After niśānta-līlā, the rāgānuga-sādhaka should follow the happenings of two sides. On one side, there is Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, with all the sakhīs, and mañjarīs, and on the other side there is Kṛṣṇa, who is now awake and has gone to the cowshed with the sakhās.
Yaśodā Mātā and many other mothers have assembled at Nanda-bhavana. They have love and intense greed to see Kṛṣṇa and have prepared many things to offer Him.
Kṛṣṇa used to go to all their houses, steal their offerings and cause so much mischief, but He is a bit older now and is no longer restless and running to their homes to steal.
The elder gopīs, who are Yaśodā Mātā’s friends, come to Nanda-bhavana before Kṛṣṇa wakes, along with their sons. These boys have been urging their mothers from very early in the morning, “Mother, I will go with Kṛṣṇa to the forest. Hurry up! There is no time to lose!”
Quickly, the mothers dress and decorate their sons. They offer them something to eat, but the boys refuse. The sakhās or any of Kṛṣṇa’s followers will not even drink without Kṛṣṇa doing so first.
Their mothers try again and again to give the boys something, but they will not eat. They offer some juice, a milkshake, lassi, or butter, but the boys do not eat or drink any of it.
“We can take it with us,” they say, “but we will not eat before Kṛṣṇa.”
They have kṛṣṇa-niṣṭha, one-pointed love for Kṛṣṇa.
When they arrive at the home of Nanda-bhavana, the mothers meet with Yaśodā Mātā and the sakhās run to meet Kṛṣṇa in the cowshed. There they help Kṛṣṇa milk the cows. They feed fresh grass to the cows and special sweet straw. But there is no need for this. The cows are not hungry for grass. The sakhās sing Kṛṣṇa’s name and glories, and the cows drink this sweet rasa and become very happy. They need no other food or drink. They are eternally perfected, nitya-siddha. Ordinary people are disturbed by the fires of hunger, thirst and material desire; but, in the eternal world, the Vrajavāsīs drink the glories of Kṛṣṇa and have no other thirst.
In the morning time, the sakhās distribute this divine drink. How? They go from one cow to another and sing Kṛṣṇa’s glories. The sakhās sing—
śrī-kṛṣṇa gopāla hare mukunda
govinda he nanda-kiśora kṛṣṇa
The sakhās sing of Kṛṣṇa’s many pastimes while they tend to them in the cowshed and also when they take them to the forest for grazing. The cows drink this kīrtana with their ears. By drinking this nectar, their hearts melt, and milk flows from their udders.
This nectar causes the heart to melt. If ones service is performed naturally, not by force, this service is real and true. Service done by force is compared to blood whereas spontaneous service is like water; however, if the heart melts with love while performing service, then that service is pure nectar, amṛta.
Only kṛṣṇa-nāma causes the heart to melt like this and one to experience pure bliss. When the elixir of kṛṣṇa-nāma enters the heart, Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes and qualities follow.
The cows cannot sing, but they have ears to hear. Why do they have the bodies of cows? They do not insult anyone. They do not abuse anyone, therefore they are cows. They are sādhus. Cows do not insult anyone. Dogs will bark and bite, but cows will never do this. Even if the cow is very disturbed, she will tolerate it. Kṛṣṇa likes His followers natures to be like a cows, never insulting, abusing, torturing or taunting anyone.
Cows, and in fact all animals, can hear the language of love. If you have love you can communicate with any animal.
Kṛṣṇa tells His friends to feed the cows, but they will not eat without Kṛṣṇa. They only look at Kṛṣṇa. They want to be with Kṛṣṇa always. They do not want to leave Him. They say in their own language, “Do not leave us.”
Kṛṣṇa goes to all the cows, strokes them and embraces their necks. They peacefully receive His affection and do not move or say anything. Kṛṣṇa then takes the milk naturally flowing from their udders and it is delivered to Nanda-bhavana.
Līlā-śakti arranges these two sets of pastimes that go on simultaneously. On one side Rādhārānī is in Yāvaṭa with Her sakhīs and mañjarīs, and on the other, Kṛṣṇa is in the cowshed looking after the cows.
The sakhīs are decorating Śrīmatī after Her abhiṣeka. They give Her a necklace of charming jewels strung with hair from the tail of a yak. If a person wears this kind of necklace, the influence of any bad energy or animosity will not affect one.
