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Radha and Krishna's Water Play Pastimes
(10:48 a.m. - 3:36 p.m.)
As lotus eyed Krishna wandered through the forest called Nidagha Subhaga (the beautiful summer) He saw Madhumangala and asked him, "O friend, why did you leave Me to go to the forest of sweet mangos and jack fruits all alone?"
Madhumangala said, "Friend, You think You're such a great rasika (knower of mellows), so today I will argue with You. Tell me, what is rasa? Let the brahminical dvijas (or 'birds') of the rasa shastras ('the scriptures on rasa' or 'the blooming mango vines') witness our discussion. O friend, the cowherd girls can purchase Your heart with the mere movements of their eyes and You wander in the barren gardens of unfolded jasmine and malati flowers with them, but still You call Yourself the greatest rasika and so do the people, because they always consider a worthless person to be qualified. I make my belly an ocean of flavor by filling it up with the juice of mangos and jack fruit, but still You consider me to be tasteless. O proud One, You can call me tasteful, like You, if I can hungrily wander from forest to forest. O friend, Your Vrindatavi is full of varieties of fruit that are rarely available within the three worlds, and You are fond of rambling there. The whole world knows that. But You are not interested in the flavors arising from this Vrindavana! Nothing else but that can give me sorrow.
Krishna replied, "O brahmin boy, don't wander in the forest as an arasika (tasteless person)! I wander around in Vrindatavi because the cold water pleases My tongue on the summer days, the touch of the lotus flower pleases My skin, the fragrance of the sweet jasmine flowers pleases My nose, the fresh, red palasa leaves please My eyes and the sweet cooing of the pidgeons pleases My ears. Thus, all My five senses experience top most bliss!"
Madhumanggala said, "Krishna, these ripe mangos please all my senses at once. They give joy to my eyes with their emerald-like splendor. Their juice pleases my tongue with its ruby-like taste. Their fragrance gives joy to my nostrils. Their softness pleases my skin and their name pleases my ears! They always increase the desire of my senses."
Vrinda said, "Madhava, look at this effulgent forest near Radhakunda, which is like a new jewel on the crown of the three worlds, protecting Your pastimes with Shri Radhika. Even the greatest poets are unable to find the proper words to describe it."
Radha and Krishna were very enthused by Vrinda's words, that worked on Them like the ambrosial moon rays that made the waves of Their desire swell. So, They went to Their kundas (Radhakunda and Shyamakunda), that are the abodes of Their pastimes, and whose waters are filled with divine mellows. Of these kundas, Radhakunda is the foremost. It is surrounded by the kundas of Lalita and the other sakhis. Lalita's kunja is on the north. Visakha's on the northeast. Chitra's on the east. Rangadevi's on the southwest. Tungavidya's on the west and Sudevi's on the northwest. The forest maidens always maintain these kunjas, making gates of flowers and jewelled mirrors there. Radha and Krishna always swing here, or play Holi, flowerball games, hide-and-seek and watersports on the banks or in the waters. They relish hundreds of kinds of fruit there that defeat the taste of nectar. They play dice, dance, joke and relish the poetry of the parrots. Shri Rdahika became manini (angry and proud) here and Krishna breaks that pique. This Radhakunda is the abode of all auspiciousness and the enchanter of everyone's eyes. All four sides of the kunda have jewelled steps and jewelled bathing places (ghatas) on each side of which there are jewelled platforms shaded by delicately peaked roofs. Each ghata has trees on either side, whose branches hold ropes with swings hanging on them. In the middle of the kunda is Ananga manjari's island, which is connected with a bridge to the northern bank of the kunda. Shri Radhika is immersed in bliss to lay Her sister to rest here with Krishna in a moonstone cottage.
Between the east and southeast of Radhakunda is a golden bridge which connects it with Shyamakunda, the abode of all playful sports that is famous like nothing else in this world. Around this kunda are the kunjas that are accepted by the cowherd boys, like Subala. When lotus eyed Krishna stood on this bridge with His dear ones, they saw that the peacocks were dancing on the shores with spread out tails, swans that were agitated with love pangs were singing in the water and swarms of bumblebees buzzed around in the sky.
Seeing these extraordinary things, Krishna said, "Radha, look! The pikas, tittibhas, chatakas, swans, sukas and haritakis all join together, singing their own songs. Here we can hear all the six seasonal birds together at the same time! Look at the great festival of the young bees by Your pond. In the spring they drink the honey from the blooming, new, mallika flowers. In the summer they drink from the soft jasmine flowers. In the monsoon from the yuthika flowers. In the autumn from the lotus flowers. In the hemanta season from the kuruntakas, and in the winter from the best kunda vines. They're like householders with many wives whom they enjoy according to the season.
