Caitanya Mahāprabhu informs us that in every country and in every scripture there is some hint of love of Godhead. But no one knows what love of Godhead actually is. The Vedic scriptures, however, are different in that they can direct the individual in the proper way to love God. Other scriptures do not give information on how one can love God, nor do they actually define or describe what or who the Godhead actually is. Although they officially promote love of Godhead, they have no idea how to execute it. But Caitanya Mahāprabhu gives a practical demonstration of how to love God in a conjugal relationship. Taking the part of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Caitanya Mahāprabhu tried to love Kṛṣṇa as Rādhārāṇī loved Him. Kṛṣṇa was always amazed by Rādhārāṇīs love. "How does Rādhārāṇī give Me such pleasure?" He would ask. In order to study Rādhārāṇī, Kṛṣṇa lived in Her role and tried to understand Himself. This is the secret of Lord Caitanya's incarnation. Caitanya Mahāprabhu is Kṛṣṇa, but He has taken the mood and role of Rādhārāṇī to show us how to love Kṛṣṇa. Thus the author writes in the fifth verse, "I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, who is absorbed in Rādhārāṇīs thoughts."
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This brings up the question of who Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is and what Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa is. Actually Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa is the exchange of love—but not ordinary love. Kṛṣṇa has immense potencies, of which three are principal: the internal, the external and the marginal potencies. In the internal potency there are three divisions: samvit, hlādinīand sandhinī. The hlādinīpotency is Kṛṣṇa's pleasure potency. All living entities have this pleasure-seeking potency, for all beings are trying to have pleasure. This is the very nature of the living entity. At present we are trying to enjoy our pleasure potency by means of the body in the material condition. By bodily contact we are attempting to derive pleasure from material sense objects. But we should not entertain the nonsensical idea that Kṛṣṇa, who is always spiritual, also tries to seek pleasure on this material plane. In the Bhagavad-gītāKṛṣṇa describes the material universe as a nonpermanent place full of miseries. Why, then, would He seek pleasure in matter? He is the Supersoul, the supreme spirit, and His pleasure is beyond the material conception.
To learn how Kṛṣṇa enjoys pleasure, we must study the first nine cantos of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and then we should study the Tenth Canto, in which Kṛṣṇa's pleasure potency is displayed in His pastimes with Rādhārāṇī and the damsels of Vraja. Unfortunately, unintelligent people turn at once to the sports of Kṛṣṇa in the Daśama-skandha, the Tenth Canto. Kṛṣṇa's embracing Rādhārāṇī or His dancing with the cowherd girls in the rāsa dance are generally not understood by ordinary men, because they consider these pastimes in the light of mundane lust. They foolishly think that Kṛṣṇa is like themselves and that He embraces the gopīs just as an ordinary man embraces a young girl. Some people thus become interested in Kṛṣṇa because they think that His religion allows indulgence in sex. This is not kṛṣṇa-bhakti, love of Kṛṣṇa, but prākṛta-sahajiyā—materialistic lust.
To avoid such errors, we should understand what Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa actually is. Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa display Their pastimes through Kṛṣṇa's internal energy. The pleasure potency of Kṛṣṇa's internal energy is a most difficult subject matter, and unless one understands what Kṛṣṇa is, one cannot understand it. Kṛṣṇa does not take any pleasure in this material world, but He has a pleasure potency. Because we are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, the pleasure potency is within us also, but we are trying to exhibit that pleasure potency in matter. Kṛṣṇa, however, does not make such a vain attempt. The object of Kṛṣṇa's pleasure potency is Rādhārāṇī; Kṛṣṇa exhibits His potency as Rādhārāṇī and then engages in loving affairs with Her. In other words, Kṛṣṇa does not take pleasure in this external energy but exhibits His internal energy, His pleasure potency, as Rādhārāṇī and then enjoys with Her. Thus Kṛṣṇa manifests Himself as Rādhārāṇī in order to enjoy His internal pleasure potency. Of the many extensions, expansions and incarnations of the Lord, this pleasure potency is the foremost and chief.
It is not that Rādhārāṇī is separate from Kṛṣṇa. Rādhārāṇī is also Kṛṣṇa, for there is no difference between the energy and the energetic. Without energy, there is no meaning to the energetic, and without the energetic, there is no energy. Similarly, without Rādhā there is no meaning to Kṛṣṇa, and without Kṛṣṇa there is no meaning to Rādhā. Because of this, the Vaiṣṇava philosophy first of all pays obeisances to and worships the internal pleasure potency of the Supreme Lord. Thus the Lord and His potency are always referred to as Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Similarly, those who worship Nārāyaṇa first of all utter the name of Lakṣmī, as Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa. Similarly, those who worship Lord Rāma first of all utter the name of Sītā. In any case—Sītā-Rāma, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa—the potency always comes first.
Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are one, and when Kṛṣṇa desires to enjoy pleasure, He manifests Himself as Rādhārāṇī. The spiritual exchange of love between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is the actual display of Kṛṣṇa's internal pleasure potency. Although we speak of "when" Kṛṣṇa desires, just when He did desire we cannot say. We only speak in this way because in conditioned life we take it that everything has a beginning; however, in spiritual life everything is absolute, and so there is neither beginning nor end. Yet in order to understand that Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are one and that They also become divided, the question "When?" automatically comes to mind. When Kṛṣṇa desired to enjoy His pleasure potency, He manifested Himself in the separate form of Rādhārāṇī, and when He wanted to understand Himself through the agency of Rādhā, He united with Rādhārāṇī, and that unification is called Lord Caitanya. This is all explained by Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja in the fifth verse of the Caitanya-caritāmṛta.
In the next verse the author further explains why Kṛṣṇa assumed the form of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Kṛṣṇa desired to know the glory of Rādhās love. "Why is She so much in love with Me?" Kṛṣṇa asked. "What is My special qualification that attracts Her so? And what is the actual way in which She loves Me?" It seems strange that Kṛṣṇa, as the Supreme, should be attracted by anyone's love. A man searches after the love of a woman because he is imperfect—he lacks something. The love of a woman, that potency and pleasure, is absent in man, and therefore a man wants a woman. But this is not the case with Kṛṣṇa, who is full in Himself. Thus Kṛṣṇa expressed surprise: "Why am I attracted by Rādhārāṇī? And when Rādhārāṇī feels My love, what is She actually feeling?" To taste the essence of that loving exchange, Kṛṣṇa made His appearance in the same way that the moon appears on the horizon of the sea. Just as the moon was produced by the churning of the sea, by the churning of spiritual loving affairs the moon of Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared. Indeed, Lord Caitanya's complexion was golden, just like the luster of the moon. Although this is figurative language, it conveys the meaning behind the appearance of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. The full significance of His appearance will be explained in later chapters.
Regarding the gopīs' dealings with Śrī Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.30.36–38 describes how when Śrī Kṛṣṇa took Śrīmatī Rādhikā alone from the rāsa dance, She proudly thought, "My dear Lord Kṛṣṇa has left the other gopīs, although they are as beautiful as I am, and He is satisfied with Me alone." In the forest She told Kṛṣṇa, "My dear Kṛṣṇa, I am unable to move anymore. Now if You like You can take Me wherever You desire." Kṛṣṇa replied, "You can climb on My shoulder," but as soon as He said this He disappeared, whereupon Śrīmatī Rādhikā repented very much.
In His two-handed form as the cowherd son of Nanda Mahārāja, Kṛṣṇa fully exhibits His opulence, beauty, wealth, attractiveness and pastimes. Indeed, in some Vaiṣṇava literature it is found that sometimes, in His form as Vāsudeva, He becomes attracted to His form of Govinda in Vṛndāvana. Thus as Vāsudeva He sometimes desires to enjoy as Govinda does, although the Govinda form and the Vāsudeva form are ultimately one and the same. In this regard, there is a passage in the Lalita-mādhava (4.19), in which Kṛṣṇa addresses Uddhava as follows: "My dear friend, the form of this cowherd boy Govinda attracts Me. Indeed, I wish to be like the damsels of Vraja, who are also attracted by this form of Govinda." Similarly, later in the Lalita-mādhava (8.34), Kṛṣṇa says: "Oh, how wonderful it is! Who is this person? After seeing Him, I am so much attracted that I now desire to embrace Him just like Rādhikā."
The supreme lover is Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana, and the supreme beloved is Rādhārāṇī. Kṛṣṇa has sixty-four main qualities, and His devotee takes transcendental pleasure in hearing of them. As explained in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, the characteristics are as follows: (1) His body is well constructed; (2) His body is full of auspicious symptoms; (3) His body is beautiful; (4) He is very glorious; (5) He is very strong; (6) He always looks like a boy of sixteen; (7) He is well versed in various languages; (8) He is truthful; (9) He is decorated with pleasing words; (10) He is expert in speaking;
Thus Kṛṣṇa has sixty-four transcendental qualities. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī has twenty-five transcendental qualities, with which She can control even Kṛṣṇa. Her transcendental qualities are as follows: (1) She is sweetness personified; (2) She is a fresh young girl; (3) Her eyes are always moving; (4) She is always brightly smiling; (5) She possesses all auspicious marks on Her body; (6) She can agitate Kṛṣṇa by the aroma of Her person; (7) She is expert in the art of singing; (8) She speaks very nicely and sweetly; (9) She is expert in presenting feminine attractions; (10) She is modest and gentle; (11) She is always very merciful; (12) She is transcendentally cunning; (13) She knows how to dress nicely; (14) She is always shy; (15) She is always respectful; (16) She is always patient; (17) She is very grave; (18) She is enjoyed by Kṛṣṇa; (19) She is always situated on the highest devotional platform; (20) She is the abode of love of the residents of Gokula; (21) She can give shelter to all kinds of devotees; (22) She is always affectionate to superiors and inferiors; (23) She is always obliged by the dealings of Her associates, (24) She is the greatest among Kṛṣṇa's girlfriends; (25) She always keeps Kṛṣṇa under Her control.
Thus Kṛṣṇa and Rādhārāṇī are both transcendentally qualified, and They attract one another. But Rādhārāṇīs transcendental attractiveness is greater than Kṛṣṇa's, for Her attractiveness is the transcendental taste in conjugal love. Similarly, there are transcendental tastes in servitorship, friendship and other relationships with Kṛṣṇa. These can be described with reference to the context of the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu.
