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The Poems of Rasakhan: Treasure House of Love
The Poems of Rasakhan: Treasure House of Love
Description
From the Jacket

(c. 1534-1619 AD), A Muslim-born, ecstatic Krishna follower, offers in verse a glimpse into God’s Playground, inspiring us to find our own path to that divine realm. The entrancing rhyme and alliteration of his village vernacular of Vrajabhasha-witty, elegant, and delightful just to hear, take us in just four lines to total grace-filled liberation! His poems are a testament to a love and a Beloved that know no limits. Rasakhan sees Krishna during the day, playing the flute and herding cows through the forest. At night, he envisions Him as the Gopis’ lover in the leafy bowers of Vrindavan. He leads us from Child Krishna’s adorable antics to Krishna’s ultimate union with the beautiful Radha. Join this poet-bhakta on a pilgrimage to the Treasure House of Love Shyamdas and Dr. David Haberman, above, enjoy a moment at Apsara Kund by the Govardhan Hill. Krishna Kinkari (shown below at Mansarovar, near Vrindavan) lives in London, from where she yearns for the sacred land of Vraja depicted in the poetry of Rasakhan.

Introduction

It is said that in the state of spiritual love, one can remain without the Beloved for up to one day, but when that love rises to the level of attachment, the lover can remain apart from the Beloved for only a few hours. When attachment matures into divine addiction, that blessed lover cannot be separated from the Beloved for even a moment.

These sublime states of being define the course of blessed devotion and the poet-saint Rasakhan’s personal path. Devotion, or more specifically, bhakti, is nourished by renunciation of what is unrelated, by listening to devotional subjects, and by singing your heart out to God with unconditional devotion. These are the foundational principles of Shrimad Vallabhacharya’s (1979-1531 A. D.) Path of Grace, the Pushti Marga.

Shri Gusainji (Shri Vitthalnathji), the son of Shri Vallabhacharya and guru of Rasakhan, continued his father’s teachings and also brought forth new elements in the elaborate mode of divine service to Shri Krishna, called seva. This form of seva is dedicated solely to Shri Krishna’s pleasure. It was being practiced in Shri Nathji’s temple on the Govardhan Hill when Rasakhan arrived there around 1561 A.D. Rasakhan (c. 1534-1619 A.D.) was among the exalted group of Shri Gusainji’s 252 main disciples, the grace-filled souls who were the principle recipients of the Bhakti master’s devotional vision.

The seva revealed by Shri Gusainji is comprised of three essential elements: raga (music), bhog (food offerings), and shringar (ornamentation). Shri Gusainji ensured that Shri Nathji daily enjoyed music, divine food offerings, and elaborate ornamentation. He brought in poets, singers, pundits, artists, tailors, as well as cooks and temple attendants. They all offered their highest talents to God, using only the finest materials for their dedicated offerings. In this way, Shri Gusainji was able to manifest the various devotional arts to the world.

Following the lineage of pure non-dualism (shuddhadvaita) taught to him by his father, Shri Gusainji viewed the world as an extension of Shri Krishna’s divine realm. He created in this world a devotional stage on which to adorn and please his beloved Lord.

Shri Nathji’s temple was the only public temple in which Shri Gusainji himself carried out this divine worship, for the emphasis in the Path of Grace is on the personal worship of one’s own form of Krishna, within one’s own home. According to the Path of Grace, Shri Krishna adapts to the nature of His devotees, for it is too difficult to achieve perfection through one’s own narrow means. This truth comes as a relief for the spiritual practitioner, or bhakta.

Shri Krishna plays with His own souls in a personal way, so that each is able to clearly recognize Divinity. The life story of Rasakhan, found in this text, provides a convincing example of that profound process. The divine exchange also allows the practitioner to truly take refuge. Then, an array of religious experiences arises. It is not a question of skillful means, but rather, intense yearning, which brings the Supreme into the practitioner’s world. This formula allows true character to develop, often in unusual ways, as witnessed in the life of Rasakhan.

The foundations of both lawful and grace-filled devotion (Maryada and Pushti Bhakti) are found within the Sanskrit teachings of the Bhagavat Gita. These teachings were then more fully revealed in the Shrimad Bhagavatam. Rasakhan, a Muslim-born, ecstatic Krishna follower, was able to uniquely express through his poetry the sublime devotional views found in those texts.

