By: Mahanidhi Swami
In Prema Bhakti Candrika, Narottama dasa Thakura presents five essential practices of raga-bhakti and manjari-bhava sadhana to attain erotic love (Vraja srnghara-prema) in the mood of the Vraja damsels (gopi-bhava). His program incorporates four of the nine limbs of bhakti-sadhana, namely 1) Sravanam, 2) Kirtanam; 3) Smaranam; and 4) Vandanam. He adds a special fifth practice he calls Darshana. This concise sadhana package describes five limbs of bhakti which include a total of nine individual daily practices. If one regularly pursues these nine practices he will quickly obtain the treasure of Radha-Krishna’s eternal prema seva in Sri Dhama Vrndavana in this life.
Now let’s examine Narottama dasa Thakura’s manjari-bhava sadhana program.
I. HEARING (sravanam)
1. Be attached to hearing the acharya’s descriptions of Radha-Krishna’s loving pastimes (rati prema maya parabandhe v 60).
2. Constantly hear devotees chanting Radha-Krishna’s names and qualities (dunhu nama shuni shuni, bhakta-mukhe punee punee v 76).
II. CHANTING (kirtanam)
3. Chant the rasa-filled names of Radha-Krishna (krishna nama radha nama, upasana rasa-dhama v 60).
4. Always sing about the rasa-filled lilas of Yugala Kishora (lila-rasa-sadaa gaana, jugala-kishora v 100) in a loving way (prema bhaave lila katha v 106); which means full of eagerness and yearning.
III. REMEMBERING (smaranam)
5. Seva smaranam—Fix your mind only the seva of Radha-Krishna (radha krishna sevana ekaanta koriyaa mana v 76; both externally in sadhaka-rupa, and mentally serving in your siddha-svarupa, ashta-kaliya-lila smaranam.
6. Kirtana smarana— Singing Radha-Krishna’s Holy Names is the topmost meditation (radha-krishna nama gaana parama dhyaana v 73).
7. Lila smarana—Remember the sweet daily vraja-lilas of Radha Govinda, the essence of all practices and goals (yugala vilasa smarana sadhya sadhana saara v 61).
IV. PRAYERS (vandanam)
8. Always pray that you can hear, read or speak Radha-Krishna prema-katha with a pure heart free from personal motives (praarthanaa kariba sadaa, shuddha-bhaave prema-katha v 75)
V. SEEING (darshanam)
9. Rupa-darshana— Always cry with intense desire to see the splendid golden body of Rai (Radharani) and the enchanting raincloud blue form of Ghanashyama (hema-gaura-tanu rai, ankhee darashana chai, rodana karaye abhilaashe, jaladhara dhaara dhaara, anga atee manohara v 77).
Jai Jai Sri Radhe!