Friday, February 13, 2009

Role of Sensuality in Pratah Stava: Hymns praising Shri Radha-Krishna

The highest reality of the human soul is its delightful absorption in the divine which includes earthly joy. An ardent longing of mankind for a divine and transcendental love is perfectly reflected in the terrifying rush of love between Shyama-Shyam.

This prime essence is called Shri due to passionate dalliances with Shri Krishna, the all-pervading spirit of the universe. The embodiment of the irreristably attractive feminine principle, Shri is the paradigm of the seeker for ultimate reality. And because of propitiating Shri Krishna, the source of all manifestations of God, the essence is called Radha (the source of all shaktis or feminine manifestations of cosmic energy). When in a collective form, the divine play is acclaimed as raas, a moment of grace when the supreme lover and gopis are in unison.

Despite being all pervasive, it is majestic in idyllic Vrindavana. Lord Krishna's amorous frolics with his consort Shri Radha, is called dallying with his own self. And passionate antics with the gopis who are Shri Radha's replications or kayavyuhas has been termed as Shri Radha Vihar. Therefore the only male, Lord Krishna is called Aatmaram or the Supreme Being.

Shri Nimbarkacharyaji is revered for being the foremost worshipper, imbibing the sakhi bhava. (A sakhi is the love-messenger, whose only concern is to see Radha and Krishna united and joyous in love. To this end she not only carries messages but comforts and even admonishes them.)

Acharyaji's rare gift to the Vaishnava World; is the philosophical concept of bheda abheda or difference and identity. It defines the shringara bhakti of Krishna, who is very much in and of this world but yet above it. Secondly, Shri Nimbarka exalted the lovable adulation of Shri Yugal (Shri Radha-Krishna); Devotion to Krishna is not an end in itself but that devotion is to be expressed and experienced in the union of the lover and the beloved, Radha and Krishna.

Rasikacharya Shri Nimbarka awakens us to a whole new world of the passionate and young Yugal (Shri Radha-Krishna). And in the Sutra (a short rule or aphorism used in Sanskrit manuals of instruction) literary style, he has evaluated the entire gamut of Sakhi Bhavopasna (worship with the sakhi bhava)

Highly revered Usha Bahenji has deeply imbibed the passionate shokas (verses) of Nimbarkacharyaji, absorbing the very essence of the bhavas (love flowing toward the Lord) contained in the verses. She gives a charming and sweet description of the write-up, which is not possible without sensitivity of perception. The readers' thoughts can easily identify with her terrifying rush of love, within that region of the heart where God is ultimately found.

There is a unique combination of language and bhava. The artistic creativity and emotions are both par excellence. It seems one is sighting Shri Radha-Krishna's divine play while going through the work; in reality her fusions of delight and desire are bound in the recorded description.

The chief bhava of a gopi who sees Radha as her deity, as her life and soul is revealed as the distinctive feature of this sacred text. 'Tatsukhe sukhi! ' Her primary concern, over and above her own self-interest, is Radhika's pleasure.With the same perfection, Radha embodies the beautiful sentiment of sakhi vatsalya (maternal love) for the sakhis. Radha feels that her love for Krishna can always expand to greater heights and therefore she manifests herself as the many gopis of Braj, who fulfil Krishna's desire for a loving relationship in a variety of ways.

With highly revered Usha Bahenji's sensitive portrayal, the Nimabarka Sect is obliged and her glory is akin to a radiant pillar in the Vaishnava World. I make obeisance hundreds of times before such a great rasika (person moved by passionate religious devotion, especially for Krishna) saint.

Finally I entreat Shri Vijayji, who is gifted in writing spiritual literature with great lucidity, to publish the entire collected data of other predominant bhavas, doing a great favour unto the Vaishnavas.

Vaidhyanath Jha.

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