This post will quote Mahaprabhu and Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas to illuminate some essential facts regarding the extraordinary transcendental identity and phenomenal transformational quality of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna’s eternally whirling dance of universal bliss called “Rasa Lila”.
I.Unique Position of Rasa Lila
Sri Rupa Goswamipada says that of all Krishna’s lilas, the Rasa Lila is most unique and special.
“In the Bṛhad-vāmana Purāṇa, Sri Krishna says, ‘Although I have many fascinating pastimes, whenever I think of the Rasa Lila, which I perform with the gopīs, I become eager to have it again.’’’(Nectar of Devotion chapter 22; Krishna’s 61st quality)
Krishna’s Rasa Lila dance is never to be considered like the mundane relationship of man and woman. It is the highest perfectional stage of the exchange of feelings between Krishna and the living entities. (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.9.25 p.)
The living spirit is eternal, Krishna is eternal, and their exchange of loving feelings is also eternal. One who is intelligent should refrain from sensual enjoyment which is flickering, and seek enjoyment in spiritual life. That is called Rasa Lila. (BBT Folio: 660909BG.NY)
Krishna likes every part and parcel of His different potencies [i.e. jiva-sakti, we living entities] to take part in His eternal Rasa Lila, which is the highest living condition, perfect in spiritual bliss and eternal knowledge. (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.5.24 p.)
II. Supremacy of Srimati Radharani in Rasa Lila
Sri Caitanya Caritamrta:
Raya Ramananda tells Mahaprabhu how Sri Radha once left the Rasa Lila, because She felt Her preeminence reduced in the presence of lacs of gopis.
Raya Ramananda said, “O Mahaprabhu, You should know that Radhika alone is the binding link in Krishna’s desire for Rasa Lila, rasa lila-vāsanāte rādhikā śṛṅkhalā. Without Radha, Krishna felt no bliss so He left the rasa mandala to search for Radha.
“Krishna wandered here and there but not finding Radha, He became distressed by Cupid’s arrows and lamented. Can You imagine the astonishing quality of Sri Radhika that Krishna left lacs of gopis to search for just one?” (Sri Caitanya Caritamrta 2.8.113-116)
The next beautiful quote paints a wonderful meditative picture about Radha’s special position. “Srimati Radharani is the central petal of the Rasa Lila flower.”(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta 1.4.81 p.)
III. WHY Krishna Enacts Rasa Lila?
Srila Prabhupada: “Krishna displays the Rasa Lila to induce all the fallen souls to give up their diseased morality and religiosity, and to attract them to the kingdom of God to enjoy the reality. (Sri Caitanya Caritamrta 1.4.30 p.)
IV.Benefits of Rasa Lila
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu:
Here Mahaprabhu proclaims the most incredible and cherished fruit that one can attain by the mercy of Radha-Krishna’s Rasa Lila.
“Anyone who hears or speaks about the Rasa Lila will become immersed in bhava, and attain a siddha deha to serve day and night alongside Krishna’s eternally perfect associates.” (Sri Caitanya Caritamrta 3.5.49-50)
ye śune, ye paḍe / tāṅra phala etādṛśī
sei bhāvāviṣṭa yei /seve ahar-niśi
tāṅra phala ki kahimu, kahane nā yāya
nitya-siddha sei, prāya-siddha tāṅra kāya
V.Who Can Hear or Speak Rasa Lila
One who has developed his faith in Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supreme Spirit Soul, can both describe and hear the Rasa Lila.
The conditioned soul should hear the Rasa Lila dance from an authorized spiritual master and be trained by him so that he can understand the whole situation. Thus one can be elevated to the highest standard of spiritual life. (KRSNA BOOK 33)
VI. Sweet Rasa Lila
One day in a dream, Mahaprabhu saw Krishna performing the Rasa Lila, eka dina mahaprabhu Krishna rasa lila kare dekhila svapana. Madana Mohana’s beautiful body was curved in three places; murali caressing His lips, and adorned with bright yellow garments and a forest garland.
tribhaṅga-sundara-deha / muralī-vadana
pītāmbara, vana-mālā/ madana-mohana
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta 3.14.17-18)
Radha-Krishna Rasa Lila ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!