The Moonlike Faces of Rai & Kanu
Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das
It is very common experience of anyone visiting Vrindavana to become enchanted and irresistibly attracted upon seeing the sweet and beautiful divine faces of the popular Thakurajis—Radha-Shyamasundara, Banke Bihari, Radha-Ramana and Radha-Damodara. What is the special quality, that magnetic mysticism, of the faces of Rai and Kanu? Their beautiful faces take over our minds, and haunt our hearts with a sweetness that forcefully compels us to take Their amazing darshana whenever we can for as long as we can. O the magic of Vraja!
But how to describe that experience? How can one explain the wonderful relish of peace, joy and happiness he feels upon seeing the contented, smiling, bewitching and mischievous faces of Radha and Krishna in Their various Deity forms playing in Vrindavana?
Indeed, many Vraja saints of yore have gone mad after relishing the incredible sweetness of Radha Govinda Yugala in their trances of meditation, sphurtis or samadhi. And when they returned to external consciousness they recorded their visions in the most incredible rasika poetry of Sanskrit, Hindi or Vrajabhasa.
When writing about beholding the bewitching faces of Radha-Krishna in their eyes, dreams, visions and meditations, the saints describe the Divine Couple with phrases like moonlike faces and lotus feet. Of course, they are just trying to gives us some vague idea of their indescribable divine experiences. In reality there is absolutely no object in the material world to compare with the matchless transcendental beauty of Radha-Shyamasundara!
What is the value of the material moon to match the endlessly beautiful faces of Radha and Krishna? Kavi Bilvamangala Thakura says, “O Krishna Deva! Seeing the splendid full moon of Your face, the moon admits his defeat and takes shelter of Your feet after dividing itself into ten parts to serve Your toenails.” Further on the Kavi admits, “O my Lord! The brilliantly shining full moon in the sky, which has spots, is only useful as a lamp to worship the flawless full moon of beautiful Your face.”
And what about the “moonlike face” of Madhura-mukhi Radha? A drop of the heart-melting nectar of Radhika’s splendidly gorgeous face is glorified in Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi (126): “O Radha! If millions of simultaneously rising magnificent full moons were to flood countless millions of universes with the waves of the nectar moonlight of pure love, then that might give a slight hint of the incredible beauty of Your face visible in the land of Vrindavana!”
Darshana of the delightfully beautiful and deliciously satisfying faces of Radha-Krishna in Vrindavana is the daily fortune for a few, and an occasional treasure for most. Nevertheless, when we are away from Vrindavana, we can intensely hanker and fervently pray to see Vraja Yugala in our vision, dreams and meditations.
After once seeing Radha-Govinda in a sphurti, the great Gaudiya Vaisnava rasika-acharya, Srila Rupa Goswamipada, lamented severely in separation and penned a most inspiring verse in Utkalika-vallarih (36). May this prayer shape our cherished aspiration:
O Radha and Krishna, best of all the dancers in Vraja! Ahaha! When will that blessed day come when I can see Your gorgeous moon-like faces, overflowing with the radiant nectar of compassion, which astound the chakora-like hearts of Your sakhis?”
Jai Jai Sri Radhe!
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