Supreme Chastity

When we first enter devotional service, we are not aware of our specific relationship with Śrī Kṛṣṇa. We only know that, “Kṛṣṇa is my master and I am His servant.” Later, gurudeva helps us develop that particular relationship which is inherent in our heart. Unless one has a proper relationship with a bona fide guru and a realization of one’s own relationship with Kṛṣṇa, kṛṣṇa-prema will not be attained by him for hundreds and millions of births.

bahu janma kare yadi śravaṇa, kīrtana
tabu ta’ nā pāya kṛṣṇa-pade prema-dhana

(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Adi-līlā 8.16)

If one is infested with the ten offenses in the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, despite his endeavor to chant the holy name for many births, he will not get the love of Godhead that is the ultimate goal of this chanting.

One pure holy name chanted by a devotee who has taken initiation in a proper way, and has at least somewhat realized his relationship with Kṛṣṇa and His associates, is superior to three-hundred-thousand holy names chanted by someone who has not.

Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura was a pure devotee, and he chanted three-hundred-thousand holy names daily. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu gave him the title ‘nāmācārya Haridāsa Ṭhākura’ and greatly honored him. He daily gave him His darśana at Siddha-bakula, Haridāsa Ṭhākura’s āśrama, and sent him His prasādam remnants with Govinda, His servant.

Another devotee, a boy named Rūpa, was very junior to Haridāsa Ṭhākura. He was not an ācārya, nor did he chant many holy names daily. This was because whenever he began to chant, he became so absorbed in Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes that he sometimes lost external consciousness and would simply weep in ecstasy. He was also writing books that explained the inner moods of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, which the Lord had revealed to him in Prayāga.1 By his preaching and writing, he taught the inner desire of Mahāprabhu in this world.

Who is superior? Ordinary persons consider Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura superior to Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, but those who know all the philosophical truths understand that Rūpa Gosvāmī is superior. Rūpa Gosvāmī is Rūpa Mañjarī and Haridāsa Ṭhākura is both Brahmā and Prahlāda Mahārāja, so Rūpa Gosvāmī is far superior. Such truths are unimaginable to people in general; only those who do bhajana seriously can realize this fact.

Let us try to enter deeply into kṛṣṇa-bhakti, taking initiation (dīkṣā) in a real way2 so that we can have a permanent connection with Śrī Kṛṣṇa. We should also honor a person who has not yet received dīkṣā but is chanting Kṛṣṇa’s name, for he is trying to be part of Kṛṣṇa’s family. Even if he rebukes us, we should still honor him. We should criticize only our undeveloped, unconscious mind. The mind is so wicked. Each morning we should take a broom and beat the mind by saying, “O mind, be pure and try to serve Kṛṣṇa.”

My humble request to everyone is to honor all senior Vaiṣṇavas, senior in years spent with gurudeva as well as senior in bhakti. We cannot realize who is senior or junior in bhakti unless we ourselves are advanced. Sometimes we may be able, but generally we are only qualified to consider who is senior or junior in years with gurudeva. This is good, but the consideration on the basis of bhakti is superior.

jena vaiṣṇava ciniyā laiya ādara
karibe jabe vaiṣṇavera kṛpā tāhera
sarva siddhi avaśya pāyibe tabe

(Vaiṣṇava Vijñapti, by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura)

When one will be able to recognize a Vaiṣṇava and offer him respect, then one will undoubtedly attain all perfection by his mercy.

Those who are qualified to realize who is a kaniṣṭhā-adhikārī, who is a madhyama-adhikārī, and who is an uttama-adhikārī are surely above madhyama-madhyama-adhikārī, and such Vaiṣṇavas should be respected.3 Our spiritual life develops greatly when we give respect according to this standard, considering the stages of one’s real advancement in devotion. It is not correct to honor everyone in the exact same way. Rather, we must consider whether one is kaniṣṭhāmadhyama, or uttama-adhikārī, and give honor accordingly.4

Caitanya Mahāprabhu Tasting Unnatojjvala-rasa

anarpita-carīṁ cirāt karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam
hariḥ puraṭa-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandīpitaḥ
sadā hṛdaya-kandare sphuratu vaḥ śacī-nandanaḥ

(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛtaĀdi-līlā 1.4)

May that Lord, who is known as the son of Śrīmatī Śacī-devī, be transcendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has appeared in the age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation ever offered before: the most sublime and radiant mellow of devotional service, the mellow of conjugal love.

I have discussed the unnatojjavala-rasa that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted to taste, the mood of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, as well as the unnatojjvala-rasa that He wanted to distribute among all qualified souls, the mood of a maidservant of Śrīmatī Rādhikā. The moods of Śrīmatī Rādhikā that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted to taste are actually unnatojjvala-rasa, and what He distributed through the chanting of the holy names, through nāma-prema, is a part of that.

I want to give a vivid explanation so that you will understand the difference between these two kinds of unnatojjavala-rasa. Until now I have explained that the mood of dāsya, sakhya, and even vātsalya is not unnatojjvala-rasa. Even the svakīya mood of Rukmiṇī and Satyabhāmā towards Śrī Kṛṣṇa, as well as that of Sītā-devī towards Śrī Rāmacandra, is not unnatojjvala-rasa.

Very rare persons will be able to grasp the truths of this topic. Those whose hearts are pure, and who have served an elevated Vaiṣṇava and are associating with him, will understand. Even Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Śrī Kṛṣṇa could not give this understanding to all, and therefore I also cannot give it to all. Those who have come to hear these discourses surely have past impressions (impressions made on the heart from previous lives’ devotional activities) of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s philosophy. That is why they have come to join us from different parts of the world, like England, America, Australia, Holland, and Canada, and are traveling with me to various countries. It is certain that they have some impression of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s family of devotees.5 If they continue associating, then by hearing all these truths they can gradually understand and realize them. Certainly a very strong impression will be made in their hearts. Those who have no interest in this are not destined to understand it, and therefore they will not come to hear.

