He is extremely fortunate who, unaware of the many worlds, unaware of the scriptures, unaware of family, and unaware of the activities of the great saints, knows only the nectar of love that resides in Śrīmatī Rādhikā, the jewel of Vraja.
Rādhārānī is the abode of kriya–śakti. Without Her power nothing can be accomplished. And what does She, the source of all power, do? She is always in Vṛndāvana, engaged in bringing ānanda to Kṛṣṇa.
When someone comes to Vṛndāvana and stays there, offers respect, and has a little bit of faith in Rādhārānī and Her followers, then naturally sevā-vṛtti will come in that person’s heart. This is the method for the jīvas to progress.
Serving our senses only causes distress, but if we serve Kṛṣṇa under the guidance of Rādhārānī and the Vrajavāsīs, we will be granted supreme joy—a joy that is only available in Vṛndāvana.
The Vrajavāsīs are all naturally beautiful and full of enthusiasm and happiness. They are all filled with brahma-śakti, spiritual energy because they do not waste even an ounce of their energy on their own service, everything of theirs is for Kṛṣṇa so all the brahma-śakti within them is always increasing. This is transcendental wealth. Because of this wealth they are always healthy and happy.
In this world, a beggar will typically appear sickly and weak, while wealthy person is able to eat and drink appropriately and remain healthy. Similarly we are spiritually weak because we are not taking the spiritual nourishment for our soul. By sādhu-saṅga, hari-kathā, and kīrtana—our soul receives spiritual strength and we can collect brahma-śakti and offer it to Kṛṣṇa.
In the Bhagavad-gītā (2.59) Kṛṣṇa warns us to be very careful of the objects of the senses, for lust for them can easily arise. Then if we cannot achieve those objects of our desire then anger will arise and our intelligence will be misled or defeated by māyā. Soon enough, even trying to control our senses will be impossible. We must understand our root problem. This world is not for our enjoyment. Desiring to enjoy is the root of our problems. We must offer our actions and whatever is ours to Kṛṣṇa then He will give us praśāda (His mercy) in return.
Anything offered to Kṛṣṇa becomes His great mercy and when we receive His mercy by behaving like this our hearts will become pure and we will have the desire to do sevā. We will always have a smiling face. A person with a clean heart will smile and show all signs of happiness. Those who wish only to gratify the calls of their own senses suffer the result of their sinful activities. Because everyone is trying to enjoy selfishly, the world is therefore filled with fights and conflict.
We can identify a good person or a wicked person by how they engage their time. If they are always searching for and pointing out the faults of others then their nature will also become bad and full of faults.
Personalities like Lakṣmī, Śuka, and Nārada, all long for the feast of anurāga that is present in Vṛndāvana, but when we look at Vṛndāvana with our material vision we see fighting, stealing, monkeys, pigs, dogs, and many businessmen, but this is not actually Vṛndāvana. Someone only sees Vṛndāvana with transcendental vision gained by sādhana through great divine mercy. Lakṣmī, Śuka, Brahmā, and Nārada say, “Oh, the feast of mahābhāva and anurāga is always being distributed in Vraja. How can we have a taste of this feast also?”
By surrendering to the mañjarīs we can take part in this anurāga feast. The mañjarīs are the distributors of anurāga.
By their influence we can be part of Vraja’s feast. Influenced by sense-enjoyers, on the other hand, we will become increasingly attached to the material world. The association of Vaiṣṇavas who have mañjarī-bhāva will grant us entrance into Vraja and a place in the feast of anurāga. By that association we will develop the mood of a servant of the servant of the servant of the Divine Couple, and will have not even a moment to waste in sense enjoyment or bad association.
Śrīla Gurudeva would say in Mathurā that even if a
businessman comes and offers my brahmacārīs lakhs of rupees he would not be able to take even one brahmacārī away from me. Why? Because Śrīla Gurudeva had this anurāga of the mañjarīs.
Without the presence of this anurāga, there is no question of a unified family of practitioners who aspire for relationship with Kṛṣṇa and the Vrajavāsīs. Śrila Gurudeva’s anurāga brings us close and connects us as a spiritual family. There is a vast gulf between a jaḍa–anurāgī and what Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī refers to as a tad–anurāgī. Jaḍa–anurāgis are attracted to material objects of sense-gratification but tad–anurāgīs are those high class Vaiṣṇavas whose interest is only the loving service of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in Vraja.
We pray to the Divine Couple, “May my heart become the place of Your pastimes. May the Vrajavāsīs enter my heart. May my heart not be a dancing arena of lust, anger, and greed.”
The soul naturally desires rasa, or a loving exchange.
The embodiment of loving exchange is Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and if we desire Her dāsya, Her service, then we will achieve rasa.
Once a beggar went into the assembly of a king and asked him for wealth. The king came down off his throne and kneeled on the floor and for a few minutes stayed in that posture in prayer. He then returned to his throne and said, “Now you may ask for whatever you like and I will be able to give it.”
The beggar, having observed the king’s actions, said, “Why did you do that?”
To this the king replied, “Sir, I may give you wealth for today but you will soon spend it and again need more. Your karma has made you poor and you therefore approach me though I have nothing without the grace of God. I therefore prayed to God just now. I said, ‘Dear Lord, this person is asking me to help him. I know that if I give him something his karma that made him poor will not leave him. So, Lord, if it is Your will that he be helped, then give him Your blessings.’ The Lord’s mercy is what can give you wealth my friend—I prayed for that.”
