The Glorious Month of Damodar, Part 28


Bhaktivedanta Book Trust

Nov 03, 2014 — CANADA (SUN) — A drama taking placing in the month of Kartika, by Srila Raghunath das Goswami, in four parts.

Mukta Caritram (History of the Pearl)


Subal said, "Bayasya! See how Sudebi remains eyeing you, longing to know what price for these pearls you have ascertained for her!"

I replied, "Sakhe Subal! Since Sudebi is celebrated as being very skilful at throwing dice, we will play a game together, but in order to avoid any cheating or embezzlement, no one amongst you will be able to support either side. The two of us will play by the power of our intuitive intelligence.

Now if I am soundly defeated by her, then she can press my chest very tightly with her left breast and drink twice from my lips, which are the whole of my wealth. Or, in the case that I am able to defeat her, then her right breast, very firm to the touch, will be squeezed by my right hand, as much as I like, and she will have to cause me to drink the nectar of her lips twice."

Thereupon, Sudebi knitted her eyebrows into a terrible frown as she looked at me and spoke to Visakha, her words dripping with malice, "Ayi Visakhe! Does he know nothing more than engaging in mercantile affairs and joking on and on forever? Previously this great trader got so much amusement out of the gold business and nowadays he has begun to do the same by speculating in commerce in pearls, all calculated to achieve a handsome profit. Therefore all of you should set aside two pararddhas (pararddha- hundred, thousand billion) of golden coins in the form of the five arrows he is so much desirous of getting struck with. Let him have as much as he wants from this reserve and then collect all our pearls from him. Meanwhile, I'm going home."

As Ananga Manjari caught hold of her skirt to prevent her from going, Sudebi again turned towards me, accosting me with her anger as she challenged me, "Bho! Kelilampat! (You love-making libertine!) Ananga Manjari is expert at rolling the dice. Therefore, you should play dice with her, unless of course you're worried that she might crumble the mountain of your pride to pieces."

To these sweet words I replied, "Are you sure? This quiet, little Ananga Manjari!? A practised dice thrower? The dear sister of She Who is the personified form of my Kaustubha necklace and the mark of Srivatsa on my chest (Srimati Radhika), is very affectionate to me. The bumblebee of my mind is similarly so delighted with the sweetness of this Ananga Manjari, that it hovers near her constantly. I am prepared to give her some of the roundest and heaviest pearls for free. For her I won't charge anything. Then I will take her to a solitary kunj and, placing her gentle form upon a dais within that kunj, I will arrange all fifty of the syllables, which are the various limbs and parts of her body, beginning with her heart. I will embrace her and then perform a complete anga-nyas (applying mantras to the various parts of the body through touch and sound) while reciting all of the appropriate mantras. Then I will bestow upon her a most perfected mantra. By reciting this mantra only once, she will be able to enjoy direct association with Cupid himself. After the conclusion of her dalliance with Cupid, she will naturally be so satisfied, so pleased, that she will humbly present the jewels of her wanton coquetry, the whole of her worldly possessions, to her mantraguru as dakkina. Thereupon, I will be so delighted with her that I will bestow my graciousness as hundreds and hundreds of benedictions upon her, by awarding her the title, Bisomsor Bilasacarja (Bisomsor: lit.- deadly arrow; Here however, this can most nearly be rendered as- The Most Extraordinary Acarja of Pleasure Pastimes). Having received this degree, she will in turn worship me with two times more devotion than she did before."

Accepting these words of mine like a hymn of flowers, she decorated her ears with those flowers as she glanced at me very quickly, while making a hasty retreat behind Tulasi and Ranganmalika, her lips trembling all the time. The full-faced, fortunate gopis laughed with full-blown eyes, full with affection, to see her disappear behind the backs of her friends, while her elder sister, Sri Radha, watched with sympathetic and smiling eyes.

Satyabhama laughed, "Prananath! Then! Then?!"

Sri Krsna replied, "At that time Malli and Bhringi appeared with two letters and presented them before the assembly. With elated minds, they all gathered around Lalita to read them, as she handed one of the letters to Subal."

I said, "Lalite! Who wrote these letters?"

Lalita laughed, "The letters will say!"

Then Subal opened the letter and began to read in a quiet voice.

Nandimukhi, "Subal! We can't hear!"

Subal laughed, "Sakhe! Please hear this remarkable letter!"

I replied, "Go on! I'm on the edge of my seat!"

Subal, "Swastisamastamukhah! (Denoting benediction or prosperity)

Before the right honourable; worthy of comparison (in writing) to the best of the saintly persons; surrounded and served by a host of good qualities, our dearest friend, the highly magnanimous Subal-

Please know the following, by this letter, like a sweet cake served to you on a golden plate, come from the village called Jabat, and composed of syllables which are nothing less than the condensed form of the nectar of Sri Radha's love-

Though the lotus feet of your dear friend, and of the other residents of Braja Mandal as well, like your good self, are always graced with all auspiciousness, may this always continue to be so. There is one other matter which you should please be attentive to.

It is common knowledge that the exacting of revenue from one's dear friends is unbecoming, and so, though on many occasions we have had to part with considerable sums, we have up till now, remained silent. Now however, due to the squandering of all the pearls that we had planted, our elders are awfully upset and complain all the time. Only due to this fact, that we are unable to attain a moment's peace since the dreadful day of our big blunder, I have had to say something. Please don't count this as a fault against me.

In this village of ours, Brindaban, your dear friend (Pranbondhu Krsna) has taken up pearl farming nowadays, in the fields near the Jamuna, as his means of livelihood. After you have all settled on an adequate amount, through written correspondence with Lalita, {here of course I am referring to the taxes due to us for the use of our land}, then I will expect prompt payment. With this revenue we will then go to bring a sufficient quantity of pearls from Mathura. Having presented these to our elders, we will have thus crossed over this ocean of anguish.

