Another Side of Bhaktivinoda Thakur 29 : Pirīti-nagara : The Hidden World of Gauranga’s Romantic Affairs



What can I say about the magnificence of Gadadhar Pran Das? It has been 40 years since he embarked on this journey of discovering rāgānugā bhakti and kāntā bhāva. His explorations have taken him into regions of Gaura bhakti tradition that very few have managed to find. Who has been able to understand the meaning of Rupa Goswami's verses and how to transform them into an active devotional life? Who has understood the meaning of madhura-rasa in the way that he has? Who has shown the kind of unbroken and constant commitment to the goal of prema-bhakti that he has?

In this chapter of this work, in which he connects Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur to the origins of the guru-paramparā and finds a connection to Gora nagara bhāva is a great achievement of svārasikī bhajana. In this chapter and the previous, he has justified sharing some of the intimate details of his bhajan so that ordinary practitioners on the vidhi-mārga, who think they have learned everything there is to know about this path, can see for themselves what is the meaning of pratyakṣa, directly experienced devotion performed out of lobha, following the desire for intimate love of the Supreme Person in the form of Gora Nagara. Only some rare fortunate souls will be able to follow him on this path of rare beauty. (Jagat)





Chapter Twenty-Nine

Pirīti-nagara : The Hidden World of Gauranga’s Romantic Affairs

To begin this chapter we shall review Narahari Sarkhar Thakur’s opening line in Bhakti-candrikā once again as it explains in a nutshell Sri Gaurasundar’s greatest gift for the people in Kaliyuga:

paraṁ kāntaṁ śāntam aśeṣa-jīva-hṛdayānanda-svarūpam

In becoming our Supreme Romantic Hero (parama kānta) Gauranga awards divine happiness and everlasting peace in the heart of limitless jivas.” (Bhakti-candrikā,Verse 1).

For the rasikas, those who truly yearn to unite with Sri Bhagavan, which is the ultimate culmination of bhakti-yoga, this wonderful siddhānta can surely provide encouragement and solace.

So to follow Narahari’s śikṣā, let us now begin to investigate how our direct (pratyakṣa) loving relationship with Gauranga-sundar can take place.

We can remember from Chapter 15 how eager Gauranga was to promote Krishna’s rasarāja upāsanā doctrine through Vamsivadan. This mood is called kāntā bhāva, and Srila Kaviraja Goswami highly eulogizes its glories in Caitanya-caritāmṛta:

paripūrṇa kṛṣṇa prāpti ei prema haite
ei premera baṣa kṛṣṇa kahe bhāgavate

The gopis’ kāntā bhāva is paripūrṇa kṛṣṇa prāpti, the most complete way to attain Krishna --as the Bhāgavatam affirms that their prema totally enslaves Him. (CC 2.8.88)

As Vamsivadan is a leading acharya in Bhaktivinoda’s guru paramparā, it would only be appropriate that its members also take up the Krishna kāntā bhāva bhajan that Gauranga taught to Vamsi. And since this upāsanā forms the counterpart of Gauranga’s kāntā bhāva worship in Nabadwip, they can take to this path as well. (This matter has been previously discussed in Chapter 15).

Rasa Analysis

According to Bharata Muni’s Nāṭya-śāstra, kāntā bhāva means śṛṅgāra, the desire of a man and a woman to unite, and their activities include rati-krīḍā and all of love’s other expressions.

Now a good question arises: Since conjugal love in our world is often deemed to be the highest pleasure that life has to offer, wouldn’t the same hold true for the divine pleasure that Sri Bhagavan relishes with His eternal consorts in His transcendental kingdom? But we need to emphasize that there is a vast difference between the two kinds of love which we shall briefly attempt to analyse here:

Are not the lovers of our world subject to the human imperfections of selfishness, anger, jealousy, pride and illusion, etc., which spoil their mutual love? In contrast, however, the Supreme Lord possesses divine substance which is free from contamination, and His divine consorts embody mahā-bhāva, the highest form of divine love. Isn’t it true that the romantic feelings in couples of our world often wane, become boring or even terminate after some time? And our youthful beauty doesn’t last for long as we start to grow older. On the other hand, Svayam Bhagavan’s exceptional bodily splendor is limitlessly more glamorous than the form of any human, and He never grows old. Similarly, His divine consorts are His equal match, and the most beautiful women in the three worlds. So because such pirīti is eternal, real happiness and peace can flourish between the Lord and His nitya preyasīs. Now just consider: for these obvious reasons wouldn’t it be far wiser for us to fall in love with Sri Bhagavan – rather than with a mere mortal of our world?

