This Govinda-līlāmṛta is our protector and the giver of soul food. If people have desire for this or no desire, if they understand this or not, it does not matter, the soul cannot drink or accept any other rasa. By taking jaḍa rasa, body-builders build the body and mind-builders build their minds, but this is not permanent. This doesn’t give relief, not even temporary relief; this is cheating. Therefore, our guru-varga have explained these pastimes of Rādhā Kṛṣṇa in Vraja by the desire of Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
What is the process to enter this unnata-ujjvala-rasa? The soul must first drink this līlā-rasa. Even if one has no desire, simply by going to, and staying in, Līlā-bhūmi, near anurāgi sādhus, the soul will automatically become pleased and satisfied, and eagerness will come to drink this more and more. Vraja-līlā, kṛṣṇa-līlā, mostly with the Vraja-devīs, these pastimes are the most important.
Pastimes of the Lord with Dhruva, Prahlāda and other devotees are not as important. That is also līlā-rasa, but connected to Vaikuṇṭha, Ayodhyā and other places. That is also helpful. It gives treatment to the conditioned souls. How can the soul be protected? It gives some nice association. Like Gopa Kumara went to Rāma loka, and Hanumāna, Sugrīva and many others came and helped him, saying, “Stay here.” When he went to Dvārakā, it was the same; and when he went to Vaikuṇṭha, the residents there said, “Stay here in a four-armed form.”
By becoming connected to līlā-śakti and līlā-rasa, one will get power to cross māyā. Māyā-devī will then also help. She is very kind to us. She always punishes the conditioned souls in this world, just to tell them, “This place is not your permanent residence. Don’t touch or look at anything here. Why do you want to live here like Hiraṇyakaśipu? If you use things of this world for God, you can get some auspiciousness. Try to make relation with God’s pastimes places and I will arrange all favorable things for you, and all good association with the anuāgi bhaktas. But don’t misuse anything in this world. Use everything for Kṛṣṇa’s happiness.” Then Yogamāyā’s shadow, Mahāmāyā, will help — not disturb — one.
After niśānta-līlā, on one side, Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s sakhīs and mañjarīs are serving Her, and on the other side, Kṛṣṇa’s sakhās and mother are serving Him.
In the early morning, sādhakas chant harināma; but if they don’t have any service tendency, they will not progress in life. Chanting harināma means to call out, “Hare Kṛṣṇa, please come. I am calling You.” But if I do not serve or have relation with Him, I can chant and chant for millions and millions of lives without advancing.
koṭi koṭi janme kare yādi śravaṇa kīrtana
tabuta na pāya kṛṣṇa pade prema dhana
First, līlā-śakti gives a chance to be related with the devotees. They follow all 64 limbs of bhakti from early morning. They do not follow animal life. They pick flowers and make garlands, cook and offer preparations, pray and do kirtana, and speak the Lord’s glories with other devotees. They use 24 hours for God’s service. This is one simple process.
If anyone has spontaneous love and affection, they automatically serve wherever they are present. If you follow their footsteps, their anurāga will automatically come to you; and then you will not be able to stop — you will not be able to be lazy, crazy and silent, like a hill or stone. Automatically, a service tendency will come.
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja and Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja went to the Western countries. They did not instruct people to do service. Because they are Vrajavāsīs, they have an innate tendency to serve; thus, anyone who came in contact with them would begin to serve. The anurāgis give relationships with the Vrajavāsīs and Kṛṣṇa. This is called tad anurāgi jananugami. Then their services will go on nonstop. If one doesn’t have anurāga with Vraja, if one has relation with māyā, then for millions of lives one may instruct others, “Don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t eat meat.” But no one will change. How can people get anurāga, love for God? Love for God is the most important thing. But what is the process of this love?
Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhu—
dadāti pratigṛṇāti guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati
bhuṅkte bhojayate caiva ṣaḍ-vidhaṁ prīti-lakṣaṇam
Śrī Upadeśāmṛta 4
“Offering pure devotees items in accordance with their requirements, accepting remnant items given by pure devotees, revealing to pure devotees one’s confidential realizations concerning bhajana, inquiring from more advanced devotees about their confidential realizations, eating with great love the prasāda remnants tasted by śuddha-bhaktas, and lovingly feeding them prasādam –- these are the six symptoms of loving association with pure devotees.”
Love has six symptoms. This has been told, but if we have no practice of this, if we just tell this to many people, we will only be hawker speakers and useless. Therefore, tad anuāgi. How do the Vraja-devīs, mañjarīs and gopīs serve Śrīmatī Rādhārānī? Any animal, bird, monkey, deer, or even dogs and snakes, can serve Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and be favorable for Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes. They are all līlā ānukūla param, all have this anurāga and service tendency in Vraja.
Following the footsteps of the anurāgi bhaktas is called real dīkṣā. After taking dīkṣā, there is no need to give instruction, chastisement and duty to others. If one has relation with Guru, then nectar will flow from the Guru’s heart and will come into the disciple’s heart, and automatically they will run that way. Which way? To Vraja-maṇḍala, to the Vrajavāsīs. But, without service, the devotees will not feel well. They will not be able to live one minute without God’s service, because their hearts are always connected and engaged to līlā-śakti. This service is nonstop. This is the help of līlā-śakti. Līlā-śakti is present in the heart of Guru-pāda-padma. Therefore he is called Guru. If he is only greedy for name and fame, he is not a Guru.
There is no need to announce one’s glories or advertise anything. When it rains in the mountains, the water automatically finds its way to the rivers and streams, cleaning everything, and then flows towards the ocean. There is no need to make canals or drains to get the water to the ocean. The water makes its own flow, its own canal and road. It doesn’t need any help. The air flows; if you try to stop it, it is not possible. It will break all barriers and flow on its course. Similarly, if anyone becomes a follower of the anurāgis, his service will be incessant, līlā-śakti’s flow will automatically run, and if anyone tries to stop him, like making a dam, he will break it and flow, as it cannot be stopped or bound. Anurāga is the first process of bhakti.
If one has no anurāga, what to do? How long will you follow vaidhī marga? Doing everything by force without taste, after sometime, one will leave the path of bhakti, saying, “Haribol! This is horrible! This is all bogus.” Why do they feel like this? Because they have not met and made a heartfelt connection with anurāgi devotees, their life is lost. But they may have made some sukriti, and this will bring them back to sādhus. Those sādhus are doctors; they will clean the heart and give some seed of service tendency.
Without any condition, personal desire, or knowledge, if one simply takes shelter of anuāgi bhaktas, one will become connected to līlā-śakti. This is the process of rāga bhakti.
Śrīla Gurudeva would say, “Hear my hari-kathā.” By hearing the hari-kathā spoken by mahā-bhāgavatas, līlā-śakti goes inside and starts Her work. This is not anything mundane or small.
satāṁ prasaṅgān mama vīrya-saṁvido
Sādhus are expansions of sandhinī śakti. What do they distribute? What do they tell? God says, ‘This is My vīrya.’ If anyone accepts that, then taj-joṣaṇād āśv apavarga-vartmani, at once, all bad desires, false ego and anarthas run away. Then one will have a great taste to hear and follow. Then one will have no sickness. After serving, one can never be disturbed, only more eagerness to serve will come. If one has no love and affection, then anything one does will make one tired and sick. Then only to hide and enjoy, one will make some excuse. If one has no taste, then the mind will be disturbed, and one will be tired and hide.
Bhāgavata śakti and bhagavad bhakti, līlā-śakti and kriyā śakti, are active and run on without ever breaking. This is the line of bhakti.
Now, this līlā-śakti’s Govinda līlāmṛta is explained by Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī. Don’t think I am explaining this. If you think this, it is much better that you beat me with shoes or a broom. Don’t think this is my class, or I am telling this. No. Līlā-śakti is helping you and also me. I am hearing, this is also helpful for me. If you hear, this līlā-śakti will certainly help you as well.
