By: Mahanidhi Swami

As a practice of lila-smarana (meditating on Radha-Govinda’s pastimes), you can chant the maha-mantra while contemplating upon the following entry. Follow these steps and experience the result:

1) Before japa, first slowly read one bhajana translation. While reading, try to visualize the Divine Couple, the sakhis, the forest scene, and all the props.

2) Slowly read again, increasing the visualization while trying to identify with the feelings and sevas of the sakhis attending to the Divine Couple.

3) Close your eyes, try to recapture the scene, sevas and feelings being exchanged between the sakhis, and the Divine Couple, Radha Govinda Yugala.

4) Open your eyes, read the entire piece again out loud.

5) Close your eyes, and begin chanting japa while trying to “mentally see and feel” and enter into and serve everything you read about.

Without a doubt, if you do this sincerely you will have an amazingly sublime and sweet experience during your jhulana japa.

O Bihariji! You forever relish swing pastimes in Vrindavana. Just see how the pleasure groves of Vraja are covered with a blanket of green! Here stands Nanda Bihari and Bhanu Dulari. O how sweet the Divine Couple look in our eyes! You are standing so enchantingly on the banks of the Yamuna, wearing a beautiful colored dress. The kadamba trees are full of blossoming fragrant flowers. The shining black luster of Ghanashyama mixes with the resplendent golden complexion of Radha like a lightning flash in a raincloud. Seeing this fills our hearts with joy. Shyama’s eyes are like chakora birds drinking the sweet nectar of Radha’s moon-like face. And the sakhis are like a thread of love serving Their lotus feet.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

For the conjugal pleasure of Sri Krishna, Srimati Radhika and the other gopi heroines (nayikaas) of Vrindavana display a wonderful variety of emotions in eight different service situations. We will describe them and then cite a pastime, if mentioned, of Srimati Radharani to illustrate them. During these situations the gopi nayikaas taste different varieties of separation and union. All eight of these nayikaa bhaavas are fully, unlimitedly and uniquely experienced by Sri Radha alone. Yet acharyas have mentioned particular moods in relation to individual sakhis, which we will indicate with brackets. The information here comes from Ujjvala Nilamani and Jaiva Dharma.

1) Abhisarika: (Chitra-sakhi) This heroine leaves her home and travels to meet her lover at the assigned rendezvous bower, all the while thinking, “I will serve Sri Krishna.” At the time of going for abhisara, she is absolutely silent and gorgeously decorated from head to toe. As if out of shyness she contracts Her bodily limbs, and moves along the footpath accompanied by one affectionate sakhi.

Lila: Sriji said, “O Vishakha! When you make the appointment, you should tell Madhava about My beauty and character. But don’t let Pyare-mohana know how much My heart suffers with love for Him. O My friend, please expertly appeal to Nanda Kishora on My behalf, and affectionately bring Bihari here to meet Me before this wretched moon kisses the horizon and robs Me of My life-breath.”

Vishakha replied, “O Sundari, the great orb of the moon is now bathing the forest of Vrindavana with its soothing rich rays. Vrajapati-nandana has

now marked the footpath You have taken and He is about to follow it. O Shyama-priya, You are nicely dressed in a white silk sari, and anointed with camphor and sandalwood. Will You not now place Your two beautiful lotus feet on this path that leads to Krishna?”

2) Vasaka-sajja: (Champaka-lata) This gopi ornaments and perfumes her body and prepares and decorates the bed-chamber in the kunja in eager anticipation of her lover’s arrival. She is determined to engage in games of Kamadeva. Hoping that her lover will come as soon as he can, the vasaka-nayikaa gazes down the path along which her lover will approach. While sitting with her sakhis she glorifies her lover, and hears his lila-katha from them. At every moment she eagerly waits for a messenger to bring news of her lover.

Lila: Rupa-manjari said to a gopi-friend, “When Radharani sees the conjugal pastime grove with its beautiful flower bed, and Her own nicely decorated body, She begins to smile. Repeatedly meditating on Her association with Krishna, Gaurangi’s heart becomes intoxicated by amorous desires.”

3) Utkanthita: (Ranga-devi) This gopi repeatedly glances down the path in great eagerness, anxiously anticipating the arrival of her beloved Sri Krishna. When Shyama is late for the rendezvous however, through no fault of His own, the restless nayikaa becomes excessively impatient and eager to meet her lover.

