Sunday, January 27, 2019

Bhaktivinoda Thakur, lapsed Anglophile

What was it my parama gurudeva saw
in the rulers of the world, that recognized their weakness?
Those he admired to the end for their acuity
for their knowledge and science and philosophy
and for their language, its poets,
would dance one day to the tune of Nitai Gauranga
and the Holy Name, so he said.

With arms upraised and filled with joy, he said.
With their Bengali brethren, he said.

That Bengali brethren these civilized rulers thought
even lower than their own peasants back home.
They who thought themselves,
the very epitome of human attainment,
the very fruit of God's evolutionary desire tree,

Demonstrated by the time they could spend
choosing the correct clothing for the correct time of day
to .preserve the codes that marked
how the epitome of human civilization should behave:
perfect discipline in all things,.

The ruling class. Soldiers filled with disdain
Educated men, Eton Harrow Oxford Cambridge men,
with an educated curiosity, a sense of knowing
their own superiority in understanding
what the perfection of humanity should be,
along with an educated disdain for the penurious heathen,
the uneducated, the illiterate, the insular, the almost naked
even the best barely better than the lowest peasants
of their own island world.

Contempt even for the educated Indian,
even for the Anglophile Indian,
who was nothing better than a house servant
calquing his manners on the British master, inside and out,
what color of the skin made a difference
if one who had been thoroughly turned into Englishmen
equipped with the capacity to speak to the aristocrat
almost as an equal, but never as an equal,
always as a servant.

As a child, little Kedar went to gawk at the Mem Sahebs
and their clothing, the skirts and dresses and petticoats
the corsets, the bustles, up to their rouged faces and coiffed hair.
Witnessing the glitter of a society that consists of nothing but
polite talk with constant glib reference to the classics,
Latin, Greek, Shakespeare and the Good Book,
around tea, madeira or something stronger,
whatever the appropriate drink for the appropriate hour,

The uprightness, the discipline, the sharp intelligence
the inability to tolerate untruth,
who recognized truth as the force by which they ruled,
knowledge of weaponry, of military science
and then of all things technical and industrial,
overflowing into India with all the potential
of the modern world. What a glitter it was,
that glitters even stronger today in the global village..

So it was wisdom, some thought,
to recognize they could not be free
until they could play on the same pitch
with their masters,
they needed to master the crafts of the time
world standard. They needed to be able to compete..

Whom did Kedar meet that inspired him?
Was it Dall Saheb and the American Transcendentalists.
who could be persuaded that there was meaning in the Gita?
or a Jones who recognizes the divine beauty of the Gita Govinda,
or an Avalon entranced by the truth of Tantra,
that made him believe that the glory of spiritual India
would exercise its magic and triumph in the end?

Let the British strut and steer
with the energy of youth;
they would one day tire and turn inward
and yearn for the riches of the soul
that were the science that India had spent
dwelling on these many thousands of years..

The Thakur was an Anglophile
But the diet of Britishness, the meat,
the ever present spirits and cheroots,
finally brought him down.

He had served the powers
he knew the powers
he learned all he felt there was
to learn from the powers,
and in the end,
he believed he could meet them as equals on the turf of philosophy
of religious insight and practice, and show them the way.

If he was grateful to them for one thing
it was their devotion to Jesus
and aspiration for a universal brotherhood of man,
but he saw that they did not really know the science of love,
that thing the Savior of the East had brought.
They did not know the joy of prema bhakti,
the one lack that overrides all worldly attainments.
That is what he came to know and then to show.

Jai Bhaktivinoda Thakur.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Crappy poetry

Poems should be crafted
by those who love the language.
And I don't love English,
so I am a fool to think that
my untidy gushing of vomit-like sequences
of eloquence and insight deprived
sounds pertaining to the English language
should ever be called poetry.

Poetry is rasa dhvani.
It is the art of the unsaid,
the reverberation that both
spreads light and meaning
and burrows its way into one.

Like the arrows of a weak archer,
What good are a poet's words
if they do not make the hearer's head spin?

The words are just the tools that are used
to evoke the inexpressible, to suggest
something unsaid.

