Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

This series of posts will present facts (tattva) regarding the identity, moods (gopi-bhava), intimacy and sevas of Srimati Radharani’s beautiful and talented handmaidens known as manjaris, kinkaris, or dasis.

Also we will present many astonishing and wonderful lilas to highlight the manjaris most personal and confidential sevas to Srimati Radhika and Her dearest Priyatama Shyamasundara.

The information here is based on the commentaries of Advaitavamsa Acharya 108 Sri Ananda Gopala Goswami and 108 Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji Maharaja taken from “Vilapa Kusumanjali” and “Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi” translated by Sri Advaita Dasji.

Manjari Lila: Rasollasa and Bhavollasa 

When Swamini takes Her meal, Tulasi-manjari very carefully offers Radha the most exquisite incense and fans Radha according to the time of the year. Radha doesn’t know whether She tastes the nectar of Krishna’s lips or whether She eats the remnants of Krishna’s food!

After Sri Radhika and Her sakhis have relished the nectar of Krishna’s lips, Tulasi serves them rose and camphor scented drinking water. Tulasi’s pure love gives the water an extra flavour. While Radharani relaxes the manjaris joke with Radha as they did when Radha first fell in love with Krishna.

Mallika-manjari says, “Sakhi Radhe! Who has stolen Your heart? Tell us the truth! You are not so eager anymore as before to read books or to teach Your parrots eloquent verses! We never hear You gossiping or joking with Your friends anymore! How beautifully You were playing Your vina! But where has this all gone now?”

Manjari Tattva: Eagerness is Life

The manjaris are love personified. What to speak of the kinkaris, the whole of Vraja-dhama is the kingdom of love. When Radha meets Krishna She relishes rasollasa and when Sri Radha is separated from Shyam She tastes bhavollasa.

Radha feels a deeper bliss when She is separated from Krishna then when Radha is with Krishna. As Swamini meditates like that it is as if Shyam appears directly before Radha. The sweetness of clearly seeing Krishna enlivens the eyes. But still even the endlessly sweet Shyamsundara is fully subdued when He sees the natural sweetness of Radhika’s glances.

Eagerness to experience and taste all these things is the life of raga bhajana. The acharyas are extraordinary knowers of rasa. Their association can be attained by studying their books.

By hearing and discussing them and becoming absorbed in the mood of the acharyas, devotees can also become absorbed in these moods. Rasa can be relished when we accept the mood of the great saints.

Radharani’s manjaris ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

This series of posts will present facts (tattva) regarding the identity, moods (gopi-bhava), intimacy and sevas of Srimati Radharani’s beautiful and talented handmaidens known as manjaris, kinkaris, or dasis.

Also we will present many astonishing and wonderful lilas to highlight the manjaris most personal and confidential sevas to Srimati Radhika and Her dearest Priyatama Shyamasundara.

The information here is based on the commentaries of Advaitavamsa Acharya 108 Sri Ananda Gopala Goswami and 108 Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji Maharaja taken from “Vilapa Kusumanjali” and “Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi” translated by Sri Advaita Dasji.

Manjari Tattva: Mood for Vraja Vasa

The devotee should know that one’s bhajan is in a diseased state if one feels satisfied. One can measure one’s advancement and taste for bhajan by how much one is greedy, eager and unsatisfied with one’s experience of spiritual flavours. How eager Sri Rupa Goswamipada and Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami were!

All the pastime-places of Radha Govinda Yugala are still here in Vraja Mandal. Even today Radha-Krishna’s lilas are going on. When the devotee lives in Vraja one should feel: “O Radha-Shyam! Every day Your enjoying Your pastimes here in Vraja. Why I cannot see them? Please let me see Your ecstatic prema-filled lilas. Let me be so fortunate!

“I’m living in Vrndavana, the kingdom of devotional enthusiasm, but I’m simply engrossed in bodily consciousness. How unfortunate I am! When I hear and chant the great words of the acharyas I will certainly attain that devotional eagerness.”

The devotees should eagerly wander from forest to forest of Vraja, crying and crying: “O Vrndavana! O Vrajavasis! O Vrndavana’s sky, wind, trees, vines, deer and birds! Let everyone know that I am Radha ’s maidservant! You all be kind to me! Make this consciousness within me very firm!

‘’Radhe! Where are You? This whole forest is illuminated by Your golden splendour! Keep me alive with just one drop of Your spendor. Day and night this is the only prayer in my heart.”

We should stay in Vraja-vana in this mood, not having a liking for anything else. But unfortunately a soul like me likes many other things like profit, adoration, distinction, money and whatnot, despite living in Vraja-vana. Where will I find this treasure of my heart, for whom I have given my life?

Manjari Lila: Manjaris Revive Radhika

On Swamini’s order Tulasi-manjari has gone to Nandishvara to serve Shyam Radha’s cooked dishes. After Shyamasundara has eaten, mother Yashoda lovingly gives some of Krishna’s sweet remnants to Tulasi, so that she can bring them to Swamini. Dhanishtha had secretly mixed some of Krishna’s adharamrita in it.

Meanwhile, in Yavat, Sri Radhika has fainted out of powerful feelings of separation from Krishna. The sakhis cannot bring Radha back to consciousness. Then Tulasi returns from Nandishvara and sprinkles Radha’s earholes with drops of the nectaean stories about Krishna.

Sri Radhika immediately revives, sits up says: “O sakhi! In My dream My desert-like ears suddenly felt a shower of nectar!” Upon seeing Tulasi-manjari before Her, Srimati embraced her with extraordinary love knowing that Tulasi has come back after serving Krishna wholeheartedly.

Swamini asks Tulasi, “What did mother Yashoda say?”

Tulasi says, “Hey Shyamju! How can I describe mother Yashoda’s affection as she held her forehead on mine calling me Your maidservant?”

Swamini pulls Tulasi on Her lap and repeatedly asks her, “Has Krishna eaten nicely? I couldn’t cook so nicely! I’m sure Krishna didn’t like the sweets! You were nearby weren’t you?”

Swamini thoroughly questions Tulasi, and fortunate Tulasi gives sweet answers to all the questions. Thus rendering a wonderful service by submerging Swamini in the nectar ocean of talks about Krishna.

Radhika asked, “Did Krishna say anything to you?”

Tulasi replied, “How could Krishna speak in front of His superiors? But with His eyes Krishna asked me if He could meet You tonight in Vrndavana? I answered Krishna with hints from my eyes, ‘Surely You will meet Your beloved sweetheart Radhika!’”

Swamini says, “Tulasi! Look at Me once! I’m so unfortunate that I could not see Krishna personally! So let Me see if Krishna is hidden in your eyes or not!” Then Radharani gazes into Tulasi’s eyes without blinking, and sees that her eyes are full of tears and her body is shivering of ecstatic love.

Radha says, “O Tulasi-manjari! When I look into your eyes I can understand that you have seen Krishna! Otherwise your eyes could never have looked so beautiful!”

What a wonderful service Tulasi renders by carrying Krishna’s picture to Swamini in her eyes! Blessed is this maidservant! Now Sri Radha starts to take Her meal. How wonderful is Tulasi’s expertise in service.

