Hari-katha Articles Rāgānugā-bhakti-rīti: The Path of Loving Attachment (Text 5)

Rāgānugā-bhakti-rīti: The Path of Loving Attachment (Text 5)

śrī-rūpa-mañjarī sāra śrī-rati-mañjarī āra
lavaṅga-mañjarī mañjūlalī
śrī-rasa-mañjarī-saṅge kasturikā-ādi raṅge
prema-sevā kare kūtūhalī

The most dear Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī along with Śrī Rasa Mañjarī, Anaṇga Mañjarī, Maṅjūlalī, Śrī Rati Mañjarī, and Kasturikā Mañjarī, enthusiastically perform loving service to Yugala-Kiśora.

Previously, we heard how Kṛṣṇa happily accepts the service of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and Her sakhīs and mañjarīs. There are many mañjarīs—some of them being Kastūrī Mañjarī, Rasa Mañjarī, Guṇa Mañjarī, and Vilāsa Mañjarī. A gopī is accepted in their fold by the mercy of Rūpa Mañjarī.

Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī, Śrī Rati Mañjarī, Lavaṅga Mañjarī, Mañjūlalī-māñjarī, and Śrī Rasa Mañjarī eagerly and lovingly serve Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, supplying Her musk and various other articles. Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura prays, “When will I serve Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava with these nitya-siddha-mañjarīs?” Many devotees serve Rādhā-Mādhava and there are also many devotees who serve in sakhya- and vātsalya-rasa. But the prema-sevā rendered under the guidance of the mañjarīs is especially pleasing to Rādhā-Mādhava.

Although there are different groups of sakhīs and mañjarīs, they all serve under the guidance of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. The nitya-siddha-mañjarīs—like Rūpa Mañjarī, Rati Mañjarī, and Lavaṅga Mañjarī—are not ordinary. They are also parakīya-nāyikās (heroines). Rasa Mañjarī and Kastūrī Mañjarī serve with their groups. Rūpa Mañjarī leads all the mañjarīs in collectively serving Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. She helps everyone follow the instructions and advice of Lalitā-devī. She teaches everyone how to become perfect in their service to Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava.

Mahāprabhu would never accept anyone’s service without Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī’s approval. Similarly, Rādhārānī doesn’t accept the service of those who don’t serve under the guidance of Śrīmatī Lalitā-devī.

307Our Guru-varga have expressed their loyalty to Lalita-sakhī in their writings. In the song Śrī Rādhā-kṛṣṇa-pada-kamale, it is written: “Lalitā sakhīra, ayogyā kiṅkarī vinoda dhariche pāya—Vinoda, the unqualified maidservant of Lalitā-sakhī, clasps the lotus feet of the Divine Couple.” He prays for entrance into the group of Lalitā-sakhī in the following song:

heno kāle kabe, vilāsa māñjarī, anaṅga māñjarī āra
āmāre herīya, ati kṛpa kori’, bolibe vacana sāra
eṣo, eṣo, sakhī! śrī-lalitā-gaṇe, janibo tomāre āja
gṛha-kathā chaḍi’, rādhā-kṛṣṇa bhajo, tyajiyā dharama-lāja
se madhura vāṇī, suniya e jana, se duṅhāra śrī-caraṇe
aśrāya loibe, duṅhe kṛpa kori’, loibe lalitā-sthāne
lalitā sundarī, sa-daya hoiya, koribe āmāre dāsī
sva-kuñja-kutīre, dibena vasati, jani’ sevā-abhilāsī

When will Vilāsa-māñjarī and Anaṅga-māñjarī mercifully begin to speak the sweetest essence of words upon seeing me? They will say, “Come, come, Sakhī ! From now on, you will be included in Śrī Lalita-sakhī’s group of attendants. Giving up your household and leaving behind all fear of breaking the rules of moral religious conduct, just come along with us and worship Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa!” Hearing the sweet words of these two sakhīs, I will unhesitatingly take shelter of their lotus feet. Showing me their mercy, they will lead me into the presence of Śrī Lalita-sakhi. Then, the most beautiful Lalita-sakhī will be very compassionate towards me and accept me as one of her own maidservants. She will give me residence in her own kuñja-kutīra, know­ing me to be eager for rendering service.

