Now an intense longing possessed Vijaya Kumara. Nothing seemed to please him, and he could no longer steady his heart, even after having darsana of Jagannathadeva in the temple. He had long ago understood the fundamentals of rasa-tattva, but it was only now, in Sri Gopal Guru Gosvami’s association, that he came to understand madhura-rasa with its sthayibhava, vibhavas, anubhavas, sattvika-bhavas and vyabhicari-bhavas. Different bhavas manifested in his heart at different times. For a while, one bhava would arise and immerse him in bliss, and then a new bhava would invade his heart. He passed his days in this way, completely helpless to check the awakening and movement of any bhava in his heart, or its transformation into another bhava. Consequently, one day he approached the lotus feet of Sri Guru Gosvami with tearful eyes and submitted the following request, “Prabhu, by your unlimited compassion, I have learnt everything, but I cannot control my real self, so I cannot firmly establish myself in krsna-lila. Kindly bestow upon me whatever instructions you may think suitable for me in my present condition.”
Sri Guru Gosvami became overjoyed to see Vijaya Kumara’s bhavas, and thought to himself, “Aho! How glorious and wonderful the nature of krsna-prema is! It makes happiness seem like distress, and distress like happiness!” Then he said to Vijaya Kumara, “My dear son, now you should adopt the means by which you can enter into krsna-lila.”
Gosvami: Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has prescribed the method to enter krsna-lila in the following sloka:
na dharmam nadharmam sruti-gana-niruktam kila kuru
vraje radha-krsna-pracura-paricaryam iha tanu
saci-sunum nandisvara-pati-sutatve guru-varam
mukunda-presthatve smara param ajasram nanu manah
Sri Manah-siksa (2)
O my dear mind! Please do not perform either dharma or adharma mentioned in the srutis. Rather, you should render profuse loving service to Sri Sri Radha-Krsna Yugala here in Vraja, for the srutis have ascertained that They are the highest principle of supreme worship and the Supreme Absolute Truth. Always meditate on Saci-nandana Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is richly endowed with the complexion and sentiments of Srimati Radhika, as nondifferent from Sri Nanda-nandana; and always remember Sri Gurudeva as most dear to Sri Mukunda.
Don’t waste time vainly deliberating on the righteous and unrighteous activities (dharma and adharma) mentioned in sastra. In other words, you should completely abandon sastric reasoning and logic, and engage in the sadhana of raganuga-bhakti according to the greed developed in your heart. Render profuse loving service to Sri Sri Radha and Krsna in Vraja. That is, engage in the bhajana of vraja-rasa. If you ask who will teach the aim and object of vrajarasa bhajana, then please listen.
After vraja-lila, our Prananatha Sri Nimananda has appeared from the womb of Sri Saci-devi in pracchanna (concealed) Vrndavana, Sri Navadvipa-dhama. Sacinandana Gaurahari is none other than Krsna Himself, the son of the Lord of Nandisvara, Sri Nanda Maharaja. Never consider Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhuto be inferior to Sri Krsna in any aspect of tattva. He has appearedin Navadvipa, and has displayed a distinct bhajana-lila, so you shouldnever give up vraja-bhajana, thinking that He is Navadvipa-nagara(the lover who enjoys His consorts in Navadvipa). He is Krsna Himself, but you should not disturb those on the path of arcana, who meditate upon Him separately from Krsna and perform His worship with separate mantras. On the rasa-marga, He is the exclusiveobject of bhajana as Sri Radha-vallabha, and He has appearedas Saci-nandana, the sole guru of vraja-rasa. Therefore,perform bhajana of that Saci-nandana as krsna-prestha, that is considering Him to be guru who is very dear to Krsna. Before performing radha-krsna-smarana, always remember gaura-lila, because it will stimulate and awaken your bhavas of asta-kaliya-krsna-lila. Always realize bhajana-gurudeva as none other than a vrajayuthesvari or sakhi. Enter into vraja-lila by performing bhajana in this way.
Vijaya: Prabhu, now I will put aside all the logical arguments of the sastras and all the other paths, for I am becoming very eager to render appropriate services in asta-kaliya-krsna-lila, as taught and demonstrated by Sri Gaurangadeva, under the guidance of my gururupa sakhi. Please instruct me how can I make my mind steadfast in this attitude, so that I can achieve my goal.
