निरस्तकुहकं सत्यं परम धीमही !
The issue that I had taken forward in my previous post is being thought in the context of masculine metaphysics, epistemology and sexuality. I would contemplate on the Puranik Raas Leela that Hindu King-God had performed with few selected cowherd women or Gopis on a full moon night in the deep forests near Vrindavana of Vraja. But before entering in to it, let’s read what Veda Vyasa had promised us?
“निगमकल्पत्रोर्गालितं फलं शुकमुखादमृतद्रवसंयुक्तं !
पिबत भागवतं रसमालययं मुहुरहो रसिका भुवि भावुकाः!!“
This verse is written in the beginning of Purana, in it he had promised us to deliver a text full of rasa which is literally translated as pleasure and strictly philosophically as aesthetic pleasure or bliss. Secondly, the pleasure of the text does not come from the outside; it is obtained from the fruit that grows upon the tree called “Nigam-kalptaru” i.e. from a tradition of texts.
Question can be asked that why Nigam-kalptaru not Agamas? Answer would be difficult!. It is an established fact that Vaishnava devotionalism in its present form is constructed on Agama texts namely that of “Pancharatra” tradition. Much of Bhagwat Purana is indebted to Panchratra of sage Narada.
Where is the text situated then? It is a question no one has determined yet! It is outside of the Vedic tradition or it is within the Vedic tradition proper? There are traditions within Vedic tradition that have different line of thoughts, as for example the tradition that began with Atharvas. Bhagawata Purana uses certain concepts and explanatory words that certainly does not belong to Vedic tradition. But I shall not go into it rather to ask, did he deliver aesthetic pleasure to the devotees excelled in the science of aesthetics and the masses who crave for it? Has the narrator “Shuka” done justice to the art of narration? We will try it to find out by reading and interpreting his text of Rasa that was over poured in the narration of Krishna’s Rasa story that tenth canto of Bhagwata Purana covers in full devotion. While reading the text one should be clear in mind that it is a text of Vaishnava devotionalism and aesthetic in which Sri Krishna is considered to be a super-man who lacks nothing and who is aptkama. And that this is a text which is modeled on Ramayana of Valmiki. Book was written to shed light on devotion, knowledge and renunciation and to establish it. Bhagawat itself says, “इदं भागवत नाम पुराणं ब्रह्मसम्मतिम/ भक्तिज्ञानविरागाणाम स्थापनाय प्रकाशितम, “The resurrected King of this book of Ramayana is the object of devotional love and source of all forms of aesthetic enjoyments. He is Vaishnava conceptualization of the body of God. At his birth sage Garga told thus to his father Nanda:“ तस्मानन्द कुमारोsयं नारायण सम गुणैः Your child, O Nanda, would be like Narayan in qualities.”
The lover of RaasLeela is “Brahaman” himself who has descended in Aryavrata to establish Dharma. He is the same Brahman of Vedanta spoken of as “जन्माद्यस्य यतो “in the Mangalacharan of Bhagawat Purana. He is the same Krishna who had established himself in Advaita state and teaches Bhagwad Gita. He who is the master of nature or Prakriti, under whose presidency prakriti manifests sentient and non-sentient universe “मयाsध्यक्षेण प्रकृतिः सूयते स चराचरम”. He is lord of Maya i.e. Prakriti of Sankhya , thus he is known as MayaPati. In Bhagwad Gita Krishna reveals, “योगमाया मुपाश्रितः I incarnate on earth by commanding my intrinsic nature i.e. my Maya”. In Bhagawata too when he begins Raas leela he commands his Maya; thus says Purana ,“वीक्ष्य रन्तु मनश्चक्रे योगमाया मुपाश्रितः-१०-२९-१” And before the beginning of so called Raas leela he was given kingly status, his “abhishek as Indra” was performed by the defeated Indra and cows who represent cowherd women of Vraja. He was coronated as Govinda that literally means master of cows. As soon as his abhishek was completed; there were blossoming on earth, from trees stream of honey started flowing by itself and from the milk bladder of cows milk started flowing on earth.
लोकाः परां निर्वृतिमप्नुवंस्त्र्यो/गावस्तदा गामनयन पयोद्रुताम -१०-२७-२५
It seems nature becomes happy and cheerful upon the appointment of new virtuous king and welcomes him. It is traditionally typical to India’s religious writing; in Buddhist literature too we find similar depiction of nature at the time of the Birth of Buddha, upon his Nirvana or upon his rolling of the wheel of Dharma. Before Krishna begins to command cows he commanded his Yogamaya “योगमाया मुपाश्रितः “and in full command he played his flute at the bank of Yamuna. His image was like that of a Gandharva, the following verse describes it in detail:
बिभ्रद वासः कनककपिशं
वैजयंतीम च मालाम !
