Radharani’s Manjaris: Tattva & Lilas 036 “Krishna Decorates Radha’s Hair”

Krishna Decorates Radha’s Hair

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

This series of posts presents the facts (tattva) regarding the identity, moods (gopi-bhava), intimacy and sevas of Srimati Radharani’s beautiful, talented handmaidens known as manjaris, kinkaris, or dasis. Many wonderful lilas are also presented to highlight the manjaris intimate sevas to Srimati Radhika and Her beloved Krishna.

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

Lila: Krishna Decorates Radha’s Hair

Nagara Shyam is dressing Swamini, and Tulasi Manjari admires how Hari is beautifying Swamini’s hair with flowers, gunja-beads, peacock feathers and other items. Radha’s divine form is studded with thrill bumps from Shyam’s loving touch. Swamini’s curly locks resemble big dark cloud as Hari sits behind Radha slowly arranging Her hair. Each hair is dearer to Krishna than millions of lives! There is no limit to Shyam’s ecstasy He feels from attaining the seva of His beloved Radha.

Shyam’s hands tremble and flush with thrill bumps as He braids Hrimati’s hair. Swamini’s body is also studded with thrill bumps from touching Radha. Shyam looks at Priyaji’s face from behind, over Her shoulders, afraid that She may feel pain. But Swamini consoles Shyam with a blossoming smile, saying: “Why are you so worried? It doesn’t hurt!”

When Nagara-raja hears that He smiles. After Krishna ties Radhika’s braid, He makes Swamini’s crown with slightly blooming flowers. Tulasi Manjari is absorbed in bliss when she sees Shyam dressing Swamini’s hair. When the vision vanishes he prays: “Alas! How many more days will pass before my eyes will fill with in ecstasy seeing Srimati’s hair being braided in this astonishing way?”

Tattva: Radha-Krishna Pranaya Prema

The acharyas describe pranaya prema as a stage wherein the Radha Govinda are no longer aware that They are separate beings. The very lifeforce of this pranaya is vishrambha which means that the lover Krishna and His beloved Radha feel themselves to be nondifferent from each other. Awe and reverence disappear, and one considers the life, mind, intelligence and dress of the beloved to be one with one’s own.

Vishrambha is the stage of intimacy in which one feels no hesitation when the hand of the beloved goes over one’s body. It is the same feeling of trust and intimacy as if one would move one’s own hand over one’s body. In the same way, pranayini Radha considers each of Shyam’s limbs that She touches to be Her own.

Tattva: Absorption in Bhajan

The sadhaka who is fixed in smarana must also dive into this rasa. The yearning for Radharani’s seva will arise within the heart of one who becomes completely absorbed in lila smarana and manasi seva. One should feel to some extent the same mood as Sri Raghunatha Das Goswami who prays: “O Radharani! I am Yours! I am Yours! I cannot live without You!” Sadhakas must also experience some of this absorption. The prayers and teachings of the acharyas will give spiritual strength to keep practicing manjari bhava sadhana with enthusiasm.

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

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