The Lord has innumerable incarnations, and oṁkāra is one of them, in the form of a transcendental syllable. As Kṛṣṇa states in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.17): "Among vibrations, I am the syllable om." This means that oṁkāra is nondifferent from Kṛṣṇa. Impersonalists, however, give more importance to oṁkāra than to the Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. But the fact is that any representational incarnation of the Supreme Lord is nondifferent from Him. Such an incarnation or representation is as good spiritually as the Supreme Lord. Oṁkāra is therefore the ultimate representation of all the Vedas. Indeed, the Vedic mantras or hymns have transcendental value because they are prefixed by the syllable om. The Vaiṣṇavas interpret oṁkāra, a combination of the letters a, u and m, as follows: By the letter a, Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is indicated; by the letter u, Kṛṣṇa's eternal consort, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, is indicated; and by the letter m, the living entity, the eternal servitor of the Supreme Lord, is indicated. Śaṅkara has not given such importance to oṁkāra. But such importance is given in the Vedas, the Rāmāyaṇa, the Purāṇas and the Mahābhārata, from beginning to end. Thus the glories of the Supreme Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, are declared.
In Vṛndāvana Kṛṣṇa is addressed as Rādhākrṣṇa, or Kṛṣṇa, the property of Rādhārāṇī. Although the husband of Rukmiṇī and Rādhā's Kṛṣṇa are on the same level in the ordinary sense, still, in the spiritual world, the names indicate different understandings of various aspects of Kṛṣṇa's transcendental personality.
There is certainly transcendental intimacy between the damsels of Vraja and Kṛṣṇa, Rāmānanda pointed out, but out of all the relationships, the relationship between Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa in conjugal love is the most perfect. No common man can understand the ecstasy of transcendental love between Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa, nor can he understand the transcendental flavor of the transcendental love between Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs.
Lord Caitanya exhibited the mode of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī when She was contacted from Dvārakā by Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Such transcendental love is not possible for any common man; therefore one should not imitate the highest perfectional stage exhibited by Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
If, however, one desires to be in that association, he may follow in the footsteps of the gopīs. In the Padma Purāṇa it is stated that just as Rādhārāṇī is dear to Kṛṣṇa, similarly the kuṇḍa known as Rādhākuṇḍa is also very dear to Him. Rādhārāṇī is the only gopī who is dearer to Kṛṣṇa than all the other gopīs. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.30.28) it is also stated that Rādhārāṇī and the gopīs render the highest perfectional loving service to the Lord and that the Lord is so pleased with them that He does not wish to leave the company of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
When Lord Caitanya heard Rāmānanda Rāya speak of the loving affairs between Kṛṣṇa and Rādhārāṇī, He said, "Please go further. Go on and on." The Lord also said that He was enjoying with great relish the descriptions of the loving affairs between Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs. "It is as if a river of nectar is flowing from your lips," He said. Rāmānanda Rāya continued to point out that when Kṛṣṇa danced amongst the gopīs He thought, "I am not giving any special attention to Rādhārāṇī." Because amongst the other gopīs Rādhārāṇī was not so much an object of special love, Kṛṣṇa stole Her away from the area of the rāsa dance and showed Her special favor.
After explaining this to Lord Caitanya, Rāmānanda Rāya said, "Now let us relish the transcendental loving affairs between Kṛṣṇa and Rādhā. These have no comparison in this material world."
Rāmānanda Rāya thus continued his descriptions. During one performance of the rāsa dance, Rādhārāṇī suddenly left the area, as if She were angry that no special attention was being shown Her. Kṛṣṇa was desirous of seeing Rādhārāṇī in order to fulfill the purpose of the rāsa dance, but not seeing Rādhārāṇī there, He became very sorrowful and went to search Her out.
In Gīta-govinda there is a verse which states that the enemy of Kaṁsa, Kṛṣṇa, also wanted to be entangled in love affairs with women and thus simply took Rādhārāṇī away and left the company of the other damsels of Vraja. Kṛṣṇa was very much afflicted by Rādhārāṇī's absence and, being thus mentally distressed, began to search Her out along the banks of the Yamunā.
Rāmānanda Rāya pointed out that when one discusses the purport of these two special verses of Gīta-govinda (3.1-2), he can relish the highest nectar of Kṛṣṇa's and Rādhā's loving affairs. Although there were many gopīs to dance with Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa especially wanted to dance with Rādhārāṇī. In the rāsa dance Kṛṣṇa expanded Himself and placed Himself between every two gopīs, but He was especially present with Rādhārāṇī.
However, Rādhārāṇī was not pleased with Kṛṣṇa's behavior. As described in Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi: "The path of loving affairs is just like the movement of a snake. Amongst young lovers, there are two kinds of mentality—causeless and causal." Thus when Rādhārāṇī left the area of the rāsa dance out of anger at not receiving special treatment, Kṛṣṇa became very sorrowful to see Her absent.
The perfection of the rāsa dance was considered to be complete due to Rādhārāṇī's presence, and in Her absence Kṛṣṇa considered the dance to be disrupted. Therefore He left the arena to search Her out. When He could not find Rādhārāṇī after wandering in several places, He became very distressed. Thus it is understood that Kṛṣṇa could not enjoy His pleasure potency even in the midst of all the gopīs. But in the presence of Rādhārāṇī He was satisfied.
When this transcendental love between Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa was described by Rāmānanda Rāya, Lord Caitanya admitted, "I came to you to understand the transcendental loving affairs between Kṛṣṇa and Rādhā, and now I am very satisfied that you have described them so nicely. I can understand from your version that this is the highest loving state between Kṛṣṇa and Rādhā."
Yet Lord Caitanya still requested Rāmānanda Rāya to explain something more: "What are the transcendental features of Kṛṣṇa and Rādhārāṇī, and what are the transcendental features of the reciprocation of Their feelings, and what is the love between Them? If you kindly describe all this to Me, I will be very much obliged. But for you, no one can describe such things."
Bhaṭṭācārya recommended that I see you in order to understand Kṛṣṇa. Indeed, he said that Rāmānanda Rāya is the only person who knows something about love of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore I have come to you upon the recommendation of Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya. Please, then, do not hesitate to relate to Me all the confidential affairs between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa."
Lord Caitanya therefore requested Rāmānanda Rāya to go on teaching Him without hesitation, not considering Lord Caitanya's position as a sannyāsī. Thus Lord Caitanya urged him to continue speaking on the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.
"Because You are asking me to speak of the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa," Rāmānanda Rāya humbly submitted, "I will obey Your order. I will speak in whatever way You like." Thus Rāmānanda Rāya humbly submitted himself as a puppet before Lord Caitanya, the puppet master. He only wanted to dance according to the will of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He compared his tongue to a stringed instrument, saying, "You are the player of that instrument."
A great saintly ācārya has sung: "When will my mind be cleared of all contamination so I will be able to see Vṛndāvana as it is? And when will I be able to understand the literatures left by the Gosvāmīs so that I will be able to know of the transcendental pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa?"
As stated in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: "Kṛṣṇa is the reservoir of all pleasures, and He is always attracting the gopīs by the spiritual luster of His body. He especially attracts Tārakā, Pāli, Śyāmā, and Lalitā. Kṛṣṇa is very dear to Rādhārāṇī, the foremost gopī." Like Kṛṣṇa, the gopīs are glorified by Kṛṣṇa's pastimes. There are different kinds of relationships with Kṛṣṇa, and anyone who is attracted to Kṛṣṇa by a particular relationship is glorified.
How Kṛṣṇa is attracted by His own beauty is described in Lalita-mādhava (8.34). Upon seeing His own picture, Kṛṣṇa lamented, "How glorious this picture is! It is attracting Me just as it attracts Rādhārāṇī."
After giving a summary of the beauty of Kṛṣṇa, Rāmānanda Rāya began to speak of the spiritual energy of Kṛṣṇa, which is headed by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Kṛṣṇa has immense energetic expansions. Three energies are predominant: the internal energy, external energy and marginal energy. This is confirmed in the Sixth Chapter of Viṣṇu Purāṇa where it is said that Viṣṇu has one energy, which is called spiritual energy, and it is manifested in three ways.
In His spiritual form, Kṛṣṇa enjoys His spiritual energy, and that is the sum and substance of the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa pastimes. These pastimes can only be understood by elevated devotees. One should not try to understand the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa potencies and pastimes from the mundane platform. Generally people misunderstand these as being material.
When the pleasure potency is further condensed, it is called mahābhāva. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, the eternal consort of Kṛṣṇa, is the personification of that mahābhāva. In this regard, in Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi (4.3) Rūpa Gosvāmī states that there are two competitors in love with Kṛṣṇa, Rādhārāṇī and Candrāvalī.
When they are compared, it appears that Rādhārāṇī is superior, for She possesses mahābhāva-svarūpa. Mahābhāva-svarūpa, the personification of mahābhāva, is applicable to Rādhārāṇī only. Mahābhāva is full of the pleasure potency, and it is an exhibition of the highest love for Kṛṣṇa. Rādhārāṇī is therefore known throughout the world as the most beloved of Kṛṣṇa, and Her name is always associated with Kṛṣṇa as Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.
As Kṛṣṇa is the highest emblem of spiritual perfection, so Rādhārāṇī is the highest emblem of that spiritual pleasure potency by which Kṛṣṇa is satisfied. Since Kṛṣṇa is unlimited, in order to satisfy Him Rādhārāṇī is also unlimited. Kṛṣṇa is satisfied just by seeing Rādhārāṇī, but Rādhārāṇī expands Herself in such a way that Kṛṣṇa desires to enjoy Her more. Because Kṛṣṇa was unable to estimate the pleasure potency of Rādhārāṇī, He decided to accept the role of Rādhārāṇī, and that combination is Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Rāmānanda Rāya then began to explain Rādhārāṇī as the supreme emblem of Kṛṣṇa's pleasure potency. Rādhārāṇī expands Herself in different forms, known as Lalitā, Viśākhā and Her other confidential associates. In his book Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, Rūpa Gosvāmī explains the characteristics of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. He points out that the body of Rādhārāṇī is in itself an actual evolution of transcendental pleasure.
Rādhārāṇī's sense of hearing is eternally fixed on Kṛṣṇa's name and fame. One's lips become red from chewing betel nuts. Similarly, the borders of Rādhārāṇī's eyes are blackened due to Her complete attachment to Kṛṣṇa. This darkness might be compared to ointment used by nature when nature jokes with Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Rādhārāṇī's smile is just like the taste of camphor.
Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is decorated with sūddīpta-sāttvika emotions, which sometimes include tribulation and sometimes pacification. All the transcendental ecstasies are manifested in the body of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Sūddīpta-sāttvika emotions are manifest when a lover is overwhelmed with certain feelings which he or she cannot check.
The tilaka of fortune is on the forehead of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and She also has a locket of prema-vaicittya. Prema-vaicittya is manifest when a lover and beloved meet and fear separation.
Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is fifteen days younger than Kṛṣṇa. She always keeps Her hand on the shoulders of Her friends, and She always talks and thinks of pastimes with Kṛṣṇa. She always offers Kṛṣṇa a kind of intoxication by Her sweet talks, and She is always prepared to fulfill His desires. In other words, She supplies all the demands of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and She possesses unique and uncommon qualities for Kṛṣṇa's satisfaction.
In Govinda-līlāmṛta there is a verse which states: "Who is the breeding ground for Kṛṣṇa's affection? The answer is that it is only Śrīmatī Rādhikā. Who is Kṛṣṇa's most lovable object? The answer is that it is only Śrīmatī Rādhikā and no one else." Sheen in the hair, moisture in the eyes and firmness in the breasts are all qualities present in Śrīmatī Rādhikā. Only Śrīmatī Rādhikā is able to fulfill all the desires of Kṛṣṇa. No one else can do so.
Satyabhāmā is another competitor of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, but she always desires to come to the standard of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Rādhārāṇī is so expert in all affairs that all the damsels of Vraja come to learn arts from Her. She is so extraordinarily beautiful that even the goddess of fortune and Pārvatī, the wife of Lord Śiva, desire elevation to Her standard of beauty.
She is so extraordinarily beautiful that even the goddess of fortune and Pārvatī, the wife of Lord Śiva, desire elevation to Her standard of beauty. Arundhatī, who is known as the most chaste lady in the universe, desires to learn the standard of chastity from Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Since even Lord Kṛṣṇa cannot estimate Rādhārāṇī's highly transcendental qualities, it is not possible for an ordinary man to estimate them.
After hearing Rāmānanda Rāya speak of the qualities of Rādhā Kṛṣṇa, Lord Caitanya desired to hear from him about the reciprocation of love between Them. Rāmānanda Rāya described Kṛṣṇa as dhīra-lalita, a word which describes a person who is very cunning and youthful, who is always expert in joking, who is without anxiety and who is always subservient to his girl friend.
In Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu it is stated:. "By His impudent and daring talks about sex indulgence, Kṛṣṇa obliged Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī to close Her eyes, and taking advantage of this, Kṛṣṇa painted many pictures on Her breasts. These pictures served as subject matter for Rādhārāṇī's friends to joke about. Thus Kṛṣṇa was always engaged in lusty activities, and thus He made His youthful life successful."
Upon hearing of these transcendental activities, Lord Caitanya said, "My dear Rāmānanda, what you have explained regarding the transcendental pastimes of Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is perfectly correct, yet there is something more I would like to hear from you."
"I can only say that there is an emotional activity called prema-vilāsa-vivarta, which I may try to explain but I do not know whether You will be happy to hear it." In prema-vilāsa there are two kinds of emotional activities—separation and meeting. That transcendental separation is so acute that it is actually more ecstatic than meeting. Rāmānanda Rāya was expert in understanding these highly elevated dealings between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, and he composed a nice song which he narrated to the Lord.
The purport of the song is that the lover and the beloved, before meeting, generate a kind of emotion by the exchange of their transcendental activities. That emotion is called rāga, or attraction. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī expressed Her willingness that "this attraction and affection between Us rise to the highest extent," but the cause of this attraction is Rādhārāṇī Herself. "Whatever the cause may be," Rādhārāṇī said, "that affection between You and Me has mixed Us in oneness. Now that it is the time of separation, I cannot see the history of the evolution of this love. There was no cause or mediator in Our love save Our meeting itself and the visionary exchange of feelings."
This exchange of feelings between Kṛṣṇa and Rādhārāṇī is very difficult to understand unless one is elevated to the platform of pure goodness. Such transcendental reciprocation is not even possible to understand from the platform of material goodness. One has to actually transcend material goodness in order to understand. This is because the exchange of feelings between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is not a subject matter of this material world.
Even the greatest mental speculator cannot understand this, directly or indirectly. Material activities are manifested either for the gross body or the subtle mind, but this exchange of feelings between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is beyond such manifestations and beyond intellectual mental speculation. It can only be understood by purified senses freed from all the designations of the material world.
Rāmānanda Rāya then began to relate the confidential and transcendental activities of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. These activities cannot be understood in the emotional relationship with the Supreme Lord as master and servant, friend and friend or parent and son.
Without the association of the damsels of Vraja, one cannot nourish or cherish such transcendental understanding. In other words, these confidential pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa have expanded through the mercy of the damsels. Without their mercy, they cannot be understood. One has to follow in the footsteps of the damsels of Vraja in order to understand.
When one is actually situated in that understanding, he becomes eligible to enter into the confidential pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. There is no alternative to understand Their confidential pastimes. This is confirmed in Govinda-līlāmṛta (10.17): "Although manifest, happy, expanded and unlimited, the emotional exchanges between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa can only be understood by the damsels of Vraja or by their followers."
Just as no one can understand the expansion of the spiritual energy of the Supreme Lord without His causeless mercy, no one can understand the transcendental sex life between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa without following in the footsteps of the damsels of Vraja. The personal associates of Rādhārāṇī are called sakhīs, and Her near assistants are called mañjarīs. It is very difficult to express their dealings with Kṛṣṇa because they have no desire to mix with Kṛṣṇa or to enjoy Him personally.
Rather, they are always ready to help Rādhārāṇī associate with Kṛṣṇa. Their affection for Kṛṣṇa and Rādhārāṇī is so pure that they are simply satisfied when Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are together. Indeed, their transcendental pleasure is in seeing Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa united. The actual form of Rādhārāṇī is just like a creeper embracing the tree of Kṛṣṇa, and the damsels of Vraja, the associates of Rādhārāṇī, are just like the leaves and flowers of that creeper.
When a creeper embraces a tree, the leaves and flowers as well as the creeper automatically embrace it. Govinda-līlāmṛta (10.16) confirms that Rādhārāṇī is the expansion of the pleasure potency of Kṛṣṇa and is compared with a creeper, and Her associates, the damsels of Vraja, are compared to the flowers and leaves of that creeper. When Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa enjoy Themselves, the damsels of Vraja relish the pleasure more than Rādhārāṇī Herself.
Although the associates of Rādhārāṇī do not expect any personal attention from Kṛṣṇa, Rādhārāṇī is so pleased with them that She arranges individual meetings between Kṛṣṇa and the damsels of Vraja. Indeed, Rādhārāṇī tries to combine or unite Her associates with Kṛṣṇa by many transcendental maneuvers, and She takes more pleasure in these meetings than in Her own meetings with Him.
When Kṛṣṇa sees that both Rādhārāṇī and Her associates are pleased by His association, He becomes more satisfied. Such association and loving reciprocation have nothing to do with material lust, although it resembles the material union between man and woman. It is only because that similarity is there that such reciprocation is sometimes called, in transcendental language, transcendental lust.
As explained in Gautamīya-tantra (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.285): "Lust means attachment to one's personal sense gratification. But as far as Rādhārāṇī and Her associates are concerned, they did not desire personal sense gratification. They only wanted to satisfy Kṛṣṇa."
Such people dress the outward material body because they foolishly confuse the body with the soul. They are mistaken when they think that the spiritual bodies of Kṛṣṇa, Rādhārāṇī and Their associates, the damsels of Vraja, are composed of material nature.
One should also always meditate upon the affairs between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in the transcendental world. One should think of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa twenty-four hours a day and eternally engage in Their service. One need not externally change his dress. By following the mood of the associates and friends of Rādhārāṇī, one can ultimately achieve the perfectional stage and be transferred to Goloka Vṛndāvana, the transcendental abode of Kṛṣṇa.
No one can contemplate or think of the activities of the spiritual kingdom without being situated in his pure, spiritual identity (siddha). Thus Rāmānanda Rāya said that without attaining siddha-deha, one can neither become an associate of the damsels nor render service directly to the Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, and His eternal consort Rādhārāṇī.
Lord Caitanya was very satisfied to hear these statements from Rāmānanda Rāya, and He embraced him. Then both of them began to cry in the ecstasy of transcendental realization. Thus the Lord and Rāmānanda Rāya discussed the transcendental pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa throughout the night, and in the morning they separated. Rāmānanda left to go to his place, and the Lord went to take His bath.
"I have come to you to purify Myself by hearing from you the transcendental pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa," the Lord replied. "I am so fortunate, for you are the only teacher of such transcendental pastimes. I can find no one else in the world who can realize the transcendental loving reciprocation between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. You are asking Me to stay here for ten days, but I feel like remaining with you for the rest of My life.
Please come to Jagannātha Purī, My headquarters, and we will remain together for the rest of our lives. Thus I can pass My remaining days in understanding Kṛṣṇa and Rādhā by your association."
Lord Caitanya next asked Rāmānanda Rāya, "What is the most valuable thing in the world?" Rāmānanda Rāya replied that he who has love for Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa possesses the most valuable jewel and the greatest riches. One who is addicted to material sense gratification or material wealth is not really considered to be wealthy.
When one comes to the spiritual platform of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he can understand that there are no riches more valuable than love of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. It is recorded in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that Mahārāja Dhruva sought out the Supreme Lord because he wanted to get some land, but when he finally saw Kṛṣṇa, he said, "I am so pleased, I don't want anything."
Lord Caitanya then asked Rāmānanda Rāya, "Out of many so-called liberated souls, who is actually liberated?" Rāmānanda replied that he who is actually completely saturated with the devotional love for Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is to be considered to be the best of all liberated persons. It is stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (6.14.4) that a devotee of Nārāyaṇa is so rare that one can only find him out of millions and millions of people.
Caitanya Mahāprabhu asked. And Rāmānanda replied that any song which describes the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is the best song. In conditional life, the soul is captivated by sex. All fictions—dramas and novels—and material songs describe love between men and women.
There is an immense literature dealing with the transactions between the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa, and anyone who takes shelter of this literature or of the stories about Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa can enjoy actual happiness. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.33.36) it is said that the Lord displayed His pastimes in Vṛndāvana in order to reveal His actual life. Any intelligent person who tries to understand the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is most fortunate. The songs that tell of those pastimes are the greatest songs in the world.
"He who always meditates on the lotus feet of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is the best meditator," Rāmānanda Rāya answered. This is also confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.14): "It is the Supreme Personality of Godhead alone who is the master of all devotees, whose name one should always chant and who should always be meditated upon and worshiped regularly."
"The pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa," Rāmānanda replied. Actually when the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are heard from the right source, one at once attains liberation. Unfortunately it sometimes happens that people do not hear of these pastimes from a person who is a realized soul. Thus people are sometimes misguided.
