Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

If one chants this great prayer with faith and transcendental devotion on Lord Caitanya’s appearance day [Gaura-Pūrṇima], then one perpetually attains the fulfillment of their each and every pure desire.

nāmaskṛtya pravakṣyāmi, deva-devaṁ jagad-gurum
nāmnām-aṣṭottara-śataṁ, caitanyasya mahātmanāh

“Oh great soul! After offering obeisances unto the Lord of Lords, Who is the spiritual master of the entire universe, I will now narrate 108 holy names of Lord Caitanya.

viśvambharo jita-krodho, māyā-mānuṣa-vigrāhaḥ
amāyi māyināṁ śreṣṭo, varo-deśo dvijottamaḥ

Gaurāṅga sustains the universe, is victorious over the influence of mundane anger, and He assumes the illusory form of a human. He is bereft of fradulent behavior, is the foremost of cheaters, appears in the best of lands and is the ultimate brāhmaṇa.

jagannātha-priyā-sutaḥ, pitr-bhakto mahā-manāh
lakṣmī-kāntaḥ śacī-putrāh, premado bhakta-vātsalaḥ

Gaurāṅga is the dearest son of Jagannātha Miśra, Gaurāṅga is the devotee of His father, and He has great mental power. He is the beloved husband of the Goddess of Fortune, the son of mother Śacī, the bestower of ecstatic loving devotion, and He is very affectionate to His devotees.

dvija-priyā dvija-varo, vaiṣṇava-prāna-nāyakaḥ
dvi-jāti-pūjakaḥ śāntaḥ, śrīvāsa-priyā īśvaraḥ

Gaurāṅga is dear to the twice-initiated brāhmaṇas, He is the best among the brāhmaṇas, and He is the hero of the devotee’s life and soul. He worships the brāhmaṇas. He is peaceful and saintly. He is very dear to Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita, and He is the supreme controller.

tapta-kāñcana-gaurāṅgaḥ, simha-grīvo mahā-bhujaḥ
pīta-vāsā rakta-paṭṭaḥ, ṣaḍ-bhujo ’tha catur-bhujaḥ

His complexion is like molten gold, His neck is like a lion’s, His arms are very muscular. He wears yellow cloth [as householder] and red cloth as a sannyāsī. He exhibits a six-armed form and also a four-armed form.

dvi-bhujaś ca gadā-pāṇiḥ, cakrī padma-dharo ‘malaḥ
pāñca-janya-dharaḥ śārṅgī, veṇu-pāniḥ surottamaḥ

Gaurāṅga exhibits a two-armed form, holds the mace, discus, lotus, and He is sinless. He holds the pāñcajanya conch shell, the bow, the flute, and is the foremost of the demigods.

kamalākṣeśvaraḥ prīto, gopa-līlādharo yuvā
nīla-ratna-dharo rupya, hārī kaustubha-bhūṣaṇaḥ

Gaurāṅga is the Lord of the lotus-eyed Lakṣmī. He is beloved to all living beings. He is the abode of cowherding pastimes and is supremely youthful. He likes to wear sapphires, silver necklaces, and is adorned with the kaustubha gem.

śrīvatsa-lāñchano bhāsvan, maṇi-dhṛk kañja-locanaḥ
tāṭaṅka-nīla-śrīḥ rudra, līlā-kārī guru-priyāḥ

Gaurāṅga is decorated with the mark of Śrīvatsa and His form is embellished with many brilliant jewels. He has lotus-petal-shaped eyes. His majesty is enhanced by sapphire earrings. He sometimes enacts the pastimes of Lord Śiva, and He is very dear to His spiritual master.

sva-nāma-guṇa-vaktā ca, nāmopadeśa-dāyakaḥ
ācāṇḍāla-priyāḥ śuddhaḥ, sarva-prāṇi-hite rataḥ

Gaurāṅga is aware of the attributes of His own holy names. He imparts teachings about the holy names. He is dear even to the lowest of outcastes. His character is totally immaculate. He is engaged in the welfare of all living beings.

viśvarūpānujaḥ sandhyā, vatāraḥ-śītalāśayaḥ
niḥsīma-karuṇo gupta, ātma-bhakti-pravartakaḥ

Gaurāṅga is the younger brother of Viśvarūpa. He incarnated during dusk. He wants to cool the burning sufferings of living beings. His compassion is limitless. He is very secretive. He preaches devotion unto the true self.

mahānando naṭo nṛtya, gīta-nāma-priyāḥ kaviḥ
ārti-priyāḥ śuciḥ śuddho, bhāvado bhagavat-priyāḥ

Gaurāṅga is absorbed in the greatest bliss. He behaves as a dramatic actor, and is fond of dancing, singing, and chanting holy names. He is a learned scholar and poet. He is dear to those who are suffering. He is meticulously clean and spotlessly pure. He confers ecstatic loving emotions. He is intimate with the great devotees.

indrādi-sarva-lokeśa, vandita-śrī-padāmbujaḥ
nyāsi-cūḍāmaṇiḥ kṛṣṇa, sannyāsāśrama-pāvanaḥ

Gaurāṅga’s divine lotus feet are worshiped by Lord Indra and all the rulers of various heavenly planets. He is the crest-jewel of renunciates. He is the all-attractive Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the purifier of the renounced order.

caitanyaḥ kṛṣṇa-caitanyo, daṇḍa-dhṛg nyasta-daṇḍakaḥ
avadhūta-priyo nityā, nanda-ṣaḍ-bhuja-darśakaḥ

Gaurāṅga is the all-attractive living force of all creation. He carries the staff of the renounced order, and also abandons it. He is dear to Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, the divine madman. He shows His six-armed form to Nityānanda.

mukunda-siddhi-do dīno, vāsudevāmṛta-pradaḥ
gadādhara-prāṇa-nātha, ārti-hā śarana-pradaḥ

Gaurāṅga gives perfection to His devotee Mukunda. He behaves with meek and humble mannerisms. He gives nectar to his devotee Vāsudeva, the leper. He is the Lord of the life of Gadādhara Paṇḍita. He removes the distress of His devotees. He bestows ultimate shelter to His devotees.

