Another side of Bhaktivinoda 23 : A Svarasiki Adventure (Part II)

Part I was here. Another Side of Thakur Bhaktivinoda, A Svārasikī Adventure (Part Two) by Gadadhar Pran Das [gadadhar̮]. A svārasikī adventure is a lila meditation that follows the path of our yearning.

In this segment, Vamsivadanananda Thakur continues his recitation of the Rasa-lila. As usual, the author refers 

Sri Vamsivadana's Bhāgavata Discourse Continues

Taking up from where we left off, Vamsivadana Thakur will now comment on the Bhagavatam's six verses that he just sang before Mahaprabhu and the bhaktas when the last chapter was ending.

Vaṁśī uvāca:

“Seeing the autumn's rising full moon awakens Krishna's romantic desires. So when arriving at the place called Rasouli, where a beautiful forest lies beside the Yamuna, Krishna plays His madhura madhura vaṁśī to lure the gopis' minds. The stirring vibration is tad-anaṅga-vardhanam as it ignites the flames of their kāma .”

Let me explain this more clearly. In the Srutis it is said gāyantaṁ striyaḥ kāmayante . Krishna plays His mystical mahā kandarpa vibration klīṁ , which is the kāma bīja . Although the Vraja sundaris were already kṛṣṇa-gṛhīta-mānasāḥ , completely captivated by Krishna, when the klīṁ vibration enters their ears it increases manifold their desire to unite with Him right away. And then Krishna plays the Vamsi in such an indistinct way that each gopi thinks that He is personally calling “her”. And this is when the Vamsi's sweet vibration acts like a thief – entering the treasury of the gopis' hearts it plunders their shyness, patience, fear, family attachment and religious principles – so they rush like mad women to catch that Vamsidhari thief, Madanmohan ! Here Vamsivadana sings in the mood of Radha:

kālāra lāgiẏā mui haba banabāsī
kālā nila jātikula, prāṇa nila bāsī
baṁśībadana kahe, śuna anurāgiṇī rāi
pirīti anala kabhu na nibhāi

To attain Kala (Krishna, Who has a dark complexion) I shall reside in the forest. For as Kala destroys my chastity, the Vamsi takes my life ! Vamsivadana says, “O anurāgiṇī Radha, listen: The fire of pirīti can never be extinguished.

The Bhāgavatam 's next three verses (10.29.6-8) demonstrate how the gopis stand apart from other women – as they become indifferent to their prescribed duties, family members, and the rules of Vedic dharma. Because when Krishna plays His flute, they drop everything and run to Him. Then even a second's delay becomes intolerable for them!

But we should mention that besides Radha and all of Her followers, there are also countless other yūtheśvarī gopis who now traverse the path with their millions of Vraja-sundari followers too. Everyone is going to meet Krishna.

Vamsivadana now pauses, and questions the bhaktas: “Is Srinivasa Acarya present in our assembly?” As everyone looks around, Narottam Das stands up to answer: “He is seated here beside me.” Vamsi then smiles to offer praise: “Srinivasa has an acclaimed disciple named Govinda Das to whom the Vrindavan Vaishnava community honored with the title kavirāja. This Govinda Kaviraj has composed a song that wonderfully captures the mood of these Bhagavatam verses. So now I would like to sing it:

“After forgetting their homes, the gopis even forget themselves. Because look – one gopi decorates only one of her eyes with kajjal, another puts bangles on one of her wrists alone, as another places an earring over only one of her ears. And while hurrying along their garments loosen and their hair comes undone. But when they arrive before Krishna, no one notices that millions of other gopis have been traversing the path beside them. Govinda Das thus describes the gopis' milan with Gokula Chandra. “Excellent! Excellent!” Mahaprabhu exclaims. “This is so wonderful. But please explain what happens to Radha.”

“Yes, of course,” Vamsi answers. “Would you like to hear a song that I wrote about Her vibhrama alaṅkāra -- when Her dressing goes topsy-turvy due to Her madness in Krishna prema? ”

rāi sāje bāɱśi bāje paḏi geo ula
ki karite kibā kare saba haila bhula
mukure āɱcari rāi bāndhe keśa bhāra
pāẏe bandhe phuler mālā na kare bicāra
karete nūpura paḏe jaṅge para tāra
galete kiṅkiṇī paḏe kāṭite hāra
caraṇe kājjara paḏe naẏane āltā
hiẏāra upare paḏe bāṅka rājā pātā
nāsāra upare kare beṇīra rocana
baɱśībadana kahe jāu balihāri
śyāma anurāgera bālāi laiẏā mari