Spiritual Chastity

In Indian Vedic culture there was a shadow of unnatojjvala-rasa in the lives of married couples. When a qualified man and a chaste, qualified girl married, they recited Vedic mantras with the witness of fire, air, water (especially Gaṅgā water), tulasīśālagrāma, brāhmaṇas, and devotees. After this, they were generally not allowed to reject each other, except in some extraordinary situation wherein the spouse lost faith in Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His associates or in chanting harināma. Only in that case could he or she be rejected.

This is also true with gurudeva. He cannot be rejected in any way, unless he is like the faithless spouse. Even if he is not very beautiful, if he is ugly, if he rebukes, if he sometimes gives a ‘slap,’ or if he controls us for our benefit (not for his own benefit), these are not good reasons for giving him up.

The above-mentioned personalities are witnesses during the marriage ceremony, after which the wife is considered half of the husband’s body (ardhāṅgiṇī). She becomes saha-dharmiṇī, which means she always helps her husband in religious principles, in bhakti, and in all other activities. In Indian culture we do not take the wife as a maidservant; she is saha-dharmiṇī.

Nowadays, things have changed. The married couples follow western culture and give up religious activities, such as respecting gurubrāhmaṇas, elders, and neighbors. However, if the marriage ceremony is observed in the Vedic way, with Vedic mantras chanted under the guidance of guru and Vaiṣṇavas, and witnessed by fire, śālagrāma, water, air, etc., then the married couple becomes svakīya, which is itself a shadow of parakīya-unnatojjvala-rasa.

Those who, from the beginning of their marriage, have no affection for their husband, and who love another person, are called parakīya. In the material world this is very degraded. However, regarding Kṛṣṇa and His beloveds, Uddhava says in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and Śrīla Vyāsadeva and Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī also say:

kvemāḥ striyo vana-carīr vyabhicāra-duṣṭāḥ
kṛṣṇe kva caiṣa paramātmani rūḍha-bhāvaḥ
nanv īśvaro ’nubhajato ’viduṣo ’pi sākṣāc
chreyas tanoty agada-rāja ivopayuktaḥ

(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.47.59)

How amazing it is that these simple women who wander about the forest, seemingly spoiled by improper behavior, have achieved the perfection of unalloyed love for Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Soul! Still, it is true that the Supreme Lord Himself awards His blessings even to an ignorant worshiper, just as the best medicine works even when taken by a person ignorant of its ingredients.

Those who have no connection with Kṛṣṇa, even if they are chaste in their marriage relationships, are like prostitutes (vyabhicāra). On the other hand, whether a lady is married or not, if she is serving Kṛṣṇa, chanting Kṛṣṇa’s names, remembering Kṛṣṇa, and thinking Kṛṣṇa to be her beloved, her chastity is considered superior to all goddesses and other chaste ladies. 

The Most Chaste Ladies

You may have heard the names of Arundhatī, Sāvitrī, and Damayantī, and there were so many other chaste ladies like them in Indian culture. You may have also heard the names of Draupadī, the wife of the five Pāṇḍavas; Kuntī, the mother of the Pāṇḍavas; Mandodarī, the wife of Rāvaṇa; Ahalyā, the wife of Gautama Ṛṣi6, and Tārā, the wife of both Sugrīva and Vali.

At first Tārā was married to Vali, but when he was shot and killed, she became the wife of Sugrīva. Mandodarī was the wife of Rāvaṇa, but after he was killed by Lord Rāmacandra, she lived with Vibhīṣaṇa. Kuntī had five husbands, namely Surya (the sun-god), Pāṇḍu, Yamarāja (Dharmarāja), Vāyu (the air-god), and Indra (the king of heaven), but still she is considered superior to all other chaste ladies. Draupadī also had five husbands, but still she is celebrated as kanyā, a sacred unmarried girl. Although these five ladies were apparently married to someone else, and although some of them even had more than one husband, they always thought, “Kṛṣṇa is my beloved, my heart and soul.” Their marriages were therefore not obstacles to their bhakti. These ladies are glorified and honored as kanyā, because they loved Kṛṣṇa or Rāma more than their husbands.

Among all chaste ladies, the gopīs are the most superior. Ordinary ladies have the mood that someone other than Kṛṣṇa – someone in a body made of earth, water, fire, air, stool, urine, and so many other abominable things – is their pati (husband). Pati actually means ‘he who saves one from all sufferings, sorrows, and death, and who supports with prema and knowledge.’ Such a person is truly pati. Our husbands cannot do this. They cannot save us from becoming old; they cannot save us from our hair turning white.

So actually, our beloved, our husband, our ‘all-in-all’ is Śrī Kṛṣṇa. There is no impediment in bhakti for those who think like this, even if they are married.

As explained earlier, the gopīs of Vṛndāvana were married by the trick of Yogamāyā. They are non-different from Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Śrīmatī Rādhikā. Śrīmatī Rādhikā is the hlādinī-śakti (internal pleasure-giving potency) and svarūpa-śakti (personal intrinsic potency) of Kṛṣṇa. Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are like the sun and its heat, or water and its liquidity, which cannot be separated. The gopīs who easily took part in rāsa-līlā and served Śrī Kṛṣṇa are kāya-vyūha, manifestations of Śrīmatī Rādhikā. Although externally they are married to other gopas, those marriages are false. Those marriages are only meant to create a mood in the gopīs that, “We are wives of other gopas.” Because they love Kṛṣṇa they have no connection with their husbands at all. Such love is called parakīyaParakīya-rasa means that the gopīs are married to other persons, but their affection and love is only for Kṛṣṇa. Whether or not they are actually married to anyone else7, they are all parakīya and are far superior to any other chaste lady.

