Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
October 20th & 21st, 1991
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga.
In honor of Srila Gurudeva's tirobhava, which this year, 2017, is December 11th & 12th around the world, we are sending and excerpt of Srila Gurudeva's beautiful lecture on Verse Seven of Vilap-kusumanjali. There, Srila Gurudeva teaches the process of attaining the lotus feet of Srimati Radhika through bhajana filled with moods of separation. At the beginning of this excerpt, he explains that our success in such bhajana depends on our feelings of gratitude and separation from Sri Guru.
Your aspiring servants,
The Hari-katha team]
There are two kinds of bhajana. The first is in vipralambha-lila, and that is performed by chanting and remembering the pastimes of separation. The second is in sambhoga-lila, and it is performed by remembering the pastimes of meeting. Although the gopis and Vrajavasis always like to meet with Krsna, He plays in such a manner that they will enjoy vipralambha-rasa. The sadhaka cultivates vipralambha-bhava, thinking, "I am not seeing Krsna, I am not seeing Srimati Radhika, I am not seeing Vraja, I am not seeing anything!" He should always feel separation, as Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has shown here – separation from Krsna and especially from Srimati Radhika.
In many verses, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has also lamented in separation from Srila Rupa Gosvami. At the time of Rupa Gosvami's entrance into aprakata-lila, the un-manifest pastimes, he composed this verse:
sunyayate maha-gostham girindro 'jagarayate
vyaghra-tundayate kundam jivatu-rahitasya me
["Now that I no longer have the sustainer of my life, the land of Vraja has become empty and desolate, Govardhana Hill has become like a great python, and Radha Kunda has become like the gaping mouth of a ferocious tigress."]
He has also lamented in separation for his siksa-gurus, thinking, "I'm so unlucky. First Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu departed from this world and left me behind. Afterwards I lived constantly with Sri Svarupa Damodara, and he also left. Next I caught hold of the lotus feet of Sri Gadadhara Pandita, but he also departed. Then, experiencing that every place and every dust particle of Jagannatha Puri reminded me of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Svarupa Damodara, Gadadhara Pandita, and all their associates, I fled to Vrndavana."
Although our Gurudeva has also entered his aprakata-lila, we remain in this world in a very pleasant manner. On special days, like his avirbhava, appearance day, and tirobhava, disappearance day, the occasion comes that we may remember him. At that time, however, we are involved in arranging the festival, and there is very little chance to realize that separation.
Only while we are speaking something about him, a drop of tear may come in our eye – and it may not come. If the festival is very elaborate, there will be no tears. So many functions must be managed, such as the abhiseka, puja, and distribution of maha-prasadam to Vaisnavas. We arrange these festivals mainly for the people in general, for those who have no intimate relation with him. But we should do something so that a feeling of separation will come within our own hearts, and that is called bhajana.
Only those special persons who have realized their immense obligation and indebtedness to Gurudeva for all they have received, and who have rendered abundant service to him with visrambha-bhava, a mood of intimacy, will feel separation. They will weep. Such devotees will not consider, "I'm so low and my Gurudeva is in such a high stage." Awe and reverence will not preside; otherwise one cannot weep.
Sastra states, visrambhena guror seva – the sevaka performs such intimate service to Gurudeva that Gurudeva remains always pleased with him. The guru will not consider for even a moment that, "He is my servant and disciple." Instead he will feel, "He is my near and dear. He is my heart." Sri Isvara Puripada, the disciple of Srila Madhavendra Puri, and Govinda, the disciple of Sri Isvara Puri, were servants of this caliber. Although this is a rare relationship, it is absolutely necessary for raganuga-bhakti. Without a relationship like this, we cannot weep like Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.
Separation from Gurudeva will be experienced on different levels. When we consider how merciful he was and how much greater he is than ourselves, we feel a certain type of sentiment. However, when we remember how near and dear he was and how much he loved us, then we will weep profusely for him.