akiñcana-priyāḥ prāṇo, guṇa-grāhī jitendriyaḥ
adoṣa-darśī sumukho, madhuraḥ priyā-darśanaḥ

Gaurāṅga is dear to those who possess nothing. He is the life and soul of all creation. He accepts only the good qualities of others. He is victorious over the influence of the material senses. He is blind to the faults of others. He has a pleasant face and is supremely sweet. He is very precious to behold.

pratāpa-rudra-saṁtrātā, rāmānanda-priyo guruḥ
ananta-guṇa-sampannaḥ, sarva-tīrthaika-pāvanaḥ

Gaurāṅga delivers Mahārāja Pratāparudra from obstacles. He is the beloved of Rāmānanda Rāya. He is the spiritual master of every living being. He is endowed with limitless good qualities. He is the sole purifier of all places of pilgrimage.

vaikuṇṭha-nātho lokeśo, bhaktābhimata-rūpa-dhṛk
nārāyaṇo mahā-yogī, jñāna-bhakti-pradaḥ prabhuḥ

Gaurāṅga is the Lord of the anxiety-free spiritual world, and of all material planets. He assumes different forms according to the desires of His devotees. He is the supreme shelter for all living beings. He is the greatest performer of yoga. He imparts intellectual knowledge of devotion. He is the Lord and Master of all.

pīyūṣa-vacanaḥ pṛthvī, pāvanaḥ satya-vāk sahaḥ
oḍa-deśa-janānandī, sandohāmṛta-rūpa-dhṛk

Gaurāṅga’s words emit showers of pure nectar. He is the savior of the earth. He speaks truthfully. He can endure all forms of misery. He delights the people of Orissa. He embodies the form of all universal nectar.

yaḥ paṭhed prātar utthāya, caitanyasya mahātmanaḥ
śraddhayā parayopetaḥ, stotraṁ sarvāgha-nāśanam
prema-bhaktir harau tasya, jāyate nātra saṁśayaḥ

Oh great soul! It is recommended that in the morning [6-8:24a.m.], one faithfully approach and recite this transcendental sin-destroying prayer to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. One who does will feel the awakening of ecstatic loving devotion unto Lord Hari; of this there is no doubt.

asādhya-roga-yukto ‘pi, mucyate roga-saṅkaṭāt
sarvāparādha-yukto’pi, so ‘parādhāt pramucyate

Even if one is afflicted with an incurable disease, one becomes freed from all danger of the ailment. Even if one has committed all types of offenses, one becomes freed from their effects.

phālguṇī-paurṇamāsyān tu, caitanya-janma-vāsare
śraddhayā parayā bhaktyā, mahā-stotraṁ japan puraḥ
yad yat prakurute kāmaṁ, tat tad evācirāl labhet

If one chants this great prayer with faith and transcendental devotion on Lord Caitanya’s appearance day [Gaura-Pūrṇima], then one perpetually attains the fulfillment of their each and every pure desire.

aputro vaiṣṇavaṁ putraṁ, labhate nātra saṁśayaḥ
ante caitanya-devasya, smṛtir bhavati śāśvatī

If a devotee couple wishes to have a child but are unable, then they will obtain a child without a doubt. And at the time of death, they will attain remembrance of Śrī Caitanya-deva and enter His eternal pastimes.”

Jagannātha Miśra called His divine son Viśvambhara and Mother Śacī called Him Nimāi. The name Gaurāṅga was given when He took the sacred thread [brāhmaṇa dīkśā]. At school they called Him Nimāi Paṇḍita. His devotees called Him Gaura, Prabhu, or Śrī Gaurāṅga. His last name was Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya because He was engaged in awakening Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Lord, in the hearts of men.

“Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Gaurāṅga is full of bliss, He attracts everyone’s heart. That is His extraordinary nature. Supremely blissful, He can make the living entities also blissful, just as a wealthy person can make someone else wealthy. Gaurāṅga fills everyone’s heart with wonder. That is the sign of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Sri Caitanya candramrita)

“After the disappearance of Lord Caitanya, it was Lord Nityānanda Prabhu who revealed the true nature of Śrī Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu to the world. Raising His hands in the air, Lord Nityānanda distributed unlimited mercy by preaching, ‘Come spirit souls of Kali-yuga. Give up this hypocrisy. Just accept the pure ecstatic love of Śrī Gaurāṅga! Give up the troublesome paths of karma and jñāna which aim only at physical and mental comforts. I will give you unlimited happiness without trouble, loss, pain or payment.’

“Just shout the name ‘Gaurāṅga! Gaurāṅga! Gaurāṅga!’ and dance with abandon. The happiness that I am giving is beyond compare. This transcendental happiness is pure, positive, ecstatic, eternal spiritual bliss. It is totally beyond illusion.” (Navadvipa Dham Mahatmya)

bhaja gaurāṅga, koho gaurāṅga
loho gaurāṅgera nāma re
bhaja gaurāṅga, bhaja gaurāṅga
bhaja gaurāṅga nāma re

Worship Gaurāṅga! Speak Gaurāṅga! And chant the name of Gaurāṅga! Worship Gaurāṅga, worship the name of Gaurāṅga! (Caitanya Bhagavat)

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Everyone in Katwa– old men, women, children, the blind and invalid, scholars and fools– ran to look at the all-attractive form of Lord Gaurahari. Some women carried water pots on their hips. Others stood motionless, captivated by the mystifying beauty of the Lord. People ridiculed Kesava Bharati for giving sannyasa to such a handsome young man.

Everyone praised the mother who gave birth to such a remarkable son of matchless beauty. They thought to themselves, “Sacidevi, the fortunate mother of Gauranga, is as glorious as Devaki, the famous mother of Lord Sri Krishna. Whoever got Gauranga as her husband is the most fortunate woman in the three worlds.

“No one can take their eyes off the indescribably attractive form of Gaurasundara. Any woman would die simply by hearing that He’s taking sannyasa. How can we tolerate His taking sannyasa?” The people who were thinking like this began weeping loudly.