Uddhava’s Lesson in Vṛndāvana

Uddhava, Kṛṣṇa’s friend and prime minister in Dvārakā, was never married. From boyhood he was a strict, celibate brahmacārī, as were Nārada Muni and Śukadeva Gosvāmī. These elevated and renounced devotees all wanted to take the foot-dust of the gopīs upon their heads. Why is this?

Uddhava prayed:

āsām aho caraṇa-reṇu-jusām ahaṁ syāṁ
vṛndāvane kim api gulma-latauṣadhīnām
yā dustyajaṁ svajanam ārya-pathaṁ ca hitvā
bhejur mukunda-padavīṁ śrutibhir vimṛgyām

(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.47.61)

The gopīs of Vṛndāvana have given up the association of their husbands, sons and other family members, who are very difficult to give up, and they have forsaken the path of chastity to take shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, Kṛṣṇa, which one should search for by Vedic knowledge. Oh, let me be fortunate enough to be one of the bushes, creepers or herbs in Vṛndāvana because the gopīs trample them and bless them with the dust of their lotus feet.

vande nanda-vraja-strīṇāṁ
pāda-reṇum abhīkṣṇaśaḥ
yāsāṁ hari-kathodgītaṁ
punāti bhuvana-trayam

(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.47.63)

I repeatedly offer my respects to the dust from the feet of the women of Nanda Mahārāja’s cowherd village. When the gopīs loudly chant the glories of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the vibration purifies the three worlds.

Uddhava went to Vṛndāvana and realized the glories of the gopīs. He had previously thought, “I am superior to all other devotees.” However, when he came to Vṛndāvana, he understood, “Kṛṣṇa has sent me to learn something in this school of prema, the devotional school of the gopīs. Now I see that I am not even qualified to receive admission. Why has Kṛṣṇa sent me here? I am not even qualified to submit my name in that school. The standard of the gopīs’ devotion is so much higher than mine. I cannot give myself to Kṛṣṇa as the gopīs have given themselves.

“Because they have given up everything to serve Kṛṣṇa, I want to glorify them by taking their foot-dust upon my head. They have given up their shyness, their fame, and their service to their husbands. They have forgotten to take meals and to decorate themselves, and they have even forgotten their own bodies. If I am not qualified to even enter their school, how will I get the chance to obtain their foot-dust?”

Therefore, Uddhava felt hopeless, quite hopeless. He considered, “I am not qualified to touch their lotus foot-dust, not even one dust particle. So I will simply offer obeisances in their direction.”

There were millions of gopīs. Uddhava could neither count them nor could he understand their moods, so how could he pray for the dust of all of their feet? There would be no end to his praying. Finally he resolved, “I should take only one dust particle from one of the gopīs. Then, by attaining the mercy of that one prominent gopī, I will automatically achieve the mercy of them all.”

Śrī Kṛṣṇa encouraged him in his heart, “O Uddhava, if you like, you can surely select one gopī from whose feet you want to take one particle of dust.”

Whom did he select? Śrīmatī Rādhikā. He wanted just one of the millions of dust particles at Her lotus feet. He considered, “Even though I am not qualified for this, if I can pray, even from far away, in the direction of one particle of dust, my life will be successful.”8

It was in a garden near the border of Nandagāoṅ that Uddhava realized the glories of the gopīs. There, he saw the gopīs feeling so much separation that sometimes their outer senses were inert. He contemplated, “My life has become successful simply by coming to the school of the gopīs, even though I was not admitted. Just by breathing the air that comes from that school, my life has become successful.”

It is this love of the gopīs, as glorified by Uddhava, that is called unnatojjvala-rasa.

The gopīs control Śrī Kṛṣṇa by their exalted love. The phrase ‘dust from the lotus feet’ has many meanings, and one meaning is ‘follower of the gopīs.’ Uddhava wanted the blessing to become the follower of the followers of the gopīs, so that he could learn how to love Kṛṣṇa like the gopīs, so that his love could also control Kṛṣṇa. Still, he failed to attain this.

Śaṅkara (Śiva) also wanted to personally become a gopī, and he performed austerities for that attainment. When Paurṇamāsī Yogamāyā became pleased and appeared before him, he prayed to join rāsa-līlā. Paurṇamāsī mercifully dipped him in Brahma-kuṇḍa and he immediately assumed the form of a teenage gopī, at which time he entered the area of rāsa-līlā and hid in a grove.

Meanwhile, the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa sensed that someone of a different mood had come. They asked each other, “Why are you not so happy today? What is the matter?”

After searching, they discovered the new gopī and asked ‘her,’ “Who are you? What is your name? Who are your parents? What is your husband’s name? Where is your in-laws’ house?”

When Śaṅkara in the form of a gopī could not reply, they began to slap her, so much that her cheeks became swollen and she began to cry, “Yogamāyā, Yogamāyā! Save me! I will never again come to Vṛndāvana, and I will never dare to see or take part in rāsa-līlā.”

Paurṇamāsī came and requested the gopīs to be compassionate to Śaṅkara. “She is the object of my mercy,” Paurṇamāsī told them.

The gopīs thus accepted Śaṅkara as a gopī. Kṛṣṇa named her Gopīśvara (she whose īśvaras, controllers, are the gopīs) and blessed her to become the guard of the rāsa-līlā by saying that without her sanction, no one would be able to enter.

Definition of Unnatojjvala

The love of the gopīs is called unnatojjvalaUnnata means ‘highest,’ and ujjvala means ‘more shining than the sun,’ charming Kṛṣṇa with one’s heart and pleasing Him in every respect. The affection of Śrīmatī Rādhikā exhibits the highest mood of this unnatojjvala-rasa, and Her mood is indicated in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.1.1):

anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam
ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-śīlanaṁ bhaktir-uttamā

The cultivation of activities which are meant exclusively for the pleasure of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, or, in other words, the uninterrupted flow of service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, performed through all endeavors of the body, mind and speech, and through the expression of various spiritual sentiments (bhāvas), which is not covered by jñāna and karma, and which is devoid of all desires other than the aspiration to bring happiness to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is called uttama-bhakti, pure devotional service.

