In Vraja-maṇḍala there are many parrots that sport many beautiful shades of green and blue, and their beaks are red, yellow, or brown. Their necks have an enchanting reddish ring, looking like they are wearing a necklace. With their restless eyes, the parrots are always searching, “Where are the ripe fruits?” They seek the biggest and sweetest fruits hidden among the clusters of leaves. They fly very quickly, bite the fruit, drink its juice, and come back. They do not eat the whole fruit, only a small part, and they never touch a fruit that has already been tasted. In Vraja-maṇḍala there is one parrot in particular that is famous, but He does not fly. If anyone invites Him, remembers Him or calls out to Him, He first considers, “Is this sweet for Me or not?” At that time, there is one guardian without whose order He will not touch or look at a fruit. Is He hungry or thirsty? No! He is never hungry or thirsty, He already has everything.
Gaṅgā-devī’s body is Her water. She is pure and clear. When the sun rises in the early morning, the sunshine turns the water crimson. At this time, the fish in the water become bewildered and think that juicy fruits have appeared in the water, seeing the reddish light sparkling in the river.
Then the fish drink so much water, thinking it is very sweet. Why? Because of its color. In the evening, when the sun sets, this color is also there.
If anyone’s heart is colored with anurāga, he will appear to be lit up by the crimson tinge of the sunrise. Then he will be attractive to all living beings. If anyone thinks of Kṛṣṇa, brings Kṛṣṇa in his heart, and plays with Him there, Kṛṣṇa knows this person is ready for Him to come and taste his love, like a fruit ripe with anurāga.
Young unripe fruit are green in color. When the sun gives heat, they grow and become big and ripe. They turn crimson and a wonderful fragrance comes from them. The sun is like a parent who helps the fruits grow, and when they are mature, he calls the parrot to come and meet with them, giving an indication, “This fruit is now ripe, go and taste it.”
The Vraja-devīs’ hearts are pure, like the glistening water of Gaṅgā-devī lit crimson by the sun. They have millions of good qualities. Those who bathe in the waters of Gaṅgā-devī are purified and refreshed. But the limbs of the Vraja-devīs are millions of times purer than even Gaṅgā-devī.
Kṛṣṇa Śuka always moves about in search of nectar.
When He sees that the Vraja-devīs’ lips and cheeks have a crimson hue, His target is apparent. They are in fresh youth, and a wonderful aroma exuding from their bodies attracts the parrot Kṛṣṇa, who appears to fly there. He kisses them and then runs off.
Kṛṣṇa Śuka wanders throughout Vraja-maṇḍala, examining everyone. If anyone likes Him, He will go to that person. He will go to those who carry Him in their heart. He checks, “Have they really offered themselves to Me or not?” If they have completely offered themselves to Him, He then goes and kisses them, making them even sweeter, just like when a parrot increases the sweetness of a fruit by biting it with its beak.
baddhaḥ kṣaṇād bhavati kṛṣṇa-karīndra uccaiḥ
sampūjayiṣyati janas tava kajjalena
When will this person worship with black kājala Your two eyes, which defeat the khañjana birds, and which, with the slightest movement from their corners, in a moment tightly bind the regal elephant Kṛṣṇa?
The eyes of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and the Vraja-devīs are long and tinged crimson. They are afflicted by restlessness. Wishing to cool Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s eyes, Dāsa Gosvāmī says, “I will decorate Your eyes with kājala.” Why? Her eyes are always searching for Kṛṣṇa. If this black ointment is there, then She will feel pacified and think that Kṛṣṇa is close to Her eyes.
Kṛṣṇa is like an elephant. An elephant has a large body but small eyes. Kṛṣṇa’s vision is one-pointed. He does not see other’s faults. He only looks for love. “Who loves Me?” He says to Himself, as He searches for a sign. He looks for those who wear a dark sari or who put kājala on their eyes, indicating, “I am inviting You. Come stay in My eyes.” Receiving a sign like this, Kṛṣṇa Śuka will come to meet such a person. He will not go without some invitation.
