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: Radha Prema Arati
Radharani holds court with Her sakhis while sitting on a beautiful raised jeweled seat. How sweetly Sriji sits there, chewing pan and floating in the nectar of laughter and joking with Her girlfriends!
Now Lalita-sakhi will perform this loving ceremony of Radha’s arati with lamps, incense and so to remove the obstacles and inauspiciousness in Radha-Madhava’s extra-marital relationship.
Lalita-sakhi orders different people around while the maidservants bring all the paraphernalia. The boat of Swamini’s mind sinks in the river of remembrance of Krishna. This can be seen by the soft sweet smile on Radha’s lotus face. And try to imagine how does Radha laugh?
During the ceremony there are no bells ringing. With sweet voices the sakhis sing new auspicious songs to burn up all inauspiciousness, while Lalita lovingly swings the lamp around before Swamini. Radha’s arati is a great ceremony of divine love.
The light of the lamp even increases the effulgence of Sri Radhika’s that mocks the luster of molten gold. All the sakhis and manjaris sing and dance, spinning around and around. Lalita blows a conchshell and some kinkaris shower their beloved Swamini with flowers. Some sing ‘Jaya Jaya’ and others make the ulu-dhvani.
How brightly Swamini shimmers during the arati! Lalita offers a conchshell with water and then wipes away all kinds of misfortune with a handkerchief. Lalita is the embodiment of love, and with all her love she performs this ceremony.
Sadhakas who relish these pastimes in meditation will find it very sweet. At the end of the arati, Tulasi-manjari, who stands in the back, worships Swamini with billions of hearts by opening her braid, holding it before her bosom and waving it around as an offering to Swamini Radha. The black color of the hair is a wonderful way to remind Swamini of Krishna!
After arati there are singing lessons and examinations in singing and dancing in the assembly of sakhis. There’s no limit to the ecstasy!
Radha’s prema arati ki jai!
Manjari Tattva: Radha’s Pride, Manjari’s Pride
Radha is proud with the feeling of mine-ness making Radha think, “Krishna is Mine!” The devotees should relish this sweetness in their meditations. Sadhakas wanting to perfect their bhajan must certainly study Stavamala and Stavavali. How eager are Rupa and Raghunatha! Are there any words to express it? Allegiance to their mood will surely bring experience. Then sadhakas will taste rasa and experience all these heart’s services.
However, the mind cannot be absorbed in Swamini’s lotus feet by force. Without always meditating upon one’s siddha svarupa this cannot be understood. Nor can one think of Radharani’s seva as long as one identifies with a male or female material body. One must stay immersed in identification with the Sri Guru given manjari svarupa.
It is not easy to become free from the bondage of the material body. As long as we think “I’m a scholar”, “I’m a gosvami”, “I’m a bhajananandi” it cannot be accomplished. Without mercy from above this pride cannot leave. Intense worship can attract that grace. Sri Krishna Himself will reveal how worship can be performed with eagerness. But if there is no eagerness joined to bhajana it will also not work.
No one knows how to serve Radha as expertly as Her maidservants. In their books the acharyas, especially Sri Rupa Goswamipada and Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami, have shown how to surrender to Srimati Radharani’s lotus feet.
Radharani’s manjaris ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!