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

The Bhajana-rahasya Text 23, 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 23 belonging to the chapter “Shashtha-yama-sadhana (Sayam-kaliya-bhajana–bhava)” representing six dandas after dusk: approximately 6.00 p.m.–8.30 p.m.

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.47.60) states that the vraja-gopīs’ devotion is topmost:

नायं श्रियो’ङ्ग उ नितान्त-रतेः प्रसादः स्वर्-योषितां नलिन-गन्ध-रुचां कुतो’न्याः
रासोत्सवे’स्य भुज-दण्ड-गृहीत-कण्ठलब्धाशिषां य उदगाद् व्रज-सुन्दरीणाम्

nāyaṃ śriyo’ṅga u nitānta-rateḥ prasādaḥ svar-yoṣitāṃ nalina-gandha-rucāṃ kuto’nyāḥ
rāsotsave’sya bhuja-daṇḍa-gṛhīta-kaṇṭhalabdhāśiṣāṃ ya udagād vraja-sundarīṇām[2]

In the rāsa festival, Śrī Kṛṣṇa embraced the vraja-sundarīs’ necks with His vine-like arms, thus fulfilling their hearts’ desires. Even Lakṣmī, who eternally resides on His chest, does not attain this mercy. It is also not attained by the most beautiful girls of the heavenly planets, whose bodily lustre and fragrance resemble the lotus flower, what to speak of other beautiful women.

रासे व्रज-गोपी स्कन्धे भुजार्पण करि’
ये प्रसाद कैल कृष्ण, कहिते ना पारि

rāse vraja-gopī skandhe bhujārpaṇa kari’
ye prasāda kaila kṛṣṇa, kahite nā pāri

लक्ष्मी ना पाइल सेइ कृपा-अनुभव
अन्य देवी किसे पाबे से कृपा-वैभव?

lakṣmī nā pāila sei kṛpā-anubhava
anya devī kise pābe se kṛpā-vaibhava?

Commentary: Bhajana-rahasya-vṛtti:

With this Text, Śrī Uddhava, desirous of vraja-bhāva and filled with patience, meekness and humility, offers his precious puṣpāñjali to the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beloved vraja-gopīs, the crown jewels amongst His devotees. These words reveal the glory of the vraja-sundarīs’ prema. To proclaim that the vraja-gopīs are worshipable for the entire world, Uddhava says, “Such unprecedented mercy of Śrī Bhagavān has never been seen or received by anyone else.” Uddhava’s astonishment is shown in this Text by his use of the exclamation u. In the festival of rāsa, Śrī Kṛṣṇa joyfully embraced the vraja-gopīs, putting His arms around their necks and fulfilling their hearts’ desires. This good fortune was not even attained by Lakṣmī, who is eternally situated on His chest. Nor can such fortune be attained by the beautiful heavenly damsels, whose excellent bodily lustre and fragrance are like lotuses, so how can it be possible for other beautiful ladies?

In his commentary on this Text, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī raises an argument: “In tattva, Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Nārāyaṇa are non-different, and the most affectionate Lakṣmī-devī, who sports on the chest (vakṣaḥvilāsinī) of Nārāyaṇa, is His svarūpa-śakti. She also resides on Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s chest as a golden line, and she is never separated from Him. Why, then, are the gopīs’ moods glorified over hers?”

He then resolves this argument: “Although Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Nārāyaṇa are non-different in tattva, Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s unique pastimes, which are filled with astonishingly excellent rasa, are embellished with an exceedingly splendid brilliance. Lakṣmī is only engaged in meeting (sambhoga-rasa), but the gopīs sometimes engage in meeting (milana) and sometimes in separation (viraha ). Lakṣmī is Nārāyaṇa’s beloved who enjoys pastimes on His chest, but the gopīs are not merely Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beloveds; they delight in the nectar of amorous pastimes endowed with paramour love (parakīya-bhāva), thereby expanding His prema-mādhurya in an unprecedented way. Vrajendra-nandana Śyāmasundara’s aiśvarya and mādhurya only manifest in their topmost form when He is with the vraja-devīs. Eagerly desiring this mādhurya, Lakṣmī also hankers to meet with Kṛṣṇa. However, the gopīs’ one-pointed, steady devotion is absent in Lakṣmī. In nara-līlā, Śrī Kṛṣṇa belongs to the caste of gopas, cowherds. Because He considers Himself a gopa, His beloveds are naturally daughters of gopas, and only they can be His beloveds. Śrī Lakṣmī did not want to accept the body of a gopī. She was unable to take birth in the home of a gopī, marry a gopa other than Kṛṣṇa for the sake of entering parakīya-bhāva, associate with the nityasiddha-gopīs and give up her identification as a brāhmaṇī. This is

why she was unable to meet with Kṛṣṇa.” In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.47.35) it says:

यथा दूर-चरे प्रेष्ठे मन आविश्य वर्तते
स्त्रीणां च न तथा चेतः सन्निकृष्टे’क्षि-गोचरे

yathā dūra-care preṣṭhe mana āviśya vartate
strīṇāṃ ca na tathā cetaḥ sannikṛṣṭe’kṣi-gocare

When her lover is far away, a woman thinks of him more than when he is present before her. *

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura comments on this śloka as follows: “The lover’s heart is more attracted to the beloved when she is far from him than when she is living near him. Due to this, although Lakṣmī perpetually sports upon Nārāyaṇa’s chest, the glories of her good fortune are less than those of the gopīs’.”

The rāsa-līlā is the crown jewel amongst all Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes. Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī says: “rāsaḥ parama-rasa-kadambamayarati-yaugikārtha–the rāsa dance is the supreme rasa, or loving exchange. Supreme rasa is that in which there is a relationship with the supreme object.” The rāsa-līlā does not take place in this world, nor does it occur in the heavenly planets. In Dvārakā, where there are 16,108 queens, the rāsa dance is a possibility, but it does not take place there either. Nor does it take place in Śrī Bhagavān’s other abodes, such as Vaikuṇṭha. The rāsa-līlā only manifests in Vṛndāvana and the vraja-ramaṇīs are its participants. The main fountainhead of this pastime, which is filled with all the consummate mellows, is Śrī Vṛṣabhānu-nandinī. In extreme joy, Śrī Śyāmasundara both f loats upon and becomes submerged in the waves of the ocean of prema that are found in the supreme festival of rāsa-līlā. To protect Himself from the towering waves of the gopīs’ charming behaviour and sidelong glances in this vast ocean of prema, He clutches the gopīs’ necks and rests Himself upon their breasts.

Being especially insightful, Uddhava foresaw the marriage of Kṛṣṇa and Rukmiṇī. Rukmiṇī is celebrated in this world as Hari-priyā, the beloved of Hari;nevertheless, she did not attain even a scent of the vraja-gopīs’ good fortune. How, then, could it be possible for the other queens of Dvārakā and the heavenly goddesses? The vrajadevīs are capable of completely controlling Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The pinnacle of mahābhāvamādanākhya-bhāva endowed with samartha-rati (that rati which is capable of controlling Kṛṣṇa)–is the bhāva of Śrī Rādhā only, and She is the main source of pleasure in mādhuryarasa. All the other gopīs are like ingredients for rasa. The words vraja-sundarīṇām in this Text allude to Śrī Rādhā’s love, elegance, erudition, virtuous nature, good qualities, skill in dancing and singing, and great wealth of beauty.

Footnotes and references:


Please refer to the Glossary for an explanation of this term.


Vraja-sundarīṇām can also read as vraja-vallabīnām.


Please refer to the Glossary for an explanation of this term.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: