A lecture given by Kadamba Kanana Swami, 23 September 2012 (Radhastami) in Durban, South Africa
For the pleasure of Krsna
Krsna is the all-attractive Supreme Personality of Godhead. sri krsna-akarsani, devotional service can attract Krsna. Srimati Radharani is in the maha mantra, present in the word ‘Hare.’ The word ‘Hare’ is representing devotional service. This devotional service is of a very wonderful nature because pure devotional service, so it is described in the Nectar of Devotion, is sri krsna-akarsani. Krsna is known as Acyuta because Krsna never fails to notice any service rendered to Him. In that way a service rendered by any devotee, anywhere in the three worlds is always noticed by Krsna and Krsna reciprocates. Still, amongst all devotees there is one devotee that is the topmost devotee and that devotee is Srimati Radharani.
The followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, (who is really the originator of this Hare Krsna movement) are taught to understand that no one can please Krsna more than Srimati Radharani. Therefore rather than to aspire to serve Krsna directly we are aspiring to become the servant of the servant of the servant of Srimati Radharani- a hundred times, a thousand times, a hundred thousand times, a million times removed. gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-anu-dasa. It makes sense and this actually is the very mood of Vrndavana. Vrndavana is such a place that it is different from Durban or any other mundane place in this world where we have appeared and where we are trying to perform our own pastimes. Everyone is busy trying to create their own pastimes. But these pastimes that we are performing here are pastimes for our pleasure. But Vrndavana is of a different nature. The entire existence of Vrndavana is only for one purpose- to please Krsna. And everything within Vrndavana is meant for that pleasure of Krsna. hrsikena hrsikesa-sevanam bhaktir ucyate. The pathways are made of transcendental gems and these gems are devotees of the Lord. These gems are simply there to please Krsna. The water bodies at the side of the pathway contain many beautiful birds and wonderful lotus flowers and so on and all are there simply for the pleasure of Krsna. When Krsna places His lotus feet in the river Yamuna, the water plants in the Yamuna are holding onto Krsna’s lotus feet and will not allow Krsna to move His feet out of the Yamuna again. The Yamuna then stops flowing and begins to show little whirlpools of ecstasy of the fact that Krsna’s lotus feet are in her waters. How could she flow and move past Krsna, when Krsna’s lotus feet are there? There is no flowing! So in this way in Vrndavana, all the residents are absorbed in Krsna prema, prema-antaranga– deeply absorbed in such love of God.
Srimati Radharani cooks for Krsna
Mother Yasoda wants only the best for her son; she grows very special grasses, which are fed to very special cows and who then produce very special milk and then she calls, early in the morning, for Srimati Radharani, who at that time is staying with Her in laws in the village of Yavat, some two kilometers away from Nandagrama, a little further from Varsana, where Her parents, Maharaja Vrsabhanu and Her mother Kirtida, are still living. Now Srimati Radharani, staying in the house of Her in laws, is brought to the house of Yasoda in the morning. Although Jatila, Her mother in law, is not so eager to let Her go, she is forced by her elders. The elders are saying, ‘how can you disobey the queen of Vrndavana?’ And Yasoda is pointing out that she wants Srimati Radharani to cook for Krsna because once Srimati Radharani pleased Devarsa Muni. When She pleased him, She got the benediction that whatever She cooks will provide long life to whoever eats it plus it will taste like nectar! So mother Yasoda is very eager then that Krsna will get a long life because as any mother, she is always worried. That’s the nature of mothers- mothers always need something to worry about! Something that can possibly go wrong and mother Yasoda is not any different. So she is reciting all kinds of different mantras on the body of Krsna and in different ways to protect Him from all possible dangers and yes, she wants Him to have a long life. Therefore she insists that Radharani has to cook.
So early in the morning, Srimati Radharani leaves home, carried in a palanquin by various gopi servants, who are carrying Her along the pathway, fanning Her and transporting Her to the house of Yasoda. Rohini has already started the fire early in the morning and started some first preparations and is cooking away when Radharani arrives. And then Radharani, She begins to prepare so many preparations and many of these preparations are Krsna’s favorite preparations! She is very expert in making various sweet preps like kheer mohan and rasagula of course and all these other preparations for the pleasure of Krsna, who is very fond of such sweets. That is the nature of Krsna. So Radharani is there everyday.
