Hari-katha Articles Praying for the Service of Śrī Rādhā

Praying for the Service of Śrī Rādhā

A prayer to attain the service of Śrī Rādhā birth after birth is given in Śrī Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi (40):

tasyā apāra-rasa-sāra-vilāsa-mūrter
ānanda-kanda-paramādbhuta-saukhya-lakṣmyāḥ
brahmādi-durlabha-gater vṛṣabhānu-jāyāḥ
kaiṅkaryam eva mama janmani janmani syāt

May I attain the position of being a maidservant of the daughter of King Vṛṣabhānu birth after birth. She is the personif ication of playful pastimes (vilāsa-mūrti  ) of Śyāmasundara, who is Himself the essence of limitless rasa. She is the happiness of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and She is most difficult to attain for Brahmā and others.

apāra-rasera sāra, vilāsa-mūrati
parama-adbhuta-saukhya-ānanda nirvṛtti
brahmādira sudurlabha vṛṣabhānu-kanyā
janme janme tāṅra dāsye hai yena dhanyā

In a voice filled with extreme distress, the poet is praying to become a maidservant of Śrī Rādhā. It is not possible that this prayer ever be fulfilled in a gross material body. The sādhaka attains his spiritual body and eternal identity (svarūpa) by continuously reciting the mantras and the holy name given by his spiritual master. Upon receiving his svarūpa, deep attachment for Svāminī Śrī Rādhā arises in his heart, and he receives an internal vision (sphūrti  ) of Her sweetness and beauty. Śrīmatī Rādhikā is the personification of Śyāmasundara’s playful pastimes (vilāsa ). In other words, Her intrinsic nature as concentrated rasa manifests in the kuñjas, where it is tasted by Śrī Śyāmasundara, the emporium of all rasa. Śrī Rādhā, the essence of all rasa, is the personif ication of playful pastimes. She is the essence of unlimited mādhurya-rasa. The joy of meeting is hidden within the mind of Śrī Govinda, who is the embodi­ment of condensed happiness. Śrī Rādhā’s mādanākhya-prema causes this joy to blossom, thus making Him restless and beside Himself to meet with His beloved by any means possible. Therefore, in His eagerness to meet Her, He sometimes dresses Himself as a woman, and sometimes He bows down at the feet of the sakhīs. The bliss of meeting (sambhoga-rasānanda) that Śrī Svāminī provides is indescribable, even more so than Govinda Himself can imagine.

rātri-dina kuñje kriḍā kare rādhā-saṅge
kaiśora-vayasa saphala kaila krīḍā-raṅge
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 8.189)

Day and night Śrī Kṛṣṇa enjoys the company of Śrī Rādhā in the kuñjas of Vṛndāvana. Thus His early youth was made successful through His loving affairs with Her.

Śrī Rādhā is the hlādinī-svarūpa-śakti of Vrajacandra, who is ānanda-kanda, the source of transcendental bliss. She is a dhīrādhīrā-nāyikā, a heroine who with tearful eyes speaks crooked words to her beloved, and for this reason Śrī Nanda-nandana is completely controlled by Her. As stated in Śrī Rādhā-kṛpā-kaṭākṣa-stavarāja (3): “nirantaraṁ vaśī-kṛta-pratīti nanda-nandane – She always brings Nanda-nandana into submission.” Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the source of transcendental bliss and Śrīmatī is His supremely wonderful saumya-lakṣmī, gentle goddess of fortune. Lakṣmī-devī, who always enjoys pastimes on the chest of Śrī Nārāyaṇa, is restless and proud of her opulence, but the prema-lakṣmī of Vraja, Śrī Rādhā, is very sweet and endowed with a gentle, steady nature. She is kṛṣṇa-mayī in prema [which means She sees Śrī Kṛṣṇa everywhere, internally and externally], She is gaurāṅgī in rasa [which means She is so expert, so beautiful, dances so well and sings so sweetly that She becomes golden-limbed (gaurāṅgī), and Śrī Kṛṣṇa becomes so attracted by Her that He becomes rādhā-mayī and gaurāṅga], She is sarva-lakṣmī-mayī in aiśvarya [which means She manifests everywhere, and Śrī Kṛṣṇa sees Her everywhere], and She is the prominent gopikā in mādhurya.

It is very difficult for Brahmā and other demigods to attain Vṛṣabhānu-nandinī Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s service. Brahmā, being endowed with an awareness of the Supreme Lord’s majesty (aiśvarya-jñāna), is unable to comprehend the mādhurya-rasa of Vraja. He could not even understand Śyāmasundara’s early boyhood pastimes (paugaṇḍa-līlā), and he became an offender by stealing the calves and cowherd boys. How, then, can he possibly understand the profound secrets of the highly conf idential adolescent pastimes (kaiśora-līlā )? Only the vraja-gopīs have the qualification to serve in these most confidential pastimes that take place in the secluded bowers. Without following in the footsteps of the sakhīs, it is impossible to attain this service.

sakhī vinā ei līlāya anyera nāhi gati
sakhī-bhāve ye tāṅre kare anugati
rādhā-kṛṣṇa kuñja-sevā-sādhya sei pāya
sei sādhya pāite āra nāhika upāya
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.204–205

Without the guidance of the sakhīs, one cannot enter these pastimes. One who worships Śrī Kṛṣṇa in the mood of the sakhīs, following in their footsteps, can attain the service of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in the kuñjas of Vṛndāvana. There is no other means to achieve this goal.

