To understand Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s ecstatic love for Him, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa assumed the form of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. The attitude of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is considered the superexcellent devotional mentality. As Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Kṛṣṇa Himself assumed the position of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī to taste Her ecstatic situation. No one else could do this.
If one poses himself as an ācārya but does not have an attitude of servitorship to the Lord, he must be considered an offender, and this offensive attitude disqualifies him from being an ācārya. The bona fide spiritual master always engages in unalloyed devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By this test he is known to be a direct manifestation of the Lord and a genuine representative of Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu. Such a spiritual master is known as ācāryadeva. Influenced by an envious temperament and dissatisfied because of an attitude of sense gratification, mundaners criticize a real ācārya. In fact, however, a bona fide ācārya is nondifferent from the Personality of Godhead, and therefore to envy such an ācārya is to envy the Personality of Godhead Himself. This will produce an effect subversive of transcendental realization.
Antaḥ kṛṣṇa refers to one who is always thinking of Kṛṣṇa. This attitude is a predominant feature of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Even though many devotees always think of Kṛṣṇa, none can surpass the gopīs, among whom Rādhārāṇī is the leader in thinking of Kṛṣṇa. Rādhārāṇī’s Kṛṣṇa consciousness surpasses that of all other devotees. Lord Caitanya accepted the position of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī to understand Kṛṣṇa; therefore He was always thinking of Kṛṣṇa in the same way as Rādhārāṇī.
Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī has described Lord Caitanya as Kṛṣṇa Himself with the attitude of Rādhārāṇī, or a combination of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. The intention of Lord Caitanya is to taste Kṛṣṇa's sweetness in transcendental love. He does not care to think of Himself as Kṛṣṇa, because He wants the position of Rādhārāṇī. We should remember this. A class of so-called devotees called the nadīyā-nāgarīs or gaura-nāgarīs pretend that they have the sentiment of gopīs toward Lord Caitanya, but they do not realize that He placed Himself not as the enjoyer, Kṛṣṇa, but as the enjoyed, the devotee of Kṛṣṇa.
Svarūpa Dāmodara has been identified as Lalitā-devī, the second expansion of Rādhārāṇī. However, text 160 of Kavi-karṇapūra's authoritative Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā describes Svarūpa Dāmodara as the same Viśākhā-devī who serves the Lord in Goloka Vṛndāvana. Therefore it is to be understood that Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara is a direct expansion of Rādhārāṇī who helps the Lord experience the attitude of Rādhārāṇī.
Lord Caitanya's heart was full of the feelings of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and His appearance resembled Hers. Svarūpa Dāmodara has explained His attitude as rādhā-bhāva-mūrti, the attitude of Rādhārāṇī. One who engages in sense gratification on the material platform can hardly understand rādhā-bhāva, but one who is freed from the demands of sense gratification can understand it. Rādhā-bhāva must be understood from the Gosvāmīs, those who are actually controllers of the senses. From such authorized sources it is to be known that the attitude of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the highest perfection of conjugal love, which is the highest of the five transcendental mellows, and it is the complete perfection of love of Kṛṣṇa.
These transcendental affairs can be understood on two platforms. One is called elevated, and the other is called superelevated. The loving affairs exhibited in Dvārakā are the elevated form. The superelevated position is reached in the manifestations of the pastimes of Vṛndāvana. The attitude of Lord Caitanya is certainly superelevated.
So-called devotees like the sahajiyās cheaply imagine they are meeting Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana. Such thinking may be useful, but actually meeting Kṛṣṇa is possible through the attitude of separation taught by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
In the mirror of Rādhārāṇī’s heart, the transcendental features of Kṛṣṇa appear increasingly new and fresh. In other words, the attraction of Kṛṣṇa increases in proportion to the understanding of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Each tries to supersede the other. Neither wants to be defeated in increasing the intensity of love. Desiring to understand Rādhārāṇī’s attitude of increasing love, Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
In this age, people are prepared to argue that they can understand that which is beyond their limited knowledge and perception through so-called scientific observations and experiments, not knowing that actual truth comes down to man from authorities. This argumentative attitude is against the Vedic principles, and it is very difficult for one who adopts it to understand that the holy name of Kṛṣṇa is as good as Kṛṣṇa Himself.