Radharani’s manjaris ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

This series of posts will present facts (tattva) regarding the identity, moods (gopi-bhava), intimacy and sevas of Srimati Radharani’s beautiful and talented handmaidens known as manjaris, kinkaris, or dasis.

Also we will present many astonishing and wonderful lilas to highlight the manjaris most personal and confidential sevas to Srimati Radhika and Her dearest Priyatama Shyamasundara.

The information here is based on the commentaries of Advaitavamsa Acharya 108 Sri Ananda Gopala Goswami and 108 Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji Maharaja taken from “Vilapa Kusumanjali” and “Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi” translated by Sri Advaita Dasji.

Manjari Lila: Serving Beside Radha

Meanwhile, one gopi named Candanakala comes to Yavat, and tells Radhika that Queen Yashoda has ordered Her to cook Krishna’s evening meal. Rasavati Rai personally begins to cook sweets for Shyam just to remain patient. Swamini wears a thin sari, and Radha’s head is not covered with Her veil because Srimati is in Her own home.

One new manjari, Mallika-dasi, then cleans Radha’s kitchen, makes a fire in the stove, cleans the pot and puts it on the stove. Mallika brings water, coconuts, ghee, small bananas, sugar and farina.

Then she grinds black pepper and hands it to Radha while Radha blissfully sits down on a stool. Mallika-dasi’s eyes flood with delight while watching Priyaji prepare Amrita Kelika pies and other savories for Her Priyatama.

While assisting Srimati, Mallika-dasi jokes with Swamini saying, “Hey Shyamaju! The cooling camphor and sandalpaste I just put on Your body to extinguish the fire of Your separation from Krishna immediately dried into dust! But how amazing! Now the fire You’re using to cook cakes for Krishna is quickly cooling You off!” Hearing this, Kishori then affectionately taps Mallika on the cheek with Her finger.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Manjari Lila: Radha Trusts Her Manjaris

After cooking Krishna’s evening meal in Yavat, Swamini puts all the preparations on golden plates and covers them with sheets. Sriji has full faith that Tulasi-manjari and the other maidservants will feed Krishna as if She Herself is doing it.

Tightly hugging Tulasi-manjari, Radha says: “Tulasi, go now to Nandagram! I cannot go Myself, but I will be as much satisfied when you feed Krishna as when I would do it Myself!”

Srimati holds Tulasi to Her chest and lovingly hands her the dishes for Her Prananatha. How affectionate Swamini is to Tulasi-manjari!

The practicing devotee should awaken feelings like: “O! Will I not get such affection from Radha even one day in my life? My heart cries for getting that affection! O Radhaju, please have mercy and keep me at the feet of Your Rupa and Your Tulasi!”

Crying like this, the sadhaka will faint and bring down the shower of Swamini’s mercy. How mercifully Swamini keeps the maidservant at Her chest! Such compassion as the maidservants enjoy cannot be found anywhere else.

“O Swamini! I want to spend my whole life with the awareness that I am Your maidservant!” If one cherishes this desire one will indeed be able to spend one’s whole life in this mood.

The manjari prays, “I have to serve Shyam while my heart is merged in Swamini’s heart and my eyes are merged in Madhavi’s eyes.” Such a sweet service cannot be found anywhere!

Radharani considers the kinkaris to be Her own: “My Rupa! My Tulasi! My Mallika! My maidservant!”

Mallika-dasi prays, “O Swamini! I don’t want anything else but to belong to Your group! Please take me by the hand and accept me as Your maidservant!”

Such an aspiration should also awaken within the hearts of the practicing devotees. What an excellent service this is! The Goswamis cried for such service with breaking hearts!

Radharani’s manjaris ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

This series of posts will present facts (tattva) regarding the identity, moods (gopi-bhava), intimacy and sevas of Srimati Radharani’s beautiful and talented handmaidens known as manjaris, kinkaris, or dasis.

Also we will present many astonishing and wonderful lilas to highlight the manjaris most personal and confidential sevas to Srimati Radhika and Her dearest Priyatama Shyamasundara.

The information here is based on the commentaries of Advaitavamsa Acharya 108 Sri Ananda Gopala Goswami and 108 Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji Maharaja taken from “Vilapa Kusumanjali” and “Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi” translated by Sri Advaita Dasji.

Manjari Tattva: Radha’s Speciality

Although millions of gopis dance ecstatically during the Rasa-dance Krishna’s gaze is fixed only on Sri Radha. How wonderfully sweet are these pastimes! During the rasa, Shyam embraces one gopi, kisses one gopi and enjoy intimately with another. Krishna can please everyone, but only Sri Radhika can please Krishna. This is Radha’s speciality!

Sri Ramananda Raya told Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: “Not even a billion gopis can extinguish the blazing fire of Krishna’s lusty desires.” (Caitanya Caritamrta 2.8.116) Only Radhika can do this, so just see the unique glories of Sri Radha!

Manjari Tattva:  Awaken Divine Wants

While doing bhajan the mind must meet the minds of the acharyas. For attaining Radharani’s service the devotee must give one’s whole mind to Radha, giving up everything else! Srimati Radharani’s face looks very beautiful when Radha looks at Her dedicated maidservants after they have satisfied Radha with their seva.

The neophyte should not serve as one likes. One should serve according to Sri Radha’s wish, following in the footsteps of those who understand Radha’s mind.

The Gaudiya Vaisnavas taking shelter of Radha-Krishna Yugala bhajana should wholeheartedly follow in the footsteps of Sri Rupa Goswamipada and Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami. They are Radharani’s manjaris from Vraja Dhama who have descended to earth with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to teach expertise in serving Radha and Krishna.

They are very eager to teach the world how the maidservants must serve Radha Govinda Yugala. Because their books Stavamala and Stavavalli are filled with their experiences and expertise in bhajana, they are most valuable and relishable for raganuga sadhakas. From these confidential treasures of bhajana one can learn how to be eager for devotional service.

The acharyas have taught: do bhajana by awakening your want! When feelings of separation have awoken everything can be given up. This stage should be reached through the sane process of balanced detachment and sincere selfless devotion.

One must practise great patience and not try to jump artificially to soaring heights. When I will attain Radha-Madhava’s lotus feet, then all contamination will disappear from my mind and all anxiety will go far away.

Radharani manjaris ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

INTRODUCTION TO PURUSOTTAMA MONTH: 

Purusottama month or adhika masa (extra month) is also called mala masa, which means the dirty or useless month. In India, the sadhus, sadhakas and pious people of all sampradayas undertake serious penances (vratas) during Purusottama Month. Now let us examine the name, history, benefits and method of practice of this age old “King of All Vratas” or month long penances.

WHY IS IT CALLED MALA MASA? (dirty or useless month)

This is because all forms of karmic activities i.e. karma-kanda (reward seeking) pujas and yagnas will not produce any results this month. Therefore, it is a useless month. Gaudiya Vaisnavas say the dirt or filth indicated by the word mala refers to the fact that devotional activities performed in this month quickly and easily destroy the mental dirt, filth and contamination caused by sins, ignorance and aparadhas. Thus for Krishna bhaktas this is the most purifying and beneficial month.

WHY IS IT CALLED ADHIKA MAS? (extra month)

It is called adhika (extra) masa because Sri Krishna has placed not only extra but ALL HIS potencies, mercy and blessings in this month, which supercharges this month beyond all others. Thus a sadhaka will receive extra or more results from any religious actions performed.