Feeling compassionate, Gauranga called them together telling them not to lament. He said, “Please bless Me that I may fulfill My desire to dedicate My life to serving the lotus feet of Krishna. Everyone wants to get a proper master. One’s beauty and youth should be utilized in service of the right master. Without a master or husband all of one’s talents and qualities are useless.

“The service of the feet of Krishna is My only shelter. I will serve the beloved master and lord of My life by offering everything that I have.” Then Gauranga paid obeisances to Kesava Bharati, smiled, and begged him for sannyasa again.

The next day, Gaurahari followed the orders of His guru in performing all the rituals for taking sannyasa. The Vaisnavas shook in fear, and bit the edge of their garments during the head-shaving of Sri Gaurasundara.

His long, beautiful curly hair tied in a topknot, and decorated with fragrant malati flowers, had previously enchanted the three worlds. Devotees maintained their lives just by meditating on Gauranga’s hair. In a previous yuga, that hair forced the gopis to give up their shyness, abandon their homes, families and everything else. That hair which Brahma, Siva, Narada and other demigods had formerly glorified would now be cut off. All the men and women of Kantaka-nagara wept loudly.

His hands trembling in fear, the barber flatly refused even to touch Lord Gauranga’s head. He said, “O my Lord, I humbly request You. I don’t have the power to shave You. I’ve never seen such beautiful, curly hair which captivates the three worlds. Please don’t cut Your hair for it pleases the hearts of everyone. There’s no one like You in the whole world. Now I realize that You are the Lord of the whole creation.”

On hearing this, Lord Gauranga became displeased. The barber became worried seeing the Lord’s unhappiness. The barber knew it was inevitable, yet he insisted, “My Lord, how can I cut Your hair? I’m shaking in fear that I may commit an offense to You. And if I do that, then whose feet could I touch to nullify my aparadha? I’m just a simple barber coming from a low-class family.”

Lord Visvambhara said, “After today you can give up this hair-cutting business. By the mercy of Sri Krishna you’ll live a happy, prosperous life. And at the end you will return to My abode in the spiritual world.” So at the time of shaving the Lord’s head, the barber received this boon.

With a saddended heart, Locana Dasa narrates this pastime.

Gauranga’s head-shaving and sannyasa ceremony took place during the auspicious constellation of Makara Sankranti in the month of Magh (January 14, 1510 a.d) The Lord heard the sannyasa mantra from Kesava Bharati while the Vaisnavas filled the atmosphere with the holy name of Hari.

Visvambhara was inundated by waves of love of Krishna which increased in size hundreds of times. His body exploded in bumps of ecstasy. Tears of prema flowed without cessation from His reddish eyes. Hiking up His dhoti, Gauranga made roaring sounds. Laughing slowly and deeply, He shouted in ecstasy, “I’ve taken sannyasa!” (excerpt from Chaitanya Mangala)

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Tonight is the Sharad Purnima Maha Rasa-lila. Sri Radha is gorgeously dressed in a moonlight white sari, and adorned with pearl and moonstone necklaces, flower malas of juhi, mogra and chameli, and anointed with camphor and white chandan. Ah, such a beautiful night with soothing, romantic moonshine and cooling sand caressing passionately dancing lotus feet. The perfect night for a rasa dance!

Were Radha’s loyal maidservants, Her kinkaris and manjaris, present in the Rasa-lila? The Srimad -Bhagavatam does not clearly mention the presence of manjaris in the Rasa-lila. Before the advent of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu no one had written about any distinction between the sakhis and manjaris.

Sri Rupa Goswamipada, however, lists the names of eighteen manjaris in Radha-Krishna Ganoddesha Dipika. Thus the secret existence of Radha’s manjaris, and the practice of manjari bhava sadhana is the merciful gift of Sri Chaitanyadeva, and the Six Goswamis, who are themselves eternal manjaris in Vraja.

By their life styles and writings, the Six Goswamis personally taught the way of serving Srimati Radharani in manjari bhava.

From the following verse, Sri Rupa Goswamipada, who is Sri Rupa Manjari in Krishna-lila, proves that Radha’s manjaris were present during the Rasa dance:

“O Radha! When will my heart fill with pride as I see from afar (dure- drshtva) how Keshava leaves all the lotus-eyed girls of Vraja at the start of the Rasa dance, and takes You to a lonely place where He decorates You with flowers under Your command?” (Utkalika Vallari v.42)

Sri Sri Yugal Kishor enjoyed wonderfully intimate pastimes when They left all the gopis during the Rasa-lila. Sri Rupa Manjari was personally there seeing and relishing everything from a short distance.

Radharani’s manjaris are so supremely fortunate that they can enjoy pastimes of Radha and Krishna that even the sakhis cannot. The manjaris accompanied Sri Radha when Krishna abruptly disappeared from the Rasa lila. This is because Radha’s manjaris are one with Sri Radha’s heart, completely equal to Srimati but with separate bodies.

During Krishna’s intimate pastimes, Swamini is not at all shy before Her manjaris, who render special services at that time. The manjaris are always close to Srimati’s lotus feet.

Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada describes the phenomenal closeness of the manjaris, “During Radha-Madhava’s most intimate kunja-lilas, Radharani sometimes sits the manjaris on Her play-bed and covers them with the sheets, paryanka-adhishthapitam-va- vastrair- vacchaditam-kvacit!” (Vrndavana Mahimamrita 8.23)

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada says the manjaris were very much present during the Rasa-lila, and they offered many tasteful personal sevas to please Radha Govinda Yugala at that time.

He explains, “When the silvery liquid nectar of moonlight splashes on Yamuna’s camphor white, sandy banks, and You, Radha, euphorically dance the Rasa with Sri Hari, I will expertly play the vina which You personally taught me.”

“After the rasa dance You, Krishna and Your sakhis will rest in a malati nikunja, and I will affectionately give You many sweet grapes, mangoes, bananas and pomegranates.”

