Introduction to the Ānanda Vṛndāvan Campu
By Śrīla Kavi Karnapura
note ~ Kavi Karnapura is a 15th Century Indian Vaiṣṇava saint who poetry and pose is so sublime that only a hardened heart could be unaffected by it’s qualities.
Sri Chaitanya and His eternal associates have all returned to Goloka Vrndavan, far beyond the vision of this world. Because of the absence of qualified hearers of rasa, the skillful writers of rasa have also disappeared. With them the ability to understand rasa and prema also vanished. Alas! The fragrance of perfectly composed poetry finds no shelter.
Oh Mother Sarasvati! How can I properly praise you? It is not possible for any living entity to describe your variegated pastimes. Although the poet may try to firmly bind you and glorify your activities with the ropes of flowery phrases and other poetic devices, such an attempt will merely inflate his pride. If by chance the binding becomes loose, then the natural meaning of the work will at once disappear.
Oh poets, just listen! What is the fault in verses of praise if the devotional poet uses them to bind the Lord in his heart with the ropes of affection? In answer to this he says, Oh Sarasvati! By your mercy we can obtain unlimited joy. Just as one worships the ocean with ocean water, similarly, we worship you with eloquent words. To repay you for the bliss you have so mercifully given, I will bathe you in the nectarean stream of Krishna’s pastimes.
Now Sarasvati devi, please stay here and listen attentively. One may ask why produce a new literary work when new poets always find faults with the great works of the previous poets? One scholar will find defects in another’s work, and then another learned man will find defects in his. But one should ignore the critics. Since every living entity cherishes his own life, he will not see any defects in his own actions. Similarly, although a lamp cannot illuminate its own base, it removes the darkness from four directions.
Just as smoke precedes the light of fire, similarly, a man often displays some defects before he exhibits perfection. You may say that this literary work has no other purpose than to show off my ability to overpower the reader with poetic embellishments.
However, the words of an expert poet can inspire the heart even without resorting to literary ornaments. Just as even without bathing, a person becomes purified by glancing at a sacred river. Words remain independent and faultless until the poet combines them into verses. Similarly, even though a poetic work may be endowed with attractive ornaments, qualities, and mellows, some people will only see the faults in it.
One should reject such a deceitful mentality that acts only to find faults in another. Oh faultfinder! Oh one with a deceitful tongue! You are like a sweeper man whose only job is to clean up a place full of the dirty objects discarded by others. We, therefore, are reluctant to touch you. Deceit is like finger nails or hair. In cutting or removing them no one feels any pain, and when growing they give only distress. ‘Truly I say that a man cannot become liberated until he gives up the quality of deceit.’
Now that the faultfinders have been duly warned, I Kavi Karnapura, admit that I have written Ananda Vrndavana Campu for my own pleasure. Overflowing with Krishna’s sweet glories, this work will saturate the minds of thirsty sadhakas with immeasurable transcendental bliss.
A skilfully strung garland always looks beautiful regardless of the number of flowers. And what more can be said if those flowers exude a sweet fragrance The object of this poetic work is to inundate the reader with the fragrant qualities and pastimes of Sri Krishna the beautiful.