If there is no love and affection, then one brahmacārī or devotee cannot remain following bhakti. He will be dry and suffering in māyā. If one devotee helps another, then devotion can grow in such a favorable environment. If a senior devotee nourishes junior devotees with his love and affection, the juniors’ devotion will become strong, and they will gradually become senior in bhakti, and will bestow love and affection to others and help them grow as well. This flow will then run on continuously.

In this verse, Rati Mañjarī laments, “Aho! Devī, I have no one else in this world other than You! I am only Yours! I am only Yours! I cannot live without You for a single moment! Please bestow the shelter of Your lotus feet. I cannot go to any other, look at any other, nor have any dealing or connection with any other. I am Yours alone, Yours alone, Yours alone!”

“What is the need to promise so many times?” Śrīmatījī asks.

“If I spoke with anyone,” Rati replies, “it wasn’t for my own happiness. If anyone asks about You, then I feel the need to speak for Your sake. And if I don’t answer, then He teases me, ‘O stubborn one! O exalted arrogant maidservant of Your proud mistress. You are so exalted that you can’t spare me even a moment to speak.’ Then, when I said a few words, You became angered. I tell You sincerely that I am Yours, I am Yours, I am Yours! I cannot live another minute without You. Please give me shelter at Your feet. You are the reason I am living. Not seeing Your lotus feet, I cannot survive for even a moment. Please give me place at Your feet and don’t make me separate from You for even a moment.

“Lalitā-devī is extremely dear to You, I am not so dear to You as she is. I made a mistake, but Lalitā-devi is very close to You. Please listen to Her request and accept me back in Your good graces. Don’t keep me away from You.”

Now Rati Mañjarī prays to Lalitā-devī, “Please, by any means, remove Svāminī’s māna. If you can’t do this great task, who will I go to for shelter? And only having Her speak to me again is not enough; may She grant me Her intimate service. Otherwise, if She shrugs and says, ‘Okay, I forgave her, no problem,’ but doesn’t give me service again, keeping me at a distance, then what will be my position? Please petition Her on my behalf. If She doesn’t give me Her intimate service, I will die.”

Dāsa Gosvāmī was in the highest state of separation in his sādhaka form. Even in mānasī-sevā, one cannot be deviated in service and dedication to one’s worshipable beloved.

Once, one thirsty man came to the cottage of Lokanātha dāsa Gosvāmī and asked for water. Receiving no answer, He next went to the kuṭīra of Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura and begged for water. When Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura gave water to this thirsty man, Lokanātha dāsa Gosvāmī became upset and said, “Leave this place! If you want to serve others, then there is no need to stay here. You have no desire for bhajana. Go and serve others.” It was Kṛṣṇa who had come. There were many homes nearby in the village, why would anyone come to a Bābājī’s kuṭīra for water? Anyone could go drink water from a well. Why would one come and beg for a glass of water from Bābājīs? But Kṛṣṇa came to test Narottama, knowing, “He is on Rādhārānī’s side. Let me see what he does.”

When Lokanātha dāsa Gosvāmī saw that Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura had some softness towards Kṛṣṇa, that he had become a little favorable to Kṛṣṇa, he said, “Go serve Him and His followers.”

The situation is perilous for those solely dedicated to Rādhārānī. If they go a little to one side or another, then She has great māna. Breaking that māna is not easy.

sva-kuṇḍaṁ tava lolākṣi sa-priyāyāḥsad aspadam

atraiva mama samvāsa ihaiva mama saṁsthitiḥ

Vilāpa-kusumāñjali 97

O restless-eyed one, Your lake is the eternal dwelling-place of You and Your beloved. Here only will I reside and here alone will I stay.

Dāsa Gosvāmī says, “Rādhā-kuṇḍa is extremely dear to You. Inside this kuṇḍa there is not only water, rather the mellows of all Your love are present here. All the sakhīs’ and mañjarīs’ love is present here as well. I stay on the bank of Your Rādhā-kuṇḍa without any qualification, but my eyes search in all directions to see from which way You are coming. The mañjarīs and sakhīs will call me and show me the pathway to Your lotus feet in a secluded grove. They will give me permission to reside here eternally.”

Śrīmatī may then say, “Why are you distressed? You are already living here at Rādha-kuṇḍa, performing bhajana. What problem do you have?”

“No, no, no, I have this body now. Gaurahari offered me to His near and dear Svarūpa Dāmodara, who sent me here to Rādhā-kuṇḍa. But now this body is very old. Soon it will leave me.”

“Are you sad because of this?”

“No, no, no, I am not sad or afraid of leaving my body, but I want to permanently serve You in the form of a mañjarī. Please give this to me. Don’t give me a big rich post or make me wealthy and healthy and send me far away.”

Dāsa Gosvāmī prays, “May I have eternal residence here at Rādhā-kuṇḍa.” What is the meaning? This means, “I will serve You while You engage in intimate pastimes with Kṛṣṇa, ready to do anything needed. I will fan You, massage Your lotus feet, and make Your bed. I will stay here for all services, not going anywhere.”

Dāsa Gosvāmī next prays, “I am staying here, but I am unqualified. Yet, You are searching for me, ‘Where is Rati? Where did she go?’ Then I say, ‘I am here, with You. Don’t worry. Why are You looking at me with restless eyes? Wherever Kṛṣṇa is present, I will bring Him to Your kuñja by any ploy. I know how to catch Him. But if I speak with Kṛṣṇa to bring Him back, will You be angered? I will teach Him how to break Your māna, but for this, please don’t become upset with me.

“You engage in loving pastimes with Kṛṣṇa at Rādhā-kuṇḍa. May I reside here eternally. If I am always present, I can assist Him in pleasing You. I do not want to leave this service for any other engagement.”

Srila Raghunatha das Gosvami ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Vilāpa-kusumāñjal”. Available from: rasik@kripa.tv )