Gist of Raadha Maadhava Sallaapam:
The Bhagawatham in 10th skandam describes Raasa Kreeda,where at one place, it only states that Sri Krishna enjoys with one particular Gopi in seclusion to all other Gopis and this Gopi becomes too Egoistic and to bring her ego down Sri Krishna goes away from her and mingles with all other Gopis. Then this Gopi gets angry and blames Krishna for such acts.Her sakkhi pacifies her and unites them through her advice to both.
The Bhaagavatham never states about Raadhika. No other puranam explains about Raadhika, except the Brahma Vaivartha Puraanam. In the 10th Skandam, there is a description about GolOkam where the Lord in the form of Maadhava ever exists with Raadhika Devi as his consort.Due to a curse from Sudhaama, one of the body guards of Sri Maadhava (Sri Krishna), Sri Raadhika Devi had to take birth in the Bhoolokam as a girl.
Sri Krishna assures Raadhika that He would take birth as Krishna in Bhoolokam, where she would take birth as the girl child of Vrushabhanu Maharaaja and then both can enjoy the life in Bhoolokam. This is the basic story of Raadha Krishna Jananam.
There comes Sri Raadhika Devi, who is handed over with the child when Nanda Gopa asks her to take Krishna Home. She fondly hugs the child and goes. Sri Krishna Bhagawan thought it the right time to remind Radhika Devi about her status and wishes to show her their earlier abode, i.e. Golokam. He brings before her the scenery of Golokam which reminds her of her original nature and all of a sudden in ectasy she tries to hug the Lord (seen in Golakam) with both her hands open wide and she rushes towards Madhava (Krishna in Bhoolakam).
At that time, the child disappears and Krishna thought that before accepting Radhika, the usual Vivaaha Karma should be performed and as the eagerness of Raadhika cannot be controlled he orders Sri Brahma Deva to perform the marriage, which he does with Pravaram, Lagnashtakam, Kanyaka Daanam, Panigrahanam, Laja Homam etc. Raadha Kalyaanam is said to have taken place in Brahma Muhurtham, that around 3.30 a.m. or so. This is the meaning of this slokam which is elaborately stated in Raadha Kalyaanam as Choornikai. This shows that performing Poorna Ashtapadi is equal to performing Raadha Kalyaanam.
The theme in Ashtapathi and the Author:
The Ashtapathi songs are called "GEETHA GOVINDA MAHAA KAAVYAM", which is said to be the ancient form of Sringaara Kaavyams. These are full of Sringaara Rasapravaaham. In short, These songs describe the celestial love between Raadhika Devi and Krishna, The Egoistic nature of Raadhika, Her Anger towards Krishna, Her viraha thaapam (sorrow in separation), reunion and their Sallapam.
Padmaavathi was born to a devoute Brahmin Deva Sarma, who,during his prayers longed for a child and promised to present the child after growth to the Lord Jagannath Himself. When she became of marriageable age, Sri Deva Sarma, in fulfilment of his promise, offered her to Lord Jagannath, who ordered the chief priest in his dreams to take the child to Sri Jayadeva and get her married to him. Lord Jagannath informed the priest that Jayadeva is none other than Himself.
Thus, the girl was left at the Kutir of Sri Jayadeva, against his wish, who refused to enter into Gruhasthaasrama. Due to the stead fastness of Padmaavathi & her Bhakthi and service to him, he considered it as God's will and ultimately married her in the normal way. Sri Jayadeva enacted the scenes of this Kaavyam while composing it along with Padmavathi dancing to the tunes. Thus, this Kaavyam is a living monument of Srigaara Rasa Bhaava.
