O merciful one, when, sweetly begged by Mādhava with many unbearable appeals, will this agitated person fall down before Lalitā’s feet to plead on His behalf and break Your jealous anger?
Krsna begs Śrīmatī Rādhārānī again and again to forgive Him, saying, “O kind-hearted Rādhike, I have come here for Your darśana and to hear some sweet words from You. But You are angry with Me. O merciful Rādhe, please forgive Me. I am the small servant of Your servants. When will You be pleased with Me?”
But Śrīmatī Rādhārānī remains determined not to show Him favor. Then He goes to Lalitā-devī. He offers praṇāma and requests her, “O Lalitā-devī, you are very merciful and great. Please pray to Śrīmatī Rādhārānī for My sake. May She be pleased with Me and accept Me as Her own. Please do something.”
Lalitā-devī only chastises Kṛṣṇa. Then, with a mood of deep repentance, Mādhava goes to Rati Mañjarī and says in great sadness, “O Rati, I now take shelter of you. I promise that I never made any offense. I never insulted Your Svāminī. Why is She angry with Me? Alas! What can I do now? She is generally so affectionate, loving and kind, but why is She so hard on Me today? She is trying to break the soft heart of another. This is great cruelty. I can’t tolerate this any longer.
“Alas! Alas! Yamarāja is coming swiftly to take Me away, for I can no longer live in this separation from Śrīmatī Rādhārānī.”
Hearing this, Rati Mañjarī cannot tolerate Kṛṣṇa’s distress. Śrīmatī Rādhārānī has been listening to everything, and She now speaks to Her sakhīs and mañjarīs, “Who is this person? Why is He crying and weeping here? Where has He come from? Before, this kuñja–kuṭīra was clean and peaceful, but now this person’s lamenting has made this place impure and full of distress. Only singing and dancing can lift this dark weight from our kuñja. Otherwise this place will become even darker and a cosmic devastation will occur. Therefore, start a nice program.”
Then the Vraja-devīs begin to sing and dance.
śuddhānāṁ payasāṁ ghaṭair bahu-vidhaiḥ
dhīre samvihitaḥ sa kiṁtava mahotseko
O calm, grave one, when will I witness Your great ceremonial bathing, as You are being crowned as the queen of Vṛndāvana by Paurṇamāsī? Your coronation will be celebrated with a great festival of love, with auspicious singing, dancing, and the playing of vīṇās and other instruments, while You are being bathed with many pitchers of pure, scented water?
Paurṇamāsī-devī begins a festival of auspicious songs for the pleasure of Vraja’s empress. The gopīs begin to dance and sing, while playing many musical instruments like the sitar.
They then arrange drinks in big clay pots and begin Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s mahā–abhiṣeka. At the time of Her abhiṣeka, they sing, while playing on many instruments on the order of Paurṇamāsī-devī.
Kṛṣṇa then bathes Himself with the caraṇāmṛta of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and all His blackness and impurity is washed away. All hardness, blackness, and sadness is cleansed and washed out of the kuñja and Vraja-maṇḍala.
Mahāprabhu says, ‘Ceto darpanan marjanama—how can you clean your heart? This is only possible by:
bhakta-pada-dhūli āra bhakta-pada-jala
bhakta-bhukta-avaśeṣa – ei tina mahābala
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 16.60
The foot-dust of a devotee, the water that has washed his feet and the remnants of food left by him are three very powerful items that help one progress in sādhana-bhakti.
The only way the heart can be cleansed is by taking the caraṇāmṛta of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī or Her beloved followers. The dust from their feet is vraja-raja; this is what makes Vraja so special. Vraja is known as va-raja. Va means ‘special’ and raja means ‘dust’.
Kṛṣṇa always rolls in this dust and smears it on His body. He takes the Vraja-devīs’ caraṇāmṛta, remnants, and foot dust, and distributes it. By this process, the heart is easily purified and illuminated.
