He is extremely fortunate who, unaware of the many worlds, unaware of the scriptures, unaware of family, and unaware of the activities of the great saints, knows only the nectar of love that resides in Śrīmatī Rādhikā, the jewel of Vraja. Txt.147
Rādhārānī is the abode of kriya–śakti. Without Her power nothing can be accomplished. And what does She, the source of all power, do? She is always in Vṛndāvana, engaged in bringing ānanda to Kṛṣṇa.
When someone comes to Vṛndāvana and stays there, offers respect, and has a little bit of faith in Rādhārānī and Her followers, then naturally sevā-vṛtti will come in that person’s heart. This is the method for the jīvas to progress.
Serving our senses only causes distress, but if we serve Kṛṣṇa under the guidance of Rādhārānī and the Vrajavāsīs, we will be granted supreme joy—a joy that is only available in Vṛndāvana.
The Vrajavāsīs are all naturally beautiful and full of enthusiasm and happiness. They are all filled with brahma-śakti, spiritual energy because they do not waste even an ounce of their energy on their own service, everything of theirs is for Kṛṣṇa so all the brahma-śakti within them is always increasing. This is transcendental wealth. Because of this wealth they are always healthy and happy.
In this world, a beggar will typically appear sickly and weak, while wealthy person is able to eat and drink appropriately and remain healthy. Similarly we are spiritually weak because we are not taking the spiritual nourishment for our soul. By sādhu-saṅga, hari-kathā, and kīrtana—our soul receives spiritual strength and we can collect brahma-śakti and offer it to Kṛṣṇa.
In the Bhagavad-gītā (2.59) Kṛṣṇa warns us to be very careful of the objects of the senses, for lust for them can easily arise. Then if we cannot achieve those objects of our desire then anger will arise and our intelligence will be misled or defeated by māyā. Soon enough, even trying to control our senses will be impossible. We must understand our root problem. This world is not for our enjoyment. Desiring to enjoy is the root of our problems. We must offer our actions and whatever is ours to Kṛṣṇa then He will give us praśāda (His mercy) in return.
Anything offered to Kṛṣṇa becomes His great mercy and when we receive His mercy by behaving like this our hearts will become pure and we will have the desire to do sevā. We will always have a smiling face. A person with a clean heart will smile and show all signs of happiness. Those who wish only to gratify the calls of their own senses suffer the result of their sinful activities. Because everyone is trying to enjoy selfishly, the world is therefore filled with fights and conflict.
We can identify a good person or a wicked person by how they engage their time. If they are always searching for and pointing out the faults of others then their nature will also become bad and full of faults.
Personalities like Lakṣmī, Śuka, and Nārada all long for the feast of anurāga, that is present in Vṛndāvana, but when we look at Vṛndāvana with our material vision we see fighting, stealing, monkeys, pigs, dogs, and many businessmen, but this is not actually Vṛndāvana. Someone only sees Vṛndāvana with transcendental vision gained by sādhana through great divine mercy. Lakṣmī, Śuka, Brahmā, and Nārada say, “Oh, the feast of mahābhāva and anurāga is always being distributed in Vraja. How can we have a taste of this feast also?”
By surrendering to the mañjarīs we can take part in this anurāga feast. The mañjarīs are the distributors of anurāga.
By their influence we can be part of Vraja’s feast. Influenced by sense-enjoyers, on the other hand, we will become increasingly attached to the material world. The association of Vaiṣṇavas who have mañjarī-bhāva will grant us entrance into Vraja and a place in the feast of anurāga. By that association we will develop the mood of a servant of the servant of the servant of the Divine Couple, and will have not even a moment to waste in sense enjoyment or bad association.
Śrīla Gurudeva would say in Mathura that even if a
businessman comes and offers my brahmacārīs lakhs of rupees he would not be able to take even one brahmacārī away from me. Why? Because Śrīla Gurudeva had this anurāga of the mañjarīs.
Without the presence of this anurāga, there is no question of a unified family of practitioners who aspire for relationship with Kṛṣṇa and the Vrajavāsīs. Śrila Gurudeva’s anurāga brings us close and connects us as a spiritual family. There is a vast gulf between a jaḍa–anurāgī and what Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī refers to as a tad–anurāgī. Jaḍa–anurāgis are attracted to material objects of sense-gratification but tad–anurāgīs are those high class Vaiṣṇavas whose interest is only the loving service of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in Vraja.
We pray to the Divine Couple, “May my heart become the place of Your pastimes. May the Vrajavāsīs enter my heart. May my heart not be a dancing arena of lust, anger, and greed.”
The soul naturally desires rasa, or a loving exchange.
The embodiment of loving exchange is Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and if we desire Her dāsya, Her service, then we will achieve rasa.
Once a beggar went into the assembly of a king and asked him for wealth. The king came down off his throne and kneeled on the floor and for a few minutes stayed in that posture in prayer. He then returned to his throne and said, “Now you may ask for whatever you like and I will be able to give it.”
The beggar, having observed the king’s actions, said, “Why did you do that?”
To this the king replied, “Sir, I may give you wealth for today but you will soon spend it and again need more. Your karma has made you poor and you therefore approach me though I have nothing without the grace of God. I therefore prayed to God just now. I said, ‘Dear Lord, this person is asking me to help him.
