prabhu kahe,—“jāniluṅ kṛṣṇa-rādhā-prema-tattva
śunite cāhiye duṅhāra vilāsa-mahattva”
rāya kahe,—“kṛṣṇa haya ‘dhīra-lalita’
nirantara kāma-krīḍā—yāṅhāra carita
After hearing these descriptions of kṛṣṇa-tattva, rādhā-tattva, and prema-tattva from Śrī Rāya Rāmānanda, Śrīman Mahāprabhu replied, “O Rāya, I have come to understand the truths about Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Śrī Rādhā, and prema itself. Now I wish to hear the glories of Their playful loving exchanges.”
Śrī Rāya Rāmānanda replied, “Lord Kṛṣṇa is dhīra-lalita-nāyaka, and He is ever devoted to lusty affairs (kāma-krīḍā).
Expert in relishing loving exchanges, ever youthful, clever at joking, and always carefree – these are the qualities of the dhīra-lalita-nāyaka, a hero controlled by his beloved. When the hero is symptomized as being completely favorable to the heroine and unable to remain apart from her, he is called dhīra-lalita-anukūla-nāyaka. In his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī says:
syāt prāyaḥ preyasī-vaśaḥ
“ ‘He who is expert in the art of love, ever youthful, clever at joking, happy-go-lucky, and subjugated by the love of his sweethearts is called a dhīra-lalita-nāyaka.’
Śrī Paurṇamāsī said to Nāndīmukhī: “O Nāndīmukhī, because of their indescribable, compelling love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Śrī Nanda and Yaśodā never burden their son with any specific responsibility. Thus, being fully carefree, Śrī Kṛṣṇa continuously plays with Śrī Rādhā on the banks of the Yamunā River, decorating the kuñjas there with His very presence.”
rātri-dina kuñje krīḍā kare rādhā-saṅge
kaiśora-vayasa saphala kaila krīḍā-raṅge
“Day and night Śrī Kṛṣṇa continuously sports, jokes, and enjoys in various ways with Śrī Rādhā in the kuñjas. In this way, through His amorous diversions He makes His youth successful.
The meaning of amorous play (krīḍā-raṅga) in the present context is prema-līlā, pastimes of love, which are ongoing, meaning “whenever the opportunity arises.” If the meaning were taken as “every moment,” then the sequence in the flow of the līlās would be disrupted, giving no chance for Kṛṣṇa to perform His cow-grazing and other pastimes. These other līlās are essential limbs of the principle pastimes of meeting with the vraja-gopīs, and all of the līlās have their own appropriate timings.
vācā sūcita-śarvarī-rati-kalā-prāgalbhyayā rādhikāṁ
vrīḍā-kuñcita-locanāṁ viracayann agre sakhīnām asau
kaiśoraṁ saphalī-karoti kalayan kuñje vihāraṁ hariḥ
“ ‘Śrī Kṛṣṇa impudently boasted of His amorous escapades of the previous night in front of the sakhīs, making Śrī Rādhā close Her eyes out of embarrassment. At that moment, He painted some charming, playful makarī [Cupid’s dolphin carrier] upon Her breasts, and thus manifested the pinnacle of cleverness. By such loving pastimes in the kuñjas, Śrī Hari made His youth successful.’ ”
prabhu kahe,—“eho haya, āge kaha āra”
rāya kahe,—“ihā vai buddhi-gati nāhi āra
yebā ‘prema-vilāsa-vivarta’ eka haya
tāhā śuni’ tomāra sukha haya, ki nā haya”
eta bali’ āpana-kṛta gīta eka gāhila
preme prabhu sva-haste tāṅra mukha ācchādila
Śrīman Mahāprabhu said, “Whatever you have said regarding the loving exchanges between Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is all right, but please say something more.” Śrī Rāya Rāmānanda replied, “O Lord, my intelligence cannot penetrate this subject any further, but there is another stage called prema-vilāsa-vivarta. However I do not know if such a description will be to Your satisfaction or not.” Saying this, Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya began to sing his own composition, but Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu immediately covered Rāmānanda’s mouth with His lotus hand.
