Sri Krsna's Vrindavan Associates Sudama, Part Two


Kite-flying with the Sakhas

Mar 10, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of Sri Krsna's transcendental Vrindavan associates.

Today we continue to discuss the classification of Sri Krsna's priya-sakha transcendental associates in Vrindavan, in which category we find the gopa Sudama, who is described as being the personification of service in fraternity.

Those confidential friends who are around the same age as Krsna, and who exclusively take shelter of the sakhya mood, are known as the priya-sakhas. Included among them are Sridama, Sudama, Dama, Vasudama, Kinkini, Stoka-krishna, Amshu, Bhadrasena, Vilasi, Pundarika, Vitanka and Kalavinka. These dearmost residents of Vraja always give pleasure to their friend Krsna by playing various types of games with him, like blind man's bluff, stick-fighting, mimicking the animals, wrestling, and other amusements.

In his commentary on Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (3.3.368), Srila Jiva Goswami states that while Dama, Sudama, Vasudama and Kinkini are known as priya-sakhas, they may also be counted as priyanarma-sakhas because they personify Lord Krsna's heart and pervade His entire being. In order to establish this fact, Jiva Goswami cites the following verse from Gautamiya-tantra (15.38):

    pujayed gandha-pushpakaih
    antahkarana-rupaas te
    krishnasya parikirtitaah
    aatmaabhedena te pujyaa
    yathaa krishnas tathaiva te

In his purport to the above verses, Srila Jiva states that because Dama, Vasudama, Sudama and Kinkini personify Krsna's heart, they are described to be as worshipable as Krsna Himself. Therefore in the ceremony known as avarana-puja, a particular method of worship described in Hari-bhakti-vilasa (7.36076) that is referred to in the verse above from Gautamiya-tantra, these four personalities are offered the first worship with scented flowers and sandalwood.

The priyanarma-sakhas are superior in every way to the three other types of sakhas, being engaged in extremely confidential services on behalf of Radha and Krsna, and being possessed of sakhi-bhava.

The sakhas are further defined as being in one of three categories: nitya-siddha, suracara, and sadhana-siddha. Those in the suracara category were previously demigods who attained to the position of Krsna's friends through performance of sadhana, although they are distinguished as being different from the general sadhana-siddhas.

As described in yesterday's segment, Srila Jiva Goswami also made this distinction in his Sri Krsna-sandarbha, which describes Sudama as a demigod (Anuccheda 43.6-7)

We find three places in Caitanya-caritamrta where Sudama sakha is mentioned as being the personification of service in fraternity. In Madhya 19.190 we read:

    sakhya-bhakta -- sridamadi, pure bhimarjuna
    vatsalya-bhakta -- mata pita, yata guru-jana

    "In Vrndavana, examples of devotees in fraternity are Sridama and Sudama; in Dvaraka the Lord's friends are Bhima and Arjuna; in Vrndavana the devotees in parental love are mother Yasoda and father Nanda Maharaja, and in Dvaraka the Lord's parents are Vasudeva and Devaki. There are also other superior persons who are devotees in parental love."

    (Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya lila 19.190)

In Madhya 23.93 we read:

    ei-mata dasye dasa, sakhye sakha-gana
    vatsalye mata pita asrayalambana

    "Just as Lord Krsna and Srimati Radharani are the object and shelter of the mellow of conjugal love, so, in the mellow of servitorship, Krsna, the son of Maharaja Nanda, is the object, and servants like Citraka, Raktaka and Patraka are the shelter. Similarly, in the transcendental mellow of friendship, Lord Krsna is the object, and friends like Sridama, Sudama and Subala are the shelter. In the transcendental mellow of parental affection, Krsna is the object, and mother Yasoda and Maharaja Nanda are the shelter."

