Srila Jiva Goswami Prabhu says here that Lalita and the other antaranga Gopis, who are the manifestations of svarupa-sakti, knew the symbols on Krsna’s feet and Srimati Radhika’s feet, they knew these second footprints were Srimati Radharani’s. Some of the other gopis who were vipaksa, were very upset and disturbed.
HE WHO CONTROLS KRSNA
Those who were tatastha, neutral to Radha and Krsna, meaning favourable to both, were happy serving Krsna, but they had became very astonished on seeing Radharani had gone with Krsna and that He had given Her special favour. They meditated on these feet and brought them into their hearts and then developed great eagerness. They began to think; “Who is so dear to the Lord? Who has done such great worship, that the Lord has been controlled by Her? What power does this Gopi have? What worship has She performed? How has She acquired the Lord? What is the process of Her worship? By Her worship She has pleased Him, so how can we do the same? Krsna is Sri Hari, one who steals all sadness.
Bhagavan Hari gives all bliss. She has pleased Sri Hari or Sri Narayana.”
It is said, anayārādhito nūnaṁ bhagavān harir īśvaraḥ, they are praying to Bhagavan Sri Hari who is Isvara – the Supreme Controller. They say, “This Gopi has controlled Him with Her love. Not only Narayana, but He is Govinda dayat anyar govinda anyadhraha This Gopi has pleased the Lord so much that She has received the loving relation of Govinda, the Avatari, the root of all incarnations. By Her Aradhana – worship, She has controlled Sri Krsna.” Who was that worshipper? That was Sri Radha.
Even though Sukadeva Goswami was hiding Radharani’s name and not saying it directly, in this verse he speaks Her name indirectly. When the Gopis find Her footprints and later see Her two footprints disappear, they say anayārādhito nūnaṁ. In this way Srimati Radharani’s name is hidden within this verse.
Govinda is always present and in all pores of the Gopis bodies, still He is not present before them directly, so they desired to meet with Him. Even though the Lord was present within their hearts and minds and throughout their bodies they thought, “Oh Sri Hari has left with a very dearly beloved of His. She is so powerful and we should take Her shelter.”
SVAPAKSA GOPIS COULD RECOGNIZE RADHARANI’S FOOTPRINTS
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura describes that when the Gopis saw the lotus footprints of Vrsabhanu-nandini some, the svapaksa Gopis, understood that they were the footprints of Srimati Radharani. There were many Gopis there, millions of them. Of those, the svapaksa Gopis did not say anything but they were extremely happy knowing that their Srimati Radhika was with Krsna. However they did not disclose it openly. They thought, “Oh how fortunate we are that Sri Radha is with Krsna.” Then in their minds the svapaksa Gopis began to worship Srimati Radharani and Krsna.
The meaning of Isvara is He who fulfils the desires of the devotees, and Hari means He who destroys all the sufferings of the devotees. They thought, “Bhagavan Sri Narayana was worshipped by such a personality and by that beloved’s worship He was completely controlled. Tan no bhihaya, we are so happy that our Isvari, our Srimati Radhika, is now being worshiped by Krsna.”
radha iti radha What is Radha? Radha means love. She has so much love or radha that there is no limit. Sukadeva Goswami explains by Her love the Lord Himself was controlled.
Sukadeva Goswami says, “Look, who is the greatest worshiper?” It is that person who has the most love, and that is Srimati Radhika. Her name itself means love. So Sukadeva Goswami manifested Her name in a hidden way. The gopis gave up all their pride and deferred to Srimati Radhika. They saw that Syamasundara was now under Her dominion.
The Lord has sri, meaning six kinds of opulence or bhaga. He has all beauty, strength, wealth, knowledge, fame and renunciation. When the Gopis saw the symbols on Radharani’s feet, they became absorbed in them. They also meditated on Sri Krsna’s symbols. They meditated on the umbrella, the barley corn, the goad, the disc, the conch, the lotus, the flag, the flower and so forth.
