Another Side of Thakur Bhaktivinoda 25 : Vishnupriya and Jahnava Devi’s Rāsa līlā
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Vishnupriya and Jahnava Devi’s Rāsa līlā
Although the Rāsa līlā sankirtan that happens at midday in Vishnupriya’s gupta Vrindaban abode was previously described, in this chapter we will tell something about Her nocturnal Rāsa līlā. This spectacular event and the other madhura pastimes which precede and follow it all take place on a hidden island in the Ganga known as Gauranga sthali. In this chapter also the svārasikī story that we were following in Chapters 22 and 23 will be completed. The term svārasikī means that which appeals to our personal ruci or taste. So in smaraṇa, when our meditation follows after our personal desires to serve the Lord and His bhaktas in the course of the līlā – then it becomes svārasikī. And by performing such smaraṇa over a long period of time a deep saṁskāra will form that can bring about our svārasikī sthiti, eternal place in the Lord’s nitya līlā. Now let us review the story so that we can remember what has happened so far: The adventure started in the early morning, when we were going for a Ganga snana. Then Vamsivadan suddenly appeared with an urgent request: “O Pranananda!” he said. “Our Thakurani Vishnupriya is coming to bathe, so quickly get ready. You can massage Her limbs with scented oil in that pavilion over there.” As Vamsi’s merciful request aroused our excitement, we changed over to our kiśorī brāhmaṇa svarūpa and started waiting to receive Her. But when Priyaji entered the pavilion which was fitted with golden mirrors – O my! The effulgence of Her lovely form glistened brightly in every direction!
Since the two dasis came along to assist, I started massaging Gauraballabha’s delicate lotus feet and shapely legs while they concentrated on Her head and midsection. Our soothing touch allowed Svamini a chance to fully relax and She soon fell asleep.
Then Gaurasundar appeared – just when Priyaji was completely off guard! And upon viewing His Pranaballabha’s beautiful form, He wanted to massage Her as we were doing. But since His touch was so different, She instantly awakened! And it didn’t take long for Swamini to fathom that His mind was restlessly eager for prema-keli. So She requested that we leave the pavilion. Failing to understand Her intention though, we felt let down. When heading back to the palace someone started calling: “O Padma Priya! O Padma Priya!”We looked over our shoulder to see who was addressing us – and there was Gaurasundar!
“Hey sundari!” He submitted with a smile, “Can you give Me a massage?”
“O why not do as He asks?” we thought, and we soon entered another pavilion nearby.
When taking up this prema sevā though, we both lost our patience as we looked upon each other’s bodily splendour, and this led to our very first love encounter. It wastruly amazing how we completely fell in love – because in the height of those exciting moments He came right out and asked: “Will you marry Me?”
Without thinking twice, we replied “Yes,” and it felt wonderful, it was the happiest moment of our life! Later on though we couldn’t believe what had happened. Thus to relieve our doubts Prabhu offered us a gorgeous wedding ring saying “O Priye! Let this be a reminder of My love for you, that it will last forever.”
At that very moment we cried aloud tears of ecstasy – as we could then fathom why Vishnupriya sent us away.
After changing back to our svarūpa as Pranananda Mishra, and arriving back at the palace, we could see that a mahotsava was beginning. Countless bhaktas were pouring into the mandir, and they were arriving from every direction! A Bhāgavat patha was scheduled to happen, and the speaker will be Gadadhar Pandit. I couldn’t believe how wonderful the festival’s inaugurating kirtan was. Our three sons (Gopinath, Govinda and Madanmohan) were singing some ragas, and as a fantastic orchestra backed them up, they had Mahaprabhu and the bhaktas transported in ecstacy as everyone relished the Vraja rasa! By Gadadhar’s wish and Vishnupriya’s merciful order, however, it turned out that Her priya shishya Vamsivadan became the Bhāgavata speaker today. And when this was announced, Mahaprabhu requested that he narrate how the gopis leave on abhisāra to meet Krishna for the Rāsa.
