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Shri Vraja Dhama

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Raghunatha Dasa Goswami’s SND, Verse 10: Perfection of Vraja Worship

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sphural-lakṣmī-lakṣmī-vraja-vijayi-lakṣmī-bhara-lasad-
vapuḥ-śrī-gāndharvā-smara-nikara-divyad-giribhṛtoḥ
vidhāsye kuñjādau vividha-varivasyāḥ sarabhasaṁ
rahaḥ śrī-rupākhya-priyatama-janasyaiva caramaḥ

Following in the footsteps of Shri Rūpa I yearn for the different kinds of confidential nikuñja-services of Shri Gāndharvā, who defeats the beauty of all the Vraja-gopīs, who are themselves more beautiful than all the goddesses of fortune, and Giridhārī, who defeats the beauty of all Cupids!

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this final verse of Sva-niyama-daśakam Raghunath reveals his ultimate desire. The ultimate goal of all the Gaudiya Vaishnavas’ sādhanā is to attain the confidential nikuñja-sevā of Radha Madhava. Although the ācāryas are eternal maidservants in the Vraja-nikuñjas they have descended along with Shriman Mahaprabhu to teach the world how to perform rāga-bhajana.

By giving a perfect example they have made the practising devotees in this world greedy after the nikuñja-rasa and are thus taking them along to the transcendental groves of Vraja. Without this, the advent of Shriman Mahaprabhu could not have reached perfection, because the mañjarī service of Shri Radha is Shriman Mahaprabhu’s ultimate and unprecedented merciful gift.

Six Goswamis, Utah KrishnaThrough the ācāryas, headed by Shri Rūpa and Raghunath Das Goswami, the Lord had this message preached. Although they are eternal associates of the Lord in Vraja, āpane nā koile dharma śikhāno nā yāya (CC) “If they had not practised it, it could not be preached.” Following this principle, the Goswamis also desire this service in the kuñjas, as if they are ordinary neophytes.

In this verse, Srila Raghunath Das prays that he may serve in the Vraja-nikuñja in allegiance to Shri Rūpa. Without this allegiance, Vraja-worship cannot reach perfection. Srila Rupa Goswami writes in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.295):

sevā sādhaka-rūpeṇa siddha-rūpeṇa cātra hi
tad-bhāva-lipsunā kāryā vraja lokānusārataḥ

“A practising devotee who desires the feelings of the Vraja-people serves in allegiance to them, both in the present physical body as well as in the (mentally conceived) spiritual body.”

Shri Viśvanātha Cakravartī comments: sādhaka rūpeṇa kāyikyādi sevā tu śrī rūpa sanātanādi vrajavāsi-janānām anusārena tathā ca siddha-rūpeṇa mānasī-sevāśrī rādhā lalitā viśākhāśrī rūpa mañjaryādīnām anusārena kartavyety arthaḥ “In his physical body, a worshiper of the Vraja-mood follows in the footsteps of Vraja-people like Shri Rūpa and Sanatan Goswami and in his spiritual body he renders mental service in allegiance to Shri Radha, Lalitā, Viśākhā and Shri Rūpa Mañjarī”.

nijābhīṣṭa kṛṣṇa preṣṭha pāche to lāgiyā
nirantara sevā kore antarmanā hoiyā

“Following one’s favorite beloved devotee of Krishna one constantly serves him within the mind.” (CC)

For Shri Raghunath Das that favorite devotee is Shri Rupa Goswami in the physical, outer world, and Shrimatī Rūpa Mañjarī in the spiritual, inner world. In this way Shripāda, who desires Yugala-sevā in allegiance to Shri Rūpa, teaches all the Gaudiya Vaishnava aspirants also to worship in allegiance to Shri Rūpa (Goswami and/or Mañjarī).

Radha Rani, AaradhanaShri Raghunath Das says, “The Vraja-gopīs are more beautiful than all the goddesses of fortune, and Shri Radharani defeats even them in beauty! A consort of the Lord is considered beautiful according to her love for him, and not according to her physical, cosmetic beauty. Krishna can never be captured by beauty or attributes that do not arise from pure love. In Srila Rupa Goswami’s Lalita Madhava-play (5.29) it is seen that when Lord Shri Dwarkanātha mounted his eagle Garuḍa to fly to the town of Kuṇḍina to kidnap Rukmiṇī, Garuḍa was so much enchanted by the beauty of Rukmiṇī that he told Dwarkanātha:

saundaryāmbunidher vidhāya mathanaṁ dambhena dugdhāmbudher
gīrbāṇair udahāri cāru caritā yā sāra sampan-mayī
sā lakṣmīr api cakṣuṣāṁ cira camatkāra kriyā cāturīṁ
dhatte hanta tathā na kāntibhir ayaṁ rājñaḥ kumārī yathā

“When the demigods churned the Milk-ocean they also churned the ocean of beauty and thus attained the beautiful goddess of fortune. Aho! This princess (Rukmiṇī) causes such astonishment to the eyes! Even the goddess of fortune could not delight the eyes like that!”

