In Search of the Ultimate Goal of Life
by Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada

Index   1   2   3   4

Srila PrabhupadaGuru of Lord Caitanya

The method of approach and the manner of humility exhibited by Lord Caitanya to Ramananda is the ideal for approaching a bona fide tattva-darsi or a master of transcendental knowledge. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (4.34):

tad viddhi pranipatena
pariprasnena sevaya

upadeksyanti te jnanam

jnaninas tattva-darsinah

In the Bhagavad-gita, it is recommended that one approach the spiritual master for supramundane knowledge under the protection of service and surrender accompanied by relevant inquiries. Lord Caitanya, as the ideal teacher and practical demonstrator of the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita, teaches us by His approach to Ramananda Raya. He shows that a person desirous of knowing the transcendental science must not be proud of his material acquisitions of education and wealth, which are very insignificant to the transcendentally situated spiritual master from whom we should be very keen to understand the science of devotion.

If somebody approaches the bona fide spiritual master with the vanity of mundane pride in respect to his heredity, wealth, education, or personal beauty and without the necessary qualifications of surrender, service, and relevant inquiry, surely such a person will be honored outwardly by the spiritual master, but the spiritual master will decline to bestow transcendental knowledge upon the student who by his attitude of mundane vanity is rendered unqualified. Such a proud student is actually a sudra and he has no access to spiritual knowledge for want of the necessary qualifications mentioned above. Thus the sudra student, instead of availing himself to the mercy of the spiritual master, goes to hell as a result of his mundane vanity.

Ramananda Raya was born in the family of a sudra and was also a grhasta in terms of the system of varnasrama-dharma. Lord Caitanya appeared in the family of a highly cultured brahmana of Navadvipa and was in the topmost rank of the sannyasa asrama. Therefore, in terms of the varnasrama system, Ramananda Raya was in the lowest status while Lord Caitanya was in the highest status; yet, because Ramananda was a master in the art of transcendental knowledge, Lord Caitanya approached him as one should approach a guru. He did so for the benefit of us all.

True Student of Truth

Lord Caitanya descended into this mortal world as the ideal spiritual master, and thus His teaching is very significant. The students who really desire spiritual upliftment may carefully note all these dealings.

Ramananda Raya, as a true Vaisnava, always possessed natural humility, and thus when he was asked by Lord Caitanya he said,

raya kahe–iha ami kichui na jani
tumi yei kahao, sei kahi ami vani
tomara siksaya padi yena suka-patha
saksat isvara tumi, ke bujhe tomara nata
hrdaye prerana kara, jihvaya kahao vani
ki kahiye bhala-manda, kichui na jani

"My Lord, I have no information of the transcendental world but I can simply speak that which You inspire me to utter. I am just like a parrot and I can repeat only that which You direct me to say. You are Yourself the Personality of Godhead and it is very difficult to understand what You do and how You play. The inspiration that You create in me and the vocabulary that You cause to come out of my mouth are known to You. I do not know myself what I speak and what I think."

Lord Caitanya, again in His mood of a true student of truth, replied to Ramananda Raya,

prabhu kahe–mayavadi ami ta’ sannyasi
bhakti-tattva nahi jani, mayavade bhasi
sarvabhauma-sange mora mana nirmala ha-ila
‘krsna-bhakti-tattva kaha,’ tanhare puchila
tenho kahe–ami nahi jani krsna-katha
sabe ramananda jane, tenho nahi etha
tomara thani ailana tomara mahima suniya
tumi more stuti kara ‘sannyasi’ janiya
kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya
yei krsna-tattva-vetta, sei ‘guru’ haya
sannyasi’ baliya more na kariha vancana
krsna-radha-tattva kahi’ purna kara mana;

"I am a mayavadi sannyasi who is an atheist by nature. As such, I always float on My theory of maya and Brahman without any entrance into devotional science. By the association of Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, I was lucky enough to get My heart purified. When I asked him to speak about the transcendental topics of the lila of Sri Krsna and Srimati Radharani, he asked Me to see you. He recommended you as the best among those who know this science and he regretted your absence at Puri. I have therefore come to you after hearing your glories from him. You are now praising Me because I am a sannyasi, but it does not matter whether a person is a brahmana, a sannyasi, or a sudra. A person is thoroughly competent to become a bona fide spiritual master provided he knows the transcendental art and science of devotional activities. Therefore please do not try to avoid Me because I am a sannyasi. Kindly fulfill My desire by fully describing the glories of the lila performed by Sri Krsna and Srimati Radharani."

Beyond Varna and Asrama

In the teachings of Lord Caitanya, especially in this perverted age of Kali, the passage mentioned above, wherein it says that it does not matter whether a person is a brahmana, sannyasi, or a sudra, is important. The qualification for a spiritual master is that he must be thoroughly conversant in the art and science of devotional service. This is revolutionary to the stereotyped, so-called spiritual mastership prevailing among the masses in India. The exploitative method is herein dealt a deadly blow and this truth is established by the devout followers of Sri Caitanya Maha- prabhu’s conception.

The fact is that a person who is thoroughly conversant about Sri Krsna can become a spiritual master either as an initiator or an instructor. It does not matter whether such a person is a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, or a sudra. Nor does it matter whether he is a brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha, or a sannyasi. The only qualification of a spiritual master is his knowledge of the truth about Sri Krsna. The qualification certainly does not rest on his particular situation in terms of the system of varnasrama-dharma.

