(SORRY THE FIRST WAS IN WRONG FONT!)
Śrī Rādhāṣṭamī, The Day of Her Advent by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda
The following discourse was delivered by Jagad-guru Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda in the Sārasvata assembly hall of Śrī Gauḍīya Maṭha, on Śrī Rādhāṣṭamī evening, September 19, 1931 * * * There is one person whose name is never mentioned inxa0Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. And yetxa0Bhāgavatamx92sxa0steadfast readers constantly nurture the ardent hope of becoming that personx92s devout, one-pointed servant. May that person, who means everything to Śrī Bhagavān, kindly destroy our false ego in all its various forms and bestow upon us the shelter of Her lotus feet. Today is the day of Her advent. That personification of grand benevolence, having collected all varieties of graces from Śrī Bhagavān to bestow as gifts upon all beings, is eternally the foremost of the benevolent. May She descend within our hearts and make Her appearance there, and may Her advent be the concern of our worship. xa0 His All in All It is common for us to hear that the entire earth is sustained by the entity known as Govinda. Many people speak in these terms. Yet there is one whom Govinda Himself esteems as His all in all, Hisxa0sarvasva. And without the guidance of that entity, we cannot realize what it actually means that She is His everything, Hisxa0sarva. The wordxa0svaxa0means x93onex92s ownx94, but it can also mean x93onex92s treasurex94 or x93onex92s affluencex94. One who is Govindax92s own, or one who is the affluence of Govinda, is Govindax92s entire fortune. The treasure that makes Govinda wealthy is naturally the very essence of His all in all x96 Hisxa0sarvasva-vastu. We can only know the true meaning of loving worship when we make Her x96 Govindax92sxa0sarvasva-vastuxa0x96 the object of our own loving worship. xa0 The Devoteesx92 Only Cherishable Hope All the scriptures loudly sing that the form of divinity, the personality of Godhead, is the actual object of worship. Other than Him, no one can be worthy of the wordxa0ārādhyaxa0(the object of loving adoration). Due to being covered by ignorance for the time being, we have given up our loving quest to find Him and have cheated ourselves out of attaining love for Him. The very moment that we became covered by ignorance,xa0anarthas* emerged, which led us to mistakenly perceive Him, the Supreme Lord, as some other entity. Our ultimate goal is to attainxa0arthaxa0(meaningfulness), the antithesis of which lays inxa0anarthas. If we do not take up a service attitude and pursue those goals, or perfections, available to us, which are most meaningful to us and dear to our hearts, and if we do not gain an understanding of the principles of service, then, swayed by our own arrogance and ego, we shall end up serving something other than He who is truly meant to be served. _____________________ xa0Anarthaxa0x96 literally x93unmeaningfulx94 or x93of no valuex94; an unwanted or meaningless object or condition. The attainment of pure love of God (prema) is the sole purpose of all worship. Thoroughly grasping this truth, we shall live by the ardent hope that one day we will be counted among Her entourage. Otherwise, it is preferable to die thousands of times. āśā-bharair amṛta-sindhu-mayaiḥ kathaxf1cit kālo-mayātigamitaḥ kila sāmprataṁ hi tvaxf1 cet kṛpāṁ mayi vidhāsyasi naiva kiṁ me prāṇair-vrajena ca varoru bakāriṇāpixa0 Śrī Vilāpa-kusumāxf1jalīxa0(102) Oxa0devīxa0with graceful thighs, now, burdened by hopes of serving You, a hope which is itself an ocean of immortal nectar, I am somehow passing my time with great difficulty, as I wait anxiously. If You will not give me Your mercy then what use to me is my own lifex92s breath? What use to me is being in Vraja? What use to me even is Śṛī Kṛṣṇa, who defeated the hideous crane demon, Bakāsura?! xa0 hā nātha gokula-sudhākara su-prasanna- vaktrāravinda madhura-smita he kṛpārdra yatra tvayā viharate praṇayaiḥ priyārāt tatraiva mām api naya priya-sevanāyaxa0 Śrī Vilāpa-kusumāxf1jalixa0(100) Hexa0Nātha, fulfiller of Your devoteesx92 cherished desires;xa0Hexa0Gokula-sudhākara, moon of Gokula, who distributes cooling nectar to all the Vrajavāsīs.xa0Hexa0Su-prasanna;xa0Hexa0Vaktrāravinda. Your face, like a blooming lotus flower, is always cheerful as You grant all of Your devoteesx92 most cherished wishes!xa0Hexa0Madhura-smita, You whose smile is so sweet and gentle!xa0Hexa0Kṛpārdra, whose heart is melting