Original Beauty and Pleasure

श्रीमान् रास-रसारम्भी वम्́शीवत्̣अ-तत्̣अ-स्थितह्̣ ।
कर्स्̣अन् वेन्̣उ-स्वनैर् गोपीर् गोपी-नाथह्̣ श्रिये स्तु नह्̣ ॥

śrīmān rāsa-rasārambhī vaḿśīvaṭa-taṭa-sthitaḥ |
karṣan veṇu-svanair gopīr gopī-nāthaḥ śriye stu naḥ ||

This wonderful Sanskrit poem was written by Krishhnadas Kaviraja for the introduction to his biography of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, entitled Caitanya-Caritāmrta. Let’s take the words apart and put them back together in an effort to more deeply appreciate the beauty in the poem and in the picture it paints.

The first image presented is: “śrīmān rāsa-rasa-ārambhī.” The last word, ārambhī, means “one who initiates,” “one who inaugurates.” What is being begun? Rasa, which means “the essence of pleasure.” The essence of what pleasure? The essence of the pleasure of rāsa, divine artistic dances of joy, which are brimming with beauty and blessedness, śrīmān. So the first image presented in the poem is:

He inaugurates enjoyment of the beautiful dance of divine pleasure…

The next image is: vaḿśīvaṭa-taṭa-sthitaḥ. This paints the background scenery of where (sthitaḥ) this inauguration of bliss takes place. It takes place on the riverbank (taṭa), near a beautiful tree which became famous as the “flute-tree” (vaḿśīvaṭa).  So, now the poem reads:

He inaugurates enjoyment of the beautiful dance of divine pleasure…
Standing on the riverbank beneath the Flute-Tree…

The final part of this image is: karṣan veṇu-svanair gopīr. This allows us to envision how this person standing on the riverbank inaugurated enjoyment of the beautiful dance of divine pleasure. He did it by veṇu-svanair - the sound of his flute! What did that flute-sound do? Karṣan – it acts like a gigantic electro-magnet, attracting the universe to him. But who specifically did this flute-sound attract on this particular occasion? Gopīr – The iron filings drawn to the enormous magnet of this flute-sound were the Gopis – the beautiful young villiage girls of his pastoral town. So now the poem reads:

He inaugurates enjoyment of the beautiful dance of divine pleasure…
Standing on the riverbank beneath the Flute-Tree…
Attracting the Gopis to him by the sound of his flute…

Next, the poem answer the question – who? Who is this charismatic, attractive personality being depicted? His name is gopī-nāthaḥ (He who is adored by the Gopis), who is more popularly known as Krishna.

He inaugurates enjoyment of the beautiful dance of divine pleasure…
Standing on the riverbank beneath the Flute-Tree…
Attracting the Gopis to him by the sound of his flute…
The Gopis’ Beloved Krishna.

The poem ends by involving you and I in it’s imagery as well: gopī-nāthaḥ śriye stu naḥ, “May his blessing (śriye) be (astu) upon us (naḥ).”

He inaugurates enjoyment of the beautiful dance of divine pleasure…
Standing on the riverbank beneath the Flute-Tree…
Attracting the Gopis to him by the sound of his flute…
The Gopis’ Beloved Krishna…

May his blessing be upon us.

What would that blessing be? The blessing is that we may take the spiritual form of Gopis, and be called by the all-powerful attractor, the sound of Krishna’s flute, to be instrumental in some wondrous divine manner in the Rasa-Lila, the dance of divine love.

~~~

Here is another post related to this poem.

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Vraja Kishor

My official sites are: (bhakti-yoga) http://vrajakishor.com (astrology) http://www.vicdicara.com

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