प्रविशद गीतकीर्तिः!! १०-२१-५
It is this very image of a cupid that causes love in the heart of cow-women’s of Vraja. Image is similar to the Greek Gods of love i.e. Bacchus. As opposed to Prometheus; he is like Oedipus –Puranik glorification of Passion or passivity. ‘He promises the love night to the Cowherd women who were all jaar women or adulteress. However If we interpret “Being adulteress or jaar” from devotionalism point of view it comes out to be a metaphorical exposition of the state of being a devotee who has lost everything including worldly ethics and morality. Having heard Krishna’s song cowherd women lost their mind, as the following verse says:
निशम्य गीतं तद्नंगवर्धनं
व्रजस्त्रियः कृष्णगृहीतमानसाः| -१०-२९-४
“When the young women of Vṛindāvana heard Kṛṣṇa’s flute-song, which arouses romantic feelings, their minds were captivated by the Lord. They went to where their lover waited, each unknown to the others, moving so quickly that their earrings swung back and forth.’
Now they were maddened spirits longing for unity with the lord of spirits. Krishna’s promises too are not of a lover but of a God or Lord of spirits. Let’s look at what he says in the Cheerharan episode after teaching them a behavioral lesson on Vedic ethics because they were bathing naked in the water and offended the god of water Varuna. To atone for that sin he asked them to come nude out of water and pay obeisance with their palms joined together over heads and then take the garments back.
संकल्पों विदित साध्व्यो भवतिनां मदर्चनम!
मयानुमोदितः सोsसौ सत्यो भवितुमर्हति||
न मय्यावेशितधियां कामः कमाय कल्पते|
भार्जिता क्वथित धाना प्रायो बीजाय नेष्यते|| १०-२२-२४/२६
यताबला व्रजम् सिद्धा मयेमा रंस्यथ क्षपा: |
यदुद्दिश्य व्रतमिदं चेरूरायार्चनं सती: ||
‘O Sadhvis, I understand your motivation to worship Me. That pleases Me and so it must come true. The desire of those whose consciousness is fully absorbed in Me does not lead to material lust, just as roasted and cooked grains as a rule are not capable of causing new. Dear girls, go now to Vraja. Having achieved the supreme state of fulfillment, you one of these nights will enjoy with Me together. That was what you had in mind with the vow to be pure in your worship of the Goddess Katayayani.
Theologically it is quite antagonistic, on the one hand God expects them to be believers of Vedic morality and on the other hand he does not want it and takes it away from them. Krishna teaches them not to be corrupt and adulteresses, to be loyal wife of their husbands:
दू:शीलो दुर्भगो वृद्धो जडो रोग्यधनोऽपि वा |
पतिः स्त्रीभिर्न ह्यातव्यो लोकेप्प्सुभिरपातकी||
अस्वर्ग्यमयशस्यं च फल्गु कृच्छ्रं भयावहम् |
जुगुप्सितं च सर्वत्र औपपत्यं कुलास्त्रियाः|| १०-२९-२६
God strangely contrasts everything. God abducts Rukmini on her request who upon hearing stories about him had written devotional love letter to him “श्रुत्वा गुणान भुवन सुन्दर श्रुण्वतां ते”. In abduction episode when Krisahna was about to kill Rukmi- the bother of Rukmini; she praises him (God) thus:
योगेश्वराप्मेयात्मं देव देव जगत्पते | हन्तु नार्हसि कल्याण भ्रातरं में महाभुज || upon her praiseful request he pardons him and let him go. In fact what was subject of love in him was his grandeur, his majesty, his furor and his acts that he performed like that of a sovereign. To borrow Derrida’s interpretation — The king who was coronated after Govardhan episode was the upped [majore], erected (and I mean “erected” for a reason that he had to serve the LAW OF SANATAN VEDIC DHARMA) [Sovereign in its Majesty is the most high. It is not just sensory, since the majestic Most High rises above all comparable and sensory height (whereby it is also sublime, or in any case lays claim to being meta-metaphorical and meta-physical, more than natural and more than sensory). And being a sovereign he is not the “Other”, he is very much part of cowherd community and loved as such.