According to Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, in the present verse, it is Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s intention here to confirm that in Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya’s deliberation on the goal of human life, he has described the prema between Śrī Rādhā and Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and illuminated the greatness of Their pastimes when Śrī Kṛṣṇa manifests His dhīra-lalita-nāyaka form. This deliberation describes the glories of the amorous pastimes between Śrī Rādhā and Śrī Kṛṣṇa – Rādhā who is the source or sum total of all rasa (akhaṇḍa-rasa-vallabhā), the embodiment of mahābhāva, and the personification of kāntā-prema, and Kṛṣṇa who is the unlimited ocean of all rasas (akhila-rasāmṛta-sindhu), the personification of śrṅgāra-rasa, amorous love, the king of all mellows, and the direct attracter of even Cupid himself.
Yet Śrīman Mahāprabhu asked, “Can you explain more than this?”
Śrī Rāmānanda replied, “Since such topics are beyond material intelligence, it is extremely rare to find anyone qualified enough to hear or speak on them. However, there is one topic, namely prema-vilāsa-vivarta, that I shall describe, but I do not know whether this will make You happy or not. This is my doubt.
“Prema-vilāsa is of two types. One is meeting (sambhoga) and the other is separation (vipralambha). Without separation, there is no joy or sustenance in meeting. In the stage of adhirūḍha-mahābhāva, this condition of bewilderment, or illusion, (vivarta) causes feelings of separation even within meeting. Meeting for the duration of a day of Brahmā seems to last only for a moment. Even though Śrī Kṛṣṇa is happy, one iota of difficulty for Him still causes great unhappiness [for the devotee]. Although the devotee is beyond illusion, when he is in separation from Kṛṣṇa, he automatically forgets everything and considers even a moment to be like millions upon millions of years.
The words prema-vilāsa mean “the loving, playful pastimes that are generated from prema,” and vivarta means “mistaking one thing for something else.” It also means “opposite, bewildered, and completely ripened.” During prema-vilāsa-vivarta there is cause for some pastimes to flow in a seemingly contradictory manner. This stage is most astonishing and the ultimate expression of loving exchanges. Thus we find the statement:
advaitād girijāṁ harārdha-vapuṣaṁ sakhyāt priyoraḥ-sthitāṁ,
lakṣmīm acyuta-citta-bhṛṅga-nalinīṁ satyāṁ ca saubhāgyataḥ
mādhuryān madhureśa-jīvita-sakhīṁ candrāvalīṁ ca kṣipan,
paśyāruddha hariṁ prasārya laharīṁ rādhānurāgāmbudhiḥ
“The waves of the great ocean of Śrī Rādhā’s compelling love now completely cover Śrī Kṛṣṇa with their waters because She actually identifies as Him. Thus She defeats all other goddesses, including Pārvatī, who, being non-different from Lord Śiva, is his wife; Lakṣmī, who, because of intimate friendship with Śrī Nārāyaṇa, reclines on His chest; Satyabhāmā, who because of her great good fortune, is like a lotus flower that attracts the bumble-bee of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s mind; and also Candrāvalī, who, because of her sweetness, is the life and soul of Madhureśa (the Lord of all sweetness).”
Prema-vilāsa means “loving pastimes,” and vivarta indicates prema-vaicittya, which is the topmost level of prema. In this stage of the performance of loving exchanges, the knowledge of the difference between the lover and his beloved is annihilated. Everything else apart from the joy of meeting, including their own existence, is forgotten. Their heart and mind melt to such a degree that both of them become one, and they do not recognize any difference between each other. In this profusion of prema, absorption in oneness reaches its highest stage. The knowledge “I am the heroine (beloved) and you are the hero (lover)” becomes covered due to a delusion that arises in the course of amorous exchanges. In this stage, sometimes Śrī Rādhā mistakenly considers Herself to be the hero (ramaṇa), and Śrī Kṛṣṇa thinks Himself to be the heroine (ramaṇī). This is viparīta-bhāva, in which roles are reversed.
