Saturday, March 7, 2009

Pratah Stava: 6th Shloka

Pratarbraveemi Yugalavapi somrajau,

Radhamukund-pashupal sutau varishthau.

Govindchandra Vrashbhanusutau varishthau,

Sarveshvarau svajanpalan-tatpareshau.

Waking up at dawn...I do kirtan or sing songs of a devotional nature for Govindchandra Shri Mukunda (title of Krishna) and Shri Radharani, daughter of Shri Vrashbhanu, the repositories of ambrosia. Incarnating in the community of cowherds, they are the highest reality...supremely auspicious...everyone's Swamis, always eager to attend to the needs of their close ones.'

Truly both are full moons. But the sky's full moon which can not be sighted in the daytime...gleaming only at night...waxing and waning in size, can not compete with the Yugal (Shri Radha-Krishna). After poornima (full moon) it diminishes in size and finally comes to an end. Soon after amavasya, the last day of the dark fortnight of a lunar month, comes the night of the full moon. But both these enchanting moons shine brilliantly and radiantly...are eternally ravishing and expiate the sufferings of all sins. Savouring the nectar of their beauteous forms, confers immortality.

Thus eminent devotees like Shri Vyas Devacharyaji, Shri Bhattji, Surdasji, Shri Billavmangal and so on, are immortal till date. Absorbed in madhurya or the terrifying rush of love, they sang the glory of the Yugal (Shri Radha-Krishna), seen as the object of longing and of a love which is expressed in the cry of the enraptured soul for god.

In the Vallabha Sect's Krishna seva, poetry becomes practiced religion as they 'live out' stories from the cosmic world of Krishna. Kirtans are sung accompanying each liturgical moment from mangala or dawn to shayana in the evening. Mostly in the pada and raga form, we have the extensive use of both of these in its central expression of devotion or seva by dedicated devotees.

Ineffably beautiful,supremely auspicious are Nandbaba's darling Shri Krishna and Shri Radha Rani the pampered daughter of Shri Vrashbhanu. The Vaishnava tradition teaches that Krishna enchants the world but Shri Radha enchants even him. She controls Krishna with her love and perfect spiritual life is unattainable without her grace. And allaying all our fears is Mukund. Whoever takes refuge or shelter with him is freed from all worldly desires and assured of safety.

Shri Acharya is not tired of raving about their supremacy. Twice he acclaims them as the best in one shloka. Endorsing the fact that even if someone reaches out by chance, they do not take the slightest time to grant moksha or salvation.

Giving mukti to the demonic forces which constantly attacked Gokul,Shri Shukhdevji asks that whose shelter shall we seek other than the compassionate Lord Krishna, granting the same salvation as mother Yashoda to Pootna who came to kill him with her poison-laced breasts. All of the virtues and all of the beauty of the world co-mingle in Krishna's character and form.

Krishna's loving tenderness, innocent pranks, evocative clothes, beautiful adornments, lyrical softness, serene sensuality, passionate but not lustful, stupefies hundreds of love-gods and countless Ratis (wife of Kamdev, god of love) are spellbound...Who can possibly give an account of his madhurya or sweet love and beauty. Krishna is seen as the object of longing and of a love which is expressed in the cry of the enraptured cowherdesses for union with their teasing, elusive and insistent paramour.

Govind delighting in play endears himself, imparting joy to all his devotees. With mischief and spontaneity, tenderness and teasing, Krishna enflames the desire of the individuated soul. Thus we can imagine, experience and share their vision of the union and ultimate indivisibility between Radha and Krishna, purusha and prakriti, God and devotee.

Who can be greater than our svamini, or devotional ideal... Shri Radhika, beloved of our hearts. Easily pleased, she quickly engages those who surrender themselves to her in Krishna's service. It is said that she controls Krishna and perfect spiritual life is unattainable without her grace. The divine exemplar without a second, she overlooks our flaws .bestowing prema or selfless love to love-lorn hearts, placates suffering and grants spiritual bliss to those afflicted with the pathos of longing.

By smarana or a concentrated internal practice of imaginative recollection of living through the countless legends of the playful dalliance of Radha and Krishna, Acharyaji reaches the heights of elation and ecstasy. The Yugal or Shri Radha-Krishna as a singular principle of unity are constantly desirous to protect their devotees, never faltering.

Though everyone is their own, not strangers and they look after the mundane world. Those entreating for worldly joys and comforts are given their desired objectives. The wretched are relieved of their suffering and granted a new lease of life. Birds and deer of Braj stand still entranced, hearing the melodious flute-play. Fondling, patting and feeding these living sentient beings with their own hands, Shri Radha-Krishna shower love.

Shri Radha-Krishna adopt more than merely a singular bhava suitable to their particular identity in this world. Giving vatsalya or maternal joy to their parents and elders...enjoying and sulking, with spirited antics, stubbornness, clinging on...cuddling in their lap...making tales, Shri Radha-Krishna delight their maternal tenderness.

Devotees adulate child Kanhaiya and pampered Radha in the world of devotional imagination but the duo also care with the sentiment of maternal affection, a primary bhava in the fundamental setup of seva. Imbibing sakha bhava when the devotee relates to God as a friend, the Yugal nurture young gopas or cowherds with the sakha rasa.

VaishnavasTradition sees the love of the gopis as transcendental love of the highest order, countering accusations of mundane sexuality. Said to be the zenith of spiritual awareness, such love represents the purest emotion a soul may have for its divine source. The enraptured cowherdesses long for union with their teasing, elusive and insistent paramour. Shri Radha-Krishna fulfill their desire for a loving relationship...with love-talk, passionate endevours, winsome repeated chances of their close intimacy.

Through countless playful dalliances in the night...midnight, daybreak, dawn, midday, early afternoon, day in and day out, Shri Radha-Krishna delight minds-souls; sometimes collectively as a herd and at times with isolated amorous frolics.

Shri Radha is Krishna's beloved, able to please him with little more than a glance.Krishna enchants the world but she enchants even him. Radha feels that her love for Krishna can always expand to greater heights and therefore she manifests herself as the many gopis of Braj. wanting them to delight in the sole purpose of a loving exchange with Krishna.

Long ago, revered Shri Sakhaji narrated the divine play of a young gopi. Hearing the cry for help in the midst of her most intimate transcendental exchange, Radha spurred Krishna to go to her, affirming that she was actually calling out to Radha, responsible for the gopi's fusions of delight and desire.

Several such incidents can be cited when the lovingly tender Kishori got the sakhis to experience the deeper ecstasies of devotion. And Lord Krishna, the passionate supreme lover...himself ardently longs to look after the well-being of mankind. The sakhis steeped in the love of the Yugal, are the only ones having an insight into his love which is as mysterious as it is compelling.

'Therefore I do kirtan or sing songs of a devotional nature for such a youthful Kishore-Kishori in the dark-hued daybreak, by living through the countless legends of the Yugal's playful dalliance'...says the Acharya.

'With enthused exultation I sing the glories of fhe repository of virtues; the lover and his beloved... reveling in beauty or saundarya, sweetness or madhurya and selfless love or prema,...anxiously guarding their dedicated devotees...and everyone's swamis, seen as the object of longing and of a love which is expressed in the cry of the enraptured soul for god.'

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