In other words, by hearing the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, one can get rid of all material lust. If one does not become freed from material lust in this way, then he should not indulge in hearing of the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Unless one hears from the right source, he will misinterpret the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, considering them to be ordinary affairs between a man and woman. In this way one may be misguided.
Caitanya Mahāprabhu next inquired. Rāmānanda Rāya immediately replied that the transcendental couple, Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, is the ultimate object of worship. There are many worshipable objects—the impersonalists worship the brahmajyoti, for instance—but by worshiping objects other than Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, one becomes bereft of life's symptoms and becomes just like a tree or other nonmoving entity.
The unfortunate transcendentalists simply speculate on dry philosophy, whereas the transcendentalists who are in love with Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa enjoy fruit just like the cuckoo. Thus those who are devotees of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are most fortunate. The bitter nimba fruit is not at all eatable; it is simply full of dry speculation and is only fit for crowlike philosophers. Mango seeds, however, are very relishable, and those in the devotional service of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa enjoy them.
After discussing Kṛṣṇa for some time, Rāmānanda Rāya fell at the feet of the Lord and said, "My dear Lord, You are so kind to me that You have told me about the science of Kṛṣṇa and Rādhārāṇī and Their loving affairs, the affairs of the rāsa dance and Their pastimes. I never thought that I should be able to speak on this subject matter. You have taught me as You formerly taught the Vedas to Brahmā."
"You have the highest conception of the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa," Lord Caitanya continued. "Therefore you are seeing Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa everywhere."
Rāmānanda Rāya replied: "I request that You not try to hide Yourself. I understand that You have accepted the complexion and mode of thinking of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and that You are trying to understand Yourself from the viewpoint of Rādhārāṇī. You have actually advented Yourself to take this point of view.
Being very satisfied, Lord Caitanya smiled and showed Rāmānanda His real form as the combination of Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Thus Lord Caitanya was Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself with the external features of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. His transcendental ability to become two and then to become one again was revealed to Rāmānanda Rāya.
Those who are fortunate enough to understand Lord Caitanya as well as the Vṛndāvana pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa can be able, by the mercy of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, to know about the real identity of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
I am the selfsame Kṛṣṇa the son of Mahārāja Nanda, and due to contact with the body of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī I have now assumed this form. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī does not touch anyone but Kṛṣṇa; therefore She has influenced Me with Her complexion, mind and words. In this way I am just trying to understand the transcendental flavor of Her relationship with Kṛṣṇa."
No one can be more superexcellently attractive than Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and but for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, no one can enjoy the supreme form of devotion, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. But for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, all Viṣṇu forms are lacking this ability. This is explained in the description of Govinda in Caitanya-caritāmṛta. There it is said that Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the only personality who can infuse Śrī Kṛṣṇa with transcendental pleasure. Thus Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the chief damsel of Vraja in love with Govinda, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
Lord Caitanya then passed ten nights with Rāmānanda Rāya, enjoyed his company and discussed the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa and Rādhā. The discussions between them were on the highest level of love for Kṛṣṇa. Some of these talks are described, but most of them could not be described.
By hearing these discussions one can understand the pastimes of Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa as well as the confidential role played by Lord Caitanya. If one is actually fortunate enough to have faith in these discussions, he can enter into the transcendental association of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.
Nectar of Devotion
"I offer my respectful obeisances unto the six Gosvāmīs, namely Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrī Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, Śrī Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī and Śrī Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, who are very expert in scrutinizingly studying all the revealed scriptures with the aim of establishing eternal religious principles for the benefit of all human beings. Thus they are honored all over the three worlds, and they are worth taking shelter of because they are absorbed in the mood of the gopīs and are engaged in the transcendental loving service of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa."
Invoking auspiciousness: Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the cause of all causes, the reservoir of all rasas, or relationships, which are called neutrality (passive adoration), servitorship, friendship, parenthood, conjugal love, comedy, compassion, fear, chivalry, ghastliness, wonder and devastation. He is the supreme attractive form, and by His universal and transcendental attractive features He has captivated all the gopīs, headed by Tārakā, Pālikā, Śyāmā, Lalitā, and ultimately Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī begins his great book by offering his respectful obeisances unto Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī, who is his elder brother and spiritual master, and he prays that Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu may be very pleasing to him. He further prays that by residing in that ocean of nectar, Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī may always feel transcendental pleasure in the service of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has stated that devotional service attracts even Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa attracts everyone, but devotional service attracts Kṛṣṇa. The symbol of devotional service in the highest degree is Rādhārāṇī. Kṛṣṇa is called Madana-mohana, which means that He is so attractive that He can defeat the attraction of thousands of Cupids. But Rādhārāṇī is still more attractive, for She can even attract Kṛṣṇa.
To perform devotional service means to follow in the footsteps of Rādhārāṇī, and devotees in Vṛndāvana put themselves under the care of Rādhārāṇī in order to achieve perfection in their devotional service. In other words, devotional service is not an activity of the material world; it is directly under the control of Rādhārāṇī.
In Bhagavad-gītā it is confirmed that the mahātmās, or great souls, are under the protection of daivī prakṛti, the internal energy—Rādhārāṇī. So, being directly under the control of the internal potency of Kṛṣṇa, devotional service attracts even Kṛṣṇa Himself.
There are many symptoms of ecstatic love caused by remembering Kṛṣṇa. For example, one friend of Kṛṣṇa informed Him, "My dear Mukunda, just after observing a bluish cloud in the sky, the lotus-eyed Rādhārāṇī immediately began to remember You. And simply by observing this cloud She became lusty for Your association."
This is an instance of remembering Kṛṣṇa in ecstatic love because of seeing something resembling Him. Kṛṣṇa's bodily complexion is very similar to the bluish hue of a cloud, so simply by observing a bluish cloud, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī remembered Him.
People are generally attracted to society, friendship and love, and they make elaborate arrangements and strong endeavors to develop these material contaminations. But to see the śrī-mūrtis of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is to forget such endeavors for material association. Rūpa Gosvāmī composed his verse in such a way that he was seemingly praising the material association of friendship and love and was condemning the audience of śrī-mūrti or Govinda.
This development of conjugal love can be possible only with those who are already engaged in following the regulative principles of devotional service, specifically in the worship of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in the temple. Such devotees gradually develop a spontaneous love for the Deity, and by hearing of the Lord's exchange of loving affairs with the gopīs, they gradually become attracted to these pastimes.
There is a statement in Govinda-vilāsa to this effect: "Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī was looking for Kṛṣṇa very anxiously and almost disappointedly." When there is such an indirect expression of conjugal love, there is smiling, astonishment, enthusiasm, lamentation, anger, dread and sometimes ghastliness. These seven exchanges of conjugal love form another state of ecstatic love.
Only at that time is the attachment to Kṛṣṇa perfect. Spontaneously, the devotee becomes eager to serve the Lord in his ecstatic love. At this stage the devotee is on the platform of uttama-adhikārī, perfect devotion. Such a devotee has no agitation from material affections and is interested only in the service of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.
In the same Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta there is another statement, about the chanting of Rādhārāṇī. It is said by one of the associates of Rādhārāṇī, "O Lord Govinda, the girl who is the daughter of King Vṛṣabhānu is now shedding tears, and She is anxiously chanting Your holy name—'Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa!' "
Sometimes one may artificially imitate these, pretending that Kṛṣṇa is talking with him in the form of a boy, or else one may pretend that Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa both have come to him and are talking with him. Such characteristics are sometimes exhibited by the impersonalist class of men, and they may captivate some innocent persons who have no knowledge in the science of devotional service.
In this connection there is a statement in Padyāvalī which contains the following conversation between Kṛṣṇa and Rādhā. One morning, when Kṛṣṇa came to Rādhā, Rādhā asked Him, "My dear Keśava, where is Your vāsa at present?" The Sanskrit word vāsa has three meanings: one meaning is residence, one meaning is fragrance, and another meaning is dress.
Actually Rādhārāṇī inquired from Kṛṣṇa, "Where is Your dress?" But Kṛṣṇa took the meaning as residence, and He replied to Rādhārāṇī, "My dear captivated one, at the present moment My residence is in Your beautiful eyes."
To this Rādhārāṇī replied, "My dear cunning boy, I did not ask You about Your residence. I inquired about Your dress."
Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī again inquired from Kṛṣṇa, "Where did You pass Your night?" The exact Sanskrit word used in this connection was yāminyāmuṣitaḥ. Yāminyām means "at night," and uṣitaḥ means "pass." Kṛṣṇa, however, divided the word yāminyāmuṣitaḥ into two separate words, namely yāminyā and muṣitaḥ.
By dividing this word into two, it came out to mean that He was kidnapped by Yāminī, or night. Kṛṣṇa therefore replied to Rādhārāṇī, "My dear Rādhārāṇī, is it possible that night can kidnap Me?" In this way He was answering all of the questions of Rādhārāṇī so cunningly that He gladdened this dearest of the gopīs.
One who can talk and dress himself very artistically is called vidagdha. This exemplary characteristic was visible in the personality of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. It is spoken of by Rādhārāṇī as follows: "My dear friend, just see how Kṛṣṇa has nicely composed songs and how He dances and speaks funny words and plays on His flute, wearing such nice garlands. He has dressed Himself in such an enchanting way, as though He had defeated all kinds of players at the chessboard. He lives wonderfully at the topmost height of artistic craftsmanship."
Another instance of Kṛṣṇa's gravity is found in connection with His love affairs with Rādhārāṇī. Kṛṣṇa was always very silent about His love affairs with Rādhārāṇī, so much so that Baladeva, Kṛṣṇa's elder brother and constant companion, could not understand the transformations of Kṛṣṇa on account of His gravity.
Actually, because Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it is very difficult to approach Him. But the devotees, taking advantage of His compassionate nature, which is represented by Rādhārāṇī, always pray to Rādhārāṇī for Kṛṣṇa's compassion.
Regarding Kṛṣṇa's attractive features being ever fresh, there is a statement by Rādhārāṇī in the Lalita-mādhava in which Kṛṣṇa is compared to the greatest sculptor, because He is expert in chiseling at the chastity of women.
There are many examples of how Kṛṣṇa attracted even great liberated souls like Śukadeva Gosvāmī and the Kumāras. In this connection the following statement was given by the Kumāras: "How wonderful it is that although we are completely liberated, free from desire and situated at the stage of paramahaṁsa, we are still aspiring to taste the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa."
Upon seeing this bodily reflection, He expressed His feelings: 'How wonderful it is that I have never seen such a beautiful form! Although it is My own form, still, like Rādhārāṇī, I am trying to embrace this form and enjoy celestial bliss.'" This statement shows how Kṛṣṇa and His shadow reflection are one and the same.
A person is called dhīra-lalita if he is naturally very funny, always in full youthfulness, expert in joking and free from all anxieties. Such a dhīra-lalita personality is generally found to be domesticated and very submissive to his lover. This dhīra-lalita trait in the personality of Kṛṣṇa is described by Yajña-patnī, the wife of one of the brāhmaṇas who were performing sacrifices in Vṛndāvana. She tells her friends, "One day Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, accompanied by Her associates, was taking rest in Her garden, and at that time Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa arrived in that assembly.
After sitting down, He began to narrate very impudently about His previous night's pastimes with Rādhārāṇī. While He was speaking in that way, Rādhārāṇī became very embarrassed. She was feeling ashamed and was absorbed in thought, and Kṛṣṇa took the opportunity to mark Her breasts with different kinds of tilaka.
An example of Kṛṣṇa's pleasing nature is thus described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: "One day while Kṛṣṇa was awaiting the arrival of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī by the bank of the Yamunā, He began to make a garland of kadamba flowers. In the meantime, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī appeared there, and at that time Murāri (Kṛṣṇa), the enemy of Mura, glanced over Rādhārāṇī very sweetly."
A person who is very fond of dressing himself is called lalita, or a meticulous dresser. This characteristic was found in Kṛṣṇa in two ways: sometimes He used to decorate Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī with various marks, and sometimes, when He was preparing to kill demons like Ariṣṭāsura, He would take care to arrange His belt very nicely.
In the Third Canto, First Chapter, verse 32, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Vidura inquires from Uddhava, "My dear friend, is Akrūra in an auspicious condition? Not only is he a learned scholar and sinless, but he is also a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. He has such ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa that I have seen him rolling upon Kṛṣṇa's footprints in the dust as if bereft of all sense." Similarly, one gopī gave a message to Kṛṣṇa that Rādhārāṇī, because of Her separation from Him and because of Her enchantment with the aroma of His flower garlands, was rolling on the ground, thereby bruising Her soft body.
One gopī informed Kṛṣṇa that when Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī was singing about His glories, She enchanted all of Her friends in such a way that they became stonelike and dull. At the same time, the nearby stones began to melt away in ecstatic love.
A gopī once said to Kṛṣṇa, "My dear son of Nanda Mahārāja, by the sound of Your flute Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī has become full of lamentation and fear, and thus, with a faltering voice, She is crying like a kurarī bird."
It is said that when the full moon rises, the lotus petals become expanded. Similarly, when Kṛṣṇa used to appear before Rādhārāṇī, Her face, which is compared to the lotus flower, would expand by Her yawning.
Sometimes belching also becomes a symptom of ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa. There is evidence of this in Paurṇamāsī's address to one crying associate of Rādhārāṇī: "My dear daughter, don't be worried because Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is belching. I am about to offer a remedial measure for this symptom. Do not cry so loudly.
Moist existential ecstatic love aroused in connection with Kṛṣṇa is divided into two: direct and indirect. Rādhārāṇī was weaving a garland of kunda flowers, and upon hearing the vibration of Kṛṣṇa's flute, She immediately stopped Her work. This is an example of direct moistened existential ecstatic love.
An example of perspiring because of jubilation is described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. One gopī addressed Rādhārāṇī thus: "My dear Rādhārāṇī, You are rebuking the sunshine unnecessarily, but I can understand that You are perspiring only because of Your becoming too lusty at seeing Kṛṣṇa."
Perspiration caused by fearfulness was exhibited by Raktaka, one of the servants of Kṛṣṇa. One day Kṛṣṇa dressed Himself just like Abhimanyu, the husband of Rādhārāṇī. Abhimanyu did not like Rādhārāṇī's association with Kṛṣṇa, and therefore when Raktaka saw Kṛṣṇa in the dress of Abhimanyu and thus mistook His identity, he began to strongly rebuke Him.
During this rāsa dance Kṛṣṇa disappeared all of a sudden with Rādhārāṇī, and the gopīs began to search Him out. At that time they addressed the earth and said, "Dear earthly planet, how many austerities and penances you must have undergone to have the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa always touching your surface.
When Kṛṣṇa was going to Mathurā on the chariot driven by Akrūra, Yaśodā and all the gopīs came to try to forbid Him to pass and to block His way. At that time Rādhārāṇī was so perturbed that in a faltering voice She requested mother Yaśodā to please stop Akrūra.
When Kṛṣṇa was trying to capture the demon Śaṅkha, Rādhārāṇī began trembling out of fearfulness. Similar trembling of the body was exhibited in Sahadeva, the younger brother of Nakula. When Śiśupāla was vehemently blaspheming the Lord, Sahadeva began to tremble out of anger.
Trembling of the body was also exhibited by Rādhārāṇī out of tribulation. Rādhārāṇī trembled as She told one of the gopīs, "Don't joke with this disappointing boy! Please ask Him not to approach Me, because He is always the cause of all grief for us."
When similar symptoms were manifest in the body of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, some of Her friends criticized Her: "Dear friend, You are blaming the aroma of the flowers for the tears in Your eyes. You are rebuking the air for the standing of the hairs on Your body. And You are cursing Your walking in the forest for Your thighs' being stunned. But Your faltering voice reveals the cause to be different: it is just Your attachment for Kṛṣṇa!"
This mahābhāva expression was possible only in Rādhārāṇī, but later on when Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya appeared to feel the mode of love of Rādhārāṇī, He also expressed all of the symptoms of mahābhāva. Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī says in this connection that when the symptoms of ecstatic love become the most bright, that stage is accepted as mahābhāva.
In Dāna-keli-kaumudī Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī addresses one of Her friends in this manner: "My dear friend, if I cannot hear of the glorious activities of Kṛṣṇa, it is better for Me to become deaf. And because I am now unable to see Him, it would be good for Me to be a blind woman." This is another instance of disappointment due to separation from Kṛṣṇa.
One day Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī was churning yogurt for Kṛṣṇa. At that time the jeweled bangles on Her hands were circling around, and She was also chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. All of a sudden She thought, "I am chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, and My superiors—My mother-in-law and My sister-in-law—may hear Me!" By this thought Rādhārāṇī became overanxious. This is an instance of feeling guilty because of devotion to Kṛṣṇa.
One day the beautiful-eyed Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī entered into the forest to collect some flowers to prepare a garland for Kṛṣṇa. While collecting the flowers, She became afraid that someone might see Her, and She felt some fatigue and weakness. This is an instance of guilty feelings caused by labor for Kṛṣṇa.
There is a statement in Rasa-sudhākara that after passing the night with Kṛṣṇa, Rādhārāṇī became so weak that She was unable to get up from bed. When Kṛṣṇa took Her hand to help Her, Rādhārāṇī felt guilty about having passed the night with Him.
There is another description of the symptoms of intoxication in the person of Śrī Rādhārāṇī after She saw Kṛṣṇa. Sometimes She was walking hither and thither, sometimes She was laughing, sometimes She was covering Her face, sometimes She was talking without any meaning, and sometimes She was praying to Her associate gopīs.
Seeing these symptoms in Rādhārāṇī, the gopīs began to talk among themselves: "Just see how Rādhārāṇī has become intoxicated simply by seeing Kṛṣṇa before Her!" This is an instance of ecstatic love in intoxication.
Once during the rāsa dance, when Rādhārāṇī left the arena and Kṛṣṇa went to seek Her out, one of the dear friends of Rādhārāṇī addressed Kṛṣṇa thus: "My dear Kṛṣṇa, You have been very much obliging in serving the form of our Śrī Rādhārāṇī, and now You have left all the other gopīs to search for Her.
Sometimes Rādhārāṇī felt pride within Herself and said, "Although the cowherd boys prepare nice flower garlands for Kṛṣṇa, when I present My garland to Him, He becomes struck with wonder and immediately accepts it and puts it on His heart."
Śrīla Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura prays in his book as follows: "Let Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī purify the whole world, because She has surrendered Herself completely unto Kṛṣṇa. Out of Her ecstatic love for Him, She sometimes acted just like an addled person and attempted to churn yogurt, although there was no yogurt in the pot. And seeing this, Kṛṣṇa became so enchanted by Rādhārāṇī that He began to milk a bull instead of a cow."
These are some of the instances of insanity or madness in connection with the love affairs of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said that when Kṛṣṇa entered the poisonous waters of the Yamunā, Śrīmatī Yaśodā-devī went insane.
When Kṛṣṇa was absent from Vṛndāvana and was staying in Mathurā, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī sent news to Him that His mother, the Queen of Vraja, was feeling such separation from Him that there was foam coming from her mouth, like the foam on the shore of the ocean.
There is the following statement in the Haṁsadūta: "One day when Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī was feeling much affliction because of Her separation from Kṛṣṇa, She went to the bank of the Yamunā with some of Her friends. There Rādhārāṇī saw a cottage wherein She and Kṛṣṇa had experienced many loving pleasures, and by remembering those incidents She immediately became overcome with dizziness. This dizziness was very prominently visible." This is an instance of confusion caused by separation.
When Rādhārāṇī was first introduced to Kṛṣṇa, She felt very bashful. One of Her friends addressed Her in this way: "My dear friend, You have already sold Yourself and all Your beauty to Govinda. Now You should not be bashful. Please look upon Him cheerfully.
On another occasion, when Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī thought that Kṛṣṇa was involved with another woman, She addressed Her friend in this manner: "My dear friend, as soon as I think of Kṛṣṇa the cowherd boy attached to some other woman, I become stricken with fear, and the hairs on My body stand up. I must be very careful that Kṛṣṇa not see Me at such times."
It has been stated, "Although Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī developed a deep loving affection for Kṛṣṇa, She hid Her attitude in the core of Her heart so that others could not detect Her actual condition." This is an instance of concealment caused by gentleness.
This Madhumaṅgala one day addressed Kṛṣṇa in this fashion: "My dear friend, I can see that You are not aware of the peacock feathers that are falling on the ground, and at the same time You are unmindful of the flower garlands which are offered to You. I think I can guess the reason for Your absentmindedness when I see Your two eyes flying over to the eyes of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, just like black drones flying to lotus flowers." This is an instance of an argumentative suggestion in ecstatic love.
Once while Kṛṣṇa was out walking, one of the associates of Rādhārāṇī told Her, "My dear friend, do You think that this walking personality is a tamāla tree? If He is a tamāla tree, then how is it possible for Him to walk and be so beautiful? Then, this personality might be a cloud. But if He's a cloud, then where is the beautiful moon within? Under the circumstances, I think it may be granted that this person is the same enchanting Personality of Godhead by whose flute vibration the three worlds are captivated.