Similarly, when someone desires the service of Rādhārānī, Kṛṣṇa desires to help that person in the most complete way. Kṛṣṇa also desires such service. When He sees someone being guided to Rādhārānī’s lotus feet by a vraja-anurāgī, Kṛṣṇa says, “So many times I have begged Rādhārānī for the chance to serve but She refuses Me. You are most fortunate.”
Some people, despite having come to Vṛndāvana, do not have relationship with Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and the Vrajavāsīs and instead worship Durgā, Śiva, Gaṇeśa, Hanumān, Nārāyaṇa, Dvarakadisa, Lakṣmī, and other gods and goddesses. They miss the golden chance one achieves by coming to Vṛndāvana. These people will become gradually disturbed and will feel always anxious in Vṛndāvana. Vṛndāvana-dhāma is the place of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and the vraja-anurāgī-bhaktas. We must understand the exalted position of Vṛndāvana.
Even Lord Brahmā, the creator of the universe, prays to take birth in an insignificant position in Vṛndāvana and have some service to the Vrajavāsīs. He prays:
tad bhūri-bhāgyam iha janma kim apy aṭavyāṁ
yad gokule ’pi katamāṅghri-rajo-’bhiṣekam
yaj-jīvitaṁ tu nikhilaṁ bhagavān mukundas
tv adyāpi yat-pada-rajaḥ śruti-mṛgyam eva
The greatest of good-fortunes would be the chance to take birth in any form whatsoever in this forest of Gokula which would allow my head to be bathed by the dust from the lotus-like feet of the Vrajavāsīs, whose entire life and soul is Mukunda—the Supreme Lord—and the dust of whose feet are ever-eagerly sought by the Vedic mantras personified.
Brahmā prays, “May I take birth in Vṛndāvana as a piece of stone which the sweepers of the dhāma use to scrape the dirt from their feet at the end of the day. In this way, I will happily receive the Vrajavāsīs’ foot-dust. I would gladly take birth as a snake, insect, or wild animal in Vraja, for in that position, I can achieve the Vraja-devī’s mercy. This type of birth would be far superior than taking birth even as a demigod or master of anyone.”
The Vraja-devīs will give mercy to even the scorpions and snakes. Therefore, if you follow even the animals of Vraja, they will give you bhakti. If you cannot follow the sakhās, sakhīs, or Yaśodā Mātā, then you can just follow the creepers, birds, and other animals. By this you will make gradual progress.
Rādhārānī can enter a state of māna with cause or without cause. She then leaves the kuñja in a huff. Sometimes, in order to break Her māna, Kṛṣṇa takes the help of the snakes. On Kṛṣṇa’s indication, the snakes make groups of 20 or 30 and approach Rādhārānī. Rādhārānī becomes frightened and loudly shouts, “Kṛṣṇa! Kanhaiyā! Śyāma!” Kṛṣṇa suddenly appears and embraces Rādhārānī. She wraps Her arm around Him and says, “Oh, this path is very dangerous! Help Me! There are so many big cobras here.”
“Where are the cobras?” Kṛṣṇa asks, looking around.
By that time, the snakes have already hidden themselves. Now Kṛṣṇa says, “The only cobra here was Your māna.”
All the residents of Vraja assist Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s prema-keli, loving pastimes. Nārāyaṇa, Vāmana, Kalki, Vairabhā, Śivānī, Rudrānī, Candrānī, Pārvatī—if you follow and worship them, you will not be able to achieve the mood of Vraja. Even if you worship the different incarnations of Viṣṇu, you will not get the priceless gem of vraja-bhāva. An example is given. If you are a citizen in a kingdom and you give great respect to the guards and other representatives of the king without showing any honor to the king himself, then you are viable to be punished. Also, if you enter a company but do not respect the owner, and instead offer respect to the employees only, what will be the result of this?
The demigods are like the gatekeepers—the servants—of Kṛṣṇa. If you say, “Oh the king is one small man who governs,” and then you worship his servant in front of him, ignoring him completely, what result will come to you? Vṛndāvana is the home of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. They are far beyond any incarnation of Viṣṇu or any god or goddess.
You must also never respect anyone in front of Śrī Guru. Śrī Guru is the prime object of your worship and respect. Do not respect any ordinary person in front of him.
So, in the presence of Rādhārānī and Kṛṣṇa, and while residing Vṛndāvana, if you glorify the demigods or hear their glories, vraja-bhakti will go very far away from you. You will never be able to attain it in thousands of lives.
In Vraja, many people arrange festivals and feasts. However, if it is not done for the pleasure of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, no positive result is attained. People do this for their own name and fame and respect. Even though they spend so much money, they get no real benefit.
Kṛṣṇa is raso-vai-sah. He has everything and is indeed the source of everything. What does He need from us? He is happy if we offer Him our love and if we serve under the guidance of Rādhārānī. He accepts our loving mood, but when we are under guidance only.
Srila Prabhodananda Sarasvati Thakur ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Sri Radha-Rasa Sudha Nidhi”. Available from: firstname.lastname@example.org)