At the time of chanting, we hold each tulasī bead in our mālā, like catching the feet of the Vraja-devīs and praying to them as we serve internally. Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and all the Vraja-devīs are present there while we chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. If we only chant Rādhe Kṛṣṇa, Rādhe means only Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, but Hare includes all the sakhīs and mañjarīs. All the Vraja-devīs are serving Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in the eternal world. So we pray to them, one by one, as we chant on our mālā, “Please give me your tendency to serve, bless me with your moods, and teach me the process by which you serve the Divine Couple. Please guide me and check to see if my actions are wrong or right.”
kṣīṇaṁ krudhaty atha kṛśodari ced itīva
badhnāmi bhos tava kadābhibhayena madhyam
O slender-waisted one, when, fearing that Your slender waist might break, will I carefully tie it with a new golden belt, splendid with flower-cluster tassels at each end?
Dāsa Gosvāmī says, “You have long hair and Your head is decorated with braids, gold, and jewels. Your body carries a lot of weight, but how can You carry this? O Kiśorī! You have a very thin waist; if this breaks, then what will I do? Therefore I will carefully bind Your waist with a golden belt.”
Why does Dāsa Gosvāmī pray to use a gold belt? Gold is beautiful, light and bright, and of a similar color to Rādhārānī. Gold is not selfish; it is like a helpful servant. Gold doesn’t leave its post as a servant. If you make a golden ornament, it lasts for a very long time. Even if it breaks, still it can be repaired. Many sevakas serve for one or two days, giving cloth, food, water, lodging and so forth, but after a few days they fly off like fireflies. This is not called a sevaka. A real sevaka is like gold—steady and permanent. A sevaka will not be like silver, which may oxidize and lose its potency. Gold doesn’t lose its value. Other things may come and mix with gold, but then it can be heated and all other minerals and metals will be burnt out.
kanaka-guṇitam uccair mauktikaṁ mat-karāt te
tila-kusuma-vijetrī nāsikā sā su-vṛttaṁ
prakaṭatara-maranda-prāyam ādāsyate kim
O golden one, when will Your nose, which defeats the sesame flower, receive from my hand a beautiful, golden, honey-pearl that agitates the great bumblebee Kṛṣṇa?
“O Rādhike! Your color is more beautiful and brilliant than molten gold. When a flower blossoms, the bumblebees rush towards it. Your nose is more attractive than a sesame flower. The transcendental bumblebee Kṛṣṇa comes hovering side-to-side, looking for a way to touch Her. To protect You, I will place a nose-ring so Kṛṣṇa cannot come inside. When Kṛṣṇa sees Your nose-ring, He will have a deep desire, ‘How can I take the honey from this enchanting flower?’ ”
aṅgadena tava vāma-doḥ-sthale
ājñayā pariṇayāmi te kadā
O golden one, when, by Your order, will I place on Your left arm a silken band, tied with jewels and flowers?
In his perfected body, Dāsa Gosvāmī starts his service from the early morning. Rati Mañjarī combs Rādhārānī’s hair and decorates it with flowers, jewels, and pearls. She also places a nose ring, bangles, anklebells, anklets, and other ornaments on Śrīmatījī.
karṇayor upari cakra-śalāke
cañcalākṣi nihite mayakāte
cakravad bhramayatāṁ mura-śatrum
O restless-eyed one, when will I place rings on Your ears that would make Kṛṣṇa, who agitates all the gopīs, aimlessly wander in a circle?
Rati Mañjarī then places golden cakra wheel-shaped earrings on Rādhārānī’s ears. Why? These act like Her protectors. If any bad sound comes close, the cakra will protect Rādhārāī’s ears, telling the sound, “Get out, you are not welcome here. This is not your place.”
Kaṁsa once gave training to his soldiers, “When Kṛṣṇa plays the flute, all the cows, calves, sakhās, and Vraja-devīs run to Him. This flute has some mystic power. Learn how to play this flute and then we will attract all the Vrajavasīs out of Vraja to Mathurā, and then Kṛṣṇa will be powerless.”
Kaṁsa thus opened a flute-training center in Mathurā. When properly trained, Kaṁsa’s minions went and played flutes in the forests of Vraja, pretending to be Kṛṣṇa. Hearing this, the cows looked up and thought, “Is Kṛṣṇa calling?”
The cows listened intently for a moment. They are very clever. Their ears went to this side and that, drinking the sound of the flute. But they know the melody of Kṛṣṇa’s flute and were not fooled by Kaṁsa’s attempted trick. They ignored the flute sound and continued to eat grass without a care. Kaṁsa’s minions saw, “Oh, Kṛṣṇa’s cows are very clever, they are not listening.”
Then they went and played the flute on the bank of the Yamunā, thinking, “The gopīs come here to collect water. When they come, we will mesmerize them with our attractive flute playing and will bring them to Mathurā.”
But the gopīs’ ears have these cakras, protecting them from antagonistic sounds. Their earrings act like guards, standing at their ears. Therefore the gopīs wear Murāri cakras in their ears and hair so that only the sound of Kṛṣṇa’s flute-call can come in their ears.
Many people send news and many other sounds come, but first-class sevakas first check, “Is this good and helpful or not?” as Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī would first peruse any material for faulty conclusions before he showed it to Mahāprabhu.
kadā te mṛgaśāvākṣi cibuke mṛganābhinā
bindum ullāsayiṣyāmi mukundāmoda-mandire
O fawn-eyed one, when will I place a dot of splendid musk on Your chin, the temple of Mukunda’s happiness?
Dāsa Gosvāmī prays, “O Rādhike! Your eyes are restless as deer who fear the attack of any dangerous animal or hunter, waiting in a hidden place to shoot. I will decorate Your chin with a spot of musk.”
This musk gives power, enthusiasm, and happiness. This spot is dark, like the pupils of Kṛṣṇa’s eyes. Seeing this, Kṛṣṇa is overjoyed, “Oh! She has awarded My representative some place on Her face!”
Srila Ragunatha das Gosvami ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Vilap-kusmangali”. Available from: firstname.lastname@example.org )