Her heart burns in agony, her body trembles, and she wonders why her lover has not come. Losing all desire to do anything, the utkanthita heroine thinks of her sorry plight while shedding tears of lamentation

The previous condition of the vasaka-sajja ultimately transforms into utkanthita. While waiting and seeing that her lover has not come, she becomes excessively eager and restless and is then called an utkanthita nayikaa.

4) Khandita: (Lalita) The gopi heroine enters the condition of khandita when Hari arrives late, long after the appointed time for meeting, practically at sunrise. Seeing the clear signs of Krishna’s amorous affairs with another lover, she becomes extremely jealous, either chastising Shyama or pouting in silence. And in her anger she exhales long drawn out breaths.

Lila: Sri Radha chastises Krishna: “Listen Madhava! Which artful girl has stolen the precious gold of Your love, and in return decorated You with her own cheap tinsel? Your lips are tinged with her collyrium; Your eyelids are reddish from her chewed betel, and Your chest is tinted red from the lac-dye on her feet. Is there any girl so naive that she will touch Your body in its present defiled condition? Unscrupulous as You are, what allurement can You offer now with Your soiled person?” (Kavi Govinda dasa)

Responding to Radha’s rebukes, Muralidhara pleads, “O Sundari, lovely lady! Why are You speaking such pungent words to Me? While touching Your feet, I swear I love none other than You. I spent the whole night awake in expectation for You; that’s how My eyes became reddened. Somehow this dark musk paste has tainted My lips.

“Seeing You turning Your face away from Me, My eyes are shedding tears and My heart is breaking. If You slight Me out of pride, then where shall I go? You know My heart very well. Why then are You speaking unfavorably.” Hearing these shallow words, the charming Radhika became doubly angry. (Kavi Jnana dasa)

5) Vipralabdha: (Tungavidya) When the heroine sits waiting in the secluded bower, and her lover does not show up at all, then she feels greatly disappointed. It sometimes happens that by the will of providence, Krishna cannot come for one reason or another, even after fixing the time and place of the tryst by a signal or hint. At that time, the vipralabdha heroine is severely afflicted by pangs of separation from her beloved. She decries her own worthlessness, becomes anxious, laments, weeps bitterly, sighs deeply and faints.

Lila: Radha sighed, “O Vishakha! The moon has now left the sky and the time for meeting has passed. O sakhi, I have been cheated by this lover of the goddess of fortune. What shall we do now? Please instruct me so that My self-respect does not manifest, for I no longer want to live.” After

speaking these words, doe-eyed Radharani fainted.

6) Kalahantarita: (Sudevi) Whenever, due to some quarrel with Hari, the nayikaa severely reprimands her Pranavallabha Shyama, and then spurns Him, even after Krishna falls at her feet before all her sakhis. However, after dismissing Shyama she becomes even more bereaved, and exhibits various emotions such as anguish, delirium, incoherent speech, debility of body and mind, exhaling drawn-out breaths.

Lila One: Radha said to Herself, “I have thrown far away all the garlands presented to Me by this Krishna, the enemy of Kesi. I have not allowed Shyama’s sweet words of supplication to enter My ears. I do not even glance at Him when Krishna bows down before Me with His hair scattered on the ground. All of this is making My mind split open like a pot being heated in a fire.”

Lila Two: Lamenting to Her sakhi, Sri Radha said, “I built a house for living happily, but fire has burned it down. I wanted to bathe in an ocean of nectar, but I dove into a pool of poison. I adored that particular Moon believing He is soothing, but instead I was scorched by the sun. I climbed a mountain to rise to great height, but plummeted into the depths of the sea. I looked to the raincloud to quench My thirst, but instead a thunderbolt pierced My heart. Love for Kanu is like an arrow stuck deeply in the heart.” (Kavi Chandidasa)

7) Proshita-bhartrka: (Indulekha) When Krishna leaves Vrindavana and goes to Mathura, and does not return even after many days have elapsed, then the heroine becomes most miserable and suffers terribly in His separation. She experiences many things including inertia, anxiety, melancholy, sleeplessness, and not dressing or bathing herself.

Lila: Radha said to Lalita, “Krishna is now happily enjoying pastimes in Mathura without Me. But for Me, this springtime brings pain at every step and from every direction. Alas, My enemy, the impossible hope that perhaps Krishna may return, has become a great obstacle in fulfilling My desire to kill Myself. Where can I find shelter from this enemy.”