Vamsi’s patha was exciting and filled with rasa. And after listening for a while, Mahaprabhu requested that he tell about Radha’s abhisara. But when he started, Mahaprabhu became so deeply moved that He got up and began swiftly heading for Krishna’s Rāsa līlā sthali! And that is when the bhakta assembly got up to follow Him in gopi bhāva! In this way a parikramā started around Radha Kelichand’s maṇimaya mandir.
Meanwhile Vishnupriya, Jahnava and a few of their sakhi followers have seated themselves inside the mandir. After closing the doors and windows they offer the bhoga that they have prepared for the household vigrahas. Then something amazing happens: as Jahnava, Vishnupriya and Her ashta sakhis just happen to be Ananga Manjari, Radha and Her ashta sakhis – they all step onto the altar and merge into their previous Vraja svarūpas – and upon seeing this our three pujari daughters (Madhavi, Malati and Mallika) cannot believe their eyes!
But what is more amazing, those vigrahas come alive and start serving the meal to Kelichand. And He lovingly reciprocates and feeds them in turn! Now has anyone ever heard about such an amrita bhojan as this?
Returning to Mahaprabhu, right now He is so steeped in Radha bhāva that the only thing that will give Him solace is Krishna’s sākṣāt darśana. So as the parikramā continues round and around the mandir, the bhaktas simply pray that something auspicious will happen. Vishnupriya knows what is going on outside. So after completing the offering, She and Her sakhis along with Jahnava all remain in their Vraja svarūpas. Then as they exit through the underground tunnel, taking the mahaprasad with them, they leave Kelichand standing alone on the altar. But just before she departs the temple, Priyaji requests Madhavi to open the doors to the mandir.
When coming before Kelichand’s bhuvan mohan form, Mahaprabhu is stunned! And sattvic bhāvas (of all sorts) start erupting in His body! Then in the mood of Radha He runs to embrace His Prananatha, merge into His body, and disappear!
In seeing the wonder, Gadadhar swiftly rushes to the altar and stands on Kelichand’s left side to assume His Vraja svarūpa as Radha! In Caitanya-maṅgala, Lochan Das Thakur relates a similar episode:
gadādhara rādhā rūpe haila takhana
When the bhaktas see Gaurasundar turning into His form of Shyamsundar, Gadadhar takes up His previous svarūpa as Radha!” (Madhya 1)
Now to make a long story shorter, after Mahaprabhu, the bhaktas and all of the guests enjoy mahaprasad and take rest, our better half (Premamayi) and I enter Vishnupriya and Jahnava’s bedroom chamber – just as They are rising from a brief nap. Priyaji then informs us that She and Jahnava will leave to join Their Pranaballabha’s Rāsa līlā from our home tonight. In hearing the exciting news we remain spellbound for the rest of the day.
That evening, however, when our daughters are putting the vigrahas to rest, Mahaprabhu covers His head with a chaddor and sneaks into the mandir. Then He disappears with Kelichand! Seeing this frightens the girls who rush to inform their mother. But when entering the parlor they see that Vishnupriya and Jahnava have arrived with their countless sakhi followers – and everyone is very eager to join Sri Gaurasundar’s Mahārāsa-līlā.
Before leaving, however, Vishnupriya enters the mandir and discovers that Her Swami has just disappeared with Kelichand! So She decides to follow in His footsteps, and merges into the Radha vigraha. After witnessing this, Jahnava merges into Ananga Manjari as Priyaji’s ashta sakhis – Kanchana, Amita, Sukeshi, Chandrakala, Manohara, Sakhi Vishnupriya, Premalatika and Surasundari – enter the vigrahas of Lalita, Visakha, Chitra, Indulekha, Champakalata, Rangadevi, Tungavidya and Sudevi!
But when Premamayi and the girls next see Jahnava, Vishnupriya and Her ashta sakhis reassume their Nabadwip svarūpas, as they step down from the altar to leave it vacant, they become more surprised, and curiously wonder: “O how is everyone able to conceal those lifesize vigrahas within them?”
[Now readers may also wonder why the vigrahas are changing around so much. The befitting answer is coming at the story’s end.]
