By: Mahanidhi Swami
For the conjugal pleasure of Sri Krishna, Srimati Radhika and the other gopi heroines (nayikaas) of Vrindavana display a wonderful variety of emotions in eight different service situations. We will describe them and then cite a pastime, if mentioned, of Srimati Radharani to illustrate them. During these situations the gopi nayikaas taste different varieties of separation and union. All eight of these nayikaa bhaavas are fully, unlimitedly and uniquely experienced by Sri Radha alone. Yet acharyas have mentioned particular moods in relation to individual sakhis, which we will indicate with brackets. The information here comes from Ujjvala Nilamani and Jaiva Dharma.
1) Abhisarika: (Chitra-sakhi) This heroine leaves her home and travels to meet her lover at the assigned rendezvous bower, all the while thinking, “I will serve Sri Krishna.” At the time of going for abhisara, she is absolutely silent and gorgeously decorated from head to toe. As if out of shyness she contracts Her bodily limbs, and moves along the footpath accompanied by one affectionate sakhi.
Lila: Sriji said, “O Vishakha! When you make the appointment, you should tell Madhava about My beauty and character. But don’t let Pyare-mohana know how much My heart suffers with love for Him. O My friend, please expertly appeal to Nanda Kishora on My behalf, and affectionately bring Bihari here to meet Me before this wretched moon kisses the horizon and robs Me of My life-breath.”
Vishakha replied, “O Sundari, the great orb of the moon is now bathing the forest of Vrindavana with its soothing rich rays. Vrajapati-nandana has
now marked the footpath You have taken and He is about to follow it. O Shyama-priya, You are nicely dressed in a white silk sari, and anointed with camphor and sandalwood. Will You not now place Your two beautiful lotus feet on this path that leads to Krishna?”
2) Vasaka-sajja: (Champaka-lata) This gopi ornaments and perfumes her body and prepares and decorates the bed-chamber in the kunja in eager anticipation of her lover’s arrival. She is determined to engage in games of Kamadeva. Hoping that her lover will come as soon as he can, the vasaka-nayikaa gazes down the path along which her lover will approach. While sitting with her sakhis she glorifies her lover, and hears his lila-katha from them. At every moment she eagerly waits for a messenger to bring news of her lover.
Lila: Rupa-manjari said to a gopi-friend, “When Radharani sees the conjugal pastime grove with its beautiful flower bed, and Her own nicely decorated body, She begins to smile. Repeatedly meditating on Her association with Krishna, Gaurangi’s heart becomes intoxicated by amorous desires.”
3) Utkanthita: (Ranga-devi) This gopi repeatedly glances down the path in great eagerness, anxiously anticipating the arrival of her beloved Sri Krishna. When Shyama is late for the rendezvous however, through no fault of His own, the restless nayikaa becomes excessively impatient and eager to meet her lover.
Her heart burns in agony, her body trembles, and she wonders why her lover has not come. Losing all desire to do anything, the utkanthita heroine thinks of her sorry plight while shedding tears of lamentation
The previous condition of the vasaka-sajja ultimately transforms into utkanthita. While waiting and seeing that her lover has not come, she becomes excessively eager and restless and is then called an utkanthita nayikaa.
4) Khandita: (Lalita) The gopi heroine enters the condition of khandita when Hari arrives late, long after the appointed time for meeting, practically at sunrise. Seeing the clear signs of Krishna’s amorous affairs with another lover, she becomes extremely jealous, either chastising Shyama or pouting in silence. And in her anger she exhales long drawn out breaths.
Lila: Sri Radha chastises Krishna: “Listen Madhava! Which artful girl has stolen the precious gold of Your love, and in return decorated You with her own cheap tinsel? Your lips are tinged with her collyrium; Your eyelids are reddish from her chewed betel, and Your chest is tinted red from the lac-dye on her feet. Is there any girl so naive that she will touch Your body in its present defiled condition? Unscrupulous as You are, what allurement can You offer now with Your soiled person?” (Kavi Govinda dasa)
Responding to Radha’s rebukes, Muralidhara pleads, “O Sundari, lovely lady! Why are You speaking such pungent words to Me? While touching Your feet, I swear I love none other than You. I spent the whole night awake in expectation for You; that’s how My eyes became reddened. Somehow this dark musk paste has tainted My lips.
