The Vraja-devīs think of Kṛṣṇa, and they make a kuñja–kuṭīra in their heart and arrange all services within. Then they manifest everything externally. A designer has ideas that he forms in his mind and then he designs these on a laptop. Otherwise, how could a computer do it?
The Vraja-devīs’ hearts have all types of moods. Their moods appear in the hearts of the gopīs and mañjaris. The gopīs make the kuñja–kuṭīras and pathways for Rādhā- Kṛṣṇa to go on to meet. They play musical instruments, and upon a narrow path they sing a song full of pathos. It begins to rain and the clouds rumble and roar. Why? The gopīs sing in a sweet and heartrending tune. Their singing is full of viraha. This separation cannot be tolerated by anyone. Kṛṣṇa understands their hearts and devises a way to escape. The clouds begin to rain in torrents, and the pathways in Vraja all become muddy. Kṛṣṇa leaves Nanda-bhavan alone. Crossing everything, He comes to the forest bower where Śrīmatī Rādhārānī is longing for Him in a mood of deep anguish.
Without the mercy of a mahā-bhāgavata, or one who is śuddha-sattva–viśeṣātmā, like the eternal Vrajavāsīs, one can never understand these moods. Realization of kṛṣṇa-līlā will never come without association and the mercy of a mahā-bhāgavata Vrajavāsī.
While waiting, the gopīs are restless. They scratch the walls of the kuñja with their nails and the ground with their toes. It seems there is no solution. No one clearly arranged for a meeting, and, presently, Śrīmatī is alone.
The mañjarīs and sakhīs are at a little distance, but Rādhārānī’s heartfelt inspiration goes to them and they become ready to arrange everything. If they are a little late, She won’t be able to tolerate it, and a big fight will ensue. Why? Kṛṣṇa is thirsty, and He is midway through the forest on His way. He needs to drink something, but He doesn’t drink alone. Therefore the gopīs make drinks and go and give them to Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa takes Himself and distributes to the sakhās. Then He is happy.
Kṛṣṇa’s desires reflect in Śrīmatī’s heart. From there they go to the mañjarīs and sakhīs, who then arrange all varieties of service. But during the time of waiting for Kṛṣṇa’s desires to be fulfilled, Śrīmatī Rādhārānī cannot tolerate the thoughts of His any discomfort or unsatisfied desire.
Who can understand this? Sometimes my Guru Mahārāja was sitting in his room. In his later times, his sevakas would bring prasādam and say, “Gurudeva, please take some prasādam.” He was silent; not talking. “Gurudeva, please take prasādam.” He did not speak. They asked ten times without getting an answer. Finally he said, “I have no time, I am very busy.”
“O Guru Mahārāja, how are you so busy? What are you doing? You are only sitting here.” They gently asked for him to eat again, but he would not. He said, “I am very busy; don’t disturb me.”
“Where are you?”
“My Gurudeva gave me many services to perform. So I am busy. Ṭhākurānī is disturbed. There is so much to be done. Should I follow you, or my guru-sakhī? I don’t even have one spare minute. I won’t take any prasāda. Take it out of my room.” So, this means that by Rādhārānī’s order he is now arranging something for Kṛṣṇa’s sevā under the guidance of the sakhīs. Param Gurudeva had given him an indication what to do, and now his dear associate was busily absorbed in his service.
The gopīs are prema–unmatta, maddened by love. They have no time to waste and are always busily engaged in service. At that time, sometimes Rādhārānī looks and, if something is a little late and the service is incomplete, She weeps. Lalitā comes and takes Her hand. Her tears are very hot. Lalitā-devī says, “Don’t be worried, the arrangement is finished. Now Kṛṣṇa is happy. He is not suffering from the sun. I called the clouds to provide shade.”
Kṛṣṇa is in the forest with the cows, and the summer sun is burning down on Kṛṣṇa. He becomes restless. Who understands? Rādhārānī experiences pain and discomfort. She is disturbed, and Lalitā-devī understands and calls the clouds. The clouds come and make shade for Kṛṣṇa, and then Śrīmatī is happy.