SYMBOLS ON RADHA AND KRSNA’S FEET
Radharani has nineteen symbols on Her feet. Seeing these lotus feet the gopis meditated on Her footprints and the symbols on Her feet and worshiped them. On Her left foot there is the sankha conch, the club, the bedi raised platform, the kunda, the devi-murti, the parvat hill, the chariot and matsya the fish. There are eleven symbols on the right foot and eight symbols on the left foot. The form of Bahiranga-sakti Mahamaya – the external potency of the Lord – is a symbol on Srimati Radhika’s left foot. Her asana – seat – is also there.
By meditating on these lotus feet and taking shelter of them, all transcendental qualities will manifest within our heart. If these qualities do not come within us then how will we perform worship? How will we perform our sadhana? We need some special qualification to do real Aradhana, which is to worship with love. We need some strength or ability. Where will that come from?
Therefore it is shown how Radharani worshiped Sri Krsna and achieved the greatest fortune.
Krsna went away alone with Radharani, leaving all the other Gopis aside. The Gopis began to praise Sri Radha and glorify Her. They meditated on Her footprints, in other words they took a vow to take shelter of Her.
Some Gopis said, “Oh sakhi, by His lotus feet Bhagavan Krsna has touched this Vraja dhama and the dhama has become glorious and so fortunate. Brahma, Sankara, Laksmi and so forth all desire the shelter of this dhama and they take this dust on their heads. Brahma, Siva and the other demigods all saw no other means of good fortune. They thought, ‘Oh we shall take the dust of the feet of the Lord and apply it on our bodies.’”
KRSNA WORSHIPS RADHIKA’S FEET
What does the Lord do? Lord Govinda takes the dust of Srimati Radhika and the gopis and worships that dust. They also have this Holi festival. At the time of the Holi festival, before Holi starts, Krsna goes and takes the dust of Srimati Radhika’s feet. Before Holi there are nine days. In those nine days Krsna arrives in Varshana and once arriving there He worships Srimati Radhika. On naumi, the ninth day, He meditates on Her and takes different powders like kumkum, itdra, parag, fragrant flower pollens, keshar, saffron powder, sandal powder and prays for the chance to apply them on Her feet and take the dust from Her feet. He says; “If one desires happiness, peace and all good qualities in their life then certainly they must worship this Goddess.” Purnamasi Devi had told Him this. Purnamasi said; “This is Holi. If you want to follow Holi then this is the real Holi.”
Over the course of time this real tradition was gradually lost and now when people do Holi you can not find Radharani and Krsna anywhere. These days people go to their elders or parents and offer flower pollen or kumkum to their feet and offer pranams to them and take that dust on their head.
Krsna took these things and worhipped Radharani’s feet. Even in Dwaraka Krsna had a fever and so prayed to Narada to receive the dust of the Vraja-basis feet. He applied that dust all over His body. Krsna said; “I will always worship this dust.”
Caitanya Mahaprabhu said; “If we do not take this gopi-candana or gopi-tilak, the dust of the lotus feet of the Vraja-devis, on our body, then this body will be just like a corpse for worms and one will always suffer in hellish conditions.”
There are three kinds of fire, or sufferings, in this world. Fire or sufferings from our own self – our minds, desires, anxieties, then fire from others and nature, and fire from our karma. If we want relief from all these fires then what can we do? Just as Krsna said He had a fever and asked for this dust, in the same way we are burning in this world and if we want relief from these fires of suffering, then we must take the dust of the lotus feet of the gopis and apply that dust on our bodies.
When Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s students were coming to school He saw some of them without tilak. He said; “I will not teach you like this. If you are not wearing tilak it means you have not done your gayatri. You have not applied this tilak on your body so I will not teach you. You must go back and do this first.”
