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Vraja Vilasa :: The Essence of Sakhi Bhava

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I bow down in surrender to Sri Radha’s dearmost girlfriends, who angrily refuse the request of Sri Krishna, the reservoir of all transcendental bliss, when he boldly tries to charm them and solicits them to enjoy with him in secret. Instead, they joyfully arrange for him to enjoy with their most beloved Radha.


sarvānanda-kadambakena hariṇā prāg yācitā apy amūḥ
svairaṁ cāru riraṁsayā rahasi yāḥ krodhād anādṛtya tām
prāṇa-preṣṭha-sakhīṁ nijām anudinaṁ tenaiva sārddhaṁ mudā
rādhāṁ saṁramayanti tāḥ priya-sakhīr mūrdhnā prapadyetarām
 

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this verse Raghunath Das Goswami praises Sri Radha’s sakhīs.

yūthayos tu yayoḥ santi koṭi-saṅkhyā mṛgī-dṛśaḥ

There are millions of doe-eyed sakhīs in the parties of both Radha and Chandravali. (
Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi
4.1)

Following this statement of Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, it is impossible to praise the innumerable different sakhīs of Sri Radha by name, so they are praised collectively in this verse. The love of the gopikās is completely devoid of desires for personal happiness.

ātma-sukha duḥke gopīra nāhika vicāra;
kṛṣṇa sukha hetu ceṣṭā mano vyavahāra.
kṛṣṇa lāgi āra saba kori parityāga;
kṛṣṇa sukha hetu kore śuddha anurāga

The gopīs don’t bother about their own happiness or distress. Their thoughts and endeavours are just fixed on Krishna’s happiness. For Krishna’s sake they have given up everything else. For Krishna’s pleasure they love him with pure passion. (
Caitanya-caritāmṛta
)

yad asyāṁ kṛṣṇa saukhyārtham eva kevalam udyamaḥ

All their activities are performed simply for Krishna’s pleasure.” (
Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu
1.2.283)

Just as Sri Radha and the Vrajasundarīs only desire the happiness of Sri Krishna, similarly Sri Radha’s girlfriends only desire the happiness of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna, the Divine Couple together. The love of those who desire the sweet amorous mood of a Yutheshwari (gopī-group leader) who is a nāyikā-bhāvavatī (amorous heroine) is known as sakhī-bhāva. The sakhīs are happy when they can arrange for the meeting with their own Yutheshwari with Krishna; they do not desire independent meetings with him.

sakhīra svabhāva eka akathya kathana;
kṛṣṇa saha nija līlāya nāhi sakhīra mana
kṛṣṇa saha rādhikāra līlā ye korāya;
nija keli hoite tāhe koṭi sukha pāya
rādhāra svarūpa – kṛṣṇa prema kalpalatā;
sakhī gaṇa hoy tāra pallava puṣpa pātā
kṛṣṇa-līlāmṛta yadi latāke siñcaya;
nija seka hoite pallavādyera koṭi sukha hoy

The nature of the sakhīs is really indescribable – they do not desire personal pastimes with Krishna. They find millions of times more happiness in the pastimes they arrange between Radhika and Krishna than in their own pastimes with Krishna. Radha is by nature a wish-yielding vine of love for Krishna and the sakhīs are the tender leaves and flowers on this vine. When the nectar of Krishna’s pastimes is sprinkled on this vine it pleases the leaves and flowers millions of times more than if they were sprinkled themselves. (
Caitanya-caritāmṛta,
Madhya
8)

sakhyaḥ śrī rādhikāyā vraja-kumuda-vidhor hlādinī-nāma-śakteḥ
sārāṁśa-prema-vallyāḥ kisalaya-dala-puṣpādi-tulyāḥ sva-tulyāḥ
siktāyāṁ kṛṣṇa-līlāmṛta-rasa-nicayair ullasantyām amūṣyāṁ
jātollāsāḥ sva-sekāc chata-guṇam adhikaṁ santi yat tan na citram

[Nandimukhi told Vṛndā:] “These girlfriends are equal to Sri Radhika, who is the pleasure potency (
hlādini śakti
) of Sri Krishna, the moon for the lily-like gopīs. The essence of this potency is
prema
, pure love of God, which is personified by Sri Radha. She is like a vine and they are the shoots, leaves and flowers of this vine. When this love-vine is sprinkled with the nectar of Krishna’s pastimes, they become hundreds of times happier than if they were to be sprinkled directly! What is astonishing about that? (
Govinda-līlāmṛta
10.16)

nirupādhi prīti-parā sadṛśī sukha duḥkayoḥ
vayasya bhāvād anyonya hṛdayajñā sakhī bhavet

They who have dedicated themselves to causeless love, who are equal and happiness and distress and who know each other’s hearts due to their loving mutual friendship are called sakhīs. (
Alaṅkāra-kaustubha 5.279)

svātmano’py adhikaṁ prema kurvāṇānyo’nyam acchalam
viśrambhiṇī vayo-veṣādibhis tulyā sakhī matā

They who love each other greatly and unambiguously, who can trust each other completely, and who are equal in age and dress are called each others’ girlfriends.” (
Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi 8.
70)

Radha the queen of Vrindavan has five kinds of sakhīs: sakhīs, nitya-sakhīs, prāṇa-sakhīs, priya-sakhīs and parama-preṣṭha-sakhīs. Kusumika, Vindhya, Dhanishtha and others are sakhis; Kasturi, Mani Manjari and others are nitya-sakhīs, Shashimukhi, Vasanti and others are prāṇa-sakhīs, Kuraṅgākṣī, Sumadhyā and others are priya-sakhīs and Lalita, Vishakha and others belong to the last category.

In previous verses Das Goswami praised sakhīs like Lalita, Vishakha and Dhanishtha, and in the next verse after this he will also praise the manjaris, who are nitya-sakhīs and prāṇa sakhīs. In this verse therefore he praises all of Radharani’s other sakhīs collectively.

For all of these sakhis, the joyful meeting of Sri Krishna and Sri Radha is the pinnacle of bliss. They do not covet personal meetings with Sri Krishna. If by chance such a situation arises, in other words, if Sri Krishna privately expresses his desire for intimacy with them, then they disregard his request angrily, but go on to arrange for Sri Radhika and Sri Krishna. Raghunath Das Goswami says: “I always carry these dearmost girlfriends of Sri Radha on my head, i.e., I honor them above all.”

sarvānanda śrī govinda ekānta nirjane;
svacchanda vihāra lāgi kore nivedane
kintu yārā praṇaya kope kore pratyākhyāna;
śrī rādhāya milāiyā ullasitā hon
prāṇādhikā śrī rādhāra sei sakhīgaṇe;
mastake bohon kori ati harṣa mane

With a blissful mind I carry Sri Radha’s heartfriends, who may be petitioned in private by the all-blissful Sri Govinda for free enjoyment, but who will then refuse him with loving anger and blissfully arrange for his meeting with Sri Radha instead, on my head.


anantadas_thumbCommentary of Sri Radha Kund Mahant, Pandit Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj is named Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā (a drop of the nectar of Stavāvalī), 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.

© Translated by Advaita dāsa in 1994
Source: Tarun Govinda Das, Flowing Nectar Stream blog.

The post Vraja Vilasa :: The Essence of Sakhi Bhava appeared first on Vrindavan Today.

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