The gopis can weep so much more than Nanda Baba. Yasoda Ma can also weep more than Nanda Baba, but the gopis can weep even more than Yasoda because their relationship with Krsna is more intimate. We should have this kind of relationship with Sri Krsna, Srimati Radhika, and also with our Gurudeva, Sri Rupa Manjari, Srila Rupa Gosvami, and all others like them. Then we can weep for their mercy.
If we have yet to develop an intimate service relationship with our Gurudeva, then surely we cannot imagine our relationship with Sri Rupa-manjari or Srimati Radhika and Krsna. Our entire advancement depends upon on how keen intensely we serve our Gurudeva; all other relationships and experiences develop on that platform. If we can weep for Gurudeva, we can weep for Srimati Radhika. If we cannot weep for our Gurudeva we cannot weep for Her. That is my experience. Whatever we know, we know from Gurudeva, and therefore we must weep in our hearts for him.
In the first verse of Vilapa-kusumanjali, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami prayed to Sri Rupa-manjari.
tvam rupa-manjari sakhi prathita pure 'smin
pumsah parasya vadanam na hi pasyasiti
bimbadhare ksatam anagata-bhartrkaya
yat te vayadhayi kim u tac chuka-pungavena
["My dear friend Rupa-manjari, you are well known in Vraja for your chastity and you don't even look at the faces of other men. It is therefore surprising that although your husband is not at home, your lips, which are as beautiful as red bimba fruits, have been bitten. Has this perhaps been done by the best of parrots?"]
Was Raghunatha dasa Gosvami weeping or laughing? It may seem that he wrote this verse in a laughing, pleasant mood. In actuality, however, he was remembering a previous pastime and weeping at the lotus feet of Sri Rupa-manjari, "You were so merciful to me. I remember seeing your mood after Krsna kissed you and left a mark on your lips. When will I see you in that condition again?" In the second verse, beginning, "Sthala-kamalini yuktam garvita," he again offers pranama and weeps, "Will I see this again?" These first two verses are very important.
Now, in this seventh verse he cries, "Svamini ksanam iha pranayena gadham – Will it be possible for me to weep for You for even a moment? If my realization was complete, I would weep constantly."
How shall we come to the platform that we are able to weep? Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given instructions the sixth verse of Sri Siksastakam:
nayanam galad-asru-dharaya vadanam gadgada-ruddhaya gira
pulakair nicitam vapuh kada, tava nama-grahane bhavisyati
["O Prabhu! When will my eyes be filled with a stream of tears? When will my voice choke up? And when will the hairs of my body stand erect in ecstasy as I chant Your holy names?"]
Although kim, meaning 'when,' is not present in this seventh verse, we need to include it, with this mood: "When will I feel so much lamentation that I will weep while chanting the names Hare Krsna, Radha-Govinda, or Vrndavanesvari?" Weeping is our dharma, the essence of our religious principles. In this verse Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami says, "aty-utkatena nitaram virahanalena – my heart is burning in the great fire of separation." He sincerely feels this sentiment; and by his grace, and also by the grace of our Gurudeva and the guru-parampara, we will also realize something of this one day. This is our real prayer. When we pray and sing this verse, this will be our mood: "Tava nama-grahane bhavisyati – when, by chanting harinama, remembering, and listening, will I weep?" Those who are very fortunate can lament, weep, and realize the heart of this the author.
Akrandhanena vidhura vilapami padyaih. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is praying, "O Srimati Radhika, now I want to offer some flowers to Your lotus feet." These flowers are songs about the pastimes he has realized and heard about from Rupa Gosvami and others.
He has composed Sri Vilapa-kusumanjali in the mood of a sadhaka, for the benefit of sadhakas, and Srila Narottama dasa Thakura prays in a similar way in his Prarthana:
hari hari are ki emana dasa haba
chadiya purusa-deha kabe ba prakrti haba
dunhu ange candana paraba
(Song 13, text 1)
["When, relinquishing this male material body and obtaining the spiritual body of a gopi, will I anoint the limbs of the Divine Couple with sandalwood paste? O Lord Hari, Lord Hari, when will this day be mine?"]