Some people try to control others or cause harm with the powers of taṅtra and mantra. Kaṁsa has many followers and demons that practice this. There are millions of them, and they always try to disturb the Vrajavasis and Vraja-devīs.
These demons see that in Vraja-bhūmi, the cowherd families have many young and beautiful daughters. On one side, there are many cows, and on the other side there are many Vraja-devīs. This is the opulence of Vraja. The followers of Kaṁsa are very greedy for this opulence. Their consciousness is deep in the darkness of tama-guṇa. Therefore they have so much lust. They want to steal all the wealth of Vraja by hook or by crook.
Vraja-bhūmi has two types of wealth, one is go-rasa, and the other is the vraja-rasa-rasika gopīs. The demons want to steal the cows and the gopīs, but how can they be stolen?
Kaṁsa forces the cowherd men of Vraja to give him 60% of their milk products to Kaṁsa. They deliver this to Kaṁsa, and sell some of it in the market of Mathurā.
Śala, Tośala, Cāṇūra, Muṣṭika and many other demons who were Kaṁsa’s friends and followers see that in Vraja-bhūmi, there are many gopīs and mañjarīs. They want to steal the wealth of Vraja but they saw that Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva were protecting everything.
They see Kṛṣṇa has much love for the cows. In Nanda-baba’s cowshed there are nine lakhas of cows. They have great friendship with Kṛṣṇa. With Kṛṣṇa, the calves dance, play, run around and return to Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa strokes them and they become very happy.
One time, Kaṁsa’s spies reported to their master, saying, “Kṛṣṇa has so much affection for the cows and calves.”
Then Kaṁsa had the idea to send a demon in the form of a calf. This demon was to attack Kṛṣṇa when He was alone. Kaṁsa thought he would then be able to steal all the gopīs.
For Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s protection, Her sakhīs use the tail hairs of a forest animal and string jewels on necklaces. The white whisk or fan that we know as cāmara is made also with this hair. It has very strong energy. The sakhīs string a beautiful necklace of three strands and give it to Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. They also decorate Her hair with similar strands of small pearls.
On Śrīmatī’s upper arm they tie an armlet of nine different jewels resting on a black string. This is also for Her protection. This armlet is known as Hari-aṅgada, and it signifies that Hari is present there on both Her arms.
Lalitā-devī applies an ointment prepared from the nectar of a red lotus on Rādhārānī’s eyelids, giving them an enchanting blush of dark pink, and accenting the beauty of Her eyes.
We already heard of the unique beauty of Rādhārānī’s eyes. First, there is the deep black of Her pupil, and surrounding that a lighter grayish-black. Around this there is a hint of white and then a little yellow, brown, and an underlining majority of blue.
Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s wrists are decorated with gold bangles studded with many small valya-vali jewels. These jewels collect light from the sun during the day and show their full beauty and shine in the dark of night. They except the energy of the sun and light up at night.
These jewels are very powerful—more powerful than thousands of solar watts. Śrīmatī does not just have one of these jewels but many set into Her bangles of gold.
These bangles capture all seven colors contained in the sunlight and can glow in any one of these different colors separately.
Another set of Rādhārānī’s bangles are very powerful and dangerous. They are given by Lalitā, and are golden and set with pearls. Kavirāja Gosvāmī describes these to look like Rahu.
One time, Rādhārānī who was accompanied by Her sakhīs and mañjarīs, was passing through Prema-sarovara from Varsānā, on Her way to Nandagrāma, when the demon Durmila Daitya appeared. This demon was the father of Kaṁsa, and he was staying in Vraja-maṇḍala.
He had stolen the character of Padma (the wife of Ugrasena and the mother of Kaṁsa), and now he thought to kidnap the gopīs and do so much more nonsense.
Durmila Daitya could fly in the air. He swooped down from above the girls with great speed. But Rādhārānī understood from a distance. She turned and hurled one of Her bangles at the demon like the Sudarśana Cakra. Durmila Daitya fled from this bangle of doom and flew here and there throughout Vraja-maṇḍala, the bangle chasing him all the while. In the end, the bangle killed him. Rādhārānī has this great power.
Rādhārānī’s bangles have such power. She doesn’t need any Sudarśana Cakra or weapons.