Śrī Kiśorī’s maidservants (kiṅkarīs ) are always devoted to Her service. The word kaiṅkarya expresses a mood of being ardent to serve, and it means kiṁ karomi, “What may I do? What service may I do? What service can I do?” – this mood is expressed in pure rādhā-dāsya, or mañjarī-bhāva. May I attain this kaiṅkarya of Śrī Vṛṣabhānu-nandinī birth after birth.

To serve exclusively under the guidance of the vraja-devīs is called tat-tad-bhāva-icchāmayī kāmānugā-bhakti. This is the deep meaning of this Text.

Searching for Śrī Rādhānātha while engaged in the service of Śrī Rādhā (rādhā-dāsya) is described in Śrī Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi (142):

rādhā-nāma sudhā-rasaṁ rasayituṁ jihvās tu me vihvalā
pādau tat-padakāṅkitāsu caratāṁ vṛndāṭavī-vīthiṣu
tat-karmaiva karaḥ karotu hṛdayaṁ tasyāḥ padaṁ dhyāyatāṁ
tad-bhāvotsavataḥ paraṁ bhavatu me tat-prāṇanāthe ratiḥ

May my tongue become constantly overwhelmed by relishing the nectarean rasa of the name Rādhā, may my feet wander on the pathways of that Vṛndāvana where Vṛṣabhānu-nandinī walks, may both my hands be engaged in Svāminī’s service, and may my heart contemplate Her lotus feet. May one-pointed attachment manifest within me for the Lord of Her life, Śrī Śyāmasundara by Her festival of ecstatic moods (bhāvotsava ). This is my earnest prayer.

jihvā hauka su-vihvala, rādhā-nāma gāne
vṛndāraṇye cala pada, rādhā anveṣaṇe
rādhā-sevā kara-kara, rādhā smara mane
rādhā-bhāve mati, bhaja rādhā-prāṇa-dhane

Śrīla Prabhodānanda Sarasvatī is humbly praying to attain attachment to the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā’s prāṇanātha through Her festival of ecstatic moods (bhāvotsava), by engaging all his senses in rādhā-bhajana. When will my tongue become overwhelmed by tasting the nectarean rasa of Śrī Rādhā’s name? There is no equal to the happiness experienced by the tongue that, with heartfelt prema, tastes the nectar of Śrīmatī’s name. Happiness comes when one has achieved the desired perfection by performing nāma-saṅkīrtana of one’s object of worship. The name appears primarily upon the tongue, and both the chanter and the hearer derive bliss.

nāma-saṅkīrtanaṁ proktaṁ
kṛṣṇasya prema-sampadi
baliṣṭhaṁ sādhanaṁ śreṣṭhaṁ
paramākarṣa-mantravat
tad eva manyate bhakteḥ
phalaṁ tad-rasikair janaiḥ
bhagavat-prema-sampattau
sadaivāvyabhicārataḥ
Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta 2.3.164–165

It is said that to obtain the wealth of prema for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, nāma-saṅkīrtana is the best and most powerful sādhana. This supremely attractive mantra draws Śrī Kṛṣṇa towards the sādhaka. Therefore, rasika devotees of the Supreme Lord conclude that saṅkīrtana is the result of bhakti. It never fails to bestow the wealth of bhagavat-prema.

Relish of the very rasa of the Supreme Lord, who is Himself an embodiment of concentrated rasa, is definitely contained within His name. Although there is such taste in His name, that same nāmī, or possessor of the name, Śrī Śyāmasundara, becomes overwhelmed when He tastes the name of Śrī Rādhā. It is the nature of prema that a lover will have deep affinity for the name of the beloved.

Once, due to the vigilance of Jaṭilā, Śrī Kiśorī could not meet Śyāmasundara, who fainted in separation from Her. Madhumaṅgala went to Kiśorī, but since She was under guard, She was unable to leave the house. To pacify Kṛṣṇa’s fire of separation, She wrote the two syllables rā and dhā on a leaf and sent it to Him. When He received it, Kṛṣṇa returned to His senses and said to Madhumaṅgala, “Friend, I am completely satisfied with what you have given Me.”

In the second line of this Text, Śrīla Prabhodānanda Sarasvatī is praying: “pādau tat-padakāṅkitāsu caratāṁ vṛndāṭavī-vīthiṣu – may my feet traverse the paths of Vṛndāvana-dhāma, which is marked with the footprints of Śrī Rādhā. While wandering there, may this sentiment be in my heart: My Svāminī is travelling on these paths to meet with Her prāṇanātha. Every infinitesimal particle of Vraja is mixed with the dust from Her lotus feet and is thus perceived as the nectar of love, prema-makaranda. May my Īśvarī’s playful pastimes (vilāsa-līlā) be painted on the canvas of my heart. May the dust particles that have touched Her lotus feet be the ornaments of my limbs.”

Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s dear associate Uddhava also desired to attain a particle of this dust by taking birth in Vraja as a blade of grass or a shrub. Such a heart’s longing will only be fulfilled by remembering Śrī Kiśorī’s foot-dust, which lies upon the pathways of Vraja.

Śrīla Prabhodhānanda Sarasvatī continues: “tat-karmaiva karaḥ karotu – may both my hands be engaged in stringing various kinds of f lowers into garlands, ornaments and so forth for Śrī Svāminī. When Svāminī is fatigued from Her vilāsa, I pray to be so fortunate as to massage Her lotus feet.

[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]

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