When the Gopis saw the footprints of Srimati Radhika, then their desire increased for Her shelter, and they knew that through this they could then have the mercy of Krsna. They thought, “Oh not only has this Gopi worshiped Krsna, Krsna Himself has worshiped Her. That Isvara, the Supreme Lord of all Lords, He Himself has worshiped this Gopi (Sri Radha).” That is the real meaning, that Krsna worshiped Srimati Radhika and the gopis saw this.
Siva Thakur told Parvati listen:
viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param,
tasmāt parataraṁ devi
(Padma Purāṇa, CC Madhya 11.31, Laghu-bhāgavatāmṛta 2.4)
Worship of Visnu is considered the greatest kind of worship of all Gods as He is the greatest of all Gods. But even greater than the worship of Visnu, is the worship of His beloveds who are considered tadiya, or very dear to Him. There is tadiya and madiya, or those who are His, and those who consider Him to be theirs. That is Srimati Radhika and Her worship is the greatest of all.
TRUE OBSERVENCE OF HOLI LILA
For one day only Krsna worshiped Srimati Radhika’s lotus feet and took the dust from Her feet and performed the Holi Lila. The Holi Lila in Vraja goes on for one month at least. Krsna Himself teaches everyone to take the shelter of Srimati Radhika in this way.
Some people take cow dung, dirt or bricks and throw these things, but those who are intelligent and want to understand and properly follow Holi, then they will worship Srimati Radhika’s lotus feet and take the dust of those lotus feet and apply it on their head, that is true Holi.
Before Holi we offer a dipa – ghee lamp. Why? Because Holi is also the aunt of Prahlada Maharaja. She was a demoness and her brother told her to kill Prahlada because she had a boon, through her austerities, that she could not be burnt by fire. She took Prahlada on her lap and went inside a temple of sandal. She told them to light the temple on fire at evening time and Prahlada would burn and she would be fine due to her boon.
She said to Prahlada, “Oh Prahlada, none of the demons like you, but I love you so much. Sri Hari comes in the night of purnima and we worship Him at that time, so let us go. Narayana is the Absolute Truth, I am not speaking any lies. Come with me. We can go and worship Visnu together. We will make a sandalwood temple and worship Him there.”
Prahlada said, “Will you show me Sri Hari? Does He come? Do you know Him?” She said, “Yes let us go. Shall I make a temple for Him?” Prahlada replied, “Yes! Please make a temple and we will go there and worship together.” Holika made the temple and told her brother, “Oh Hiranyakasipu, arrange all the soldiers and when I go inside the temple with Prahlada, lock the gate and put lots of wood and ghee on all sides. As soon as I knock on the back of the temple then light everything on fire and Prahlada will certainly burn. You have tried so many ways to kill him and it has not been possible, but this will work.”
All blessings, boons, sukriti, auspiciousness and good qualities, everything is destroyed if there is malice for someone. None of these things will work if that is there. Holika hated Prahlada Maharaja and did not understand that her boon would not work because of this. She thought she would be safe from the fire.
Prahlada was a very beautiful young boy and she took him in her arms and sat down in the temple. Prahlada was happily chanting the Lord’s names. Where the Lord’s names are being chanted demons will fall asleep. Where there is harikatha going on then demonic people will immediately start to fall asleep and snore. This is the first symptom of a demon or a raksasa.
Holika began to fall asleep as Prahlada chanted. Her head began to nod falling forwards and backwards. Then she fell backwards and her head hit the wood. She was a big demon so when her head hit the wood it made a loud knocking sound and the soldiers thought this was her indication to now light the fire.
Hiranyakasipu had told the demons that when the temple burns Hari would try and run out and escape, so when He comes out then they should try and kill Him. The demons set the temple on fire on all sides. It was late at night and they saw all the shadows dancing from the fire. The fire was burning so bright, that when one demon saw another demon, he thought it was Lord Hari running out of the temple. They were so afraid, that they attacked and killed each other.
The next morning when Hiranyakasipu came he saw everything was ash. All his soldiers were dead and burnt, along with his sister Holika who was also burnt to ash. But Prahlada was sitting there peacefully chanting. At that time all the demigods arrived there and they took the dust from Prahlada’s feet applying it on their bodies.
