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Narottam Das Thakur’s prayers for Braja-vasa

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A108-AI

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SADHUS_Narottama-Dasa-Srivasa-Acarya-e-Syamananda-Prabhu.jpgNarottam Das’s disappearance day was celebrated at his samadhi at the Gokulananda temple in the old town. Vishakha Devi has nicely described the outlines of Narottam Das’s life, which on reading we will see that after spending several years as a student in Vrindavan, studying under Jiva Goswami himself, he returned to Bengal never to return again.

Narottam’s two main books are Prārthanā and Prema-bhakti-candrikā, which are filled with the mood of separation from Vrindavan and the association of the great devotees who lived there. Altogether, Prārthanā has 55 songs (though some of these are doubtfully his), of which seven can be said to express the longing for a return to Vrindavan. The five songs (22-26) that most exemplify this feeling have the headline: sa-bilāpa śrī-bṛndābana-bāsa-lālasā, “the desire to live in Vrindavan, sung with feelings of lamentation.”

Since in the post-Chaitanya period, Narottam had a great influence on Bengali Vaishnavism, it would not be wrong to say that these songs created in all Bengali Vaishnavas a deep feeling of attachment and attraction to the Holy Dham of Vrindavan.

 

(8)

dainya-bodhikā

govinda gopīnātha ! kṛpā kari rākha nija-pade |
kāma krodha chaya jane laye phire nānā sthāne
viṣaya bhuñjāya nānā mate ||1||

ha-iyā māyāra dāsa kari nānā abhilāṣa
tomāra śaraṇa gela dūre |
artha lābha ei āśe kapaṭa vaiṣṇava veśe
bhramiyā beḍāi ghare ghare ||2||

aneka duḥkhera pare layechile vraja-pure
kṛpa-ḍora galāya bāɱdhiyā |
daiva-māyā balātkāre khasāiyā sei ḍore
bhava-kūpe dileka ḍāriyā ||3||

punaḥ yadi kṛpā kari e janāre keśe dhari
ṭāniyā tulaha vraja-dhāme |
tabe se dekhiye bhāla natubā parāṇa gela
kahe dīna dāsa narottame ||4||

(1) O Govinda, Gopinath! Please keep me at your feet. The six enemies headed by lust and anger drag me from place to place, so far away from your shelter. and make me experience sense pleasures in various ways.

(2) Being a slave of Maya and having so many desires, and my memory of you fled far away. Pretending to be a Vaishnava, I wander from door to door in the hope of collecting money.

(3) After so much suffering, you dragged me to Vrindavan, tying the rope of mercy around my neck. Then cruel fortune loosened that rope and threw me back into the well of material life.

(4) If you would only show your mercy once again and grab me by the hair, pull me out of this hole and toss me down in Braja Dham, then things will look better for me. Otherwise I may as well just die. So says the unfortunate Narottam Das.


(22)

sādhaka-dehocita śrī-bṛndābana-bāsa lālasā

hari hari !

āra ki emana daśā haba |
e bhaba saṁsāra tyaji parama ānande maji
āra kabe braja-bhūme yāba ||1||

sukha-maẏa bṛndābana kabe habe daraśana
se dhūli mākhiba kabe gāẏa |
preme gada gada haiñā rādhā-kṛṣṇa nāma laiñā
kāndiẏā beḏāba ubharāẏa ||2||

nibhṛta nikuñje yāñā aṣṭāɱga praṇāma haiñā
ḍākiba hā rādhā-nātha bali |
kabe yamunāra tīre paraśa kariba nīre
kabe piba kara-puṭe tuli ||3||

āra kabe emana haba śrī-rāsa-maṇḍale yāba
kabe gaḏāgaḏi diba tāẏa |
baṁśībaṭa chāyā pāñā parama ānanda hañā
paḏiẏā rahiba tāra pāẏa ||4||

kabe gobardhana giri dekhiba naẏana bhari
kabe habe rādhā-kuṇḍe bāsa |
bhramite bhramite kabe e deha patana habe
kahe dīna narottama dāsa ||5||

(1) O Hari Hari ! When will this ever happen? When will I renounce the cycle of material life go to Vrajabhumi, absorbed in the supreme bliss?

((2) When will I see the blissful land of Vrindavan? When will I smear its dust over my body? When will I walk about Vrindavan, loudly singing the names of Radha and Krishna, and crying, my voice choked with ecstatic love.

(3) When, in a solitary grove in Vrindavan, will I offer my full obeisances to the Divine Couple? When will I call out: “O Krishna, O lover of Radharani?” When will I touch the Yamuna water while standing on its shore drink some of its water in my cupped hands?

(4) And when will it happen that I go to the rasa-dance circle and roll about in the dust, overwhelmed with ecstasy? When will I joyfully lie down under the shade of the banyan tree where Krishna played his flute and remain at its feet?

