Hari-katha Articles Srimati's Abhiseka - Govinda-lilamrta

Srimati’s Abhiseka – Govinda-lilamrta

Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī is duly adorned with the title ‘Kavirāja’. He is indeed the king of poets. There are many writers and poets who glorify God in prose and poetry. However, Kavirāja Gosvāmī is actually connected with the eternal pastimes of Kṛṣṇa and the Vraja-devīs. Therefore, anything he distributes can free the jīvas from mundane consciousness. This power is the property of Vrajeśvarī Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. It brings people out of the mundane world, purifies them and takes them to Vraja-dhāma.

Don’t think that the nonsense books and novels of materialistic people are the same as the books of our gosvāmīs. Kavirāja Gosvāmī took the love and affection of Urjeśvarī Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, contained it in this book, and it is now available for us. This message—this love—is very powerful and helpful. This is the only drink for the rāgānuga-bhakta. If one takes any other drink of this world of matter, the mind will come under the control of that mundanity and be drawn away from eternality. If one is showered with this nectar—this Govinda-lilāmṛta—then he will be taken to Vraja-dhama.

At the time of Her abhiṣeka, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī sits on a golden seat. The two washerman’s daughters named Mañjiṣṭhā and Raṅgāvati make a paste of young reddish mango leaves and offer it to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī to clean Her teeth. They also give Her a tongue-scraper made of gold. Water for rinsing Her mouth is then brought in a golden pot.

Mañjiṣṭhā and Raṅgāvati serve Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī very nicely. Ahead of time, they collect pollen from sweet smelling flowers and use it for Rādhārāṇī’s service. In the summer season, the lips, teeth, and nose can become very dry. They know how to prevent this or sooth it if it should occur. They use flower pollens and different juices to make ointments that relieve dryness. This ointment that they make is not like the chemical cosmetics we find today.

These two girls are the daughters of washermen, but they have so much love for Rādhārāṇī, and are Her very dear servants. No one should think, “I am so fallen. Rādhārāṇī will not accept me.” Rādhārāṇī is svarūpa-śakti. If anyone comes for Her service, She will not reject them. Her mood is not to only accept the service of only brāhmaṇas, or only someone who is golden and young, or has all good qualities. She is not like this. If someone has a little bit of love, respect and service tendency, then Rādhārāṇī will at once accept that person, regardless of cast, religion or qualification.

After washing Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s face and cleaning Her teeth, they give Her another ointment for soothing the mouth. This ointment has a very nice smell and it makes Rādhārāṇī’s teeth very white, clean, strong and healthy.

The gopīs have deep love. Whatever they offer is accepted by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. This is called service. If one offers something and it is not accepted, then that cannot be called sevā. That is called mundane work.

Next, the gopīs wash Rādhārāṇī’s hands. The gopīs clean Her nails of anything that might have collected there. Then they massage Her body with different creams and fragrant oils. After this, the sakhīs and mañjarīs bring many pots of scented water. The water was arranged the previous night and cooled inside clay pots, with flowers like jasmine, rose, mālatī, rājñi-gandha, mālikā, gandharāja placed on top of the pot folded inside a wet cloth. The fragrance of the flowers enters the water and it becomes very energizing.

All the water pots are placed around Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. The sakhīs and mañjarīs do not directly go and throw water on Rādhārāṇī. Kundalatā, Sudevi, Rangadevi, Citrā, Campaka Mañjarī, Rasa Mañjarī, Rati Mañjarī, Lavaṅga Mañjarī, Kanaka Mañjarī, Kastūrī Mañjarī, Vilāsa Mañjarī, Ramaṇa Mañjarī, and many other small mañjarīs are present there, along with the sakhīs. They know how to properly bathe Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and they have all paraphernalia ready.

The sakhīs open Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s hair, and take out the flowers and hairpins that are there. They also remove all the ornaments She is wearing on Her head, hands, ears and so forth.

They bring Nārāyaṇa oil for Her massage. Nārāyaṇa oil is very special. Lord Viṣṇu rests peacefully on the milk ocean and there Mahā Lakṣmī massages Him with this nārāyaṇa-tel. This is made of sandal oil, musk, gorocanā, and many other fragrances and oils.

