I always take shelter of the feet of Hari’s best friend Shridama, who is the greatest object of Krishna’s love, who is the most expert of his friends, who is of blackish complexion, who is very proud of having the same qualities, age, dress and beauty as Sri Krishna and who becomes very unsteady when he is separated from his friend for even a moment.
kṛṣṇasyoccaiḥ praṇaya-vasatiḥ saṁpravīnaḥ sakhīnāṁ
snehād bandhoḥ kṣaṇam akalanāj jāyate yo’vadhūtaḥ
śrīdāmānaṁ hari-sahacaraṁ sarvadā taṁ prapadye
Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: With the support of the Vedic scriptures, the Goswamis have taught the most intimate spiritual truth to the world, which is this: He who always sports in His evergreen pastimes in Vrindavan is the topmost embodiment of rasa; immersed in relishing the flavours of love with his companions, He is the summit of rasa. By hearing and chanting about the various wonderful and sweet exchanges of love between rasa-ghana-vigraha Shyamasundar (“the embodiment of condensed spiritual flavours”) and his companions in Vraja, this self-manifest transcendental rasa also becomes infused into the practising devotees. This is the teaching of the Goswamis, and it becomes accomplished by hearing and chanting this Vraja-vilāsa-stava.
In this verse Das Goswami describes the great love of Krishna’s best friend Shridama.
vayas tulyāḥ priya-sakhāḥ sakhyaṁ kevalam āśritāḥ;
śrīdāmā ca sudāmā ca dāmā ca vasudāmakaḥ
ramayanti priya-sakhāḥ kelibhir vividhaiḥ sadā;
niyuddha-daṇḍa-yuddhādi-kautukair api keśavam
eṣu priya vayasyeṣu śrīdāmā pravaro mataḥ
About Shridama’s physical appearance Srila Rupa Goswami has written:
vāsaḥ piṅgaṁ vibhrataṁ śṛṅga-pāṇiṁ
baddha-spardhaṁ sauhṛdān mādhavena
śrīdāmānaṁ dāma-bhājaṁ bhajāmi
His friendship is also most extraordinary.
tvaṁ naḥ projjhva kaṭhora yāmuna taṭe kasmād akasmād gato
diṣṭyā dṛṣṭim ito’si hanta niviḍāśleṣaiḥ sakhīn prīṇaya
brūmaḥ satyam adarśane tava manāk kā dhenavaḥ ke vayaṁ
kiṁ goṣṭhaṁ kim abhīṣṭam ityacirataḥ sarvaṁ viparyasyati
Therefore it is said in the verse: snehād bandhoḥ kṣaṇam akalanāj jāyate yo’vadhūtaḥ: “Out of love he feels very unsteady when he does not see his friend (Krishna) for even a moment.”
Rupa Goswamipada has described the great affection and exclusive dedication of Vraja’s friends for Krishna –
kṣaṇādarśanato dīnāḥ sadā saha vihāriṇaḥ;
tad-eka-jīvitāḥ proktā vayasyā vraja-vāsinaḥ.
“Shridama is the greatest object of Sri Krishna’s love.” (kṛṣṇasyoccaiḥ praṇaya-vasatiḥ). The advanced stage of prema called viśrambha turns into praṇaya:
viśrambhaḥ priya-janena saha svasyābheda mananam
This means that the limbs like hands and feet of the beloved are felt as non-different from one’s own hands and feet. Praṇaya is the birthplace of sakhya-rasa and Shridama is the leader of the priya-sakhās, so he also holds the chief post in praṇaya. Thus Raghunath Das says:
tat sama guṇa vayo veśa saundarya darpaḥ
rūpa-veṣa-guṇādyais tu samāḥ samyag ayantritāḥ;
viśrambha-sambhṛtātmāno vayasyās tasya kīrtitāḥ
Although this is said about all the friends of Krishna there is a special part about Shridama; the different servants know this. Thus Krishna’s friends told him when he lifted Govardhana hill –
unnidrasya yayus tavātra viratiṁ sapta kṣapās tiṣṭhato
hanta śānta ivāsi nikṣipa sakhe śrīdāmā pāṇau girim
ādhi vidhyati nas tvam arpaya kare kiṁ vā kṣaṇaṁ dakṣiṇe
doṣṇas te karavāma kāmam adhunā savyasya samvāhanam
The purport of the sakhās’ suggestion that Sri Krishna should now hand Girirāja to Shridama is that of all the sakhās Shridama is most equal to Sri Krishna.
In the śloka the pride of Shridama is mentioned; this is a sañcārī-bhāva (transitory emotion) of fraternal love. That which moves the course of ecstatic love is called a sañcārī-bhāva. Utsāha-rati (enthusiasm) is infused in the mood of friendship, and in games like wrestling the friends make Sri Krishna, who is dearer to them than millions of lives, happy.
nikkvāṇair iha mukharī-kṛtāmbarāyām
visphurjjann aghadamanena yoddhu-kāmaḥ
śrīdāmā parikaram udbhaṭaṁ babandha
How this pride nourishes dual fights like wrestling can be best known from the book named Kṛṣṇa-bhāvanāmṛta:
Das Goswami said: “I take shelter at the lotus feet of this dear friend of Sri Krishna, named Shridama!”
śrī kṛṣṇera atiśaya priya-pātra yini
vayasya-gaṇa madhye yāre supravīṇa gaṇi
saundarya, guṇa veśa vayasa samāna;
sarvadā ānande yei kore abhimāna
kṣaṇakāla śrī govinda ho’le adarśana;
snehete adhika yini vyākulita hon
śrī govinda priya-sakhā śrīdāmā nāma yāra;
sarvadā tāhāre pāi ākāṅkṣā āmāra
Commentary of Sri Radha Kund Mahant, Pandit Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj is named Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā (a drop of the nectar ofStavāvalī), and was published in Gaurābda 503 (1989 A.D.) from Sri Krishna Chaitanya Shastra Mandir, Vrajananda Ghera, PO Radhakunda (district Mathura), U.P., India.
Devotional songs in Bengali that follow each commentary were composed by Dr. Haripada Sheel.