The Glorious Month of Damodar, Part 29

BY: SUN STAFF


Nov 04, 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)

PART FOUR

Now Radha spoke softly again from within the kunj, "If the word Krsnaban is taken as the sixth type of determinative compound, meaning the forest of Krsna, then in that case, the forest of banyan trees around Sakhisthali (the grove of Candrabali) is yours, Oh lion among men, for there in Sakhisthali, sasthi-tatpurush (lit.- the sixth, that person) is always present."

"In this instance there is not even a slight possibility that this is the sixth compound," Lalita laughed.

Nandimukhi said, "Lalite! What is this? A sutra from some treatise, pregnant with purpose? Go on. Explain to us the hidden meaning behind your sutra."

Then Lalita placed a blue lotus flower garland around my neck with the corners of her eyes as she said, "Nandimukhi! The meaning of sasthi tat purush is: sasthi- some woman; and tat purush- the man of that woman, or, in other words, her husband or friend."

Visakha said, "Lalite! I understood the meaning of tatpurush, but who does sasthi refer to? What is her name?"

Lalita, "Candrabali."

Visakha, "How is it that Candrabali is sasthi?"

Lalita, "First we have Mahabhairab (a name of Lord Siva), the servant of Kangsa, the terrible Gobardhan Malla. Then, amongst the debis (goddesses) that worship him are, secondly, his mother Bharunda (Candi); thirdly, the mother of Candrabali, Mahikarala (Carccika debi); fourthly, Saibya (Kali); fifthly, the famous Padma (Sankhini- female ghost); and finally (sixth) Candrabali (Sasthi), the resident of the banyan forest at Sakhisthali. Because she is a resident of the banyan forest this appellation of sasthi suits her, since everywhere it is known that Sasthi debi resides within the banyan trees."

The sakhis all laughed uproariously to hear this explanation, while I thought to myself, "The excellent intelligence of these young gopis of beautiful limbs (Brajanganara), is actually quite astonishing. Even I have been silenced by their pompous boasting."

At this point there was no other recourse but to remorsefully reveal my inner feelings, "Nandimukhi! These gopis are the wives of our peasant farmers. Therefore, whatever enjoyments we present them with, in payment for services rendered, be it colourful, fine cloths or whatever else, are all readily received by them. They are also decorated with ornaments made from jewels and gems presented by ourselves; pearls, coral, rubies, emeralds, and diamonds. Nevertheless, they have, as of late, become overly conceited by their newly acquired treasure of ever fresh adolescence, thus they now take their superiors (guru- heavy) very lightly and look upon them with disregard and neglect. By the corners of their restless eyes, dancing with exultation, and their proud and pompous talks, they now seek to dupe me, the formidable son of the Emperor of all these lands (Braja), Sriman Nanda Maharaj. Yet even though I have been deceived by them, I remain exclusively dependent on the first and foremost attendant of the respectable Bhagavati Paurnamasi, namely your good self (Nandimukhi). Since we are all from the same village, though what they have done is obviously an infringement of the accepted codes of conduct, though it is lamentable to be sure, I have thus far not given it much importance, mainly due to my apprehension of the disgrace that all of this might bring upon our good village. However, as of this moment this baseless recrimination will go no further. For now I will attack in battle, with the fatal weapons of my sharp nails, the very form of the wealth of their new-found freshness and youthfulness, which have never been seen, even by their respective husbands, namely those two colourful golden caskets, marked with the dawn-hued signs of the moon, which they keep covered with the fine, blue cloth of their bodices on their chests. Then I will cause my indomitable commanding officers to plunder the ruby gems of their unparalleled lotus lips. In this way, they will then be rendered speechless (silent)."

Thereupon, as I suddenly and proudly advanced in their direction as if to catch hold of them, they all glanced obliquely (askance) in my direction with crooked, dancing eyebrows and smirking smiles, as they began to move about, hither and thither.

Lalita addressed me, as if smouldering with rage, "Aye Shyamal raspannirata! (Lo! You who are so busy to drink the nectarean mellows of Cupid's dalliance!) Get thee hence! Get thee hence! We are going to inform Brajeshwari (Mother Jashoda) about your indiscriminate desires, brought on by passionate infatuation."

Satyabhama laughed with astonishment as she asked Sri Krsna, "Binodin! (Pleasant one!) There's something I want to ask You."

Sri Krsna replied, "Priye! Please tell me, what is it?"

Sri Satyabhama, "How is it that Lalita and the other (Brajanganagon) gopis were able to interpret so precisely the things that Sri Radha said to herself within the kunj?"

Sri Krsna replied, "Priye! Lalita and the other gopis (Brajasundarigon) are the expansions of Sri Radha's own form. Why then should they be incapable of interpreting Her soliloquies?"

Sri Satyabhama, "He Subhag! (Oh most fortunate one!) How were you affected by the derisive and mocking retorts of Sri Radha?"

Madhumangal replied, his voice tremulous with emotion, "Priyasakhi Satyabhama! As a flower bud (manjari) and the navel of a deer are inseparably endowed with sweet fragrance, the talks between Gandharva and Giridhari cannot but be saturated with anything other than ecstasy."

As Sri Krsna drank in the words of Madhumangal as though they were some milky ambrosia, He remembered Sri Radha in such a way that the pangs of separation began to burn His heart terribly, worse than the most acutely acrid poison. Again and again His heart throbbed with pain, as though it had been pierced to the quick by a serpentine iron arrow, glowing with fire. In this condition of dire affliction, when it seemed He could bear this distress no longer, His body started to tremble violently, due to intense absorption in meditation on Sri Radha. Then His other comrades and friends in the shape of inertia, fainting, stupefaction and madness came running from one side, while from the other came paralysis, shivering and the other eight symptoms of loving ecstasy (asta sattwik bhab), all clamouring, "I'll be the one to touch him first!, I'll catch him before you do!..."

According to the rules of play, as they all engaged in this insolent braggadocio, competing with each other to see who could achieve the ultimate victory within the playground of His heart, that was now surging with activity, all of a sudden, they all rushed forward, climbing on top of one another as if to embrace Him simultaneously.

