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Madhava-mahotsava :: Jiva Gosvamin

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The text used here is Puri Das's 1953 critical edition. I have not included the variant readings in this first edition here, but this is a particularly interesting case of differning texts and Jiva's revising of his own work (See Jiva Goswami: An overview of his writings). It will thererfore be important for us to eventually publish the critical edition.

Jagat (2004-05-15)
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Entry added: May 16th 2004
Entry updated: May 16th 2004
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Added by: Jagat
Text version: 1.01 (legend)
Keywords: Jiva, Gosvami, Madhava, mahotsava, Goswami
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For more info. · Posted by Jagat on May 28th 2004 - 17:14 +0200
A more complete summary of the contents may be found HERE.
Radha's coronation · Posted by Jagat on May 16th 2004 - 16:19 +0200
In many places in the writings of the Goswamis, the gopis and Krishna's sakhas, or even Radha and Krishna themselves, bicker about who is really the most important of the two of them. Is it Krishna, who is Govinda, the Lord of the Cows, who was directly anointed by Indra and Surabhi after he held Govardhan aloft for seven days, or is it Radha, who is known as Vrindavanesvari? But if Radha is indeed the Goddess or Empress of Vrindavan, when did this actually happen?

The following verse is found in the Padma Purana:

vRndAvanAdhipatyaM ca dattaM tasyAH pratuSyatA |
kRSNenAnyatra devI tu rAdhA vRndAvane vane ||
Krishna was so pleased with Radha that he gave her rulership over Vrindavan. Radha is everywhere known as “the Goddess,” but in Vrindavan forest she appears as herself. (PadmaP 5.77.39)
According to Jiva (MM 1.18), there are similar references in the Brihad Gautamiya Tantra and Matsya Purana, but it is really in the Dana-keli-kaumudi that we get the first inkling of the festive coronation ceremony where this took place.

Three other places where Radha's abhisheka is mentioned:

sakhyAsmAkaM vRndayA vardhitaM yad
vRndAraNyaM khyAtim etad vidhAtrA
mahyaM dattaM tat-saratnAbhiSekaM
rAjAnaGgas tvaM ca pAteti satyam
Srimati Radhika said, “This forest has attained renown as Vrindavan, for it has thrived under our sakhi Vrinda's care. But Lord Brahma turned it over to me with a jeweled crowning ceremony. Thus, it is only true to say that King Cupid is its protector (and not its actual sovereign ruler). (Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami, Govinda Lilamrita, 9.52)
sArdhaM mAnasa-jAhnavIm upanadI-vargaiH saraGgotkaraiH
sAvitry-Adi-surI-kulaiz ca nitarAm AkAza-vANyA vidhoH |
vRndAraNya-vareNya-rAjya-viSaye zrI-paurNamAsI mudA
rAdhAM yatra siSeca siJcatu sukhaM sonmatta-rAdhA-sthalI
On the order of Lord Brahma, who spoke from the sky, Paurnamasi and the demigoddesses like Savitri joyfully sprinkled the waters of the Manasa Ganga and other sacred rivers on Radha's head to consecrate her “Vrindavanesvari,” queen of the beautiful forest of Vrindavan. That happened in this place, known as “Unmatta-radha-sthali” (Umrao). (Sri Raghunatha Das Goswami, Vraja-vilasa-stava, 61)
prItyA maGgala-gIta-nRtya-vilasad-vINAdi-vAdyotsavaiH
zuddhAnAM payasAM ghaTair bahu-vidhaiH saMvAsitAnAM bhRzam
vRndAraNya-mahAdhipatya-vidhaye yaH paurNamAsyA svayaM
dhIre saMvihitaH sa kiM tava mahA-seko mayA drakSyate
O patient Radha, when will I see the great coronation ceremony lovingly conducted by Paurnamasi herself, in which you are officially consecrated as sovereign Queen of Vrindavan with pots of clear, scented water and a great festival of auspicious music and dancing? (Sri Raghunatha Das Goswami, Vilapa-kusumanjali, 87)
Why is this book called Madhava Mahotsava?

One may ask why the book is entitled Sri Madhava Mahotsava since it is all about Radha's abhisheka? There are several reasons:

(1) The first reason, stated at the beginning of the book (1.9) is that it takes place during the spring. Madhava is the name given to the spring or to either of spring's two months, Chaitra (BhP 10.65.16, [i]madhu[/i]) or Vaisakha (Harinamamrita-vyakarana 1.103). There seems to be distinction between "madhu" and "mAdhava" in this respect. Haridas Das seems to favor Chaitra month, but he does not give specific reasons for that choice here.

The Vaishnava calendar calls these two months Vishnu and Madhusudana (the latter having "madhu" in it). It also has a month named Madhava, but it is equivalent to Magha, which falls in the winter and seems to be excluded here.

