When will I see You gazing upon the prince of Vraja, His cheeks sweetened with a smile, as His mother anxiously strokes Him while He departs for the forest, fulfilling His vow to protect the surabhi cows? (Vilāpa-kusumāñjali)
Dasa Gosvāmī now prays to be near Rādhārānī as She watches Kṛṣṇa passing by on His way to go grazing the cows, when mother Yaśodā embraces him. For the service and protection of the noble members of the surabhi dynasty of cows, Kṛṣṇa daily enters the forests of Vraja. Kṛṣṇa took a vow to always serve the cows. He does not go to the same place every day, in consideration of the area, not wanting to overburden it with all the cows.
Mother Yaśodā worries about Kṛṣṇa, thinking, “Gopāla is only a small boy, but He daily goes out in the summer heat or winter chill, despite rain or any other harsh weather; He never takes rest. The sun is strong and burns Him. How can I protect Him?” She has affectionate concern for Kṛṣṇa’s welfare.
Kṛṣṇa’s earrings kiss His cheeks. He smiles and looks side to side. Yaśodā Mātā watches His every movement. She thinks, “What is helpful for Kṛṣṇa?” and she is ready to arrange anything at once. Kṛṣṇa has relation and love for anyone who resides in Gokula and promises to protect and serve all those who come and stay in Vraja. This relation is not any ordinary or temporary thing. Kṛṣṇa does not make friendship with anyone for a day; His love is eternal.
Kṛṣṇa is the prince of Vraja, but He doesn’t consider Himself royalty too superior to serve. He does not feel that He is a highly respectable authority. This is not His nature.
Vṛndāvana has many forests. When Kṛṣṇa takes the cows out to graze, He is not only taking care of the cows, but He takes care of the forests and gardens as well. The creepers, plants, and trees will become dry if they are not taken care of. The cows trim the grass and keep it clean and healthy.
Farmers clean and till their fields to keep them fertile and healthy. The cows are like the gardeners of Vraja, keeping everything fresh and pure by fertilizing the forests and aerating the land. The cow dung and urine make those areas healthy and vibrant. This is food for the plants and trees. If the cows did not graze in the forests, then the greenery would not get this extra nourishment. In the forest, there are many varieties of plants and medicinal herbs. By eating these plants and herbs, the cows’ udders become filled with wholesome milk. In this way, everyone benefits by Kṛṣṇa taking the cows out to graze. Therefore Kṛṣṇa vows to always care for the cows, Vrajavāsīs, and forests of Vraja.
As Kṛṣṇa goes through the forests, He accepts the trees and plants’ heartfelt gifts of fruits and flowers and distributes them to the sakhās.
Yaśodā Mātā is always concerned for Kṛṣṇa’s welfare when He is in the forests of Vraja. To pacify her, Rati Mañjarī says, “O Nandarānī, don’t worry. I will go to the forest and look after Kṛṣṇa. I will change my appearance and will help arrange for Kṛṣṇa’s service while He is grazing the cows. Rādhikā will also cook some refreshments for Kṛṣṇa. I will help arrange all this. The mañjarīs and I are ready to see that Kṛṣṇa is cared for while He is outside Nanda-bhavana.”
Yaśodā Mātā is pleased to hear this and says, “Oh! You will take care of my Kanhaiyā? He cares for everyone, but I always worry about who will take care of Him.” Yaśodā Mātā is very happy to hear that the sakhīs and mañjarīs are there to help Kṛṣṇa in the forest and she gives her blessings to Rati Mañjarī.
goṣṭheśayātha kutukāc chapathādi-pūrvaṁ
su-snigdhayā sumukhi mātṛ-parārdhato ‘pi
hā hrī-mati priya-gaṇaiḥ saha bhojyamānāṁ
kiṁ tvāṁ nirīkṣya hṛdaye mudam adya lāpsye
O bashful fair-faced one! When will my heart feel great joy to see the queen of Vraja, who is more affectionate than countless mothers, taking an oath to make You sit down to eat with Your friends?
