Sri Vraja-riti-cintamani


Bikaner, late 18th c.

Sep 21, CANADA (SUN) —

Sri Vraja-riti-cintamani
The Cintamani Jewel of Vraja

By Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti

Chapter 1

1 Let me glorify Vrajabhumi, the place where Sri Krsna enjoys transcendental pastimes. Simply by drinking with their ears the nectarean description of Vrajabhumi, the liberated souls abandon the bliss of impersonal Brahman and yearn to attain the land of Vraja.

2 With a pure heart let me worship Vrajabhumi, which is the form of the sweetness of meditation on Sri Krsna, which is eternal, transcendental, blissful, and peerless, and which, although it cannot be understood by ordinary people, is easily understood by its residents.

Note: Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has concealed the names of Sri Krsna Caitanya, Nityananda and Advaita in the first two lines of this verse.

3 A poet’s poem becomes famous because of its quality of being poetic. I shall boldly declare that this poem of mine is the most poetic and best of all poems, for it glorifies the transcendental land of Vraja.

4 I yearn to be able to write as well as Lord Caitanya’s Rupa Gosvami, but I cannot write as well as he, and neither can I write as well as his followers who wrote many wonderful, perfect books, which everyone should read and remember. Compared to their books my little book can hardly be considered poetic.

5 Millions of material universes and even millions of spiritual Vaikuntha planets are not very significant in comparison to Vrndavana, where Sri Krsna enjoyed lunch with His friends on the Yamuna’s sandy bank, and enjoyed many other transcendental pastimes.

6 Sri Krsna’s friends and associates, who enjoy pastimes with Him as equals, reside in this perfectly spiritual abode of Vrndavana.

7 All these associates of the Lord have spiritual bodies, although their forms and activities appear ordinary and material to the conditioned souls. These associates of the Lord are enchanted by Lord Krsna’s charming pastimes in Vraja.

8 Although their forms and actions are filled with spiritual knowledge, the people of Vraja know Krsna as their friend and relative: an ordinary person. This is not at all surprising.

9 Although they are the most exalted, by the influence of the potency of pure devotion to the Lord they think themselves the most lowly and insignificant. I have with my own eyes seen how the people of Vraja think themselves ordinary even though the great saints worship them.

10 Defeated by their humbleness, Sri Krsna eternally enjoys pastimes in their midst. In their presence He manifests a limitless flood of the sweetness of the most confidential transcendental mellows.

11 Even though it appears to be material, the opulent sweet nectar shower of Lord Krsna’s pastimes is worshipped by the great devotees.

12 I pray that by the mercy of its inconceivable residents I will attain the place that bears the auspicious names Vrndavana, Gokula-dhama, Gostha, and Vraja.

13 Vrndavana cannot be understood by conditioned souls, for although it may appear to be material, all its villages, forests, and cow-pastures are perfectly spiritual.

14 Some portion of transcendental Vrndavana becomes visible in this world at the time of Lord Krsna’s manifest pastimes. Conditioned souls think Vrndavana is material, although actually it is spiritual, and beyond their ability to understand or describe.

15 The devotees declare that Nandisvara Hill, the form of Lord Siva now shining as Nanda Maharaja’s capitol, is an endlessly beautiful crown decorating Vrndavana.

16 On its eastern, northern, and southern sides people free from all unhappiness reside. On its summit is Nanda Maharaja’s palace, which the Purana’s describe as existing since ancient times.

17 Nanda Maharaja’s capitol is enclosed by a great wall built of sapphires. The homes within the capital are made of emeralds, with coral pillars, golden roofs, and crystal windows.

18 Nanda Maharaja’s palace is made of glistening sapphires, with lapus lazuli roofs and large gates made of rubies.

19 In the centre of Nanda Maharaja’s palace is a courtyard. The royal treasury is in the western part, Lord Balarama’s residence in the northern part and Lord Krsna’s residence in the southern part of the palace.

20 In the eastern part of the palace is a temple where, in order to obtain auspiciousness for his son, Nanda Maharaja serves His Deity, Sri Narayana.