"O Hari, will the day come when, even for a moment, my male ego will go far away and I will obtain the form of a gopi? May I have a chance for that mood? Dunhu ange candana paraba. Lalita will give an order and Visakha will pass the order to Rupa Manjari: 'Krsna always likes to see very new sakhis, and you have collected some. Please send one new sakhi to Radhika and Krsna to bring some candana, kunkuma, and aguru.' These unguents are so fragrant, beautiful, soft, and cooling. I will take them and anoint the limbs of Sri Radha and Krsna, always looking towards my guru-sakhi and Rupa Manjari to see whether or not I am doing it correctly. Srimati Radhika and Krsna will enjoy seeing this. Because I am a new sakhi, I may do something wrong. Seeing my mistake, They will laugh and become very much pleased."
taniya bandhibo cuda nava gunja -hare beda
nana phule ganthi diba hara
(Song 13, text 2)
["When will I arrange the hair of the Divine Couple? When will I give Them gunja-necklaces and garlands strung with various flowers?"]
Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, in the form of a manjari, is seeing that Radhika's and Krsna's hair is untied and disheveled. He says, "Then, from the corner of her eyes, Rupa-manjari will indicate to me that I should comb Their hair. First I will comb Srimati Radhika's hair, and then Sri Krsna's also. Radhika will grimace as if my combing is causing Her some pain, and Rupa-manjari will say, 'What are you doing? Please comb in a very gentle manner.' Then, taking the comb from my hand, she will teach me how to do it properly." This is the duty of guru.
"Then I will ask her, 'May I do it now?' With her permission, I will try again. After Her hair has been combed, braided, and tied, Srimati Radhika will be decorated with fragrant flowers like beli, cameli, and juhi. Nava gunja-hare beda. A beautiful garland of gunja will be offered to both Sri Krsna and Her. Nana phule ganthi diba hara. By gathering seven or eight differently colored flowers, I will string a vaijayanti-mala or vana-mala (garland of forest flowers). I will also place some flowers in Her braid in a very fine, artistic fashion."
When Sri Krsna is offered a garland, He always knows who has made it, especially if it was made by Srimati Radhika. Similarly, if He makes a garland and someone else gives it to Radhika, She can immediately feel that it had been made by Him.
pita-vasana ange paraibo sakhi-sange
badane tambula diba ara
(Song 13, text 2)
["When will I give Them yellow garments? When, accompanied by the other gopis, will I place betel-nuts in Their lotus mouths?"]
Sri Krsna Bhagavan is syama, cloud-colored, and His cloth is pita, yellow. Sakhi-sange means that Srila Narottama dasa Thakura in his gopi form is taking the help and instructions of her guru-sakhi, Rupa-manjari and all others like them. "Because I am new, I am taking their help and they are teaching me. After giving Srimati Radhika garlands and clothes, I will decorate Her ears, braid and forehead with flower ornaments."
dunhu rupa manohari deribo nayana bhari
nilambare rai sajaiya
nava-ratna-jari ani bandhiba vicitra beni
tate phula malati ganthiya
(Song 13, text 3)
["When will I gaze at the beautiful forms of the Divine Couple? When will I dress Srimati Radhika in blue garments, and decorate Her braided hair with garlands of jasmine flowers and strings of nine different kinds of jewels on a golden thread?"]
"I will then place kasturi-bindu, a musk dot, on Srimati Radhika's chin, and draw makara (dolphins) on Her cheeks. After this is completed, I will hand Her and Krsna a mirror. From the side, I will observe Their forms and think, 'How beautiful They are!' Nilambare rai sajaiya, I will dress Srimati Radhika in nilambara, blue cloth, the color of Krsna. She will wear a red lahanga, skirt, and Her very fine, almost transparent veil will be blue. Nava-ratna-jari ani bandhiba vicitra beni tate phula malati ganthiya. I will place many beautiful jewels in Her hair, and decorate Her braid with garlands of malati flowers."
sei rupa- madhuri dekhiba nayana bhari
ei kari mane abhilasa
jaya jaya rupa sanatana deha more ei dhana
nivedaye narottama dasa
(Song 13, text 4)
["My desire is that some day I shall be able to directly see the sweet beauty of the transcendental forms of the Divine Couple. O Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami, all glories to you both. Please bestow this treasure upon me. Please grant my desire. Narottama dasa appeals to you in this way."]
