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Shri Radhashtami

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main-qimg-17cf757bc084b5437f84d7b795baaeac.jpgMathura, India: September 14, 2002 (am)
Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaj

[In the early morning of September 14th, in order to commence the celebration of Shri Radhashtami in the opulently decorated Shri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha in Mathura, Shrila Narayana Maharaj requested the devotees to sing "Shri Krishna Virahe" by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. After that he explained some of the verses as follows:]

sri krsna-virahe, radhikara dasa, ami to' sahite nari
yugala-milana, sukhera karana, jivana chadite pari

["I am absolutely unable to tolerate Shri Radhika's pitiable condition when She is suffering in separation from Shri Krishna, but I am fully prepared to immediately give up my life for the sake of Their happy reunion." (Verse 1)]

Only under the guidance of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is it possible to render service to Shrimati Radhika. In the mood of a maidservant of Shrimati Radhika, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written that he cannot tolerate Radhika's condition during the time of Her separation from Krishna. And, for Their meeting together, he is readily prepared to easily give up his life.

radhka-carana, tyajiya amara, ksaneke pralaya hoya
radhikara tare, sata-bara mari, se duhkha amar soya

["If I were ever to renounce Radhika's lotus feet for even an instant, I would be totally devastated. For Her sake I will gladly tolerate the pain and agony of death hundreds of times." (Verse 2)]

Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is saying: "I can give up anything. I can even give up Krishna, but I cannot give up the lotus feet of Radhika, even for a moment. For the service of Radhika I am prepared to die hundreds and millions of times, but I could never tolerate giving up Her association for a second. When will that day come that I can render some service to Her lotus feet? How can I have attachment for this Radhika, and how can I attain the perfect service of Her lotus feet?

e heno radhara, carana yugale, paricarya pabo kabe
haha braja-jana, more doya kori, kabe vraja-vane laibe

["When will I be able to serve Radhika's two lotus feet? Alas, I beg you all, O residents of Vraja, please be merciful to me now. When will you take me into the forests of Vraja?" (Verse 3)]

vilasa manjari, ananga manjari, sri rupa manjari ara
amake tuliya, loho nija pade, deho more siddhi sara

["O Vilasa Manjari! O Ananga Manjari! O Rupa Manjari! Please lift me up and bring me close to your own lotus feet, thereby bestowing upon me the ultimate perfection." (Verse 4)]

Weeping bitterly, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is praying, "O Vrajavasis, please be merciful to me! Place me in the service of the Divine Couple. Especially, please place me in the service of Radhika's lotus feet. When will that day come that Shri Vilasa Manjari and others will take me to Vraja? I long to render service."

[The devotees then sang Shrila Gaura-Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaj's "Uddesye Racita Gita Boliya Pracalita," (The Song Glorifying the Life Goal of Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami)]

[The following is the first Bengali verse and the English translations of all the verses:]

Kothaya go premamyi radhe radhe
Radhe, radhe go, jaya radhe, radhe

Where is She who is full of prema? All glories to Shri Radha. (1)
O Radha! Please give me Your darsana and save my life. Your wretched beggar calls out to You, "Radhe, Radhe!" (2)
O Radha, You enjoy pleasure pastimes in the forest of Vrndavana, wherein You enchant the mind of Krishna. (3)
O Radha, You are the crest-jewel among Your eight principal sakhis. O Radha, daughter of Vrsabhanu Baba. (4)
Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was always calling out, "Radhe! Radhe!" (5)
…sometimes at Kesi Ghata, sometimes at Vamsi Vata. (6)
…sometimes in Nidhuvana, sometimes at Seva Kunja. (7)
…sometimes at Radha Kunda, sometimes at Syama Kunda. (8)
…sometimes at Kusuma Sarovara, sometimes at Giriraja Govardhana. (9)
…sometimes at Talavana, sometimes at Tamalvana. (10)
Raghunatha dasa wears simple cloth which appears to be dirty because he is always rolling on the earth crying out, "Radhe! Radhe!" (11)
Calling out "Radhe! Radhe," his eyes are bursting with a flood of tears. (12)
He wanders throughout the lanes of Vrndavana crying out, "Radhe! Radhe!" (13)
He knows nothing but Radha-Govinda throughout the day and night (56 dandas: 1 danda= 24 minutes). Radhe! Radhe! (14)
He takes rest for only 4 dandas (1 hr. 36 min.) At that time he receives darsana of Radha-Govinda in his dreams. Radhe! Radhe! (15)

[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] Shrila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has heard from Shrila Svarupa Damodara, Shrila Raya Ramananda, Shrila Rupa Gosvami, and especially from Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, and thus he is presenting this tattva. Shrimati Radhika's name is Govinda-nandini (She who makes Shri Krishna happy), and there is nothing higher than this.

