Sri Krsna's Vrindavan Associates – Subala, Part 6


Radha Arrests Krsna
Kangra, c. 1780

Jan 28, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of Sri Krsna's transcendental Vrindavan associates.

Today we continue our discussion of Sri Krsna's dearmost Vrindavan friend, Subala, who is one of the Lord's priya-narma associates, His most intimate divine friends in Vraja. In past segments we have described the personality of Subala and mentioned the nature of his relationship with Krsna, and likewise the mood of his friendship with Radharani, Vishaka and the gopas. Today we are diving into the pot of nectar known as Sri Ujjvala-nilamani by Srila Rupa Goswami, which describes in great detail the confidential nature of madhura-rasa, including aspects of the nature of Subala himself.

In his introductory paragraphs to Sri Ujjvala-nilamani, Sri Rupa Goswami writes:

    "Because of it's confidential nature, the madhura-rasa was only briefly mentioned in the description of the primary rasas presented in the previous book (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu). That madhura-rasa, the king of all mellows of devotional service, is therefore described in this book in great detail.

    Madhura-rasa is made even more relishable when accompanied by the ecstatic sentiments vibhava, anubhava, sattvika-bhava, and sancari-bhava, which will all be described in this book. The learned devotees call this mellow madhura-rasa because it is the sweetest (madhura) of all mellows of devotional service."

Subala's devotional mood is described in terms of the stage of loving sentiments he exhibits for the Lord:

    "In the general beginning stages of transcendental conjugal love the manifestations of love are only dimly presented. This stage is called dhumayita (smoke-filled). The next stages of rati and prema, showing the sentiments of transcendental love more clearly are called jvalita (shining). The next five stages display transcendental love even more clearly, and therefore they are called dipta (shining brightly).

    Sometimes, according to place, time, and person, this transcendental love becomes manifested as it's opposite. Some of the Lord's conjugal lovers experience the varieties of love to the stage of prema. Others attain the state of bhava. The narma-vayasya friends attain up to anuraga, and Subala and his associates attain up to the stage of bhava."

    (Sri Ujjvala-nilamani by Srila Rupa Goswami, Chapter 14)

In order to describe the nuances or subtle differentiations of aspects of madhura-rasa, in Sri Ujjvala-nilamani, Rupa Goswami describes the pastimes of Krsna and the gopis, and these are often disclosed by way of intimate conversations Krsna is having with close friends like Subala. Much can be learned about the personality of Subala by studying these private utterances, and the mood in which Krsna shares His feelings with His dearmost friend.

For example, Rupa Goswami is describing the gradations of love felt by the heroines for their beloved Krsna, the prince of Vraja. These gradations culminate in the uttama heroine. Krsna exactly reciprocates the love they bear for Him. Radharani is described as the topmost uttama heroine in this statement, as Krsna confides to Subala:

    "Radharani will renounce everything if that will make Me happy for a moment. Even if I torment Her with suffering She never becomes angry with Me in Her heart. If She hears the rumor, even if it is untrue, that I am slightly unhappy, Her heart cracks. With these transcendental good qualities Radharani shines as the best of all the beautiful-eyed gopis."

Sri Ujjvala-nilamani describes the various types of transcendental Messengers (duti-bheda and the sorts of messages they carry back and forth between Radha, Krsna, and their servants. Subala is one of the foremost messengers, because he shares so many intimacies with both Krsna and Radha. Here, Subala and Krsna are describing to one another some of the methods the gopis use to send messages to Krsna. As a confidant and a messenger himself, Subala is obviously expert at recognizing and interpreting such messages.

    "Cracking the fingers: Krsna to Subala: Beautiful-eyed Visakha, the best of all chaste and saintly girls, then began to crack her fingernails. Even though I was greatly fatigued, this activity enchanted Me and broke My mind into pieces."