To associate with the holy name and chant the holy name is to associate with the Personality of Godhead directly. In the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu it is clearly said, sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ (Brs. 1.2.234). The holy name becomes manifest when one engages in the service of the holy name. This service in a submissive attitude begins with one's tongue. Sevonmukhe hi jihvādau: One must engage his tongue in the service of the holy name. Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is based on this principle.
This should be the attitude of all devotees. When the Supreme Personality of Godhead recognizes a devotee, He gives him intelligence and dictates how he may go back home, back to Godhead. This is confirmed in Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā (10.10):
- teṣāṁ satata-yuktānāṁ bhajatāṁ prīti-pūrvakam
- dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ yena mām upayānti te
"To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me."
This attitude of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is very important for persons engaged in the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In every center of our institution, ISKCON, we have arranged for a love feast every Sunday, and when we actually see people come to our center, chant, dance, take prasādam, become jubilant and purchase books, we know that certainly Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is always present in such transcendental activities, and He is very pleased and satisfied.
Explaining everything in grammar in relationship to Kṛṣṇa, the Lord induced His students to refrain from worldly education, for it is better to become Kṛṣṇa conscious and in this way attain the highest perfectional platform of education. On these grounds, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī later compiled the grammar entitled Hari-nāmāmṛta-vyākaraṇa. People in general consider such explanations crazy. Therefore the Lord's purpose in His attitude of craziness was to explain that there is nothing within our experience but Kṛṣṇa consciousness, for everything may be dovetailed with Kṛṣṇa consciousness. These pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu have been very vividly described in the Caitanya-bhāgavata, Madhya-līlā, Chapter One.
There was a Muslim tailor near the house of Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura who used to sew the garments of the family. One day he was very pleased with the dancing of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; indeed, he was enchanted. The Lord, understanding his attitude, showed him His original form as Kṛṣṇa. The tailor then began to dance, saying, "I have seen! I have seen!" He became absorbed in ecstatic love and began to dance with Lord Caitanya. Thus he became one of the foremost Vaiṣṇava adherents of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
It is said, vaiṣṇavera kriyā-mudrā vijñeha nā bujhaya: (CC Madhya 23.39) no one can understand the activities of a pure devotee. A student or neophyte devotee could not possibly understand why Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was chanting the name of the gopīs, nor should the student have asked the Lord about the potency of chanting gopī gopī. The neophyte student was certainly convinced of the piety in the chanting of Kṛṣṇa's holy name, but this sort of attitude is also offensive. Dharma-vrata-tyāga-hutādi-sarva-śubha-kriyā-sāmyam api pramādaḥ: to chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa in exchange for the achievement of piety is an offense. This, of course, was unknown to the student.
It is mentioned in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that when Uddhava came from Lord Kṛṣṇa with a message for the gopīs, all the gopīs, especially Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, denounced Kṛṣṇa in various ways. Such denunciations, however, reflect an exuberant loving attitude that an ordinary man cannot understand. When the foolish student questioned Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Lord Caitanya similarly rebuked Lord Kṛṣṇa in loving exuberance.
In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, māyayāpahṛta-jñānā āsuraṁ bhāvam āśritāḥ: when one becomes inimical to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, adopting an atheistic attitude (āsuraṁ bhāvam), even if one is a learned scholar the essence of knowledge does not become manifested in him; in other words, the essence of his knowledge is stolen by the illusory energy of the Lord.
In this connection Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura writes in his Anubhāṣya, “Śrī Gaurasundara is Kṛṣṇa Himself with the attitude of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu never gave up the attitude of the gopīs. He remained everlastingly predominated by Kṛṣṇa and never accepted the part of the predominator by imitating conjugal love with an ordinary woman, as sahajiyās generally do. He never placed Himself in the position of a debauchee.
In the attitude of separation, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared mad both day and night. Sometimes He laughed, and sometimes He cried; sometimes He danced, and sometimes He chanted in great sorrow.
Though subtle, mind is also matter, so any path—indeed, anything for the service of the Lord, whether in gross matter or in subtle matter—is accepted equally by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord accepts the attitude of His devotee and sees how much he is prepared to serve Him. The devotee is at liberty to serve the Lord either in gross matter or in subtle matter. The important point is that the service be in relation with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
(In the attitude of Rādhārāṇī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu addressed Kṛṣṇa:) “My dear Lord, You are engaged in Your pastimes, and You utilize all the women in the universe according to Your desire. You are so kind to Me. Please divert Your attention to Me, for by fortune You have appeared before Me.
