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Ten Vows of Shrila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami

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A108-AI

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Sri Gaurāṅgāya namaḥ

VERSE 1:

gurau mantre nāmni prabhu-vara-śacī-garbhaja-pade
svarūpe śrī-rūpe gaṇa-yuji tadīya-prathamaje
girīndre gāndharvā-sarasi madhu-puryāṁ vraja-vane
vraje bhakte goṣṭhālayiṣu param āstāṁ mama ratiḥ
 
Let me have the greatest love for my Guru, my initiation-mantra, the holy name of Krishna, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the greatest of all Lords, who has appeared from the womb of mother Sach, Sri Swarup Damodar, Sri Rupa Goswami , his devotees and his elder brother Sanatan Goswami, the king of hills Govardhan, Gandharvika’s lake Radha Kund, Mathura Puri, the forests of Vraja, the meadows of Vraja and the inhabitants of these meadows.

0511_VrindavanParikrama_07-225x300.jpg&k← Devotee worshiping at Sri Raghunath’s samadhi, Radha Kund.

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In Sādhakāveśa, Srila Raghunath Das Goswami humbly considers himself to be an ordinary immature practicing devotee and takes ten firm vows for himself to become fixed in bhajan.

Devotees who are fixed in bhajan and desire to attain the perfection of prema should strictly keep their vows. raghunāthera niyama yena pāṣāṇera rekhā (CC) “Raghunath Das’s vows were indelible like the lines on a stone.”

Pure devotees who wander in the realm of bhāva, do not have to follow any regulative principles because they are floating on the waves of bhāva without being aware of external matters for long stretches of time. It is therefore difficult or sometimes impossible for them to adhere to external rules. Still we see that these great realized souls knowingly do not give up their exemplary regulative principles of bhajan in any way.

When Namacharya Srila Haridas Thakur became old and was unable to keep his daily quota of japa, he prayed to Sriman Mahaprabhu that he could proceed with his antardhāna-līlā (his pastime of leaving his body at his own chosen time). In other words, he would rather give up his life than his vows. Srila Raghunath’s adherence to his strict vows is described in the sixth wave of Bhakti-ratnākara:

atikṣīṇa śarīra durbala kṣaṇe kṣaṇe; karaẏe bhakṣaṇa kichu dui cāri dine
yady api śuṣka deha bātāse hālaẏa; tathāpi nirbandha kriẏā saba samādaẏa
bhūme paḏi’ praṇami’ uṭhite nāhi pāre; ithe ye niṣedhe kichu na kahaẏe tāre
anukūla ha-ile praśaṁsaẏa bāra bāra; dekhiẏā sādhanāgraha debe-o camatkāra
“Raghunath’s emaciated body became weaker at every moment, and he would only eat something every two or four days. Although his body was so brittle that it could be blown away by the wind, he would still perform all his important duties. When he fell to the ground to offer obeisances, he could not get up anymore, but if anyone (out of concern for him) forbade him to do this, he would not listen. Seeing his strict adherence to his vows, even the demigods were amazed!”

These ten vows of Srila Raghunath Das are like the pole star, like a compass for the Gaudiya Vaishnava practitioners. Previously, in his Manaḥ-śiksā, Sri Raghunath Das already expressed his loving attachment to the same deities and holy abodes as here in this verse, where he repeats himself to make it absolutely sure that love for them is indispensable for those who want to attain the perfection of prema.

First of all, Sri Raghunath desires to become attached to the lotus feet of his guru. In Sri Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Srila Rupa Goswami has described 64 limbs of bhakti, starting with taking shelter of the lotus feet of a guru; accepting an initiation mantra from him; learning the intricacies of bhajan from him, and serving him with love and faith. These are three gates through which we enter the temple of devotion: guru padāśrayas tasmāt kṛṣṇa dīkṣādi śikṣānaṁ viśrambheṇa guroḥ sevā.