8) Svadhina-bhartrka: (Radhika especially, and Vishakha too) This type of heroine experiences great joy because she dominates her lover, tames him according to her own whims, and engages him for enjoying her own flavor of amorous sports. Being controlled by her prema, the hero cannot leave her for even a moment. Together they relish various pastimes like vana-vihara, jala-keli and picking flowers.

Lila: Radha ordered, “O Shyama, Please draw some nice pictures on My breasts and cheeks. Decorate My hips with a sash, and twine a flower garland in My braid. Put bracelets on My wrists and jeweled anklets on My feet.” With great pleasure Krishna obediently carried out all of Radha’s orders.

In summary, among the eight types of heroines just described, three (svadhina-bhartrka, vasaka-sajja and abhisarika) are cheerful at heart, and always wear ornaments and other decorations. The remaining five heroines however, throw away their ornaments and finery due being afflicted with anxiety. Suffering in separation from their hero Shyama, they lament bitterly, resting their left cheek on their left hand.

One should not think that the gopis’ suffering is anything like the searing pain and misery arising from the love affairs of this mundane world. The gopis’ apparent suffering is actually a transformation of ecstatic divine bliss in Krishna prema. Such a transcendental experience is far far beyond our minds to conceive or our words to convey.

Svadhina Bhartrka Vrindavaneshvari Sri Radha ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

The songs and books of the Gaudiya Vaisnava’s mention that black is Radha’s favorite color because Radha loves Shyamasundara, who is dark bluish-black in complexion. Radha wraps Her beautiful divine form in dark blue sari so She can always remember Her Priyatama Shyama.

Because they are black in color or by name, and remind Radha of Her dearest sweetheart Sri Krishna, Radha likes all the following;

Shyama or Krishna and the sakhi named Shyamala;

Amavasya—the moonless night;

Krishna-paksha—waning moon time of the month;

Krishna-sara—Sanskrit for black deer so prominent in Vraja lila;

Bhramara—Shyama-blue bumblebees;

Kajjala—black eye-liner cosmetic;

Kasturi—black musk dot on Kishori’s chin;

Winter Season—with long DARK nights giving more time with Shyama;

Tamala Tree—glossy black trunk often embraced by Radha in prema delirium;

Rain Clouds— resemble Shyama’s hue and their rumbling like Muralidhara’s flute;

Blue Lotuses—blossoming like Kishora’s sweet nectar-filled face;

Yamuna River—dark, meandering, mysterious and deep like Shyama wandering in the glen;

Evening—named Shyama in Hindi;

Midnight—the darkest time of night, beautiful alone with Shyama;

Sapphire—deep blue bracelets and necklaces;

Although Radha is very satisfied and pleased by all black things, that same sweet color sometimes becomes very, very bitter to Bhanunandini.

Once an intimate sakhi said to Radhika, “O Ishvari! I know you like the dark night when the moon is waning, the newly blossoming blue lotus, black bumble bees, the black deer, the dark tamala tree, the dark monsoon clouds, and the dark Yamuna River. But why then, do You dislike charming Krishna, who resembles them in name and form?” (Radha Rasa Sudha Nidhi 89)

Here’s how the sweetness of the color black suddenly turns into the bitterness of poison.

Krishna, detained all night by a rival sakhi, arrives just before sunrise at the gate of Rai Vinodini’s kunja. Upon seeing all the signs of amorous affairs on Shyama’s body, Radhika becomes very upset and enters a deep state of maan—a contrary mood of jealous anger.

Kanha tries to mollify Manini Radha but nothing works. Sriji chases Krishna out of the kunja, vowing never again look at anything black.

Then Radhika casts off Her blue sari, blue bangles and sapphire necklace, and dons a red sari, ivory bangles and a pearl necklace. Radha wipes off the musk dot on Her chin, Her musk tilaka, and the kajjala around Her eyes. Kishori replaces all these with white sandal-paste decorations. When Gandharvika sees a rain cloud, She opens an umbrella.

Radha whitewashes the tamala trees and refuses to meet Her girlfriend named Shyamala. And Radha stays far away from peacocks because their feathers remind Her of Krishna’s turban.

Noticing Her black hair reflected in a mirror, Srimati breaks the mirror into a hundred pieces. When the sun sets, Radharani covers Her eyes with Her palms to not see the night.