This order of Lord Caitanya, although apparently revolutionary to the non-progressive opportunists, is not at all against the injunctions of the scriptures. Following this principle, Lord Caitanya Himself took initiation from Sripad ˆsvara Puri, and Lord Nityananda Prabhu and Advaita Prabhu took initiation from Sripad Madhavendra Puri Goswami. Rasikananda Prabhu took initiation from Srila Shyamananda Prabhu, who appeared in the family of a non-brahmana, and Sri Ganga Narayana Cakravarti and Sri Ramakrsna Bhattacarya took initiation from Srila Narottama dasa Ěhakura, who also happened to appear in the family of a non-brahmana. In the ancient literatures, it is written that there are no hereditary considerations for becoming a spiritual master.

In the Mahabharata and other historical literatures, there are innumerable examples of non-hereditary gurus and determination of caste by quality and action rather than by birth. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.11.35), it is said that a person should be classified as belonging to a particular varna or caste in terms of his qualification:

yasya yal-laksanam proktam
pumso varnabhivyanjakam
yad anyatrapi drsyeta
tat tenaiva vinirdiset

According to Bhagavad-gita, a really qualified brahmana possesses nine qualities, a ksatriya seven qualities, a vaisya three qualities, and a sudra only one quality. So, wherever the particular qualities are found or developed, the person possessing these particular qualities should be regarded as such. Accepting this formula from the scriptures, the Vaisnava accepts a spiritual master upon his becoming conversant in the knowledge of Sri Krsna. The qualities of a brahmana appear naturally, and, as such, a thoroughly conversant spiritual master cannot be anything but a qualified brahmana. The false notion that without being a caste brahmana a person cannot become a spiritual master is therefore a misconception. A person born in the family of a sudra can become a spiritual master if he has acquired the necessary knowledge about Sri Krsna.

Sometimes it is seen that a pure Vaisnava does not undergo the formalities of the system of varnasrama-dharma by accepting the regulative principles thereof, but that does not mean that he is not a brahmana or a bona fide spiritual master. The Vaisnavas determine the varna and asrama of a person simply by their symptoms and not by their birth. Foolish people are unable to recognize such qualified Vaisnavas, and as such Lord Caitanya distinctly emphasizes all the above mentioned points. There is no difference in essence between the regulative principles found in the Hari-bhakti-vilasa and the statements of Lord Caitanya. The difference is concocted by the mental speculations of ignorant men.

Who is an Acarya

Some foolish students have accepted the statements of Lord Caitanya conditionally. According to them, the spiritual master fully conversant with the science of Krsna, yet not born in a brahmana family, can be an instructing spiritual master, but not an initiating spiritual master. They do not know that there is hardly any difference between the two classes of spiritual masters. According to them, a caste initiator or caste goswami, by dint of his hereditary blood lineage, becomes the real spiritual master, while a person knowing all about Sri Krsna can only become an instructor. They foolishly think that the position of the initiating spiritual master is greater than that of the instructing spiritual master. However, the matter is very clearly and conclusively discussed in the Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi-lila 1.47):

siksa-guruke ta’ jani krsnera svarupa
antaryami, bhakta-srestha–ei dui rupa

"One should know the instructing spiritual master to be the Personality of Krsna. Sri Krsna manifests Himself as the Supersoul and as the greatest devotee of the Lord."

In the Manu-samhita, the qualification of an acarya is described as follows: "A spiritual master is a twice-born brahmana able to train his disciple to instruct others on the Vedas." In the Vayu Purana, the acarya is described as follows: "One who knows the essence of the scriptures, establishes the truth of them, and conducts his activities according to the regulative principles of the scriptures is thus known as an acarya."

The acarya or spiritual master is an empowered incarnation of the Personality of Godhead. He is not to be considered a plenary portion of Godhead, but at the same time the spiritual master is certainly very near and dear to Godhead. The acarya appears before the disciple as the bona fide representative of Godhead. Such an acarya has no duty other than to serve the Personality of Godhead and give shelter to the willing disciple on Godhead’s behalf.

If a person becomes a so-called spiritual master without being engaged wholly in the service of the Personality of Godhead, nobody should accept him as guru and his activity should not be recognized. A guru’s character must be fully representative of the Personality of Godhead, and this will be demonstrated by his full-time engagement in the service of Godhead. A real acarya is sometimes envied by the sense-gratifying masses. However, the acarya is a nondifferent extension of the transcendental body of the Personality of Godhead. Anyone envying such a spiritual master will certainly suffer the consequence of being bereft of the Personality of Godhead’s blessings.

The spiritual master, although the eternal servitor of Lord Caitanya, is always to be respected as much as Lord Caitanya. The spiritual master is the personality who exhibits the nature of Lord Caitanya. It should never be concluded that the spiritual master is exactly one and the same with Godhead as the mayavadi philosophers think. The Vaisnavas accept the spiritual master in terms of acintya-bhedabheda-tattva, simultaneously one with and different from the Personality of Godhead.

Siksa and Diksa

A spiritual master who gives instruction about the regulative principles of devotional service is called the siksa-guru or the instructing spiritual master. A person who is not engaged in the service of the Personality of Godhead and is addicted to ill habits cannot be a spiritual master. The instructing spiritual master is of two kinds. They are: (1) a self-realized soul constantly engaged in the service of the Personality of Godhead, and (2) a soul in pure consciousness who is constantly offering helpful directions favorable to the service of Godhead. Instruction in the service of the Lord is also of two kinds: (1) instruction on the object of service, and (2) instruction on the regulative principles of service.