I am a dull and helpless lover
as bad at love as the untidy,
degraded drunkard is to drink.
I have only the most empty, primal scream,
which knows no capacity for self description.

To describe it clinically
would just be to say it is what happens when
a poor man finds a treasure and then loses it,
and can thenceforth think of nothing else;
it begs for a meaningful explanation
but cannot find it.

Monday, January 21, 2019

The anthropological history of love

The history  of books, the history of men
Is the story of the disruption in the flow of love.

That is the essence of human civilization.
It from the beginning was the creator of human civilization.

Did thought come first, or was it love?
When  love was seen to be good,
Intelligence was born. Love works.
And intelligence is there to make it work.
Better and better. Even if its end rule
Is that you must deceive the intelligence
In order to truly know love.

Your faith must be greater than your reason,
For without it reason knows not what to do.

There is no couple but for Radha and Krishna.

Freud's story of the birth of human self-awareness:
It came when the jealous young’uns got together and killed
The overbearing dominator, the alpha male, their father
Who hoarded all the females and enjoyed them at his leisure
And left the others to surreptitious canoodling under hidden branches.

After the parricide they were consumed by guilt
And so began to venerate his memory in contrition
Neurotically inventing ritual to expiate the guilt.
By exalting his memory, exaggerating his powers
internalizing whatever virtues they suddenly realized  
they had lost
By their sin against love.

They had fallen from an ordered paradise
And so intelligence was born
And the analysis of love was begun
And thus it was that
the human race began to grow up.

The Speaker and the Listener

I come back to you.
It comes that talking to you
Whether you listen or not
is the proper remedy for
this particular disease of being me.
I think certainly there is a hearer
At the end of this line. A listener.

You, my dear human person,
May listen or not, but when you listen
You give me life. And what is more Godly than that?

The 8.30 end meditation alarm sounds
And I am suddenly pursued by ecstasy.
Rasa is ecstasy. It flows inexplicably
But it means nothing but love for everything.
It is the golden jewel around which all the other purusharthas lie.

It was  not you who listened. It was God.
And if you stop listening that is also God.
It is the lessons that still remain unclear.
But the pursuit of ekanta nishtha has its own rewards.

So to speak to you becomes speaking to the world.
What has to be said to you is what has to be said to the world.
At least the world that has tattooed itself on me
Despite the best efforts I have to be someone or something
I am always just a series of layers.
The external personality is also not the self.
But a reflection of it.

I see your ears perk up.
Suddenly you think there is something meaningful here.
If not wisdom, it is perhaps a marker on the road to wisdom.
But the mystery I seek is that of the truest wisdom,
That of love.

Tantric confessions

I suppose I allow my mind to dwell too much on you,
What can I do? It has become the habit of all my senses.

I have sat in meditation, watching what happens to me
As I remember you. As my chest swells with prana
And my heart explodes from the compressions of my belly.
A light explodes from the yoni sthan and into my brain
Spewing some subtle elixir of immortality.

And it comes from you
Whose breast I press against my skin.
Who is joined with me at all the points,
The lakes and lotuses and whirling wheels
That are the markers of my journey
Along roads I have cultivated and cared for,
Along  the stem I have climbed laboriously
From roots fed by the subtle elixir of immortality
you poured on a slumbering seed.

I breathed you in.
I don’t know whether I can breathe you out,
I breathed you in and you stayed.
We shared breath.
Breath that was blessed with the Divine Name.

You first penetrated my body and mind
And then gave laborious birth to this something
that I dare not call love.
In pessimism, let us call it a deformed child,
The bastard child of rasabhasa,
Like the love of parakeets or panda bears.

Your indifference now
Joined to my helpless stubbornness
is merely a pressure cooker
Building to yet newer explosions of this obscure
Mixture of pleasure and pain,
both embraced and despaired of simultaneously.

I would that I could turn my mind back to
That Radha and Krishna that are somewhere outside
But I cannot.
I must see the Divine Couple in the only love I know.

Are you God? Can you be God?
Can I make you God if I want?