When Madhumaṅgala says, “O Rādhā, Madhusūdana has gone away,” Śrī Rādhā begins to lament in separation from Him, even though Śrī Kṛṣṇa is right next to Her. This is prema-vilāsa-vivarta.
The following song was composed by Śrī Rāya Rāmānanda:
“pahilehi rāga nayana-bhaṅge bhela
anudina bāḍhala, avadhi nā gela
nā so ramaṇa, nā hāma ramaṇī
duṅhu-mana manobhava peṣala jāni’
e sakhī, se-saba prema-kāhinī
kānu-ṭhāme kahabi vichurala jāni’
nā khoṅjaluṅ dūtī, nā khoṅjaluṅ ān
duṅhuko milane madhya ta pāṅca-bāṇa
ab sohi virāga, tuṅhu bheli dūtī
su-purukha-premaki aichana rīti”
“Lamenting in separation, Śrīmatī Rādhikā says, ‘Alas, before We ever met, We first experienced an initial attachment to each other instigated by an exchange of glances. In just a blink of the eyelid, without a moment’s delay, an emotion named rāga (driving attachment) immediately arose between Us. This compelling love grew day by day, and in no time at all, in just a few days, it developed so much that there was no limit to it. That attachment flowed without stop and continued to increase.’
rādhā-premā vibhu—yāra bāḍīte nāhi ṭhāñi
tathāpi se kṣaṇe kṣaṇe bāḍaye sadai
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā (4.128)
“Śrī Rādhā’s love extends everywhere, leaving no space for it to expand any further. Still it continuously increases every second.”
Śrī Kṛṣṇa also says:
man-mādhurya, rādhāra prema—doṅhe hoḍa kari’
kṣaṇe kṣaṇe bāḍe doṅhe, keha nāhi hāri
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā (4.142)
“My sweetness and Rādhā’s prema increase every moment, and neither knows defeat.”
“That rāga, or attraction, arises naturally in both of Us.” It is Śrī Rādhā’s desire to give happiness to Śrī Kṛṣṇa continuously, and Śrī Kṛṣṇa desires to do the same for Śrī Rādhā. Neither Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the lover par excellence, nor Śrī Rādhā, the pre-eminent beloved, is the cause of this spontaneous attraction, but it awakens just from seeing each other and turns into Cupid, who grinding or melting Their minds together, makes them one. Their hearts and minds, desiring only to give happiness to one another, become non-different from each other. At that time, They become obsessed with desire to engage in loving pastimes and They forget all else except meeting together. In essence, at that time, Śrī Kṛṣṇa forgets that He is a hero, or lover, and Śrī Rādhā also loses the feeling that She is a heroine, or beloved. “Se-saba prema-kāhinī – these are all topics of prema.”
“O sakhī! If you think that, due to Our separation from each other, Śrī Kṛṣṇa has forgotten all of Our previous loving affairs, please tell Him that the influence of Mathurā is such that it causes everyone who goes there to forget their previous existence. If you go, then kindly remind Him that at the time of Our first meeting there was no messenger between Us, nor did I request anyone to arrange Our meeting. Indeed, only Our great mutual eagerness to meet one another, or Cupid’s five arrows, were Our via media and the one and only cause.”
This demonstrates Śrī Rādhā’s feminine virtue of dedication (lalanā-niṣṭha) to meet Śrī Kṛṣṇa, known as mañjiṣṭhā-rāga.
Furthermore, one can see that this special attraction (rāga) in Her heart is completely pure, free from material designations and independent of everything else. No helper, messenger, or other intermediary was required to facilitate Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s meeting.