The summary of contents of Ashtapathi:
Like Bhagawatham describing Krishna Leela and Raasakreeda in 12 Skandams, Ashtapathi also has 12 Sargams, containing 24 Ashtapathi songs. Each song comprises mostly of Eight stanzaas with the exception ofone or two Ashtapadis which are less or more than 8 stanzaas. (This kaavyam was placed before the Raja Sadas and this has been named as Ashtap0adi by the Pandits and Raja. The contents of Sargams, in short, are:
1. Picturisation of Dasaavathaarams of Krishna and the prabhaavams of the Lord in various avathaars are described in priase of Lord in the first two Ashtapadis. The third & fourth Ashtapadis are the description of Vasantha Kaala Varnanai & Raasa Leela of Krishna with other Gopis in Brindaavan described by the Sakkhi.(1 to 4 Ashtapadis- 1st Sargam called: "Samoda Damodarah")
2. Raadhikaa's grief as Krishna is enjoying with other Gopis, ignoring her totally and getting herself annoyed, being too possessive of Krishna and staying alone in the kutir made of plants and requesting Sakkhi to go and explain to Krishna Her plight and to fetch him to Her to accept Her. (5th and 6th Ashtapadi - 2nd Sargam called: "Aklesa Kesavah").
3. Krishna's realisation of his mistake of ignoring Raadhika & spending his time with other Gopis.(7th Ashtapadi-3rd Sargam called: "Mugddha Madhusudhanah").
4. Sakkhi explaining the Viraha Thaapam suffered by Raadhika and pleading to God to please Raadhika by His presence before Her.(8th & 9th Ashtapadi - 4th Sargam called: "Snigddha Madhusudhanah").
5. Sri Krishna asking Sakkhi to pacify Raadhika & fetch Her to Him. (10th & 11th Ashtapadis - 5th Sargam called: "Abhisaarikaa Varnane Saakaamksha Pundareekakshah").
6. Sakkhi explaining the aweful condition of Raadhika due to Viraha Thaapam and Her inability to move & requesting Lord to go to Her.(12th Ashtapadi - 6th Sargam called: "Sothkkhantta Vaikunttah").
7. Shri Raadhika's plight of suffering due to Viraha Thaapam and started blabbering like a mad person in imagination of Krishna being in company of other Gopis.(13th, 14th, 15th and 16th Ashtapadis - 7th Sargam called: "Vipralabhdha Varnane Naagareeka Naaraayana").
8. In the dawn Sri Krishna arriving at Raadhika's Kutir and Raadhika, in anger, drives away Krishna saying 'YAAHI MAADHAVA".(17th Ashtapadi - 8th Sargam called:"Kkhanditha Varnane Vilaksha Lakshmipadi:").
9. Sakkhi, criticising about Raadhika's angry mood which mades Krishna disappear. The Sakkhi advices Her to behave well when He comes next. Raadhika realises Her faults and repents.(18th Ashtapadi - 9th Sargam called:"Kalahaantharitha Varnane Mugddha Mukundah").
10. Sri Krishna reappearing before Raadhika and pacifying Her with His sweet words like: you are my Jeeva, you are my ornament, you are my Pearl etc. and pleads for Her forgiveness and goes away.(19th Ashtapadi - 10th Sargam called : "Radha Varnane Mugddha Maadhavah").
11. Sakhi, pointing out to Raadhika about the kindness of Krishna and His behaviour and that She should now go to Krishna's place and unite with Him & please Him. Raadhika visits Krishna Mandir(where Krishna was waiting to receive Her) and gets thrilled in his darshan. (20th, 21st and 22nd Ashtapadis - 11th Sargam called: "Saanada Govindah").
12. Both enter the house & become united.Krishna does alankaaram to Raadhika, whose dresses were crumbled and displaced during the Union.Thus ends the Sringaara Rasa Kaavyam.(23rd and 24th Ashtapadis - 12th Sargam called: "Swadheena Barthrukaa Varnane Supreetha Peethaambarah").
The sanctity of Ashtapathi:
It is said that the Ashtapathi Kaavyam of Sri Jayadeva has been blessed by the Lord Himself, about which the 19th Ashtapthi vouchsafes. In this 19th Ashtapathi, in the seventh stanza, he wrote as if Lord has suffered from Kaamam (passion) & only Raadhikaa's feet kept on His head will bring down the Thaapam and the Lord pleading to Raadhika to place Her feet onto His head. Suddently, Jayadeva realises his mistake and feels how he could think of a lady's feet being kept on the Lord. He repented and erased the stanza and tried to re-write it.