Just then, His dear friend (narma sakha) named Sri Sri Ras, dearer than life itself (pranopekkha priyatam), after considering which friendships here could possibly result in incompatibility (rasabhas), came forward and spoke to all the other companions (frigidity, paralysis, etc.), "Re Re vidagdha siromaninmanyagon! (Hallo! Hallo! Most respected sirs, you who have all ascended to the pinnacle of achievement in scholarship, intelligence and humour!) This is a fine time to play now isn't it?!"

Chastising them in this way with his brows furrowed and his eyes rolling, he continued, "Under the present circumstances it is not at all fitting for you to exhibit these moods!" Thus he restricted their rough-housing and playful antics.

This Ras narma sakha is actually the personified form of a transformation of the most indescribable love (Srimat Prem), combined with the most pure and pleasing, intimate friendship. Thus in the form of the best medicine (mahaushad), endowed with inconceivable properties, he is capable of subduing all the other dear associates and attendants of Sri Krsna, who remain in his company. In fact, his very existence has sprung from Sri Krsna Himself, thus he is his self-same form. He is the energy behind the most glorious and radiant pleasure pastimes of Sri Krsna, beyond the realms of debate or description. The cintamani gem, as well as other priceless jewels, have all been endowed with his auspicious form. His form is like a pleasure garden, where clever wit, artful dexterity and proper understanding of the time, are all arrayed like so many rows of flowers.

Heeding all of these points, the companions and attendants bit their tongues as they exclaimed, "Bho! Bho!? We have behaved improperly!" So saying, they felt quite embarrassed as they checked themselves and slowly began to back away.

Thereupon Sri Sri Jadabendra, visibly affected by those retreating symptoms of ecstatic love, with His heart still palpitating, lamented in his mind, "Ha! (Ah me!) You are the dove-cote of my life (pran- Like a dove, my life wants to fly away, but you are it's shelter), a vast river of glittering, liquid prem, showering a spray of honey-sweet drops of nectar as you bound along your course. You are a mine of artful qualities, of mirthful raillery and enigmatic glances and gestures. Ha man netra cakora poshak vidhu jyotsnatate Radhike! (Oh You Who are the moonshine that nourishes my Cakora bird eyes! Oh my Radhike!) Hai! Hai! (Oh my! Oh my!) Why had I found this treasure, only to again see it fall from my hands?!"

Satyabhama exclaimed, "Jadabendra! While drinking the drops of flower nectar dripping from Your lotus mouth, the honey of Your wanton dalliance in Gokul, I find that my thirst is simply increasing moment by moment. Please therefore, kindly cause me to drink this nectar again."

Sri Krsna, "Priye! Please hear me."

Thereupon Madhumangal said, "Sakhi Lalite! I am the minister to uphold the inviolable statements of my dear friend (priyasakha). Therefore, whatever excellent bribes you wish to give me, will, no doubt, go quite far in your favour, when it comes time to settle the price for the pearls."

Visakha said, "Arja Madhumangal! There is nothing suitable here to oil your palms with. However in the evening we can definitely give you four kapardak (cowries- conchshells), so that you can purchase some bhang (marijuana). If you don't trust us then we'll leave Nandimukhi here as security."

Madhumangal angrily retorted, "Re anajjabhashini gowalini Visakhe! (Oh you of improper speech, you milkmaid Visakhe!) Just forget it! I'll fix you! You're going to have to make amends for insulting me like that!"

Then he turned to me and said, "Priya Bayasya! (Beloved Companion!) Your soft speech, like melting ghee, only has the effect of making these milkmaids, who are as puffed-up and conceited as the God of Fire, Agni, all the more temperamental, in that they reciprocate simply by rebuking you. I wouldn't be surprised if at this very moment they are planning to bind me up and carry me off."

I replied, "Sakhe Madhumangal! The truth of the matter is, that without conquering the capital city one cannot expect to bring any country under his control. Similarly, as long as the leader of this flock (Jutheshwari- Sri Radha) goes undefeated, then we can't expect Her followers to hold their tongues."

As I was explaining things to Madhumangal in this way, I looked towards the kunj wherein Sri Radha was seated, and breathed a sigh of sadness, "What to do?! In fear of this (Her defeat) Radha will never come before me."

When Radha heard my words She craned Her neck so that She might see me better but then hesitated and hid Herself again within the kunj.

Satyabhama, "Then! Then?"

Sri Krsna replied, "Then I said to Nandimukhi,...

"Nandimukhi! You know, in comparison to the treasure of new youthfulness of Lalita and the other sakhis, the blooming freshness of Sri Radha is of much greater value."

Nandimukhi, "How is that?"

I replied, "Well, the wealth of new youthfulness of Lalita and the others is measured by their two caskets. However, the wealth of Sri Radha's adolescent beauty is rounder than the two globes on the head of an elephant and on account of their fullness and raised, erect posture, it appears that on either side of Her wise and experienced heart there are two golden waterpots, full to the brim. In fear of the celebrated thief of Gokul, She has tried to disguise their glaring golden effulgence by smearing them with musk."

Nandimukhi inquired, "Mohan! (Charming one!) Have you ever seen this treasure which is so carefully hidden?"

I laughed, "Yes I did, but just a glimpse, like a flash of lightning."

Nandimukhi, "When?"

I replied, "One day, Sri Radha, as She was getting out of the water at Her own lake (Sri Sri Radha Kund), since there was no one present, dropped the fine upper garment from Her delicate frame, into the water below. By chance I had come there to pilfer some flowers, so at that moment I caught a brief glimpse of Her wealth of fresh youth. Thereupon however, She felt some fear in Her heart and quickly covered Her wealth with the end of a blue garment. If at present I am so fortunate as to again get a glimpse of that pride of youthful wealth, of the eminent Sri Radha, desirous of gaining Her own kingdom, then I will lay aside the soldiers and commanding officers of my nails and teeth, and, becoming just like Her shadow, I will examine those two golden waterpots with only my two lotus hands, thus grabbing hold of Her wealth of youthful freshness. Then this Jutheshwari Radha will begin to tremble as the hairs of Her body stand on end, all due to a sudden outburst of emotion, thus finally have been reduced to the point of speechlessness. Having become terribly anxious about the matter at hand, her sakhigon (plural of sakhi) will then naturally gather up their own riches and flee to the four quarters, without leaving a trace. Or else they could possibly offer their own riches to me, that they might be permitted to engage in my pure, unadulterated service.

Therefore, what is the point in engaging in this wearisome and filthy debate with these boastful, yet insignificant gopis?"