“Radha when Your amorous nikunja lilas are over I will sweetly put You and Your beloved Priyatama to rest on a bed of lotus petals. Then I will give You and Shyam betel-nuts to chew.”

‘I will massage Your lotus feet, anoint them with kunkuma powder, smell the wonderful ocean of their fragrance, and gaze on their delicate beauty with my eyes.” (Sankalpa Kalpa Druma v. 16-19)

Just see the incredible fortune and bliss the manjaris experience in Sri Radha’s personal seva! (shastra courtesy Sri Advaita Dasji)

Manjaris in Rasa-lila ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

This series of posts will present facts (tattva) regarding the identity, moods (gopi-bhava), intimacy and sevas of Srimati Radharani’s beautiful and talented handmaidens known as manjaris, kinkaris, or dasis.

Also we will present many astonishing and wonderful lilas to highlight the manjaris most personal and confidential sevas to Srimati Radhika and Her dearest Priyatama Shyamasundara.

The information here is based on the commentaries of Advaitavamsa Acharya 108 Sri Ananda Gopala Goswami and 108 Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji Maharaja taken from “Vilapa Kusumanjali” and “Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi” translated by Sri Advaita Dasji.

Manjari Lila: Radha Rewards Her Manjari

Sri Rupa Manjari has arranged for Radha-Krishna to meet in a kunja, so They want to reward her. Shyam holds Radha’s face and pushes His chewed betel leaves into Radha’s mouth.

Radha then makes a disgusted look as if to say: “Yek! Do I have to chew the remnants of this debauchee, whose mouth kisses so many other girls?”

Glancing toward Sri Rupa Manjari, Radha then spits the chewed betel leaves out on a plate. In this way, the maidservants are also blessed with Radha’s chewed food or spice remnants! How merciful Radha is!

“O Premamayi, Karunamayi Radhe! When will I be blessed by attaining a drop of Your mercy? I’m sitting here in Your Priya Radha Kunda, constantly waiting for the blessed day that I will get Your mercy!”

The practicing devotee should also become greedy for Radharani’s indescribable prasada. With such transcendental greed the devotee should enter the path of raganuga bhakti.

Absorbed in manjari bhava, Sarasvatipada prays:

sri –radhaya -madhura -madhurocchishta -piyusha –saram,
bhojam -bhojam -nava -nava –rasananda -magnah -kada -syam

“When will I be submerged in ever-new blissful rasa by repeatedly chewing the sweeter than sweet remnants of Sri Radha which are the essence of nectar?” (Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi 87)

How great are Radha’s feelings of mine-ness! The kinkaris want nothing else and know nothing else in this world but Sri Radhika’s lotus feet and Radha’s happiness. That’s why Radha is so merciful to them!

Tulasi-manjari has given her heart to Sri Radha. How much love and affection there is between them. The practicing devotee should also relish Swamini’s loving compassion when one remembers these transcendental pastimes. Remembrance of Radharani is most blissful.

Everything in this world is giving trouble and pain. So the devotee anxiously prays, “O Radhika! Don’t keep me in this material world anymore! Make me a maidservant of Your lotus feet! How long will I have to stay in this world while I’m winding up my material existence?”

Manjari Tattva: Intensity in Smarana

In the morning, Sri Radha walks to Nandagram along with Her sakhi manjaris. When Srimati becomes tired on the way Radha holds Her arm on Sri Rupa Manjari’s shoulder. The practicing devotee should think of oneself walking behind Radhika also, always worrying about Radha’s welfare and comfort.

We want to be always near our Swamini Sri Radha. Smarana means mental association. Smarana can only take place in the heart and mind of one who is free from the faults of attachment, hatred and so on.

When smarana becomes very intense this mental association becomes an actual experience. Sripada Ramanujacharya teaches: “When smarana deepens all other thoughts subside and the attention becomes one-pointed, which will result in actual experiences.” Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “By constant meditation, Krishna becomes manifest in the heart. (Caitanya Caritamrta 2.19.235)

When we hear and chant the holy words of the acharyas we experience nearness with Radha Govinda Yugala. Sri Krishna becomes happy when devotees relish the sweetness of each and every item of bhajan. 

Radharani’s manjaris ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

This series of posts will present facts (tattva) regarding the identity, moods (gopi-bhava), intimacy and sevas of Srimati Radharani’s beautiful and talented handmaidens known as manjaris, kinkaris, or dasis.

Also we will present many astonishing and wonderful lilas to highlight the manjaris most personal and confidential sevas to Srimati Radhika and Her dearest Priyatama Shyamasundara.

The information here is based on the commentaries of Advaitavamsa Acharya 108 Sri Ananda Gopala Goswami and 108 Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji Maharaja taken from “Vilapa Kusumanjali” and “Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi” translated by Sri Advaita Dasji.

Manjari Lila: Rasollasa and Bhavollasa 

When Swamini takes Her meal, Tulasi-manjari very carefully offers Radha the most exquisite incense and fans Radha according to the time of the year. Radha doesn’t know whether She tastes the nectar of Krishna’s lips or whether She eats the remnants of Krishna’s food!

After Sri Radhika and Her sakhis have relished the nectar of Krishna’s lips, Tulasi serves them rose and camphor scented drinking water. Tulasi’s pure love gives the water an extra flavour. While Radharani relaxes the manjaris joke with Radha as they did when Radha first fell in love with Krishna.

Mallika-manjari says, “Sakhi Radhe! Who has stolen Your heart? Tell us the truth! You are not so eager anymore as before to read books or to teach Your parrots eloquent verses! We never hear You gossiping or joking with Your friends anymore! How beautifully You were playing Your vina! But where has this all gone now?”

Manjari Tattva: Eagerness is Life

The manjaris are love personified. What to speak of the kinkaris, the whole of Vraja-dhama is the kingdom of love. When Radha meets Krishna She relishes rasollasa and when Sri Radha is separated from Shyam She tastes bhavollasa.