21 South of the treasury and west of Lord Krsna’s residence is the little kitchen where Sri Radhika enjoys cooking pastimes.

22 South of Krsna’s residence and the kitchen is a secluded garden, where there is a pleasant lake and many hidden courtyards and cottages.

23 The cowherds’ many beautiful homes rest on two sides and Nandisvara Hill is splendidly manifest behind them. Lord Siva repeatedly offers respectful obeisances to the hill.

24 Each cowherd’s home is surrounded by an impassable jewel wall with many jewel entrance-ways and many gates studded with pearls and other jewels.

25 Seeing these cowherd men’s homes, human beings proclaim them more wonderful than the residences of the demigods, demigods proclaim them more wonderful than the residences in Vaikuntha, and the Vaikuntha-vasis proclaim them more wonderful than the sweetest nectar.

26 Within the walls of each cowherd man’s compound were the homes of a gatekeeper, priests, and other associates.

27 Around the cowherd men’s homes are many other houses, a marketplace, and roads leading in many directions.

28 Near the entrances of the city are many cross-roads and marketplaces.

29 In these marketplaces are many stores where jewel necklaces, splendid flags, pearl necklaces, and blossomed-flower garlands as large as trees are offered for sale.

30 Filled with fragrant spring flowers, these marketplaces are like many hills of aromatic substances.

31 There is a jeweller’s shop glistening as a mine full of precious gems, and there are other shops where aromatic substances such as musk and kunkuma are sold.

32 I shall now describe the bliss of Sri Vrndavana-dhama just as Paramananda Kavikarnapura has done in his book Ananda-Vrndavana-campu, and many other great poets have also done in their books. I shall describe it a little bit, just as someone unlearned in music may strum a lute and pick out a few melodic fragments here and there.

33 When the vrajavasis say the word ‘matsara: they do not mean ‘envy’, but ‘my lake’. When they say ‘khala’, they do not mean ‘demon’, but ‘a woman’s sash’. When they say ‘mala’, they do not mean ‘defect’, but ‘gentle and delicate’. In this way they never speak anything unpleasant, but everything they say is pleasing and auspicious.

34 When the vrajavasis say the word ‘pradosa’ they do not mean ‘fault’, they do not mean ‘rascal’, but ‘moon’. When they say ‘rosa’, they do not mean anger, but ‘love’. When they say ‘mosa’ they do not mean a cruel thief, but Krsna’s playfully stealing the gopis’ yoghurt. In this way they never speak anything unpleasant, but everything they say is pleasing and auspicious.

35 When the vrajavasis say the word ‘danda’, they do not mean ‘the king’s rod of chastisement’, but rather, ‘the handle of a parasol, camara fan, or other similar article’. When they say ‘nivi’, they do not mean ‘handcuffs’, but ‘a ribbon for tying the hair’. When they say ‘adhi’ they do not mean ‘headache’, but ‘ecstatic meditation on the Personality of Godhead’. In this way they never speak anything unpleasant, but everything they say is pleasing and auspicious.

36 When the vrajavasis say the word ‘panka’ they do not mean ‘mud’, but aromatic ointments such as musk, kunkuma, and sandalwood paste. When they say ‘crookedness’ they do not mean the crookedness of a thief, but the beautiful shape of spiral earrings or some other ornament. When they say ‘hardness’ they do not mean the hard-heartedness of a cruel person, but the hardness of a gem or stone. In this way they never speak anything unpleasant, but everything they say is pleasing and auspicious.

37 When the vrajavasis say the word ‘rajah’ they do not mean ‘material passion’, but ‘the pollen of flowers’. When they say ‘tamah’ they do not mean ‘ignorance’, but ‘the pleasant darkness of night’. When they say ‘dvandvam’ they do not mean ‘the material dualities of happiness and distress’, but ‘a happy couple’. When they say ‘slowness’ they do not refer to the intellect, but the wind. When they say ‘restlessness’ they do not mean anything inauspicious, but rather ‘great eagerness to see Lord Hari’, or else ‘the charming restless glances of the Lord’. In this way they never speak anything unpleasant, but everything they say is pleasing and auspicious.