Thereupon Sri Radha smiled as She looked towards Nandimukhi and softly said, "Ayi capal brahmacarini! (Oh you inconstant brahmacarini!) Flee! Flee away from here!"

Visakha said, "How surprising! This greedy, famished parrot, who is accustomed to eating only the ripened fruits of the bimba tree, in now unable to fly away after having tasted the flavour of rare and delectable grapes and raisins, previously unknown to her taste buds."

Madhumangal said to me, "Priyabayasya! Just give me my desired reward and I will bring this Sri Radha, desirous of Her own kingdom, and deliver Her into your hand."

I replied, "Sakhe Madhumangal! If you are able to do that then certainly I will feed you some sweet-rice this evening."

Madhumangal said, "I will call (give a loud whistle to) the king in Mathura to send one hundred of his best soldiers here on horseback. After having bound Abhimanyu's elbows behind his back, they will then prepare to give him such a beating with their whips that the husband of Radha will personally bring Her here and offer Her to you."

Everyone laughed heartily to hear this statement of Madhumangal's.

Lalita said, "He Visakhe! Listen carefully to my petition, which I offer with the purpose in mind, of any noble-minded person present."

Visakha, "Please proceed."

As she looked towards a Kadamba tree, Lalita said, "Bho Brindabanacar tapassibor! (Oh best of the ascetics; wanderer (thief) of the forests of Brindaban!) You are famous as one who subsists only on fruits. Why then are you prepared to damage your own dignity; to pollute yourself by vainly longing after the wealth of that most unobtainable chaste girl, who is not even worthy of you?"

Visakha, "Lalite! This ascetic is so hungry, that in the absence of any fruit he has been induced to do this, in spite of the demerit of such an activity. Therefore, please show him where he can obtain some excellent fruits. Thus you will also obtain religious merit by rendering service in this way."

Lalita restrained her laughter as she said, "Visakhe! Do you think this ascetic is familiar with Manas Ganga?"

Visakha, "Since this ascetic has travelled far and wide, I can't see why he wouldn't have heard of the celebrated Manas Ganga!"

Lalita, "In the Northwest corner of Manas Ganga there is a lotus flower in full bloom, and in the centre of that flower are two very enchanting and long tumbi (a long gourd) fruits. Just in the forefront you will also see two very large and sweet bimbi fruits."

Visakha addressed me, "Goswamin! Please proceed there without delay so that you can enjoy these excellent fruits, just suitable for you. In this way you can renounce your craving for the wealth of this chaste girl and thus preserve your religious principles and happiness as well."

After the laughter had subsided, I replied, "Lalite! This ascetic follows the ajacak britti, that is, he doesn't solicit anything from anyone. His hands are his eating plate and he will not be able to enjoy the tumbi gourds because they are a forbidden fruit. However, She who is visible here by Her radiant splendour, but who nevertheless continues to conceal Herself; this golden creeper carries on it's bosom two most excellent, juicy, succulent and sweet fruits, endowed with the most superb shape and loveliness. Therefore, if this golden creeper will come forward of Her own volition and intimately extend an invitation to this ascetic, in Her own sweet speech, and serve him those fruits, placing them in his hands, then he will become most happy by enjoying them, and will thus bless Her with a benediction that Her fruits will prosper."

Radha replied softly, "This licentious clown! This cunning cheat has probably come to know that I am present here and is bandying about simply to vex me. Therefore I should now enter deep within the kunj and remain hidden."

As Sri Radha was thinking in this way, I addressed Lalita, "Priyasakhi Lalite! She who takes great pleasure wandering through this forest of Brindaban, this despondent jutheshwari, having made you the Queen-consort, now wishes to sit together with you on the singhasan and watch Visakha and the other sakhis give a dance recital. Therefore please give them your permission, to begin the dance."

Lalita stormed in anger, "Nandimukhi! Have you forcefully brought us here simply that this buffoon can entertain us with the wealth of his jokes (as payment), instead of paying us the revenue on our pearl fields?! Consequently, let's leave this delaying tactic of joking behind us and instead make the proper arrangement that this ascetic, in the company of Subal, commit himself in writing to the payment of the land tariff. Then you may send us on our way home, without further delay!"

Nandimukhi replied, "What amount has been agreed upon by you, for the payment of this tax? That you should first inform us of."

Lalita, "The levy on grain fields is more than that of fields of greens (fodder); and the levy on cotton fields is more than that of grains. The assessment on land for dwellings (residential) is more than that of cotton, and the tax on lands used for growing pearls, owing to the fact that the pearls are themselves priceless objects, must necessarily be a few hundred, thousand billion times more. Therefore Subal should procure a transcendental rod to measure the supernatural boundary of these pearl fields, since it is stated in the scriptures that the abode of Brindaban is supremely extra-mundane (not of this world). These measurements he can then write down in his notebook.

Nandimukhi, "What size should this measuring rod be?"

Lalita, "If I say, then who will have faith in that? Therefore it is better that the protectress of these fields, she who is educated in all the scriptures, namely Brindadebi, ascertain the proper measurement of such a rod."

Nandimukhi, "Very well. Brinde! You should arbitrate in this matter by fixing the size of this measuring rod."

Brindadebi replied, "Dwelling lands, grain fields, pastures of grass, cotton fields and pearl fields are all measured, first beginning with the thumb, and then proceeding successively with all the five fingers. Then again, 'Scholars say that since pearl fields are so extraordinary and priceless, they are usually measured with the ring finger.'"

Nandimukhi said, "Between these two methods of measurement which is the more applicable in this situation?"

Lalita, "Since only a small hand sickle may be used to plow the fields suitable for producing such invaluable crops, in this instance, measurement should be taken with the small finger."

Nandimukhi, "Lalite! Although this is applicable to be sure, still I request you, as the maidservant of Bhagavati Paurnamasi, that while looking us in the face, myself and the son of the King of Braja as well, you settle with the ring finger."

Lalita said, "Brinde! You are expert at writing and taking measurements. Therefore let's all go to the pearl fields and take their proper measurement, with the consent of Nandimukhi and Subal of course."

Nandimukhi, "Kunnajutheshwari! (Despondent leader of the flock!) I would like to make one request."

Lalita, "If whatever you desire seems suitable, then it must certainly be fulfilled."