Gosvami: Two subjects are to be clearly understood in this connection: upasya-pariskrti and upasaka-pariskrti. Upasya-pariskrti means to refine the conception and realize the true nature of the upasya, or the object of one’s seva. You have already accomplished upasya-pariskrti, for you have understood rasa-tattva. There are eleven bhavas (ekadasa-bhavas) with respect to upasaka-pariskrti; you have gained almost all of them, but you need to be somewhat more firmly established in them.
Vijaya: Kindly explain these ekadasa-bhavas to me thoroughly once again.
Gosvami: The ekadasa-bhavas are: 1) sambandha (relationship), 2) vayasa (age), 3) nama (name), 4) rupa (personal form and beauty), 5) yutha (group), 6) vesa (dress), 7) ajna (specific instruction), 8) vasa (residence), 9) seva (exclusive service); 10) parakastha-svasa (the highest summit of emotion, which is the aspirant’s very life breath), and 11) palya-dasi-bhava (the sentiment of a maidservant under the protection of Sri Radha).
Vijaya: What is sambandha (relationship)?
Gosvami: The sentiment of sambandha is the very foundation of this subject. The sentiments with which one relates to Krsna when one establishes sambandha determine one’s corresponding state of perfection (siddhi). One who accepts Krsna as master when he establishes his relationship with Him becomes dasa. One who accepts Krsna as his sakha or son when he establishes his relationship becomes sakha or parent, respectively. One who accepts Him as husband in the marital (svakiya) relationship becomes a beautiful young lady in Dvaraka. Santa-rasa is absent in Vraja, and even dasya-rasa is very inhibited. In any case, this relationship is established according to the worshiper’s ruci.
Your nature is feminine, and your inclination is in parakiya-rasa, so you are a subordinate attendant of Vraja-vanesvari. The sambandha that you have to cultivate and realize fully is: “I am a maidservant of Srimati Radhika’s most confidential attendant maid. Srimati Radhika is the mistress of my very life, and Krsna is Her life; therefore Sri Radha-vallabha Sri Krsna is certainly the Lord of my life.”
Vijaya: I have heard that our acarya, Srila Jiva Gosvami, was in favor of sambandha in svakiya-bhava (the marital relationship). Is this true?
Gosvami: None of the followers of Sriman Mahaprabhu were outside the pure, transcendental parakiya-bhava. Sri Svarupa Gosvami is the sole guru of this transcendental parakiya-rasa. He has given instruction on the purest transcendental parakiya-bhava, and Srila Jiva Gosvami – as well as Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami – followed in his footsteps and maintained the same opinion. Srila Jiva Gosvami has never cherished any independent sentiments of svakiya-bhajana. However, he observed the scent of svakiya-bhava in some of the upasakas (worshipers) of Vraja. The svakiya-bhava of Vraja is found only where the samartha rati has a scent of samanjasa rati in it. Those who maintain a slight sense of svakiya-bhava when they establish their relationship with Krsna are actually svakiya-upasakas. Srila Jiva Gosvami had both types of disciples: those with suddha parakiya-bhava, and those whose worship was mixed with a sense of svakiya-bhava. Consequently, he left separate instructions according to his disciples’ different inclinations. This fact is clearly established by the sloka: svecchaya likhitam kincit in his Locana-rocani tika on Ujjvalanilamani.
Vijaya: Very well. I have understood that only the unadulterated parakiya-bhajana is accepted in the visuddha (pure) Gaudiya conception. Now that I have understood sambandha, please tell me about vayasa (age).
Gosvami: The sambandha that you have established with Krsna has resulted in your unprecedented and unparalleled intrinsic svarupa (vraja-lalana-svarupa) of a vraja-gopi. Now, to render service in that svarupa, you need to have a suitable age (vayasa). The appropriate age is kaisora (the age from ten to sixteen), also known as vayah-sandhi. In your svarupa, you will begin from the age of ten, and grow up to sixteen years. Vraja-lalana’s do not have the three ages of balya (infancy, ages 0 – 5), pauganda (childhood, ages 5 –10), and vrddha (adulthood), so you should always foster the spiritual identification of being a kisori.
Vijaya: Please explain to me about nama (name). I have already received the name of my svarupa, but still, please give me firm instructions in this regard.
Gosvami: After hearing about the services of various damsels of Vraja, your own service tendency has awakened. According to that natural tendency for service, you are a maidservant of Radhika- sakhi. The name of that maidservant is your name. Your Gurudeva has given you your name after examining your inclination or ruci. That name is to be considered your nitya-nama. You will be delighted (manorama) by this name among the vraja-gopis.