When arriving at the mandir a little later we also become astonished to see the altar completely empty! But just then Vamsinagari arrives to exclaim: “Since Priyaji and the others have already left on abhisāra, I have come to search for those who lag behind. So quickly change over to your nāgarī svarūpa and follow me – for we’ve got to hurry if we want to catch up with the others!”
(This is where the story left off in Chapter 23.)
Who could imagine that Thakur Bhaktivinoda’s guru paramparā includes all of this? But where is the kr̥pā coming from? Here we can appreciate that when Bhaktivinoda took initiation from his dīkṣā guru Bipina Bihari Goswami, the channel or via media for receiving the mercy of Vishnupriya, Jahnava and Vamsivadan became accessible to him. So as we keenly desire to attain their eternal association and sevā, as we write about in this story, someday this will become a reality by their mercy.
In his lifetime Thakur Bhaktivinoda didn’t get a chance to reveal much about the glories of this paramparā. So in this research study we are breaking lots of new ground, opening up new doors, and discovering vast new worlds that we did not know about before – and we will have to confess that this is all coming from śrī guru kr̥pāra dhana, the wealth of guru kr̥pā.
Sri Gauranga Sthali
When arriving at the Ganga’s shore, Vamsinagari suddenly stops and points ahead: “O look!” she exclaims, “Priyaji and the others are over there – they have already started to wade across the water.”
Although the full moon shines brightly overhead and casts its rays over the Ganga, the soothing effulgence of Vishnupriya and the limitless sundari ramanis who follow Her put the moon’s splendor to shame. And as we scurry to catch up with them, we are astonished to see that where they are crossing the Ganga the water is only ankle deep! Seeing Vamsinagari approaching, Priyaji calls her over to request: “Since Gaurangasthali is well known to you, please lead the way.”
As we follow behind Vishnupriya and Jahnava, we can’t help but remember how we previously followed Radha and Her younger sister when we were manjari gopis in Vraja, and ponder: “The sweet tingling sound of their ornaments, the beauty of their swanlike gait, and the superb contour of their swaying nitamba parvats will surely mesmerize Gauranga – just as they previously captivated Govinda’s mind.”
Upon arriving on the opposite shore, there is no clue that Gauranga has come. So Vamsinagari takes Priyaji and Jahnava on a tour of Gauranga Sthali, as countless nagaris trail behind.
After ascending the island’s topmost peak, where the yogapitha mandir is basking in the moonlight, Vamsinagari says: “Just look here, on this mandir’s four sides, there are mandar, parijata, santanak and harichandan desire trees – and beyond them there are four immense kunjas: In the north is Sitambuja Kunja where the madhu pāna līlā will take place; Nilambuja Kunja in the east is where we will be dressed after jala-keli; and in Arunambuja Kunja in the south the late night bhojan will be served; and at last in Hemambuja Kunja in the west we will all take rest.”
While looking down the hill on the island’s south west side, Vamsinagari points to exclaim: “Can you see that huge sand bar over there where the Ganga’s rivulets continually caress it in every direction, and where the camphor white sand is sparkling in the moonlight – that is Gaurasundar’s spectacular Rāsa līlā sthali. The Rasamandal is surrounded by Madhavi kunjas and beyond those nikunjas there are limitless keli mandirs lining the Ganga’s shoreline. In this picturesque and romantic setting Gaura Rasaraja loves to meet with His parama sundari ramani consorts both during and after the Rasa.
Meanwhile, the Vrinda Devi of Goloka Nabadwip, Mukunda, whose female svarūpa we shall call Mukunda nāgarī, comes before Vishnupriya and Jahnava to announce: “I just saw Gaurasundar – He is not far off, and He is heading this way!”
On hearing the news, the two Gaura ballabhas quickly rush to hide in two beautifully decorated keli mandirs nearby.
When arriving before the sakhis, Gaurasundar’s eyes restlessly search amongst all of them. Then in a forlorn voice He inquires: “O where are Vishnupriya and Jahnava?”
“O They couldn’t come tonight,” Sakhi Kanchana answers. “They have some urgent business to look after.”
