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Radha and Krishna Engage in Nocturnal Pastimes
(10:48 p.m. - 3:36 a.m.)
Out of love for Her sakhis, Shri Radhika tried to arrange for their meeting with Krishna also, so She told Him, "O Priyatama, in this forest the greatly offensive king Cupid reigns, piercing My girlfriends, who are searching for You, with his arrows."
Acyuta said, "O You who are showered with the matchless nectar of affection, You know that it is My unbroken vow to look after anyone who simply looks for Me in this forest, keeping that person in My heart. I marked Your girlfriends with My blessings (or 'with My nail and bite marks')." Saying this, Shri Hari went elsewhere and some maid servants came to serve moon faced Radhika, dressing Her so expertly that the sakhis wouldn't be able to see that Krishna had made love with Her. She looked just like She did before They united. They made a new flower bed as well, so Shri Radhika appeared as a vasaka sajjika (a girl who waits for Her lover in the nikunja).
Then, Shri Radhika heard Her girlfriends coming, and pretended to be morose. She asked them, "O where is My dear One? Bring Him here. Otherwise, what's the use of My body and My ornaments?" Seeing the bodies of Her girlfriends studded with love marks, Shri Radhika covered up Her smile and said with slightly knitted eyebrows, "Aho friends, how sad! How did your bimba fruit-like lips and Your breasts get cut like this? Did you enter a cave to catch a snake or something?"
The sakhis replied, "The snake that has bitten us is under Your control! You sent Him to us. O fair faced girl, You are famous for this in Vraja, so don't laugh vainly! Won't Hridevi (the goddess of bashfulness) stifle You when we start describing Your character?"
After Lalita said this, Krishna came on the scene and said, "Bho sakhis! Listen as I describe Shri Radhika's wonderful, charming character. Today She came to Me and told Me, 'O Dear One, please embrace Me and take the nectar of My lips. Fully extinguish the fire of burning desire in My heart!' When I heard these words, I was submerged in an ocean of astonishment. Shri Radhika made Her patience and bashfullness sink in the deep mud of the Yamuna by embracing Me and seating Me on the bed, and after defeating Me in the erotic battle, She ran out of the kunja. Now I take shelter of you sakhis." Shri Radhika shyly covered Her face with Her veil when She heard all this.
Lalita said, "Krishna, are You lying?"
Krishna said, "Lalita, I swear on the sun! Ask your friend, Radha."
Lalita said, "Radha, is this true?"
Radha said, "I cannot remember what I said when I was so deluded as to embrace a tamal tree!"
When the sakhis heard this, they were inundated in an ocean of laughter. Then Krishna said, "O sakhis, these solitary erotic dealings are not so astonishing. I can never forget that Shri Radhika once asked Me to shower Her with the nectar from My lips."
Shri Radhika said, "If I could get My hands on Your flute, I would enchant everyone by playing on it and lure them into the forest, making them act according to their individual natures."
Hearing this, Shri Krishna said, "So be it", gave Shri Radhika His flute, and went elsewhere with the sakhis, just for fun.
Then, moon faced Radhika dressed like Shri Hari and placed His flute at Her lips. Shri Hari, in His turn, took Her form and mood, being surrounded by Lalita and her girlfriends. Just as Krishna spoke to the gopis when they first came to Him to dance the Rasa with Him, Shri Radhika now also said, "O housewives of Vraja, you are world famous. Why have you come here today? Why are you wandering here and there? You should be more careful, being just weak girls. Go back to Vraja! Don't stay here! It is the duty of women to serve their husbands. Have you come here to look for flowers, maybe? These you can also find in your own gardens."
Hearing this, Krishna and the gopis made morose faces and began to scratch the ground with their nails, moistening the soil with their tears. They said, "O Dearest One, O very form of Divine Mellows, we are always thinking of You. Don't speak such words, O ocean of Divine Love! We are burned by the fire of lusty desires, but we will cool ourselves off with the nectar of Your moon-like face. Don't hack down the vine of our desires, that You sprinkled with the nectar of the songs from Your flute, with the axe of Your harsh words."
By showing Her sweetly smiling lotus-like face Shri Radhika removed all the gopis' distress. Then She made love with Krishna who had assumed Her mood, words, dress and looks. Seeing the erotic cleverness of Krishna, who was dressed as vama (contrary) Radhika, and Shri Radhika, who was dresed as naughty Krishna, the sakhis submerged in an ocean of fun. They were also repeatedly embraced by Shri Radhika, who was dressed like Krishna. Seeing this from a distance, Vrindadevi, whose eyes were moistened by tears of love, considered Her birth to be successful.