In the attitude of Rādhārāṇī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu addressed the gopīs: ""My dear friends, where is that Kṛṣṇa, Cupid personified, who has the effulgence of a kadamba flower, who is sweetness itself, the nectar of My eyes and mind, He who loosens the hair of the gopīs, who is the supreme source of transcendental bliss and My life and soul? Has He come before My eyes again?""
The living entities in the material world are forgetful of their eternal relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This forgetfulness is called avidyā, or nescience. The avidyā-śakti, the avidyā potency of the material world, provokes fruitive activity. Although this avidyā-śakti (material energy, or nescience) is also an energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it is especially intended to keep the living entities in a state of forgetfulness. This is due to their rebellious attitude toward the Lord. Thus although the living entities are constitutionally spiritual, they come under the influence of the potency of nescience.
At such a time, the devotee is fully convinced that Lord Kṛṣṇa is a friend and cannot at all be dissatisfied if the devotee lives with Him on an equal level. This understanding is called viśrambha, that is, devoid of a respectful attitude. When this attitude is chosen, it becomes sakhya-prema, or love of Godhead in friendship. On this stage there is developed consciousness of equality between the Lord and the devotee.
An invented devotional attitude simply creates disturbances in the transcendental realm. If a person overly addicted to family life takes to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Kṛṣṇa consciousness to earn a livelihood, his activity is certainly offensive. One should not become a caste guru and sell mantras for the benefit of mundane customers, nor should one make disciples for a livelihood.
Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s flower garland consists of Her qualities and is divided into mental, verbal and bodily parts. Her attitude of forgiveness and mercy is all mental. Her talks, which are very pleasing to the ear, are verbal. The bodily qualities are age, beauty, luster and grace.
It is the Māyāvāda sampradāya that does not accept the transcendental form of the Lord. If a Vaiṣṇava sampradāya is also carried away by that impersonal attitude, that sampradāya has no position at all. It is a fact that there are many so-called Vaiṣṇavas whose ultimate aim is to merge into the existence of the Lord. For example, the sahajiyās' Vaiṣṇava philosophy is to become one with the Supreme. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu points out that Śrī Mādhavendra Purī accepted Madhvācārya only because his sampradāya accepted the transcendental form of the Lord.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu talked very happily with Vāsudeva Datta and other devotees. Haridāsa Ṭhākura also came, and due to his humble and submissive attitude, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu gave him a nice solitary place near the temple. After this, the Lord began performing saṅkīrtana, dividing all the devotees into four groups. After saṅkīrtana, all the devotees left for their residential quarters.
Everything connected to the Lord is worshipable. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu instructs us that just as Kṛṣṇa is worshipable, Kṛṣṇa's place, Vṛndāvana, is also worshipable. And as Vṛndāvana is worshipable, similarly the paraphernalia in Vṛndāvana—the trees, roads, river, everything—is worshipable. A pure devotee thus sings, jaya jaya vṛndāvana-vāsī yata jana: "All glories to the residents of Vṛndāvana!" If a devotee has a staunch devotional attitude, all these conclusions will be awakened or revealed within the heart.
“"When Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī saw Lord Kṛṣṇa just before Her, Her progress stopped and She assumed an attitude of opposition. Although Her face was slightly covered by a blue garment, Her two starry eyes were agitated, being wide and curved. Thus She was decorated with the ornaments of vilāsa, and Her beauty increased to give pleasure to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
“This ecstatic attitude of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s is called kuṭṭamita. When this ecstatic ornament is manifested, Rādhārāṇī externally tries to avoid Kṛṣṇa, and She apparently becomes angry, although She is very happy within.
“"When the border of Her sari and the cloth veiling Her face are caught, She externally appears offended and angry, but within Her heart She is very happy. Learned scholars call this attitude kuṭṭamita."
As soon as Amogha said this, Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya turned his eyes upon him. Seeing the Bhaṭṭācārya's attitude, Amogha immediately left.
One's devotional attitude increases in the association of a Vaiṣṇava:
tāṅdera caraṇa sevi bhakta-sane vāsa
janame janame haya, ei abhilāṣa
By his personal example, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura stresses that a devotee must always remember to please his predecessor ācārya. The Gosvāmīs are represented by one's spiritual master. One cannot be an ācārya (spiritual master) without following strictly in the disciplic succession of the ācāryas.
