Birth and Growth of a Manjari
In Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Gita mala song ‘Siddhi Lalasa’, he seems to present a series of events beginning with a sadhana siddha devotee taking a gopi birth in Varshana during Radha-Krishna’s prakata-lila.
Afterwards, that baby manjari grows up until that lucky day 13 years later, when she meets Radha-Krishna for the first time and begins her eternal seva to Yugala Kishora.
Now we will present the sequence of event described in ‘Siddha Lalasa’ by Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura.
- Birth in Varshana:
After attaining Radha Govinda madhurya prema the sadhana siddha-devotee will take birth from the womb of a Vraja-gopi in Bhauma Vrindavana during the prakata lila of Radha-Krishna.
- Growing Up:
From a baby manjari-form in Varshana, you will gradually grow up to your eternal manjari svarupa age 12-13.
Once you reach maturity, you will pass your time in separation from Radha-Krishna, singing Yugala bhajanas like a madwoman (palini praya, BVT) and doing small sevas like fetching Yamuna-jala.
- Meeting Your Guru Sakhi:
One day on the foot path, you will meet your eternal guru sakhi and the chief manjari of your parivara e.g. Rupa, Rati.
- Introduction to Group Leader:
Then later your guru sakhi and chief manjari will take you to meet your sakhi group leader (Lalita or Visakha).
- Receiving Seva Kunja:
Your group leader will assign you an individual (or collective) seva kunja for serving the Divine Couple.
- Radha-Kṛṣṇa Service Training:
Your group leader, chief manjari, and other leading sakhis will personally train you in various sevas (rasa seva shiksha), bhavas and different levels of prema so you can expertly serve Radha Govinda Yugala.
- Starting Srimati Seva:
Now after taking birth in Varshana, growing up for 12 years and being trained in seva, you are finally qualified to meet Radha-Krishna for the first time and begin your eternal seva.
Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains that most auspicious and wonderful moment like this: “Thus waiting in my solitary cottage, I will constantly remember Sri Radha’s lotus feet. After sometime, my chief manjari (Sri Rupa/Rati) will come to meet me. At that time, she will say, ‘What are you doing sitting here? Come outside and look— just see Who is coming this way? Radha Govinda Yugala are about to meet together. And today you will get the chance to serve Their lotus feet.’” (Siddha-lalasa song 6)
Questions Based On This Outline:
- If the above statements are correct does that mean that all sadhana siddhas will not directly meet or serve Sri Radha until they grow into their mature manjaris swarupas and become seva-qualified?
- What about seeing Radha-Krishna; will that also not occur until the manjari reaches her mature age?
- Will all sadhana siddha manjaris follow these same steps that Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura mentions here leading to the final reward of Radha’s eternal seva?
- Does any other book describe the progression from Bhauma prakata-lila birth to beginning Bhanu-nandini’s blissful seva?
Answers by Sri Guru:
“First of all, No! It is not that every sadhana siddha in manjari bhava must or will go through these different stages or have these particular experiences. In this bhajana, ‘Siddhi Lalasa’ Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura is describing his own world of service. It is purely subjective. However, I do not see any rasabhasa or viruddha siddhanta in it. But remember, it is not that every perfected sadhaka who enters Krishna’s Bhauma lila will follow or experience this sequence of events.”
“Just as we acknowledge Sri Krishna’s pastimes of birth and growth in the Srimad Bhagavatam, but ultimately focus and concentrate on Krishna’s youthful pastimes with Radharani, nitya-kishora lila. Similarly, although as sadhana siddhas we will take birth and grow up on Bhauma Vrindavana, still we focus on our eternal sevas to Radha Govinda Yugala in their confidential loving pastimes. And as you know, generally raganuga Gurus will give their shishyas an upasana based on the eternal adya kishori manjari sevas as described in Vilapa-kusumanjali and Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi.
“Regarding spiritual birth, growing up and the time factor in the spiritual sky Sri Jiva Goswami gives some wonderful insight. He says that time does exists in the spiritual sky but it does not lead to decay. “The six transformations of time (birth, sustenance, growth, maturity, decline and death) do not expand their powers (in Vaikuntha) In fact, they are absent there.” (tika SB2.9.10)
“So the spiritual pastimes of birth, growth and meeting are possible in the spiritual world, and each phase can be eternally meditated upon also. A sadhana siddha devotees’ birth in Vraja is nicely described by Sri Narottama Dasa Thakura in Prema-bhakti-chandrika: ‘When will I attain the condition wherein I am born as a daughter in the house of a cowherder in Varshana? And when will I be married in the village of Yavat and live there? When can I serve the lotus-feet of the dearmost maidservant (Rupa-manjari) of the best of sakhis (Lalita)?’
“As far as the new manjari’s introduction to the world of sakhi servants, Sri Narottama Dasa Thakura says, ‘I will shyly stand behind Sri Rupa Manjari as Radha and Krishna look at me again, smile and ask Rupa with kind hearts: “O Rupa! Where did you get this new maidservant?’ Hearing Their inquiry, Sri Rupa Manjari then tells Them: ‘Manjulali manjari (gopi name of Sri Lokanatha Goswami & and Guru of NDT) has given me this maidservant to offer to You!’”
Varshana walli Sri Radha ki jai! Manjari bhava ki jai! Sri Radha nitya-seva ki jai!
Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!
Can I able to serve shree radha as a manjiri?