WHAT MAKES THIS MONTH SO GREAT?

The Puranas say that Purusottama Month is the favorite month of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. Sri Krishna personally created this month and named it after Himself. Purusottama Month, which only comes once every 36 months, is the most powerful spiritual reward giving month among all the months.

It is far superior to the pious months of Magha, Vaisakha and Karttika. On the earth planet and all over the universe the Purusottama Month is honored and worshiped by devotees, sages, gods and Laksmi Devi Herself.

BENEFITS OF PURUSOTTAMA MONTH VRATA

Different months of the year have different ista-devatas, worshipable Personalities. But for Adhika Month, Radha-Krishna Yugala are the ista-devatas. If one sincerely worships Radha and Krishna in Purusottama month, he will attain whatever he wants. Observing the Purusottama vrata burns up the reactions of all one’s bad karma and gives the direct service of Radha and Krishna.

Purusottama month is the best month to make spiritual advancement because Krishna overlooks all aparadhas. Residence in the holy dhama in this month yields 1000 times the benefit of living elsewhere!!! We invite all the fortunate to quickly book a room in Radha Kunda or Vrindavana to worship Radha-Krishna Yugala in the prema giving holy abode of Sri Vrindavana Dhama.

Come and join the thousands of pilgrims doing dandavat parikrama of Giri-Govardhana this month!!! Giriraj Dharan ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

THE GLORIES OF PURUSOTTAMA MONTH 

All quotes come from the Padma and Skanda Purana.

1. Bhagavan Sri Krishna: “Purusottama Month has all the power I have to bless its observer. One who follows Purusottama vrata will destroy all his past sinful reactions. Without performing Purusottama vrata, one cannot perform pure devotional service.

The value of Purusottama month is far more valuable than all other types of austerities and religious activities mentioned in the Vedas. Anyone who observes Purusottama vrata will return to My abode, Goloka, at the end of his life.”

2. Durvasa Muni: “One becomes sinless just by bathing in a holy river during Purusottama Month. The glory of all other months is not equal to one-sixteenth of the glory of the Purusottama Month. Bathing in a holy place, giving charity and chanting the Holy Names of Krishna during Purusottama Month destroys all miseries, awards all kinds of perfection and fulfills all desires.”

3. Valmiki Muni: “Observing Purusottama vrata brings more benefit than performing one hundred horse sacrifices. All holy places live within the body of an observer of the Purusottama Month vrata. Anyone who faithfully performs Purusottama vrata will go to Goloka Vrndavana”.

4. Narada Muni: “Purusottama Month is the best of all months, vratas and austerities. Just by faithfully hearing the glories of Purusottama Month, one attains Krishna-bhakti and immediately nullifies his sinful reactions. One who performs Purusottama vrata properly will attain unlimited piety and spiritual merit (sukrti) and go to the spiritual world.”

5. Naimisaranya Sages: “Merciful Purusottama Month acts like a desire tree to fulfill a devotee’s desire.”

HOW TO OBSERVE THE PURUSOTTAMA MONTH VRATA

General points: Observe celibacy and bathe daily before sunrise; chant extra rounds and read Srimad Bhagavatam daily; give charity.

1. Rise at brahma-muhurta (1½ hours before sunrise), and jump out of bed chanting “Jaya Radhe!”

2. Chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra and meditate on Radha-Krishna’s beautiful divine forms, qualities, and ecstatically purifying and heart stirring transcendental pastimes in Sridhama Vrndavana. Daily chant fixed number extra rounds for entire month: 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 32, 64, 108, 192 (always multiples of four rounds).

3. Observe the Vrata in Vrndavana, Navadvipa or any holy dhama to experience the maximum benefits and bliss.

4. Daily offer full puja or at least a ghee lamp to Radha-Krishna Deities or picture. Offer a row of 33 individual clay ghee lamps daily, or at least for one auspicious day this month e.g. (ekadasi, sankranti, purnima etc). 

5. Daily Tulasi Devi aratika and parikrama.

6. Daily Thakuraji Mandira parikrama (4 times).

7. Daily offer roses, lotus, and tulasi manjaris and 100,000 Tulasi leaves (or as many as you can) to Radha-Krishna Deities or photos and paintings.

8. Daily read Srimad Bhagavatam.

9. Hear Radha-Krishna Katha from advanced Gaudiya Vaisnavas.

10. Daily chant Sri Jagannathastakam (because this vrata is named after and often performed in Purusottma Ksetra Jagannatha Puri Dhama. Also chant astakams, prayers and bhajans glorfying Radha-Krishna Yugala.

11. Take a vow to remain peaceful and 100% truthful throughout the month.

12. Be careful not to blaspheme any devotees, brahmanas, saints, cows, sastras or especially anyone observing the Purusottama Month Vrata.

13. Don’t ask anyone for anything; be satisfied with whatever you have, and don’t endeavor to acquire any material thing during this month.

14. Try your best to please Radha and Krishna by performing devotional austerities according to your abilities. Don’t break your vow in the middle of the month. Be determined, pray intently for mercy and tolerate your crazy monkey mind. Take a vow, at least for this month, to remain deaf to your mind.

15. Eat on leaf plates sitting on the floor (optional).

16. No cutting of hair or nails (optional).

17. No cooking in oil or rubbing oil on your body.

18. Don’t eat mustard oil nor rub on the body.

Diets: Be your own guide and choose an eating program that is realistic within your means. The main vrata and austerity is to everyday Krishna consciously associate with serious devotees in Vrndavana who are glorifying Radha-Krishna

************If you can, it is best to EAT ONCE A DAY after sunset or at noon the following diets:

i) only milk; ii) only fruits (no milk, no veg.); iii) no grains (selected veg., fruits, nuts, milk); iv) selected foods (all categories as per caturmasya standards).

A NICE HUMILITY VRATA: Daily offer 33 dandavats to Bhagavan Sri Krishna and/or the Vaisnavas.

SRILA BHAKTIVINODA THAKURA’S Purusottama Month VRATA:

Observe 30 days of concentrated, one–pointed worship and service to Radha-Govinda Yugala by hearing, chanting, remembering Their divine names, forms, qualities, pastimes, and honor Sri Krishna’s Mahaprasada.

BEST DAYS TO GIVE CHARITY TO DEVOTEE BRAHMANAS:

Ekadasi, Dvadasi, Purnima, Amavasya, Sravana Naksatra Day; DO offer money, gold, cloth, shoes, fruits, etc. Also offer 33 plantains or mangos plus dana and dakshina to Brahmanas and Vaisnavas.

Very Important Point: When you give dana (i.e. diff. items like cloth, land, gold, cows, books, sweets, flowers, clothing, shoes, umbrellas) to a brahmana, one must simultaneously donate dakshina (i.e. money equal to the monetary value of the dana). For example, if give a 300 rupees pair of new shoes, then must give 300 rupees in laksmi or money to that same person.

BREAKING THE PURUSOTTAMA VRATA

1. Day and Time: consult local calendar.

2. Bathe in brahma-muhurta time

3. Perform Deity Worship: Radha-Syamasundara Deities, personal Deities or Picture.

4. Chant this mantra: “O Supreme Lord, O Sanatana, O Purusottama, O Lord Hari! I offer my obeisances unto you. May you and your beloved Radhika, please accept my offerings. I offer my repeated obeisances unto Syamasundara, who wears effulgent yellow garments on His beautiful body.