The spiritual master who connects the living entity with the Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna by initiation is called the diksa-guru or the initiating spiritual master. There is no difference between the initiating spiritual master and the instructing spiritual master. Both are the object of shelter for the disciple and both are asraya vigraha or the personality under whose shelter the eternal relationship with Godhead is established and the process of approaching Godhead by service is learned. To think of one spiritual master as purer than the other is offensive. The symbolic initiating spiritual master is Srila Sanatana Goswami, who initiates the devotees into their service to Madana-mohana. Srila Rupa Goswami is the instructing spiritual master, who instructs the devotee with his verses in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu regarding the service of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda. Nobody should therefore think of Sanatana Goswami as being greater than Rupa Goswami or vice versa. Both of them are our spiritual masters and engage us in the transcendental loving service of Godhead. When Lord Caitanya mentioned the word guru, spiritual master, He meant both the siksa-guru and the diksa-guru and not just one of them.

Not a Vaisnava—Not a Guru

According to Hari-bhakti-vilasa, a pure devotee of Godhead is never a sudra. On the other hand, one who is not engaged in the service of the Personality of Godhead is definitely a sudra, even though such a person may be born in the family of any varna other than sudra. A brahmana of the standard of varnasrama-dharma, although expert in all the details of the six specific functions of the scriptures, cannot be accepted as a spiritual master if he is not a Vaisnava. But if an untouchable candala (dog-eater) becomes a Vaisnava, he can be accepted as a spiritual master. A pure devotee of Godhead, although born in the family of a sudra, can be the spiritual master of all the other three varnas.

Ramananda Raya, being always conscious of his transcendental task, is never subjected to the deluding energy of Godhead. He could understand the feelings of Lord Caitanya, and by His will, Ramananda wanted to proceed further. He said,

aya kahe–ami–nata, tumi–sutra-dhara
yei mata nacao, taiche cahi nacibara
mora jihva–vina-yantra, tumi–vina-dhari
tomara mane yei uthe, tahai uccari

"My Lord, I am a dancing doll and You are the wire-puller. Let me dance as you wish. My tongue is like the vina (a stringed musical instrument) and You are playing upon it. Kindly let me vibrate the sound that You desire to produce."

Ramananda continued:

parama isvara krsna–svayam bhagavan
sarva-avatari, sarva-karana-pradhana
ananta vaikuntha, ara ananta avatara
ananta brahmanda ihan–sabara adhara
sac-cid-ananda-tanu, vrajendra-nandana
sarvaisvarya-sarvasakti-sarvarasa-purna
isvarah paramah krsnah, sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah
anadir adir govindah, sarva-karana-karanam
vrndavane 'aprakrta navina madana'
kama-gayatri kama-bije yanra upasana

"Sri Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the cause of all causes. He expands Himself in His innumerable plenary portions known as incarnations. He is the fountainhead of innumerable Vaikuntha planets, innumerable incarnations, and innumerable universes. He is the eternal form of transcendental existence, knowledge, and bliss. He is known as the son of the King of Vraja. He is complete in Himself with all opulences, all powers, and all divine rasas. He is, as stated in the Brahma-samhita, the Supreme Primeval Lord and the cause of all causes. Sri Krsna is the transcendental Cupid and the resident of Sri Vrndavana. He is worshiped by the transcendental sounds produced by the pure utterances of kama-gayatri and kama-bija."

Vrndavana Eternal

Vrndavana, the residence of Sri Krsna, is described in the Brahma-samhita (5.56):

sriyah kantah kantah parama-purusah kalpa-taravo
druma bhumis cintamani-gana-mayi toyam amrtam
katha ganam natyam gamanam api vamsi priya-sakhi
cid-anandam jyotih param api tad asvadyam api ca
sa yatra ksirabdhih sravati surabhibhyas ca sumahan
nimesardhakhyo va vrajati na hi yatrapi samayah
bhaje sveta-dvipam tam aham iha golokam iti yam
vidantas te santah ksiti-virala-carah katipaye

Everything is cognizant in the transcendental abode of Vrndavana. Although appearing in the material world, it exists eternally, even after the annihilation of the material world. The Bhagavad-gita (8.20) confirms this statement. In Vrndavana, the cowherd girls are all enjoyed by Sri Krsna, and He is the only enjoyer there because He is the Supreme Person. The trees in Vrndavana are all desire trees and the land is made of cintamani, desire-fulfilling touchstones. The water of Vrndavana is nectar, the words of conversation are themselves sweet songs, walking in Vrndavana is a dance, and the flute is eternally the constant companion of Sri Krsna. The luminaries in the sky are transcendental and blissful. With this in mind, we should always try to understand Vrndavana. In Vrndavana, even a moment is never lost because no moment passes away, and, as such, there is not a limited conception of the future either.

The Vrndavana-dhama that we can experience in this mortal world is therefore a subject of deep study, and the significance of Vrndavana is known only to the purest devotees. Let us therefore worship Sri Vrndavana.

The Vrndavana-dhama that manifests in the material world is not realized by our material senses, which are always prone to enjoy matter. When we are inspired by the proper attitude of transcendental service to Madana-mohana, we can know the actual Vrndavana. Because it is very difficult to understand, Srila Narottama dasa  Ěhakura taught us by his actions to cry for the mercy of Lord Nityananda Prabhu. By the mercy of Lord Nityananda, we can be free from the consciousness of trying to enjoy this material world. This enjoying spirit is known as samsara-vasana. When one is freed from the samsara-vasana, one is freed from focusing entirely on eating, sleeping, fearing, and other sense-gratifying habits. When this is done, the mind of the devotee is purified from all infections of matter, and in such a state of mind one can see the true Vrndavana- dhama situated in this mortal world.