The sakhīs and mañjarīs all have their particular services. Some massage Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s hands, some massage Her feet and so forth. The barber’s daughters, Sugandhā and Nalinī massage the head of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and apply special pastes in Her hair.

Sugandhā and Nalinī next massage oil on Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s back. They also apply some pastes on Rādhārāṇī’s feet and hands. A paste of amla, or Indian gooseberry, is given in Rādhārāṇī’s hair. When amla is given in the hair, the hair becomes black, clean and very strong and the hairs will never tangle. They also wash Her hair with five pure products from the cow—clarified butter, milk, yogurt, urine and dung. They then wash Her hair with scented water. After this, they bring fine cotton cloths and dry the oil from Rādhārāṇī’s hair. Śrīmatī’s sakhīs and mañjarīs then smear sandal paste on Her body. The effect of this is very cooling. This is helpful in relieving all stress and filling the mind with new inspiration and freshness.

Even in the summer season, if a person uses sandalwood on his body, then his body immediately becomes very cool. Even on the hottest day of the summer, if one uses sandalwood mixed with musk, then he will feel as cool as if he is inside a refrigerator. He could lay outside in 50°C weather and surround himself with fire on all sides, but he will still feel cool. This is the potency of sandal and musk.

Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī Prabhu writes about Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s abhiṣeka in great detail. Kavi Karṇapura Gosvāmī writes about this also in his Ānanda Vṛṇdavan Campu.

With small gold cups, the sakhīs and mañjarīs take water out of pots and bathe Rādhārāṇī. First they wash Her feet and hands, taking off all the different pastes and ointments. They first bathe Rādhārāṇī’s body with jasmine water. Then they use rosewater, and then water scented with gandarāja, mālatī, kadamba and rājñi-gandha. Last they give gorocanā and kuṅkum, and Rādhārāṇī’s body becomes very bright and shiny. Everyone is surprised. Rādhārāṇī’s splendor is like the moon rising in the dark night, the moon’s face reflecting in crystal-clear water. Her radiance is clear and cool.

After Rādhārāṇī’s abhiṣeka, Her caraṇāmṛta comes down from Yāvaṭa or Varśana, where all the demigods are waiting to receive it. The sakhīs bring soft towels and dry Rādhārāṇī’s body, and Her hair. If water remains in the hair after bathing, then some smell may come. Therefore they very thoroughly dry Her hair.

Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī has some small curls of hair that play on Her forehead near Her ears like bumblebees. This hair is combed back by Her sakhīs. They braid Her hair, part it the center and decorate it with small flowers. Then they begin to dress Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.

Full of loving moods, the sakhīs headed by Lalitā and Viśākhā each give one ornament or set of ornaments on Rādhārāṇī’s divine form.

On Her ears, they place very beautiful earrings. These earrings are not ordinary. When Rādhārāṇī wears these earrings She will not hear any other sound. What does She hear? She hears all of Kṛṣṇa’s special desires and messages. The earrings we see today do not have power like this. Nowadays nobody knows what real earrings are. There are many types of earrings. Some earrings are like hoops and some have long chains and jewels that hang from them. In Vraja-maṇḍala these earrings not only vary in appearance, but also in magical power. Rādhārāṇī wears many earrings. It is not that She has many holes in Her ears, the sakhīs fasten the earrings on. Every day they change the style.

The eight prominent sakhīs know where Kṛṣṇa will go in the daytime. They each give an earring to Śrīmati Rādhārāṇī. Rādhārāṇī thus wears eight earrings. Rādhārāṇī maintains a connection with each of the aṣṭa-sakhīs by these earrings and is able to instruct them by Her mind.

We have seen that in Gurudeva’s class people used to clip their microphones to His clothing. Why was this? They were recording him. They were not just recording his words but they were also sending the signal to different countries all over the world, so that all his devotees could hear his hari-kathā. The clip on Gurudeva’s shoulder would go to Russia, another clip on his uttarīya would go to America. In this way his message was immediately spread in many languages. It is quite a similar case with these earrings used by Rādhārāṇī.
People do not understand what decoration is. Real decoration is this service performed by the sakhīs. The set of earrings connects to the eight prominent sakhīs.

If people have some transcendental knowledge, they can understand this. Otherwise, they will think this is only imagination.