38 When the vrajavasis say the word ‘smallness’ they do not refer to the lack of anything good, but rather to a slender waist. When they say ‘nicagatvam’ they do not mean ‘faith in rascals’ but ‘a stream that can be easily crossed’. When they say the words ‘lamentation, humility, fatigue, bewilderment, sleep and laziness’ they do not mean any inauspicious material traits, but rather the various symptoms of ecstatic love of God. In this way they never speak anything unpleasant, but everything they say is pleasing and auspicious.

39 When the vrajavasis say the word ‘cows’ they refer to the celestial kamadhenu cows. When they say ‘trees’ they mean kalpa-vrksa trees that fulfill all desires. When they say ‘rocks’ they mean cintamani gems. How is it possible to describe the limitless opulences of Vraja?

40 When the Personified Vedas saw the splendid good fortune of the vraja-gopis, they decided to follow in their footsteps and become gopis also. When Laksmi-devi saw the charming sweetness of the vraja-gopis, she became bewildered and fainted with envy. Who can describe the transcendental opulences of this land of Vraja?

41 Filled with pure transcendental love, the vrajavasis considered the Supreme Personality of Godhead their intimate friend or relative. Although they were all liberated, transcendental personalities, they appeared just like ordinary conditioned souls. What is not wonderful in this?

42 The vrajavasis are filled with auspicious spiritual qualities. They have no material attributes. What may even seem to be faults on their part are actually auspicious and spiritual when seen in connection to their transcendental rasa with Krsna. Seeing this wonderful condition of the residents of Nanda Maharaja’s Vrajabhumi, the three modes of material nature have become embarrassed. They have relinquished all their pride in being able to control others.

43 That the devotees are eternally filled with all spiritual virtues and always free from material defects or the influence of the three modes of nature is confirmed by many statements of the Smrti, Itihasa, Puranas and Vedas.

44 Someone may ask: ‘If Sri Krsna’s pastimes are all eternal, then why do some people think that they are temporary?’ The devotees learned in transcendental science, reply: ‘These matters are very confidential, and Sri Krsna is unwilling to allow unqualified non-devotees to understand them. For this reason He conceals the truth from them.’

45 Supremely fortunate, the personified deity of parental love, and his form purely spiritual, the king of Vraja, who is named Sri Nanda, lives there in his capitol city.

46 Sri Nanda who is Krsna’s father and the king of Vraja, is a liberated soul in a perfectly spiritual body. All the vrajavasis love him as if he were their own father.

47 Staying in Nanda’s home is his pious wife, Yasoda-devi, who is the personified nectar of the treasure of parental love, and who is like a spiritual kalpa-valli vine that has borne as its fruit the precious gem known as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

48 Sri Yasoda, who brings (da) fame (yasah) to the world, and who is filled with the nectar bliss of a mother’s love for Sri Krsna, once angrily bound Him with a rope. In this way she made Krsna’s happiness and her wonderful love increase.

49 Countless cowherd people live in Vraja, some intimate relatives of King Nanda, and others who have barely a scent of family tie with him. All of them, however, are full of love for Lord Mukunda.

50 The saintly cowherd men of Vraja are just like personified forms of devotional service, and their wives are also constantly engaged in Krsna’s service. Some of their sons are Krsna’s friends, and some of their daughters are Krsna’s lovers.

51 Krsna’s contemporary friends are His equals in all respects, and they are all eternally young boys, just like the four Kumaras. What is impossible for they who have dedicated their hearts to Krsna?

52 Some friends are considered very confidential and some fortunate friends perform confidential services. Subala, Ujjvala and some splendid others, who are as good as the gopis, are rich with the sight of Krsna’s splendid conjugal pastimes.

53 All of Sri Krsna’s gopi beloveds are splendidly beautiful. A millionth part of a single ray of light from their lotus toenails defeats the shining of millions of moons. The waves of the ocean of their incomparable glory and supreme good fortune have drowned the Vedas.