Śrīmatī also has jewels on Her rings that collect moonlight. When the moon and the stars shine on them, they retain that power. In the daytime these jewels, majestically set into rings on Śrīmatī Radharni’s fingers, shine with a certain cooling and mysterious energy.
Rādhārānī’s waist is decorated with a belt on which there are many kavacas. The sakhīs and mañjarīs make these kavacas that are beautified with many gems so that if the eyes of any demon dare to fall on the limbs of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, by the power of these kavacas, his sight will be lost.
There are many kinds of kavacas that can protect the wearer from those with evil intentions and cause them to go blind when they cause disturbance. If a demon wants to attack or kidnap Rādhārānī or has any kind of bad desire then he will be blind before he can act.
Rāvaṇa came to kidnap Sītā-devī. Do you think that when Rādhārānī is there no demons will try to come? Nonsense demons and stupid enjoyers cannot change their nature. But how can they disturb the Vrajavasis? Really it is impossible.
Among the many charming rings that are lovingly placed on Śrīmatī’s fingers by Her sakhīs, one stands out with great significance. Inscribed on this ring is Śrīmatī’s own name ‘Rādhā.’
Kṛṣṇa is filled with so much happiness to see the name of His beloved.
Rādhārānī’s name is full of so much sweetness. If you go to Vṛndāvana you will see that everyone is constantly saying, “Rādhe, Rādhe,” from the first thing in the morning. Kṛṣṇa Himself esteems the name of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī as the topmost mantra.
Rādhārānī wears a cloth that has many small bells which chime softly as She walks. It is as if Her dress has a voice and a message.
Kṛṣṇa sends messages with His flute. From very far away, Kṛṣṇa sends the message of His flute and the Air-god, Pāvana-devata, takes this message to the Vraja-devīs. Then Kṛṣṇa awaits an answer. How can the answer return?
Raṅgadevī and Sudevī dress Śrīmatī Rādhārānī with clothes that have the ability to send messages or some sound back to Kṛṣṇa. Rādhārānī has a blouse with many golden ornaments sewn onto it, as well as different colorful jewels. When Kṛṣṇa’s message, carried by the air touches Rādhārānī’s clothing, Her earrings, or Her other special ornaments, it receives Her message and goes back to Kṛṣṇa in response. The air brings it back to Kṛṣṇa. Without this He feels dry.
When a devotee prays to God, and God does not return any answer, the devotees will not be able to maintain strength or enthusiasm for bhajana. If God or Śrī Guru has accepted someone’s prayers, then they send an answer. They will send their power, love, mercy and blessings. This cannot always be easily understood, but it is felt and one naturally has refreshed enthusiasm.
Guru-pāda-padma always accepts the prayers of his devotees. The demigods also accept. So why will Śrīmatī Rādhārānī not accept?
If She doesn’t accept Kṛṣṇa’s message or give back an answer, Kṛṣṇa will become unhappy. Therefore Raṅgadevī and Sudevī dress Rādhārānī with this kind of cloth and ornaments.
Anything with specialty is called a jewel. We have already discussed this. This is why they give Śrīmatī Rādhārānī cloth and ornaments with these jewels that have the special ability to send back Kṛṣṇa’s message on the vehicle of the air.
Śrīmatī’s lotus feet are adorned with ankle bells that make a very pleasing sound as She walks. When Kṛṣṇa, the enemy of Kaṁsa, hears the sound of Śrīmatī Radharini’s swinging ankle bells, He becomes completely enchanted. These ankle bells protect Rādhārānī’s feet and also gently massage Her heels as they swing to and fro. It is not possible for a servant to massage Śrīmatī’s feet at every moment, but Her ankle bells are always on Her feet as She walks. Their touch is very gentle and their sound is very sweet.
The gopīs know the powers and properties of the different metals. Some metals, when worn, are helpful for blood circulation and others are good for relaxing. Different jewels also have different uses and helpful effects.
Do not think that these ornaments are only for decoration. Everything has a specific purpose and power.
Now in the Western countries people put much faith in the healing power of magnets. There, you will find people who fix pouches of magnets to their bodies and fill their pockets with them in order to receive benefit in health. But they have no real knowledge.
Rādhārānī’s ankle bells sing like many swans on the Yamunā. These ankle bells teach swans how to sing. Kṛṣṇa is always eager to hear the sound of these ankle bells. The essence of all rāgas are present in the song of Rādhārānī’s ankle bells.