5. Offer pushpanjali (handfuls of fresh fragrant flowers or petals) and then dandavats to your personal Deities or Deity Picture.

6. Feed and give charity to 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 brahmanas/ Vaisnavas to the best of your ability (e.g., new clothes, two pairs of shoes, umbrella, ghee, yogurt, gumsas, sweets, lotas, plates. Also donate money equal to cost of given item (ie If give Rp. 300 box of sweets, then also give Rp. 300.

***According to Puranas, the best charity is to give a Srimad Bhagavatam to a qualified grhastha vaisnava brahmana. This act will deliver all your ancestors to the spiritual world and award them the association of Lord Purusottama!***

SPECIFIC VRATA BREAKING ACTIONS

If you ate fruits, ghee, rice, wheat etc., donate the same to brahmanas.

If you slept on the floor, give a bed and pillows to a brahmana.

If you ate on a leaf plate, feed brahmanas with ghee and sugar.

If you didn’t cut nails or hair, donate a mirror to a brahmana.

If you offered ghee lamps, give new lamps and pots to a brahmana

***If you broke any rules or regulations during Purusottama vrata, feed different sweet juices to brahmanas.

***Mahadeva Lord Siva says that the best charity is to: “Fill a bell metal pot with thirty malpuas (a pancake like sweet), bind the pot with seven new threads and give to a worthy brahmana.”

Comment: many humble niskincana Vaisnavas have no money or sufficient wealth to donate substantially to brahmanas. But according to your means, donate some laksmi or a new object to a qualified person, begging for his mercy and blessings. And in your mind, (manasi-seva), you can sincerely donate generously to many good devotees.

Remember that shastras say, bhava grahi janardana, Bhagavan Sri Krishna is pleased with the purity and sincerity of one’s attitude, mood of love and purity of purpose. Try your best to break your vow by donating something within your means.

May Giridhari Syama bless you all with full success in your Purusottama Month Vrata, being performed solely for the divine pleasure of Sri Guru, Gauranga and Sri Sri Radha and Krishna.

Purusottama month vrata ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Nandotsava in Puri

Srila Raghunatha Dasa Goswamipada describes Mahaprabhu’s celebration of Nandotsava: Krishna On Nandotsava, Sri Gauranga and His devotees dressed as cowherd boys and carried heavy pots with yoghurt and milk on their shoulders. When they came to the festival-grounds, they chanted ‘Hari! Hari!’ Kanai Khutiya dressed as father Nanda and Jagannatha Mahati as Queen Yasoda.

The Lord took King Prataparudra, Kasi Mishra, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya and Tulasi Podichapatra all along in a swinging dance, and everyone was sprinkled with yoghurt, milk and turmeric-water.” (Gauranga Stava Kalpadruma 9)

Krishna’s Childhood Nandotsava

In Krishna’s sixth year, Nanda Maharaja organized a grand festival (Nandotsava) to celebrate Krishna’s auspicious birthday. Krishna sat upon a celestial golden throne and all the Vrajagopis came to worship Him. The loud pounding of the bheri drums, the dhintadhinta sounds from the mrdangas and dundubhis, and the skillful beats on the dolaks announced the auspicious festival of Krishna’s birthday. The joyous vibration of the occasion was enhanced by the excited voices and jingling ankle-bells of the elderly gopis as they greeted the various guests.

The learned brahmanas bathed Krishna with thousands of streams of pure water poured from crystal pitchers while purifying the environment with perfectly enunciated mantras. This added waves of attraction to Krishna’s already gorgeous body. They dried Krishna with a fine linen cloth, dressed Him in a yellow silk dhoti and chaddar, decorated Him with glittering gems, and anointed Krishna’s forehead with gorocana tilaka. After fixing His jeweled bracelets and armbands, they tied some durva grass around Krishna’s wrist with turmeric soaked thread.

Following the local customs of such blissful festivals, the merciful Yasoda blessed Krishna by showering flowers upon His head. The elderly gopis sang traditional Vrajabhasha songs and waved lamps respectfully before Krishna. He, who is kind to His friends and the object of the gopis’ love, sat quietly on His asana accepting arati. Then the Vrajavasis very enthusiastically and joyfully offered Krishna wonderful gifts and a variety of creamy milk sweets.

To properly complete the festival, Yasoda had her servants invite the general public. Yasoda offered palatable food to the wives of the village leaders, the married women and the young girls of Vrindavana. Nanda Maharaja invited the cowherd men such as Sananda, Upananda, and their wives to take the sumptuous foods cooked by Rohini, the crest-jewel among women. When the cowherd men arrived Yasoda honored their youngest sons by worshiping them and offering pearl necklaces.

Though pained by separation from their husbands because they had to accompany their mothers-in-law to the festival, the newly married gopis put on ornate and elegant ankle-length dresses. The tender faces of these newlyweds glowed splendidly under the fine fabric of their veils.

The gopis felt intensely attracted to Krishna, so they revealed their loving sentiments by offering Him their sidelong glances in charity. Their bangles fell silent as they embraced Krishna with their eyes. They felt as if they were beholding a bouquet of beautiful flowers. No one noticed the auspicious meeting of Krishna and the gopis.

Though they had seen Krishna before, the young unmarried gopis like Dhanya-sakhi just stood with their mothers and gazed timidly upon Him as if it was the first time. While bathing in the lake of Krishna’s exquisite beauty, the unmarried gopis expressed their desire to be His wives by offering Him mental flowers scented with camphor. They became shy, however, when Krishna accepted their proposal with a favorable glance. No one could detect the infinite bliss the gopis now relished within their hearts.

At that time, Krishna’s pet parrot left His side and landed on the lotus held by gopi whose heart throbbed with love. Hoping to hear news of Krishna that excited gopi respectfully welcomed the parrot. Understanding the parrot’s hint, Krishna cast the fresh lotus garland of His glance toward Radha, the daughter of Vrshabhanu. Krishna’s glance seemed to say, O parrot! I saw this same gopi gazing at Me from the watchtower as I took the cows to the forest.

No one else saw this secret exchange of sweet love. Understanding that Radha’s body had become slender due to Her purva-raga, Krishna looked upon Her with great compassion. Then Yasoda, shining with all auspicious qualities, smiled gently and took lotus-faced Radhika and the other gopis to another room to feed them.

After worshiping His best cows with scents and garlands, Vrajaraja Nanda escorted his guests to a wide jeweled veranda and sat them down on wooden seats. Then he bathed their feet, performed acamana, and offered arghya. Nanda arranged for Rohini and the wives of Sananda and Upananda to respectfully serve them first-class food and drink on gold plates. At the conclusion of the meal, Nanda personally gave them betel nut, cardamom, scents, garlands, and ornaments.

After the elderly men, children, and babies had eaten the feast, the married women and girls sat down in two rows to eat. Radhika and others received respect according to their position. Yasoda swam in an ocean of happiness as she personally served the gopis. In a voice that sounded as sweet as pattering raindrops of nectar, Yasoda spoke to each guest, “Please do not feel shy. Just eat to your heart’s content.”