The guru must be pleased by serving his lotus feet with firm faith, love and passionate devotion. Worship of God can never reach perfection unless the guru is pleased, that is the undisputed verdict of the scriptures. tad-prasādo hi mūlam (Sri Jīva Goswami): “The cause of perfection is the guru’s grace”. yāhāra prasāde bhāi, e bhava tariyā yāya, kṛṣṇa prāpti hoy yāhā hoite (Prema-bhakti-candrikā) The secondary effect of the guru’s satisfaction is liberation from the material world, and the main result is attainment of Krishna’s lotus feet. In this way the devotee becomes blessed in all respects.

Just as water turns into ice when it is exposed to excessive cold, similarly the ocean of the Lord’s grace takes a solid form when it descends to earth in the form of the guru. Therefore attainment of love for Krishna and of his devotional service are easily accomplished as a result of love for the guru’s lotus feet. śrī guru caraṇe rati, ei se uttamā gati, ye prasāde pūre sarva āśā (Prema-bhakti-candrikā)

After this, Sri Raghunath expresses his desire to love his initiation mantras. The mantra which is received from the guru’s lotus feet at the time of initiation is called the iṣṭa-mantra, or the beloved transcendental formula. yo mantraḥ sa guruḥ sākṣāt yo guruḥ sa hariḥ svayam (Vāmana Kalpa) “The mantra is non-different from the guru and the guru is again non-different from the Supreme Lord Hari.” Therefore, those who wish to worship Krishna should receive mantra-dīkṣā from a bona fide guru.

In his commentary on the verse “mantrasya ca parijñānam” from the Bhāgavata (11.21.15) Srila Vishwanath Chakravartī writes: sad-guru-mukhāt yathāvat parijñānaṁ mantra-śuddhiḥ “The mantra is really pure when it emanates from the mouth of a bona-fide guru.” Such benefits cannot be had from practicing a mantra that is just taken from a book.

By the Lord’s wish, the mantras that contain His names have been empowered by sages like Narada, who have adorned them with invocatory syllables (bīja) and affixes such as svāhā or namaḥ. In this way, the practitioner of the mantra establishes a special relationship with the Lord and vice-versa. When the devotee practices his mantras with rati (attachment) he will surely and swiftly attain the highest goal of love for the Lord’s lotus feet.

After this, Sri Raghunath desires love for and attachment to the holy name of Sri Hari. Because the holy name and the Lord are non-different from each other, the holy name is also self-manifest and transcendental to māyā. The devotee can never independently bring down love for the holy name simply on the strength of his own practice. Just like the Lord himself, the holy name cannot be perceived through the senses, but when a living entity becomes sevonmukha, which means that he develops a service attitude, the holy name will automatically appear on his tongue. Srila Rupa Goswami writes in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.234):

atah śrī-kṛṣṇa nāmādi na bhavet grāhyam indriyaiḥ
sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ
Sevonmukha means the endeavor to please and delight the Lord with one’s devotional service. When, by the grace of great souls or through their association, a devotee realizes that the Lord is most pleased if he performs nāma saṅkīrtana, he enthusiastically begins to practice it.

By the grace of the great souls, the holy name then automatically arises on his tongue and extends its delectable influence there. When the holy name is chanted with other desires than to love and please the Lord, only a semblance of its power and influence will become manifest. Even if this nāmābhāsa (semblance of the holy name) is practiced again and again, rati or anurāga will not be attained, but, when the holy name is chanted without ulterior motives, simply out of love for the Lord, the practising devotee will be blessed with prema, love for the Lord’s lotus feet and taste for chanting the holy name.

kṛṣṇa nāma mahā-mantrera ei to svabhāva; yei jape tāra kṛṣṇe upajaye bhāva
kṛṣṇa-viṣayaka premā parama puruṣārtha; yāra āge tṛṇa tulya cāri puruṣārtha
kṛṣṇa-nāmera phala premā sarva śāstre koy (CC)

“It is the nature of the kṛṣṇa-nāma mahā-mantra that anyone who repeats it develops love for Krishna, which is the fifth and final goal of human life, before which the other four goals are mere blades of grass. All the scriptures say that love for Krishna is the proper result of chanting his holy name.”