Sohi. “O sakhī, now Kṛṣṇa has lost His intense attraction for Me. Due to the powerful influence of this anurāga, He came to Me on His own, without the intervention of anyone else, but now He has forgotten all this.” At this time of separation, the attachment (rāga) of meeting has transformed into an exceptional attachment (vi-rāga or viccheda-gata-rāga, a very special, unbroken and unlimited attraction felt in separation), otherwise named adhirūḍha-bhāva – highly elevated ecstatic love. Here, this virāga, or adhirūḍha-bhāva, is addressed as a female friend (sakhī) and asked to become a messenger to Kṛṣṇa: “Tuṅhu bheli dūtī. O sakhī! You should act as My envoy. I am sending you to Him with a message. Su-purukha-premaki aichana rīti – you should go and ask Him, ‘Is it the conduct of an expert lover, a cultured gentleman, to first establish prema and then sometime later forget it?’ ” Here Śrī Rādhā is speaking in jest. The purport is, “It is completely improper for a skilled suitor like You to display such a profusion of intense love and later on, just drop it.”
All of this essentially means that at the time of meeting, rāga, or attraction, remains as an emissary in the form of Cupid. Then, during separation, that rāga awakens up to the stage of adhirūḍha-bhāva and ultimately becomes prema-vilāsa-vivarta. Moreover, while experiencing feelings of separation, if one has a vision within the heart (sphūrti) of meeting, then that vision takes the form of a female messenger. Śrī Rādhā addresses this messenger as sakhī (dear friend), and then speaks with her. The happiness that one experiences in this state of meeting in prema-vilāsa, is, in truth, also experienced in separation. Similarly, because one becomes so absorbed in Śrī Kṛṣṇa when parted from Him, the mood of service reaches to the topmost peak. This variety of vivarta gives rise to adhirūḍha-mahābhāva. This is a type of meeting in which, for example, Śrī Rādhā, mistakes a blackish tamāla tree for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and runs to embrace it.
Upon hearing a portion of Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya’s song, Śrīman Mahāprabhu became maddened in prema. Arising, Mahāprabhu covered Śrī Rāmānanda’s mouth with His own hand. In this song, Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya reveals Śrī Rādhā’s visions in Her states of separation. The rāga described is the embodiment of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s very nature. Neither Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the lover par excellence, nor Śrī Rādhā, the pre-eminent beloved, is the cause of this rāga; rather, this rāga is self-propelling, and ascends to the stage of mādanākhya-mahābhāva. In this stage, all the bhāvas manifest in a fully jubilant state. This condition is unprecedented and indescribable because within it one directly and simultaneously experiences all of the countless types of happiness and distress that are experienced both in meeting and in separation respectively. The words nā so ramaṇa, nā hāma ramaṇī indicate all the bhāvas experienced in the fully ripened stage of meeting in prema-vilāsa, while the words ab sohi virāga indicate mutual feelings of separation.
In the commentary on such verses as “vakāre sumukhi nava-vivartaḥ – O enemy of Bakāsura, this beautiful faced maiden is manifesting a new type of transformation of love towards You,” (Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi). Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī writes vivartaḥ paripākaḥ. He defines the word vivarta as paripāka, or completely matured, meaning that the state of vivarta is a manifestation of fully matured passion. In the first act of the drama Śrī Lalita-mādhava, in the commentary on the line paurṇa putri māyāvivattau ’yaṁ, there is a discussion about prema-vilāsa-vivarta. Anya dharma tyāyatrāropo vivarttaḥ. When a foreign quality is superimposed upon something, it is called vivarta. The meaning of prema is “desire,” the meaning of vilāsa is “pastimes,” and the meaning of vivarta is “a reversal.” Thus, prema-vivarta means “the culmination of loving pastimes in which the hero and heroine exchange roles, or viparīta-kāma-krīḍā.” Instead of Śrī Kṛṣṇa leading the amorous sports, Śrī Rādhikā assumes the dominant role in Their love-play. This pastime of enacting opposite roles (viparīta-vilāsa) is exceedingly high-class and pure, and no other enjoyment is more exalted. It is in this fully matured condition of loving pastimes that Śrī Rādhā said, “Nā so ramaṇa, nā hāma ramaṇī.” After that the intolerable state of separation described by the words ab sohi virāga appeared in Her life. Therefore, to prevent this being spoken out loud, Śrīman Mahāprabhu covered Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya’s mouth.
