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Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

To celebrate Sri Krishna’s Janmotsava every year, King Vrshabhanu, Rani Kirtida, Radharani and their whole family stay four days in Nanda Baba’s palace (Bhadra Krishna 7-10th).

Two weeks later, Nanda Maharaj, Yashoda Maa, Krishna and family come to Varshana and stay three days in King Vrshabhanu’s palace to celebrate Srimati Radhika’s birthday. From the first to the 8th day of the bright half of Bhadra month, King Vrshabhanu elaborately decorates all the homes and streets in Varsana in preparation for Radha’s appearance. Musicians and drummers purify the atmosphere with a continuous flow of auspicious songs and ragas.

Two days before Radhashtami, Vrshabhanu Maharaj sends Sridham to invite Nanda Baba and family to come honor Sri Radha’s birthday. On the 7th morning, Nanda Baba, Sri Krishna and Their family come to Varshana in bullock carts, palanquins and by walking. Kirtidarani and Vrshabhanu Maharaj warmly greet them, arrange their rooms and feed them nicely.

Sri Radha, Lalita-sakhi, Vishakha-sakhi and other gopi yutheshvaris cook rice, puris, sabjis and kheer, which is offered to Bhagavan Narayana and then served out to all the guests.  Sri Radhika and the gopis lovingly quarrel over serving first. Yashoda pacifies everyone by making different lines with a different sakhi serving each one. After eating, everyone rests in their guestrooms.

As per the usual asta-kaliyalilaschedule, Sri Radha cooks something for Krishna. Then carrying these items, Srimati and all go to Radha-kunda, meet Krishna, and enjoy Their midday pastimes.

Radhashtami

In the morning of Radhashtami, everyone watches Radhika’s grand abhisheka performed by Gargi, daughter of the kula-guru Garga Rishi. Musicians play vinas,dolaks, mrdangas, dundubhisand pakhowajas. Paurnamasi blesses Radha with different mantras. After bathing Radhawith herbal water, panchaamrit and gavya, a hundred pots of water, and a huge conch showering water through the 1,000 jalpatra, Sri Radha is anointed with fragrant oils, musk, sandal and camphor and dressed.

The manjaris offer a beautiful arati to Radharani. Yashoda Maa offers blessings and wonderful gifts of costly clothes and ornaments to both Sri Radha and Her yutheshvaris. Vrshabhanu Maharaj and Radharani donate ornamented cows and calves. Then Radhika and Her sakhis take some prasada and then start cooking a feast.

In jest, Yashoda Maa says to Kirtida, “Sakhi, you are so hard hearted that you make tender Radha cook so much!” Kirtida replies, “Because our Radhika got a unique boon to cook nectar-filled health foods, my Prabhu Vrshabhanu wants you and Nanda Maharaja to savor Radha’s delicious preparations today. After Radha and the sakhis finish cooking, Yashodarani blesses them all and has some manjaris fan Radha to remove Her fatigue. 

The Yogurt Game

Later everyone proceeds to the bank of Bhanukhor, King Vrishabhanu’s bathing tank on the east side of Varshana hill. Then like Janmashtami, everyone starts playing Dadhikada, a game of throwing yogurt, butter and milk on each other. Afterwards, according to age and gender, everyone bathes in different corners of Bhanukhor, eats and takes rest.

Later Sri Radha goes to Radha-kunda and enjoys all Her usual pastimes with Krishna. The only exception to Their daily asta-kaliyalila flow is that for these three days, Sri Krishna is staying with Radha in Her own palace in Varshana!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Naumi Lilas

The next morning in Varshana, Radha-Krishna and the gopis bathe, eat and go out to perform Their usual morning pastimes. At noontime, Radha-Krishna and the gopis go to Mor Kutir in Varshana and Krishna entertains the gopikas by dancing like a peacock. Then Radha and Krishna throw laddus to all the sakhis. Later in the midday, Radha and Krishna dance the Rasa in a secret place in Gehvara, Radha’s personal garden/forest just near Her father’s palace.

In the late afternoon everyone returns to the palace.At that time, Sri Krishna, Nanda Baba and his family take leave from King Vrshabhanu and return home to Nandagram in the topmost bliss.

Sri Radha’s three day janmotsava ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madangopal Das

One day in Goloka Vrindavana, Shyama sat alone under the shade of a beautiful flowering kadamba tree that was filling the entire forest with a sweet fragrance reminiscent of Radharani. Becoming absorbed in vivid memories of His sweet beloved, Krishna spontaneously began glorifying Radha with the choicest words full of love.

