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Vraja Vilasa 31 : Vrinda Devi

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Vrinda DeviI surrender to the lotus feet of Sri Vṛndā, who, steeped in great love, decorates the many ever-fresh play groves with fragrant flowers and expands the festival of sweet and blissful pastimes of Sri Radha and Krishna, who are surrounded by their dear friends.

VERSE 31:

prati-nava-nava-kuñjaṁ prema-pūreṇa pūrṇā
pracura-surabhi-puṣpair bhūṣayitvā krameṇa
praṇayati bata vṛndā tatra līlotsavaṁ yā
priya-gaṇa-vṛta-rādhā-kṛṣṇayos tāṁ prapadye

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this verse Raghunath Das Goswami praises the sylvan goddess Sri Vṛndā, the presiding goddess of Sri Vrindavan and surrenders at her lotus feet. In the scripture, Sri Vṛndā is introduced as follows:

paurṇamāsī vīrā vṛndā vaṁśī nāndīmukhī tathā
vṛndārikā tathā menā muralādyāś ca dūtikāḥ
nānā sandhāna kuśalā tayor milana kāriṇī
kuñjādi saṁskriyābhijñā vṛndā tāsu varīyasī

“Paurṇamāsī, Vīrā, Vṛndā, Vaṁśī, Nandimukhi, Vṛndārikā, menā and Muralī are among Sri Krishna’s female messengers. They are very expert in various researches, in accomplishing the meetings between Sri Krishna and his sweethearts and in maintaining trysting places like the groves. The greatest in all these activities is Vṛndā.” (Radha-kṛṣṇa-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā 2.87-88)

Vṛndā is there described in the following way:

tapta-kāñcana-varṇābhā vṛndā kāntir manoharā;
nīla-vastra-parīdhānā muktā-puṣpa-virājitā
candrabhānuḥ pitā tasyāḥ phullarā jananī tathā;
patir asyā mahī-pālo mañjarī bhaginī ca sā
vṛndāvane sadā vāsā nānā-kelī-rasotsukā;
ubhayor milanākāṅkṣī tayoḥ prema-pariplutā

“Vrinda’s complexion is as enchanting as molten gold! she wears a blue dress, a pearl necklace and a flower garland. Her father is named Candrabhānu, her mother Phullarā, her husband Mahīpāla and her sister Manjari. Vrinda always lives in Vrindavan and is eager to play different rasika pastimes. She is eager to establish the meeting of the Divine Couple and is immersed in love for them.”

Sri Vrindavan is the abode of sweet love. The name of Vrindavan causes agitation in the mind and heart of both the Lord and his devotees. Here the devotees forget all of the Lord’s opulences and become eager to establish their own personal relationships with him, according to their individual feelings. The Lord also forgets his own nature and allows himself to be bound by the ropes of his devotees’ passionate love for him.

And again, in this Vraja the passionate love like that of the gopīs cannot be found described in any scripture. In this Vraja their unlawful passion causes them to fall from the path of virtue and fidelity and flow towards Shyamasundar forcefully and without interruption, like the currents of the Yamuna and the Gaṅgā. Because this passion is ever-fresh, it causes Sri Krishna, the object of their love, to relish the wonderful ever-fresh essence of the erotic mellow.

Above all, the mādana rasa of Sri Radha, who is the very embodiment of mādanākhya-mahā-bhāva, makes the transcendental youthful Cupid of Vrindavan forget himself in all respects. His nikuñjapastimes with Sri Radha continue day and night.

rātri-dina kuñja krīḍā kore rādhā saṅge; 
kaiśora vayasa saphala koilo krīḍā raṅge

“Day and night he sports with Radha in the groves and with these playful amusements he makes his youth a success.”

Assisted by her girlfriends Sri Vrinda Devi, who is the guru of thousands of vanadevīs or wood fairies, decorates Sri Vrindavan and the groves, the playground of Sri Sri Radha Madhava, in ever-new ways. Vrinda, the presiding goddess of this kingdom of sweet pastimes, decorates this naturally beautiful and sweet unique abode of the enjoyments of the Yugala with her loving hands, thus making it even sweeter. She thinks, “The deities of my heart will play here!” and so she keeps the kunjas nicely decorated and scented with a variety of floral decorations. Just as a loving pujarini keeps the temple redolent with incense and aguru, similarly prema-pūjāriṇī Vrinda perfumes each kuñja-mandira, the playground of her heart’s deities Sri Sri Radha Madhava, with the sweet aroma of abundant flowers. Just as an expert sculptor attracts his employer with the expertise of his artistic creations, similarly Vrinda, the sculptress of love, intoxicates the hearts of Sri Sri Radha Madhava and their sakhīs with playful feelings through her loving expertise in decorating Vrindavan and the kuñjas.

Vrinda Devi’s cleverness in relaying messages is another of her wonderful qualifications. Using clever words, the dūtī or  go-between Vrinda always awakens passionate attachment for a tryst in the hearts of the lovers. For instance, when Srimati Radharani sets out for Radha Kund on her noontime love journey (divābhisāra) with her sakhīs, eager to meet Shyamasundar, and Sri Krishna is impatiently waiting for her in the woods around the kund, eager to meet her, the forest meanwhile becomes delighted by Sri Radha’s bodily fragrance. Sri Krishna sends Vrinda out to quickly bring Srimati to him. When Sri Radha sees Vrinda Devi they have the following discussion:

kasmād vṛnde priya sakhi hareḥ pāda-mūlāt kuto’sau
kuṇḍāraṇye kim iha kurute nṛtya śikṣāṁ guru kaḥ
taṁ tvan-mūrtiḥ prati taru-lataṁ dik-vidikṣu sphurantī
śailuṣīva bhramati parito nartayantī sva paścāt

“O Vrinde! Where are you coming from?” Vrinda replies: “From Hari’s footsoles.” Radha: “Oh, and where is he?” Vrinda : “In the forest by your lake!” Radha: “What is he doing there?” Vrinda : “He is learning how to dance.” Radha: “Oh, and who is his teacher?” Vrinda : “It is your own image, which manifests in every direction like a dancing teacher, making him dance behind her!” (Govinda-līlāmṛta 8,77)

With many such clever words Sri Vrinda Devi expands the wonderful sweet flavors of Sri Sri Radha Madhava’s blissful pastimes in the company of their girlfriends. Her role in these pastimes is described extensively in books like Govinda-līlāmṛta and Kṛṣṇa-bhāvanāmṛta.

Thus Das Goswami takes shelter of the lotus feet of this Vrinda Devi.

prema rase nimagana hoiyā yei jana;
sājāiyeche madhura ei śrī vṛndāvana
nava nava kuñja yoto sugandhi kusume;
suśobhita bohe yāhā malaya pavane
vṛndāra racita sei śrī vṛndāvana;
śrī rādhā-govinde korāya līlā uddīpana
nirantara sei vṛndāra bhaji bhakti bhare;
vrajavāsa rādhā-kṛṣṇera sevā-siddhi tare

“I always devotedly worship Sri Vrinda Devi, who is absorbed in ecstatic love while sweetly decorating Sri Vrindavan’s ever-green groves with beautiful flowers, whose fragrance are carried by the southern breezes, and that incite amorous feelings in the hearts of Sri Radha and Govinda, so that I will be able to live in Vraja and reach perfection in Radha and Krishna’s devotional service there.”

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