Yasoda affectionately served everyone, and then honored them with offerings of betel nuts, garlands, ointments, sindura, and gold embroidered cloth. Finally, Yasoda, the crest jewel of good fortune, embraced each of the gopis before sending them home. Smiling broadly, Yasoda distributed the remnants of the feast to the sinless residents of the village.

Nanda Maharaja presented gifts to the dancers and musicians while Yasoda blessed them with her upraised palm. Upon concluding the festival, Yasoda thought holding such a festival everyday would surely fulfill all her desires. For a moment she felt a touch of sadness, fearing that she may not have fully satisfied all the guests.

Sri Krishna Nandotsava ki jai! 

Kaviraja Sri Karnapura Goswami’s Ananda Vrindavana Campu ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

SRI GURU GIVES THE SIDDHA DEHA

The reception of a disciple’s eternal transcendental form, siddha deha, begins with receiving a siddha bhava from Sri Guru at the time of diksha.

The Guru’s individual siddha bhava i.e. one’s eternal fixed loving relationship with Sri Krishna (sthayi-rati) is hidden within the Gopal and Kama-gayatri mantras Sri Guru gives at the time of diksha. Sri Sanatana Goswami confirms the non-difference of Sri Guru and the diksha mantras:

yo- mantra -sa -guruh -sakshad -yo -guruh -sa -harih -svayam

Sri Brahmaji said (Vaman Kalpa), “The diksha mantra is identical to the Guru and the Guru is identical to Bhagavan Sri Hari Himself.” (Bhakti Sandarbha 237: Hari Bhakti Vilasa 4.353). Thus by chanting the diksha mantas, the sincere disciple gradually develops the same sthayi-rati, siddha bhava, as that of Sri Guru.

Right at the time of diksha, the Guru may give a siddha deha to an exceptionally qualified disciple. But usually this is done after some time. One can think that the following direct words of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu indicate receiving a siddha deha from Sri Guru at the time of diksha:

diksha -kale -bhakta -kare -atma-samarpana
sei-kale –krishna -tare -kare atma-sama

“At the time diksha, when a disciple fully surrenders to Sri Guru, Sri Krishna accepts the disciple and makes one as spiritual as Himself.”

Mahaprabhu further says:

sei -deha -kare -tara –cid -ananda-maya
aprakrta-dehe -tanra -carana -bhajaya

“Krishna makes the sadhaka’s body full of transcendental bliss (cid-ananda-maya). Then in one’s spiritual body, siddha deha (aprakrta-deha), one worships the lotus feet of Sri Krishna.”
(Caitanya Caritamrta 3.4.193-4)

In the following verses, Sri Jiva Goswamipada explains how at the time of diksha, the merciful Guru gives divine knowledge of one’s constitutional nature, and special knowledge about the disciple, which many Gurus take to mean revealing the disciple’s siddha deha.

divyam -gyanam -srimati -mantre -bhagavat-svarupa-gyanam,
tena -bhagavata -sambandha-vishesha-gyanam

“At diksha, the Guru gives knowledge of Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s form within a potent mantra, and special knowledge of the disciple’s specific relationship with Bhagavan Sri Krishna, the beautiful mantra Devata.” (Bhakti Sandarbha 283)

In the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya, divya gyanam means knowledge of the jiva’s particular relationship with God which is one of eternal service, jivera -svarupa -haya -krishna -nitya-dasa (Caitanya Caritamrta 2.20.108). Knowledge of a specific relationship can mean the sadhaka’s manjari form (siddha deha) with Sri Gopijanavallabha, the mantra Devata.

upasanam -sakshad -vraja-jana-visheshayaiva –mahyam
sri -guru-caranair -mad-abhishta-vishesha-siddhy-artham -upadishtam

“While worshiping the Gopal diksha mantra, I meditate to develop myself as a specific person in Vraja (my siddha deha) that Sri Guru’s lotus feet have instructed me in to attain the specific siddhi I covet.” (Bhakti Sandarbha 312)

In verse 283, Sri Jiva Goswamipada speaks in a general way about Sri Guru giving special knowledge to the disciple. But in verse 312, Sri Jiva Goswamipada tells exactly what is that special knowledge, namely the knowledge of the disciple’s individual siddha deha!

SADHANA BHAJAN IN SIDDHA DEHA

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu instructs how to practice raganuga bhakti sadhana in siddha deha:

ataeva -gopi-bhava -kari -angikara
ratri-dina -cinte -radha-krishnera -vihara
siddha-dehe –chinti -kare -tahanni -sevana
sakhi-bhave -paya –radha -krishnera -carana

“Certainly, one must accept gopi-bhava, and think of Radha-Krishna’s asta-kaliya lila. Also one must think of doing seva in one’s siddha deha. By this gopi-bhava one will attain the lotus feet of Radha-Krishna.” (Caitanya Caritamrta 2.8.228-9)

KRISHNA MANIFESTS THE SIDDHA DEHA OF YOUR MEDITATION

In the Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Brahmaji describes how Bhagavan Sri Krishna reveals the siddha deha to the raganuga bhakti sadhaka.

yad -yad –dhiya -ta -urugaya -vibhavayanti,
tat -tad -vapuh -pranayase -sad -anugrahaya

Sri Brahmaji said, “O Bhagavan Sri Krishna! You are so merciful to Your devotees that You manifest Yourself in the particular eternal form of transcendence in which they always think of You.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.9.11)

The key words are tat -tad-vapuh, which mean a corresponding body. It can be Krishna’s body or one’s individual spiritual body, siddha deha. Grammatically both are possible and both are explained as such by the tikakaras. Sridhar Swami and Srinatha Chakravarti say it refers to Krishna’s showing a particular form of Himself.

However, in his tika, Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada says that Sri Krishna gives the sadhaka the siddha deha that one has been continually meditating upon.

sva-bhavanurupam -yad-yad-dhiya -bhavayanti,
tat -tad -eva -vapus tesham -siddha-deham,
pranayase –prakarshena -tan –prapayasi

“The sadhaka bhaktas, according to their bhava, meditate on their siddha dehas which Bhagavan Sri Krishna will give them.”

In His final personal teaching to Sri Rupa Goswamipada, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said:

bhavite -bhavite -krishna -sphuraye -antare
krishna-kripaya -agya -paya -rasa-sindhu-pare

“Krishna will manifest whatever siddha deha one continually thinks of. And by Krishna’s mercy one will attain the ocean of rasa.” (Caitanya Caritamrta 2.19.236)

Based on the Shastra praman of the Srimad Bhagavatam, Caitanya Caritamrta and the teachings of the Six Goswamis, this post has shown how the combined mercy of Sri Guru and Bhagavan Sri Krishna gives one a siddha deha, eternal spiritual form.

For the last 535 years, the traditional parivars within the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya have been teaching the method of raganuga bhakti sadhana as introduced and personally taught by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to His followers. That system has been presented here.

In summary, one takes diksha from Sri Guru, and receives specific information about one’s individual siddha deha, either immediately during diksha or sometime later according to the will of Sri Guru. The disciple then practices raganuga bhakti sadhana as delineated above by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Then the all-merciful Bhagavan Sri Krishna will kindly give that same siddha deha to the fortunate disciple. Thus the mercy of Sri Guru and Sri Krishna work beautifully together to bring one to spiritual perfection.