Rasakhan’s lyrical expressions grant us access to his ecstatic realm: Shri Krishna’s playground-the sacred lands of Vraja. His instructional poems teach us to prioritize our values, making them devotional and focused on divinity. Then, there can be transformation and vision.

In Rasakhan’s world, the Gopis are the gurus. They have demonstrated how to leave everything unnecessary and move directly towards the Beloved. The Gopis provide the best examples of devotion, because above all else, they desired the Lord of Sweetness. They simply forgot all other illusions and became solely attached to God. They became recipients of nirodha, the blessed state of continual God-awareness. Their every motion and emotion was perfectly fixated on Shri Krishna.

In Rasakhan’s world, the Gopis are gurus. They have demonstrated how to leave everything unnecessary and move directly towards the Beloved. The Gopis provide the best examples of devotion, because above all else, they desired the Lord of Sweetness. They simply forgot all other illusions and became solely attached to God. They became recipients of nirodha, the blessed state of continual God-awareness. Their every motion and emotion was perfectly fixated on Shri Krishna.

Rasakhan entered deeply into the Gopis’ realizations and sometimes even described his experiences from their vantage point. His poems are filled with astounding sounds, meanings, and unexpected conclusions, all of which propel the reader into a “Krishna awakening.”

Throughout Rasakhan’s work, the diversity of his beloved Krishna’s loving plays and sublime character unfold. He leads us from Child Krishna’s adorable antics to Shri Krishna’s ultimate union with the beautiful Radha. He employs emotions that are common in the world, but finds in them their eternal, divine counterparts.

Rasakhan is not interested in enlightenment, a path which he considers selfish. Instead, he urges us to find our true essence as eternal parts o the Infinite and to become followers of the Lord, lovers of the Beloved. In his inimitable style, Rasakhan uses Shri Krishna’s own tongue of Vraja Bhasha to express the Blessed Path as well as its divine goal. He shows us that whenever there is pure love, the means becomes the reward. As Rasakhan explains, once you are in God’s orbit, you cannot forget Him, even if you try.

Rasakhan’s rhyme and alliteration make his poems delightful just to hear. His language, although set in a village vernacular, is elegant and witty. He is famous for concluding his poems with an unexpected revelation. His writings are precious, as they are infused with insights that inspire us to join him on a love pilgrimage to a domain beyond even liberation. The astonishing is found in the ordinary as Rasakhan celebrates the joys of Shri Krishna’s loving worship.

Rasakhan’s remarkable poems have always been an inspiration to me. I live for some months every year in the town of Gokul, where Rasakhan lived, as well as in Jatipura, where Shri Nathji’s temple stands on top of the sacred Govardhan Hill. It was here in Jatipura that Rasakhan first behold his beloved Krishna and his guru, Shri Gusainji.

This text was completed with the help of Dr. David Haberman and Krishna Kinkari, both lovers of Rasakhan’s revelations and the sacred lands of Vraja. I have had the pleasure of wandering Vraja with both of them. Our respect and love for Rasakhan’s poetry brought us together, and several years later, we are finally ready to present our joint translations in this book.

One of my favourite sites in Vraja is Rasakhan’s Samadhi, the site of his tomb, near Raman Reti. Dr. Haberman and I often wander there in the afternoon from Gokul to simply enjoy the mood of the place. Dr. Haberman writes of his first contact with Rasakhan at his Samadhi, Samadhi of Rasakhan, a usual stop on this pilgrimage. Rasakhan’s memorial tomb, or Samadhi, as it is called locally, stands just outside the town of Gokul.

“Architecturally, Rasakhan’s Samadhi reveals a great deal about a figure whose life and thought are wonderfully transgressive. It is constructed out of red sandstone, a material characteristically used only with the permission of the Mughal court in Delhi. It consists of an eight-sided open pavilion supported by ornately carved pillars. This is a standard design for much of the Hindu architecture of the region; enclosures for sacred ponds and the rasamandala performance pavilions, erected as meeting places for the divine couple Radha and Krishna, are typically eight-sided.

“At the center of the floor of the pavilion that makes up Rasakhan’s Samadhi, however, stands a maqbara, a raised gravestone with a qalamdan pen box, typically used to indicate that a great male Muslim personage is buried there. Although the structure is primarily Hindu, and although people of the Vraj region refer to the structure as a ‘samadhi’, a Hindu term for the entombment of a saint, I have visited the site and have on occasion observed a green cloth draped over the maqbara, in the traditional fashion of honoring a Muslim saint.”

