...intoxicated Yugal, with a half smile on their lips and embarrassed languor on their faces cast a deeply lovable spell on them.

Staggering along, Shri Radha-Krishna collide with them without fail. Soon after...the sleep loading their eyes vanishes...the laziness disappears...fatigue deserts them. Shoulder brushed against shoulder but triggered off a romantic dalliance. Both are cautious but impassioned, which rouses their ardent longing.

Shri Radha-Krishna are fond of dallying and now begins a new episode of their love-sport...tale of exquisite lust...sancharis of Rati... which takes us to the heart of the love of Shri Radha-Krishna. The sakhis had seen the bodies of the Yugal marked with outward expressions of their love-play, in the cool early morning.Stupefied, their eyes filled with fusions of delight and desire, dancing in joyous abandon those sakhis forgot to chatter chirpily. They gathered that moment of ecstatic response seen on the duo's enchanting limbs.

So, in the morning when the young sun began to rise the sakhis went to their respective abodes. Their adorable Yugal also staggering along, headed towards their own mansions. The darkness of the evening had again drawn the love-sick beauties to that forest grove, where Shri Radha-Krishna...giving in to freedom, spontaneity and intense passion were exchanging love-notes.

The sakhis further expanded their love-play to greater heights. When they sighted sleep in the Yugal's eyes and laziness afflicting their limbs, the entire lot went to other nikunjas or bowers. You never know the deeper ecstasies of devotion they assimilated there... but still an exquisite desire for closer intimacy with their teasing, insistent and elusive paramour afflicted them.

It was dawn once again...and all the young sakhis eagerly desirous for the Yugal's love-play thronged to the same forest bower, the shrine of their union and stood spellbound at what they saw. With bodies, minds and souls fused and focused in a single expression of love, Shri Radha-Krishna appeared as joined halves transformed to an undifferentiated divine.

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