by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura Mahasaya | 2010 | 123,965 words

The Bhajana-rahasya Text 18, English translation, including commentary (vritti). The Bhajana-rahasya is a compilation of verses describing the mercy of the eight pairs of names (Yugala-nama) of the Maha-mantra. This is text 18 belonging to the chapter “Pancama-yama-sadhana (Aparahna-kaliya-bhajana–krishna-asakti)” representing from three-and-a-half praharas of the day until dusk: approximately 3.30 p.m.–6.00 p.m.

The inclination to be solely attached to serving Śrī Rādhā is described in Śrī Vilāpa-kusumāñjali (16):

पादाब्जयोस् तव विना वर-दास्यम् एव नान्यत् कदापि समये किल देवि याचे
सख्याय ते मम नमो’स्तु नमो’स्तु नित्यं दास्याय ते मम रसो’स्तु रसो’स्तु सत्यम्

pādābjayos tava vinā vara-dāsyam eva nānyat kadāpi samaye kila devi yāce
sakhyāya te mama namo’stu namo’stu nityaṃ dāsyāya te mama raso’stu raso’stu satyam

O Devī, I have no desire other than for the topmost attainment of servitude to Your lotus feet. I forever offer obeisances to the position of being Your sakhī, but may I remain firmly attached to being Your maidservant. This is my solemn vow.

tava pada-dāsya vinā kichu nāhi magi
tava sakhye namaskāra, āchi dāsya lāgi

Commentary: Bhajana-rahasya-vṛtti:

In this Text, Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, absorbed in his internal mañjarī form, is praying in great distress to the lotus feet of his Svāminī. “O Svāminī, please make me Your maidservant by bestowing upon me the great fortune of service to Your lotus feet.” This servitorship (dāsya) is topmost (vara) because Śrī Rādhā’s maidservants are free from reverence and fear. Their service is devoid of hesitation and is supremely relishable. The desire for this servitorship is the compassionate gift of Śrīman Mahāprabhu, and its attainment is the heartfelt aim of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas.

As maidservants, the mañjarīs are also receptacles of mādhuryarasa. They can, without fear or shyness, enter the secluded grove (nikuñja) where amorous pastimes are taking place, and very gracefully and cleverly perform their service. They also thoroughly know the requirements of the youthful Divine Couple, as well as when and how to fulfil them. The speciality of these mañjarīs is that they know the innermost feelings of the Divine Couple’s hearts and perform their services inspired by this. Seeing the enchanting skill of the mañjarīs’ service, Śyāmasundara Himself, the crest jewel of all those who relish rasa, wants to perform such service.

As svādhīna-bhartṛkā, a heroine who controls her lover, Śrī Rādhā orders Him, “Fix My dishevelled clothes and ornaments, or the other sakhīs will see them and tease Me.” Understanding Svāminī’s mood, the kiṅkarīs bring clothes and cosmetics. Śrīmatī orders Śyāmasundara to apply footlac (altā), and upon seeing the beauty of Her lotus feet, He becomes overwhelmed with prema. Ecstatic transformations (sāttvika-vikāras) make all His limbs horripilate and tremble, and as a result He is unable to hold the brush. Observing His condition, Śrīmatī softly and sweetly smiles and orders Rati Mañjarī to apply the altā. The mañjarīs taste various types of sweet pastimes like this in a completely unobstructed way.

Śyāmasundara has to take shelter of the mañjarīs in order to get the opportunity to meet with Śrīmatī or to pacify Her sulky mood (māna). While eating at the house of Nanda in the evening, Śyāmasundara becomes restless to know if He will be able to meet with Rādhikā that night or not. Through subtle gestures He inquires from Śrīmatī’s maidservants about the possibility of this meeting. A maidservant indicates, “Yes, it will take place.” Whatever these mañjarīs have is for the pleasure of the Divine Couple; they have nothing of their own. In rank, the priya-narma-sakhīs are superior, but from the perspective of having the most fortunate service, the mañjarīs are superior.

The kāmātmikā-bhakti[1] of Vraja, which is exclusive to mādhurya-rasa, is of two kinds: sambhoga-icchāmayī[2] and tat-tadbhāva-icchāmayī[3]. The mādhurya-bhāva that Vraja’s yūtheśvarīs (group leaders) such as Rādhā, Candrāvalī and Śyāmalā have for Śrī Kṛṣṇa is called sambhoga-icchāmayī. Serving the Divine Couple in the mood of mañjarīs like Śrī Rūpa and Śrī Rati, whose inclination is towards Śrīmatī Rādhikā (rādhā-snehādhikā ), is called tat-tadbhāva-icchāmayī.