Ultimately, the words bhaktir-uttama denote this highest affection of the gopīs’ parakīya-bhāva unnatojjvala-rasa. In the form of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Kṛṣṇa personally came to taste this topmost mood of Śrīmatī Rādhikā; but He could not distribute this mood, because it is the wealth of Śrīmatī Rādhikā alone. Even Śrīmatī Lalitā and Śrīmatī Viśākhā do not have Her mood of mādana, the highest platform of unnatojjvala-rasa. They can experience up tomohana or modana, which is somewhat lower.9

In these separation moods, Śrīmatī Rādhikā became so absorbed in Kṛṣṇa that when Uddhava approached the gopīs to give them a message from Kṛṣṇa, She did not see him at all. Instead She thought that a bee, flying around Her feet, was Kṛṣṇa’s messenger. She spoke with that bee in many moods, sometimes angry and sometimes favorable. Perhaps it was Kṛṣṇa Himself who had come in the form of that bee in order to taste all Her loving sentiments.

She told the bee, “You are a madman and very impure. Go away from here. I am so pure. Do not try to touch My feet. Why have you come in this form? I think you have done so to increase our anger. You are so foolish that you cannot think properly how to pacify the anger of the gopīs. You don’t know how to pacify us?”

Hearing this, Uddhava considered, “Oh, this is the mood of real devotion. I do not know anything about such love.” He heard all Her talks from very far away, and saw Her unnatojjvala-rasa from very far away. He was not able to experience even a spark, a sprinkle, of that rasa. He could not be compared with any entity of Vṛndāvana, not even a cow or a calf.

The cows in Vṛndāvana loved Kṛṣṇa much more than Uddhava loved Him. Kṛṣṇa approached the cows like their son. He came to the calves as their friend, and stroked and hugged them just as one friend is affectionate with another. Sometimes He massaged their legs and put very soft, sweet grass in their mouths saying, “Take it, My friend.”

Uddhava could not realize this love, or love like this, and that is why he was not qualified to remain in Vṛndāvana. That is why he had to return to Mathurā.

Śrī Kṛṣṇa was very anxious to taste that mood. If one does not have such love and affection, he cannot realize Kṛṣṇa; how sweet He is, how beautiful He is, and how beautifully He sings. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came to give some sprinkles, some very little particles, of this to the jīvas of this world.

The jīvas would not be able to withstand the unnatojjvala-rasa He tasted. They have no capacity, no qualification, to have such a high class of affection. Only Śrīmatī Rādhikā and Her kāya-vyūha expansions can experience this. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu did not come to give this type of unnatojjvala-rasa.

Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s Gift

What, then, has Mahāprabhu come to give? He came to give unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam. In this connection there is more emphasis on the final words, sva-bhakti-śriyamSva means ‘own,’ and sva-bhakti means ‘own bhakti.’ Whose own? Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s own. Kṛṣṇa’s bhakti means Rādhikā’s bhakti, because Rādhikā is the personification of Kṛṣṇa’s bhakti. Śrī Kṛṣṇa wanted to taste the essence of supreme devotion to Himself, which is Rādhikā’s love, and He wanted to distribute to the qualified jīva His bhakti-śriyam.

The word sva refers only to Rādhikā, bhakti refers to Rādhikā’s bhakti, and śrī means śobhā, or beauty. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted to give the beauty of Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s unnatojjvala-rasa.

The following example will help us to understand the meaning of ‘beauty’ in this connection. Let us imagine a creeper. If that creeper has no leaves, no fruits, and no flowers, then it has no beauty. However, suppose the creeper has many green leaves, many flowers on each branch, many mañjarīs, and some very sweet and delicious reddish or golden grapes that the cuckoos are always eating (after which those cuckoos sing very sweetly). If the air touches and plays with that creeper, all its leaves become happy and begin to dance. At this time the mañjarīs also dance with happiness. This is the beauty of that creeper.

If the creeper has no leaves, no mañjarīs, and no fruits, the air will not play with its branches. It will have no taste to play. If we see a creeper sporting with the air, its leaves always dancing, we are seeing the beauty of that creeper. Similarly, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted to give the beauty of Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s unnatojjvala-rasa, not Her unnatojjvala-rasa.

The creeper represents Śrīmatī Rādhikā Herself. And what is the beauty? The beauty is Her sakhīs. If there are no sakhīs, there is no beauty. Therefore, Śrīmatī Rādhikā is always surrounded by four kinds of sakhīssvapakṣavipakṣataṭastha, and suhṛda. The svapakṣa gopīs are on the side of Śrīmatī Rādhikā; they are Her intimate sakhīs. Although Candrāvalī and all her sakhīs are vipakṣa, opposed to Rādhikā, the opposition in Vṛndāvana is not like that of the material world. In Vṛndāvana, the feelings of opposition, as well as all other sentiments, are varieties of prema, or transcendental love.

Other sakhīs are in the middle. They are called taṭasthā, meaning ‘neutral,’ and still others are called suhṛda, meaning ‘friendly.’ Suhṛda is not svapakṣa, not vipakṣa, and not taṭastha. With Rādhikā, the suhrd-paksa-sakhīs are friends, and with Candrāvalī and other vipakṣa-sakhīs they are taṭastha. Those who are taṭastha to Śrīmatī Rādhikā and Her svapakṣa-sakhīs are suhṛda to Candrāvalī.