After this, Srila Raghunath prays for love of Sri Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet. He is himself one of Mahaprabhu’s eternal associates and his extraordinary rati or anurāga for Mahaprabhu is world famous, but still he humbly and insatiably prays for love for the Lord’s lotus feet to engage the Gaudiya Vaishnava aspirants in Sri Gaura-bhajana.

The root cause of the Gaudiya Vaishnavas’ love for the lotus feet of Radha and Krishna is loving worship of Sri Gauranga’s lotus feet. gaura prema rasārṇave, se taraṅge yebā ḍube, se rādhā-mādhava antaraṅga (Prārthanā). In his Chaitanya-candrāmṛtam (88) Sripad Prabodhananda Saraswati has written:

yathā yathā gaura-padāravinde
vindeta bhaktiṁ kṛta-puṇya-rāśiḥ
tathā tathotsarpati hṛdy akasmāt
rādhā-padāmbhoja-sudhāmbu-rāśiḥ
“When a very fortunate soul experiences devotion for Gaura’s lotus feet, the nectar-ocean from Radha’s lotus feet suddenly floods his heart.”

Particularly in this present age of Kali, the confidential worship of Radha Madhava is the great merciful gift of Sriman Mahaprabhu. Sri Gaurasundara has given that sweet Vraja worship, which was unattainable for even the greatest sages of the relatively purer ages of Satya, Tretā and Dvāpara, to the unfortunate, sin-stained people of the age of Kali, thus raising them to the most elevated platform. Therefore, without taking shelter of his lotus feet, the sweetness of Vraja can never be relished.

kṛṣṇa līlāmṛta sāra, tāra śata śata dhāra,
daśa dige bohe yāhā hoite
se caitanya līlā hoy, sarovara akṣaya
mano-haṁsa carāho tāhāte
“Sri Chaitanya’s pastimes are like a shoreless lake from which hundreds and hundreds of rivulets of Krishna pastimes, that are the quintessence of nectar, flow in all directions. Make your mind a swan that swims in that lake!”
caitanya līlāmṛta pūra, kṛṣṇa-līlā sukarpura,
doṅhe meli hoy sumādhurya
sādhu-guru prasāde,tāhā yei āsvāde,
se-i jāne mādhurya prācurya
ye līlā amṛta vine, khāya yadi anupāne,
tabhu bhaktera durbala jīvana
“This nectar of Chaitanya’s pastimes becomes even more sweet when the nice camphor of Krishna pastimes is added to it. Anyone who relishes this by the grace of the saints and the guru knows its abundant sweetness. If a devotee simply eats and drinks without drinking this nectar of Chaitanya’s pastimes, his life will be weakened.”

It is not that one must take shelter of Gaura-worship just to relish the sweetness of Radha Krishna’s pastimes. The lotus feet of Sri Gauranga and Sri Radha Madhava are simultaneously worshiped by the Gaudiya Vaishnavas and they are both their final goal. hethā gauracandra pābo, sethā rādhā-kṛṣṇa (Srila Thakur Mahashay).

By calling Sriman Mahaprabhu Śacī-garbhaja Sri Raghunath humbly indicates that he has attained mercy from him like one can only get from the mother, but that unfortunately he could not become permanently attached to the worship of this most merciful Sriman Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet.

Mahaprabhu became carefree when he placed Raghunath Das in the care of Swarup Damodar and called him “Swarup’s Raghu.” Here, Sri Raghunath prays for attachment to the lotus feet of Swarup Damodar.

