In the early 1990’s, Śrīla Gurudeva gave hundreds of darśanas for several of Śrīla Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja’s senior disciples (including Sripad Tamal Krsna Maharaja, Sripad Giri Maharaja and Sripad Burijana Prabhu). During those few years they requested him to discuss some of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava literatures, the essence of all the ancient Vedic literatures, such as Jaiva-dharma and Śrīmad- Bhāgavatam Tenth Canto, and in particular, the chapters in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam called Rāsa-līlā, Veṇu-gīta, Bhramāra-gīta, and Gopī-gīta. They also desired to hear discussions on the books Harināma-cintāmaṇi, Vilāpa-kusumāñjali, and Rāga- vartma-candrikā. In the year 1991, Śrīla Gurudeva led four discussions on Rāga-vartma-candrikā

 

Śrīla Gurudeva: One may inquire, “When Kṛṣṇa has forgotten everything other than His love for the gopīs, who will hear the prayers of His rāgānuga-bhaktas? Who will give them consolation and blessings? Who will fulfil their objectives?”

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura says that some persons propose that the partial expansion of Kṛṣṇa, Paramātmā, will hear the rāgānuga-bhakta’s prayers, because in that form the Lord dwells as a witness in the heart of every jīva soul. He says that no rāgānuga-bhakta will be satisfied with Paramātmā, because Paramātmā is unaware of the rāgānuga-bhaktas’ moods. Paramātmā is not sufficient for them.

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: Why is Paramātmā not sufficient?

Śrīla Gurudeva: He is not rasika (skilled in relishing transcen­dental humors, or rasas). He is the witness of the jīva’s activities and He gives the fruits of the jīva’s karma. He is bound in His duty. The rāgānuga-bhaktas are not satisfied even by Nārāyaṇa, what to speak of Paramātmā. They will not be satisfied even by Rāmacandra and Dvārakādhīśa, what to speak of Their partial expansions.

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura says that Śrī Kṛṣṇa – Vrajendra-nandana Śyāmasundara, Gopīkānta – will hear. But how? He is engaged in the enchantment of the gopīs’ love and has forgotten everything else, so how will He hear? The answer lies in the fact that there are two special qualities in Kṛṣṇa: sarvajñatā (omniscience) and mugdhatā (incognizance, or bewilderment).

Mugdha means that by the power of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s prema, He is like an innocent and ignorant child. For instance, when Kṛṣṇa was in Dvārakā He called Uddhava and told him that there were two very important works to be done. One would be to kill Jarāsandha, and the other would be to accept the Pāṇḍavas’ invitation to join the Rājasūya sacrifice. He told Uddhava, “Both are equally important. What should I do?”

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura says that if Kṛṣṇa was only sarvajña, omniscient, knowing everything past, present, and future, then why did He seek Uddhava’s advice? We can say that perhaps He was pretending to be ignorant, but from the subject it is seen that He was not pretending.

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: The subject was so grave and serious.

Śrīla Gurudeva: Uddhava replied, “You called for me and just like an ordinary, simple-hearted person You asked me, ‘O Uddhava, what is My duty in this situation?’ Although You are full of unlimited, eternal knowledge that is undivided and unimpeded by time and space, still You questioned me, just as an innocent person approaches someone wise for advice about some weighty matter.”

In order to render service, Uddhava continued, “My dear Lord, I think it best for You to immediately go and help King Yudhiṣṭhira in his great venture. At the same time, it is Your duty to give protection to the surrendered souls. Both purposes can be served if we understand the whole situation. Unless one is victorious over all kings, one cannot perform the Rājasūya sacrifice. In other words, King Yudhiṣṭhira cannot perform this great sacrifice without gaining victory over King Jarāsandha. We must first kill Jarāsandha, and then all our purposes will automatically be served.”

Appreciating Uddhava’s solution, Kṛṣṇa replied, “Uddhava, you are certainly very intelligent. I will do as you advise.”

Another example: Kuntī prayed to Kṛṣṇa, “I remember the pastime of Yaśodā binding Your waist. You were crying bitterly, and that crying was not imitation. So I am astonished. Fear personified fears You, yet You were afraid of the stick in the hands of Yaśodā.”