The sakhīs are of three kinds: (1) rādhā-snehādhikā–those more inclined towards Śrī Rādhā, (2) kṛṣṇa-snehādhikā–those more inclined towards Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and (3) ubhaya-snehādhikā–those equally disposed to both. The sakhīs can also be divided into five kinds: (1) sakhī, (2) nitya-sakhī, (3) prāṇa-sakhī, (4) priya-sakhī and (5) priya-narma-sakhī (or, parama-preṣṭha-sakhī). Both the nitya-sakhīs and prāṇa-sakhīs are rādhā-snehādhikā and are called mañjarīs. The mañjarīs are absorbed in the mood of service, even though they feel friendship (sakhya) for Śrī Rādhā. They remain exclusively intent on Śrī Rādhā’s lotus feet and do not desire bodily contact with Śrī Kṛṣṇa, even in their dreams.

This is confirmed in Śrī Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛta (16.94):

अनन्य-श्री-राधा-पद-कमल दास्यैक-रसधीर्
हरेः सङ्गे रङ्ग-स्वपन-समये ना’पि दधती

ananya-śrī-rādhā-pada-kamala dāsyaika-rasadhīr
hareḥ saṅge raṅga-svapana-samaye nā’pi dadhatī

One-pointed service to the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā is an ocean of transcendental rasa. One who wishes to enter that ocean will never desire enjoyment with Śrī Hari, even in dreams.

The object (viṣayālambana) of the mañjarīs’ love and affection is the Youthful Couple. The mañjarīs experience all kinds of rati by beholding the Divine Couple embracing, by hearing Them conversing, by tasting Their chewed tāmbūla remnants, by smelling the matchlessly beautiful fragrance arising from Their amorous pastimes, by touching Their lotus feet as they massage them, and so forth. They also taste the ecstasy of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s most intimate union (samprayoga).

In this regard, Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja describes in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 8.209–210):

राधार स्वरूप—कृष्ण-प्रेम-कल्प-लता
सखी-गण हय तार पल्लव-पुष्प-पाता
कृष्ण-लीलामृत यदि लताके सिञ्चय
निज-सुख हैते पल्लवाद्येर् कोटि-सुख हय

rādhāra svarūpa—kṛṣṇa-prema-kalpa-latā
sakhī-gaṇa haya tāra pallava-puṣpa-pātā
kṛṣṇa-līlāmṛta yadi latāke siñcaya
nija-sukha haite pallavādyer koṭi-sukha haya

By nature, Śrī Rādhā is like a creeper of kṛṣṇa-prema and the sakhīs are the leaves, flowers and twigs of that creeper. When the nectar of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes is sprinkled on that creeper, the leaves, flowers and twigs experience a happiness millions of times greater than if they were to be directly sprinkled with this nectar.

In Śrī Govinda-līlāmṛta, one also finds this type of description: when Śrī Kṛṣṇa touches Śrī Rādhā, sāttvika-bhāvas also arise on the bodies of Her mañjarīs. And when Kṛṣṇa drinks the nectar of Rādhā’s lips, the resultant bhāva is also ref lected in the nitya-sakhīs and prāṇa-sakhīs, who become as if intoxicated.

This is described in the first verse of Śrī Vilāpa-kusumāñjali:

त्वं रूप-मञ्जरि सखि! प्रथिता पुरे’स्मिन् पुंसः परस्य वदनं न हि पश्यसीति
बिम्बाधरे क्षतम् अनागत-भर्तृकाया यत् ते व्यधायि किम् उ तच् छुक-पुङ्गवेन

tvaṃ rūpa-mañjari sakhi! prathitā pure’smin puṃsaḥ parasya vadanaṃ na hi paśyasīti
bimbādhare kṣatam anāgata-bhartṛkāyā yat te vyadhāyi kim u tac chuka-puṅgavena

My dear sakhī Rūpa Mañjarī, you are well known in Vraja for not even looking at the face of any man other than your husband. Therefore, it is surprising that your lips, red like bimba fruits, have been bitten, even though your husband is not at home. Has this been done by the best of parrots?

Like Śrī Rādhā, Her mañjarīs also have samartha-rati[4]. This rati is causelessly present in them in a transcendental, incomprehensible and inconceivable way. Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 18.225) says: “śunileo bhāgya-hīnera nā haya pratīti–even after hearing of this, those devoid of good fortune cannot perceive it.”

In this Text 18, Dāsa Gosvāmī prays to attain pālya-dāsī-bhāva. Using the words raso’stu, he expresses an ever-fresh heightening of prema and prays to Śrī Svāminī to not cheat him, either with clever words or by giving him other blessings.

Footnotes and references:


Devotion characterised by the transcendental desires of the vraja-gopīs.


Sambhoga-icchāmayī means the desire to engage in playful sportive pastimes (keli) with Śrī Kṛṣṇa. His transcendental sportive pastimes with the gopīs are called sambhoga. (Jaiva-dharma, chp 21)


Tat-tad-bhāva-icchāmayī is the desire to experience the sweet sentiments that the vraja-gopīs have towards Śrī Kṛṣṇa. (Jaiva-dharma, chp 21)


The word samartha means ‘capable, suitable, complete’; therefore samartharati means ‘capable of controlling Śrī Kṛṣṇa’.

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