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Mādhurya Upāsanā: Occasional Omniscience in Vraja Pastimes



(Radha Kripa Kataksha Stotra, verse 11)

Meaning: You who is humbly bowed to by all the Lord Brahmas of countless millions of universes created by Lord Vishnu!
Oh, you who is the bestower of boons to the daughter of the Himalayas (Parvati), to the daughter of Puloma (Indra’s wife Saci), and to Brahma’s daughter (Sarasvati)!

Radharani is non-different from Krishna. The above-mentioned verse signifies the Aishwarya Prakash of Radharani. Gyānamaya Prakash, Aishwaryamaya Prakash and Mādhuryamaya Prakash together make up the complete Lordship of God. In Mādhuryamaya Prakash of God, God forgets His identity as God. He becomes so absorbed in the divine and intimate love of His devotees that He becomes Mugdha and receives immense pleasure from His interactions with His devotees. His pastimes with His devotees are amazing and full of divine Bhāva (mood of love for Radha Krishna) and Ānanda (divine bliss). In Mādhurya Rasa pastimes, Radha and Krishna cannot do without Their devotees (they are so dear to Radha Krishna) and the devotees also don’t know anything except Radha Krishna.

In the pastimes of Vrindavan, Krishna is Mugdha. He doesn’t know where Radharani is. He becomes almost crazy with anxiousness while searching for Radharani in the forests of Vrindavan, calling, “Ha Radhe! Ha Kishori! On the other hand, Radharani calls anxiously, “Ha Krishna! Where are you?” Why? Can’t they simply close their eyes and know where the other one is? No, in the pastimes of Mādhurya Rasa, they are Mugdha. The reason for being Mugdha is not Mahamaya as in the case of Jivatma.

Ordinary Jivatmas like us are bewildered by Mahamaya. The Jivatma is eternally part and parcel of God, but the Āvaranātmikā Shakti of Mahamaya veiled the Jivatma and caused him to forget his true identity. Mahamaya, also known as Bahirangā Maya Shakti, is the external potency of Krishna and only by the will of Krishna does She cause the Jivatma to forget his eternal relationship with Him. He also forgets that he can never be related to any material possession, person or title in the past, present or future.

On top of this, Mahamaya veiled the Jivatma with Vikshep (or Prakshepātmikā) Shakti. Due to this, the Jivatma developed the sense of difference between “I” and “others”. The Jivatmas enter the bodies of different creatures and think, ‘I am a human. This is a dog. That is a cat. There are other humans. Some are good and some are bad and so on.’ This sense of difference leads to dualities like happiness and sadness, profit and loss, love and hate, etc.

But Mahamaya has no power over the divine pastimes of Krishna. Krishna gets veiled by His internal potency, Yogamaya or Antaranga Maya Shakti or Swarupa Shakti, to enjoy the pastimes of Mādhurya Rasa. Yogamaya is also responsible for enlightening the Jivatma and enabling him to meet with Krishna. Krishna and His pleasure potency, Radharani, are not two different entities; They are one entity in two bodies. To relish His pastimes with Radharani and give pleasure to His devotees, Krishna forgets His Lordship and believes Himself to be a young cowherd boy. The ignorance of Jivatma immerses him in the ocean of disappointment while the pastimes of Mādhurya Rasa, where Krishna is Mugdha, are completely blissful since they are manifested by Yogamaya to give pleasure to Krishna and His devotees.

In Prakat Lila, sometimes Krishna becomes Sarvagya in order to perform His pastimes of Aishwarya Rasa. For example, in Brahma Vimohan Lila, Krishna takes His calves to graze grass and plays with His friends (other cowherd boys). When hungry, they sit down on soft grass and enjoy their meals together. Krishna playfully forces sweets into the mouths of His friends and His friends too force food items given by their mothers into Krishna’s mouth! There is no sense of awe and reverence between friends. Therefore, Krishna takes a bite from a sweet and forces the same sweet into His friend’s mouth. His friend too takes a bite from a fruit and finds it sweet and tasty. Immediately, he puts it into Krishna’s mouth! Sometimes Krishna sees His friend eating something without offering Him (and probably intentionally praising its taste loudly to tease Him). Krishna puts His finger in the friend’s mouth, snatches it out and eats it! This is the normal behaviour between Krishna and His friends.

When Brahma ji visited Vraja to have a glimpse of the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He was shocked to see this pastime of Krishna with His friends. How can the Supreme Personality of Godhead eat something directly out of a cowherd boy’s mouth? He thought, ‘Is this really the Supreme Personality of Godhead or am I illusioned? God cannot do something like this. Let me find out the truth.’ Brahma ji kidnapped Krishna’s calves and kept them in His abode in the same way the Jivatmas are preserved during the Annihilation of the world (they were in an unconscious state). Krishna suddenly saw that none of His calves were visible and thought they had gone to a far-off area of Vrindavan while grazing grass. He left His friends and went to search for His calves. Meanwhile, Brahma ji kidnapped His friends too and kept them in His abode without causing them any discomfort. Here, Krishna returned to find His friends missing too. He was very worried. Being Mugdha, He was very distressed and missed His calves and friends.