Early in the morning, Krsna is rising and the very first thing that Krsna does even before His bath, is milk the cows because the udder of the cows are full in the morning and they cannot wait. So all right, that must be done first. Then when Krsna takes His bath it’s a festival because the gopis are all assisting in the bathing, the cowherd boys are assisting in the bathing. The spiritual world in that way resembles the Deity worship that we are performing here in this world. In the back of the alter, there is a whole crew of devotees who are preparing things for the worship of Krsna. So in the same way, that is going on also. The dressing of Krsna is done by many in the spiritual world. Krsna is not dressing Himself.
Srimati Radharani absorbed in serving Krsna
So Radharani is very dear to Yasoda. Yasoda has no other interest than to please Srimati Radharani. Radharani is coming to the house of Yasoda- that means to the house of Krsna- but still She is there under supervision. She is not alone. So She cannot really get close to Krsna, in public She is with Her elders and therefore at that time She is cooking for Krsna all throughout the day! All throughout the day, Srimati Radharani is absorbed in service to Krsna. Later in the day, the gopis are sent out into Vrndavana to collect flowers for the worship of the sun god, which is what Jatila- Her mother in law- wants Her to do because she likes this karma kanda, that there will be wealth and blessings in the family and so on. So she sends her daughter in law out everyday to worship the sun god. Of course, while She is collecting flowers for the sun god, She is also making everyday, a garland for Krsna, known as the vaijayanti garland. This victory garland for Krsna is very long; it is hanging down below His knees and everyday it is Srimati Radharani who makes this garland. Then it is brought to Krsna and offered to Krsna. So She spends Her day, somehow or other, constantly serving Krsna. There is not a time where She is not serving Krsna.
All of Vrndavana is serving Krsna but Vrndavana is not only serving Krsna, Vrndavana is serving Radha and Krsna. It is said that love of God is manifest in five different rasas or five different types of relationships with the Supreme Lord. One is a neutral relationship (santa rasa). This santa rasa means that we are just offering prayers to the Supreme Lord, remembering His glorious eternal nature, how He is eternal, how He is all powerful and so on. It is said that this santa rasa is not very much desired by devotees because in that relationship one is not very active in the service of the Lord. But dasya rasa is different. Krsna has so many servants and these servants are making so many arrangements for Krsna, they are very actively absorbed in making all the different arrangements for Krsna. But higher still is sakhya rasa, the relationship of friendship. Krsna has many cowherd friends that are close to Him, like Sridham and Madhumangal. Then higher than that still is the parental affection for Krsna because in that parental affection, parents would give their own lives to protect their children. Their children are more dear to them than their own life, what to speak if Krsna is your child! So the parental affection is even deeper than friendship. But the topmost of all is that madhurya rasa, the conjugal love. The gopis, they don’t care about anything! When Krsna attracts them, playing His flute at vamsi-vata, they leave home. And that is, from a social point of view, a disaster! I mean it would still be a bit frowned upon if young girls in the family ,upon hearing a flute somewhere in the dark, suddenly goes out! Some fathers and brothers might say, ‘hey where are you going?’ some of you might question, but the gopis didn’t care at all, ‘let it be a social disgrace. Let our reputation be ruined! What do we care about reputation? What is the use of a reputation? Only Krsna!’
This is kecit kevalaya bhakti vasudeva parayanah, this is the kind of bhakti that we are speaking about- unalloyed, pure devotional service and no compromise. So this is our day to contemplate that we are looking at Srimati Radharani as our example. She who gives everything for Krsna. Once, Radharani had said, ‘that now that Krsna has left, I have given up sleeping because in sleeping, even I forget Krsna.’ Just giving up sleeping, giving up eating, giving up defending- defending means that I’m looking at my self-interest- giving up mating? Well there’s 8400 000 species and even the germs are getting romantic, what to speak of human beings! But Srimati Radharani has no attachment to anything in this world. There is nothing that can attract Her, it is not possible. There is nothing that can attract Her in the material world. Her only source of attraction is Krsna. But not just Krsna, it is Krsna’s happiness that She desires. And what else could there be…?
