Unique gift of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Manjari bhava sadhana : Radha Snehadhika


 

Devotion to Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu is the key :

In the Caitanya-candrāmṛta, Śrīla Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī states –

yathā yathā gaura-padāravinde vindeta bhaktiṁ kṛta-puṇya-rāśiḥ |
tathotsarpati hṛdy akasmād rādhā-padāmbhoja-sudhāmbu-rāśiḥ || Caitanya-candrāmṛta 78

“As much as an aspirant devotee develops devotion for the Lord Gaurāṅga by the grace of those intimate with him, that is the extent to which the ocean of nectar of love for the service of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī manifests suddenly in his heart.”

The purport is that as much as a devotee experiences Mahāprabhu directly through devotion, that is the extent to which he will realize the nature and extent of Rādhārāṇī’s mahā-bhāva and its different external manifestations.The glory of Rādhā’s love for Kṛṣṇa will be comprehended by the aspirant devotees through Mahāprabhu to the fullest extent and as a result he will know and feel love for Her as Her maidservant.– Srila Kunjabihari Das Babaji Maharaj.


 

A Note :

Any bhava except Krishna snehadhika in Madhurya Rasa is allowed in Gaudiya Vaishnavism . But as nikunj seva is the mood of Gaudiya tradition so it is promoted by us . The intention is that that the sadhaka who has not attained his sthayi bhava might be encouraged by hearing these descriptions. This is the sole intention of the acharyas who wish sadhakas to accept the unique gift of Sriman Mahaprabhu.

An example of that is Srila Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī who himself being one of the asta sakhis glorifies the manjaris as the epitome of devotion.

Prabhodananda Saraswati  writes in his Vrndavana Mahamamrta 2.35 as follows:

“Glorious are those persons who desire to climb out of the well of material existence and attain liberation; even more glorious are they who have dedicated themselves to the service of the Lord. Even more elevated are those who have become attached to the lotus feet of ´Sri Krsna. Those who love the husband of Queen Rukminı are superior again to them; more praiseworthy still are those who are dear to the son of Yasoda. More glorious again are those who have made friends with the comrade of Subala. More glorious again than them are those who worship the Lord as the lover of the gopıs. Yet standing at the head of all the devotees in creation are those whose thoughts have been washed away by the great flow of sacred rapture emanating from the daughter of King Vrsabhanu, Radha, and worship her above all.”

 

“When the rati of sakhis (for Srimati Radharani) such as Lalita is equal or less than the passion for Sri Krishna, then we call their rati for Srimati Radharani as the ‘passing rati’, and that rati also nourishes their passion for Sri Krishna. However when the rati for Srimati Radharani is more than the passion for Sri Krishna, and keeps on increasing due to constant absorption in that rati, we call that passion as ‘bhavollasa’.”
– (B.R.S.)

 

Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta by Srila Sanātana Gosvāmi(Verse 2.1.21) states:
ye sarva-nairapekṣyeṇa
rādhā-dāsyecchavaḥ param
saṅkīrtayanti tan-nāma
tādṛśa-priyatā-mayāḥ
They chant His names and are full of unique love for Him. Indifferent to everything else, they want only to become servants of Śrī Rādhā.

Commentary by Srila Sanātana Gosvāmi: “The devotees of Śrī Rādhā, who is the dearmost beloved of Lord Madana-gopāla, are not impersonalists void of desires. They are fully confident that if Śrī Rādhikā accepts them as Her servants, everything they desire will be achieved, and more. The privilege of serving Śrī Rādhā is the rarest goal of life, and it is fitting that this privilege be attainable only by executing the most excellent of sādhanas.”

Srila Narottama das Thakur Mahashaya has written in his Prema-Bhakti-Chandrika text 51 –
“Equal affection for Radha and Krisna or more affection for Krishna than for Sri Radha – do not become attached to that. I will just speak about preference for Sri Radha! They are always in Her company, blissfully telling Her about Krisna. They are all called narma sakhis.”

The reason the acharyas have documented these loving sentiments is to distribute  the unique gift of Mahaprabhu .

 


 

The unique gift : An introduction:

Srila Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj in Vilapa Kusumanjali explains as follows :

 

Manjari bhava sadhana, the spiritual practice in the mood of a maidservant of Srimati Radharani, is the unique gift of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to the fallen souls of  this age of Kali (quarrel), and it has been preached and spread particularly by His dearest associates sri-sri Rupa and Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.

There are two kinds of madhura rati (conjugal mellows) in Vraja: 1) sambhogecchatmika (nayika bhava, the mood of an amorous heroine) and 2) tad bhavecchatmika (sakhi-bhava, the mood of an  amorous accomplice). In Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (1.2.299), srila Rupa Gosvami states: tadbhavecchatmika tasaà bhava madhurya kamita: “The devotional attitude of wanting to assist sri Radha and other yuthesvaris (gopi groupleaders) in meeting sri Krisna and enjoying  amorous pastimes with Him and to relish the sweetness of these pastimes rather than to enjoy with Krishna personally is called tad-bhavecchatmika or sakhi-bhava.  This attitude attracts the hero and heroine and awakens a causeless, completely sincere and unlimited love for the yuthesvari or nayika. Indeed, the heroine becomes dearer  to such a devotee than his (her) own life-airs or even self! Sri Radha has five kinds of girlfriends:

asyah vrindavanesvaryah sakhya panca-vidhah matah
sakhyasca nitya sakhyas ca prana-sakhyas ca kascana
priya-sakhyas ca parama prestha sakhyas ca visrutah (Ujjvala Nilamani)

sakhis are for instance Dhanistha and Vindhya, who are krisna-snehadhika (they love Krisna more than Radha). priya-sakhis and parama prestha-sakhis are Kurangaksi and the eight chief sakhis, such as Lalita and Visakha. They are sama sneha (having equal love for Radha and Krisna), and the prana-sakhis and nitya-sakhis are Kasturi,  Mani Manjari and others, who are radha snehadhika (they love Radha more than Krishna).

They are called manjaris. Their bodies consist of nothing but devotional service, and although they are in the class of sakhis they are mostly surrendered to (assisting in) the intimate nikunja pastimes of sri-sri Radha-Madhava due to their fixation in a service attitude. The sweet, relishable raganuga bhajana of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas consists of allegiance to them.

sri rupa manjari ara, sri rati manjari sara,
lavanga manjari manjulali.
sri rasa manjari sange, kasturika adi range,
prema seva kore kutuholi

“Blissfully render loving devotional service with sri Rupa Manjari, sri Rati Manjari, Lavanga Manjari, Manjulali Manjari, sri Rasa Manjari, Kasturika and others.”

e sabhara anuga hoiya, prema seva nibo caiya,
ingite bujhibo sab kaja.
rupe gune dagamagi, sada hobo anuragi,
vasati koribo sakhira majha

“I will follow in their footsteps and render loving devotional service. Simply on their hints I will understand what is my duty. I will always be passionately absorbed in Radha and Krisna’s forms and qualities while I reside amongst the sakhis.”