But then, Yogamaya lifted the veil of Mādhurya Shakti and Aishwarya Shakti manifested Herself. Immediately, Krishna came to know of Brahma ji’s deeds. Then Krishna created (as expansions from Himself) the same number of calves and cowherd boys as there were originally from His Swarupa Shakti. Not only that, the ornaments, clothes, flutes and bugle horns were also created from His Swarupa Shakti. In other words, Krishna Himself became calves, cowherd boys and all their accessories. This pastime enabled Krishna to fulfil the desires of many cows and motherly Gopis who wanted to love and interact with Krishna like their own son. While interacting with them, Krishna again became Mugdha. This is how Aishwarya Shakti (by making Him Sarvagya) and Mādhurya Shakti (by making Him Mugdha) serve Him in Prakat Lila.

Another example is when Mother Yashoda tells Krishna to open His mouth and let her see whether He has eaten soil (the dust of Nanda Bhavan’s courtyard). Krishna becomes afraid that Mother Yashoda will beat Him if she knows that He has indeed eaten soil. He starts crying and shaking with fear. Is it just an act? No, He is indeed afraid of His mother’s anger. But the next moment, in order to save Krishna from His mother’s anger, Aishwarya Shakti takes the lead and shows Mother Yashoda infinite universes inside the little mouth of child Krishna. But she refuses to believe the obvious and thinks that it must be the influence of some supernatural power inflicted upon her child. Hence, her motherly love overpowers Aishwarya Shakti of Krishna and Mādhurya Shakti takes over again. In this way, in Prakat Lila, sometimes Krishna is Mugdha and sometimes He is Sarvagya, as per the necessity of His pastimes.

In Aprakat Lila, where there is only pure Mādhurya Rasa, Radha and Krishna are always Mugdha. Radharani guides and gives orders to Her devotees as Antaryāmi (one who knows the thoughts and emotions of all) when they are in the stage of a sadhak in the material abode. This is Her Aishwaryamaya Prakash. Here, She is Sarvagya and the ultimate source of all transcendental powers in the infinite universes and beyond. But when the same Radharani is seated in Goloka Dham in Her Mādhuryamaya Prakash, She is Mugdha. The sadhak of Manjari Bhāva engages in the devotion of Radharani through many lifetimes and one day, he reaches the perfection of his sadhana by the mercy of Gurudev and Radharani. The Manjari Swarupa cannot be attained by any other entity’s (not even Krishna’s) mercy besides Radharani. The very same Radharani who mercifully enables the sadhak to attain Manjari Swarupa becomes Mugdha when the sadhak goes to Goloka Dham as a Manjari. The Manjari Swarupa is non-different from Radharani.

“Srimatir sama sabe dehabheda matra,

eka prana ekaatma sabe Radhatantra.”

(Murali Vilas, spoken by Sri Janhava Thakurani)

Meaning: They are all identical with Śrīmatī Rādhārāī; they merely possess different bodies-one life, one soul, they all are expansions of Rādhā.

This Manjari Swarupa is given mercifully by Radharani only. No sadhana, austerity, penance, etc. can give this Manjari Swarupa. Only by completely surrendering at the lotus feet of Radharani, the sadhak can be eligible for Radharani’s mercy. But when the sadhak goes to Goloka Dham from the material abode, she sees that Radharani is seated on the ornate throne in a Nikunja of Vrindavan forest. There, She is the epitome of Mādhurya Shakti (sweetness) and the personification of Hladini Shakti (divine bliss). She is the personification of Prema.

Although the sadhak (now Manjari) is already free from the clutches of Maya at the time when she reaches Goloka Dham, the Manjari still remembers the pain of being separated from Radharani and thrown into Maya for innumerable lifetimes just like a person who has just woken up from a fearful nightmare. The new Manjari experiences a mixture of dream-like pain caused by the sufferings she had to undergo in the material abode and immense relief and indescribable joy of attaining the personification of Mahabhāva (highest form of divine love) and bliss that is Radharani. She stands at the gate of the Nikunja while her Guru Manjari holds her by her hand. She looks at Radharani and silently sheds tears of love and the pain of separation.