While Kṛṣṇa walks, many stones and thorns are on the road. Śrīmatī understands and Her desire reflects in the hearts of the sakhīs. The sakhīs then go there and place flower petals and fresh lush grass on the path. Why? Kṛṣṇa walks and feels pain. They are always busy serving. This tendency makes a sweet relationship and brings one close. If one has no service tendency, then Rādhārānī, the active blissful potency will not empower one. Such persons are like impersonal Brahma—stone, wood, or dead tree trunks. What will they attain after doing bhajana? What will be the result? Are you Brahma or Paramātmā?
Bhajana means, “bhaja dhātu sevāyām—being busy in service twenty four hours a day.” Inspiration will always come, instruction will come, and all strength and energy to follow one’s service will come. If one has no taste, then there is no energy and no strength. Then what can one do? One will only suffer. These are the brahmavādīs and māyāvādīs. They don’t understand anything; they have no knowledge; they have no sweetness. If one drop of hlādini–śakti (Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s blessings or mercy) comes, then this is called bhajana. Strength, power, and inspiration will come what to do next. One will never be lazy. One after another, one will be engaged in service.
If one misses anything, then he will suffer: “Oh, today, I am useless!” Meaning, now Kṛṣṇa is coming back with the cows in the evening time. All arrangements have been made, but Śrīmatī Rādhārānī checks and looks over everything. How? She is in one place. From there She looks over everything and understands it all.
The Guru-varga are the expansions of Rādhārānī. They sit in one place and do everything—cooking, cleaning, decorating, and giving inspiration to everything—in this way they manage everything. Śrīmatī Rādhārānī is the supreme authority. She sees that Kṛṣṇa is coming with the cows in the evening. Yaśodā Mātā is doing ārati, and She has drinks, juice, and other things prepared for Kṛṣṇa. The sakhīs wait on both sides of the road with many preparations. They throw flower petals to soften and cool the road. They feel, “How can Kṛṣṇa walk on the hot ground?” Therefore they give instruction for the clouds to come and sprinkle down rain, showering on Kṛṣṇa’s body to cool Him. By Śrīmatī’s desire, everyone is trained and perfectly prepared to serve.
kṛṣṇa-bhakta niṣkāma ataeva śānta
bhukti-mukti-siddhi-kāmī sakali aśānta
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 19.149
Because a devotee of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is desireless (desiring only to please Kṛṣṇa), he is peaceful. Karmīs desiring bhukti (material enjoyment), jñānīs desiring muktī (liberation), and yogīs desiring siddhi (mystic perfections) are all lusty and thus cannot be peaceful.
Kṛṣṇa’s devotees are peaceful because they are always busily engaged in their own internal service. Therefore they are never disturbed by anything external. They do everything by the inspiration of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. They are always active. Kṛṣṇa is surprised, “No one in Vraja-maṇḍala lacks anything. Everyone is pure and perfect.” Therefore Kṛṣṇa is happy.
Now, Śrīmatī Rādhārānī is on the way to a forest grove, and She goes along the bank of a lake. The lake has blossoming lotuses. There was a lotus that had not completely blossomed; it was just budding. She saw this lotus and thought, “My heart is not clean. I have no desire for service. This lotus is much better than I. He stocks all his honey and doesn’t blossom completely, not inviting any honeybees. I have no taste for service, but I show everyone I am a good servant and helpful.” Bhakti and bhajana are hidden. One must not show anyone. If one shows, then it goes. Like a flower blossoms, and then honeybees come, sit there, drink honey, and break the flower petals—the flower then loses everything. Therefore the lotus blossoms only for a few minutes or hours, and then closes its petals, hiding everything.
The gopīs come to the foreground for service at the appropriate time, appearing to be simple, foolish, and ignorant. Their modesty covers their good qualities. This is the etiquette of the Vraja-devīs. How is this?They don’t meet front to front, face to face, and eye to eye. They look down and speak sweetly with a few words, not all the time. To drink this nectar, Kṛṣṇa follows behind them with eager ears. This is called adharāmṛta, nectar from the lips.
