Thursday, October 16, 2008

Autumn Moon

Autumn moon. Beautiful sharada chandra; it seems to fill the whole sky, deep amber color, a few wispy clouds, lighting up the mountains.

There was no one at Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi class today, so since Harilal Vyasa concludes his tika to verse 2 with it, I just read a commentary on a Bhagavata verse from the Bhramara-gita, api ca kripana-pakshe uttama-shloka-shabdah. "No woman alive anywhere in the three worlds can resist your charms--even Lakshmi Devi herself worships the dust of your feet, so who are we [to hope for your mercy]? And yet, you are glorified as being merciful to the least of creatures, so live up to the meaning of your name."

It is really has the same basic idea as another verse that I tried to quote the other day and could not remember. That night, when I opened Ananta Das's RRSN, it fell open on a page with that very verse on it. Actually I had posted it on my blog some time ago.


na premā śravaṇādi-bhaktir api vā yogo’thavā vaiṣṇavo
jnānaṁ vā śubha-karma vā kiyad aho saj-jātir apy asti vā |
hīnārthādhika-sādhake tvayi tathāpy acchedya-mūlā satī
he gopī-jana-vallabha ! vyathayate hā hā mad-āśaiva mām ||

I have no prema.
Nor do I engage in hearing and chanting,
the practices that lead to prema.
I have not the self-discipline befitting a Vaishnava.
Nor do I have wisdom, nor, alas, pious works.
I am not even of good birth.

O Gopijanavallabha!
You are said to bring fulfilment
to those who are most unworthy,
yet the hope for your mercy,
which is pure and holy,
and so deeply rooted within me that I cannot cut it out,
brings me nothing but pain.

It is called āśā-bandha--the contradictory feeling between one's own sense of unworthiness and the hope that still Radha and Krishna will be merciful and give a place at their lotus feet. It is also part of raga, lobha or what have you. I am unworthy, but I am going to keep at it because come hell or high water, I have to have it. That is all there is to it.

With the new schedule, arati starts at 6.15, so I try to be there at 5.15. Today I was there late. As I said, I was reading the commentary on 10.47.15 by Swami Karpatriji, and had made it almost all the way through when my main audience came traipsing in for arati. Maybe they had missed the class because I was late.

Anyway, I just quickly told them what I had been doing and they reminded me that Karpatriji had lived in this ashram for a while back in the 1940's. There is a very old banyan tree which is intertwined with a pippal. They form a kind of cave which is where Karpatriji did bhajan. He established a small Shiva linga there, which is now surrounded by marble and a number of other small statues of Shiva related deities. They told me that one day Karpatriji was giving a class there and a snake fell out of the tree and landed beside him. It remained motionless while he spoke and then as soon as he stopped, slithered away.

The Baba who is a regular attendee at the class said that you sometimes see the "shadows" of Karpatriji and Surdas, wandering about at night in that particular part of the ashram.


1 comment:

Satya devi dasi said...

Just want you to know that we're out here reading your blog. Thanks for this one. . . . I have no prema.