These wonderful expressions in maan, or contrariness in love, are all part of Radha and Krishna’s divine pastimes in the eternal kingdom of love—Sridhama Vrindavana.

Ultimately, everything will end on a sweet note as the Divine Pair meet again with warm embraces and rapturous kisses.

And black will once more become sweet and beautiful within the mind and heart of Radha.

Manini Radha ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By:Mahanidhi Swami

During the 40 days that Holi is celebrated in Vraja (Vasant Pancami-Gaura Purnima), Nanda Maharaja gives Krsna and Balarama leave from cowherding to play Holi. Thus they can throw color dyes and water at each other and the other Vrajavasis. In the morning of Vasant Pancami, Srimati Radharani and Her sakhis are attacked with colored powderby Krsna and the gopas while they are on the way to Nandisvara to cook Krsna’s breakfast. In the haze of red powder (abira and gulala), that cloudies the sky during this attack of colors, Sri Krsna secretly embraces and kisses Radhika as proud Lalita safely brings Her to Nandisvara to peacefully cook Krsna’s daily breakfast.
Some days later, Paurnamasi announces, “Tomorrow is Maghi Purnima and the gopi of any husband who on this day worships Vasanta Madana(the spring god of love-Krsna) at the base of an Asoka tree will gain lots of wealth and cows!.” Hearing this, the elderly gopis allow their daughters-in-law to do that puja. On that purnima day, Sri Radha dressed in a crimson sari, enters the forest to meet Krsna on the pretext of doing Vasanta Madana Puja. At that time, Vrnda Devi said, “O Radha! A kinnari named Matanga has come to play veena for your pleasure along with her ensemble Radhika listens to the performance, suddenly Krsna appears on the scene holding His flute in His left hand and a flower bow stuffed with vermilion powder in His right hand. Syama was surrounded by Subala and other dear friends, who were loudly singing Holi bhajanas. Syama’s eyes were rolling in intoxication and two friends on either sides served Him tambula which colored His playful lips with a pleasing reddish hue. The red powder flying here and there in the sky gradually settled down on Syama, beautifully coloring and scenting His hair, tilaka and eyebrows.

Jay Jay Sri Radhe

By:Mahanidhi Swami

Krsna and His boyfriends inaugurated the spring festival of Holi by singing, dancing, and throwing balls of fine reddish powder in all directions. The lightweight, sweet smelling powder just floated in the air. As it gradually fell down, itbeautifully colored and scented Krsna’s turban, hair, eyelids, and tilaka. Kársna’s friends sang carcari and dvipadika songs in the vasanta raga with clear marginal notes and notes in the three scales. In this way they blissfully danced and played while repeatedly throwing red powder balls at each other.

Jay Jay Sri Radhe

By:Mahanidhi Swami

The miraculous Holi of Srinivasa Acarya. Srinivasa Acarya, overcome in the rapture of divine bliss, always floated in the waves of Krsna’s oceanic Vraja-lila. One day in spring, Srinivasa was meditatingon Radha and Krsna’s Holi-lila. In his meditation, he saw a very beautiful secluded place in Vrndavana permeated with a gentle, cool breeze. The cuckoos and parrots sitting in the kadamba trees filled the air with their pleasing singing. Innumerable peacocks were dancing there and bumblebees were flying amongst the fragrant flowers. Vrnda devi and other gopis arrange all the necessary paraphernalia for the upcoming Holi festival. Vrnda devi collected different colored powders and tuned the vina and other musical instruments. Then in the kunja grove, Syama, Radha and all the sakhis started excitedly playing Holi. Amongst much mirth and merry, Sri Radha and Her sakhis covered Krsna’s body with colored powder. Receiving an approving wink from the sakhis, Srinivasa in his meditative manjari svarupa supplied powder to Radha while standing by Her side. So much beauty and sweetness arose from the love play of Radha and Krsna in Holi that hundreds of Cupids fainted. The colored powders hurled into the sky, covered the Sun. Sri Krsna, the emperor of love sports, showered powder on everyone. Sri Krsna drenched the gopis with colored water mixed with musk and saffron. Then that clever Syama offered various excuses, so he could embrace and kiss them. Lalita and the other sakhis, thrilled with joy, were watching the Holi festival. At the conclusion of the festival, they sat Radha and Krsna on a throwne and served Them. Srinivas in his manjari form, fanned Radha and Krsna with the camara to remove Their exhaustion.
Upon concluding this service, Srinivasa Acarya came to external consciousness and discovered that his whole body was covered with holi powders. Its divine fragrance drove everyone mad. In this way Srinivasa Acarya meditated on Holi.

(Bhakti Ratnakara 6th wave)

By: Mahanidhi Swami

From the first day of spring, Vasanta Pancami (Visnupriya’s appearance day) until Gaura Purnima, Lord Gauranga plays Holi for 40 days continuously. On each day of these 40 days, Sri Gaurasundara performs Holi lila in the homes of His various confidential devotees. First Holi is in Advaitacarya’s house on Vasanta Pancami. Then on Trayodasi, He plays Holi in Nityananda’s house. In this month on Sukla Sasthi (March 6) , Gauranga plays Holi in Gauridasa Pandita’s house. Then on astami, in Uddharana Datta’s house. On Purnima, Mahaprabhu plays Holi in own home.
Holi Pastimes of Gauranga
On the bank of the Ganga, Sri Gauranga divided His intimate devotees into two groups: One team with Gauranga, and one team with Gadadhara Pandita. In Gadadhara’s team, there were Svarupa Damodara, Mukunda, Vasu Ghosa and many others. Gauranga’s side was led by Gauridasa Pandita. As previously in Krsna-lila, all the sakhis and manjaris sided with Radha and all the sakhas teamed up together with Krsna to attack the sakhis. And now in Nadiya, the same devotees sided with either Gaura or Gadadhara respectively. Picking up pichkaris (syringes), Gauranga’s team squirted Sri Gadadhara and his team. Then in retaliation, Svarupa Damodara and others began to hurl coloured powders bombarding Gauranga and His party from all sides. As the fun pastimes of Holi progressed, Gauridasa started clapping his hands and shouting excitingly, “Gauranga has won, Gauranga has won!” Then Svarupa Damodara angrily replied, “No, Gauranga has lost. The winner is my Gadadhara!” At this instant, some devotees slapped their chests and others sang and danced raising their hands into the sky, “Haribol! Haribol! Gaura Haribol!”

(Mohan dasa, disciple of Srinivasa Acarya)

Jay Jay Sri Radhe

By: Mahanidhi Swami

Filled with erotic desires, Syama shines like a moon in the Vrndavana forest as He enjoys pastimes of throwing red powder. A blissful reddish wave – filled river of spiritual love flows amidst the circle of beautiful gopis. Radhika, the topmost heroine of amorous pastimes, showers red powder on Syama. Kandarpa Raja Krsna, the King of amorous pastimes, then kisses Radha’s face. Kishori’s moon-faced gopi friends filled with wonder gather together to attack Krsna. Trembling, they bombard Krsna, snatch His flute and run away. The karatalas declare, “Bhali! Bhali! Bhali!!” And everyone shouts, “Ho! Ho! Holi!” The ground is red with powder, the trees saplings are red and every being moving on the ground or in the water is one color only. The water is red, the lotuses are red and now even Govinda das’s heart is covered red (and I hope yours is too).

Jay Jay Sri Radhe

By:Mahanidhi Swami

O Sakhi, look! Radha and Krsna are engaged in a long Holi festival in a secluded place. Radha and gopis have overpowered Syama and forcibly carried Him to their place. Then they sprinkle Syama with musk-scentedcolorful water. Seeing that Syama has been taken captive by the gopis, Balarama and the other gopas sent a messenger to the gopis. Then Balarama sent a gift to the gopis as a ransom for Krsna release. Accepting it, the gopis gave Krsna to Balarama.
(Gopala Tapani Up.)

Jay Jay Sri Radhe

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

With beautiful Radha Rangini on His left, Nagara Syama enjoys pastimes in spring, the king of all seasons. Every limb is covered with showers of sandal water, red powder and fragrant kumkuma. While gazing at Krsna, Who isfar more enchanting than Kamadeva, thousands of youthful gopis become overwhelmed with amorous desires. The sakhis sing graceful songs about Holi.

Some gopis bring cloth. Their bodies are filled with bliss as they bring necklaces, finger rings and flutes. They are coming from every direction singing the glories of Holi. Coming together, the gopis play drums and karatalas. As they play graceful rhythm, the master of Govardhan Das, Natvara Sekhara Krsna dances in ecstasy.

Jay Jay Sri Radhe!