“O that’s not true!” Gauranga retorts. “For it isn’t possible that all of you would come here without Them.”
“Na, na!” Amita exclaims. “They have sent us here to pick flowers, since lots will be needed tonight for the grand arrangement they are making at home for Rajanikanta Chandra Deva’s puja.”
Seeing that Prabhu is getting nowhere by inquiring from the sakhis, Mukundanagari hints from the corner of her eye where They went and Gaura goes there. But to enter both keli mandirs Gaura has to assume two forms. Let us first see how he meets with Vishnupriya (here we have followed the mood of Priyaji’s tattva-līlā-rasācārya Sishir Kumar Ghosh and Caitanya-maṅgala).
Chandramukhi Vishnupriya has soft, deer-like eyes, and Her gorgeous bodily luster shimmers like a streak of lightning. Knowing that Her Prabhu will soon arrive, Priyaji has hidden Herself in a corner of the keli mandir. But as Prabhu enters and starts searching for Her, Priyaji’s bodily fragrance (which outmatches the aroma of a golden lotus) gives Her away! Vishnupriya’s moist, red lips lure the Gauranga bee, and Her bright moon face lures His chakora eyes. Then as Prabhu goes to embrace Her – She turns shy, lowers Her head, and playfully runs to the room’s other side.
But Gauranga runs more swiftly to catch Priyaji in His strong arms and lays Her down gently on the flower bed. And as Their prema-keli begins it appears like the loveplay of a young male elephant and his mate – a kind of loving prowess that would astonish even Cupid! But, O my! Priyaji then rises over His chest and with Her unblinking eyes She drinks the madhu from His lotus face. This forms an unforgettable scene that might resemble a lightning streak that continuously flashes over the peak of Mount Sumeru!
Now what happens when Gaurasundar enters Jahnava’s keli mandir? Inside there are a number of lifesized Apsaradevi statues that hold jewelled ghee lamps – and Jahnava Vinodini is hiding behind one of them. But when Gaura enters She becomes stunned by His darshanananda and appears to be one of the Apsara murtis Herself. So even though Gaura sees Her many times He cannot recognise Her.
Although Anangarasarangini Jahnava’s eagerness to sport with Him in Kandarpa keli acts like a sakhi to pull Her forward, Her bama (resisting) nature acts like another sakhi to pull Her back. Thus when caught between conflicting emotions, Jahnava becomes overwhelmed – and Her bhāvas allow Gaura the chance to notice Her. But then He becomes stunned in Her darshan ananda too!
After a while, however, Gaura’s great eagerness to unite with Jahnava wins over His paralysis – and He finally gets to touch Her lovely breasts. Feeling Gaura’s ecstatic touch, Jahnava shivers, horripilates, cries, perspires and turns pale! But Her resistance doesn’t subside, and She swiftly steps out from Gaurasundar’s reach.
Gauravinodini Jahnava cannot conceal Her tender smile, and Her shifty red-tinted eye glances reveal Her zeal for rati. So tears of ecstacy begin flowing, yet to disguise them for tears of grief, Jahnava murmurs indistinct rebuke. Hence Gaura becomes enthralled!
Just as a notorious burglar enters someone’s home, Gaura’s restless hands enter Jahnava’s blouse to fearlessly plunder the hidden treasure of Her svarna kuca kumbas, golden pitcher like breasts! Thus as Her hands struggle diligently to chase away the Thief, They both swim within the ananda sagar of Their loving tussle! But this alerts the sakhis who enter to see the wonder. Then Jahnava slips away and comes to sit with some sakhis outside.
But when Gaura leaves the mandir and arrives before Jahnava like a wave of bliss to eagerly embrace Her – She quickly runs to hide among the sakhis. Aho! Gaura’s ananda then becomes boundless as He starts fondling the sakhis in His search for Jahnava! Hence it is a beautiful woman’s resisting tendency which makes love fascinating.