If līlā-śakti does not give one this knowledge and appear in one’s heart then none of this can be understood.
People wonder, “Why do the gopīs give all these ornaments to Rādhārānī? Why is this all necessary?”
When can power come to the sādhaka? Only when he remembers Rādhārānī’s lotus feet and prays for Her service.
They decorate Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s toes with toe rings. Sudevi has perfect knowledge of all jewels. She received this knowledge from the Creator Himself.
Viśākhā-devī calls Narmadā, the daughter of a garland-maker, who places in Śrīmatī’s hand a beautiful lotus flower. Seeing this lotus flower, Rādhārānī becomes very happy and smiles. She can control Kṛṣṇa with simply a twirl of this lotus flower.
Rādhārānī is shown Her reflection in a mirror, by the barber’s daughter Sugandhā.
“Just see how the sakhīs have dressed You,” Sugandhā says. But why does she really show Her this mirror. Rādhārānī can see Kṛṣṇa in this special mirror. She can see how the sakhās have decorated Him and what He is doing.”
Not only can Śrīmatī Rādhārānī see Kṛṣṇa even from Her room in Yāvaṭa, but Kṛṣṇa can also have darśana of Her with the help of His own ornaments such as the Kaustubha-maṇi.
When Rādhārānī’s looks into this mirror, Her reflection is transferred to the vision of Kṛṣṇa. Rādhārānī smiles at Sugandhā’s cleverness.
Rādhārānī sees Her own reflection in this mirror or another special ornament that She wears, and She sometimes sees the beautiful face of Kṛṣṇa gazing at Her. Kṛṣṇa is very greedy to behold the beauty of Rādhārānī and Śrīmatī is very restless for Kṛṣṇa’s darśana.
On one side, Kṛṣṇa is restless, and on the other side, Rādhārānī is restless. The sakhīs now arrange the next program for them to meet with each other.
When Kṛṣṇa sees Rādhārānī, newly decorated by Her sakhīs and mañjarīs, He cannot maintain His composer. “Oh! She is so wonderful!” He thinks.
Kṛṣṇa forgets everything. He stops milking the cows and cannot turn away from that vision.
Then Śrīmatī Rādhārānī twirls the līlā-kamala, the lotus flower given to Her by Narmada, and Kṛṣṇa’s heart begins to churn. He becomes restless and begins to sweat. He becomes completely bewildered. Now He does not speak with His sakhās. All He can think of is how to go to Śrīmatī.
The sakhās notice something has happened. “Oh, you are tired?” they ask Kṛṣṇa, and begin to fan Him.
“A fan cannot stop this sweat,” Kṛṣṇa says, hardly aware of His surroundings. The sakhās can see that Kṛṣṇa is very restless, but Madhumaṅgala fully understands what is going on. He can identify this disease. He is very clever.
“Yes,” says Madhumaṅgala. “Let us leave this stuffy cowshed and get some fresh air. Come. We can go to Ṭera-kadamba, where You can climb a tree and breathe freely.”
Once there, Kṛṣṇa goes to the top of a kadamba tree and plays on His flute. The air takes His message to Śrīmatī Rādhārānī who is already coming in the direction of Nanda-bhavana to cook.
The pathway that is walked on by Śrīmatī Rādhārānī has been decorated with lotus petals. This is the work of the ever-ready mañjarīs. They know what service to carry out in advance and they make all arrangements. Before Śrīmatī walks that way they collect lotus petals and rose petals and lay them on the path. A sweet fragrance comes from these flower petals and is very pleasing to Śrīmatī Rādhārānī.
As Śrīmatī Rādhārānī walks, She is fanned and waited upon by Her mañjarīs.
Kavirāja Gosvāmī writes how this līlā-śakti flows from the lotus feet of Caitanya Mahāprabhu like honey. Rūpa Gosvāmī is present there at Mahāprabhu’s feet. By service to Rūpa Mañjarī this flow can come. Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī is Rati Mañjarī, he is connected to this flow from Rūpa Mañjarī and present himself in that līlā. With the association of Jīva Gosvāmī, this is all made possible. Kavirāja Gosvāmī instructs us to always remember and pray to Gosvāmīs and all of our guru-varga. By their blessings and guidance līlā-śakti will come and be active in the heart. This is the process.
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]