Nandimukhi, "This young visitor, after leaving the land of his home has come here to our province to seek shelter of the Queen of Brindaban. Here he has cultivated the earth with great care and sufficiently increased your wealth. Now if you insist on this measurement business, then you will suffer great loss due to inattentive care of the crops and the expense of arranging meals for this period of time. Not only that, but this individual will still be unable to pay you the tariff if you engage him in the hard labour of all this measuring. Therefore you should reject this idea of measuring the fields. Instead, accept your portion of the harvest, and in presenting to him his proper share, give him the encouragement he deserves."

Brinda inquired, "What then is to be our share?"

Nandimukhi, "Don't you know? As level (saman) as this brilliant field is, the two shares should also be (saman) equal, since this person has come here to farm from another village."

Ranganmala meekly offered, "He is not a farmer from another village. At present he resides here in this forest and cultivates this land for the Goddess of Brindaban (Sri Brindabaneshwari). Therefore he is entitled to one sixth of the harvest. Why should he receive an equal share?"

Visakha, "Ayi Mugdhe! (Oh enchanted one! or, Stupid!) What use is it to us to try to determine the division of shares by our own direction, when we have already received the written order of the Queen that the revenue is to be paid in accordance with the size of the land? How will we be able to determine this in our own independent fashion?"

Thereupon Brinda, while looking towards Lalita and Visakha, showed Nandimukhi her ear-ring, glancing at her from the corner of her eyes.

Nandimukhi smiled as she moved slightly forward, indicating by some token gesture to Lalita and Visakha that she had understood Brinda's hint about offering a bribe. As she approached me she said in a soft whisper, "He Mohan! This Lalita and Visakha are the chief executive ministers for the Queen of Brindaban. Therefore, if you give them some excellent bribes, they will immediately bring about the accomplishment of that which is desired by you."

I joyfully replied, "Sakhi Nandimukhi! Secretly bring Lalita and Visakha to a solitary kunj without anyone else's knowledge, so that I can satisfy them by giving them their desired bribes."

Nandimukhi, "Sundor! The other beautiful Braja gopis (Brajasundorigon) are inseparable and non-different from Lalita and Visakha. Therefore, give up your hesitation and publicly present your bribes to them, here itself."

I replied, "Without having attained my desired goal, how will I at first give anything away in charity? If I am disbelieved then I will place my bribe with you."

Nandimukhi shook her head as she said, "Na! Na!"

I said, "Ah! (Alas!) Since you are a brahmacarini, you may become contaminated by the touch of any worldly affairs. In that case, I should offer my bribe to the dear object of my affection, the best among chaste girls, Ranganmalika."

Nandimukhi, "He Rasiksekhor! (Oh topmost of the relishers of rasa!) First of all you should tell me what you are prepared to give for a bribe and in how much quantity. Whether or not Lalita and Visakha will be satisfied with that, I will have to determine beforehand."

I replied, "Very well. Please hear me. I am the King of Brindaban. Now this Brinda has abandoned her service as custodian of my forest of Brindaban and, out of greed for wealth, devoted herself to my Queen, Sri Radharani. Therefore, my first bribe will be to bring this writer (kayastha) Brinda under my control.

Nandimukhi, "Excellent!"

I said, "The locket that was made by the primal preceptor of the art of fashioning enchanting dresses and decorations (beshracanar acarjaswarupa Gandharva), and which She placed on the sky of my heart at the end of that night, overwhelmed as She was by profound feelings of passionate affection, this most exceptional and unparalleled king of all lockets (padakraj), in the shape of a half-moon, I will now place around the neck of Lalita with my own hand. Then, more refulgent than my Kaustubha mani, on a par with that padak locket, is my cumbak mani (magnetic jewel), which, as a token of our mutually sincere affection, expressed so eagerly and with great curiosity that day at the feet of the Bakul trees, I had exchanged with Gandharva for Her own cumbak maharatna (magnetic gem), more valuable than my own, and that the personified form of the condensed cream produced from churning the ocean of unprecedented mellows, though it be Her unrivalled favourite, I will also give to Lalita, that she might use it to adorn her lovely ear."

As I glanced repeatedly at the charming face of Visakha, I continued with a smile, "Their priyasakhi Gandharva, continuously filled with the most devoted attachment, constructed with Her own hands the most exquisite necklace, which She presented to me with great resource, in the courtyard near Her own kund (Radha Kund). With this very necklace, I wish to decorate the constellation of the sky of my heart, Visakha, in the hope of pleasing her."

Having heard all of this, Sri Radha spoke to me from within Her mind, "Alikrajendra! (False king!) Tistha! Tistha! (Wait! Stop!)"

Chastising me with words such as this She began to beat me with the toy lotus that She held in Her hand.

Lalita said, "He Padmadhorrasahiphenashanpramatta! (Having drunk the poison of Padma's lips you now have become mad!) Get thee hence! Get thee hence!"

Visakha, "Arja vidushak prabor Madhumangal! (Oh best of the jesters!) Is your dear friend here your guru, or are you his guru? We are all very curious about this."

Lalita, "Visakhe! I can tell you. Just hear me. In a deceitful drama, the dancer of the name, Kusum sor (Puspaban- flower arrow), has, as his jester, he who is called Suci (Srngar ras- the mellow of conjugal love). This jester has very kindly bestowed his compassion on this cunning cheat by accepting him as his disciple. Madhumangal however, is the celebrated disciple of the primal preceptor of all jesters, (Vidushak acarja), Bhojan lampat (lascivious eater) by name, who comes from a different sampradaya."

Visakha, "Lalite! Therefore I should like to feed this brahmana some sweet-rice."

Lalita, "He is very competent and learned in all the six branches of Vedic wisdom including, practice, ceremonial rites and grammar; thus he is a Mahabrahman (great brahmana). Therefore how can he eat food cooked by us simple cowherds, who are inferior to brahmanas?"

Visakha, "In that case, your desire will have to be accomplished by those two super excellent dvijas (brahmanas), Malli and Bhringi. They can cook for him and then very reverently serve him those foodstuffs."