Cupid and the Kama-Gayatri

The eternal Cupid, Sri Krsna, is eternally distinct from the material Cupid. The material Cupid produces pleasure only temporarily, but then lulls one into material dullness in just the next moment. But the eternal Cupid is ever-awakening and the transcendental pleasure is ever-increasing in ever-renewing developments. Such pleasure is eternally-existing and is not subject to the laws of material nature. The transient pleasure derived from the material Cupid is an enjoyable object to the materialists, but the transcendental Cupid is served eternally because He is Sri Krsna, the Personality of Godhead Himself.

Gayatri means that which delivers one from the clutches of material hankerings. By chanting the kama-gayatri, klim kama-devaya vidmahe puspa-banaya dhimahi tan no ’nangah pracodayat, the transcendental sound composed of twenty-four and a half letters, one is connected with the service of Madana-mohana (kama-devaya). The nature of practical service is realized in connection with Govinda (puspa-banaya). And in the perfect stage of service, one is connected with Gopinatha (anangah), the attractor of the cowherd girls.

The description of the kama-gayatri in the Brahma-samhita is vivid. The kama-gayatri was first chanted by Lord Brahma before he created the material universes. His pure consciousness was awakened in the matter of his relationship, action, and ultimate goal in the service of the Personality of Godhead. When he became absorbed in the chanting of the transcendental sound of the kama-gayatri, he acquired the ability to create the universe, and as such he composed the Brahma-samhita in praise of the glories of Lord Govinda, the Personality of Godhead.

The scientific arrangement of the kama-gayatri is described in the Brahma-samhita. It says that the supramundane kama-gayatri combined with the kama-bija (the nucleus of transcendental love) is the transcendental means of worship by which the eternally youthful transcendental Cupid, Madana-mohana, is served. Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Ěhakura has explained the symbolic representation of the kama-bija ‘klim,’ with reference to the Brhad Gautamiya-tantra, as follows: K is Krsna, the supreme aggressive male, who possesses a form embodying full eternity, knowledge, and bliss; the letter I is Radha, the supreme receptive female, who is eternally the Vrndavanesvari, or the most majestic Princess of Sri Vrndavana; the letter L is celebrated as anandatmaka-prema- sukha, or the happiness of Radha and Krsna’s mutual ecstatic love in the form of pure blissful joy; and the  is the expression of cumban-ananda-madhurya, or the ecstatic sweetness of Their most blissful kiss. When the kama-bija is added to the gayatri, it becomes the transcendental prayer for worshiping Sri Sri Radha-Krsna.

Ramananda Raya continued to speak: "Sri Krsna has multi-energies, three of which are prominent. They are known as the internal energy, external energy, and marginal energy; or the potency of full knowledge of life, the potency of darkness or ignor- ance, and the potency of the living being." In the Visnu Purana, these potencies are also mentioned. The internal energy and the marginal energy are referred to as the superior energies while the external energy or the potency of darkness is called the inferior energy.

Hladini, Sandhini, and Samvit

Sri Krsna is originally a person full with transcendental existence, knowledge, and bliss. His internal energy or the potency of full knowledge is manifested in three diverse ways: hladini, sandhini, and samvit, which represent transcendental bliss, existence, and knowledge respectively. In the Visnu Purana, the same is confirmed as follows: "O Lord, in You who are all-pervading, the hladini, sandhini, and samvit energies are all cognizant. Your parts and parcels, the living entities, have obtained the powers that are the perverted forms of hladini, sandhini, and samvit. They have done so under the influence of the three qualities of the external energy, because the living entities are prone to be influenced by the deluding energy known as maya. However, in You these three energies are transcendental to the qualities of maya."

Who is Topmost

The hladini energy means the pleasure potency and by this energy, which is His own, Sri Krsna becomes enthused and relishes His happy moods. The hladini energy is the cause of transcendental happiness for the devotees engaged in the transcendental service of Godhead. The hladini energy in Her very concentrated form is the embodiment of love of Godhead, which produces the emotions of transcendental bliss and knowledge. This transcendental love of Godhead in its mature state is named mahabhava and Srimati Radharani is mahabhava personified. She is thus described in the Ujjvala-nilamani (4.3) as follows:

ayor apy ubhayor madhye
radhika sarvathadhika
mahabhava-svarupeyam
gunair ativariyasi

"Among the cowherd girls, Srimati Radharani and Srimati Candravali are the principal gopis. Out of these two, Srimati Radharani is the topmost because Her position is that of mahabhava or the highest stage of transcendental love of Godhead. No other cowherd girl possesses such high qualities as Srimati Radharani."

premera 'svarupa-deha'–prema-vibhavita
krsnera preyasi-srestha jagate vidita

"Srimati Radharani is love of Godhead personified. She is made of pure love of Godhead. She is therefore celebrated in the universe as the most beloved of Sri Krsna."

The Brahma-samhita (5.37) describes this as follows:

ananda-cinmaya-rasa-pratibhavitabhis
tabhir ya eva nija-rupataya kalabhih
goloka eva nivasty akhilatma-bhuto
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

"I worship the primeval Lord Govinda, who in His original form resides in His abode named Goloka along with the transcendental cowherd girls, who are always inspired by the feelings of transcendental bliss and knowledge. That Govinda is the all-pervading Godhead."