 

Vilapa Kusumanjali explains this unique gift of Mahaprabhu:

 

 

Srimati Rupa Manjari has accomplished the meeting of Radhika and syamasundara in a solitary cave of Govardhana Hill, and  she secretly looks through a hole in that  cave to witness Their sweet love-pastimes. Radha and syama are both intoxicated  by Each other’s presence. How expertly are They playing Their pastimes! At the end of  these pastimes Syamasundara bites Srimati’s lips, leaving a mark there. The relationship between Radhika and Rupa Manjari is so pure that all the signs of  Krishna’s lovemaking on Sri Radhika’s body, such as His bitemarks on Her lips, become manifest on sri Rupa Manjari’s body  also. sri Rupa Manjari is beside herself of ecstasy, so she’s not aware of this reflection. Then she thinks to herself: “Aha! My sakhi Tulasi Manjari (Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami) has not seen these sweet pastimes! Where is she? Alas, I should  bring her here and show this to her!”, so she leaves the window and starts searching for Tulasi. When Tulasi meets Rupa  Manjari, she notices Krishna’s bite marks on her lips and jokingly asks her :


 

“My dear friend Rupa Manjari! You never look at  the faces of other men! You’re famous in Vraja for your chastity! But, despite the fact that your husband is not at home, I see that your lips have been bitten! Has some great parrot maybe done this?” (VK verse 1)


 

If anyone considers the words suka pungavena to indicate that sri Rupa Manjari was enjoyed by Sri Krisna, then that would contradict the definition the acaryas have given of the manjaris within their books.

ananya sri radha padakamala dasyaika rasadhi
hareh sange rangam svapana samaye na’pi dadhati
balat krisna kurpasakabhidi kim apy acarati ka-
py udasrur meveti pralapati mamatma ca hasati (Vrindavana Mahimamrita 16, 94)

The maidservants, that are exclusively devoted to the service of sri Radha’s lotus feet, that are like an ocean of nectar,  do not enjoy with sri Hari even in their dreams. When Krisna forcibly pulls at their bodices they cry out: ‘No, no!’, while Radhika watches and laughs.”

Srimati laughs here because of the kinkaris’ loyalty to Her service. The bee enjoys the flowers, not the buds (manjaris). The buds (manjaris) enhance the bee’s thirst for the flowers. They are manjaris in name,  manjaris in form and manjaris in nature! Sri Rupa is the bud of Sri Radha’s form (rupa manjari), Sri Rati Manjari is the bud of srimati love (rati), Sri Vilasa Manjari is the bud of sri Radha’s love-play (vilasa). Sri Krishna accepts defeat at their bhava-nistha.

radha ranga lasat tad ujjvala kala sancarana prakriya
caturyottaram eva sevanam ahaà govinda samprarthaye
yenasesa vadhu janodbhata manorajya prapancavadhau
nautsukyaà bhavad anga sangama rase’py alambate man manah (Ujjvala Nilamani Sakhi 88)

One sakhi was picking flowers for making a vana-mala and Krishna, seeing her, told her:  “O beautiful girl! Make your birth a  success by joining Me for a while in this kunja! ” Hearing this, that sakhi (manjari) said: “O Govinda! I only want to serve  while You make love with Sri Radha, showing Your brilliant amorous skills on the stage of erotic dancing named Sri Radha!  All the girls of Vraja find the limit of perfection on the strength of this service, therefore, O Gokula-candra! My mind is never eager to relish the rasa of Your Ananga-sanga (erotic union). Please just engage me in this long-desired service!”

Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti writes in his ‘ananda Candrika’ commentary on this verse:
tvaya saha sanga sanga sukhad api jala randhradau sri radhanga-sanga darsanotthaà sukham adhikam anubhutaà man manasa. na hi labdhadhika sukha jana alpe sukhe pravartante iti bhavah.

“I relish more pleasure in witnessing Your sports with Sri Radha in the kunja looking through the holes in the vines than in personally enjoying with You. People don’t endeavour for a smaller happiness when they can  attain greater happiness!”

Even Sri Radha Herself fails in having them meet with Sri Krishna:

tvaya yad upabhujyate murajid anga sange sukham
tad eva bahu janati svayam avaptitah suddha-dhih
maya krita vilobhanapy adhika caturi caryaya
kadapi mani manjari na kurute’bhisara sprihaà

Sri Radhika engaged one sakhi to make Mani Manjari meet with Krishna, but that sakhi returned to Radha unsuccessfully,  saying: “O Radhe! Mani Manjari finds more happiness in Your meeting with Krishna than in her own! Just see how pure her  consciousness is! Although I expertly tried to tempt her to go out and meet Krishna, she never desires this!” (Ujjvala Nilamani, sakhi prakarana 89)


The special reward:

The SPECIAL REWARD the manjaris get from their abhinava bhava-suddhi (novel, immaculate attitude) is unatttainable even for  the prestha sakhis like Sri Lalita. Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has written in his Vraja Vilasa Stava (38):

tambularpana pada-mardana payo danabhisaradibhir
vrindaranya mahesvarià priyataya yas tosayanti priyah
prana prestha sakhi kulad api kilasankocita bhumikah
keli bhumisu rupa manjari mukhas ta dasikah saàsraye

“I seek the refuge of Srimati Radharani’s maidservants headed by Sri Rupa Manjari – who can move freely and unhesitatingly in the sports ground of Sri Sri Radha- Krishna’s love-making – that even the pran-preshtha sakhis such as Lalita cannot –  and they constantly please Srimati Radharani, Who is the controller of Sri Vrindavana, with their sweet seva, such as offering tambul, massaging feet, offering water and helping in abhisar.”

Another translation:

“I take shelter of Sri Radhika’s maidservants, headed by Rupa Manjari, that always engage in serving betel leaves, massaging the feet, serving water, and arranging for the Divine Couple’s secret trysts. These maidservants are even more dear to the great Queen of Vrndavana (Sri Radhika) than the prana prestha sakhis (the girlfriends that are dearer to Her than life), and She is therefore not at all shy before them!”

[Note: Here “move freely and unhesitatingly in the sports ground of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna’s love-making – that even the  pran-preshtha sakhis such as Lalita cannot” includes watching the conjugal pastimes from the holes of the kunja. The other sakhis are never present there as Srimati ji is shy to enjoy conjugal in their presence and she also arranges for the sambhoga of other sakhis in order to please them at that time or after that as will be presented later . In either case only Manjaris are with Radharani and can watch the intimate sambhoga lila(conjugal pastimes) of the Divine couple (through the holes of the kunja of course ) and offer their service as mentioned above after they are tired .This is meant by this verse. ]


 

The unique services offered by the manjaris after the conclusion of the conjugal  pastimes can be understood by the below verses :

“How wonderful is the love of the loving sakhis ! They serve Nagari (heroine Radhika) and Nagara (hero Krishna) with millions  of lives when They are tired of lovemaking, by filling Their mouths with betel leaves and by anointing Their bodies with sandalwood paste, vermilion, musk and camphor. Their love is so pure that it cannot even be compared to gold molten a hundred-thousand times over!”

“They offer enchanting garlands to Their necks, give Them a cool breeze by fanning Them, and relieve Them from Their heated affliction by offering Them cool and fragrant water.”

“These sakhis again softly massage Their feet and thus remove Their fatigue. On Their indication they put the Divine Pair to rest and fulfill any of Their other desires.”

“These girls, that are totally dedicated to their devotional service, then put the Divine Pair to sleep on a bed of flowers. All the mental distress of Radha Mohana dasa is mitigated when he sees this.”

The sweet relish of this confidential pastime of the Sri-Sri Yugala Kisora is the long-desired treasure of the manjaris.  Hence the manjaris never desire personal meetings with Sri Krisna. But that does not mean that they are deprived of this rasa. Their one-ness in feeling (bhava-tadatmya) with sri Radha is so remarkable that they experience all of Her bodily relish in a special way.

sprisati yadi mukundo radhikaà tat sakhinaà
bhavati vapusi kampa sveda romanca vaspam
adhara madhu mudasyas cet pibaty esa yatnad
bhavati bata tad asaà mattata citram etat

“How amazing! When Mukunda touches Radhika, Her girlfriends cry of ecstasy and their bodies tremble, perspire, and are studded with goosepimples, and when Krishna blissfully drinks the honey of Radhika’s lips (by kissing Her), then they all  become mad!” (Govinda Lilamrta 11.137)

Note : Even if the word sakhi is used in this verse they are indicating to manjaris who only witness the conjugal pastimes  through the holes and is in sync to above conclusions which Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has written in his Vraja Vilasa Stava (38). This does not include the sama sneha and krishna adhika sneha sakhis. A detailed explanation of this verse is provided later. A question may arise what do  the other sakhis do in the meantime ? The below references will explain the lilas from vilapa Kusumanjali verse 2 and 3 along with  tikas . Additional references from Govinda Lilamrita and Krishna bhavanamrita are presented later.