(5) And when will I see Govardhan Hill, my eyes brimming with tears? When will I reside at Radha Kund? When will my body collapse after wandering constantly in the Dham? The lowly Narottam Das speaks in this way.


(23)

sādhaka-dehocita śrī-bṛndābana-bāsa lālasā

hari hari !

āra kabe pālaṭibe daśā |
e saba kariẏā bāme yāba bṛndābana dhāme
ei mane kariyāchi āśā ||1||

dhana jana putra dāre e saba kariẏā dūre
ekānta ha-iẏā kabe yāba |
saba duḥkha parihari bṛndābane bāsa kari
madhukarī māgiẏā khāiba ||2||

yamunāra jala yena amṛta-samāna hena
kabe piba udara pūriẏā |
kabe rādhā-kuṇḍa jale snāna kari kutūhale
śyāma-kuṇḍe rahiba paḏiẏā ||3||

bhramiba dbādaśa bane kṛṣṇa-līlā ye ye sthāne
preme gaḏāgaḏi diba tāɱhā |
sudhāiba jane jane braja-bāsī-gaṇa sthāne
kaha āra līlā-sthāna kaɱhā ||4||

bhojanera sthāna kabe naẏana-gocara habe
āra yata āche upabana |
tāra madhye bṛndābana narottama dāsera mana
āśā kare yugala-caraṇa ||5||

(1) Hari Hari! When will my situation change? When will I put all these things aside and go to Vrindavan Dham? For so long I have cherished this hope.

(2) Abandoning possessions, kinsfolk, children and wife, I will go there, completely alone. Abandoning all my suffering, I will reside in Vrindavan, begging door-to-door for food.

(3) When will I fill my belly drinking the water of the Yamuna, which is like the nectar of the gods? And when will I bathe joyfully in the water of Radha Kund, and lie down to rest on the banks of Shyama Kund?

(4) When will I wander through the twelve forests, rolling in the dust wherever Krishna performed his pastimes, asking the local people, every one of them, where the other holy places are?

(5) When will the place where Krishna had his picnic with the cowherds appear before my eyes, and all the other forests of Braj? Of all these forests, Vrindavan is where Narottam Das’s mind yearns to serve the Divine Couple.


(24)

sādhaka-dehocita śrī-bṛndābana-bāsa lālasā

karaɱga kaupīna lañā cheɱḏā kānthā gāẏe diẏā
teyāgiẏā sakala biṣaẏa |
kṛṣṇe anurāga habe brajera nikuñje kabe
yāiẏā kariba nijālaẏa ||1||

hari hari ! kabe mora ha-ibe sudina |
phala-mūla bṛndābane khāñā dibā-abasāne
bhramiba ha-iyā udāsīna ||2||

śītala yamunāra jale snāna kari kutūhale
premābeśe ānandita hañā |
bāhura upara bāhu tuli bṛndābane kuli kuli
kṛṣṇa bali beḏāba kāndiẏā ||3||

dekhiba saɱketa sthāna juḏābe tāpita prāṇa
premābeśe gaḏāgaḏi diba |
kāɱhā rādhā prāṇeśbari kāɱhā giri-bara-dhāri
kāɱhā nātha baliẏā ḍākiba ||4||

mādhabī kuñjopari sukhe basi śuka śārī
gāibeka rādhā-kṛṣṇa rasa |
taru mūle basi tāhā śuni juḏāibe hiyā
kabe sukhe goɱāba dibasa ||5||

śrī-gobinda gopīnātha śrīmatī rādhikā sātha
dekhiba ratana-siṁhāsane |
dīna narottama dāsa karaẏe durlabha āśa
emati ha-ibe kata dine ||6||

(1) When will I take up the water-pot and the garment [dress of a renouncer] and abandon all sense-gratification? When will I have passionate attraction for Krishna and go to the groves of Vraja to make my permanent residence there?

(2) Oh Hari Hari! When will that beautiful dawn break? When will I wander in Vrindavan, completely indifferent to the world, and only eating some roots and fruit at the end of the day?

(3) When will I bathe in the cool waters of the Yamuna River, overwhelmed by divine prema? When will I wander to every corner of the Dham with my arms upraised, calling out the names of Krishna and crying?

(4) When will I see the place where Radha and Krishna secretly met (Sanket) and feel relief from all my suffering ? When, overwhelmed with prema, will I roll about in the dust there? When will I call out: “O Radha, O goddess of my life, where are you? O Krishna, O lifter of Govardhan Hill, where are you, my Lord?”

(5) When will I pass my days at the roots of a tree in the grove of madhavi creepers, my heart filled with life on hearing the shuka and sari sing of the of Radha and Krishna’s loves?