I know that if I give him something his karma that made him poor will not leave him. So, Lord, if it is Your will that he be helped, then give him Your blessings.’ The Lord’s mercy is what can give you wealth my friend—I prayed for that.”
Similarly, when someone desires the service of Rādhārānī, Kṛṣṇa desires to help that person in the most complete way. Kṛṣṇa also desires such service. When He sees someone being guided to Rādhārānī’s lotus feet by a vraja-anurāgī, Kṛṣṇa says, “So many times I have begged Rādhārānī for the chance to serve but She refuses Me. You are most fortunate.”
How to Receive Mercy
Some people, despite having come to Vṛndāvana, do not have relationship with Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and the Vrajavāsīs and instead worship Durgā, Śiva, Gaṇeśa, Hanumān, Nārāyaṇa, Dvarakadisa, Lakṣmī, and other gods and goddesses. They miss the golden chance one achieves by coming to Vṛndāvana. These people will become gradually disturbed and will feel always anxious in Vṛndāvana. Vṛndāvana-dhāma is the place of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and the vraja-anurāgī-bhaktas. We must understand the exalted position of Vṛndāvana.
Even Lord Brahmā, the creator of the universe, prays to take birth in an insignificant position in Vṛndāvana and have some service to the Vrajavāsīs. He prays:
tad bhūri-bhāgyam iha janma kim apy aṭavyāṁ
yad gokule ’pi katamāṅghri-rajo-’bhiṣekam
yaj-jīvitaṁ tu nikhilaṁ bhagavān mukundas
tv adyāpi yat-pada-rajaḥ śruti-mṛgyam eva
The greatest of good-fortunes would be the chance to take birth in any form whatsoever in this forest of Gokula which would allow my head to be bathed by the dust from the lotus-like feet of the Vrajavāsīs, whose entire life and soul is Mukunda—the Supreme Lord—and the dust of whose feet are ever-eagerly sought by the Vedic mantras personified.
Brahmā prays, “May I take birth in Vṛndāvana as a piece of stone which the sweepers of the dhāma use to scrape the dirt from their feet at the end of the day. In this way, I will happily receive the Vrajavāsīs’ foot-dust. I would gladly take birth as a snake, insect, or wild animal in Vraja, for in that position, I can achieve the Vraja-devī’s mercy. This type of birth would be far superior than taking birth even as a demigod or master of anyone.”
The Vraja-devīs will give mercy to even the scorpions and snakes. Therefore, if you follow even the animals of Vraja, they will give you bhakti. If you cannot follow the sakhās, sakhīs, or Yaśodā Mātā, then you can just follow the creepers, birds, and other animals. By this you will make gradual progress.
Rādhārānī can enter a state of māna with cause or without cause. She then leaves the kuñja in a huff. Sometimes, in order to break Her māna, Kṛṣṇa takes the help of the snakes. On Kṛṣṇa’s indication, the snakes make groups of 20 or 30 and approach Rādhārānī. Rādhārānī becomes frightened and loudly shouts, “Kṛṣṇa! Kanhaiyā! Śyāma!” Kṛṣṇa suddenly appears and embraces Rādhārānī. She wraps Her arm around Him and says, “Oh, this path is very dangerous! Help Me! There are so many big cobras here.”
“Where are the cobras?” Kṛṣṇa asks, looking around.
By that time, the snakes have already hidden themselves. Now Kṛṣṇa says, “The only cobra here was Your māna.”
Who to Worship
All the residents of Vraja assist Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s prema-keli, loving pastimes. Nārāyaṇa, Vāmana, Kalki, Vairabhā, Śivānī, Rudrānī, Candrānī, Pārvatī—if you follow and worship them, you will not be able to achieve the mood of Vraja. Even if you worship the different incarnations of Viṣṇu, you will not get the priceless gem of vraja-bhāva. An example is given. If you are a citizen in a kingdom and you give great respect to the guards and other representatives of the king without showing any honor to the king himself, then you are viable to be punished. Also, if you enter a company but do not respect the owner, and instead offer respect to the employees only, what will be the result of this?
The demigods are like the gatekeepers—the servants—of Kṛṣṇa. If you say, “Oh the king is one small man who governs,” and then you worship his servant in front of him, ignoring him completely, what result will come to you? Vṛndāvana is the home of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. They are far beyond any incarnation of Viṣṇu or any god or goddess.
You must also never respect anyone in front of Śrī Guru. Śrī Guru is the prime object of your worship and respect. Do not respect any ordinary person in front of him.
So, in the presence of Rādhārānī and Kṛṣṇa, and while residing Vṛndāvana, if you glorify the demigods or hear their glories, vraja-bhakti will go very far away from you. You will never be able to attain it in thousands of lives.
In Vraja, many people arrange festivals and feasts. However, if it is not done for the pleasure of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, no positive result is attained. People do this for their own name and fame and respect. Even though they spend so much money, they get no real benefit.
Kṛṣṇa is raso-vai-sah. He has everything and is indeed the source of everything. What does He need from us? He is happy if we offer Him our love and if we serve under the guidance of Rādhārānī. He accepts our loving mood, but when we are under guidance only.
People think that śaraṇāgati is very important. This is true, but it is only the A-B-Cs of bhakti. It is only the doorway to the realm of bhakti. It is not even inside bhakti.
In Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa says:
na ṣocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
mad-bhaktiṁ labhate param
A person thus situated in Brahma becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires anything. Being equally disposed to all beings, he attains bhakti to Me, which is blessed with the symptoms of love.
By becoming brahma-bhūta, always absorbed in transcendence, we are freed of material distress, gain and loss, victory and defeat, and are no longer the ghosts of māyā. This, however, does not mean that we have experienced kṛṣṇa-prema. That is only the doorway. Then we can taste mad-bhaktiṁ labhate param. We can then taste this transcendental bhakti. So this is like the entrance into bhakti. After some time we can get bhakti. It is not that we achieve parama-bhakti at once.
ānukūlyasya saṅkalpaḥ prātikūlyasya varjanam
rakṣiṣyatīti viśvāso goptṛtve varaṇaṁ tathā
ātmā-nikṣepa-kārpaṇ ye ṣaḍ-vidhā śaraṇāgatiḥ
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 22.100
The six divisions of śaraṇāgati are (1) accepting those things that are favorable for bhakti, (2) rejecting those things that are unfavorable for bhakti, (3) considering Kṛṣṇa to be one’s protector in all circumstances, (4) accepting Kṛṣṇa as one’s sole maintainer, (5) completely submitting oneself to Kṛṣṇa, and (6) cultivating an attitude of genuine humility.
People understand these six limbs of surrender and try to follow them, but after surrendering what will we do? Renouncing everything including ourselves to God is necessary and very good, but that it not bhakti in and of itself. We can offer ourselves to Kṛṣṇa, but this is actually like giving Him work or a problem that we do not want. We are being a burden to Him. So surrendering does not mean that we just renounce everything and just expect Kṛṣṇa to take care of us. This is not positive or dynamic.
Beyond śaraṇāgati is the mood of Yaśodā Mātā or Śrīmatī Rādhikā. At every moment, they serve Kṛṣṇa and they do not want to give Him any burden such as their own maintenance.
A disciple should be like this in relation to Śrī Guru. He should always try to serve Śrī Guru without giving him or Kṛṣṇa any burden for his maintenance. The disciple shouldn’t accept service from Śrī Guru.
The gopīs are aśulka–dāsikā—they serve without desiring or expecting anything in return. They serve Kṛṣṇa saying,
“We don’t want anything. We want no fruit of our actions. The fruit is Yours. We will collect the fruits and give them to You.”
After śaraṇāgati, if some heavy reaction to previous karma or a test comes to a devotee, oftentimes he will think, “God does not like me. Why am I receiving punishment? Why am I suffering so much?” If someone speaks like this, then how can it be said that they are surrendered? How can it be said that they are within the realm of bhakti.
Kṛṣṇa is pleased if we are strong and can care for ourselves, remaining clean, decorated, and always ready to offer service. We must be like a ripe fruit for Kṛṣṇa’s happiness. When parents see that their children are qualified and popular, they become happy. Governments also become happy when their citizens are famous and successful. Even ordinary people have this natural feeling.
In Vraja-maṇḍala, Kṛṣṇa relishes priya–utsava. Kṛṣṇa’s beloved Vrajavāsīs are always clean and qualified in all kinds of activates, and can immediately do any service that is required perfectly. Kṛṣṇa does not demand renunciation. Yaśodā Mātā and Nanda Bābā did not receive sannyāsa, take up daṇḍas, or give up their homes. They are already Kṛṣṇa’s family members. The gopīs also all have their own homes and rooms, but they are always serving. Everything they have is for Kṛṣṇa. This is kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa-bhāvitā-matiḥ. The Vrajavāsīs are always surcharged with kṛṣṇa-rasa and their minds are always absorbed in Kṛṣṇa. For a person thus absorbed what is the necessity of taking sannyāsa?
prabhu kahe, sādhu eī bhikṣura vacana
mukunda-sevana vrata kaila nirdhāraṅa
mukunda-sevāya haya saṁsāra-tāraṅa
seī veṣa kaila, ebe vṛndāvana giyā
kṛṣṇa-niṣevana kari nibhṛte basiyā
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 3.7-9
The determination of a true renunciant is to devotedly serve Mukunda. This is the only purpose of accepting sannyāsa. Service to Mukunda can grant freedom from bondage in material existence. After accepting sannyāsa, I will go to Vṛndāvana to achieve the service of Mukunda. There, I will take shelter of the Vraja-devīs.
In Vraja-maṇḍala, all the Vrajavāsīs take part in the celebration of divine love. When we engage in a festival of saṅkīrtana and everyone participates, enthusiastically dancing, singing, and playing musical instruments—this is saṅkīrtana–rasa. If only one person is singing and everyone else is silent or neglectful, that is not sankīrtana-rasa. In Vraja, everyone is enthusiastic and participates in the continuous festival of love.
Kṛṣṇa says that a feast is proper when everyone is ready to accept and participate and has a favorable mood. A person who is famished can take any dry chapatti and find it very tasty, but a person whose belly is full, will not be attracted any type of food.
We must be spiritually hungry for this festival—this feast of prema—and we must rid ourselves of all other desires.
In Vraja, even the crickets, snakes, and scorpions can help us.