Lalitā-devī is always arranging for the service of Yugala-Kiśora. In his Śrī Lalitāṣṭakam (7), Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī describes how Lalitā-sakhī offers new māñjarīs unto Rādhā’s lotus feet:

yāṁ kām api vraja-kule vṛṣabhānu-jāyāḥ
prekṣya sva-pakṣa-padavīm anuruddhyamānām
sadyas tad-iṣṭa-ghaṭanena kṛtārthayantīṁ
devīṁ guṇaiḥ sulalitāṁ lalitāṁ namāmi

I offer obeisances unto the most charming Śrī Lalitā-devī, who is a mine of all good qualities. Upon seeing any young girl anywhere in Vraja and understanding that she is inclined towards her dear friend Śrīmatī Rādhikā, Lalitā at once tells Rādhikā that She must accept that girl into Her own party.

Rādhikā obeys Lalitā, who thus fulfills that young girl’s desire. Without the guidance of Lalitā-devī’s nearest and dearest Rūpa Māñjarī, you cannot serve the Divine Couple. Desiring her guidance, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has prayed to Rūpa Gosvāmī in his Prārthanā (40):

prabhu lokanātha kabe saṅge lañā jābe
śrī-rūpera pāda-padme more samarpibe

“When will my Prabhu, Śrīla Lokanātha Gosvāmī, take me and offer me to the lotus feet of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī?”

Our Guru-varga has explained in this regard that, in order to cultivate mañjarī-bhāva, you must follow the associates of Śrī Caitanya, such as Rūpa and Sanātana Gosvāmī. Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has indicated this in his heartfelt longing in Prārthanā (39):

śrī-rūpa mañjarī-pada seī mora sampada seī mora bhajana-pūjana
seī mora prāṇadhana seī mora ābharaṇa seī mora jīvanera-jīvana

The lotus feet of Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī are my ultimate wealth. To contemplate upon and serve those lotus feet is my highest method of worship and adoration. They are the treasure of my life, even more dear to me than life itself. They are the ornaments of my life and the very life of my life.

Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī sees how everyone is serving and then offers these services unto the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa:

śrī-rūpa paścāte āmi rahiba bhīta hañā
doṅhe pūnaḥ kahibena āmā pāne cāñā
sadaya hṛdaye doṅhe kahibena hāsi
kothāya pāile rūpa! ei nava dāsī
śrī-rūpa-mañjarī tabe doṅhā vākya śuni
mañjūlālī dila more ei dāsī āni
ati namra-citta āmi ihāre jānila
sebā-kārya diyā tabe hethāya rākhila
hena tattva doṅhākāra sākṣāte kahiyā
narottame sevāya dibe niyūkta kariyā
Prārthanā (19)

Watching me standing behind Śrī Rūpa in fear, Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, being compassionate, will smilingly ask Śrī Rūpa, “Where did you find this new maidservant?” Hearing Their words, Śrī Rūpa Māñjarī will reply: “Mañjūlālī brought her and gave her to me. I can see that she is very meek and humble, therefore I have engaged her in service and kept her here.” Śrī Rūpa Māñjarī, after disclosing these details to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, will mercifully engage Narottama dāsa in Their service. Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa will ask Rūpa Māñjarī, “What is her name?”

She will reply, “Her name is Campaka Mañjarī. She serves very nicely. She has a good mood; You should accept her.” Now the eight prominent māñjarīs will be described. Gopāla Guru Gosvāmī and Dhyānacandra Gosvāmī have written about the identities of the mañjarīs in their Śrī Śrī Gaura-govinda-arcana-smaraṇa-paddhati 294–297:

Rūpa Mañjarī

kuñjo ‘sti rūpollasākhyo lalitā-kuñjakottare
sadā tiṣṭhati tatraiva suśobha rūpa-māñjarī
priya-narma-sakhī-mukhya sundarī-rūpa-māñjarī
gorocana-samāṅga-śrīh keki-pātramśuka-priya
sardha-tridaśa-varṣāsau vāma-madhya tvam aśrita
raṅgana-malika ceti pravadanti manīṣinah
iyaṁ lavaṅga-mānjarya ekenahna kanīyasī
kalau gaura-rasr-rūpa-gosvāmī tvam samāgatā

Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī is the most prominent of all the māñjarīs under the guidance of the priya-narma-sakhīs. On the north side of Lalitānanda-kuñja is Rūpollasa-kuñja. Rūpa Mañjarī’s kuñja-kuṭīra is present there. She has a beautiful bright yellow complexion that resembles gorocana. Her dress resembles the color of peacock feathers. She is thirteen years and six months old. By nature, she is vāma-madhya. The Ṛṣis also address her as Raṅgaṇamālā. She is one day younger than Lavaṅga Mañjarī. Her father’s name is Ratnabhānu and her mother’s name is Yamunā. Her husband’s name is Durmedha; and her mother-in-law’s name is Jaṭilā. Her service is offering golden colored betel-nuts and she is also very expert in rendering the most intimate services unto Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava’s lotus feet. In gaura-līlā she is Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī.

