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Vraja Vilasa: Chandravali’s Role in Gaudiya Vaishnavism

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I praise the highly fortunate gopīs headed by Candrāvalī. Govinda makes these gopīs, who are blossoming with amorous desires, assume positions of Sri Radhika’s rivals by briefly enjoying with them just to nourish Sri Radhika’s fortune, great pride, ecstatic bewilderment and other characteristics of an loving heroine. 

VERSE 41:

sāpatnyoccaya rajyad ujjvala rasasyoccaiḥ samudvṛddhaye
saubhāgyodbhaṭa garva vibhrama bhṛtaḥ śrī rādhikāyāḥ sphuṭam
govindaḥ smara phulla ballaba vadhū-vargeṇa yena kṣaṇaṁ
krīḍatyeña tam atra vistṛta mahāpuṇyaṁ ca vandāmahe

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā:  In this verse, Śrīpāda Goswamicaraṇa praises Candrāvalī and other gopīs from the vipakṣā group (the party that is competitive towards Sri Radha). In Vraja, Sri Krishna, who is the king of romantic mellows, is enjoying with Sri Radha, the embodiment of complete mahābhāva [the highest form of love], without interruption. Śrīpāda Śuka Muni has written: reme tayā cātma-rata ātmārāmo’pyakhaṇḍitaḥ (Bhāg. 10.30.34) “Although the Lord is Self-satisfied and Self-delighted he still made love with her (Radha) without interruption.” rātri-dina kuñja krīḍā kore rādhā-saṅge (Caitanya-caritāmṛta) “Day and night he enjoys in the kuñja with Radha.” Just to nourish and increase the sweetness of Krishna’s enjoyments with Sri Radharani, Candrāvalī and some other gopīs assume a competitive, hostile attitude towards her. In Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi (Harivallabhā 1 and 2) Śrīmad Rūpa Goswami has written:

āsāṁ caturvidho bhedaḥ sarvāsāṁ vraja-subhruvām
syāt sva-pakṣaḥ suhṛt pakṣas taṭasthaḥ pratipakṣakaḥ
suhṛt pakṣa taṭasthau tu prāsaṅgikatayoditau
dvau svapakṣa vipakṣākhyau bhedāveva rasapradau

“According to their moods, there are four kinds of fair-browed Vraja-gopīs: svapakṣa (Radha’s own group), suhṛt-pakṣa (group friendly to Radha), taṭastha-pakṣa (neutral party) and pratipakṣa (the competitors). Of these, the svapakṣa and vipakṣa give special flavours.” Actually, in Vraja there is no comparison to the love of Sri Radha, who embodies the mādanākhya mahā-bhāva. But for awakening Sri Radha’s delectable moods such as khaṇḍitā, māna, and kalahāntaritā, Vraja’s śṛṅgāra rasa has created feelings of rivalry in gopīs like Candrāvalī, who thus feel that they are equal to Sri Radha.

nāṁśo’pyanyatra rādhāyāḥ premādi guṇa sampadām
rasenaiva vipakṣādau  mithaḥ sāmyam ivārpyate

Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi (Harivallabhā 51)

The gopikās, who are expert in the flavours of pure love, delight Sri Krishna, whose form is full of pure love and who is subdued by pure love, with service rendered with different emotional ingredients. Actually, the moon of the gopikās‘ love causes the ocean of Radha’s ecstatic love to swell in various ways and Sri Krishna enjoys swimming in that ocean of increased love in so many different ways.

premamaya vapu kṛṣṇa bhakta premādhīna; śuddha premarasa guṇe gopikā pravīṇa
gopikāra preme nāhi rasābhāsa doṣa; ataeva kṛṣṇera kore parama santoṣa
‘vāmā’ eka gopīgaṇa ‘dakṣiṇā’ eka gaṇa; nānā bhāve korāya kṛṣṇe rasa āsvādana
gopīgaṇa madhye śreṣṭhā rādhā ṭhākurāṇī; nirmala ujjvala rasa prema ratna khani
vayase ‘madhyamā’ teṅho – svabhāvete ‘samā’; gāḍha prema bhāve teṅho nirantara ‘vāmā’
vāmya-svabhāve ‘māna’ uṭhe nirantara; uhāra vāmye uṭhe kṛṣṇera ānanda sāgara

(Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya 14)

Krishna’s body is full of pure love and he is subdued by his devotees’ love, and the gopikās are expert in the flavours of pure love. In the gopikās‘ love there is no fault of a semblance of rasa, therefore they give Krishna the greatest satisfaction. One group of gopīs is left wing (unsubmissive) and the other is right wing (submissive). They make Krishna relish rasa in various ways. Amongst the gopīs Radha Ṭhakurāṇī is the greatest. She is a virtual mine of the flavours of spotless romantic love. She is of adolescent age and is equipoised by nature. Because of her deep love she is constantly left-wing (unsubmissive). This left-wing mood constantly creates māna (jealous anger) and that vāmya causes the ocean of Krishna’s bliss to swell.