The sakhīs and mañjarīs adorn Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s nose with a shining pearl. This ornament hangs from the middle of Her nose and touches the top of Her upper lip. Kālī, Durgā and some demigoddesses wear this. Bulls and buffaloes also where a ring in the center of the nose so their master can tie them or pull them as he needs to. But do not think that the nose rings worn by buffaloes and those worn by the gopīs, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa Himself are in any way the same.

Śrīmatī is offered this nose ring. It has the special ability to not allow any bad smell, dust or bacteria to go inside the nose. The gopīs wear this and so does Kṛṣṇa. The function of this nose ring is very special. Do not think that it is used to pull the Vrajavāsīs around.

Lalitā Devī leads the other sakhīs in decorating Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s body. Lalitā Devī has arranged many different jeweled ornaments. She gives Rādhārāṇī bangles made of ivory. The sakhīs place rings on Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s fingers, and paint Her nails with mehindi. They place around Her neck a pearl necklace, the syamantaka-maṇi, and a garland of flowers. Then they decorate Her hair with very small flowers.

After the sakhīs and mañjarīs have finished bathing and dressing Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, the gopīs give Her a mirror and show Her reflection. By showing Rādhārāṇī Her own reflection, She is able to see the image of Kṛṣṇa in the syamantaka-maṇi.

Now in America a person can sit in one place, connect to the internet with his laptop, choose the friend he wishes to speak with, and then at once that face comes on the screen and a conversation is able to take place. The syamantaka-maṇi is more powerful than this.

Also, by showing the syamantaka-maṇi the reflection of Rādhārāṇī, then Her image is transferred to Kṛṣṇa’s kaustubha-mani and He can see Her newly decorated. Kṛṣṇa is very happy to have this darśana in His kaustubha-maṇi. He looks in His jewel and says, “Vah! She looks very beautiful today.”

He looks at the different earrings that Rādhārāṇī is wearing, and sees the sakhīs places there. Then He becomes sad, not seeing a place for Himself. He says, “Oh, there is no place for Me?”

Lalitā Devī understands the situation, and paints a candra, or a crescent moon between Rādhārāṇī’s eyebrows. This is the place reserved for one’s lover. The forehead is the most important place on the body. When a devotee applies tilaka there it means that it is a place of his beloved Lord. Women put a bindi, or candra-bindu on their forehead, showing that this place is for their husbands. Really this place should be reserved only for the supreme husband, or pati, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

Now Kṛṣṇa becomes happy seeing that His own place is reserved in the middle of Rādhārāṇī’s forhead.

Śrīmatī says to Lalitā, “Why did you do this? It is not good.”

The gopī say to Her, “No, this is necessary.”

Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī looks at the crescent on Her forehead in the mirror and feels like Kṛṣṇa has come to Her. Thinking of Kṛṣṇa, She becomes very sad and feels separation from Him. She thinks, “Kṛṣṇa loves me, but I am not worthy of Him. He’s very great and qualified.”

One by one, all of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes appear in Her heart. Kṛṣṇa understands everything. He has the kaustubha-maṇi, and She has the syamantaka-maṇi, and Their pastimes and reflections go to each other.

Hearing these classes, boys become excited and long to go on Facebook to see their girlfriends. Without Facebook, they are very sad. When I speak all these things, they don’t remember kṛṣṇa-līlā, they remember their own līlā. Know that for so many lifetimes we have run about in the picnic parties of māyā.

How can we go home to Vraja? Therefore, this vraja-līlā is discussed and explained by Śrī Guru and the Vaiṣṇavas. Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes have been going on eternally, while Facebook has only been for a few. Facebook is a recent discovery in this world, but vraja-līlā is eternally running. This reflects in the devotees’ hearts.

Līlā-śakti cleans the heart—ceto darpaṇa mārjanam. Ceto darpaṇa mārjanam is not like cleaning a dirty pot with the scrubber. Cleaning the body and mind is nothing. “Our contaminated mind will be cleansed…” this is not the proper meaning of these words!

This has nothing to do with the soul. If you clean the soul, then all of the pastimes of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa reflect in the heart. Then the soul will understand what pastimes of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa are going on at any time.

The sādhaka sits in the early morning, chants harināma and the mantra received by Śrī Guru, and then remembers the pastimes of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, which appear in his heart one after the other—this is ceto darpaṇa mārjanam.