from compassion! Please take me to that place where You and Your beloved Śrīmatī Rādhikā taste pastimes of overwhelming love for each other and let me intimately serve the two of You there. xa0 That hope, the devoteesx92 only cherishable hope, is an ocean of life-giving ambrosia. When will that hope bear fruit? I feel it is essential to sustain my life because of the hope that, some day, I will be counted among Her entourage. But alas, since our eagerness is not increasing, we are not fully realizing our hopes; we are not obtaining that which we have ardently been hoping for. If our hopes are not fulfilled this very day, if Śrī Govindax92s beloved, His all in all, does not descend within our hearts and make Her appearance there this very day, then we have been deceived and we shall not be able to find anyone more unfortunate than ourselves throughout all history. If we are cheated out of serving that person whose grace will grant us all that we may ever achieve x96 including our place within Bhagavānx92s own holy abode and our connection to all things related to Him x96 and if we cannot comprehend Her true identity or discover Her presence in the 18,000 verses ofxa0Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, then our study of thexa0Bhāgavataxa0has been worthless. xa0 The Perfection of Loving Worship Exists Solely in Her Being intimately knowledgeable about Her identity, Śrī Gaurasundara spoke to us aboutxa0unnata-ujjvala-rasa. He enumerated the many methods of serving Bhagavān and instructed us in the process of serving Him purely, without the adulteration of any extraneous moods. It is only because He spoke to us about such matters that we can comprehend the existence of such a thing asxa0ujjvala-rasa. And on account of this, we can indirectly comprehend the unpleasantness of its antithesis: the bleak, mundanexa0rasa, with its utterly lacklustre sentiments. _____________________ * The highest (unnata) mode of pure loving service to Bhagavān; the blazingly effulgent (ujjvala) paramour love conceived of by thexa0vraja-gopīs;xa0madhura-rasaxa0(unwedded conjugal love of God). In how many ways has Śrī Bhagavān personally offered us intimate knowledge of Himself just to make us relish transcendental service to Him? Yet it is essential that we wholly understand that person who has rendered such immense service to Śrī Bhagavān that He has made Her the object of His own service. Those who adoringly sing about Her can bestow upon us the qualification to serve Her; they alone can awakenxa0anurāgaxa0(inexhaustible, ardent affection) for Her lotus feet in the core of our being. The intelligence and strength to serve Her is attained by keeping company with Her dear confidantes, who are in Herxa0ānugatyaxa0(guardianship, or tutelage). By such company we can realize that service to Her is the highest purpose in existence. As soon as we can come to understand, in light of the teachings of thexa0mahājanas, that She is Śrī Bhagavānx92s everything, we shall proceed to serve Her, knowing that the perfection and prosperity of loving worship exists solely in Her. If we engage in serving Her from this day forth, the day of Her advent, then we shall become qualified to reach the summit of auspiciousness. Surely, all of us do not pray for that ultimate auspiciousness, but if by some unknownxa0sukṛtixa0(blessed activity) we get the association of one of the confidantes of Śrī Vṛṣabhānu-nandinī, She who is the embodiment and origin of supreme auspiciousness, and if we are truly granted the fortune of hearing genuinely sublime narrations about Her, then we, too, may develop the inspiration to follow the path of that ultimate auspiciousness. But if we engage in self-deception by depriving ourselves of service to that person who means everything toxa0akhila-rasāmṛta-mūrti* Śrī Nanda-nandana, and service to Her faithful followers, who are Her dear confidantes, we can never attain the eligibility to serve Śrī Govinda. _____________________ * The condensed form of the entirety of all transcendent humours. xa0 The Secret To understand Her identity, we believe that it is essential to first know Her name. Yet, while studyingxa0Śrīmad-Bhāgavatamxa0we find no apparent mention of Her name anywhere. We only discover descriptions of Her form and beauty, praise of Her qualities, and accounts of the speciality of Her companions and Her pastimes. Inxa0Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, we find everything about the dearest beloved of Govinda but Her