Krsna who is param premi’, the topmost beloved, served His dear most Srimati Radhika. He picked flowers and decorated Her hair and braid. Before this some Gopis had enmity and jealousy toward Radharani, but seeing how the Lord had served Her, some good mood came within them and they had the realization of how dear she was to the Lord. The Gopis came to this place where the Lord Himself served His beloved with so much love and affection and this caused Krsna’s mood of love and respect for Radharani to enter their hearts. They began to think; “How did Krsna serve Her”? They began to directly experience these things as if it was happening before their eyes. You can go to places where you see people are always talking about material subjects and this will adversely affect your mind.
The Gopis were present there in such an exalted place where the Lord had served Srimati Radharani, and they began to think; “How did Krsna serve Her”? They began to directly experience these things as if it was happening before their eyes.
When Srila Gurudeva was in Mathura, he used to say; “Serve the devotees! By serving the sadhus, all their good qualities, and the love they have for God will naturally come within your heart. This is the method to gain love of God. Otherwise by your own practice it is not possible, but if you serve the devotees, it can easily be attained. If you become absorbed in serving maya, then so many more lifetimes will pass fruitlessly. If you want to achieve siddhi, perfection, then serve the sadhus and naturally good qualities will come within you.
First become established in your own bhajana, otherwise if you go here and there maya will influence you and materialistic people will colour you with their moods. On the other side, if you are always absorbed in hari bhakti in the association of devotees then you will be firmly situated and established in devotion. Sthane sthitah, become firmly situated and fixed in this devotion and with the help of good association you will become strong and able to help others.
The Gopis said; “Oh look, this beloved Gopi sat on Krsna`s shoulders”! They then began to think; “Oh, look how Krsna has served Her”. Were they imagining this? They had not directly seen it. Then the gopis said; “Look at these footprints, we can see where Krsna has picked Her up”!
IMPORTANCE OF FLOWERS
If you go to South India you will see that the ladies always wear flowers in their hair. Generally we do not see it so much here in North India. In South India it is very common to see ladies in the streets and markets, with their hair, and braids decorated with flowers. If you see them in their homes they are even more nicely decorated with flowers. This is the custom there. They sing and dance in the morning do Rangoli, a very beautiful decoration that is done outside their homes in the soil. How they do it? Amazingly it is even more perfect then if machine had done it.
The Lord Himself learned from the Gopis how to serve and decorate with flowers and He began to use these skills they had taught Him to serve Srimati Radhika. In this way Krsna, decorated Her hair, and gave Her flower bracelets, gold belts and so forth. If a person comes in contact with different kinds of flowers when he is weak or tired, then he will become full of energy. If you take a flower garland on your head or around your neck, so much transcendental energy will come within you. In Bengal you will see all the temples there have so many nice flower garlands. When the temples open up at four in the afternoon, you will see so many nice flowers like rajne gandha, and the Deities will have a garland around their neck, on their hands, their feet and on their crowns. They are always being served like this. Just as when Indian girls come to their new home after their wedding, they will be decorated very nicely with so many flowers.
If you want to purify your consciousness you should take sat sanga. And flowers are the most sat or pure and full of goodness, they have no hypocrisy, no deceitfulness, and they are so honest. By the association of flowers and by wearing these flowers, your consciousness can change. Flowers do not wish ill of anyone and they are always serving. If you take these prasad flower garlands (flower garlands that have been offered to Deities or sadhus), they can give you a kind of ‘darshana’ and help you progress in bhakti. Why are these flowers like campaka, so dear to the Lord? Because they are full of honesty and goodness, they have no deceitfulness, therefore the Lord decorates Srimati Radhika with them.
To decorate with flowers, first you put a flower garland around the head and then put small little garlands dangling around it. In the front you put flowers that hang down on either side of the head and go to the cheeks and by the ears. Usually there is more than one garland around the neck. In India, if you go to someone`s wedding you can see in some places how the whole body will be covered in flower garlands from head to toe, and you cannot even see the person anymore.
Western flowers have no good scent only some color which is like plastic. Only Indian flowers have so much fragrance, so much softness. But western flowers have some nice color, but no nice scent and they are not soft, they are very hard. Sometimes Gurudeva would say; “People in the western countries would offer me flower garlands, red, yellow, blue, etc. but they have no fragrance or softness, they are just like artificial flowers”.
The Gopis saw on the ground some broken flowers that had fallen off the garland that Krsna had used to decorate Radharani. Many times Krsna had tried to decorate Radharani with flowers in Vraja, but She wouldn’t let Him. Then Krsna performed the “Keshava Vrata” for a month in order to get a chance to decorate Radharani at Srngara Vata. For a whole month He was worshipping Radharani and learning from Visakha how to serve Her, and for the chance to decorate Her hair. He said to Radharani; “My name is Keshava and Kesh means hair and Keshava means, one who decorates the hair, so let me make the name Keshava successful by being able to serve and decorate Your hair”.
