Śrīla Narottama Ṭhākura prays, “Sakhīra anūgā hañā vraje siddha-deha pāñā, ei bhāve jūḍābe parānī—I can attain my siddha-deha in Vraja by always being under the guidance of the sakhīs.”
A sādhaka can hope to have his aspirations fulfilled by taking shelter of the Vraja-devīs’ lotus feet. Otherwise, it is not possible. A sādhaka cannot attain his siddha-deha if he is not continuously under the guidance of the Vraja-devīs.
He will not obtain his ‘passport and visa’ to Goloka Vṛndāvana. He will never attain entrance into Vraja.
It will not be possible for him to realize his siddha-deha.
The Vrajavāsīs have natural desires. This is called rāga. Rāga has primary and secondary symptoms. The primary symptom is characterized by an intense thirst to attain the shelter of Kṛṣṇa and His Vraja-devīs. There will be a deep desire to follow the Vraja-devīs. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Śukadeva Gosvāmī gave an example to Parīkṣit Mahārāja.
The dvija–patnīs (the wives of the brahmaṇas) used to reside in Mathurā. They would constantly think of the Vraja-devīs’ service from early morning. They would bathe, cook, and clean while always thinking of Kṛṣṇa, and His devotees.
They would wonder, “Kṛṣṇa always goes to the homes of the Vraja-devīs and steals butter. They cook the complete night, and also arrange for much butter. And then, Kṛṣṇa comes and steals everything away from their homes. They have such inconceivable love for Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa enters so many houses just to taste their love for Him. How great the gopīs are! They hide everything for Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa completely tastes their love. He doesn’t share their love with anyone else.
The Vraja-devīs save their love only for Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa then discreetly enters their homes and avails Himself of their love. He steals butter and eats to His heart’s delight. He then gives His remnants to the sakhās. How tasteful the love of the gopīs is!”
The Vraja-devīs only desire to please Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa gives His remnants and says, “How tasteful the Vrajavāsīs’ prasādam is!”
By honoring the Vrajavāsīs’ prasādam, we will develop anurāga effortlessly. We will lose everything by honoring the remnants of nonsense people. They will steal everything away from us. But, our anurāga for Kṛṣṇa will always increase by honoring the prasāda of the Vraja-devīs. Our attraction, affection, and love will increase. The sakhīs became more near and dear to Kṛṣṇa after they honored the prasādam of the Vraja-devīs. Kṛṣṇa Himself distributes this prasādam to all the sakhās when they go house to house from early in the morning.
Why did they go early in the morning? The time of brāhma-muhūrta is very holy. This time is only reserved for the devotees. People are fast asleep during this time. But, the Vraja-devīs are ready for Kṛṣṇa’s sevā from the time of brāhma-muhūrta. Kṛṣṇa distributes this love. Even the crows, squirrels, monkeys, mongooses, parrots, peacocks, and all the birds and animals of Vraja would run to relish this love.
The peacocks would call out, “Ke-ka! Ke-ka!”
Kṛṣṇa would reply, “I am here. I am distributing the love that all of you have been eagerly waiting for.”
So, the Dvija-patnīs were remembering this love in Mathurā. They were weeping and praying to attain this love.
They cried out, “When will we take birth in Vraja and become the footstep followers of the Vraja-devīs. By smearing their foot dust all over our bodies, our lives will become successful. By the mercy of the Vraja-devīs, Kṛṣṇa will accept us, and He will take our prasādam.”
By constantly thinking about the Vraja-devīs, the Dvija-patnīs made Kṛṣṇa come to them. Worship of Kṛṣṇa is observed by always thinking about the Vraja-devīs. How can you render service to Kṛṣṇa without anurāga? Your love is useless and dry if you are not under the guidance of the Vraja-devīs. Kṛṣṇa will not relish such love.
However, Kṛṣṇa will take everything that you have to offer if you follow the footsteps of the Vraja-devīs. He will even take dry chickpeas. Sanātana Gosvāmī would offer dry rotis to Madana-mohana.
Madana-mohana would say, “These rotis are so dry! Will you not add even a little salt?”
Sanātana Gosvāmī replied, “No, this is not possible. Today, You are asking for salt. Tomorrow, You will ask for sabjī, sweets, halavā, rabaḍi, malpua, and butter. How can I fulfill Your desires?”
Kṛṣṇa would joyfully relish everything that Sanātana Gosvāmī had to offer. Why? He is Lavaṅga Mañjarī herself. Anything he offered would be inconceivably tasteful and sweet. This is called sakhīra-anugata. You should not think that the Vraja-devīs are ordinary women. Kṛṣṇa is very greedy to taste the greatness of the Vraja-devīs’ love. Thus, He wanders all over Vraja-maṇḍala.
Before Kṛṣṇa’s birth, the Vrajavāsīs were never attacked by any demons. Nanda Bābā, Abhinanda, Sunanda, Upananda, Parjanya Ṛṣi, and the other elders of Vraja had no problems. But, their ‘problems’ started three days after Kṛṣṇa’s birth. A demon lady (Pūtanā), and many other demons came to attack and acquire Vraja. The Vrajavāsīs were disturbed by great storms, forest fires, whirlwinds, and other disturbances. They became very unhappy by such occurrences. But they would forget everything when they had Kṛṣṇa’s darśana.
Kṛṣṇa thought, “The Vrajavāsīs will not feel happy and peaceful as long as I am present in Vraja-maṇḍala. They will only suffer. I will go away. Then the demons will come there. I will kill all the demons amidst hills and oceans. Why do they disturb My sakhās and sakhīs?” Śaṅkhacūḍa came and tried stealing the gopīs away. Any of these demons would not have come to Vraja if Kṛṣṇa wasn’t present there. The Vrajavāsīs would have had no problems. The demons follow Kṛṣṇa everywhere He goes. Why? No one wants Lord Nārāyaṇa—everyone only desires Lakṣmī-devī.
Everyone cries out, “Ha Lakṣmī! Ha Lakṣmī!” but they don’t call out to Lord Nārāyaṇa. Just as Lakṣmī always accompanies Nārāyaṇa, the Vraja-devīs are always by the side of Kṛṣṇa. No one would have appeared without Kṛṣṇa.
Kṛṣṇa thought, “What can I do? The love and affection of the Vrajavāsīs is very sweet. Although I am Parabrahma, I came to Vraja-maṇḍala to taste the love and affection of the Vrajavāsīs.”
Everything will be natural in a place where the anurāgi–bhakta is present. But many demons, and enjoyers try disturbing the residents of this place. They will create many problems. So Kṛṣṇa thought how to protect everyone from such demoniac influences.
A rāgānuga-bhakta is characterized by primary and secondary symptoms. He is always engaged in kṛṣṇa-sevā. He always follows the rāgātmika associates of Vraja. A rāgānugā is he who always follows the anurāga of the nitya-siddha Vrajavāsīs. In his Bhakti-sandarbha, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has stated how the pure heart of a sādhaka will be enlightened by the mercy of the rāgātmika associates. By listening to the śāstras’ glorification of rāgātmika-bhakti, the sādhaka will try to practice devotion with spontaneous love and affection. He will do everything in a mood of prema-sevā. The sādhaka will then become realized in the process of rāgātmika-bhakti. His heart will always be peaceful and happy. He will never be tired and hopeless. But ordinary people cannot understand this.
Srila Narottama dasa Thakura Mahsaya ki Jaya! (excerpted from the book Bhakti CSri Sri Prema-Bhakti Candrika”, available from firstname.lastname@example.org)