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By: Mahanidhi Swami

Late one night during the monsoon season Madhuri Radha along with Lalita, Vishakha and other intimate sakhis run into the forest to meet Madhava in a keli-nikunja. Sri Rupa-manjari and some manjaris tag along behind carrying various service paraphernalia.

To arrive at the trysting bower, Thakurani Radha overcomes lots of obstacles like dense darkness, rain showers, slippery footpaths, and poisonous vipers hiding along the path.

Meanwhile, Madhava sets out from Nandagrama to meet Kanjanakshi Radha in the same kunja. On the way however, Shyama is intercepted by Padma and Shaibya and whisked off to Chandravali’s private play grove.

Radhika arrives before Shyama, so She and Her girlfriends decorate the kunja beautifully for Shyama’s pleasure. Then Radha sits down eagerly waiting for Krishna. When the appointed time expires, however, Srimati becomes anxious and begins crying profusely.

Pouring out Her tender love-filled heart to Lalita, Sarvanga-sundari whimpers, “O sakhi! How can My lover come in this frightening night thundering with rain clouds? I am just sitting on this flower bed I made, looking down the path which Priyatama will tread.

“O sakhi! Tell Me, what should I do? I overcame so many obstacles due to My blossoming love-thirst for Shyama! How can I possibly pass this night without seeing My Priya Bandhu? Now all My desires are frustrated and My heart is breaking! The rumbling clouds and lightning flashes are all striking My heart.”

Lalita consoles, “O Sundari! Definitely, You WILL MEET Your Priya Bandhu!”

Alas! Although the damsels of Vraja try their best to comfort Kishori, it is to no avail. Can anyone pacify a heart slashed by feelings of love’s separation? Somehow Radha drags through the whole night agonized in separation from Shyama.

Lo and behold! Just as the sun tints the sky with the pink of passion, Pyare-mohana arrives at the gate of Radha’s kunja. Noticing His body covered with the obvious signs of Chandravali’s love sports, Ramani Radha sarcastically remarks, “O My friend! It is very auspicious that You have arrived here at sunrise. Just by seeing Your face I can understand that I will have a wonderful day today!

“But My friend! Can You explain to Me why Your face appears so dry and distraught? Who has made You look like this? I feel very unhappy to see You like this!”

Radha continued, “Alas! Alas! How beautiful Your face looks with that eyeliner (kajal)! And that spot of sindura on Your forehead enchants even the minds of the munis! Your body is scratched by sharp nails. Your chest looks especially nice with that impression of a bangle and that red foot lac! Indeed, You have spent the whole night enjoying with a woman!”

Shyama looks nervously here and there while wiping the marks off His face with His scarf. Observing all this, Lalita starts burning with anger toward Krishna, because she knows that her dearest princess Radhika passed the entire night burning in loneliness, apart from Her beloved. Seeing Lalita’s furious eyes, Shyama wonders, “I can’t imagine how much Lalita will chastise Me now.”

Then some of Sukumari’s pet parrots, chirping in the kunja, start rebuking Shyama: “You made Radha miserable by calling Her to this kunja for nothing! The whole night Swamini pined for You lamenting in separation. Your harsh treatment has even made Vrindavana’s birds, trees and creepers cry! And now You audaciously appear before Radha with the clear signs of delighting amorously with another, just to throw salt in Her open wounds. Clearly Your mind is contaminated, and You have no intelligence whatsoever.”

After listening to the parrot’s scolding, Bihari Shyama flutters His eyes ever more restlessly, fearing further admonishments from Radha’s girlfriends.

Radhika’s maidservants love to relish the special sweetness that Shyama shows when He if afraid of Radhika and the sakhis. During these anxious moments Madhava looks most beautiful to them. Then Radha’s manjaris cleverly pacify Lalita, so that they can arrange the sweet meeting of the Playful Pair.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!