They also have kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa-bhāvitā-matiḥ and are Vrajavāsīs who can give you a share in the feast of love. You will not need austerity, japa, and tapa. The cost is your hunger, or your greed. Vraja-bhūmi will give you the special love that is found there if you have greed and a respectful mood toward the Vrajavāsīs. You must understand, however, that if you worship the demigods or any incarnations of Viṣṇu, Vṛndāvana-dhāma will not bestow upon you this prema.
The Vrajavāsīs are Kṛṣṇa’s family members. Those who may be living in Vraja but are worshiping gods and goddesses are not actually Vrajavāsīs.
The Real Ornament
Kṛṣṇa’s sakhās and sakhīs wear beautiful ornaments. These ornaments are made from pieces of stone or gems. They are not pearls or diamonds. The Vrajavāsīs wear anklets, bracelets, and garlands—all of flowers. Their most special ornament, however, is their ekādaśa-bhāva. Their methods and moods in regard to their service to Kṛṣṇa are their ornaments.
A brahmacārī may say, “I will daily offer praṇāma to all Vaiṣṇavas.” If he follows through with his vow, then that becomes his ornament. When a devotee says, “I vow to daily wear tilaka,” and follows this vow, that tilaka is then his ornament. Tilaka is not only a symbol of God. To apply tilaka on the body is to create a room or a place for God to situate Himself.
People make buildings and temples out of bricks, stone, wood, and marble, but we make our bodies temples of God. The Lord resides in the marks of tilaka on our body. That is our ornament.
The following of vows and execution of daily fixed services in the temple and to the bhaktas and the dhāma are a brahmacārī’s ornaments.
The Vraja-devīs have so many ornaments that enchant Kṛṣṇa. Their ornaments are not just their necklaces and ankle-bells, but their moods and methods of sevā. We hear in Caitanya-caritāmṛta how Rādhārānī is bathed and dressed with Her different moods for Kṛṣṇa.
The gopīs do not want to be famous or receive respect.
We see that people of this world will dress very nicely and appear polished and dignified, but inside they are burning with the desire for name and fame. That is not an ornament.
The gopīs’ behavior is like an ornament because it is freed from any ulterior motive. They only want to serve and please Kṛṣṇa. That is the purpose of all their activities.
The desire for prestige is a poison that destroys spiritual life, but in Vṛndāvana, Kṛṣṇa sees that the gopīs have only true beautiful ornaments. Because of their true beauty that is within, the gopīs have so much beauty externally. Their attire and fragrance is all wonderful. They themselves are like flowers, so it is natural that flower ornaments decorate their bodies.
They have good relation with the flowers of Vraja-maṇḍala. Their beautiful natures are represented by their dancing, laughing, smiling, and playing.
People weighed down by thoughts of politics, envy towards others, and duplicity will not be light-hearted or joyful. Treacherous scorpions and snakes will hide in caves, while peacocks dance and sing with one another. The peacocks are like this because they have happy light moods. Their mood brings great pleasure to Kṛṣṇa. Owls and other predators are always hiding and waiting for a chance to snatch their prey.
amānī mānada hañā kṛṣṇa-nāma sadā la’be
vraje rādhā-kṛṣṇa-sevā mānase karibe
Respect others and do not yearn for personal respect. Chant the holy name always, and render service to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana within your mind.
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura prays in a mood of longing for the strength to follow Mahāprabhu’s instruction:
amānī mānada hoile kīrtane adhikāra dibe tumi
tomāra caraṇe niṣkapaṭe āmi kāṅdiyā luṭibo bhūmi
Dear Lord, please give me the ability to always offer respect to others and never want respect myself, thereby granting me the qualification to properly perform kīrtana. Weeping and rolling on the ground, I sincerely submit myself at Your lotus feet.
“When will I be free from the desire for respect? When will I honor all others and thus naturally be engaged in sankīrtana–rasa?”
Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī says, “Madīśvari, my worshipful Goddess, is the abode of all transcendental qualities. By Her grace, all the Vraja-devīs also have these qualities with which they serve Kṛṣṇa and perform so many sweet and wonderful pastimes in Vraja.”
The soles of Rādhārānī’s lotus feet have 19 auspicious symbols. When you have relationship with Her maidservants then naturally these symbols will appear in your heart.
Rādhārānī is always dancing with the gopīs in the rāsa-maṇḍala. All the gopīs wear ankle-bells, and if you take shelter of these ankle-bells and meditate on them, then you will also get a chance to be present at the feet of Rādhārānī and the Vraja-devīs. The ankle-bells are always singing with a sweet mood. They are so happy to be connected to Rādhārānī and the gopīs. Therefore, they always sing, expressing the joy in their hearts. Everything in Vraja-maṇḍala is conscious and has personality.
Whoever’s heart is a place for Rādhārānī’s lotus feet will be forever submerged in govinda-kathā-rasa, the nectarful glories of Govinda. Direct meditation on Śrīmatī’s feet and the symbols marked on their soles may not be possible at first, but if you take shelter of Her ankle-bells or ornaments, then by their mercy, you will be able to have darśana of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī.
So we pray to Rādhārānī’s ankle-bells, “You are serving Rādhārānī and are always happily singing. How can I also worship Rādhārānī and offer myself to Her? When will that day come?”