Chaitra Purnima is remembered for Krishna's "Vasanta Rasa", while Vaisakhi Purnima is known worldwide as Buddha Purnima, but the Vaishnavas celebrate it as Krishna's "Phula Dola" festival. It is also known as "Guru Purnima." There is also this largely irrelevant information about a [URL=]Madhu Purnima[/URL].

It would help if there were a tradition clearly establishing the date. For some reason, there is no institutionalized celebration of Radharani's abhisheka in the calendar, which seems to be an oversight that is in great need of correction. Though I am inclined to trust Haridas Das and go with Chaitra Purnima, verse 3.104 clearly seems to indicate Vaisakha--
Agatya mAna-nilayA atha paurNamAsyA
labdhvAnumodam anurAdhikayA vizAkhA
rAdhendu-kAntam uditAM vasatI-mukhe tAM
kurvaty alaM kuvalaye mudam AcacAra
The night-lotuses will become blissful when the full moon rises in the evening and the Visakha constellation appears along with Anuradha.
This seems decisive to me. One major problem: Vaisakha is part of the hot season, not spring, which includes Phalgun and Chaitra.

(2) The second reason, also indicated by the words mAdhavendum api yat tu manditaM is that Krishna was present on the occasion of the abhisheka and in large part arranged for it to take place

More particularly, this reason is given in the fourth sarga (4.4) --

kintu tvaM bhavati yathA tadAbhiSeke
mAtRRNAM gati-kRta-hrIr na me na tasyAH |
tAsAM syAn mud api yathA tathA vidadhyA
rAjyaM nau samam ucitaM yathA tathA ca ||
In order to avoid Srimati Radhika's embarrassment due to her naturally shy nature, Sri Krishna instructed Vrinda Devi, “O Vrinda! Make all arrangements such that when the elder women come, they will be happy and Radha and I will not be embarrassed. Arrange all things properly for the event. To avoid Radha's embarrassment, externally the festival will bear my name (Madhava Mahotsava), though her name will be understood.”
Contents · Posted by Jagat on May 16th 2004 - 16:16 +0200

Though Jiva humbly refers to this work as a khaNDa-kAvya or short poetical work (9.99-100), it clearly follows the conventions of the mahA-kAvya (great poetical work). Examples of khaNDa-kAvyas are Hamsaduta and Uddhava-sandesa, mahA-kAvyas are Govinda-lilamrita and the Caitanya-caritamrita-mahA-kAvyam of Karnapura Goswami.

The Sanskrit mahA-kAvya is usually written in eight or more sargas, or chapters. In general, each sarga is written in a single metre. In the Madhava-mahotsava, there are nine such sargas, the first eight of which follow this convention, the last chapter using a large number of obscure metres, some of which I have only found examples of in this book and nowhere else. Each sarga in this book is named after Radha, according to the themes found in the chapter.[LIST=1][*] [b]utsuka-rAdhikA[/b] (written in rathoddhatA metre) The first chapter tells of the prospective meeting of Radha and Krishna, so Radha is full of eagerness, i.e., utsuka. 144 verses.
[*] [b]unmanyu-rAdhikA[/b] (upajAti of indravajra and upendravajra). This chapter tells of how rumors that Chandravali to be made queen of Vrindavan have been spread by Padma and others, through a misunderstanding of course. Radha becomes angry, therefore “unamanyu.” 106 verses.
[*] [b]utphulla-rAdhikA[/b] (vasanta-tilaka). This chapter tells how the difficulties are overcome through the efforts of Vrinda Devi, Paurnamasi and Visakha. Krishna's true intention to see Radha crowned Queen of Vrindavan are made clear, ergo, Radha is full of joy or utphulla. 119 verses.
[*] [b]uddyota-rAdhikA [/b](praharsini). This chapter describes the adhivasa, or preliminary rituals performed on the eve of the actual abhishek. Uddyota means the first rays of light before dawn. 111 verses.
[*] [b]udita-rAdhikA[/b] (indravamsa) Final preparations are made for the abhishek and Radha ascends to the throne. udita means “risen.” 97 verses.
[*] [b]unnata-rAdhikA[/b] (drutavilambita). This chapter describes the advent of the many goddesses who participate in the ritual. Radha is elevated (unnata). 148 verses.
[*] [b]utsikta-rAdhikA[/b] (mAlinI). This chapter describes the actual abhisheka. Utsika means “drenched.” 168 verses.
[*] [b]ujjvala-rAdhikA[/b] (anuSTup). Radha is dressed and ornamented. 173 verses.
[*] [b]unmada-rAdhikA[/b] (mixed meters). Radha is joined on the simhasan by Krishna and the conclusion is their appropriate union. 106 verses.
[/LIST] Total verses 1192.