In the Kiśori-tantra, Śrī Rūpa Māñjarī’s mūla-mantra (or eight syllable mantra) has been given: “Śrim rūpa mānjaryai svāhā.” Her dhyāna is described as follows:

gorocana-nindi-nijāṅga-kāntīm
mayūra-piñchābha-sucīna-vastram
śrī-rādhikā-pāda-saroja-dasīm
rūpākhyakam māñjarīkam bhaje’ham
Śrī Śrī Gaura-govinda-arcana-smaraṇa-paddhati 299

I worship Śrī Rūpa Māñjarī, whose beautiful bodily color puts to shame the golden color of gorocana. Wearing a nice dress resembling peacock feathers and representing her colorful devotional nature, she blissfully serves Śrī Rādhā’s lotus feet.

Rati Mañjarī

Another name of Rati Mañjarī is Tulasī Mañjarī. Her complexion is like that of a flash of lightning. She wears a dress that is studded with many stars. On the southern side of Indulekha’s Kuñja, a forest-bower is present, called Ratyāmubujā-kuñja. This is Rati Mañjarī’s kuñja. She is thirteen years and two months old. By nature, she is dakṣiṇā-mṛḍu. Her father’s name is Vṛṣabha and her mother’s name is Śāradā. Her husband’s name is Divya. The name of her mother-in-law is Sannikā. Her main services are fanning and massaging the Divine Couple’s lotus feet. She is Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī in gaura-līlā. Her mūla-mantra is: rāṁ rati-mañjaryai-svāhā.

Lavaṅga Mañjarī

Lavaṅga Mañjarī resides in an enchanting kuñja called Lavaṅgasukhada-kuñja, which is situated east of Tungavidyā Sakhī’s kuñja. Lavaṅga Mañjarī is one day older than Rūpa Mañjarī. Her body bears the hue of a flash of lightining. She also wears a star-studded dress. She is of a submissive nature. She is always ready for Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s service. Her main service is to ornament Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and to offer Them garlands of cloves. She is thirteen years, six months, and one day old. Her father’s name is Ratnabhānu and her mother’s name is Yamunā. Her mother-in-law’s name is Suśīlā. Mandalī-bhadra is the name of her husband. She appeared in Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s pastimes as Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī. Her mūla-mantra is: śrīṁ lāṁ lavaṅga-mañjaryai-svāhā.

Rasa Mañjarī

Rasa Mañjarī’s kuñja is present on the western side of Citrā Sakhī’s kuñja. The name of her kuñja is Rasānandaprada-kuñja. Rasa Mañjarī is very dear to Rūpa Mañjarī and her qualities are like those of Lavaṅga Mañjarī. Her body resembles the color of a Campaka flower. Her dress is made of the features of swans. She is thirteen years of age and is dakṣinā-mṛdu-svabhāva by nature. Her father’s name is Subhānu and her mother’s name is Prema Mañjarī. Her husband’s name is Vitanka. The name of her mother-in-law is Rambāvatī. She knows how to dress and decorate Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in the most wonderful ways, and she always knows where Kṛṣṇa is—she knows how Kṛṣṇa is hiding in different kuñja-kutīras, and will tell Rūpa Mañjarī about His whereabouts. She also paints. In Kali-yuga, she appeared in the pastimes of Mahāprabhu as Śrīla Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, although sometimes Śrīla Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī has also been described as Rāga Māñjarī. Rasa Mañjarī’s mūla-mantra is: rāṁ rasa-mañjaryai-svāhā.

Guṇa Mañjarī

Guṇa Mañjarī’s kuñja is present on the north-east side of Campakalatā Sakhī’s kuñja. The name of her kuñja is Guṇānandaprada-kuñja. Guṇa Mañjarī is a very close and dear friend of Rūpa Mañjarī. Her body bears the hue of electricity. She wears a red colored dress like the javā, or hibiscus flower. She is three days younger than Tulasī Mañjarī. Everything she does is for Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s happiness. She is submissive and outspoken by nature (dakṣiṇa-prakharā). She is thirteen years, one month, and twenty-seven days old. Her father’s name is Candrabhānu and her mother’s name is Yamunā. Her husband’s name is Gobhata. The name of her mother-in-law is Tārāvalī. She arranges for beds made of leaves and flowers in all the kuñja-kutīras. She also performs service by offering water to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. She appeared in Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s pastimes as Śrīla Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī. Her mūla-mantra is: gāṁ guṇa-mañjaryai-svāhā.