This is called mugdhatā, knowing nothing; just like a very innocent child knows nothing. If a person is overpowered by the illusory material māyā of Kṛṣṇa, that person feels both happiness and suffering for many births under that illusory energy. His happiness and sufferings are all the work of māyā, meaning ‘forgetfulness of Kṛṣṇa.’ Are Kṛṣṇa’s mugdhatā and sarvajñatā the fruits of this māyā? No. Kṛṣṇa is not under the influence of brahma-māyā, or even Balarāma’s māyā. Rather, Kṛṣṇa’s illusion is the result of His prema, His bhakta-vātsalya, His desire to please His devotees. He loves His devotees so much that in their association He becomes so enchanted that He forgets everything else. His mugdhatā occurs by the influence of prema.

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: It’s not by Yogamāyā? It’s by prema?

Śrīla Gurudeva: Yes, prema; and that prema is Yogamāyā. Yogamāyā is nothing other than the personification of Kṛṣṇa’s prema. There are so many functions of prema, such as Yogamāyā, ātmā-māyā (internal potency), Śrīmatī Rādhikā, and hlādinī-śakti (pleasure potency). Due to prema, Kṛṣṇa becomes sarvajña and mugdha at the same time. While He is engaged with the gopīs in rāsa-līlā and other loving pastimes, if any rāgānuga-bhakta in this world worships and prays to Him and the gopīs, He will fulfill that devotee’s desire. For that rāgānuga-bhakta, He hears everything.

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura tells us that we need to know the meanings of aiśvarya and mādhurya. Now, what is aiśvarya?

Girirāja Mahārāja: Aiśvarya means ‘opulence,’ or ‘majesty.’

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: It is the majestic feature of the Lord in Dvārakā, Mathurā, and Nārāyaṇa’s Vaikuṇṭha; it is worship with awe and reverence.

Śrīla Gurudeva: And what is mādhurya?

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: The sweetness that overpowers His opulence. It is the sweetness of the Lord’s pastimes.

Śrīla Gurudeva: This is not a sufficient answer. Sweetness alone is not mādhurya. We taste sweet things, but this is not regarded as mādhurya. We taste something like this in our family relations, and a teenage boy tastes what he calls mādhurya, but this is not mādhurya. In the background there must be aiśvarya, or opulence. Without aiśvarya there cannot be mādhurya.

Do you know the meaning of mahā-aiśvarya? Aiśvarya means ‘opulence,’ so mahā-aiśvarya means ‘great opulence.’ Whether or not there is an exhibition of great opulence, if Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes are experienced as nara-līlā, then it is mādhurya.

Do you know the meaning of nara-līlā?

Bhurijana dāsa: As with humans.

Śrīla Gurudeva: Whether or not mahā-aiśvarya is present, if Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes are experienced as nara-līlā, then it is mādhurya. On the other hand, if by the presence of mahā-aiśvarya Kṛṣṇa knows that He is God and His bhakta also knows it, that is aiśvarya-līlā1.

For example, we have seen that when Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna were about to fight in the Battle of Kurukṣetra, Arjuna saw Kṛṣṇa’s Universal Form and told Him (Bhagavad-gītā 11.41–42), “Thinking of You as my friend, I have rashly addressed You ‘O Kṛṣṇa, O Yādava, O my friend,’ not knowing Your glories. Please forgive whatever I may have done in madness or in love. I have dishonored You many times, jesting as we relaxed, lay on the same bed, or sat or ate together, sometimes alone and sometimes in front of many friends. O infallible one, please excuse me for all those offenses.”

This is aiśvarya-līlā because Kṛṣṇa was in the mood that “I am God,” and He showed Arjuna His Universal Form. When Arjuna saw that form, he abandoned his mood of friendship.

Also, when Kṛṣṇa went with Baladeva to see Vasudeva and Devakī after killing Kaṁsa, Vasudeva and Devakī began to worship Kṛṣṇa with many prayers of glorification. In this instance as well, Kṛṣṇa was in iśvarya-bhāva, the conception that He is God. He considered Himself God, and they also knew that He was God.