In his sadhakavesa, Srila Narottama dasa Thakura prays to Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami, not to the sakhis. In his svarupa as Vilasa Manjari, he will pray to Sri Rupa Manjari, Sri Lavanga Manjari, Sri Rati Manjari, and other sakhis. "When will I serve in this way?"
When we read these prayers, some 'coating' will certainly come in our hearts. It will be a coating only, but it will act and create our samskaras, impressions on the heart.
Srila Bilvamangala Thakura has written in a somewhat different mood in his Sri Krsna-karnamrta (text 63):
kadanu kasyam nu vipadasayam
vilochanabhyam vipula yatabhyam
["When will Krsna, the ocean of mercy in His fresh youth, under some unknown circumstances, again look at us with His wide eyes and accept us within His purview?"]
A similar desire has been expressed here. The author, Srila Bilvamangala Thakura, was a bhavuka bhakta – not siddha, but bhavuka (in the stage of bhava-bhakti) – and also rasika. He has received something in his heart from ragatmika-jana, those devotees situated in prema-bhakti, so he is bhavuka.
He is krsna-paksa and krsna-virahit. He is inclined towards Sri Krsna, and thus he expresses separation from Krsna, not Radhika. He has written all the verses in Krsna-karnamrta with some connection to Srimati Radhika, however, because he also has some taste for Her service. Krsna does not want to listen to any prayers that are devoid of a connection with Srimati Radhika and the gopis. If He hears, "I am being served by Radhika" or "I am serving Radhika," He becomes so pleased.
In the first verse of Sri Krsna-karnamrta, Srila Bilvamangala Thakura has used the word jayaSri:
cintamanir jayati somagirir gurur me
siksa-gurus ca bhagavan sikhi-pincha-maulih
lila-svayamvara-rasam labhate jayasrih
["Sri Krsna is so beautiful. His mouth, eyes, nose, hands, and all parts of His transcendental form are beautiful." Although His feet are not as beautiful as His face, in the beginning Srila Bilvamangala Öhakura has only described the beauty of His feet: "His feet are like lotuses and His toes are like lotus petals. To the rays emanating from the tips of His toenails, Srimati Radhika is offering arati."]
We Gaudiya Vaisnavas do not want to hear statements like this. For those with the same mood as Bilvamangala Thakura, this verse is very beautiful, undoubtedly, but we would be more interested and pleased if he had written that Sri Krsna is offering arati to Srimati Radhika. Instead, he writes that She is offering arati, and She is so pleased – feeling as if She is choosing Her husband and giving Him a garland when They first meet.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was in the mood of Srimati Radhika, and therefore He relished Sri Krsna-karnamrta. But we should try to see what Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Svarupa Damodara and Srila Raya Ramananda have told – not what Srimati Radhika or Krsna have told.
Our goal is to perform service like the manjaris, or like the sakhis – not like Radhika. Radhika always wants to hear Krsna's name and He wants to hear Her name, but we must follow in the proper channel. Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has written Vilapa-kusumanjali for Srimati Radhika, not for Krsna, and in Sri Sankalpa-kalpadruma (text one) Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Öhakura also prays to Her:
dasi-bhavani sukha yani sada sa- kantam
tvam alibhih parivrtam idam eva yace"
["O Queen of Vrndavana, O great ocean of mercy, playfulness, good fortune, transcendental pastimes, beauty, virtue, and youthfulness; please hear my prayer. Let me be Your maidservant. I will always please You, who stay with Your lover and Your friends. I beg this of You."]
In his own Sri Sankalpa-kalpadruma, Srila Jiva Gosvami has also prayed to Srimati Radhika, and all our Gosvamis have done the same. This is the speciality of our sampradaya; we follow this path. When we pray to Srimati Radhika, somehow Krsna Himself will come, in a hidden way, and try to hear.