One person speaks like a madman, moving in the street as a hawker speaker, announcing his own glories or business products. But the Vraja-devīs speak seldomly and when they speak it is very sweet. They are always busy with their eternal service; therefore, how can any words come out? This is not possible. If someone is not busy, then, like a madman, he will only talk and talk, like a recorder that has been turned on and is playing.
Devotees and great souls fixed in doing bhajana, like the Vraja-devīs, don’t speak unnecessarily. They carefully choose their words for Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s happiness. They drink the nectar of Kṛṣṇa’s flute. It increases their heartfelt love, without distributing and revealing it to anyone.
Śrī Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī requested Caitanya Mahāprabhu many times, “Please instruct me in some way.” The Lord, however, remained silent and did not directly instruct Dāsa Gosvāmī. Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī then begged Mahāprabhu for some instruction. He said, “Please, You brought me here into Your shelter, but You won’t give me any instruction. What will I do?”
Mahāprabhu finally said, “If you like, I will tell you something. Try to follow that. If you do so, your life will be successful.
grāmya-kathā nā śunibe, grāmya-vārtā nā kahibe
bhāla nā khāibe āra bhāla nā paribe
amānī mānada hañā kṛṣṇa-nāma sadā la’be
vraje rādhā-kṛṣṇa-sevā mānase karibe
Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 6.236–7
Do not talk like people in general or hear what they say. You should not eat very palatable food, nor should you dress very nicely. Do not expect honor, but offer all respect to others. Always chant the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and within your mind render service to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana.
Amānī mānada hañā kṛṣṇa-nāma sadā la’be—give respect to everyone and don’t yearn for respect from anyone. Constantly chant kṛṣṇa-nāma. Give respect to everyone, then your heart will be clean. If you have no desire for respect, then you will be pure. Then you can chant harināma.
Next Mahāprabhu said, “Vraje rādhā-kṛṣṇa-sevā mānase karibe.” If you open a big temple without first having the foundation of mānasī-sevā, then many problems will come. The sevakas will not be good, and the workers disobedient and unhelpful. They won’t follow your instructions and won’t understand what to do and what not to do. Therefore Mahāprabhu gave this order for mānasī-sevā, serving within the mind.
The Vrajavāsīs constantly serve Kṛṣṇa, out of their loving relationship with Him. Externally they churn yogurt and make butter, laddus, sandesh, rabari, and halava. Internally they serve, this then manifests externally—therefore they are continuously serving outside as well.
Whatever you perform in mānasī-sevā will manifest externally. But if your mind has no desire to serve and you don’t do anything from morning to evening, how will you attain pure devotion? You then won’t do mānasī-sevā either.
Śyāmānanda Prabhu swept the pathways of Vraja-maṇḍala. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī gave him this instruction and Śyāmānanda Prabhu followed it with great enthusiasm. And Śrīmatī Rādhārānī came and gave Her blessings with Her anklebells, by touching his head with Her feet. But if you have no desire for service, then if someone says, “Will you sweep this area?” you will say, “This is not my service. I am not a slave. Why are you harassing me? Leave me alone!”
Without affection and enthusiasm, your actions are karma, not sevā. Service is performed with love. Then Kṛṣṇa accepts your service. If one has no love and smashes others with orders, “Do this, do that,” this is not good. Śrīla Gurudeva never ordered us like that. He never wrote lists of our duties. No. This should be your inspiration, from the heart. How? I have a desire. How can desire come? Guru-pāda-padma gives this desire to his own devotees. Where does this come from? Kriyā–śakti Śrīmatī Rādhārānī gives this.
Therefore, first pray to Guru-pāda-padma, and then pray for Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s mercy. Then you can become engaged in mānasī-sevā.
Srila Bilavamangala Thakur ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication,
Śrī Śrī Kṛṣṇa Karṇāmṛta / Nectar for the All Attractive. Available from: firstname.lastname@example.org )