Unalloyed love of the gopis
Srila Rupa Gosvami wrote two transcendental plays. One of these plays is known as the Vidagdha-Madhava and the other one is known as Lalita-Madhava. Vidagdha-Madhava means, ‘very expert, very elegant Madhava.’ Oh yes, that is Krsna, always elegant, always well dressed. Krsna is a sharp dresser and even when He kills demons He makes sure that He first tightens His belt and sorts of makes sure that He’s good looking and then goes ahead! Krsna is always known as the transcendental cupid who is interested in His amorous sports, who is always thinking of the gopis who have given everything. Krsna says in Bhagavad Gita, ye yatha mam prapadyante tama tathaiva bhajamy aham, ‘as you surrender unto Me I will reward you accordingly.’ But Krsna says, ‘but with the gopis, I don’t know what to give them! With them, My promise falls short because I have nothing to give them in exchange for their service.’ If someone gives you a jewel, then in exchange you cannot really give a piece of glass but you have to reciprocate. If I give you something very valuable, you also have to give something valuable. So Krsna is just thinking, ‘I have nothing in my possession that can match the value of what the gopis are offering. Therefore let your own service stand as your reward and speak of your glory.’
In this way we are remembering how Krsna is just taken by surprise! He doesn’t know how to deal with these gopis. They show a level of love, which goes beyond what He can comprehend. It bewilders His mind! And of all, Srimati Radharani is the most outstanding!
So Krsna is in this way just not only enchanted by Srimati Radharani’s devotional service but it is beyond His comprehension that anyone can experience such amount of love! It is stated that the gopis are experiencing hundred, thousand times more happiness than Krsna by serving Krsna. Their existence is puzzling Krsna. Krsna cannot understand the nature of the gopis, what to speak of the nature of Srimati Radharani. That nature, their love, their happiness exceeds His love and His happiness. That is the amazing feature of what is happening here.
Simultaneously attracted to three persons
So one day, due to purva raga, due to previous attachment, Srimati Radharani went into the forest in search of Krsna. Due to that previous attachment, which is described in the Caitanya Caritamrta, She was experiencing great separation, so much so that it was practically difficult to move along the path. She was not in a controlled state of mind. Her mind was confused and overwhelmed and very emotional and She was not able to walk straight nor think straight. Her friend, Vishaka, who appeared exactly at the same moment as Srimati Radharani and who is equally beautiful as Srimati Radharani and who is always assisting Srimati Radharani, said that, ‘my dear Srimati Radharani, I can see how You are suffering of separation from Krsna. Therefore I have drawn a picture of Krsna.’ So immediately, She saw that picture of Krsna but it didn’t help, it didn’t make it any better, it only became worse because at that point She was attached to the person Krsna that She had remembered and now She was attached to that drawing of Krsna at the same time! So it got double as bad! Her separation became completely overwhelming.
Meanwhile, Krsna was also in that same forest looking for Srimati Radharani but He didn’t know where exactly to look. He was accompanied by Madhumangal and Sridham. So at one point Krsna, who was trying to act as if He is completely self-controlled but He is not, He is also feeling eagerness and separation to meet His devotee. Krsna is so eager to meet His devotee, Srimati Radharani, that He also in this way is feeling confused. Then Krsna is saying out loud to His friend, Sridham, ‘My dear Sridham, don’t you also think that this Srimati Radharani is the most beautiful girl in the three worlds?’ Sridham is shocked! Sridham doesn’t say a word! And finally, Madhumangal says, ‘It’s his sister!’ So Krsna is not at all completely as cool as He appears to be.
It is said that Krsna was further wandering into the forest and at one point Krsna saw a leaf in the forest and He saw His name written on that leaf with red kum kum. And immediately He realized who had done this; He could see who had written this. And then spontaneously, He picked up His flute and played His flute. Then Srimati Radharani, by the sound of that flute, could understand that Krsna had seen that leaf and that now She was playing His flute. Then She said out loud, ‘this sound, what is this sound? What is this sound?’ and She became also, completely captured by the sound. And then it is described that She starts saying, ‘I am the most unfortunate person because I became simultaneously attracted to three persons: to the one who’s form is attracting Me, to the one who’s picture is attracting Me and to the one who plays His flute! Therefore I’m meant to be condemned. I am simultaneously attracted to three personalities. This is totally to be condemned. Therefore the best I could do is to give up My life!’ Srila Rupa Gosvami writes like this. And then Vishaka says, ‘but they are one and the same person.’ Radharani says, ‘one and the same?’
So this is very interesting. This is the nature of love of God. It is described that when Narada Muni was experiencing great ecstasy and when he was having darsana of the Supreme Personality of Godhead that at that time all his senses became awakened simultaneously and they started to compete with one another! His eyes were trying to see the form of the Lord, his nose was trying to smell the fragrance of the Lord, his ears was hearing the sound of the ankle bells of the Lord…and the same happened to Srimati Radharani. All Her senses were competing with one another for prominence and none was given in. Everything, every moment was given full of meaning and not sort of like, ‘and now we are having the darsana of Krsna and then after that we are having a kirtan and then a lecture and another lecture by KK Swami, now is the second one and then a bit of an arati and then after the arati we are heading for prasad- the highlight in the day!’ No, every moment is a highlight, every moment is a total highlight, every moment is meaningful! This is what we realize. In this world we don’t know what love is. Our emotions are very shallow and not very deep at all in comparison to the love of Radha and Krsna.