This is the origin of one Holi Lila. There are two things here, first His name is Prahlada and second, hladini-sakti means the bliss potency of Srimati Radhika, or the pleasure potency of the Lord. His name contains ‘ahlad’ which means pleasure. In the prayers of Prahlada Maharaja and Lord Nrsimhadeva we hear the verse: Prahladaāhlāda-dāyine (Nṛsiṁha Purāṇa)
Prahlada is he who gives ahlad – bliss, or hladini to Lord Nrsimhadeva. Nrsimhadeva also gives ananda-sakti to Prahlada. Because of his connection to svarupa-sakti and the fountainhead of svarupa-sakti is Srimati Radhika, then this pastime is also called Holi Lila.
To follow real Holi we also take the dust of the sadhus, and those who are connected to Srimati Radhika, and this is real Holi. Worship the dust of Vraja, and worship the Vraja-devis. By worshiping them and attaining the dust of the feet of the gopis, then all inauspiciousness will be destroyed, all ignorance will be destroyed, all suffering will be destroyed. This happens for that person who takes the dust of Vraja on their head.
Sridhara Swami comments that when the Gopis saw the footprints of the Lord, one sakhi said; “Oh sakhi, the dust of the feet of Krsna and His beloved’s is so glorious. Brahma and the demigods take this dust on their heads. We should also take this dust and put it upon our heads and pray to this dust, then we may receive the fortune of seeing Sri Krsna.”
Those gopis who were tatastha – inclined towards Sri Radha and Sri Krsna equally and also considered neutral to Radharani – said, “Oh how glorious this beloved is!” dhanyati-dhanya means the topmost pinnacle of all good fortune. The tatastha Gopis thought; “Oh we have seen Krsna and how glorious and effulgent He is. How dear this beloved must be? He has taken Her away from all of us.”
The devotees have so much power that they can bring the Lord into the hearts of other sadhakas. The Lord does not do this on His own. The devotees grant bhakti and then the Lord will enter that person’s heart. The devotees are so powerful.
“To be freed from all fear, Brahma, Siva Thakur, and the other demigods take the dust of the Lord’s feet on their heads. Ramadi, Lakshmi Devi Herself, also does this. She was not able to not enter Vrindavan and enter the rasa-lila, even she could not attain it. Today however, Govinda Himself, by the power of His beloved’s love and worship, has taken that beloved with Him away from us and now this Earth is purified and glorious because of this dust of His feet.;
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that seeing Krsna’s footprints the tatastha Gopis said, “Oh this whole land is so fortunate now.”
When Krsna would come back from grazing the cows and calves, then the Gopis would pray to Krsna’s lotus feet. At that time the dust from all the calves hooves and sakha’s feet was in the air and all over Krsna’s limbs. He was so beautiful and enchanting at that time.
The Gopis meditate on this dust and Krsna’s beautiful form. They thought; “Today we will all take shelter of this dust and then we can attain Sri Krsna. Then our separation and the fire burning in our hearts will be extinguished.”
SVAPAKSA, TATASTHA, VIPAKSA AND SUHRT GOPIS
Another Gopi said; “Oh sakhis, this sakhi that Krsna has taken away alone has bound Sri Krsna to Herself. Just see here are Her footprints! Now we should take shelter of Her footprints.”
There are the svapaksa, tatastha, vipaksa and suhrt gopis. Those who are in Srimati Radhika’s group are the svapaksa gopis. Those who are neutral are the tatastha gopis. Those who are opposed are the vipaksa gopis.
How will viraha, separation go far away? By taking shelter of the dust. The gopis thought, “How can we become dear to Her? Those who will be dear to Her will receive Her mercy and affection. How can we become dear to Her like that? Did the Lord ever embrace Brahma? We have never heard this.”