And Rupa Goswami offers this process to us in Bhakti-rasāmr̥ta-sindhu and Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi calling it sambhogecchāmayī kāmānugā bhakti sādhana. Nevertheless, if we stop to examine the present trends in our Vaisnava world today, we can easily perceive that they are a far cry from the madhura prema bhakti that Gauranga’s Nabadwip bhaktas shared with Him, and also taught to others.
In his lengthy Gauranga biography entitled Amiya Nimāi Carita, Mahatma Sishir Kumar Ghosh tells about this:

During His youth Gauranga secretly performed an amazing activity whenever His mood of Sri Bhagavan manifested. For just as Krishna is everyone’s viṣaya or object of prema in Vrindavan, Nimai desired to be the bhakta’s object of prema in Nabadwip as well. After taking sannyāsa, however, He became the object of everyone’s bhakti as Mahaprabhu and Patita Pavan. But for as long as He remained in Nadiya the bhaktas worshiped Him in kāntā bhāva as their Prananatha.

Let us remember Vrindavan’s madhura setting where Krishna is Nanda and Yashoda’s, Balarama and the sakhas’, and Radha and Her sakhis’ dearest object of prema. But after leaving for Mathura, Krishna became the Supreme Person or the Prabhu whom Uddhava and Kubja worshiped as their Master.

In Nabadwip, however, Gauranga created a new Vrindavan by assuming Krishna’s role. Hence Sachi and Jagannath Mishra are His Nanda and Yashoda, Nitai and His associates are Balaram and the sakhas, and Vishnupriya and the nagaris are Radha and Her sakhis. Although Svayam Bhagavan can be worshiped in dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya or kāntā bhāva, Vrindavan’s kāntā bhāva is the best. So by accepting this mood, Gauranga secretly awarded the bhaktas a new form of bhajan that they can take up as their life and soul. (Volume 6, Chapter 1)

After hearing Sishir’s simple explanation of what goes on in Nadiya, we may add that he and Bhaktivinoda were close friends who often preached together. Hence it was on Sishir’s earnest request that Thakur Bhaktivinoda agreed to inaugurate Lakshmipriya, Gauranga, and Vishnupriya’s nitya-sevā in the Yoga-pitha mandir that he founded at Mayapur – a beautiful form of worship which was hidden from our world. This worship is distinctly different from the Nabadwip Yoga-pitha that Vaishnavas generally follow where the Pancha Tattva appears in the center.

But the mystery continues to deepen when we learn that the āśraya vigrahas of this sevā are Lakshmipriya and Vishnupriya’s closest sakhis and dāsīs (the nāgarīs) who surround Lakshmipriya, Gauranga and Vishnupriya in the Yoga-pīṭha maṇḍala’s outer circles.

To take up this yoga-pīṭha sevā-pūjā, then, Thakur Bhaktivinoda and all his senior paramparā members assume divine female forms, for there is no other way to enter this lila. In this way nāgarī-bhāva is an integral part of this paramparā’s worship, as Vishnupriya Devi is the Sampradāya Acarya.

Pirīti-nāgara

Now how do these intimate pastimes unfold? In his Dhāmali, Lochan Das Thakur reveals this hidden tattva as follows:

cala go sajani, pirīte nagare, basati karige morā
marama nā jāne, dharama bākhāne, caurāsi bhramibe tārā
sadara duẏāre, kapāṭa haniẏe, khiraki darjā kholā
cala go sajani, niścinta haiẏe, adhare dekhige ālā
ālāra bhitare, gorā dekhibi, naẏana rākhibe tathā
sei deśera kathā, ei deśe kahile, marame pāibi byathā
sei deśe ei deśe, meśā miśi āche, ei kathā nā kaha kāke
sei deśe ei deśe, aneka antara, jānaẏe sakala loke
pirīti nagare, mānuṣa ratana, birāje sahaja ghare
dharama karama, kulera ācāra, sekhane yāite nāre
sekhane kisera, dharama karama, yekhane birāje gorā
ei dāsa locana, kahaẏe bacana, daśa dik tāra ālā

O come sakhi, come with me! Let’s go and reside in Gauranga’s abode of love (pirīti nagara). We’ll have to be careful though, because those who cling to their kula dharma (the social rules of Vedic dharma and chastity) cannot fathom this realm, as they go on wandering through 8,400,000 births.

