O sweet-faced one, when the breeze carries Your excellent fragrance to where Mukunda enjoys with Candrāvalī on the jasmine pastime-bed that she fashioned with her own hand, He finds a clever excuse to suddenly leave, and like a bumblebee leaving an inferior flower, comes to meet with You on the shore of Your lake. When will I proudly witness this? (Vilāpa-kusumāñjali 74)
Girirāja Govardhana has wonderful lakes, kuṇḍas, kuñja–kuṭīras, gardens, waterfalls, fruits, and flowers. The gopīs bathe in the lakes around Govardhana, and collect fruits and flowers from places such as Kusuma-sarovara, Mānasi-gaṅgā, Govinda-kuṇḍa, Rāsa-sthalī, and Kadamba-kandi. If one goes to these places, simply sitting there, one will be profoundly affected. Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and Kṛṣṇa are engaged in transcendental loving exchanges nearby, and the air accepts Their scent and distributes that supremely potent nectar. If anyone breathes in that air, then his nature will completely change. He will become intoxicated, maddened with love, and will forget where he came from and who he is. He loses his former nature, and he will take complete shelter of Girirāja Govardhana. He will become restless and greedy for more and more kṛṣṇa-sevā at every moment.
When a greedy bee smells the scent of honey, he begins to fly around in search of its source. He hunts the flower from which this sweet smell is emanating. Similarly, Śrīmatī Rādhārānī is present on the slope of Girirāja Govardhana. If a sādhaka comes in touch with Her fragrance his life changes.
He becomes very greedy for Mukunda’s darśana. A deep eagerness comes in his heart, “Where is rasika-śekhara Kṛṣṇa?”
Kṛṣṇa plays His flute everywhere around Girirāja Govardhana, and He meets with the Vraja-devīs in Govardhana’s kuñjas. Sometimes He goes to Candra-sarovara, to the kuñja of Candrāvalī. There she offers Him a garland of mallikā flowers.
Later, Kṛṣṇa comes to Rādhā-kuṇḍa, still wearing that garland. But He sees that no one talks with Him, meets with Him, or even looks at Him. He then feels dry and despondent.
“Oh, this garland is very wicked,” He says in disgust and casts aside the gift from Candrāvalī. He then bathes in Śyāma-kuṇḍa and Rādhā-kuṇḍa, and feels a little better. He then comes before the gopīs and prays at their feet for mercy and for Rādhārānī’s darśana. Feeling a breeze that has touched Rādhārānī and come to Him, He experiences great bliss and His heart is cooled.
In his Rādhā–rasa-sudhā–nidhi, Śrīla Prabhodānanda Sarasvatī glorifies Śrīmatī Rādhārānī as follows:
yasyāḥ kadāpī vasanāṣcala-khelanottha-
yogīndra-durgama-gatir madhusūdano ‘pi
tasyā namo ‘stu vṛṣabhānu-bhuvo diśe ‘pi
Obeisances to the direction that faces Śrī Vṛṣabhānu’s daughter. When the breeze, coming from that direction, playfully moves the edge of Her garment, Madhusūdana, who cannot be attained by even the greatest yogīs, thinks that His life has become a great success.
By some sly process, Candrāvalī’s followers brought Kṛṣṇa to their kuñja. There they offered Kṛṣṇa a nice outfit and decorated Him. He thought, “If I go like this to Rādhā-kuṇḍa everyone will be pleased with Me.” But when He reached Rādhā-kuṇḍa He found that no one was pleased at all. It seemed that even Girirāja Govardhana neglected Him. Why? Girirāja is Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s follower. Therefore he also ignored Kṛṣṇa. Every kuṇḍa and kuñja–kuṭīra at Govardhana is cold to Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa cannot find anyone there, not even any animals.
He looked around and thought, “I must have done something quite wrong.”
He looked down at His outfit and became saddened. “Because of these garments Rādhārānī’s gopīs have become angry and have hidden from Me? Where have they gone?” Then He prays deeply.
Suddenly, from the north side of Rādhā-kuṇḍa, where Śrīmatī Rādhārānī is sitting with the sakhīs, a breeze touches Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s lotus feet and takes their fragrant message to the south side of Rādhā-kuṇḍa, where Kṛṣṇa is present. When Kṛṣṇa smells this, He comes to His senses.
“This attire is not good for Me,” He thinks, and He takes off His outfit and ornaments. He purifies Himself by bathing in Śyāma-kuṇḍa and Rādhā-kuṇḍa. “Yes,” He says, “now I’m feeling better.”
Then He sees some mañjarīs have approached. “Your body has a horrible smell,” they say, “clearly You have gone to the abode of many buffaloes. Perhaps You didn’t herd cows today and played with buffaloes instead. Has Brahmā come and stolen Your cows again? Has Viśvāmṛta given You buffaloes to herd in their place? Buffaloes are very dirty; they like to sleep in drains and bathe in foul water. But cows are always neat and clean. You have definitely been with buffaloes, for Your body has such a foul scent.”
The mañjarīs bring candana, sugandhi, arbaṭa, and other fragrant substances and ask Kṛṣṇa, “Shall we clean You?”
“This will not do,” Kṛṣṇa says, “only the dust of Vraja will suffice.”
“Yes, Rādhārānī’s footdust will purify You,” the manjarīs respond. “You should beware of the other side. Your desire and nature will change if You go to the other side. If You interact with Candrāvalī’s party then Rādhika’s group will shun You.”