On the other hand the Vrajavāsīs never considered Him to be God. He approached Govardhana, lifted it, and held it with only the pinky finger of His left hand for seven days. Indra then came and performed an opulent bathing ceremony for Him, called abhiṣekha, employing several sacred substances. After this, the gopa elders assembled and decided, “Let us call Yaśodā and Nanda Mahārāja. Let us tell them, ‘Do not imagine that Kṛṣṇa is your son. Do not call Him thief, liar, or any other bad name; that will be an offense.’” They advised Nanda Mahārāja and Yaśodā Maiyā to understand that Kṛṣṇa was perhaps some demigod, or perhaps Nārāyaṇa Himself, since this is what they had heard from the sage Garga Ṛṣi.

Yaśodā never thought of Kṛṣṇa as God. Rather, extremely pleased to hear that her son had lifted Govardhana for seven days, she considered, “Everyone is offering praise to my son,” and her chest swelled with great pride. If a woman hears anything good about her children, she becomes so pleased. Although Yaśodā knew that lifting Govardhana was not the act of an ordinary person, she still considered, “Kṛṣṇa is merely my child, my son.” This is mādhurya.

Uddhava came to Vṛndāvana to console the gopīs in their mood of separation from Kṛṣṇa after Kṛṣṇa went to Mathurā. There, he overheard the gopīs complaining about Kṛṣṇa, saying, “We have heard from Paurṇamāsī and Garga Ṛṣi that Kṛṣṇa is īśvara, Bhagavān; not only in this birth, but also in past births, and also when He was Rāmacandra. But we know that even as Rāmacandra He acted improperly and immorally, and He was controlled by Sītā-devī.”

In this way, even though it had come to their attention through Paurṇamāsī and Garga Ṛṣi that Kṛṣṇa is God, they personally never saw Him as such. This is the nature of their ’īśvara-bhāva’. They would tell Him, “Oh, come here. The red lac (decorative paint) on my feet is no longer there. You should repaint it.” They would order Him to perform so many services for them, and they would also become angry with Him. If they were actually aware of Kṛṣṇa’s Godhood, how could they have become angry with Him?

Rather, the gopīs saw and behaved with Him only as their lover. In their version of īśvara-bhāva, they know nothing be­yond the idea that He is their beloved. This is mādhurya-bhāva.

Thus, when Kṛṣṇa knows that He is īśvara and His bhakta also knows this, that pastime is in aiśvarya-bhāva. On the other hand, when He and His associates both forget this – and even when some idea comes to His associates that He may be God, they only think of Him and behave towards Him like a lover – that is mādhurya-bhāva.

In Vraja, Kṛṣṇa is always in vraja-bhāva. He is always over-powered by prema, meaning Yogamāyā, His internal desire potency. All actions in Vraja are performed by this prema. It is not against siddhānta to say that Kṛṣṇa is overpowered by prema, because prema and Kṛṣṇa are the same Truth: sat-cit-ānanda-maya, consisting of eternal existence, unlimited knowledge, and unfathomable joy. This prema is the intrinsic nature of Kṛṣṇa.

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: Can we say that prema is the śakti (potency) of Kṛṣṇa, or not?

Śrīla Gurudeva: We may say so. Kṛṣṇa Himself is known as raso vai saḥ (the reservoir of divine mellows). Rasa is prema, prema is Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa is prema. And, at the same time, prema is the śakti of Kṛṣṇa.

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura explains that at the time of rāsa-līlā, Śrī Kṛṣṇa was sarvajña, all-knowing, because He knew, “ All the gopīs love Me and want to dance with Me.” He knew this, and He therefore expanded into innumerable Kṛṣṇas. On the other hand, when He did whatever the gopīs desired and became controlled by them, He was mugdha, unaware of His aiśvarya. Both qualities are present in Him at the same time. Why? This is due to His acintya-śakti, His power to make the impossible possible. This is beyond all mundane logic.

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura then says that when, by vaidhī-bhakti, someone worships Nārāyaṇa, or Rāma, or any other plenary expansion of Kṛṣṇa, that devotee goes to Vaikuṇṭha after attaining perfection.

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: What about Rukmiṇī-Dvārakādhiśa?

Śrīla Gurudeva: I will explain this afterwards, separately. When one performs vaidhī-bhakti and discusses topics regarding Vaikuṇṭha, after achieving perfection (vastu-siddhi) he attains Vaikuṇṭha. Regarding those who have no greed but want to serve Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, and they are worshiping Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa by the regulations of vaidhī-bhakti – where do they go at the time of perfection?