Sri Radha, the jewel-mine of romantic mellows is a ‘middle’-heroine, sarva eva rasotkarṣo madhyāyām eva yujyate (Ujjvala Nilamani, Nāyikābheda – 42) “The ‘middle’ heroine reveals the highest rasa in all respects. Because of her deep love she is constantly left-wing, and she always has a feeling of ‘Krishna is Mine!’ (madīyatāmaya bhāva) For this reason, good fortune, pride and loving delusion are manifest in her in wonderful ways. The sañcārī bhāva named ‘pride’ is manifest for bhāvas like fortune and bewilderment. saubhāgya nava tāruṇya guṇa sarvottamāśrayaiḥ. iṣṭa-lābhādinā cānya helanaṁ garva īrṣyate (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 2.4.41) “When one disregards another because of one’s own good fortune, beauty, youthfulness and qualifications, because of being the greatest shelter or because of having attained one’s desired goal, it is called pride.” vallabha prāpti velāyāṁ madanāveśa sambhramāt. vibhramo hāra mālyādi bhūṣā sthāna viparyayaḥ (U.N. Anu.pr. 39) “When one places the garlands and necklaces on the wrong places out of romantic eagerness, knowing that the time to meet the lover has come, it is called vibhrama.” In this way premamayī Sri Radha is adorned with so many bhāvālaṅkāras (ornaments of ecstatic love) and thus increases the waves in the ocean of Sri Krishna’s bliss.

kṛṣṇera darśana yadi pāya ācambite; nānā bhāva vibhūṣaṇe hoy vibhūṣite
aṣṭa sāttvika harṣādi vyabhicārī āra; sahaja prema viṁśati bhāva alaṅkāra
kila kiñcita, kuṭṭamita, vilāsa, lalita; vivvoka, moṭṭāyita, āra maugdhya cakita
eto bhāva bhūṣāya bhūṣita rādhā aṅga; dekhile uchale kṛṣṇera sukhābdhi taraṅga

(Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya 14)

When Radha suddenly sees Krishna she becomes adorned with different ornaments of ecstasy. Natural love has twenty ornaments, like the eight sāttvika-bhāvass and the vyābhicārī-bhāvas such as joy. Radha’s body is adorned with ornaments of ecstasy such as kila kiñcita, kuṭṭamita, vilāsa, lalita, vivvoka, moṭṭāyita and maugdhya cakita. When Krishna sees this, the waves on the ocean of his bliss swell.” In this way, Sri Krishna awakens various waves like māna (jealous anger) and kalahāntaritā (remorse after a quarrel) on the ocean of Sri Radha’s love in order to relish the sweetness of that ocean, by briefly enjoying with Candrāvalī, who has a dakṣiṇā (submissive) nature, although he is actually completely subdued by Sri Rādha. In truth, Candrāvalī and all the other gopīs, who are blooming of romantic ecstasy, are Sri Radha’s expansions who increase and nourish the sweetness of Sri Radha’s flavours.

lakṣmī-gaṇa tāra vaibhava vilāsāṁśa-rūpa; mahiṣī-gaṇa vaibhava prakāśa svarūpa
ākāra svabhāva bhede vrajadevī-gaṇa; kāya vyūha rūpa tāra rasera kāraṇa
bahu kāntā vinā nahe rasera ullāsa; līlāra sahāya lāgi bahuta prakāśa

(Caitanya-caritāmṛta)

The goddesses of fortune are her (Radha’s) vaibhāva-vilāsa partial manifestations and the Queens of Dvārakā are her vaibhava-prakāśa-forms. The gopīs of Vraja, with their different forms and dispostions, are the cause of her flavours in the form of her own expansions. Without the presence of many lovers, no joy is derived from rasa; hence, there are many manifestations (of lady-lovers) to assist in the transcendental pastimes.