In this seventh verse, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami uses the word ha, meaning 'alas,' and laments, "He karuna-sagara, O ocean of mercy, please see how miserable I am because I am not getting darsana of and Vrndavana, harinama, and You." He has great utkanöha, eagerness. He has heard about Srimati Radhika's glories – Her qualities, Her movements, and the sweetness of Her mercy – and he therefore has become unmada, maddened. Unmada refers to doing something that is considered wrong by ordinary standards. That which is right we can do, and that is our natural position. However, when we lose that thinking and do anything which is not to be done, that is called unmada.
One should not sit on Krsna's shoulders, but the gopis can do so in unmada. They can order Him about as they desire. When Krsna left them during rasa-lila, they were thinking about His movements and and qualities. By such continuous thinking they became maddened and began to imitate Him. Each and every gopi thought, "I alone am Krsna, and all the gopis are all my beloveds."
In his Sri Ananda-vrndavana-campu, Srila Kavi Karnapura explains how it happened that each gopi thought herself to be Krsna and saw the others as Putana, Aghasura, or Bakasura. One's attachment is never directed to something in which one has no taste. One will only develop attachment and tadatma-bhava, feelings of oneness, to that which is favorable and in which one has taste. The gopis cannot be attached to Putana, and therefore, because Putana is unfavorable to the gopis' bhava, it is not possible for them to become unmada and feel oneness with her. They are only attached to Krsna's activities.
In re-enacting Putana-lila, it appears that one gopi threw down another, climbed upon her breast, and took the breast of that other gopi in her mouth. However, Srila Kavi Karnapura explains that where it seems that a gopi is lying down as Putana, that gopi is not present there. Because they will not accept the mood of Putana, those gopis acting as Putana and other demons were created artificially by Yogamaya. This is a very important truth to understand, and it is difficult to understand simply by reading the descriptions of this pastime in Srimad-Bhagavatam. When something unfavorable to the gopis is required in a lila, Yogamaya makes the arrangements. She is doing everything; She is helping them, and thus they are thinking, "I'm Krsna," "I'm Krsna," "I'm Krsna," and performing all the lilas.
When they heard Sri Krsna's flute-song and thus left their houses and husbands in the dead of night, the real gopis came to Him and Yogamaya expanded duplicate gopis to stand by the side of their husbands. This was likewise the case here. All the gopis who played the parts of Putana, Aghasura, Bakasura, Kaliya, and so on were imitations created by Yogamaya.
Srila Kavi Karnapura has revealed something else about this rasa-lila. When the gopis were imitating Krsna, He Himself had entered their hearts and was the actual performer of His own pastimes – as mentioned earlier with reference to the fire entering and acting through the iron in tadatma-bhava. The gopis were thinking, "We are doing this," but actually Krsna was acting. Here there was no action of Yogamaya. Krsna Himself was doing everything.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Öhakura has made a similar point in this connection. When Krsna entered the gopi's hearts, His six opulences – aisvarya (wealth), virya (strength), yasasa (fame), Sri (beauty), jnana (knowledge), and vairagya (renunciation) – fully manifested in them. Because He was present there, everything was present there. Although they were merely imitating His pastimes, because He was present they had the power to lift Govardhana Hill and dance on the heads of Kaliya. If Govardhana were situated there, they could certainly have lifted him.
The reverse is also true. If the gopis are in Bhagavan Sri Krsna, He can act, otherwise He cannot. His abilities are the effect of the gopis' sakti, or power. They are His svarupa-sakti, and therefore whatever He does is actually done by them. Every quality and every power in Him is theirs. They don't reveal this, however, otherwise the pastimes cannot continue. Srimati Yasoda maiya can do every¬thing; the sakhas can kill millions of Kamsas, Aghasu¬ras, Bakasuras, and all others, but they do not exercise their power – and this is also true for the gopis.
