Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lila Rasa Madhuri: Preface

We find the handsome Krishna in his revelation as the supreme lover, fluting in the blossoming pastures of his youth in earthly Vrindavan. The enraptured cowherdesses longing for union with their teasing, elusive and insistent paramour, move in a delicious anguish to his side in kunjas-nikunjas, forests, fields, wells and banks of the Yamuna. These village women and the elements of nature are passionately drawn by Krishna's flute-play; the breath of love and a call to eternity.

Shri Radha-Krishna are in essence a single entity, who manifest as two distinct individuals for the sake of interpersonal romantic exchange. The handsome god created Shri Radha for the sake of joy when he longed to relish his own sweet romantic sentiment.

Shri Radha

Aadi purusha,(primeval man) Shri Krishna is resplendent in the rasa mandala of Goloka, the heavenly sphere. A tremor in Krishna's left portion led to the appearance of Shri Radha. Irresistibly attractive, she instantly laid out flowers, offering herself to Krishna as his consort. Krishna also propitiates her daily which led to her being acclaimed as Sri.

Shri Radha-Krishna are not a mere concept of the poets' devotional imagination. Shri Radha above all the other souls of the world ultimately emerges as the supreme object of Krishna's passionate love. If our ardour is sufficient and understanding complete we can identify our passion and the consummation of our love with hers.

Acknowledged as the supreme deity, it is said that Radha controls Krishna with her love and that perfect spiritual life is unattainable without her grace. Shri Radha is Krishna's hladini shakti or blissful energy. She is prakriti (the power of earth, mother nature, physical world) and Shri Krishna is the sole purusha (primeval man, power of heaven, spiritual realm).

For centuries stotras and stutis (hymns of praise or eulogies) propitiating the divine energies of Shri Radha-Krishna, who fulfill mankind's earthly desires with their loving tenderness, abound in several scriptures, Vedas, Puranas and Upanishads.

Shri Radha becomes the supreme nayika in Gita Govinda by Jayadeva, in the literary sphere. The cynosure off our attention, she humanizes Krishna from a devata to a nayaka and in doing so the romantic emotion in the text becomes at once sensual and spiritual. She does not find a mention in the Puranas and Upanishads. Neither does the Shrimad Bhagvatam replete with the divine play of Shri Krishna have any reference to Radha.

Shri Krishna

Shri Krishna's enigmatic persona, is both human and divine at the same time. The idyll of his youth is centered in Vrindavana where he voluntarily gives in to sensual pleasures of the world; delighting the gopas and gopikas with the vatsalya, sakhya, dasya and madhurya rasa. His innocent pranks are interspersed with putting an end to demonic forces which constantly attacked the area.

Ineffably handsome, Krishna bursts forth into the hearts of his devotees with a sudden and mysterious rush of love. The blue-hued god goes on to fulfill his dharma as Vishnu's avatara on earth. He slays the evil Kamsa, reveals the nature of time and duty to Arjuna on the field of Kurukshetra and goes on to rule a kingdom in Dvaraka surrounded by luxury.

Our prime concern is to gather these playful dalliances and relish them, absorbed in the love of Shri Radha-Krishna bestowed by the twin stotras. We find glimpses of their divinity and majestic grandeur in this composition. The creators, preservers and destroyers of creation, Radha and Krishna are adorable in their celestial forms as we seek to please the Yugal and are granted the boon of their grace.

The basic stotra of Shri Radha Kripakataksh is the Shri Radha tantra or incantation, posited on her. In the research institute of Vrindavan the composition is gathered in small handbooks of rasikas, dating back to two hundred years roughly.

Dedicated eminent personages heard the recitation and wrote about it's splendour in their own bhava or love flowing towards the divine. We come across some flaws and lack of clarity but the prime concern of these devotees was attaining the loving grace of Priya-Priyatam and not the presentation of some authentic literary proof.

No clear write-ups apparently endorse the creation of Shri Krishna Kripakatash. Some time back Shri Nishcalanandji Maharaj came to Vrindavan and affirmed that this stotra had been compiled by Shri Shankracharyaji Maharaj.The same viewpoint is confirmed by a hand written copy found in the research institute of Vrindavan marked as written in Dvaraka in the year 1868.

Another highlight of this stotra is its rhythm and speed. The eulogy can be equated to the Shri Radha Kripakataksha, engaging us in the service of Nanda's handsome son Krishna.Though the sequence of reciting both the stotras is different, they have been religiously adopted by practitioners in the prescribed order of devotion.

The superb twin stotras, adorned a great rasika Ushaji and steeped her in the love of Shri Radha-Krishna. This spectral revelation was spurred by Lord Krishna. A sakhi, Shri Sakhaji, belonging to the very intimate nitya parikar (attendants) of Shri Radha-Krishna was clearly signalled to make their eternal divine play easily attainable for the very lovable Boboji (Ushaji).

Relishing these hymns when highly revered Ushaji, imagined, experienced and shared her vision of the terrifying rush of Shri Radha-Krishna's love; her sentiments and convincing fantasies were compiled in a tangible form and presented before the readers in her own words.

Let us savour the distinct flavour of the stotras, their descriptive subject, divine play and the passionate romantic dalliances of Shri Radha-Krishna by way of our individual upasana or propitiation, bhavna or imaginative recollection and chintan or mode of meditation.

Devout Usha Bahinji would urge all close associates to recite these sacred hymns several times over. She had an implicit belief that the twin stotras were excellent contributions in attaining the grace of Shri Radha-Krishna's loving tenderness. In the daily regime of her kirtan seva (singing songs of a devotional nature) chanting of the hymns is a compulsory norm.

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