Or, if you are unable to come up with the considerable amount required, since of course you understand that it takes very expensive land to produce valuable pearls, then in that case, five representative members should meet together, and, after settling the rate, a quantity of pearls equal to that amount should be made over to Lalita.

and experienced persons. Therefore what need is there for me to say anything further? Sincerely yours,"

Completely transported into the realms of rapture at having heard these lucid remarks, I revealed my inner thoughts, saying, "Ayi Malli! Ayi Bhringi! Your mistress is well I hope!?" They replied, "Absorbed in meditation on the feet of lord master, she is quite content."

Then, glancing out of the corners of my eyes towards that kunj, I inquired, "Where is she just now?"

They replied, "In the village of the name Jabat."

I inquired further, "What is she doing just now?"

They replied, "She is sitting, watching the path, waiting for the arrival of Lalita and the other sakhis, while anxiously praying for the auspicious welfare of the kingdom of Brindaban." I said, "Sakhe Subal! I suspect that our double-dealing friend here (Lalita) has signalled to someone to write this letter and then produced it as if it had come from Jabat."

Subal, "Na. Na. This is definitely Radha's handwriting."

Then I said, "Sakhe! Let me see the letter!"

Taking the letter from Subal I marvelled at it as I said to myself, "Aha! These rows of words illuminate my eyes with a brilliance like a flood of nectar. However, I will have to disguise the appearance of these ecstatic symptoms, such as the standing up of the hairs on my body, by attributing to them a cause other than the real one. Thus I laughed as I said, "How astonishing! I can't believe it! These sly foxes have pulled this rabbit out of the hat like a flower from the sky, by unexpectedly raising a completely new issue."

Madhumangal spoke up, "Bayasya! This overindulged and pampered Lalita, the personification of the most grotesque and shrewd trickery (kuti-nati), the first preceptor of all deceitful dancing girls who cavort around on the dramatic stage, and who is herself a first-class actress, is non-different from Radha. Thus, by her beguiling words she very easily subjugates Sri Radha, and having thus overpowered her, enacts her own will through the personality of Radha. Know this to be a desperate and futile attempt. I know also, that as long as one of your enemies remains, then for that long you should relinquish all your hopes for happiness. Remembering this and all other pertinent information, you should recommend to the well-wisher of our kingdom of Brindaban that all of these charlatans be run out of Brindaban at once. Then only, in this kingdom freed from all thorns, will you be able to enjoy all of the sweet flowers and juicy fruits. Immersed in the happiness of that moment, I will myself become a dancer as I continue to live here free from any further affliction."

I said, "Lalite! How has our Brindaban become the kingdom of your sakhi?"

Lalita, "Bho! Paramkapatin! (Oh consummate fraud!) You were present at the coronation festival of Sri Radharani. Why are you trying to conceal this fact?!"

Me, "What to speak of seeing such a festival I don't remember even having heard of it!"

Visakha, "Lalite! It's not his fault. Through the transgression of the codes of religion by hundreds and hundreds of the chaste young cowherd women, the darkness of ignorance has descended upon this place. By association with them his intelligence has also become covered, and through his association, his two friends appear to be losing their's also. Now the question is, how to bring about their remembrance?

This can best be accomplished by causing the nectar of the words spoken by Radharani to enter into the holes of their ears. This will bring about the appearance of Her mercy within their consciousness and in this way their memories will be revived."

Just then Brindadebi arrived. This brought unlimited joy to all of the gopis as they all embraced her along with Lalita, who said, "Brinde! You have come at a very good time. Please describe the great fun we had at the coronation festival of Sri Radharani."

Brindadebi very humbly replied, yet with great delight, "Sakhi Lalite! Actually I have come here just to drink the flower nectar description of that festival from your lotus mouth. Therefore, please distribute this nectar to us yourself."

Lalita cheerfully replied, "So be it. Everyone please listen very carefully-

During the reign of the King of Seasons (Springtime), at the time of Paurnamasi tithi (full-moon) and during the Visakha nakshatra (constellation called Visakha), all of the rivers such as Kalindi and Manas Ganga, met together with the demigoddesses headed by Krsna's younger sister, Savitri, the resident of the Vindhya hills, having been ordered to do so by a voice from the sky, that of Hiranyagarbha (Lord Brahma), and another instruction received through their dreams from a resident of Brindaban, Lord Gopeshwar. Then all of them, together with Bhagavati Paurnamasi, attracted various Kinnaris and Gandharvis there, by making a tumultuous uproar produced from various musical instruments like flutes, vinas, gongs, mridungas and other kinds of drums. While the Kinnaris and Gandharvis sang, the Apsaras and Vidyadharis began to dance, as Saci and the other heavenly nymphs let loose with triumphant outcries accompanied by showers of flowers like the parijata. The approach of Visakha and all the other sahacaris (confidantes) was proclaimed by the melodious songs that went before them, resounding in all directions, as they appeared on the scene exquisitely decorated with sweetly scented silken cloths fastened with multi-coloured cords and carrying in their hands freshly ground sandalwood paste, mind-enchanting musk, delicious kunkum (saffron), sandalwood oil and a variety of fragrant flowers. The wives of the brahmanas uttered hundreds and hundreds of benedictions as the sakhis carried in 108 brilliantly decorated golden pots, filled with water scented with kunkum, aguru, karpur (camphor), candan (sandalwood), and various fragrant flowers. To these were then added various gems decorated with auspicious markings. As the Ratnabhishek began, thousands of streams flowed from the lotus feet of priyasakhi Gandharva, who was seated on an altar encrusted with rubies, atop a brightly coloured dais, all to the accompaniment of triumphant cries of joy."

Brindadebi joyfully inquired, "Then? Then?!"

