by Srila B.R. Sridhar Maharaja
(On the auspicious occasion of Lalita-saptami and Sri Radhastami, we present
the following extract from the book 'Follow The Angels' by Srila Sridhara
Deva Gosvami Maharaja)
Svarupa-damodara is the constant companion of Mahaprabhu in Puri. He is a
scholar of the highest class and also a very good singer. Without
consideration of his elevated social position, he will perform the simplest
service. Svarupa-damodara is there always, everywhere with Mahaprabhu. When
Mahaprabhu was lost, the devotees inquired after Him the whole night and
Svarupa-damodara was there with a lantern, moving along the seashore, looking
for Him. In krsna-lila Svarupa-damodara is Lalita-devi.
yam kam api vraja-kule vrsabhanu-jayah
preksya sva-paksa-padavim anurudhyamanam
sadyas tad ista-ghananena krtarthayantim
devim gunaih su-lalitam lalitam namami
"I offer my respects to charming and virtuous Lalita-devi. If Lalita meets
any person in Vraja and perceives that they are favorable towards Srimati
Radharani, she immediately requests Radharani to accept that person in Her
camp. Radharani obeys Lalita and fulfills the desires of such a fortunate
person." (Lalita-pranama Stotra 7)
Whoever Lalita-devi meets in Vraja-dhama, she requests them to join her own
party. And when they come, "Yes, come with me." At once she is giving
admission. "Come! Join the service of Radharani." She is canvassing to
look after the interests of Radharani. Such intense attention to the service
of Radharani is never found anywhere else. Lalita-devi sometimes even
chastises Krsna boldly. She takes risks by reproaching Krsna, "You do not
know the dignity of my Mistress."
Sometimes Radharani feels ashamed within Her mind. She thinks, "What does
He say about Me?" Lalita-devi replies, "This shame is very bad. You just
sit quietly. You do not know Your own interest. I know what is Your interest,
Your position. I cannot tolerate that Your dignity should be minimized in any
way, ever." That is the spirit of Lalita-devi. Rupa Gosvami has composed
devim gunaih su-lalitam lalitam namami
"I offer respects to charming and virtuous Lalita-devi, who worships the
perspiration from Sri Sri Radha-Mukunda's feet, and who, out of great love,
is very bold and agressive." (Lalita-pranama Stotra 1)
Rupa Gosvami has composed a song in praise of Lalita-devi – how she is, the
first attendant of Radharani. Radha-mukunda-pada-sambhava-gharma –
Lalita-devi is a little aggressive in nature, pushing and meddling in the
affairs which are connected with Sri Radha and Krsna. She interferes with
anything and everything in connection with Radha and Krsna, thinking that the
affairs connecting Them are her responsibility. She is very aggressive in
nature and also intolerant. But Rupa Gosvami has justified her character.
What is the high standard of her love and sacrifice for Radha and Krsna? He
says that if she finds even a drop of sweat on the foot of either Radharani
or Krsna, she will come as if with millions of bodies. With such eagerness
she will jump to remove that drop of sweat. Lalita-devi feels such affection
for the Divine Couple.
At the source of her aggression and interference in the affairs of Radha and
Krsna we find a great and deep affection. This justifies all her activities
as the leader accepted by the associates of Radha-Krsna. She always veers
towards that Couple with such a standard. She can't tolerate a drop of
sweat on the foot of the Divine Damsel. On that level she works, as if with
millions of bodies she wants to correct it, to remove that drop of sweat. She
can't tolerate any trouble, not the least trouble.
Uttunga-sauhrda-visesa-bharat pragalbham – she is very aggressive and
talkative, and goes forward to do anything and everything as if she is mad
with leadership. But at the source is her great concern for Them. This
justification is there.
Sometimes she chastises Radharani Herself, "You do not know how to behave
with Krsna. I will teach You what to do. Don't make Yourself available to
Krsna so cheaply. You must be careful of Your own dignity." Though a little
younger, still Lalita takes the position as caretaker of Radharani, always
first to look after the cause of Radharani, to espouse the cause of
Radharani. And she is always thinking herself responsible for all the affairs
Sometimes she goes to chastise Krsna also, "You don't know the dignified
position, what dignified love my friend has towards You. You undermine that.
I cannot allow it.
From our mundane plane of experience it is not an understandable thing. We
are creatures of the plane of lust. Although similar, the difference between
the two is great. One is the perverted reflection of the other, the opposite.
One is prema, the highest sacrifice, and the other is this lust, gross sense
pleasure. It is like the North Pole and the South Pole, the distance is like
that; just the opposite.
We are mad with this lust, but such madness is only perverted. In the
original position it is a noble thing. It is self-forgetfulness, sacrifice,
reckless sacrifice for the satisfaction of the Prime Cause, the Autocrat
whose extent cannot be calculated. It is noble. Such intensity can never by
calculated, it cannot come into our calculation here in this plane.