Is the flowering of the thousand petaled lotus
Meant to reveal you alone or the Divine Couple?
Or is it pointless to differentiate?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Poems by Gopinath Basak

I posted these ages and ages ago on Gaudiya Discussions. I just discovered them and thought I would share here. Gopinath Basak was a disciple of Pran Gopal Goswami. Through my friendship with Madan Gopal Goswami (his grandson) I learned of him. Gopinath Basak was a great scholar of Vaishnavism and an able poet. I gathered some of my favorites from his book, but unfortunately I did not keep a copy of it. They must be read in the Bengali to be fully enjoyed. My personal favorite is number 8.



Seven spears in the heart

nṛpo na hari-sevitā vyaya-kṛtī na hary-arpakaḥ
kavir na hari-varṇakaḥ śrita-gurur na hary-āśritaḥ |
guṇī na hari-tat-paraḥ sarala-dhīr na kṛṣṇāśrayaḥ
sa na vraja-ramānugaḥ sva-hṛdi sapta śalyāni me ||

There are seven darts that pierce my heart and give me great pain: they are the king who does not serve Krishna, the person who spends money, but offers nothing to Krishna; the poet who does not glorify Krishna with his words; the person who has taken initiation from a spiritual master but has not taken refuge in Krishna; the person with good qualities who has not dedicated them to Krishna; the person with clear intelligence who has not taken shelter of Krishna; and finally the one who has taken shelter of Krishna but does not follow in the footsteps of the gopis. (Gopala-purva-campu 33.61)

hauka nā kena rājya pati jadi nāhi kore hari-sevā
hauka nā kena artha-vyayī hary-arthe nahile vyartha sabā
hauka nā kena kavi-śreṣṭha jadi hari-guṇa nā varṇaye
hauka nā kena gurv-āśrayī yadi nahi hari sevāśraye
hauka nā kena guṇavanta yadi hari tat-para nā hoy
hauka nā kena sarala citta yadi nāhi kore kṛṣṇāśroy
hauka nā kena hari-śrita yadi nohe vraja bhāvāśrita
ei sapta śalya viṣa jāta duḥkha hṛdi satata vyathita ||

So you are the master of a kingdom,
what use is it if you do not serve Lord Hari?
So you are the biggest of spenders,
it is all a waste if you do not spend on behalf of Hari!

So you are the best of poets,
what use is it if you do not glorify Lord Hari?
So you have taken initiation from a guru,
what use is it if you do not serve Lord Krishna?

So you are decorated with all the virtues,
what use is it if they are not used in His service?
So you are pure in mind,
what use if you have not taken shelter of Krishna?

And so you have taken shelter of Lord Hari,
what use is it if you have not taken refuge in the Vrindavan mood?
The poison from these seven darts pierces my heart
and spreads through my body, leaving me always in pain.



Rare, rarer, rarest

devatā dulaha mānava janama sabahu janama sāra
tā para dulaha ārya mānava bhārate janama yāra
tā para dulaha vaidika rīte sakāma karama yogī
tā para dulaha niṣkāma jana jzāna-moya phala-bhogī
tā para dulaha saṁyata jana sādhu śāstra suvicārī
tā para dulaha śuddha geyānī niguṇa guṇa vicārī
tā para dulaha jzānottarā parā bhakati sazcāre jāre
tā para dulaha bhukti mukti siddhikeo parihāre
tā para dulaha mahad upāye kṛṣṇa-bhajana-kārī
tā para dulaha sāsaġga bhakta śyāma rati adhikārī
tā para dulaha kṛṣṇa-preme jadi hoy akaitave
tā para dulaha sei preme jāhe gopī-jana-priya seve
tā para dulaha vraja-janānuga akaitava rāge seve
sabahu dulaha rādhikāra bhakata sevā kore gopī-bhāve

This human form of life is very rare, even for the gods.
It is the best of all forms of life.