O Sthalakamalini (land-lotus)! It is fitting that you are laughing very proudly through your flower bunches, since, though all the flowers in the forest are anointed with fragrance, the black bee Krishna leaves them now to search for you only!(VK verse 2)


 

Later Rupa Manjari and Tulasi were peeking inside a cave of Govardhana Hill to enjoy a glimpse of Radha and Krishna’s sweet love  play, at the climax of which Krishna fainted of love-excitement. The transcendental youthful Cupid of Vrindavana is beside  Himself of ecstasy because of the wonderful ingredients of sri Radha’s madana maha bhava. Sri Radhika becomes very proud of  Her victory, accepting the mood of madiyata (Krisna is mine) in which the heroine controls the hero. (In the tadiyata mood – I am His – the hero controls the heroine) She proudly goes out of the kunja into a neighboring kunja where She makes Her  girlfriends relish the parihasa rasa (transcendental flavour of laughter and humour), laughing Her vara hasya (exquisite laugh) and saying: “The beautiful One is Mine!” Meanwhile, Krisna awakens from His ecstatic swoon and, not seeing His Priyaji anywhere, anxiously starts looking around for Her. Through a window in the cave Rupa Manjari and Tulasi relish the sweet sight of Sundara’s (beautiful Krisna’s) wonderful emotions when He cannot see their Svamini. For the maidservants Krishna is most beautiful when He is anxious to meet Sri Radha. With the brushes of their love they make a picture of this  eagerness on the canvases of their hearts and carry it to Sri Radha to show it to Her when She is separated from syamasundara. In this way they render wonderful prasanga-service to srimati. How blessed they are that they can say: “O Radhe! Out of separation from You syama is also very upset!”

vasati vipina vitane tyajati jhatiti dhama
luthati dharani sayane bahu vilapati tava nama

“For Your sake He has given up His beautiful home and lives in a forest-abode! He rolls around on the bed of the earth and  loudly laments, crying out Your name!” (Gita Govindam)

tuya patha cai, rai rai boli,
gada gada vikala parana
ksana eka koti, koti yuga manato,
hari vallabha paramana

“He looks down the road for You to come, saying “Rai! Rai!” with faltering voice and agitated heart, and He thinks one  moment without You lasts a million ages!” [Note: Role of messanger can be played by any sakhi]

Although Sundara looks in all four directions He cannot find His Priyaji, so He  gets up from the play-bed and comes out of the cave to have a good search for Her. Then the wind of Vrindavana carries the  full weight of sri Radhika’s fragrance into His nostrils and tells Him: “Ogo black bee! Don’t be upset! The land-lotus is not far away anymore!” The wind has made his name gandhavaha (carrier of fragrances) effective, Madhusudana’s nose can  specifically testify of that! When Nagara eagerly runs after that fragrance, eager to meet His Priyaji, He meets Padma and saibya, the girlfriends of Radhika’s arch-rival Candravali, on the way. They try to lure Him away, but He ignores them and continues His search for sri Radhika, casting His glances in the direction where He smells Her delectable scent.

Rupa Manjari and Tulasi secretly follow Nagara and become very proud of their Svamini’s prestige when they see how eager He is to meet Her. Suddenly Nagara notices that Rupa and Tulasi are following Him and He comes to them and asks them with folded  hands: “O Rupa! O Tulasi! Your mistress tricked Me and is hiding out somewhere, leaving Me behind! Although I can smell Her  fragrance I cannot see Her! You must certainly know where My beloved is! Quickly take Me to Her!”

That is the speciality of the maidservants of Sri Radhika: That Supreme Person, who is sought for by the Vedas, is now folding His hands before Radhika’s kinkaris(maidservants), and humbly prays to them: “Come, arrange for My meeting with your Svamini, I have no  other shelter but you girls!” Blessed is the position of Radha’s kinkaris !Seeing the anxiety of our Hero, Rupa and Tulasi leave Him standing there and go to the kunja where Svamini is laughing and  joking with Her girlfriends about Her victory and Krishna’s defeat. [Note:  However pastime arrangements are  mostly done by other sakhis and kinkaris help them  ]


 

In the below  pastime all sakhis are present:

In this way Tulasi offers sarasa vandana (witty praises) to her ista-deva (favorite deity), standing before her Svamini. This is also called mangalacarana, or an auspicious invocation.

Rupa and Tulasi enter into the kunja and, seeing a landlotus before them, praise Svamini by saying:
“O land-lotus, it’s  fitting that You laugh so proudly, for the Krishna-bee leaves all the other fragrant flower-like gopis to search for You only!”

There, in the transcendental sringara rasa (amorous)-kingdom of Radha and Krisna, everything is full of jokes and  laughter: katha ganaà natyaà gamanaà (Brahma Saàhita) “In the spiritual Goloka-world every word is a song and every step is  a dance.” Can there be any doubt then that the words and activities of the sakhis and manjaris, who are non-different from the Yugala Kisora, that always swims in the ocean of sringara rasa, are also filled with the sringara parihasa rasa (the flavours of erotic humour)? The raga-bhakti practitioner will also become qualified to make such transcendental romantic jokes if he engages in hearing and chanting of these sweet sentiments, gradually becoming completely absorbed in them.

The spiritual visions flow on like an unbroken stream for srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, who is in his svarupavesa. In the first verse he made luscious jokes about the love-marks of sri Radhika that were reflected on Rupa Manjari’s lips when she saw the amorous pastimes of Radha and Krisna, thus offering rasika praises to his guru,

In the second verse Radhika met Her girlfriends in another kunja, leaving Her lover in an amorous swoon after Their amorous pastimes, and made many jokes about it with them in the wonderfully intoxicated mood of madiyata. Tulasi praises her mistress in a joking way. She consoles the anxious Hero, who is suffering separation from His beloved, and brings Him into  the kunja after telling Svamini how eager He is to meet Her, seats Him next to Her on Her throne in the assembly of sakhis and relishes the sweetness of the Yugala Kisora, the youthful Couple of Vraja.

kanakera lata yeno tamale bedilo;
nava ghana majhe heno vijuri pasilo
rai kanu rupera nahiko upama;
kuvalaya cand milalo eka thama

“There’s no comparison to Rai and Kanu’s forms; They are like a golden vine entwining a Tamala-tree, a lightning strike entering a fresh monsoon cloud, or a blue lotus flower meeting the moon at one place.”

Sri Raghunatha dasa’s mind is absorbed in the sweet rasa of the meeting of the Yugala Kisora. For syamasundara’s happiness  Pranesvari thinks of a new pastime, so She orders Her girlfriends to dance for Him. Her highest aim is to make syamasundara happy:

krisnake ahlade – tate nama hladini;
sei sakti dvare sukha asvade apani
“The potency which makes Krisna happy is named hladini. Through this energy He (Krishna) Himself relishes happiness” (Caitanya  Caritamrita Madhya 8, 157)

Srimati Radha serves all the innumerable forms of God with sringara rasa through Her own particles and expansions (aàsa-kala), that appear as so many divine consorts.

tara madhye vraje nana bhava rasabheda; krisnake koraya rasadika lilasvade
govinda-nandini radha govinda-mohini; govinda-sarvasva – sarva kanta siromani

“Amongst all these kinds of consorts there are different moods and flavours in Vraja, that make Krishna relish the flavour of pastimes such as the Rasa-dance. Radha delights Govinda, Radha enchants Govinda and Radha is everything to Govinda – hence she is the crownjewel of all the consorts of the Lord.”

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti comments on this:

anyatra svaàsa laksmyadi-rupena sri krisnaàsa visnvadinaà krida-sahayaà karoti vraje tu kaya-vyuha prakasaih saha svayaà rupa sri radha svayaà rupaà sri krisnaà bahutara prakarena rasam asvadayatity arthah.

“Outside of Vraja, for instance in the innumerable Vaikuntha-planets and in abodes like Mathura and Dvaraka, Krishna’s Visnu-expansions and His appearances like Vasudeva are being assisted in Their pastimes by countless goddesses of fortune and different Queens, but in Vraja Sri Radha and Her different gopi-expansions make the Original Personality of  Godhead sri Krisna relish the sweetness of erotic mellows in so many ways.”