Dāsa Gosvāmi says, “Knowing that Kṛṣṇa will not come without a sign, I will arrange everything. I will lovingly anoint Your eyes with kājala, as a signal for Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa will then understand that we are welcoming Him.”
goṣṭhendra-sūnur adhikaṁ suṣamam upaiti
lakṣā-rasaḥ sa ca kadāpadayor adhas te
nyasto mayāpy atitarāṁ chavim āpsyatīha
When will Your lotus feet shine with splendor as Kṛṣṇa is beautified by anointing His head with the reddish mark from Your feet which I decorated with lac, in His efforts to soothe Your jealous anger?
Sometimes Śrīmatī feels māna when She sees that Kṛṣṇa is joking and talking with other sakhīs and teaching them how to serve Her. Although He means well, He has come and taught them without Her permission. The sakhīs and mañjarīs come to Rādhārānī with the knowledge they have received from Kṛṣṇa. When a sakhī comes and tries to decorate Rādhārānī with the process Kṛṣṇa taught, Śrīmatī Rādhārānī asks, “How did you learn to do this kind of decoration? Who is your teacher?”
“Oh, I learnt this at Sakhī Giri,” the sakhī says, “one teacher came there and taught me how to make these kinds of designs on the hands. The stones there are quite amazing. We practiced on the stones, and then the marks would not wash off.”
“Oh, show me this at Sakhī Giri,” Rādhārānī says. They go there and see many designs imprinted on the stones. Rādhārānī understands who made these designs and says, “You have learned from a bogus teacher. I will not take any of your sevā. Learn from Me. I will teach you.” Then She begins instructing them.
They go to another stone at Sakhī Giri. With color on Her hand, Śrīmātījī touches the stone. The stone becomes very soft at Her touch. It brings the print of Her hand in its heart and keeps it there as its treasure.
The sakhīs and mañjarīs then decorate Śrīmātī’s feet with alta and kuṁkum. They notice that whenever Her feet touch a stone, the designs on Her feet stay there on its surface.
Even after washing it, the stone does not give up the sign. How is this stone so soft and sweet? This hill, called Sakhī Giri, carries signs from the Vraja-devīs’ and Kṛṣṇa’s feet. Śrīmatī personally teaches the sakhīs not only the art of decorating feet and hands, but also how to play musical instruments. There are many stones there that make musical notes when tapped in different ways. Rādhārānī plays music on these specially empowered stones.
But first She had māna, “Who is this so-called guru in Vraja? I will not accept anything from one who takes training from Him.” From that day there was only one guru among the gopīs. Who? Viśākhā-devī was instructed by Rādhārānī to teach the Vraja-devīs.
Nanda-nandana Kṛṣṇa Himself then applied to study at Sakhī Giri under the tutorship of Viśākhā-devī. At His request for enrollment, the sakhīs said to Him, “We will admit You on one condition. You must wear a sari. We will comb and decorate Your hair with flowers and place bangles and ornaments on Your body, only then can You become our student.”
Kṛṣṇa agreed and the Vraja-devīs dressed and decorated Him, and then drew designs on His hands. When they were done, He said, “I must now take My examination. I will touch one of these stones. If it accepts My handprint, I will understand that I have been trained well.”
Kṛṣṇa went and placed His hand on a stone, but it did not accept His touch. “This is not good,” He said, “you aren’t qualified teachers. I need a qualified tutor.” Dāsa Gosvāmī says, “I will bring Kṛṣṇa to Śrīmatī Rādhārānī.” She will tell Him, ‘First bathe in Dehī-kuṇḍa and then come back.”
Kṛṣṇa went and bathed there, becoming completely clean. When He returned, He prostrated Himself before Rādhārānī and begged for Her mercy, saying:
smara-garala-khaṇḍanaṁ mama śirasi maṇḍanaṁ
Śrī Gīta-govinda 10.8
O My beloved, Cupid’s powerful poison is devastating Me. Please be merciful and place upon My head the cooling, tender petals of Your lotus feet.
Śrīmatī Rādhārānī placed Her feet on Kṛṣṇa’s head, blessing His head with the reddish marks on Her lotus feet. She then accepted Him as a student of anurāga.