Contents

Blessings vii
Introduction 21
A translator’s note xiii
Acknowledgements xxiii
The life story of Rasakhan xxv
The Poems of Rasakhan -
The True Voice1
Searching for Brahman2
Krishna Protects 3
The Champion of Vraja 4
Let All other Worlds Crumble 5
For a Sip of Buttermilk 6
Unfathomable 7
They Make Him Dance 8
Unending Search 9
Krishna’s Birth 10
That Absolute Krishna 11
Eating Dirt 12
A Lucky Crow 13
The Joys of Love 14
His Sweet Smile 15
This Boy of Yours 16
A Worthy Mood 17
My Beloved 18
Lovely Shyam 19
Covered in Dust 20
Sound Advice 21
Stuck 22
Enchanted 23
Loving Vow 24
Bound by Love 25
Enchanting Glance 26
Looted by Love 27
In His Embrace 28
A Divine Swoon 29
Drenched 30
The Thief 31
We will get even with You 32
Senseless 33
The Renegade Flute 34
The Magic Flute 35
Drinking Love 36
The Color of Love 37
Charmed 38
Captured 39
Winter Lotus 40
A Bamboo Grove 41
My Fortunes Arose 42
The Plight of my Heart 43
Counting the Time 44
The Maids of Gopal 45
Wide Eyes 46
What have You done? 47
Upheaval 48
I Lose Control 49
Radha’s Tears 50
Bliss Bodies 51
Radha’s Splendor52
Nectar Radha 53
Beholding Shri Radha 54
The Divine Couple 55
Suddenly, in the Forest Bower 56
Directly to your Heart 57
Say Yes! 58
Annoyance in Love 59
A Sakhi Entreats Shri Radha 60
Radha’s Love 61
If You have not Loved 62
Have you not Loved? 63
The Truth of the Matter 64
Offer Your Heart 65
Leave Them All 66
Vrindavan 67
The Cowpens of Vraja 68
Uddhava and the Gopis 69
Our Fate is to Love Krishna 70
Rebirth in Vraja 71
A Worthy Tongue 72
Dancer Krishna 73
Effortless Worship 74
Vrajabhasha and Roman transliteration 75

The Poems of Rasakhan: Treasure House of Love

Item Code:
IHD006
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
2007
Size:
8.8" X 5.8"
Pages:
123
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Weight of the Book: 327 gms
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From the Jacket

(c. 1534-1619 AD), A Muslim-born, ecstatic Krishna follower, offers in verse a glimpse into God’s Playground, inspiring us to find our own path to that divine realm. The entrancing rhyme and alliteration of his village vernacular of Vrajabhasha-witty, elegant, and delightful just to hear, take us in just four lines to total grace-filled liberation! His poems are a testament to a love and a Beloved that know no limits. Rasakhan sees Krishna during the day, playing the flute and herding cows through the forest. At night, he envisions Him as the Gopis’ lover in the leafy bowers of Vrindavan. He leads us from Child Krishna’s adorable antics to Krishna’s ultimate union with the beautiful Radha. Join this poet-bhakta on a pilgrimage to the Treasure House of Love Shyamdas and Dr. David Haberman, above, enjoy a moment at Apsara Kund by the Govardhan Hill. Krishna Kinkari (shown below at Mansarovar, near Vrindavan) lives in London, from where she yearns for the sacred land of Vraja depicted in the poetry of Rasakhan.

Introduction

It is said that in the state of spiritual love, one can remain without the Beloved for up to one day, but when that love rises to the level of attachment, the lover can remain apart from the Beloved for only a few hours. When attachment matures into divine addiction, that blessed lover cannot be separated from the Beloved for even a moment.

These sublime states of being define the course of blessed devotion and the poet-saint Rasakhan’s personal path. Devotion, or more specifically, bhakti, is nourished by renunciation of what is unrelated, by listening to devotional subjects, and by singing your heart out to God with unconditional devotion. These are the foundational principles of Shrimad Vallabhacharya’s (1979-1531 A. D.) Path of Grace, the Pushti Marga.

Shri Gusainji (Shri Vitthalnathji), the son of Shri Vallabhacharya and guru of Rasakhan, continued his father’s teachings and also brought forth new elements in the elaborate mode of divine service to Shri Krishna, called seva. This form of seva is dedicated solely to Shri Krishna’s pleasure. It was being practiced in Shri Nathji’s temple on the Govardhan Hill when Rasakhan arrived there around 1561 A.D. Rasakhan (c. 1534-1619 A.D.) was among the exalted group of Shri Gusainji’s 252 main disciples, the grace-filled souls who were the principle recipients of the Bhakti master’s devotional vision.