To become lovers of Krsna
In the Adi-lila, chapter four of Caitanya Caritamrta, there is a chapter dedicated to the love of the gopis and Srimati Radharani. It is described how the love of Srimati Radharani is like a mirror. This love is mirroring the unlimited qualities of Krsna and each time when She discovers the qualities of Krsna and Her love is embracing that quality, then there is another quality that She discovers and She loves that more! And then another one and then She loves that more also! In this way, Her love is always increasing and that is actually the nature of devotional life. We have started our spiritual life and little by little we are becoming lovers of Krsna. Srila Prabhupada, in his introduction to the Nectar of Devotion, points out that that is the aim of spiritual life- to become a lover of Krsna. not to become a lover of blessings, ‘oh Lord would You bless me? Bless me, bless me, bless me!’ No, not a lover of blessings. In India, outside of the altar there are money chambers and you can give them 1 rupee and they will give you a 101 paisa coins! In the market you can no longer by anything with 1 paisa. The smallest coin in the market is 5 paisa but for temples there are 1 paisa coins and there are kilos! We sell them by the kilos to the money chamber. So people give 1 paisa, ‘om jaya jagadisa hare…ek lakh chaye- please give me one lakh and I give You 1 paisa!’
No, no, no. That’s not the idea. We are not here today for such kind of cheap devotion. We are not here to make some gain or profit- not material profit. No, we want the supreme profit, we want to become lovers of Krsna- not lovers of money, not lovers of honey- but lovers of Krsna. That has already started a little bit…admit it…Krsna is nice! He’s nice, isn’t He? We kind of like it the way He’s dressed. He looks pretty good, playing the flute. Krsna plays so many tricks. Krsna is not just the Supreme Lord who is giving rewards to His good devotees. No, Krsna is the playful Lord, who also takes initiative.
When Srimati Radharani was cooking in the house of mother Yasoda, at that time before She came, mother Yasoda was already getting ready. Srila Visvanatha Cakravati Thakura explains that mother Yasoda was getting ready and making all kinds of arrangements and she had a big trunk and she was packing all these things in there! Oh yes, there was sandalwood and there were precious pieces of cloth embroidered with stones. There was camphor, musk and aguru and other auspicious items. And Krsna says, ‘oh mother, what are you doing? You’re packing all these things in this box, who is it for? Is it for Me?’ she said, ‘no, it’s not for You.’
‘Oh, it’s not for Me? Then who is it for?’
She said, ‘there is one girl in Vrndavana, She has such amazing qualities, She has such a wonderful character, She is such an exalted personality. And because She has such a noble, exalted nature, therefore I want to give Her some gifts,’
‘Oh, who is that girl?’ Krsna asks, as if He doesn’t know! ‘who is that girl?’
Krsna can feel the excitement rising in His heart but He’s acting like, ‘who could that be?’
Then Mother Yasoda in her mind is thinking, ‘Krsna is so naïve! He doesn’t understand anything about girls. He’s just a child. He cannot see that She has all these wonderful qualities.’ Then she says, ‘Krsna, it is Srimati Radharani!’
‘Ohhh,’ Krsna says, ‘ohhh!’ and then as Yasoda packs the box and as the box is filled, she has a plan to send that box to the house of Srimati Radharani.
Krsna meanwhile, while Radharani is cooking, doesn’t sit still because that is not the nature of the Supreme Lord- to sit still. Oh no, He is mischievous and active! He’s an active Lord who makes all kinds of plans to interfere in the lives of His devotees. So Krsna goes to that box, takes out everything- all the gifts. ‘Oh, is our Krsna greedy? Is our Krsna a little envious here and is it that He wants Srimati Radharani to not have the gifts?’ Oh no, no, no. Krsna surely wants Her to have the gifts and makes very sure. He calls for Danistha, who is the maid servant in the house, and He makes very sure, ‘Danistha, somehow or other, all these items have to later on be delivered to the house of Srimati Radharani, to Her personally and to no one else, without anyone noticing, you’ve understood?’