A pupil that is not surrendered to his teacher cannot learn anything. Disciples come to Gurudeva, but he can only teach them if they actually desire to learn. If a so-called student has no relation, connection, or affection for his guru and no desire to accept what his guru is offering, then receiving knowledge is impossible. Although it seems he may be studying and learning, nothing will stay with him. If there is a good relationship between guru and disciple, tutor and student, then all the master’s teachings can come within the heart of the pupil and remain there forever.
If you are a so-called disciple who comes and sits in class, while having no relation with the Ācārya, and no desire to learn, then the teaching will go to you, bounce off, and then go to another.
Viśākhā and Lalitā administer one last examination. They tell Kṛṣṇa to walk on the stones, and as He does so, the stones manifest His imprint on their smooth surfaces. The stones confirm that Kṛṣṇa is now surrendered.
Today, Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s māna was pacified when She saw that Kṛṣṇa was completely surrendered to Her.
Kṛṣṇa then decorated Rādhārānī’s feet with alta and kuṁkum. Sakhī Giri gives this evidence. This Sakhī Giri hill is therefore very special and helpful.
kalāvati natāṁsayoḥ pracura-kāma-puñjojjvalat-
mudā kadā tava tayoḥ samarpayati devi dāsī-janaḥ
O graceful artist, O Devī, when will this maidservant happily place a sweet jasmine garland, filled with the humming of bees, on Your gracefully sloping shoulders, touched in the rāsa dance by Muradviṣa, who has become a moon shining with amorous passion?
Dāsa Gosvāmī prays, “O Devī, You are expert in the sixty-four arts. Kṛṣṇa also knows all arts. Therefore, at the time of rāsa-līlā, He sings, dances, and moves to each gopī, attracting and meeting with each of them. With sixty-four qualities I will make a garland, and will offer this to You. You can then offer it to Kṛṣṇa at the time of the rāsa-līlā. When this garland touches Kṛṣṇa, He will think, ‘This garland is so sweet, made with the choicest flowers, and full of all good qualities.’ ”
At the time of making the flower garland, a bumblebee came and sang, “This garland is bright, light, and attractive. If you offer this to Kṛṣṇa, He will be very pleased.”
A strong flow of water comes down from the source of any great river. When a strong flow of air meets with the water’s flow, their meeting causes whirlpools to spin about in the river. These whirlpools send up a fine mist that hangs suspended on both sides of the river and cools all residents nearby, making them feel refreshed and joyful.
Dāsa Gosvāmī says, “I am a very small servant, but I will collect the mercy and qualities of the sakhīs and mañjarīs, and will place them inside the garland I offer to You.
On each flower I will write the holy names of the sakhīs and mañjarīs with sandal paste, aguru, and kastūrī. You can give this garland to Kṛṣṇa.”
The mañjarīs do not make dry and plain garlands. A garland is not made of paper or artificial flowers. The gopīs do everything with the greatest care and love.
mugdhāṅgi bhāvata ihāli-kulair vṛtāyāḥ
arghaṁ samarpayitum utka-dhiyas tavārāt
sajjāni kiṁ sumukhi dāsyati dāsikeyam
O charming-limbed one, O lovely faced beauty, when will this maidservant hand You the articles of worship when, surrounded by Your friends, You are eager at heart to devotedly offer argha to the Sun-god, on an altar of sūryamaṇi jewels?
Dāsa Gosvāmī now says, “Jewels like the sūryamaṇi give off light and are powerful, but have no sweet scent. The kaustubha maṇi meets with Kṛṣṇa and is His dear friend, but this garland I make is endowed with the specialties of the sixty-four arts. It is infused with the qualities, fragrance, and heartfelt love of all the sakhīs. I will arrange that garland and give it to You. Then at the time of rāsa-līlā, You will give this to Kṛṣṇa. By this, both of You will transfer Your heartfelt love.”
Here, sumukhi means sevonmukhi. A person’s face is sweet if he is always inclined to serve. If someone has no service tendency, if his heart is dry, then anywhere he goes, he will only suffer. Why? You have no desire to accept anything. When will desire for service come? If we have a desire to serve and accept something, then the residents of Vraja will give a spark of their service tendency, desire, and mood.
Now we don’t pray for anything. We say, “Manasī–sevā is speculation; this is all bogus.” We have no hope. If we are not greedy for pure love, and have no hope, then how can that pure love come and bless us? Nothing will come!