Brilliant green parrots gathered in the branches, curious innocent deer collected nearby, and swans floated in the peaceful waters of the Yamuna. All were stunned in bliss and spellbound in amazement to hear what Shyam was saying.

Contemplating within Himself, –vichar –antare (238), Krishna said:

cin-maya –purna -tattva, radhika –prem –unmatta
“I am full of spiritual truth, but Radhika’s love makes me mad. (122)

na –jani –radha –prema –bal, kare -sarvada -vihval
What is that power of Radha’s love by which Radha always overwhelms Me? (123)

Everywhere, everyone says I am the adi-guru, jagat-guru, spiritual master of the universe. But now I know the real truth is this:
radhika –prem –guru, ami –shishya –nat
ama –nana –nrtye, nachaya -udbhat
 “Radhika’s prem is the Guru. I am Her dancing disciple. Radha’s sweet love always makes Me dance in wonderful ways. (124)

radha –prem –vibhu,
kshane –kshane –baday –sadai
“Although Radha’s love is all-pervading, it increases at every second.” (128)

While Shyam was praising His beloved Priya, He suddenly remembered Her divine form and how Radhika’s rupa, gandha, shabdha, rasa, sparsha and vritti completely attract and captivate all His senses of seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, touching and thinking.

Krishna continues speaking: “Ten million Cupids are conquered by My matchless, unsurpassed sweet beauty. But My eyes find the greatest happiness in seeing Radha. (242-3)

vamshi –gitakarshay –tri -bhuvan
radha –vacane –hare -shravan
My flute song attracts the three worlds. But Radha’s voice fully enchants My ears. (244)

amara –gandha –jagat –sugandha
chitta –prana –hara, radha –anga –gandha
The fragrance of My body fills the universe with sweet aromas. But the naturally sweet scent of Sriji’s limbs fully enthralls My mind and heart. (245)

amara –rasa -jagat -sarasa
radhara –adhara –ras –kar –vasha
Although My rasas fill the world with sweetness, I am totally controlled and subjugated by the sweet taste of Radha’s lips. (246)

amara –sparsha –kotindu -shital
radhika –sparsha –amasushital
Although My touch is cooler than ten million moons, I am completely refreshed by the cooling caress of Kishori. (247)

jagat -sukha –hetu, radha – rupa -jivatu
Although I am the cause of happiness in the world, Radhika’s sweet beauty is My life and soul. (248)

anya –sanga –yata –sukha –pai, radha -sukha –shata -adhikai
I get a hundred times more happiness from meeting Radha than from anyone else.” (258)

Somehow by divine arrangement, that very Queen of Shyam’s heart suddenly appeared at that lonely spot beside the Yamuna. Seizing the opportunity to flatter the cherished treasure of His heart, Gopinatha said:

“O Devi! Your divinely attractive body is the source of all beauty.
O Sulochana, Your radiant cherry-red lips are softer than the sense of immortal sweetness.
O Pranapriya! The effulgent orb of Your perfectly shaped face bears the aroma of a lotus.
O Radha! Your heart-touching, honey sweet words silence the soothing warbling of the cuckoo.
O Sriji! Your shapely golden limbs are cooler than sandalwood.

“Actually, O Shyamaa! Each and every one of My senses floods with bliss whenever I am with You, who are the abode of the most attractive and sensational qualities.”

Jai Jai Sri Radheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

P.S. Verses numbered above are from “Sri CaitanyaCaritamrta” adi-lila, chapter four.

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

How should we worship Radha-kunda on Her appearance day in Caitra Purnima (april), and on Karttika Bahulastami (october), the day Caitanya Mahaprabhu discovered Radha-kunda?

Sri Sanatana Goswami’s Hari Bhakti Vilasa, the lawbook (smrti) for the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya, describes the observance of and worship details for Krishna, Rama, Nrsimha, Vamana, Visnu and Siva. It does not mention anything about observing or worshipping the appearance (avirbhava) days of Radharani, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda or Advaita Acarya, what to speak about Radha-kunda.

Nevertheless, for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas these appearance days are supremely worshipable. They should be observed with grand celebrations of fasting, puja, worship, tirtha snana (Radha-kunda, Yamuna, Ganga), Hari-katha, kirtana, bhajans, Sri Harinama Sankirtana and sumptuous transcendental maha-prasadam!