Dāsa Gosvāmī in his internal form as Rati Mañjarī prays to Rādhārānī, “O Śrīmatī, You are supremely beautiful. Seeing You, people become filled with joy, and in the absence of Your darśana everyone becomes distressed. In Nanda-bhavana, while eating, without Your darśana the food has no taste for Kṛṣṇa.”
After Kṛṣṇa finishes His meal, Yaśoda Mātā affectionately requests Śrīmatī to take prasāda. Rādhārānī becomes shy. She sits down with Lalitā, Viśākhā, and the other sakhīs and takes something. Rati Mañjarī feels great bliss observing Śrīmatījī as She tastes Her cooking. As Kṛṣṇa ate, Śrīmatī watched from a hidden place, and Kṛṣṇa would casually look up now and again and They exchanged sidelong glances. Now, when Rādhārānī sits to eat on the request of Yaśodā Mātā, Kṛṣṇa comes and peeks through the window to watch His beloved.
Receiving darśana of Śrīmatī is Kṛṣṇa’s favorite nourishment.
While Kṛṣṇa eats, Śrīmatī watches from a hidden place and waits for Him to finish. When Kṛṣṇa gets up and leaves, as the elders and other guests in Nanda-bhavana are otherwise preoccupied, He and Śrīmatī look for a chance to momentarily meet. Śrīmatī wants to meet with Kṛṣṇa and begins walking away from the kitchen, but then Yaśodā Mātā calls out to Her, “O Lālī, come eat something.”
Rādhārānī returns unwillingly and sits down to eat. In the meantime, Kṛṣṇa waits at the secret meeting place for Śrīmatī. When She doesn’t arrive, Kṛṣṇa comes to where She is eating with Yaśodā and Her sakhīs. On the pretense of asking Yaśodā something, He glances lovingly at Śrīmatī from the corner of His eyes. Rādhārānī blushes and covers Her face with a cloth while She takes prasāda with the sakhīs and Yaśodā.
Seeing this in his meditation, Dāsa Gosvāmī becomes overjoyed.
snehāvalokana-bhareṇa ca khañjanākṣi
goṣṭheśayā nava-vadhūm iva lālyamānāṁ
tvāṁ prekṣya kiṁ hṛdi mahotsavam ātaniṣye
O Rādhe, eyes restless as khañjana birds! When will I experience a festival of joy seeing You being fondled by the queen of Vraja, who embraces You, kisses Your head, and gazes upon You lovingly as if You were Her newly married daughter-in-law?
Like a newly married girl who comes to serve at the house of her husband after marriage, Śrīmatī Rādhārānī comes in the early morning to Nandagrāma with Her sakhīs and mañjarīs to cook for Kṛṣṇa.
While Rādhārānī is still on the pathway to Nandagrāma, Yaśodā Mātā comes down to meet Her. She runs and embraces Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. She smells Her head, kisses Her, lifts Her into her arms, and carries Her up the hill to her own room. There she gives Śrīmatī Rādhārānī new earrings, necklaces, saris, and many other gifts. She gives Her so many new things every day. She embraces and kisses each of the young girls and gives them many gifts.
Why does Yaśodā Mātā have this heartfelt love for them all? If anyone desires to serve Kṛṣṇa, then Yaśodā is very pleased and has so much love for that person. She serves and thinks of everyone’s welfare.
Dāsa Gosvāmī prays, “When will I be present in Nanda-bhavana, and under guidance of Yaśodā Mātā, I will assist Śrīmatī Rādhārānī in the kitchen. Love and affection will flow from Yaśodā Mātā’s heart to all the sakhīs and mañjarīs.”
Anything done with love is very sweet. Kṛṣṇa longs for that love. Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s hlādinī-śakti spreads out to the hearts of all the Vrajavāsīs, like a transcendental sun of love, and shines in the hearts of those in the moods of dāsya-rasa, sakhya-rasa, vātsalya-rasa, and mādhurya-rasa.
hā rūpa-mañjari sakhi praṇayena deviṁ
paścād ahaṁ kalita-kāma-taraṅga-raṅgāṁ
neṣyāmi kiṁ hari-vibhūṣita-keli-kuñjam
O dear friend Rūpa Mañjarī, when will I, from behind, lead our Devī, who has become a dancing arena for waves of amorous passion, Her large eyes wide-open, and Your arm affectionately placed about the vine of Her waist, to the keli-kuñja forest grove, decorated by the presence of Śrī Hari?