Lalita replied, "Then I gently rubbed Her with a very fine, soft cloth to dry her body before dressing her in a red skirt, with a dark blue veil (the colour of clouds) scented with Ketaki flowers. After comfortably seating Her on a small golden seat, I began to braid her luxurious hair, which defeats the beauty of peacock feathers, intertwining the braids with garlands of fresh flowers, pearls and jewels, finally fixing a colourful bouquet of flowers at the end of her braid. Meanwhile the other attendants (sakhis) present each began to perform the respective service that they were particularly expert at, decorating Her transcendental body with various unguents, ornaments and garlands, whatever was suitable for the particular part or limb that they were diligently decorating..."

Suddenly, while in the middle of this sentence, Lalita became overwhelmed by the remembrance of her Priyasakhi, as the ecstatic symptoms of trembling, horripilation and faltering of the voice transported her into a state of divine unconsciousness. Visakha then sat down behind her and filled her ears with the nectarean vibrations of "Radhe Krsna Radhe Krsna", thus arousing her from her faint. Lalita patiently remained silent for a few moments and then prepared to resume the narration.

In the meantime, when Sri Radha saw that Lalita had become unconsciousness, She exclaimed, "Oh light of my life, whose character shines like a burning ghee lamp, encircling and dissipating the darkness, Oh priyasakhi Lalite! Have you left this already unfortunate soul in a state of complete hopelessness? Ha Bhagavan! Ha Bhaktabatsal Bhaskordeb! (Oh Lord! Oh You Who are affectionate to Your devotees. Oh most merciful Sun God!) Please save us! Please protect us! Ha Gokul Sudhanidhe (Oh Nectar Reservoir of Gokul)! Oh you who have unconditionally resolved to protect the residents of Gokul, up to and including the Pulindas. Quickly therefore, bring the life back into this succulent young creeper by sprinkling her with the nectar touch of your hands, this girl named Lalita, who is the means of existence for people like me, whose hearts are like a cuckoo's. I will bear the expenses, whatever the cost! Better yet! As your remuneration, you can purchase this ascetic, Radhika, and make her your maidservant."

Lamenting in this way, with Her face streaming with tears, Radharani rushed forward to embrace Lalita, but before she could advance She was Herself embraced (and thus protected) by her companions in the form of the ecstatic symptoms headed by paralysis (stambha). In other words, She also fainted in a swoon of ecstatic love.

Seeing this, Ranganballi and Tulasi became frightened and ran to Radharani, with their hearts pounding. Ranganballi put her left arm around Sri Radha's back, and then, with her right hand, began to gently rub Her body. Tulasi was crying profusely as she called out in a faltering voice, "Ha Nath! Raksha! Raksha! (Oh Lord! Protect us! Save us!) She ran and brought some fresh new leaves from a Tamal tree and after having fashioned a fan from them, began to fan Radharani very briskly. Then Sri Radha regained her consciousness and was delighted to see Lalita fit and well.

Meanwhile Lalita continued, "Yes. Then, all of those assembled there, decorated as they were with the ornaments of ecstatic symptoms, surged forth like a swell in the ocean of happiness, and, with Bhagavati Paurnamasi at their head, seated Sri Radha on a very ornate, jewelled throne. Then after collecting tilok and musk from the chest of the dark-blue demigod (Shyamal debata) of the name Kam, the brother of Jogmaya, She was anointed as the Queen of Brindaban with this tilok, all to the accompaniment of the blowing of conchshells, ringing of bells and beating of gongs and drums."

Having heard this wonderful description of Sri Radha's coronation festival, a great din and bustle of laughter was produced amongst all those present. I was also so much taken up by the intense rapture of that moment, that a variety of ecstatic symptoms sprung up in my physical person, which I was able to constrain and contain only by sheer effort.

I managed a slight smile as I said, "Lalite! How is it I never came to know about any of this? Anyway, simply by this have you all acquired the kingdom? Especially since you certainly must have assented that it would also be my kingdom, along with yours."

Nandimukhi, "How is that?"

I replied, "Since it was by my suggestion that Bhagavati Paurnamasi crowned Radha as my queen, the Queen of the Inner Sanctum of Brindaban."

Visakha laughed, "He asangata bhashin! (Oh you of inconsistent speech!) The queen of Purandor is a demigoddess, the wife of Indra, famous by the name of Saci, and she lives in heaven. However, my sakhi Radharani, wanders upon this Earth as a human being, the wife of the fortunate Abhimanyu."

I said, "Tarkacarjasiromaninmanye Visakhe! (Oh most esteemed preceptor, crest jewel amongst the professors of the science of polemics!) You are endowed with the most decrepit intelligence (You imbecile)! Though you have repeatedly studied the section of dialectics dealing with direct perception, have you forgotten it all?"

Visakha replied, "And just exactly what is it that I have forgotten?"

I said, "I will tell you. Just listen carefully-

If your priyasakhi Radha is not my mistress, then why did Bhagavati Paurnamasi anoint Her with tilok and musk from my chest, during her coronation ceremony? Why did she place my necklace and my flower garland around Her neck?"

Lalita, "Bho shashashringa dhanurdhar! (Oh wielder of the bow made from the horns of a hare! He alik purandor! (Oh you false Indra!) She whose lotus feet are adorned with the most excellent lines of auspiciousness, whose wealth of glories are sung by the Gandharvas and Vidyadharas, whose character is praised in hymns recited by Prajapati Brahma, the bestower of the fruits of manifold desires, the consort of the Lord of Nandi, Sri Mahadeb, the resident of Kailash and Vindhyacal, has a brother (Shyamal debata) named Kamakhya, whose mahaprasad (musk and flower garlands) was used by Paurnamasi to anoint Radharani during Her coronation festival. I am not aware of your relationship with him?!"

Tungavidya, "Sakhi Lalite! This title, Alik Purandor, that you have used to address him, is so fitting since in fact he is nothing more than a false Indra!"

Visakha, "How is that?"

