here is a pair of effulgent lights
existing only in the groves of Vrindavan:
one has the beauty of divine gold,
the other of a brilliant sapphire;
one twirling a long-stemmed lotus,
the other holding a flute;
one with thick, splendid braids,
the other with a brilliant peacock-feather crown;
one covered in red garments, the other in yellow.
Serve them, who are always absorbed in the Divine Eros.
śrī-vṛndāvana-kuñja eva kim api jyotir-dvayaṁ sevyatām||
Commentary: Many years ago I was studying the works of Prabodhananda Saraswati and testing the hypothesis that it was he who had authored the Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi. I can tell you that this is something of a sensitive issue in the Vrindavan world where the followers of Hit Harivansh would rather die than believe anyone but he is the author. I was and still am of the opinion, historical factors aside, that the RRSN and the various works attributed to Prabodhananda carry stylistic features that are very similar.
One of those features is the wide use of the metaphor of light for the object of worship. Here is what I wrote a while back on the subject.
Prabodhānanda took much inspiration from Bilvamaṅgala. Bilvamaṅgala’s apparent conversion from the path of māyāvāda to a path of devotion to Kṛṣṇa would have made him the ideal role model for Prabodhānanda, similarly a convert. In all three of Prabodhānanda’s stotra-kāvyas, some of the stylistic features of Bilvamaṅgala’s work are to be encountered.
One example is the frequent use of the neuter nouns meaning light like jyotis to describe the object of worship. Being neuter, it is somewhat ambiguous and carries a flavor of Brahman that is at some point dispelled by a clarifying statement. For instance, jyotis frequently appears in RRSN, usually modified by rādhābhidham or some similar adjectives clarifying what is intended by the ambiguous ‘effulgence.’
ārādhyaṁ vraja-maṇḍale’timadhuraṁ rādhābhidhānaṁ param |
jyotiḥ kiñcana siñcad-ujjvala-rasa-prāg-bhāvam āvirbhavad
rādhe cetasi bhūri-bhāgya-vibhavaiḥ kasyāpy aho jṛmbhate ||
There is an indescribable spiritual splendor bearing the name Radha, which is worshiped in Vraja-mandala by many hundreds of splendid and playful girls in the flower of youth, more beautiful and glorious than millions of goddesses of fortune. This effulgent splendor showers the most sweet monsoon of glorious nectar, and shines in the heart of one who is blessed with incredible good fortune. (RRSN 68)
Other synonyms of jyotis are found, such as mahas, dhāman, etc. Altogether RRSN contains no less than 20 instances of this particular conceit, which is also found repeatedly in the VMA, though mahas is preferred to jyotis in that work. In VMA, the modifier is more often gaura-nīlam or nīla-pītam or some other adjective that indicates both Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Below is given an example from VMA (3.30), in which both the words jyotis and mahas are used. It seems that, in general, Prabodhānanda reserved jyotis for the land of Vraja in VMA in order to contrast it more effectively with the spiritual destination of the Advaitins, and used mahas for Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.
jyotir bhāgavataṁ cakāsti kim api svānanda-sārojjvalam/
tasyāpy adbhutam antar antar asamorddhvāścarya-mādhurya-bhūr
vṛndāraṇyam iha dvayaṁ bhaja sakhe tad gaura-nīlaṁ mahaḥ//
Within the supremely flawless great light
of spiritual (brahman) ecstasy,
shines the light of the personal god
which is bright with the essence of his own ecstasy;
Wonderfully, deep within that light
is Vṛndā’s forest, made of unequalled, wondrous, sweetness;
my friend, worship the pair of luminaries,
gold and blue, that is found there.