We pray to Rādhārānī to become dear to Her near and dear ones—Her maidservants. The maidservants of Rādhārānī make garlands and decorate Her hands. They give Her a belt of flowers
and give Her different dresses and shawls. Kṛṣṇa feels so happy seeing Rādhārānī in this way and He says, “I will always serve that person who meditates on Rādhārānī who is most expertly decorated by Her friends and mañjarīs. I accept that person as a Vrajavāsī.”
Vṛndāvana is a large forest with many gardens.
There, praṇaya–rasa, love and affection is always flowing.
All the different trees and creepers and animals of the forests in Vraja are completely absorbed and surcharged by this praṇaya–rasa. If we want to also have an affectionate relationship with the Divine Couple we must take shelter of all the Vrajavāsīs, including the different creepers and trees of Vraja, and pray to them.
We cannot presently see Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in Vraja directly, but if we pray to the trees and the pastime places as well as the dust, grass, and stones in Vraja; if we have respect for all the entities in Vraja and do not harm them in any way, being sure not to pluck any flower unless it is for Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s sevā and under anugatya, then Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa will be very pleased with us and will give us Their darśana.
We see that great Vaiṣṇavas like Śrīla Trivikrama Gosvāmī Mahārāja and Śrīla Bhaktijīvana Janārdana Gosvāmī Mahārāja would, while on Vraja-maṇḍala Parikrama, bow down to the trees and embrace them. They would weep and roll in the dust and on even the stony pathways. They would scratch their bodies on thorns but were completely unconcerned for their bodies. They would weep pitiably, begging the stones, grass, dust, trees, and creepers of Vraja for mercy and the chance to have darśana and the service of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.
To make a building, not only are ingredients like stone, bricks, and wood required, but also a qualified worker. Someone who can combine all these ingredients and construct the building is needed. Rādhārāni’s servants are expert in building the temple of prema in the hearts of jīvas. They know which rasa each jīva possesses, and they know how to prepare that soul and help him progress. This rasa is like the water in the list of construction materials. Without water, a building cannot be constructed. Water must be mixed with the cement and utilized to keep everything together. Also, when you mix cement with water, it is not immediately ready to support the weight of people or a building. In the same way, we cannot immediately achieve rādhā–dāsyam or kṛṣṇa-prema, we have to first be prepared.
The Vrajavāsīs prepare us. When we associate with Guru and Vaiṣṇavas we are being made ready. When we are fully prepared, we will realize everything and achieve our svarūpa-siddhi.
Some people say, “I have come and taken shelter of Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, but my heart has not changed. I don’t taste any bliss or feel praṇaya–rasa. How can these persons be bonafide?”
In reality, some time is needed. The rasa is working, but time is needed. We do not want any quick fix that will not last. Many
gurus display mystic powers and quick results to their followers but this is material, not spiritual. For a spiritual result, time is required.
First, our heart must be cleansed of all dirt, or the unwanted desires and obstacles on our path of progress and development toward kṛṣṇa-prema. Once the platform is clear and the foundation is set, then the Vrajavāsīs can construct the building of prema.
We can understand that the building of prema is developing within us, and that our heart is being cleansed, when we have no other desire—no interest in accepting anything other than vraja–bhakti, finding no attraction for mukti or residence in Svarga.
By worshiping the demigods or Nārāyaṇa, mystic siddhīs will come to us. We will become popular and famous. We will have many temples and followers and we will become divided and our mood will be spoiled. All desire for Rādhārānī’s service as a mañjarī will be lost. This is not praṇaya–rasa. We must be very careful and try to develop a laser-focus on our desired goal.
If we once approach and surrender to a sad-guru who is in fact Rādhārānī’s kiṅkarī, then the great love of that sad-guru will make us unable to ever leave him. If we are apart we will cry.
We saw that when Śrīla Gurudeva would depart from any location, the devotees would weep bitterly, thinking, “When will I see Śrīla Gurudeva again?” Why is this? This is because Śrīla Gurudeva has this love. He is Rādhārānī’s kiṅkarī, Her mañjarī. He does not come here for fame, followers, and temples, nor does he come to give these things. His purpose is to give us sva-bhakti-śrīyam—the chance to be Rādhārānī’s maidservant.
A loyal and chaste disciple will never try to replace his guru once his guru has departed from his external vision, just as a chaste wife will not look for another husband if her husband passes away. A disciple’s connection to sad-guru is eternal.
The Vraja-devīs did not approach any other man once Kṛṣṇa left Vṛndāvana. They only cried and waited for Him to return, feeling the bitter pangs of separation from Him. Worshippers of the demigods will offer something to Durgā one day and then something to Hanumān the next day. Another day, they will worship Gaṇeśa. They have no loyalty for any specific god or goddess and therefore receive no blessings from anyone. They worship the Sun, the Moon, the other planets, and the different demigods. However, those who are the maidservants of Rādhārānī will not do this. They will not worship the planets and astrological devatās. They are beyond all this.
“I desire unswerving devotion for the lotus feet of Rādhārānī.” When Mohan, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, sees this mood appear in a person’s heart He becomes overjoyed and ready to do anything for that person. He will come running to embrace that person, saying, “Oh, you are the follower of Rādhārānī! Please give Me something. Give Me some tāmbūla. I want to taste something from your hand. Give me a flower or a garland. What can I give you? I will give you Myself.”