Helpful, loveful, hopeful, merciful, blessful, and very powerful Śrīmatī Rādhārānī has tolerance and patience, and She knows everything. She does not reject anyone.
When Kṛṣṇa is nearby Her, He is very happy, and when He is a little disconnected with Her, then He becomes dry, Brahma.
Śakti–śaktimator-abheda, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa are inseparable. Therefore Kṛṣṇa never wants to go an inch away from svarūpa-śakti, Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. She is sweet and humble and maintains all living entities with Her potency.
Paurṇamāsī-devī gives everyone in the kuñja–kuṭīra a chance to serve Rādhārānī during Her mahā–abhiṣeka. Some serve by singing, some by dancing, some by playing instruments, and some by bathing Her directly. They use camphor, aguru, kastūrī, and arrange many full pots of water with these fragrances inside to start Rādhārānī’s mahā–abhiṣeka.
After this abhiṣeka, everything in Vraja-maṇḍala becomes joyful and surcharged by the potency of Her caraṇāmṛta. Drinking this nectar, Pṛthvī-devī blossoms in joy.
Dāsa Gosvāmī prays to be there, assisting in the mahā-abhiṣeka of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, and receiving Her caraṇāmṛta.
bhrātrā go-’yutam atra mañju-vadane snehena dattvālayaṁ
śrīdāmnā kṛpaṇāṁ pratoṣya jaṭilāṁ rakṣākhya-rākā-kṣaṇe
nītāyāh sukha-śoka-rodana-bharais te sāndravantyāḥ paraṁ
vātsalyāj janakau vidhāsyata itaḥ kiṁ lālanaṁ me ‘grataḥ
O fair-faced one, will I be present on Rakṣā Pūrṇimā, the full-moon day in the month of Śravaṇa, when Your brother Śrīdāmā comes to Yāvaṭa, with ten thousand cows to satisfy the greedy Jaṭilā, and he affectionately takes You along to Varsānā, where Your parents lovingly fondle You in front of me, as You melt with weeping from both happiness and sorrow?
Jaṭilā is very greedy for wealth. She is a great miser. On Baladeva’s birthday, Rākhi Pūrṇimā, she tries to stop Rādhārānī from going to Her father’s house in Varsānā. Why? She knows that if Rādhārānī stays at her house, then Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja will send many gifts for his beloved daughter. Not only Her father, but Lalitā, Viśākhā, and everyone in Vraja-maṇḍala will send Her many presentations, like sweets, cloth, and ornaments.
Greedy Jaṭilā thinks, “If Rādhārānī goes to Her father’s house, nothing will come for me. When Rādhārānī is present, my cows give a lot of milk, and so much wealth automatically comes. But when She leaves, everything becomes dry.”
Śrīdāma approaches Jaṭilā and says, “Listen, I will give you thousands of cows in charity. Please allow my sister to come to Varsānā. I have come to ask this of you.”
Hearing this news, Śrīmatī Rādhārānī becomes overjoyed. She is anxious, “When will I go and meet with My parents? When will I meet with grandmother?” Her heart is very soft and She begins to weep in separation from Her parents.
Rati Mañjarī says, “I will go there and request the greedy mother-in-law of my Svāminī, ‘O Jaṭilā, how many cows do you want? I will tell Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja and his brothers, and they will give you as many cows as you want. Just please give permission for Rādhārānī to go to Her father’s house. Today is Rakṣā-bandhana. Rādhārānī will go and bind a bracelet on Her brother’s wrist, and he will give Her cloth, ornaments, and many new gifts. Please give permission.”
But Jaṭilā at first does not agree. “I will ask my son,” she says, “if he agrees, then I will consider granting permission. I will also ask my daughter. If they agree, then I will give permission.”
Abhimanyu has great reverence for Śrīmatī Rādhikā and always keeps a respectful distance from Her. When Brahmā stole the calves and boys and put them in a cave, Kṛṣṇa Himself took on their forms for a year. He became Abhimanyu and all the sakhās, and in their forms, married all the gopīs. When the real Abhimanyu returned after a year, he asked his mother,
“How has Rādhārānī come to our house? Why is She here?”