If Keshava Krsna, cannot learn how to serve, then how will He teach anyone else? Krsna took admission into the school of the Gopis at Seva Kunj and at Srngara Vata. Under the guidance of Visakha Devi, Krsna took a vow and leaned how to serve and do srngara. Krsna is always taking service, but if He is not serving Himself how will He learn how to do that? Krsna said; “Seva dharma, to serve is our religion! If you do seva then you can easily understand this”. Krsna felt fortunate at the time of ‘Rasa Lila’ because he had this chance to serve Radharani. Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura and the rasika acaryas have described how this ‘ramani’, beloved Radharani, had Her hair decorated by Krsna and sat on His shoulders. This was all arranged by the Vana Devata, the forest god, who is very tricky.
NAUGHTY NIMAI BREAKS ALL THE BOY’S PENS AND SLATES
If you go to ‘katoli gaon’ in Vraja there is a tree which directly makes leaf cups with its leaves. In Vidyanagara there is also a tree that makes pens, it is like a pen-tree. In His childhood, Mahaprabhu went to the school of Ganga dasa Pandit and the boys would come with these pens and slates to do their school work. One day Mahaprabhu became very upset and He broke all the pens and slates and threw away all their ink. He broke everything and threw it away. Then all the boys complained to Ganga dasa Pandit saying; “This Nimai is doing like this and is very naughty”. Ganga dasa called Nimai and asked Him; “Why are you breaking all the pens, and slates and throwing away all the ink of the boys”?
Then Mahaprabhu said as Nimai; “Oh Gurudeva, they came to you to be in your school, but they do not hear any of your lessons! They do not bring anything in their hearts, instead they write it down on their slates with the pens, but they do not bring it into their mind and hearts! They have faith in these slates and pens but did they come to your school to learn themselves or did they come to your school to teach the slates and the pens? Why don`t they have faith in you and listen to your words carefully? Instead they have faith in this pen and ink. Why don´t they collect Guru`s speech and instructions directly? Oh, they are such fools, they never can learn anything! They have faith only in pen, slate and ink. They have no faith and respect for Guru and no service tendency. If they do not hear what Guru says, then what benefit can they gain from coming to school”?
When the other boys heard this, they became silent and then they said; “What did you hear then”? Then He repeated everything that Gurudeva had said very nicely. Ganga dasa Pandit was very happy and said; “He is repeating everything nicely and is a true disciple or student”! If the students do not come under the shade or shelter of Sri Guru and accept his instructions with thirsty ears and attentiveness then they cannot gain and learn from him.
The boys continued complaining and said; “Our parents will chastise us that we have lost all our slates and pens”! Then Mahaprabhu said; “Look, here in the tree, the tree is giving you so many pens”. Nowadays this tree is still present there in Navadvip and you can go and see it. Even today school boys in Navadvip who were very foolish, and cannot do anything nicely or learn properly, they go and pray at that tree and do pranam there, then they gain ‘para vidya’, transcendental knowledge.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura has said; “Whatever knowledge is in this world it only makes the living entities into donkeys”. Mahaprabhu showed how you should serve Guru, and how you should hear from Guru. From that day onwards, when the boys went to school, instead of writing on a slate, they wrote it in their minds and in their hearts.
When we came to the math, there was only one book. Gurudeva would use this book in class and then lock it away. Then after seven days, he would ask us what he had spoken. If no boy or brahmacari could repeat what Gurudeva had said, then he would make them stand up in the back of the room. When there is some discipline then people will hear attentively, and if there was any shortness, then Gurudeva would fulfill it. But there was only one book. In my school in Vidyanagar I would also not have a paper or pen.
COMPLETE SURRENDER TO SRIMATI RADHARANI
When Krsna needed something to serve Radharani, the forest god would arrange it. Everyone would always help Krsna serve Radharani, even the presiding deity of the forest. When Krsna left the Gopis all alone and went and served Radharani in a secluded place, the Gopis thought, “The Lord has given us up, and He has served His beloved, without considering our pain of separation”. Before they thought maybe Krsna is thinking about us, but now they saw, “Oh, He is so absorbed in His love for Radharani, that he never even thought about us and our lamentations”. In this way, they gradually felt some humility. They thought, “This beloved, by Her love and service must have attracted Him so much that He lovingly served Her. We can see they sat together at this place, spoke sweet loving words and had loving exchanges”.
By being in that special place then all the transcendental glories of Radharani began to enter their hearts, and gradually their faith increased in Her. They were thus preparing to enter the path of complete surrender to Srimati Radharani.
Guru Varg ki Jaya! Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the up and coming Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Rasa-pancadhyayi”. For more info contact: firstname.lastname@example.org )