He expressed his sovereignty in relation to the law as in the case of vanquishing of Indra and as well as with regard to the acts impossible. In fact this erection of the majesty has been the subject of love expressed in words used by cowherd women for him “महाभुज( expansive great arms), वीर(valiant as in Tantra), स्वामी (Lord) etc”. After anointation and coronation Krishna obtains a new name Govinda that means lord of cows of Vraja. Cow sings thus in Bhagwata, “We have found our master oh Infallible One…please be there our Indra. For You to be our Indra, we shall perform an anointing ceremony.” At one place there is an expression “cows of vraja” that means cows as well as cowherd women. Gopikas believed themselves as cows: “Look at Him, he like the king of the night appears in front of us with His joyful face, to take away the pain of cows of Vraja. मोचयन ब्रज गवां दिनतापम”-Bhagawatam 10.36.25 at some other place they called themselves cows “aren’t we your cows?”!
The lover is absolutely missing in this discourse on love embedded in the text. He does not speak the language of a lover but of the God who has incarnated to purify sins of the people and liberate them from the bondage of birth and death i.e. jaramaran. The episode “The Stealing of the Garments of the Unmarried Gopîs or Cheerharan” culminates in RaasLeela whose aesthetic is that of of Vaishnava devoltionalism established by Sage Narada. In Bhakti Sutra he has declared Gopikas as the ideal devotees: “यथा व्रजगोपिकानाम”. In the same text he explains Bhakti as “निरोधरुपत्वात”; that is, in it there is no trace of desire whatsoever. The theological premise that love is of the form of nirodh or cessation, is itself a wrong premise. The immanence of love has been negated to establish a bad transcendental of the ascetics. But yet to ask, had Gopikas who were desirous of Love attained this pure state in Raas? Or shall we ask, did this love story affirm ‘the sovereignty both of the lover and of the sovereign”! Or, this love promises, “I wish you all joy of the worm.’’!
We shall see it later as we proceed in it. We should have in mind that this is not love as such rather it is a kind of love that appears in the guise of devotion. It is a short of perversion. In this pervert devotionalism there are steps marked which are as follows: First enchantment is the “song of flute” in which devotees attain cessation of chitta vrittis,
दू:सहप्रेष्ठविरहतीव्रतापधुताशुभा: | ध्यानप्राप्ताच्युताश्लेषनिवृत्या क्षीणमंगला: -१०-२९-१०
“For those gopīs who could not go to see Kṛṣṇa, intolerable separation from their beloved caused an intense agony that burned away all impious karma. By meditating upon Him they realized His embrace, and the ecstasy they then felt exhausted their material piety.”
Having heard his song Gopikas start worshiping Goddess to have Krishna as their Pati, and then follows Cheerharan episode and then The Râsa. Rasa too is marked with devotional episodes which are successively as follows: Krishna meets and escapes from Rasa at night (to arouse feeling of separation and its pain), the Gopîs search for Krishna who suddenly disappears, the songs of the Gopîs in separation, Krishna Returns to the Gopîs, his consolation and The Râsa Dance.
God’s consolation to the cowherd women renders thus:
यथाधनो लब्धधने विनष्टे/ तच्चिन्तयान्निभृतो न वेद -१०-33-२०
But the reason I do not immediately reciprocate the affection of living beings even when they worship Me, O gopīs, is that I want to intensify their loving devotion. They then become like a poor man who has gained some wealth and then lost it, and who thus becomes so anxious about it that he can think of nothing else..
एवं मदर्थोज्झितलोकवेद-/स्वानां हि वो मय्यनुवृत्तयेऽबला: | मया परोक्षं भजता तिरोहितं|| १०-33-२१
“My dear beloveds, understanding that simply for My sake you had rejected the authority of worldly opinion, of the Vedas and of your relatives, I acted as I did only to increase your attachment to Me. Even when I removed Myself from your sight by suddenly disappearing, I never stopped loving you. Therefore, My beloved gopīs, please do not harbor any bad feelings toward Me, your beloved.”
