Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chapter 1: Heading Towards Krishna's Madhurya

Madhurya, the Watchword of Shringara Bhakti

Consciousness is the essence of all living beings like birds and bees, trees and creepers. But in humans it has a slightly different identity as it is suffused with love, for which we must be grateful to the Supreme Being. Man is indebted to God for this particular concern of His but oblivious of how to go about expressing it.

On accepting that Krishna's hungering devotees are passionately drawn towards His madhurya or sweet love, the watchword of bhakti shringara, a certain spirituality that can only arise by indulging in love, takes us to the very heart of the love of Radha and Krishna. When Krishna bursts forth into our hearts, affecting all with a mysterious and sometimes terrifying rush of love, why should we wander in the jungles of knowledge and not roam in the garden of religious devotion instead.

Enraptured Cowherdesses Drawn by Krishna

The world of shringara rasa is not inaccessible. With mischief and spontaneity, tenderness and teasing, we find the dark-skinned cowherd frolicking in the forested regions, market places, banks of the Yamuna and glades of Vraja where He plays the flute. The enraptured gopis, representing souls in search of salvation, long for their teasing, elusive and insistent paramour. If a bit of His secret or sudden love invades our hearts, life is filled with inspiration and delight.

The resonances of the gopikas' hungry for fulfillment of their love, is heard in the hearts of rasikas and bhaktas even as of today. Krishna is hungry too and is conceptualized as the god in need, as the ardent but often faithless lover of the love-struck soul.

With His spirited antics Shyam Sundar placed the burden on one such sakhi Ushaji of His nij parikar (inner circle of attendants) who was very dear to Him. She was entrusted with the task of bringing us close to dark-hued Krishna.

You have also been a close sakhi of his but have forgotten this fact. But by smarana, a concentrated internal practice of imaginative recollection by living through the countless legends of the playful dalliance of Radha and Krishna, you will be privileged to witness the sole purusha, Krishna who is the divine exemplar and the supreme lover.

Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji

 Bhaktimati Usha Bahenji, the epitome of infinite love came to alert us of the surrounding oblivion and gave it direction by bringing alive the concept of bhakti shringara. Above all self-assured and dignified she was to show us the path of union with the Divine. No one could truly understand her.

An absolutely simple personality,she remained an unsolved enigma and distributed religious devotion with a generous hand. Several seekers could attain the ultimate reality because of her. The rush of shringara rasa made her a paradigm of the perennial quest of mankind for a divine and transcendental love, in accordance with the shastras.

Shri Shyama-Shyam

Playing her part, Ushaji of Vraja withdrew herself and returned from where she had come because she was much needed there. The high ideals she expounded during her lifespan are certainly worth adopting. She unveiled the cascading sweet love of Shyama-Shyam.The ardent longing of mankind for the terrifying love of Krishna was calmed in the proximity of Bobo, as she was fondly called.

By ecstatic and evocative expressions of love she steeped everyone in the supreme lover's rasa suffused with madhurya.

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