    "Scratching the ground with the toe: Krsna to Subala: As soon as I arrived, this beautiful vraja-gopi began to scratch beautiful designs on the ground with her big toe. These designs contained the edicts of cupid…"

    "Sakhi-tadanam: Subala to Krsna: Visakha has fixed her mind on conquering You. She now directs the lightning bolts of her restless sidelong glances at Your lotus feet, and she repeatedly strikes a gopi-friend with a cluster of flower."

    "Haradi-gumpha: Krsna to Subala: Who is this blossoming lotus-eyed girl? By gazing at Me from the corners of her eyes she has stolen the jewel of My heart, and placed it in the center of the necklace of pearls she strings."

    "Mandana-sanjitam: Krsna to Subala: Seeing Me from far away, Syama moves so that her clashing golden bracelets make a tumultuous tinkling sound. I think these bracelets are actually reciting the royal edicts of the monarch Cupid."

    "Saciksa: Krsna to Subala: At the Yamuna's shore doe-eyed Radharani tilted Her neck and glanced at Me with dancing eyes. In this way She severely wounded My heart with the sharp point of cupid's arrow."

    (Sri Ujjvala-nilamani by Srila Rupa Goswami, Chapter 7)

Srila Rupa Goswami describes the different groups of gopis: sva-paksa (members of the personal party); suhrt-paksa (friends); tata-stha (neutrals); and pratipaksa (rivals and enemies). The suhrt-paksa gopis work to fulfill their friend's desires and check any attempt to thwart (nullify) them. The following example describes how Subala was made a decoy in order to fool Jatila:

    "One day Candravali's friend Padma informed Radharani's mother-in-law jatila that Radha and Krsna were enjoying pastimes together in Bhandiravana forest. Jatila arrived at that place and saw Radha and Krsna together. At that time the following conversation occurred between her and Radharani's friend Syama: Jatila: Agitated by a foolish girl, I have come here. What am I to believe? Syama, I have firm faith in you. Tell me: What is happening here? Syama: What I tell you is the truth. I am not deceiving you. what you see is Subala, dressed up like a girl, clowning with Krsna, the funny comedian of Vraja village."

    (Sri Ujjvala-nilamani by Srila Rupa Goswami, Chapter 9)

The vipaksa gopis hate their rivals, lie about them, thwart their desires, and bring misfortune to them. Also in Chapter 9 is this passage, where Vrnda is telling a lie about something Subala supposedly did:

    "Vrnda to Krsna: O Mukunda, Jatila overheard Subala say: "O Radharani, crooked-hearted Padma saw Hari as He followed with His eyes Your path into the forest, and by a trick she has now brought Candravali to this place". Now, as the sun is rising in the morning, Jatila, seeing on Her body a blue garment (suitable for remaining unobserved while going to a rendezvous at night), is severely rebuking the stunned Radharani."

In Chapter 10, Srila Rupa Goswami is describing qualities of the body, including youthfulness and aging, e.g., the 'junction of childhood and youth'. In the following paragraph, Krsna is confidentially talking to Subala about how Radharani is reacting to this passage of time:

    "Seeing Radharani from a distance, Krsna said to Subala: The young king of youthfulness is now entering his kingdom in Radharani's transcendental body. Understanding the king's greatness, Radharani's beautiful hips greet him with the tinkling sounds of a sash of bells. Fearing it's destruction at his hand, Radharani's waist girds itself with three folds of skin. The two ripe fruits of Radharani's breasts offer themselves as a suitable gift to the young king."

    (Sri Ujjvala-nilamani by Srila Rupa Goswami, Chapter 10)

Although we understand from sastra that Krsna and His transcendental associates in Vrindavan never get old or suffer the decline of aging, in the passage above we see that there is still an essence of the aging dynamic. Radha is girdling her waist against the prospect of it spreading (it's destruction). So the dynamic of aging appears to be present on the transcendental platform – not causing discomfort, like the suffering experienced by us in the perverted material reflection, but enough so that the pleasurable aspects of it are enjoyed by Radha and Krsna, relishing Their own ever-youthful pastimes in Vraja.


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