Rarer still is birth as a Aryan in the land of Bharata;

Rarer yet is the Aryan who, desiring some worldly reward,
engages in karma yoga according to the Vedic rites,

Rarer yet is the one who gives up worldly goals
and seeks the rewards of Gnosis;

Rarer yet is the self-controlled person
who understands the conclusions of the sadhus and scripture;

Rarer yet is one with pure knowledge, who can distinguish
between the Divine with attributes and the Divine without;

Rarer yet is one in whom the devotion
that transcends knowledge surges up;

Rarer yet is the devotee who casts aside
all ambition for worldly pleasure, liberation or mystic power;

Rarer yet is the one who engages in Krishna bhajan,
following in the footsteps of the perfected souls;

Rarer yet is the devotee engaged in sāsanga bhajan,
for he is eligible to know his personal relation with Krishna;

Rarer yet is the one who has attained love for Krishna without deception;

Rarer yet is the one who serves the beloved of the gopis in this mood of love;

Rarer yet is the one who follows a resident of Vraja
and serves with sincere and loving enthusiasm;

But the rarest of all is the devotee of Radhika,
who serves in the mood of the gopis.



A Gaudiya Vaishnava

bāhire se ālā bholā antare hṛdaya galā
mukhe sadā kṛṣṇa bolā cokhe aśru mālā
dīnatāya se māṭir mānuṣ niṣṭhāte acalā
kṛṣṇa dite kṛṣṇa nite dhare śakti sob
alaukika lokavat gauḍīya vaiṣṇob

He looks artless, guileless
but inside his heart is melting;
the name of Krishna is always on his tongue
a garland of tears in his eyes.
In humility though forbearing,
his faith unswerving as a mountain.
To give or take Krishna,
is the power in his hands.
He looks like anyone,
but he is beyond the world.
That is a Gaudiya Vaishnava.

sabāra nīce paḍe thāke sabāike se sevya dekhe
sabāra iṣṭa miṣṭa bhākhe kṛṣṇa tattva jñāne
sabāi debā sabār sevā kṛṣṇa adhiṣṭhāne
nikhila bheda samanvayera mūrti savaibhava
tomāra preme goṛā se gauḍīya vaiṣṇava

He humbly takes the lowest place,
sees everyone as someone to serve;
to all he speaks what is pleasing and sweet,
connected to the truth of Krishna;
he knows that Krishna dwells in every soul
and so he gives to all and serves all.
All differences are resolved in him,
this is the glory he incarnates.
Formed through and through by Your love--
that is a Gaudiya Vaishnava.

sarvottama sadainya vinaya nirahaṁ suśānti nilaya
nitāi graha grasta hṛdaya sadaya viśva jīve
tomāra iccāya cale bale tomāra iccāya seve
tomāra gaṇa sange se pāya prema rasārṇava
tomāra sṛṣṭa hṛṣṭa iṣṭa gauḍīya vaiṣṇava

He is the best of all, yet he makes no claims.
He is without ego, the house of blissful peace.
He is under the astral influence of Nitai,
and so merciful to all souls in the universe.
He walks and talks according to Your desire,
according to Your desire, he serves.
When in the company of those who are Yours,
he finds an ocean of relish.
Your personal creation, Your own ecstatic object of worship --
that is a Gaudiya Vaishnava.

kaivalyake naraka māne svargake khapuṣpa jāne
indriya kṛṣṇa sevane viśva-pūrṇa sukhe
daivatādi nāhi gaṇe tomāra kṛponmukhe
tomāra-i audārya vīrya ātmā akaitava
tomāra kṛpā mūrtimanta gauḍīya vaiṣṇava

He takes nondualistic liberation to be hell
and heaven to be a flower in the sky;
his senses are all engaged in Krishna's service
and so he sees the world as a place of joy;
he pays no attention to other gods,
turned only toward the search for Your mercy;
He is filled with the heroism of Your munificence;
his heart is without deception;
the incarnation of Your blessings --
that is the Gaudiya Vaishnava.

saṁsāre se anāsakta bāhya dehe sādhaka bhakta
antare se anurakta rāgānugā lobhe
gaurotsave vrajera bhāve sadā iṣṭa seve
keśa-śeṣa-sudurlabha gopīra anubhava
acintya prabhāvī se gauḍīya vaiṣṇava

Though detached from the world;
externally, he carries on like a sādhaka bhakta;
yet within he seethes with rāgānugā greed.
Festive in the mood of Gauranga
he always serves the object of his love:
the mood of the gopis,
so rare for even Brahma, Vishnu and Ananta.
Of incomprehensible divine power,
that is the Gaudiya Vaishnava.