Krishna, in His topmost feature as Vrajendra-nandana, the prince of Vraja, is also known as rasika sekhara, the crownjewel of  all relishers, who is always very greedy for relishing sweet mellows, and He relishes the pinnacle of bliss in His pastimes  with the  Vrajadevis (the most beautiful girls of Vraja), who make Him relish their most blissful and luscious forms,  scents and flavours, that are scented with the love-mellows known as maha bhava.

On Srimati’s indication the sakhis begin to dance on the courtyard of the kunja. How wonderful is the sweetness of their  artistic dancing! They are nondifferent from Premamayi Srimati, and they give a wonderful joy to the Youthful Couple with  their dancing, which is full of prema rasa. The sakhis show unlimited expertise in dancing with their light, yet fast dancing steps. Their waists are naturally thin, and when you see how expertly they change their sides in their dancing  postures it looks as if their vine-like bodies are breaking in two. Their sprout-like hands are swinging like sprouts on  vines that are trembling in the wind, their veils slip from their heads and their shining jewelled earrings are dangling on  their cheeks. They look very beautiful as their braided hair and sashes loosen in the swing of the dance and they sing  vernal songs (vasanta raga) that incite erotic feelings and that describe the sweetness of the Divine Couple.

rangini-gana rasa rangahi natai;
ranarani kankana kinkini ratai
rahi rahi raga racaye rasavanta;
rati-rata ragini ramana vasanta
ratati ravava mahati kapinasa;
radha ramana karu murali vilasa

“The playful gopis dance in a rasika way, making their anklebells and waistbells jingle. They compose rasika ragas and the  spring becomes the husband of the ragini (female musical mode) which is attached to Rati (the wife of Cupid). Different  kinds of vinas and stringed instruments like the Ravava and Mahati are played while Radha Ramana plays His Murali-flute.”

Syama very sweetly plays His Murali-flute and the sakhis give the rhythm with the jingling of their anklebells, bangles and  sashes with bells. Sometimes Syama stops playing His flute and praises the sakhis. Meanwhile Srimati, who sits on Syama’s  left side on the jewelled throne, notices that She does not have Her sash of bells on anymore. She had dropped them in the mountain/cave while being absorbed in Her loveplay with Krishna! When Her sakhis see this, they will make jokes about Her, therefore, without being noticed by others, Srimati gives a hint to Tulasi to secretly go back to the cave to fetch the  sash of bells, and to put it on back on Her waist without being noticed by others. Tulasi immediately goes back to that cave, on the pretext of picking flowers, and nobody but Rupa Manjari notices it. Rupa Manjari understands Tulasi’s purpose, and mercifully blesses her with this praise of her glories as a joking reply to Tulasi’s initial praise of her in verse One. In a lonely place Rupa tells Rati Manjari:


 

O sakhi Rati Manjari! In Vraja there are many gopikas, but of them you are the most fortunate one, because our mistress orders you alone to go back to the cave where She has left Her sash of bells because of absorption in loving pastimes, and  to fetch them! You’re very fortunate to be blessed with such an intimate service!”(VK verse 3)


 

Tulasi gets the sash from the cave and comes back to Svamini at the time when the sakhis have stopped dancing. The kinkaris begin to gladden the sakhis by fanning their sweat-anointed bodies and everyone is absorbed in different nice rasika  conversations. Tulasi uses this opportunity to put the belt back on  Svamini’s waist without being seen by the others.  Tulasi’s service makes Svamini very happy! Absorbed in his spiritual identification sri Raghunatha dasa writes this verse, understanding it is the merciful blessing of his (her) guru Rupa Manjari upon him (her).

 

Srila Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj Commentary concludes. The notes in the middle are not a part of commentary and have been added to explain . Commentary in introduction, verse 1 -3 have been merged and only some sections have been presented here.

 


 

The divine pastimes exposing the shyness of Srimati Radharani in front of sakhis which adds an extra ingredient and makes the rasa more relishable.

From Govinda Lilamrita  chapter 9:

Radharani was drawn to Krishna. She longed to be with Him, but She felt shy because Her gopi-friends were by Her side. Although She was extremely delighted and agitated with intense ecstatic love for Krishna, She carefully concealed Her actual dealings, pretending to casually pick some flowers on the path leading back to her own home.
Shrimati Radharani was attracted to Krishna, but because She was surrounded by elder, stronger gopi-friends, who understood the nature of her desire. She felt timid. She neither left the place, nor approached closer to Krishna.

Again:

The transcendental body of His beloved Radharani was like a wonderful dancer performing before Lord Krishna. By seeing Her, He became agitated with amorous longings, and He again grasped the edge of Her sari.(GL 9.59)

The touch of Lord Krishna caused Shrimati Radharani’s transcendental body to blossom with happiness. The knot holding Her bodice became loose, Her silk undergarment began to slip, and the lower part of Her body began to perspire.(GL 9.62)

When Shrimati Radharani saw the smiles of Her amused gopi-friends, She became embarrassed, and Her eyes moved restlessly. As She struggled to protect Herself from Lord Krishna’s hand, Her sari and undergarments began to fall. Although ordinarily very expert, She became bewildered and unable to protect Herself.(GL 9.63)

Shrimati Radharani observed Lord Krishna from the reddish corner of Her left eye and Her smiling gopi-friends with Her other eye. She hastily tried, somehow or other, to keep Krishna’s hand from ripping Her undergarments.(GL 9.65)

Rejecting Radharani’s criticism, Lord Krishna began forcibly kissing Her mouth and face. She resisted, determined to stop Him and untie the knot holding Them together.(GL 9.87)

In the ensuing struggle neither part could gain the upper hand. Proud Lalita approached Them. With feigned anger she chastised Lord Krishna. She began to untie the knot.(GL 9.88)

[Then a divine pastime was created where all sakhis begin to fled from that place . GL 9.98-106 ]

Kundalata said: These girls are all incarnations of the demigods who control the directions. They are all Your sincere well-wishers, and they have come here specifically to receive Your worship. If You worship them properly, You will attain the fulfillment of all Your desires.(GL 9.98)

At that moment the gopis began to loudly complain: O foolish, degraded, bold, arrogant, wicked, shameless Kundalata, do not encourage your brother-in-law to worship us. Observing all this, Lord Krishna quickly approached the gopis to began His worship.

When the gopis saw Lord Krishna moving towards them, they became filled with anxiety for their own protection. Lord Krishna approached the restless-eyed gopis one-by-one, and began to worship them as incarnations of the demigod(inner meaning is not revealed here). Before half the ceremony was completed, each gopi fled to take shelter of her friends, either fabricating some excuse, or quickly leaving without any words.

One gopi fled muttering humble apologies. Another arrogantly criticized Krishna and then fled. Another fled so quickly that she left her cape behind, and others fled in various ways.

When Lord Krishna saw the gopis’ faces nicely decorated with a mixture of smiles, frowns, tears, and restlessly moving, crooked, reddish, blossomed wide-open eyes, He attained the wonderful transcendental delight He wished to find by performing these pastimes.

Neglecting the other gopis, Lord Krishna immediately approached Shrimati Radharani. She began to angrily criticize Him. Stunned and frightened, He gradually turned His glance to the face of Kundalata.

When the gopis began to smile at all this, Radharani became embarrassed and earnestly tried to slip out of Krishna’s embrace. Krishna laughed, held her very firmly, and would not let Her go. She appeared like a glittering lightning flash permanently resting against a dark cloud.(GL 10.9)


 

Conflict resolution of some verses:

 

When the gopis saw the strong embraces of the Divine Couple, their faces blossomed with transcendental happiness, and they trembled, showing various signs of ecstatic bliss. Observing all this, Vrnda-devi spoke to Nandimukhi the following words:(GL 10.12)

The gopis are not embraced by Lord Hari. He does not even touch them . Still, when they see that Shrimati Radharani strongly embraced by Him for a long time, they become filled with ecstatic bliss, just as if He had embraced them, and not Radharani. This is certainly very astonishing.(GL 10.13)

Analysis  :

Vrnda Devi and Nandimukhi both being sakhis are ASTONISHED at the physiscal manifestations of showing of various signs of ecstatic bliss in the gopis like trembling . Hence the statement is referring to the manjaris. Had they manifested the symptoms in themselves(Vrnda devi and Nandimukhi) they would not have become astonished. So the statement is referring to manjaris as accepted by all acharyas.