Dāsa Gosvāmī prays to accompany Śrīmatī as She goes to the keli-kuñja. In his internal form as Rati Mañjarī, Dāsa Gosvāmī is there, watching Kṛṣṇa’s playful pastimes. Rati Mañjarī is present behind Rūpa Mañjarī and they walk with Śrīmatī to the keli-kuñja. Rūpa Mañjarī has decorated the kuñja, making a brilliant throne of flowers. Śrīmatī Rādhārānī sits on the flower throne in the kuñja and eagerly awaits Kṛṣṇa’s arrival.
If there is no sweet relation, then no one will want to follow behind another. Ordinarily, people follow others for their own selfishness, but this temporary relationship is contemptible, whereas the sweet relation between the Vrajavāsīs is most glorious.
Rati Mañjarī thinks, “When will I carry Kṛṣṇa’s loving presentations and give them to Rūpa Mañjarī?”
Rūpa Mañjarī will not accept anything independently. She offers anything that comes to her to Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. Kṛṣṇa sends a necklace or a beautiful garland to Rūpa Mañjarī through the hand of Rati Mañjarī. Rati Mañjarī shows this gift to Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, then Rādhārānī gives it to Rūpa Mañjarī, and says, “No, no. This is good for you, you should accept it.”
This garland isn’t only made of flowers. Kṛṣṇa’s heartfelt love is contained within. After much opposition, Rūpa Mañjarī wears this mālā by Rādhārānī’s insistance; she becomes very shy and looks down, experiencing Kṛṣṇa’s love present in this gift.
sākaṁ tvayā sakhi nikuñja-gṛhe sarasyāḥ
svasyās taṭe kusuma-bhāvita-bhuṣaṇena
śṛṅgāritaṁ vidadhatī priyam īśvarī sā
hā hā bhaviṣyati mad-īkṣaṇa-gocaraḥ kim
My dear friend Rūpa Mañjarī, when will I be able to see you with my mistress decorating Her beloved with flower ornaments in a kuñja-kuṭīra by the bank of Her lake?
Śrimati Radika is in an isolated grove on the bank of Radha-kuṇḍa. Rūpa is nearby, feeling that although the kuñja–kuṭīra is decorated with beautiful flowers, it is lacking perfect beauty because Kṛṣṇa is not there. Rūpa Mañjarī finds some means to invite Kṛṣṇa, who comes and sits on a seat of flowers. The sakhīs begin to fan Him. The flowers are fragrant, but Kṛṣṇa is restless. The flowers and fans do not cool Him. He is unsatisfied. Why?
Kṛṣṇa says, “O Rūpa Mañjari when will your adhīśvari Śrīmatī Rādhārānī give Me darśana? I came here only for Her darśana.”
Rūpa Mañjarī replies, “My Svāminī is resting inside a kuñja nearby.” “I came only for Her darśana,” Kṛṣṇa repeats.
Rūpa Mañjarī gives an indication to Rati Mañjarī, who goes and tells Rādhārānī. Hearing Kṛṣṇa’s message, Śrīmatī Rādhārānī hides deeper in the kuñja–kuṭīra, not wanting to give Him darśana so easily. When Rati returns, Kṛṣṇa begins to search for Rādhikā.
śrutvā vicakṣaṇa-mukhād vraja-rāja-sūnoḥ
śastābhisāra-samayaṁ subhage ‘tra hṛṣṭā
hārādibhiś ca bhavatīṁ kim alaṅkariṣye
O beautiful one, hearing from the parrot Vicakṣaṇa that the prince of Vraja has already left for His rendezvous with You, can I joyfully decorate You with fine garments, flower earrings, and necklaces?
In Vraja, there is a clever parrot named Vicakṣaṇa, who witnesses Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s sweet loving pastimes and repeats them to the gopīs. Sometimes this parrot brings messages back and forth between Rādhārānī’s camp and Kṛṣṇa’s camp.