Again and again

chāḍi chāḍi bali chāḍite nā pāri viṣama viṣaya bandhana
bhaji bhaji kari bhajite nā pāri bhajanīya nanda-nandana

Again and again, I say I will give it up—
but I cannot give up my attachment to the terrible
attachments of sense gratification.

Again and again, I say I will engage in bhajan,
but I cannot worship the most worshipable
son of Nanda, the king of Braja.

kori kori boli korite nā pāri hari anurāgi saṅga
jāni jāni kori jānite nārinu jāta-rati jana-raṅga

Again and again I say I will,
but I cannot remain in the company
of those who truly love Krishna.

Again and again I say I know,
but I have not yet been able to know the delightful ways
of those in whom feelings of love for Krishna have arisen.

boḍo boḍo kori boḍo-i māninu abhimāne hoi andha
adhama adhama kohi goāinu kapaṭa jīvana manda

Again and again I have become puffed up,
thinking myself to be something extraordinary,
blinded by my egotistical pride.

Again and again I have said
how low and miserable I am,
leading a hypocritical life of false humility.

joto joto sādhu bhakata pravara dūre thāke more chāḍi
joto hoy mora abhimāna bhora toto hoi guru bhāri

Whatever great advanced devotees there are,
the saintly persons whose very company I need,
they all stay far, far away from me.

And the more deeply I become
immersed in my smug arrogance,
the more I think that I am a worthy teacher of others.

nija nāme ruci tāi nāme ruci ruci nā hoilo nāme
sevā sevā kori sevā cāhi phiri lābha pūjāra kāme

I love to hear my own name being spoken
this is why I make a show of loving the Holy Name,
but in fact, I have no love for the Holy Name.

Again and again I say that I want to serve
and I wander around looking for service,
but I do it all for profit and prestige.

bhajana bhajana miche garajana sādhu kṛpā binā vṛthā
sādhu kṛpā phala nāme cokhe jala aparādha kṣaya yathā

Again and again I talk about bhajan,
but it is all false sloganeering;
without the blessings of the saintly, it is all meaningless.

The result of the saint's blessing
is tears in the eyes when one chants the Holy Name,
the destruction of all offenses to the Name.

āmi abhimāna koro samādhāna sādhu pada-raje śodha
nitā dāsa dāna dāo abhimāna gopī-bhāve ātma-bodha

O Lord! Please solve this problem
of intractable pride I have in myself.
Such purification can only come from the dust of a sadhu's feet.

Give me pride in being the servant of Nityananda;
and reveal to me my true identity
as a cowherd girl in Vrindavan.



My day of fast

je dina tomāra bhakatera sāthe ekatra nā hoy vāsa
je dina tādera hari-kathodaye vañcita thāke e dāsa
āmāra se-i dina upavāsa

The day that I do not have the company of devotees,
the day that I am deprived of their wondrous Hari katha,

that, for me, is a day of fast.

je dina rasanā rase nā base nā rasamaya hari-nāme
je dina sukhera kīrtana rase vañcita viṣaya kāme
jīvanera parihāsa
āmāra sei-i dina upavāsa

The day that my tongue does not relish, does not touch
the delectable syllables of the Holy Name,
the day that I do not experience the joy of kirtan,
cheated by my desire to enjoy sensual pleasures--

my life turns into a joke;

that, for me, is a day of fast.

je dina yugala rāṅga śrī-caraṇe smaraṇa kore nā mon
je dina caraṇe deya nā añjali tulasī phula candana
vṛthā deha geha vāsa
āmāra sei-i dina upavāsa

The day that my mind does not meditate
on the rosy feet of the Divine Couple;
the day that I do not make to those feet
an offering of flowers, tulasi and sandalwood--

useless are my body, my home and my life

that, for me, is a day of fast.

je dina jīvana saravasva-rūpa hṛdaye uṭhe nā bhāsi
je dina pirīta vilāsa o kṛpāya phoṭe nā-o mukhe hāsi
je dina yugala sevanera rase bhariyā uṭhe nā buka
je dina tomāra viṣayera rase antara māne nā sukha
durbhāgya sarva-nāśa
āmāra sei-i dina upavāsa

