Sri Camatkara Chandrika (A Moonbeam of Sheer Astonishment)
BY: SUN STAFF
Purva Raga, Late 18th c
Oct 23, CANADA (SUN) Part two of a four-part presentation of 'Sri Camatkara Chandrika' by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura.
SECOND PRANK - ABHIMANYU VESE MILANA
(Meeting in the Disguise of Abhimanyu)
Once, in the cold month of Magh (January-February), Sri Radhika began to follow an auspicious vow of bathing daily in the Yamuna River early in the morning. thus, every day just before dawn, She rose from bed and went with her girlfriends to bathe in the Yamuna. Seeing this going on, Kutila (the sister of Abhimanyu) began to develop a suspicion within her mind.
One day, just after Sri Radhika leaves with Her friends at the end of night to go to the Yamuna, Kutila makes some excuse to go to the home of Sri Krishna at Nanda-gram. She wants to check up and see what Sri Krishna is doing at that time of the morning. Arriving at the palace, she asks some resident for the latest news about Sri Krishna. The resident of Nanda-gram replies, “Our youthful Prince of the pastures has just gone to the Yamuna for a morning bath, following the order of His Mother.”
Hearing this, the doubt within Kutila’s heart simply increases. Therefore she immediately leaves for the bank of the river. Not knowing exactly which direction that Sri Krishna had gone in for enjoying sweet, relishable pastimes with Sri Radha, Kutila begins to trace out His path by following the trail of His extraordinary divine footprints, which are always clearly visible in the soft earth of Vraja- dhama. Gradually she comes just before the forest bower-house within which Sri Krishna is enjoying with Srimati Radharani.
Seeing Kutila coming closer and closer, Sri Radha’s dear maidservant named Tulasi fearfully enters into the bower-----and sees that Sri Radha is deeply immersed in joyful pastimes of jokes and laughter along with Her Beloved, completely surrounded by Lalita and all the assembly of sakhis. It seems as if They are attaining boundless supreme bliss.
So Tulasi Dasi, becoming extremely blissful just to see Them enjoying in this ecstatic way, suddenly exclaims “Bho, bho Vraja-devis! Please hear this message which simply announces the greatest misfortune for the festival of the Flower Archer (Cupid) today! Kutila has come from Vraja to spy on Sri Krishna and witness this festival; slowly but surely, she is gradually approaching this very spot!!!”
Immediately upon hearing this, the entire assembly of sakhis loudly exclaims,
WHERE? WHERE?? ALAS!!! TELL US!!!"
as they all begin to look this way and that with fearful, restless eyes.
Tulasi says, “Seeing her just in front of the Chattikara forest, I have rushed here as fast as possible! By now, Kutila must be right in front of this place!”
Hearing all this, Sri Krishna calmly says, “Hey gopis! Don’t you worry at all---just wait here for a minute and see what will happen next; I’m leaving here now, and I will don the disguise of Abhimanyu. Thus I will cheat Kutila with My tricks of sheer genius---and moreover, I will take the fun from there and execute even more mischievous pranks.....”
Saying this much, He goes to a lonely place. Taking clothing and ornaments suitable for copying Abhimanyu’s mode of dress from Vanadevi Vrinda, He covers up all of His own distinguishing features. Then, He begins to walk down the same path as that on which Kutila was searching.
Aho!!! Is a clever person, highly advanced in arts of craftsmanship and taste, ever unable to serve his own purposes with great skill???
After walking for a short distance, Sri Krishna then meets up with Kutila. Kala-nidhi Nagara, the Lover of women, Who is the Abode of tasteful Artistries, then begins to question her. Making His voice just like Abhimanyu’s, He asks, “Hey sister Kutila! Why have you come so far away from Vraja so early in the morning?”
Kutila: “Hey Agraja! Older brother! I’ve come to search out your wife.”
Sri Krishna: “Where has She gone?”
Kutila: “Coming out this way on the plea of observing a vow to bathe every morning in the Yamuna during this cold season, She must be somewhere close by here.”
Sri Krishna: “Where is that woman-thief, Sri Krishna?”
Kutila: “He has also come this way for bathing; for this reason, our mother Jatila has sent me to find out what They’re up to. Now, what should I do? Please order me.”
Sri Krishna: “Hey sister! Today I was hitching up one of My young bulls to the plow for training. Suddenly, he broke the plow and ran off somewhere. I have come this way while searching for that young bull, and now it seems as if I have lost him. This troubles My heart somewhat, but in comparison I am just unable to tolerate the agitating anxiety that I feel over the sheer debauchery caused by that woman- thief towards My Wife. From here, I’m going straight to Mathura right now, and I will see to it that the befitting measures are taken by King Kamsa.”