As Radha dresses, She hears the vamsi and puts on everything backwards. Losing Her composure and not knowing what to do She combs Her hair with the mirror, and places the flower malas around Her feet. She ties Her ankle-bells around Her wrists, and places Her necklace over Her thigh. She fastens Her waist-bells around Her neck, and puts another necklace around Her waist. Then She decorates the bottom of Her feet with kajjal (eye mascara) and smears alta (foot lac) around Her eyes. As Her nose-ring hangs from Her ear Radha braids Her long curling hair as it hangs over Her nose. Vamsivadana says: “Glories, glories to Radha's Shyam anurāga – for I could pass away in seeing its wonder!”

“O Vamsi! You're poetry amazes Me,” exclaims Mahaprabhu. “But can you describe Radha's abhisāra, Her secret journey to meet Govinda ? ” “Yes, I will, ” Vamsi answers. “But first let me tell about what happens to the other gopis. The Bhāgavatam explains that as they start to leave home, either their husbands, or their fathers, or their brothers ask them, “The night is getting late, where do you think you are going? ” But the gopis don't stop, nor do they turn back, as they have become mohita (enchanted) because Govinda has stolen their very ātmā (govindāpahṛtātmānaḥ). Thus they move along like mannequins manipulated by the magician Krishna, Who pulls the strings.

Now someone might ask: “Why wouldn't their husbands, fathers or brothers be able to stop them?” The answer is that Yogamaya arranges a Maya form of their wives, daughters or sisters that returns to stay at home – as their divine gopi forms leave to meet with their Eternal Lover.

Radha's Abhisāra

Vamsivadana says: “Because the Bhagavatam doesn't specifically tell how Radha goes to meet Krishna for the Rasa, I shall describe this pastime from Govinda-līlāmṛta's version:

During the full moon nights Radha's sakhis dress Her in a swan-white outfit, anoint Her body with camphor-coated chandan, place pearl necklaces around Her neck, and cover her dark hair with mallika malas. Then She goes to meet Krishna with Her sakhis who are similarly dressed. [In other words, when the moon is shining brightly they dress in outfits which match with the moonbeams to avoid being seen.]

As Radha and Her sakhis traverse the forest path, they hide under the shade of each tree as they quickly scurry along. And when they arrive at the Yamuna's shore Vraja-bhumi (the transcendental land of Vraja) carries them in her lap. In other words, since the land of Vraja is a cintāmaṇi dhāma it has acintya śakti (inconceivable potency) and acts like a carriage to quickly escort Radha and Her sakhis to the place where Krishna is waiting for them.

“O let me sing another song by Govinda Kaviraj, ” exclaims Vamsi:

kuñcita keśinī, nirupama beśinī, rasabeśinī bhaṅginī (re)
adhara suraṅgiṇī, aṅga taraṅgiṇī, saṅginī naba naba raṅgiṇī (re)
sundarī rādhe āoẏe banī | braja ramaṇī gaṇa mukuṭa maṇi ||

Radha's hair has beautiful curls, She is exquisitely dressed, and while steeped in the Rasalila's splendor, She glides over the forest path.

Look at Radha's moist red lips, and Her body moves like a wave of bliss. O my! Her rangini-sangini sakhis are so playfully teasing Her.

O look! Look! As our sundari Radha appears in the forest She is no doubt the Crest Jewel among all of the other Vraja ramanis.

O what a sensational song! As Mahaprabhu gets up to dance, His Radhabhava awakens. Thus He covers His head with His chadar and proceeds ahead – as if He were Radha entering the forest to meet Krishna. And upon witnessing Mahaprabhu's stirring emotions the whole assembly gets up to follow Him – as if they are all Radha's sakhis who now follow Her on Her secret journey to meet Krishna. While overwhelmed in this bhāva Mahaprabhu and the bhaktas begin circumambulating the mandir.

The Bhoga Offering

Meanwhile, after the cooking is completed, Vishnupriya and Jahnava are now sitting in the mandir to offer the bhoga, which will first go to Sri Kelichand. And then They will offer His mahaprasad to Radha, Ananga Manjari and the ashta sakhis. Although they can hear the kirtan as everyone circumambulates the mandir, no-one can see in because all the doors and windows are closed. Sitting behind Vishnupriya, are Her eight chief sakhis, who have each made their own special preparation. And sitting behind Jahnava, are Mahesvari, Gunamanjari and Ramamani Goswamini who have also prepared an assortment of wonderful confections, sliced fruits and fruit juices that they have added to the menu.