Out of shyness and awe, Sri Raghunath would not freely speak about himself. Instead he would tell the Lord through the medium of Sri Swarup Damodar. prabhu āge kathā mātra nā kore raghunāth; svarūpa govinda dvārā kohāya nija bāta. When Swarup Damodar submitted Raghunath’s questions to Mahaprabhu, the Lord smiled and told Raghu:

hāsi mahāprabhu raghunāthere kohilo;
tomāra upadeṣṭā kori svarūpere dilo
sādhya sādhana-tattva śikho ihā sthāne;
āmi toto nāhi jāni iha yoto jāne
“I’ve given you Swarup Damodar as a teacher. Learn the means and the goal from him! I don’t know as much as he knows!”

In this way, the Lord made Raghunath Swarup Damodar’s pupil in all respects. Raghunath humbly thought: “The Lord has given me Swarup Damodar as an invaluable jewel, but alas! Unfortunately I have not become attached to his lotus feet!” Hence Raghunath takes a firm vow to worship the lotus feet of Sri Swarup Damodar.

srila-rupa-goswami-samadhi-300x250.jpg← Srila Rupa Goswami’s samadhi at Radha Damodar temple, Vrindavan

After that, Srila Raghunath takes a firm vow to become attached to the lotus feet of Srila Rupa Goswami, his teacher of rāgānugā-bhakti endowed with regulative principles. At the end of his Stavāvalī, in the Abhīṣṭa-sūcanam (2), Sri Raghunath himself says:

yad-yatnataḥ śama-damātma-viveka-yogair
adhyātma-lagnam avikāram abhūn mano me
rūpasya tat-smita-sudhāṁ sadayāvalokam
āsādya mādyati hareś caritair idānīm

Through the efforts of Sri Rupa Goswami my mind has become equipoised (śama), controlled (dama) and absorbed in transcendence through the practice of ātma-viveka (spiritual discriminati¬on) and yoga. Because of attaining his merciful glance and his nectarean smile my mind has now become maddened by Sri Hari’s pastimes!”

In other places in his books, Sri Raghunath shows his topmost faith in and devotion for Sri Rupa Goswami

ādadānas tṛṇaṁ dantair idaṁ yāce punaḥ punaḥ
śrīmad-rūpa-padāmbhoja-dhūliḥ syām janma-janmani
ādadānas tṛṇaṁ dantair idaṁ yāce punaḥ punaḥ;
śrīmad rūpa padāmbhoja-rajo’haṁ syāṁ bhave bhave

“Taking a straw between my teeth, I pray again and again that I may become a speck of dust at Srimad Rupa Goswami ‘s lotus feet, birth after birth!”

In Rādhā-kṛṣṇojjvala-kusuma-keli (44) he has written:

idaṁ rādhā-kṛṣṇojjvala-kusuma-keli-kali-madhu-
priyālī-narmālī-parimala-yutaṁ yasya bhajanāt
mamāndhasyāpy etad vacana-madhupenālpa-gatinā
manāg ghrātaṁ tan me gatir atula-rūpāṅghrija-rajaḥ

“By worshiping the matchless dust of Srila Rupa Goswami ‘s lotus feet, even the limping bumblebee of the words of an ignorant and arasika person like me is able to now smell a little of the fragrance of the honey of Radha and Krishna’s playful and brilliant flower-quarrel, that is scented by the words of their dearest girlfriends. This matchless foot-dust is my only goal!”

In this way, Sri Raghunath shows his topmost devotion for Srila Rupa Goswami. Still, he humbly says here that he has no love for these lotus feet at all and prays that he may become attached to them once.

download-1.jpg← Sanatan Goswami’s samadhi at Madan Mohan temple, Vrindavan

After that, Sri Raghunath prays that he may become attached to the lotus feet of Srila Sanatan Goswami. In his Vilāpa-kusumāñjali (verse 6) he surrenders to Srila Sanatan Goswami’s lotus feet, writing:

vairāgya-yug-bhakti-rasaṁ-prayatnair
apāyayan mām anabhīpsum andham
kṛpāmbudhir yaḥ para-duḥkha-duḥkhī
sanātanaṁ taṁ prabhum āśrayāmi

“I surrender to my master Sanatan Goswami, who is an ocean of mercy, who is very unhappy when he sees others suffering and who made me drink the nectar of devotion laced with dispassion, although I was blind and unwilling.”