“Hey most intelligent sister! Buddhi-mati! Before I go, just listen to one plan: I’ll hide right here in this grove, and you go and look all around for Sri Radhika; if you find Her alone, without Sri Krishna, then just bring Her here by making up some excuse. Or, if you catch Her with Krishna, then come here and get Me, and I will observe from a distance Their vulgar activities.”
Hearing these instructions, the extremely crooked-natured Kutila then begins to search each and every bower from Kaliya-hrad on up to Kesi- ghat. Coming before a flower-garden just by the side of Kesi-ghat, she suddenly sees that Girl Who emits purely sweet, natural fragrances, She Who is served slowly and majestically by all of Her surrounding sakhis, She Who is the creeper of Divine Fame for Her mother Kirtida---Sri Radhika.
Sri Lalita Devi, seeing Kutila arrive nearby, then asks her, “Hey Kutila! Have you come to bathe in the Yamuna?”
Lalita: “Then what for?”
Kutila: “I have come just to learn of your activities.”
Lalita: “Very good. So learn all that you can.”
Kutila: “Lalita! I have already learned all that I have to know!”
Lalita: “So let us hear what that is from your own mouth.”
Kutila: “There’s no need for me to say anything more, because the fragrance of Hari at this place tells the whole story!”
Hearing this, Lalita cleverly takes the word ‘hari’ to mean ‘lion’ (a Sanskrit synonym), and replies, “Kutila! If you smell the fragrance of a lion, then that means that without a doubt a fearsome lion is hiding somewhere nearby! Oh! We are just weak, innocent young girls, and we have now become terrified!! Running away from here this instant, we shall now rush home as fast as possible!!! You have really done us a great favor today by coming here and warning us of this great danger!!!”
Kutila’s anger is stoked up upon hearing this insulting statement, and she starts burning with rage as she exclaims, “Ayi!!! You so-called chaste girls!!! You broadcast the fame of your family dynasties from forest to forest----do you think that you can then return home so innocently??? First you just open up the door on this kadamba-tree grove right now----I want to see what is inside!”
Lalita simply laughs and laughs and says, “Kutila! Some demigod of the forest has closed the gateway of his own bower-house with doors made of reeds, and has gone elsewhere. Therefore it is not proper for us to open the door to this kadamba grove. Who is such a bold woman who will dare to open the door of some else’s house and willfully accept such a sin upon herself?”
Kutila then speaks with eyes reddened with fury, “Lalita! You are in fact just a weak, innocent young girl as you say, and for this reason, you have never entered into another’s house; but you know quite well how to cause others to enter into your own home. There is a scripture which gives the rules to be followed by a weak, innocent young girl in order to make another weak, innocent young girl enter into her own home----and you have now become self-effulgent as the acarya and teacher of that scripture!”
With this, Kutila quickly storms up to that bower-house and furiously kicks in the door made of reeds and flowers. Rushing inside, she sees Sri Krishna’s broken flower garland and Sri Radhika’s broken pearl necklace scattered upon a flower bed. Grabbing those remnants, she takes them outside and angrily says, “Lalita! You all bathe in the Yamuna during this month of Magh according to scriptural rules; you reap the auspicious benefit; by this, you purify your parents and your forefathers; and you also perform Surya-puja every day according to the proper rules on the bank of the Yamuna (the Daughter of the sun); now you can just return home this instant-----tell me what kind of dharma are you actually desirous of performing day and night??? Tell me, my ears are very anxious to hear your explanation!”
Hearing this kind of taunting statement by Kutila, the spotlessly pure-faced Radharani becomes a bit provoked and says, “Kutila! Why are you so angry for no purpose? This necklace is not Mine---it belongs to your brother, Abhimanyu. I swear it. Just calm down.”
Saying this, Radharani then begins to chastise Kutila with loud, piercing screams while moving Her eyebrows and index finger angrily.
Then, Kutila retreats back to a safe distance, becoming very fearful by seeing Sri Radhika present there with so many daringly outspoken, bold sakhis. Then Kutila calls out,
“Hey, you unchaste girls! Disgrace of your families! If you don’t feel like going back home, then just stay in this forest and rule your own kingdom - but I’m going right now to show this necklace and garland to my mother and Paurnamasi; thus I will personally see to it that all of you are properly punished.”
Sri Radha says, “Kutila! Wherever your fickle mind goes, you can just run along and follow it madly if you like - but why do you speak such harsh words to us? Just go from house to house to show everyone that necklace and garland - does that scare Me at all? NO - because those things just don’t belong to Me. Don’t waste your time throwing such false accusations upon us.”