Srimati Radharani is further described by Srila Raghunatha dasa Goswami in his Premambhoja-maranda:

The identity of Srimati Radharani is the personified service of Sri Krsna to fulfill His every desire. Her associates such as Lalita, Visakha, and other friends are the symbols of Her expression of such intimate service. The manifestation of Her first youthfully blooming appearance is the result of Her using the cosmetic made out of the affection of Sri Krsna. Her first (morning) bath is in the nectarean water of youthful energy. The gradual development of Her youthful beauty is the nectar of Her bath in the afternoon. Her evening bath is completed in the water of full-grown youth, and thus the three stages of Her youthful growth is compared with Her bath thrice daily classified under the names of karunyamrta, tarunyamrta, and lavanyamrta. This is the description of Her transcendental body.

Qualities of Srimati Radharani

As far as Her dress is concerned, it is described in two parts. One is made of Her youthful blush of modesty woven with syama or black colored threads turned into a bluish covering, and the second is called uttaria which is red due to extreme attachment for the company of Sri Krsna.

Her breasts are covered by Her sari in the form of affection and anger toward Krsna. Her personal beauty is compared to kunkuma (a special kind of cosmetic) and Her friendship with Her associates is compared to sandalwood pulp. The sweetness of Her calm sobriety is compared to camphor. These three ingredients decorating the body of Srimati Radharani–kunkuma, sandalwood pulp, and camphor–are ever-increasingly glowing as Her youthful beauty.

Outwardly, She is very clever and contradictory while at heart She is submissive. She speaks with cruel words to Her lover, yet Her heart is revealed by the flow of tears from Her eyes. This emotion is called dhiradhiratmaka. The degrees of this particular emotion vary in intensity and are called praghosa, madhya, and mugdha respectively.

Her lipstick is the reddish color of Her lips due to Her deep attraction for Sri Krsna. The outward symptoms of Her transcendental sentiments such as cheerfulness, laughing, shivering, and crying are Her constant companions. Her different qualities may be divided into four categories, namely: (1) qualities pertaining to Her person, (2) qualities pertaining to Her words, (3) qualities pertaining to Her mind, and (4) qualities pertaining to Her relationship with others. She possesses six qualities in regard to Her person, three in regard to Her words, two in regard to Her mind, and six in regard to Her relationship with others. The description of these different qualities is very vividly given in the Ujjvala-nilamani. To avoid expansion of this literature, we will not elaborate on this subject at this time.

Srimati Radharani always bears in Her heart the sentiment of prema-vaicittya, a feeling of the fear of separation even when She is in the company of Her consort. This is due to Her being very soft-hearted. She is eternally a young girl between 16 and 20 years of age. This period is called kaisora. She is always accustomed to moving along with Her hands resting on the shoulders of Her friends, the cowherd girls. She is always being lovingly attended by Her female friends and Her mind is always full of Her transcendental pastimes with Sri Krsna. Her constant cheerfulness is the fragrance of Her body and She is constantly sitting on the bedstead of Her peculiar pride due to constantly remembering Sri Krsna.

Constant remembrance of the name, fame, and qualities of Sri Krsna are the earrings decorating Her body. The glories of Sri Krsna’s name, fame, and qualities are always inundating Her speech. She keeps Sri Krsna enlivened by the celestial drink of the incessant chanting of His qualities. In short, She is the reservoir of pure love of Krsna and She is full and complete with all the necessary qualifications in this regard. She is the perfect symbolic representation of pure love of Godhead. This fact is described in the Govinda-lilamrta (11.122) in the form of questions and answers:

ka krsnasya pranaya-janibhuh srimati radhikaika
kasya preyasy anupama-guna radhikaika na canya
jaihmyam kese drsi taralata nisthuratvam kuce ‘sya
vancha-purtyai prabhavati hare radhikaika na canya

Q: Who is the generating source of the love of Sri Krsna?
A: It is Srimati Radhika only.
Q: Who is qualitatively the dearest to Sri Krsna?
A: Again, it is Srimati Radharani and nobody else. Srimati Radharani’s hair is very curly, Her eyes are always moving to and fro, Her breasts are firm, and as such it is She alone who can fulfill all the desires of the all-attractive Hari.

yanra saubhagya-guna vanche satyabhama
yanra thani kala-vilasa sikhe vraja-rama
yanra saundaryadi-guna vanche laksmi-parvati
yanra pativrata-dharma vanche arundhati
yanra sadguna-ganane krsna na paya para
tanra guna ganibe kemane jiva chara

Ramananda Raya concluded the descriptive qualities of Srimati Radharani by saying that She is envied by Satyabhama for Her unique fortune, and from Her alone the damsels of Vraja have learned the art of attracting a lover. Even Parvati and Laksmi, who are superexcellently beautiful, desire to possess Her qualities and beauty and rise to the level of Her chastity. Even Sri Krsna fails to calculate the qualities of Srimati Radharani. Therefore, how is it possible for any mortal being to estimate Her qualities?

On hearing these statements by Ramananda Raya, Lord Caitanya said:

prabhu kahe—janilun krsna-radha-prema-tattva
sunite cahiye dunhara vilasa-mahattva

"I have come to know the essence of love between Srimati Radharani and Sri Krsna. Now I wish to hear something about Their transcendental pastimes."