There is a similar statement in Chapter 11 where a gopi is stating as follows during the time when the sakhis were discussing among themselves the beauty of Srimari Radharani after the amorous pastimes of the divine couple were concluded:

Another gopi said: “If Lord Mukunda touches Radharani, then Radharani’s gopi-friends feel transcendental happiness and manifest the ecstasy symptoms of trembling, perspiring, crying tears, and standing up of the body’s hairs. If Lord Mukunda earnestly drinks the nectar of Radharani’s lips, then all the gopis feel intoxicated by this drinking. This is certainly very wonderful.” (GL 11 .137)

Analysis  : In this statement also one gopi is telling another gopi how she is amazed at the symptoms of Radharani’s gopi friends(referred as 3rd person not 1st or 2nd person similar to the previous verse). Clearly indicating the manjaris.However it is not to be ignored that the sakhis themselves feel great joy when sometimes Krishna tries to kiss Radharani in front the sakhis despite Radharani’s reluctance. But this statement is directly referring to the manjaris .As the gopis indicated here are referred in third person by the sakhis unlike other references and they are very amazed at this manifestations(as they are not manifested in them)

Whenever there is a conflict in this case due to the use of word “sakhi” we have to take shelter of the lotus feet of acharya’s opinion on this as they are well versed in the conclusion of the sastras. their conclusions have been presented throughout the article .

Sri Jiva Goswami in his sandarbhas states :

Suta Gosvami speaks the following verse to reconcile this apparent contradiction in the statements of the scriptures (Mahabharata, Udyoga-parva):

“The truths of spiritual life are inconceivable to the crippled materialistic brain. Simply by logic and philosophy one cannot expect to properly understand them.”

Sri Rupa Goswami quotes in his Laghu Bhagavatamrta explains:

In Kurma Purana:

“When contradictions are found in the Vedic scripture, it is not that one statement is wrong. Rather, both statements should be seen in such a way that there is no contradiction.”327

These contradiction occurs due to misinterpratation .

 


 

Krishna does not allow the sakhis to enter the groves during conjugal pastime:From Govinda Lilamrita  chapter 10

During the loud quarrel that ensued, Shrimati Radharani carefully decorated Herself with silence, slipped away unnoticed, and disappeared into the forest.(GL 10.124)

[Then Krshna enquires where has Srimati ji gone and the sakhis ignore him and leaves the place (GL  10. 140-143)]

Lalita replied: I am not her warden. Who knows where She is? Find Her by Your own efforts and rule Your little kingdom with Her as Your queen. I am going home.

One gopi announced: I am also going home. Another gopi announced: I am going to the temple to worship the sun-god. A third gopi announced: I am going to bath again in the Manasa-ganga river to purify myself from the contamination of krishna’s touch.

As the gopis were trying to cheat Lord Krishna in this way, He turned to the face of Kundalata. Her glance signaled Him to the forest, and He entered it without delay.

Lord Krishna then bound Kundalata and the other gopis with ropes made from forest-vines. He brought them to the four gates of a courtyard deep within the forest.

Note:

Then Krishna goes to enjoy the amorous pastimes with Srimati Radharani. Though here it is not directly mentioned that manjaris are with Srimati ji but later amorous pastimes presented in this work and similar pastimes in Krishna Bhavanamrita reveals that the manjaris are present where the intimate pastimes takes place just outside the kunja and watching from outside. Srimatiji is not shy infront of them. It will be presented  below. ]


 

Another example of amorous pastimes of divine couple from Govinda Lilamrita chaper 14 .

However in this case it is mentioned some gopis were present just outside the kunja who were her servants.

Impelled by madhvika intoxication, the Divine Couple wished to enjoy amorous pastimes in private. Understanding this, Kundalata asked Lord Krishna to pick some asoka flowers to decorate His beloved. As He was picking the flowers, Radharani, SERVED BY HER DEVOTED gopi-friends, and Her eyes rolling with intoxication, entered Lalita- kunja, the king of groves, and fell asleep on a bed of flowers.(GL 14.105)

[ Then Krishna enters the kunja and enjoys conjugal pastimes with Srimati Radharani ]

The gopis had waited outside for the proper moment to enter. At that moment they entered the forest-grove. They carried articles of worship in their lotus hands. They were intent on serving the Divine Couple.(GL 15.29)

Maddened with devotional love, the gopis served the lotus feet of the Divine Couple. The gopis brought Them betel-nuts, cool water, fragrant garlands and other nice articles. The gopis fanned Them, massaged Their lotus feet and other limbs, and rendered various other services. In this way the Divine Couple became pleasantly scented and completely free from all fatigue.(GL 15.30)

Glancing at Her lover with expressive, smiling eyes, Shrimati Radharani said: My love, I cannot be happy without the company of My lotus-faced gopi-friends, who are now intoxicated and asleep in the nearby groves. My love, please wake them up and bring them here.(GL 15.31) [Encouraging Krishna to have conjugal pastimes with her other sakhis ]

Shrimati Radharani repeatedly begged reluctant Lord Krishna, and at last He consented. He left to waken the gopis just like a maddened elephant goes to sport among lotus flowers.(GL 15.32)

Lord Krishna thought: To whom shall I go first? To Lalita? To visakha? To Citra? In His mind He reviewed all the gopi friends of His beloved Radharani. Finally, He expanded Himself into many forms and happily entered all the different groves simultaneously.(GL 15.33)

[Then Krishna enjoyed conjugal pastimes with sakhis .The detail is not presented here


Though in Govinda Lilamrita the words maid servant was not specifically used for the lilas and the term gopis or sakhis were used in many places , In Krishna Bhavanamrita for the pastimes at the same period of the day the words maids and sakhis very used in appropriate places. From these it becomes clear that the sama sneha and krishna adhika sneha sakhis never watch the amorous pastimes of the divine couple as Srimati ji is shy in front of them . This highest pleasure is available only to Manjaris as presented above . Srimati ji arranges for the conjugal pastimes of other sakhis also so that even they are not deprived of this pleasure . The services rendered in the nikunj pastimes are done by manjaris only. Sriman Mahaprabhu has allowed his followers that unique service not offered before by anyone.


 

Another lovely conjugal pastime from Krishna Bhavanamrita Chapter 9 and continued in chapter 10

Only manjaris are present there.

On Lalita’s indication, Krishna went to the vanjula kunja where Radhika was hiding and said, “O Lady, what are You doing? Are You sitting alone here to attract Me with some mantra? Here, I have come! Now You may do with Me what You like. You have become so powerful with this mantra that I won’t be able to stop You if You want to bind Me up in Your arms or bite Me with the weapon of Your teeth.”

Shri Radhika made Her first strike with Her knitted eyebrows, Her fresh nectarean smile and Her unfavorable shouts with faltering voice. Krishna drank that nectar through the cups of His eyes and ears and became enchanted by it. What to speak of tasting the nectar from Her lips, what condition would Krishna be in when He knew its greatness?

Krishna then came up to Radhika and held Her hand, but Radhika said, “No! No! This is not proper!”, and when He touched Her breasts She repeatedly contracted Her body, cursing Krishna. When Krishna forcibly wanted to bite Her lips, that were as red as bimba fruits, Radhika yelled again and again. Then, when Krishna wanted to take Her inside the Kunja cottage, Cupid began to dance. Krishna forcible held Radhika to His chest and brought Her to the bed in the nikunja. Radhika swung Her thighs, neck and feet out of protest, saying, “No! No! No!” It seemed as if Cupid twanged his flower bow of campaka flowers, or that a raincloud took posession of the restless lightning. During their erotic fight, Radha and Krishna were sometimes unconscious and sometimes enchanted, being filled with profuse sweetness. Their erotic cleverness was shown through rays of nectarean love in an undifferentiated way.