Śacīnandana Śrī Gaurasundara is the combined form of rasa-rāja Śrī Kṛṣṇa and mahābhāva-svarūpiṇī Śrī Rādhā. “Rādhā-bhāva-dyuti-suvalitaṁ naumi kṛṣṇa-svarūpam – I bow down to that Śrī Gaurasundara who has manifested Himself with the moods and luster of Śrī Rādhā although He is Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself” (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 4.55). However, Śrī Gaurahari wished to conceal His nature as being Śrī Kṛṣṇa internally, covered by a golden complexion. He did not want Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya to reveal His identity, so He covered Rāmānanda’s mouth before he could utter this fact.
Jagad-guru Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda says that there is also another reason why Śrīman Mahāprabhu covered Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya’s mouth: it remains completely impossible for members of the sampradāya of the mundane prākṛta-sahajiyās to follow the conception of vilāsa-vivarta (reversal of roles during the pastimes) and vilāsa-vaicitrya (variegatedness within the pastimes) of the different types of adhirūḍha-mahābhāva such as mādana (meeting) and mohana (separation), which Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya had explained. To reveal such highly and extraordinarily confidential, indescribable, and unprecedented subject matter about the path of devotional service to dull-headed philosophical speculators is always improper. For this very reason, Śrīman Mahāprabhu covered Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya’s mouth to prevent him from speaking further.
Śrī Kavi Karṇapūra elaborates on this in his drama Śrī Caitanya-candrodaya-nāṭaka (7.87): “nirupādhi hi prema kathañcid apy upādhiṁ na sahate iti pūrvārdha bhagavatoḥ rādhā-kṛṣṇayor anupādhi prema śrutvā tad eva puruṣārthī-kṛtaṁ, bhagavatā mukha-pidhānañcāsya tad-rahasyatva-prakāśakam – The absolute love that Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa bear for one another is completely pure and free from any imperfection. Just by hearing about it, Śrī Caitanya-deva could understand that this prema was the ultimate spiritual attainment. After hearing the most confidential subject matter of prema as issued from the mouth of Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya, Śrīman Mahāprabhu immediately covered the speaker’s mouth. The Lord did not want that the supremely confidential topics of Śrī Rādhā’s extraordinary prema-vilāsa be broadcasted everywhere.” In verse 83 of this same drama it states:
sakhi na sa ramaṇo nāṭaṁ
madano nidi peṣa balāt
ahaṁ kāntā kāntas tvam iti na tadānīṁ matir abhūn
mano-vṛttir luptā tvam aham iti nau dhīr api hatā
bhavān bhartā bhāryāham iti yad idānīṁ vyavasitas
tathāpi prāṇānāṁ sthitir iti vicitraṁ kim aparam
Śrī Rādhā says, “I no longer think, ‘I am Your beloved and You are My beloved.’ For Us the conception of ‘I’ and ‘You’ is now destroyed. There is no longer any distinction between Us. It seems like Cupid has ground Our hearts together with great vigor, while sprinkling them with the ambrosia of perfect love.
“O friend, the feeling that He is My lover and I am His beloved has not come to My mind. My mind and intelligence have ceased to function. Now I am thinking He is My beloved, and I am His beloved, but when prema strongly manifests then Our beings melt together. When We are apart We think We are two, but when meeting We become one. How astonishing this is!”