Now Citrā Devī comes and decorates Śrīmatī’s hair. She makes very artistic arrangements of small flowers and then places a fine silken net over Her head. This is not only to prevent the flowers from falling off while Rādhārāṇī moves around. Nowadays girls decorate their hair with many fake butterflies and different artificial flowers and ornaments. But in the case of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī there are so many butterflies that sit on the back of Her hair, as well as honeybees and butterflies that have greed for nectar. Why are they there? There are real flowers there. They have such a good smell. Citrā Devī puts this decorative net over the hair of Rādhārāṇī to prevent these butterflies and bees from disturbing Her.

Actually, the purpose of these bees and butterflies is to take something from Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and offer it to Kṛṣṇa. They are messengers in Kṛṣṇa’s army. They come to Him with some news or gift they collected from Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa says to them, “You are my good friends,” and gives them gifts.

They come to Rādhārāṇī but Citrā Devī covers Her hair within a net, as if to say, “Stop! Don’t break the flowers, don’t touch anything.”

Ordinarily, if the bumblebees take nectar from the flowers, then they will all be dry. However, when the flowers touch Rādhārāṇī’s hair, they feel new consciousness and great bliss. When you pick ordinary flowers and put them in water with a little sugar they will stay fresh for some days. If you don’t give sugar in the water, the flowers will not stay fresh. The flowers need mādhurya, sweetness. Drinking the sweetness of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, the flowers in Her hair feel very happy and have everlasting beauty. If anyone simply remembers Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, they feel so much sweetness. These flowers are actually attached to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s hair, so how can they not feel blissful?

But the flowers must be protected. Otherwise, Kṛṣṇa, the king of bumblebees, may come Himself. He comes in many forms, like butterflies and bumblebees, to try and touch, smell, and see Rādhārāṇī’s decorations. In this form, Kṛṣṇa, who is eager to kiss Śrīmatī, flies down from Her head to come directly onto Her cheek. There, He sings, “Hoo-hoooo. Rādheeeyyy. Vṛṣabhānu-nandinīīī, jaya śrī rādheeeeeeyyy. Vṛndāvana-vihāriṇiii, govindānandaniii…”

He sings very sweetly in the voice of a bee. Rādhārāṇī looks around and wonders, “Where is this sound coming from? Who is singing?”

Citrā Sakhī comes and begins to fan Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, as if to say to Kṛṣṇa, “Don’t disturb Her. Do not touch Her, otherwise She will fall senseless.”

Who is singing?

Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura sings —

ramaṇī-śiromaṇi, vṛṣabhānu-nandinī, nīla-vasana-paridhānā

This is what Kṛṣṇa Himself is singing, in the form of a bumblebee…

chinna-puraṭa jini, varna-vikāśini, baddha-kavarī hari-prāṇā

When Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī hears this song, She becomes half-senseless. She knows Kṛṣṇa is singing to Her. Therefore, Citrā Devī begins to fan Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Sometimes, while she fans Her, a single black hair from Rādhārāṇī’s own head falls before the vision of Her eyes. Seeing this Rādhārāṇī become scared as if Kṛṣṇa’s hand has come in front of Her. Also at the end of Rādhārāṇī’s braid there is a tuft of hair. When this by chance comes around Rādhārāṇī’s back and brushes Her stomach, She feels it is Kṛṣṇa’s hand and starts. She thinks Kṛṣṇa has come from behind and touched Her side and She throws Her braid to the side. Rādhārāṇī is always absorbed in Kṛṣṇa. When the tuft at the bottom of Her braid swings around Her side and touches Her stomach, She feels this is Kṛṣṇa’s hand.
Viśākhā Devī’s service is next explained.

Viśākhā Devī gives a sindura-rekha in the part of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s hair. Why does she give this red kuṅkum? She makes a kāma-yantra on Rādhārāṇī’s head. If any demon, Gandharva, Kinnara, Yakṣa, Rākṣasa, demigod or anyone sees this sindhu-rekhā on the head of Rādhārāṇī, placed there by Viśākhā Devī, then their hearts will never be disturbed by lust. Their hearts will immediately become clean. Anurāga will come in their hearts.