Qualities of Sri Krsna

Ramananda Raya replied that Sri Krsna is dhira-lalita, a person who is very clever, always youthful, expert in joking, free from all anxieties, and very submissive to His beloved. His characteristics are manifested always in His transcendental erotic pastimes. Thus He is constantly engaged in enjoyment with Srimati Radharani, making a perfection of the frolicsome age of kaisora. This stage of Sri Krsna’s engagement is described by Srila Rupa Goswami as follows:

vaca sucita-sarvari-rati-kala-pragalbhyaya radhikam
vrida-kuncita-locanam viracayann agre sakhinam asau
tad-vaksoruha-citra-keli-makari-panditya-param gatah
kaisoram saphali-karoti kalayan kunje viharam harih

"Sri Krsna perfectly enjoys the age of His adolescence by His pastimes with Srimati Radharani in the bowers of Vrndavana. He takes advantage of the cowherd girls by His expertise in the art of painting. He made Srimati Radharani close Her eyes in shame before Her friends by speaking words of Their lovemaking on the previous night. Then, while She was almost unconscious in a swoon, Sri Krsna, showing the highest limit of cleverness, painted Her breasts with various types of makaras (mystical fish)."

Topmost Love Affairs

On hearing these words, Lord Caitanya said:

prabhu kahe–eho haya, age kaha ara
raya kahe–iha va-i buddhi-gati nahi ara;

"Yes, this is all right, but please go still further." Ramananda replied, "I think my intelligence is unable to go any further!" The stage that is yet to be described is prema-vilasa-vivarta, the feeling of original attraction matured by the feeling of separation. "I do not know if such a description will be to Your satisfaction or not." Saying this Ramananda sang his own composition, the purport of which is as follows:

pahilehi raga nayana-bhange bhela
anudina badhala, avadhi na gela
na so ramana, na hama ramani
dunhu-mana manobhava pesala jani'
e sakhi, se-saba prema-kahini
kanu-thame kahabi vichurala jani
na khonjalun duti, na khonjalun an
dunhukeri milane madhya ta panca-bana
ab sohi viraga, tunhu bheli duti
su-purukha-premaki aichana riti

"O, when We first met each other, the attraction was awakened by simple sight, and such attraction knows no bounds in the course of its growth, because that attraction was due to Our personal inclination. Neither Krsna nor Myself is the cause of such spontaneous attraction but it awakened and pierced Our minds in the form of Cupid. We are now separated from one another. O My dear friend, if you think that Sri Krsna has completely forgotten Me, tell Him that at the first sight We never required any negotiation, neither did We search for any messages. Cupid himself was the agent of Our meeting. But alas, at this time, O My friend, you are doing the job of a messenger when Our attraction is more desirable than before." This sort of feeling during separation of the lover and the beloved is called prema-vilasa-vivarta, which is the topmost sentiment in loving affairs.

Here is another heartfelt description of the same prema-vilasa-vivarta by Srila Rupa Goswami in his Ujjvala-nilamani:

radhaya bhavatas ca citta-jatuni
svedair vilapya kramad
yunjann adri-nikunja-kunjara-pate
nirdhuta-bheda-bhramam
citraya svayam anvaranjayad iha
brahmanda-harmyodare
bhuyobhir nava-raga-hingula-bharaih
srngara-karuh krti

"O, the king of the pirates (Sri Krsna) resided in the bowers of Govardhana Hill! The Creator of the Universe, who is very much expert in the art of decoration, has melted the casing of your heart and that of Srimati Radharani with the perspiration of transcendental symptoms and emotions, and thereby removed the misconception of duality. By such wonderful activities, He has painted both of your hearts in order to play wonders upon the universe."

The explanation of the sentiment of prema-vilasa-vivarta can only be realized in a pure state of consciousness freed from all material conceptions. This transcendental subject matter is not to be realized in a state of consciousness that is either grossly or subtly influenced by the material body and mind. External consciousness in relation to material intelligence and mind is different from the pure soul. The mellowness of this transcendental subject is relished by the senses engaged in the divine service of the Personality of Godhead.

Positive Consciousness

The pure state of consciousness enjoyed in the transcendental service of Godhead is only partially manifested in the impersonalists through their negation of material engagement. The impersonal negative conception is simply an antidote for material misconception, it has no positive standing. Such a state of consciousness may be somewhat enlightening, but it cannot reach the positive consciousness of the soul in its pure state. Love of Godhead is a pure and positive transcendental subject. The attraction for matter is transient and inferior, and therefore it is best described as only passing for love. The apparent happiness of the material world is really unhappiness. However, the transcendental unhappiness experienced in the prema-vilasa-vivarta has nothing to do with the unhappiness of the material conception.

In concluding this explanation of prema-vilasa-vivarta, the highest stage of transcendental relationships, Lord Caitanya said,

prabhu kahe–‘sadhya-vastura avadhi’ ei haya tomara
prasade iha janilun niscaya
sadhya-vastu’ ‘sadhana’ vinu keha nahi paya
krpa kari’ kaha, raya, pabara upaya

"Now I understand the topmost limit of the ultimate goal of life. This has been possible by your grace. The goal cannot be reached without the endeavor of the devotee and the mercy of a pure devotee. Please therefore let me now know the means of reaching this topmost goal."