Radharani looks at the new Manjari. Her eyes well up with tears of love and the tears fall on Her cheeks. She feels an extraordinary affection towards this new Manjari standing at the gate. “Lalita, who is this new Sakhi standing at the gate?” She asks Lalita Sakhi. See, here She is Mugdha! The same Radharani who gave the Manjari Swarupa and mercifully guided the sadhak to the perfection of Manjari Bhāva now looks at the Manjari as if She has seen her for the first time. “My heart is yearning to embrace her. I feel attracted with great affection towards this Sakhi. Who is she?” Radharani says lovingly to Lalita. Lalita looks at Guru Manjari and Guru Manjari gestures by pointing to herself meaning this new Manjari belongs to her. (One cannot enter the service of Radharani as a Manjari without authentic disciplic succession, but it is possible to attain divine love and a glimpse of Radha Krishna even without proper disciplic succession. To serve Radharani and relish the mysterious pastimes of Nikunja, one cannot go there independently.) Now the new Manjari is recognized as the subservient Manjari of the Guru Manjari who belongs to the line of Manjaris under Rupa Manjari. So, Guru Manjari holds the hand of the new Manjari and takes her to Rupa Manjari. Rupa Manjari takes her to Lalita Sakhi and Lalita Sakhi finally bestows her to Radharani. (This is the “code of conduct” of Nikunja Seva. The Manjari serves Radharani under the guidance of her senior Manjaris.)

At this point, both the new Manjari and Radharani are shedding tears of love and ecstasy. After being thrown into Maya for innumerable lifetimes and overcoming endless hurdles in the path of Prema Bhakti, the Manjari is finally standing in front of the personification of divine love and bliss. These are not the tears of pain but those tears that come when one is immeasurably happy. She is drowning in the ocean of nectarine bliss. One should not think that the devotees cry due to pain and misery. It is often seen in this material abode also that when people are extremely happy, they shed tears of joy. Similarly, when the devotees’ hearts are brimming with divine love and bliss, their eyes shed tears of ecstasy.

Radharani is also crying. She embraces the Manjari tightly and both of them shed tears of ecstasy. The Manjari is now permanently drowned in the ocean of nectarine bliss and love. Then, Radharani gifts her the prize which is most desired by all Manjaris, the Tambul Prasad. Tambul prasad is the betel leaf snack She eats after a meal. She gives the Tambul chewed by Her directly from Her mouth to Manjari’s mouth! This is one of the many rewards that Radharani often mercifully gives to Her Manjaris. Some of them are gifting Her necklace of Gunja, gemstones or big pearls to the Manjari. She also sometimes rewards with the drape She is wearing at the moment. When Radharani is pleased by a Manjari’s singing, dancing, etc, She gifts the Manjari out of affection. And among these, Tambul Prasad is the highest kind of prize for a Manjari.

In one pastime of Radha Krishna, each Manjari made one garland for Radharani. One Manjari made the most beautiful garland that pleased Radharani very much. She took the garland and thought, ‘Oh, this garland is so beautiful. It is most befitting to put this garland around my beloved Krishna’s neck.’ Hence, She offered the garland to Krishna. Krishna was surprised to see the beauty of the garland and thought, ‘Oh, this garland is so beautiful! It is most befitting to put this garland around my beautiful and beloved Radha’s neck.’ So, He took off the garland and put it around Radharani’s neck. Radharani was overjoyed to receive the garland worn by Krishna and Her smile gave immense pleasure to Krishna too. Seeing Her beloved lover so happy, She asked, “Who has made this garland?” All the Manjaris happily indicated the Manjari who had made the garland and Radharani beckoned her to come near. Then She gifted her Tambul Prasad from mouth to mouth. One might ask, how can Radharani give Her chewed Tambul ‘contaminated’ by Her saliva to Manjari? Actually, Radharani and the Manjari are one soul but only two different bodies. The significance of giving Tambul mouth-to-mouth lies in the expression of this intimate relationship between Radharani and Manjaris.

It is also worth noting how there is no jealousy between the Manjaris. In the material abode, if Gurudev favours a disciple in some little way, other disciples become jealous of him. But in the Goloka Dham, which is the abode of divine love, Manjaris (or any devotee associate) are overjoyed to see that one Manjari has caused Radharani to smile! The only desire of a Manjari is to see her beloved Swamini (mistress) smile. Hence, they all gather around the Manjari who has pleased Radharani and embrace her. They yearn to embrace the Manjari who has pleased Radharani. Then they do Arati of that Manjari! Such is the love between Manjaris in the divine abode. This divine love is Achintya and beyond the reach of ordinary Jivatma.

In this way, Radha and Krishna sometimes become Sarvagya in Prakat Lila but in Aprakat Lila of Goloka Dham, they are always Mugdha. The Aishwarya Shakti and Mādhurya Shakti serve in Krishna’s pastimes to enhance the taste of Mādhurya Rasa.


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