So sakhi! Let’s fearlessly latch the front door, and enter a secret passage to see the light. And within the effulgence our eyes will become satiated upon seeing Gora’s beautiful form.

"But sakhi!" the other nagari questions. "Shouldn’t we keep the news of our going a secret? For the people will surely mock us and the loving affairs that we relish. So let us just tell the people that such a place doesn’t exist."

'Of course, sakhi!’ the first nagari exclaims. ‘But remember, in Pirīti nāgara Gora is our Jewellike Ramaṇa (Divine Lover) and His vilāsa kuñja is easy to reach. Yet to go there we must renounce our so-called religious principles and worldly chastity – for they cannot stand before Him."

“O just see,” says Lochan. “Gora’s effulgence fills every direction!”

Rasa Analysis

“Hey, would you like to go? Are you ready?”

Here stands Locana-nāgarī who is the ideal guide to lead us into Gauranga’s most intimate realm Pirīti-nagara, where He reigns as the Srngara Rasaraja.“But how can we go there?” we may ask.

“It is simple,” says Locana. “Just shut the doors on what you previously thought about religion, and follow me. Then when you call Gauranga with your prema anurāga He will appear manifesting His abode of love before you.”

This is Sri Bhagavan’s prādurbhāva, when He appears before His premika bhaktas at any moment; it is a hidden world within Gauranga’s pastimes that remains unseen by others.

[After writing Caitanya-maṅgala, Locana wrote Dhāmali to please his guru Narahari Sarkar and other rasika bhaktas. It contains more than 70 selections like this one. Our English edition of Dhāmali with an extensive commentary can be obtained in its soft copy form by writing to Ramananda Das (ramananda108das@gmail.com). ]

Our Nāgarī svarūpa

In Chapter 19 we quoted Rupa Goswami’s siddhānta in Lalita-mādhava where he says that Vishnupriya is Radha’s prakāśa vigraha, and hence, non-different from Her. And because Bhaktivinoda’s guru paramparā members worship Her as their Sampradaya Acarya, they will receive a female nāgarī svarūpa to directly serve Gaura and Vishnupriya alongside all of Priyaji’s other sakhis in Her gupta Vrindavan abode (this topic has been discussed from Chapters 19 to 25). In this very special and supremely beautiful līlā prakāśa, we have a nāgarī svarūpa named Padma-priya who is an expansion of Vishnupriya’s shakti and ideally suited for serving Her.

But on the other hand, because Thakur Bhaktivinoda personally worships Gaura and Gadadhar’s yugala vigraha and initiates his followers with a gadādhara-rādhā-gaura-kṛṣṇa yugala mantra, we have a great yearning for this sevā too. Hence we will need a separate nāgarī svarūpa to serve in Gaura and Gadadhara’s madhura pastimes which unfold in another līlā prakāśa. In his aṣṭakāla līlā account entitled Kṛṣṇa-bhāvanāmṛa, Vishwanath Chakravarti begins by saying: “Rasamaya nagar Shyam and Rasamayi nagari Radha are both experts in Cupid’s martial arts. So to demonstrate Their talents ‘the battle of Kandarpa’ begins - and as Their loving combat continues Nidra Devi at last puts Them to rest to relieve Their rati fatigue.”

But in the gadādhara-rādhā-gaura-kṛṣṇa yugala mantra that Thakur Bhaktivinoda has passed down to his followers, Gaura and Gadadhar are this very same Rasamaya nagar and Rasamayi nagari, and They perform these very same pastimes, as They are non-different. In his Kṛṣṇa-bhajanāmta Narahari Sarkhar states:

śrī-gadādhara-paṇḍitas tu yathā śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya sarva vatarah
prakāśa-bhūmis tathā saha vai bhāva-maya-strī-samūha-pradhāna-bhūtaḥ.

Just as Sri Gauranga is Svayam Bhagavan, the Source of all Avataras, His divine and opulent consorts (the nāgarīs) expand from Gadadhar Pandit.

