Transcendental Flowers, Part 7

BY: SUN STAFF - 1.10 2020

Madhavi lata Flower
 

Transcendental flowers glorified throughout Vedic literature.

One of the divine flowers mentioned most often in sastra is the Madhavi-lata, a beautiful creeper bearing fragrant flowers. Madhavi-lata (Hiptage benghalensis) has a strong, fruity perfume, narrow leaves that slope downward, and blooms that range from pinkish to white to yellow. The edges of the flowers are fluffy and toothed, reminiscent of a parrot's head, and the climbing shrubs bear abundant clusters. Stories about the pastimes of Sri Sri Radha Krsna in Vrindavana are replete with mention of the Madhavi-lata creeper, which serves as forest arbor, garland and ornament.

Madhavi-lata is known by many names in India:

Hindi = mādhavī, madamālatī, vasantī, mādhavīlatā, madhumālatī
Marathi = halad bel, pibalī bel, mādhavī
Bengali = mādhavīlatā vosantī
Gujarati = mādhavī, raktapitta
Nepali = carapare lahar
Panjabi = bekor, cubak, coyer
Kannada = ātimūrti mādhavī, basanta duti
Telugu = atimutam
Tamil = ādigam, ādigandī, mātavi, vacantakāl mallikai

In Sri Krsna-vijaya, Sri Gunaraja Khan writes that "Vrindavana is beautiful with trees of many colors and kinds, blossoming madhavi vines, many beautiful flowers, and the singing of parrots, and great-tailed peacocks."

Sri Garga Samhita describes the Vraja environs where Krsna herds the cows:

"Its Yamuna shore very pure and sacred, and its groves decorated with many dark tamala trees and many beautiful nipa, nimba, kadamba, pravala, panasa, kadali, kovidara, mango, jambu, bilva, asvattha, and kapittha trees, as well as many madhavi vines, beautiful in the springtime, and its glory eclipsing the nandana, sarvatobhadra, and caitraratha forests of heaven, transcendental Vrindavana forest was splendidly manifest." (GS 1.4.10)

"Then Vrindavana forest manifested its transcendental form. Filled with madhavi vines and kalpa-vriksha trees, it eclipsed the Nandana gardens of Indra." (GS 2.2.19.5)

In Sri Padyavali, Srila Rupa Gosvami narrates Madhava Krsna's daily pastimes:

madhavo madhura-madhavi-lata-
mandape patur atan madhuvrate
sanjagau sravana-caru gopika-
mana-mina-badisena venuna

"Walking in the madhavi grove where there were many bumble-bees, intelligent Madhava played very beautiful music on His flute, which was like a fishhook to catch the fish of the gopis' hearts." (Dinantara-varta, text 247)

Madhavi lata Plant
 

In Sri Vidagdha-Madhava (Clever Krishna), Srila Rupa Goswami describes the Madhavi-lata flower groves of Vraja:

"lalita: kadham edam vi-addha-mi-unam mahavi-kudangantaridam samvuttam.

Lalita: How has this expert couple become hidden in the grove of madhavi creepers?

vrinda:

radha-madhavayor medhyam
keli-madhvika-madhurim
dhayan nayana-bhrngena
kas trptim adhigacchati

Vrinda: When the bumble-bees of his eyes drink the sweet, pure, sacred madhvika nectar of the amorous pastimes of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna, what person becomes satiated?

lalita: hala ede galana-marandam pi mahavi-puppha-sandoham mukki-a kisam bhinga puvvahimuham dha-anti.

Lalita: Ah! Why have these bees abandoned these madhavi flowers dripping with honey, and instead hurried to the east?

vrinda: sakhi vimucya madhavi-mandapam nagara-mandalottamsau prasthitau tayor amodam anusarpantah satpada dhavanti. tad ehi lata-mandiralokanena nandayavas caksusi. (iti parikramya) lalite pasya pasya.

Vrinda: Friend, Radha and Krishna, the two crown of all amorous couples, have left the cottage of madhavi creepers, and the bumble-bees are hurriedly following Their sweet fragrance. Come, let us delight our eyes by looking at the palace of creepers."

(Act Seven, Text 41)

Sri Vidagdha-Madhava also narrates the pastimes of Krsna, ornamenting Radha with Madhavi-lata blossoms:

"ubhe: (upasrtya) sundara idam parama-manjulam vasanti-kusuma-mandanam.

Both Gopis: (Approaching) O handsome one, these decorations of madhavi flowers are very beautiful.

krishnah: (stabakta-dvandvam adaya sa-harsam). dhyeyena mukta-vrindasya
kamyamana muhur maya
yukta tvam atimuktanam
srenya su-sroni sevitum

Krishna: (Taking the two clusters of flowers, He says with happiness) I am the object of the meditation for the hosts of liberated souls, and You are the constant object of My desire. O girl with the beautiful hips, it is proper that You be decorated with these madhavi flowers."

(Act Seven, Text 48)

And in Sri Garga Samhita 3.9.14-15, the original source of these transcendental Madhavi-lata flowers is disclosed:

vrindavanam ca janubhyam
rajan sarva-vanottamam
lila-sarovarah sakshad
urubhyam paramatmanah

"O king, Vrindavana, the best of all forests, was manifested from Lord Krishna's knees, and Lila-sarovara lake was manifested from His thighs.

kati-desat svarna-bhumer
divya-ratna-khacit-prabha
udare roma-rajis ca
madhavyo vistrita latah

A golden place splendid with gold and jewels was manifested from His hips. Many flowering madhavi vines were manifested from the line of hairs on His abdomen."