Aside from the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, what else is worth thinking about? Why worship anyone else? We do not need to worship Kṛṣṇa. We do not need to worship any demigod or goddess. By one-pointed worship of Rādhārānī, everything will be gained. There is no need of anything else.
This is the mood of Mahāprabhu and our ācāryas. The Gauḍīya–sampradāya specially gives this one-pointed attachment to Rādhārānī. Those who do not understand the true conception of this line, do not know the real meaning of Gauḍīya. They do not know the object of worship in this line.
Such people say, “Mahāprabhu chanted ‘Hare Kṛṣṇa’ and preached the yuga-dharma,” but this is not everything. When we have strong faith and are one-pointed in focus to Rādhārānī, Kṛṣṇa will come and say, “What can I give you? I am giving you Myself, but what else can I give you? I am completely indebted to you. How can I serve you?”
So what is the need to directly worship Kṛṣṇa? By worshiping Rādhārānī, everything is attained.
Mohan Kṛṣṇa is vanamālī and is always eager to give some special gift or service to the followers of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. Rādhārānī sees Kṛṣṇa’s mood and becomes very happy. She thinks, “Oh, He has so much affection for My mañjarīs and sakhīs.”
Kṛṣṇa gives this, not only to the mañjarīs and sakhīs, but to anyone who is a follower of Rādhārānī—anyone who chants Her names.
Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura would tell the devotees in Māyāpura Caitanya-matha that they should honor and serve any living entity that came there, whether they were a cat, dog, mouse, beggar, or anyone. He told them that if someone hears the names of Gaurahari and offers praṇāma, touching his body to the dust of the dhāma, that person or living entity is worthy of our greatest respect. It is our good fortune to serve a soul who desires the mahā-prasāda of Śrī Gaurahari, and any chance to do such service should be immediately taken.
Kṛṣṇa has a similar mood toward anyone who chants Śrīmatī’s holy names and desires to serve Her. Kṛṣṇa’s love and affection flows to such a person like a river. Observing this, Rādhārānī becomes pleased and says, “Kṛṣṇa has respect and love for My followers.”
A person who chants ‘Rādhe Rādhe’ receives all spiritual potency. As a plant receives all energy and nourishment from the Sun, in the same way, when we chant the names of Rādhārānī—She who is the transcendental Sun of pure love—Her energy will completely envelop us. All Her beauty and qualities will also be revealed to us. All Her hladinī-śakti will come to us. At that time, our physical body, mind, and senses, as well as the soul-body and its senses will become parama-adbhuta, very wonderful and beautiful. We will find ourselves very close to Rādhārānī and Her associates. At that time we can understand who are our sajātiya, like-minded friends, and we wont be cheated by others who dress themselves as great Vaiṣṇavas but in reality are deceitful and devoid of love for Rādhārānī or our Gurudeva.
Rādhārānī’s svarūpa-śakti empowers all the gopīs and therefore they are always dancing, singing, playing, cooking, picking flowers, making garlands, and otherwise joyously engaged. Moreover, whatever they do becomes very wonderful.
In this world, we find different cooks who can make nice cakes. The smell and look of each cook’s cake will be somewhat different. Some cooks have less or more experience and different styles. But the followers of Rādhārānī will have the most excellent skill in whatever they do, and all that they do will be perfect. Whenever the followers of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī do anything, that action and its result is glorious. Rādhārānī’s followers are eternally glorified for their excellence in service.
If one wants to enter one of the top universities of the world, he has to score very high marks in his preliminary studies and must pass the entry examinations. Only then can they enter. Similarly, the followers of Rādhārānī are like the students of the most exalted university. They are the topmost devotees of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa and Vṛndā-devī test the devotees who desire to be Rādhārānī’s servants. Vṛndā-devī will train them, Yogamāyā will connect them, and Paurnamasi-devi will allow them entrance. Once allowed entrance, they will become connected to the flow of līlā-śakti or hladinī-śakti, and whatever they do will be perfect.
Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s followers will also be careful in anything they do because they know Śrīmatī Rādhārānī will not tolerate any shortcoming or mistake. She expects excellence and perfection. Therefore, everything the gopīs do is an art. Whether they are smiling, walking, or engaged in any activity—it is all supremely graceful.
We pray, “When will Rādhārānī give me the chance to serve Her. My life will be useless without Her mercy and acceptance. All austerity or sādhana is useless unless I get Rādhārānī’s mercy and service.”
“O Rādhārānī, Your eyebrows are so beautiful. Your cheeks are reddish from Your anurāga for Kṛṣṇa. You become angry when You see someone has done something wrong in Vraja.”
If Kṛṣṇa visits Candrāvalī, Rādhārānī will punish Him. She, however, does not harm or banish wrongdoers. Her punishment is Her māna. This is anger born out of Her love. Sometimes, Her māna becomes very deep and strong and Kṛṣṇa can only pacify Her with great difficulty.
Śrīmatī Rādhārānī sometimes feels māna toward different mañjarīs or gopīs. Rūpa Mañjarī serves, performing some activity on Rādhārānī’s instruction, and then Kṛṣṇa comes and looks at her. He thinks she is Śrīmatī Rādhārānī because she looks so similar to Her. Because Rūpa Mañjarī is always thinking of Rādhārānī and has the same moods, she becomes rādhā–maya. Then Kṛṣṇa runs, embraces Rūpa Mañjarī, kisses her lips and runs off.