While Radha and Krishna blissfully spent Their time in the kunja, Lalita and the sakhis sat in their assembly under a tree and Nandimukhi and Vrinda had their long cherished desires fulfilled by arranging Radha and Krishna’s loving pastimes. The six seasonal (India has six seasons, not four) Laxmis came to that assembly of sakhis to hear what their services were. Seing them, Vrinda said, “Bho seasonal goddesses! Adorn the forest for Radha and Krishna’s pleasure. O Vasanta laxmi (goddess of springtime), go to Govardhana Hill and stay at the Rasa Sthali (the place where Krishna dances the Rasa Dance in the springtime Parasauli village and Candra Sarovara)! O Sarada laxmi )goddess of autumnal beauty), stay on the bank of the Yamuna in the land of desire trees! O all of you Laxmi’s, surrender everything to the service of Radhakunda and its forests to give fun and astonishment to your masters, Shri Shri Radha and Krishna! Be blessed, O limitlessly fortunate goddesses. The rainy season should stay east of the kunda, the autumn south, the Hemanta (the season between autumn and winter) in the west, the winter in the north, the spring should stay in the trees around the kunda and the summer inside the water to make water play successful!”

Hearing these words, the Ritu laxmis (seasonal goddesses) that are experienced like no one else, offered their obeisances to Vrinda and the sakhis and went to do their services as was proper, for who will not endeavor to become blessed like this? Meanwhile, Krishna smeared Radhika’s erotically inciting body with black aguru and musk and dressed Her in His own clothes and ornaments, giving Her even His own flute from His belt. He seated Her facing the north and She silently sat there in Her usual bashfull mood, dressing Krishna up in His usual dress, like His yellow dhoti.

Then Krishna sat down next to Her.  He heard the sounds of ankle bells and waist bells so He knew that the sakhis were approaching and He gave a signal with His eyebrows to some maidservants, that stood before Them, not to say anything to the sakhis [Indicating as if they have watched everything].

When the sakhis came there and saw two Krishnas, they were amazed and said to each other, “Bho sakhis! What country have we come to, where there are two Krishnas? They both wear peacock feathers. They are both black like the tamala tree. They both wear garlands of forest flowers and beautiful yellow garments. Aho! Their beauty enchants our minds!”

When the sakhis inquired from the bystanding maid servants, the maidens said, “We also don’t know who is who! They were already like this when we came here, and when we ask Them what happened, They become scared!” [Lied due to Krsna’s request]

 


 

In the Krsna-bhavanamrta, The Nikunja pastimes at the end of day is very nicely explained. We have taken some sections of Chapter 20 and its continuation from  chapter 1. The unique services rendered by the manjaris is explained in detail .

After singing all these songs and playing different nice tunes with Their amazing musical instruments, Krishna and the gopis changed Their clothes for playing in the Yamuna river and entered a kunja where Vrinda brought Them dates, bananas, jack fruit, rose apples, mangoes and other kinds of juicy fruit. Radha and Krishna were enchanted by the nice forms and smells of the fruit, and praised them. The sakhis had brought Karpura Keli, Piyusa Parva, Amrita Keli, Sidhu Vilasa and Ananga Gutika cakes from home that Radha and Krishna jokingly relished with shining, smiling faces. Mukunda, whose teeth are as white as kunda flowers, relished the golden betel leaves given to Him by the maidservants. While chewing them, He looked like a sapphire topped by a moon that was washed with sweet mellows by the Creator, and in which stars were shining that were reddish inside.

When the moon of Krishna’s glance rose, the darkness of Radhika’s patience was vanquished and the lotus of Her bashfulness dried up and shriveled. But, Her erotic feelings began to bloom up like a field of ecstatic tears, just as the moon stones start dripping when the moon rises.

Two maidservants held the lotus feet of Radha and Krishna on their thighs, that were like golden seats, and worshipped these feet, offering padya (footwear) with their teardrops and arghya (hand water) with their hairs, that were standing up in ecstasy. But, this frightened them with the thought that Their tender lotus feet might be hurt by these erect hairs.[ External manifestation of ecstasy as presented in Govinda lilamrita earlier as a discussion between two sakhis] They worshipped these lotus feet with their lotus-like hands, offered scents with the musk and camphor from their breasts, incense with their breath, lamps with their shining jewel-like nails, garlands with their glances, foodstuffs with their pomegranate-like breasts and a camphor lamp with their very lives, that are full of love and are mixed with the moonlight of their faces. Krishna’s feet were like sprouts on the golden banana-like thighs of the maidservants, whose red lotus-like hands massaged them. Their bangles buzzed like bumblebees as they went up and down with the movements of their massgaing hands. Other maidservants fanned Radha and Krishna with flower fans, as if they wanted to gladden the poets by having their descriptions of their Master’s glories dancing before them in personified forms. One maidservant stood on each of Radha and Krishna’s sides, serving golden betel leaves filled with camphor, nutmeg and cloves. Radha and Krishna looked like spotless, rising full moons, sprinkled with two golden vines that constantly worshipped Them with their sprouts, with Their ambrosial moon beams.

Krishna said, “Dear Radha, look! Your maidservants are very tired. They perspire and their eyes are rolling. Let them take some rest. If Your feet are still tired, then I will massage them Myself.” As soon as the maidservants heard this they left the kunja, like worshippers leaving the temple with the priests after having had their desires fulfilled. Then Krishna bathed in Cupid’s holy lake, horripilating of cold (or ‘erotic bliss’). His body was made shining by being washed, after which He joyfully engaged in worship, being expert in all particular religious functions of the smriti scriptures (or ‘Cupid’).

After bathing, Aghabid performed achaman (washing the mouth) thrice with nectar, after which He performed the regulated activities to get a body without hindrance, although He is ananga (‘incorporal’ or ‘Cupid’). At the beginning of His sacrifice, Krishna had fixed all the directions with different paraphernalia, then He worshipped the demigods by placing His hand on a golden jewelled pitcher. He painted a moon on this pitcher and gave clothes in charity to the brahmanas. Then He became one with the demigods, smiling and riding on a wave of bliss.

The previous paragraph has a second meaning: When Aghabid stepped into Cupid’s pond, His body horripilated from lustful agitation and was brightened up by it. He became eager for all the different aspects of erotic play. In the beginning of the union, He drank the nectar of contrary, unwilling Priyaji three times, and then He removed the obstacle of Her contrariness by embracing Her by force, etc. He was assured of His Priyaji’s desires, that She expressed with the movements of Her hands. He made full moon shaped nail marks on Radhika’s golden pitcher-like breasts, placing His hands on them, bit Her lips with His teeth, that are called dwija, like the brahmins. Then He united with His beloved, smiling and riding on a wave of bliss.

Shri Radhika thought to Herself, “How can I make My sakhis share this happiness?” Krishna, understanding Her loving purpose, expanded Himself into as many forms as there were sakhis and enjoyed with them, too. The maidservants, who cannot live without seeing Radha and Krishna’s pastimes, beheld Their play through the windows of the nikunja.

[ Now discussion between the manjaris watching the pastimes of  the Divine couple begins ]

One of them suddenly said, “Sakhis, just look at Radha and Krishna’s amazing condition! They bind each other’s bodies up with Their arms, lying there motionlessly for a while, then again They shiver and say “Ha ha!” with faltering voices, sprinkling each other with Their warm tears. Even if They give up Their embrace and sit facing each other, They strike Their own foreheads and become thin out of distress, unable to see each other through Their innumerable tears. (They were experiencing Prema Vaicittya or ‘seperation even in union’.) The high waves of Radha and Krishna’s prema vaicittya obstructed Cupid’s rasa from flowing through, because those that are rich in passion are easily moved by the crooked waves of joy and sorrow.