In his book Stavāvalī, Śrī Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī has prayed for the mercy of Rādhārāṇī, who was so captivated by the flute vibrations of Kṛṣṇa that She immediately asked information of His whereabouts from residents in the Vṛndāvana forest.
Upon first seeing Kṛṣṇa, She was filled with such ecstatic love and pleasure that She began to scratch Her ears. The damsels of Vraja and Rādhārāṇī were very expert in talking cunningly, so as soon as they saw Kṛṣṇa they began their talkings; and Kṛṣṇa, pretending to go for some flowers for them, immediately left that place and entered into a mountain cave. This is another instance of eager loving exchanges on the parts of both the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa.
In the Vidagdha-mādhava, Jaṭilā, the mother-in-law of Rādhārāṇī, began to criticize Kṛṣṇa in this way: "Kṛṣṇa, You are standing here, and Rādhārāṇī, who has just been married to my son, is also standing here. Now I know both of You very well, so why should I not be very anxious to protect my daughter-in-law from Your dancing eyes?" This is an instance of dishonorable words used to indirectly criticize Kṛṣṇa.
Similarly, some of the gopīs once began to address Kṛṣṇa with these dishonorable words: "My dear Kṛṣṇa, You are a first-class thief. So please leave this place immediately. We know You love Candrāvalī more than us, but there is no use in praising her in our presence! Kindly do not contaminate the name of Rādhārāṇī in this place!" This is another instance of dishonorable words cast upon Kṛṣṇa in ecstatic love.
In the Padyāvalī, one of the friends of Rādhārāṇī once addressed Her thus: "My dear friend, please do not be too puffed up because Kṛṣṇa has decorated Your forehead with His own hand. It may be that Kṛṣṇa is yet attracted by some other beautiful girl.
I see that the decoration on Your forehead is very nicely made, and so it appears that Kṛṣṇa was not too disturbed in painting it. Otherwise, He could not have painted such exact lines!" This is an instance of envy caused by Rādhā's good fortune.
In the Tenth Canto, Thirtieth Chapter, verse 30, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, there is the following statement: "When the gopīs were searching for Kṛṣṇa and Rādhā after the rāsa dance, they thus began to speak among themselves: 'We have seen the footprints of Kṛṣṇa and Rādhā on the ground of Vṛndāvana, and they are giving us great pain, because although Kṛṣṇa is everything to us, that girl is so cunning that She has taken Him away alone and is enjoying His kissing without sharing Him with us!' " This is another instance of envy of the good fortune of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
When Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī first saw Kṛṣṇa, She suddenly became conscious of all transcendental happiness, and the functions of Her different limbs were stunned. When Lalitā, Her constant companion, whispered into Her ear the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, Rādhārāṇī immediately opened Her eyes wide. This is an instance of alertness caused by hearing the sound of Kṛṣṇa's name.
One day, in a joking mood, Kṛṣṇa informed Rādhārāṇī, "My dear Rādhārāṇī, I am going to give up Your company." Upon saying this, He immediately disappeared, and because of this Rādhārāṇī became so afflicted that the hue of Her body changed, and She immediately fell down upon the ground of Vṛndāvana.
One of the gopīs informed Kṛṣṇa, "My dear Kṛṣṇa, when You disappeared from the arena of the rāsa dance, our most dear friend, Rādhārāṇī, immediately fell on the ground and lost consciousness. But after this, when I offered Her some of Your chewed betel nut remnants, She immediately returned to consciousness with jubilant symptoms in Her body." This is an instance of alertness caused by tasting.
One night Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī was talking in a dream. "My dear Kṛṣṇa," She said, "please do not play any more jokes on Me! Please stop! And please don't touch My garments either. Otherwise I shall inform the elderly persons, and I shall disclose all of Your naughty behavior." While She was talking like this in a dream, She suddenly awoke and saw some of Her superiors standing before Her. Thus Rādhārāṇī became ashamed and bowed Her head. This is an instance of alertness after awakening from sleep.
A messenger from Kṛṣṇa came to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī while She was sleeping, and Rādhārāṇī immediately awakened. Similarly, when Kṛṣṇa began to blow on His flute in the night, all of the gopīs, the beautiful daughters of the cowherd men, immediately got up from their sleep.
Kṛṣṇa once told Rādhārāṇī, "My dear friend, when You tried to meet Me alone in the morning, Your friend Mekhalā remained hungry with envy. Just look at her!" When Kṛṣṇa was joking with Rādhārāṇī in this way, Rādhārāṇī moved Her beautiful eyebrows crossly. Rūpa Gosvāmī prays that everyone may become blessed by this movement of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī's eyebrows. This is an instance of the generation of malice in ecstatic love of Kṛṣṇa.
Once when Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī was standing on the bank of the Yamunā River in the forest of Vṛndāvana, She was attacked by Kṛṣṇa, who was stronger than She. Although She externally expressed a disturbed mood from this incident, within Herself She was smiling and feeling great satisfaction.
Externally She moved Her eyebrows and made a show of rejecting Kṛṣṇa. In this mood Rādhārāṇī looked very beautiful, and Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī glorifies Her beauty. This is an instance of exhibiting varying feelings in ecstatic love, although the cause is one only—Kṛṣṇa.
Sometimes there were great festivals in the house of Nanda Mahārāja, and all of the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana would assemble for these festivals. During one such festival, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī was seen wearing a golden necklace given Her by Kṛṣṇa. This was immediately detected by mother Yaśodā as well as by Rādhārāṇī's mother, because the necklace was too long for Rādhārāṇī's neck.
At the same time Rādhārāṇī could see Kṛṣṇa nearby, as well as Her own husband, Abhimanyu. So all of these things combined to make Rādhārāṇī feel very much ashamed, and with Her face shriveled She began to look very beautiful. In this case there was a combination of bashfulness, anger, jubilation and lamentation. This is an instance of an aggregate of symptoms of ecstatic love.
After He had stolen some yogurt from the pots of two gopīs, Kṛṣṇa told one of His gopī friends, "My dear beautiful friend, I can take oath that I have not stolen even a drop of yogurt from your pot! But still your friend Rādhārāṇī is very shamelessly smelling the flavor of My mouth. Kindly forbid Her from this devious policy of putting Her face near Mine." When Kṛṣṇa was speaking like this, the friends of Rādhārāṇī could not check their laughter. This is an instance of laughter in ecstatic love.
When Jaṭilā, the mother of Abhimanyu, saw Kṛṣṇa wearing a necklace, she could understand that the jeweled ornament had been given to Him by Rādhārāṇī. She therefore became absorbed in anger and began to move her eyebrows, expressing her anger in ecstatic love.
In ecstatic loving service to Kṛṣṇa in anger, Kṛṣṇa is always the object. In Vidagdha-mādhava, Second Act, verse 37, Lalitā-gopī expressed her anger, which was caused by Kṛṣṇa, when she addressed Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī thus: "My dear friend, my inner desires have been polluted.
There is another instance of anger on the part of a friend of Rādhārāṇī's. When Rādhārāṇī was dissatisfied with the behavior of Kṛṣṇa and had stopped talking with Him, Kṛṣṇa was very sorry for Rādhārāṇī's great dissatisfaction, and in order to beg forgiveness, He fell down at Her lotus feet. But even after this, Rādhārāṇī was not satisfied, and She did not talk with Kṛṣṇa.
There is a statement in the Vidagdha-mādhava wherein Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, in an angry mood, addressed Her mother, Paurṇamāsī, after she had accused Rādhārāṇī of going to Kṛṣṇa. "My dear mother," Rādhā declared, "what can I say to you? Kṛṣṇa is so cruel that He often attacks Me on the street, and if I want to cry out very loudly, this boy with a peacock feather on His head immediately covers My face so that I cannot cry.
An example of such anger was exhibited in a quarrel between Jaṭilā and Mukharā. Jaṭilā was the mother-in-law of Rādhārāṇī, and Mukharā was Her great-grandmother. Both of them were talking about Kṛṣṇa's unnecessary harassment of Rādhārāṇī when She was walking on the street. Jaṭilā said, "You cruel-faced Mukharā! By hearing your words my heart feels like it is burning in a fire!" And Mukharā replied, "You sinful Jaṭilā, by hearing your words, there is aching in my head! You cannot give any evidence that Kṛṣṇa has attacked Rādhārāṇī, the daughter of my granddaughter Kīrtidā."
Once, when Rādhārāṇī was taking off the necklace given to Her by Kṛṣṇa, Jaṭilā, her mother-in-law, told a friend, "My dear friend, just see the beautiful necklace that Kṛṣṇa has presented to Rādhārāṇī. She is now holding it, but still She wants to tell us that She has no connection with Kṛṣṇa. This girl's activities have disgraced our whole family!"
The behavior of these confidential friends is described by a friend of Rādhārāṇī who told Rādhārāṇī, "My dear graceful Rādhārāṇī, Your intimate friend Kṛṣṇa is also served by His intimate boyfriends. Some of them cut jokes with Him in mild voices and please Him very much by this."
Whenever the friends ate, he would eat more than all others, especially laḍḍus, of which he was very fond. Then after eating more laḍḍus than anyone else, Madhumaṅgala would still not be satisfied, and he would say to Kṛṣṇa, "If You give me one more laḍḍu, then I shall be pleased to give You my blessings so that Your friend Rādhārāṇī will be very much pleased with You."
Counted among the priya-narmā friends are Subala, Arjuna, Gandharva, Vasanta and Ujjvala. There was talk among the friends of Rādhārāṇī, the gopīs, about these most intimate friends. One gopī addressed Rādhārāṇī thus: "My dear Kṛśāṅgī (delicate one), just see how Subala is whispering Your message into Kṛṣṇa's ear, how he is delivering the confidential letter of Śyāmā-dāsī silently into Kṛṣṇa's hand, how he is delivering the betel nuts prepared by Pālikā into Kṛṣṇa's mouth, and how he is decorating Kṛṣṇa with the garland prepared by Tārakā.
About the confidential service of Ujjvala, this statement is to be found, addressed by Rādhārāṇī to one of Her friends: "My dear friend, it is impossible for Me to keep My prestige! I wanted to avoid talking to Kṛṣṇa anymore—but just see! There again is His friend Ujjvala, coming to Me with his canvassing work.
The symptoms of the kaiśora age have already been described, and it is at this age that devotees generally most appreciate Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa with Rādhārāṇī is worshiped as Kiśora-kiśorī. Kṛṣṇa does not increase His age that although He is the oldest personality and has innumerable different forms, His original form is always youthful.