Madhumangal started to tremble with anger as he replied to their sarcastic remarks, "Ore akathya bhasini! (Soho! O thou of filthy and abusive language!) Garbita gowalini! (Puffed-up milkmaid!) Your derisive mockery, unworthy of my audition, is like an acutely pungent, bitter and salty, stale roti (piece of bread; chapati), half-cooked on the inside and burnt on the outside, intended to offend my agreeable ears. What should I say in return? All I have to say is that I am not going to ever touch the ground which is even near the place where the shadow has fallen from such buffoons as you cowherd girls. Rather, tomorrow morning I will go to pay a visit to the wives of the jaggik brahmanas (brahmanas engaged in sacrifice), who are members of my own caste. There, immediately upon my arrival, they will very respectfully bathe my feet and then dress me with fine, silken garments. After giving me a nice sweet sarbat scented with camphor, they will serve me with the finest sweet-rice, ginger with sea salt and lemon, and a big pile of the most fragrant sali rice, flavoured with sufficient ghee and surrounded by a vast variety of vegetable preparations. Then will come puffy balls of sugar (feni batasha), puddings and cakes made with gur, jilepi, laddu, condensed milk, sweet yoghurt, fried cakes and drinks made with buttermilk, all served with such loving attention that when I finally make it outside to the path, I will collapse in the shade of the first big tree I see. After a nice little nap there I will come home and go back to sleep until 8 o'clock."

During a lull in the tumultuous laughter that followed I said, "Nandimukhi! The rustic inhabitants of a tiny village, when engaged in a dispute with some opposing party over land boundaries, take the help of an arbiter to reach some compromise and this is of course all very equitable and conformable to the principles of justice, etc. However, kings acquire territory by the strength of their arms. Therefore, what is the use of following just and equitable principles as regards this kingdom of Brindaban? Rather, anyone desirous of this kingdom will now have to fight me. Whoever wins the battle; well then, Brindaban will be theirs."

Saying thusly, I very arrogantly advanced forward, ready to do battle. At this the Brajasundorigon became a bit frightened and began to move hither and thither, preparing to flee, but all the while maintaining an air of seeming indifference."

At this point Nandimukhi addressed me, "Bir! (Oh Hero!) It would be terribly unfair of you to try to forcibly defeat these illustrious and wanton wives of the cowherds (gop badhu), now and in my presence. word for defeat can also mean, to enjoy with.] Now just listen to what I am saying and try to understand; and then having done so, keep your distance."

Then she addressed Lalita, "Just now this valiant champion of the forest is feeling very powerful in this solitary and lonely place, whereas your bodies are as soft and delicate as a Sirish flower. In light of the present time, circumstances and your strength (desh, kal & bal), I think it would be wise to abandon this dispute."

Candramukhi said, "He Mugdhagon! (Oh bewildered ones!) Nandimukhi is correct, and for this reason; namely, that we are members of the fairer sex and of soft and tender limbs. In contrast, this individual is a solitary forest dweller and therefore very agile, moreover impulsive. Now, in the presence of our priyasakhi Srimati Radharani he does become very docile (overwhelmed with fear), but our Empress is not here now. Meanwhile, the scurrilous Abhimanyu is unaware of these tidings and owing to that is away in a distant place with the other colonels. While we are engaged with our domestic quarrel (civil war), in this dreadful place, any number of wicked thieves might come here from any direction and quickly run off with all our pearls. In that case we would suffer heavy loss, whereas he only has his one-sixth part share to worry about. If you all approve, it would probably be best, if, for the time being, we calmly and with serene and tranquil appearance abandon discussions of the kingdom, and instead, retrieve all our pearls by paying even slightly more than the going price if necessary. Better to save ourselves and our good name by safely returning home, than to suffer the calumny that would come upon us if we were so much as touched by this pick-pocket, who swoops upon his unsuspecting prey like a hawk. Then, when the Queen of Brindaban (Radharani) subsequently hears the narration of these events from us, She will, no doubt, after having first satisfied our guardians by returning to them all of the missing pearls, fly to this spot in a great rage. Rather than engage in battle Herself directly, She will stand at some distance, having adopted a pose of false pride, and from there release with Her arched eyebrows, like two powerful bows, a volley of deadly, sharpened arrows, issuing forth with tremendous velocity from the corners of Her restless eyes, Her lotus face having thus gradually assumed such a fierce visage, that this person will feel that Abhimanyu the Horrible himself has arrived, accompanied by a vast battalion. Then, right in the middle of this forest, this respected and courageous hero will begin to so tremble in fear, that his cries of distress, like the trumpeting of an elephant, will appear as though fashioned from rubies, and the lovely necklace made of cintamani gems, in the form of obsequious and sycophantic flattery, he will then remove from his own neck to offer as a present to Sri Radharani, as he comes near Her feet, seeking shelter there. Placing his offerings there, the utterances of his heart, choked with emotion, will then act like fire on the butter-soft heart of Sri Radha, Who under the influence of Her own unlimited compassion, becomes favourable towards him once again. With the javak (red dye) from Her lotus feet, like a softened dawn-coloured gem, he will then fashion an ornament for his head. And finally, surrendering all of the remaining pearls produced in this kingdom, he will also become Her attendant companion."

I thrilled with delight to hear this wonderful description of such a lovely scene and continued laughing as I looked askance towards the kunj where Radha was seated.

Nandimukhi laughed, "He Gokul Prabir! (Oh brave hero of Gokul!) This Empress of Brindaban, Sri Radha, an experienced fighter in Cupid's combats, is just the person to do battle with you in the War of Crooked Arrows]. To see your phalanxes arrayed against Hers is truly the most beautiful sight. However, Lalita and these other gopis are extremely tender and soft. Therefore, without their Empress to lead them, how will Her subjects conduct themselves in such wanton war with you? Therefore abandon this baseless dispute and at present deal with the matter of determining the respective prices to be paid for these pearls of all of those present here now. Later on, Bhagavati Paurnamasi debi will decide the case concerning the kingdom."

Then Madhumangal, having overheard some of the prevaricating words exchanged amongst the proud Brajasundorigon, started to shout, "Jita! Jita! (Defeated! Defeated!)" as he cupped his left hand to his mouth, but continued to shout, thus producing a sound like the beating of a kettledrum, while he danced around in great ecstasy.

Brindadebi addressed him, "Bho natprabor Madhumangala! (Hallo you great dancer!) If our Empress Sri Radharani were to arrive here just now, then for Her entertainment, Her dear friend (namely you) would be beating his drum to a different tune, such as, "Ha! Ha! (Alas! Alas!)"