Śakti-sañcāra (Transferring the Divine śakti)

When going to worship Gadadhar this morning, we are alone as we enter His room to first offer Him a sāṣṭāṅga-praṇāma. Yet today Gadadhar doesn’t forbid us, for He knows what is on our mind. Readers will perhaps remember how we have longed to share a close family tie with Gadadhar, and now the reason must be stated: this knot of familial affection will allow His mercy to flow more freely. Because as we now earnestly pray that a ray of His śakti transform us into an exquisitely beautiful Nadiya nagari, He lovingly feels obliged to honor our request.Although Gadadhar pretends to be grave, we can perceive His kind approval as He affectionately places His two hands over our hands. Then His hlādinī śakti starts to enter our body to empower us. The following analogy will help to explain what is going on: Just imagine that the car we are driving is running out of gas. So after pulling up to the filling station’s petrol pump, and allowing the attendant to put the petrol pump’s hose in place, we see the meter spin round and round until the gas tank becomes full. Yet, similarly, as Gadadhar places His hands over our hands, His hlādinī śakti starts flowing into us until a wonder happens: A nāgarī svarūpa that will certainly captivate Gaurasundar’s mind and be able to satiate His innermost desires appears!

“This special form is yours,” says Gadadhar, “and her name will be Paramasundari. You can be a yūtheśvarī (leader among the nāgarīs) because I want that you share in confidence the rasika arts of My Pranaballabha’s prema sevā with many others.”

With folded hands we then inquire: “O Prabhu, please tell us how this can be done.”

“Well, perhaps We should first explain about a longstanding desire We have had in Our svarūpa as Radha,” says Gadadhar. “Now listen, although My Krishna is truly the Śṛṅgāra Rasarāja, My shyness often gets the better of Me – and this prevents Me from becoming His Śṛṅgāra-rasa Mahārāṇi.”

On seeing Gadadhar’s nāgarī svarūpa appear, our face lights up, and we enthusiastically reply: “O Svamini! Surely You can do whatever You wish, so what is stopping You from acting in this way?”

“Na, na,” Srimati answers. “As I am a madhyā (moderate) nāyikā, don’t I have an exemplary role to play among our sakhis.”

What is more, they certainly wouldn’t approve of My behaving so boldly as the pragalbhā nayikās. But do you know that My heart truly yearns to be like them?”

“O Svamini,” we reply. “Can You explain this matter more clearly, because there are many
who won’t understand what You are talking about.”

“Then listen carefully,” Srimati says. Although madhya nayikas such as Me have a great desire for rati, Our reservation to protect Our māna (self esteem) is equally strong. And you have also seen how My bāmā Lalita often steps in to make sure that I remain sober. But alas! At such times I often end up foiling Krishna’s earnest attempts to enjoy with Me!”

“Well, what can we do to help?” we ask.

“Let me see,” Gadadhar-nagari replies. “When I come to think about it, there is a way that you can give great solace to me: Why don’t you become a leading pragalbhā nayikā in Our pastimes, and then, when you sport with Gaura-sundar while assuming this mood I can relish your prema with Him in an unseen way. Now just consider, could our having such a close tie serve any other purpose so rewarding as this?”

Rasa Analysis

Now we may wonder: How can Gadadhar in His nagari form relish the intimate pastimes that we share with Gauranga? To answer, let’s quote Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, where Rupa Goswami tells about a mood called visrambha – the special intimacy that takes place when the manjari’s mind, body and soul becomes merged in Radha.

Because their heart strings are tuned to Radha’s heart, they can directly experience Her pleasure with Shyam-sundar during Their conjugal union. Yet similarly, owing to the special intimacy and closeness that we share with Gadadhar’s nāgarī svarūpa, She can directly experience the ecstasy that we enjoy when uniting with Gaurasundar – as we can also relish the bliss that She experiences in His conjugal union.

