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Flowerplays and Loveplays
(10:48 a.m. - 3:36 p.m.)
One gopi said, "Radha, look! Madhava ('the spring' or 'Krishna') has come, making all the vines blossom and making all the directions nicely fragrant! Surely Your efforts in picking flowers and worshipping the Lord of the lotus flowers ('the sun' or 'Krishna, the Lord of the lotus like gopis') will be successful."
Shri Radhika replied, "O bewildered girl, look! Hari has come to catch Me! I cannot even flee. My thighs are stunned and My body shivers. Why are you laughing so silly instead of protecting Me? O restless eyed one, I'm dying of fear!"
That sakhi said, "O Radha with confused eyes, why are You afraid of that darkness (Shyama, Krishna), whose heroism and pride will be diminished by the Lalita-sun? I cannot believe that this debaucher will be able to forcibly touch You, the crown jewel of all chaste girls in the world."
Shri Radhika said, "Sakhi, you speak the truth. But, fate became angry with Me and made the sun, who destroys the darkness of the vows of chaste girls, appear on earth. He forcibly closes all the lotus flowers when they are separated from Him, making them attracted to Him. All the people speak about Him like that."
The sakhi said, "Gandharva, If You are really scared, then quickly enter into this kunja and wait here for two or three hours (with Krishna). We may need that much time for picking flowers for Mitra ('the sun' or 'Krishna') without being in anxiety (otherwise Krishna will disturb us because You are with us)."
While the gopis considered all this, Krishna suddenly appeared in their midst, like the moon appears amongst the lilies. The gopis then began to stop the waves of the ocean of their ecstasy with a sand dyke of their neglect and false anger towards Him. The boats of their eyes fell into the whirlpool of the obvious sweetness of each of Krishna's limbs and began to rotate there. These eyes shyly looked at the ground, like boats sunk after having fallen into the whirlpools. But anyone who says that this is a sign of shyness, does not know the truth!
When the great soldiers of Krishna's fragrance entered the nostrils of the Vrajagopis and smashed the gates leading to the inner chambers of their patience, Krishna said, "O plunderers of the forest, who are you?" When the nectar waves of Krishna's voice entered into the gopis ears, everything within them became inundated. When Krishna got no reply from them, His eyes started spinning as if He were angry, and He said, "Oh! What are you saying so proudly? Have you come to my garden abode to plunder it? Today you should come to My upakantha ('close to Me' or 'around My neck') or have you anyway come here with such desires? Quickly and clearly tell Me now, who are you?
The gopis replied, "We are no one!"
Which poet in the world is able to make a comparison with the sweet way in which the gopis concealed their erotic feelings, showing bashfulness, restlessness and fear? These poets can be compared with the seekers for brahman, who desperately try to ascertain it by saying neti neti (it is not this, it is not that)
When Krishna heard the gopis' words, His mind became filled with tears and He became pierced with even more arrows of the mind born Cupid. Although He tried to hide His feelings, His shivering revealed them clearly to the gopis. He proudly told them, "O moon faced ones, are you telling Me, 'We are no one?' Alas! Alas! Usually words are not seen with the eyes, but I can see you clearly! Not only are you stealing flowers, but you also stole your own personalities. Day and night I was thinking, 'How will I catch these girls that steal My sumanah ('flowers' or 'mind')?' Now, finally, I caught you coming to atmabhu ('My land' or 'Cupid'). O bewildered young girls, now I will make you reap the fruits of your offenses! Accept them!"
Shri Radhika replied, "O impudent one! Every day we pick flowers to worship Mitra, who creates a grand festival for the eyes of everyone in the world by destroying the darkness, who causes the Padmini's ('lotuses' or 'the gopis') to blossom up with the touch of His kara ('rays' or 'hands') and who fulfills all desires. Why are You needlessly angry?"