Having learned your lesson you can then become six-footed (a bumblebee; {the better to dance with!}) and fly away to find your female bumblebee friend, so that you can have a wild dance with her, much more ecstatic than the one you are having here now. Then with your two-footed friend here you can go off to join the ranks of the followers of Lord Siva, hiding in a cave within a deep, dark forest somewhere. This would then be the success of our eyes."

At this I laughed quite loudly as I said, "Nandimukhi! This Candramukhi is seriously devoted to trying to harmonise the situation here, very much unlike Lalita and her friends who are happy to escalate the points of contention. Therefore, I would be most pleased to bestow upon her some pearls, in lieu of any charge. However, since she is the crest jewel amongst counsellors, learned in a superfluity of mantras, she should, either tomorrow or the next day, come to a secluded and purified place, where, after I have purified myself by the requisite ablutions, she should then initiate me in the mantras from the great acarja, Kantadarpa. Though I am just a simple cowherd boy of Brindaban I will very swiftly thus attain beauty surpassing even that of the demigods."

Candramukhi gave me a crooked stare as she said, "How astonishing! Even someone who gives you good counsel; your well-wisher; even me you are prepared to corrupt. I am not your counsellor. You can engage Kancanlata, who is very clever in the use and knowledge of mantras, as your preceptor (acarja)."

I replied, "Kancanlate! Seeing your expertise, the bumblebee of my mind has become very attached to you and possessed of great eagerness. If, in front of all these smiling faces gathered here, you were to affectionately place that gorgeous, nay worshipful (one-stringed) necklace that goes round your neck, upon my most eager and impatient chest, then I will without fail, bestow upon you all of the pearls that you most desire, for free. I will also decorate you with three enchanting jewelled necklaces in the form of my embraces, from your neck down to your navel."

Having said this much, I began to pursue Kancanlata, who shot me a crooked, side-long glance accompanied by a menacing shout as she moved away. Radha laughed, but also felt awed, in apprehension of Her own position.

Then Visakha snapped her fingers. Putting Nandimukhi in front, she signalled to her with her eyes, indicating Ranganmalika and Tulasi.

Nandimukhi smiled, "He Mohan! This Ranganmalika and Tulasi are very devoted to the lotus feet of Sri Radha and are thus very dear to Her. In fact they cannot remain anywhere for hardly a moment without Her. Therefore, promptly determine their price for the pearls and send them off to Her."

Feeling extremely delighted, I laughed as I said, "Nandimukhi! Then let this Ranganmalika, overwhelmed with affection, when I am in a state of total bewilderment, from the combined effect of her unprecedented, restless glance, mixed with a little black pepper; and from drinking the flower nectar of her tender words, never before heard, emanating from her smiling lips like camphor; just at that moment, by placing the two buds of her breasts on my chest and drinking the nectar of my lips, the veritable essence of my life, may she make me happy."

As everyone laughed Ranganmalika and Tulasi looked down at the ground and went and hid behind Visakha.

Nandimukhi, "Muktafulbanijja vilasin! (Oh you who enjoys this playful pastime of carrying on commerce in pearl fruits!) Why is it that you are so inattentive to ascertaining the price for the pearls of Jutheshwari Radha and Visakha?"

I replied, "If this jutheshwari comes here personally and inquires from me the price for Her pearls, then certainly I will determine a price. Otherwise, if she is not present, then who will do it?!"

Nandimukhi, "Bir! In Her absence first tell me, so that after hearing from me She can begin to collect those goods."

I said, "Owing to the fact that Radha and Visakha are so intimate, so alike and inseparable, they are extremely dear to me. Therefore the small price that I am asking I request you to listen to carefully-

Around the middle of my back, more beautiful than a Tamal tree, the two soft, golden creepers entwine themselves, the right arm of Gandharvika and the left arm of Visakha. I will then place my two long arms, wanton with joy and anointed with the most fragrant saffron (kunkum) and sandalwood, around their two soft and modestly inclined shoulders. Then as we stroll through the forest, perceiving it's sweetness scented with the intoxicating redolence of a myriad of flowers, the two of them, their lovely moon-like faces like two artistic dancers, thrill with eager delight as they mutually exchange glances, noting the matchless ornaments of loving emotion that now decorate each other. May they increase my ecstasy by sometimes simultaneously or, sometimes separately, exhibiting their prowess in dancing, on the stage of my cheeks. In the courtyard of the house called Kudunga, on the banks of Radha Kund, under the Bakul trees dripping with flower nectar and surrounded by busy bumblebees buzzing about, is a golden dais surrounded by an enchanting arrangement of Mallika flowers. Thereupon, I will sit down on a heavenly soft bed, with my left elbow resting on a moon-white pillow made from golden jasmine flowers, and my two legs bent at the knees. The shelter of the bee of my mind, (the flower) Visakha, having become slightly intoxicated by drinking the honey-sweet nectar of her priyasakhi Sri Radha's love, sees that the kunkum decorating the golden caskets of her friend has become slightly moistened, so, taking that liquid ambrosia and mixing it with some of the sweetly scented saffron paste from her own round breasts, she very gently and slowly begins to smear that upon my chest that is by now, thrilling with rapture. The Sarika (mynah bird) in the cage of my ribs (my heart), Sri Radhika, sometimes from her own breasts and sometimes from Visakha's, takes the fresh musk therefrom, and with the end of a Campak flower blossom, draws pictures of leafy creepers with small flower blossoms and Capricorns on my chest, with it's hairs standing on end. May my body, mind and words, struck with astonishment, be perfumed by the lovely fragrance of their unequalled, unrivalled, and intimate friendship."

Thereupon, Radha and Visakha, their bodies simultaneously thrilling with the ecstasy of affectionate attachment, observed one another with their four eyes and felt bashful.

Visakha said, "He Lalite! This lascivious debauch has written a play called Asombhab Manorath (Impossible Desire) and wants that we (Radha and myself) should accept the parts of two lewd dancers who will act according to his directions. Only that he might be entertained by such a drama has Miss Correct (Nandimukhi) been induced to keep us here in this solitary forest, ostensibly for the purpose of presenting us with our pearls, but in actuality, simply to harass us that we might be cast in the role of his courtesans. Therefore, let those who enjoy such performances sit down here to watch this drama, performed by dancers learned in all the sixty-four arts, so that the two families (father's and husband's family) of such a chaste girl, the pride of a respectable family, can easily attain further eminence. I for one however, am going home!"

