Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Story of Radha, Brahmachari-Krishna and Upavasi-Durvasa: Raja Rao

One day Radha had a very possessive thought of Krishna. "My Krishna", she said to herself, as though one could possess Krishna as one could possess a calf, a jewel. Krishna, the Absolute Itself, immediately knew her thought. And when the absolute knows, the knowing itself, as it were, is the action of the act; things do not happen according to his wish, but his wish itself is his own creation of his wish, as the action is the creation of his own action.



So, Durvasa the great Sage was announced.

"He is on the other side of the river, Lord", spake the messengers, and "and he sends his deep respects".

Then Krishna went into the deep chambers and said to Radha, "Radha, Durvasa the great Sage is come, my dear. We must feed him".

"Oh, then I will cook the food myself" said Radha, and Krishna was very happy at this thought. So he went back to the Hall of Audience, and not long after, Radha came in with all the cooked food. "Yes, the meal is ready my Lord. And I will take it myself to Sage Durvasa".

"Wonderful, wonderful!" exclaimed Sri Krishna, pleased with the devotion of his wife to the Sages.

"I'll go and come," said Radha, and hardly had she gone to the palace door when she remembered the Jumna was in flood. No ferryman would go across. She came back to Krishna and begged, "My Lord, how can I take the food? the river is in flood".

"Tell the river," answered Krishna, "Krishna the brahmachari [The celibate, or who has taken the vow of celibacy] wishes that the way be made for you to pass through."

And Radha went light of heart, but suddenly bethought herself it was a lie. Who better than she to know whether Krishna be brahmachari or not? "Ah the noble lie, the noble lie," she said to herself, and when she came to the river, she said, "Krishna, the Lord, the brahmachari, wishes that way be made for me to pass through".

And of course the river rose high and stood still, but suddenly opened out a blue lane, small as a village footpath, through which Radha walked to the other side. And coming to the opposite shore, she thanked the river, and saluting the great Sage Durvasa, in many a manner of courtesies and words of welcome, spread the leaf and laid him the food.

Durvasa was mighty hungry and he ate the food as though the palm of his hand went down his gullet. "Ah, ah," he said and belched and made himself happy, with curds and rice and many meats, perfumed and spiced with saffron, and when there was nothing left in leaf or vessel, he rose, went to the river and washed his hands. Radha took the vessels to the waters, too to wash, threw the leaf into the Jumna and stood there to leave. Then it was she who remembered, the river was in flood. Sri Krishna had told her what to say while going and not what to utter while coming back.

Durvasa understood her question before she asked - for the sages have this power too -- and he said, "Tell the river, Durvasa the eternal upavasi [He who fasts] says to the river, 'Open and let Radha pass through to the other shore.'"

Radha obeyed but she was more sorrowful. "I have seen him eat till his palm enter his gullet, and he has belched and passed his hand over his belly with satisfaction. It is a lie, a big lie," she said, but she went to the river thoughtful, very thoughtful. "River," she said, "Durvasa who is ever in upavasa says open and let me pass."

And the river opened a lane just as wide as a village pathway, and the waves held themselves over the head, and would not move. She came to the other shore and returned to the palace in heavy distress. "Yes, nature is a lie, nature believes and obeys lies. Lord, what a world," She said to herself and going into the Hall of Sorrowing, shut herself and began to sob. "Lord, what a lie the world is, what a lie."

Sri Krishna knew the cause and cadence of this all, and gently entered the Hall of Sorrowing. "Beloved, why might you be in sorrow?" he said.

"My Lord," she answered, "the river believes you are a brahmachari, and after all who should deny it better than me, your wife? and then I go to Durvasa and he eats with his palm going down his gullet, and he says, "Tell the river, Durvasa who is ever in upavasa asks you to open and let Radha pass." And the river opens herself, makes a way large as a village pathway, and I pass over to this side. The world is a fib, a misnomer, a lie."

"The world, my dear, is not a lie, it is an illusion. Besides, tell me, is my body your husband, Radha?"

"No, my Lord."

"Is my mind your husband, Radha?"

"No, my Lord."

"Then what is it when you say to yourself, 'Krishna, my husband?'"

"Assuredly something beyond the body and beyond the mind -- the Principle."

"And tell me, my love, can you possess that, can you possess it?"

"No, my lord, how can I possess the Absolute? The I is the Absolute." And she fell at the feet and understood, and lived ever after in the light of the Truth.

5 comments:

Suchitra Kamath said...

Good story.Though I need to read it many more times to fully comprehend it!

Keep posting such stories!

Rajya said...

I've come across this story and understood it from Karma Yoga viewpoint. But this interpretation of Radha's understanding of the 'real' Krishna is good too.

Thanks as always!

Mahesh said...

Really Good Story.Greatly inspired.

amy said...

The interpretation of Radha's understanding is hard to comprehand......

Amme Krishna said...

Hare Krsna!!!!!!!!!
very thought provoking story....but one doubt, I have read that Srimati Radharani is Sri Krsna's beloved consort/best friend/favourite, but they were not married, and that their love was the most beautiful but totally platonic, then how come She thought of Him as Her husband...plz clarify