Vishnupriya now directs Madhavi, Malati and Mallika who are carefully arranging each item before Sri Kelichand's bhojan asana. Then what does Jahnava do? She steps forward to merge into Ananga Manjari's murti, and brings it to life! Then she takes Kelichand by the hand and carefully seats Him down on the asana. But Vishnupriya next comes over to Radha, merges into Her vigraha, and then sits down before Kelichand to start affectionately feeding Him. And seeing the wonder, Priyaji's ashta sakhis are simply spellbound! Thus coming over to their respective Vraja counterparts who stand on the altar, they merge into the murtis. In other words, Kanchana becomes Lalita, Amita becomes Vishakha, Sukeshi becomes Citra, Chandrakala becomes Indulekha, Manohara becomes Champaklata, Sakhi Vishnupriya becomes Rangadevi, Prema-latika becomes Tungavidya, and Sura-sundari becomes Sudevi.

But as Radha feeds Krishna, He also wants to feed Her. They are selecting the best items and placing them in each others' mouths. Then Radha hints with a sidelong glance that Kelichand feed Her sakhis. So He has them all line up. And, as they each take turns to lovingly feed Him, He smilingly reciprocates by lovingly feeding them too. But this leads to some amusing frolic – as some of the sakhis then hold succulent pieces of fruit between their teeth. This really taunts Kelichand – because He just can't turn down their invitation to enjoy the meal by kissing their sweet lips. And this is called amrita bhojan.

Meanwhile, Gaura-Radha's abhisara to meet Krishna continues. Vamsivadana is singing more and more lines of the song – as the Lord and His bhaktas' parikrama goes round and round the mandir:

ābharana dhārini, naba anurāgiṇī, śyāmara hṛdaẏa bihāriṇī (re)
naba abhisāriṇī, akhila sohāginī, pañcama rāgiṇī mohinī (re)

Radha is bedecked in gorgeous ornaments, Her anuraga or deep attraction ever increases with newer and newer wonder, and thus She lovingly sports like a royal swan within the lake of Shyama's heart. Radha is going to meet Krishna as if it were Their first union. She is adored by everyone in the three worlds, and as She sings ragas in the fifth scale She totally captivates His mind. As He continues to circumambulate the mandir, Mahaprabhu's deep absorption in being Radha is getting stronger and stronger. And it looks like the only way that He (She) can be pacified will be to directly experience a madhura milan with Krishna. Back inside the mandir, however, the bhojan lila is completed. So Madhavi, Malati and Mallika pour water from crystal pitchers to wash the hands and the mouths of all the deities who have come to life. Then they lead them by the hand to stand as they were before on the altar. But it is amazing that Jahnava, Vishnupriya and Her asta sakhis now reappear and stand in the place .where Ananga Manjari, Radha, and Her asta sakhis were standing. And this is when Vishnupriya takes charge. She requests that Her asta sakhis and Jahnava transfer all of the mahaprasad to the place where Mahaprabhu and the bhaktas' pratah bhojan will be served. “But please do one thing, ” Priyaji adds: “Let these murtis stay within you so that only Kelichand will remain standing on the altar alone.” Thus speaking, Vishnupriya and Her sakhis start to leave through a jewelled underground passage that leads to the kitchen. But on Her way out She looks to Madhavi and says: “You may now open the mandir's door to award Kelichand's darshan.”

As our Radhabhava Gauranga comes circumambulating around the mandir and sees Kelichand, He suddenly stops. And while looking to His moon face and enticing form suddipta sattvic emotions erupt in His body! Thus He runs to embrace His Prananatha – and a wonder happens: because as Gauranga embraces the Krishna murti – He merges into His body and disappears! But the next moment the onlooking bhaktas see Goracanda standing in the place where Kelichand previously stood. So without wasting time, Gadadhar runs up to the altar, embraces Gauranga, and the bhaktas then see Radha and Govinda standing before them. Wow! This is when Svarupa Damodara comes over to begin Their Jugala arati, as he takes on the form of Lalita.