Radha feels a deeper bliss when She is separated from Krishna then when Radha is with Krishna. As Swamini meditates like that it is as if Shyam appears directly before Radha. The sweetness of clearly seeing Krishna enlivens the eyes. But still even the endlessly sweet Shyamsundara is fully subdued when He sees the natural sweetness of Radhika’s glances.

Eagerness to experience and taste all these things is the life of raga bhajana. The acharyas are extraordinary knowers of rasa. Their association can be attained by studying their books.

By hearing and discussing them and becoming absorbed in the mood of the acharyas, devotees can also become absorbed in these moods. Rasa can be relished when we accept the mood of the great saints.

Radharani’s manjaris ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

This series of posts will present facts (tattva) regarding the identity, moods (gopi-bhava), intimacy and sevas of Srimati Radharani’s beautiful and talented handmaidens known as manjaris, kinkaris, or dasis.

Also we will present many astonishing and wonderful lilas to highlight the manjaris most personal and confidential sevas to Srimati Radhika and Her dearest Priyatama Shyamasundara.

The information here is based on the commentaries of Advaitavamsa Acharya 108 Sri Ananda Gopala Goswami and 108 Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji Maharaja taken from “Vilapa Kusumanjali” and “Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi” translated by Sri Advaita Dasji.

Manjari Tattva: Mood for Vraja Vasa

The devotee should know that one’s bhajan is in a diseased state if one feels satisfied. One can measure one’s advancement and taste for bhajan by how much one is greedy, eager and unsatisfied with one’s experience of spiritual flavours. How eager Sri Rupa Goswamipada and Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami were!

All the pastime-places of Radha Govinda Yugala are still here in Vraja Mandal. Even today Radha-Krishna’s lilas are going on. When the devotee lives in Vraja one should feel: “O Radha-Shyam! Every day Your enjoying Your pastimes here in Vraja. Why I cannot see them? Please let me see Your ecstatic prema-filled lilas. Let me be so fortunate!

“I’m living in Vrndavana, the kingdom of devotional enthusiasm, but I’m simply engrossed in bodily consciousness. How unfortunate I am! When I hear and chant the great words of the acharyas I will certainly attain that devotional eagerness.”

The devotees should eagerly wander from forest to forest of Vraja, crying and crying: “O Vrndavana! O Vrajavasis! O Vrndavana’s sky, wind, trees, vines, deer and birds! Let everyone know that I am Radha ’s maidservant! You all be kind to me! Make this consciousness within me very firm!

‘’Radhe! Where are You? This whole forest is illuminated by Your golden splendour! Keep me alive with just one drop of Your spendor. Day and night this is the only prayer in my heart.”

We should stay in Vraja-vana in this mood, not having a liking for anything else. But unfortunately a soul like me likes many other things like profit, adoration, distinction, money and whatnot, despite living in Vraja-vana. Where will I find this treasure of my heart, for whom I have given my life?

Manjari Lila: Manjaris Revive Radhika

On Swamini’s order Tulasi-manjari has gone to Nandishvara to serve Shyam Radha’s cooked dishes. After Shyamasundara has eaten, mother Yashoda lovingly gives some of Krishna’s sweet remnants to Tulasi, so that she can bring them to Swamini. Dhanishtha had secretly mixed some of Krishna’s adharamrita in it.

Meanwhile, in Yavat, Sri Radhika has fainted out of powerful feelings of separation from Krishna. The sakhis cannot bring Radha back to consciousness. Then Tulasi returns from Nandishvara and sprinkles Radha’s earholes with drops of the nectaean stories about Krishna.

Sri Radhika immediately revives, sits up says: “O sakhi! In My dream My desert-like ears suddenly felt a shower of nectar!” Upon seeing Tulasi-manjari before Her, Srimati embraced her with extraordinary love knowing that Tulasi has come back after serving Krishna wholeheartedly.

Swamini asks Tulasi, “What did mother Yashoda say?”

Tulasi says, “Hey Shyamju! How can I describe mother Yashoda’s affection as she held her forehead on mine calling me Your maidservant?”

Swamini pulls Tulasi on Her lap and repeatedly asks her, “Has Krishna eaten nicely? I couldn’t cook so nicely! I’m sure Krishna didn’t like the sweets! You were nearby weren’t you?”

Swamini thoroughly questions Tulasi, and fortunate Tulasi gives sweet answers to all the questions. Thus rendering a wonderful service by submerging Swamini in the nectar ocean of talks about Krishna.

Radhika asked, “Did Krishna say anything to you?”

Tulasi replied, “How could Krishna speak in front of His superiors? But with His eyes Krishna asked me if He could meet You tonight in Vrndavana? I answered Krishna with hints from my eyes, ‘Surely You will meet Your beloved sweetheart Radhika!’”

Swamini says, “Tulasi! Look at Me once! I’m so unfortunate that I could not see Krishna personally! So let Me see if Krishna is hidden in your eyes or not!” Then Radharani gazes into Tulasi’s eyes without blinking, and sees that her eyes are full of tears and her body is shivering of ecstatic love.

Radha says, “O Tulasi-manjari! When I look into your eyes I can understand that you have seen Krishna! Otherwise your eyes could never have looked so beautiful!”

What a wonderful service Tulasi renders by carrying Krishna’s picture to Swamini in her eyes! Blessed is this maidservant! Now Sri Radha starts to take Her meal. How wonderful is Tulasi’s expertise in service.

Radharani’s manjaris ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

This series of posts will present facts (tattva) regarding the identity, moods (gopi-bhava), intimacy and sevas of Srimati Radharani’s beautiful and talented handmaidens known as manjaris, kinkaris, or dasis.

Also we will present many astonishing and wonderful lilas to highlight the manjaris most personal and confidential sevas to Srimati Radhika and Her dearest Priyatama Shyamasundara.

The information here is based on the commentaries of Advaitavamsa Acharya 108 Sri Ananda Gopala Goswami and 108 Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji Maharaja taken from “Vilapa Kusumanjali” and “Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi” translated by Sri Advaita Dasji.

