Kṛṣṇa is the Lord of cupid and indeed He is the Lord of the Universe. Kṛṣṇa is the rāja of everyone, but in Vṛndāvana, everyone respects Rādhārānī more than Him. They love Him, but they do not worship Him. Even the creepers and plants will not accept or worship Him if He is not under the guidance of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī.
Kṛṣṇa asks for some service in Vraja and Vṛndā-devī tells Him, “Alright, help anyone who comes to Vṛndāvana. Make them very clean, pure, and full of good qualities. Accept any soul that comes here and develop their heart like a garden where the gopīs can play. This is Vṛndāvana. You should make each heart that comes here a garden like Vṛndāvana. This is Your service.”
When demigods or other personalities come to Vṛndāvana, they cannot be the enjoyers, and they cannot steal anything from here for their personal use without offering it to Kṛṣṇa.
In Vraja, the demigods, even Brahmā, are all servants. Śiva Ṭhākura and even Lakṣmī-devī Herself want to serve in Vraja. Kṛṣṇa is Kandarpa-rāja. He is like a king, but still, in Vṛndāvana He cannot enjoy anything by His own desire. In Vraja, Rādhārānī is empress. Kṛṣṇa cannot independently take anything or accept service or convince anyone to follow His orders.
sā lāvaṇya-camatkṛtir nava-vayo–
rūpaṁ ca tan mohanaṁ
no kiñcit kṛtam eva yatra na nutir
nago na vā sambhramo
rādhā–mādhavayoḥ sa ko ‘pi sahajaḥ
premotsavaḥ pātu vaḥ
May Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava’s festival of love, where there is a great wonder of beauty, and where there is new youthfulness, loveliness, and expertise in playing among the waves of many pastimes, and where there is no awe, reverence, or inaccessibleness, protect you all.
The Vrajavāsīs do not doubt anyone. When the mañjarīs and gopīs are picking flowers here and there, there are no security cameras checking on them. Jaṭilā and Kūṭilā are manifested by Yogamāyā to facilitate the Divine Couple’s pastimes by always complaining and having doubt. But the Vrajavāsīs’ nature is not actually like this. They are otherwise all openhearted, sweet, and innocent.
yeṣāṁ prekṣaṁ vitarati navodara– gāḍhānurāgan
megha–śyāmo madhura-madhurānanda– mūrtir mukundaḥ
vṛndāṭavyāṁ su-mahima-camatkāra– kāriṇy aho kiṁ
tāni prekṣe ‘dbhuta-rasa-nidhānāni rādhā–padāni
When will I gaze on Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s footprints, which are the abodes of nectar and glory, and which cloud-dark Mukunda, whose form is filled with the sweetest bliss, lovingly searches for in the forest of Vṛndāvana?
Every day, the Sun collects water from the Earth. The Sun has a close relationship with water, or rasa. He takes this rasa and keeps it in the clouds. Pavana-devatā then moves the clouds here and there, to shower rain on the land. The air, Pavana-devatā, tries to take the water back from the clouds that the Sun stored there. He pushes the clouds from side to side and sometimes makes them crash into one-another.
But the clouds have relation with the Sun and on the order of the Sun they will release the water back down to Earth. Similarly, in Vṛndāvana, the Vrajavāsīs do not do anything without Vṛndā-devī’s permission or desire.
We see that the clouds give so much rainfall especially to forests and jungles. This is because the plants also have relation with the Sun. The leaves collect energy from the Sun and nourish the whole tree with that. So they have a close relationship. Wherever there are jungles there is so much rainfall there. But in deserts there is very little rain.
It is not that the desert became the way it is because it did not receive rain, nor is it that the forest became lush just because it did receive rain. Actually, the Sun has connection with these places because of their good karma and mood. The Bhāgavatam also describes that places that are desert-like or barren are like that because so much inauspicious and bad karma was done there. Because of this, the rain does not fall there.
When a great sin is performed in a certain land than that land consequently becomes barren and subject to drought and famine.
Similarly, Vaiṣṇavas give mercy to those who are sincere and free from doubt and eager to serve and achieve vraja-rasa. New people especially are sincere and they receive so much affection and mercy from Vaiṣṇavas.
Guru and Vaiṣṇavas’ hearts melt and shower down affectionate blessings on those who have faith and love for Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. These people are like the calves of a cow.
The cow gives her milk to the calves with so much affection.
This is a snigdhasya-śiṣya, an affectionate pupil. When Guru and Vaiṣṇavas see that someone is a snigdhasya-śiṣya, a disciple who has a close relationship likened to a calf and his mother, then they give so much mercy and inspiration to them.
Kṛṣṇa runs to embrace someone who takes shelter of Rādhārānī. “Oh, you like My Rādhārānī?” He exclaims joyfully. He then is prepared to give everything to that person. With His own hands, Kṛṣṇa will make a house or a place to stay for that person in Vṛndāvana. Kṛṣṇa met with Gopa-kumāra when he came in the evening. He brought him to Nanda-bhavana, gave him prasāda, and then said, “You will stay nearby Me. I won’t let you go far away.”