The day that the only reason for living,
the Divine Couple's form, does not float up in my heart;
the day that my face does not break out in a smile
at remembering their loving pastimes, by their blessings;
the day that my chest does not fill with the pleasure
of rendering service to that Divine Couple;
the day that I do not find pleasure at thinking of You,
being distracted by the attractions of sensual life--

that is a day of great misfortune, a tragedy--

that, for me, is a day of fast.

je dina nijera bhajana garve jege uṭhe abhimāna
je dina se hetu cakitera prāya hao o hari antardhāna
je dina hṛdaya dainya āsane bhakati devī nā pūje
je dina e deha hoy nā bhūṣita vaiṣṇava caraṇa raje
je dina govinda sambandha vihane uṭhe hīna abhilāṣa

se dina kudina kugraha-moy
mahā-saġkaṭa maraṇera bhoy
bhū-kampa ghūrṇi jhañjhā praloy
durbhikṣā āra mahāmārī coy
se dine kore bāsa

The day that I become vain of my accomplishments in bhajan,
and my heart fills with the sin of pride;
the day that for that very reason, like the extinction of a candle,
Krishna suddenly disappears from my heart;
the day that my heart does not take a humble seat
to render worship to the goddess of devotion;
the day that this body is not decorated
with the dust of a Vaishnava's lotus feet;
the day that bereft of any relation to Krishna,
base desires rise up within me--

that day is filled with inauspiciousness,
the stars and asterisms are all malignant;
it is a day of great danger
and fear of death;
earthquakes, tornados, cyclones, worldly destruction,
famine, the plague--

are all present on that day.

je dina ātmā bubhukṣu āmāra sei din upavāsa
gopī anugati abhāva gopīra sei din upavāsa

The day that my soul goes hungry,
that, for me, is a day of fast.

The day that I do not follow the gopis--
that, for me, is a day of fast.



The two husbands dilemma

Part I.

didi dui bhātārer gharakannā ki viṣama dāya
sob viruddha svabhāva tāi |
ṭhekeci bikiye māthā dui ṭhākurer gurur pāy |

O sister ! What a predicament I am in !
I have to manage two husbands’ households,
and they are complete opposites in every way!
I have really done it by selling my soul
to the feet of two different holy masters.

tāy kāro saṅge nāi kāro miśāla
ekṭā bāṅgāla ekṭā deśāla
keho ḍāla bhāta khosāla keho mākhan ruṭi cāy |

Neither seems to get along with the other.
One is Bengali, the other’s from the back country.
One likes rice and dal;
the other wants ghee and rotis.

ābāra jete-o tārā duṭā du-tāl
ekṭā bāmon ekṭā goāl
kājei duṭor durūp kheyāl
āmi ṭheklām du-ṭānāy

And then, they are of different castes—
one’s a Brahmin, the other a cowherd !
So they have whims that go in opposite ways;
I am being pulled in rival directions.

goālā koy mākhon tol
bāmune koy phul tulasī tol
bhorera belā duṭor dui rol
āmi khāṭbo kāra kathāy

The cowherd says, “Go churn butter.”
The Brahmin says, “Go pick flowers and Tulasi!”
These are the orders I get at the break of dawn—
which one of the two must I obey?

(ābār śuno didi majāra kathā)
goālā koy sājo ṣoḍaśī
āmi meye bhālovāsi
bāmune koy hao sannyāsī
cenṛā kānthā diye gāy

(Now listen, sister, while I tell you something amusing.)
The cowherd says, “Dress up in all your finest!
Make yourself up! I love pretty girls!”
But the Brahmin says, “Renounce everything!
Shave your head and dress in rags!”

nadīyā bāmunera cele
nāce gāy hari bole
vṛndāvanera rāi bole
goālā vāṁśī bājāy

In Nadia, the Brahmin boy
dances and sings and shouts “Haribol!”
In Vrindavan, the cowherd calls for Radha,
playing songs on his enchanting flute.