Bhurijana dāsa: With no greed?

Śrīla Gurudeva: No greed. They are worshiping by vaidhī-bhakti.

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: To Dvārakā

Śrīla Gurudeva: Why Dvārakā? There is no relation with Dvārakā in this case.

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: They are worshiping Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa?

Śrīla Gurudeva: They want Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: But there is no greed?

Śrīla Gurudeva: No greed, and by vaidhī-bhakti. In that case, they will attain Goloka. They know nothing about parakīyā, Kṛṣṇa’s paramour love with Rādhikā and the gopīs. They only know svakīyā, the idea of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa as a married couple. This svakīyā is in Goloka.

The planet of Goloka is vast, with many prakoṣṭhas (separate sections) situated there. So, if one is worshiping Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa by vaidhī-bhakti and has no greed…

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: He goes to Goloka.

Śrīla Gurudeva: In Goloka we find aiśvarya-jñāna, knowledge of Kṛṣṇa’s Godhood, and svakīyā-bhāva, the mood of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa as a married couple. Their Lordships there are Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Every kind of aiśvarya is present there, almost like that of Nārāyaṇa, but Kṛṣṇa is not manifest as Nārāyaṇa.

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: I was reading Garga-Saṁhitā, which describes this.

Śrīla Gurudeva: The twenty-four prominent forms of Nārāyaṇa, as well as all His other forms, reside in lower Vaikuṇṭha. Higher than that is Rāma-loka, and higher than that is Kṛṣṇa-loka. Kṛṣṇa-loka begins from Goloka, within which there are many divisions: Goloka, Dvārakā, Mathurā, and then Vraja. In lower Goloka there is only svakīyā-bhāva with aiśvarya-jñāna, with no greed at all towards vraja-bhāva.

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: Kṛṣṇa showed the residents of Vṛndāvana a vision of Goloka at Akrūra-ghāṭa, the place where Akrūra took bath when he was taking Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma to Mathurā, .

Śrīla Gurudeva: Yes, but they only saw Goloka, not Vraja, not Vṛndāvana.

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: They saw this Goloka?

Śrīla Gurudeva: This Goloka.

Bhurijana dāsa: Kṛṣṇa showed Vaikuṇṭha to Akrūra.

Śrīla Gurudeva: In that connection, the word Vaikuṇṭha refers to Goloka. He also showed this same Goloka to the Vrajavāsīs – not Vraja, only Goloka. Kṛṣṇa and all His associates including Rādhikā and Yaśodā were there in Goloka in their own forms, but they were not in vraja-bhāva.

Next, suppose someone worships Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in vaidhī-bhakti – not in rāga-marga and not under the guidance of a rasika Vaiṣṇava – and at the same time he has greed. That devotee will go to Dvārakā.2 Why will he go there? Because Rādhikā manifests as Satyabhāmā there in Dvārakā, and Candrāvalī manifests as Rukmiṇī; and because aiśvarya-jñāna, knowledge of Kṛṣṇa’s Godhood, is present there. When Rādhā and Candrāvalī are present as Satyabhāmā and Rukmiṇī, Kṛṣṇa is in His feature as Dvārakādiśa and He is served by them in Dvārakā.

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: What is the difference between someone who worships and goes to Goloka, and someone who worships and goes to Dvārakā?

Śrīla Gurudeva: Those who worship without greed go to Goloka.

Bhurijana dāsa: Only one has greed, but both are worshiping in vaidhī-bhakti?

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: Is there greed in Dvārakā?

Śrīla Gurudeva: Those bhaktas have greed, but they are worshiping in vaidhī-bhakti. In that case Rādhikā manifests as Satyabhāmā, Candrāvalī as Rukmiṇī, and their associates as the other queens of Dvārakā. Kṛṣṇa is in the same form there as He is in Vṛndāvana, but there He is a Yādava.

Next, those who have greed for vraja-bhāva and worship Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa by rāgānuga-bhakti under the guidance of a rasika Vrajavāsī will achieve vraja-bhāva. Is this clear?

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: This is very important.

Śrīla Gurudeva: This is a very important thing. Without know­ing these truths, we cannot have a proper idea of Vraja and we may be deceived. If one has the svarūpa (constitutional spiritual form) of a maidservant of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, that svarūpa will only manifest when one is under the guidance of a rasika Vaiṣṇava.