The Pragalbhā Nāyikās

As Gadadhar desires that we become a leading pragalbhā ramaṇī, let us see how Rupa Goswami describes this type of nāyikā in Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi’s Nāyikā-bheda-prakaraṇa:

pragalbhā pūrna tārunyā madandhoru-rasotsukā
bhūri bhāvābhijnā rasenākranta-vallabhā
atiprauḍhokti-ceṣṭāsau māne cātyanta-karkaśā

This translation is given to fit Gaura lila:

The pragalbhā nāyikā has a fully developed body. She is overwhelmed by kāma, obsessed with a passion to make love with Gauranga right away, expert in awakening newer and newer erotic fascination in Gauranga’s mind, and possesses great stamina in rati keli. She is
experienced and mature, and can be defiant when defending her pride.” (UN 5.43)

Let us now examine each one of these seven qualities in context with Paramasundari’s nāgarī
svarūpa:

1) pūrṇa-tāruṇya: She has a fully developed body. This is Paramasundari’s greatest wealth. Now why is that? Because, of all beautiful women, the nāgarīs are the most attractive, and among the nāgarīs, the pragalbhā nāyikās are the most voluptuous. Yet even among the pragalbhās Paramasundari has a truly sensational body. Because previously she performed great tapasyā and daily prayed: “Hey Providence! Please award me a body so sensuous and alluring that Gaurasundar’s mind will simply be devastated upon viewing it.”

Thus when going to bathe and looking into the mirror she becomes …

2) madāndhā: Overwhelmed by kāma as the intense desire awakens that Gauranga come to enjoy her beauty. As such, erotic fascination escalates, however, she becomes …

3) uru-rassukā: Obsessed with a flaming passion to offer herself to Gauranga in rati-keli, for she cannot wait a second more. But Paramasundari’s incredible absorption in Gaura draws Him like a magnet … and thus He appears before her! But she is also …

4) bhūri bhāvodgamābhijnā: Very expert in awakening newer and newer erotic fascination in Gauranga’s mind. Now even though every nagari is adept in the 64 arts of prema-sevā, there are special consorts who are renowned for their specific talents. And it is in this way that the pragalbhā ramaṇīs are known to be Gauranga’s greatest lovers for their amazing skills in rati-keli. Yet deep down inside Paramasundari realizes that since Gauranga loves this activity the most, she wants to be an outstanding and exemplary lover to Him. Thus she can invent newer and newer interesting ways to keep Gauranga reeling in ecstasy as she offers her rati sevā to Him. But she is also …

5) atiprauḍhokti-ceṣṭā: An experienced and mature nāyikā who is slightly older and can even train Gauranga in the rasika arts.

Gadadhar-nagari then interrupts: “Yes yes!” she exclaims. “This is what I want for you – that your nāgarī svarūpa be around 20 years old, and exceptionally graceful. Thus with your equiposture and gravity you can control Gauranga – in a demeanor that comes with maturity and experience. But to ideally match your bhāva, Gauranga won’t be dhīra-lalita. Rather He will be a dhīra-praśānta-nāyaka.”

Paramasundari: “O Svamini, please explain how a dhīra-lalita and a dhīra-praśānta-nāyaka differ?”

Gadadhar-nagari: “The basic difference lies in their maturity, I would say. As My Krishna is dhīra-lalita, He is a witty and cunning jokester Who tries to seduce us with His irresistibly sweet behavior. But later He sometimes abandons us or even shows off by enjoying with another ramaṇī right before our eyes! Therefore He is audacious and hard-hearted too. So to protect Myself from Krishna’s notorious antics I remain vāmā or hard to get. Otherwise, He would surely take full advantage of Me.

“On the other hand, though, the Gauranga that I have selected for you is dhīra-praśānta. In contrast, He is wiser, more mature, sober and knows about love’s actual definition. Thus He won’t cheat on you nor humiliate you before your sakhis, as Krishna does with Me.”

The sixth quality of the pragalbhā nāyikās that Paramasundari possesses is that she is a …

6) rasākrānta-vallabhā: One whose stamina in rati-keli is overwhelming. This is a remarkable trait. Because as Paramasundari is totally dedicated to giving Gaurasundar the greatest rati pleasure He could ever dream of – she loves to bring Him to higher and higher states of enrapture owing to her incredible stamina.

The last quality of the pragalbhā nayikās is that they are …

7) māne cātyanta-karkaśā: Extremely defiant when defending their pride.

“O wait a minute!” Gadadhar-nagari exclaims. “This is not the quality that I want for you. Let Me explain why. There is a bhāva that awakens in Me called khaṇḍitā, when I turn fiery angry upon discovering that Krishna has been cheating on Me!

“For example, just suppose that last night after the scheduled meeting place (saṅketa) was arranged I went there to await Krishna’s arrival. But after spending the whole night crying in His separation, what does that Debauchee do? He shows up the next morning displaying the love marks of some less experienced ramaṇī! That’s when I become khaṇḍitā, and turn fiery angry to chase Krishna away!”