(shastra insight courtesy of Sri Advaita Dasji)

Sri Krishna kripa ki jai! Sri Guru kripa ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Srimad Bhagavatam is called the “king of all spiritual books” (Grantha Raja) for good reason. Within this triguna-free, transcendental treatise, the amala-purana, which showcases the absolutely selfless, divine love of Srimati Radharani, one can find all the sweet, majestic and beautiful truths about the sadhana and sadhya (daily practice and perfection) of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.

In his most compassionate and wonderful shastra, Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita, Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja summarizes the teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the six Goswamis of Vrindavana by mentioning the same Bhagavatam verses that they used to substantiate their sublime instructions.

To emphasize the importance of these particular verses for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas, the same Bhagavatam verse is often mentioned two, three or more times in the Sri Chaitanya Caritamrta.

This series of posts presents these verses, along with selected tikas of our acharyas and the compiler. We will cover the beautiful truths, tattvas, of Krishna, Radha, Vaisnavas, Sri Guru, Bhakti Sadhana, Nama, Prema and more.

Vrajavasis’ Astonishing Prema

aho -bhagyam -aho -bhagyam
nanda-gopa-vrajaukasam
yan-mitram -paramanandam
purnam-brahma -sanatanam

Aho! How greatly fortunate are Nanda Maharaja, the cowherd men and all the other inhabitants of Vrajabhumi! There is no limit to their good fortune, because Krishna gives them prema, which is the highest bliss, eternal and complete.(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.32)

Sri Sanatana Goswami tika:

Krishna acts for the benefit of the Vraja-vasis not just in certain situations but always. And Krishna not only delivers the Vrajavasis from fear but also gives them the highest varieties of ecstasy. Thus Krishna is the source of their intense happiness, and they consider Krishna their dearmost friend.

Were Krishna merely Bhagavan, their love for Krishna would be severely restricted. But Krishna, at once, is both the Supreme Absolute Truth and the dear friend of the residents of Nanda’s cowherd village. (Brhad Bhagavatamrtam 3.7.98)

Sri Jiva Goswami tika:

Oh (aho)! Brahmaji is astonished over the inconceivable good of the Vrajavasis. He repeats the phrase to show their extreme good fortune and indicate his still greater astonishment.

Anandam hints at the shruti which says vigyanam -anandam -brahma: parabrahman Sri Krishna is knowledge and bliss. (Brhad-aranyaka Upanishad 3.9.32)

Other forms of Bhagavan also give prema. But bliss personified, Sri Krishna gives prema to the Vrajavasis. This is to be known from the shruti alone. Parama combined with ananda means extraordinary sweetness.

There is something else which is astonishing: this bliss is eternal. Someone may have a little amount of bliss, but that is not eternal. These cowherds have eternal bliss.

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika:

After praising the ragatmika vatsalya-prema (deep spontaneous parental affection) of the Vrajavasis, Brahmaji glorified those with ragatmika sakhya-prema (mitram), relishing intimate relationships with Sri Krishna.

As a friend (mitra), Sri Krishna is not a temporary friend; Krishna is the eternal friend (sanatana) of Sridama and others (yat).

All the inhabitants of Vrndavana ruled by Nanda Maharaja (nanda –gopa- vrajaukasam) down to the birds and beasts were indescribably fortunate because they became the friend of parama -anandam -brahma –sanatanam Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

Therefore, the Vrajavasis give the topmost bliss to Krishna, and receive the topmost bliss in return. Witnessing this exchange of supreme, selfless love, Brahmaji repeats the phrase aho bhagyam twice to indicate His extreme bliss and astonishment.

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada ki jai!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das comments:

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu quotes this verse from Brahma Stuti while enlightening Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya about the Personality of God (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.6.149). In Vraja Vilas Stava (42), Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami glorifies the cowherds of Vrndavana:

“I worship the best of cowherds, who have attained the greatest happiness that can be achieved in the entire universe. The Vrajavasis are protected by Krishna with more love than He feels for millions of universes. The Vrajavasis are always eager to protect even the particles of dust falling from the edges of Krishna’s beautiful lotus-toenails.”

Although the Vrajavasis directly witness Krishna’s unlimited power when He kills demons, their conception of Krishna as Nanda’s son is not even slightly slackened. Their unbounded love for Krishna simply increases.

Brahmaj repeats “aho bhagyam, aho bhagyam” to highlight the incredible good fortune of Sri Krishna’s cowherd clan in Vrndavana. Thus we continually pray for a particle of mercy dust from the beautiful lotus feet of Nanda Baba. And for time eternal, we will worship the sacred dust of the cowherds, the cows and the transcendental land of Vrndavana!

Vrndavana dham ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Sri Krishna Janmastami

Now we will discuss the truth about the transcendental appearance of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. The time for an appearance of Bhagavan coincided with two internal desires of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. 

First the Sri Krishna desired to descend on earth to increase the fortune of Yasoda and Nanda. Also at that time Krishna wanted to relish the sweet mellow of srngara rasa (paramour love) while enacting His worldly pastimes. For these two reasons the Sri Krishna appeared within the material creation on Bhuloka, (earth planet), along with His parents, friends, and other eternal associates.

Another distinction of Sri Krishna’s earthly pastimes is that when the eternally liberated gopis such as Srimati Radharani, Candravali, and others appeared, the Srutis personified also appeared in the homes of other gopis, because they had previously cultivated the desire to serve Sri Krishna as Vraja gopis. 

The Dandakaranya sages, upon seeing the svakiya bhava (the sweet conjugal relationship) of Sri Krishna Ramacandra and Sitadevi, desired to have the same relationship with their Madana Gopala. Upon attaining perfection in their sadhana they achieved the fortunate position of appearing as gopis in Vrindavana. 

Yogamaya, Sri Krishna’s pastime potency who possesses unlimited abilities, appeared invisibly in Gokula to arrange this, and perform other difficult tasks on behalf of the Sri Krishna. Sri Nanda, Yasoda, and others appeared in Brhadvana (Mahavana) before Sri Krishna. 

The gopas, gopis, and other eternally liberated associates appeared afterwards. Then those who had attained perfection by sadhana, namely the sruti-caris and muni-caris, took birth in Vrindavana.

Learning of Krishna’s imminent appearance, the earth personified, feeling like a wife happily greeting her husband after a long separation, immersed in unlimited joy. At the time of Krishna’s birth the general mass of people tasted the inner bliss that devotees forever relish. 

Auspicious signs abounded everywhere. Auspicious sacrificial fires glowed in all directions. Pure gentle breezes brought a refreshing coolness like devotees who satisfy and sanctify everyone with their calm, sweet and affectionate behaviour.

The whole atmosphere became as completely purified as the heart of a devotee. The devotees once again found peace and prosperity in worshiping the lotus feet of Sri Hari. Fruits filled the jubilant trees. At that time all the directions became as pure and joyful as the mind of a devotee who has received the mercy of Sri Hari. 

Just as gems, mantras, or medicines can a remove a poisonous disease from the body of a man, the advent of the Sri Krishna relieved the world from the contamination of material existence and the sinful effect of the demons. 