After some time, one maidservant said, “O sakhis, don’t be sad anymore. Look! Now They embrace each other again and blissfully sprinkle each other with cool tears of union. Listen, Krishna tells Radhika, ‘O proud, angry girl, where have You gone, leaving Me behind?’ and Radhika said, ‘O Dear One, why have You hidden Yourself to joke with Me?'” The dasis and sakhis giggled while they relished these utterances of loving delusion.

One maidservant said, “Why do these Two feel separation from each other? And why do They still meet, although no one arranged for it?”

Another maidservant, speaking on the conclusions of the science of rasa, said “These clever maidservants know Their moods. When They are separate, They constantly meditate on each other and even when They see each other They think that that vision is false. When They stretch out Their arms to embrace each other, Their touch mitigates the pangs of Their separation. O sakis, this separation caused Their eagerness to meet each other to increase a million fold, and in this way, remaining stationary for a long time, it also increases the pleasure of Their union. Look! The Loving Couple, fearing separation from each other, tightly embrace each other and remove each other’s clothes as if They make each other enter into each other’s hearts, softly telling each other, ‘I’m entering into that mind, where You are always keeping Me, to play there.’

Seeing this, the sakhi manjaris cried tears of loving ecstasy that showered the windows of the nikunja. The maidservants that stood outside of the kunja pulled the strings of the ceiling fan. They were angry at their tears of loving ecstasy, feeling sorry that they stopped them from witnessing Radha and Krishna’s loveplays.

Did the honeybees get angry at the moon, unable to tolerate his drinking the nectar of their blue lotus flowers, that they now forcibly drink the nectar of the moon? A string of pearls dances on the sun globe that rose above the clouds to attain liberation and the golden swans on earth blissfully began to play music with the avadhuts (asocial mendicants). Others could not come on that golden ground and when Madhusudana(honeybee) came there, He sang sweet songs that made the vinelike bodies of all the rasika devotees melt from ecstasy. Many Madhusudana honeybees came there, being attracted to Radha and Krishna’s nice fragrance, and began to sing sweet songs that made the vine-like bodies of the rasika kinkaris melt.

Note: 

Here we see all engrossed in divine ecstasy .  The Sakhis are engrossed in conjugal pastimes with Krishna who has taken many forms .  The manjaris are engrossed in the divine ecstasy of witnessing the conjugal pastimes of the Divine couple and all the bhavas and love marks in Srimati Radharani are manifesting in their body . They are getting the same pleasure as Srimati Radharani. The manjaris have completely synchronized with the mood of  Srimati Radharani  as always . When Swamini ji laughs they laugh. When Swamini ji weeps of divine ecstasy they also weep. What more can anyone ask ? They have attained the epitome of  devotion and surrender.]

Lila Continued in  the 1st chapter of Krsnabhavanamrita: At dawn

Shri Radha and Shri Krishna competed with each other in erotic cleverness, but Their fight ended when fatigue invited Nidra devi, the goddess of sleep, bringing her to Them.

Their maidservants, who were also sleeping, were accustomed to get up in time to do their service. Have they now automatically awoken, knowing that the night is over? Getting up from bed, these maidservants looked around anxiously. Seeing that the best of lovers (Radha and Krishna) were still sleeping in solitude, they quietly sat up in their beds on the courtyard of the nikunja. They yawned and jokingly inquired from each other about what had happened. With their bee-like eyes rolling because of staying up late at night, they relished the vision of Hari’s love signs on their breasts [ Marks left by Krishna on Srimati Radharani’s body  had manifested in the bodies of Manjaris]. Some of these maidservants then began to perform their scheduled service at daybreak, stringing flowers and preparing betel leaves. They smelled the fragrance of Radha and Krishna’s bodies, which were bound together by Cupid. With their lotus-like faces they looked through slits in the wall of the grove-cottage and saw how

Radha and Krishna were embraced by the goddess of sleep, due to being tired from Their clever, erotic dance. They saw that the jeweled lamps that were standing here and there in the kunja made Krishna shine like a blue lotus flower and made Shri Radhika look like a golden campaka flower, even though Their effulgent forms were no longer covered by garlands or ornaments.

One sakhi (maidservant) told another, “Sakhi, Radha and Krishna’s sakhis don’t know how to dress and decorate Them! Therefore, Their sakhi Srngaradhu (over ornamentation personified) became angry, threw away Their clothes and ornaments and decorated Them with thousands of nail marks, making Them look even more beautiful.

Their complexions complement each other through Their embrace. Golden Radhika is dressed by Krishna’s blue complexion, and blue Krishna is dressed by Radhika’s golden complexion. To avoid repetition of this pattern, the incorporal god Cupid removed Their blue and golden garments. When Cupid conquered the kingdom of Shri Radhika’s body, shyness became the protectress of the land, taking her position in Radhika’s head, eyes and breasts. Alas! Has she now been exiled? If bashfulness cannot stay in any secret place in Shri Radhika’s body, she must have made some offense. Or maybe she has appeared as Radhika’s auspicious glances to give joy to our eyes? Or maybe bashfulness disappeared, handing the kingdom over to Cupid? By doing this she may get incomparable opulence (i.e. after awakening, Radhika may become even more shy.)

Is the steady Krishna-cloud showering the restless Radha-lightning with sweet rasa? How amazing! The Lord rewards the maidservants even before they’ve served Him!”

Elsewhere, some maidservants prepared betel leaves, strung flower garlands and made different kinds of ointments. They placed aguru frankincense in their trays and spent some time with other scheduled services. Then, a soft, cool breeze blew at the end of the night for the pleasure of the Lord and Lady of the nikunja. One maidservant said, “Sakhi, I understand that the sleep of this soft breeze is also broken, and because of its drowsiness it blows only softly. This soft Malayan breeze pleases all the ten directions, filling them with the fragrances of the blooming flowers of the vines and trees, which it kisses and carries around at the end of night, waking up the sleeping honeybees as it enters their nostrils.”

Hearing the nice humming of the bees, Vrinda devi woke up, looked around everywhere and then engaged her pet birds in awakening her Lord and Lady. On Vrinda’s order the roosters woke up, craned their necks and flapped their wings. They crowed about five or six times, awakening Shri Radhika, who became very disturbed. Seeing that the roosters stopped Her from embracing Krishna, Shri Radhika angrily cursed them saying, “Hey roosters, go crow in hell! Why are you crowing here?” Shri Radhika slightly slackened Her embrace of Shri Krishna’s chest. Hearing that the roosters had become silent, She thought that they had gone to hell because of Her curse. Then, She tightened Her embrace, and fell asleep again. When the tittibhas and other birds began to sing, Shri Radhika, whose sleep was disturbed again, said, “Hey! Excuse Me! Let me sleep a little longer!” And She stretched out, slightly. Then, all the waterbirds like the kadambas, karandavas, swans and cranes and all the land birds like the pigeons, saris, sukas, peacocks and cuckoos awoke and began to sing nectarean songs about Krishna.

Radha and Krishna awoke simultaneously and stretched out Their bodies, feeling afflicted by separation from each other’s embrace. While stretching, Shri Radhika’s body looked like a bow of campaka flowers and Krishna’s body resembled a bow of blue lotus flowers. Then, They blissfully embraced each other again, tightly. Their maidservants understood that Radha and Krishna had woken up, and they fearlessly yet silently opened the door of the kunja cottage, their anklebells jingling with each charming footstep, as they entered the cottage. Hearing Her maidservants’ softly jingling anklebells, Shri Radhika wanted to get up from bed, but She was unable to do so, being tightly held by Krishna’s vine-like arms. So, She remained lying in His chest, unable to move.

 


 

Both the sakhis and manjaris makes the lila complete and without the sakhis this lila cannot be relished :

In this article we have explained the unique services rendered by the manjaris . But we have never intented to look down upon the sakhis.