This figure plays a part in those stotra-kāvya stanzas which Hardy typifies as ‘vision’ verses. Such verses contain in their main clause an indefinite pronoun (kim api, ko’pi) with an ambiguous substantive, often kiśora (‘a certain youth’), etc., and noticeably in Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta (KKA), jyotis, mahas, dhāman, etc., meaning light, a verb meaning ‘shine’ (bhāti, cakāsti) either in the present indicative or optative mood, completed by a locative indicating ‘my heart, my mind’, etc. (mama cetasi, manasi me, etc.). The verse then clarifies the nature of the ‘light’ or ‘youth’ by adjectival compounds, or occasionally a subordinate clause.
Naturally, this device can be varied in many ways, changing the location, or the type of verb, even including exhortations to remember, etc. Thus, e.g. ‘may a certain light (of such and such a nature) shine in my heart.’
This structure is used with such frequency in VMA that only a few examples shall be reproduced from one of its centuries, the sixth śataka. Here Prabodhānanda generally adds a dual word at the end of his compounds (e.g. mithunaṁ, dvayaṁ, dvandvaṁ, etc.): 6.54 (gaura-śyāma-maho-dvayam), 6.55 (dhāma-dvandvam anaṅga-vihvalam), 6.56 (gaura-śyāmaṁ kim api madhuraṁ dhāma-yugmaṁ kiśoram), 6.57 (nitya-kiśora-mohana-maho-dvandvaṁ kim apy adbhutam), 6.59 (gaurāsita-dhāma tad dvayam), 6.60 (kanaka-marakata-śrī-hari divyāṅgayos tan-madhura-madhura-dhāmnoḥ keli-vṛndaṁ kayościt), 6.63 (nava-suhema-campakendīvara-dala-vṛnda-sugaura-nīla-bhāsoḥ), 6.64 (druta-kanaka mahendra-nīla-rocir-dvitaya-mahaḥ), 6.65 (gaura-nīlam ātma-dvayam atikāma-vimohitaṁ kiśoram), 6.72 (gaura-śyāmāṅgakam avirahaṁ yatra bhāti dvi-dhāma), 6.73 (jyotir-dvandvam), 6.77 (gaura-nīla-śrī-dampatyoḥ), etc. etc.
A few examples of this conceit (restricted to the use of synonyms for ‘light’) can be found in the following verses of RRSN: 44, 66, 71, 96, 99, 126, 134, 137, 151, 157, 158, 174, 178, 187, 195 (kim api hema-gauraṁ mahaḥ), 205, 221, 227, 237, 250, 269.
The following are those which do not necessarily use a ‘light’ word, but deal with Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa together rather than Rādhā alone: 108 (rasika-mithunam), 133 (mithunaṁ… kim api sundaraṁ nandati), 134 (jyotir-dvandvaṁ kim api paramānanda-kandaṁ cakāsti), 141 (kim api nīla-pīta-cchavi vidagdha-mithunam), 145 (nava-kaiśora-mithunaṁ), 187 (kiśoraṁ jyotir-dvandvaṁ kim api paramānanda-kandaṁ cakāsti), 196 (marakata-druta-svarṇa-cchāyaṁ sphuratu mithunaṁ), 197 (tan nīla-pītaṁ mithunaṁ cakāsti), 220 (vidagdha-dvandvam), 221 (jyotir-dvandvaṁ madhura-madhuraṁ prema-kandaṁ cakāsti), 222 (vidagdha-mithunam udeti vṛndāvane), 227 (jyotiḥ-puñja-dvayam, as an adjective describing Rādhā’s breasts).
The same structure can be found in CCA, though admittedly to a lesser extent: 4 (kañcid īśam), 15 (paraṁ jyotir gauraṁ kanaka-ruci-cauraṁ), 18 (caitanya nāma paramaṁ kalayāma dhāma), 20 (kim api rasarahasyaṁ dhāma gauraṁ namasye), 45 (mūrtiḥ kācana kāñcanadravamayī), 79 (gaure dhāmani). The indefinite adjective ko’pi with devaḥ, candramāḥ, etc. (21, 70, 76, 79, etc.)