The Padyavali is an anthology of devotional verses in Sanskrit compiled by Sri Rupa Gosvami. Sri Rupa was one of the six principal associates of Lord Caitanya Mahprabhu (AD 1486 - 1534). Lord Caitanya was the founder of the Gaudiya (or Bengal) school of Vaisnavism.
Rupa Goswami has chosen 388 verses composed, in various mete3rs, by a little over a hundred devotee poets. The verses are placed under several headings and deal with various aspects of the nature of bhakti, of the aspirations of devotees and of the deeds and exploits of Lord Krsna and His associates.
The rubrics are so chosen as to structure the text beginning with general principles of bhakti, interspaced by narrations of pastimes of the Lord, culminating in expressing the superlative form of the love of Radha and the gopis for Krsna.
I have assumed that the reader is familiar with the personality of Krsna and the happenings of His life when He incarnated on this earth. The reader will, perhaps, be served best without an elaborate introduction or detailed comments on the verses. Sparing the reader such 'guidance' would enable Him to see the verses, in the simplicity, innocent charm and emotional appeal, just as I discovered them. In this way the reader will also be able to appreciate the genius of the compiler in creating a collection of verses in logical structure and smooth harmony.
The six gosvamis of Vrndavana, along with several other devotees of Lord Caitanya, have written an enormous amount of literature of the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sect covering virtually every branch of classical Sanskrit philosophy and theology, poetical narrations of Krishna's divine lilas, drama and dramaturgy, ritual and codes of conduct, grammar, rhetoric and poetics, and prosody and music. Of the six gosvamis, Sri Rupa's contribution to this vast literature is substantial and unique.
Sri Rupa Gosvami was a Karnataka brahmana whose ancestors migrated and settled in Bengal. He and his brother Sanatana Gosvami were high officials at the court of the Muslim ruler of Gauda (Bengal). Although they did not convert to Islam, they had accepted the Muslim titles of Dabir Khas and Saker Malik respectively. The two brother enjoyed immense authority and perks of office under the Muslim ruler and had also acquired considerable wealthy. But when they met Lord Caitanya, He so enamoured them by His personality and His teachings, that they gave up their offices and joined Him as ascetic disciples. And from then on it was only pure, blissful Krsna bhakti for them as taught by their Lord.
It is difficult to find suitable words within the English language, to describe adequately the depth of feeling and emotion of the authors of the verses, for it is best imbibed in the original Sanskrit. While translating the verses into English I have tried to capture the mood of the devotees, as best as I could. It is hoped nevertheless that the readers of this beautiful transcendental anthology will be able to relish much of the sentiments of divine love expressed in them.
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