What is the meaning of śrīya, or beauty, in the phrase sva-bhakti-śrīyam? Among thesvapakṣa-sakhīs of Rādhikā there are five divisions: sakhīnitya-sakhīprāṇa-sakhīpriya-sakhī, and parama-preṣṭha-sakhī. Although these sakhīs are associates of Rādhikā, some of them sometimes have an inclination towards Kṛṣṇa, while at the same time they always have the disposition to serve both. They are neither taṭastha, nor suhṛda, nor vipakṣa. They aresvapakṣa, but they have an inclination towards Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Those svapakṣa gopīs who are inclined towards Śrīmatī Rādhikā, and are very near and dear to Rādhikā, are called priya-sakhīs (or narma-sakhīs) and parama-preṣṭha-sakhīs (or priyanarma-sakhīs), some examples of which are Lalitā, Viśākhā, and Citrā. Those whose sole inclination is towards Rādhikā, who think that without Rādhikā they cannot live and who think that Rādhikā is their life and soul, are called nitya-sakhīs and prāṇa-sakhīs.

Among the nitya-sakhīs and prāṇa-sakhīs, the prāṇa-sakhīs, like Rūpa Mañjarī and Rati Mañjarī, are prominent. These two divisions of sakhīs always serve Śrīmatī Rādhikā. If Kṛṣṇa is defeated by Śrīmatī Rādhikā at various sports and games, they are very glad and clap. If Śrī Kṛṣṇa defeats Rādhikā, then they themselves feel defeated and they make a sad or sour face. Those like Lalitā may laugh and enjoy, but the prāṇa- and nitya-sakhīs will feel sorrow.

These nitya- and prāṇa-sakhīs are always with Rādhikā. Lalitā, Viśākhā, and other sakhīs like them do not always enter the kuñja when Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are performing certain confidential pastimes, but these sakhīs have the freedom to enter at any time. They have a ‘free pass’ to serve there. Lalitā, Viśākhā, and sakhīs may hesitate, but those like Rūpa Mañjarī and other prāṇa-sakhīs and nitya-sakhīs will not. They can do any service at any time.

When Kṛṣṇa meets with Śrīmatī Rādhikā, these sakhīs taste whatever Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa taste together, even when they are far away from Them. They relish everything, and they have no need at all to meet with Kṛṣṇa separately. These nitya-sakhīs and prāṇa-sakhīs are called mañjarīs, and they are the ‘beauty’ of Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s love as mentioned in the phrase above, sva-bhakti śrīyam.10

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has come to give the mood of these nitya- and prāṇa-sakhīs. The jīvas can never expect more than this; they cannot be like Lalitā, Viśākhā, and others like them. But do not think this service is a small thing.

The pure love of the mañjarīs is called unnatojjvala-rasatat-tad-bhāvecchātmikā. Such gopīs do not want to directly meet Śrī Kṛṣṇa themselves or serve Him directly. Rather, they become happy by seeing the unlimited pleasure in the meeting of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has given this mood of service to Śrīmatī Rādhikā through harināma-saṅkīrtana, and He Himself has tasted unnatojjvala-rasa: the three moods of Śrīmatī Rādhikā. One with the mood of a mañjarī can taste the beauty and sweetness of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s flute song, and every other feature of Kṛṣṇa. If he has no such prema, he cannot relish such a taste.

As mentioned above, no one other than Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has ever mercifully given this unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śrīyam. Before Him, dāsya-rasasakhya-rasa, andvātsalya-rasa had been somewhat given by Madhvācārya, Rāmānuja, and all other ācāryas. However, the śri of sva-bhakti-śriyam unnatojjvala-rasa had not been given for a long time – since Caitanya Mahāprabhu had come previously, on the previous day of Brahmā.

This is the highest benediction. If anyone has some greed for this attainment, even a little taste, by reading Caitanya-caritāmṛta and by hearing these subjects, he will give up everything at the lotus feet of his gurudeva, his śikṣā-guru, or any pure devotee, and try to collect this nectar.

kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa-bhāvitā matiḥ
krīyatāṁ yadi kuto’pi labhyate
tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalaṁ
janma-koṭi-sukṛtair na labhyate

(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛtaMadhya-līlā 8.70)

Pure devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot be had even by pious activity in hundreds and thousands of lives. It can be attained only by paying one price – that is, intense greed to obtain it. If it is available somewhere, one must purchase it without delay.

Preparation for the Lord’s Advent

Śrī Advaita Ācārya is the manifestation of Mahā-Viṣṇu in Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s pastimes. Some manifestation of Mahā-Viṣṇu is present in all yugas, so why did Advaita Ācārya call for Kṛṣṇa Himself to descend? As one who is aware of past, present, and future, Advaita Ācārya knew that His Lord wanted to taste vraja-prema. He knew that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu would advent Himself, but He did not know exactly when, and He wondered why He had not yet appeared. He worshiped Śrī Kṛṣṇa by offering tulasī and Gaṅgā water to His lotus feet, and by crying out with His heart, “O Kṛṣṇa, come at once.”

Śrī Kṛṣṇa will not hear our prayers by worship alone, but by our heartfelt crying out like Advaita Ācārya did. This is real kīrtana. The kīrtana of Advaita Ācārya shook the entire world, and therefore Śrī Kṛṣṇa decided to come immediately.

When Caitanya Mahāprabhu took birth in Śrī Māyāpura, Advaita Ācārya Prabhu was more than sixty years old. Before the Lord’s birth, He had spent many years touring the holytīrthas in North, South, East, and West India, including the pastime places of Kṛṣṇa in Śrī Vṛndāvana. From Vṛndāvana, He went to Mithilā, the birthplace of Sītā-devī in Janakapura. When He reached the outskirts of the city, He saw a very effulgent old man lying down and resting his head on the root of a tree. The man was absorbed in an internal mood and was not influenced by his external senses. Tears streamed from his eyes in a very heartfelt way as he was singing a kīrtana:

tātala saikate bāri-bindu-sama
suta-mitra-ramaṇī-samājetohe
visari mana tāhe samarpala
ab majhu habo kon kāje

(Śrīla Vidyāpati)

O Lord, completely forgetting You, I have offered my mind unto the society of women, children, and friends, and this experience has been just like offering a drop of water unto the burning hot sands of the beach. How can I possibly be relieved of this great misery?