Here Jahnava’s bama nature proves to be a great form of charity for all of the sakhis. Because by Her divine wish, Gaurasundar then expands into millions of prakash murtis to begin His rati līlā with millions of sundari ramanis. And to facilitate this pastime, millions of superbly decorated keli mandirs suddenly manifest by the will of Yogamaya.
What could be more beautiful? As the Autumn’s full moon casts its light beams over the kunja and in every flower-laden kunja and glen – those soothing rays also filter through the keli mandir’s lattice windows to silhouette our beloved Gaurabhagavan. And in this role He is a rasamaya nagar or tasteful romantic who knows how to ideally reciprocate with every one of the beloved consorts – because, after all, He resides in all of their hearts as the Supersoul.
Readers, as there are millions of exceptionally beautiful and talented rasika sweethearts who are now joyfully eager to offer themselves in madhura loving sevā to this Topmost Romantic, just think for a moment, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be counted amongst them?
Now what are the other līlās which will unfold tonight? First there will be the yogapitha puja, followed by Vanabhramana, wandering through the forest. Then comes the Rasa, which will be followed by the madhupan līlā, rati keli, jala keli, sringar (dressing), the late night bhojan, and sayana (going to rest).
[Readers, in the limited space of this chapter, we regret to mention that only a dikadashan (brief indication) of these splendid pastimes will be possible.]
In Chapter Twenty we have described the midday’s yogapitha puja which happens in Priyaji’s gupta Vrindaban abode. Her nocturnal yogapitha līlā which will now begin at Gauranga Sthali usually runs in the same pattern. But tonight something very unusual happens: When Vamsinagari leads us before Gaurasundar to begin His worship, He suddenly becomes Shyamsundar as we recite the puja mantra, klīṁ gopī-jana-vallabhāya svāhā!
It is amazing to see the wonder, but what is more amazing is that Vamsinagari then becomes Krishna's Murali! And as Krishna places her up to His lips and begins playing the flute, the stirring vibration enchants everyone! But every one of us suddenly turns back into our previous gopi svarūpa – including Jahnava, Vishnupriya and Her asta sakhis! Aho! Krishna līlā begins in Goloka Navadwip!
In getting His priya Vamsi back Gopijana ballabha cannot contain His ecstacy – and as He leaves the mandir to begin Vanavihara, everyone follows Him. But now the Ganga has become the Yamuna, and Goloka Nabadwip’s nikunjas have become madhura Vrindaban! Aha! As Shyamsundar dances along while playing His mohan Vamsi, He stops to admire every beautiful tree and forest lata – and sometimes He stops to pick flowers. Then He makes flower ornaments and uses them to decorate His beloved gopis. During these tender moments lots of embracing, kissing, and loving eye contact is exchanged.
Arriving at the Rāsa līlā sthali – the Rasa begins. And as usual the exciting tumult of singing, dancing and musical accompaniment commences. But during all of the merriment – the thought suddenly strikes everyone: “I wish that my Shyamsundar would become Gaurasundar again” – and it happens! But then as everyone reassumes their Nabadwip svarupa, another thought simultaneously awakens, as they confess to their Pranaballabha: “Your form as Gaura is the most dear to us.”
But when He answers: “If I hadn’t shown you Krishna and His Vraja līlā, how could you have realized this?”
Then Vishnupriya next takes Her turn to conclude: “As both līlās are wonderful and essential, how can we differentiate? So let us learn to relish both līlās as one.”
After the Rasa comes the madhu-pāna līlā. So Vishnupriya, Jahnava and all of Their sakhis next assemble at the Sitambuja Kunja, the white lotus forest bower. Mukundanagari (who is Vrinda in Vraja) then shows up with her assistants who supply various kinds of intoxicating honey which they serve in crystal glasses. They also serve a number of vidamsa (appetizers) to enhance the madhu’s flavour.
Rasika Gaura kishora then expands Himself to sit beside each nagari. And they form a number of circles around Vishnupriya and Jahnava Who enjoy this pas time with Their Pranaballabha in the center.
As Gaura sips the madhu, He also sips the wonderful flavour of all His pretty nagari’s lips. Thus He becomes intoxicated by the madhu, and by the moods of Eros.