name, as though it has not been mentioned there at all. Yet, in the verses ofxa0Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, we discover something: jxf1ānaṁ parama-guhyaṁ me yad vijxf1āna-samanvitam sarahasyaṁ tad-aṅgaṁ ca gṛhāṇa gaditaṁ mayāxa0 Śrīmad-Bhāgavatamxa0(2.9.30) Śrī Bhagavān said: O Brahmā, knowledge of Me (jxf1āna) is the subject matter established in the revealed scriptures. Such knowledge is verily founded upon realization (vijxf1āna) of Myxa0svarūpaxa0(intrinsic form) and also upon that esoteric secret (rahasya),xa0prema-bhakti. Both are highly confidential. I am revealing all of this to you, and I am also revealing to you knowledge ofxa0sādhana-bhakti, which is the preliminary branch (aṅga) ofxa0prema-bhakti. Embrace all of this knowledge, and assimilate it with care. xa0 _____________________ In the BBT edition ofxa0Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Verse 12 of this chapter has been treated as a separate verse. Consequently, this verse appears as 2.9.31 in that edition. kālena naṣṭā pralaye vāṇīyaṁ veda-saṁjxf1itā mayādau brahmaṇe proktā dharmo yasyāṁ mad-ātmakaḥ tena proktā sva-putrāya manave pūrva-jāya sā tato bhṛgv-ādayox92gṛhṇan sapta brahma-maharṣayaḥ Śrīmad-Bhāgavatamxa0(11.14.3x964) Śrī Bhagavān said: The divine message of the Vedas, which describexa0dharmaxa0related to Me, disappeared after the cosmic annihilation due to the passage of time. At the beginning of the next creation, I personally imparted that knowledge to Brahmā. xa0 In turn, Śrī Brahmā instructed this Vedic knowledge to his firstborn son, Manu, and thereafter the sevenxa0brahma-ṛṣisxa0headed by Bhṛgu Muni accepted the same. Śrī Bhagavān explained all these matters to the first created being, Brahmā, but over time the people of this world forgot His message, because the collective currents of their thought were naturally subjected to the effects of degeneration, dissolution and so forth. jxf1ānaṁ parama-guhyaṁ me yad vijxf1āna-samanvitam sarahasyaṁ tad-aṅgaṁ ca gṛhāṇa gaditaṁ mayāxa0 Śrīmad-Bhāgavatamxa0(2.9.30) Now, as I speak to you, hear My words and assimilate them. Knowledge of Me is highly confidential. It is knowledge fully grounded in realization, knowledge that is interwoven with secrets and therefore is itself an extremely intimate secret. The scriptural definition of the wordxa0rahasyaxa0isxa0rahasixa0sthitaḥxa0x96 that which is situated in secrecy. Neither these secrets (rahasya) nor anything branching from them (aṅga) can be grasped through observation of some supposed objective reality.* Swept away by the currents of thought that dominate the external world, we have forgotten the essentiality of taking shelter at the feet of one who has true knowledge of the soul. Nothing else is so essential. Śrī Bhagavān remains in a state of perpetual readiness to reawaken this knowledge. _____________________ xa0Rahasyaxa0here refers toxa0prema-bhaktixa0(pure, loving devotion), and itsxa0aṅga, or limb, isxa0sādhana-bhaktixa0(the practices employed to ultimately attain pure, loving devotion). Śrī Bhagavān said to Brahmā: Now, as I speak to you, carefully listen to My words and accept them in your heart. No one is qualified to hear or embrace this message without My grace. Only by My mercy shall those who hear and learn about Me gain this secret knowledge. What am I? What is My form (rūpa)? What is My intrinsic nature (svarūpa)? What are My qualities (guṇa)? What are the specialities of My associates? What pastimes do I perform (līlā)? xa0 The stage of absorption in My transcendental pastimes, which are saturated withxa0rasa, far surpasses the stage of absorption in ordinary mundane sentiments. There is no other way to know all this but through the potency of My mercy. I am the foundation of all divine qualities. I am not speaking about qualities that are adulterated by passion and ignorance, but rather of those qualities that are the existential, causal basis of creating, sustaining, and destroying the cosmos. Since I am distinguished by these qualities and since I am the instrumental cause of all effects, I am the original, fundamental entity. This can be known only by attaining My grace. Therefore, Śrī Bhagavān has used the wordxa0mad-anugrahaḥxa0x96 My grace, or favour. Information about Śrī Bhagavānx92sxa0aṅgaxa0aspect x96 namelyxa0sādhana-bhakti; information about Hisxa0rahasyaxa0aspect x96 namely that most esoteric secret,xa0prema-bhakti; information about hisxa0vijxf1ānaxa0aspect x96 particularly that realized knowledge