When the demon Sankhacuda once abducted Srimati Radhika and the gopis, they began to cry. Why were they crying? This was nara-lila. If they wanted to exercise their power they could have done so. They have all qualities – everything that Krsna has. In fact, they have more than He has. They can defeat Him and they can control Him. Especially, Srimati Radhika is more beautiful than Him, and more powerful.
Once, when Sri Krsna wanted to wrestle with Radhika, She challenged Him, "You can come. We will see who is defeated and who is winner." She tied up Her clothes and became ready to fight. Krsna came forward and She defeated Him, and all the gopis applauded. She had taken away all of His power and He had become weak.
Govardhana thought that Krsna had lifted him, but actually Srimati Radhika had done so – because She is Krsna's power. Krsna is guru of the entire world, but His prema-guru is Radhika. He also learns from Lalita, Visakha, Citra and so on, but especially from Lalita. Krsna is so great, and it is only by prema that He is defeated. He is advaya-jnana, para-tattva. Srimad-Bhagavatam states: vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam yaj jnanam advayam (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.2.11). Everything is in Krsna, but still He shows that, "I am defeated by the gopis;" and He also admits this.
Returning to our original point, when praying, uttering, or chanting harinama, or when remembering harinama, we must realize some vipralambha-bhava. If we have no mood of separation, we will have to gradually develop this bhava through the execution of sadhana-bhakti. By reading about these pastimes something will enter our hearts, and someday we will experience them all.
Realization also comes by remembering Sri Gurudeva. We should always remember him, and also Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. If we do not understand the mercy of Gurudeva, we cannot understand anything. If you are receiving something new from me, you can also remember me.
Lobha-mula sadhana-bhajana. Lobha-mula means greed for raga-bhakti, and our sadhana-bhajana becomes perfect by being mixed or enriched with this. Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami continually weeps, but we do not shed even one teardrop; we are dry.
Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has called out to Radhika, "Ha svamini, O my Svamini." This use of the word Svamini indicates his sweet relationship with Her. He has also written in Sri Manah-siksa:
madisa-nathatve vraja-vipina-candram vraja-vane-
svarim tam-nathatve tad-atula-sakhitve tu lalitam
visakham siksali-vitarana-gurutve priya-saro-
girindrau tat-preksa-lalita-rati-datve smara manah
He prays here, "O Srimati Radhika, You are my supreme worshipful Deity. You are my natha." Natha means svamini, or mistress. "If anyone asks me who Sri Krsna is, I will only say that He is the prananatha, the lord of the life-breath, of my mistress Srimati Radhika." Our mistress is Srimati Radhika and He is Her prananatha. He is therefore worshipable by us, but She is our main worshipful Deity. Our relationship with Him is through Her.
Srimati Lalita devi is very near and dear Her, and therefore she is also worshipable by us. Srimati Visakha, born on the same day as Her, is named after Her and is no less qualified. Lalita is also known as Anuradha, and Visakha is also known as Radha. They only have honor and appreciation for something or someone if there is relation to Srimati Radhika; we want to be like this as well. We want only to see whether something is related to Her or not.
Suppose a certain girl is coming from Nandagaon and another is coming from either Javata or Varsana. We will prefer the one from Javata, because she is coming from Srimati Radhika and the other is coming from Krsna. We will first inquire about Radhika, then Krsna. A rupanuga-bhakta will always give preference to Her.
Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami prays later on in Vilapa-kusumanjali, "I am lying on the bank of Your Radha-kunda, taking nothing to eat or drink, and always weeping and chanting, 'Radhe! Radhe!' I think that someday or other You will have to give me Your mercy. If You don't, then I have no need of Krsna's mercy, Radha-kunda's mercy, or any others' mercy. I will also no longer want to live." In this way, he weeps.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada has written that sambhoga and vipralambha, meeting and separation, stand side by side eternally, forever, for endless time. Only a person who has some realization of vipralambha can taste and enjoy sambhoga-lila. One who has no taste of vipralamba cannot do so. The main object and ultimate goal of our sadhana-bhajana is to realize vipralambha-bhava. If this is achieved, we can realize everything else.