Śrīmatī Rādhārānī sees Rūpa Mañjarī returning to the kuñja later and notices that her lip is cut. She says, “Oh, why is your lip cut? Were you bitten by a parrot, or perhaps a snake? Did a black snake bite you?” She sees that Rūpa Mañjarī’s face has become red, the color of anurāga. Rūpa is very young and her face is so sweet and attractive. Rādhārānī becomes angry and says, “Who attacked you like this?” She inquires from the different gopīs and finally learns what happened.
“That black boy, Śyāma, attacked her,” one gopī says, “He came, kissed Rūpa, and ran away.”
Rādhārānī becomes furious. “How could He attack my Rūpa? I will not let Him enter My kuñja ever again.”
All the gopīs start a strike against Kṛṣṇa. None of them look toward Him and they also cover everything that is black in the kuñja with white cloth. They understand Rādhārānī’s mood and start a boycott against Kṛṣṇa.
Kṛṣṇa suffers so much under this punishment and thinks, “Oh, why have I displeased Rādhārānī? Without Her permission, I kissed one of Her mañjarīs.”
Kṛṣṇa goes to the gopīs and says, “What have I done wrong? Please ask Rādhārānī to forgive Me.”
They said, “Why did you independently touch one of Her mañjarīs? For this offense, You will never again be allowed into the company of our Svāminī.”
Seeing that they cannot find any solution, Madhumaṅgala and other sakhās go to Vṛndā-devī and say, “Kṛṣṇa is not eating. He is sick now and suffering so much. Please come help. Find some means to pacify Rādhārānī.”
“No,” Vṛndā-devī says. “We have no more relation with Him.”
The sakhās report this to Kṛṣṇa, who then becomes more depressed. He is rasika–mauli. He makes a plan. He arranges a meeting and makes a deity of the Vana-devī, the forest goddess, and they worship the deity. They offer that deity many songs. Which songs? The sakhās and Kṛṣṇa, playing on instruments, sing in sweet voices:
rādhe! jaya jaya mādhava-dayite
O Rādhā! All glories to You, all glories to You, the beloved of Mādhava. You are the most qualified of Gokula’s damsels.
The beautiful way You dress causes Śrī Dāmodara’s attachment to You to swell. You are the presiding Goddess of Hari’s home—the forests of Vṛndāvana.
Kṛṣṇa committed an offense toward Rūpa Mañjarī by approaching her independently of Rādhārānī, so to pacify Her, He sings prayers like these.
rati-sukha-sāre gatam abhisāre
na kuru nitambini gamana-vilambanam
anusara taṁ hṛdayeśam
The sound of Kṛṣṇa’s singing goes into the kuñjas where the gopīs are present. Kṛṣṇa sings and then prays on His flute and this song pervades Vraja-maṇḍala with the sound, “Rādhe Rādhe!” All the kiśorīs, mañjarīs, and sakhīs hear this singing. The flute carries the names of Rādhārānī. They hear this singing and then Rādhārānī’s māna is washed away.
Kṛṣṇa worships Śrīmatī Rādhārānī through kīrtana and by worshipping Her Deity and then Rādhārānī becomes pleased with Him. Rādhārānī’s Deity, Her name, and Herself are not separate. They are connected. If someone is worshiping Rādhārānī’s Deity, or chanting Rādhārānī’s names, She is aware of this.
The sakhīs say, “O Rādhe, do you know? Kṛṣṇa has started a program with the sakhā–maṇḍalī. They are worshiping You and doing kīrtana of Your names.”
Rādhārānī goes with Her sakhīs and from a distant hill looks down at Kṛṣṇa’s performance. She and Her friends see that all the sakhās are dancing and singing. All the parrots, cuckoos, peacocks, deer, and all the different animals have also joined Kṛṣṇa and His friends. They are all dancing joyously together. The cows, calves, and even the trees and creepers are also dancing. The trees sway as they hear the singing of, “Rādhe Rādhe!”
Śrīla Gaura-kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja would sing:
koṭhāya go premamayī rādhe! rādhe!
rādhe rādhe go, jaya rādhe rādhe
Kṛṣṇa is crying and praying like this.
dekhā diye prāṇa rākha rādhe rādhe
tomār kāṅgāl tomāy ḍāke rādhe rādhe
“O Rādhe, you are Karuṇa-mayī, the ocean of mercy. Please forgive Me. I know You cannot remain angry at Me for long.”
Kṛṣṇa’s mood was very innocent. He sees the love and affection of the mañjarīs and how much they serve Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. His heart becomes overwhelmed with sweet affection for them because of this. He wants to embrace them. He thinks, “How can I show them My affection? What can I give them?”
But the mañjarīs do not want any connection with Kṛṣṇa. They are solely dedicated to Rādhārānī.
Rādhārānī wears a small crown on Her head. She also wears bangles, earrings, a necklace, and other ornaments. Ankle-bells that ring with a deep sound adorn Her feet and chime while She walks and dances. Her ankle-bells sing songs of the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. They also sing new songs for Kṛṣṇa. As Rādhārānī and the gopīs walk, they sing and dance. Simultaneously, their ankle-bells sing different songs. The sound of the ankle-bells calls to Kṛṣṇa, and by it He can understand where Rādhārānī is going, or what pastimes they will enact, or what Her heart’s desire is at that time.
