Hari-katha Articles WHAT IS LAVANYA?


Raghunatha dasa Gosvami writes in his Maha-siksa;

“Do not follow dharma or adharma as mentioned in the Srutis and Smrtis. Instead just follow the gopis and Srimati Radharani.”

The gopis are very clever. They are not cheaters, but they are tricky. General people say. “One should be straightforward, this is favorable to bhakti,” but they are really cheaters themselves. They have many desires keeping them away from directly serving Srimati Radhika. They say something, think something else and do something else but the Vraja-devis are not like this. They are thoroughly absorbed in radha-rasa and syama-rasa. Only for the pleasure of Krsna, we can develop this mood, by taking shelter of Yamuna-devi and remembering Visakha-devi and with the permission of Radharani do they do anything. They do not consider what someone else may want. They concentrate on what Radharani wants and how She wants them to serve and please Krsna. Without Radharanis instructions, they will not do anything. This is their supreme intelligence.

We can develop this mood by taking shelter of Yamuna-devi, and remembering Visakha-devi, then we can gradually develop a fraction of the intelligence that Srimati Radharani has. That intelligence is not present in anyone else. Only the followers of the gopis can receive a fraction of this pure intelligence. Once we have developed a fraction of this vaidagdha-sindhu, the nectar ocean of pure intelligence coming from Srimati Radharani and Her followers, then we can achieve a drop from the anuraga-sindhu, the ocean of the highest form of love. If we do not receive spiritual intelligence, then anuraga will not fill our heart. Our heart will be filled instead with virago or hateful thoughts. Anuraga means incessant love for Radha-Krsna. If we follow anyone other than the Vraja-devis and their followers-the Guruvarga , then there is no guarantee whether we will develop anuraga or virago– love or hatred. This vraja-anuraga is not attainable by the followers of vaikuntha-bhakti or the other rasas.

Once you develop this anuraga-rasa-sindhu, the flow of enthusiasm and service will permanent. Your service will not stop after one or two days. That kind of service is done anuraga. Anuraga means incessant love. We see that some disciples serve and worship their Gurudeva for a few days and then forsake him and stop service: that is not anuraga. Such starting and stopping, or halting of service, is not based on anuraga, rather it is due to an enjoying mentality. The Vrajavasis are not bhogis, enjoyers: they are all yogis, always connected to Krsna and His service. They are completely attached to Radha and Krsna and never do anything unrelated to Them.

The Vrajavasis serve without desiring anything in return. When they offered everything they possessed to Giriraja Govardhana they were not thinking, “O Giriraja” Give me something in return.” In this world people offer something to Krsna and then wait to take it back. This in not pure bhakti. This is not the mood of the Vrajavasis.

Srimati Radhika’s next special quality is Her vatsalya-rasa-sindhu. She is nectarine ocean of care and compassion vatsalya-rasa. She is always taking care of others. She always cares for those who come to Vrndavana whether they are animals or beggars.

Nowadays people say, “Oh You are from that other guru, you cannot stay in this temple.” Otherwise they say, “You are not serving enough, get out of here! This temple is my property!” They do not show compassion for even for an ant, mosquito, or worm. This proud and sentimental attitude is not the nature of vatsalya-rasa. Srimati welcomes everyone who comes to vraja-mandala. She is an ocean of vatsalya-rasa. Because of Srimati’s vatsalya-rasa-sindhu, ocean of nectarine compassion, no one leaves Vrndavana upon once coming. They feel so much happiness in Vrndavana, in the compassionate care of Srmati Radharani that they never even consider leaving.

Srimati Radharani is an ocean of affectionate mercy, ati-snighdha-krpa-sindhu, and therefore Her followers are also very affectionate and merciful. When people first come to the path of bhajan they have so many desires and bad habits. Guru and Vaisnavas merciful help them progress. They are always tolerant and are never disturbed by the wrongdoings of neophytes. They are always ready to listen and care for others. Gradually Guru and Vaisnavas change the nature of conditioned souls by their affectionate dealings with them. Once the jivas are trained properly, Gurudeva sends them the Seva-kunja, where they can train further under the guidance of the Vraja-devis and become fully capable to serve Krsna. We do not find this ati-snigha-krpa-sindhu anywhere else.

If somebody disobeys Lord Rama, then Hanuman being unable to tolerate it, will immediately be ready to beat that person. But Guru and Vaisnavas are so tolerant that even if someone is critical or offensive, they do not take this into account and always remain affectionate and helpful. Even if new sadhakas cannot follow all the regulations and etiquette, and cause disturbances when they first come to the matha, still Guru and Vaisnavas tolerate and give them affection. They even praise them, knowing that they need respect and encouragement. By their affectionate mercy they gradually transform the fallen nature of the conditioned souls and prepare them to directly serve Krsna.