The intent behind Śrī Rādhā’s words is that right from childhood there was some kāma, or amorous desire, present in Her heart. The very first time Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa saw each other, lust sprouted; rāga awoke with Their first exchange of glances. They had not actually met yet. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī calls this state pūrva-rāga. This rāga grew with each day until it became full-blown, bringing Śrī Rādhā to say: “nā so ramaṇa, nā hāma ramaṇī – Śrī Kṛṣṇa is not My lover, and I am not His mistress. Kandarpa (the transcendental Cupid) has melted both of Our hearts and made them one. The feeling no longer remains that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the ramaṇa, the hero who initiates amorous attraction (rati), and I (Rādhā) am the ramaṇī or the heroine, the bestower of rati, or intimate enjoyment. In the absence of such feelings, Cupid has ground Our hearts together and made them one, and in the ensuing powder, the enjoyer (ramaṇa) or the enjoyed (ramaṇī) are not separate. Now, abandoned by Śrī Kṛṣṇa, this separation has herself become the female messenger. Respectable persons’ dealings in love are not like this.”
rādhāyā bhavataś ca citta-jatunī svedair vilāpya kramād
yuñjann adri-nikuñja-kuñjara-pate nirdhūta-bheda-bhramam
citrāya svayamambaraṁ jayad iha brahmāṇḍa-harmyodare
bhūyobhir nava-rāga-hiṅgula-bharaiḥ śṛṅgāra-kāruḥ kṛtī
“ ‘O King of mad elephants (Śrī Kṛṣṇa), who dallies in Govardhana’s love bowers, there is an accomplished artist of the name śṛṅgāra-rasa (Kāmadeva) and upon the fire generated from the heat of the emotions coming from both You and Śrī Rādhā, he has slowly melted the shellac-like hearts of You both and made them one. Then mixing that with profuse quantities of the kuṅkuma of Your ever-fresh driving love, he is painting an astonishing picture upon the inner walls of the grand temple of the universe.’ ”
The topmost special manifestation of mahābhāva is called mādanākhya. When Śrīman Mahāprabhu asked the final question about prema, He covered Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya’s mouth just when He received that most complete answer.
In the verse at hand, Śrī Vṛndā-devī describes the joyful sweetness of mahābhāva. Once, when Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa were tasting Their mutual sweetness, Their bodies became beautifully decorated with the fully blazing symptoms of rapture, or uddīpta-sāttvika-bhāvas. To paint a palace red, and wishing to delight everyone, an artist places shellac in a fire, and prepares an extraordinarily shining mixture by completely blending the melted shellac with a red dye. In just the same way, the artist of the personified amorous mellow places the shellac of Śrī Rādhā’s and Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s hearts, which are completely full of mahābhāva, into the fire of prema and slowly melts them into one. He then mixes this with the color of Their eternally ever-fresh rāga, or Their compelling attraction for each other, and by so doing, he creates an astonishingly wonderful mixture.
Adri-nikuñja-kuñjara-pate. Śrī Vṛndā-devī has addressed Śrī Kṛṣṇa as the master of the forest bowers at Govardhana. Just as an intoxicated king of elephants independently sports with many she-elephants, similarly Śrī Kṛṣṇa, intoxicated with prema, sports with Śrī Rādhā in Giri-Govardhana’s secluded caves and bowers. By the heat of the fire of Their emotions – perspiration coming as a sāttvika-bhāva (ecstatic transformation) – Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s shellac-like hearts have been melted.
Hiṅgula – fresh rāga, or attraction, with which the interior and exterior of Their hearts have been even more excessively colored. Just as shellac is red through and through, similarly mañjiṣṭhā-rāga thoroughly colors both of Their hearts. This indeed is the intrinsic nature of mādanākhya-mahābhāva.
Kṛtī. Here it means “expert in his activities.” Being most adept, the artist of the personified amorous mellow has melted the shellac of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s hearts and, completely mixing them together, has added the color of Their ever-fresh, compelling mutual attraction (rāga). A skilled artist will paint the interior of a royal palace with wonderfully beautiful and variegated illustrations, which completely astonish the materialists. In the same way, the artist of the personified amorous mellow has painted a picture using Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s hearts, which, by the influence of Their prema, have attained mahābhāva. Their hearts have become so completely amalgamated that one can no longer distinguish between them. The artist of the personified amorous mellow did so with a particular intention: all devotees throughout the world should be amazed upon realizing that, due to the agitation caused by mahābhāva’s activities, Their hearts have been decorated and melted together.