By: Mahanidhi Swami
As playful teenagers, Radha and Krishna love to joke and have fun. And this in essence is the goal of everyone’s life—to love, to joke and to have fun.
By daily absorbing ourselves in Radha-Krishna’s Vraja madhurya-lilas, we will quickly qualify ourselves to remember the Divine Couple at the last moment. Such transcendental memories will transport you to Goloka Vrindavana to forever enjoy a life of love, full of joking and full of fun engaged in the blissful service of Radha Govinda Yugala in your spiritual body, siddha-svarupa.
For those who remember Him, Bhagavan Sri Krishna guarantees this wonderful destination in Gita 8.6:
yam yam vapi smaran bhavam, tyajaty ante kalevaram
tam tam evaiti kaunteya, sada tad-bhava-bhavitah
“Whatever you remember at death, that you will attain!”
The following humorous pastime, the Dana-lila of Radha and Krishna, has been profusely described by poets throughout the ages. Drawing from our Gaudiya Vaisnava acharyas works such as Dana-keli kaumudi by Srila Rupa Goswamipada, and Dana-keli Chintamani by Srila Raghunatha dasa Goswamipada, and also from various rasika padakartas like Yadunandana and Radha Mohana dasa, we will describe this wonderful lila of Dana-bihari.
Once upon a time, Vasudeva engaged Bhaguri Muni and some sages to conduct a homa near Govinda Kunda beside Govardhana Hill for the benefit of his son Balarama. Before starting, the sages announce that any gopis who supply ghee for the yajna will attain the fulfillment of all their desires.
Radhika’s pet parrot, Sukshmadhi, informs Her of this, so Radha and all Her sakhis set out for Govinda Kunda. Placing a small round circle of silken cloth on Her head, as village girls do even today, Sri Radha places a golden pot of ghee on it and proceeds to the yajna.
While scurrying along to Govardhana, the gopis enthusiastically chatter among themselves, “O, today we will meet Priyatama on the pretext of donating ghee. Thrilled and excited, Radha furtively glances here and there with Her big, beautiful blue eyes while thinking, “Where? O Where is My Prananatha?”
Meanwhile in Nandagoan, Krishna hears from His pet parrot Vicaksana that Radhika is near Govardhana Hill. Taking Subala, Madhumangala and others, Krishna erects a toll booth at Syama Vedi.
Radhika spots Krishna atop the hill, and remarks in amazement, “O Vrinda! I’ve seen Hari many times, but never in such an incredibly sweet form as today.”
Radha-Madhava stare at each other’s sweet beauty from afar with unblinking eyes flooding with tears of joy. Their minds reel in intoxication from drinking the nectar of Their mutual love. Radha’s sakhis and manjaris greatly relish seeing the Divine Couple’s sweet meeting.
Then Vidagdha Nagara Shyama and His bosom pal Subala approach Radha and the sakhis. “Now just where are You going with these pots of ghee?” announces Subala. Completely ignoring him, the gopis proudly walk on without even moving an eyebrow. The gentle tinkling of Sriji’s anklebells sprinkles nectar in Shyama’s ears.
Krishna steps forward, blocks Radha’s path and commands, “Pay Me the tax! Or else I will take away Your blouse!” Displaying Her kilakinchita-bhava, Radhika simultaneously expresses feelings of anger, bashfulness and desire.
In this condition Radha’s eyes are reddish and unsteady; Her eyebrows are arched; small teardrops adorn Her eye corners; She laughs in an unseen way; and Radha’s entire body erupts with thrill bumps.
Remaining grave and silent, Kishori just sidesteps Shyama and keeps going. To defend their Swamini, the sakhis come forward and start quarreling with Krishna’s sakhas.
When Krishna tries to touch Radha while demanding, “Pay Me the tax with Your adolescent beauty”, Rai furrows Her beautiful dark eyebrows and walks away as if Shyama does not exist. This wonderful gesture of Mohini’s completely conquers the power of millions of Kandarpa’s bows.
Greatly offended, Krishna blurts, “How dare You ignore Me and insult Me like this! O You Chandi! (hot tempered girl) If You ignore a black snake, he will immediately enchant You by hissing. Then You’ll become stunned, incapable of moving.” [inner meaning: When Krishna just kisses You, enchantment will overtake You]
Arching Her finely shaped eyebrows, Kanjanakshi Radha replies, “O really? And how will a black snake survive if he attacks a mongoose? She will quickly bite him and that will not be very opportune for him.”
[inner meaning: Today it seems You’ll get a good opportunity to ravish innocent housewives] By this statement Radha reveals Her real feelings hiding behind the veneer of disinterest. Thus Radhika is just as clever as Kishora in joking dialogues.
Trying His luck with the sakhis, Krishna says, “If you have no money to pay tax now, then just leave Radha alone with Me as collateral. When you return with your payment, I’ll hand over Priyaji.”
When Vinodilal tries to touch Gandharvika, the sakhis say, “O, so You became a tax collector just to touch Radha’s body! We will tell our relatives about this and You’ll get severely punished. How shameless You are to touch other men’s wives!
“O Shyamasundara! Even if You bathe in the Triveni and feed thousands of Brahmins during a solar eclipse; or worship Gauri Durga high in the Himalayas; or go on tirtha-yatra to Badarikashrama, still You will not gain the sukriti power to lay Your hand on Raseshvari’s body!”
The gopis’ joking words flood Shyama’s heart with cascades of nectar ambrosia. Admiring the golden face of His sweetheart, Krishna says, “O Sundari! Why should I leave Your lotus feet and go on tirtha yatra to worship Gauri? O Hemangi Radha! You Yourself are Gauri and the sum total of all holy places!”
After humbly praising Sriji, Shyama conveys to the sakhis His craving to meet Radha alone with a hint of His eyes. Then the sakhis advise Swamini, “By nature this Giridhari is very naughty, so who knows what He will do next. To protect Your self-esteem, You should slip away unseen and hide in some kunja near Govardhana Hill.”
After hearing the sakhis, Radha becomes frightened and then follows their advice. Shortly later, Shyama discovers Radha’s whereabouts, and enters the bower. And at last, the eternal romantic pair enjoy intimate pastimes together amidst much laughter and merrymaking.
Thus Kamala Radha and the rasika bee Madhusudana enjoy Their hilarious toll-collecting pastime, Dana-lila!
Radha-Dana-bihari ki jai!
Dana-lila ki jai!
Jai Jai Sri Radhe!