which is saturated with sublime consciousness; and information of His personal splendour, which includes His abode, eternal associates and expansions (tad-rupa-vaibhava), are all supremely confidential, non-dual knowledge (advaya-jxf1āna). That eternal, highly confidential knowledge can only be attained by the mercy of Śrī Bhagavān. It is never revealed otherwise, for any reason. This secret knowledge is disclosed at the beginning of the four core verses (catuḥ-ślokī) ofxa0Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. We are fortunate that Śrī Gaurasundara has revealed this mystery to the world, as though unlocking a treasure-chest. xa0 The Secret Should Not Be Revealed To Impersonalists A secret (rahasya) has been mentioned, an account of it given, but the name of the person about whom this secret is concerned has not been disclosed. Since that name is a secret, it should not be disclosed to those subscribing to schools of ignorant thought, and has not therefore, been openly revealed. After hearing the pastimes of Śrī Nanda-nandana told inxa0Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, these ignorant people, what to speak of gaining any faith, discard all accounts of the Lordx92s pastimes and just contemplate the impersonal feature of the Absolute, which is in line with their mundane conception. And some of them deem it sensible to merge their very selves with that impersonal reality. Without hearing from a genuine, bona fide source, peoplex92s perception of reality suffers from this form of distorted vision. Due to their immense aversion towards serving the Lord, they can never comprehend the intrinsic nature ofxa0bhagavad-bhakti. But, in our own hearts, which are radiant with pure, existential goodness (sattva), the day ofxa0rasa-mayīxa0Parameśvarīx92s advent has arrived in the course of the sunx92s orbit. The roaming sun is today revealing the appearance of that Supreme Goddess. Hence, for us, the sun-god, too, is showing us supreme favour by unveiling the arrival of the secret at hand. Our duty now is to submit ourselves to someone who has knowledge of that secret. A poet by the name Manohara Dāsa has said: rādhā-pada-paṅkaja bhakata ki āśā dāsa manohara kara tax92piyāsā Thexa0bhaktasx92xa0ardent wish is that they may someday serve Śrī Rādhāx92s lotus feet. This is also Dāsa Manoharax92s only aspiration. xa0 xa0 Kṛṣṇa is Bound By Vārṣabhānavīx92s Prema The single most cherished aspiration of the topmost devotees is to serve the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā: śrī rādhā-pada-dāsyam-eva paramābhīṣṭaṁ hṛdā dhārayan karhi syāṁ tad-anugraheṇa paramādbhutānurāgotsavaḥxa0 Śrī Rādhā-rasa-sudhānidhixa0(259) When will I relish that most wonderful festival of attachment to the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā by keeping that most supreme ambition of serving them, in the core of my heart? xa0 In anxa0aṣṭa-padī, Śrī Jayadeva has said: _____________________ * A song composed of eight stanzas.xa0Gīta-govindaxa0consists of twenty-fourxa0aṣṭa-padīs. kaṁsārir-api saṁsāra- vāsanā-bandha śṛṅkhalām rādhām ādhāya hṛdaye tatyāja vraja-sundarīḥ Śrī Gīta-govindaxa0(7.1) Even though Kṛṣṇa is the one who causes everyonex92s happiness to swell, and even though He is the Supreme hero who was destined to conquer evil King Kaṁsa, His heart had been bound with the fetters of Śrīmatī Rādhikāx92s love. Since, within His heart, He was always absorbed in Rādhikāx92sxa0prema, which is the quintessence ofxa0madhura-rasa, He naturally abandoned all the countless other beautifulxa0vraja-devīs. xa0 At thexa0rāsa-sthalīxa0(the place of thexa0rāsaxa0dance), all thexa0gopīsxa0are present with Gopīnātha, who is engrossed inxa0rasa-laden pastimes with them. When the daughter of Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja, Vārṣabhānavī Śrī Rādhā, arrived there, She saw that countlessxa0gopīsxa0were immersed in serving Bhagavān by dancing with Him in a circle. Reproaching that sight within Her mind, She thought, x93Today My Kṛṣṇa is in the hands of others and My own confidantes are busy enjoying themselves!x94 To effect a feeling of separation (vipralambha-bhāva), which actually nourishes the thrill of meeting (sambhoga-rasa), Vārṣabhānavī ran away from thexa0rāsa-sthalīxa0instead of entering it and joining thexa0rāsa-dance. xa0 Remain Proudly in Her Ānugatya It is at this point that Śrī Jayadeva has written: Kṛṣṇa, the enemy of Kaṁsa, suddenly broke away from thexa0rāsa-sthalī. Rādhā is likened to a chain