Vijaya: Prabhu, now please tell me about rupa (eternal form).
Gosvami: Your intrinsic, transcendental identity is that of a beautiful, youthful kisori, which means that your Sri Gurudeva has defined your siddha-rupa according to your inclination and ruci. How can one be the maidservant of Srimati Radhika without having been endowed with an inconceivably divine form and personal beauty?
Vijaya: Please consolidate my faith regarding yutha (group).
Gosvami: Srimati Radhika Herself is the yuthesvari (leader of the yutha), and you have to live as an attendant in the group of one of Her eight principal sakhis. Your Gurudeva has put you under the guidance of Srimati Lalita, so now you should render loving service to Yuthesvari Srimati Radhika and Lilamaya Sri Krsna, under Sri Lalita’s order.
Vijaya: Prabhu, what sort of sadhakas become followers in the groups of yuthesvaris such as Sri Candravali?
Gosvami: The intense desire to be the attendant of a yuthesvari awakens in one’s heart only after accumulating fortune (sukrti) for many births, so only the most fortunate sadhakas have access to Srimati Radhika’s yutha. The efforts of Sri Candravali and other yuthesvaris are simply to enhance the lila, and it is only to nourish Sri Sri Radha-Madhava’s transcendental rasa that the other yuthesvaris have accepted the mood of an opponent. In fact, Srimati Radhika alone is yuthesvari.
Sri Krsna’s variegated pastimes are full of abhimana (spiritual self-conception). Those who have a particular service to Sri Krsna in His pastimes identify themselves as being perfectly fitted for just that service.
Vijaya: Now I wish to become resolute with regard to guna (qualities).
Gosvami: You are expert in the various types of fine skills required for your assigned service. You need suitable qualities and dress in order to render your service perfectly, and your Gurudeva has already ascertained these for you.
Vijaya: Now, please tell me about ajna (specific orders).
Gosvami: There are two types of ajna: nitya and naimittika. Your nitya-ajna is whatever ajna your compassionate sakhi has bestowed upon you regarding your seva during the asta-kaliya lila, and you must continue to render it regularly at that particular time, without any negligence. Apart from that, from time to time, she may give you ajna about other services when the necessity arises, and this is called naimittika-ajna (occasional orders). You should also attend to these services with the utmost diligence.
Vijaya: What is vasa (residence)?
Gosvami: To reside in Vraja eternally – this is vasa. You should realize your identity as a gopi who is born in the house of some gopa in one of the villages of Vraja, and you have been married to a gopa of some other village of Vraja. However, the sweet sound of Krsna’s murali has captivated you. Srimati Radhika’s confidential sakhi has taken you under her guidance and has appointed a place of residence for you in a beautiful kutira in a grove on the bank of Radha-kunda. The residence that you have realized internally, by your intrinsic spiritual identity, is your true vasa. Your parakiyabhava is actually your nitya-siddha-bhava.
Vijaya: Kindly give more specific details about my seva (service).
Gosvami: You are a maidservant of Srimati Radhika, and your eternal service is to render loving service unto Her. Sometimes, out of necessity, She may send you to be alone with Sri Krsna in a solitary place, and at that time, Krsna may express His desire to enjoy with you. However, you should never agree to His proposals. You are a dasi of Srimati Radhika, and you never independently serve Krsna for His pleasure without Her permission. You have equal loving attachment for Radha and Krsna, but still you should maintain greater earnestness for Her loving service (dasya-prema) than for Krsna’s. This is the meaning of seva. Your seva is to care for Sri Radhika’s comfort and pleasure in all the eight-fold pastimes of the asta-kaliya-lila. Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has presented the outline of your service in Sri Vilapa-kusumanjali, based on Sri Svarupa Damodara’s treatise.
Vijaya: How can the parakastha-svasa (the utmost summit of sentiments, and the very breath of the aspirant) be ascertained?
