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Vraja Vilasa : Lalita Sakhi

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May Lalita, who is flooded with the juices of intense love, who has developed a mood of boldness and confidence out of deep affection, who daily assists her beloved Radha and Krishna, who are dearer to her than life itself, in meeting at their place of rendez-vous, and who with great expertise always teaches her girlfriend Radha the art of loving pique, accept me within her own group.


sāndra-prema-rasaiḥ plutā priyatayā prāgalbhyam āptā tayoḥ
prāṇa-preṣṭha-vayasyayor anudinaṁ līlābhisāraṁ kramaiḥ
vaidagdhyena tathā sakhīṁ prati sadā mānasya śikṣāṁ rasair
yeyaṁ kārayatīha hanta lalitā gṛhnātu sā māṁ gaṇe
 

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In the previous verse Raghunath Das Goswami praised Mukhara, Sri Sri Radha Madhava’s secret assistant in their erotic enjoyments. Now that his attention has been turned away from the moods of friendship and parental love, in the following verses he begins praising the sakhis and manjaris, the most rasika assistants in the sweet pastimes of the Divine Pair.

Srila Rupa Goswamipada introduces his chapter on Radha’s friends with the following verse:

prema-līlā-vihārāṇāṁ samyag vistārikā sakhī;
viśrambha-ratna-peṭī ca tataḥ suṣṭhu vivicyate

The sakhīs fully expand the love, the pastimes and the erotic union of Sri Sri Radha Madhava. They are like jewel boxes of trust and confidence, and so we will discuss their nature elaborately [in this chapter]. (
Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, 
8.1)

Srila Vishwanath Chakravartipada comments as follows on this verse in his Ānanda-candrikā commentary:

It is not that the sakhīs are just the chief messengers that accompish the meeting of Radha and Krishna, they are actually the final causes of their rasika acccomplishments in all respects. That is ascertained in this verse
prema-līlā-vihārāṇāṁ
. The word
vistāra
means: proclaiming or increasing. The sakhīs tell the hero of the heroine’s love and the heroine of the hero’s love and they increase that love. The word
līlā
means that they help the divine Pair to meet Each other through love-journeys. They increase the pride of the heroine that is in their midst, increase the flavour of the pastimes through laughter and joking, and also proclaim it in other places and at other times. They also solve all problems in relation to their love spats, superiors and the heroine’s husband. In this way the enjoyment increases through the sakhis’ assistance. They also proclaim the heroine’s
rasodgāra
(amorous recollection). The word
samyak
means that without the aid of the sakhīs the flavours of amorous meetings and so can never be accomplished.

In this verse Das Goswami praises Lalita, the greatest of Sri Radharani’s girlfriends, and their leader. Lalita is so deeply absorbed in madīyatāmaya premābhimāṇa (a loving pride in having controlled the lover, with the conception of ‘he is mine’), that she always considers her friend Sri Radha under the control of Sri Krishna. She wants to keep Krishna equally controlled, so she carefully sends Sri Radha on her abhisāra (love-journey) and when she sees an imbalance of power (in favor of Sri Krishna), her loving pride strikes heavily. Then she always instructs her girlfriend Sri Radha in the finesses of loving pique and opposition. For this reason Lalita is called an adhika prakharā sakhī, a more audacious girlfriend.

prema saubhāgya sad guṇyādyādhikyād adhikā sakhī
durllaṅghya vākya prakharā prakhyātā gauravocitā

A girl who is superior in love, good fortune and great attributes is called adhikā, and a girl whose words are insurmountable is called prakharā, a girl who is always very proud.” (
Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi,
8.3)

When such an adhika prakharā-sakhī sees even the slightest flaw in Sri Radha’s total control over Sri Krishna she will teach her māna, or loving pique, and she will not tolerate any slackening of that māna. For instance:

mugdhe tuṣṇīṁ bhava śaṭha-kalā-maṇḍalākhaṇḍalena
tvaṁ mantreṇa sphuṭam iha vaśīkṛtya tenānuśiṣṭā
kuñje govardhana śikhariṇo jāgareṇādya rādhāṁ
dṛṣṭvāpyuccaiḥ sakhi yad asi me cāṭu-vāde pravṛttā

When Lalita saw Citrā-sakhī endeavouring to pacify Sri Radha’s proud huff, she told her: “O stupid girl! Shut up! I know that this king of cheaters (Krishna) has subdued you with his instructions! How amazing! I praise your nature! Did you also use such flattering words even while seeing that Radha was spending the whole night in wakefulness on Govardhana hill (vainly waiting for Krishna)? Anyway, so far so good. There’s no more need for any more flattering words! Quickly get out of here!” (
Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, 8.
15)

Citrā has the opposite nature of Lalita, she is very submissive.

When Lalita instructs Radha in pique, then Radha cannot give up that māna without Lalita’s permission, not even out of her own free will! Hence one of Sri Radha’s names is Lalita bhīti māninī (She who is angry with Krishna out of fear of Lalita (Raghunath Das Goswami’s Rādhikāṣṭottara-śata-nāma-stotram). This pique of Sri Radha is Lalita’s greatest contribution to the service of Sri Krishna.

vāmya svabhāve māna uṭhe nirantara;
uhāra vāmye uṭhe kṛṣṇera ānanda sāgara

Just to make the ocean of Sri Radha’s love swell up unlimitedly and to give Sri Krishna the sweet relish of Sri Radha’s sweet love Lalita instructs Srimati in
māna
. This is one of her special dexterities of love. (
Caitanya-caritāmṛta
)

Srila Rūpa Goswamipāda has written the following definition of māna‘s nature:

snehas tūtkṛṣṭatāvāptyā mādhuryaṁ mānayan navam
yo dhārayatyadākṣiṇyaṁ sa māna iti kīrtyate

When
sneha
reaches its climax it makes the lover experience a fresh sweetness. When it carries a crooked kind of unsubmissiveness it is called
māna
.” (
Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, 
14.96)

Consequently māna arises to keep the course of love relishable, fresh and dynamic. Māna makes something which is anyway always enjoyable sweet and desirable in its novel sweetness, hence Sri Lalita is known as she who is most expert in tastefully nourishing Sri Radha’s mood of opposition and pique. Raghunath Das Goswami says: “May that Lalita accept me in her own party!”

nimagana hoiyā yei gāḍha prema rase;
priyatā hetu kiñcit auddhatya prakāśe
śrī rādhā-govinda līlāra puṣṭira kāraṇa;
rasa vākyāvalī sadā karoye varṣaṇa
vāmyera maryādā sadā vṛddhira kāraṇa;
śrī rādhāya māna śikṣā dena vilakṣaṇa
sei to Lalita more nija gaṇa madhye;
grahaṇa koriyā kobe kṛtārtha koribe

When will Lalita, who is absorbed in deep feelings of love, who shows her audacity out of that love, who always showers Sri Radha Govinda with rasika words that nourish Their pastimes, who always increases the ways of love-in-opposition and who teaches Sri Radha the special art of loving pique, bless me by accepting me within her own party?

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