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: This gives us the conviction that we must try for the thing you are teaching – rāgānuga-bhakti.

Śrīla Gurudeva: Yes, rāgānuga-bhakti.

But you will have to give me dakṣiṇā (a donation) for this.

Girirāja Mahārāja: I’ll give anything.

Śrīla Gurudeva: I am very greedy. I want dakṣiṇā.

Girirāja Mahārāja: Tell me what to give.

Śrīla Gurudeva: I will have to tell you?

Girirāja Mahārāja: My heart.

Śrīla Gurudeva: Yes.

These are such good topics, and we are certainly lucky that we are discussing them. In the practise of bhakti, hundreds of thousands of births may go by and it is not certain that one will have the good fortune to discuss such topics. It is only the mercy of guru and Gaurāṅga that we are able to do so.

Making another very important point, Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura says that we should not worship Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa without pastimes. Do you understand? If we chant “Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa” without remembering Their pastimes, only a very simple thing can be achieved. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has therefore said that chanting Kṛṣṇa’s name and remembering His pastimes must be amalgamated – then there will be rasa (the mellow taste of a relationship with Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa). For example, if sugar and water remain as they are, without being mixed, there will be no rasa, no nectar-taste of a good drink. Both must mix together; then it will be rasa.

What kind of pastimes do we want to remember? If we have greed for that relationship, we want to remember Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes with the gopīs. It is true that Kṛṣṇa is always with His hlādinī-śakti, His pleasure potency. It is also true that Rādhikā is the personification of His hlādinī-śakti, also known as His svarūpa-śakti (His complete, intrinsic potency). Still, we should not remember Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa without Their pastimes. If we remember Them without pastimes, hlādinī-śakti will not act upon us.

When we go to the temple, we see Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa simply standing on the altar. If this is what we meditate upon when we chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, we will have darśana of Satyabhāmā and Rukmiṇī, or Lakṣmī. Thus, it is not certain that we will attain vraja-bhāva simply by the worship of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa as They appear in the temple.

We should remember the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa as they are served by the mañjarīs who are under the guidance of Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī and Śrī Rati Mañjarī, and we should meditate on our Gurudeva as one of the mañjarīs. We should remember the pastimes as described by our Gosvāmīs and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

When we perform the ārati of Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, we should again remember Their pastimes. Which pastimes? In the morning, remember Their morning pastimes; and at midday, remember Their midday pastimes. Consider that in our svarūpa we are one of Their associates and, praying for that attainment, meditate on our Gurudeva as one of them. In this way our bhajana will be rāgānuga, otherwise it will be simply performing vaidhī-bhakti.

Bhurijana dāsa: Did the gopīs or mañjarīs ever offer ārati? Would they offer ārati to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa?

Śrīla Gurudeva: Yes, but you’ll need to know what kind of ārati they are doing. They have a pradīpa.

Śrīpād Mādhava Mahārāja: Lamp.

Bhurijana dāsa: Ghee (clarified butter) lamp.

Śrīla Gurudeva: But in this connection the ghee is their heart’s prema, the pradīpa is their heart, and the cotton…

Bhurijana dāsa: Wick.

Śrīla Gurudeva: The cotton is their bhāva, their mood of service. What kind of bhāva? A special bhāva. Every bhakta has a special bhāva, and that bhāva comes out through the eyes. The gopīs worship Kṛṣṇa by the corners of their eyes, and Kṛṣṇa accepts their worship by His eyes and takes it into His heart. The gopīs perform arcana (worship) in this way; not in the way we do it.

When Kṛṣṇa comes home from cow-grazing, Yaśodā Mā takes a ghee lamp and other paraphernalia and offers ārati to Kṛṣṇa. The gopīs stand at the doorways so that they will not be seen as they perform arcana with their amour-filled eyes. Due to His glance being absorbed in the arcana of the gopīs, Kṛṣṇa does not see His mother’s ārati. The gopīs’ arcana is the best arcana and the best ārati. We should see their ārati through our ārati.

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura advises us to be very careful. Some persons say that Rādhikā is svakīyā, Kṛṣṇa’s wife, not parakīyā, His paramour. They say that parakīyā is only present in Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes as they are performed in this material world (prakaṭa-līlā), not in His pastimes as manifest in Goloka Vṛndāvana (aprakaṭa-līlā). Moreover, it appears that one of our ācāryas has also written this.3

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: Jīva Gosvāmī.

