Book excerpts Sri Upadesamrta VERSE 11: The Glories of Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa

VERSE 11: The Glories of Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa

कृष्णस्योच्चैः प्रणयवसतिःप्रेयसीभ्योऽपिराधा
कुण्डं चास्या मुमिभिरभितस्तादृगेव व्यधायि ।
यत् प्रेष्ठैरप्यलम सुलभं किं पुनर्भक्तिभाजां
तत्प्रेमेदं सकृदपि सरः सनातुराविष्करोति ॥११॥

kṛṣṇasyoccaiḥ praṇaya-vasatiḥ preyasībhyo ’pi rādhā-
kuṇḍaṁ cāsyā munibhir abhitas tādṛg eva vyadhāyi
yat preṣṭhair apy alam asulabhaṁ kiṁ punar bhakti-bhājāṁ
tat premedaṁ sakṛd api saraḥ snātur āviṣkaroti


rādhā – Śrīmatī Rādhikā; preyasībhyaḥ api – even more than the other beloved gopīs; uccaiḥ – is the foremost; vasati – object; praṇaya – of love; kṛṣṇasya – of Śrī Kṛṣṇa; asyāḥ – Her (Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s); kuṇḍam – pond; ca – also; abhitaḥ – in every respect; tādṛk eva – is just so (the topmost object of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s love); vyadhāyi – this has been established (in the scriptures); munibhiḥ – by the sages; idam – this; saraḥ – pond (Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa); āviṣkaroti – bestows; tat – that; prema gopī-prema; yat – which; alam – is immensely; asulabham – difficult to attain; preṣṭhaiḥ api – even for such dear devotees of Bhagavān as Nārada; kim punar – what to speak of; bhaktibhājām – other reservoirs of bhakti (the sādhaka-bhaktas); snātuḥ – upon one who simply bathes in its waters with great devotion; sakṛt api – only once.


After thorough deliberation on the matter, the sages have unanimously declared (in the Padma Purāṇa) that just as amongst all the gopīs Śrīmatī Rādhikā is the foremost object of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s 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 of gopī-prema which is so immensely difficult to attain even for such dear devotees of Bhagavān as Nārada – what to speak of ordinary sādhakas.


It is only natural at this point to become eager to learn what special commodity can be attained by taking exclusive shelter of the limitlessly glorious Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa. “The fruit of such exclusive devotion is the topmost variety of kṛṣṇa-prema” – Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī is concluding his composition by affirming this philosophical principle (siddhānta). The prema being spoken of here is extremely difficult to achieve even for such exalted and dear devotees of Bhagavān as Nārada. In other words this most elevated, radiant divine love (unnatojjvala-prema) that the vraja-gopīs possess for Śrī Kṛṣṇa is not only difficult for such dear devotees to attain, it is actually impossible. Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa bestows this very prema upon one who bathes in its waters with a mood of special love and devotion. Here, Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa is both the svayaṁ-kartā, the one who directly bestows that prema upon the devotees, and also the viṣaya, the object of the devotees’ love. Who would not take shelter of this Rādhā-kuṇḍa? In other words, any devotee skilled in the art of performing bhajana and sincerely desirous of achieving the topmost prema would certainly do so.

Relying upon a particle of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mercy, I have composed this commentary as far as my intelligence allows in order to increase the transcendental pleasure of His devotees. This servant of the Śrī Rādhā-ramaṇa deity and son of Śrī Govardhana-lāla, named Rādhā-ramaṇa dāsa, hereby concludes his commentary named Upadeśa-prakāśikā on Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Śrī Upadeśāmṛta.


Having described the natural glory of Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa in the previous verse, this eleventh verse has been composed with the intention of making steadfast faith in Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa arise within the hearts of sādhakas. Śrīmatī Rādhikā is Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s dearmost beloved and in all respects more exalted than all His other beloveds. In the scriptures, the sages (munis) have described Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa’s eminence in the same way. Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa easily bestows upon one who bathes in its waters that rare prema which is not only immensely difficult for sādhakas to attain, but also difficult for premi-bhaktas like Nārada to achieve.

Therefore Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa alone is the most suitable place of residence for those endeavouring for perfection in their bhajana. The jīva who has overcome the influence of matter and who has attained his inner perfected spiritual form as a gopī (aprākṛta-gopī-deha) should reside, in the mood of a maidservant (pālyadāsī) of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, on the banks of transcendental Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa in the divine land of Vraja (aprākṛta-vraja) in the resplendent grove (kuñja) of the spiritual master, who is situated in his eternal form as a female friend (guru-rūpā-sakhī) of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Living there, the pure spirit soul (aprākṛta-jīva) should externally take constant shelter of chanting harināma. Internally, in his spiritually perfected eternal form as a gopī, he should render service to Śrīmatī Rādhikā while deeply meditating on Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s eightfold daily pastimes (aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā). This is the culmination of bhajana for the devotees who have taken shelter of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s feet.