Ramananda continued,

raya kahe–yei kahao, sei kahi vani
ki kahiye bhala-manda, kichui na jani
tribhuvana-madhye aiche haya kon dhira
ye tomara maya-nate ha-ibeka sthira
mora mukhe vakta tumi, tumi hao srota
atyanta rahasya, suna, sadhanera katha
radha-krsnera lila ei ati gudhatara
dasya-vatsalyadi-bhave na haya gocara
sabe eka sakhi-ganera ihan adhikara
sakhi haite haya ei lilara vistara
sakhi vina ei lila pusta nahi haya
sakhi lila vistariya, sakhi asvadaya
sakhi vina ei lilaya anyera nahi gati
sakhi-bhave ye tanre kare anugati
radha-krsna-kunjaseva-sadhya sei paya
sei sadhya paite are nahika upaya

"My Lord, I do not know the means of approaching the ultimate goal of life, but I speak to You whatever You desire me to speak. I do not know if I am speaking correctly or incorrectly. Nobody in the three worlds will not dance according to Your wish. In fact, You speak through my mouth, and it is wonderful that You are the audience as well. Therefore, let me say that the transcendental pastimes of Srimati Radharani and Sri Krsna are extremely mysterious and confidential. Even those who are ardently engaged in the service of dasya, sakhya, or vatsalya rasas cannot enter into the essence of Their pastimes. Only the eternal associates of Srimati Radharani, the cowherd girls of Vraja, have the authority to enter into this mystery because this transcendental pastime develops in their association. "The fulfillment of the sweetest of all transcendental pastimes depends on the activities of Sri Radha’s female associates. It is they alone who expand these pastimes and relish their development. Therefore, if anyone wants to reach this stage of transcendental life, he has to do so in the ardent service of such female associates. Only one who follows this principle can become a servitor of Srimati Radharani and Sri Krsna in the groves of Sri Vrndavana. There is no other alternative in this regard."

Deeper Happiness

In the Govinda-lilamrta (10.17), the following description is given:

vibhur api sukha-rupah sva-prakaso ‘pi bhavah
ksanam api na hi radha-krsnayor ya rte svah
pravahati rasa-pustim cid-vibhutir ivesah
srayati na padam asam kah sakhinam rasa-jnah

"The transcendental pastimes of Radha and Krsna are as self-effulgent as the Personality of Godhead Himself. Yet as the Almighty Godhead is glorified by His manifestation of diverse energies and potencies, the pastimes of Radha and Krsna are glorified in the association of the sakhis or female friends of Srimati Radharani."

The activities of the sakhis are very wonderful. They do not desire any personal enjoyment with Sri Krsna but become happy only by uniting the Divine Couple. By uniting Srimati Radharani with Sri Krsna, the sakhis enjoy a thousand times more happiness than they would derive by direct contact with Sri Krsna. This is another mystery of the transcendental pastimes of Radha and Krsna.

Srimati Radharani is the desire creeper embracing the desire tree of Sri Krsna, and the sakhis are the leaves, twigs, and flowers of that desire creeper. So naturally when the desire creeper is watered at the root by the nectarean water of the pastimes of Sri Krsna, the leaves and twigs and flowers of the desire creeper are automatically nourished. The sakhis therefore do not require any separate arrangement for their enjoyment. On the other hand, the happiness of the flowers and leaves is greater than the original creeper. This is explained in the Govinda-lilamrta (10.16):

sakhyah sri-radhikaya vraja-
kumuda-vidhor hladini-nama-sakteh
saramsa-prema-vallyah kisalaya-
dala-puspadi-tulyah sva-tulyah
siktayam krsna-lilamrta-rasa-
nicayair ullasantyam amusyam
jatollasah sva-sekacchata-gunam
adhikam santi yat tan na citram

"There is no utility in watering the leaves and flowers of a tree without watering the root of the tree. The leaves and flowers are automatically nourished by watering the root of the tree. Similarly, without the unity of Srimati Radharani and Sri Krsna, there is no happiness for the sakhis. When Radha and Krsna are united, the happiness of the sakhis is thousands and thousands of times greater than when they are personally associating with Krsna."

Great Mystery

There is another mystery within these transcendental pastimes, and it is that Srimati Radharani arranges for the uniting of Her associates with Sri Krsna, although the sakhis have no such desire. By doing this, Srimati Radharani enjoys more happiness than by Her personally uniting with Sri Krsna and for this reason the sakhis accept this arrangement for Her happiness. By all these mutual arrangements of Sri Radha and the sakhis, Sri Krsna becomes still more happy, and therefore the whole arrangement causes Radha and Krsna to become even more enlivened in their transcendental pastimes.

The natural divine love of the cowherd girls for Sri Krsna is never to be considered as or compared to material lust. The two, love and lust, are explained in similar terms because there appears to be a similarity between them, but the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (1.2.285) explains otherwise:

premaiva gopa-ramanam
kama ity agamat pratham
ity uddhavadayo ‘py etam
vanchanti bhagavat-priyah

"People customarily describe and understand the love of the cowherd girls for Sri Krsna in the light of mundane lust, but in fact it is different because such a standard of love for Sri Krsna was desired even by the highest devotees like Uddhava and others."

Mundane lust is meant for one’s personal enjoyment; transcendental love of Godhead is meant for the happiness of the Supreme Personality Sri Krsna. There is therefore a very wide gulf of difference between the two.

The cowherd girls of Vraja had no desire for self-satisfaction by personally contacting Sri Krsna, yet they were always ready to render all varieties of services for the benefit of Sri Krsna. Anything short of this spirit amounts to lust. As confirmed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, mundane desire is mundane lust. In the Vedas, the three modes of nature–goodness, passion, and ignorance–are described in different terms according to one’s desire for different benefits–followers, sons, wealth, and so on. All these are but different categories of mundane lust. Such lust is presented in the flowery language of the Vedas as religiosity. Lust is called by different names: altruism, karma-kanda, fruitive work, social obligations, the desire for liberation, family tradition, affection for kinsmen, and fear of chastisement and rebuke from relatives. All these are different forms of lust passing in the name of religiosity. There is nothing in these activities except one’s own sense gratification.

Surrender

In the Bhagavad-gita, the final instruction is to give up all varieties of religion and follow the Personality of Godhead without reservation. In the beginning of the Bhagavad-gita, the Personality of Godhead proclaimed that He descends to the earth whenever there is a rise of irreligious activities. He does so to protect the faithful, eradicate the unbelievers, and reestablish the principles of religiosity.

