śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!

Rays of The Harmonist On-Line Edition

Year 9, Issue 4
Posted: 27 May 2016

Dedicated to
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja

Inspired by and under the guidance of
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja

The Dance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya - Part 2

by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda


...Continued from The Dance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya

The aesthetic quality of such performance is different from the art of dancing that is practiced for the gratification of the senses of conditioned souls. The distinction can, however, be properly grasped only by those who have had the rare fortune of already experiencing the same in some preliminary forms. But, as in the case of every other form of higher spiritual activity, it is liable to be misunderstood by less advanced devotees as well as by the uninitiated.

Fortunately, however, the activity has the further quality of exciting the better judgement of those who are not unwilling to practice inner scrutiny of their own shortcomings. Those who are perversely disposed to shut their eyes to their own patent imperfections necessarily misunderstand the nature that is the highest function of all souls.

Śrī Gaurasundara is love Himself. The activity of divine love is displayed by love Himself in His own form of the dance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, the divine teacher of all the world’s teachers. Unless the preceptorial function points to this consummation of the disciplic activity, it can possess no teaching value whatsoever. There is no higher expression of the complete submissiveness of loving service than the dance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. It is the fitting consummation of pure temple worship by the methods of severe and solemn reverence and awe.

These methods represent the necessary preliminary efforts for the realization of the perfect spontaneous loving activity. On the other hand, if the solemnity of reverential worship is practiced without due reference to its ultimate purpose, it is bound to degenerate into the antics of meaningless idolatrous asceticism. There is also the danger of the opposite kind, which is no less fatal. The professional sensual performances of abandoned men and women may also be [mistakenly] extolled as the ecstasies of pure devotion.

Those who may hesitate to accept the above view of the real nature of the dance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya should find it impossible to explain the occurrence of the corresponding activity in our present life, and also the extraordinary value that is attached to it, especially by those who are most anxious to deny its propriety in the conception of the Absolute Personality.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the perfect dancer. So, also, is Śrī Caitanya. There is the perfection of the aesthetic function in both, but with a real distinction. The dance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the dance of the Lord; the dance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya is the dance of the Lord in the mood of His only beloved. The former is not the function of man or woman. The latter is the divine source of the proper function of all souls.

The dissipation of dance practised by man and woman is the punishment and degradation of the bad ambition of perverse souls for usurping the Lordly function of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. It is for this reason that for those who are at all desirous of serving Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the śāstras forbid such dancing.

At the same time, the śāstras enjoin that all brāhmaṇas practice the performance of the other kind of dancing. By this, a reference may be kept alive between all forms of worship to the perfect practice of divine love represented by the dance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya.

This aesthetic aspect of divine service is also missed by those who attempt to understand it in the allegorical sense. Its real meaning is equally inaccessible to the idealistic interpreter. The dance of Śrī Gaurasundara as described by Ṭhākura Vṛndāvana dāsa and Śrī Kavirāja Gosvāmī is a real performance and a concrete event. It is not less real but more real than the dance of any historical figure of this world. But no person can understand its real nature without being favoured by special divine mercy. To such a person, the dance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya reveals Himself as the ever-present undivided living reality.

Adapted from The Gaudiya
by the Rays of The Harmonist team

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