Gaura first enterstwo specially decorated mandirs with Vishnupriya and Jahnava, and the sakhis go to take rest in their own keli mandirs.
After enjoying a beautiful round of loving sporting with Gaurasundar to Their full satisfaction, Vishnupriya and Jahnava’s svadhini bhartrika mood awakens – (when They take charge of the līlā to allow Gaura the chance to dress Them – as He assumes the role of Their obedient dasa).
Following Vishnupriya and Jahnava’s request, Gaura then enters each one of the sakhi’s keli mandirs. And after He completely satiates their desires, their svadhina bhartrika mood also awakens.
To relieve the fatigue of the Rasa and rati vilasa, Gaura gatherstogether all of His rasika nagaris (along with Vishnupriya and Jahnava) and they enter the Ganga for jala vihara – just as a drunken elephant enters the water with his mates!
Gaura frolics with some tarani ramanis alone, or in groups – and sometimes He frolics with all of them after fixing various kinds of wagers.
When someone wins, the loser must kiss them. But sometimes the loser refuses to give a kiss, and a quarrel ensues. Thus Gaura enjoys param ananda with all of them.
The Sringar (Dressing)
Mukundanagari next escorts Gaura and His lovely premikas to Nilambuja kunja, the blue lotus forest bower, where everyone will be dressed and decorated. Then from the desire trees she and her assistants collect baskets that contain clothes, ornaments, scents, kunkuma and tilaka etc, that are meant for each sakhis sringara. And on each basket is written the sakhi’s name for whom it is for.
When the dressing and decorating is completed, Gaura looks like Sringara rasa personified, and Vishnupriya, Jahnava and the sakhis look like Rati personified (Rati is Cupid’s wife). Bhojan
After everyone is nicely decorated, they enter Arunambuja Kunja, the red lotus forest bower, in the south. The late evening meal includes a vast assortment of sweet confections and sliced fruits that are served on lotus leaf plates and in palasa leaf cups. Added to the menu are the special confections that Vishnupriya and Jahnava made in the late afternoon which include amrita keli, piyusagranti, karpura keli, sarapuri and amrita laddus.
After dining, everyone goes to take rest in Hemambuja Kunja, the golden lotus forest bower on the west side of Gauranga sthali. The sayana mandirs there are open on all four sides to allow the Ganga’s cooling breezes to enter, and they are crafted from a myriad of jewels that shine like millions of suns. In the center is the soft bedstead which is the abode of Gaura kishora’s kama keli. These beds are covered by swanwhite sheets, smothered with fragrant flower petals, and they each include an assortment of many gorgeous pillows in various shapes and sizes. Aguru incense is burning in an urn in the corner of each sayana mandir to keep the rooms nicely scented.
In the center of Hemambuja Kunja are the special sayana mandirs of Vishnupriya and Jahnava. Tonight we will have the fortune of massaging Jahnava’s lotus feet (just before Her prema keli with Gaurasundar that will conclude as They lovingly fall asleep in each others’ arms, chest to chest and cheek to cheek).
As we enter the sayana mandir we find Jahnava and Gauracanda resting together on the bed which is smothered in sweet smelling flowers. Our gurudevi Lata Manjari is busy fanning Them with a chamara, and our param gurudevi Kamala Manjari has knelt before Them to take up Gaurasundar’s camara sevā. (Within my mind we offer thousands of pranams to the lotus feet of these two gurudevis, for without their mercy this wonderful sevā opportunity could never have been possible.)
On Lata’s cue, we bow to Jahnava’s carana padma, and glance over to Kamala. We notice that tears are streaming from her eyes as she is overwhelmed with prema. Kamala first gently lifts Gaura’s soft carana padma and lovingly places them on her head, then she rubs them over her breasts, and finally she feelingly kisses both of them before she begins her premamaya sevā. Without saying one word we do the same to Jahnava’s carana padma, and begin to perform Her sevā.
