My thoughts dwell on the divine beauty who has the name Rādhā. She is the essence of beauty, the essence of nectar, the essence of joy, the essence of mercy, the essence of charming and beautiful forms, the essence of all intelligence, and the essence of playful pastimes. Indeed She is the essence and the best of everything.
Offering to the Divine Personalities
Śrīmatī Rādhikā manifests as Kṛṣṇa’s karuṇā-śakti, His mercy potency. Kṛṣṇa need not give instruction or even specify who to help, Śrīmatī Rādhikā help’s the sādhakas as soon as He desires it.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Prabhupāda resided in Vṛndāvana at the Rādhā-Dāmodara Temple. He had a very sweet relationship with Rādhā-Dāmodara. He would cook there in his small room and offer what he made to Rādhā-Dāmodara. He used to show what he wrote to Rādhā-Dāmodara and the Gosvāmīs.
We have heard how Śrī Madhavacharya wrote his commentary on the Bhagavad-gitā and went to Badrikāśrama and showed it to Śrīla Vyāsadeva and received his blessings. In a similar fashion, Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja wrote many commentaries, including those on Śrīmad–Bhāgavatam and Caitanya-caritāmṛta, and showed them to the Gosvāmīs before publishing them. He would request them to guide him in his writing. He asked, “Is this correct or have I written incorrectly?” He would only eat what he had cooked and offered to Ṭhākurajī and the Gosvāmīs. He was not surrounded by friends or family. He had relation only with Ṭhākurajī, his Gurudeva, and the Guru-varga.
At the time that Śrīla Svāmī Pabhupāda was staying at the Rādhā-Dāmodara Temple, it was dilapidated and few people visited there. It was later that the temple became more developed and popular, by Śrīla Gurudeva’s help.
During his time there, Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja regularly conversed with the Gosvāmīs whom he would show his books and ask for them to correct. Rūpa Gosvāmī, Jīva Gosvāmī, and the other great ācāryas perused and approved his work.
How beautiful was Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja’s faith and relationship with the Guru-varga!
We see that Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja’s Bhagavad–gītā As It Is, which he began composing during his stay at the Rādhā-Dāmodara Temple, is now the most renowned, read, and translated commentary on the Bhagavad–gītā in the world. This is the power of his connection to the Gosvāmīs and to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The contents of his books are coming from his connection with the Guru-varga and the inspiration he receives from them.
Nowadays, there are people who collect pieces of other peoples’ work and put them together to make their own books. They have no inspiration of their own and they are nothing but plagiarizers. Their books are not so helpful for the jīvas because they are not based on realization. Because Śrīla Svāmī Prabhupāda’s books are coming from the realization, inspiration, and blessings he received from the Gosvāmīs and Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Dāmodara, everyone loves those books. Wherever those books are present is a holy place because they have been manifest under the guidance of the Guru-varga.
Śrīla Svāmi Prabhupāda was blessed with karuṇā-śakti and he distributed it everywhere in the world. This flow of mercy can never be stopped. When one is contacted by karuṇā-śakti his heart becomes very soft and sweet. When we honor the books of Śrīla Svāmī Prabhupāda or our Śrīla Gurudeva, we actually honor the Gosvāmīs for they are selfsame.
We can be connected to Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa through these books of our Guru-varga. By honoring our ācāryas, their books, and their instructions, we can realize the essence of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s sweetness and beauty. Even if you cannot understand these books, you must respect them and try to memorize and repeat even just one or two words from them. This is called puṣpāñjali.
What can we offer Rūpa Gosvāmī? We can offer him his own
verses. We can read them or learn them and try to follow the instructions they contain. This is proper puṣpāñjali to Rūpa Gosvami.
There once was a brāhmaṇa who lived in South India and did not know how to read or write. Despite his illiteracy, his guru had told him to daily read the Bhagavad–gītā. Everyday he would respectfully flip the pages of Bhagavad–gītā, unable to even tell if the book was upside down or not. Because of his sincere determination to follow the instruction that was given to him by his guru, he had the fortune of meeting Mahāprabhu, who gave him self-realization and darśana of Kṛṣṇa.
So we should know that we cannot understand all the imports of the Gosvāmīs’ book with our mundane intelligence, but by the simple process of respecting them and studying them with faith, we can receive karuṇā-śakti from Śrīmatī Rādhikā. Once we have this, we will be able to see the chavi, or picture, of kṛṣṇa-līlā forever within our hearts. That vision will manifest before us according to our qualification. Presently, we are infants in our spiritual life, but when we mature in our spiritual life then we can hear and perceive deeper and deeper pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. Karuṇā-śakti is like our spiritual mother. She gives us what we need according to what we can digest and what will gradually develop our spiritual strength. She first gives us as a glimpse of Vṛndāvana and arranges that we have the association of sādhus.
In the initial stages of the sādhaka’s development, he is unable to properly recognize and respect high-class Vaiṣṇavas, owing to a lack of faith. But Kṛṣṇa is very merciful. He arranges that such people receive the association of kaniṣṭha–adhikārīs, neophyte devotees. By having friendship with kaniṣṭha–adhikārīs and by taking praśāda, dancing, and doing kīrtana and service with them, their enthusiasm will increase and it will lead them to the chance to associate with madhyama–adhikārīs. After staying with madhyama–adhikārīs for a long time, they will develop proper respect for mahā–bhāgavata uttama-adhikārīs. When such souls develop relationship with uttama–adhikārīs, they will become quiet, composed, and possessed of the mood of the Vraja-devīs, who always conceal their inner feelings within their hearts. They will avoid personal name, fame, and recognition, and will constantly engage themselves in saṅkhyā-pūrvaka-nāma-gāna-natibhiḥ—a fixed amount of harināma-japa as well as nāma-saṅkīrtana. Pure devotees who have the mood of Vraja will offer praṇāma many times in a day to Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and their bhaktas, but in a hidden place. They will also not announce or reveal how many rounds they are chanting or how much they are praying. They are constantly and secretly engaged in their sādhana like Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī. This is how a soul who has been contacted by karuṇā-śakti progresses.
Śrīmatī Rādhārānī is clever and very tricky and so are Her dear associates. Sometimes, general people cannot understand the activities of high-class Vaiṣṇavas and they criticize them, saying, “These people are liars and cheaters.” But the fact is that their trickiness, which some mistake for cheating, is coming from their connection to Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and Kṛṣṇa. In order to carry out their sevā to the Divine Couple in eternal Vraja, they must utilize great cleverness and trickery. Sometimes they must trick Kṛṣṇa or mislead their in-laws. By this they help increase the sweetness of vraja-rasa.
In order to understand the nature and moods of the Vaiṣṇavas one must chant rādhā-nāma, Rādhārānī’s holy names. Only then can one understand the highest truth, which transcends all material dharma and adharma.
When we always chant and remember rādhā–namā and meditate on serving Her lotus feet, we will never be disturbed by anything. Our fixed faith will cause us to rapidly progress and we will experience realization of our own transcendental identity and eternal service.
Srila Prabodananda Sarasvati Thakur ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Sri Radha-Rasa Sudha Nidhi”. Available from: firstname.lastname@example.org )