The two declarations mentioned above seem contradictory. The Personality of Godhead descends on earth to protect religiosity, but advises Arjuna to give up all varieties of religion. The explanation, however, is very clear. Complete surrender unto the will of the Personality of Godhead without any reservation is the factual principle of religiosity. All other activities, such as altruism, are not in fact religious. As such, the Personality of Godhead advises Arjuna to give them up. They are all different forms of mundane lust, gorgeously presented in the dress of religiosity.

Therefore, a transcendental conviction of feeling oneself to be the eternal servitor of Godhead and following this conviction means to follow the orders of Sri Krsna as He has advised in the Bhagavad-gita. Whenever there is the feeling that one is the enjoyer of one’s own activities, such actions are to be understood as different forms of mundane lust.

To surrender fully unto the desire of Sri Krsna does not turn one into a lifeless machine without any impetus. Rather, the feeling of being eternally engaged in the service of Sri Krsna gives one transcendental impetus for carrying out the will of Godhead through the divine medium of the spiritual master, who is identical in purpose with Sri Krsna. This is only possible when one is inspired by pure love of Godhead called vyavasayatmika-buddhi, supramundane intelligence that assures success in spiritual activities.

Imitators

The artificial way of decorating oneself in the dress of a sakhi, as is done by a class of mundaners called sakhibheki or gauranga-nagari, is not inspired by supramundane intelligence. Such artificial decoration of the body, which is meant for annihilation, certainly cannot please the transcendental senses of Sri Krsna. It is therefore a mundane wishful desire of the less intelligent, easygoing pseudodevotees, and as such it cannot reach the transcendental stage of the cowherd girls of Vraja.

We have already discussed in detail that the forms of Srimati Radharani and Her various female associates called the sakhis are composed of divine substance and their activities are therefore meant for the service of Sri Krsna. Their activities are never to be compared with the superficial activities in the material world. Sri Krsna is the all-attractive Personality of Godhead known as the enchanter of the universe, and Srimati Radharani is known as the enchanter of the enchanter of the universe. The imitative endeavors of a mundaner to become a sakhi is strictly forbidden by Srila Jiva Goswami in his commentary on the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. The real devotee may thus be warned not to imitate the dress of a sakhi as a means of bhajana or worship. Such activity is offensive and strictly forbidden.

The transcendental feelings of the cowherd girls mentioned in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.31.19) are as follows:

yat te sujata-caranamburuham stanesu
bhitah sanaih priya dadhimahi karkasesu
tenatavim atasi tad vyathate na kim svit
kurpadibhir bhramati dhir bhavad-ayusam nah

"O my dear, Your lotus feet, which are very soft and are placed on our hard breasts, are now treading over the forest of Vrndavana and thereby receiving pain on account of stepping on the fine particles of stone. This fact is giving us anxiety because You are our very life."

This example is the standard sentiment of the cowherd girls of Vraja and demonstrates that their very life is meant for the service of Sri Krsna without any tinge of an idea for sense gratification.

There are 64 different items of regulative devotional service. The devotee gradually develops the right to enter into the transcendental service of Godhead by implicit faith in the observance of the regulative principles. The intense eagerness to serve like the eternal associates of Sri Krsna, such as the cowherd girls, gives the devotee the right to serve Sri Krsna in that way. For this ardent service of Godhead, one is required to give up the practice of the mundane regulative principles of varnasrama-dharma.

Raganuga

In the transcendental abode of Vraja, the eternal residence of Sri Krsna, the inhabitants serve Sri Krsna in different mellows of loving service. Raktaka Parsada serves in the mellow of dasya-prema. Madhumangala Sakha, Sridama, and Sudama serve in the mood of sakhya-prema, while Nanda and Yasoda serve Sri Krsna in the mellow of vatsalya-prema. Any devotee who is attracted by any of the transcendental moods of service will obtain their desired goal at the time of perfection. A vivid example of this is the srutis (the personified Upanisads). The srutis were convinced that the transcendental loving service of Sri Krsna is not obtainable without following in the footsteps of the cowherd girls in Vraja. At that time, they adopted the spontaneous service of raganuga in pursuance of the footsteps of the gopis with the aim of achieving prema for the son of the King of Vraja.

The srutis, who obtained the transcendental service of Godhead by following in the footsteps of the gopis, are described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.87.23):

nibhrta-marun-mano ‘ksa-drdha-yoga-yujo hrdi yan
munaya upasate tad arayo ‘pi yayuh smaranat
striya uragendra-bhoga-bhuja-danda-visakta-dhiyo
vayam api te samah samadrso ‘nghri-saroja-sudhah

"The enemies of the Personality of Godhead, who remembered Him constantly with an inimical feeling, entered into the impersonal Brahman effulgence, which is also obtained by the empiric philosophers and mystics by the process of controlling the mind and the senses strictly by yoga practice and meditating upon the impersonal Brahman. But the cowherd girls, the damsels of Vraja, were hypnotized by the poisonous beauty of the snakelike arms of Sri Krsna, and thus they obtained the nectar of His lotus feet. We have also followed the path of the cowherd girls and are thus drinking the nectarean juice of the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead."

The purport of this verse is that the srutis followed the path of the gopis and when they reached perfection they obtained bodies like those of the cowherd girls. After obtaining such transcendental bodies, they were able to enjoy the company of Sri Krsna in spiritual bliss.

Index   Part One   Part Two   Part Three   Part Four