By Radharani’s grace, my physical body has been given a place in the Dham and if I do not use my tongue to glorify it, how will I ever get its mercy?
Vrindavan Mahimamrita (1.2-1.3): Determination to glorify the Dham
Vrindavan, 2020-07-14 (Jagadananda
Das): By Radharani’s grace, my
physical body has been given a place in the Dham and if I do not use my tongue
to glorify it, how will I ever get its mercy?
Though it is impossible for one such
as I to match the glories of such great souls as Kaviraj Goswami and
Prabodhananda Saraswatipada, I also shall try to follow in their footsteps and
by doing so, purify my own contaminated being by remembering Shri Vrindavan
Dham and the Divine Couple and their servants, and by using my tongue to expand
on the words of Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛta.
Mahimamrita Verse 1.2
īśo’pi yasya mahimāmṛta-vārirāśeḥ
pāraṁ prayātum analambata tatra ke’nye
kintv alpam apy aham atipraṇayād vigāhya
syāṁ dhanya-dhanya iti me samupakramo’yam
Even God Himself could never cross
the ocean of the Dham’s divine grandeur,
who else would even dare to try it?
But, overcome by love intense,
thinking fortune’s there if I just dive,
I undertake this daunting task.
This statement of humility is not displaced.
Sometimes we look at the works of prolific authors like Prabodhananda with
amazement. Of course there are secular authors who produce great amounts of
material through their habits of hard work and out of necessity. If they are
gifted with great talent, then they can write literary marvels that stand the
test of time. But the devotee who wants to glorify the Lord faces a daunting
task. How to communicate that which is beyond the power of speech to
vāco nivartante aprāpya manasā saha.
Kaviraj Goswami similarly shows
the same kind of humility at the beginning of Govinda-lilamrita—
apaṭur atitaṭasthas tuccha-buddhyām apātraḥ
puru-rasa-kalanecchuḥ kṛṣṇa-līlāmṛtābdheḥ |
niravadhi hi tad-antaḥ krīḍatāṁ vaiṣṇavānāṁ
kim u na hi bhavitāhaṁ hāsya-hetur garīyān ||6||
I am not blessed with advanced intelligence, rather
my mind is fickle. Moreover, I am inexpert and unworthy, yet I am still
attempting to describe the rasa from Shri Krishna’s lilamrita-sindhu. I can
only guess that the Vaishnavas who unceasingly swim within this nectarocean may
laugh at me. (1.6)
hāsa-prakāśana-karī pramada-pradā vāṅ
mandasya me bhavatu bhaṇḍatarasya yadvat ||7||
The Vrajavasi Vaishnavas are all very experienced,
having immersed themselves in the nectar of the master poet Shri Rupa Goswami’s
descriptions of Krishna lila, such as Vidagdha-mādhava and
other such compositions. Perhaps I shall become a laughing stock when they see
this book written by such a foolish imposter as me. (1.7)
tad vāg-visargo janatāgha-viplavo
yasmin pratīty-ādi sad-uktinoditaḥ |
mandāṁ giraṁ svāṁ vidadhe sadādṛtām||8||
The Bhāgavatam declares: “Even if Shri Bhagavan’s
names, forms, qualities and pastimes are unexpertly narrated, still the sins of
those who listen to them shall be destroyed.” Having firm faith in these true
words, my hope is rejuvenated because the sadhus, out of magnanimity, shall
welcome even my inferior writing describing Govinda’s pastimes. (1.8)
khinnāṁ gāṁ gokulonmukhīm|
santaḥ puṣṇantv imāṁ snigdhāḥ
Just as an oasis gives shelter to a thirsty cow in
the desert, I pray that the Gokula lila descriptions emanating from my
desert-like tongue will become refreshed upon reaching the cool, reservoir-like
ears of the learned Vaishnavas. (1.9)
In these four verses, we can observe
Kaviraj’s magnanimity. Dainya (humility) is the very image of Prema. As
one’s humility awakens, Prema manifests proportionately. Krishna Das could have
honestly introduced himself as a master of Sanskrit kāvya (poetry), alaṅkāra (rhetoric), vyākaraṇa (grammar) and chandas (meter), and although honored with the
prestigious title of kavirāja by the most revered scholars of his time,
still he still regards himself as an illiterate fool. On the other hand, even
though he is one of Radha’s chief eight manjaris (Shri Kasturi), who directly
witnesses Radha and Krishna’s most confidential affairs, he thinks himself
unfit to describe Shri Govinda’s pastimes. Such humility invokes the blessings
of all. Indeed, Srila Kaviraj Goswami is the ideal exemplar of his own
instruction in Caitanya-caritāmṛta.
uttama hañā vaiṣṇava habe nirabhimāna
jīve sammāna dibe jāni kṛṣṇa adhiṣṭhāna
ei mata hañā yei kṛṣṇa nāma laya
śrī kṛṣṇa caraṇe tāṅra prema upajaya
premera svabhāva jāṅhā premera sambandha
sei māne kṛṣṇe mora nāhi bhakti gandha
Although he is the most exalted in society, a
Vaishnava is prideless. Having realized Krishna’s presence in everyone’s heart,
he respects all. Chanting Krishna’s names with such humility causes Prema to
awaken for serving Shri Krishna’s lotus feet. And those possessing Prema
consider themselves to be devoid of Krishna Prema. (CC 3.20.26-28)
By trying to extract more nectar for
the pleasure of the devotees, like Kaviraja Goswami, I also fear that I will
only make a laughing stock of myself, but what else can I do?
