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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!

Mahanidhi Swami

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)

Srila Prabhupada:

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)

Srila Prabhupada:

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

Srila Prabhupada:

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!