But why are these most significant divine days not mentioned in Hari Bhakti Vilasa? Sri Sanatana Goswami produced this important law book by collecting references from all the authentic and ancient Vedic literatures, especially the Puranas. These sastras say very little or nothing about worshiping Srimati Radharani. And they say nothing at all about worshiping Caitanya and the Panca Tattva because they appeared here long after these sastras were written.

Thus over the last 500 years, the different lineages of the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya have developed their own worship standards for observing these sacred appearance days.

How to observe Radha-kunda’s appearance and discovery days depends on one’s devotional inspiration and the instructions of Sri Guru.

Bhagavan Sri Krishna Himself, Vedic sastras i.e. Puranas, and our Gaudiya Vaisnava sastras all say that Radha-kunda is non-different from Srimati Radharani, which means SRI RADHA KUNDA IS SRIMATI RADHARANI!

So on Her appearance day in Caitra Purnima, one can worship Radha-kunda just like one observes Radhastami by:

-fasting until midnight;
-panca-amrta abhiseka;
-wonderful bhoga offering;
-astakams and prayers;
-Radha-Krishna katha;
-grand aratika;
-kirtan;
-kunda parikrama & Sri Harinama Sankirtana;
-snana—midnight moon light bath in Yugala’s prema-amrta;
-relish Radharani’s maha-prasadam!

Now that’s the proper way to observe the divine appearance of Vrndavanesvari Srimati Radharani in Her most merciful, compassionate, prema-giving, madhurya rasananda svarupa as SRI RADHA KUNDA!

Srimati Radharani ki jai! Caitra Purnima Radha-kunda appearance day ki jai!

Sridhama Vrndavana ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

Today, Radhastami, is also the appearance day of Sri Swami Haridasaji, an illustrious devotional saint and musician of the 15th century in Vrindavana. Swami Haridasaji unveiled Vraja Mandala’s most famous and popular deity Thakurji Banke Bihari in Nidhuvana, where he did his nirjana bhajana.

The word nidhu means, amorous pastimes (sürata-kréòä) because here in the keli-kunjas of Nidhuvana, Radha Govinda Yugala enjoy intimate affairs after the rasa dance (11p.m. to 4 a.m.) Govinda-lélämåta and other books beautifully portray these pastimes. Radha-Krishna’s pastimes of resting and waking each day also occur here. Meditative devotees often relish these sweetly confidential pastimes while chanting japa.

With his virtuosity on vina and his supremely melodious and enchantingly sweet voice, Swami Haridasaji greatly pleased the heart of his beloved Thakura Bihariji. He composed his own songs and created a unique music style which is still emulated by musicians worldwide. Due to his intense absorption in offering his heart in song to his dearest Thakuraji, Haridasaji completely forgot his body and mind. Followers identify Swami Haridasaji as an incarnation of Lalita-sakhi.

Once after hearing from Tansena, one of the two famous disciples of Swami Haridasaji (also Baijubavara) about the musical expertise of Haridasaji, Emperor Akbar desired to hear him sing. However, the saint Haridasa would only sing for the pleasure of Banke Bihariji and no one else. After sometime, Tansena came to Nidhuvana along with Akbar, who was in disguise, sat down near the kutira of Swami Haridasaji, and started singing while playing his vina.

Detecting some flaws in Tansen’s presentation, Haridasaji came out of his kutira and showed his disciple how to properly sing that raga. Then the disguised Akbar witnessed a miracle! Swami Haridasaji’s sweet singing enchanted and attracted all the forest birds, deer and animals to his side. They were spellbound, listening to the rapture of Swamiji’s love for Bihariji. Fortunate souls will visit Nidhuvana, and roll in the dust before the samadhi of the great Swami Haridasaji, one of the greatest saints of Vraja Mandala.

On this most auspicious occasion, I humbly pray to Swami Haridasaji to please bless me that someday I can sing to My Thakuraji in a voice full of pure love and completely forget about my useless body and mind.

Swami Haridasaji’s Thakuraji Banke Bihariji is very special, very powerful, very merciful, very beautiful, very playful and very naughty. You can only relish His mystifying eyes, and catch His mischievous smile for a moment before He closes the curtain to His heart. But actually that is Bihariji’s kindness on all of us.

Because if Thakuraji gave a little longer darshana, then everyone in the temple would never leave. They would all just throw their arms up into the air and shout with full conviction, “To hell with Delhi! To hell with Mumbai! To hell with Europe! To hell with America! To hell with everywhere! I am going to stay here forever in Vraja, gazing upon the most sweetly beautiful lotus face of Banke Biharilala ki! JAI!!!