54 Even Laksmi-devi was unable to attain even a small fragment of the mercy the gopis attained. Srila Sukadeva Gosvami confirmed this in the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.47.60): „When Lord Sri Krsna was dancing with the gopis in the rasa-lila, the gopis were embraced by the arms of the Lord. This transcendental favour was never bestowed upon the goddess of fortune or the other consorts in the spiritual world. Indeed, never was such a favour even imagined by the most beautiful girls in the heavenly planets, whose bodily lustre and aroma resemble those of lotus flowers. And what to speak of worldly women who are very beautiful according to the material estimation.“*

55 Even the youngest gopi could not renounce pastimes with the Lord. Srimad Bhagavatam (10.33.19) says: „Krsna the supreme mystic, expanded Himself in many forms and stood beside each gopi. He began to dance in their midst.“*

56 Enchanted by their transcendental virtues, the Supreme Personality of Godhead enjoyed pastimes with the gopis. The gopis were also enchanted by the Lord’s transcendental virtues, and they worshipped Him with full concentration.

57 A jewel necklace of virtues crowning the head of the gopis, a golden ketaki flower in the garden of gopis blinded with love for Krsna, and a glittering lightning flash beside the dark cloud of Sri Krsna’s sweetness, Sri Vrsabhanu’s daughter is splendidly manifest.

58 Maharaja Vrsabhanu’s daughter is the moonlight of transcendental bliss. Her beauty enchants Sri Krsna, the enchanter of Laksmi. She is a golden streak on the black testing stone named Sri Krsna’s handsomeness.

59 Sri Radhika is the sweetest nectar churned from the ocean of transcendental beauty. She is the realm of transcendental artistic talent. She is a mine filled with the jewels of all transcendental auspicious virtues. She is the celebrated beloved of Sri Krsna, the moon of Vraja.

60 More fair than thousands of fair-complexioned girls, in the Vedas celebrated as ‘dark’ with the intensity of Her beauty, Her form exquisitely beautiful, and Her self the life-breath of the gopis, Sri Radha is splendidly manifest.

61 Sri Radhika is the lover of Sri Krsna, the moon of Vraja. Some say She is the Supreme Goddess of Fortune, and others say the Tantras describe Her as the pastime potency (lila-sakti) of the Lord. The masters of the Sruti-sastra say She is the pleasure-potency (anandini sakti) of the Lord.

62 All His potencies, all His pastimes, all His qualities, and all His handsomeness, sweetness, expertise, and other virtues under Her dominion, Krsna’s beloved, Sri Radhika, shines with great splendour.

63 Krsna’s beloved, Sri Radhika, who enjoys endless, eternal, sweet, splendidly amorous pastimes with Him, shines with great splendour.

64 Sri Radhika, who is sweeter than even Sri Krsna, who is Himself flooded with handsomeness, virtues, pastimes, and sweetness, shines with great splendour.

65 When She sees Lalita, Visakha, and Her other friends, Sri Radha proudly thinks they are every bit as beautiful, virtuous, and dear to Krsna as She is, and She becomes filled with happiness.

66 Syama-gopi is famous for both her virtues and Her friendship with Sri Radha. With sweet affection She constantly strives to keep Radha’s friendship.

67 One day Radha and Syama met and together skillfully fashioned various garments and ornaments. When these articles were given to Sri Krsnacandra, He asked who had made them. Syama replied that Radha made them all Herself, and Radha insisted that Syama made them unassisted.

68 So deeply in love were they, Krsna’s lovers completely ignored society’s continued contempt. This is certainly very wonderful.

69 The exalted brahmanas in Vraja are the personifications of pure religion. Some preach the religion of the Vedas and some follow the pancaratras.

70 These brahmanas all receive generous charity from the king of Vraja, and perform Vedic sacrifices on his behalf. Some of them are enchanted by the transcendental opulence, and some by the intense sweetness, of the young prince of Vraja.

