Saturday, May 1, 2010

Chapter 36: Return to Vrindavan, Renunciation-Charming Perceptions

Who has the competence to describe the good fortune of Vrindavan where the amorous frolics of Radha-Krishna unfold in bucolic groves on banks of the Yamuna. They fix their tryst beneath the lovely kadamba trees, spreading their joy and love. Hence Bobo resided in idyllic Vrindavan constantly.

Relishing the joyous abandon and dalliance sites of Vrishbhanupur, Bobo returned to Vrindavan. As of now the year of her maun, 1968-69 was running its course and she had a relentless schedule. She would note down the divine lilas conferred by Shri Sakhaji (a siddha) in the big copy, plus make Thakurji's ornaments and dresses.These days she was knitting warm woollens and would not rest for a moment.The handsome Krishna did not approve of a daily regime which was beyond her capacity.

One day Shri Thakurji told Bobo, “Do not note down the dalliances, stitch or knit but just bide your time.” Despite this warning she kept doing so. The dark god came up with a stratagem. Now whatever work she did was spoiled. She noted the lilas but wrongly, made dresses which were lost, knitted a shawl for Anandi-Vallabh Thakurji but it was bungled.

There is no touchstone to assay the dispute of two lovers. Bobo figured out that Thakurji was arranging for her to take rest. She continued with her activities because it is a unique trait of love and not to disobey his order.

A time slot was fixed that no work would be done apart from ten in the morning till six in the evening. She would not do anything these days and while away her time.Is it possible to have such a superb example of mutual love?

This term of maun which began with the signal of Priya-Priyatam came to an end. Reaching the heights of elation, Bobo remained delightedly engrossed in herself.

Within the context of scriptural norms, Bobo had a particular reverence for brahmans. At one instance she says, “ I wish that the supremely auspicious brahman community cast their favourable glance on me. And assuringly posit me in the shelter of Krishna's lotus feet.There is not a moment sans the handsome god, his spirited antics and joyous reminiscence in every facet of my life.

At one point she confirms,“ I long from the core of my heart that not only mine but your moments are immersed in the supreme lover and his terrifying rush of love. And we wait expectantly until the paramour comes and gives us respite. Soon after, along with the sakhis we are steeped in the joyous closeness of that yugal or sacred couple.”

The path of love is strange with devotees ardently longing for the love of Shyama-Shyam every second. Those who abandon the lure of worldly attraction, their yearning assumes an idealistic form and becomes worthy of emulation. Bobo repeatedly experienced the joy of Krishna's presence followed by the emptiness of his absence.She along with other devotees crossed a threshold of awareness that dark god existed intensely in their hearts when they sang his praise and dwelt in their longing for him.

The decked majesty of the rainy season abounding with rumbling clouds, whistling of the pied crest cuckoo and peacocks dancing in ecstasy attract everyone.Bobo reveals at one point,“The scene of gathered clouds has drawn me since childhood.Suffused in this dark splendour-playing hide and seek, Krishna the object of love tugs the heart.. Braj cowherdesses step out of their homes on some pretext and tread on the forest path.

At times Krishna, the colour of the condensed sky, accosts these spirited maidens leading to a romantic dalliance.The bucolic groves warmly welcome them and Krishna along with his beloveds accepts their hospitality.”

Krishna is the repository of madhurya but surprisingly inflames the heart. This teasing elusive and insistent paramour does not give more grief to anyone than these enraptured village girls with whom he sported in his youth. Those who are distanced experience the emptiness of his absence and those who experience the joy of his presence are always yearning.But amazingly this delicious anguish abounds with the shooting pain of venom-and the coolness of a nectarine trance.

Krishna relieves our pain too but to incite it further. The terrifying rush of his love transgressing conventional freed from all constraints. The Braj cowherdesses are supremely learned in this art-may they distribute some particle of their love for the blue-hued god and enrich us.

Crazed by this ardent longing when Bobo was engrossed in the charming refuge of Priya-Priyatam, she never turned to look back.

Her emotions surged with the start of spring and she was thrilled. “This month of Phalgun (February to March) is very joyous and makes rasikas love-lorn. Nature stretches out and lazily looks around. When Krishna smiles at her he makes a firm connection between the joys and abundance of spring and the in-dwelling Vishnu.A Vishnu who resides not only in the minds and hearts of the gopis but also in the sap that animates the birds and the bees, the trees and creepers of Vrindavan.

It is the coming together of prakriti, the power of earth and purusha, the power of heaven, our lovable svamini Shri Radha plus her sakhis and handsome Krishna the supreme lover. Loving devotees are living through countless legends of the playful dalliance of Radha-Krishna constantly even today.And idyllic and sensuous Vrindavan provides a perfect setting for the sweet love of Krishna. It is here that blossoms bloom affectionately, birds sing passionately, the pristine sky purifies the place and these Braj milkmaids set the stage for new dalliances.