Then Shri Krishna took Radha away from the other gopis to a secluded place to play with Her, leaving the gopis pitifully asking all the banyan, kadamba and other trees about Their whereabouts before they finally saw Radha and Krishna's love play through the slits of the nikunja walls, thus removing the sorrow from their eyes. Shri Krishna then took Shri Radhika with Him from forest to forest, ornamenting Her with wonderful garlands and ornaments. Then, when Radhika said, "I cannot go any further. Take Me wherever You want", He quickly left Her. Shri Radhika moistened the soil with Her tears, wailing, "Ha ha Madhava!" and then Her girlfriends came, surrounded Her and joined Her in Her lamentation, saying, "O Dearest One, come here and make us happy! We will put Your delicate lotus feet on our hard breasts, for we are afraid that these lotus feet will be injured when You tread on the pebbles and sprouts of the forest paths. Don't place Your lotus feet there!"
Hearing these lamentations, Shri Hari smilingly re-appeared amongst the gopis. His yellow cloth shone like lightning and His body shone like a blue cloud. It was as if Radha and Krishna had placed Their golden and bluish complexions in each other and these colors had made friends with each other. One gopi held Krishna's hand, another one His lotus feet, another one placed His arm over her shoulder, that shivered with ecstasy. Radha made Krishna relish the gestures of Her eyebrows, making Krishna cry.
Then Vrinda approached lotus eyed Radha and Krishna said, "Radha, You have defeated Your lover in Your delusion! Krishna, accepting Shri Radhika's grave mood, You were also embraced by Jayalami (the goddess of victory). Radha, now give me Hari's murali flute!" Shri Radhika then gave Vrinda the flute and Vrinda returned it to Mukunda, who pretended to be amazed and said, "Aho! I am Krishna, not Radha!" These clouds and lightning strikes are showering each other with joy by exchanging their colors. Then They each assumed Their own forms, and sat down on the Rasa sthali (the place of the Rasa festival) where the forest goddesses served Them.
Krishna asked Radhika a riddle, saying, "What is alive, though dead and lovingly enchants the three worlds, living in a body of nine gates, like actual embodied souls?"
Shri Radhika said, "O Hari, it is Your crooked flute, that enjoys the nectar of Your lips as its fee, that You give to her." Then, Radhika said, "O jewel of My life, tell Me, who is expert in erotic mellows, although staying in the grama ('transcendental qualities' or 'strings') and murcchana ('fainting as a manifestation of spiritual ecstasy' or 'a musical note') while singing Your glories?
Krishna said, "Radha, it is Your vina, who defeated my murali out of envy through all her artistry, who makes Me happy with her sweetness and who has a big breast (or 'gourd of the vina') like Yours!"
Then, Shri Lalita, Visakha, Chitra and others wanted to make Krishna happy by defeating Him with another riddle, asking Him with sly gestures, "Who is known as young but also as very old, who is both bound and liberated and who is the abode of darkness, but is still very pure and crooked also?"
Krishna replied, "I am Krishna. I get entangled in all kinds of activities (lilas), but I'm also the bestower of liberation. I loosen the braids of all the girls that become attracted to Me. Although I'm the abode of all darkness (Shyama) I 'm still very pure. I'm very crooked in My dealings, also. I worship the parted hair of the gopis that is loosened when we make love!"
Visakha said, "O Dear One, if You know which yogini ('girl united with her man' or 'mystic girl') is wandering on the road, wearing her vibhuti ('ashes' or 'eyeliner') as an artha tattwa vistara pundit ('knower of the 24 material elements' or 'knower of one's intention') and a vishwa bhava darshini ('knower of the mood of the world' or 'knower of Krishna's mind') I know that you are blessed."
Krishna said, "I praise that Priya drik ('seer' or 'fair eyed Radhika')who is ujjwalatma vedana kripardraya ('compassionate upon the living beings' or 'who is being softened by erotic feelings') attains perfection in ananga sukha ('incorporal liberation' or 'the pinnacle of erotic bliss') and on whose order I gave up all other happiness to go into the forest ('to perform penances' or 'to meet Her') to attain all bliss, which made Me become very dear to Her."
