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Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Why do we speak on rasa lila? We discuss rasa lila to please Srila Prabhupada, purify our heart, increase our devotion, dedicate our life to the Bhagavata (nityam bhagavata sevaya), deepen our love and attachment for Radha and Krishna, and to share the blessings of our teacher.

After publishing “Krishna Book” in 1969 as one of his foremost foundational works, Srila Prabhupada ordered all disciples to read it every night before sleeping. Thus, for the last 44 years, Krishna Book has been a main part of our life. And of all the lilas therein, Sri Krishna’s rasa-lila has especially thrilled and enlightened us regarding the divine reality of true love—pure, selfless, blissful and eternal: The immaculate, transcendental romantic love of Bhagavan Sri Krishna, Srimati Radharani and the beautiful cowherd damsels of Vraja.

To answer the often asked questions regarding Sri Krishna’s rasa-lila, we will quote His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada.

  1. Who can hear rasa-lila?

Srila Prabhupada: “One who has faith in Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead can both describe and hear the rasa-lila.”

  1. Who can speak rasa lila?

Srila Prabhupada: “One should hear the rasa-lila from an authorized spiritual master person in the disciplic succession who is always engaged in Krishna consciousness. In this way, one will understand the whole situation, lose all traces of lust, and be elevated to the highest standard of spiritual life.”

  1. What benefit does one get by hearing rasa-lila?

Srila Prabhupada: “One who actually hears the rasa-lila will become completely freed from lusty desire.” (“Krishna Book” chapter 33)

Indeed, this is a most astonishing benediction which Sri Suka Muni himself proclaims at the end of his rasa lila description.

vikriditam vraja-vadhu, bhir idam ca visnoh
sraddanvito ‘nusrnuyad, atha varnayed yah
bhaktim param bhagavati, pratilabhya kamam
hrd-rogam asv apahinot, yacirena dhirah

“A person who with a reverential attitude hears the transcendental pastimes of Sri Krishna with the damsels of Vraja from the mouth of a pure devotee and then describes those pastimes accordingly, achieves the supramundane loving service of Godhead [Sri Krishna] within no time and thereby drives away mundane lusty desires for sense gratification from his heart.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.33.39/trans: Srila Prabhupada “Search Ultimate Goal of Life”)

Second trans: “Anyone who faithfully and continually hears or describes Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s playful affairs with the young gopis of Vrndavana will attain Vraja madhurya Krishna prema, quickly destroy the heart disease of lust, and immediately become steady and serene.”

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally described the incredible power and benefit of Sri Krishna’s rasa-lila:

ye sune ye pade, tanra phala etadrsi //
sei bhavavista yei, seve ahar-nisi
tanra phala ki kahimu, kahane na yaya //
nitya-siddha sei praya, siddha tanra kaya

Mahaprabhu said, “Anyone who hears or speaks the rasa-lila will attain the fruit of being absorbed in bhava. Day and night such a person will serve Radha and Krishna, and his/her body will become perfect and transcendental [siddha-deha] like Sri Krishna’s eternal associates.” (Caitanya-caritamrta 3.5.49-50)

May all devotees now become inspired to hear, study, meditate and enter the rasa-lila of Radha and Krishna in order to see the most beautiful “smiling face of Krishna” and to experience the “five life airs” (panca-prana) of the Srimad Bhagavatam!

Srila Prabhupada ki jai! Srimad Bhagavatam ki jai! Radha Govinda Yugala ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s Rasa Lila is a completely divine, transcendental pastime. By hearing/reading it the sober and faithful learn about the secret, transcendental love affairs of the Supreme Absolute Truth, Bhagavan Sri Krishna, and His counter-part Absolute sakti, Srimati Radharani—Krishna’s innate power of divine beauty, love and bliss.

Sri Krishna’s rasa lila is indeed a richly emotive, exciting and endearing love story that somewhat resembles the classic secret love stories of Romeo & Juliet and Odysseus & Penelope. Thus from a completely uninformed, external, material viewpoint, one will misjudge and misconstrue the transcendental amorous affairs of Bhagavan Sri Krishna to be ordinary like any young lovers of this limited world.

However, there is a unique quality in Radha-Krishna’s love story that distinguishes it from any other. And what is that specialty? The Rasa Lila and all of Radhe-Syama’s Vraja madhurya-lilas are completely transcendental, transforming and transporting. Any form of sensual or mental contact with Radha-Krishna’s divine pastimes will purify one’s being and elevate one to the transcendental plane of eternal life.

In addition, one’s mind and heart will be transformed, overhauled so to speak. One will attain a new and sanctified heart and an immaculately pure mind—totally devoid of lust, anger, greed, envy and pride. Then the transcendental vehicle of one’s pure mind and heart will transport one to the spiritual realm, Goloka Vrndavana, wherein one will joyfully live, sport, play, love and relish boundless bliss in the eternal association of Sri Sri Srimati Radharani and Bhagavan Sri Krishna!

All around us, we see that Kamadeva, the King of mundane lust and desire has conquered the kingdoms of everyone’s hearts, leaving one and all in a perpetual state of anxiety, tension, frustration and dissatisfaction. Many many love stories—full of intrigue, competition, arguments and romantic interludes—have come and gone. Yet still we remain suffering from the searing pain of unrequited lust, that continually itching inner hankering for ultimate bliss and fulfillment.

A question then arises: “How can I get free from lust, and discover the unique inner bliss that’s my very birthright as a human being? How can I touch the love and joy that hides within transcendence?”

Radha-Krishna have revealed the secret by saying, “Come My children! Come enter Our Rasa Lila! We guarantee that your mind and heart will be fully conquered by Our immaculately pure and sweet selfless love!”

All the famous love stories, be they past, present or personal, are certainly very compelling, exciting, and heart stirring. But none of them have the power to “spiritualize” one’s existence and free one from the cycle of birth and death, samsara. And they can never give one the sweet taste of a bliss that never ends.

However, there is one love story from time eternal, the divine love story of Radha and Krishna, the Rasa Lila, which definitely gives to any partaker the boundless joy arising from a pure mind, and the ultimate bliss and fulfillment arising from a fully satisfied, love-drenched heart.

At the end of his Bhagavatam Rasa Lila narration (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.33.39), Sri Suka Muni offers the following gift, blessing and benediction to all his readers: “Anyone who faithfully hears or describes Bhagavan Sri Krishna playful, divine loving affairs with the youthful damsels of Vraja will attain the topmost form of devotion for Sri Krishna i.e. the sweet selfless love that Srimati Radharani cherishes for Her beloved Syamasundra.”

As Sri Radha’s love floods the heart, simultaneously one becomes quickly free from lust, the incurable disease of the heart. One becomes peaceful and wise—feeling completely refreshed, content, fulfilled and satisfied.

On one side, Kamadeva rules the world, conquering everyone’s hearts with lust and desire. On the other side is Kamadeva Sri Krishna, the aprakrta-madana, saksad manmatha manmatha, waiting to conquer our hearts with His love. By the mercy of Sri Krishna and the power of Rasa Lila, everyone can attain a full life of bliss, joy and satisfaction by serving, playing, dancing and whirling around and around with Radha and Krishna in Their endless dance of pure love—the Rasa Lila.

Radha-Krishna’s Rasa Lila ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!