Once, Kṛṣṇa sent Vicakṣaṇa on an errand, saying, “Go and search out where there are nice flowers. Collect them and give them to Me. I will make flower earrings and will decorate a dress and make many flower ornaments for Rādhārānī. Then I will take these and present them to Her.” This parrot returns sometime later and says to Nanda-nandana, “I went to search for flowers and found the Vraja-devīs making a dress for You embroidered with flowers. They want to give You flower earrings, ornaments, and flowers.”
Kṛṣṇa replies, “I will decorate and serve them.”
“If You first accept their loving presentations,” Vicakṣaṇa replies, “then You will realize how they will be pleased and will be able to serve them in return.”
Kṛṣṇa’s desires reflect in Rādhārānī’s heart and She instructs Her mañjarīs how to fulfill those desires. They then make new outfits with silk, pearls, flowers, and jewels. When Kṛṣṇa wears these clothes, He feels that Śrīmatī Rādhārānī is directly present with Him. Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s love and the love of the sakhīs and mañjarīs is present in whatever they touch.
nānā-puṣpaiḥ kvanita-madhupair devi sambhāvitābhir
rājad-dvāre sapadi madanānandadābhikhya-gehe
malli-jālaiḥ śaśi-mukhi kadā talpam ākalpayāmi
O moon-faced one, when will I arrange a bed of jasmine flowers for You in Madanānandada-kuñja, which has a beautiful gate and is decorated with wonderful pictures of Cupid, drawn in kuṁkum, and garlands of many flowers, surrounded by buzzing bees.
The glories of this Madanānanda-kuñja are explained herein. It is located near Pāvana-sarovara, not far from Nanda-bhavana. Kṛṣṇa goes alone to that kuñja after waking in the morning, and rests for awhile in the arms of Śrīmatī and the Vraja-devīs.
Dāsa Gosvāmī prays, “O Devī, sweetly singing bumblebees move flower to flower, collecting honey. Hearing their singing, You open the door of the kuñja and look out expectantly, hoping for Kṛṣṇa to appear at any moment. I will decorate the doorway of that kuñja with draping strands of flowers and will arrange a bed in that forest grove for Your pleasure.”
In the morning, the sakhīs and mañjarīs come with honey, drinks, flowers, and many offerings to cook with Rādhārānī at Nanda-bhavana. From a distance, Citrā-devī, who is most expert at making paintings, shows Śrīmatī Rādhārānī with her enchanting art where Kṛṣṇa is and what He is doing. Then Śrīmatī Rādhārānī arranges for His service.
Kṛṣṇa gets up in the morning, having stayed awake the whole night and therefore needing more rest. There is a special kuñja–kuṭīra arranged for Him to hide in and continue resting after He formally wakes in Nanda-bhavana.
He comes there by a hidden path. He disappears from the cowshed where He was milking the cows and enters this kuñja. Rādhārānī and the Vraja-devīs take Him in their arms. They massage Him and fan Him, and He interacts with each of them personally, resting His head on the knee of one, holding hands with another, and placing His arm around the shoulders of another. The hearts and bodies of the Vraja-devīs are more soft, delicate, beautiful and lovely than any flower. Each gopī makes her lap like a bed for Kṛṣṇa to rest on. Kṛṣṇa rests in Madanānandada-kuñja in the morning.
hā modataḥ kanaka-gauri padāravinda-
samvāhanāni śanakais tava kiṁ kariṣye
O golden one, when will I happily and gently massage Your lotus feet, along with Rūpa Mañjarī, as You rest Your head in the lap of the prince of Vraja, and He massages Your head?
Śrīmatī Rādhārānī comes from Varsānā and rests with Kṛṣṇa in Madanānanda-kuñja. She lies down, and Rūpa Mañjarī massages Her feet and soothes them with cool kuñkuma and mehindi. As Rūpa Mañjarī serves the feet of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, she signals to Rati Mañjarī to come forward and massage as well.
Sometimes, if He has permission, Kṛṣṇa sits with Śrīmatī Rādhārānī in His lap and as She rests on His knee, He strokes Her head. Rūpa Mañjarī massages the feet of the Divine Couple with her soft pleasing hands and calls Rati Mañjarī forward to assist her.
Dāsa Gosvāmī prays, “When will Rūpa Mañjarī call me forward for the service of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa?”