At this age, Kṛṣṇa once dressed Himself up exactly like Rādhārāṇī, just to create fun among His friends. He put on golden earrings, and because He was blackish, He smeared the pulp of kuṁkum all over His body in order to become as fair as She. By seeing this dress, Kṛṣṇa's friend Subala became very astonished.
When Kṛṣṇa and Subala were embracing one another, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī became a little envious, and hiding Her hot temperament She said, "My dear Subala, you are very fortunate because even in the presence of superiors you and Kṛṣṇa have no hesitation in putting your arms on each other's shoulders.
I think it must be admitted that in your previous lives you have succeeded in many kinds of austerities." The idea is that although Rādhārāṇī was accustomed to putting Her arms on Kṛṣṇa's shoulders, it was not possible for Her to do such a thing in the presence of Her superiors, whereas Subala could do so freely. Rādhārāṇī therefore praised his good fortune.
Another friend once told Kṛṣṇa, "My dear enemy of Kaṁsa, since You have left us, the heat of separation has become extraordinary. And this heat is felt more severely when we understand that in Bhāṇḍīravana You are being refreshed by the waves of the cooling river known as Bhānu-tanayā (Rādhārāṇī)." The purport is that when Kṛṣṇa was engaged with Rādhārāṇī, the cowherd boys headed by Subala were feeling great separation, and that was unbearable for them.
The impetuses of conjugal love are Kṛṣṇa and His very dear consorts, such as Rādhārāṇī and Her immediate associates. Lord Kṛṣṇa has no rival; no one is equal to Him, and no one is greater than Him. His beauty is also without any rival, and because He excels all others in the pastimes of conjugal love, He is the original object of all conjugal love.
A pure devotee follows in the footsteps of the gopīs and worships the gopīs as follows: "Let me offer my respectful obeisances to all the young cowherd girls, whose bodily features are so attractive. Simply by their beautiful attractive features they are worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa." Out of all the young gopīs, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the most prominent.
The beauty of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is described as follows: "Her eyes defeat the attractive features of the eyes of the cakorī bird. When one sees the face of Rādhārāṇī, he immediately hates the beauty of the moon. Her bodily complexion defeats the beauty of gold. Thus, let us all look upon the transcendental beauty of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī." Kṛṣṇa's attraction for Rādhārāṇī is described by Kṛṣṇa Himself thus: "When I create some joking phrases in order to enjoy the beauty of Rādhārāṇī, Rādhārāṇī hears these joking words with great attention; but by Her bodily features and counterwords She neglects Me.
A similar statement can be found in Gīta-govinda, wherein it is said that when the enemy of Kaṁsa, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, embraces Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, He immediately becomes entangled in a loving condition and gives up the company of all other gopīs.
In the Lalita-mādhava, Rūpa Gosvāmī explains that the movements of Kṛṣṇa's eyebrows are just like the Yamunā and that the smiling of Rādhārāṇī is just like the moonshine. When the Yamunā and the moonshine come in contact on the bank of the river, the water tastes just like nectar, and drinking it gives great satisfaction.
It is as cooling as piles of snow. Similarly, in the Padyāvalī, one constant companion of Rādhārāṇī says, "My dear moon-faced Rādhārāṇī, Your whole body appears very content, yet there are signs of tears in Your eyes. Your speech is faltering, and Your chest is also heaving. By all these signs I can understand that You must have heard the blowing of Kṛṣṇa's flute, and as a result of this, Your heart is now melting."
In the same Padyāvalī there is the following description, which is taken as a sign of frustration in conjugal love. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī said, "Dear Mr. Cupid, please do not excite Me by throwing your arrows at My body. Dear Mr. Air, please do not arouse Me with the fragrance of flowers.
Similarly, in Dāna-keli-kaumudī, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, pointing to Kṛṣṇa, says, "This clever boy of the forest has the beauty of a bluish lotus flower, and He can attract all the young girls of the universe. Now, after giving Me a taste of His transcendental body, He has enthused Me, and it is more than I can tolerate.
The steady ecstasy of conjugal love is the original cause of bodily enjoyment. In the Padyāvalī this original cause of union is described when Rādhārāṇī tells one of Her constant companions, "My dear friend, who is this boy whose eyelids, dancing constantly, have increased the beauty of His face and attracted My desire for conjugal love? His ears are decorated with buds of aśoka flowers, and He has dressed Himself in yellow robes. By the sound of His flute, this boy has already made Me impatient."
The conjugal love of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa is never disturbed by any personal consideration. The undisturbed nature of the conjugal love between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is described thus: "Just a little distance away from Kṛṣṇa was mother Yaśodā, and Kṛṣṇa was surrounded by all of His friends.
In front of His eyes was Candrāvalī, and, at the same time, on a chunk of stone in front of the entrance to Vraja stood the demon known as Vṛṣāsura. But even in such circumstances, when Kṛṣṇa saw Rādhārāṇī standing just behind a bush of many creepers, immediately His beautiful eyebrows moved just like lightning toward Her."
In front of Kṛṣṇa, Lord Baladeva was standing, causing a cooling effect. But even amid all these different circumstances of soothing and disturbing effects, the lotus flower of ecstatic conjugal love that Kṛṣṇa felt for Rādhārāṇī could not wither." This love of Kṛṣṇa for Rādhārāṇī is often compared to a blooming lotus; the only difference is that Kṛṣṇa's love remains ever-increasingly beautiful.
When the lover and the beloved have a distinct feeling of not meeting each other, that stage is called pūrva-rāga, or preliminary attraction. In Padyāvalī Rādhārāṇī told Her companion, "My dear friend, I was just going to the bank of the Yamunā, and all of a sudden a very nice boy whose complexion is like a dark blue cloud became visible in front of My eyes. He glanced over Me in a way that I cannot describe.
As far as māna, or anger, is concerned, there is the following incident described in Gīta-govinda: "When Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī saw Kṛṣṇa enjoying Himself in the company of several other gopīs, She became a little jealous because Her special prestige was being dimmed.
An example of pravāsa, or being out of contact because of living in a distant place, is given in the Padyāvalī as follows: "Since the auspicious day when Kṛṣṇa left for Mathurā, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī has been pressing Her head on one of Her hands and constantly shedding tears. Her face is always wet now, and therefore there is no chance of Her sleeping even for a moment."
When the face becomes wet, the sleeping tendency is immediately removed. So when Rādhārāṇī was always weeping for Kṛṣṇa because of His separation, there was no chance of Her getting any sleep for Herself. In the prahlāda-saṁhitā Uddhava says, "The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, panic-stricken due to being pierced by the arrows of Cupid, is always thinking of you (the gopīs), and He is not even accepting His regular lunch. Nor is He getting any proper rest."
When the lover and beloved come together and enjoy one another by direct contact, this stage is called sambhoga. There is a statement in Padyāvalī as follows: "Kṛṣṇa embraced Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī in such an expert manner that He appeared to be celebrating the dancing ceremony of the peacocks."
One day Abhimanyu, the so-called husband of Rādhārāṇī, was returning home, and at that time he could not see that Kṛṣṇa was there in his house. Kṛṣṇa immediately changed His dress to look exactly like Abhimanyu and approached Abhimanyu's mother, Jaṭilā, addressing her thus: "My dear mother, I am your real son Abhimanyu, but just see—Kṛṣṇa, dressed up like me, is coming before you!" Jaṭilā, the mother of Abhimanyu, immediately believed that Kṛṣṇa was her own son and thus became very angry at her real son who was coming home.
She began to drive away her real son, who was crying, "Mother! Mother! What are you doing?" Seeing this incident, all the girl friends of Rādhārāṇī, who were present there, began to smile, and a portion of their teeth was visible. This is an instance of hasita smiling.
Sometimes there are indirect sarcastic remarks which also create atihasita circumstances. An example of one such remark is a statement which was made by one of the cowherd girls to Kuṭilā, the daughter of Jaṭilā and sister of Abhimanyu, the so-called husband of Rādhārāṇī. Indirectly Kuṭilā was insulted by the following statement: "My dear Kuṭilā, daughter of Jaṭilā, your breasts are as long as string beans—simply dry and long.
The following example contains a mixture of ecstatic fraternity and laughter, taken respectively as the whole and part. When Kṛṣṇa saw that Subala, in the dress of Rādhārāṇī, was silently hiding under the shade of a beautiful aśoka tree on the bank of the Yamunā, He immediately arose from His seat in surprise. Upon seeing Kṛṣṇa, Subala tried to hide his laughter by covering his cheeks.
There is an example of a mixture of conjugal love and fraternal affection when Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī said, "My dear friends, just see how Kṛṣṇa is resting His hand on the shoulder of Subala, who is dressed up just like a young girl! I think He must be sending some message to Me through Subala."
The purport is that the superiors of Rādhārāṇī do not like Kṛṣṇa or His cowherd friends to associate with Her; therefore these friends sometimes clothe themselves in female dress so they can give Rādhārāṇī a message from Kṛṣṇa. In this example the whole is conjugal love, and the part is fraternity.
The following is an example of a mixture of conjugal love and laughter in devotional service. Kṛṣṇa, in the dress of a young girl, told Rādhārāṇī, "Oh, You hardhearted girl! Don't You know that I am Your sister? Why are You unable to recognize Me? Be merciful upon Me and please capture My shoulders and embrace Me with love!" While Kṛṣṇa was dressed up exactly like Rādhārāṇī, He was speaking these nice words, and Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī could understand His purpose.
Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī was once told that although She had stopped all activities, She was still the supreme source of inspiration for all kinds of devotional service. The statement says, "My dear Rādhārāṇī, in separation from Kṛṣṇa You are now as still as the most beautiful tree, whose gracefulness is not blocked by any covering of leaves.
Actually, Brahman realization is only a stunted existence. There is the following statement by Kṛṣṇa Himself: "Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī has become peace personified for Me. Because of Her, I now go without sleep. I stare constantly without blinking My eyes, and I am always in a meditative mood.
In the Vidagdha-mādhava, Second Act, verse 31, Kṛṣṇa tells His friend, "My dear friend, what a wonderful thing it is that since I have seen the beautiful lotus eyes of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, I have developed a tendency to spit on the moon and the lotus flower!" This is an example of conjugal love mixed with ghastliness, but there is no incompatibility.
One of the friends of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī told Her, "My dear friend Gāndharvikā (Rādhārāṇī), You were the most chaste girl in our village, but now You have divided Yourself and are partially chaste and partially unchaste. It is all due to Cupid's influence upon You after You saw Kṛṣṇa and heard the sound of His flute."