Krishna said, "O Fair Faced One, If you worship Mitra, I will not be angry, but how can I trust You, since women are always lying? If You're really picking flowers for the god, then take an oath and I will forgive You Your offenses. You will see My saintly behaviour, even with flower thieves (or 'heart thieves') like You!"
Shri Radhika said, "O Krishna, we are very famous in Vraja for our thievery, and You are surely the greatest saint. Who will not confirm that? What is the use of repeating it without reason? Can Your qualifications, like truthfulness, simplicity, purity, absence of desire for other people's property and so on be seen in anyone else in the world?
Krishna said, "O proud girls, are you turning the tables on Me, the Lord of Vrindavan, who is praised by all the saints, by calling Me a thief? You carry such pride in your hearts! Even though you're just cowherd girls you're showing such skill in speech! Are you so proud because of your fresh youth, your wealth, your fidelity to your husbands or your expertise in dance and acting according to the scriptures on art? Now I will see how proud you are in this nikunja, showing You the skill of My arms."
Saying this, Giridhari came up to Shri Radhika, but Lalita got in front of Her and proudly chastised Krishna, saying, "Who is there who wants to touch this chaste housewife by force, in front of Lalita? Go away, Casanova, if You want to be safe!"
Krishna said, "O Lalita, when I see you showing so much force, it seems to Me that you want to fight (Cupid's battle) with Me! And, being bewidered, you will tell Me whatever you want. So now, I will squeeze you in My arms and your friends may all see it! O foul faced one, will you repeatedly tell Me, 'No! Don't!'"
Lalita said, "O woman thief, You're always raping innocent housewives, but I am Lalita, and I'm not afraid of You at all!! On my own strength I can protect myself and my dear friend, Radhika, and I can take flowers from any forest, right in front of You! O impudent One, why don't You stop us by force? Why would You tolerate us?"
Krishna laughed and said, "Look Radha! If You agree with the words coming from Your friend's mouth, then You will never get free from My grip! I will bite Lalita's lips with my teeth and scratch her itching tongue, also. Silence is a sign of agreement."
Shri Radhika said, "O king of cheaters, what are You saying? Don't You know who I am? There's no young girl in Vraja more famous for her chastity than Me! My friends are very dedicated to the ways of the incorporal Cupid, and Lalita is the best of them. Because of her harsh nature, she can defeat even You!
Krishna said, "Radha, Your two mountain-like breasts represent Your mountain-like pride of two things: 'Iam worshipping the sun' and 'I am very chaste'! Today, I will pierce them and scratch them with My nails! Even if You hit Me with these two mountains, I can tolerate it."
Hearing these words, the sakhis all flashed beam-like smiles from their moon-like faces. Krishna passed them by, and when He touched Radhika's breats with His hand, both His and Radhika's body was studded from tip to toe with goosebumps of loving ecstasy, being pierced by Cupid's arrows. Shouldn't Cupid be proud of the erotic affliction he gave Them at that time?
Shri Radhika became enchanted when She was touched by Hari's hands. Then Her friends loudly said to Krishna, "O cheater, what are You doing!?"
Shri Radhika screamed and carefully stopped Her lover's hands with Her lotus-like hands, crying without tears in an averse mood. When She stopped Krishna's right hand, Krishna pulled at Her veil with His left hand. This inundated all he directions with indescribable waves of sweet nectar, causing Madhava to forget His desires to embrace Radhika or kiss Her lips and He just remained standing there, being constantly immersed in this shower. At that time, the hair on Krishna's face looked like the deep darkness which could not be dissipated by His bright, shining, moon-like face. Or, was the moon defeated by the darkness that swooped down upon Him? And how can this moon shine so brightly, despite being defeated by the darkness? Has he made friends with his conqueror? No, that is not possible, because friends don't stay up-and-under, but share equal positions. Then has the moon become the servant of the darkness? Wouldn't that be embarassing in this world?