Gopa-kumāra had gone to Dvārakā, Ayodhyā, and so many places, but there Kṛṣṇa would meet and talk with him only for some time. Then they would separate. In Vṛndāvana however, Kṛṣṇa is never far away from any of the Vrajavāsīs. The residents of Vraja always feel that they are right next to Kṛṣṇa—their dearmost friend and the beloved of their hearts.
“O Śrīmatī Rādhikā, Your heart is so soft and sweet.
When someone has come to Vṛndāvana and is thinking of You, and Kṛṣṇa has given that person permission to receive Your blessings, You at once arrange for that person to become qualified to see all of Kṛṣṇa’s līlā.”
We pray, “When will that auspicious day come, when I will offer myself to Rādhārānī?”
Vaiṣṇavas arrange an adhikāra–utsava. This is a festival where people can participate according to their own eligibility. A mañjarī or sakhī will serve Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa according to her position. There are prāṇa-sakhīs, preṣṭha–sakhīs, priya-narma–sakhīs, nitya-siddha–gopīs, sādhana-siddha gopīs, and so on. Their moods and services are separate, but they all have good friendship. No one thinks, “I am senior and you are lowly. I am respected and you are ordinary.” They all have close friendship. Those who are senior like Lalitā-sakhī will teach the juniors how to sing, play mṛdaṅga, and dance. They will help so much in this way. They do not have any jealousy and don’t demand respect from anyone.
There is no competitive spirit amongst the gopīs. Moreover, if one gopī or sādhaka is having difficulty, all the gopīs will try to help her. If there is a sādhaka in Vraja going through so many difficulties, then the Vrajavāsīs will think, “How can I help that person? How can I solve their problem?”
There are many stages of adhikāra. So in Vraja there is an adhikāra festival where everyone participates according to their eligibility. At a celebration, a baby may dance and play and be very happy, but the baby does not eat the feast that is taken by the adults. He will take some breast-milk or maybe a small candy because he is just a baby.
Do not think that everyone will take the same thing (madhura-rasa). You cannot receive your ekādaśa-bhāva—your spiritual name and everything—without qualification.
You cannot become Lalitā, Viśākhā, Rūpa Mañjarī, or Rati Mañjari. There are Bābājīs who give what they call ekādaśa-bhāva out for a small fee. This is their business.
vṛndāṭavyāṁ nava-nava-rasānanda– puñje nikuñje
guñjad-bhṛṅgi-kula-mukharite mañju– mañju-prahasaiḥ
krīḍā jīyād rasika-mithunaṁ klapta– kelī–kadambam
Glory, glory to the playful rasika couple, who, with sweet smiles and laughter enjoy hide-and-seek in a forest grove of Vṛndāvana, filled with the nectar of bliss and the humming of bumblebees.
In Vṛndāvana, rasa is present everywhere. It is in all the kuñjas and groves. Kṛṣṇa-līlā is full of rasa. The bumblebees, birds, and butterflies all taste this rasa. In the same way, all the bhaktas who come to Vṛndāvana can taste rasa according to their adhikāra.
In Vraja, Vṛndā-devī arranges for everyone to receive rasa according to their qualification. In that transcendental world, the residents do not compete with one-another. They live together harmoniously and they help whoever comes, thinking, “How can we help this person progress?”
In the rainy season, there is water everywhere, and the land is cooled. During autumn, after the rains, the sky and water is clear. The grass is green and flowers blossom in the fresh air. Similarly, when one comes to Vṛndāvana, he receives so much mercy, which is like the monsoon season receiving mercy from all the Vrajavāsīs. But then we need to practice so much.
Then the autumn comes.
If we wish to enter Vraja-līlā, we need to wake in brāhma-muhūrta. We must chant, do āhnika, do our sādhana and sevā, and then we can absorb all the mercy we receive and it will be beneficial. We will be able to digest it. Without our own effort, the mercy will just wash over us.
Looking around in this world, we see that everyone’s natural tendency is to perform action or work. This action can also be called service. Everyone is serving, but most people serve their senses to please their mind and body. This is not sevānanda. No true happiness is derived from this service. Service brings happiness, or ānanda, to the self, but if we try to satisfy our own desires in this world through various forms of work or service, it will only lead to frustration and not happiness. Real sevā gives ānanda and real sevā is service to Kṛṣṇa. By giving happiness to Kṛṣṇa we will naturally receive happiness because we are parts and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. By merely studying śāstra, it is not so easy to receive sevā-vṛtti, the tendency to serve like this. This mood cannot come as the fruit of our own endeavors. We must attract the mercy of the divine personalities.
Vaisnava Thakur ki Jaya! (excerpted from “Sri Sri Radha Rasa Sudha Nidhi”, please order this wonderful book from firstname.lastname@example.org)