that binds Śrī Kṛṣṇa in intense desires to relish the essence of Her love. With thoughts of that Śrī Rādhā weighing deeply on His heart, Kṛṣṇa deserted all the other beautifulxa0vraja-devīsxa0and went to search for Her, unaccompanied by anyone else. xa0 When someone abandons thexa0ānugatyaxa0(guardianship, or tutelage) of Rādhikā, any skill he may display in gratifying Kṛṣṇax92s senses is not actually faithful to the true propensity of his soul: exclusive devoutness to serving Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Although all thexa0gopīsxa0are direct manifestations (kāya-vyūha) of Rādhikā, it is particularly those confidantes of Kṛṣṇax92sxa0sarvasva, Śrīmatī Rādhikā who, while remaining proudly in Herxa0ānugatya, can provide Kṛṣṇa the utmost delight. śrīmān rāsa-rasārambhī vaṁśī-vaṭa-taṭa-sthitaḥ karṣan veṇu-svanair gopīr-gopīnāthaḥ śrīyex92stu naḥ Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta,xa0Ādi-līlāxa0(1.17) Śrīman Gopīnātha, who stands at the base of Vaṁśī-vaṭa and who orchestrates the loving emotions (rasa) that arise during thexa0rāsa-dance, attracts all thexa0gopīsxa0by the sweet sound of His flute, drawing them to His side. May He bless us with all auspiciousness. xa0 Contemplating enjoyingxa0sambhoga, that is, contemplating enjoying the company of Śrī Govinda without being in thexa0ānugatyaxa0of She who means everything to Him, is something we shall never do. To shed light on this matter, Śrī Jayadeva Gosvāmī, the author of thexa0aṣṭa-padī, reveals something that supplements the description inxa0Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. He says, x93tatyāja-vrajasundarīḥxa0x96 abandoning the beautifulxa0vraja-devīs.x94 Kṛṣṇa abandoned thexa0gopīsxa0even as they danced with Him during thexa0rāsa-līlā. He left them all to find Śrīmatī Rādhikā, while carrying Her in the deepest chamber of His heart. The binding chains of love of the otherxa0gopīsxa0are faint, feeble and vulnerable when compared to the chains of Vārṣabhānavīx92s love, which are immensely and profoundly powerful. After Śrī Kṛṣṇa had left them, all thexa0gopīsxa0took shelter of Vṛṣabhānu-nandinīx92sxa0adhirūḍa-mahābhāva. Overwhelmed by emotions such asxa0mohana* andxa0mādana***, they set out in search of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. They all understood that without taking shelter at the feet ofxa0govinda-sarvasvaxa0Śrī Vārṣabhānavī,xa0madhura-rasaxa0can never find complete nourishment. _____________________ * The final limit ofxa0mahābhāvaxa0is known asxa0adhirūḍha-bhāva. It is the very essence of Kṛṣṇax92s pleasure-giving potency and it is characterized by the feeling that each moment is like a day of Brahmā (billions of years) when one is separated from Kṛṣṇa, and that an entire day of Brahmā is like a moment when one is meeting Him. ** The exalted state of prema known as mohana manifests in Śrī Rādhā at the time of Her separation from Śrī Kṛṣṇa. In this state, She experiences extreme anguish due to Her longing to meet with Him. *** The exalted state of prema known as mādana, or mādanākhya-mahābhāva, is eternally and splendidly manifest in Śrī Rādhā, to the exclusion of all others. It is the highest stage of mahābhāva and only arises at the time of Śrī Rādhā's meeting with Śrī Kṛṣṇa. It never arises in any other gopī, including Lalitā and the other principle sakhīs. xa0 All moods and expressions of love with which thexa0gopīsxa0perform their services exist simultaneously in Śrī Vārṣabhānavī, and only in Her do such moods of love exist in their entirety and perfection. Therefore, abandoning all the otherxa0gopīs, who were each absorbed in one of the eight moods of a heroine, such as the feeling of separation from Her lover (proṣita-bharttṛkā), Kṛṣṇa left thexa0rāsaxa0dance, forcefully drawn by Śrī Vārṣabhānavīx92s power of attraction, for She alone possesses all thesexa0bhāvasxa0to their full extent. As such, He set out in search of She who verily attracts the all-attractive being. Thexa0gopīsxa0are expansions of Rādhikā. Because they are eternally the fractional portion (aṁsa) of She who is the originating and complete whole (aṁśinī), they could not bind Kṛṣṇa, for He is solely Her property. Rādhikā thus extracted Kṛṣṇa, He who attracts everyone, from thexa0rāsa-dance. These topics can only be fathomed by someone if the innate faculties of his soul (ātma-vṛtti) have already awakened to the taste of divine amour (madhura-rati). Yet still, if someonex92s heart is the seat of intense parental love (vatsalya-rasa), then