Wednesday, July 25, 2012

'Shri Krishna Karnamrita': Introduction

Lord Krishna Relishes the Rasa of 'Sri Krishna Karnamrita' 

'Sri Krishna Karnamrita' is that nectar which makes the ears of Lord Krishna savour shringar rasa considered raja rasa or the peak of human emotions.

Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Hearing the 'Sri Krishna Karnamrita'

When Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had gone on a pilgrimage to the south and was having darshan of the temples of gods situated on the banks of the Krishna Venva river, he saw its paath religiously being done everywhere by Vaishnava Brahmins.

Mahaprabhu was ecstatic on hearing a couple of its shlokas. He insistently got a hand written copy of the original composition made and took it back with him to Nilachal. Sri Raya Ramananda, Sri Svarup Damodar and others made copies of it for their personal use. It has, since then, been regarded as a great jewel of ecstatic devotion in the Gaudiya Vaisnava community. We are  only talking of the first Sataka of 112 verses of the Krishnakarnamirta  which Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu recited, and  which is most popular amongst the Gaudiya Vaishnavas of Bengal.

Krisnadasa Kaviraja Goswami Raves About 'Sri Krishna Karnamrita'

In his commentary on this religious text, Krisnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami says that there is no other work as savorous as this scripture. We gather knowledge of the pure prema of Sri Krishna.The scripture reaches the zenith of Lord Krishna's ineffable beauty, His madhurya and His divine play. Only the person who does its paath consistently and follows its religious observances can experience a state of religous rapture.

A rare gem of the treasure trove of Sanskrit literature, the bhavas of 'Shri Krishna Karnamrita are as exalted and serious as they are simple, and the language is as artistic and sweet as it is pure. Above all, the Shataka is not just an object of paath  but it has all the divine ingredients needed for relishing Sri Radha-Krishna's transcendental pastimes, as it is an imperishable cascade of Vraja's madhur rasa.

An Ardent Longing for Krishna

Sri Lilashuka Bilavamangal,the composer of the 'Sri Krishna Karnamrit", belongs to the parikar of madhur bhava or the pivotal concept of sweet love. For this very reason, the earlier pleasure of belonging and the agony of separation (from Krishna, the supreme lover) gives rise to an ardent longing in Sri Bilavmangal ji. Due to this inner cry of the enraptured soul for god there arises the bhava of anxiety in this love-stuck devotee, yearning for union with Krishna, his teasing, elusive and insistent paramour.

 Madhurya Celebrates the Love of Sri Radha-Krishna

 Shringar bhakti whether of the pushti margis or the Gaudiyas is suffused with madhurya,and is emotionally evocative and serenely spiritual. Madhurya  is the key to understanding and celebrating the love of Radha and Krishna and in so doing get a glimpse of one's transcendent self. As madhurya  translates into ananda comes the realization that everyone is ultimately a nayika in search of Krishna.

Apart from the 112 verses  the propagation of two othere shataks can be seen in the south.

Shri Bilavamangal Thakur

Shri Bilavmangal Thakur

Shri Bilavmangal Thakur, the composer of Sri Krishna Karnamrita, was born in a brahmin family in South India. He  is said to  have been a renowned  scholar and lived on the eastern bank of river Krishna Venva in South India from the12th century A.D. to 13th century A.D.


The famous book 'Bhaktmal' written by Nabhaji endorses that the 'Sri Krishna Karnamrita' is a rare and original conception of Shri Billavamangala ji. Pointing to the love story of Billavamangal ji and Chintamani, Nabhaji says he had  an illicit  love affair with a dancing girl named Cintamani, who used to live on the opposite bank  of the river  Krsna-Venva, and whom he used to  visit every  night. 

One day due to his father's shhradh he could not see her. On that stormy night despite the rain and storm he took Chintamani's name and jumped into the river. Lord Krishna assumed the name Chintamani to be his and seeing Bilavmangala's intense love, thought,' I am always on the lookout for such dedicated love. Now he will have to make Me his own.' Finding  no boat, Bilavmangal crossed the terrible river  by floating on a  corpse, assuming it was a wooden plank.  

Having nothing else to hold on to, he seized the tail of a snake, which clung to the wall and succeeded in leaping over.Cintamani was stupefied to see him unconscious and smeared with dirt. Nursing him back to health, she began detesting herself and her profession. She pitied and scolded him for his waywardness and showed him the spiritual path.

Chintamani Turns Towards Lord Krishna

The very next morning Chinatmani went away singing Hari bhajans with the vina in hand. Sri Bilavmangal got up the next morning and bowing to Chintamani as his guru, headed toward the ashram of his spiritual preceptor Somagiri, which was nearby. Serving him, he stayed there for a year and due to his grace, love for Vraj Vihari Sri Krishna invaded his heart. He began singing of Krishna's lilas in shlokas loaded with bhava. Seeing the evolution of a unique spiritual energy like Shukdev Muni, his guru bestowed the name 'Lilashuk' on him.(Shuka means parrot) Ever since he became famed by the name of 'Lilashuk Bilavmangal'.

Sri Vrindavana

His guru permitted  him to go on a pilgrimage to Sri Vrndavana, which he intensely desired. Seeing an enchanting pond on the way Bilavmangal rested there for some days. It so happened that a beautiful young girl came there to fill water. Passionately drawn towards her, he followed her home. Her husband asked her to deck herself up and attend to his needs. But how could God see his bhakta stoop so low. Soon enough, Bilavmangal ji asked her to get two pins and pierced his eyes.

Bilavmangala Thakur Worships the Ras Vihari Form of Lord Krishna

Ardently longing for Krishna's darshan, Bilavmangal called out to him. He walked a bit further and soon enough the blue-hued Krishna was perceptible.Shri Billavmangala worship and dedicated devotion to his isht was very firm. Lord Krishna asked him to pray to his other svarupas.Why do you particularly adore this Ras Vihari form of mine,”  He asked.

Lord Krishna's  Ineffable Beauty 

Billavamangal ji replied,I am entirely devoted and pray to your form as the supreme lover.' Drowning and steeped in the rippling waves of Krishna's  roop madhuri or ineffable beauty, His murli madhuri  or the flute which is his breath of love, and His sfurti madhuri which pulsates with earthy energy, Bilavmangal reached Vrindavan.

The Romantic Dalliance of Sri Radha-Krishna in Vrindavana 

He lived for some time at Vrndavan after his initiation. Bilavmangal is  said to have composed 'Sri Krishna Karnamrita' when  he was still at Vrindavan, and  on the way from there to his native province.  Bilvamangala actually gained entry into the transcendental pastimes of Shri Radha-Krishna which he has recored in 'Sri Krishna Karnamrita.' 

 Lord Krishna Wearing Peacock Feathers 

 He explicitly mentions Bhagavan, in the first shloka. The one who has peacock feathers on His crown, because the Lord of Vrindavana, Krishna the cowherd boy, used to come to Bilvamangala to talk with him and supply him with milk.

The Teachings of Sri Bilavmangal ji Draw us to Lord Krishna

In this manner Goswami Tulsidas and Sri Bilavmangal ji throw light on the miseries of enjoying sensual pleasures, and draw our attention to attaining ecstatic devotion in our lives by singing the glories of God. These two paragons of bhakti are living examples of several moral teachings and most excellent of ideals.

1 comment:

Jai Shri Radha Krishna said...

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