[Advaita-l] Shridhar Swami on Rasalila

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Sun Dec 25 00:30:22 CST 2005

The preminent commentator on Bhagavata Purana is Shridhar Swami.  He was 
an Advaitin though inexplicably sometimes Gaudiyas think he is one of 
their own.  Here are his comments on the subject.  (I should mention that 
this is based on a Gujarati translation, I haven't read his shridhari tika 
in  Sanskrit.  However I do believe the translator has rendered it accurately.)

"The rAsakrIDa described here is to be taken in an adhyAtmika sense only 
not historically.  Knowing this one can interpret it correctly.  The 
feeling of Bhakti can rise and become firm through the ShR^I.mgara rasa[1] 
It is for this reason that the author[2] has described bhakti in the shape of
ShR^I.mgara rasa.

The adhyAtmika meaning of kR^iShNa and gopI is as follows

kR^iShirbhUvAchaka.h shabdo Nashcha nirvR^itivAchaka.h |
tayAraikya.m para.m brahma kR^iShNa ityabhidhIyate || [3]

svamAtra.m brahma gopAyati AvR^iNotIti gopI mAyA |
svAtiriktAstitvabhrama.m nAmarUpAbhyA.m gopAyatIti gopI mAyA | [4]

In this way the play [5] of the sdhyAtmika kR^iShNa and the adhyAtmika 
gopIs (i.e. chaitanya and mAyA] continues constantly from the beginning of 
sa.msara to its end.  It is only this that the author has described in 
beautiful poetic imagery.

Should someone think it the actions of the historic[6] kR^iShNa which are 
being described then that is untenable.  Because when the rAsalIlA 
occurred, yadunandana[7] ShrIkR^iShNa was only 9 years old.  Such a young 
boy would not have been described by the far-seeing sages as being 
engaged, contrary to all shastraic norms, in such acts."

[to be continued.]

[1] The rasas are the nine moods or attitudes in kAvyashAstra.  ShR^I.mgara 
is the mood of love and pleasure.

[2] maharShi vedavyAsa the author of the bhAgavata.

[3] The word kR^iSh means existence and Na means sorrowlessness.  The one 
whom both are united together, that [sat-chit-ananda] parabrahman is called

[4] gopI is that which only protects i.e. covers Brahman--mAyA
     or alternatively,
     gopI is that which has no independent existence apart from the AtmA
     but is the false notions of name and form that cover it--mAyA.

[5] lIlA

[6] aitihAsika

[7] Joy of the house of Yadu.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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