Paramasundari: “O Srimati,” we exclaim. “As Krishna is known for such notorious behaviour,
who can blame You for becoming angry?”

“But don’t worry,” Gadadhar nagari replies. “You won’t have to go through traumas such as
this. For your dhīra-praśānta Gauranga will be a trustworthy, kind, benevolent, grateful and
steadfast lover – and more mature than My dhīra-lalita Krishna.”

Paramasundari: “So what will my mood be like?”

Gadadhar-nagari: “Since you won’t need to be vāmā (a resisting nāyikā) you can give
pleasure and śānti to Him as a dakṣiṇā or agreeable and submissive consort. But I can assure
you, owing to the amazing mohinī śakti of your fantastic figure, He will remain weak in the knees, and desire to always serve you. Thus, of the eight major nāyikā bhavas described in Gīta-govinda and Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, you will be naturally suited as a svādhīna-bhartr̥kā.”

“O Svamini, please tell us what this means.”

Srimati: “Rupa Goswami describes this type of consort in Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi’s Nāyikā-bheda-prakaraṇa:

svāyattāsanna-dayitā bhavet svādhīna-bhartṛkā |
salilāraṇya-vikrīḍā-kusumāvacayādi-kṛt ||

The nayika who subjugates Krishna into submissively serving her, and keeps Him captivated so that He never wants to leave her is called a svādhīna-bhartṛkā.” (UN 5.91)

Gīta-govinda gives the following example, and the scene takes place after rati-keli:

racaya kucayoś citraṁ patraṁ kuruṣva kapolayor
ghaṭaya jaghane kāñcīṁ mugdha-srajā kavarī-bharaṁ | 
kalaya valaya-śreṇīṁ pāṇau pade maṇi-nūpurāv
iti nigaditaḥ prītaḥ pitāmbaro’pi tathākarot ||

Radha tells Krishna: ‘Hey Raman! Now You may paint alluring musk designs over My breasts, and use candan to artistically decorate My forehead. Then You may place a jeweled bellstring over My hips, decorate My hair with flowers, put golden bracelets on My wrists, and place anklebells over My feet.’” (GG 12.25)

“Owing to His steadfast subjugation for Radha, Krishna lovingly performs all of the sevā
according to Her wish.”

Paramasundari: “This is a wonderful bhāva that You desire for us, Svamini, as it will surely make Gauranga and me supremely happy!”

Gadadhar nagari: “Then you may have it. But remember, I desire that you be so devastatingly beautiful because I will relish your sevā bhāva too in a hidden way. For when My śakti enters you we shall become one. Does this appeal to you?”

Paramasundari: “Yes, we surely appreciate the deep affection and mercy that You have shown for us. So let us serve Gauranga in this way as we surrender completely unto Your lotus feet.”

*Here we should mention that although Gaura’s male bhaktas who transform into supremely beautiful nagari forms are all Gadadhar’s expansions – as the Vraja gopis expand from Radha – they don’t need to pray separately for His special mercy as we have done. For Yogamaya instantly arranges their nāgarī svarūpa without their need for extra endeavor.]

Gadadhar nagari: “Rupa Goswami has composed a verse which ideally describes your nāgarī svarūpa. Would you like to hear its meaning in Gaura lila?”

“Of course,” we answer.

praṇamāmi tāḥ parama-mādhurī-bhṛtaḥ
kṛta-puṇya-puñja-ramaṇī-śiromaṇīḥ |
upasanna-yauvana-guror adhītya yāḥ
smara-keli-kauśalam udāharan harau ||2||

I offer my pranama to Gauranga’s supremely amazing nagari kantas who are the most fortunate ramanis in the three worlds because, after mastering the art of rati keli from the guru of their incredibly beautiful bodily limbs, they love to demonstrate their talents for Gauranga’s sambhoga pleasure alone.” (Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, 3.2)

Four Amusing Pastimes

(1)

Visvambhara-Shiva Puja

Gadadhar-nagari goes on: “Paramasundari, since you will be married, your sevā to Gora will be parakīyā, as is My sevā to Krishna is in Vrindaban. So for an excuse to leave home you and your sakhis can worship Visvambhara Shiva, as every brahmina kishori girl of Nabadwip goes daily to worship some devi or devata with a hidden intention to secretly meet Gora.”