Tungavidya, "In the same way that a beggar brahmana who has some knowledge of music may accept a post as music teacher in a small village, simply to receive the twenty-five kauri (conchshell) salary, and, when falsely addressed by the simple village folk as, "He Deb! Oh He Maharaj!", he feels so delighted and cheerful; similarly, certain stoned (intoxicated from taking bhang {marijuana}) and dissembling scholars (court jesters) of low character, simply greedy for the pay of one pol (four tolas) of fresh butter, respectfully refer to themselves with the title Brindaban Purandor, even a semblance of which remains far from the reality that they are nothing more than ambitious farmers, thus revealing their true identity as foolish idiots. Yet they remain so enthusiastic to establish themselves as the gods of celestial abodes."

Biting her bottom lip to hold back her laughter, Tungavidya now began to describe my abhishek (coronation ceremony), "Sakhigon! He is comfortably seated on a throne made from golden mud from the banks of Pabon Sarobar, produced from the moss growing there, and encrusted with tasty pearl fruits and other jewels. He wears a crooked crown, roughly fashioned from flowers from the sky (akash kushum- day dreams), the scent of which has attracted a swarm of intoxicated yellow bumblebees eager to collect some pollen, as they busily buzz about. Subal is happily holding an umbrella above his head. Aha! I can't even describe the elegance of that umbrella, made from the shells of tortoises, and from which is falling a shower of the most fragrant nectar. His two friends, Ujjwal and Catur appear very delighted as they stand by his two sides, fanning him with camaras made from bunches of hair produced from the soft palms of the hands. Some of the greatest and noblest saints, born from the wombs of the most celebrated, barren women are performing his abhishek, anointing him as Chief Sovereign (Mahendra) of Brindaban, by bathing him in a shower of the delicious milk of Padmagandha and some of the other bulls. At this moment his hare-horn bow, that he holds in his left hand, shines with a splendour like a gift from the mighty Kubera himself.

In this and so many other ways the Rajyabhishek (Coronation Ceremony) was performed throughout the day. Thus his fame was proclaimed throughout the universe, carried by the tidal wave of his majesty. Though all of you are aware of this, it seems a great impropriety to me that none of you are falling at his feet while addressing him as Mahendra incarnate." The fair-limbed gopis laughed with delight as they shyly glanced towards me from the corners of their eyes. Then they all smiled at one another as Citra said, "Bho! Why are you two (Visakha and Tungavidya) joking about him so? He really is the Lord of the Gods (Debendra) you know! There is no doubt about it."

Then Tungavidya said, "Citre! If that be true, that he is the Lord of the Gods (Debaraj), then why would he come here, before all of us ordinary folk?"

Citra replied, "Though it is common knowledge that he gets enamoured by other women, debi was so angered by this that she kicked him and rebuked him severely. Thus he left that heavenly home of his and came here to the forest. Accepting the dress of a cowherd boy he then began the performance of purash caran. By this process (purash caran) he has attracted the favour of the Goddess of Brindaban (Brindabaneshwari) and is now happily passing his time here. Therefore, instead of teasing him by making him an object of ridicule, we should affectionately welcome this guest who has come to our home."

The glowing faces of the graceful young gopis lit up with smiles as they listened to this explanation of Citra's. Then Nandimukhi addressed her, "Sakhi Citre! He who eternally sports in the forest of Braja, namely the son of the King of Braja, Brajendra Nandan, appears to be seriously contemplating the inner, hidden meaning of the words you have used to describe him. Please therefore, after due consideration, bring delight to all of our hearts by explaining this secret to us."

Citra laughed but remained silent. When Sri Brindadebi saw that she appeared like a saint who has taken a vow of maunam (silence), she blissfully began, "Nandimukhi! I have clearly understood the esoteric meaning of clever Citra's statements. Please listen carefully as I reveal this to you."

Nandimukhi, "Tell us how he has become the King of the Gods, Debendra."

Brindadebi replied, "Those who are very playful, who engage in a variety of captivating pleasure pastimes, are deba; or, those who are very effulgent, whose brilliant bodily lustre shines like the waves of a river of nectar on a moonlit night, can also be called as the Sovereign Chief of all the debas, Debendra Raja. His above mentioned qualities far outshine the other debas. This is the meaning of Debendra."

Nandimukhi smiled, "Brinde! You have sufficiently explained the meaning of Debendra. Now tell us the meaning of par ramani rata."

Brinda replied, "Para means other, or opposing. It can also indicate paramotkrista ramani, a very eminent lady. That is, Sri Radha. And of course, rata means deep and fond attachment, so, par ramani rata means, one who is passionately devoted to Sri Radha."

Campaklata laughed, "Brinde! Then who is that debi?"

Brindadebi replied, "Unless one is a god himself he has no right to worship the gods. In accordance with this injunction, she who is very diligently engaged in the service of Candika debi, is also called debi, just to lend some auspiciousness to an otherwise inauspicious situation; like calling a blind child, Padmalocan. Otherwise, debi means the wife of a deba."

Nandimukhi inquired, "Who is that?"

Visakha, "Well, that's obvious. The person that fits this description; who has all of these qualities, is Candrabali."

Brindadebi smiled to hear this but then fell silent, as all the other bright-eyed gopis laughed together.

Nandimukhi, "Yes, the fact that she rebuked him by kicking him clearly indicates her lower propensities and shameless impudence. But what then is the meaning of, param sukhad tan nija bhavan?"

Brindadebi replied, "That place that is not very deep or dense, without flowers or the buzzing of bumblebees, only (param- exclusively) affords unhappiness, uneasiness and the lack of contentment (asukhad). Or, that place which ruins real happiness; the place which gives pain; our debi's residence, Sakhi Sthali. Leaving there, he has come to this forest."

Nandimukhi, "How wonderful it is that you have so cleverly recognised the esoteric meaning of Citra's statements. Please therefore, divulge the hidden meanings of the other words which still remain incomprehensible to us."