Suffering the pangs of separation after the disappearance of Sri Gauranga, Sri Raghunath Das actually came to Vraja Dham to commit suicide by jumping from Govardhan hill, but Srila Rupa and Sanatan Goswami consoled him and advised him to settle down at Radha Kund.

Srila Raghunath felt that whatever he had accomplished in bhajana sādhana, either in this life or the next was all due to Rupa and Sanatana’s grace, but he unfortunately could not become attracted to the lotus feet of they who bestowed such causeless mercy on him. In this humble way, Sri Raghunath became very unsteady and took a firm vow to be lovingly attached to Sri Rūpa and Sanātana as an indispensable part of his bhajan.

Sri-Gauranga-Ashram-300x281.jpg← The Shila gifted to Raghunath Das Goswami, now in Radha Gokulananda temple, Vrindavan

After that, Sri Raghunath desires loving attachment to Giriraj Sri Govardhan. In Nilachal, Mahaprabhu had given him His Govardhana-Silā, which was dearer to him than life, and explained to him what the real svarūpa of the rock is; prabhu kohe – ei śilā kṛṣṇera vigraha; ihāra sevā koro tumi koriyā āgraha. “The Lord said: This stone is Krishna’s own body; serve it with great enthusiasm!” (CC)

By the Lord’s grace, Sri Raghunath saw the stone as Krishna himself while he served it, and floated in an ocean of transcendental bliss: pūjā-kāle dekhe śilāya vrajendra-nandana (CC). Due to his advanced stage of transcendental realization, Sri Raghunath understood the secret significance of the Lord’s giving him the Govardhana Śilā, and this made him go beside himself in bliss.

raghunātha sei śīlā mālā yabe pāilā; gosāira abhiprāya ei bhāvanā korilā
śīlā diyā more samarpilā govardhane; guñjā mālā diyā dilā rādhikā caraṇe
ānande raghunāthera bāhya vismaraṇa; kāya mane sevilen gaurāṅga caraṇa

When Lord Chaitanya gave him the rock from Govardhana hill and the string of sacred guñjā beads, Raghunath thought about the Lord’s purpose as follows: “The Lord has entrusted me to Govardhana hill by giving me this rock and he placed me at the lotus feet of Sri Radhika by giving me this string of guñjā beads!”

Raghunath Das was beside himself in ecstasy and he served Lord Gaurānga’s lotus feet with body and mind.

While his heart is burning in the fire of separation from the Lord, Sri Raghunath exclaims: “Alas! Although the Lord submitted me to the lotus feet of Govardhana hill, my heart could not become attracted to Him!” Hence Raghu takes a firm vow here to love the lotus feet of Guṇa-nidhi Haridāsa-varya Srila Giriraj.

Then again he prays for an increase of his topmost love for Sri Radha Kund. Srila Raghunath is known as Kuṇḍavāsī; his great loyalty and love for Sri Radha Kund is well known to everyone.

The remembrance of Radha Kund is horizontally and vertically entwined with the remembrance of Srila Raghunath Das Goswami. As soon as someone says “Radha Kund” we remember Srila Raghunath Das Goswami. Raghunath is exclusively fixed in Sri Radha Kund, the most intimate playground of Sri Sri Radha Madhava, and he always prays to Priyajī’s lake to relieve him from the burning pain of separation from them by allowing him to see and serve them there:

sva-kuṇḍaṁ tava lolākṣi sa-priyayā sadāspadam
atraiva mama saṁvāsaḥ ihaiva mama saṁsthitiḥ

he śrī-sarovara sadā tvayi sā mad-īśā
preṣṭhena sārdham iha khelati kāma-raṅgaiḥ
tvaṁ cet priyāt priyam atīva tayor iti mām
hā darśayādya kṛpayā mama jīvitaṁ tam

“O Lolākṣi (restless eyed girl)! Your lake is always the dwelling place of you and your Beloved. Here only will I live and here alone will I remain!”