Part II

didi kali-yuge dui bhātāra-i sad-upāy
dui siddha-dehe bhajabi tāy
ekaṭī puruṣa ekaṭī nārī
tui veśa karechis bece māthā
dui ṭhākurer gurur pāy ||

O sister! In this age of Kali,
two husbands are indeed the best way to go!
Worship them both in two spiritual bodies—
one male, the other female.
You have done well, girl, to sell your soul
at the feet of these two, different holy masters.

ei dekho tora siddha deha āche paḍe
ekṭī puruṣ ekṭī nārī
gurur vākya anusāre
ṭhik kore ne āge tāre
āntarika bhāvanāy

Look – your spiritual bodies are there waiting—
one male, the other female.
Follow your guru’s directions
and take them, deciding on them
out of deeply-felt conviction.

śuno ole prāṇa so-i
tor siddha deha hole so-i
tui dui hoye dui dehe jābi
vraja goālinīra prāy

Listen my dearest friend!
You have a spiritual body.
You will become two, and in these two
you will got to Vraja as a cowherd girl.

dekha śrī-rādhikā vṛndāvane
rāsa-rasa suvasane
lalitādi sakhīra sane
meyera dehe kula kalaṅkinī hoye
vāṁśīra tāne nāce gāy

Just see Radha in Vrindavan,
dressed up in her finest for the rasa dance
surrounded by Lalita and her girlfriends
There, in a girl’s body, you will blacken your family reputation
by singing and dancing to the music of Krishna’s flute.

ābār sei rādhā nade pure
sei goālinī rādhā nade pure
gadādhara nāma dhare
ājanma sannyāsa kore
meyera gandha nāhi gāy

Then again, that same Radha has come to the town of Nadia,
that cowherd girl Radha is here in Nadia town
taking the name of Gadadhar,
a renunciate from birth, never even touched
by the scent of a woman.

temani tui meyera dehe
vṛndāvane madhura rasa bhajane
tora goālā bhātārera sane
kula-śīla teyāgiye
nācbi lo kadamba talāy

So, you will take a girl’s form in Braja
worshiping in the madhura rasa,
with your cowherd “husband”
renouncing family and acceptable morals
you will dance at the foot of a kadamba tree

(ābār sei tui) gadāir moto puruṣ dehe
dāṅḍabi śrīvasera gehe
tor bāmun bhātārer bāme
samaya bujhe nadīyāy

And the very same you,
taking a male body like Gadadhar’s
will go to Srivas Thakur’s house
and stand to the left of your Brahmin “husband”
understanding what is right for his Nabadwip mood.

gauḍeśvara vaiṣṇava jagate
e-rasa rase gopate
gadādharer anugate
anye nā sandhāna pāy

In the Vaishnava world of Lord Gauranga
this secret delectable mood has been hidden
revealed only to those who follow Gadadhar;
others have not a clue.

ādarśa daṇḍaka bane
rāmacandrake muni-gaṇe
madhura rasa bhajane
upabhog korte cāy

The original example is found in Dandakaranya
where the silent sages who saw Lord Rama
were enchanted and wished to worship him
in the sweet mood of romantic love.



Oh Mind! Don't go to Radha's kunj

ār jeo nā rādhāra kuñje āmāra mon
dhanya kalira āgaman

Don't go into Radha's kunj, O my mind;
the glorious age of Kali has arrived!

rāiera kuñje kalaṅka āce pati phirena pāche pāche
dharte pārle dhare keśe nāke karbena apāveśan

In Radha's kunj, disrepute is waiting;
your husband is lurking around, following you.
If he catches you, he'll drag you by the hair,
he may even cut off your nose in anger.

rādhā kṛṣṇa dui eka puruṣa rūpe gaura-gadādhara sva-svarūpe
udaya holen nabadvīpe duera rase due korte āsvādan

Radha and Krishna have taken male forms
and now appeared in their own identities
as Gauranga and Gadadhar in the land of Nabadwip
where both of them relish each other's loving moods.

satya tretā dvāpara yuge je rasa dite nāren kono yuge
se rasa āja saṅkīrtana samāyoge sva-bhakte korlen samarpaṇ

Krishna was unable to give this rasa in any previous age
whether Satya, Treta or Dwapara;
but now the Lord is bestowing this very same rasa,
on his own devotees through sankirtan.