they, too, can understand the sweetness and beauty of the pastimes of She who is the complete whole. xa0 The Glory of Her Ānugatya Thexa0gopīsxa0came to the place where thexa0rāsaxa0dance was to take place, attracted by Kṛṣṇa and pulled to Him by the sweet melodies of His flute. Then, when Śrī Vārṣabhānavī, the embodiment of divine amour (madhura-rati) in its fullest form, desired to serve Śrī Nanda-nandana Gopīnātha Rādhā-ramaṇa, the object of our service, He abandoned the less extraordinary attraction of all the otherxa0gopīsxa0and became a victim of Śrī Vārṣabhānavīx92s charm. The most attractive being became helplessly attracted. Therefore, when liberated souls gain the qualification required to fathom Rādhikāx92s position, they understand the following: karmibhyaḥ parito hareḥ priyatayā vyaktiṁ yayur jxf1āninas tebhyo jxf1āna-vimukta-bhakti-paramāḥ premaika-niṣṭhās tataḥ tebhyas taḥ paśu-pāla-paṅkaja-dṛśas tābhyox92pi sā rādhikā preṣṭhā tadvad iyaṁ tadīya-sarasī tāṁ nāśrayet kāḥ kṛtī Śrī Upadeśāmṛtaxa0(10) One who selflessly performs virtuous acts in accordance with the path ofxa0karma-yogaxa0is superior to those who merely seek to fulfil their selfish desires. Thexa0brahma-jxf1ānīs, who by dint of their spiritual knowledge are transcendental to the three modes of material nature, are more dear to Śrī Kṛṣṇa than those pious followers of thexa0karmaxa0path, who are forever occupied in performing virtuous deeds. More dear to Śrī Kṛṣṇa than thexa0brahma-jxf1ānīsxa0are His devotees like Sanaka, who have abandoned the pursuit of knowledge and who considerxa0bhaktixa0alone to be the best path. But pure devotees like Nārada, who are resolutely fixed inxa0premaxa0for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, are even more dear to Him than all such devotees And yet the lotus-eyedxa0vraja-gopīs, whose very lives belong solely to Kṛṣṇa, are even more beloved to Him than all such loving (premī) devotees like Nārada. Amongst all those belovedxa0gopīs, Śrīmatī Rādhikā is more dear to Śrī Kṛṣṇa than His own life, and in precisely the same way, He dearly loves Her pond, Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa. Therefore, what highly fortunate, spiritually intelligent person would not reside on the banks of Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa in a state of transcendental consciousness, performingxa0bhajanaxa0of Śrī Kṛṣṇax92s eightfold daily pastimes? xa0 kṛṣṇasyoccaiḥ praṇaya-vasatiḥ preyāsibhyox92pi rādhā kuṇḍaṁ cāsyā munibhir abhitas tādṛg eva vyadhāyi yat preṣṭhair apy alam asulabhaṁ kiṁ punar bhakti-bhājāṁ tat premedaṁ sakṛd api sarāḥ snātur āviṣkaroti Śrī Upadeśāmṛtaxa0(11) After thorough deliberation on the matter, the sages have unanimously declared (in thexa0Padma-purāṇa) that just as amongst all thexa0gopīs, Śrīmatī Rādhikā is the foremost object of Śrī Kṛṣṇax92s great love, in precisely the same way this pond of Hers is also the topmost object of His love. Upon one who simply bathes in its waters just once with great devotion, Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa bestows that rare treasure ofxa0gopī-prema, which is so immensely difficult to attain even for such dear devotees of Bhagavān as Nārada x96 what to speak of ordinaryxa0sādhakas. xa0 Śrī Rādhikā is the abode of Śrī Kṛṣṇax92s intense love (praṇaya). Amidst His other beloveds, She is foremost and dear-most in every respect. Even Uddhava and other exalted devotees pray for the foot-dust of thexa0gopīs. Yet, thesexa0gopīsxa0consider that their lives will be successful if they can attain a position in thexa0ānugatyaxa0(guidance, or tutelage) of Śrī Vārṣabhānavī. And the most exalted devotees, those who are inclined towardxa0madhura-rasaxa0and who have reached the summit ofxa0bhaktixa0to the Supreme Lord, take shelter at the place of Her pastimes and bathe in the sacred waters of Her pond, Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa. In pursuit of awakening the faculties of awareness within the soul proper, they constantly immerse themselves in the holy waters of that lake and dwell by its side. The confidantes of Śaibya, Candrā and other rivalxa0gopīsxa0do not even qualify to approach that place. To perpetually live by the bank of such a pond, and to bathe in its transcendental waters by following the soulx92s own faculties of awareness is not affordable for any ordinary, fortunate person. As long as the transcendental nature of Śrī Vārṣabhānavīx92s age and of Her childish innocence, even in the midst of Her dawning adolescence, does not become the subject of our reflection, we cannot understand the glory of achieving a position in Herxa0ānugatya.