Paramasundari: “Alright then, can You please explain how the puja is to be done?”

Gadadhar-nagari: “As these mūrtis reside in cintāmaṇi mandirs in many places in the dhama, you may select any one of them to carry out your puja. What is amazing though, the murti will become jāgrata, and directly manifest before your eyes.

“Before the puja begins you and your sakhis should first purify yourselves by taking a Ganga-snana. Then after entering the mandir and closing the door, you may remove your garments to maintain the puja vidhi. As you come before the devata who is kosti pathar (black stone), just offer a pranama, gently touch him with your finger-tips, and recite the mantra: om viśvambhara-śivāya namaḥ. Then he will transform into a beautiful golden purush Who is your heart’s one and only divine lover, Gaura Bhagavan!

“Remember, as Shiva is known to be Ashutosha, one who swiftly fulfills the desires of his
worshipers, so is Visvambhara Shiva. But not only that, He is nārī-jana-manoharī, supremely
attractive to every young girl of Nabadwip, too.”

(2)

A Pūrvāhna Pastime
(8:24 A.M. -- 10:48 A.M.)

As sankirtan is a major attraction in Golok Nabadwip, it becomes the most fantastic during Maha Rasa.

After breakfast this morning we take our sakhis on an adventure outing – to a secluded forest which is abundant in natural beauty with its lakes, waterfalls, grassy meadows, and pleasure pavilions, etc. As I ride in an open palanquin our beautifully dressed sakhis surround us playing vinas, svara mandala, shanai, turis, as well as a variety of flutes and drums. Their alluring singing would put to shame the talents of the devis from heaven.

Hearing the sakhis’ prema-filled voices Gaurasundar comes to view their enchanting bodily splendor from behind the foliage. But after becoming totally mesmerized He rushes to greet our sankirtan members!

The sakhis instinctively surround Gaurasundar and start dancing for His pleasure. And then He expands Himself to dance beside each sakhi! Seeing the wonder I motion to our leading sakhi Ruci-tamra to sing and dance a solo. Her performance is simply breathtaking – and everyone can’t help but stop what they are doing to watch her amazing skill with unblinking eyes! Yet Prabhu is so impressed by Ruci-tamra’s performance that He rushes to offer His very atma by firmly embracing her to His chest! Then He lovingly lifts her into His arms and carries her to a private pleasure kunja nearby.

Next we motion to Caru-vilasini, our second sakhi. Knowing what to do she leaps into the center stage and with great excitement she boldly recites the following prabandha with her captivating voice:

do dika jah jah … drimi jah drimi jah drimi jah!
dram dram guru dram … guru guru dram – are jam!
to tika to to … tera tera do … tera do tera do – tera dram!

As Caru-vilasini dances out the bolas of her prabandha her fabulous bodily limbs bend and turn in some of the most amazing (and titillating) postures that Gaurasundar has ever seen – and her roaming eyes devastate Him with a loving glance that grafts His heart! Hence without wasting another second Gora lifts her into His arms and heads for another pleasure pavilion not far away!

In this way we joyfully engage our other leading sakhis: Prema-sindhu, Rati pramodini, Madan mohini, Tunga keli, Rasa vinodini and Surata sundari. Yet when dancing for Gora’s pleasure they captivate His mind, body and senses so that His desire awakens to enjoy prema keli pastimes with each one of them too! Seeing their great solace gives great happiness to us – for no other activity gives us more pleasure than uniting our sakhis with Gora.

We forgot to mention that when our sakhis were dancing with our Prana-ballabha, He was also sitting behind us in another form. For He loves to relish the joy that His bhaktas relish when engaging others in His prema sevā.

But a wonder then takes place: The palanquin we are sitting in then transforms into a vilāsa bhavana, and as we look into each other’s eyes, an irrepressible desire to unite strongly awakens in both of us.

(3)

An Aparahna Pastime
(3:36 P.M. – 6:00 P.M.)

When Gauranga-sundar takes His bhaktas on nagar sankirtan in the late afternoon, we then go to bathe in the Ganga. Gaura’s bhuvan mohan rupa madhuri and spectacular dancing attracts all of the dhāma-vasis from their homes.

When the sankirtan passes by our bathing ghata, however, our eyes meet with His – just when we step out of the water with our thin snana garment clinging to every inch of our lovely bodily limbs. As His eyes gaze upon our beauty we can feel His deep attraction. So to bring Him under our control we stretch our arms in an elegant pose that almost knocks Him over!

