Radharani’s Manjaris: Tattva & Lilas 011
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: Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as s Manjari
How glorious are the kinkaris, who are dedicated to the service of the full madana -mahabhava personified, Srimati Radhika! Krishna became Gaura to taste the prema that Radhika feels for Him. And after Mahaprabhu experienced that, Sri Chaitanya also wanted to taste the nectar of the kinkari’s service.
While Mahaprabhu relished the mood of Radha’s manjaris, sometimes Gauranga’s hands, legs and head would all enter within His body, just like the withdrawn limbs of a tortoise, kurma-chaitanya (Chaitanya Charitamrta 2.2.13). Or sometimes Mahaprabhu’s limbs would loosen and stretch out.
Chaitanya Charitamrta (Antya 14.105-110) describes Mahaprabhu’s mad words after He came out of His kurmakrti (turtle-form). Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said:
“Today I went to Govardhana Hill to see if Krishna was tending His cows there. Climbing on Govardhana Hill, Krishna played His flute, surrounded by the cows. Hearing the flute song, Srimati Radha came there. O sakhi, I cannot describe Her form and mood! Krishna took Radha by the hand and entered a cave with Her, while the sakhis told Me to pick some flowers.”
Here it is clear that Mahaprabhu, in the pinnacle of His ecstatic absorption, is relishing the mood of Radha’s manjaris. For the service of Radha-Madhava the sakhis have asked the kinkaris to pick flowers and Mahaprabhu is amongst them.
Another example of Mahaprabhu’s manjari bhava is the time He almost drowned in the ocean due to divine rapture (Chaitanya Charitamrta 3. 80-105). All His joints became disconnected out of ecstasy, and Mahaprabhu told His devotees in half-external consciousness:
“Seeing the Yamuna-river I went to Vrndavana, where I saw Vrajendranandan playing in the water with Sri Radhika and the gopis, having great fun. I stayed on the shore with the other sakhis, while one sakhi showed this pastime to the others.”
Here Mahaprabhu explains that He did not play an active role in Krishna’s pastimes, but that He was relishing a service-position like that of a manjari witnessing these sweet pastimes. Besides tasting and experiencing manjari bhava, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught it to the devotees through Sri Rupa Goswamipada and Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami.
Manjari Tattva: Manjaris’ Responsibility
To taste the sweetness of the love in Vraja, one must give up the attitude of awe and reverence towards Bhagavan Sri Krishna. Vraja is the kingdom of sweetness and the upasana (method of worship and meditation) of Vraja rasa is a sweet upasana. The love of Vraja is as pure as molten gold, and there’s not even a whiff of personal happiness in the hearts of Krishna’s Vrajavasi devotees.
Srimati Radharani sings (Chaitanya Charitamrta 3.20.58):
“Krishna is My life and soul. Krishna is the treasure of My life. Indeed, Krishna is the very life of My life. I therefore keep Krishna always on My heart and I make Krishna happy with My service. I always meditate on this.”
And Radha’s maidservants always meditate on the pleasure of Yugala Kishora. Radha and Krishna have given Themselves to Each other and left all responsibilities for the arrangements of Their loving affairs to the sakhis and the manjaris. The playful Sri Yugala have taken shelter of them. Sometimes Radha and Krishna become helpless and find no other means to meet without taking shelter of the manjaris.
Radharani’s manjaris ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!
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