* _____________________ * Although Śrīmatī Rādhikā is apparently an eternalxa0kiśorixa0(adolescent), She remains intrinsically axa0kaumarixa0(pre-adolescent). xa0 We Must Know Her Name In order to performxa0bhajana, those who studyxa0Śrīmad-Bhāgavatamxa0must know the name of their venerable deity, for one can only performxa0bhajanaxa0beginning fromxa0nāma. One cannot begin hisxa0bhajanaxa0directly fromxa0līlā. It is said in scripture: prathamaṁ nāmnaḥ śravaṇam-antaḥ-karaṇa-śuddhyartham-apekṣyaṁ | śuddhye cāntaḥ-karaṇe rūpa-śravaṇena tad-udaya-yogyatā bhavati | samyag-udite ca rūpe guṇānāṁ sphuraṇaṁ sampadyate sampanne ca guṇānāṁ sphuraṇe parikara-vaiśiṣṭyena tad-vaiśiṣṭyaṁ sampadyate | tatas teṣu nāma-rūpa-guṇa-parikareṣu samyak sphuriteṣu līlānāṁ sphuraṇaṁ suṣṭhu bhavatīty-abhipretya sādhana-kramo likhitaḥ | Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmīx92sxa0Krama-sandharbhaxa0commentary onxa0Śrīmad-Bhāgavatamxa0(7.5.18) First, a person must hear and chant the holy name to achieve purity of consciousness. Thereafter, when his heart has become pure, it is a fit appearance place for the Lordx92s beautiful form, and as soon as the Lordx92s form thoroughly manifests in his heart as a result of hearing descriptions of that form, thexa0bhaktaxa0experiences revelations about the Lordx92s qualities. As the Lordx92s qualities fully unfold, the defining characteristics of His associates and thus His own defining characteristics, that is, His unique interrelationship with each of them, are exhibited. After that, when the Lordx92s name, form, qualities and associates have completely manifested in thexa0bhaktax92sxa0heart, the Lordx92s pastimes blossom in their full splendour. The progression ofxa0sādhanaxa0has been delineated in this way with the intention of acquainting thexa0bhaktasxa0with the sequential process involved in the Lordx92s appearance within their hearts. xa0 Therefore, unless we begin, on account of attraction toxa0śrīxa0nāma, to contemplate within our heart the transcendentxa0rasas, we are not qualified to study the form, qualities and pastimes of the Lord. People may have perfected their comprehension and expression of the words of scripture from an external, worldly perspective, yet as long as their conduct remains contrary to the conduct of realized souls, narrations of the Lordx92sxa0rāsa-līlāxa0are beyond the reach of their understanding. Therefore, Śrī Gaurasundara has instructed us aboutxa0nāma-bhajanaxa0(divine worship in the form of chanting the holy name). Kṛṣṇax92s name isxa0tāraka-brahma-nāma, the holy name who delivers us. Alongside His name we can see the wordxa0hare. As long as one does not gain realized knowledge of the direct meaning (vidvad-rūḍhī) of that word, one remains at a great disadvantage. For that matter, when we try to understand the wordxa0rāma, also, we are usually carried away by historical considerations. _____________________ Thinking in terms of history, ordinary people usually interpretxa0rāmaxa0as Lord Rāmacandra. Too often, the purity of our intellect is sullied and ruined by figurative and metaphorical doctrines, metaphysical theories, and that preposterous act of projecting manx92s nature on the figure of God. If someone tries to obtain thexa0darśanaxa0of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda but lacks knowledge of Realityx92s secret truths (rahasya-jxf1āna), he finds that his vision is veiled. In thexa0mahā-mantra, the name Harā, which refers to Śrī Vārṣabhānavī, becomes Hare when it is uttered in the vocative case. In a similar way, the name Rādhikā-ramaṇa Rāma becomes Rāma when it is uttered as a personal address. Those who have attained neither eligibility to enter the realm ofxa0madhura-ratixa0(divine amour) nor knowledge of Realityx92s hidden truths (rahasya-jxf1āna) assume that the name Hare is simply Hari in the vocative case and therefore another name of Bhagavān Himself. Some even say that the wordxa0rāmaxa0meansxa0ātmārāma, or He who is satisfied in Himself, and they forgo scrutinizing the matter any further. _____________________ Sri Jiva Gosvamix92s first definition of Hare: x93Śrī Kṛṣṇacandrax92s transcendental beauty captivates the minds of all, but Śrīmatī Rādhikā captivates the mind of Śrī Kṛṣṇa by exercising Her unrivalled cleverness. Therefore, She is known as Harā. The vocative case of Harā is Hare.x94 To state that