Brindadebi replied, "The phrase beginning with navin gopatwa indicates someone who carries a flute, a buffalo horn, a cane, and a rope for tying cows; who is painted with red mineral dyes, decorated with new peacock feathers and necklaces made of gunja berries; an enchanting cowherd boy bedecked with forest flowers and leaves. Navin especially refers to his ever fresh, eternally youthful quality. Purash caran vidhan is understood in this way. Purah means, before. In other words, underneath the sweetly scented Bakul trees ornamented with a multitude of bumblebees. Caran means self-willed, wanton or noble. Or, like the king of the elephants, Gajendra, maddened by Cupid's shafts, who wanders about, engaged in a variety of pleasure pastimes. His precepts (vidhan) consist of such things as kissing the lotuses (kissing the lotus of his pastimes), biting the tender leaves of the Ashok creeper, playing with round pomegranate fruits, embracing golden jasmine creepers and causing others to drink the intoxicating honey of his camphor-sweet smile and the side-long glances from his lotus eyes. On this account, he forcibly attracts the playful coquette of this capital of Brindaban, who has come here to share some of her ecstatic feelings with the Mallika, Bakul, Campak, Madhabi and golden Jasmine flowers that grow here, collecting them that they may render service as various fragrant flower garlands. After making her completely mad with excitement, he pulls her to himself.

The inner meaning of, sukhena samoyan gamayan, or, happily passing the time, is: sukhena- the topmost ecstasy produced by tasting the most commendable and indescribably sweet mellows; which has, and continually remains, to endow samoy, or time, that is, the time of soporific Spring, with the most unique and incomparably good fortune, as though the Goddess of Fortune herself was eternally present, by means of a mystical myriad of pleasure pastimes. Having attained Her association, He is incessantly and intently absorbed in inventing even more inexpressible and unspeakable ways to divert the attention of His Playmate, through the artistry of delicious, wanton dalliance."

My heart filled with joy, I addressed her, "Biswasghatini Brinde! (You traitress!) You are the keeper (mistress) of my gardens; these groves of Brindaban. Have you joined their side now?"

Madhumangal said, "Priya bayasya! This Brinda, just so that she can eat some rice with salt and buttermilk, has abandoned Your groves to become a servant in their homes. So what else would you expect her to say in these present circumstances?"

Brinda exclaimed, "Aye bhusurabhash! (You mere semblance of a brahmana!) Katubato! (You crude, rude and jealous jester!) Upon hearing these words, comparable to a fresh Spring shower, from your friend who is himself like a cloud, you have become quite a cheerful frog now haven't you? Your harsh croaking however, is simply a source of disturbance for us."

Malli and Bhringi said, "Debi Lalite! Have you forgotten about what our Swamini wrote in the second letter?"

Lalita, "What was that?"

Malli and Bhringi, "Whoever behaves in a contrary fashion, furnishing fallacious arguments simply to instigate quarrel and hostility in the matter of settling a just and equitable price for the goods in question, should immediately be bound and sent to me. And so forth..." Lalita said, "Yes! This Madhumangal is definitely antagonising the situation. After binding him tightly with some vines and creepers, take him, not to our soft-hearted Priyasakhi however, but submit him instead to Jatila and Abhimanyu. There he can collect his dues in the form of a good, sound thrashing from the lion of Jabat, Abhimanyu."

Madhumangal timidly remarked, "Bayasya! I have some very important work waiting for me at home. I'll come back as soon as I'm finished."

I replied, "Dhik brahman! (Shame!) When you are with me why do you fear the tall talks of these weak, young girls?"

Madhumangal, "He Mahasur! (Oh great hero!) I have directly experienced Your great valour at the toll gate on the path around Gobardhan enough times. I haven't forgotten that day the gopis bound me with their veils, by the order of Gandharva, for the purpose of realising the revenues on Brindaban, and carried me off right under Your nose as You looked on with your mouth hanging open, even if You so conveniently have. Fortunately, I somehow or other managed to save myself by my own brahminical prowess."

Saying this much, Madhumangal imitated someone in a panic of terror trying to flee away, as I caught hold of his hand to bring him back and said, "Lalite! Why should I pay revenues to such a soft, gentle-hearted young girl as that. Rather, I will collect my own dues by force if necessary."

When she heard this, Sri Radha glanced at me from the corner of Her eyes and laughed.

Nandimukhi said, "Citre! What is the meaning of what you said about batir atithi (our house guest)?

Lalita said, "Nandimukhi! When you already know, then why do you ask? He has only been here for about six or seven years since he left his own village in Mahaban, where he always used to stay."

Nandimukhi, "Why did he abandon the place of his birth?"

Radha answered under her breath, "Because there he was not free to do as he pleased. In such a big village as that, which is practically like a town with many people always present, where is the opportunity to accomplish all the odd and unbecoming things that he is accustomed to, such as assassinating young girls, breaking milk pots and stealing butter? Since there he has little scope for committing these crimes, and thus perfecting his natural calling, he has come to this lonely and dense forest of Brindaban. Here, his intense eagerness for such activities as biting the lips and stealing the clothes of chaste young girls goes unchecked, and with it the good name of our respectable families."

Nandimukhi smiled as Lalita expressed (out loud) Sri Radha's observation for the benefit of all those present. Divulging her intentions, she remarked, "Yes Lalite! Yet he seems to have relinquished this profession as of late."

Radha again answered quietly, "That does seem to be the case at present. He has renounced his natural characteristics (swadharma), since his judgement was swayed by some averse conception, having been acquitted of his crimes of thieving and the like by the penances prescribed by Lalitacarja. Now feeling very repentant, he has taken up the occupation of the gopis, namely agriculture, as his religious duty. He is producing quite a good harvest and giving that too, over to the gopis, after first accepting a share for himself. In this way he brings so much happiness to the gopis and himself as well, behaving just like a virtuous and pious gentleman."