He is saying here that his heart feels like a desert. We can see the example of deserts such as those in Australia, Africa, and the Arab countries. The summer sun makes the sand there so hot that if one plants a seed it pops immediately, like puffed rice. In that condition, the deer and other animals cannot survive; they die at once. When a drop of rain falls on that desert, it vaporizes and burns like steam, just as a sprinkle of water will sizzle, splash, and burn anyone near it when it falls on boiling oil. Similarly, our heart is like a desert. Any drop of happiness coming from our spouse or children may seem pleasant at first. However, like boiling steam or water on oil, it burns us.

The effulgent person was weeping, “O Kṛṣṇa, having forgotten You, I am under the illusion that these poisonous attachments are natural for me. Throughout the day I am absorbed in my wife and children. I waste all my time in useless, silly, nonsensical, and destructive activities. Now I have become old and I do not know how to do bhajana. O Kṛṣṇa, save me, save me!”

From a distance, Advaita Ācārya stood silently, taking that man’s darśana. He could see that the man was a mahā-puruṣa, a fully self-realized soul, otherwise he would not have been able to express such spiritual emotions. Advaita Ācārya walked over to him and offered him obeisances. “Who are you?” He asked.

“I am a bogus person,” the man replied. “I have wasted my life, my whole life; and now I am a hundred years old. What shall I do?”

Previously, this great person had been a special kavi (poet) in the king’s council, as Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya was, and he had received great respect even from kings. He had enjoyed a beautiful wife and many children, but in his last days he lamented that he had wasted his life. At that time, he wrote many songs describing Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu used to hear these songs when He lived in the Gambhīrā. There in the Gambhīrā, Mahāprabhu was particularly inspired by the songs of Caṇḍīdāsa and Vidyāpati; and this person was Vidyāpati.

Advaita Ācārya would have also met with Caṇḍīdāsa and other great devotees; He was so powerful. We pray at His lotus feet to kindly bestow His mercy. By His mercy we can know Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, His teachings, and the purpose of His descent. In this way our hearts may melt.

Mahāprabhu’s Gift of Bhakti

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu mercifully came to distribute unnatojjvala-rasa, the same premaHe had given when He had last advented on Earth, long, long ago, on the previous day of Brahmā.

By increasing the quality of our chanting, we will develop pure affection for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and bhakti will enter into our heart. At that time we will have realization of this unnatojjvala-rasa.

All of our ācāryas have warned us not to depend on our worldly intelligence, because it will not help us attain our goal of life. We must try to increase our love and affection for the Supreme Lord by chanting, remembering, and performing devotional activities. Thus, śuddha-sattva (pure, unalloyed goodness) will descend from Goloka Vṛndāvana and enter our hearts, and then we will clearly understand all spiritual truths.

Try to hear, and also try to have realization of what you are hearing, by your practice of bhakti. We have a tendency to trust our mental calculations and speculations, but these will not help us attain our goal.

Śrī Śaṅkarācārya has taught:

bhaja govindaṁ bhaja govindaṁ
bhaja govindaṁ mūḍha-mate
samprāpte sannihite khalu maraṇe
nahī nahī rakṣati ḍukṛṇ-karaṇe

You intellectual fools, just worship Govinda, just worship Govinda, just worship Govinda. Your grammatical knowledge and word jugglery will not save you at the time of death.

One of Śaṅkarācārya’s many disciples was about one hundred years old. One day he was repeating the dhātu (verbal root) grammer rules: saḥtaute (prefixes of vyākaraṇa, orgrammar). Śaṅkarācārya told him, “Your hair has become white, your teeth have fallen out, your eyesight has gone, and now you are foolishly reciting all these rules of vyākaraṇa, anusvāra, and visargaḥ. This will not save you. You should chant. Bhaja govindaṁbhaja govindaṁbhaja govindaṁ.”

There is no value in depending on our intellectual capacity or any other material facility. Our success is in associating with bona fide Vaiṣṇavas, bona fide gurus. If we see that our guruis not qualified, we may take any mahā-bhāgavata devotee as a śikṣā-guru. If we have faith in that pure Vaiṣṇava, we should give our heart to him at once and take dīkṣā and śikṣā.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to Gayā and offered His heart at the lotus feet of Śrī Īśvara Purī, saying, “Having taken initiation from you; and, having received your association, I am satisfied. My entire life has now become successful.”

There will be many problems in our life, but solving them will not help us fulfill our goal. Our primary problem is how to achieve pure bhakti. If this is not solved, we will become absorbed in politics, money-making, and acquiring name and fame. This will also not help or protect us, even if we are in a big group. So try to do as Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Advaita Ācārya have done. Follow all the teachings of Śrī Caitanya, Śrīla Rūpa, Śrīla Sanātana, and all the other Gosvāmīs.

I am now going to explain the last two lines from this same verse beginning with anarpita carim cirat:

hariḥ puraṭa-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandīpitaḥ
sadā hṛdaya-kandare sphuratu vaḥ śacī-nandanaḥ

(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 1.4)

Śacīnandana Gaurahari is Hari Himself. Hari refers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Here, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī refers to Him not as Hari, but as Śacīnandana. His mother, Śacī Mā, was very merciful to everyone, so it must be concluded that her son, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, also has that quality. He may have sometimes appeared to be very hard-hearted, as in His pastimes with Choṭa Haridāsa, Kālā Kṛṣṇadāsa, and Pratāparudra Mahārāja, to whom He would not give His darśana. At that time He was not interested in taking the advice of Advaita Ācārya, Nityānanda Prabhu, Rāya Rāmānanda, Svarūpa Dāmodara, or even Paramānanda Purī who was on the level of his guru. He told them, “I am living in Purī in the renounced order of life. If you desire wealth and reputation, you can associate with Pratāparudra Mahārāja, but I have no interest in these things.”