"And where have these two fishes on that moon come from? Did they get stuck on him when he rose from the Milk Ocean? That is not possible, because fishes are naturally restless, and these fishes aren't! Then are they blue lotus flowers? No, that cannot be, because they would not remain closed, sitting on the lap of their friend, the moon. Then are they two wagtail birds? If they were, then who has brought them to the moon and why are they dancing there?" Saying this to himself, Krishna considered His eyes to be very fortunate. His own body and all the directions were constantly inundated by the nectarean stream of Shri Radhika's bodily splendor, and He drank the ever attractive honey of Her female glances coming from the corners of Her eyes, with His own eyes. In this way, Hari became stunned, giving joy to the sakhis. Because of Krishna's astonishment, Radhika was able to loosen Herself from the bondage of His arms. Krishna was as if defeated by a weapon of beauty and He began to yawn (like Siva yawned from Krishna's jrimbha jvara, yawn missile).
Shri Radhika became very beautiful when She tightened Her blouse and sash, that had loosened from Krishna's grip. It was as if She bound Her assistants up in Her erotic fight with Krishna. She tied Her half loosened braid into a knot on the back of Her neck with Her left hand and chastised Her sakhis with the index finger of Her right hand, loudly saying, "O cheaters! Just wait, just wait, I will revenge Myself in time." Then, She gave Krishna atanu ('intense' or 'erotic') pain by piercing Him with the arrows of Her sharp glances, but She also gave Him joy by showing Him Her eagerness to bind up Her hair and dress. This vision made Krishna consider His birth blessed.
Shri Radhika said to Krishna, "Bho Lord (brahmin) of Vrindavana! Bho pious soul! Bho famous One! I will go to the house of My mother-in-law to get a reward (dakshina) for Your (brahminical) activities here! Once You had that matchless, extraordinary reward You will never pray to us for prakama ('pious benefit' or 'sex') anymore"
Krishna said, "Radha, I'm a qualified person to receive Your matchless reward! Look at My endeavors in preparing the sacrifice to Cupid, before You give Me the dakshina and teach Me the procedures, so that My auspicious work will become successful. The learning of any scholar who does not praise and approve of such work is useless!"
Kundalata then said, "O cousin-in-law, if Radhika agrees to this, then we will know Your scholarship and we will know that She is a learned girl, also. As long as a grinding slab and a piece of gold do not rub together, how can we know their glories?"
Gandharva said, "O pious Kundalata, I can see that you love your cousin-in-law, Krishna, even more purely than your dearmost husband Subhadra. That must be why you are teaching Him the kama sastras (erotic scriptures) and now that you know His expertise in it, you personally want to reveal the qualities of your disciple?"
Visakha said, "Hey Radha, if You have faith in Kundalata's examination of Krishna's expertise in the sacrifice to Cupid, then engage Him in the desired work! Otherwise, if you let this job be done by ignorant people Your erotic work will not be completed."
Krishna said, "Hey Radha, what is the use of this vain examination? In this world Your friend Visakha is famous for her dedication to atanu dharma (erotic duties). Let her come with Me to a lonely place to test if I pronounce the mantras from Vatsyayana muni's kama sastra, that I have studied, purely or impurely. It is forbidden in the scriptures to pronounce these mantras in public."
Kundalata said to Radhika, "Hari has spoken well! You must order Visakha to test Him!"
Hearing this, Shri Radhika sprinkled Her lips with Her nectarean smile and said, "Sakhi, Visakha, Kundalata cannot give up her very bad desires in any way, so go and be tested by Krishna in solitude!"
Hearing this, all the sakhis giggled, covering their mouths with their veils. Then, Visakha smiled and said, "Radha, only Your indifference has protected You from Krishna's hands, but that is now also dying out at every moment! Now, I don't see any other means for Your protection than Your fortunate assistants. O morose heart, if You desire Your own happiness, then enter into this solitary kunja and take shelter of that! We have come here to help You get Krishna's bodily association, but now You became so favorable to Him that You don't need any help anymore. You have already sprinkled the sumana prada ('giver of flowers' or 'the mind') punnanga tree (or 'Krishna, the best of men') with ghanarasa ('water' or 'sweet words') causing Him to blossom (with desires)."