This is the arrangement of Guru-pāda-padma, the Vaiṣṇavas and God. To help us, they have arranged this program. Like parents arrange milk, bread, biscuits and jam for their babies. Babies are hungry — and they have a strong appetite. They need food. So the parents feed their children. In the same way, Guru-pāda-padma is our spiritual father, and he gives us this līlā-śakti as our baby food. We are the small babies of Śrī Guru. Therefore, Guru-pāda-padma arranges all this tasteful food from līlā-śakti. This is his program. He is the distributor. He is our caretaker and protector. If we go far away from Śrīla Gurudeva, and independently try to do anything, we will become hopeless, useless and bogus. Nothing will be helpful. Any society which does so will be bogus and will not run on for a long time. But līlā-śakti will be continuous and permanent if one is under guidance of Guru-pāda-padma, and following his desire. He is our protector, like a father protects his babies. Pray to līlā-śakti, pray not to go distance from him, Vraja, the Vrajavāsīs and Vraja-devīs. Follow their footsteps. If we do so, we are very lucky. Otherwise, mundane demons will catch us by force or trick, and will smash us, make us into dry straw, and throw us out in old homes, cremation places or graveyards. If one is ready to make a relationship with God, then Guru-pāda-padma will arrange everything. When one leaves the body, he will cross beyond this world. There will be no tension or problem. One will naturally do kirtana and smaraṇa, and then leave this world and go to Vraja. And while staying in one’s present body, one will have no relation with anyone in this world, but only with those of Vraja. This is called ānanda-śakti, the influence and blessings of kriyā-śakti Śrīmatī Rādhārānī.
In the morning, Viśākhā Devī quarrels with Jaṭilā and Kutila in Yāvaṭa. Jaṭilā orders Rādhārānī around, “Quickly get up, go to work in Nanda-bhavana, go worship the sun; otherwise, we will remain poor beggars. I am a widow. No one will accept my pūjā. But You are helpful for us.”
Mukhara came from Varsānā, and Jaṭilā thought, “Certainly she will be bringing many expensive gifts for Rādhā.”
Jaṭilā is very greedy. Mukhara said, “I arranged many things. Don’t worry. After Rādhārānī’s bath, I will give Her a new dress and ornaments.”
The sakhīs took off Rādhārānī’s ornaments and the previous day’s dress, then Jaṭilā asked, “This kaustubha maṇi is very shiny and bright. This is not Rādhā’s, this is Nanda-nandana’s.”
“No, She worshipped Nila Mādhava, and He gave this as a gift. This is very costly. If you bring a big pot and pray to this maṇi, the kaustubha maṇi will fill the pot with gold.”
She did so and, seeing all the gold, began to dance. Then Kakkhaṭī came and stole the jewel and ran away, and Jaṭilā beat her head against the stone, “I have lost everything.”
Many animals came and entered in Yāvaṭa. She called Abhimanyu, but he did not come. He knows, “My mother and sister are crazy. They always complain and disturb everyone.”
Mukhara saw Śrīmatī wearing a yellow cloth and became angry, “Why is Rādhā wearing this yellow cloth?”
Lalitā said, “Old blind lady, sunlight is coming from the windows and makes the cloth look yellow, but it is really blue.”
Rati Mañjarī came from Nanda-bhavana with Rādhārānī’s blue cloth. In Nanda-bhavana, Yaśodā Mātā had asked, “Where did this cloth come from? Men never wear blue cloth like this. How did this come to Kṛṣṇa? Kṛṣṇa sleeps alone. No others come here. How did this cloth get here?”
Then Rati Mañjarī stole this cloth when Yaśodā Mātā wasn’t looking and ran with it to Yāvaṭa, and then took the yellow cloth.
The sakhīs and mañjarīs arranged many pastes, ointments, flowers and so forth to bathe Śrīmatī Rādhārānī.
Jaṭilā said, “This is good. If my Rādhā doesn’t bathe nicely, She won’t become strong. But don’t use anything from my house.”