“I was not happy with Candrāvalī,” Kṛṣṇa said, “so I came to drink the sweet honey of Rādhārānī’s affection. I left Candrāvalī and came to Rādhā-kuṇḍa and cleansed Myself in the pure nectar of the water that bathed Śrīmatījī. Now will She accept me?”
lasat-padma-stomair api vihaga-rāvair api param
sakhī-vṛndaiḥ svīyaiḥ sarasi madhure prāṇa-patinā
kadā drakṣyāmas te śaśi-mukhi navaṁ keli-nivaham
O sweet, moon-faced one, when will I witness Your ever-fresh water-sports with the Lord of Your heart and Your friends in Your sweet lake, which is filled with a host of splendid lotuses and is surrounded by chirping birds and humming bees?
Śrīmatī Rādhārānī is present at Rādhā-kuṇḍa, where atop splendid lotuses, there are many honeybees that hum sweetly and feast on nectar.
There are also many birds in all directions that sing happily. Why are they so happy? Receiving Your darśana, the hearts of the sakhīs, mañjarīs, birds, and animals are filled with happiness.”
Kṛṣṇa has left Candrāvalī’s kuñja and Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s victory is celebrated in bliss. The sakhīs sing, dance, and joke with Kṛṣṇa. Everyone waits for that darśana. How is that rasa? It is like when the full moon rises and everyone becomes naturally joyful. Kṛṣṇa, the lord of the Vraja-devīs’ hearts, has come and now the gopīs celebrate. There is a great assembly of birds singing. Bees are drinking nectar amidst the swirls of fragrant lotuses and their buzzing adds to the birds’ musical performance.
Dāsa Gosvāmī prays to be present during that occasion, waiting to see what happens next. He is ready, “What orders will come to me? I will arrange everything needed. When inspiration comes, I will quickly perform my service for Rādhārānī.”
This wonderful program on the bank of Rādhā-kuṇḍa starts in the morning. There are many types of flowers in the kuñja–kuṭīras surrounding Rādhā-kuṇḍa, and an ocean of bliss pervades the whole atmosphere. The sakhīs and mañjarīs are very busy there, decorating the kuñjas.
When will that Rādhā-kuṇḍa give us Rādhikā’s darśana and admission into eternal service? Dāsa Gosvāmī says, “Without the mercy of Rādhā-kuṇḍa one will not be able to enter the camp of Rādhārānī and follow Her footsteps, nor will one understand the secrets of Kṛṣṇa’s service.”
Rādhā-kuṇḍa is the place in Vraja-maṇḍala where all favorable things are present for Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s service.
sphuṭat-kusuma-saṅkule vividha-puṣpa-saṅghair mudā ariṣṭa-jayinā kadā tava varoru bhūṣā-vidhīr
vidhāsyata iha priyaṁ mama sukhābdhim ātanvatā
O beautiful-thighed one, when will the ocean of my bliss expand to see Kṛṣṇa, the victor over Ariṣṭāsura, happily decorate You with many kinds of flowers in a kuñja, filled with blossoming flowers and humming bees, on the splendid bank of Your lake?
In Rādhā-kuṇḍa, if anything contrary enters, Kṛṣṇa destroys it. Like when Ariṣṭāsura came to Vraja, Kṛṣṇa destroyed him. What does this mean? If a person comes to Rādhā-kuṇḍa and sits on Her bank, at the lotus feet of Rādhārānī, then any ariṣṭa, demonic mundane desire, will not be able to come and cheat that sādhaka, pulling him away from service to Śrīmatījī. Kṛṣṇa is present there with a strong mood, ready to destroy any opposition. Any anarthas or unwanted desires will be unable to disturb one. The sādhaka will have no further troubles. Kṛṣṇa will give him a sweet nature and good desires.
At Rādhā-kuṇḍa, the sakhīs are busy serving Rādhārānī. Some are painting designs on Her hands and feet, and some are combing Her hair, which they decorate with small flowers.
The mañjarīs say, “Collect peacock feathers here. Kṛṣṇa likes them so much.” Then they collect peacock feathers and make crowns with them and give these to the sakhīs. Then they make dresses. After Kṛṣṇa bathes, they will decorate and dress Him. The sakhīs and mañjarīs are ready to perform this service.
On the other side, the sādhakas see that the gopīs are busily engaged in serving Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. Kṛṣṇa has come Himself and is waiting for a chance to serve Rādhārānī. He prays to the sakhīs and mañjarīs, “When will you give Me chance to comb Rādhārānī’s hair? I will separate Her hairs and will gently braid them. How will I make a sweet relation with Her hair? I will massage oil into Her hair, made fragrant with kastūrī, and then I will place flowers and pollen in Her charming locks.”
Kṛṣṇa prays to the gopīs and waits with trembling hands. He cannot control Himself. It is as if all His strength has left and He is filled with fear, feeling within, “What will happen if I do something wrong?”
Kṛṣṇa sees Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s form in the water of Rādhā-kuṇḍa. He sits on the bank of Rādhā-kuṇḍa and watches Her pastimes and interaction with the sakhīs and mañjarīs in the reflection of the water.
“How can I serve Her? How can I get permission?” Kṛṣṇa prays to the sakhīs and mañjarīs in a choked voice, with hairs standing on end and tears gently falling from His cheeks. The sakhīs come from another side and offer Kṛṣṇa peacock feathers and guñjā-mālā. Kṛṣṇa had fallen into an internal state of meditation. At the sound of the gopīs’ words, His external sense returns and He feels, “I am very lucky today. Certainly they will give Me permission to serve and they will teach Me the proper process.”
At this Radha-kunda, all special training, power, and taste is given to serve Rādhārānī.
Srila Raghunatha das Thakur ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Vilap-kushmangali”. Available from: firstname.lastname@example.org )