Introduction to Venu Gita, the Divine song of Krishna's flute !

 

"I was One and decided to become many."

 

I belong, along with you, to the many. The One’s relationship to the many, especially myself has brought me to His Flute’s Call. It is about the ways the One relates to His many. It specifically deals with the exhibitions of Shri Krishna, the All-Attractive and True One. His Flute’s Call is about the all ways He effects His chosen many.

I have always identified with expressive insights that align with personal experience. They are milestones along the path of devotion and indicate positions on the way to a destination within a circular pilgrimage. These teachings address my individual spiritual interests and with the help of Shri Vallabhacharya’s followers and lineage-holders, I undertook the translation and interpretation of this text.

I believe the reward is the means as well as the fruit, a perfect process,but I still distinguish the different tastes. I believe in Brahman, that All Beings can balance contradictions and that He is Personal and everywhere. He breaks the overused "All is One" mold with His joyous expansion.

The Svaminis, the main speakers of this text are simple dairy- maids. They are also called Gopis and have been choosen to be Krishna Effected. They are the gurus of Devotion and can even affect Him. When Krishna sees his Beloved Radha’s moon-like face, an ocean of bliss swells within Him. The nectar overflows into Vrindavan, the lila land, God’s Playground, the location of this song.

I look for those special places where the One and the many intermingle and manifest lila. Lila is intense yet effortless, delightful and sublime, every increasing in bliss, instructive yet playful. In lila, solids become fluid and time is uninterrupted. Lila makes trees feel, water conscious, and deer appear with eyes laced with knowledge. Lila is replete with perfect response and lila is a collection of ras, the nectar experience. Even today, the Vrindavan area, the site of His Flute’s Call is distinguished because of its lila connections.

Krishna is full of ras, its personified form. Everything He does and wears produces one ras and then another, always delightful. When His ras is assimilated there is an experience of bhava, a devotional state of Bliss Being. Beings blessed with bhava I emulate with humility. They are thrilled and always In Love. The most Brillant Lovers are the Svaminis, they are the bhava gurus. What they say in the His Flute’s Call is important to us now.

I have bathed in the Yamuna river and walked the Vrindavan region looking for their bhava. It is good a occupation. I approach bhava as an American-born translator and long-time India pilgrim. The text I present here, the Venu Gita, is found in the Shrimad Bhagavat. It arises, jewel-like in the eighteenth chapter of the tenth canto, Shri Krishna’s very heart. It depicts a magical portion of His lila, His ever-increasing joyful play, His Flute’s Call.

I have also used Shri Vallabhacharya’s commentary on the lila, the Shri Subodhini, a highly insightful text that brings forth not only beautiful intelligence, but the lila psychology of the Svaminis, the recipients of the Call. From the Shri Subodhini text, I have combined the meanings of the Sanskrit words along with their bhavas, their devotional states and significants.

Shri Vallabhacharya’s Subodhiniji is an exposition of Shri Svaminiji’s (Shri Radha) devotional state. It is beleived to contain his most important teachings. Shri Vallabhacharya refused to leave this world, although ordered by Shri Krishna, until the Bhatki Master had finished his Subodhini commentary on the tenth canto of the Shrimad Bhagavat, Shri Krishna’s very heart. The Shri Subdohini explains the Bhagavat in terms of its letters, words, sentences and ??? To bring this text from samadhi sanskrit language to English and maintain the same poignant samadhi style is an impossible task. The English language simply has no parallel to this type of expression. Therefore, as a translator, I have taken the liberty of expanding the text in order to transfer its meaning in a comprehensible and flowing manner. Any flaws in this transmission are purely my own.

His Flute’s Call is essentially about Being Exhilarated. Where there is bhava there is the experience of nectar. It confers not only immortality, but many pleasantries along the way. The development of bhava, what makes it arises and flourish and the rases, the pure aesthic raptures that ensue in the process of bhakti is what the true tale is all about.

Krishna is a dancer, a player, an actor, a husband, a cowherder, a friend, a Lover as well as a Flute Player. He is an expert in abhinaya, that is, in exhibiting the meaning of what He depicts. He is so good that anyone who has any purely aesthetic contact with Him or His lila-drama has an unforgettable experience. Love, attachment and obsession are the devotional results.

The South Indian dancer, Lakshmi Visavanathan explains this in terms of dance. "She uses her body, her limbs, hands, face and eyes to reach out to her viewers. A mere look is enough to establish a single strong emotion…She communicates to the viewer and makes him forget himself, and allows him to partake in the "ras", pure aesthetic rapture. It is any wonder then that pandits recognize the relish of "ras" as a spiritual experience."

Krishna and His worship is Pure Drama: lila. He plays and directs at the same time, all for an Awakening in those whose time has come. The singers have various constitutions yet share the common virtue of Krishna Attachment. Their hearts are fired by His melody and contain the rush of Shri Krishna’s ras. It is all consummated in Vrindavan, where Krishna plays His flute.

When you know someone who knows something that you want to know, you can quickly get to know it. If it is conscious, it is Satsang, the pure assocation. The Svamini’s story is an unfoldment of bhava. I tell their story to find and refine my own. Vrindavan is anywhere that there is bhava.

The Svamini’s passion for Shri Krishna is not openly enacted, yet commands the stage of Vrindaban. To understand the nature of their conjugal exchange is to understand Shri Krishna. He awakens divinity with His presence, the direct method. His world is a perfect place, comprised of only Godliness.

 

Here is Krishna
There is Krishna
Wherever I look
All I see is Krishna.

 

It is Shri Krishna’s sheer confidence that allows Him to establishes Overwhelming Attachment to Himself in whoever He chooses. In Vrindavan everything is a combination of Him. Even trees and animals fall under His spell; they become enlightened. In Vrindavan everything manifests for the blissful purpose of lila. Krishna sounds His flute to awaken the woods.

Krishna is proficient in appearing and appealing to the bhakta’s nature according to her individual temperament. Because it is too difficult to climb out of the world, Shri Krishna arrives here and makes it divine. Lila makes Krishna comprehensible. The Svaminis song about His flute arose because of the distance and proximity they felt to and from their Beloved. Their longings allowed them entrance to the stage, but first He gave them understanding of His formless aspect. Then came His form full of nectar enjoyment. Without Love’s Wisdom you simply cannot enjoy.

Without the Svaminis’ insight into the delicate nature of Krishna’s play, it would be exceedingly difficult to comprehend the character of lila. Entrance into lila is established by Krishna Himself and never through effort. "He is achieved by those He chooses." In this lila, any means that is undertaken achieves accomplishment due to God’s total interference with the process.

Krishna liberates anyone who directs herself towards Him, regardless of attitude. Shri Vallabhacharya adds, "The attainment of Shri Krishna can never be dependent upon any practice. Krishna, who is perfect bhava, is attained through the precise emulation of those who have already attained Him."

The Svaminis who are established physically in their homes are gazing toward His plays in the forest and are undergoing a process of absorption. As they remember and behold the Beloved, their experience of divinity rises from the level of emulation to direct experience. Their transformation occurred after hearing Shri Krishna’s flute. They understand the difference between the material and spiritual and proclaim with full confidence that to engage with God using every one of our senses is the ultimate fruit. Then the many enjoy the One.

 

 

By Shyamdas - his numerous books (in English) on Pushti Marg are well worth reading.

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