It was winter’s full moon night when he began his erotic play. However it contradicts his own statement in which he had declared the season of “vasanta or Spring” as his own divine form or swarup. Why he did not chose Spring that is known as the season of Cupid i.e. Manmatha? We can’t logic much on such issues, he is lord of Yogamaya and therefore he can create vasanta in any season, lo!. The commencement of Raasleela is magical. As an accomplished magician, by commanding his Yogamaya Krishna creates an appropriate environment for the love play “वीक्ष्य रन्तु मनश्चक्रे योगमाया मुपाश्रितः”. In its Hindi translation of Gita press, the translator puts a priestly meaning to it and writes that Krishna recited kama beej “klim” which is non-vedic. As a Gandhrava he sweetly started playing his flute that enchanted the minds of the beautiful eyed cowherd women. That song being heard by the women of Vraja awakened Cupid in their hearts so that each of them, unknown to the others, with their mind seized by Krishna and with earrings swinging in the haste, went to the place where He, their boyfriend was situated. They left everything behind, their husband, children, relatives and their daily household chores. Their clothes and ornaments in disarray they run towards jungle where God was situated. They were checked by their husbands, fathers, brothers and other relatives but, enchanted by Govinda they, with their hearts stolen, did not turn around [to their duties]. Some Gopîs who did not manage to get away, stayed at home and closed their eyes to meditate on being [transcendentally] connected in love with Him. The intolerable, intense agony of being separated from their Beloved One drove away all bad-mindedness. At the same time their material virtue was also reduced to zero because of the joy they obtained from meditating upon Acyuta’s embrace. Sukadeva explains their state of devotional love thus:
तमेव परमात्मानं जार बुध्यापि संगता |
जुहुर्गुणमयं देहं सद्यः प्रक्षीण बंधना|| -१०२९-11
“Despite the fact that Krishna was a Jaar man, they thought of Him as their God. Getting His direct association though their karmic bonds were counteracted so that they immediately gave up their physical interest that is ruled by the natural modes.’” Even though he was another man (par purush or jaar) for the married and unmarried both kinds of cowherd women yet there is no harm (one can’t accuse them of adulteress) because they believed he was their God. This is a priestly logic. In following verses king Prikshit asks:
स कथं धर्म सेतुनाम वक्ता कर्ताभिरक्षिता !
प्रतिपमाचरणद ब्रह्मन परदाराभिमर्शनम ||
How could He be the violator of dharma who is said to be its creator of dharma, speaker and its protector ? Why did he transgress dharma and corrupted “Other women”?
To it replies the priest:
“कुशलाचरिते नैषामिह स्वार्थो न विद्यते!
विपर्येंण वानर्थे निरहंकारिणाम प्रभो !
If a sovereign commits evil he is unaffected by it. !—१०-33-33 or in Tulsi Das’s words “समरथ को नहीं दोष गुसाईं “ It is followed by a priestly refrain , priest says, “it can’t be thought with respect to the mortal humans, even if one is a king.”
King Parikshit asks once again and this time a metaphysical question:
कृष्णं विदु: परं कान्तं न तु ब्रह्म तया मुने ! गुण प्रवाहो परस्तासाम गुणधियां कथं १०-२९-12
Gopikas used to long for Krishna considering Krishna as their lover in human form. They did not have “Brahma bhava” in him. It seems they were indulged and over powered by their biological nature. In this condition how they could have been free from the effects of gunas and their karmic bonds were ceased?
To it Shuka replies :
काम क्रोध भयं स्नेहमैक्यं सौहृदमेव च |
नित्य हरौ विदधतो यन्ति तन्मयताम हि ते || १०-२९-१४
Even if biologically inclined one gets liberation because of engagement with the lord . Shuka’s answer is something which is opposed to the established theology of devotion.
Before entering in to Rasa stage of high devotionalism Veda Vyasa has set forth his metaphysical ground and the stages of vaishnava devotionalism which is not different than asceticism. The cowherd women are depicted more like ascetics than the lovers. The season has arrived as such in which one is not inclined into worldly affairs rather longs for the unity with God.
केदारेभ्यस्तवपोsगृहणन कर्षका दृढ़सेतुभिः !
यथा प्रानै: स्रवज्ञानं तन्निरोधेन योगिनः !
“As the practitioners of yoga bring their senses under strict control to check their consciousness from flowing out through the agitated senses, similarly the farmers erected strong mud banks to keep the water within their rice fields from draining out.”
Apparently, here metaphysics is not about knowledge rather it is about power, vitality or erectility. Entire Indian metaphysics is about preservation of parana or vitality. Even in anger one loses one’s vitality therefore refrain is taught to capitalize and preserve the vitality. It became enemy of desire. Semen becomes everything around which metaphysics revolves. One’s life is fruitful because of semen and sage Gotama curses Indra for misuse of semenic force “विफलस्त्वं भविष्यसि Let your fruits fall on earth that contains semen”. Let you become fruitless (testicles) and thus powerless. They were thinkers of semen, they have thought only about semen and its transformation into superior force. They were not the thinkers and poets of the impossible but the thinkers of that which is visible and which is very earth of the earth. Beyond belongs to semen; it is semen that goes beyond. Indian metaphysics is biological and Darwinian to the core.
Note: Text is still in draft mode . But yet I am making it online for the followers. Suggestions are invited from my blog readers