Happiness gradually replaced the distress in everyone’s hearts. The bodies of all creatures manifested extraordinary beauty and youthful vitality. Men felt extremely joyful and displayed virtuous qualities. Throughout the world people behaved cordially and interacted amicably. Happiness twinkled in everyone’s eye. 

On the eighth day of the waning moon in Bhadra month an auspicious, favourable, obstacle-free time appeared. Just at that sweet moment the Rohini Naksatra, along with the good qualities of the moon and an auspicious conjunction of stars called Ayusman, appeared in the sky to give shelter to gentle persons. 

Yogesvara Sri Krishna, the personification of complete bliss, appeared amidst great festivities. Krishna manifested the wonderful pastime of His appearance out of His love and compassion for the conditioned souls.

Due to austerities performed in previous lives, Vasudeva and Devaki received the opportunity to momentarily relish parental affection for Sri Krishna when He appeared before them in His form as Vasudeva. The four symbols of Visnu (sankha, cakra, gada, padma) adorned His hands and feet. The flute, flower garland, and kaustubha mani, although present within Him, had not yet manifested.

In fear of cruel Kamsa, Vasudeva transfered all his wives except Devaki to Gokula. He sent Rohini to the house of Vrajaraja Nanda. By the sweet will of the Sri Krishna, Yogamaya arranged for the seventh child of Devaki (Balarama) to enter the womb of Rohini. As a result, Balarama appeared in the home of Vrajaraja Nanda before the birth of Krishna.

Thereafter in fear of Kamsa, Vasudeva brought Krishna to Gokula, where He appeared as Govinda before Nanda and Yasoda, His eternal parents who have been smothering Him with the sweetest form of parental love since time immemorial. 

Sri Hari, who is bliss personified, appeared in the home of Nanda Maharaja, the king of Vrindavana for three reasons: to engage the self-satisfied sages in devotional service, to please the devotees by performing sweet transcendental pastimes, and to relieve the earth’s burden caused by the demons. 

Everyone in the maternity room swelled with joy upon seeing Sri Krishna’s exquisite transcendental form that looked like a creeper of beauty. Mother Yasoda resembled a lake of spiritual ecstasy in which a brilliant blue lotus of personified bliss had appeared. 

After Yasoda and her family members fell asleep in the maternity room, Hari cried beautifully like a newborn baby. His crying sounded like the maha-vakya omkara announcing the auspicious arrival of His pastimes. When the ladies of Vrindavana heard the sweet sound of Krishna’s crying, they woke up and ran to see the Sri Krishna. 

With the mellow of their matchless overflowing affection they anointed Gopala’s body. The natural fragrance of Krishna’s body smelled just like musk. After the ladies bathed Krishna in sweet ambrosia, He looked cleansed and beautiful. Then they smeared Krishna’s body with fragrant sandalwood pulp. Gopala’s little arms were as delicate as the tender leaves of a tree. 

Krishna looked like a fresh rain cloud decorated with the musk tilaka of the goddess of fortune of the three worlds. His presence filled the maternity room with good fortune. Although a mere baby, Krishna had a head full of curly hair. To hide the unique signs of Bhagavan on His hands (goad, fish, conch etc.) Sri Krishna folded His delicate petal-like fingers into His lotus palm. At that time, Krishna laid on His back with His eyes closed.

Mother Yasoda awoke amidst the joyous chattering of the elderly gopis. Leaning over the bed she admired her gorgeous son. But upon noticing her own reflection on Krishna’s body, she imagined it another woman. Thinking that a witch had assumed her form to kidnap Krishna, Yasoda became bewildered and yelled, “Get out of here! You go away!” Spontaneously she cried out to Nrsimhadeva to protect her precious son. 

Beholding Krishna’s tender face, Yasoda showered tears of affection that looked like an offering of a pearl necklace. Yasoda saw Krishna’s body as a mound of dark blue musk, softer than the butter churned from the milk ocean. While admiring the supremely delicate form of her son, Yasoda worried about His safety and feared the touch of her body might hurt his tender body.

As she leaned over the bed Yasoda bathed Krishna with the milk dripping from her breasts. The elderly gopis instructed Yasoda how to caress the baby in her lap, and affectionately push the nipple of her breast into Krishna’s mouth to feed Him. Due to Yasoda’s intense love, personified bliss flowed from her breasts as steady streams of milk. When milk sometimes spilled out of Krishna’s bimba fruit red lips onto His cheeks, Mother Yasoda would wipe His face with the edge of her cloth. 

After feeding her son, Yasoda gazed affectionately at Him in wonder. Yasoda perceived that Krishna’s naturally reddish lips looked like bandhuka flowers. His reddish palms and foot soles resembled Java flowers, and His nails looked like mallika flowers. The beautiful, soft curly hairs on the right side of Krishna’s chest resembled the tender stems of a lotus. 

Seeing the mark of Srivatsa on His chest, Yasoda thought it was her breast milk that had previously spilled out of His mouth. She tried unsuccessfully to remove these ‘milk stains’ with the edge of her cloth. Struck with wonder, Yasoda thought this must be the sign of a great personality. 

Observing the sign of Laksmi (a small golden line) on the left side of Krishna’s chest, Yasoda thought a small yellow bird had made a nest amidst the leaves of a tamala tree. Could this be a streak of lightning resting on a rain cloud, or could it be the golden streaks marking a black gold-testing stone? Krishna’s delicate, leaf-like hands and feet, glowing pink like the rising sun, looked like clusters of lotus flowers floating in the Yamuna.

Sometimes Yasoda saw the curly, dark blue locks of baby Krishna as a swarm of bumblebees surrounding His face. Intoxicated from drinking too much honey nectar, the bees just hovered in the sky. His thick, beautiful blue tinged, glossy black hair appeared like the dark night. The two lotus eyes of Krishna looked like a pair of blue lotus buds. His cheeks resembled two huge bubbles floating in a lake of liquefied blue sapphires. 

Krishna’s attractive ears looked like a pair of fresh unfurled leaves growing on a blue creeper. The tip of Krishna’s dark nose appeared like the sprout of a tree, and His nostrils looked like bubbles in the Yamuna. His lips resembled a pair of red Java flower buds.

 Krishna’s chin rivaled a pair of ripe, red jambu fruits. Seeing the extraordinary beauty of her son fulfilled the purpose of her eyes and submerged Yasoda in an ocean of bliss. Read about Nandotsava in part eight.

Yasoda Maiya ki jai! Sri Krishna Janmastami ki jai! 

Kaviraja Sri Karnapura Goswami’s Ananda Vrindavana Campu ki jai! 

Jai Jai Sri Radhe! 

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Glories of Sri Krishna’s Nandagrama (continued from part 5)

IV. Eternal Associates of Sri Krishna 

Although all the people of Nandishvara appear to exhibit temporary qualities such as youth and old age to facilitate their individual rasas, they are actually all liberated souls. Their so-called youth and old age are beyond the transformations of time.

Nanda Maharaja, the king of Vrindavana, resides in this town as the embodiment of paternal affection. Manifesting the pure nature of the soul, he is the essence of all auspiciousness, a veritable island amidst an ocean of bliss. By assuming the role of Krishna’s father, which he plays eternally, he has become endowed with all auspicious qualities. His wife Yasoda resides in Nandishvara as the embodiment of maternal affection, and a desire creeper awarding the darsana of Krishna. As a beautiful flower spreads its fragrance in all directions, the effulgence of Yasoda’s fame illuminates her entire dynasty.