Viśākhā Devī mixes this sindura, which is the color of anurāga, with musk, candana, aguru, and karpura and applies it in the part of Śrīmatī’s hair. She also decorates Rādhārāṇī’s back, breasts, and hands with this red kuṅkum. These are called kāma-yantra. This creates a protective energy around Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, so that no one antagonistic can come and disturb Her.

Citrā Devī paints crescent moons on Śrīmatī’s cheeks, and a lotus pod tip on Her chin. She also decorates Her body with spider web designs. Why spider webs? These mysterious designs have the power to nullify any taṅtra that may be directed towards Rādhārāṇī. It is well known that Kaṁsa has many mystic powers, spirits, and magicians who know how to control minds with taṅtra. Therefore, the gopīs paint very beautiful and intricate spider webs on the body of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. As a fly cannot disturb when it is caught in the net of a spider, in a similar way these designs can stop all ill-intended energies. Citrā Devī makes these beautiful decorations on Rādhārāṇī’s body.

Now, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s right eye begins to quiver. This is a good sign, meaning She will soon meet with Her beloved friend.

Campakalata Sakhī quickly decorates Rādhārānī’s eyebrows with a design like a crocodile. It starts big near the inner side of eye, and then thins out to the side of the face. Then Her eyes stop quivering. If the right eye quivers, if you touch your right eye and brow with the right hand and then touch your feet, the eye stops quivering, and vice versa.

Campakalata and the other sakhīs draw artistic designs of sharks, spiderwebs, flowers, new leaves, and crescent moons on Śrīmatī’s breasts.

In the evening time, the moon and stars come out and show their faces, and sometimes in the sky there are rainbows. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s divine form shines brilliantly, surpassing any amount of beauty in nature or the sky.

[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]

Must Read

Progressing Towards Hell – Harinama-cintamani

Someone who serves Hari, Guru, Vaiṣṇavas, the temple, and the dhāma, and then takes a wage, will progress towards hell. This is the ignorant nature and material tendency of the conditioned soul, like an eagle flying in the sky looking down at a carcass on the ground...


This letter was originally written in Bengali by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Mahārāja on the occasion of the disappearance of Śrīla Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Goswāmī Mahārāja. It was addressed to Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Trivikrama Goswāmī Mahārāja, one of the prominent disciples of Śrīla Bhakti Prajñāna Kesvava Mahārāja. It was then translated into Hindi by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja and printed in the Śrī Bhāgavata Patrika magazine in December 1968. The following is the English translation of that letter...

Thyself – Bhagavad Gita

At that time, they think that their real dharma is to maintain the body and serve the body, but this is a temporary situation and is not the eternal dharma of the soul. We have forgotten that. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa gave His svarūpa-śakti through singing this gītā, liberating the living entities from false ego and understanding. By endeavoring to follow this Bhagavad-gītā; the teachings of Kṛṣṇa, one can be liberated from all false attachment and illusion in this world. One will become established in that dharma, form and nature of the soul. Kṛṣṇa instructed Arjuna, "Becoming established in knowledge of the soul, follow your duty and fight. Their bodies will be destroyed, but not their souls. You have no fault. I am instructing you to do this." When a person who has knowledge of the soul performs his duty, he cannot be affected by sin. On the other hand, if one does not follow his duty, then sin will come to him...


To resolve the situation, Tansena took his sitar and started singing, but he sang off-tune and out of rhythm. His gurudeva, Svami Haridasa, chastised him, saying. “Is this how I taught you to sing?” He took Tansena’s sitar and started to sing himself. At that time, a big cloud appeared in the sky and it started raining. The demigods came and offered flower petals, while the Gandharvas were dancing. Bihariji also came and danced there. All the flower trees started to bloom and drop honey, and everybody present was crying in separation. When the king saw this scenery, he became astonished and understood that God is really present in this world with his devotees.

Gravitating to One’s Mood – Seattle 13 July 1996

we should hear from a mahānta who has that svabhāva and then we should practice that mood being in the association of mahat-saṅga. So, this means, first it comes like a shadow, and then gradually it develops and comes. So, we should have that mood. If the mood is not there, and we are getting another mood there, then we must understand. For example, if our ātmā does not have vātsalya-rasa, but if we are bringing a vātsalya-rasa mood, then it will not come by itself naturally...

More Articles Like This