Radharani’s Manjaris: Tattva & Lilas 014

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: Thirst in Bhajan

The raganuga sadhaka should always think: “Is Radhika accepting the service that I offer to Her or not?”

It should not be that one is only doing bhajana for one’s personal happiness. “I have my prasadam, I’m healthy, everything’s OK! How many worldly things, like profit, adoration, distinction, money and fame, a person like me misses, but I never miss Radharani at all!” 

If you think like this, your bhajana will be lifeless and mechanical. All these ulterior motives make the mind very coarse, deceive us in different ways, and prevent us from tasting the clear, spotless flavors of Vraja.

This is not the natural beauty of bhajan. Bhajan is beautiful when you feel some want, some void. The great devotees’ thirst for bhajan can never be quenched, just as the thirst for water of someone who suffers from cholera can never be quenched.

Sri Narottama Dasa Thakura prays: parama -nagara -Krishna, ta-he –hao -ati -trishna, -bhajo –ta -re –vraja -bhava –loiya, “Krishna’s the greatest amorous hero, and one should be very thirsty for Krishna and worship Krishna in Vraja bhava.” Expertise in bhajan does not depend on anything else but thirst.

Manjari Lila: Astonishing Glances of Radhika

Krishna is controlled by His devotees according to the amount of love they have for Krishna. Sri Radhika has the greatest love for Krishna, therefore Radha controls Krishna to the utmost.

When Krishna returns to Nandagram in the afternoon, Swamini stands in Her moontower to discretely admire Krishna’s beauty from a distance.

Nagara Shyam does not look up, however, so Swamini, Her heart flooding with tremendous anguish of love-in-separation, stares fully at Krishna, drinking the boundless nectar of Krishna’s form with the cups of Her eyes. How many hundreds of emotions Radha reveals!

During manasi seva, manjaris bhava upasakas should try to see and feel Radha’s emotions during this exciting time.

Then Shyam looks up at Radhika, and both the Lovers become shy. Sri Radhika pulls Her veil straight and goes away. Then Radha stops and turns around again, thinking: ‘Before I go I have to see Shyam once more’, and casts a slight glance at Govinda.

It is a restless, momentary glance because Radha is very shy. Radha slightly smiles in a nervous way because Radha is so happy to see Krishna. Radha’s beautiful glance is anointed with bashfulness and humility.

Shyam thirsts for that glance of Swamini. How many things is Radha telling Shyam through Her love drenched glances! Radha’s glance is the great medicine that saves the life of Shyam, who also suffers of separation from Srimati. This is the treasure of Krishna’s meditation, so He keeps the sweetness of Radha’s glance carved on the slab of His heart.

Although Krishna controls everything and everyone in creation, these momentary glances of Radha even control Him! Although innumerable gopis are eager for His sweet glance, Krishna eagerly covets Radhika’s slightest beautiful glance!

Tulasi-manjari serves Swamini by carefully anointing Her beautiful eyes with eyeliner while making Radha relish the flavors of remembering these pastimes as well. How wonderful is the beauty of Radha’s kajal-anointed eyes.

Tulasi-manjari jokingly says, “O Radhe! This is not actually kajal (eyeliner), but garal (poison), setting Krishna’s heart on fire! When Krishna sees this kajal He will kiss Your eyes, so that the kajal will stick on Krishna lips! In this way my worship of Your attractive eyes will be complete!”

Manjari bhava sadhakas should meditate on serving Srimati as intimately Tulasi-manjari does, while simultaneously reminding Radhika of Her blissful pastimes with Shyamsundar. Indeed, this the perfection of Vraja bhajan.

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

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