Manjari Lila: Serving Beside Radha

Meanwhile, one gopi named Candanakala comes to Yavat, and tells Radhika that Queen Yashoda has ordered Her to cook Krishna’s evening meal. Rasavati Rai personally begins to cook sweets for Shyam just to remain patient. Swamini wears a thin sari, and Radha’s head is not covered with Her veil because Srimati is in Her own home.

One new manjari, Mallika-dasi, then cleans Radha’s kitchen, makes a fire in the stove, cleans the pot and puts it on the stove. Mallika brings water, coconuts, ghee, small bananas, sugar and farina.

Then she grinds black pepper and hands it to Radha while Radha blissfully sits down on a stool. Mallika-dasi’s eyes flood with delight while watching Priyaji prepare Amrita Kelika pies and other savories for Her Priyatama.

While assisting Srimati, Mallika-dasi jokes with Swamini saying, “Hey Shyamaju! The cooling camphor and sandalpaste I just put on Your body to extinguish the fire of Your separation from Krishna immediately dried into dust! But how amazing! Now the fire You’re using to cook cakes for Krishna is quickly cooling You off!” Hearing this, Kishori then affectionately taps Mallika on the cheek with Her finger.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Manjari Lila: Radha Trusts Her Manjaris

After cooking Krishna’s evening meal in Yavat, Swamini puts all the preparations on golden plates and covers them with sheets. Sriji has full faith that Tulasi-manjari and the other maidservants will feed Krishna as if She Herself is doing it.

Tightly hugging Tulasi-manjari, Radha says: “Tulasi, go now to Nandagram! I cannot go Myself, but I will be as much satisfied when you feed Krishna as when I would do it Myself!”

Srimati holds Tulasi to Her chest and lovingly hands her the dishes for Her Prananatha. How affectionate Swamini is to Tulasi-manjari!

The practicing devotee should awaken feelings like: “O! Will I not get such affection from Radha even one day in my life? My heart cries for getting that affection! O Radhaju, please have mercy and keep me at the feet of Your Rupa and Your Tulasi!”

Crying like this, the sadhaka will faint and bring down the shower of Swamini’s mercy. How mercifully Swamini keeps the maidservant at Her chest! Such compassion as the maidservants enjoy cannot be found anywhere else.

“O Swamini! I want to spend my whole life with the awareness that I am Your maidservant!” If one cherishes this desire one will indeed be able to spend one’s whole life in this mood.

The manjari prays, “I have to serve Shyam while my heart is merged in Swamini’s heart and my eyes are merged in Madhavi’s eyes.” Such a sweet service cannot be found anywhere!

Radharani considers the kinkaris to be Her own: “My Rupa! My Tulasi! My Mallika! My maidservant!”

Mallika-dasi prays, “O Swamini! I don’t want anything else but to belong to Your group! Please take me by the hand and accept me as Your maidservant!”

Such an aspiration should also awaken within the hearts of the practicing devotees. What an excellent service this is! The Goswamis cried for such service with breaking hearts!

Radharani’s manjaris ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

This series of posts will present facts (tattva) regarding the identity, moods (gopi-bhava), intimacy and sevas of Srimati Radharani’s beautiful and talented handmaidens known as manjaris, kinkaris, or dasis.

Also we will present many astonishing and wonderful lilas to highlight the manjaris most personal and confidential sevas to Srimati Radhika and Her dearest Priyatama Shyamasundara.

The information here is based on the commentaries of Advaitavamsa Acharya 108 Sri Ananda Gopala Goswami and 108 Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji Maharaja taken from “Vilapa Kusumanjali” and “Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi” translated by Sri Advaita Dasji.

Manjari Tattva: Radha’s Speciality

Although millions of gopis dance ecstatically during the Rasa-dance Krishna’s gaze is fixed only on Sri Radha. How wonderfully sweet are these pastimes! During the rasa, Shyam embraces one gopi, kisses one gopi and enjoy intimately with another. Krishna can please everyone, but only Sri Radhika can please Krishna. This is Radha’s speciality!

Sri Ramananda Raya told Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: “Not even a billion gopis can extinguish the blazing fire of Krishna’s lusty desires.” (Caitanya Caritamrta 2.8.116) Only Radhika can do this, so just see the unique glories of Sri Radha!

Manjari Tattva:  Awaken Divine Wants

While doing bhajan the mind must meet the minds of the acharyas. For attaining Radharani’s service the devotee must give one’s whole mind to Radha, giving up everything else! Srimati Radharani’s face looks very beautiful when Radha looks at Her dedicated maidservants after they have satisfied Radha with their seva.

The neophyte should not serve as one likes. One should serve according to Sri Radha’s wish, following in the footsteps of those who understand Radha’s mind.

The Gaudiya Vaisnavas taking shelter of Radha-Krishna Yugala bhajana should wholeheartedly follow in the footsteps of Sri Rupa Goswamipada and Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami. They are Radharani’s manjaris from Vraja Dhama who have descended to earth with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to teach expertise in serving Radha and Krishna.

They are very eager to teach the world how the maidservants must serve Radha Govinda Yugala. Because their books Stavamala and Stavavalli are filled with their experiences and expertise in bhajana, they are most valuable and relishable for raganuga sadhakas. From these confidential treasures of bhajana one can learn how to be eager for devotional service.

The acharyas have taught: do bhajana by awakening your want! When feelings of separation have awoken everything can be given up. This stage should be reached through the sane process of balanced detachment and sincere selfless devotion.

One must practise great patience and not try to jump artificially to soaring heights. When I will attain Radha-Madhava’s lotus feet, then all contamination will disappear from my mind and all anxiety will go far away.

Radharani manjaris ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Nandotsava in Puri

Srila Raghunatha Dasa Goswamipada describes Mahaprabhu’s celebration of Nandotsava: Krishna On Nandotsava, Sri Gauranga and His devotees dressed as cowherd boys and carried heavy pots with yoghurt and milk on their shoulders. When they came to the festival-grounds, they chanted ‘Hari! Hari!’ Kanai Khutiya dressed as father Nanda and Jagannatha Mahati as Queen Yasoda.