In fact the manjaris are always at the service of sakhis and following their instructions. In our tradition it is Sri lalita devi , Ananga Manjari. The manjaris love for other sakhis know no bounds. There is no competition in spiritual world. The manjaris always depend on the instruction of senior manjaris headed by Sri Rupa manjari who follows the instruction of Lalita Devi. Our tradition is the gana of Lalita devi and Ananga Manjari is our yutheshwari. Other traditional parivaars  has other leaders.

Every sakhi and manjari has specific role in relishing the pastimes.

 

“O Devi! When will You, being shy before Your girlfriends, order me through a hint to restring Your dear necklace which broke during Your loving pastimes with Krsna ?” (Vilapa Kusumanjali, verse 92)

Purport by Sripad Ananda Gopal Goswami :

Svamini gives a hint to Tulasi: “Tulasi! My pearl necklace is broken! Quickly restring it!”  “The  necklace was not broken by Me, but by Our pastimes”, Svamini shyly says. “Lalita and Visakha will come here soon! Quickly restring the necklace before they have another reason to mock Me!” The sakhis make waves on the ocean of prema by making jokes. prema lila viharanan samyag vistarika sakhi (Ujjvala Nilamani) –  “The sakhis completely expand and nourish the love, the pastimes and the enjoyment of Sri-Sri-Radha-Madhava.”

sakhi vina ei lilara pusti nahi hoy; sakhi lila vistariya sakhi asvadoy (C.C.) – “Without the sakhis these pastimes cannot be nourished. The sakhis extend them and make them relishable.”

Moved by the appeal of supremely blissful Lord Krishna, the gopis spontaneously and angrily rebuke Shrimati Radharani, who is more dear to them than their own life’s breath and encourage her to again enjoy the pastimes with Krishna. Bowing my head I take shelter of these dear friends of Shrimati Radharani, who daily arranged for her to enjoy transcendental pastimes with Lord Krishna.(Vraja vilasa stava text 36)

 


 

Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja on the special gift received by Manjaris :

Mathura, India: 1991:

Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: What is a manjari? We have heard about kamala-manjaris and mango-manjaris. Any creeper or good flower has manjaris. Although the manjari appears first and then the flower, the manjari is always located above the flower. When a bee comes to sit on the flower and drink its honey, the manjaris tremble, being overjoyed.

Similarly, the Krsna-bee comes to Srimati Radhika, She glances at Him, and They engage in loving pastimes (prema-vilas). Although the ‘bee’ does not sit on the manjari, the manjari trembles, feeling as if the bee is sitting on her. Whatever the ‘flower’ experiences in those pastimes manifests in the manjari, so there is no need for the bee to go to her. She automatically feels everything felt by the flower. If the bee kisses the flower, then, seeing this, the manjari feels that “the bee has kissed me.”

In fact, the manjari tastes something special, which even the flower does not taste, in the sense that the flower does not tremble as the manjari does. Similarly the maidservants of Srimati Radhika experience a pleasure in being Her maidservant, which She Herself dos not experience, and that pleasure is called bhava- ullasa rati.

Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami wanted to be a manjari, not a flower. In other words he did not want  sakhi-bhava (the mood of Srimati Radhika’s friends like Lalita and Visakha, who have direct relationships with Sri Krsna). Do you understand? Herein lies the  importance of the manjaris. In our sampradaya no one wants to be Sri Radha’s sakhi; they only want to be Her kinkari. Are you totally following my words? Do you know  the meaning of the word kinkari?

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: Servant.

Sripad Madhava Maharaja: Maidservant

Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: There is no equivalent word in English for kinkari. It is such a beautiful Sanskrit word, which refers to something very soft, very fragrant, and so sweet.

We cannot learn these topics simply by reading books. No book will clarify the truths for you as we are discussing in this conversation. By discussing with me in this way, you can obtain more than what you can obtain by simply reading books.

Sripad Madhava Maharaja: These truths come only through realization.

Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: I do not say that I have any realization, but I have God’s mercy and Gurudeva’s mercy. In the first sloka of Vilapa-Kusumanjali, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami states that although Rupa Manjari’s husband is absent, he sees a mark on her lips. How has this come about? It is not that Krsna has kissed Rupa Manjari. He has kissed Srimati Radhika and therefore Radhika has that mark on Her lips, but the mark at once manifested on the lips of Rupa Manjari.

Sripad Tamal Krsna Gosvami: I was asking you about that in Bombay.

Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: The marks on the face or body of Srimati Radharani do not come to Lalita and Visakha, but they all come to the manjaris.

We are followers of Rupa Gosvami, who is Rupa Manjari.

 


 

That is why Srila Raghunatha Dasa Gosvamin in Vraja-vilasa-stava(Verse 38) states :

I take shelter of the handmaidens of the Queen of Vrindavan,
who are led by sri Rupa Manjari
and who lovingly satisfy her
by offering hazelnuts and other condiments,
massaging her feet, bringing fragrant water
and arranging trysts with her gallant
and have thus become most dear to her.
They are thus allowed to enter the scene
of the Divine Couple’s most intimate affairs
without the slightest discomfiture
a reward not given even to her dearest friends.

We the gaudiya vaishnavas aspire this highest pleasure of being the shadow of Srimati Radharani and attain the highest transendental bliss under the shelter of our Praneswari.

A verse can be quoted here from the ahnika-kaumudi of Kavi Karnapura where Krsna says:

O doe-eyed beauties!
When your girlfriends are absent,
you may have to look at a mirror
before you can say whether you are happy or sad.
They reflect every mood of yours
they perform all the services of a looking glass!
When tears fall from your eyes they also cry;
when you are excited, their hairs stand on end;
when you laugh they also do so;
and when you become depressed,
they also look down-hearted.(AK 5.128)

Radha’s handmaids are unable to maintain their lives if they cannot see the pastimes of the beautiful Divine Couple; with great eagerness they had gathered about the window of the forest cottage in which Radha and Krsna were locked in embrace and one of them said, Friends, what an amazing and wonderful situation is this they have gotten themselves into.(Krsna Bhavanamirita20.26).

However one should not misunderstand that it is only the amorous pastimes the manjaris are interested. they are the embodiment of seva bhava. They have totally dedicated their lives to the service of Srimati Radharani and Krishna as presented above. In fact Srimati Radharani is their life breath.


 

Unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam

 

All Glories to Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who by great mercy provided the jivas with a scope to enter these divine pastimes as the servant of Srimati Radharani where the manjaris completely identify with the mood of Srimati Radharani. This gift was not even granted by Lord Ramachandra who blessed the sages of Dandakaranya to be born as sakhis. This gift is not even available to Nimbarka and Vallabha sampradaya who also have a provision to identify themselves as Srimati Radharani’s sakhi .  But Sriman Mahaprabhu allowed us to relish the highest ecstasy by joining Srimati Radharani as her kinkaris.

That is why Srila  Krsnadas kaviraj Goswami in Chaitanya Charitamrita adi chapter 4  has quoted from the Vidagdha-mādhava (1.2), a drama compiled and edited by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī.:

anarpita-carīṁ cirāt karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam
hariḥ puraṭa-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandīpitaḥ
sadā hṛdaya-kandare sphuratu vaḥ śacī-nandanaḥ

May the Supreme Lord who is known as the son of Srimati Saci-devi (Sacinandana), be transcendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold,He has appeared in the Age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation has ever offered before:

His most elevated and radiant mellow of devotional service to Srimati Radharani .

“His own devotion in the mood of Srimati Radharani”

“The most splendid flavour (rasa) of the highest treasure of His own bhakti”

“The highest aspect of madhura prema rasa”

“The most sublime and radiant mellow of devotional service, the mellow of conjugal love.”

ALL of them are the different translations of unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam and all of them  are referring to Manjari Bhava.

 

All Glories to the Vaishnava acharyas who has left us a vast stock of literature which enables the sadhaka to get engrossed in the divine rasa.

All golories to the acharyas who have preserved these most confidential knowledge and transferred in the guru parampara .

All Glories to dear Gurudeva Srila Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj . Without his mercy I would not be writing this article.

 

Jai Shree Radhe Shyam

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