71 The betelnuts, scented oils, flower garlands and other paraphernalia the vrajavasis offer to Sri Krsna are perfectly spiritual, even though offered by ‘human beings’. Even the demigods in heaven cannot attain love like these ‘human beings’ bear for Sri Krsna, the moon of Vraja.

72 In Vraja the surabhi cow barns have crystal walls, enormous gold pillars, and emerald roof-beams.

73 The roofs are made of various jewels, and rubies mark the places where the roof beams meet the pillars of the walls.

74 White as the deity of goddess Sarasvati, and sober and grave as great ascetics, splendid surabhi cows wander in the courtyards of these barns.

75 These surabhi cows are just like cintamani jewels that fulfill all desires. Their happy calves are like pleasant summers. Their mooing is the most beautiful poetry. They lift their ears to hear the sound of Krsna’s flute.

76 The calves look as if they might be the moving rocks on the peak of Mount Kailasa, or the infant children of the moonlight.

77 As they wander over the earth, the calves are like the milk ocean’s bubbles, Lord Siva’s chuckles, or mamsa-pinda offerings in pure goodness.

78 Are these great boulders from the crystal mountain? Are they tidal waves from the milk ocean? These are the bulls of Vraja. During the day they freely wander, just as liberated souls, and during the evening they sit peacefully at home, just as great sages rapt in contemplation.

79 Proudly mooing from the loose folds of skin about their necks, Vraja’s bulls look like old sannyasis. Then again, their reddish stares make them look like intoxicated persons.

80 South of Nandisvara, on a regal hilltop is Maharaja Vrsabhanu’s home, which is like a brother to Maharaja Nanda’s home.

81 Maharaja Nanda and Maharaja Vrsabhanu are both equal in regal splendour and power. Their capitols are similar, and their son and daughter are equally famous.

82 Midway between Nandisvara Hill and Vrsabhanu Hill is Sanketa, the place of Radha-Krsna’s rendezvous. I meditate on this place. I think it is the personification of the divine couple’s love.

83 To the north of Nandisvara Hill is the district of Vidhuhrdya, where the town of Yavata is located. That populous town is like the crown jewel of all jewel like towns, and it is the home of Srimati Radharani’s parents-in-law.

84 This town of Yavata was built by Maharaja Vrsabhanu for the pleasure of His daughter. She would often sit on the roof of Her palace and gaze at the direction of Her lover’s home, and in the same way He would also gaze at the direction of Yavata-pura.

85 Anxious and deferential in the presence of Their elderly relatives, the divine couple would slip away, and on their palace roofs gaze in each other’s direction.

86 The place where Krsna would secretly meet His beloved under a charming fig tree (vata), happily enjoy pastimes with Her, and anoint Her feet with red lac (yava), is named Yavata.

87 By the mercy of Sri Krsna, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Srila Rupa Gosvami, and my spiritual master, this book, a brief description of the Lord’s splendid abode and nectar pastimes, has been written. The Sri Vraja-riti-cintamani’s first chapter, which describes Nandisvara Hill for the transcendental delight of the entire world, is now concluded.

Note: This verse is a little like a kaleidoscope. Each word in the first line may be interpreted as either a noun or adjective. And according to the interpretation the opening phrase assumes a different meaning. For example if ‘sri-krsnena’ is taken as the noun, and the other words as adjectives, the opening phrase means: ‘by the mercy of Sri Krsna, who is the master of the entire world, and who has appeared here as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’. If ‘guruna’ is taken as the noun, the phrase means: ‘By the mercy of my spiritual master, who is the bona fide representative of Sri Krsna, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and Srila Rupa Gosvami’. If ‘caitanya-rupena’ is taken as the noun, the phrase means: ‘By the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is Sri Krsna Himself, the master of all the worlds’. If ‘caitanya-rupena’ is taken as the noun, the phrase may also be understood to mean: ‘By the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s Srila Rupa Gosvami, who is the representative of Sri Krsna, and the spiritual master of all the Vaisnavas.’


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