The Lord took King Prataparudra, Kasi Mishra, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya and Tulasi Podichapatra all along in a swinging dance, and everyone was sprinkled with yoghurt, milk and turmeric-water.” (Gauranga Stava Kalpadruma 9)

Krishna’s Childhood Nandotsava

In Krishna’s sixth year, Nanda Maharaja organized a grand festival (Nandotsava) to celebrate Krishna’s auspicious birthday. Krishna sat upon a celestial golden throne and all the Vrajagopis came to worship Him. The loud pounding of the bheri drums, the dhintadhinta sounds from the mrdangas and dundubhis, and the skillful beats on the dolaks announced the auspicious festival of Krishna’s birthday. The joyous vibration of the occasion was enhanced by the excited voices and jingling ankle-bells of the elderly gopis as they greeted the various guests.

The learned brahmanas bathed Krishna with thousands of streams of pure water poured from crystal pitchers while purifying the environment with perfectly enunciated mantras. This added waves of attraction to Krishna’s already gorgeous body. They dried Krishna with a fine linen cloth, dressed Him in a yellow silk dhoti and chaddar, decorated Him with glittering gems, and anointed Krishna’s forehead with gorocana tilaka. After fixing His jeweled bracelets and armbands, they tied some durva grass around Krishna’s wrist with turmeric soaked thread.

Following the local customs of such blissful festivals, the merciful Yasoda blessed Krishna by showering flowers upon His head. The elderly gopis sang traditional Vrajabhasha songs and waved lamps respectfully before Krishna. He, who is kind to His friends and the object of the gopis’ love, sat quietly on His asana accepting arati. Then the Vrajavasis very enthusiastically and joyfully offered Krishna wonderful gifts and a variety of creamy milk sweets.

To properly complete the festival, Yasoda had her servants invite the general public. Yasoda offered palatable food to the wives of the village leaders, the married women and the young girls of Vrindavana. Nanda Maharaja invited the cowherd men such as Sananda, Upananda, and their wives to take the sumptuous foods cooked by Rohini, the crest-jewel among women. When the cowherd men arrived Yasoda honored their youngest sons by worshiping them and offering pearl necklaces.

Though pained by separation from their husbands because they had to accompany their mothers-in-law to the festival, the newly married gopis put on ornate and elegant ankle-length dresses. The tender faces of these newlyweds glowed splendidly under the fine fabric of their veils.

The gopis felt intensely attracted to Krishna, so they revealed their loving sentiments by offering Him their sidelong glances in charity. Their bangles fell silent as they embraced Krishna with their eyes. They felt as if they were beholding a bouquet of beautiful flowers. No one noticed the auspicious meeting of Krishna and the gopis.

Though they had seen Krishna before, the young unmarried gopis like Dhanya-sakhi just stood with their mothers and gazed timidly upon Him as if it was the first time. While bathing in the lake of Krishna’s exquisite beauty, the unmarried gopis expressed their desire to be His wives by offering Him mental flowers scented with camphor. They became shy, however, when Krishna accepted their proposal with a favorable glance. No one could detect the infinite bliss the gopis now relished within their hearts.

At that time, Krishna’s pet parrot left His side and landed on the lotus held by gopi whose heart throbbed with love. Hoping to hear news of Krishna that excited gopi respectfully welcomed the parrot. Understanding the parrot’s hint, Krishna cast the fresh lotus garland of His glance toward Radha, the daughter of Vrshabhanu. Krishna’s glance seemed to say, O parrot! I saw this same gopi gazing at Me from the watchtower as I took the cows to the forest.

No one else saw this secret exchange of sweet love. Understanding that Radha’s body had become slender due to Her purva-raga, Krishna looked upon Her with great compassion. Then Yasoda, shining with all auspicious qualities, smiled gently and took lotus-faced Radhika and the other gopis to another room to feed them.

After worshiping His best cows with scents and garlands, Vrajaraja Nanda escorted his guests to a wide jeweled veranda and sat them down on wooden seats. Then he bathed their feet, performed acamana, and offered arghya. Nanda arranged for Rohini and the wives of Sananda and Upananda to respectfully serve them first-class food and drink on gold plates. At the conclusion of the meal, Nanda personally gave them betel nut, cardamom, scents, garlands, and ornaments.

After the elderly men, children, and babies had eaten the feast, the married women and girls sat down in two rows to eat. Radhika and others received respect according to their position. Yasoda swam in an ocean of happiness as she personally served the gopis. In a voice that sounded as sweet as pattering raindrops of nectar, Yasoda spoke to each guest, “Please do not feel shy. Just eat to your heart’s content.”

Yasoda affectionately served everyone, and then honored them with offerings of betel nuts, garlands, ointments, sindura, and gold embroidered cloth. Finally, Yasoda, the crest jewel of good fortune, embraced each of the gopis before sending them home. Smiling broadly, Yasoda distributed the remnants of the feast to the sinless residents of the village.

Nanda Maharaja presented gifts to the dancers and musicians while Yasoda blessed them with her upraised palm. Upon concluding the festival, Yasoda thought holding such a festival everyday would surely fulfill all her desires. For a moment she felt a touch of sadness, fearing that she may not have fully satisfied all the guests.

Sri Krishna Nandotsava ki jai! 

Kaviraja Sri Karnapura Goswami’s Ananda Vrindavana Campu ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

SRI GURU GIVES THE SIDDHA DEHA

The reception of a disciple’s eternal transcendental form, siddha deha, begins with receiving a siddha bhava from Sri Guru at the time of diksha.

The Guru’s individual siddha bhava i.e. one’s eternal fixed loving relationship with Sri Krishna (sthayi-rati) is hidden within the Gopal and Kama-gayatri mantras Sri Guru gives at the time of diksha. Sri Sanatana Goswami confirms the non-difference of Sri Guru and the diksha mantras:

yo- mantra -sa -guruh -sakshad -yo -guruh -sa -harih -svayam

Sri Brahmaji said (Vaman Kalpa), “The diksha mantra is identical to the Guru and the Guru is identical to Bhagavan Sri Hari Himself.” (Bhakti Sandarbha 237: Hari Bhakti Vilasa 4.353). Thus by chanting the diksha mantas, the sincere disciple gradually develops the same sthayi-rati, siddha bhava, as that of Sri Guru.