Renunciation, liberation, salvation, these are only the negative aspect of
lust. But the positive life, the life of sacrifice, the acme is found only
Lalita-devi thinks herself the guardian of Radharani. "I am Her guardian, I
cannot allow anyone to minimize this great divine love and sacrifice of
Radharani." Lalita-devi stands as guarantor, even to Krsna, what to speak
of other ordinary persons. To Krsna this is most valuable and rare; such is
Radharani's sacrifice in love, the highest intensity and utmost dignity.
It is unthinkable, unknown and unknowable. We may only conjecture as to this
ideal. But if we think that we have obtained that position, if we think that
we are the masters of that ideal, then it is finished; we have obtained
something else. It is such an inconceivable thing, it is adhoksaja. It can
never be caught by any force of our mind, or intelligence; avan manasa
gocara. Its existence transcends our mental speculation and logical
considerations. But still it exists. And Lalita-devi is of that special
temperament; she has a unique importance in the lila of Krsna, as the
guardian of the lila.
There are other friends of Radharani. Some are neutral towards Krsna and
Radharani, some are a little partial towards Krsna, but Lalita-devi is
cent-percent partial towards Radharani's cause. This is Lalita-devi. Her
birthday, the day of her appearance, is just before that of Radharani.
We are told that Radharani was found floating in a lotus. Her father,
Vrsabhanu Raja, was childless. He was a gopa chief, the cowherd king, the
chief cow-keeper. But he did not have any children. Then one day he found a
beautiful girl in a lotus flower on the lake. He found Her and took Her home.
The girl was very beautiful, perfect, but Her eyes did not open.
Vrsabhanu Raja had a friendship with Nanda Maharaja. Through Nanda Maharaja,
Yasoda heard that her friend Kirtida, the wife of Vrsabhanu Raja, had found a
girl of exquisite beauty in a lake somewhere, but She was blind. She went to
visit her, to congratulate Kirtida. Going there, Yasoda took Krsna with her.
The ladies were talking and Krsna went up to this beautiful girl. Suddenly
She opened Her eyes and saw the boy Krsna first. The story is told like that:
when She first opened Her eyes, Radharani saw Krsna. This is lila, eternal
incidents, events which are repeated in a particular way, like a drama. One
drama is repeated many times in the eternal quarter. By Krsna's will, some
glimpse comes to the current mundane brahmanda as an exhibition, to attract
the people of this age. It was in that way. First it was the children's
union, interchanging their vision.
Afterwards Vrsabhanu Raja came and his queen Kirtida began to nurture the
baby girl until She was grown up. Vrsabhanudadhi nava sasi lekhe lalita-sakhi
guna ramita visakhe. Vrsabhanu-udadhi – Rupa Gosvami describes that the
family of Vrsabhanu is compared to the milk ocean and from this, the moon has
arisen as Radharani. So beautiful a comparison: as the moon, Srimati
Radharani has come from the ocean of Vrsabhanu's fortune. The fortune of
Vrsabhanu is compared with the ocean, and from there sprung up
Vrsabhanu-nandini Sri Radhika.
Gradually, Radharani grew up and the time came to marry. The marriage was
performed ostentatiously. There are different angles of vision about Her
marriage. Some say that one day Lord Brahma married Radha and Krsna in a
jungle. Some say that They were married according to social customs. In
different kalpas, various versions are known.
But Mahaprabhu accepted parakiya to be the highest attainment. They are not
married, but each other's heart did not know anyone else as Their lover.
Their hearts automatic connection was full. It is not chance coincidence, but
rather fulfilled a necessity. Free love, recklessly crossing the directions
and the influence of society and the scriptures, crossing the conceptions of
religious sentiment, taking so much risk for the union with Krsna, this holds
the highest position.
There are two very fine points here. One is that it is very rarely possible,
it is very hard to get that favorable situation. Another is that at this
stage one is taking the greatest risk possible, without caring for anything.
This is given the supreme-most position, parakiya-madhurya-rasa. In
madhurya-rasa these parakiya circumstances are necessary to increase the rasa
to its fullest and most intense capacity.
The highest intensity can be produced by such artificial dearth. If we hide
the rice or wheat underground to create a shortage of food, then food becomes
very valuable. So also the dearth, the rareness, the impossibility of union
has been created in parakiya-rasa. To facilitate this relationship, such
adjustment is necessary between the two, among the Divine Couple. They are
crossing all sort of conceptions of religious sentiments. This is the highest
limit. There is no consideration of anything when They meet. At all cost, at
all risk They are going to serve each other. The intensity becomes as high as
possible. It is managed by Yogamaya to raise it to the highest level.