Vilāsa Mañjarī

Vilāsa Mañjarī’s kuñja is called Vilāsānanda-kuñja and it is present south-east of Viśākhānanda-kuñja. She also shares a close friendship with Rūpa Mañjarī. Her complexion is like the golden pine flower and she wears a dress that resembles the bees. Her nature is vāma-mṛdvī. She is four days younger than Rasa Mañjarī. She is twelve years, eleven months, and twenty six days old. Her father’s name is Svarbhānu and her mother’s name is Durvala. Her husband’s name is Virambaka. Her mother-in-law’s name is Ramā. Her main service is to serve water and drinks, as well as applying mascara on Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. She appeared in gaura-līlā as Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī. Her mūla-mantra is: śrīṁ vāṁ vilāsa-mañjaryai-svāhā.

Mañjulālī Mañjarī

Mañjulālī Mañjarī is also known as Līlā Mañjarī. Her kuñja is called Līlānandaprada-kuñja and it is situated on the northern side of Viśākhā’s kuñja. She resides there very happily. She is a dear friend of Rūpa Mañjarī and has many extraordinary qualities. Her body resembles the hue of molten gold. She wears a red colored dress, resembeling the Kiṁśuka flower. She is eternally thirteen years, six months, and seven days old. She is of a contrary nature (vāmā-madhyā). She knows about the moods that swell and abate in Rādhārānī’s mind. She arranges many special dresses for the pleasure of Rādhārānī. She appeared in Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s pastimes as Lokanātha dāsa Gosvāmī. Her mūla-mantra is: śrīṁ mañjulālī-mañjaryai-svāhā.

Kastūrī Mañjarī

The name of Kastūrī Mañjarī’s kuñja is Kastūryānanda-kuñja. Her kuñja is on the northern side of Sudevī’s kuñja. This is the place of her residence. She is also of a pure golden color. Her dress is studded with many small mirrors and crystals. Her dress is very clean and bright. She is thirteen years of age and her nature is vāmā-mṛdvī. She decorates Śrīmatī Rādhārānī with many jewels. Her main service is candana-sevā. She pastes sandalwood and has the paste smeared on Kṛṣṇa. She appeared in gaura-līlā as Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī. Her mūla-mantra is: śrīṁ kastūrī-mañjaryai-svāhā. The identities of aṣṭa-mañjarīs in gaura-līlā are listed below:

  • Rūpa Mañjarī is Rūpa Gosvāmī.
  • Rati Mañjarī is Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī.
  • Lavaṅga Mañjarī is Sanātana Gosvāmī.
  • Rasa Mañjarī is Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī.
  • Guṇa Mañjarī is Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī.
  • Vilāsa Mañjarī is Jīva Gosvāmī.
  • Mañjulālī Mañjarī is Lokanātha dāsa Gosvāmī.
  • Kastūrī Mañjarī is Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī.

In his Śrī Rādhā-kṛṣṇa-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī mentions the names of many more mañjarīs of Śrī Rādhā: Kandarpa Mañjarī, Keli Mañjarī, Suvarṇa Mañjarī, Kāma Mañjarī, Ratna Mañjarī, Gandha Mañjarī, Netra Mañjarī, Padma Mañjarī, Hema Mañjarī, and others. And Śrī Kavi-karṇapūra revealed the following identities of our ācāryas in his Śrī Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā:

  • Jāhnavā-devī is Anaṅga Māñjarī.
  • Bhugarbha Gosvāmī is Prema Māñjarī.
  • Bhāgavata Ācārya is Śveta Mañjarī.
  • Nayana Miśra is Nitya Mañjarī.
  • Jitāmitra is Śyāma Mañjarī.
  • Raghu Miśra is Karpūra Mañjarī.
  • Īśāna Ācārya is Mauna Mañjarī.