Just taking the foot dust is not enough. If a suffering person comes to the Lord, the Lord or sadhus may relieve them of their suffering and give them some place, food, medicine and then send them on their way, but it does not mean they embrace them and have a dear and loving relationship with them. This is another thing and not so easy to attain. We may get other things easily, but to become a beloved and a family member of the Lord and His devotees, is not so easy. Those who are like this and have achieved that position, they can understand the meaning of this, and how sweet it is. We should pray; “How can I become dear to the Lord like this?”
The vipaksa gopis who are opposed to Srimati Radhika like Candravali and so forth said, “Oh these footprints we see are giving so much pain in our hearts. She has left alone with Krsna and this has caused us so much pain and suffering. She has stolen Krsna away from us. Krsna has never left everyone aside and gone off alone with any of us, but today He has gone with this Gopi. Oh She is so cruel! She is like a mayavi, She has bewildered Sri Krsna and kidnapped Him and stolen Her away from us.”
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says, “The svapaksa gopis were very happy and the tatastha were neutral, but the vipaksa gopis said, “She is not the dearly beloved of Krsna, but She is like a mayavi, a sorceress or temptress.”
The vipaksa gopis had this mood that, “This Gopi has stolen our Krsna away.” When they saw that Her footprints had disappeared and realized Krsna had carried Her, the vipaksa Gopis felt so much sadness mixed with jealousy that they said, “This mayavi, this temptress, has stolen away our Krsna. We saw Her footprints before but now they have disappeared. This gives us so much pain.”
In the place where Srimati Radhika’s footprints disappeared and where Krsna took Her on His shoulders, Krsna’s footprints were more deeply imprinted in the dust. Thus they understood Krsna had carried Her.
Sridhara Swami says, “Because of their jealousy the Gopis opposed to Radharani began to burn even more, like they had caught on fire. They saw that Krsna’s footprints were now deeper in the earth and so knew Krsna had taken Her on His shoulders or carried Her. This was not just matsarya, envy or jealousy, this was like a maha-roga, a disease or great sickness. They said, “Oh Krsna has taken Her on His shoulders now,” then this sickness came within them and their sadness increased.
As they proceeded further then one Gopi said, “Oh sakhi look! Krsna’s footprints are more deeply embedded in the ground. Krsna has taken His beloved on His shoulders here.” In this way the sadness and fire of separation increased in those gopis opposed to Radharani and they thought, “Who is this?”
There are four types of bhajan. Kama, dvesa, bhaya or sneha. Bhajan through kama – lust or desire, through bhaya – fear, through sneha – affection or familial ties, and through dvesa – envy or malice.
These vipaksa gopis thought, “Oh who is this wicked temptress girl?” However the other gopis were completely absorbed in prema-rasa and said, “Oh Sri Krsna must have taken Her on His shoulders so they could pick some flowers from a tree.”
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains some gopis said to the vipaksa gopis, “Why are you calling Her a mayavi? Sri Krsna has taken Her on Her shoulders, She is so exalted and so great! Why are you criticizing Her? They began to chastise the vipaksa gopis and said, “Krsna has taken Her to a solitary place. How glorious She must be that Krsna, the Lord of all Lords, has taken Her and is worshiping Her, serving Her, and carrying Her.”
“Worldly people are always moving in this world with their relatives and serving everyone, but it is said that in this world the living entities are always carrying their wives and children on their shoulders, and carrying the burden of everyone in this world in their worldly affairs.”
“On the other hand, Sri Krsna is carrying His beloved in the spiritual world. The Lord of all Lords is carrying Her. How fortunate She must be and how glorious She is? We should take shelter of Her. That person who understands this is a mahatma – an exalted soul. Krsna is controlled by Her and so She is therefore so great. You should not criticize Her. Krsna carried Her so She could pick flowers, and He also decorated Her with flowers, so She is a mahatma – very exalted.”
Excerpted from the up and coming Bhakta Bandav publication, “Rasa Pancadhyayi”
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