Unless we are strict like Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, we cannot achieve pure bhakti. Still, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī prays, “O Prabhu, if you evaluate my qualification, you will see that my situation is forever hopeless. But I know that as the son of Śacī Mā You are by nature kind-hearted, and because You cannot give up this quality, You will not consider whether or not I am qualified for Your mercy.”

Among all qualities, being supremely merciful (parama-karuna) is a most superior quality of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. They are always kind to everyone. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī is therefore praying, “O Śacīnandana, You are Hari Himself, with the beauty and mood of Śrīmatī Rādhikā. You are so merciful. You want to give Your mercy to all living entities, even if, like Jagāi and Mādhāi, they are fallen souls who have no qualification at all.

Hari puraṭa sundara: The word hari has so many meanings. Hari means ‘Kṛṣṇa Himself, who steals the heart and mind of everyone.’ Hari also means ‘monkey.’ In connection with this above-mentioned verse, it means ‘a very powerful lion.’

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī therefore prays, “O Śacīnandana, Caitanya Mahāprabhu, as mad elephants flee when a lion roars, so when You roar with Your harināma-saṅkīrtana, the mad elephants of the results of past sinful activities and offenses committed to Vaiṣṇavas, which can immediately uproot the creeper of bhakti and dry it up forever, also flee.”

Our offenses are like mad elephants. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam explains that if one offends any pure devotee, by criticizing him, abusing him, beating him, not being very happy to see him, or by not welcoming or showing respect to him by standing as he enters or leaves a place, such a person is committing an offense. Like a mad elephant, this offense will destroy all one’s power, piety, beauty, knowledge, intelligence, wealth, etc. Such an offender is not even qualified to go to hell. A bigger and more miserable hell will have to be created just for him. We should try to understand this.

Hari, the lion-like Caitanya Mahāprabhu, lives in a very dark cage – our heart. If we remember, glorify, and perform kīrtana for Him, His roar will destroy all mad elephants (elephantine offenses). Without His mercy, it is not possible to become free from sinful reactions. Not even Śrī Kṛṣṇa can make this possible; but this same Kṛṣṇa, as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, can do it. Śrī Kṛṣṇa has taken mercy from Śrīmatī Rādhikā, who is the most compassionate. Her mercy combined with Kṛṣṇa’s mercy can destroy all offenses.

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī is therefore praying that this Śacīnananda will come into our heart. The mercy of Gaurāṅga, who is Kṛṣṇa Himself covered by the beauty and golden color of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, is incomparable. No one can compare to Him in His heart’s affection and love for all. He is only comparable to Himself.

Rūpa Gosvāmī has given the meaning of the entire Fourth Chapter in this verse describing the purpose of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s advent. Now I would like to hear the explanation and meaning given by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja:

Devotee reads (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛtaĀdi-līlā 3.4–6):

Text: May that Lord, who is known as the son of Śrīmatī Śacī-devī, be transcendentally situated in the innermost core of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has descended in the age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation has ever offered before: the most elevated mellow of devotional service, the mellow of conjugal love.

Purport: This is a quotation from Vidagdha-mādhava, a drama compiled and edited by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī.

Text: I have given the essential meaning of the fourth verse: this incarnation descends to propagate the chanting of the holy name and spread love of God. 

Text: Although this is true, this is but the external reason for the Lord’s incarnation. Please hear one other reason – the confidential reason – for the Lord’s appearance.

Purport: In the Third Chapter, fourth verse, it has been clearly said that Lord Caitanya appeared to distribute love of Kṛṣṇa and the chanting of His transcendental holy name, Hare Kṛṣṇa. That was the secondary purpose of Lord Caitanya’s appearance. The real reason is different, as we shall see in this chapter.

Try to hear this. This is the true glory of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja – that he is an intimate associate and follower of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī.

Devotee again reads Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 4.6:

Although this is true, this is but the external reason for the Lord’s incarnation. Please hear one other reason – the confidential reason – for the Lord’s appearance.

It is important for us to read Caitanya-caritāmṛta and become familiar with this information. Devotees must understand all these explanations. All respectable and serious Vaiṣṇavas must know them. Devotees are not meant to simply collect money and make plans. Everyone must certainly do some service according to his tendency, but all dignified devotees should also carefully understand Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja’s innermost purpose for coming to this world.

Devotee reads from Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛtaĀdi-līlā 4:

Summary: In this chapter of the epic Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī has stressed that Lord Caitanya appeared for three principal purposes of His own. The first purpose was to relish the position of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, who is the prime reciprocator of transcendental love of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Lord Kṛṣṇa is the reservoir of transcendental loving transactions with Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. The subject of those loving transactions is the Lord Himself, and Rādhārāṇī is the object. Thus the subject, the Lord, wanted to relish the loving mellow in the position of the object, Rādhārāṇī.

The second reason for His appearance was to understand the transcendental mellow of Himself. Lord Kṛṣṇa is all sweetness. Rādhārāṇī’s attraction for Kṛṣṇa is sublime, and to experience that attraction and understand the transcendental sweetness of Himself, He accepted the mentality of Rādhārāṇī.

The third reason that Lord Caitanya appeared was to enjoy the bliss tasted by Rādhārāṇī. The Lord thought that undoubtedly Rādhārāṇī enjoyed His company and He enjoyed the company of Rādhārāṇī, but the exchange of transcendental mellow between the spiritual couple was more pleasing to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī than to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Rādhārāṇī felt more transcendental pleasure in the company of Kṛṣṇa than He could understand without taking Her position, but for Śrī Kṛṣṇa to enjoy in the position of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī was impossible because that position was completely foreign to Him. Kṛṣṇa is the transcendental male, and Rādhārāṇī is the transcendental female. Therefore, to know the transcendental pleasure of loving Kṛṣṇa, Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself appeared as Lord Caitanya, accepting the emotions and bodily luster of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.