In Śrī Saṅkalpa Kalpa-druma, Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura disclosed his own heartfelt realizations and described his own Gurudeva, Param Gurudeva, and Guru-Parampara, all the way up to the Gosvāmīs themselves: Bhānumati is Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, also known as Vilāsa Mañjarī. Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura is also said to be Vilāsa Mañjarī, but he is also known as Campaka Mañjarī. Śrīnivāsa Ācārya is Maṇi Mañjarī, Śyāmānanda Prabhu is Kanaka Mañjarī, and Rāmacandra Kavirāja is Karuṇa Mañjarī. Śrī Gaṅgā-nārāyaṇa Cakravartī (Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhakura’s great grand spiritual master) is Prema Mañjarī; Śrī Kṛṣṇa-caraṇa Cakravartī (Cakravartī Ṭhākura’s grand spiritual master) is Raṅga Mañjarī; and Śrī Rādhāramaṇa Cakravartī (Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhakura’s dikṣa-guru) is Tulasī Mañjarī.

Some of our Guru-varga have revealed their spiritual identity in their songs. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura wrote:

varaṇe taḍit vāsa tārāvalī kamala mañjarī nāma
sāḍe bāra varṣa vayasa satata svānanda sukhada dhāma
karpūra sevā lalitāra gaṇa rādhā yūtheśvarī hana
mameśvarī-nātha śrī nanda-nandana āmāra parāṇa dhana
śrī rūpa mañjarī prabhṛtira sama yugala sevāya āśa
avaśya se-rūpa sevā pāba āmi parākāṣṭhā suviśvāsa
kabe vā e dāsī saṁsiddhi labhibe rādhā-kuṇḍe vāsa kari’
rādhā-kṛṣṇa sevā satata karibe pūrva smṛti parihari’

My body color is like lightning and my dress is adorned with twinkling stars. My name is Kamala Mañjarī and my age is eternally twelve-and-a-half years old. My residence is Svānanda Sukhada Kuñja. My service is to offer camphor to Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. I serve in the group of Lalitā, and Śrī Rādhā is my group leader (yūtheśvarī). The beloved of my Svāminī, Nanda-nandana, is my life’s treasure. I aspire to serve the Divine Couple like Rūpa Mañjarī and others, and I will certainly attain this service. This is my deepest aspiration. Oh, when will this maidservant attain all perfection and, residing at Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa, serve Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, giving up all past remembrances?”

Excerpted from the Bhakta Bandhav Publication “Śrī Prema-bhakti-candrikā”, Chapter 5
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]

Must Read

Śrī Guru Mahimā: Glories of the Spiritual Master – Text 1

What does Śrīla Gurudeva do? When someone comes to Śrī Guru, he immediately offers that person to Nityānanda Prabhu. The Pañca-tattva help and in turn offer him in the service of Kṛṣṇa. Only by the mercy of Guru-pāda-padma and the Vaiṣṇavas can you attain Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma and the lotus feet of the Pañca-tattva: Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu, Advaita Ācārya, Gadādhara Paṇḍita, and Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita. What fortune! After millions of lives...

I am Like His Dog

The Vaisnava may be a disciple of any bona fide Guru, and if he has sincerely taken shelter of the lotus feet of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, and the Divine Couple—Sri Radha-Krsna; we should honor him. We should try to honor the devotee even if he is not initiated...

SADHU – WARRIOR or BOTH?

In one battle, armed with outdated rifles and bayonets, Kunja Bihari led his squadron in a surprise attack on a bunker behind enemy lines. Kunja Bihari alone survived the ambush. From the captured bunker, he used the heavy artillery to disable many advancing tanks and largely due to his efforts, India won one of the most critical battles in the campaign. He was locked in the bunker for two weeks, unable to escape, and lived on survival food pills. He spent the time chanting harinama incessantly

Glories of Sri Guru Purnima

Today is the birthday of Srila Vyasadeva, the son of Parasara Rsi. Srila Vyasadeva divided the Vedas into four sections, and then he took the essence of all the Vedas and Upanisads and wrote Brahma-sutra so that everyone would be able to easily understand. He then wrote fifty-four Puranas, but they were also very difficult to understand. Then he wrote the Mahabharata, and within the Mahabharata he wrote the Gita Upanisad or Bhagavad-gita. Still, he was not happy, however, but he could not understand the reason.

Inside the Hidden Heart of Jagannatha – Padmini-Ekadasi

Narada Rsi then began to sing the glories of Radharani and the prominent sakhis. Krsna slowly woke up and looked about Him in confusion. In His trance, He had been in Vraja, playing with the gopis, and now, waking to the sound of the gopis’ names, He considered Himself to still be in Vraja, and He began feeling in His waist belt, as if He was searching for something. “Where is My flute?” He said. “Who stole My flute? Lalita must have taken it. Where is she?..

More Articles Like This