Śrīmatī Rādhikā is Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s dearmost beloved and the crest-jewel of those who are dear to Him. In the scriptures, devotee sages have described Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa as being Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s foremost beloved object, as dear to Him as Śrīmatī Rādhikā Herself. The topmost love for Bhagavān, gopī-prema, is exceedingly difficult even for dearly beloved devotees of Bhagavān such as Nārada to attain. So what to speak of how difficult it is for devotees still in the practitioner stage (sādhaka-bhaktas) to achieve that rare prema! But very easily Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa bestows this prema upon one who bathes in its waters just once.

Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa is full of prema and, indeed, is actually comprised of waters of nectarean prema. By transcendentally residing (aprākṛta-vāsa) on the banks of Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa and by transcendentally bathing (aprākṛta-snāna) in its waters, one will obtain the topmost prema. What is meant by aprākṛta-vāsa and aprākṛta-snāna? Remaining thoroughly aloof from all desires for material sense enjoyment, one should constantly perform deep meditational worship (mānasa-bhajana) in strict devotion to Śrīmatī Rādhikā for the duration of one’s life. After shedding this material body, one will attain an eternal spiritual body and be intently engaged in direct, eternal service to Śrīmatī Rādhikā. Only one who bathes in Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa in this way attains the topmost prema.

Obtaining such good fortune is exceedingly difficult even for such exalted premī devotees as Nārada. It is extremely difficult even for the perfected devotees who eternally serve Kṛṣṇa in the devotional mellows (rasas) of servitude (dāsya), friendship (sakhya) and parenthood (vātsalya) to bathe in Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa, what to speak of worldly-minded persons. What more can possibly be said of the glories of taking aprākṛta-snāna in Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa? Those who bathe there obtain good fortune that extends all the way up to becoming maidservants of Śrī Vārṣabhānavī (Śrīmatī Rādhikā).

Śrī Govinda dāsa was Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s dear servant. Always accompanying Mahāprabhu as if he were His shadow, he served Mahāprabhu with great love. Simultaneously he would also record in his own words descriptions of Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s especially significant pastimes. The collection of verses he wrote became famous by the name of Govinda-kaḍacā. Having heard these verses directly from Śrī Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, Śrī Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī explained them in his own words in his Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Through the medium of those verses, light was shed upon Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s transcendental character.

The following is a narration from the time when Śrīman Mahāprabhu was residing in Jagannātha Purī: Mahāprabhu had already fulfilled the objectives for which He descended upon this Earth. Now He desired to wind up His pastimes. One day He took His intimate devotees and went to the shore of the ocean. Seeing the blue ocean, remembrance of Śyāmasundara immediately arose within Him. Becoming overwhelmed in devotional ecstasy (bhāva), He was oblivious to all else. With great difficulty His devotees gradually brought Him back to external consciousness. At that very time Śrī Gaurasundara slowly began instructing those devotees. In that assembly Mahāprabhu’s very dear disciple Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī was also present. Rūpa Gosvāmī wrote those instructions down in verse form, and these verses became famous as Śrī Upadeśāmṛta, nectarean instructions. For spiritual practitioners, this Upadeśāmṛta is like their very lives and a necklace to be worn at all times.

A servant of the famous Śrī Rādhā-ramaṇa deity in Vṛndāvana, named Śrī Rādhā-ramaṇa dāsa Gosvāmī, composed a beautiful commentary entitled Upadeśa-prakāśikā-ṭīkā on the eleven verses of Śrī Upadeśāmṛta. After some time, the condition of the residents of this world became critical, due to the doctrine of prema-bhakti having been substantially covered by the frightful influence of the present age of Kali-yuga. Seeing this, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu sent His dear, eternal devotee Śrī Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura to this world. In simple and comprehensible language, he composed a brief yet essential commentary on the verses of Śrī Upadeśāmṛta. This commentary is famous as Pīyūṣa-varṣiṇī-vṛtti.

Śrī Gaurasundara is the personification of aprākṛta vipralambha-rasa, the mellow constituted of sentiments of divine separation from Śrī Kṛṣṇa. To nourish the rasa of sambhoga, which is when the devotee is meeting together with Kṛṣṇa, He tasted that vipralambha-rasa, and for the benefit of human society He taught how it can be attained. It is compulsory for sincere sādhakas to accept these instructions; otherwise it will be impossible for them to ever achieve kṛṣṇa-prema.