This much Visakha similarly communicated to everyone, with her smiling face.

The lovely young gopis (Brajasundori gon) discovered a festival of laughing and merriment in these statements of Sri Radha, as I said to Subal with insincere malice, "Sakhe Subal! Have you seen how these cunning rascals, under the ruse of jesting mockery, have thoroughly undermined my authority here in this kingdom of Brindaban?"

Subal replied, "Not only have they dismissed your proprietary rights over Brindaban, but moreover, they have made you into a farmer!"

Brindadebi said, "Subal! You are very wise and experienced scholar. You are also the favoured recipient of the affection of both Radha and Krsna. Therefore, why don't you confer with Nandimukhi and make some settlement here? Though Radha and Krsna are naturally very affectionate to each other, They have become engaged in this dispute over Brindaban. Why aren't you able to refute this incongruity of opinions regarding the proprietorship of this kingdom, by citing some logical references from the scriptures? "

To this, Lalita and myself responded by saying, Well done! Well done! Excellent proposal!" Subal then addressed me, "Bayasya! First of all, let Lalita explain how the gopis attained exclusive mastery over the kingdom, and then you can present your viewpoint, regarding the same, in regard to your respective position."

I replied, "Sakhe Subal! Overcome by illusion, I became an offender by cohabiting with all of the celestial nymphs here in Braja, but then, by my acts of atonement I again became purified. Please tell me how it is, that I am now supposed to again bandy words about with these gopis?"

Then Brinda said to me, "Mahasuddha! (Oh most purified one!) Even though some of them may have become defiled by the deadly arrows of Shyamal (Cupid), in the form of your words, they have repeatedly bathed in the most sacred pond of the Empress of Brindaban, according to the method given by Her, and thus come before you, once again pure and chaste. There is no fault if you speak with them. Therefore, Lalite! Please begin."

Lalita, "First of all, let alone his sovereignty over the kingdom of Brindaban, this lying cheat has no connection with Brindaban whatsoever."

Nandimukhi, "How is that?"

Lalita replied, "Since it is that his father's kingdom of Brihadban (Mahaban), where they have always lived, is his inherited property."

Nandimukhi, "What is the proof of that?"

Lalita, "The utterances of the great sages headed by Byasdeb, as recorded in the revealed scriptures (Puranas- first and foremost of which is the Bhagavat)."

Then Subal addressed her, "Lalite! As one of the mediators here, I have something very pertinent to add at this stage. Moreover, I will not be able to utter anything false while looking you in the face. Now my question is this- Have you attained this kingdom of Brindaban simply on the strength of the fact that Brihadban is the kingdom of Sri Krsna? If you have any evidence for this statement then we anxiously await it's mention."

Lalita replied, "Subal! Indeed there are many direct and indirect statements in the Puranas, but of the two, 'directly perceivable proof is the most substantial.' In light of this we should accept the direct evidence."

Nandimukhi, "And what might that be?"

Lalita, "Do I have to say? As if you haven't all perceived it yourselves."

Nandimukhi, "I don't remember anything in particular. Please tell us."

Lalita, "Is there anyone in the three worlds who was not bowled over by the bliss of the Ratnabhishek performed by the wives of the demigods, headed by Savitri (wife of Lord Brahma), all to the accompaniment of an uproarious din produced from beating on drums like the dundubhi?"

Subal, "Lalite! Yes, we all may have witnessed this event, but what you have described can also be observed otherwise. Don't forget that my friend is present here to catch you when you twist the truth too much."

Lalita, "Subal! If this cowherd boy, your two-footed friend there, does in fact imply that there is some untruth here, then why does this Swami still so earnestly long to be initiated with Her mantra, that he might obtain the service of Her lotus feet, She who was ceremoniously installed as the Queen of Brindaban and who continues to sit on the singhasan at Mahajogpith? Had you forgotten about this, his previous statements?"

Nandimukhi laughed, "Lalite! This foppish young buck (prince) is addicted to the drug of love (Madan) and is therefore excessively lusty. Can his incoherent ravings during moments of this drug incited delirium be accepted as proof? I'm afraid we'll need something more solid than this to go on."

Brinda, "Whatever testimony Lalita produces is being refuted by the both of you (Subal and Nandimukhi), who have taken the side of this maddened and intoxicated young son of the king. Consequently, Lalita has become so overpowered by indignation that she seems to have run out of any further noteworthy arguments."

Nandimukhi, "Brinde! Why don't you give us an account of this evidence then?"

Brinda, "Priyasakhi Sri Radha, has, through Her unbounded love, bestowed a form similar to Her very own, upon this forest of Brindaban. Thus this forest itself is now designated as Her own priyasakhi (dear friend)."

Nandi, "How has this forest become as like Her portrait?"

Brinda, "Please listen-

In this most beloved place (Ballabhpur), the golden Jasmine creepers and vines of Campak flowers, distinguished by their exquisite fragrance and loveliness, have attained the very form of priyasakhi Sri Radha's divine body, thus vanquishing creepers of Lightning (Vidyutballi). The lovely, full blown lotus flowers are reflections of Her charming, cheerful lotus face.

As Her eyes flutter, the lotuses tremble in the gentle breeze and the lithe and lissom deer, of slow and gentle gait, are startled and run off into the forest. As Her full, lustrous lips begin to tremble, the bimba fruits hanging in the trees swing to and fro, while Bandhuli flower buds bloom in the morning mist, blessed with fortune, having attained the form of Her glistening, honey-dew lips.

The pleasing form of Her two arms has been captured by all the tremulous creepers in this forest of Brindaban, and the beaks of the parrots have received the eminent form of Her highly raised nose, the best friend of the sesame flowers. The flowers of this forest, all in full bloom, are the personified form of Her laughter, while the sweetly scented buds of the Kunda (one kind of Jasmine) flower, surrounded by black bumblebees infatuated by their fragrance, are blinded by the radiance of Her teeth.