Hundreds of honest and gentle cowherd men live in this capital city. They are not attached to their families, but they are completely attached to Krishna. Although they diligently care for their domestic animals and maintain themselves by trading in milk and yogurt, they exist totally in the spiritual world. A few of the cowherd men are intimate relatives of Nanda Maharaja, but all them are closely related to each other.

The husbands embody religious principles and the wives embody devotional feelings. Their sons are Krishna’s cowherd boyfriends and their daughters are His dearest lovers. Like the four Kumaras, all of Krishna’s friends are eternally youthful. As flocks of birds decorate a forest, Krishna is surrounded by friends of the same age. Krishna and His friends have a very close and intimate relationship resembling the intimacy of flowers strung on a thread. 

The blissful boyfriends of Krishna have clear eyes and brilliantly shining hair. With their musk and sandal scented bodies, smiling lotus faces, well-proportioned ears, elegantly shaped noses, handsome and resplendent necks, long, beautiful arms, and their chests are always swelling with happiness. The waists of the boys are as firm as the sides of an elephant. Krishna’s friends have very strong thighs that give joy to everyone. They walk on their bare feet, which are as tender as the rays of the moon. The cowherd boys of Vrindavana far surpass the demigods, and they exist eternally as Krishna’s beloved associates. Subala, Sridama, Sudama and Vasudama are some of Krishna’s intimate boyfriends.

Now the intimate girlfriends of Krishna will be described. The delicate feet of Krishna’s gopis resemble poetry full of wonderful rhymes. Their slender ankles move with the speed of the mind. The thighs of the gopis conquer the splendor of the broad trunks of banana trees, and the sweetness of their graceful hips is very attractive. They have charming bellies, delightful navels and thin waists. 

They have long graceful arms, and their throats have three attractive lines resembling a conch shell. They have beautiful noses, captivating eyes and beautiful ears that always drink the sweet nectar of hari-katha. They sport splendid curls and attractive hairstyles. 

Sri Radha reigns as the best of Krishna’s beloveds. This beautiful young girl is resplendent with all good qualities such as mercy, sweetness, and vitality. As the crest-jewel among Krishna’s lovers, Kishori possesses all ornaments, and all types of emotional mellows. Radhika is a golden flower in a garden of prema; a lightning flash in a cloud of sweetness; or a golden line on a testing stone of beauty. 

Radhika is the light of the moon of bliss. Her slender arms conquer the pride of Cupid. Radharani is the splendorous essence of the ocean of loveliness, and the enchanting smile of those intoxicated by love. She is a mine of the sixty-four arts, and the precious crest-jewel of all good qualities. Radhika’s complexion is more golden than a thousand Parvatis.

Radhika is also called Syama, which means that Her transcendental body is warm in the winter and cool in the hot season. Her breasts are firm, full, slightly raised, and very beautiful. Although existing since time immemorial, Radhika is an ever-fresh young girl. Radharani is the epitome of beauty and the life and soul of Her girlfriends. 

Though just an innocent young girl, Radharani controls all the goddesses of fortune in the universe. Learned pandits call Her Maha-Laksmi, tantrics call Her Lila-sakti and bhaktas call Her Hladini-sakti. Radhika is ornamented by Her dear friends who display all good qualities and move as Radha’s reflections.

Among all the young gopis, there is also one group leader named Candravali, who is the crest jewel of dalliance. She bestows the bliss of a million moons. Candravali has all good qualities, and her feminine form is the natural embodiment of beauty. Candravali is the essence of all rasa who gives bliss to all. Padma, Saibya, and others serve as her dearest companions. Although she is very prominent, Candravali is merely another gopi group leader amongst the Vraja gopis. There is another gopi group leader named Syama-sakhi, who is very dear to Radhika.

All the brahmanas living in Nanda Baba’s capital embody the principles of bhagavata dharma. They are extremely merciful, and always display sense and mind control, tolerance, and renunciation. With great skill they recite sastras like the Bhagavata, and always study the Narada Pancaratra and other Vedic works that corroborate the Bhagavata. They alone qualify for Nanda Maharaja’s charity, and only they perform the appropriate rituals and ceremonies.

Some of these brahmanas worship the aishvarya aspect of Krishna, and others adore the madhurya feature of the Lord. After thorough study of the eighteen branches of knowledge they have become genuinely peaceful and fixed in their own realizations. It is not surprising that they have never been defeated in debate. Though possessing abundant wealth, they always remain humble and exhibit gentle behavior, friendship, kindness, and compassion to one and all. 

Although the oil-sellers, tambula salesmen, goldsmiths, pot makers, weavers, and blacksmiths have spiritual forms, they behave like ordinary humans. Commanding the respect of all pious men, they freely distribute their wealth wherever needed. They do not have material bodies, nor do they experience the sufferings of ordinary mortals.

Surrounding the town of Nandishvara are many rows of small forest groves filled with varieties of multi-hued trees, dangling creepers, kunjas and bowers. The vanadevis wander hand in hand along the forest paths softened from the sap constantly dripping from the trees. The whole forest is sweetly scented from the juice of the kakkola berries spilling out of the mouths of the wild rams as they contentedly ruminate. The air is also scented from the aromatic bark of the deva daru trees rubbed off by the horns of wild buffaloes.

The sides of the hills are strewn with tree branches broken by the tusks of the wild baby elephants. And the ground is covered with bunches of half-eaten grapes scattered by families of monkeys. The aborigine women wander through the thick forest groves.

There are many other forests such as Kamyavana and Lohavan, full of trees and exotic vegetation. The lakes are full of crystal clear water and covered with water lilies. White, blue and red lotuses lie scattered throughout these forests. These lakes resound with singing herons, ducks, swans, cranes, ospreys, and cakravakas. 

  Vraja-mandala, although completely spiritual, is situated within the material world. Thus those with mundane vision see Vrindavana as a material place. Svatantra Bhagavan Sri Krishna freely chose to appear in this world in Vrindavana as the baby son of Nanda and Yasoda, the eternal embodiments of parental affection. Since Krishna is the origin of all avataras and the ocean of all pastimes, why does He perform pastimes in the material world? Simply to give pleasure to  His devotees. 

To show the world the astonishing depths of their parental affection, Krishna appeared as the son of Nanda and Yasoda. Accepting their care and attention, the omnipotent Lord covered His majesty with an unprecedented sweetness. By exhibiting all the different stages of boyhood such as kumara, pauganda, and kaisora, the Supreme Lord Krishna appeared like an ordinary human being. But throughout these stages Krishna remained in His original form as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Although madhurya rasa is predominant one in Vrindavana, the previous verse has only mentioned parental affection. The reason for this is that all of Krishna’s pastimes with the cows, gopas, and gopis also go on eternally in the spiritual world. But Krishna’s babyhood pastimes and the killing of demons occurs only in the Gokula in the material world. Thus one should understand that the sweetness of bhauma-lila is not available in the spiritual world.

Kaviraja Sri Karnapura Goswami’s Ananda Vrindavana Campu ki jai! 

Radha-Govinda Vraja Lilas ki jai!  Jai Jai Sri Radhe!