Technically speaking Sri Banke Biharij’s unique brief darshana style is called jhäìké-darçana, which means a momentary vision. To do this, the pujaris open the curtains to reveal the vision of perfection, and then rapidly close them after a moment. The following pastime explains how this came to be. Once a parama-bhakta stood looking intently at Banke Bihariji with the eyes of his heart fully expanded. The unbreakable attraction of prema between God and His devotee (Bhagavata bhakta prema-sambanhda) made Bihariji leave the temple and follow that devotee home. The temple was empty!

In great alarm, the pujaris followed the lotus footprints of Banke Bihariji to that village. After much begging and crying, Bihariji agreed to return to the temple. After this incident, momentary darshana was introduced to prevent any loving devotee from capturing Bihariji with his loving glance. Just see the power and attraction of pure love! O when will I attain such pure love that Bihariji comes to enter the home of my heart!

Sri Swami Haridasaji Avirbhava Mahotsava ki jai!

Sri Banke Biharilala ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

By: Mahanidhi Swami

One aspect of raganuga-sadhana is learn about the identities, relationships, feelings and moods of love of Radha and Krishna’s friends and family members. Why you may ask? Attaining the spiritual perfection of Krishna prema means to enter Goloka Vrindavana, and to lovingly serve Radha-Krishna alongside all of Their friends and family members. Therefore, here as part of our sadhana we must prepare ourselves to know where we are going, and with whom we will live and serve with upon getting there.

To facilitate this “spiritual family familiarization sadhana”, our compassionate Gaudiya Vaisnava acharyas Srila Rupa Goswamipada and Srila Raghunatha dasa Goswamipada wrote two essential books for our study:

Radha-Krishna Ganoddesha Dipika and Vraja Vilasa Stava. Also Sri Kavi Karnapura wrote Gaura Ganoddesha Dipika to help us learn the dual identities of Krishna’s eternal associates in both Vraja-lila and Gaura-lila.

To celebrate Radhastami, we are listing the key personalities in Srimati Radharani’s transcendental family of loving servitors. Wherever known, we’ll include their Gaura-lila names in brackets.

But first however, we should warn everyone with a few words of caution. If you are at all attached to your relativities in the form of friends and family members, then definitely

DO NOT READ THIS description of the pure and loving, beautiful people in Radha’s realm of eternal transcendental bliss!

Radha’s Elders

Paternal grandfather: Mahibhanu

Paternal grandmother: Sukhada

Father: Vrishabhanu (Pundarika Vidyanidhi)

Maternal grandfather: Indu

Maternal grandmother: Mukhara

Mother: Kirtida (Ratnavati)

Elder brother: Sridama (Abhirama Gopala)

Younger sister: Ananga-manjari (Jahnava-devi)

Paternal uncles: Bhanu, Ratna-bhanu, Subhanu.

So-called husband: Abhimanyu

Father-in-law: Vrka-gopa

Mother-in-law: Jatila (Ramachandra Puri)

Brother-in-law: Durmada

Sister-in-law: Kutila

Radha’s Ashta Sakhis:

Lalita (Svarupa Damodara Goswami)

Vishakha (Ramananda Raya)

Chitra (Govindananda Thakura)

Indulekha (Vasu Ramananda)

Champakalata (Shivananda Sena)

Tungavidya (Vakreshvara Pandita)

Ranga-devi (Govinda Ghosh)

Sudevi (Vasudeva Ghosh)

And: Vrinda-devi (Mukunda Dasa)

Dhanishta (Raghava Pandita)

Nandimukhi (Saranga Thakura)

Radha’s Ashta-Manjaris:

Sri Rupa-manjari: (Srila Rupa Goswamipada)

Rati-manjari: Srila Raghunatha dasa Goswamipada)

Lavanga-manjari (Srila Sanatana Goswamipada)

Raga-manjari (Srila Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami)

Guna-manjari: (Sri Gopala Bhatta Goswami)

Manjulali-manjari: (Sri Lokanatha Goswami)

Vilasa-manjari (Sri Jiva Goswamipada)

Kasturi-manjari (Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja)

Radha’s Favorite Pets:

Calf: Tungi

Chakori bird: Charu-chandrika

Cows: Bahula, Sunada, Yamuna

Doe: Rangini

Elephant: Madhuri

Monkey: Kakkhati

Talking Parrots: Shubha, Sukshmadhi

Peahen: Tundika

Swan: Tundikeri

Sri Radha’s premika nitya-parisads ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!