By rough calculation it is estimated that Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī finished Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu in Gokula Vṛndāvana in the year 1552. While physically present, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī was living in different parts of Vṛndāvana, and his headquarters were in the temple of Rādhā-Dāmodara in the present city of Vṛndāvana. The place of Rūpa Gosvāmī's bhajana, execution of devotional service, is commemorated still.
There are two different tomblike structures in the Rādhā-Dāmodara temple; one structure is called his place of bhajana, and in the other his body is entombed. Behind this very tomb I have my place of bhajana, but since 1965 I have been away.
Nectar of Instruction
"When I am eager to understand the literature given by the Gosvāmīs, then I shall be able to understand the transcendental loving affairs of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa." Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared in order to bestow upon human society the benediction of the science of Kṛṣṇa. The most exalted of all the activities of Lord Kṛṣṇa are His pastimes of conjugal love with the gopīs. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared in the mood of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, the best of the gopīs.
It is very difficult to conquer the tongue in this world, but You, dear Kṛṣṇa, are very kind to us. You have sent this nice prasāda to help us conquer the tongue; therefore let us take this prasāda to our full satisfaction and glorify Your Lordships Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and in love call for the help of Lord Caitanya and Prabhu Nityānanda."
"My dear brother, you are in the renounced order of life and should not listen to talk about ordinary worldly things, nor should you talk about worldly things when you meet with others. Do not think of women even in dreams. You have accepted the renounced order of life with a vow that forbids you to associate with women. If you wish to associate with Caitanya Mahāprabhu, you must always remember the incident of Choṭa Haridāsa and how he was rejected by the Lord. Do not eat luxurious dishes or dress in fine garments, but always remain humble and serve Their Lordships Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in your heart of hearts."
In the above-quoted verse from Bhagavad-gītā, the words daivīṁ prakṛtim refer to the control of the internal potency, or pleasure potency, of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This pleasure potency is manifested as Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, or Her expansion Lakṣmī, the goddess of fortune.
In the vātsalya-rasa, characterized by parental affection, one can become like Nanda Mahārāja and Yaśodā, and in the mādhurya-rasa, characterized by conjugal love, one can become like Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī or Her lady friends such as Lalitā and Her serving maids (mañjarīs) like Rūpa and Rati.
The holy place known as Mathurā is spiritually superior to Vaikuṇṭha, the transcendental world, because the Lord appeared there. Superior to Mathurā—Purī is the transcendental forest of Vṛndāvana because of Kṛṣṇa's rāsa-līlā pastimes. And superior to the forest of Vṛndāvana is Govardhana Hill, for it was raised by the divine hand of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and was the site of His various loving pastimes. And, above all, the superexcellent Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa stands supreme, for it is overflooded with the ambrosial nectarean prema of the Lord of Gokula, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Where, then, is that intelligent Person who is unwilling to serve this divine Rādhā-kuṇḍa, which is situated at the foot of Govardhana Hill?
It is also at Govardhana Hill that Kṛṣṇa tends the cows with His cowherd friends, and there also He had His rendezvous with His most beloved Śrī Rādhā and engaged in loving pastimes with Her. Rādhā-kuṇḍa, at the foot of Govardhana, is superior to all because it is there that love of Kṛṣṇa overflows. Advanced devotees prefer to reside at Rādhā-kuṇḍa because this place is the site of many memories of the eternal loving affairs between Kṛṣṇa and Rādhārāṇī (rati-vilāsa).
In Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā) it is stated that when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu first visited the area of Vrajabhūmi, He could not at first find the location of Rādhā-kuṇḍa. This means that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was actually searching for the exact location of Rādhā-kuṇḍa.
Finally He found the holy spot, and there was a small pond there. He took His bath in that small pond and told His devotees that the actual Rādhā-kuṇḍa was situated there. Later the pond was excavated by Lord Caitanya's devotees, headed first by the six Gosvāmīs, such as Rūpa and Raghunātha dāsa.
Later the pond was excavated by Lord Caitanya's devotees, headed first by the six Gosvāmīs, such as Rūpa and Raghunātha dāsa. Presently there is a large lake known as Rādhā-kuṇḍa there. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has given much stress to Rādhā-kuṇḍa because of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's desire to find it. Who, then, would give up Rādhā-kuṇḍa and try to reside elsewhere? No person with transcendental intelligence would do so. The importance of Rādhā-kuṇḍa, however, cannot be realized by other Vaiṣṇava sampradāyas, nor can persons uninterested in the devotional service of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu understand the spiritual importance and divine nature of Rādhā-kuṇḍa. Thus Rādhā-kuṇḍa is mainly worshiped by the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas, the followers of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
The gopīs are exalted above all the advanced devotees because they are always totally dependent upon Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the transcendental cowherd boy. Among the gopīs, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the most dear to Kṛṣṇa. Her kuṇḍa (lake) is as profoundly dear to Lord Kṛṣṇa as this most beloved of the gopīs. Who, then, will not reside at Rādhā-kuṇḍa and, in a spiritual body surcharged with ecstatic devotional feelings (aprākṛtabhāva), render loving service to the divine couple Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda, who perform Their aṣṭakālīya-līlā, Their eternal eightfold daily pastimes. Indeed, those who execute devotional service on the banks of Rādhā-kuṇḍa are the most fortunate people in the universe.
Rather, vipralambha-sevā, thinking of Kṛṣṇa in separation, as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu did, is far better than serving Kṛṣṇa directly. Thus of all the devotees who have developed unalloyed devotional love for Kṛṣṇa, the gopīs are most exalted, and out of all these exalted gopīs, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the highest. No one can excel the devotional service of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Indeed, even Kṛṣṇa cannot understand the attitude of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī; therefore He took Her position and appeared as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, just to understand Her transcendental feelings.
In this way Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī gradually concludes that Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the most exalted devotee of Kṛṣṇa and that Her kuṇḍa (lake), Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa, is the most exalted place.
"Just as Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is dear to the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa (Viṣṇu), so Her bathing place (Rādhā-kuṇḍa) is equally dear to Kṛṣṇa. Among all the gopīs, She alone stands supreme as the Lord's most beloved." Therefore everyone interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness should ultimately take shelter of Rādhā-kuṇḍa and execute devotional service there throughout one's life.
Of the many objects of favored delight and of all the lovable damsels of Vrajabhūmi, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is certainly the most treasured object of Kṛṣṇa's love. And, in every respect, Her divine kuṇḍa is described by great sages as similarly dear to Him. Undoubtedly Rādhā-kuṇḍa is very rarely attained even by the great devotees; therefore it is even more difficult for ordinary devotees to attain. If one simply bathes once within those holy waters, one's pure love of Kṛṣṇa is fully aroused.
Why is Rādhā-kuṇḍa so exalted? The lake is so exalted because it belongs to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, who is the most beloved object of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Among all the gopīs, She is the most beloved. Similarly, Her lake, Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa, is also described by great sages as the lake that is as dear to Kṛṣṇa as Rādhā Herself. Indeed, Kṛṣṇa's love for Rādhā-kuṇḍa and Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the same in all respects.
Rādhā-kuṇḍa is very rarely attained, even by great personalities fully engaged in devotional service, not to speak of ordinary devotees who are only engaged in the practice of vaidhī bhakti.
It is stated that a devotee will at once develop pure love of Kṛṣṇa in the wake of the gopīs if he once takes a bath in Rādhā-kuṇḍa. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī recommends that even if one cannot live permanently on the banks of Rādhā-kuṇḍa, he should at least take a bath in the lake as many times as possible.
This is a most important item in the execution of devotional service. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura writes in this connection that Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa is the most select place for those interested in advancing their devotional service in the wake of the lady friends (sakhīs) and confidential serving maids (mañjarīs) of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
Living entities who are eager to return home to the transcendental kingdom of God, Goloka Vṛndāvana, by means of attaining their spiritual bodies (siddha-deha) should live at Rādhā-kuṇḍa, take shelter of the confidential serving maids of Śrī Rādhā and under their direction engage constantly in Her service.
In this connection Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura writes that even great sages and great devotees like Nārada and Sanaka do not get an opportunity to come to Rādhā-kuṇḍa to take their baths. What, then, to speak of ordinary devotees? If, by great fortune, one gets an opportunity to come to Rādhā-kuṇḍa and bathe even once, he can develop his transcendental love for Kṛṣṇa, exactly as the gopīs did.
It is also recommended that one should live on the banks of Rādhā-kuṇḍa and should be absorbed in the loving service of the Lord. One should bathe there regularly and give up all material conceptions, taking shelter of Śrī Rādhā and Her assistant gopīs.
If one is thus constantly engaged during his lifetime, after giving up the body he will return back to Godhead to serve Śrī Rādhā in the same way as he contemplated during his life on the banks of Rādhā-kuṇḍa. The conclusion is that to live on the banks of the Rādhā-kuṇḍa and to bathe there daily constitute the highest perfection of devotional service.
It is a difficult position to attain, even for great sages and devotees like Nārada. Thus there is no limit to the glory of Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa. By serving Rādhā-kuṇḍa, one can get an opportunity to become an assistant of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī under the eternal guidance of the gopīs.
Renunciation Through Wisdom
The Supreme Personality of Godhead manifests Himself in many forms, but the sages have chosen three of His multifarious forms to serve and worship as the Deity. They are Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa, Sītā-Rāma, and Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. These three Deity couples are widely worshiped all over the Indian subcontinent.
Rādhā is the personification of absolute love for the Divine, total and integral in all parts of Her being, from the highest spiritual to the physical, bringing the absolute self-going and total consecration of all being and calling down into the body and the most material nature the supreme Ananda.
I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, residing in His own realm, Goloka, with Rādhā, resembling His own spiritual figure, the embodiment of the ecstatic potency possessed of the sixty-four artistic activities, in the company of Her confidantes (sakhīs), embodiments of the extensions of Her bodily form, permeated and vitalized by His ever-blissful spiritual rasa.
The state of transcendence discussed here is far beyond impersonal realization, the ultimate goal of the monists. Indeed, those who worship Govinda enter into Śrī Vṛndāvana in Śrī Mathurā, the highest spiritual realm, where Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa enact Their quintessential pastimes.
Lord Kṛṣṇa is always being served and worshiped by Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, yet He expands Himself unlimitedly. Just as a candle can light other candles yet remain unchanged, so the Supreme Lord, though "one without a second," can expand Himself in unlimited forms, and also as the omnipresent, all-pervading, universal soul.
Message of Godhead
Although the all-pervading Personality of Godhead manifests Himself in His various transcendental, eternal forms as incarnations or plenary portions or various partial portions, the sages recommended the worship of the eternal dual forms of Śrī Śrī Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa, Śrī Śrī Sītā-Rāma, and Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.