“O beautiful lake! (Radha Kund)! My mistress always plays loving games in you with her beloved Krishna. If you are dearer to them than the dearest, then please show me my mistress, who is my very life!” (Vilāpa-kusumāñjali 97, 98)

Sri Raghunath also desires loving attachment to Sri Madhupuri. In the Padma Purāṇa it is said:

aho madhupurī dhanyā vaikuṇṭhāc ca garīyasī
dinam ekaṁ nivāsena harau bhaktiḥ prajāyate

“Aho! Blessed is this Madhupurī, which is greater even than Vaikuṇṭha-dhāma! Even after staying there for one day one becomes devoted to Lord Hari!”

Of the seven greatest holy cities of the earth, Mathura is the greatest and is worshipable by all other holy places. In Sri Rupa Goswami ‘s Mathuraṣṭakam it is seen:

adyāvanti-patad-grahaṁ kuru kare māye śanair vījaya
cchatraṁ kāñci gṛhāna kāśi purataḥ pādū-yugaṁ dhāraya
nāyodhye bhaja sambhramaṁ stuti-kathāṁ nodgāraya dvārake
devīyaṁ bhavatīṣu hanta mathurā dṛṣṭi-prasādaṁ dadhe

“O Avanti! Today you can take a spittoon in the hand! O Māyāpuri! Fan softly! O Kāñci! Hold an umbrella! O Kāśi! you hold the shoes in front! O Ayodhye! Don’t be afraid anymore! O Dvārake! Don’t utter anymore praises now, because today Mathura-devīhas become pleased with you. Casting a merciful glance on you, she has accepted you as her maidservant!”

After this, Sri Raghunath covets loving attachment to Vrajavana or Vrindavan. Vrindavan here means the present municipality which has a circumference of 5 kos, or 16 kilometers. The whole of Vraja Mandal is also often called Vrindavan. The name Vrindavan can thus be used for both the municipality as well as its surroundings.

Just as Sri Radha Kund is Raghunath’s dearmost place of worship because it was revealed by Sriman Mahaprabhu, who is dearer to him than millions of lives, similarly Vrindavan is also dearer to him than life because it was unveiled by Sriman Mahaprabhu and Sri Rūpa and Sanatan Goswami.

When Mahaprabhu came to Vraja, Vrindavan was nothing but a jungle. Vrindavan was the last place Mahaprabhu went when he performed the Vraja Mandal Parikrama. He would go there daily, coming from Akrura Tirtha where he was staying. In Vrindavan, the Lord blissfully remembered Krishna’s pastimes and performed nāma saṅkīrtana in solitude.

Srila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami describes the Lord’s tour of Sri Vrindavan as follows: On the first day he bathed in Kaliya Hrada and Praskandana tīrtha and had darshan of Dwadashaditya Tila, Keshi Ghat and the Rāsa-sthalī (Vamsi Vat) before returning to Akrura Ghat for taking a meal and rest.

On the second day, he bathed in Cīra Ghat, took rest and chanted nāma saṅkīrtana at Tentula Talā (Imli Talā) before returning to Akrura Ghat at midday to take his meal. On the third day he chanted nāma saṅkīrtana in Vrindavan until midday, considering this to be a more peaceful place than Akruura Ghat, where he was bothered by crowds of people, and he met a certain Krishna Das of the Rājaputa caste (kṣatriyas from Rajasthan) before returning to Akrura at midday.

On the morning of the fourth day he returned to Vrindavan with Krishna Das to chant nāma saṅkīrtana. If there had been any temples or ashrams at that time, the Lord would not have returned to Akrura Ghat daily to take his alms.

One day the Lord sat down at Akrura Ghat and remembered Akrura’s vision of Vaikuṇṭha and the Vrajavāsīs’ vision of Goloka as he looked in the Yamuna water. Out of sheer ecstasy he jumped into the water and was about to drown if Krishna Das had not called Balabhadra Bhattacharya to help him pull the Lord out.