"O fair limbed One, the hundreds of high branches of the trees that stand on all four sides of Your kunda meet each other, covering Your pond in such a way that the sun cannot touch the water even in the daytime. The wind enters through the four open kunja gates like a beggar to beg some of the fragrance of the lotus flowers. The honeybees become angry at that and they chastise him, saying, 'bham bham!', but still the wind does not give up its softness. Radha, all the beauty of the kunda reminds Me of You. Just as Your lotus-like face always blossoms, Your kunda is also filled with blossoming lotus flowers. Just as You have restless, young, fish-like eyes, Your pond is filled with restless, young, fish. Just as Your soft, sweet smile emits waves of foam of abundant, subtle sweetness, Your pond is also filled with a lot of sweet foam-waves. Just as Your charming braid swings like so many wandering honeybees, Your pond is also covered with humming bees, and just as Your breasts look like chakravaka flamingos, Your pond is also filled with playing chakravakas. The kunda also shines as bright as You do."
Krishna then compared Radhika to all the holy rivers, saying, "Radha, You are the Surataranghini (the Ganga is the river (tarangini) of the gods (surah) and Shri Radhika is a lady (rangini) enjoying erotic play (surata)). You are Bhanuja (the daughter of the sun is the river Yamuna, and the daughter of king Vrishabhanu is Shri Radhika), sometimes Saraswati arises in Your words (Saraswati is a river and also the goddess of music, sound, learning and speech), You are My only Narmada (giver of joy or holy river of the same name) and You appear as Bahudamsa ('keeping Your arm (bahu) on My shoulder (amsa)' or the holy Bahuda river), but in Your kunda You are fully manifest to Me. Thus, O nicely thighed One, the holy rivers are purified by Your ghana rasa ('water' or 'erotic mellow'), like the lightning illuminates My deep, cloud-like (ghanarasa) form." As Krishna said this, He held Shri Radhika's hand, that had jingling bangles, with His own hand. Shri Radhika laughed at this with humor (rasa).
Vrinda devi said, "O Krishna, that place with whose water You want to wash Your limbs is not a pond, but a hilly ground of stone-like unfavorable moods! You won't be able to bathe there, leave this place, O moon of Vraja" and loosened Krishna's hand from Radhika's hand, taking Radhika to the place where She could change into bathing clothes. Krishna followed Her there, and peeped at Radhika through the holes in the foliage. When His honeybee-like eyes fell on Her lotusbud-like breasts, Shri Radhika suspected Him to be spying on Her. She anxiously looked in all directions and covered Herself with a thin garment.
Krishna and the gopis pulled each other into the water, like restless vines blown into the water by Cupid's gale. Then, the gopis, who are fond of ghanarasa ('erotic mellows' or 'Krishna') began their fight in the ghanarasa (water). They relished Krishna's beauty and Cupid relished their bodily beauty. The gopis stood in the water in a circle, holding hands, making breast-like waves by softly slapping the water. Krishna stood in the middle of that circle like a sapphire whorl of a hundred petalled lotus flower, smiling brightly and beautifully.
The gopis said, "O killer of Aghasura! O You who never gives up His vow! Those breasts that You were always so eager to see and touch, polluting the housewives, have now automatically come up from the water. It's Your good luck that they have become so easily available now! Now bless Your eyes by looking at them and bless Your hands by touching them."
After hearing these shameless words, that destroyed the patience of the Cupid-elephant, from the mouths of these otherwise shy girls, Krishna said, "So be it!" and placed His hands on the gopis' breasts and on the breat-like waves in the water. Then He asked the gopis, "Is this a breast or is this (wave) a breast?"
When Krishna touched their breasts, the doe eyed gopis at once broke their circle and fled in all directions. Kundalata, who was standing on the shore, made her restless, fish-like eyes play in that water scene, and, being eager to witness Radha and Krishna's water fight, said, "Hari! You are a waterfall of beauty and so are Your lovers, so just spend some time fighting in the water and when You are defeated, perform the act of offering praise to the victors."
Krishna said, "What did you say, Kundalata?" Then Kundalata turned the tenses around, making Krishna active in defeating the gopis and passive in praises, being praised by the gopis as the victor.
Hearing this, the gopis said, "O Madhava, now under Your influence, Subhadra's wife, Kundalata, has reversed the tenses, after Saraswati made the true words arise in her."
Krishna said, "Alright. When you win you, you will experience the bliss of accepting forced kisses from the defeated One. Is this why you desire victory? And if by chance I am defeated, then where will I run to find peace?" Then Krishna asked Nandi, "Nandimukhi, what should be the stake for this water fight?"
Nandimukhi said, "O enemy of Aghasura, it is written in the smriti shastras that if a rich man is defeated in a game the victor can take his wealth and bind him up, also!"