Yogamaya manages in such a way that the union will be most fruitful and
pleasing. It is necessary to manage in such a way to maximize Their pleasure.
In vatsalya-rasa, Yasoda is arranging everything, but child Krsna does not
find satisfaction there. He is satisfied only in stealing foodstuffs. Yasoda
has reserved the very finest stock to feed her child, but He is not satisfied
with this. He wants to stealthily take and to feed others also. There He
finds great satisfaction. He does not find satisfaction in the ordinary
state. His mother is calling, "Come, my boy, take Your seat here. I have
kept many valuable dishes for You. I am serving all these things. You please
take." Ordinarily Krsna does not find pleasure there; He can't relish it.
So stealthily He will go and snatch things and throw them to the monkeys or
to some other boys. That is His boyish nature. His satisfaction does not come
in the ordinary way.
In vatsalya-rasa the Lord is showing autocracy, the autocratic nature of
exacting affection from the environment. And autocratic nature is also there
extracting the highest form of love from the consort group, in madhurya-rasa.
We are to understand all these things in a scientific way.
Everything belongs to Krsna. Yasoda prepares everything for satisfying Krsna,
to make Him eat, to feed Him. But He is not satisfied to take in that way.
Everything belongs to Him; He is the enjoyer of everything, the Absolute. But
still, aher iva gatih premnah svabhava – just as a snake naturally moves in
a crooked way, so the crooked movement of the waves of love is natural. We
are to approach it in this way. If we understand these relationships step by
step in a scientific way, then we'll be able to answer any questions that
may generally come. "What is the ideal of God, that He is a debauchee? He
is stealing! How can such things be adjusted with the ideal of the holiness
Generally people will come and attack in this way. But they forget that they
cannot understand; they cannot follow that first this must be understood from
the plane of sacrifice, not from the plane of enjoyment or exploitation. It
is beyond renunciation and sacrifice; it is dedication. He is the owner and
consumer of anything and everything. He can take it in any way. Everything is
for Him. And no one has been given a position to comment on this. It is
eternal and irresistible; it is the flow of the divine plane. The highest
fundamental flow, the flow of the fundamental plane is of such nature. There
is no question of morality, because there is not a second party present
there. He is the only party. His movement is such. None may question. It is
such by nature.
We have come to rebuke God, but who are we? What is our position that we have
become jealous of His activities, which are advaya-jnana, Absolute? We are
culprits, nirmatsaranam satam. In the beginning Veda-Vyasa says, "What I am
going to say here is not meant for malicious people, for the jealous. Such
foolish, jealous and malicious people have no entrance into this ¬ of Krsna,
which I will describe. Only the sympathetic, the innocent, those who
understand His position, what He is, only they may enter." He cannot be
questioned. If we question the Absolute movement, then He is wrong. But the
absolute lila can never be wrong. It is causeless and irresistible. It is the
sweetest and the purest.
And we, jealous contrarians, will we rebuke Him? We are culpable and are to
be punished for that. The universal wave is such. He is the Autocrat.
Everything is for Him. He is for Himself. He is not accountable to any
person, nor is He required to give explanations to anyone. If that were to be
the case, then His absolute characteristic would be compromised. The absolute
wave is such; it cares for none.
We are represented there. If we can appreciate this, we can have entrance
there. In this way we can have a taste of that finest quality of sweetness.
We are allowed. If we can adjust, if we do away with all jealousy and
maliciousness, we will find in our hearts that it is of the nature of the
Absolute sweetness. And then we will be considered bonafide participants in
that lila. We will find that we will attain the highest ecstasy in our
hearts. We are to prepare ourselves for the absolute lila.
This is what is necessary for us. We must be open to receive the Absolute
wave of sweetness that comes to us; try to understand. Through the divine
agent we can prepare ourselves to find this plane of sweetness. This is the
background of the lila of Radha-Krsna. Srimad Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu gave this for us, such a beautiful thing. We must be selfless to
the extreme. This is the standard of selflessness, self-effacement,
self-forgetfulness, self-surrendering. Then we will be able to participate.
The universe, the characteristic, the movement, the sweetness of the Absolute
wave, the wave of sweetness Absolute, that is irresistible. It can never be
opposed by any force. The ultimate existence of the reality is of such
nature. It is not equipoised; it is dynamic. The ecstasy, the happiness is
dynamic, and its movement is in such a way.
We can participate if we simply remove all our selfishness, crookedness, and
jealous temperament. Then we will be considered fit to connect with that most
fundamental wave of Absolute sweetness. This is the background of
Radha-Govinda lila. We must prepare ourselves in such a way if we wish to
approach that highest plane of divinity. This is Vrndavana, the
characteristic of Vrndavana. Mahaprabhu and the acaryas, Bhaktivinoda Thakura
and Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura came with this fact to give it to the
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