The seva revealed by Shri Gusainji is comprised of three essential elements: raga (music), bhog (food offerings), and shringar (ornamentation). Shri Gusainji ensured that Shri Nathji daily enjoyed music, divine food offerings, and elaborate ornamentation. He brought in poets, singers, pundits, artists, tailors, as well as cooks and temple attendants. They all offered their highest talents to God, using only the finest materials for their dedicated offerings. In this way, Shri Gusainji was able to manifest the various devotional arts to the world.

Following the lineage of pure non-dualism (shuddhadvaita) taught to him by his father, Shri Gusainji viewed the world as an extension of Shri Krishna’s divine realm. He created in this world a devotional stage on which to adorn and please his beloved Lord.

Shri Nathji’s temple was the only public temple in which Shri Gusainji himself carried out this divine worship, for the emphasis in the Path of Grace is on the personal worship of one’s own form of Krishna, within one’s own home. According to the Path of Grace, Shri Krishna adapts to the nature of His devotees, for it is too difficult to achieve perfection through one’s own narrow means. This truth comes as a relief for the spiritual practitioner, or bhakta.

Shri Krishna plays with His own souls in a personal way, so that each is able to clearly recognize Divinity. The life story of Rasakhan, found in this text, provides a convincing example of that profound process. The divine exchange also allows the practitioner to truly take refuge. Then, an array of religious experiences arises. It is not a question of skillful means, but rather, intense yearning, which brings the Supreme into the practitioner’s world. This formula allows true character to develop, often in unusual ways, as witnessed in the life of Rasakhan.

The foundations of both lawful and grace-filled devotion (Maryada and Pushti Bhakti) are found within the Sanskrit teachings of the Bhagavat Gita. These teachings were then more fully revealed in the Shrimad Bhagavatam. Rasakhan, a Muslim-born, ecstatic Krishna follower, was able to uniquely express through his poetry the sublime devotional views found in those texts.

Rasakhan’s lyrical expressions grant us access to his ecstatic realm: Shri Krishna’s playground-the sacred lands of Vraja. His instructional poems teach us to prioritize our values, making them devotional and focused on divinity. Then, there can be transformation and vision.

In Rasakhan’s world, the Gopis are the gurus. They have demonstrated how to leave everything unnecessary and move directly towards the Beloved. The Gopis provide the best examples of devotion, because above all else, they desired the Lord of Sweetness. They simply forgot all other illusions and became solely attached to God. They became recipients of nirodha, the blessed state of continual God-awareness. Their every motion and emotion was perfectly fixated on Shri Krishna.

In Rasakhan’s world, the Gopis are gurus. They have demonstrated how to leave everything unnecessary and move directly towards the Beloved. The Gopis provide the best examples of devotion, because above all else, they desired the Lord of Sweetness. They simply forgot all other illusions and became solely attached to God. They became recipients of nirodha, the blessed state of continual God-awareness. Their every motion and emotion was perfectly fixated on Shri Krishna.

Rasakhan entered deeply into the Gopis’ realizations and sometimes even described his experiences from their vantage point. His poems are filled with astounding sounds, meanings, and unexpected conclusions, all of which propel the reader into a “Krishna awakening.”

Throughout Rasakhan’s work, the diversity of his beloved Krishna’s loving plays and sublime character unfold. He leads us from Child Krishna’s adorable antics to Shri Krishna’s ultimate union with the beautiful Radha. He employs emotions that are common in the world, but finds in them their eternal, divine counterparts.

Rasakhan is not interested in enlightenment, a path which he considers selfish. Instead, he urges us to find our true essence as eternal parts o the Infinite and to become followers of the Lord, lovers of the Beloved. In his inimitable style, Rasakhan uses Shri Krishna’s own tongue of Vraja Bhasha to express the Blessed Path as well as its divine goal. He shows us that whenever there is pure love, the means becomes the reward. As Rasakhan explains, once you are in God’s orbit, you cannot forget Him, even if you try.

Rasakhan’s rhyme and alliteration make his poems delightful just to hear. His language, although set in a village vernacular, is elegant and witty. He is famous for concluding his poems with an unexpected revelation. His writings are precious, as they are infused with insights that inspire us to join him on a love pilgrimage to a domain beyond even liberation. The astonishing is found in the ordinary as Rasakhan celebrates the joys of Shri Krishna’s loving worship.