Śrīla Gurudeva: Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, and the followers of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī.

Śrīla Visvanatha Cakravartī Ṭhākura says that none of the books written by rasika Vaiṣṇava ācāryas, like Nārada, Vyāsa, Śuka, Śaṅkara, and the father of Vyāsadeva, namely Parāśara, state that Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are svakīyā, neither have any of the Purāṇas stated it.

It is essential to know that whether Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes are manifest in prakaṭa-līlā (Their pastimes in this material world) or aprakaṭa-līlā (Their unmanifest pastimes, in Goloka Vṛndāvana), Rādhikā has parakīyā-bhāva, the mood of a beloved in unwedded or paramour love. Moreover, when it is said by any bona fide ācārya, like Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, that She is svakīyā, then, in that connection ‘svakīyā’ simply means that She belongs to Kṛṣṇa because She is the embodiment of His hlādinī-śakti, or pleasure potency. Regarding Her personal mood, however, She is always immersed in the mood of parakīyā.

Thus, we should think of and worship Rādhikā in parakīyā-bhāva, serving Her in this way and meditating on this verse:

nikuñja-yūno rati-keli-siddhyai
yā yālibhir yuktir apekṣaṇīyā
tatrāti-dākṣyād ati-vallabhasya
vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

Śrī Gurvaṣṭakam (6)

The spiritual master is very dear, because he is expert in assisting the gopīs, who at different times make different tasteful arrangements for the perfection of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s conjugal loving affairs within the groves of Vṛndāvana. I offer my most humble obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master.

Śrīmatī Rādhikā and the gopīs engage in cheating their husbands, fathers-in-law, mothers-in-law, brothers, and all other relatives in order to meet with Kṛṣṇa. If we have greed for this service, we will want to know the sixteen kinds of services performed by the gopīs in parakīyā-bhāva.4 If we do not become like these gopīs, we will not be able to serve Śrīmatī Rādhikā.

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: Can I ask a question? I’ve heard that Jīva Gosvāmī sometimes talked about svakīyā because some of his disciples were not qualified to understand parakīyā.

Śrīla Gurudeva: This is certainly true, and therefore we can reconcile his statements in this way. He personally accepted parakīyā-bhāva – and he explained for qualified devotees that Rādhikā’s relationship with Śrī Kṛṣṇa is parakīyā. However, he told those who doubted the supreme purity of Their relation­ship to strictly follow the understanding of svakīyā-bhāva.

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: I have one more question. In Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s līlā, we sometimes see that They are married.

Śrīla Gurudeva: We should always think of such marriages as parakīyā, not svakīyā. For instance, a marriage may take place when the gopīs want to joke with Kṛṣṇa. Once, while Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs were engaged in sitting and joking with each other, Lalitā stealthily went behind Kṛṣṇa and Śrīmatī Rādhikā. She took the ends of Their…

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: Their sārī and dhotī cloth [Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s veil and Kṛṣṇa’s chaddar].

Śrīla Gurudeva: … and tied them together. Viśākhā then began uttering mantras, and the gopīs began singing marriage songs. The gopīs told Kṛṣṇa, “You should do like this, and like that, and follow these procedures,” and everyone present was very pleased. This is a joking pastime in parakīyā-bhāva – a play-marriage – and Brahmā, as a priest, also once performed Their play marriage.

Bhurijana dāsa: In Bhāṇḍīravana.

Śrīla Gurudeva: Such play-marriages have two purposes. The inner purpose is the nourishment of parakīyā-rasa, and the outer purpose is to close the mouths of unqualified persons. For those who would criticize parakīyā-rasa, thinking that the paramour love of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is immoral, because of these play-marriages it can be said, “Oh, They were married here.”

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: They can be told, “It’s legitimate.”

Śrīla Gurudeva: In this way both purposes are served.

Tamāla-kṛṣṇa Mahārāja: In this world we sometimes see that children enact play marriages. It was something like that?

Śrīla Gurudeva: It is for pleasure only.

source: Excerpt from Chapter 4 of The Hidden Path of Devotion by Gaudiya Vedanta Publications.
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