Having no ideas to pour he thought he could do later and gave the Kaavyam to Padmavathi to keep it safe and that he would go for oilbath. After some time, he came and called to Padmaavathi to bring the Kaavyam as he had some good idea and wanted to fill up where he left the song. With the oil soaked hand he wrote some lines and gave back the Kaavyam to her and went for bath. After meals while taking rest, he opned the Kaavyam and saw, to his surprise, the seventh stanza having got filled up with what ever he originally wrote. He got wild and scolded Padvaavathy for being negligent, for someone else has come and written what he did not want to write.
Padmaavathy in sheer surprise, narrated what happened when he went for bath. Jayadeva realised that God has come in Jayadeva's form and filled up the unfinished stanza with the same idea that occured to him originally. This means that Lord himself has accepted the stanza, and finally the Kaavyam itself.After this, the final Charanam of some Ashtapadis are all ending with "Jayathu Padmaavathi Ramana Jayadeva Kavi" because Jayadeva considered her as the blessed Bhaktha of the Lord & he wanted to be known through her, since Padmaavathy got the Darshana of Lord and not Jayadeva. Thus, this Ashtapadi has its acceptance by the Lord Himself. The 22nd Ashtapadi is said to be the Kalyaana Ashtapadi, since it is here that Raadhika comes to Krishna and Krishna accepts her and makes her happy. To indicate the reunion, this is called Kalyaana Ashtapadi.
Philosophical Importance of Ashtrapathi:
Our scriptures declare that for every Manthra/Sloka/Song, there is an inner import, which should be taken up as the guide by evey Jeeva. Our seers have all given the Brahma Thathwaas in the form of prayer songs,slokaas,Puraanaas, scriptures, Srutis, Smritis and various bashyams for them. Everything relates to the behaviour of human beings, their relations with nature and God. They prescribe various methods to regain our lost status, i.e. reunion with the Ultimate Truth.
For instance, take tha Puranam: Raamaayana. What is the moral we have to learn from there:
- PITHRU VAAKYA PARIPAALANAM
- EKA PATHNI VRUTHAM
- SAHODARA SNEHAM
- SADHU SAMRAKSHANAM
- DHARMA STHAAPANAM
- BHAKTHA PARIPAALANAM
- DUSHTA NIGRAHAM
- ATHIVRUTHA DHARMAM
- SARANAAGATHI THATWAM
- BHAKTHA LAKSHNAM
Let us consider Krishnavathaaram. What is conveyed through Bhaagawatham & Bhaaratham:
- DHARMA PARIPAALANAM
- SHARING WITH OTHERS
- SARANAAGATHI THATWAM
- AHANKAARA DAMANAM
- KARMA YOGAM
- BHAKTHI YOGAM
- GNANA YOGAM
- HATA YOGAM
- BHAKTHA LAKSHNAM
- DUSHTA NIGRAHAM
- SISHTA PARIPAALANAM
- JEEVAATHA PARAMAATHMA BANDHAM
- STUDY OF NATURE
- UNITY IN DIVERSITY
We have learnt the principles one should adopt in leading a Dharmic life. We are handed over with the practices one should adopt in leading a Saahtwic life. We are also taught that we have the right to work and the result is left to the Super Power, which is already fixed according to the equations pre-determined depending on the quality and characteristics of each action. We call this as VIDHI.
Similarly,through Ashtapathi songs and slokaas,we have been shown practically
( 1) the value of relationships,
( 2) the falsehood of Ahamkaar and Mamaakar,
( 3) the existence of Truth in all forms,
( 4) Jeevaathma Paramaathma relationship,
( 5) God's Krupa towards Bhakthaas,
( 6) Secrets and purpose of Avathaars,
( 7) Bhaktha Lakshnam,
( 8) one-ness of all,
( 9) Principles of Bhakthi Maarga for salvation,
(10) Guru Sishya Bhaavam,
(11) Paraa Bhakthi,
(12) community living principles,
(13) strength of Unity,
(14) value of collective prayer,
(15) limitations of wordly relationships,
(16) Godly principle etc. etc.