Krishna said, "O Nandimukhi, we are rich people. Our bangles, armlets and anklets are our wealth. If I am defeated, then the gopis may take that and if I defeat them, I will take their ornaments and bind them them up in the ropes of My snake-like arms!" Hearing these words, the gopis frowned with eyebrows that were like beautiful, flickering bows, and admonished Nandimukhi with so many shouts. The gopis surrounded Krishna, holding each other's fingers and throwing water at Him with the sides of their hands. It looked as if they shot water arrow of love at Him from red lotus quivers. Krishna faced all the gopis of the circle and wandered around with light steps, defeating hundreds and thousands of them by splashing them all with water, as if He threw Cupid's darts at them, making them fearfully flee.
Madhumangala, standing on the edge of the kunda, saw this and cried out, "Hee hee! The gopis surely were defeated! Now these vainly proud girls are fleeing, hiding their wealth! Take all their ornaments off and give them to me. I will sell them in the city of Mathura, so that I can buy my very dear Sitopala sweets!"
Hearing this, Lalita chased him, saying, "O crooked one, just wait, just wait!"
Then Madhusudana forcibly entered the cage of the lotus-like gopis' arrow-like glances and began to drink their nectar. He took off all their jewelled ornaments, that jingled, as the gopis loudly cried. Hearing that, the cuckoos and the peacocks also increased their sound volume. Krishna began to fight Cupid's battle with the gopis, first hand to hand and then nail to nail. Shame and fear drowned in the waves of the pond as Krishna and the gopis kept each other bound in each other's snake-like arms. Then, after three or four seconds, they let go of each other again to pick lotus flowers from the pond and throw them at each other. Krishna then took away the gopis' blouses, ornaments and veils, so that they shone with erotic sweetness. Their bellies looked like banyan leaves moved by a soft breeze.
With faltering voices, they asked Nandimukhi, "What is this?" as the covered their exposed breasts. Wet locks of hair stuck on theri faces, through which it seemed that they were not lotus-like girls, but beautiful generals of king Cupid, giving great fear to moon-crested Shiva for being bound up with their ropes.
The gopis asked Nandimukhi, "What is this Nandi? Why do you let us play such immoral games with this boy who has no manners?"
Then, Nandimukhi asked Giridhari, "Why are You doing such immoral things?"
Krishna boldly came up to her, and smilingly said, "O Nandi, after I won the water fight I went to collect My prize and I smelled the golden lotus flowers that were surrounded by honeybees. I didn't smell the gopis' fragrance. I felt couples of chakravaka birds with My hands, but not the gopis' breasts! Tell Me what offense I committed!"
Nandimukhi laughed and said, "Hari, You speak the truth, and it is shown by the gopis' anger towards You, for their lips are bitten and their breasts are scratched by You!"
Krishna said, "O Nandi, never trust these gopis! They are baskets full of deceit! They did this themselves. And even if I had done it, then I was not aware of it. It's only a very small offense. There's no fault in what I did. These housewives did not loudly forbid Me to touch them, saying 'This is not a golden lotus flower. It is my face. And these are not chakravaka flamingos, but they're my breasts!' Now why are these proud girls so angry with Me?"
Nandimukhi said, "Krishna! O gopis! Stop quarrelling! There's no need to play for stakes. Let me see instead how nicely you can play music on the water!"
Hearing this, Krishna and the gopis began to slap the water with their hands, playing nice rhythms and music. When this sound, that defeated the rumbling of the clouds, echoed on the shore of the kunda the chataka birds began to wander around, the peacocks began to dance like mad, with their tail feathers spread out, singing, 'ke ka', and Madhumangala began to slap his armpits and danced along with them, exclaiming his 'hee hee!' When the trees on the shore of the kunda heard this, they showered streams of honey into the water a tears of love and the honeybees praised them. Krishna and the gopis, who are oceans of divine rasa thus completed their water play and came back to the edge of the kunda, where they were instantly served by their maidservants. Radha and Krishna entered a jewelled temple, where Vrinda, the keeper of the forest, served Them savories, jack fruit and other various kinds of fruit that tasted sweeter than nectar. With love, Radha and Krishna fed each other and then They were engaged by Cupid in tasting the nectar of each other's lips. After They thus completed Their water play, Radha and Krishna again played, but now in the pond of the full nectarean sweetness and beauty of each other's every limb. And when They grew tired of that, They fell on a soft bed of flowers where the maidservants serviced Them with betel leaves, water, mirrors and dresses, fanned Them and massaged Their feet. Then They fell asleep.
Thus ends chapter forteen of Shrila Visvanatha Cakravrti's "Krishna Bhavanamrita Mahakavya," called 'Radha and Krishna's Water Play Pastimes.'