As Kamal and I massage the Rasikayugals sri carana padma, we can overhear their sweet and indistinct rasamaya katha:
Gaura: “O Priyatama! (most dearly beloved) just hear my heart’s confession: As Priyaji is older and You are younger, do You know that my affection naturally goes more to You (since You are the younger one)?"
“O don’t be untruthful!” Jahnava exclaims. “For don’t we know that Priyaji is Navadvipesvari and You’re Radha of Nadiya?”
“Yes, but You are My ‘Rama Radha,’” Gaura submits. “And thus You reign as an Isvari. Therefore You are My Hrdayesvari, the very goddess of My heart.”
“Well, I’ll bet that we do try harder than didi does to give You pleasure,” Jahnava answers. “For I know that She remains closer to You.”
“Not true,” Gaura insists. “Because when You reign over My chest as My Hridayesvari I totally forget about Priyaji – and don’t You know this?”
“Maybe so,” Jahnava admits, “but because My nature is bama, We hardly get the chance to serve You in this way – for didn’t I simply run away when You tried to embrace Me not long ago?”
“Na, na!” Gaura exclaims. “Wasn’t Your behaviour simply meant for giving mercy to the sakhis? But I often wonder, when will You give such mercy to Me?”
In getting Gaura’s incentive, Jahnava thinks to Herself: “O let Me become like a dakhini pragalbhā nayika!” And thus after taking the initiative, She goes all out to topple Him in rati-keli. In fact Gaura becomes so wonderfully devastated that He vows to ever remain Her obedient das!
In Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, this is called bhāva viparyaya, when a heroine behaves contrary to her usual nature to surprise her beloved.
As we are resting in Gaura’s arms at the night’s end, Vamsinagari arrives outside our sayana mandir to call out: “Priyaji is heading back home, quickly get up so that you may join Her!”
(When we arise in startle from the flower bed – Gaura’s prakasa murti that was resting beside us, and countless other nagaris, suddenly disappear! All of those prakasa forms become one again as they merge within His svayam rupa which remains by Vishnupriya’s side.)
Priyaji appears fearful; because She doesn’t want to be detected by any outsiders as She proceeds along as quickly as She can. Yet owing to Her thin waist that rests between Her large kucha jugal and massive nitamba parvata, She cannot move along very speedily. Thus two sakhis help Her along. Then Priyaji directs everyone to our home. And as She enters the mandir with Jahnava and Her ashta sakhis, everyone instinctively steps up onto the altar – just as they did before they left last night. This is when Vishnupriya tells Madhavi, Malati and Mallika: “You may now begin mangal arati.”
What an exciting moment! Who could ever imagine that Vishnupriya, Gaura and Jahnava along with Priyaji’s asta sakhis would stand in for Radha, Kelichand, Ananga Manjari and Radha’s ashta sakhis! And as the arati continues, millions of Nadiya nagaris sing in unison their prema rasa kirtan. Everyone is throwing flower petals over our worshipable Lord and His nitya consorts as tears stream from everyone’s eyes!
When the arati concludes, Vishnupriya, Gaura and Jahnava step down from the altar along with Priyaji’s ashta sakhis – then the household vigrahas appear again as they originally stood.
When bidding farewell to Premamayi and I, Vishnupriya says: “Now we must all quickly return home before the daylight comes. You need not follow us any further, for your family members all have their own duties to perform at home.”
Premamayi then asks Priyaji: “We find it astonishing how You have entered our vigrahas to perform such amazing pastimes! Can You please tell us why You do this?”
Priyaji answers: “This is done simply to increase your love for Us, as Our love increases for you.”
Rasodgāra: (Remembrance of Previous Pastimes)
As Premamayi, Gopinatha, Govinda, Madanmohan, Madhavi, Malati, Mallika and I all stand at the doorstep watching Priyaji, Gaura, Jahnava and millions of nagaris disappear into the early morning darkness, we all start to wonder: “What will happen next?”
Then Premamayi and I head for our bedroom to take a brief rest. But we cannot sleep a wink. For as I am eager to hear from Premamayi how she met with Gaura last night, she is equally interested to hear how He met with me. And as she begins relating her story my whole body horripilates in ecstasy!