Just then, Nandimukhi came with Vrinda, handed Hari a letter and blessed Him (being a brahmin girl), saying, "All godspeed to You." Krishna opened the letter and read it to Himself. Everyone could see that its contents made Him very happy. After reading it, Krishna left towards the north without saying anything.
Although Radhika was sad for not seeing Krishna for even a moment, She appeared very happy externally, just to make a show before Her sakhis. Then, She and Her sakhis respectfully approached Nandimukhi and anxiously asked her, "O Nandimukhi, who sent that letter?"
Nandimukhi replied, "Paurnamasi."
Radhika asked, "What for?"
Nandimukhi answered, "I don't know."
Radhika then said, "Come on. Tell Me the truth."
To which Nandimukhi replied, "She sent Him to another kunja to enjoy another girl."
Radhika: "He would never do that right in front of Me!"
Nandimukhi: "He is so clever that You would never notice it."
Hearing this, Radhika doubtfully looked at Lalita, who pacified Her, saying, "Radha, when He is with You, Hari can never desire another girl! If the young honeybee tasted the honey from the blooming malati vine, can he ever remember anything else? This Nandimukhi speaks nothing but lies ever since she was born. Her tongue will be the guru of Kali Yuga. What do You think, O beautiful One? Krishna falsely left us just to tease us!. That letter was also false, so why should You be in vain anxiety? Nandamukhi is falsehood personified!"
Nandamukhi said, "Lalita, Paurnamasi is knowlege personified. She is the leading lady here in Vraja. She's the birthplace of all religious principles. She is the mother of Sandipani muni, who is Vedic purpose perfonified, and I am her assistant. Can you just call me a liar?"
Lalita said, "We keep you on Paurnamasi's vow. Now tell us the truth!"
Nandimukhi said, "Sakhi, what should I say? Paurnamasi forbade me to reveal it. But taking your oath I can also not remain silent anymore. Swear me, don't disbelieve what I say." Shri Radhika swore it and Nandamukhi said, "Yesterday Krishna went to see Paurnamasi, and politely requested her, 'Holy mother, You are the greatest knower of all mantras and herbs. Shri Radhika always sits on a mountain of vamya (an unfavorable mood towards Krishna)! How can I delude Her sakhis and take Her off that mountain? O goddess, not even a billion gopis are able to astonish Me with erotic bliss as good as She can! Only She can adorn My manobhu ('support of My mind' or 'erotic bliss'). Is She a kalpalata (fancy vine), akalpalata (a vine of ornaments), or a vaijayanti mala ('a long garland around My neck' or 'a victory flag')?'
"Hearing these sweet words, Paurnamasi was pleased within, but outwardly she said, 'Krishna! How can I do such a thing all of a sudden? Shri Radhika is the most chaste girl! She's an ocean of bashfulness and She's high born. Should She just sit on Your lap, like the lightning embracing a raincloud?' Hearing this, Aghabhid went home. At nighttime, Paurnamasi practiced all the Vedic mantras and in the morning she came to me and said, 'Nandimukhi, go and give this letter to Krishna.' Following her order, I quickly went to give Him this letter. That's all I know."
Shri Radhika said, 'Bho sakhis, what mantra has Paurnamasi sent to Krishna through Nandimukhi, that He went to practice in solitude? Let's run home and then do our Surya puja! Krishna is enchanted by this mantra. Let's offer our obeisances to the place He stays (viz. Let's avoid Him).
Nandimukhi laughed when she drank the nectarean words coming from Vrishabhanu's daughter and said, "Whatever You said was improper! Why should You vainly be afraid? Why would that boy, who makes You give up Your chastity, maddening You with a single drop of His beauty, practice this mantra just to destroy Your vamya?"