Chitra made the following riddle, saying "O Acyuta, make Yourself known to the knower of spiritual mellows by telling us what beautifies this world through a great fortune of passion, sadapavarga sadhana ('who always strives for liberation' or 'the lips') nitanta danta vigraha ('one who always controls himself' or 'one who combats Krishna with the teeth') suchipriya ('who is keen on cleanliness' or 'erotic enjoyment') and ruchiprada (who gives the taste for spiritual bliss or erotic bliss)?"
Krishna said, "How can I explain this riddle without using my tongue? So, dear sakhis, you must unite My tongue with the lips of your girlfriend, who is very eager to unite with him."
In loving anger, Shri Radhika told Her girlfriends, "O crooked friends, you can play dirty games with this debaucher yourselves. I'm leaving! Let this clown be pleased with you and sing your glories!", and chastised them with the fierce movements of Her eyebrows and index finger.
Krishna pacified Her, saying, "O chaste girl, Don't be angry or hot tempered. I will pacify You with another riddle. If You can demonstrate Your cleverness by solving it, then we'll know for sure that You are very intelligent and are able to defeat Me."
Give Me one word whose first syllable expresses beauty, the first two the demigods, the first three something that You like very much, the first four a desire tree, and the whole five syllable word, something which pleases the ears of the sakhis!" (su = beauty, sura = demigods, surata=lovemaking, surataru=desire tree, surataruta='the sound of lovemaking')
Hearing this, Shri Radhika lowered Her lotus-like face, unable to control Her laughter, and then cleverly replied with moving eyebrows and a supressed smile, "First, You must give Me a nice answer to My counter question, then You will find the syllables You asked for, one by one. Then You may go to Padma's girlfriend Chandravali for Your answer. First, what does a householder want (suka - happiness), what does a youngster want (rata - enjoyment), what is a beautiful musical instrument (tata), what is knowable to the ears (ruta - sound) and what do My girlfriends want to hear when they hide out in the vines (surata ruta - the sound of lovemaking)?"
Mukunda immediately said, "Surataruta!", and the sakhis glorified the victory of the jewel of young girls, Shri Radhika, relishing the nectar of Her cleverness.
Vrinda said to Radhika, "Aho! You tricked Krishna into saying the same word that You had to give to Him. How wonderful! You are unconquerable in all respects. Even Krishna cannot approach the limits of Your cleverness." Saing this, she served Radha and Krishna many kinds of garlands, betel leaves and divine ornaments. Then, seeing Krishna was eager to perform the Rasa festival, she proposed, "O Rasika, look at how incomparibly expert the wind makes nice cotton-like waves of soft sand on the banks of the Yamuna. Look at the very fine ripples in the Yamuna water. The only way one can distinguish between the beach and the water are by their white and blue colors. Look! The Yamuna looks like a river of musk flowing within a river of camphor. Rather, the beach embraces Yamuna, singing, dancing and playing musical instruments, glorifying Your unlimitedly famous Rasa Lila to all the three worlds.
Shri Krishna then took Shri Radhika's sprout-like hand and said, "Come, come, My beloved One! Let Us begin Our festival on this beach, dancing the Hallisaka (a women's circular folk dance). Radha, look! Someone who is eager to witness Our many Rasa Lila's has nicely cleaned this splendid beach with silvery water. It is as if the Creator has sprinkled the whole world with white strings of powder of sweet mellows, spreading it out with a cloth to make it shine brightly. Being afraid that the thick remainder of this powder would pollute the beach, the Creator tossed it up into the sky and it became the silver moon. The spots that scattered around after this tossing became the hundreds of thousands of stars that surround the moon.
After Krishna made this poetic description, the devoted gopis enclosed Him in their circle for a while, holding each other's vine-like arms. Thus, they looked like a wonderful, blooming golden lotus flower with innumerable gopi-leaves and a sweet blue whorl in a lake that was filled up with the nectar of Cupid's glories. Seeing this, the swarm of bee-like eyes of the demigoddesses in the sky offered prayers. Krishna and the gopis also resembled a beautiful leaf of a tamala tree of musk inside a vermillion circle on the sandalwood and camphor smeared forehead of Mother Earth. The gopis were like golden bananas growing on a field of camphor, covered by a tamal tree with a peacock feather, or like a smooth cloud that fled over the scorching rays of the autumn sun, leaving the sky to look for a cool place where it is now surrounded by lightning strikes.