Upon seeing so many amazing things unfolding one after the other, the bhaktas are spellbound! Yet this is when Vipina vihari Prabhu motions to Bhaktivinoda Thakur to sing a song which will befit this wonderful occasion:

jaẏa jaẏa rādhā kṛṣṇa yugala milana, ārati karaẏe lalitādi sakhīgaṇa
madanamohana rūpa tribhaṅga sundara, pītāmbara śikhī puccha cuḏā manohara
lalita mādhaba bāme bṛṣabhānu kanyā, śunila basana gaurī rūpe guṇe dhanyā
nānābidha alaṅkāra kare jhalamala, hari-mano bimohana badana ujjbala
biśākhādi sakhīgaṇa nānā rāge gāẏa, priẏa narma sakhīgaṇa cāmara ḍhulāẏa
śrīrādhā mādhaba pada sarasija āse, bhaktibinoda sakhī pade sukhe bhāse

Glories, glories to Radha Krishna's jugala milana. Lalita is performing Their arati with the help of other sakhis (in this case Madhavi, Malati and Mallika are standing on either side of Sri Jugala-kishora and fanning Them with camaras as the arati continues).

Krishna's Madanmohan form is displaying the beautiful threefold bending position. He wears a pitambara dhoti and chaddor, and peacock feathers are scattered throughout His attractive topknot of hair. Standing to the left of Madhava is Vrsabhanu raja nandini. She wears a deep blue outfit and Her form and qualities are matchless. She is ornamented with lots of jewels which glitter, and Her bright face is Hari mana vimohana, as it completely captivates Krishna. Vishakha Sakhi and many others are singing beautiful ragas, as the manjaris twirl camaras. Bhaktivinoda Thakur is floating in bliss at the sakhis' lotus feet as He desires to serve Radha Madhava's Sri carana kamal.
After the arati the doors close. And this is when Jahnava, Vishnupriya and Her eight sakhis return to enter the mandir. Priyaji walks right over to Radha-Gadadhara and whispers in Her ear. Then She quietly steps down from the altar, exits from the room, and rejoins the bhaktas in Her Nadiya form as Gadadhara-Pandita. Then Jahnava, Vishnupriya and Her eight sakhis step onto the altar, reassume their Vraja svarūpas as Ananga Manjari, Radha and Her asta sakhis, and then step down again in their Nadiya forms leaving the murtis as they appeared before.

Rasa Analysis

Now someone may ask: “Why are the deities changing around so much? Doesn't this seem a bit odd?” But as we begin to answer, let us first ask another question: “Why do Mahaprabhu's nitya siddha parshadas in Goloka Nabadwip Dham need to worship the Lord's Archa-vigraha form in the first place? Since they have the fortune to serve Him directly, what is the necessity of their doing puja to His murti? Actually there is no necessity for this at all. It is simply the bhakta bhava that the Lord and His siddha parshadas assume that makes the lila more fun -- because bhakti sadhana contains lots of rasa or pleasure. This is the motivation to improve oneself, when one hankers deep inside to achieve the Lord's blessings and mercy – the struggle that one goes through. Even Sri Bhagavan, Who is perfect, desires to relish this.

In the present lila, let us take for example Mahaprabhu's overwhelming desire to attain Krishna. Although He is Krishna, nevertheless, still, He desires to taste what it is like to relish His sevā from the standpoint of His bhaktas – and in this case, from the standpoint of Srimati Radharani, Who is His Supreme counterpart and topmost worshiper. This is an intense matter, since Radha's svarūpa is mahābhāva-cintāmaṇi.

Now if our Mahaprabhu, Who is circumambulating the mandir in Radhabhava, and Who is mad with desire to attain Krishna's saksat darshan would chance to see the household deities as they usually appear (in the multiple forms of Krishna, Ananga Manjari, Radha and Her ashta sakhis) wouldn't this greatly disappoint Him? Because right now He's thinking that He is Radha, and the only thing that will satiate His desire is to have Krishna's direct darshan alone. Thus Vishnupriya has cleverly arranged to remove all of the other vigrahas – just to give Him the ultimate solace that His heart earnestly yearns. We can also look at this matter from another perspective: In the bhoga mandir, why has Vishnupriya arranged that the murtis directly come to life? Well, wouldn't this be much more exciting for Krishna? After all, what would please Him more: to hear a recital of mantras? Or to relish the nectar-lips of His dearest loving consorts? Because Vishnupriya knows that Her husband is a rasika, She has chosen the latter. We can also know that because the bhojan mandir's doors are closed, no-one is able to see this intimate lila -- even His leading bhaktas who are waiting close by. This brings to mind Vidyapati's previous insight:

bidyāpati kahe, ei kathā dhara, gopana pirīti viṣama baḏa

Just mark my words – divine romantic love that is kept a secret is the most exciting of all.