I may not attain Prema in a thousand
births, or even the association of the many premi bhaktas who live in the Dham,
but I must use whatever capacity I have to relish the few drops of nectar that
the Dham has sprinkled on my head and share with whomever is fool enough to
relish it with me.
The good fortune that Prabodhananda
Saraswati sees will arise from the effort he makes in describing the glories of
the Dham – like Kaviraja – come from the blessings of the devotees. It is
beyond my intelligence to know how to please the other devotees in any other
way than by following in the footsteps of the predecessor acharyas. So I ask
for their blessings, and for the blessings of my readers, that you will all
grant me the ability to serve you by sharing the glories of the Dham with you.
Determination to glorify the Dham (Part 2)
śrīmad-vṛndāṭavi mama hṛdi sphorayātma-svarūpam
pūrṇa-brahmāmṛtam api hriyā vābhidhātuṁ na neti
brūte yatropaniṣada ihātratyā vārtā kutastyā ||
O Vrindavan! Land of wondrous nature! Reveal
your true essence to my heart,
with all its esoteric secrets, the spells that lead to supreme bliss.
The Upanishads themselves are too shy to describe the full nectar of Brahman,
and so say, “but not this, not this!”So what hope have we to tell who or what you are?
Commentary: As Prabodhananda embarks on the journey – a
lifelong commitment to glorify Vrindavan until his dying day – he continues to
reflect on the nature of his task. How can a mere mortal, limited by time and
space, bodily consciousness and conditioning, enter into this inconceivable
transcendental realm of God’s own abode? The only recourse is to beg for the
Dham’s mercy itself. As Prabodhananda wrote in one of the concluding verses of
the Sudhā-nidhi, the grace of the Dham is essential for completing
and perfecting the culture of devotion to the Divine Couple.
kvāsau rādhā nigama-padavī-dūragā kutra cāsau
kṛṣṇas tasyāḥ kuca-mukulayor antaraikānta-vāsaḥ |
kvāhaṁ tucchaḥ paramam adhamaḥ prāṇy aho garha-karmā
yat tan nāma sphurati mahimā hy eṣa vṛndāvanasya ||261||
How great is Radha, whose glories are so far beyond
And how glorious is Krishna, whose single abode is in the space between her breasts!
And how low am I, alas! such a fallen creature addicted to sinful life!
If their names manifest on my lips, it is only due to the glory of this land of Vrindavan. (RRSN 261)
Vrindavan is the ground of Radha and
Krishna’s being. It is the manifestation of the sandhinī potency. Radha and
Krishna and their lilas are revealed by Vrindavan alone. The mystery of Vrindavan
is that pastime, the full manifestation of madhura-rasa, which is the ineffable core of all existence. It
is Nature (prakṛti) in its untainted, ideal form.
There is no entering the lila without
first entering Vrindavan, Prabodhananda has determined that the best sādhanā for entering the most secret realm of Radha
and Krishna’s intimate pastimes is through the culture of residing in
Vrindavan. No one can enter physically into Vrindavan without first entering
there in the mind, and the best process for entering with the mind is
through hearing and glorifying the Dham.
In the Bhagavat-sandarbha, Srila Jiva Goswami discusses at length the
prayers of the personified Upanishads from the 87th chapter of Canto 10. The
question that starts the chapter is, “If Brahman is ineffable and beyond the
capacity of words to express, then how can the Vedic texts themselves describe
Shri Jiva concludes that it is
possible, since the words that describe the Lord are a part of his energy and
so can be given the capacity to indicate him, even if the Lord is unlimited and
beyond the capacity of the mind of an individual soul to fully grasp. He also
says that even the negative statements like neti neti, the negative path to the Absolute, are in fact a
process of describing the Lord. What He is not also indicates what He is. It is
through the Vedantic process of negation that we come to faith in the Supreme
Person, his divine pastimes and associates and Abode.
The negation that results in Brahman
has not gone far enough. Prabodhananda Saraswati is an Acharya of the Vedanta
who has learned to go beyond the intellectual and mental processes of the jñāna-mārga and has concluded that only Prema is the goal
and means of entering into the full glory of God.
Of course, the real point is that the
personal form of God, his name, his abode, his pastimes, all exist specifically
in order to be accessible to the individual souls. They would have no purpose,
indeed God Himself would have no purpose, if there was no one to relish his blissful
existence in all its infinite manifestations and with its divine center in
Vrindavan, the abode of love as embodied in the form of Radha and Krishna.
So here Prabodhananda ascribes the
Upanishads’ silence about the glories of Vrindavan and Radha Krishna’s līlā to shyness (hriyā). In a later verse, he says that they all became
cows in Vrindavan so they could relish the grasses here, just like the
Bhāgavatam says that the great sages all became birds to incessantly sing hymns
in his glory.