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Krishna’s Peacock, Tandavika

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We eagerly yearn to see Tāṇḍavika (ताण्डविक), the king of peacocks, remembering how he blossomed in joy whilst hearing Krishna’s flutesong, and how he delighted the Divine Couple by spreading out his feathers and engaging in a festival of dance before the gate of Their forest haven (nikuñj) on the bank of Sri Radhakuṇḍa.

VERSE 50:

sphītas tāṇḍaviko harer muralikā nādena nṛtyotsavaṁ
ghūrṇaccāru śikhaṇḍa valgu sarasī tīre nikuïjāgrataḥ
tanvan kuïja vihāriṇoḥ sukha-bharaṁ sampādayed yas tayoḥ
smṛtvā taṁ śikhi-rājam utsukatayā bāḍhaṁ didṛkṣāmahe

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā:  In this verse, Das Goswami praises Sri Krishna’s beloved peacock Tāṇḍavika. All the animals, birds, trees and vines in Vraja are Sri Radha-Mādhava’s playmates, and the Divine Pair considers them all Their very own. They have a sweet relationship with each of them, and thus the flavours of Their pastimes are nourished.

Tāṇḍavika is Sri Krishna’s beloved peacock. When Tāṇḍavika hears Sri Krishna’s flutesong he spreads out his feathers and shows the wonderful sweetness of his dancing.

From Śrīmad Bhāgavata‘s ‘Veṇu-Gīti‘-chapter we learn how the Vraja-gopīs, in their pūrva-rāga (preliminary stage of love) experienced the sweet dancing of the peacocks when they heard Sri Govinda’s flute – govinda veṇum anu matta mayūra nṛtyaṁ prekṣādri sānvaparatānya samasta sattvam (Bhāg. 10.21.10)

The purport of this verse is that when Sri Krishna came to the forest and began to play his flute, the peacocks took him to be a fresh monsooncloud, his dress to be lightning and his flutesong to be the soft rumbling of the clouds, and they began to dance in ecstatic love, extending their feathers.

Then Sri Krishna increased their enthusiasm by playing his flute even more blissfully. In this way, Sri Krishna’s flute-playing and the dancing of the peacocks reveal a wonderful transcendental bliss, which causes all the different birds and animals of the forest to become immersed in utmost ecstasy.

Speechless and motionless, all the animals stand in the pasture at Govardhana hill, relishing the mellows of Sri Krishna’s flute-playing and the dancing of the peacocks as spectators.

When the peacocks blissfully spread out their feathers and start dancing, some of their feathers fall out, making Sri Krishna think: “These peacocks are pleased with my flute playing and are giving me presents in the form of these nicely coloured peacock feathers. It is as if they are saying: “Oh Vrajendra Nandan! We are just birds! We don’t have any jewels and money, but the people love our feathers. Being pleased with Your flute playing we are offering You these colourful peacock feathers as presents. Will You accept this humble offering?” Vraja Rāj Nandan then devotedly wears these loving offerings on his head. Hence he is called Śikhi-piñcha-maulī (He Who wears peacock feathers).

When Sri Krishna tucks these peacock feathers in his crown all the mobile and immobile creatures become enchanted by his beauty and the peacocks, considering themselves fortunate, dance in even greater loving ecstasy!

This verse praises Vrindavan’s greatest peacock Tāṇḍavika. Tāṇḍavika plays a very beautiful role in the pastimes of the Divine Pair.

During the kuñja bhaṅga-pastime[1] he awakens the fear in Their hearts that some unwanted, adverse person is coming by crying out ‘ke-o’ ‘ke-o’, [Who goes there?] and thus he urges Them to return home.

When the Divine Pair meets, he awakens desires for romance in Them with his dancing. And how much bliss he gives to the Divine Pair and Their sakhīs when he is put at stake during gambling matches like the dice-game!

And then again, when Sri Radha and her girlfriends see Tāṇḍavika when they are separated from Sri Krishna, they can understand that Krishna must be nearby.

This verse depicts the remembrance of a sweet pastime that was perceived one day. The Divine Pair was once enjoying Themselves freely and sweetly in the woods around Sri Radhakuṇḍa at noontime. Sri Radha-Mādhava entered into the forest named Varṣāharṣa (joy of the monsoon), where the sky was covered by garlands of monsoon clouds, rain was pouring down incessantly, and the directions were filled with Kadamba, Arjuna, and other trees.

The monsoon-season, like a sakhī, arrived to render her service to the Divine Pair, wearing a black dress in the form dark rain-filled clouds, embroidered with golden threads of lightning, adorned by a pearl necklace in the form of a row of ducks and jeweled ornaments in the form of the rainbow with its multi-coloured beams of blue, yellow and red.

After admiring the beauty of the monsoon forest, the Divine Pair sat down on a jeweled throne in a kuñj, where the sakhīs and mañjarīs became absorbed in their seva.

Meanwhile Tāṇḍavika, the king of peacocks, entered the courtyard of the kuñja and began to dance sweetly, to inspire the Divine Pair embrace each other. How wonderfully sweet, the way the deep rumbling of the clouds is decorated by the soft sound of the fresh Krishna-cloud’s Muralī-flute!

In the sky, there is a garland of clouds inset with restless lightning strikes, and ahead, in the kuñja, is a fresh Krishna-cloud embraced by Sri Radha, who has the luster a millions times more beautiful than the lightning’s gold! There is  no limit to Tāṇḍavika’s joy!

The king of peacocks, Tāṇḍavika, dances in an enchanting way, turning and turning amidst an abundance of enchanting flowers. Sri Radha-Mādhava are fascinated to behold Tāṇḍavika’s dance.

Remembering this pastime, Das Goswami says: “Remembering this Tāṇḍavika I eagerly yearn to see him!” Along with seeing Tāṇḍavika’s dancing, Das Goswami is eager to see the sweetness of the pastimes of the Divine Pair.

mohana muralī nāde rādhākuṇḍa tīre;
parānande mātiyā ye nikuñjera dvāre
puccha pasāriyā ghuri nṛtyotsava raṅge;
sukha dāna koriteche śrī rādhā govinde
sei śikhi-rāja śreṣṭha ‘tāṇḍavika’ nāma;
nitya daraśana lāgi ākulita prāṇa

“With an anxious heart I always yearn to see the greatest king of peacocks named ‘Tāṇḍavika’, who delights Sri Radha-Govinda by spreading out his tail and swaying in a festival of ecstatic intoxicated dance at the gate of the nikuñja on the bank of Sri Radhakuṇḍa, accompanied by the enchanting sound of the Muralī-flute.”

[1] Radha and Krishna’s pastime of awakening, occuring between 3.36 and 6a.m., described in the opening chapters of Govinda Līlāmṛta and Krishna Bhāvanāmṛta.

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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