Nandimukhi said, "Sakhi Visakhe! Why do you allow yourself to become so distressed and vexed by a few wanton words uttered in jest by this mischievous person? If you just stay here a few more moments you will without a doubt receive your pearls."

Having dissuaded Visakha from going home, Nandimukhi came to me and said, "He durlil Gopjuvaraj! (Oh recalcitrant prince of the cowherds!) Taking your conversation to be the most derisive mockery, Visakha and the other Brajasundorigon are continually blaming me. Now I think you should kindly conclude your mirthful sports and take up the real business at hand, namely, real business (commerce and trade). Just accept some gold in exchange for the pearls and in this way, without further delay, bring delight to the minds of the soldiers of your dearest, Gandharva."

I replied, "He Nandimukhi! Even though Sri Radha is always very severe with me, my naturally affectionate heart, though maimed by Her cruel behaviour, upon the mere mention of Her name, remains in a state of anxious curiosity about anything even slightly related to Her. So how does it benefit me to behave with Her very dear friends in a harsh fashion? Whatever quantity of the specified value that can be brought here by them within the next two days; that much wealth of gold, silver, ornaments made of the same, colourful pigments, joking, fun, dancing and acting, juice, savoury flavours, sentiments, emotions, and loveable cows that are deposited with me as collateral; that same quantity of pearls they may all accept from me."

I then remained silent, but after considering the matter further continued, "Nandimukhi! You know that I am always engaged in my most favourite pastime of herding my cows from forest to forest. Therefore, where will I keep so much gold and such I don't know. I don't really find anyone that I can trust sufficiently to keep so much gold for me. I am also especially afraid of the embarrassment and infamy involved with keeping the possessions of other ladies. Therefore I have to honestly say that I don't see how this exchange can be accomplished in the absence of some other form of prompt payment."

Nandimukhi, "Mohan! Where is such extraordinary wealth to be found?! I have neither heard nor seen."

I replied, "Vidagdhe Nandimukhi! (Intelligent Nandimukhi!) Throughout this universe, what will you see or hear concerning wonderfully uncommon pearls like this, produced from the earth? Thus the price for such remarkable goods should also be something extraordinarily unprecedented. Specifically, I am not a pearl salesman. I have become encouraged to take up this line simply upon the order of Bhagavati Paurnamasipad and also due to your zealous eagerness. Therefore, if you so desire, once we have settled on a price, that may be paid and then all of these gopis can take their pearls. Otherwise, let everyone go home. Please note! Almost two prahars have passed now. I will have to take my adorable cows to Gobardhan very soon."

Nandimukhi appeared visibly distressed to hear this as she approached Lalita and spoke to her softly, "Sakhi Lalite! Sakhi Visakhe! Ayi priyasakhigon! This impulsive and inconsiderate lecher, without receiving the cherished objects of his desire, will not part with any of these pearls. This I have ascertained after making repeated requests to him. Since it has already been decided that these pearls must be retrieved by any means possible, I advise that we adopt the following stratagem- First make him satisfied by consenting to pay the price which he has proffered and then, after receiving the pearls, everyone can beat a hasty retreat homeward bound! Who will accept his price, and who will pay his price?!"

Lalita, "Adbhut tapassini! (What a strange ascetic you are!) Tistha! Tistha! (Just hold on a second here!)"

Having chastised Nandimukhi in this way, Lalita laughed as she addressed me, "He Dhir! (Oh most patient one!) Lalit juvraj! (Most elegant prince!) These wonderful fields of Brindaban; these uncommon pearl seeds; these extraordinary pearls; this most remarkable pearl merchant; and this unprecedented price that he asks are all from the realm of strange wonder; yet we are terribly common; not anything out of the ordinary. Therefore how will we ever be able to pay this peculiar price? However, this Nandimukhi is uncommonly affectionate towards us and is also non-different from us. Now since you are an exceptional brahmacari, and she is likewise an extraordinary brahmacarini, by the power of her penance she will present you with your chosen price and having thus satisfied you, she will accept the pearls in exchange. We however, are all going home!"

With such loving malice these Brajasundorigon, possessed of diverse emotional sentiments, seemed to make the air tremble with enraptured exultation, as they bent their heads to the side, preparing to make their exit by collecting Sri Radha from the kunj and placing Her in the forefront, She whose transcendental form was also exhibiting a variety of ecstatic emotions. Smiling and tittering all the while, they cast their glances askance at me as they proceeded towards a temple in the midst of a most pleasant grove of Bakul trees, on the banks of Sri Radha Kund.

Thereupon, I very happily gathered up all of those pretty pearls and, taking the very best ones, fashioned with the artistic skill of my own hands a variety of exquisite ornaments and jewellery for the lovely limbs of Sri Radha. These I placed in a golden box which was then decorated on top by the auspicious letters of Her name. The same I did for Lalita, Visakha and the other sakhis, each with their name on the outside of their respective boxes. Many unstrung pearls of the most excellent quality I then dispatched to the kunj mandir by the side of Radha Kund, with Nandimukhi, Madhumangal, Subal, and with Ujjwal, Basanta, Kokil and the other narmasakhas, who had just arrived on the scene.

These were very jubilantly received by the smiling Radha, Lalita, Visakha and the other sakhis, all laughing in ecstasy to celebrate the joyous occasion. Madhumangal was then very affectionately served with a large quantity of delicious cooked food and a packet of tambul, while Subal and the others were satisfied with presents of scents, sandalwood and tambul, as tokens of the sakhis' loving affection. Fresh flower garlands prepared by their own hands from a variety of golden jasmine flowers, so sweetly scented and soft to the touch, the colour of the early morning dawn, plus packets of tambul scented with camphor, were also sent along to be given to me. Under the influence of their love I felt overjoyed as I decorated myself with those flower garlands and enjoyed the tambul. Then in the company of my friends I set off for Gobardhan, to pasture my cows.

Lalita then unfastened the little golden chest with Radha's name on it and delightfully decorated the transcendental form of Sri Radha, Who was also overjoyed, with those beautiful pearl ornaments. Thereafter, Lalita, Visakha and the other sakhis all decorated one another with the jewellery that I had made for them.