Prasada Seva

Let us now see how Sri Bhagavan is dining with His bhaktas. For the privilege to have such a darshan and to serve Him at this time is very rare and priceless indeed. There may be many ways to seat the 8 bhaktas, but a major concern is maryādā, the befitting place where each of them rightly belongs in the Lord's assembly. And as we begin serving these exalted personalities, no mistakes should be made. Thus sevā paripāti (the traditional way to perform Bhagavat seva and Vaishnava seva), sadachar (the rules of Vaishnava cleanliness), and acharan (the appropriate etiquette in Vaishnava behavior) all have to be learned.

As Gadadhara and Vamsivadana have taken charge of serving the prasada to Mahaprabhu and the bhaktas, Gopinath, Govinda, Madanmohan and I will assist them. In another room close by, Madhavi, Malati and Mallika join their mother to serve all the Vaisnavi Thakuranis. Then, in a private adjoining room, Vishnupriya and Jahnava will savor the prasad remnants of Their Two Prabhus (unseen by others) as Maheshvari and Ramamani Gosvamini attentively serve Them. As I serve the Vaishnavas and see them relishing Radha-Kelichand's maha prasad, I become exceedingly happy – more so than when honoring the prasad myself. Now why is this happening? In his Upadeśāmṛta, Rupa Gosvami says:

dadāti pratigṛhṇāti guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati
bhuṅkte bhojayate caiva ṣaḍ-vidhaṁ prīti-lakṣaṇam

Six ways to share love with the bhaktas are: to inquire or to answer intimate questions (about Bhagavata bhakti) – to offer and receive gifts -- and to offer and receive mahaprasad.

Thus when Vaishnavas serve a meal to other Vaishnavas and make them happy – love becomes nourished between them – and this brings about a happiness which is boundless.

Vishnupriya Discloses Tonight’s Meeting Place (Sanket)

After Mahaprabhu and the bhaktas finish taking prasad, have a brief rest, and return to their homes – I follow Premamayi into the bedroom chamber where Vishnupriya and Jahnava are just waking up from their mid-morning nap. Seeing Premamayi, Vishnupriya smiles and calls us over to the bed. “I wanted to arrange this morning’s Bhagavata discourse at your home for a reason”, She says. Because just as Vamsi described how the gopis go to meet Krishna for the Rasa, I have a longing to leave from here tonight to join my Pranaballabha’s Rasalila. Would you like to come?”

“What could be a greater blessing!” we both answer in elation.

"I will be coming along too,” Jahnava says. “For how could I pass up My didi’s invitation?”

(Here Jahnava reveals that, just as Ananga Manjari is Vishnupriya’s younger sister, She can also be taken as Radha’s younger sister.)

After Premamayi and I offer a pranam to Their lotus feet, and bid Them farewell, Vishnupriya returns with Vamsivadana to Gauranga’s palace, as Jahnava goes back to Nityananda’s abode escorted by Ramai.

When performing our daily activities, however, Premamayi and I cannot forget Priyaji’s promise: that She will come and take us to Her Pranaballabha’s Rasalila tonight from our very home!

Rasa Analysis

Vishnupriya very seldom visits the home of others. So Her coming today with Jahnava was certainly a rare display of mercy. But it didn’t take long. Because the path which leads down the hill from Her gupta Vrindavan nikunjas to our place is only a short walk. And because the path is remote and hidden, Priyaji and Her sakhis can easily traverse it unseen by others. But let us ask: Was there a special reason which prompted Her to come?

As Chapter Twenty tells us how Vishnupriya and Gauranga’s yoga-pitha lila is distinctly different from the one He performs with the Panca-tattva, Her Rasalila is also different. On one hand, for example, the Gutika describes how Gaura’s Rasa with the bhaktas happens on a special sandbar beside the Ganga named Anaṅga-ullāsa-raṅga – which is near Srivasa Angan in the Dham’s northeast side. But in the Dham’s opposite southwest corner, Gauranga’s Rasa-lila with Vishnupriya and Her sakhis unfolds on a hidden island in the Ganga called Gauranga Sthali. And because this is not far from our palace, Vishnupriya’s coming to visit us on Her way to meeting Him there will be convenient for Her.

The Calamity in the Mandir

The time is around 10:00 pm. As Madhavi, Malati and Mallika get ready to put our household vigrahas to rest, they hear someone loudly knocking on the mandir’s door. This alarms the girls, since it is long past the time for visitors. Yet the knocking doesn’t stop. “Could this be an intruder?” they wonder.