Sometimes, the sound of the ankle-bells is restless and fast. Sometimes, it is grave and somber. Rādhārānī does not need to call anyone to assist Her. While She does anything, Her ankle-bells sing and by that sound her maidservants can understand Her mood and what She needs. Rādhārānī’s bangles also sing, and can give instruction to the gopīs or send messages to Kṛṣṇa.
Because of Her devotion to Śyāma, Rādhārānī is called Syamā or Kṛṣṇā. One who has śyāmānurāga, deep love for Śyāma, becomes Śyamā. Śyāma is the crest-jewel of lovers and because of their śyāmānurāga—their love for that supreme lover—sometimes the gopīs’ complexion will change and they will experience ecstatic symptoms such as romāñca, kampa, aśru, pulaka, sveda, and vaivarṇya. The eight types of ecstatic symptoms will transform the bodies of the gopīs and sometimes their color will also change to śyāma-raṅga, or a darkish color.
Kṛṣṇa becomes amazed to see this. He says, “Oh, why have all of their colors changed?” Then He understands. “They are thinking of Me and have so much love for Me that their color has become like Mine. They have brought Me into their hearts and embraced Me in their mind. Thus their color has changed.” They are anurāga-vibhāvita, completely moved by Kṛṣṇa’s love and affection.
Śrīmatī Rādhārānī is smiling in a kalpa–kuñja. What is a kalpa–kanja? It is a kuñja-kuṭīra that fulfills all of Kṛṣṇa’s desires. This kuñja is always ready to serve and be a place for the pastimes of Rādhārānī and Kṛṣṇa.
The gopīs came to the bank of Kusuma-sarovara and then to Rādhā-kuṇḍa. Servants clean the stairs there and make a place for Rādhārānī to sit. They decorate the area with a canopy of flowers, making it into a beautiful kuñja. They also bring many musical instruments to play.
Some gopīs make a decorated sitting-place somewhat distant from where Śrīmatī sits. Other gopīs ask, “Why is there a big seat there, so far away.”
The gopīs that arranged the seat reply, “Kṛṣṇa can only have the darśana of Rādhārānī from a far distance. We will not let Him come close.”
An arena is made nearby Rādhārānī. All the sakhīs and mañjarīs have their places, and from a distance, Kṛṣṇa can sit and have darśana of Rādhārānī. This arena built by the gopīs is perfectly suited to enhance Kṛṣṇa’s desire to meet with Rādhārānī. The flowers and creepers make a net so Kṛṣṇa can see Rādhārānī but not come close. He cannot come and disturb the gopīs.
Watching Rādhārānī, sometimes Kṛṣṇa becomes so eager to meet with Her that He falls senseless.
In the evening time, Rādhārānī sits on Her dais at Her assembly hall at Kusuma-sarovara, surrounded by the mañjarīs and gopīs. She observes the decoration and sees Kṛṣṇa peering through the green and flowery net. She sees Him watching Her from a distance. She smiles sweetly and speaks with the gopīs.
Rādhārānī’s assembly is also a place where all the different animals of Vraja can have Her darśana. All the different creatures of Vraja also come there to see Rādhārānī. In the daytime, they are with Kṛṣṇa, and in the evening they come to Kusuma-sarovara to have darśana of Rādhārānī. The deer, birds, and all animals come for Her darśana.
During the day, the deer are in the flower garlands and the parrots, squirrels, mongooses, and other animals are in the different gardens of various fruits and flowers. The parrots flutter about in the mango gardens, the squirrels are in the guava garden, and the mongooses are in the jackfruit garden. All of them leave their dwellings in the evening and come to Kusuma-sarovara for darśana of Śrīmatījī.
Rādhārānī happily greets all Her friends and sevakas. She embraces the deer, pets them, and feeds them prasāda. Many small birds surround Rādhārānī, eager for a morsel from Her hand. Rādhārānī showers all the living beings in Vraja with Her affectionate glance.
After returning with the sakhās from the forest in the afternoon, Kṛṣṇa makes some excuse to go out and quickly makes His way to Kusuma-sarovara where Rādhārānī’s assembly is held. He looks at Rādhārānī from a distance, and prays to Her:
“Madiśvari Rādhe, O My life and soul, many gopīs are at Your feet. You are surrounded by Your aṣṭa-sakhīs who are all worshipable to Me. I worship You and all Your followers. Nārada and the sages all honor You and pray for Your mercy and service. O Rādhārānī, please glance upon Me with Your love and affection and give Me a chance to meet with You.
“O Rādhe, You have unlimited rasa. Madhura–ujjvala-rasa flows from Your lotus feet. May I have the chance to serve Your lotus feet. When will I have permission to do this? O Rādhe, please be merciful to Me.”
Kṛṣṇa prays like this from His distant sitting-place. He sees that in Vraja, whoever is nearby Rādhārānī is so qualified.
He prays to also have the chance to be nearby Rādhārānī.
Srila Prabhodananda Sarasvati Thakura ki Jaya! (excerpted from the bhaktabandhav book: “Sri Sri Radha Rasa Sudha Nidhi”, available from; [email protected] )