Rows of bumblebees in flight have adopted the pose of Her eyebrows, and the fortunate Bok flowers have attained some of the exquisite beauty and grace of Her brilliant forehead. The tail feathers of the playful peacocks are the image of the decorated braids of Her hair. The splendour of the bowstring of the bow of Cupid has lost heart, after seeing the Munja ornament decorating Her ears.

The fruits of the Bael, Tal (Palm) and Pomegranate trees, are modelled after Her charming breasts, poised as though waiting for the dawn in the eastern sky. The resplendence of Her chest has lent it's eminence to the multitude of golden singhasanas. The jingling of the little bells in the embellished bracelet that goes round Her hips, is echoed in the forest around the girdle of the great mountain (Giri Gobardhan) as the sound of the flute.

Her excellent thighs, able to excite Cupid himself, are mirrored in the trunks of banana trees, shining with liquid beauty. The land-lilies have attained their appearance through association with Her lotus feet. Both flocks of swans, gracefully moving through the water with dextrous ease, as well as lust-intoxicated elephants, see Her gait as their guru.

Hundreds of Jambu fruits, sitting in the trees, are the reflection of the tilok markings on Her face (gopi dots); the sweet songs of the young cuckoos in the Spring, are the echo of Her enchanting words; and the wag-tails, flitting and dancing from one lotus flower to the next, have learned their movements from the corners of Her eyes, that dance within the lake of Her gracious, lotus face.

The waters of the Jamuna are tears of joy produced from loving ecstasies, flowing from Her eyes, and mixing with the collyrium (kajjol) that decorates them. Manas Ganga is the outward manifestation of Her pure and peaceful heart (mind), while the other lakes that adorn this lovely land, are the condensed form of Her perspiration. The multitude of gleaming gunja berries have received their splendour from the lustre of Her body.

Kunkum (Saffron) and Lotus flowers have attained their fragrance through association with Her body; a scent that makes Her co-wives (co-lovers) despondent when it enters their nostrils, but which en gladdens the hearts of Her friends and well-wishers, a scent that, in fact, attracts and entices all the residents of Braja in one way or another.

The radiance of Her body humbles the pride of Mount Meru, crowned with lightning bolts, who worship Her bodily brilliance as the source of their own splendour. Bathing in the shade cast by only a minute fraction of Her lustre, they have attained their own elegance. The land, caves, kunjas (forest bowers), houses made of gold, and mountains of stone, here in this forest of Brindaban, have all been modelled after Her form.

All of the lakes of this forest have attained the form of Her deep navel, and the black snakes that are to be found around these lakes are manifestations of the fine, black bodily hairs that grow above Her navel, like ripples on the surface of a lake. The black crane who subsists on these snakes, trembles when he sees them. The bejewelled desire trees are extensions of Her munificence and the fine hairs of Her body, standing on end, are the benevolent preceptors for all Kadamba flowers.

The gentle and refined people of the three worlds, sing the praises of all of the liberated objects in Brindaban, animate and inanimate. Yet these objects are simply reflections of the beauty of Sri Radha's form and different bodily limbs. Aha! The lustre of that body is constantly described by Uma, Rati and Lakkhi, among the assembly of the heavenly damsels. The desire trees and creepers of Brindaban bestow an abundance of delightful pleasures, far exceeding even that which is available in the spiritual sky, in the abodes of the Lord of Lakkhidebi, which are virtually overflowing with ecstasy. Their effulgent presence is as evident as that of the moon, existent within the multitude of universes, thus they have attained a measure of the unmeasured fame of Sri Radha. In this way we can clearly perceive how this forest of Brindaban is said to be Her priyasakhi (dear friend).

At this point I proudly interjected, "I have been ceremoniously installed as the all-conquering heir-apparent of the kingdom of my father, Brajaraj Nanda. With fixed intelligence but a heart softened with love, I roam these forests with my friends, on the pretext of herding our cows, but in actuality with the sole purpose in mind of protecting my forest. Therefore, how is it possible that this forest has recently become yours, simply on the strength of some implied oneness or similarity?"

Brindadebi replied, "That person who becomes the friend, or sarupya (identical form), of someone else; if they don't belong to them then they must certainly belong to someone else. Then why aren't they running off to emulate the forms of Lakkhidebi and Her consort, and thus accept Them and Their entourage as their very own?

Madhumangal replied with a loud laugh, "Bho mithyabadini Brinde! (Oh you liar Brinde!) Out of greed to enjoy the pleasure of drinking condensed milk, you have abandoned your divinity to become a flatterer. Simply by reciting this false eulogy, will you make our forest of Brindaban into your best friend?"

Nandimukhi spoke up, "Lalite! In the absence of the authorised statements of the sages of yore, neither side can be defeated. Therefore, please quote some references from the Puranas for us."

Lalita, "If the supporters of his side are going to say such things as this, then I suggest that you go see Paurnamasi. She has a wealth of references from the Puranas for you to hear."

Subal, "We want to hear some references from you."

Lalita, "We are cowherds. Moreover, we are women. Therefore we have no authority to quote from the Puranas."

Subal, "Well, this Brinda; she is a debi. Therefore let her please be so kind as to enlighten us."

Brindadebi posed for a moment or so, as though she was thinking, and then said, "Yes! There are many statements on this matter. In fact, there are so many that I don't know where to begin. Yet these are described in different ways by different debis in different regions. The point is, who is there amongst us who has not heard the passage in the Puranas, quoted by Paurnamasi, and which subdues all other statements, that, "Sri Radha holds dominion over the forest of Brindaban?"