the Lord, who is known as Puruṣottama (the Supreme Person), exists in solitude is to present only half of His identity. Statements that fail to account for the other half of reality just deceive us. And when we are cheated of the understanding that there exists a Supreme Divine Couple, we are bound to reject the conception of the unity and identity of the potent (saktimana) with His potency (sakti). And as a consequence of this, whatever limited understanding of Puruṣottama we may have already attained, also degenerates, terminating in the conception of an emasculated, impotent God (kliva-brahma). The conception of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda is of the Absolute Truth in utmost completeness. On the other hand, the conception of Puruṣottama in solitude, where the Lord exists alone as the supreme reality, cannot bring thexa0ānugatya-dharmaxa0of the soul (the innate commitment of the soul to remain in the charge and care of a higher guide) past the moods of parenthood (vatsalya), friendship (sakhya), and servitude (dāsya). It never touches on the topic ofxa0unnata-ujjvala-rasa. And describing the Lord by His titles likexa0brahmaxa0orxa0paramātmā, can never convey the fullness of the Absolute Truth that is so effectively established by names such as Rādhā-nātha or Rādhā-ramaṇa. xa0 The Summit of Transcendence All those souls who, while seeking out the kingdom ofxa0prema-bhakti, journey throughxa0sādhana-bhaktixa0and reach beyond it to the stage ofxa0bhāva-bhakti, must realize that divine love of Śrī Vārṣabhānavī, which is the topmost summit ofxa0prema-bhakti, is only available in Herxa0ānugatya. Without being in Herxa0ānugatya, the soul gains but a feeble eligibility within the realms of spiritual existence. When we transcend Devī-dhāma (the material world, which is presided over by the goddess of the illusory energy) and cross the Virajā River (the threshold between the divine and mundane worlds), even transcending Brahma-loka (the realm of the impersonal absolute) and totally evading the conception of opulence found in thexa0paravayomaxa0(the spiritual sky, or kingdom of God); when we even surpass the intimate moods of friendship and parental love found in Goloka and at long last, grounded in the perfect, eternal (nitya-siddha) identity of our soul, we become acquainted with the conception of Śrī Rādhā-ramaṇa, then our eligibility shall be so exalted that we shall be the most fortunate of the fortunate and our service shall rise to the very pinnacle of its perfection. Such a state cannot simply be called x93realizationx94, nor evenxa0aparokṣa-anubhutixa0x96 direct experience of the imperceptible absolute x96 as seen in the language employed by thexa0jxf1ānīs. No. What we shall attain is the extraordinary functions of love known asxa0mohanaxa0andxa0mādana. What we shall experience is known by names likexa0udghūrṇa,xa0citra-jalpa* andxa0mahābhāvaxa0(the ultimate stage of ecstatic love of God). Now we live confined within our gross bodies, which consign profuse obstructions to such experiences. Even the sensitivity achieved by our subtle bodies actually still encumbers us. If ourxa0ātmā-vṛtti, the very calling of our soul, cannot find unimpeded and unceasing shelter in thexa0ānugatyaxa0of Śrī Vārṣabhānavī, then we can never grasp even the slightest hint that such achievements exist. So, taking the foot-dust of the foremostxa0rūpānuga, Śrīla Dāsa Gosvāmī, upon our heads, we fervently pray: _____________________ * The state of divine-madness (divya-unmāda) in which one deliriously endeavours to serve the beloved, despite their absence, is known asxa0udghūrṇa. Rādhikā experiencedxa0udghūrṇāxa0when Kṛṣṇa departed for Mathurā. ** The incoherent, delirious babbling resulting from intense longing is known as citra-jalpa. C.f. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, 10.47 (Bhramara-gīta). hā devi! kāku-bhara-gadgadayādya vācā yāce nipatya bhuvi daṇḍavad udbhaṭārtiḥ asya prasādam abudhasya janasya kṛtvā gāndharvike! nija-gaṇe gaṇanāṁ vidhehi Śrī Gāndharvā Samprārthanāṣṭakamxa0(2) O Devī Gāndharvike! I am suffering greatly and therefore, today, I am throwing myself on the ground like a stick and desperately imploring You, with a choked voice, to be merciful to this fool and count me as one of Your own confidantes.
xa0 Translated from the Weekly Gaudiya, Year 10, Issue 11, October 1931 by the Rays of The Harmonist team CC-BY-SA Published in English for the first time in Rays of The Harmonist No.20 (Karttika 2009) xa0