Lord Caitanya appeared to fulfill these confidential desires and also to preach the special significance of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, and to answer the call of Advaita Prabhu. These were secondary reasons.

Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī was the principal figure among Lord Caitanya’s confidential devotees. The records of his diary have revealed these confidential purposes of the Lord. These revelations have been confirmed by the statements of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī in his various prayers and poems. This chapter (Chapter 4, which is a commentary on Ādi-līlā 1.4) also specifically describes the difference between lust and love. The transactions of Kṛṣṇa and Rādhā are completely different from material lust. Therefore the author has very clearly distinguished between them.

For whom has Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja written this? He wanted his books distributed so that anyone desiring to understand them will approach a superior Vaiṣṇava by whose association he will try to become qualified. Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja knew that many persons in the world would become gradually qualified to read and understand the spiritual conclusive truths herein, and that is why he wrote in this way.

Some persons say that no one in the world is qualified to realize these truths about Lord Caitanya, and they assert that one who tries to understand is a sahajiyā11. By this logic, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja must also be sahajiyā, because these words of Caitanya-caritāmṛta are theirs. Kindly do not accept such logic.

Actually, any person reading Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in the association of pure Vaiṣṇavas, and chanting Gaura-Nityānanda Prabhu’s holy names, certainly becomes qualified. We are all recipients of Mahāprabhu’s mercy because we have given up all other lines to take shelter in His disciplic succession.

Those who have taken shelter at the lotus feet of Caitanya Mahāprabhu or His associates will certainly become qualified one day. Do not feel hopeless. I see rays of hope everywhere. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mercy will be upon you. 

1 “Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu taught Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī the ultimate limit of the truth about Lord Kṛṣṇa, the truth about devotional service, and the truth about transcendental mellows consummating in conjugal love between Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa” (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 19.115).

2 “That religious undertaking which bestows divya-jñāna, or transcendental knowledge, and destroys pāpa (sins), papa-bīja (the seed of sin), and avidyā (ignorance) to the root is called dīkṣā by learned authorities in the absolute truth” (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa).

Divya-jñāna is transcendental knowledge contained within a mantra which reveals the form and identity of the Supreme Lord (bhagavat-svarūpa) as well as the knowledge of the sādhakajīva’s particular relationship with the Lord” (Bhakti-sandarbha, Anuccheda 283).

3 A kaniṣṭhāadhikārī is a neophyte practitioner of bhakti (devotional life), a madhyama-adhikārī is an intermediate practitioner, and an uttama-adhikārī is a topmost practitioner.

The symptoms of the kaniṣṭhā-adhikārī are described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.47): “One who worships the Deity of the Lord with faith but renders no service to the Lord’s devotees or other living entities is a prākṛta-bhakta, or materialistic devotee.”

The symptoms of the madhyama-bhakta are described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.46): “One who has love for the Supreme Lord, friendship toward the devotee, mercy toward those who are ignorant of bhakti, and who neglects those who are inimical to the Lord or his devotees is considered a madhyama-bhāgavata.”

The symptoms of an uttama-bhakta are described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.45): “One who sees in all living entities the soul of all souls, Śrī Kṛṣṇacandra, and who also sees all living entities in Śrī Kṛṣṇa is an uttama-bhāgavata.”

4 “One should mentally honor the devotee who chants the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa, one should offer humble obeisances to the devotee who has undergone spiritual initiation (dīkṣā) and is engaged in worshiping the Deity, and one should associate with and faithfully serve that pure devotee who is advanced in undeviated devotional service and whose heart is completely devoid of the propensity to criticize others” (Śrī Upadeśāmṛta, Verse 5).

5 “There are millions of universes. When the fortunate soul wandering through these universes associates with Lord Caitanya’s followers in his various births, then by their mercy, in this birth he receives the association of very exalted devotees” (ŚrīCaitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 19.151).

6 Ahalyā, though the wife of Gautama Ṛṣi, also had some connection with Indra. However, she loved only Lord Rāmacandra and was delivered by Him.

7 According to the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam commentaries of Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, even the gopīs who were not yet married, although knowing they would eventually marry other gopas, considered Kṛṣṇa their beloved. They also joined in Kṛṣṇa’s rāsa-līlā.

8 “Uddhava appreciated the exalted position of the gopīs and wished to fall to the ground and take the dust of their feet on his head. Yet he dared not ask the gopīs to offer the dust from their feet; perhaps they would not be agreeable. Therefore, to have his head smeared with the dust of the gopīs’ feet without their knowledge, he desired to become an insignificant clump of grass or herbs in the land of Vṛndāvana” (Kṛṣṇa, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Chapter 46).

9 “Highly advanced ecstasy is divided into two categories – mādana and mohana. Meeting together is called mādana, and separation is called mohana” (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 23.58).

“On the mādana platform there are kissing and many other symptoms, which are unlimited. In the mohana stage, there are two divisions – udghūrṇā (unsteadiness) and citra-jalpa (varieties of mad emotional talks)” (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 23.59).

“In the highest transcendental ecstasy there is a feeling of being enchanted in the presence of the enchanter. When the enchanter and the enchanted become separated, mohana, or bewilderment, occurs. When so bewildered due to separation, one becomes stunned, and at that time all the bodily symptoms of transcendental ecstasy are manifested. When they are manifest, one appears inconceivably crazy. This is called transcendental madness. In this state there is imaginative discourse, and one experiences emotions like those of a madman” (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 1.87, purport).

10 “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.” (Govinda-lilāmṛta 10.17) 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 of the creeper automatically embrace it.

Govinda-lilāmṛta (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 if they would meet with Krsna themselves. 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” (Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Chapter 31).

11 A sahajiyā is a person who considers the stages of advanced devotion to be easily achieved and who thus sometimes imitates the external symptoms of spiritual ecstacy associated with those stages.

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