Then Gaura’s eyes convey the message: “I’m coming to meet you!”

And our eyes submissively answer -- āmi tomāra-i, “I am Yours alone.”

But as Gora passes out of sight with the sankirtan party, an uncontrollable urge to unite with Him awakens within us. So what does He do? Upon arriving at the next bathing ghata upstream, Gora secretly leaves the sankirtan party and assumes a special prakasa form. Then coming to the water’s edge, He dives in, swims underwater, and resurfaces right in our midst! In seeing Gora tightly embracing me, our sakhis surround us to form a protective curtain – as we exchange lots of kisses. And soon after He carries us to a vilasa bhavan nestled under the banyan tree’s cooling shade. But this is when Yogamaya suddenly manifests many vilasa kunjas to host the prema-keli lilas that our sakhis will enjoy with Gora.

(4)

Our Sayana Lila’s Setting
(6:00 P.M. – 8:24 P.M.)

On the roof of our palace is a Piriti nagar where only Gaurasundar and our sakhis can enter. It is an oasis that rests above all of the samsara activities that go on in our house below. When our sakhis enter this hidden world they first discover a mood that is relaxed and casual – as everyone is free to mingle with Gora in whatever way they wish.

Here, every sakhi is extremely beautiful, her speech is a song and her walking is a dance. Everyone is supremely happy in their madhura relationship with Gauranga – as the love they share with Him simply goes on increasing.

Up there is a large swimming pool, beautiful flower gardens, private patios and wonderful sitting pavilions, that offer a spectacular view of the dhama. As the bhojan lila takes place during this time period, there are cozy dining places where each sakhi can intimately relish their meal with Gora in privacy. Then afterwards there are well decorated flower pavilions that feature luxurious flower beds where each sakhi can relax with Him. The mood becomes very romantic as our sakhis simply lie there with Gora and stare to the full moon which casts its soothing light rays everywhere and on everything.

Rasa Analysis

Now if someone should ask: “How are you able to directly speak with Gadadhar, and imagine that so many other things are happening?” We shall reply: “Well, in smaraṇa-sādhana this is what we are supposed to do – have mānasa saṅga with Gaura’s nitya siddha parikaras in the lilas we envision as we serve them within our mind. This is a very potent form of seva that goes on during our nama japa. And such lila smarana’s essential ingredient is lobha – which is our intense yearning to attain the Lord’s direct seva in the way that we covet.

In this regard, however, we also need to ask ourselves: “Is the mānasī sevā we are performing pleasing to the Lord?” And to make a test, Rupa Goswami’s following verse in Bhakti-rasāmr̥ta sindhu can serve as our guideline:

anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam
ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā

The translation for Gaura-lila will read:

Uttama bhakti to Gaura must be free from other desires, and it should not be covered by jnana or karma. Such bhakti will follow after Gaura’s desires and serve to make Him happy. (BRS 1.1.11)

Now another important consideration is, Who we choose to be our Eternal Worshipable
Lord. In our case He is Rasaraja Gauranga, and Vaṁśī-śikṣā’s opening invocation depicts Him
as follows:

śr̥ṅgāra-rasa-sammagnaṁ śr̥ṅgāra-rūpakaṁ param
sukhadaṁ śubhadaṁ devaṁ rasarājaṁ namāmy aham

Here is the Gaura lila’s translation:

My praṇāma goes to Rasaraja Gauranga. As You are always engaged in śr̥ṅgāra-rasamaya pastimes You are the Supreme Lord of Srngara. Thus Your activities are always pleasure giving and auspicious for all.

So how can we become ideally fit to serve Him? That has been the topic for discussion in
this chapter.


Comments

Prem Prakash said…
The incomparable Gadadhar Pran Das and the illustrious Jagadananda das. This blog is a remarkable place. Thank you.
Samantabhadra Das said…
I'm no Vaishnava of any color, but regardless where you personally stand, this is some pretty remarkable spiritual writing. And practicing I suppose. Thanks!
Unknown said…
Thanks for this article. I also believe that there are few bhaktas in this world who are like Gadadhar pran. He is an amazing personality. A rare gem to be found on the banks of Ganga.
Jai Nitai Gaur Sitanath!

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