Krsna said that even higher than following the rules and regulations that He has given in scriptures is to give them up and directly serve Her under the guidance of His beloveds. So we must be under the guidance of a rasika-guru and the rasika-vaisnavas. We can thus progress to the platform of spontaneous love. When spiritual power comes within our hears, ananda spiritual bliss, will illuminate our existence. The power of that ananda will shine from us and attract others They will also be affected by that power and bliss. Other living beings become attracted to that ananda as parrots and other birds are attracted to ripe fruits and bees are attracted to blossoming flowers. Anyone who is connected to Srimati Radhika and Her manjaris becomes like this.This is by the power of Radharani She is lavanya-sindu  an ocean of beauty, grace, and the special quality which is present in fresh youth.

Lavanya is a special quality like the milk of a cow, the fruits of a tree, or the flower of a creeper It is that special factor which makes something wonderful, unique, and attractive. Lavanya is not just ordinary beauty. It is the love in the heart. When people learn to direct their love solely to Krsna and not misplace or distribute it here and there, then that love becomes fully powerful and sweet, like a ripe fruit. If a person instead spreads his love to meet the many sense objects of this mundane world then he will be like a fruit with no juice, or a plant bereft of fruits, leaves of flowers. It is therefore greatly dangerous for unqualified people to take the position of guru. Unqualified gurus give their love away to conditioned souls and become attached to them and fallen with them. They do not remain one-pointed to Radha-Krsna.

Rainclouds have lavanya. They are full of rasa, or water and shine with electricity. The sun collects water form the ocean, rivers, and lakes, and this becomes the lavanya of the clouds. Water which nourishes all life is the lavanya of the cloud’s. When the bhaktas are with Krsna they feel power as a result of His sakti. They receive all good qualities, but these qualities are not their own, they are nothing but the mercy of Srimati Radharani.
Similar to a rainbow, the bhaktas hears become exceedingly beautiful when they come in contact with Svarupa-sakti. Srimati Radhika. Possessing this love of the Divine Potency, they attract the people around toward them. However, the souls they attract will not be attracted to the wielder of that love, they will be attracted to the love itself and its source. If we are really fixed in our prema for Radha and Krsna, then we will not be attracted or attached to ordinary living beings nor will they become attracted to us and make us entangled.

Now we will hear about Radharani’s amrta-chavi-rupa-sindhu, or the nectar of Her splendorous form. One meaning of the word ‘chavi’ is ‘splendor’. Another meaning is ‘picture.’  The conditioned soul naturally takes many pictures with eyes throughout the day. Then when he sleeps at night all these pictures pass through his mind like a reel of film. If a person is always serving Guru, Vaisnavas, and Radha-Krsna then when he sleeps he will see in his minds’ eye the chavi, or splendid form of the Divine Couple. He will see Radha Raman-bihari, Madana mohana. Rupa Manjari, Nayana-mani Manjari, and others. Their forms will manifest before his eyes when he meditates.

If we desire to see the amrta-chavi, that picture full of love or that form which is so splendorous- then we have to engage in proper bhajana. If we do not do so, our minds will remain attached to material forms. One thing is mrta-chavi and the other is amrta-chavi. One causes death and the other gives eternal life. Mrta-chavi is a form or picture that causes us to decrease our lifespan and amrta-chavi gives the nectar of immortality. If we are always looking at and thinking of the material forms, which are displayed in the world’s newspapers, magazines, and other modes of media, then our lifespan will decrease and our energy spoiled. On the other hand, if we collect and store in our consciousness amrta-chavi, beautiful spiritual forms, then they will bestow eternal life.

When we have received connection to the six oceans of Radharani’s divine qualities, then at last we will achieve entrance into the ‘keli-sindhu’or ocean of Her divine amorous pastimes with Krsna. Once we get a taste of that nectarine ocean, we will no longer have any material tastes. We will become like Vrtrasura, who prayed:

“I do not want sovereignty over this earth, material enjoyment, nor do I want to become the ruler of heaven or any higher planetary systems. All I want is to always be engaged in you service, birth after birth.”

Bhativinoda Thakura sings:

Kita nanma hau yatha tvya dasa,
bahirmukha brahma-janme nahi asa


“O Prabhu! Please may I take birth as Your servant birth after birth. In the association of Your devotees I can taste the nectar of Your glories, hear about Your pastimes and remember Your divine qualities.”

Srimati Radhika is endowed with these seven oceans of divine qualities. We pray, “When will She bring me into Her shelter? When will she appear in My heart?

Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada teaches us these prayers. He received the mercy of Mahaprabhu and therefore he understands the Lord’s heart and reveals it to us.

Prabodhananda Sarasvatipada wrote these verses and then taught them to Hitahari Vamsa, the disciple of Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. He also taught them to other residents of Vraja. These verses are very famous in Vrndavana. If anyone takes shelter of them that person will be able to understand Mahaprabhu and our Gaudiya line.

Excerpted from the Bhakta Bandhav Publications “Sri Sri Radha Rasa Sudha Nidhi”, by Srila Prabhodhananda Saraswati Thakura

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