Hearing this, Kutila angrily says, “I am going to Vraja.” and storms off hastily.
Then entering the forest, she sneaks slowly and quietly to the secret place where Sri Krishna is hiding in the disguise of Abhimanyu. Coming before Him, she blurts out, “Dear brother! Just look at this! I found Sri Krishna’s broken flower garland and Sri Radhika’s broken pearl necklace upon a bed of sensuous love. I have also seen Radhika and Her girlfriends, but that woman- thief was not present there.”
Hearing this, the Abhimanyu-disguised Sri Krishna says, “Oh sister! Very good---you’ve done well. I’m leaving right now for Mathura, and I will take this necklace and garland and show them to King Kamsa. But there’s one important thing to consider----it’s not wise to bring this greatly scandalous disgrace upon our own home; therefore, I will use some clever trickery before the assembly of the Yadus, and I will inquire thus of My dear cowherd boyfriend Govardhana Malla, “Hey friend! That Son of Maharaja Nanda has brought your wife Candravali to a secluded forest bower and forcibly polluted her. Look---here’s their broken necklace and garland as evidence.’
“After telling him this, I will place these things into his hand and say further, “Mallaraja! Sakha Govardhana! Just as Nanda-putra has enacted this outrageous debauchery with your wife Candravali, in the same way I have seen Him displaying similar social atrocities with each and every household---I tell you frankly. You just go right now and inform King Kamsa of all this. Have him send 100 foot soldiers and 10 guards on horseback to Nandagram today at noontime; arresting Nanda along with his Son, give them their just reward.’
“Oh sister Kutila! After I tell all this to Govardhana Malla, I will return home to Yavat just before noon, because I will have to arrange for the honorable reception of the royal guards who will come. You just go home now, and remain with mother Jatila. When your Sister-in- law Radhika returns home, don’t say a word to Her about any of this---for if this secret plan is exposed and the word gets out, then Nanda-gopa will be able to escape in time to flee to another state along with his Son.”
Instructing Kutila thus, the Abhimanyu-disguised Sri Krishna then starts walking on the southbound forest path towards Mathura. Kutila returns home to Yavat, and gradually Sri Radha and Her sakhis all return to their own respective quarters.
Then Krishna waits for 2 or 3 hours, passing the time somewhere in the forest. Then He returns to Jatila’s home and begins to call out in a loud voice, “Oh mother! Where are you? Oh Kutila! Where are you? Come quickly and hear the news----I have just returned from informing the King of the situation here; soon 100 foot soldiers and 10 guards on horseback are coming. But listen---that Debauchee has taken on my mode of dress and is coming to our home! Coming to know of this, I have returned home in an unnoticed way. Sister! Lock the front door and wait with mother upstairs on the veranda, armed with clods of dirt. Keep on the lookout for that Woman-polluter coming down the path. Thus, even if he tries to climb the wall, he won’t be able to enter the house. When you see him, then chastise him immediately with the foulest, harsh language. Do you realize the simple nature of your Daughter-in-law? If She were to even smell the bodily fragrance of that woman-thief, then She would become mysteriously compelled to go out of the house. Therefore, I will stay with Her downstairs and prevent Her from getting out.”
Saying this, Sri Krishna goes into the lower rooms with Sri Radhika. A little while later, Abhimanyu comes toward the house on his way home from the cowherd duties he was tending to. As soon as he comes before his own house, Kutila immediately take up clods of dirt in her hands and screams out from the rooftop balcony:
“Oho! You are so bold to destroy the righteousness of the chaste girls of Vraja! And you are also desirous of entering into my brother’s home---Hey you fickle rascal! You have come before our house, so I will now break your head with these dirt-balls and give you your just reward! Hearing all about your social atrocities and outlandish debauchery, King Kamsa has become very, very angry and has sent many soldiers to make you and your father happy! They will arrive here very soon---When they arrest and take both you and your father away to the capital Mathura, clapping you in a jail-cell as tight as a womb, they only will your fickleness cease!”
Observing the strange behavior of his own sister, Abhimanyu becomes very confused and begins to think, “My sister Kutila has been seized by some kind of powerful ghost; I’d better bring a mantrik doctor to exorcise her.”
Resolving thus, he becomes perplexed by various anxieties and goes to the edge of the village to see the exorcist.
---In this way, Sri Krishna then begins to sport many mischievous, novel pranks in Jatila’s own house along with Jatila’s own Daughter-in- law......
He Who has no fruitive gain
other than sporting with another’s Wife-----
will such a Sri Krishna
not be triumphant in His endeavors?
THUS ENDS THE SECOND PRANK OF SRI CAMATKARA
CANDRIKA, ENTITLED ABHIMANYU-VESE MILANA