After bathing Śrīmatī, the gopīs decorate Her with tilaka and designs. Don’t think these are only herbal ointments and pastes. Now also, if you go to Jaipura, Govindadeva, Gopinātha and Rādhā Dāmodara, you can see, after Their abhiṣeka, the pujārīs decorate them with tilaka made from very fine powders of silver and gold. They use sandal paste, camphor and other fragrances. Then they burn silver and other metals. Now scientists use these metals for medicine.
The gopīs use ash of expensive metals and smear it on Śrīmatī’s body, and use pastes to make designs on Her body. The gopīs take dry cow dung, put it in a clay pot with gold, cover it with cloth and clay, and then put it in the fire. They put it in the fire many times like this, until all the gold becomes ash. The ash of gold appears to be ordinary, but if you drink a little bit of this ash with water, your body will become very strong. If you smear this ash on the body, then you will become very powerful.
The gopīs use ash from pearls, gold, silver and costly things, and smear this mixed with perfumes on Śrīmatī Rādhārānī so She will not feel any cold or heat. They use sandal oil. This is very nice. If you put one drop of sandal oil in your nose in the summer, your body and brain will become cool.
Now people are lazy and crazy, and don’t do anything. Before, people would take out neem oil from the berries on the neem trees. Now they use machines, but before they took this out by hand and smeared the oil on the body.
Viśākhā-devī smears camphor, saffron and five types of sandal on Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s body. They use camphor that comes from banana trees, vansa locana from bamboo, and gorocanā from cow’s hooves that comes on the day of svāti nakṣatra.
People who don’t have any service tendency or knowledge of how to serve think, “Only bathing in water is enough.”
Viśākhā-devī places sindhura on Śrīmatī’s hair part with saffron flower pollen and sandal oil. The gopīs clean Śrīmatī’s cheeks from the previous day’s decorations with a mixture of cow milk and chickpea flour. This cleans very quickly, like soap. Otherwise, they make certain flower petals into ash. The ash becomes white, and they use that to wash their cloth or bodies.
The gopīs bathe Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and decorate Her body. With musk, sandal paste, camphor and aguru, they make many designs on Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s cheeks and put tilaka on Her forehead. Her cheeks have many designs for attracting Kṛṣṇa. This is called kāma yantra. Seeing this, Kṛṣṇa’s eyes will not go any other way. He will be fixated there. Therefore Viśākhā Devī makes nice art. Then Citrā -sakhī decorates Śrīmatī’s breasts with designs of flowers, mango blossoms, lotuses, crescent-moons, dolphins and so forth. She decorates Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s chest, neck and abdomen with flower designs. Citrā Devī dips newly sprouted red mango leaves full of nectar in different pastes and uses this to decorate Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. This becomes fixed and will not come off easily. These leaves have honey inside them. When they touch the body, the body becomes strong.
Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s bosom is like a treasure chest. Kavirāja Gosvāmī describes that, by the movement of the two bows of Śrīmatī’s eyebrows, Cupid lost all strength and laid aside his flower arrows and bow. The designs on Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s chest are described to be like these weapons of Cupid. So much wealth is there. It should not be shown to anyone — it is very secret — therefore the gopīs’ carefully cover Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s chest with a red-jeweled bodice. Kavirāja Gosvāmī likens Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s covered chest to two mountains decorated by a curved rainbow at sunset. Jaṭilā and Kutila looked in wonder at Śrīmatī’s beauty after She had been bathed and dressed, thinking, “Who is this Devī?” They called Abhimanyu, “Come soon, a goddess has appeared in our house.” They could not believe it was Rādhārānī. “This Devī has not been seen before.” They went to the nearby houses and told, “Come and see, a goddess has appeared in our house.”
How was Her face? How is Her decoration? She was effulgent, glowing like molten gold. Abhimanyu came and offered prostrated obeisance. Jaṭilā offered praṇāma again and again, and Kutila performed Her parikramā and offered puṣpāñjali at Her feet. Why? Rādhārānī had just come out of Her room after bathing and being decorated. As She left Yāvaṭa on the way to Nandagrāma, the sakhīs and mañjarīs spread rose petals and jasmine flowers on the road.