Balabhadra understood that it was not free from danger to keep the Lord in Vraja, because: vṛndāvane ḍube yadi ke uṭhābe tāre (CC) “Who would lift him out if he drowned in Vrindavan?” This statement proves again that Vrindavan was an uninhabited place at the time of Mahaprabhu’s visit.

In Vrindavan, Sri Chaitanya Deva revealed the holy places Dvādaśāditya-tilā, Keśī-ghāṭa, the Rāsa-sthalī and Cīra-ghāṭa, and later; on the order of the Lord, and by his grace, Sri Rūpa and Sanatan Goswami revealed all the other playgrounds of Krishna.

The Vrindavan we see today is the merciful revelation of Sriman Mahaprabhu and Rūpa and Sanatan Goswami. The Padma Purāṇa, Uttara Khaṇḍa, says:

pañca yojanam evāsti vanaṁ me deha rūpakam;
kālindīyaṁ suṣumnākhyā paramāmṛta vāhinī
atra devāś ca bhūtāni vartante sūkṣma rūpataḥ;
sarva devamayaś cāhaṁ na tyajāmi vanaṁ kvacit
āvirbhāvas tirobhāvo bhaved atra yuge yuge;
tejomayam idam ramyam adṛśyaṁ carma-cakṣuṣā

“This forest (Vrindavan) extends over five yojanas (ten miles) and, the Yamuna River, which carries the highest nectar, is its spine. All the demigods and spirits reside here in subtle forms. I, the aggregate of all the gods, also never leave this forest. I appear and disappear here age after age. This transcendentally effulgent lovely forest can not be perceived by the material eyes.”

When this Vrindavan and its transcendental pastimes had vanished through the force of time Sri Raghunath’s dearmost Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Rūpa and Sanatan Goswami unveiled it once more, so that it became dearer to him than his very life-airs. That is why he prays for loving attachment to Sri Vrindavan.

The word vraja-vana can also mean the twelve forests and subforests of Vraja Mandal:

tena dṛṣṭā ca sā ramyā keśavasya purī tathā;
vanair dvādaśabhir yuktā puṇyā pāpa-harā śubhā
“he saw these twelve lovely forests of Keshava, which destroy all sins and bestow all auspiciousness and virtue.”

In the Padma Purāṇa it is seen:

bhadra-śrī-lauha-bhāṇḍīra-mahā-tāla-khadirakāḥ;
bahulā-kumudaṁ kāmyaṁ madhu-vṛndāvanaṁ tathā
dvādaśaitāny araṇyāni kālindyāḥ sapta paścime;
pūrve pañca vanaṁ proktaṁ tatrāsti guhyam uttamam

“Bhadra-, Sri-, Lauha-, Bhāṇḍīra-, Mahā-, Tāla-, Khadira-, Bahulā-, Kumuda-, Kāmya-, Madhu-and Vrindavan – these are the twelve forests of Vraja. Of them, seven are on the west bank of the Yamunā and five are on the east bank. These are the most confidential forests.”

Sri Raghunath desires loving attachment for these twelve most sacred forests.

Then Sri Raghunath prays for loving attachment to the goṣṭha, or pasture fields of Vraja. There’s nothing as sweet as Krishna’s goṣṭha-līlā:

nija sama sakhā saṅge, go-gaṇa cāraṇa raṅge
bṛndābane sbacchande bihāra
yāra beṇu-dhvani śuni, sthābara jaṅgama prāṇī,
pulaka kampa aśru bahe dhāra

“Krishna freely plays with his friends on an equal level, tending his cows in Vrindavan. When the moving and non-moving living entities hear the sound of His flute, they shiver, get goose-pimples and shed streams of tears out of ecstasy.” (CC)

Srimatī Radharani and her sakhīs also come to the goṣṭha when they hear this enchanting flute-song and bless the devotees at Radha Kund, that appear as kiṅkarīs, by playing their sweet pastimes of meeting with Śyāmasundara there. By the grace of the goṣṭha, Sri Raghunath is blessed with relishing the sweetness of the sweet Goṣṭha-Līlās – that is why he desires loving attachment to the goṣṭha.