“What do you mean?” Jaṭilā said, “She is your wife.”
“No, how is that possible! She is highly respectable,” Abhimanyu said. “She is the daughter of Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja, the king of Varsānā. I am very lowly.”
Abhimanyu was in the cave for one year and did not know he was meant to have married to Rādhārānī. He came back and offered praṇāma to Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, and hearing they were married, he said, “No, this can’t be true.”
The next day he again asked, “How did Rādhārānī come to my house? Why is She here?”
He heard, “When you were in the mouth of Aghāsura, you became affected by the monster’s poison and fell lifeless. Then Kṛṣṇa requested Rādhārānī to go help you and remove all the poisonous effect. She then came and gave you new life.”
Hearing this, Abhimanyu respected Her even more, saying, “Oh, She gave me new life? She is a worshipable goddess.”
From that time, Abhimanyu stayed outside in a small hut and did not reside in the house. Every day, after milking the cows, he brings many gifts and puts them at the door of Rādhārānī’s room. He offers praṇāma there, and returns to his hut.
“Won’t you stay in the house?” Jaṭilā and Kuṭilā ask him.
“No, this house is not mine. It is Rādhārānī’s house. She is Vṛṣabhānu-rāja-nandinī and is very respectable. She is worshiped by everyone in Vraja-maṇḍala.”
Abhimanyu stays outside as a guard and gatekeeper. Even Brahmā comes to worship Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. Abhimanyu has knowledge of Her glories; therefore Rādhārānī was safe there. In Varsānā, there could be some difficulty meeting Kṛṣṇa, with Her parents and family all there. But in Yāvaṭa, Rādhārānī is alone with Her sakhīs and mañjarīs. She is safe and protected, as others have no adhikāra to enter there.
Sometimes Kṛṣṇa comes to Yāvaṭa in the dress of Abhimanyu. Jaṭilā and Kuṭilā are then overjoyed to see Him entering Śrīmatī’s room.
“This is very good,” says Jaṭilā. “I am happy that finally Abhimanyu is spending time with Rādhārānī.”
On Rākhi Pūrṇimā, Śrīdāma asked permission for Rādhārānī to come with him to the house of Her father. For a long time She has not met with Vṛṣabhānu and Her mother Kīrtidā-devī.
When Jaṭilā’s greed is satisfied, she allows Rādhārānī to return home for sometime. Rādhārānī goes home with Śrīdāma. There, Kīrtidā-devī takes Rādhārānī in her arms and smells Her head. Then Her father asks Her, “Do You like Yāvaṭa or Varsānā? If You like Varsānā, I will never leave You. You will stay here. O my dear daughter, You are the pupil of our eyes. Without You, we have no light.”
She is very happy to see Her family after so long, but She is also upset. “You didn’t send Me any news,” She says, “and you didn’t come to see Me.”
Because of this, She cries while meeting with Her father and mother.
lajjayāli-purataḥ parato māṁ
gāhvaraṁ giri-pater bata nītvā
divya-gānam api tat-svara-bhedaṁ
śikṣayiṣyasi kadā sa-daye tvam
O merciful one, when, because I feel shy before Your friends, will You take me to a cave at Govardhana and tutor me in the art of singing?
Dāsa Gosvāmī says, “O Rādhike, please take me inside the caves of Girirāja Govardhana and teach me how to sing, teach me how to play the vīṇā, and guitar. I cannot learn from anyone else. Please take me alone inside a cave of Girirāja Govardhana and there teach me how to sing and play beautiful melodies.”
Songs are of many kinds. One kind is for the happiness of others, and another kind is for lifting the spirits of a person who is sad. Another type of singing is such that its hearer will become very hungry and eager to eat. Another type of song will make you want to play sports. Sports players like to hear this kind of music as they play. And in the military, while preparing to fight, soldiers like to hear music that is dangerous and ferocious, like lions roaring.