Then the door suddenly opens, and aho! A tall figure enters the room. Since his body is covered with a chadar the girls cannot make out who the person is. They simply stand there, scared stiff! Not wasting time, the intruder goes right over to where Kelicanda is standing. Then, O my gosh! The murti suddenly disappears along with the intruder.

What else will the girls do – they scream – and quickly run to their mother! Around this time, however, lots and lots of beautiful female guests have arrived, and as the girls rush into the parlour, they see that their mother is cordially attending them. Coming closer, they next see Vishnupriya and Jahnava, and fall to offer Them a sastanga pranam. Upon rising, the girls can’t help but notice how everyone (including Vishnupriya and Jahnava) is dressed in a beaming white outfit, their elegant bodies are covered in chandan, and fragrant white flower malas adorn their necks and cover their hair. 10 As Vishnupriya takes one look at Madhavi, Malati and Mallika (who don’t know what to say), She can fathom that a calamity has happened. Thus taking Premamayi with Her, She heads straight for the mandir – and many others follow behind, including the three girls.

When entering the mandir and noticing that Kelicanda is missing, Vishnupriya goes over to the altar. And upon discovering a clue, She turns to Premamayi: “I can distinctly recognize these carana cihnas (footprints)”, She says. “My Svami-devata was here, for these carana-cihnas belong to Him.” Then out of nowhere a stirring flute-song is heard in the distance – a melodious sound that captivates everyone!

“O my!” Jahnava exclaims. “Is that our Kelichand playing the Murali to lure His gopis?”

“Na, na,” Vishnupriya replies. “That’s our Vamsi-dhari Gaurahari! And it sounds like He is calling Me!”

“But why did He take our Krishna vigraha?” Premamayi questions.

“There must be a reason,” Vishnupriya answers.

“Let’s see what kind of drama He has in store for us.”

As the Murali’s sweet vibration continues, each sakhī believes that Gaurasundar is calling her. Thus they want to drop everything and run to Him!

“Just wait a moment,” Vishnupriya implores. “For I want to follow in My Pranaballabha’s footsteps.” Thus holding Jahnava’s hand, Priyaji steps onto the altar with Her and They enter the murtis of Radha and Ananga Manjari, and disappear! But as They next step down, the murtis remain hidden in Vishnupriya and Jahnava’s transcendental forms!

On Priyaji’s cue, then, Her asta sakhis next step onto the altar and merge into their respective counterparts – and upon stepping down the altar becomes vacant! In other words, as Gauranga has left with Kelicanda – Jahnava, Vishnupriya and Her eight sakhis leave with the vigrahas of Ananga Manjari, Radha, Lalita, Visakha, Citra, Indulekha, Campaklata, Rangadevi, Tungavidya and Sudevi (which remain hidden within their divine forms).

Aho! As Vamsidhari Gaurahari’s manohara flute song continues, Vishnupriya’s sakhis all quickly scurry behind Her. For their one and only objective is to catch their hṛdaya-ramaṇa, Sri Gaura-govinda. .... After a moment, I arrive at the mandir, and exclaim: “O my gosh! Where are all of the murtis? ... And where has everyone gone?”

That is when Vamsi-nagari arrives.

“O Pranananda! Quickly change over to your sakhī-svarūpa, and come. Priyaji has sent me to look for those who lag behind.”

“What about our three sons?” I question.

“O don’t worry about them,” Vamsi-nagari replies. “After assuming their sakhī-svarūpas, they have already gone ahead.”

“But you won’t be able to recognize them,” she continues. “Nor will you recognize your wife or your three daughters. Because like all of the others they have taken on their supreme female forms to unite with the Jagat-pati.”

Rasa Analysis

Now what is the moral to this story?

Although these Nitya Gaura parshadas in Goloka Navadwipa are part and parcel of the Lord’s svarūpa-śakti, without any trace of material contamination whatsoever – they nevertheless have their families to look after, as Gauranga has His family responsibilities as well. And this transcendental samsara of the Lord and His bhaktas form their external pastimes.

But resting above all of this is a hidden inner world – a world where every bhakta has an intimate, one-to-one loving relationship with Svayam Bhagavan forever. And Narahari Sarkara Thakur reveals that this is param sādhya , the supreme goal for every jiva:

paraṁ kāntaṁ śāntam aśeṣa-jīva-hṛdayānanda-svarūpam

As the Romantic Hero (kānta) Sri Gauranga awards divine bliss and eternal peace in the heart of infinite jivas. (Bhakti-candrikā, Verse 1).


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