The teasing paramour along with Kishori Radhika towards whom he is irresistibly drawn, wanders here. The redness of their soles has been gathered by the new shoots. Secretly robbing their body fragrance, the breeze struts around affectedly. Little knowing that Radha-Krishna had seen her do so and thus smiled at her.”

Nature here is not rooted but instrumental in unfolding the lilas.

Once Bobo chanced to go to a discourse of Shri Sharnanandji Maharaj.Sushila Bahenji, Vijay and others were accompanying her. Humbly respecting elders and covering her head with her dhoti, Bobo sat down on one side. Maharaji had his own distinctive style and his sermons were very full of substance.

Listening to him, Bobo got carried away.Teary-eyed it seemed her body was there but mentally she was participating in the dalliance of Radha-Krishna. When she lifted her eyes during the discourse

she saw the handsome god in front with hair flying in the wind and a spirited smile playing on his lips. The patka or sash draped around his well built shoulders and the sparkling kaustabh mani (name of the jewel worn by Krishna on his breast) adorned his chest.Revered Bobo stood to the right of Krishna.Her body sitting in the discourse watched its subtle form taking part in the nitya lila of the supreme lover.

She wore an almond-coloured silken saree and matching kanchuki (blouse). Decked in a white coloured necklace of pearls with bigger ones in the centre tapering down at the sides. Meanwhile the dark god rested her head on his chest. Placing his lotus hand on her necklace, he teasingly counted the pearls. Slightly embarrassed she asked, “What are you doing?” Mischievously he answered,” I am chanting the mala (vaishnava rosary). Bobo's lips parted slightly and she asked, “ Which mantra?” Spontaneously he replied, “The Madan Mantra!” (incantation of Kamdev the love god). Both of them smiled and relished the moment.

Returning home Bobo revealed this incident on the insistence of Sushila Bahenji. What was her state steeped in Krishna's love thereafter can't be expressed in writing?

Every season with its exuberant rasa, warmly welcomes Priya-Priyatam. Trees and creepers offer their youth on seeing Radha-Krishna united and joyous in love. Shyam delightedly accepts even a slight offering of his devotees and invading them with his secret love blesses them. Devotees abounding with his imponderable love,nurture the heart strings of sadhakas heading towards the dark god, and present them before the yugal or Radha-Krishna.This sequence continues constantly.

Moreover Bobo entrusted her entire being to the daily regime of Shyama-Shyam. Stating and doing is certainly rare. Combining both these facets, her life was an ideal. She never opposed luminaries who upheld an affluent lifestyle and firmly believed that a loving persona based on sacrifice and renunciation was most excellent. All these ideals were innate in her and therefore she was more impressed by the perspectives of Shri Roopji, Sanatanji and

Shri Raghunath Das Goswami.

The day before Bobo was charmed by overcast clouds, and the sweetness of spring made her ecstatic yesterday but the closeness of Shri Yamunaji rendered her helpless today.

“The gnarled branches of mango and kadamba trees are reflected in its blue waters. Engaged in water sports the impassioned yugal are dallying as they fill our hearts with inspiration and delight,Radha-Krishna are churning the Yamuna's waters since she is the dark god's beloved sakhi. Wet with these gushing waves, the delicate clothes of the sacred couple are clinging to their blue-hued and fair complexioned bodies.

Shyly Priyaji with eyes wide open relishes the handsome form of the supreme lover but half closes her eyes soon after. And the supreme rasika looks lovingly into her eyes but is impatientk as he adulates her irresistible beauty. Radha can not resist the sudden thrusts of Krishna's secret and sudden love and we can figure out their love play from the duo's bodies,minds and souls fused and focused in a single expression of love.”

Sakhis look on and smile. These Braj cowherdesses yearn for union with their teasing, elusive and insistent paramour. Treading on this path Bobo moved in a delicious anguish to Krishna's side and relished his frolics.

The gopis are equally tender in expressing and experiencing their love for Krishna and whether it is in the pleasures of belonging or the pathos of longing, participating in the innocent lilas of Krishna or being charmed by his flute, it seems the very first time for them. Repeated episodes of union and separation do not let their romantic dalliance get old.

The basic nature of longing tugs at our heart in such a manner that even on relishing the joy of Krishna's presence there is a yearning to savour the entire episode again. Such was Bobo's belief and constantly absorbed in the heights of elation and ecstasy she resided in Vrindavan.

How can the supreme lover be composed on hearing the first entreaty.Krishna is still finding the cure as the ardent but often faithless lover of the lovestruck soul through water sports, amorous frolics in the rain and terrifying rush of love.

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