Gosvami: Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has explained parakastha in the following two slokas: (Vilapa-kusumanjali 102-103)
asa-bharair amrta-sindhumayaih kathancit
kalo mayatigamitah kila sampratam hi
tvan cet krpam mayi vidhasyasi naiva kim me
pranair vrajena ca varoru vakarinapi
Ha Varoru Radhe, I am spending my days in great distress, maintaining the highest expectation of attaining the ocean of nectar. Now please bestow Your kindness upon me, for if You do not do so, what is the use of my life, my residence in Vraja, or even my servitude to Krsna? All will be completely in vain.
ha natha gokula-sudha-kara suprasannavaktraravinda
madhura-smita he krpardra
yatra tvaya viharate pranayaih prayarat
tatraiva mam api naya priya-sevanaya
Ha! Gokulacandra! Ha! Krsna, with a smiling, blissful, lotus face! Ha! You whose heart is soft and melting, wanting to bestow mercy on all! Kindly take me where You lovingly take Srimati Radhika and sport with Her eternally, and allow me to render confidential, loving service to You both.
Vijaya: Please explain palya-dasi-svabhava (the disposition of the maids who have accepted the protection of Sri Radha).
Gosvami: Srila Dasa Gosvami has explained the disposition of the palya-dasis in his Vraja-vilasa-stava as follows:
sandra-prema-rasaih pluta priyataya pragalbhyam apta tayoh
prana-prestha-vayasyayor anudinam lilabhisaram kramaih
vaidagdhyena tatha sakhim prati sada manasya siksam rasair
yeyam karayatiha hanta lalita grhnatu sa mam ganaih
Sri Lalita-devi is drowning in the utterly unfathomable prema-rasa. Sri Sri Radha-Krsna are her prana-prestha (her dearest beloved, the life of her life), and every day, with the pragalbhata (boldness) born of her love for Them both, she arranges for Their loving meetings. With great expertise she instructs her sakhi Srimati Radhika. May she accept me as palya-dasi, one of the attendant maids in her personal group.
Vijaya: What sort of attitude should a palya-dasi have towards Sri Lalita-devi’s other attendant maids, and how should she deal with them?
Gosvami: All of Srila Dasa Gosvami’s writings are enriched with transcendental rasa, which are but illustrations of Sri Svarupa Damodara Gosvami’s instructions. In this respect, he has written:
vrndaranya-mahesvarim priyataya yas tosayanti priyah
prana-prestha-sakhi-kulad api kilasankocita bhumikah
keli-bhumisu rupa-manjari-mukhas ta dasikah samsraye
I take shelter of Sri Rupa Manjari and the other maidservants of Srimati Radharani, the great Queen of Vrndavana. Those maidservants perpetually satisfy Her by their loving services, such as offering tambula, massaging Her feet, bringing water, and arranging for Her trysts with Sri Krsna.
The prana-prestha-sakhis are dearer to Srimati Radhika than Her very life, but these maidservants are still more dear, because without feeling shy they can enter the area where the Divine Couple enjoy Their most confidential pastimes.
Vijaya: What type of attitude and dealings should be maintained towards the other principal sakhis?
Gosvami: Srila Dasa Gosvami has indicated this in the following sloka:
pranaya-lalita-narma-sphara-bhumis tayor ya
vraja-pura-nava-yunor ya ca kanthan pikanam
nayati param adhastad divya-ganena tustya
prathayatu mama diksam hanta seyam visakha
Sri Visakha-devi is favored by the youthful couple on account of her qualities of intimate love, playful humor, and daring, amorous curiosity. Her charming, celestial singing mocks the sweetness of the cuckoo. May that Visakha mercifully train me in the art of music.
Gopal Guru Gosvami added. “You must also maintain a similar submissive attitude towards the other sakhis.
Vijaya: But what type of mood should be maintained towards the sakhis of the rival group (vipaksa)?
Gosvami: In this regard, Srila Dasa Gosvami states:
saubhagyodbhata-garva-vibhrama-bhrtah sri-radhikayah sphutam
govindah smara-phulla-vallava-vadhu-vargena yena ksanam
kridaty esa tam atra vistrta-maha-punyan ca vandamahe
I repeatedly offer my prayers to the vraja-gopis, headed by the highly fortunate Candravali, who have the mood of rivals towards Srimati Radhika. They are endowed with attributes such as the feelings of great fortune, pride in their excellence, and amorous delusion (vibhrama). Sri Krsna consorts with them for only a few moments, just to enhance the mood of Sri Radhika’s srngara-rasa.
One has to maintain this type of feeling within the heart towards the sakhis belonging to the opposing group, and at the time of rendering service, you can deal with each individual appropriately with loving remarks and jokes.