Shrila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has revealed some of the names of Radhika in his Chaitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila chapter four. One of Her names is Govinda-nandini. Govinda is the controller of everything. He is the extreme limit of the conception of the Supreme Lord, Shri Krishna. He is full with unlimited opulence and sweetness. Who can give happiness to Him? Only one personality can do so - Krishna Himself in the form of Shrimati Radhika.

She is Govinda-mohini. Krishna attracts all living entities, including animals, trees and creepers. He especially attracts all the Vraja gopis, but Radhika can attract Him. Krishna bewilders everyone in this world by His maya-sakti, and in the spiritual world He bewilders all by His beautiful form, qualities, and pastimes. He can bewilder everyone; yet Shrimati Radhika can bewilder Him.

Radhika is Govinda-sarvasya. She is everything to Krishna. She is the be-all-and-end-all of Krishna; for Him, nothing remains.

Shri Radha is Sarva-kanta siramoni, the crown jewel of all Krishna's beloveds. All the gopis were searching for Krishna after His disappearance from the Rasa dance. When Her own svapaksa gopis (the gopis from Her own group) saw Her footprints along with Krishna's, they became very happy – knowing them to be Hers. However, when the other groups of gopis saw them, not knowing to whom they belonged, they could only understand that this particular gopi had served Krishna more than any other – and therefore He left the Rasa dance with Her alone.

Shri Radha Herself has become Candravali and all the other gopis. There is no other beloved of Krishna – only Shrimati Radhika. She Herself has become all the Laksmis (Goddesses of Fortune), and all the queens of Dvaraka. If one thinks deeply about this, he will understand Her greatness. Sita-devi and all the Laksmis are manifestations of Radha, and she assumes these forms to fulfill Krishna's desires.

She is Krishna-mayi; She sees Krishna everywhere – inside and outside of Herself. Wherever Her mind or senses go, it is only for and about Krishna. When She sees a tamal tree She thinks, "Oh, there is Krishna." Her name is Radhika because She fulfills all the desires of Krishna and because He Himself worships Her. An example of His worshipping Her is when He took Her to a solitary place after leaving the Rasa dance, at which time even the vipaksa-gopis (rival party) also confirm this. Radhika is Para-devata, just as Krishna is: She is the most worshipable of all. Moreover, She is worshiped by Krishna Himself. Is she not therefore worshipable by everyone?

Once Radhika asked Vrnda-devi, "Where are you coming from?" Vrnda-devi replied, "I'm coming from Radha-kunda. I saw Krishna there." Radharani asked, "What was He doing?" Vrnda-devi replied that He was dancing. Radha then asked, "Oh, who was His dancing teacher?" Vrnda-devi told Her, Your reflection, Radhika, which He sees in every tree.

Whatever prema exists in this world comes from Radhika. She is the mother of everyone because she nourishes everyone by giving them prema. Krishna is the principle Deity of all jivas, and Radhika is also. This is confirmed in the Brahma Samhita:

tabhir ya eva nija-rupataya kalabhih
goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhuto
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

["I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who resides in His own realm, Goloka, with Radha, who resembles His own spiritual figure and who embodies the ecstatic potency (hladini). Their companions are Her confidantes, who embody extensions of Her bodily form and who are imbued and permeated with ever-blissful spiritual rasa."]

Shri Radhika is Sarva-Laksmi-mayi, which means that all the various gopis emanate from Her, and She is therefore the predominating deity of all the sakhis. As many beloveds as there are, She is their controlling deity.

She is Kanti, which means that during Rasa-lila, only She could fulfill all the desires of Shri Krishna. There were hundreds of millions of gopis dancing, but when Radhika left, the Rasa dance stopped. Krishna appears as Mahaprabhu in order to taste all of Radhika's loving moods; He cannot do so in Vraja-lila.

What are Krishna's thoughts when He is in Mathura and Dvaraka and feeling separation from Radhika? He prays to Her, "O most worshipful Radha! My mind always remains with You. I'm always anxious for the dust of Your lotus feet. Somehow, in some form, I stay in Vrndavana. O Shrimati Radhika, I am roaming in those forests, playing on My flute, only in search for You. O Radhika, I go to the Yamuna, not to take bath, but only to meet with You. Otherwise there is no need to go there. I sit on the bank of Yamuna only to meet with You and serve You.

"I stopped grazing cows, and I stopped all other activities. Seeing Your beauty I became so eager; My eyes moved here and there and My mind was restless. I used to wait underneath a kadamba tree, thinking, 'When will She come by this way?' I am meditating upon Your qualities, and upon Your beauty which is like the auspicious svati-naksatra (constellation). The skylark (cakora bird) won't drink any other water besides the water coming from the clouds at the time of the svati-constellation. Similarly, I am like a cakora bird, and Your beauty is like rain falling during that constellation. I am eagerly waiting for You, to have Your darsana. Your beauty and qualities steal My heart. I don't want those qualities to steal My heart, but I forget everything else in My separation from You."