Jaṭilā thought, “I am very fortunate. I lost many things, but at least I have this great jewel. I have never seen such a sight. Where did this Devī come from? How did She come in my house?”
She called, “Rādhārānī, quickly come and offer praṇāma to this Devī.”
When Śrīmatī did not come, Jaṭilā called, “Rādhe, where are You hiding? Come and take a benediction. This Devī’s darśana is rarely available. Come quickly, She is leaving, they are sprinkling flowers on Her path.”
Devī is going to Nandagrāma. Why? She is going to give darśana to Nanda Nandana. This was arranged by Bhagavatī Paurṇamāsī Devī. From the sky, the demigods and gandharvas offer flowers.
That līlā protects us. May that darśana be present in our hearts. If that līlā-śakti doesn’t give us entrance, it will never be possible to go to Yāvaṭa, Tera Kadamba, and on the pathway to Nanda-bhavana with Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and the Vraja-devīs.
Yaśodā Mātā stands on top of the hill and watches the gopīs arrive. With mṛdaṅga, lutes, sitars, guitars, flutes and so forth, the sakhīs come, while singing and playing musical instruments. The sakhīs spray rose water as they come, making the road very nice.
Dāsa Gosvāmī prays, “When will I remember those pastimes incessantly and be there, following Śrīmatī Rādhārānī as She goes step by step. I will decorate the pathway She treads. May Her feet fall on my chest. I will give up my life if there is any sharp stone that She steps on.”
This is not only speculation. The rāga-bhaktas perform service internally, and this manifests outwardly. When Caitanya-candra was on the way to Vṛndāvana from Jagannātha Purī, Nrsimhananda Brahmacārī made a pathway. One day, Nrsimhananda Brahmacārī said, “Now Mahāprabhu will go to Rāma Keli and then come back to Vṛndāvana. He will not continue.”
Anuāgi bhaktas always serve with anurāga. They have a relation with Rādhā Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes.
Jaṭilā, Kutila and Abhimanyu prayed, ‘Devī, today You have appeared and given us darśana.
What can we offer You? We offer You our hearts. Please accept us.”
Mukhara thought, “Where is my granddaughter? Why hasn’t She come out?”
Once, Caitanya Mahāprabhu declared in Navadvīpa-dhāma, “Tonight I will dance. Those who have controlled their senses should come.”
But all replied, “I am not qualified.”
Then Mahāprabhu said, “If anyone comes and witnesses My dancing, his senses will become controlled.”
The devotees then came. Saci Mātā came, but she did not understand. “Who is this? Is this my Nimāi, my Gaurahari?” Why?
Mahāprabhu appeared in the form and dress of Mahā Lakṣmī, and danced before the devotees.
Similarly, Śrīmatī Rādhārānī carries Nanda-nandana Kṛṣṇa in Her heart. The sun’s rays and light illuminate the form of the sun. One can only see the sun by the power of the sun. It is not possible for ordinary people to perceive the form of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. If She mercifully bestows Her darśana, then people can understand.
Nārada Ṛṣi, Prahlāda Mahārāja, Śuka, and Vyasadeva pray to Her from a distance. But Rati Mañjarī, Anaṅga, Kastūrī, Kanaka, Ramaṇa, and the other mañjarīs all serve and play with Her. Therefore in this sampradāya, if anyone becomes greedy for Rādhārānī’s anuragamayi sevā as Her maidservant, mañjarī, then they will certainly achieve a chance for Her darśana and service. This will be natural. There will be no need of hard work and austerity. Līlā-bhūmi and līlā-śakti help us all.
As there are many stars that show their faces in the evening sky, the sakhīs and mañjarīs surround Śrīmatī Rādhārānī on four sides, while performing kirtana, on the way to Nanda-bhavana.
Offered in remembrance of Śrīla Gurudeva
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]