In summary, you should render your seva according to the methods and bhavas illustrated in Sri Vilapa-kusumanjali, and maintain mutual relationship and dealings with sakhis and other vraja-vasis as explained in Sri Vraja-vilasa-stava. Contemplate all the variegated lilas included within the asta-kaliya-lila as they are explained in Visakhanandadi-stotram. Absorb your mind in krsnalila according to the approach specified in Sri Manah-siksa, and maintain resolute determination for the rules and regulations of bhakti according to the bhavas presented in Sva-niyama-dasakam.
In his writings, Srila Rupa Gosvami has illustrated rasa-tattva extensively. Since Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu entrusted him with this particular responsibility, he has not explained how rasa acts while one renders seva. Srila Dasa Gosvami accomplished this task in his writings, which are based on the kadaca (notes) of Srila Svarupa Damodara. Sriman Mahaprabhu authorized and empowered His different associates respectively with different missionary responsibilities, and following His instructions, they discharged their services flawlessly.
Vijaya: Please tell me what those various responsibilities were, and to whom Sriman Mahaprabhu entrusted them.
Gosvami: Sriman Mahaprabhu entrusted Sri Svarupa Damodara with the responsibility of teaching the process of seva endowed with transcendental rasa (rasamayi upasana). To fulfill Sriman Mahaprabhu’s order, Sri Svarupa Damodara presented his treatise in two parts. One part is called the internal path (antah-pantha) of rasamayi upasana, while the second part is called the external path (bahih-pantha) of rasamayi upasana. Sri Svarupa Damodara offered this antah-pantha around the neck of Srila Dasa Gosvami, and it is illustrated and well-preserved in Dasa Gosvami’s writings. He taught the bahih-pantha to Sri Vakresvara Gosvami, and this is the distinguished treasure of our line right up to the present day. I gave this treasured process to Sriman Dhyanacandra, and he has written a paddhati (a systematic, step-by-step method of practice) based upon it, which you have already obtained.
Sriman Mahaprabhu empowered Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Advaita Prabhu and entrusted them with the responsibility of preaching the glories of sri-nama. He ordered and empowered Srila Rupa Gosvami to manifest rasa-tattva, and He gave Srila Sanatana Gosvami the responsibility of elaborately illustrating the relationship between vaidhi-bhakti and raga-bhakti. He also instructed Srila Sanatana Gosvami to explain the esoteric relationship between prakata and aprakata Gokula. Through Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Srila Sanatana Gosvami, Mahaprabhu empowered Srila Jiva Gosvami to establish the tattva of sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana. In this way, each of them carried out just those specific responsibilities that Mahaprabhu had entrusted to them.
Vijaya: Prabhu, what responsibility did Mahaprabhu entrust to Sri Raya Ramananda?
Gosvami: Sriman Mahaprabhu entrusted Sri Raya Ramananda with the responsibility of elaborately illustrating rasa-tattva, and through Srila Rupa Gosvami, he accomplished this to the fullest extent.
Vijaya: Prabhu, what was the responsibility entrusted to Sri Sarvabhauma?
Gosvami: He was entrusted with the responsibility of teaching the philosophical truths about the Absolute Reality (tattva). He in turn gave that responsibility to Srila Jiva Gosvami, through the medium of one of his own disciples.
Vijaya: What was Sriman Mahaprabhu’s instruction to His prominent followers in Bengal?
Gosvami: The responsibility of the Gaudiya mahantas was to illuminate sri gaura-tattva and to awaken in the jivas’ hearts transcendental sraddha for the krsna-bhakti-rasa that Sri Gaura had initiated. Again, Mahaprabhu entrusted some great souls among them with the responsibility of composing and propagating a special mode of rasa-kirtana.
Vijaya: What was the responsibility entrusted to Srila Raghunatha Bhatta?
Vijaya: And to Srila Gopala Bhatta?
Gosvami: Sriman Mahaprabhu entrusted him with the responsibility of properly protecting and preserving the supremely pure and transcendental srngara-rasa from any distortions, and of checking any unreasonable negligence towards vaidhi-bhakti.
Vijaya: What responsibility was given to Sri Prabhodhananda Gosvami, the guru and uncle of Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami?
Gosvami: He was entrusted with the responsibility of informing the world that the highest achievement is to cultivate spontaneous loving attachment for vraja-rasa.
When Vijaya Kumara heard all these topics, he was delighted, and considered himself to be supremely blessed.