Sometimes, when there is no rain although the long expected clouds travel overhead, the appropriate song must be sung, and then it begins to rain. Such prayers are found in the Sāma-Veda.
When Kṛṣṇa sleeps, there is one type of song to sing. When He wakes, there is another type of song, and while He eats there is another. When He sets out with the cows, His sakhās make happy music behind Him. The cows and calves bound around blissfully, the birds fly very fast, and all creatures are thus involved in a grand musical festival in the forest. Even the trees begin to dance, hearing the joyous musical celebration as Kṛṣṇa passes them. It seems as if the trees will jump out of the ground and run along with Him.
yācitā lalitayā kila devyā
lajjayā nata-mukhīṁ gaṇato mām
pāṭhayisyasi kadā praṇayena
O Devī, when, requested by Lalitā-devī, will You affectionately ask me, my head bowed with shyness in the assembly, to recite many splendid and sweet poems?
Dāsa Gosvāmī prays, “O Rādhike, when will You accept me into the group of Your near and dear sakhīs, and ask me to sing poetry for Your pleasure? How can I learn this art of sweet service? Please teach me. I will go to Your class. I will learn from You which poem to sing at which time, with which melody.”
devi tvaṁ kacchapī-śikṣāṁ kadā māṁ kārayiṣyasi
O Devī, when will You teach me to play the kacchapī, in a grove, filled with humming bees, on the shore of Your lake?”
At Rādhā-kuṇḍa, there are many honeybees that drink so much nectar from the lotus flowers that they are unable to return to their hive. They sleep in the lotus flowers, having become intoxicated by drinking their nectar. This signifies that, if anyone comes to Rādhā-kuṇḍa and just once gets a chance to serve Rādhārānī, then they cannot go back. Even Parabrahma came and doesn’t want to ever leave.
Many kuñja–kuṭīras are present at this Rādhā-kuṇḍa. “When will You call me inside one of these kuñja–kuṭīras and instruct me to play the kacchapī? At such a time, Kṛṣṇa will come from a distance to hear the music.
vihārais truṭitaṁ hāraṁ gumphitaṁ dayitaṁ kadā
sakhīnāṁ lajjayā devi saṁjñayā māṁ nidekṣyasi
O Devī, when will You, being shy before Your sakhīs, hint that I should re-string Your favorite necklace, which was broken in Your pastimes?
Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī now prays, “O Devī Rādhike, You are now playing kandarpa–līlā with Kṛṣṇa. Your necklace breaks in the course of this game, and this I will fix. You are very shy and will not tell anyone. But You give me a hint, and I step forward to carefully fix Your necklace.”
At Rādhā-kuṇḍa, one kuñja–kuṭīra is for wrestling matches between the Divine Couple. In one of their matches, Śrīmatī’s necklace breaks. Pearls and jewels scatter here and there.
It is difficult to fix the necklace. If one pearl is misplaced, the color pattern changes and the beautiful harmony is lost. On Your indication, I will go and fix Your necklace very carefully.
sva-mukhān man-mukhe devi
snehāt sarva-diśo vīkṣya
samaye tvaṁ pradāsyasi
O Devī, when, after looking in all directions, will You take the chewed betelnuts from Your mouth and affectionately place them in my mouth?
Dāsa Gosvāmī now prays, “O Rādhike, You are very kind. Please mercifully give me the remnants of tāmbūla that You have chewed.”
There are many mañjarīs, like Lavaṅga Mañjarī, Guṇa Mañjarī, Bhānu Mañjarī, Rati Mañjarī, Rūpa Mañjarī, and so forth. Rati Mañjarī stays with that group. Anything she gets, she distributes and then takes the last part herself. She does not take anything independently.
A proper guru-sevaka does not independently accept or digest the things that come to him. Sharing is part of the process of Vaiṣṇavism. If one receives anything, it should be shared appropriately.
Srila Raghunatha das Gosvami ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Vilāpa-kusumāñjali”. Available from: firstname.lastname@example.org )