We are Radha's dasis

olo āmarā rāiera dāsī
āmarā rāiera dāsī āmarā rāiera sevā bhālovāsi

Hey everyone! We are Radha's dasis
We are Radha's dasis
and we love to serve Radharani.

rāi jokhon je bhāve thāke āmarā ghire basi
rāi kāndile āmarā kāndi hāsile āmarā hāsi

Wherever Radha is, in whatever mood she is
we gather around her.
If she cries, we cry.
If she laughs, we laugh.

rāi śyāmake bhālovāse tāi āmarā-o bhālovāsi
rāi ānugatye śyāma sevā kori dekhe rāi boṛo ullāsī

Radha loves Shyam, so we love Shyam, too.
When she sees that we serve him according to her directions,
she becomes very enthusiastic.

rāi śyāma-nāma bhālovāse tāi āmarā nāme piyāsī
rāi sukhe nāma kori bale sei bālovāse kālośaśī

Radha loves Shyam's name, so that makes us thirsty for his name.
and because we sing his name for Radha, she loves him even more.

rāiera mukhe kṛṣṇa-kathā śuni mora soba divāniśi
rāiera kathā kṛṣṇa-mukhe śuni āmarā hoi ullāsī

Day and night, we all listen to Radha speak about Krishna
and when we hear Krishna speak about Radha, that gives us great joy.

rāiera nāma-ṭī sāra kore śyāma bājāya mohana vaṁśī
rāiera nāme vāṁśī rava śuni āmarā hoi udāsī

Shyam plays Radha's name, the essence of life,
as the enchanting tune on his flute;
When we hear Radha's name in the flute song,
we forget about everything else in our lives.

rāiera prati apūrva pirīti koren go kālo-śaśī
rāiera prīti dekhe poḍechi śyāmera premera phāṁsi

The black moon Krishna has incomparable love for Radha;
from seeing the love Radha has for him,
we have fallen into the net of love for Shyam.

rāiera nāme āmarā mānī kṛṣṇete hoi udāsī
rāi milile śyāmera sane morā kori miśāmiśi

We swell with pride at hearing Radha's name,
but we are indifferent to Krishna.
We only mix with Shyam when she meets with him.

morā rāiera dāsī bole kṛṣṇa kato-i vā hoy ullāsī
rāiera kṛṣṇa bole hoi morā sadā-i śyāma pratyāśī

Krishna becomes so joyful when he learns that we are devoted to Radha.
We always think of Krishna because we know that he belongs to Radha.

rāiera sane kṛṣṇa milana boṛo-i bhālovāsi
yugala premera sevā niye sadā modera bhālovāsā-vāsi

We love to see it when Krishna meets with Radha.
Our only joy, our happiness, comes from serving the Divine Couple
in ecstatic love.


Friday, May 8, 2015

Naked Truth

Beware the man who speaks of love with such poetic ease:
He is a seducer, a word spinner seeking just to please.
But he’s so obvious, even a child can expose
the rude blemish of one who wears no clothes.

On the street they point at the naked and scorned
form of the avadhut, who had just been born.
They said: One who needs love cannot give it.
One who only talks of love does not live it.

I speak of love, he answered, 'cause in my cave
this is what my God in silence to me gave.
I heard that I must learn to love to find my soul,
but I am unworthy: being love’s object still my goal.

I am not worthy: This is my naked truth so plain
I wear no clothes so not to say it over and again:
Nakedness is a feature not a flaw of love,
and on this path, you never can be naked quite enough.

One who speaks knows the words and how to make a show.
Those who know, love and do not pretend to know.
Those who speak have seen the first rising of the dawn,
not the sun. It will rise when all the clothes are gone.

No one is loved exactly the way they want or need.
So the bee flits from flower to flower looking for mead;
and we search from object to object to find refuge,
but Love gives shelter only after getting her dues.

Speaking of love is an act of love; may it bring you pleasure.
Your grace alone will reveal my words’ true measure.