Later, when they all arrived at their respective homes, they presented this abundance of exquisite ornaments to their husbands and elders, thus satisfying them to their heart's content. Then they returned to Radha Kund to meet their Priyasakhi, with Whom they passed the afternoon in the amusing diversion of remembering all the sweet words I had spoken to them in jest.

Satyabhama inquired, "He Gokul vilasaram matta kokil! (Oh cuckoo of Gokul, mad with delight while sporting in your pleasure garden!) Then? Then?!"

Krsna replied, "Priye! Thus far have you heard the pleasure pastimes of Gokul. In the future you will also, no doubt, be able to hear more. Therefore, what is the necessity of my narrating anything further just now?"

So saying, Sri Krsna, in having uncovered the sweet merriment of this subject matter, became very impatient due to eager perplexity and began to lament as follows-

"She Who is the captivating golden necklace, set with sparkling jewels, that goes round my neck; my two glittering ear-rings; and Who is the veritable form of the sandalwood and saffron smeared on my body. Hai! (Oh my! Alas!) When will sarvadkhika Sri Radhika (She Who surpasses all others), by the strength of my insignificant pious merit, be visible before me once again?!

After remaining silent for some time, He again fervently cried out, "Aha! She Who is the Campak flower garland resting on my chest; Who moistens my lotus eyes with ambrosia; Whose bodily beauty is the one and only place of my pleasure pastimes; the Form of my most cherished and wished-for wealth; the Tender Creeper upon which the bird of my life is perched; and the only Medicine to sustain my existence. Hai! Hai! (Oh my! Oh my!) How many days, before I again find Her?!"

Lamenting in this way with tears streaming from His eyes, Sri Krsna became completely overwhelmed while remembering His Brindaban pastimes and fell down on the earth. As the weeping Madhumangal came to His rescue He embraced him and again called out, "Pran Ballabhe! You please become Sri Radha, the only medicine that can save me now!" His body trembling and His voice faltering, He embraced Satyabhama while His chest repeatedly heaved with loud, long and hot sighs.

Satyabhama who was herself drenched with tears, her bodily hairs standing on end, very reverently began to fan Him with the end of her sari until He became quieted.

Having heard the narration of this story from the disciple of Paurnamasi debi, Samanjasa by name, Lakkanna, her own bodily hairs standing on end, very eagerly yet sorrowfully inquired, "Sakhi Samanjase! Then? Then?!"

Samanjasa replied, "After remaining respectfully quiet for some time, Satyabhama finally said,-

"He Prananath! Oh You Who are the one and only life of the residents of Braja (Brajajon)! All glories to You! All glories to You! Please be patient! Be comforted."

Calling to Him in this way, she continued to quietly fan Him while gently stroking His body. Finally, she requested Him that they proceed to Gokul, and in this way gradually brought her Prananath back, not only to consciousness, but to a happy frame of mind.

Satyabhama considered the ocean of nectar of her own unlimited happiness and her own offspring and family to be no more than blades of grass, thus she could very easily disregard these things, keeping them at some distance. She considered her only and continuous desire to be non-different from the happiness of Sri Krsna. She considered the lotus feet of Sri Krsna to be her only refuge. She sent a sakhi to call Sriyukta Uddhab Mahasoy.

Upon arrival, Uddhab ascertained that on the day after tomorrow, the day of Brihaspati (guru of the demigods), the tenth day of the bright fortnight, under the presence of the constellation Dhanistha, at noon, the abhijit muhurta, endowed with specific qualities and precipitating auspiciousness, was the most favourable time for Sri Krsna to depart for Gokul.

Sri Sriman Brajajuvraj Sri Krsna, on that day at the appointed time, after completing a repast of yoghurt rice and other items suitable for consumption before making a journey, to the accompaniment of, and preceded by panegyric hymns and eulogies, invoking auspiciousness and making the way safe and free from impediments from any direction, soliciting the decrees of fate that the accomplishment of their entrance into Gokul would bring fame and good fortune on the families of all those concerned, prepared to set out for His homeland. Though His elder brother, pujyapad Srimadagraja Mahanubhab, Sri Balaram, was very anxious to accompany them to Braja, he was humbly entreated to remain as the guardian of Dwarakapuri. Then, taking Bhagavati Paurnamasi in the front, and with Uddhab, Íswari Rohini, and he who is endowed with all auspiciousness, Madhumangal, they all made a quick departure, carried swiftly away by the handsome chariot named, Nandighosh. As they reached the outer boundaries of Sri Gokul it was decided, with the assent of all those present, that they should don their favourite and eternally desired apparel, appropriate to their station as cowherds, and in this way make a colourful and exultant entrance into their beautiful village.

Having drunk with her two ears the incomparable nectar of this news, distributed so magnanimously by Samanjasa, the most fortunate and resplendent Lakkanna, comparable to the crest jewel of the manjaris, Satyabhama herself, and endowed with hundreds and thousands of excellent qualities, the sum total of all the wonderful qualities of all the Queens in Dwaraka, finding herself drowning in an ocean of ecstasy, exclaimed with fervour, "Sakhi Samanjase! Having heard this most delicious discourse I have become excessively anxious. Therefore, my only wish is that a hint of that indescribably sweet fragrance, the intimacy that Sri Radha shared with Sri Jadabendra that day when she came to meet Him in the pasture lands of Brajaraj Nanda, might be wafted my way, thus perfuming my own existence."

Samanjasa replied, "Sakhi Lakkanne! In all ways your desire will be fulfilled; even to excess!"

With bunches of straw in my teeth I pray again and again that I might repeatedly take birth as a particle of dust at the lotus feet (Sri Padapadma) of Srila Rupa Goswami.

I have been incited and excited by his nectarean direction to prepare this bouquet of flowers called Mukta Carit. Only by his teaching has this become possible.

My living body is known as Jiva. His eyes, like greedy bumblebees, are always eager to find the Madhabi creeper of Krsna's pastimes, and it is the fragrant pollen he has left here that decorates and perfumes this bouquet.

By this bouquet of flowers that has somehow or other been astonishingly arranged by me, may the followers of Sri Rupa Goswami decorate their ears, and in so doing, shower some of their affection on me.

Life after life, may I obtain here in Braja, the association of Krsna das Kabiraj, on the strength of which I was able to make known this most wonderful story about a superior type of pearl.

Thus ends the Mukta Caritram by Sripad Raghunath das Goswami


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