Right at the time of diksha, the Guru may give a siddha deha to an exceptionally qualified disciple. But usually this is done after some time. One can think that the following direct words of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu indicate receiving a siddha deha from Sri Guru at the time of diksha:

diksha -kale -bhakta -kare -atma-samarpana
sei-kale –krishna -tare -kare atma-sama

“At the time diksha, when a disciple fully surrenders to Sri Guru, Sri Krishna accepts the disciple and makes one as spiritual as Himself.”

Mahaprabhu further says:

sei -deha -kare -tara –cid -ananda-maya
aprakrta-dehe -tanra -carana -bhajaya

“Krishna makes the sadhaka’s body full of transcendental bliss (cid-ananda-maya). Then in one’s spiritual body, siddha deha (aprakrta-deha), one worships the lotus feet of Sri Krishna.”
(Caitanya Caritamrta 3.4.193-4)

In the following verses, Sri Jiva Goswamipada explains how at the time of diksha, the merciful Guru gives divine knowledge of one’s constitutional nature, and special knowledge about the disciple, which many Gurus take to mean revealing the disciple’s siddha deha.

divyam -gyanam -srimati -mantre -bhagavat-svarupa-gyanam,
tena -bhagavata -sambandha-vishesha-gyanam

“At diksha, the Guru gives knowledge of Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s form within a potent mantra, and special knowledge of the disciple’s specific relationship with Bhagavan Sri Krishna, the beautiful mantra Devata.” (Bhakti Sandarbha 283)

In the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya, divya gyanam means knowledge of the jiva’s particular relationship with God which is one of eternal service, jivera -svarupa -haya -krishna -nitya-dasa (Caitanya Caritamrta 2.20.108). Knowledge of a specific relationship can mean the sadhaka’s manjari form (siddha deha) with Sri Gopijanavallabha, the mantra Devata.

upasanam -sakshad -vraja-jana-visheshayaiva –mahyam
sri -guru-caranair -mad-abhishta-vishesha-siddhy-artham -upadishtam

“While worshiping the Gopal diksha mantra, I meditate to develop myself as a specific person in Vraja (my siddha deha) that Sri Guru’s lotus feet have instructed me in to attain the specific siddhi I covet.” (Bhakti Sandarbha 312)

In verse 283, Sri Jiva Goswamipada speaks in a general way about Sri Guru giving special knowledge to the disciple. But in verse 312, Sri Jiva Goswamipada tells exactly what is that special knowledge, namely the knowledge of the disciple’s individual siddha deha!

SADHANA BHAJAN IN SIDDHA DEHA

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu instructs how to practice raganuga bhakti sadhana in siddha deha:

ataeva -gopi-bhava -kari -angikara
ratri-dina -cinte -radha-krishnera -vihara
siddha-dehe –chinti -kare -tahanni -sevana
sakhi-bhave -paya –radha -krishnera -carana

“Certainly, one must accept gopi-bhava, and think of Radha-Krishna’s asta-kaliya lila. Also one must think of doing seva in one’s siddha deha. By this gopi-bhava one will attain the lotus feet of Radha-Krishna.” (Caitanya Caritamrta 2.8.228-9)

KRISHNA MANIFESTS THE SIDDHA DEHA OF YOUR MEDITATION

In the Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Brahmaji describes how Bhagavan Sri Krishna reveals the siddha deha to the raganuga bhakti sadhaka.

yad -yad –dhiya -ta -urugaya -vibhavayanti,
tat -tad -vapuh -pranayase -sad -anugrahaya

Sri Brahmaji said, “O Bhagavan Sri Krishna! You are so merciful to Your devotees that You manifest Yourself in the particular eternal form of transcendence in which they always think of You.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.9.11)

The key words are tat -tad-vapuh, which mean a corresponding body. It can be Krishna’s body or one’s individual spiritual body, siddha deha. Grammatically both are possible and both are explained as such by the tikakaras. Sridhar Swami and Srinatha Chakravarti say it refers to Krishna’s showing a particular form of Himself.

However, in his tika, Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada says that Sri Krishna gives the sadhaka the siddha deha that one has been continually meditating upon.

sva-bhavanurupam -yad-yad-dhiya -bhavayanti,
tat -tad -eva -vapus tesham -siddha-deham,
pranayase –prakarshena -tan –prapayasi

“The sadhaka bhaktas, according to their bhava, meditate on their siddha dehas which Bhagavan Sri Krishna will give them.”

In His final personal teaching to Sri Rupa Goswamipada, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said:

bhavite -bhavite -krishna -sphuraye -antare
krishna-kripaya -agya -paya -rasa-sindhu-pare

“Krishna will manifest whatever siddha deha one continually thinks of. And by Krishna’s mercy one will attain the ocean of rasa.” (Caitanya Caritamrta 2.19.236)

Based on the Shastra praman of the Srimad Bhagavatam, Caitanya Caritamrta and the teachings of the Six Goswamis, this post has shown how the combined mercy of Sri Guru and Bhagavan Sri Krishna gives one a siddha deha, eternal spiritual form.

For the last 535 years, the traditional parivars within the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya have been teaching the method of raganuga bhakti sadhana as introduced and personally taught by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to His followers. That system has been presented here.

In summary, one takes diksha from Sri Guru, and receives specific information about one’s individual siddha deha, either immediately during diksha or sometime later according to the will of Sri Guru. The disciple then practices raganuga bhakti sadhana as delineated above by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Then the all-merciful Bhagavan Sri Krishna will kindly give that same siddha deha to the fortunate disciple. Thus the mercy of Sri Guru and Sri Krishna work beautifully together to bring one to spiritual perfection.

(shastra insight courtesy of Sri Advaita Dasji)

Sri Krishna kripa ki jai! Sri Guru kripa ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!