And then that box was empty but not for long…when Abhimanyu came to take that box it was quite heavy! And he was carrying this box on his back and Yasoda had told him, ‘this is full of valuables and I don’t want anyone to have them. They are for your wife and you must give it to Her personally.’ So Abhimanyu executed the instruction of Yasoda and brought the box to Srimati Radharani. And of course, we can guess why that box was so heavy…because of the supreme heaviness of Krsna, that box was heavy! And of course Srimati Radharani was very happy that Yasoda had sent her this ‘gift!’ it was very kind of her!
So in this way we can see how this madhurya rasa is unfolding. Of course these are not the cheap pastimes of ordinary, mundane romance. This has everything to do with selfless love. There is no element of selfishness in the pastimes of Radha and Krsna. Nothing at all!
Now there is one particular pastime that we all remember…that at one point one day, Akrura comes. Oh that day, when the cruel one, Akrura comes (his name means the cruel one) to take Krsna and Balarama away from Vrndavana. And we remember that at that time, all the gopis gave up their shyness, they gave up their secretive hidden nature- they were hiding their love for Krsna so that no one will know and so that no one will see- and now they came out in the open and grabbed the reigns of the chariot of Krsna to hold Krsna back from going to Mathura. It didn’t help because Akrura, a powerful ksatriya, ignored them and kept on driving the houses and then the chariot disappeared!
So this is a puzzling pastime because if the gopis are not selfish at all, why then did they try to stop Krsna from going to Mathura if it was His desire? Krsna was fine and He wanted to go. Why did the gopis try to stop Him, if it was Krsna’s desire? I thought that they had no desire of their own and that their only desire was to please Krsna? Or do they have some personal desire after all? Are they also just like us- tinged? Is their bhakti also mixed like our bhakti- ‘a little bit for Krsna and a lot for me! A little more for Krsna and lots more for me!’ is it like that? Are the gopis also in the same spirit as we are? (dramatic) ‘yes Krsna, I’ll give You a donation, I’ll give R10 in the box! It’s Radhastami after all! On Radhastami you should put something in the box, so I’m putting R10, R10!’ so its it like that, that there is a trace of selfishness in the gopis after all? They are trying to hold Krsna back from fulfilling His desire to go to Mathura….hmm.
No no, no, no selfishness at all. Then, how can it be explained? It is simple, not so complicated because the gopis, they know Krsna better than He knows Himself! They know that He is gone mad, He’s gone mad! He’s going to Mathura! He’s gone mad! Mad he’s gone! He will never be happy in Mathura, it is not possible for Him to be happy! He will only suffer in separation from Vrndavana because Vrndavana is the only place where He can be happy. Therefore the gopis stopped the reigns, ‘stop! Don’t move! Please, You are gone mad,! You cant go! You will suffer. It is in Your interest that You stay. For Your happiness You must stay.’
So how can we understand such consciousness, such selflessness when we are always thinking of ourselves? Sometimes I speak about the mind and the mind is like a television. And whenever you are chanting japa, it is like we are having a television, which is always on! And on this television there is an ongoing series and that series is called, ‘Starring Me!’ and guess who’s on the screen… ‘and that’s me on the horse! And that was when I was on the beach! That’s me!’ In this way, our consciousness is always focused on ourselves. And not just a little bit; that television is always on in our mind…’starring me!’ and then we do a little service…So how can we understand this selfless love of the gopis. Therefore how can we truly understand the nature of the love between Radha and Krsna and how it is different from mundane love in this world? No one can understand. We can only begin to understand a little bit by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada and by doing some service.
So today, if we want some deeper understanding of the aim of life, it is possible by the mercy of Srimati Radharani, who is most compassionate. She is more compassionate than Krsna. We can easily attract that mercy by doing some service. That is the key and we should think at the end of this talk that She did so much service, She did everything for Krsna’s pleasure and what are we going to do today for Krsna’s pleasure? Maybe someone will put a lakh in the box! Or ten or more! Maybe someone will really try and really do something extraordinary today. Maybe one fortunate soul…’out of many thousands of men, hardly one endeavors for perfection,’ (counts the number of people in audience), ‘one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten…’ it’s a full house! ‘Out of so many, hardly one endeavors for perfection! And out of those who endeavor for perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.’
So this Radhastami is for us a day of soul searching, a day that we ourselves are realizing, ‘I have to come up. It’s time that I make a real sacrifice for Krsna’s pleasure.’ That is the inner meaning of Radhastami.
Thank you very much.