Dāsa Gosvāmī says, “O Rādhe, You are sumukhi, Your face is so attractive. You are the embodiment of all love and service tendency. I am Your small maidservant, but my desires are very big. I am Your sevonmukhi-dasī.”
Young people dream of what they will be when they grow up. They have high expectations, and think, “I will be a big barrister,” or “I will be a famous architect,” or “I will be a lawyer practicing in the Supreme Court.” They have big hopes from their childhood. As ordinary people have greed for ordinary achievements, we must develop spiritual greed for extraordinary, spiritual achievements. If we have no spiritual greed or desire, nor any hope to achieve any aspiration, our life is only like an empty shell. We are not really human; we are impotent and like a stone or inert object.
People cheat others, saying, “Mānasī–sevā is speculation.” When a baby is born, after some time it becomes natural for the baby to ask questions. They soak up information. Even before a baby goes to school, he starts inquiring from his parents about all kinds of things, saying, “Mama, what is this? Papa, what is that?”
If we don’t go and pray to the Guru-varga for spiritual instruction, if we have no scent of greed, how can we be called students of the spiritual science? Are we humans? Are we trunks of wood or chunks of stone? Who are we? The soul is the part and parcel of the Supreme Soul. It has consciousness, but in its perverted state, this consciousness is now absorbed in dull matter. When a ray of divine mercy touches the soul by earnest prayer, then greed arises for attaining the pure state of consciousness in love with the Supreme.
Dāsa Gosvāmī is Rati Mañjarī in the spiritual world. She is sevonmukhi, always eager to serve the Divine Couple. This tendency is born naturally out of her love. She prays, “O Śrīmatī Rādhike, I am Your small maidservant. I will make a flower seat for You in the forest of Vṛndāvana. You will sit there happily and worship the sun. You will offer argha and other paraphernalia to the sun. You are sumukhi-sevonmukhi, always serving and teaching others how to serve.
“I will make a jeweled seat for You. And from there, You can serve Mitradeva with the sakhīs. The sun is coming! He rises early. But He will take some time to reach here, therefore we must prepare for His arrival. O sumukhi, sevonmukhi! Be pleased with this dāsī and give her inspiration and instructions for service. This dāsī of Yours will arrange everything for the service of the Sun-god. When the sun-like Kṛṣṇa arises and comes here and accepts Your presentations, then the arrangement made by Your sakhīs will be successful. I will prepare all things for that worship. I have no good intelligence; I don’t know what is needed to perfect this worship. With Your inspiration, I will go to the sakhīs and mañjarīs and they will guide me in this service.”
vraja-pura-pati-rājñyā ājñayā miṣṭam annaṁ
bahu-vidham ati-yatnāt svena pakvaṁvaroru
sapadi nija-sakhīnāṁ mad-vidhānāṁ ca hastair
madhumathana-nimittaṁ kiṁ tvayā sannidhāpyam
O lovely-thighed one, when, employing the hands of Your friends such as myself, will You place before the killer of the Madhu demon the many delicious foods You very carefully cooked by the order of the queen of Vraja?
“O Rādhike! On the request of Yaśodā Mātā, You arrange and cook many sweets, such as halavā, laḍḍu, kṣīra-sāgara, and kṣīri. I am Your Rati Mañjarī. I will take something for Kṛṣṇa and give it to Yaśodā Mātā, saying, ‘O Yaśodā Mātā, please give this to Kṛṣṇa. Śrīmatījī has made this with Her own hands. It is very tasty, sweet, and helpful for Kṛṣṇa.’ ”
Yaśodā Mātā gives the gopīs the chance to serve Kṛṣṇa. Rādhārānī cooks with Lalitā and all the sakhīs and mañjarīs in the kitchen of Nandagrāma. And She gives what She cooks to Rati Mañjarī, saying, “Go give this to Yaśodā Mātā.”
Why does Śrīmatī Rādhārānī entrust this offering to Rati Mañjarī? Because anything Rati Mañjarī gives is completely filled with love. She is none other than the personified form of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s affection for Kṛṣṇa. Rati Mañjarī knows the process of offering the preparations.
Srila Raghunatha das Gosvami ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Vilap-kushmangali”. Available from: firstname.lastname@example.org )