When Madhumangal saw the cheerful faces of Lalita and the other lovely young cowherd girls of Braja (Brajasundorigon), indicating their pride of victory, he very haughtily said, "Nandimukhi! In the Gopal Tapani Upanishad, the most important work among all the Puranas, this forest is celebrated by the name, Krsnaban. For this reason, the demigods headed by Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, continuously sing the praises of Priyabayasya (our dear friend) as the Prince of Brindaban. Is there anyone who is unaware of this? The utterances of the Sruti always supersede that which is stated by the Smriti. In light of this, the kingdom of Brindaban is obviously under our jurisdiction. Therefore, Sakhe Subal! Get these gopis who are so covetous of another's property, out of here."

I said, "Sakhe Madhumangal! You are my most benevolent and dear friend!"

So saying, I then hugged him tightly. Nandimukhi pretended not to notice this as she looked towards the kunj where Radha was sitting. As she studied the faces of Lalita and the other sakhis, Radha smiled and softly said, "How astonishing! Simply upon hearing the word, Krsnaban, from the Gopaltapani Upanishad, this prudent pandit, without even a hint of the real meaning of the word, has attributed another meaning, thus assuming that in this one fell swoop he has made another's kingdom his own. Now he looks just like a big Kingshuk flower (red flower), and reminds us of a parrot noisily trying to figure out how to drink some water with it's beak."

Lalita expressed these remarks of Sri Radha for the benefit of everyone, to the unrestrained laughter of all those present.

I then began to consider, "Most probably Lalita will interpret this word Krsnaban in some other way."

While I was thus considering her intentions, Nandimukhi exclaimed, "Jayakankkhin! (All glories to you who are so hopeful of attaining your end! {Krsna}) I have something I would like to announce! If you approve, then I can say it."

I replied, "By all means!"

Nandimukhi, "Lalita intends to defeat you and claim the kingdom as their own, by taking the word Krsnaban as a compound word, meaning Shyamban (dark forest)."

I replied, "This Lalita is the primal preceptor (acarja) in the lore concerning the fine arts of adornment with flowers and painting the body with candan (sandalwood) and mineral dyes, using a small brush. I have personal, practical experience of this as she has on many occasions embellished my form with a variety of forest flowers. But what does she know about grammar?"

Brinda smiled, "He byakaronviggammanya! (Oh most venerable and wise professor of grammar!) Our priyasakhi Lalita is a very well renowned acarja in the science of grammar. Much more so than you!"

Lalita replied with embarrassment, "Oh Brinde! You're so mean. Get out of here with that nonsense."

Brinda, "I'm contending with him on your behalf and now you're mad at me?"

Lalita then said to me, "Bho samasacarja sarddul! (Oh tiger amongst the teachers of compound words!) You have thought to frighten us with this apparition of the person you so much want to become, but why do you vainly long after this playground of our priyasakhi? Since in this case it is obvious that by the use of a juxtapositional (appositional) or attributive compound the meaning of Krsnaban is Shyamban. Why persist at taking the meaning to be the forest of Krsna. I think you had just better give up on that one."

I replied, "Caturanmanye! (Think you're very clever don't you, Lalite?!) When it is perfectly plain to see that this is a determinative (tatpurush) compound, it is superfluous to try to combine it any other way. Anyway, how would you explain this statement, 'May the rascal be gratified?"

Radha spoke softly from within the kunj, "By reason of the fact that this forest is very deep, dense and dark, the word Krsna (Shyam- dark) has been placed in apposition to forest (ban). Thus this juxtapositional compound gives the clearest meaning."

Lalita repeated these words of Radha, exactly as She had said them, which prompted Campaklata to say, with praise, "Lalite! Sadhu! Sadhu! (Bravo! Bravo! Well done!) You have spoken correctly. Since this forest is the place where he himself has manifested and accomplished a variety of activities (karma), such as killing the demons Arista and Kesi, subduing Kaliya, lifting up Gobardhan hill and performing the Ras dance, then it should be clearly obvious that this is an appositional compound (karma-dharoy)."

Lalita again expanded on the original statement of Radha's, explaining in a variety of ways how it is that Krsnaban means Shyamban. First she established where there are forests which are especially dark, like for instance in Brindaban, and that being the reason it is called Krsnaban and so forth and so on. Krsnaban is an attribute of Brindaban, or an adjective modifying Brindaban, and therefore should be understood to be an attributive compound (bahubrihi).

Brinda said, "Satyang! Satyang! (Here! Here!) (Ay! Ay!) The place where the Ras dance is held on the banks of the Kalindi is a dark banyan forest, and the Rasasthali (place of the Ras dance) near Gobardhan (Parashali) is also very dense and dark. All of these places are renowned as being very dark places."

Indurekha said, "Lalite! Your conclusion that the word Krsnaban is an attributive compound (bahubrihi) is one hundred percent correct, in that there is so much paddy (brihi) growing here. That is, rice and other grains. Then of course there are these fields of mukta brihi (pearl grains). What could be a more significant indication than this, that this word, Krsnaban, is an attributive compound (bahubrihi)."

As they all laughed heartily, their minds full of conceit, I replied, "Nanakutkalpananagari cakravartini Lalite! (Oh Empress of the imaginary city, conceived through an intricate web of prevaricating and paradoxical falsehoods!) The primary and principal meaning of Krsnaban is the forest of Krsna, in accordance with the fact that it is a determinative compound (tatpurush). Therefore, what makes you think that you can refute this meaning simply by some invented attributive and appositional compounds, imputing to these all sorts of ridiculous and imaginary meanings?"

Lalita replied, "He Mahapandit! Tatpurush, tatpurush! What are you babbling on and on about? I ask you- Since there are many different kinds of determinative compounds (tatpurush), please be so kind as to explain which type this one is, after clearly ascertaining this yourself."

I said, "He jarabuddhike! (Oh you of decrepit intelligence!) The forest of Krsna, this Krsnaban, is famous in the three worlds as the sixth type of determinative compound."


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