Rasakhan’s remarkable poems have always been an inspiration to me. I live for some months every year in the town of Gokul, where Rasakhan lived, as well as in Jatipura, where Shri Nathji’s temple stands on top of the sacred Govardhan Hill. It was here in Jatipura that Rasakhan first behold his beloved Krishna and his guru, Shri Gusainji.

This text was completed with the help of Dr. David Haberman and Krishna Kinkari, both lovers of Rasakhan’s revelations and the sacred lands of Vraja. I have had the pleasure of wandering Vraja with both of them. Our respect and love for Rasakhan’s poetry brought us together, and several years later, we are finally ready to present our joint translations in this book.

One of my favourite sites in Vraja is Rasakhan’s Samadhi, the site of his tomb, near Raman Reti. Dr. Haberman and I often wander there in the afternoon from Gokul to simply enjoy the mood of the place. Dr. Haberman writes of his first contact with Rasakhan at his Samadhi, Samadhi of Rasakhan, a usual stop on this pilgrimage. Rasakhan’s memorial tomb, or Samadhi, as it is called locally, stands just outside the town of Gokul.

“Architecturally, Rasakhan’s Samadhi reveals a great deal about a figure whose life and thought are wonderfully transgressive. It is constructed out of red sandstone, a material characteristically used only with the permission of the Mughal court in Delhi. It consists of an eight-sided open pavilion supported by ornately carved pillars. This is a standard design for much of the Hindu architecture of the region; enclosures for sacred ponds and the rasamandala performance pavilions, erected as meeting places for the divine couple Radha and Krishna, are typically eight-sided.

“At the center of the floor of the pavilion that makes up Rasakhan’s Samadhi, however, stands a maqbara, a raised gravestone with a qalamdan pen box, typically used to indicate that a great male Muslim personage is buried there. Although the structure is primarily Hindu, and although people of the Vraj region refer to the structure as a ‘samadhi’, a Hindu term for the entombment of a saint, I have visited the site and have on occasion observed a green cloth draped over the maqbara, in the traditional fashion of honoring a Muslim saint.”

Contents

Blessings vii
Introduction 21
A translator’s note xiii
Acknowledgements xxiii
The life story of Rasakhan xxv
The Poems of Rasakhan -
The True Voice1
Searching for Brahman2
Krishna Protects 3
The Champion of Vraja 4
Let All other Worlds Crumble 5
For a Sip of Buttermilk 6
Unfathomable 7
They Make Him Dance 8
Unending Search 9
Krishna’s Birth 10
That Absolute Krishna 11
Eating Dirt 12
A Lucky Crow 13
The Joys of Love 14
His Sweet Smile 15
This Boy of Yours 16
A Worthy Mood 17
My Beloved 18
Lovely Shyam 19
Covered in Dust 20
Sound Advice 21
Stuck 22
Enchanted 23
Loving Vow 24
Bound by Love 25
Enchanting Glance 26
Looted by Love 27
In His Embrace 28
A Divine Swoon 29
Drenched 30
The Thief 31
We will get even with You 32
Senseless 33
The Renegade Flute 34
The Magic Flute 35
Drinking Love 36
The Color of Love 37
Charmed 38
Captured 39
Winter Lotus 40
A Bamboo Grove 41
My Fortunes Arose 42
The Plight of my Heart 43
Counting the Time 44
The Maids of Gopal 45
Wide Eyes 46
What have You done? 47
Upheaval 48
I Lose Control 49
Radha’s Tears 50
Bliss Bodies 51
Radha’s Splendor52
Nectar Radha 53
Beholding Shri Radha 54
The Divine Couple 55
Suddenly, in the Forest Bower 56
Directly to your Heart 57
Say Yes! 58
Annoyance in Love 59
A Sakhi Entreats Shri Radha 60
Radha’s Love 61
If You have not Loved 62
Have you not Loved? 63
The Truth of the Matter 64
Offer Your Heart 65
Leave Them All 66
Vrindavan 67
The Cowpens of Vraja 68
Uddhava and the Gopis 69
Our Fate is to Love Krishna 70
Rebirth in Vraja 71
A Worthy Tongue 72
Dancer Krishna 73
Effortless Worship 74
Vrajabhasha and Roman transliteration 75
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