Shri Radhika said, "Bho sakhis, Bhagavati maintains a matchless sanyassa vow, studying the kama sastras the whole night, and Nandimukhi has given uo all sense enjoyment under her guidance, ut Kundalata has realized the auspiciousness of oneness of brahman and the jiva soul (or 'she has attained oneness in sexual union with her husband, Subhadra's cousin, Krishna). In this way these three ladies take the housewives to the stage of samadhi (or 'they make the housewives give up their righteous principles, giving them much affliction'; there is also a more intimate meaning, but the translator chose not to disclose it)."
While this discussion was going on, Rupa manjari saw the moon (Krishna) rising in the eastern side of the forest and she told Radhika. The daughter of Vrishabhanu then said, "Krishna has attained full beauty on the strength of His mantra japa and He has come here to enchant us and give us anxiety. O sakhis, what shall I do? O sakhi Lalita, This moonlight is quickly destroying My patience from afar! What shall become of Me when this moon of Vraja comes close to Me? I understand He has attained matchless perfection in having His desires fulfilled. Lalita, where is a good hiding place? If I stay here, He will confuse My intelligence. Who knows what will happen when this mantra awakens?"
Saying this, Shri Radhika contracted Herself in anxiety and carefully walked towards the temple in the ashoka kunja. When She heard the jingling of Her own ankle bells, She was afraid that it was Krishna following Her. She hid Herself between the branches of the Kadamba tree, fearfully looking behind Her again and again with a crooked neck, anxious to protect Herself from a possible attack from Krishna.
Although Acyuta saw the pure kunkuma splendor of the jewel of ladies, Shri Radhika, from afar, He did not follow Her, but instead asked Her sakhis, "Where is Radhika?"
Lalita said, "Krishna, She went home."
Krishna said, "Lalita, the time that you always cheated Me is now gone. I've now attained mystic perfection and I can see through your deceit!"
Nandimukhi whispered in Lalita's ear, "Lalita, if Madhava now knows everything, then why should you vainly be at fault by refusing to tell Him where She is? Become glorious by indicating Radha's whereabouts to Krishna with your eyes. And if you say, 'Radhika will become angry if I reveal Her presence to Krishna,' then I say don't be afraid. What can Radhika do to you with false anger?"
On Lalita's indication, Krishna went to the vanjula kunja where Radhika was hiding and said, "O Lady, what are You doing? Are You sitting alone here to attract Me with some mantra? Here, I have come! Now You may do with Me what You like. You have become so powerful with this mantra that I won't be able to stop You if You want to bind Me up in Your arms or bite Me with the weapon of Your teeth."
Shri Radhika made Her first strike with Her knitted eyebrows, Her fresh nectarean smile and Her unfavorable shouts with faltering voice. Krishna drank that nectar through the cups of His eyes and ears and became enchanted by it. What to speak of tasting the nectar from Her lips, what condition would Krishna be in when He knew its greatness?
Krishna then came up to Radhika and held Her hand, but Radhika said, "No! No! This is not proper!", and when He touched Her breasts She repeatedly contracted Her body, cursing Krishna. When Krishna forcibly wanted to bite Her lips, that were as red as bimba fruits, Radhika yelled again and again. Then, when Krishna wanted to take Her inside the Kunja cottage, Cupid began to dance. Krishna forcible held Radhika to His chest and brought Her to the bed in the nikunja. Radhika swung Her thighs, neck and feet out of protest, saying, "No! No! No!" It seemed as if Cupid twanged his flower bow of campaka flowers, or that a raincloud took posession of the restless lightning. During their erotic fight, Radha and Krishna were sometimes unconscious and sometimes enchanted, being filled with profuse sweetness. Their erotic cleverness was shown through rays of nectarean love in an undifferentiated way.
Thus ends chapter nine of Shrila Visvanatha Cakravrti's "Krishna Bhavanamrita Mahakavya," called "Flowerplays and Loveplays."