The name ‘Rūpa Mañjarī’ means that with her beauty, she conquers and controls the hearts of all. There is no darkness in her heart. She is always bright, light, and golden.
Dāsa Gosvāmī prays, “When will that day come when, after serving Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and Śrī Kṛṣṇa, I will be able to serve Rūpa Mañjarī herself? When will she give me permission for this? How else will I receive proper training?”
govardhanādri-nikaṭe mukuṭena narma-
dāna-cchalena bhavatīm avarudhyamānāṁ
drakṣyāmi kiṁ bhru-kuṭi-darpita-netra-yugmām
When will I see You, Your eyebrows knitted and Your eyes burning with pride, as Madhusūdana, the crown on the heads of expert jesters, stops You near Govardhana Hill on the pretext of collecting a toll?
Kṛṣṇa comes with His sakhās to the foot of Govardhana and takes tax from the Vraja-devīs. He demands, “Give Me tax!
Then He says, “Actually, I am not a tax collector. I don’t take anything by force. That is not right. It is not sweet for Me. Please give Me some charity.”
Then a bit later He says, “No, no, charity is also not good. I am not a poor person or a beggar. Please give Me dāna, donation. By giving dāna, you yourselves will be benefited and become happy. If you give anything happily, the benefit will multiply ten times. Therefore, give Me dāna. If you don’t give Me dāna, you will become a poor, dirty, narrow-minded beggar. I am great. Everyone knows this. Therefore if you give Me a donation, then My own greatness will come to you, and your hearts will be clean. You will become fair, fresh, and full of goodness. I am a qualified person. If you give dāna to bad people, they will make you dirty and contaminated. You will suffer life after life. But by giving a donation to those who are qualified, it is very good for you. The best thing to offer is yourself, so if you offer yourself as a donation to a person with all good qualities, it is best.”
With these words, Kṛṣṇa tries to capture Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. He says, “Give everything to Me. Then I will accept and help you. If you don’t give yourselves to Me, then you will be forced to give yourselves to cheaters. They don’t have any strength to help you. Anything you have should be given to Me. I am a qualified and very powerful person.”
With such clever words, Kṛṣṇa attempts to take everything the gopīs possess as dāna. He is not interested in anything small. With His crooked eyes, He scans for any particle of love, and is not happy until He receives every last drop.
Dāsa Gosvāmī prays, “I long to watch Kṛṣṇa’s sweet playful pastimes with the Vraja-devīs.”
Kṛṣṇa captures the gopis, heart and soul. Demigods and the incarnations of God do not take the jīva’s anarthas away. They take respect and worship from the living entities, but they do not take everything. Kṛṣṇa, on the other hand, takes everything from the living entities. He purifies their hearts and in the place of what He has stolen, He plants the tendency to lovingly serve Him forever.
Girirāja Govardhana is very clever. He serves Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s sweet intimate pastimes and also, by Kṛṣṇa’s desire, he serves all the Vrajavāsīs and gives them the chance to serve Kṛṣṇa.
Girirāja Govardhana has no independent desire, no desire for any thanks from the Vrajavāsīs or Kṛṣṇa, nor any aspiration for name and fame. He doesn’t expect others to come and extol his glories and qualities.
This is a problem for sevakas. If one is able to do guru-sevā and God’s service, then this is the greatest chance available in one’s life. God and Śrī Guru’s acceptance of our service is their great mercy upon us. They are so kind to give us this opportunity. But there are those who after such service become very proud. Where does this false ego come from? A victim of its attack thinks, “Without me, this service could not be accomplished. What would Śrī Guru do without me?”
Performing parikramā of Girirāja is the way to make friendship with him. A sincere person will come to him, offer pūjā and bhoga and perform parikramā. To such a person, Girirāja Govardhana teaches everything about Kṛṣṇa’s love and love for Kṛṣṇa. He gives this gift to those who make friendship with him, and he makes them strong and faithful. Then they will never go far away from Vraja-maṇḍala, and desire will never come to serve anyone other than Kṛṣṇa and the Vrajavāsīs.
Raghunatha das Gosvami ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Vilāpa-kusumāñjali. Available from: email@example.com )