Immediately after hearing Garuḍa’s words, Dwarkanātha replied: sakhe bhavatu! kim etena yad eṣa rūpa mātrena na hāryo hariḥ “O friend! Let it be! What’s it to Me? I am the world-enchanting Hari Myself! Mere bodily beauty can’t enchant Me (rather, tell Me how much she loves Me!).”

Vraja damsels, RS Dhanjal

All the Vraja Lakṣmīs (gopīs) are endowed with mahā-bhāva, which is the quintessence of prema. This is only known to the Vraja-devīs. Not one of the goddesses of fortune have this mahā-bhāva. The beauty of the Vraja-sundarīs is caused by their mahā-bhāva, and therefore they are more beautiful than all the Ramās and Kamalās (goddesses of fortune). Shrimatī Radharani defeats the beauty of all these Vraja-gopīs, because her beauty is caused by the quintessence of mahā-bhāva, called mādanākhya mahā-bhāva. Indeed, she’s the embodiment of mahā-bhāva, therefore her beauty and sweetness are incomparable.

Shripāda Raghunath says, “I desire the confidential nikuñja-service of this Radharani and Shri Giridhārī, who is victorious over all Cupids.” Just as Radharani defeats the beauty of all the Vraja-gopīs, who are again more beautiful than all the goddesses of fortune, similarly Shri Giridhārī defeats the beauty of all Cupids. He is the transcendental youthful Cupid of Vrindavan, the fountainhead of all mundane and spiritual Cupids, whose worship is described by the Vedas in the Kāma-Gāyatrī and the Kāma-bīja. He enchants millions of Cupids and everyone else as well, and he is the turbulent ocean of sweet nectarean elegance. Such sweetness can only be truly experienced through mahā-bhāva. Seeing his sweet form, the mahā-bhāvavatī Vrajasundarīs can say:

sajani! yab dhari pekhaluṁ kāna
tab dhari jaga-bhari,
bharalo kusuma-śara,
nayane nā heriye āna

“O sakhi! When I saw Krishna, the world was filled with flower-archers (Cupids)! My eyes didn’t see anything else!” (Pada Kalpataru)

Shri Raghunath prays for the confidential nikuñja-service of this transcendental youthful Cupid Shri Giridhārī, who enchants millions of Cupids, and Shri Radharani, who enchants millions of goddesses of fortune.

Nikunjas of Seva KunjEven the dearmost girlfriends like Shri Lalitā and Viśākhā do not have access to these confidential nikuñja-pastimes of Radha Madhava, only Shrimatī’s most intimate maidservants or mañjarīs, who are as if non-different from her, are blessed with this confidential service. They can walk in and out of the nikuñja at will whenever their service is required, and then they can witness the sweetest pastimes of the Adolescent Pair. Shri Raghunath is very eager to attain this confidential nikuñja-service.

yāra aṅga sulāvaṇi, dedīpyamāna śobhā-śreṇī,
jaya kore vraje jaya-śrī
sei Srila gāndharvikā,
mad īśvarīśrī rādhikā,
pada-nakha maṇi mañju-śrī

“Srila Gāndharvikā, my mistress Shri Radhika, whose bodily beauty shines brilliantly, defeats the goddess of victory Jaya-Shri in Vraja. How lovely (mañju-śrī) are her jewel-like toenails!”

saundarya guṇete yini,nikhila kandarpa jini,
śrī govinda nāma giridhārī
nibhṛta nikuñjavane,
śrī rūpa gosvāmī sane,
kuñje yini śrī rūpa mañjarī

“I desire to serve her in the solitary nikuñja-forests along with Shri Govinda, who is also named Giridhārī, and whose attribute of beauty defeats all Cupids, in the company of Shri Rupa Goswami , who is known as Shri Rūpa Mañjarī in the transcendental kuñjas.”

tāhāra paścāte thāki,
yugala mādhurya dekhi,
anurāge koribo sevana
e saṅkalpa kori mone,
bando guru śrī-caraṇe,
yāra kṛpāya vāñchita pūraṇa

“I will stay behind her/him, beholding the sweetness of the Divine Pair and serving Them with great devotional attachment. Taking this vow within my mind I praise the lotus feet of my guru, by whose grace all these desires are fulfilled!”

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