Hearing this, Radhika replied, "O Prananatha, lord of My life's breadth, I am Your eternal servant and You are My life and soul, the only love in My life. I surrender Myself unto Your lotus feet. You may love Me or neglect Me, in Your life or by Your mind. You can leave Me and thus bring Me suffering. Whatever You desire, Your happiness is My happiness and Your life is My life. I don't want anything other than Your happiness in my life. As You realize My happiness and sorrows, so I can realize Yours. You feel happiness by seeing Me, but by seeing You I become millions of times more happy. There is no comparison to My happiness in these worlds. I am happy only by seeing Your happiness. I am always blissful because I have no concept of the happiness of others; I only desire Your happiness. I want to see Your happiness from morning to night, and night to morning.

"By seeing Me You become happy, and therefore I decorate Myself in many ways with srngara (ornaments) and alankara (decorations). I do this for You only; I do this because by seeing Me with all these ornaments and decorations You feel great happiness. I dedicate Myself unto Your lotus feet only to increase Your satisfaction and fulfill Your desires. I become so happy when You say to Me, 'You are My beloved, My mistress, My life and soul.' No one can understand the happiness I feel; there is no comparison to it in this world.

"When You say to Me, 'O Swaminiji, O Pranesvari Radhike, O My kanta,' My heart becomes overjoyed, because You are happy when You taste the words Radha-Pranesvari, etc. I feel shy to hear this, and yet I am also very happy. Externally I feel shy, but internally I am extremely happy."

Then Krishna said to Radhika, "You are the abode of matchless love. O Vrsabhanu-nandini, (daughter of Vrsabhanu Maharaj), You are the abode of all rasas, and what am I? I am always moving from one forest to another to graze cows. I'm foolish and irreligious. Other than to herd cows, I have no intelligence at all. I don't know the rules and regulations of love, and only You can teach Me these principles. I am always running after cows and playing hide and seek and other games like a village boy, whereas You are the river of prema. I'm just like terribly hot sand in the summer and You, on the other hand, are the river of love. How can there be any comparison between Yourself and Myself? When You give Me the darsana of Your love, I immediately become happy –there is no comparison to my happiness. When You bestow Your mercy and look towards Me, I become indebted to You." Krishna also told the gopis during rasa-lila: "I have no qualification. I am only a beggar of Your love."

na paraye 'ham niravadya-samyujam
sva-sadhu-krtyam vibudhayusapi vah
ya mabhajan durjara-geha-srnkhalah
samvrscya tad vah pratiyatu sadhuna

["I am not able to repay My debt for your spotless service, even within a lifetime of Brahma. Your connection with Me is beyond reproach. You have Me, cutting off all domestic ties, which are difficult to break. Therefore please let your own glorious deeds be your compensation." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.32.22)]

Now He confirmed this, as He told Shri Radha, "I am so indebted to You. How can I become free from this debt? Please be merciful; You are the abode of mercy. Only You can give Me love and fulfill My desires."

Hearing this, Shrimati Radhika became shy and replied, "O Syamasundara, O You whose eyes are like lotus petals, O You who are the son of the kingof Vraja. You steal My heart. To meet with You I shall give up all the rules and regulations of society. I will leave My in-laws house, I will give up all consideration of shyness, respect from others, religion, and irreligion. I want to come to You and keep You as My own. I want to keep You, even for a moment, but I am only a village girl. I have no quality at all and I am not beautiful. You, on the other hand, are extremely qualified and beautiful, and You are the ornament of Your dynasty. There is no rasa in me. I have no idea about rasa, whereas You are the abode of rasa. You are the ocean of mercy, so please bestow Your mercy on Me. This is My desire."

Without the mercy of Shrila Rupa Gosvamipada and Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, no one would have been able to write about these topics. The conception that Radhika is the center of all is exclusively for those in our Gaudiya Sampradaya. We have the speciality that "Krishna is feeling separation from Radhika." No other acaryas can write about all the truths present herein.

Shrila Gaura-Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaj is glorifying and praying to Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami in this kirtana called "Uddesye Racita Gita Boliya Pracalita." He says there that Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was always roaming, sometimes in Nidhuvana and sometimes in Vamsivata, and calling out, "Radhe! Radhe!"

Gaura premanande

Transcribers: Bimala dasi and Radhika dasi
Editors: Premavati dasi and Syamarani dasi
Typist: Vasanti dasi
Translator: Pujyapada Madhava Maharaj and Pujapada Radhanath dasa brahmacari (now Pujapada Damodara Maharaj)

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