Karuṇa-bhakti-rasa is described as follows (B.r.s. 4.4.1):
- ātmocitair vibhāvādyair nītā puṣṭiṁ satāṁ hṛdi
- bhavec choka-ratir bhakti-raso hi karuṇābhidhaḥ
“When one's devotional attitude and attachment for Kṛṣṇa is mixed with lamentation, it is called karuṇa-bhakti-rasa.”
“Kṛṣṇa has many types of devotees—some are servants, some are friends, some are parents, and some are conjugal lovers. Devotees who are situated in one of these attitudes of spontaneous love according to their choice are considered to be on the path of spontaneous loving service.
Liberation from material contamination is called anartha-nivṛtti, indicating a diminishing of all unwanted things. This is the test of development in devotional service. If one actually develops the devotional attitude, he must be freed from the material contamination of illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat-eating. These are the preliminary symptoms.
Only Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī knew the purpose for which the Lord recited that verse. According to the Lord's attitude, he used to quote other verses to enable the Lord to relish mellows.
“"Upon seeing peacock feathers in front of Her, this girl suddenly begins trembling. When She sometimes sees a necklace of guñjā (small conchshells), She sheds tears and cries loudly. I do not know what kind of new ecstatic influence has entered the heart of this poor girl. It has imbued Her with the dancing attitude of a player creating wonderful, unprecedented dances on a stage."
""O Lord Kṛṣṇa, You are just like an ocean. The river of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī has reached You from a long distance—leaving far behind the tree of Her husband, breaking through the bridge of social convention, and forcibly crossing the hills of elder relatives. Coming here because of fresh feelings of love for You, that river has now received Your shelter, but now You are trying to turn Her back by the waves of unfavorable words. How is it that You are spreading this attitude?""
“When a Vaiṣṇava listens to the Śārīraka-bhāṣya, the Māyāvāda commentary upon the Vedānta-sūtra, he gives up the Kṛṣṇa conscious attitude that the Lord is the master and the living entity is His servant. Instead, he considers himself the Supreme Lord.
In other words, the holy name of the Lord, hā rāma, always acts, even when the holy name is chanted without reference to the Supreme Lord. Yavanas utter the holy name in a different attitude than devotees, but the holy name hā rāma is so powerful spiritually that it acts anywhere, whether one knows it or not. This is explained as follows.
“"Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead may be seen, glorified or remembered with an attitude of envy, He nevertheless awards the most confidential liberation, which is rarely achieved by the demigods and demons. What, then, can be said of those who are already fully engaged in devotional service to the Lord?"
What is recorded in the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa strictly follows the Vedic scriptures and is certainly pure, but the attitude of the karmīs is always one of giving up the conclusion of pure Vaiṣṇava understanding. Because the karmīs are very much attached to the world and material activities, they always try to establish atheistic principles that oppose the understanding of the Vaiṣṇavas.”
One will thus find that the devotees of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu are not at all attached to any kind of material enjoyment. They have completely given up sense enjoyment to engage fully in the service of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa and dedicate their lives and souls to serving Kṛṣṇa without material desires. Because their devotional service is free from material desires, it is unimpeded by material circumstances. Although ordinary men have great difficulty understanding this attitude of the devotees, it is greatly appreciated by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
“In pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness, without knowledge of the Lord's opulences, a devotee considers Kṛṣṇa his friend or son. Therefore this devotional attitude is praised even by Śukadeva Gosvāmī and Vyāsadeva, the supreme authority.
In his statement, Jhaḍu Ṭhākura presents himself as being born in a low-caste family and not having the qualifications of a bona fide devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. He accepts the statements declaring a lowborn person highly exalted if he is a Vaiṣṇava. However, he feels that these descriptions from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam appropriately describe others, but not himself. Jhaḍu Ṭhākura's attitude is quite befitting a real Vaiṣṇava, for a Vaiṣṇava never considers himself exalted, even if he factually is. He is always meek and humble and never thinks that he is an advanced devotee.
“When a beloved gopī shows symptoms of anger toward Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa is very satisfied. Indeed, He is extremely pleased when chastised by such a gopī. She shows her pride suitably, and Kṛṣṇa enjoys that attitude. Then she gives up her pride with a little endeavor.