(6) When will I see Lord Govinda, the master of the gopis, accompanied by Srimati Radharani, sitting on a jeweled throne? The humble Narottam cherishes this hope, that is so difficult to obtain.


(25)

sādhaka-dehocita śrī-bṛndābana-bāsa lālasā

hari hari kabe haba bṛndābana-bāsī |
nirakhiba naẏane yugala-rūpa-rāśī ||1||
tyājiẏā śaẏana-sukha bicitra pālaɱka |
kabe brajera dhūlāẏa dhūsara habe aɱka ||2||
ṣaḏa-rasa bhojane dūrete parihari |
kabe braje māgiẏā khāiba mādhukarī ||3||
parikramā kariẏā beḏāba bane bane |
biśrāma kariba yāi yamunā-puline ||4||
tāpa dūra kariba śītala baṁśī-baṭe |
kabe kuñje baiṭhaba hāma baiṣṇaba-nikaṭe ||5||
narottama dāsa kahe kari parihāra |
kabe bā emana daśā ha-ibe āmāra ||6||

(1) O Lord, when will I become a Brajwasi? When shall I drink the beauty of Shri Radha and Krishna to my heart’s content?

(2) When will I give up sleeping comforatably on a beautiful bed and take shelter in the dust of Vrindavan, covering my whole body in it?

(3) When will I renounce all rich food, and find delight in begging simple alms in Vrindavan?

(4) When will I wander thorough the enchanting forests of that holy land, and take rest on the sweet banks of the Yamuna River?

(5) When will I find shelter from the heat under the holy Vamshi Vat tree? When will I gain entrance to the enchanted bower, in the association of the Vaishnavas?

(6) Narottam prays, “Leaving aside all temporary things, when will these blessings become my reality?”


(26)

sa-bilāpa śrī-bṛndābana-bāsa-lālasā

āra ki emana daśā haba | saba chāḏi bṛndābane yāba ||1||
āra kabe śrī-rāsa-maṇḍale | gaḏāgaḏi diba kutūhale ||2||
āra kabe gobardhana giri | dekhiba naẏana-yuga bhari ||3||
śyāma-kuṇḍa rādhā-kuṇḍe snāna | kari kabe juḏāba parāṇa ||4||
āra kabe yamunāra jale | majjane ha-iba niramale ||5||
sādhu-saɱge bṛndābane bāsa | narottama dāsa kare āśa ||6||

(1) When will that situation ever arise, when I leave everything and got to Vrindavan?

(2) And when will I joyfully roll on the ground at the Rasa Mandal?

(3) And when will I fill my eyes with the sight of Govardhan hill?

(4) When will I bath in Radha Kund and Shyam Kund and thus revive my life airs?

(5) And when will I immerse myself in the Yamuna’s waters and become purified of all sin?

(6) All I pray for, says Narottam Das, is to live in Vrindavan in the association of saintly devotees.


(55)

This song is usually given as the last in Prārthanā, probably added later. Still, it has become so intertwined with Narottam Das’s mood of anxiety for life in Vrindavan that it is always attributed to him.

hari bolbo āra madana mohana herabo go
ei rūpe vrajera pathe calabo go ||1||

jāba go vrajendra pure haba go gopikāra nūpura
tāṁdera caraṇe madhura madhura bājabo go
vipine vinoda khelā sańgete rākhālera melā
tāṁdera caraṇera dhūlā mākhabo go ||2||

rādhā-kṛṣṇera rūpa-mādhurī heraba du’ nayana bhari
nikuñjera dvāre dvārī ra-ibo go
vrajavāsī tomarā sabe ei abhilāṣa purāo ebe
āra kabe śrī-kṛṣṇera bāṁśī śunabo go ||3||

e dehera antima kāle rākhabo śrī-yamunāra jale
jaya rādhe govinda bale bhāsabo go
kahe narottama dāsa nā pūrilo abhilāṣa
āra kabe vraje vāsa koribo go ||4||

(1) I will walk on the path to Braj, calling out Hari’s name and anxious to see Madana Mohana.

(2) I will go to the land of Nanda Maharaj where I will become an ankle-bells on the gopis’ feet. There on their feet, I will jingle sweetly. All over my body, I will spread the dust from the cowherd boys’ feet in the place where they played with Krishna.

(3) I will fill my eyes with the vision as I behold the sweet form of Radha and Krishna in my two eyes. I will remain at the entrance to their bower of delight. O residents of Vrajabhumi! Please fulfill my desire! When will I hear the sweet sound of Krishna’s flute?

(4) When I arrive at the last moment of my life, I will place my body in the Yamuna and float off singing “Jaya Radha Govinda.” Narottam Das says, “These desires are yet unfulfilled. When will I live in Vraja Dham?”

 

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