Still, to make Sri Krishna relish Sri Radha’s billowing sweetness, rasa has brought a feeling of rivalry towards Candrāvalī and other gopīs to Sri Radha. Raghunath Das Goswami says: “I praise these greatly pious adversaries to Sri Radha, headed by Sri Candrāvalī.” These words are spoken in sādhakāveśa. Das Goswami is an eternal maidservant of Sri Radharani, and when he is in siddha svarūpa he shows an adverse mood towards Srimati’s enemies like Candrāvalī. In Bhakti Ratnākara (5th wave) it is written:

dāsa nāme eka vrajavāsī etha roy;  dāsa gosvāmīra tāre sneha atiśoy
teho eka dina sakhī-sthalī grāme gelā;  bṛhat palāśa patra dekhi tuli’ nilā
dāsa gosvāmīra kothā mone mone kohe;  annādika tyāga koilā dāruṇa virahe
eka donā takra piye niyama tāhāra;  ithe kichu atirikta hoibe āhāra
aiche mone kori ghare āsi donā koilā;  tāhe takra loiyā raghunātha āge āilā
navya patra donā dekhi’ jijñāse gosāi;  e bṛhat patra āji pāilā kon ṭhāi
dāsa kohe – sakhī-sthalī genu gocāraṇe;  pāiyā uttama patra āninu ekhāne
sakhī-sthalī nāma śuni’ krodhe pūrṇa hoilā;  takra saha donā dūre phelāiyā dilā
koto kṣaṇe sthira hoiyā kohe dāsa prati;  se candrāvalīra sthāna – na yāibā tathi
ihā śuni dāsa vrajavāsī sthira hoiyā;  jānilena sādhaka dehete siddha-kriyā

There was one Vrajavasi (inhabitant of Vraja) named Dās who loved Raghunātha Dāsa Goswami very much. He went to the village of Sakhīsthalī (close to the town of Govardhana) and found a big leafcup there, which he brought along, thinking of Raghunātha Dāsa Goswami, who had given up eating all solid food out of intense separation from Radharani. Dās thought: “It is Shri Raghunātha Dās Goswami’s rule to drink only one cup of buttermilk a day. When I give him this bigger leafcup he can eat a little more”, and brought some buttermilk from his house to fill up the big leafcup. When he came before him, Raghunātha Dāsa Goswami, seeing the new cup, asked him: “Where did you get this big leafcup from?” Dāsa said: “I went to Sakhī-sthalī to herd my cows and I found this good leafcup there and brought it to you!” Hearing the name ‘Sakhī-sthalī‘, Raghunātha Dāsa became filled with anger and threw the leafcup with the buttermilk far away. After some time he calmed down and told Dāsa: “That is the place where Candrāvalī lives! Don’t go there!” Hearing this, the Vrajavasi Dās became steady. He understood that these were transcendental activities in a sādhaka-body.

There are two ways through which the Lord can be relished, one is tattva and the other is rasa. Although from the tattva-point of view Candrāvalī and others, who assist in nourishing the sweetness of Sri Radha’s rasa and who are her expansions, are praiseworthy for Das Goswami, in the kingdom of rasa, when he is absorbed in his siddha svarūpa, he shows malice and envy towards towards them because they are his Īśvarī’s adversaries. But in this way, the relish of rasa is beautifully accomplished.

saubhāgya, garva, vibhrama, guṇādi vicitra;
śrī rādhāra śṛṅgāra rasa puṣṭira nimitta
śrī kṛṣṇa sāpatnya-bhāve yādera sahita;
kṣaṇa-kāla krīḍā kore samaya ucita
bhāgyavatī candrāvalī ādi vrajāṅganā
tāhādera pāda-padma koriyā vandanā

I praise the lotus feet of fortunate gopīs like Candrāvalī who briefly enjoy with Sri Krishna according to time and who accepting a mood of rivalry with Sri Radha in order to nourish her wonderful romantic expressions like fortune, pride and delusion.

© Translated by Advaita dāsa in 1994
Source: Tarun Govinda Das, Flowing Nectar Stream blog.
(Lightly altered by the editor for Vrindavan Today)


anantadas_thumbThe commentary of Sri Radha Kund Mahant, Pandit Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj, is named Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā (a drop of the nectar of Stavāvalī).

It was published in Gaurābda 503 (1989 A.D.) by Sri Krishna Chaitanya Shastra Mandir, Vrajananda Ghera, PO Radhakunda (district Mathura), U.P., India.

The devotional songs in Bengali that follow each commentary were composed by Dr. Haripada Sheel.

 

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