Different Bodily Lusters, Pustimarga – Jiva Institute of Vedic Studies

( – Different Bodily Lusters, Pustimarga

Question: In Krama-dīpikā, Yaśodā is said to be dark blue, and so the contrast of colors would occasion a great splendor. In Gautamiya Tantra, however, her bodily luster is said to be yellow.

In his commentary on SB 10.9.3, Jīva Gosvāmī writes:

Atasī, umā, and kṣauma are synonymous [and mean ‘flax’]” (Amarakośa 2.9.20). Moreover, Yasoda’s dress looks very thin. In addition, it has various colors. Its color was an amazing yellow. By considering that in Krama-dīpikā, she is said to be dark blue, so the contrast of colors would occasion a great splendor. In Gautamiya Tantra, however, her bodily luster is said to be yellow.”

Jīva Gosvāmī quotes both and makes no conclusion. Can ācāryas differ in their conclusions?

Answer: The Absolute is so vast that ācāryas may have different realizations. If you view a material object such as the Himālayas at different times of the year, you will see it differently. Then what to speak of the Absolute Reality? Reality also manifests differently according to the mood of a devotee. There are so many prakāśas of Vrindavan, and thus it is possible that in one prakāśa, Yaśodā is bluish and in another, yellowish. And Śrī Jīva accepts both. Others may accept only one of them. The famous poet and devotee Sūradāsa sang in one song that Yaśodā is fair-colored, Nanda is fair-colored and thus Kṛṣṇa’s friends tease Him that He is not the son of Nanda and Yaśoda because He has a bluish hue. So that is Sūradāsa’s vision of Yaśodā.


Question: What exactly is kumkum (kuṅkumam) powder? Why is it put on the breasts?

Answer: In the past, it was made from saffron. These days it is made from turmeric. The turmeric is dried and powdered with a bit of slaked lime, which turns the rich yellow powder into a red color.

I do not think any woman applies it to her breasts these days. In the past, it was considered a part of śṛṅgāra or beautification. My guess is that it acted as a disinfectant besides the beautification of breasts.


Question: What could explain what puṣṭimārga means?

Answer: Puṣṭimārga is practiced in the Śrī Vallabha sampradāya. They say that there are three types of jīvas, called puṣṭi, maryādā, and pravāha. Puṣṭi-jīvas are manifested from the body of Puruṣottama, maryādā-jīvas from speech in the form of the Veda, and pravāha-jīvas from the mind.

Correspondingly there are three paths. Puṣṭi-jīvas follow puṣṭimārga. They are naturally devoted to Bhagavān. As far as I understand, only those who are born in the lineage of Vallabhācārya are puṣṭi-jīvas. Puṣṭi-jīvas also have further divisions 1. Śuddha-puṣṭi, 2. Puṣṭi-puṣṭi, 3, Maryādā-puṣṭi, and 4. Pravāha-puṣṭi. Only these people can perform puṣṭi-bhakti. But rāganuga-bhakti is not limited to any specific birth or specific jīva. Anyone who has the natural inclination takes to it. Moreover, a rāgānuga bhakta follows a specific mood of a rāgatmika bhakta.

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