In modern times, Kali Mahārāja, the personification of the present degraded age, has assumed the bogus dress of a devotee of Śrī Gaura. Sometimes he adopts the name of imitationist (sahajiyā) cults such as Āula, Bāula, Neḍā or Neḍī. With great intensity he propagates these false philosophies, as well as other doctrines such as māyāvāda and gaura-nāgarī1, which are opposed to the path of bhakti. Aho! Just see the influence of Kali Mahārāja! Some say, “I am Gaurahari Himself,” some declare themselves to be glorious spiritual masters, some consider themselves to be the Creator, and others say that they are Śiva. Very enthusiastically they cheat human society by propagating their bogus philosophies that they were taught by Kali Mahārāja. Being pleased with their preaching, Kali Mahārāja blesses them and bestows upon them abundant wealth (kanaka), women (kāminī) and notoriety (pratiṣṭhā). Being bewildered by their propaganda, most people ignore śuddha-bhakti and bhagavad-bhajana and instead advance along the path of these new, depraved philosophies that are based on material enjoyment. They become so intoxicated in this mundane enjoyment that they are completely unaware of just how they are ascending the peak of thorough self-destruction.

O faithful devotees, don’t move in that direction. Become steadfastly situated upon the path of bhakti that was shown by great personalities such as Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrī Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī and Śrī Narottama Ṭhākura. This devotional path enables one to relish the pure kṛṣṇa-prema that was practised and preached by Śrī Gaura-Nityānanda. Reside in Vraja and always perform kīrtana and smaraṇa of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s nāma, rūpa, guṇa and līlā. The doctrine of gaura-nāgarī is a bogus philosophy that is opposed to bhakti. Remain aloof from such bogus philosophies. The embodiments of prema-bhakti, Śrī Viṣṇupriyā and Śrī Lakṣmīpriyā, as well as the embodiment of the holy dhama, Śrī Nīlā-devī, perpetually serve Śrī Gaurasundara, who is the combined form of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Knowing this to be true, take shelter of Him and, following in the footsteps of the vraja-gopīs, day and night render devotional service within the mind. By doing so, even that prema-sevā of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa which is extremely difficult to obtain will become easily attainable.

Śrī Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura revealed the holy dhāma of Māyāpura. There he established the regular worship of deities, including Śrī Gaura-Nityānanda, Śrī Gaura-Gadādhara, Śrī Gaura-Viṣṇupriyā and Śrī Gaura-Lakṣmīpriyā. Everywhere he preached the holy names of Śrī Gaura and Śrī Kṛṣṇa as well as the doctrine of śuddha-bhakti. Besides composing many of his own books on śuddha-bhakti, he translated many ancient devotional scriptures and wrote numerous commentaries, essays and articles.

Towards the end of his life, upon seeing the dearth of bhakti in society, he deprived the people by ceasing his attempts to deliver them. On the pretext of old age, he adopted a vow of silence and remained immersed in mānasa-sevā, devotional service performed within meditation. Overwhelmed with compassion for the souls suffering in this world, with tearful eyes he looked towards me and ordered me to preach the doctrine of śuddha-bhakti that was revealed by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His eternal devotees. He also instructed me to compose this Anuvṛtti commentary illuminating his Pīyūṣa-varṣiṇī-vṛtti commentary on Śrī Upadeśāmṛta. Taking the dust of his divine feet upon my head, I have followed his command. But just when I had completed commenting on eight verses of Śrī Upadeśāmṛta, he departed this world from Svānanda-sukhada-kuñja at Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa and entered into Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s eternal pastimes.

O Śrī Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, intimate devotee of Śrīmatī Rādhikā! On this day of completing my Anuvṛtti commentary on the verses of Śrī Upadeśāmṛta, this destitute servant of yours offers it into your lotus hands. May you be pleased. All glories unto you!

Remembering Śrī Gauracandra, on this twenty-second day of the lunar month of Bhādrapada in the year 1914, at Candraśekhara-bhavana in Māyāpura, I have completed this Anuvṛtti commentary.

1 In the transcendental loving affairs of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, Śrī Kṛṣṇa is nāgara, the predominating hero in the position of the enjoyer, and Śrī Rādhā and Her bodily manifestations, the sakhīs, are nāgarīs, the predominated heroines in the position of the enjoyed. Although Śrī Gaura is Kṛṣṇa Himself, He adopts the mood of the nāgarī, Śrīmatī Rādhikā, in order to experience the nature of Her love for Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, Śrī Gauraṅga is not in the mood of a nāgara. The gaura-nāgarīs conceive of Śrīman Mahāprabhu as a nāgara and themselves as nāgarīs. This is completely opposed to both the mood of Mahāprabhu and the cultivation of śuddha-bhakti.

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