Sri Raghunath also always desires loving attachment to the Vrajavāsī-bhaktas, without whose mercy the Darshan and the attainment of the loving devotional service of Radha Madhava is impossible. In our commentary on the first verse of Manaḥ-śikṣā we have elaborated on this point and that commentary may be consulted.

śrī guru karuṇāmaya, vando tāra padadvaya,
prema kalpataru vara dātā
dīkṣā-mantra harināma, yāhāra amūlya dāna,
kibā gābo tāra guṇa gāthā
“I praise the lotus feet of my merciful guru, who is a wish-yielding tree of love of God, and the greatest donor, who gave me the invaluable jewels of the initiation-mantra and Hari-Nāma. How can I sufficiently praise his glories?”
nāma nāmī abheda jāni, guruvākya satya māni,
japa mana parama ādare
śrīkṛṣṇa caitanya deve,svarūpa gosvāmī pade,
mati rahu yuga yugāntare
“Knowing the Lord to be non-different from his holy name and the words of my guru to be the truth, I repeat the holy syllables with great awe. May my mind dwell in the lotus feet of Krishna Chaitanya-deva and Swarup Damodar, age after age!”
prabhura abhinna rūpa, nāma yāra śrī rūpa,
ujjvala rasera kārigara
yāra śuddha kalevare, śakti sañcārita kore,
prabhu kore rasera pracāra
“Sri Rupa Goswami , who is non-different from Mahaprabhu, is the craftsman of the erotic rasa. The Lord infused his power into his pure form to preach the science of rasa.”
śrī rūpa gosvāmī pade, mati rahu pade pade,
bhajana rājyera adhipati
daśanete tṛṇa dhare, ei bhikṣā pade poḍe,
yugalera manera pirīti
“May I always be attracted to Sri Rupa Goswami’s lotus feet, for he is the master of the kingdom of bhajana! Holding a straw between my teeth I pray for this alm: May I love the divine Couple!”
tāhāra agraja yini,vairāgyera cūḍāmaṇi,
Srila sanātana yāra nāma
vṛndāvane vṛkṣamūle, hākṛṣṇa govinda bole,
yāra hṛde gaura guṇa-dhāma

bṛhad bhāgavatāmṛta, pade pade parāmṛta,
hari bhakti vilāsādi kori.
grantha ratna kore dāna,tribhuvane jayagāna
tāra pada hṛdayete dhari

“I carry the lotus feet of Sri Rupa Goswami’s elder brother, named Sanatan Goswami, who is the crown jewel of renunciants, who cried out ‘Hā Krishna! Govinda!’ while simply dwelling at the base of Vrindavan’s trees, who always carries Gaura Guṇadhāma in his heart, who wrote jewel-like books like Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta, which is the highest nectar at every step, Hari Bhakti Vilāsa and others, and whose glories are sung by the three worlds, in my heart!”

rādhā kuṇḍa govardhane, bando mui sarva kṣaṇe,
yugala pirīti kore dāna
madhupurī vṛndāvane, goṣṭhe yoto bhaktagaṇe,
pade pade ananta praṇāma
“At every moment I offer my obeisances unto Govardhana hill and Radha Kund, for they bestow love for the Divine Couple on us. I offer countless obeisances to the lotus feet of all the devotees in Vraja, to the town of Mathura and to Vrindavan.”
vrajavāsī vaiṣṇava-gaṇe, mui dīna akiñcana,
vrajera yoto sthāvara jaṅgama
gala lagnī kṛta vāse, nitya vandi abhilāṣe,
anurāga vṛddhira kāraṇa
“I always praise the Vrajavāsīs, the Vaishnavas and all the moving and nonmoving creatures of Vraja, being a fallen indigent wretch. I humbly pray that my attraction for them all may increase.”

 

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