    (Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya lila 23.93)

And in the following Madhya purport, Srila Prabhupada writes:

    "Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura points out that in Vrajabhumi there is the Yamuna River with its sandy banks. There are kadamba trees, cows, Krsna's sticks with which He herds cows, and Krsna's flute. All of these belong to santa-rasa, the mellow of neutrality in devotional service. There are also the direct servants of Krsna, such as Citraka, Patraka and Raktaka, and these are the embodiments of service in the mellow of servitude. There are also friends like Sridama and Sudama, who embody service in fraternity. Nanda Maharaja and mother Yasoda are the embodiments of parental love. Above all of these are Srimati Radharani and Her assistants, the gopis Lalita, Visakha and others, who embody conjugal love. In this way all five mellows -- santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya -- exist eternally in Vrajabhumi. They are also compared, respectively, to copper, bell metal, silver, gold and touchstone, the basis of all metals. Srila Kaviraja Gosvami therefore refers to a mine eternally existing in Vrndavana, Vrajabhumi."

    (Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya lila 8.294)

We find a further reference to Madhya 19.190 in Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur's Sri Amnaya-sutra, which describes Sudama's fraternal mood of servitorship and the various rasas:

    "Sutra 98 - sakhya-rasah

    In Sri Caitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 19.190) it is said:

    sakhya bhakta sridamadi pure bhimarjuna

    "In Vrindavana examples of devotees in fraternity are Sridama and Sudama. In Dvaraka the Lord's friends are Bhima and Arjuna."

    In Sri Caitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 19.222-223) it is said:

    santera guna dasyera sevana sakhye dui haya dasyera sambhrama gaurava sakhye visvasa maya

    "The qualities of santa-rasa and the service of dasya-rasa are both present on the platform of sakhya-rasa. On the platform of fraternity the qualities of dasya-rasa are mixed with the confidence of fraternity instead of awe and veneration."*

    kandhe cade kandhe cadaya kare krida-rana krishna seve krishne karaya apana sevana

    "On the sakhya-rasa platform the devotee sometimes offers the Lord service and sometimes makes Krishna serve Him in exchange. In their mock-fighting the cowherd boys would sometimes climb on Krishna's shoulders and sometimes they would make Krishna climb on their shoulders."

    (Sri Amnaya-sutra, Part Three, Chapter Three - Rasa-prakarana (The Rasas) by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur)

On the matter of expression of rasa, the following quote from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati elevates the example of Sudama as the personification of fraternal servitorship to its highest level, in an example referring to Lord Caitanya Himself:

    "Shri Gurudeva is the daughter of Brishabhanu (Shri Radha) in the Madhura-rasa (Spiritual quality of sweetness of Divine amour). There are different ways in which different persons, whose faculty of spiritual consciousness has been aroused, judge about their own requirements. Every enlightened person is privileged to have a sign of Shri Gurudeva in accordance with his particular mode of judgment. Shri Gurudeva is that real Entity who thus revels himself to the view of enlightened souls in a variety of ways. Realised by the method of the Rasa of parental affection Shri Gurudeva reveals himself as Nanda-Yasoda. In the Rasa of friendly affection he is Shridama-Sudama. In the Rasa of the devotion of servants to the master the lotus-feet of Shri Guru act as Chitraka-Patraka. The consideration of all these Aashrayas of the Vishaya rises in the heart as one progresses in the service of Shri Guru. These subjects do not manifest themselves in the course of any artificial process. They are aroused spontaneously in the consciousness of fortunate souls on the appearance of the disposition for spiritual service of the Divinity. We have no other function than the service of Shri Guru. By means of the adulterated consciousness of the material world it is not possible to discuss the eternal Pastimes of Godhead that are inaccessible even to Shesha, Shiva, Brahma, and their peers."

    (Be Humbler Even Than a Blade of Grass - Part 1) by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur)

In our next segment, we will begin to explore the personal descriptions of Sudama sakha and his pastimes with Krsna in Vraja.


Series Introduction
Subala Part 1
Subala Part 2
Subala Part 3
Subala Part 4
Subala Part 5
Subala Part 6
Subala Part 7
Subala Part 8
Subala Part 9
Subala Part 10
Ujjvala Part 1
Ujjvala Part 2
Arjuna - Part 2


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