Then the best of rasikas, Shri Krishna, sang 'tena tena' in the kedara tune which was touched by four marginal notes (shrutis), ornamented with ascending and descending notes and modulations like the sadja. Hearing these sweet songs, the demigoddesses and their husbands became stunned by Cupid's attacks while sitting in their vimana (flying vehicles). Even Cupid and Rati themselves became greatly deluded by the arrow strikes of the transcendental cupid, Krishna, and His boundlessly sweet songs. When Krishna stood in between each two gopis, placing His arms on their shoulders, His voice joined the voices of Lalita and the others as they danced and sang many songs. They were like an ocean of amazing artists. Then, in an unseen way, the demigods came there, performing their own activities, carefully embodying all the tunes, voices, murcchanas, marginal notes, lyrics, rhythms and claps by playing their musical instruments. Newer and newer sounds came from the vinas and mridungas, following which Aghamanthana began to dance as never seen or heard before. The mridangas played waves of rhythms - thaitatha thaiya tatatha thaiya drimiki drimiki trriki triki triki triki tha - after which sweet songs emanated from the lotus-like mouths of Krishna and the gopis. While they danced, their anklebells and waistbells jingled sweetly 'jhanad jhanad' and the minds of the golden vine-like gopis were all softened by spiritual erotic mellows.
Were the gopis like goddesses of fortune churned from the ocean of supreme beauty by Cupid, engaged by the Creator in spreading his glories all over the world by showing their cleverness in dancing? Armed in a circle, Krishna and the gopis looked like Cupids japa mala (string of beads used to count the repetitions of a mantra), not with blue cloud and golden lightning beads, nor with champaka flower and blue lotus flower beads, but with erotic spiritual mellows smeared with vermillion and musk. The Rasa Lila is non-different from Radha and Krishna's love play, since the dancing with clapping hands, charming gaits and rhythms are just like erotic acts like holding the breasts, kissing and embracing.
Then Krishna sang a song describing Shri Radhika's face, "O beautiful One, Your face is the abode of natural beauty, where Your eyes are playing. My passionate mind is enchanted by its boundless beauty and erotic artistry. O dearest One, the rising of Your face takes away the joy of the moon, showing the ill fame of his pock marks. Out of fear of being ridiculed by the people, the moon considers committing suicide by drinking poison, although he is twice born. Thus his face becomes black." Hearing this, Shri Radhika also sang the glories of Shri Krishna's face, singing in the sa, ri, ga, ma, pa and dha notes and other very clever, sweet tunes.
Krishna cleverly broke out of the gopi circle and said, "O girls, now you make wonderful dances, one after the other!" Llaita agreed and began to dance wonderfully while the mridunga played 'dhiddhi dram dram dram ktut triki tha'. Then Visakha and the other sakhis all showed their skill in dancing, one after the other. Krishna relished this while swinging His head constantly along with Radhika's. He was very satisfied with the performances. Then all the sakhis gathered and encoraged Radha and Krishna to dance while they accompanied Them with sweet songs. They played 'tatta dhidhi tati kata ghrighi tat tat tadhiddi tati kata ghrighitat' on mridangas. These sounds came to Radha and Krishna's lotus-like faces like sweet nectar for the ears.
Then Radha and Krishna held each other's lotus-like hands and began to dance, Their jewelled bangles trembling along with their arms, shining brightly. Their moon-like faces were bathing in the luster of their swinging earrings. Radha and Krishna held each other's hands and then fell away from each other, keeping Their feet against each other and quickly rotating like that. It was as if the two golden and blue jewel wheels of the potter Cupid turned around so fast that They became one. Their braids flew around far from Their backs, looking like two beautiful circumferences. Then, when the rythms of the dance changed, Radha and Krishna let go of each other's hands and began to dance various difficult dances seperately. Hari tried to place His right lotus hand on Radhika's bosom, but She stopped Him with Her own lotus hand, as if She wanted to change the rythm of the dance.
When Radha and Krishna stopped dancing some of their maidservants began to fan Them, some began to replace Their scattered ornaments, some smeared Their bodies with sandalwood paste and camphor while others served Them betel leaves.
How can neophytes relish this Rasa Lila with their tongues? Those people whose eyes were blessed to witness it because they were born here are also unable to describe this sweetness. Even if Prema, sacred love herself, would be the Lord and engaged some lever people to describe it, they would also be unable to do so. But if anyone would cast a glance at tthe place of the Rasa festival, that is illuminated by the rays coming from Shri Sukadeva's moon-like face, that lights up the whole world, he could see it on the strength of Radha and Krishna's boundless grace...
Thus ends chapter nineteen of Shrila Visvanatha Cakravrti's "Krishna Bhavanamrita Mahakavya," called 'Radha and Krishna Engage in Nocturnal Pastimes.'