“Seeing You turning Your face away from Me, My eyes are shedding tears and My heart is breaking. If You slight Me out of pride, then where shall I go? You know My heart very well. Why then are You speaking unfavorably.” Hearing these shallow words, the charming Radhika became doubly angry. (Kavi Jnana dasa)
5) Vipralabdha: (Tungavidya) When the heroine sits waiting in the secluded bower, and her lover does not show up at all, then she feels greatly disappointed. It sometimes happens that by the will of providence, Krishna cannot come for one reason or another, even after fixing the time and place of the tryst by a signal or hint. At that time, the vipralabdha heroine is severely afflicted by pangs of separation from her beloved. She decries her own worthlessness, becomes anxious, laments, weeps bitterly, sighs deeply and faints.
Lila: Radha sighed, “O Vishakha! The moon has now left the sky and the time for meeting has passed. O sakhi, I have been cheated by this lover of the goddess of fortune. What shall we do now? Please instruct me so that My self-respect does not manifest, for I no longer want to live.” After
speaking these words, doe-eyed Radharani fainted.
6) Kalahantarita: (Sudevi) Whenever, due to some quarrel with Hari, the nayikaa severely reprimands her Pranavallabha Shyama, and then spurns Him, even after Krishna falls at her feet before all her sakhis. However, after dismissing Shyama she becomes even more bereaved, and exhibits various emotions such as anguish, delirium, incoherent speech, debility of body and mind, exhaling drawn-out breaths.
Lila One: Radha said to Herself, “I have thrown far away all the garlands presented to Me by this Krishna, the enemy of Kesi. I have not allowed Shyama’s sweet words of supplication to enter My ears. I do not even glance at Him when Krishna bows down before Me with His hair scattered on the ground. All of this is making My mind split open like a pot being heated in a fire.”
Lila Two: Lamenting to Her sakhi, Sri Radha said, “I built a house for living happily, but fire has burned it down. I wanted to bathe in an ocean of nectar, but I dove into a pool of poison. I adored that particular Moon believing He is soothing, but instead I was scorched by the sun. I climbed a mountain to rise to great height, but plummeted into the depths of the sea. I looked to the raincloud to quench My thirst, but instead a thunderbolt pierced My heart. Love for Kanu is like an arrow stuck deeply in the heart.” (Kavi Chandidasa)
7) Proshita-bhartrka: (Indulekha) When Krishna leaves Vrindavana and goes to Mathura, and does not return even after many days have elapsed, then the heroine becomes most miserable and suffers terribly in His separation. She experiences many things including inertia, anxiety, melancholy, sleeplessness, and not dressing or bathing herself.
Lila: Radha said to Lalita, “Krishna is now happily enjoying pastimes in Mathura without Me. But for Me, this springtime brings pain at every step and from every direction. Alas, My enemy, the impossible hope that perhaps Krishna may return, has become a great obstacle in fulfilling My desire to kill Myself. Where can I find shelter from this enemy.”
8) Svadhina-bhartrka: (Radhika especially, and Vishakha too) This type of heroine experiences great joy because she dominates her lover, tames him according to her own whims, and engages him for enjoying her own flavor of amorous sports. Being controlled by her prema, the hero cannot leave her for even a moment. Together they relish various pastimes like vana-vihara, jala-keli and picking flowers.
Lila: Radha ordered, “O Shyama, Please draw some nice pictures on My breasts and cheeks. Decorate My hips with a sash, and twine a flower garland in My braid. Put bracelets on My wrists and jeweled anklets on My feet.” With great pleasure Krishna obediently carried out all of Radha’s orders.
In summary, among the eight types of heroines just described, three (svadhina-bhartrka, vasaka-sajja and abhisarika) are cheerful at heart, and always wear ornaments and other decorations. The remaining five heroines however, throw away their ornaments and finery due being afflicted with anxiety. Suffering in separation from their hero Shyama, they lament bitterly, resting their left cheek on their left hand.
One should not think that the gopis’ suffering is anything like the searing pain and misery arising from the love affairs of this mundane world. The gopis’ apparent suffering is actually a transformation of ecstatic divine bliss in Krishna prema. Such a transcendental experience is far far beyond our minds to conceive or our words to convey.
Svadhina Bhartrka Vrindavaneshvari Sri Radha ki jai!
Jai Jai Sri Radhe!