Instead of the Sringaara Rasa in Ashtapathi, we must see Bhakthi Laya Bhava in this Kaavyam. Raadhika representing all the Jeevaathmaas, Sri Krishna the Paramaathma and Sakkhi the Guru. All of us (Jeevaas), having separated from the Paramaathma, have come to this world of matter & got ourselves entangled in Maaya (Ignorance) and forgot about our origin - the Permanant Bliss form of ours, we must feel the pangs of separation as suffered by Raadhika,we must follow the advice of our Gurus, we must curse our status, we must cast away our Ego, we must crave for the presence of Lord and ultimately reunite with the Paramaathma, we should realise the beauty and power of Nature, we must enjoy the happiness within and not outside,we must enact the Leelaas of God like
Jayadeva and Padmaavathi did and follow the principles therein, we must be aware of the Bhagawath Krupa when it flows and keep ourselves fit for receiving it. All the Puraanaas and Kaavyaas are trying to project the way of life one should lead in order to get re-united with the God.
The essence, thus, of this Amara Kaavyam is the sorry state of affairs of Jeevathmaas and the way to re-unite with Paramaathma through Prema Bhakthi & total surrender to Lord as adviced by Sakkhi (who has played the role of a Guru). The best bhaava we should possess while doing Ashtapathi is "NAAYIKA NAAYAKA BHAAVAM" or "GOPIKAA BHAAVAM",which depicts the Bhakthi Layam.
We have stated earlier that Raadhakalyaanam took place in Brahma Muhoortham. As per the Vendanthic explanations, the best time for Dhyaanam is Brahma Muhoortham. Thus, Raadhakalyaanam is the Union of Jeevaathma with Paramaathma & the best time for it, is the Brahma Muhoortham. Performing Poorna Ashtapathi Bhajan is considered equivalent to having performed Radha Kalyaanam.
Before a Kalyaana Paddhathi, it is customary to sing all the Ashtapathis,which itself form a special Paddhathi called "POORNA ASHTAPATHI PADDHATHI".
The paddhathi starts with
"the three Poorva Slokams of Ashtapadi"
"Yadgopi Vadanendu Mandanam Aboodu ....."
"Raadha Manorama Ramaavara Raasaleela ..."
"Sree Gopaala Vilaasini Valayasadrathnaadi..."
The third one is normally sung in Poorvi Kalyaani Raagam as it is followed by a song "PADMAAVATHI RAMANAM - JAYA DEVA KAVI RAAJA" in the same raagam, giving short history of Jayadeva and Padmavathi & about the origin of this Kaavyam. Then the slokams:-
"Meghair Medhuram Ambaram",
"Vaakdevatha Charitha Chithritha Chittha Sadma",
"Yathi Harismarane Sarasam Mana:" etc.
are sung. Now starts first Ashtapadi with poorva sloka
. Both Poorva Slokaas and Uthara Slokaas of each Ashtapasi must be sung. Naamavali may be taken up, time permitting, after each Ashtapasi (after Uthara sloka) or atleast at the end of each Sargam.
After the 24th Ashtapathi, Paartha Saarathi Geetham "Bhajatha Prema Krupaanidhi Maadhavam" in Thodi to be sung after the slokam: "Nakkhaniyamida Khandoon". This is followed by:-
Kalyaana Tharangam:"Aaalokaye Rukmini Kalyaana Gopaalam"
Pooja Paddhathi Kramam
If Poorna Ashtapadi is done before Kalyaanam, then you can stop at any end of Sargam, as per time permitting and continue the balance during Paddhathi Bhajan, Dolothsavam and 22nd, 23rd and 24th on Kalyaanam day.
In such case, the Parthasaarathi Geetham and Kalyaana Tharangam should be sung after the Maangalya Dhaaranam, but before Anjaneya.
After Poorna Ashtapathi, it is customary to recite the first starting sloka at the end, to indicate that this is a continuous process and does not end with this programme.
There is a practice of offering different palahaarams (total 24) at the end of each Ashtapadi. This is possible only for some people. However, two Kela Fruits and Betal Leaves & nut Nivedhyam is a must after each Ashtapadi.