The glory of madhura-rasa in Vrndavan.
Today is the appearance day of Srimati Radharani, who manifested as the daughter of Maharaj Vrsabhanu.
I recall a verse I learned when I started studying poetry as a boy:
vag-arthav iva samprktau vag-artha pratipattaye
jagatah pitarau vande parvati paramesvarau
(Raghu-vamsa by Kali Das)
[“To understand speech and its meaning, I worship the Supreme Lord and His consort, the parents of the world, who are united like speech and its meaning.”]
As speech and meaning are united, so Radha and Krishna are united. One cannot be separated from the other. Why? Sakti-saktimatayor abhedah [“Power and the Powerful are inseparable.”] This teaching is seen throughout the Vedanta-darsan and the Upanisads. The fundamental nature of the Lord is that He is Sasakti-saktiman, the all-powerful with His power. When the word ‘Bhagavan’ [lit. ‘possessor of power’, colloq. ‘God’] is spoken, then the Lord’s Power cannot be separated from Him.
Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur has written:
virajara pare suddha-paravyoma-dhama
tad upari sri-gokula-vrndaranya nama
(Gitavali: Radhastakam, 2.1)
[“Beyond Viraja, the river that divides the material and spiritual worlds, is Paravyoma Dham, the spiritual sky, and beyond that is Sri Gokula Vrndavan, Lord Krishna’s eternal residence.”]
We are residing in a brahmanda, that is, a universe made up of fourteen worlds: seven lower planes and seven upper planes known as Bhuh, Bhuvah, Svah, Mahah, Jana, Tapa, and Satya. Innumerable such brahmandas float in the waters of the Viraja River. Beyond the Viraja River, the highest plane within the spiritual Paravyoma Dham is Sri Gokula Vrndavan.
vrndavana chintamani chidananda ratna-khani
(Gitavali: Radhastakam, 2.2)
[“The land of Vrndavan is made of wish-fulfilling gems. It is a mine of joyful, spiritual gems. The spiritual abode of Vrndavan is thus an extraordinary sight.”]
What is that abode like? Those of you who have read Brahma-samhita know this verse which describes that abode therein:
laksavrtesu surabhir abhipalayantam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
(Sri Brahma-samhita: 5.29)
That abode is beautified by homes made of spiritual gems, millions of wish-fulling trees, and herds of cows. All these opulences eagerly wait to serve and fulfil the desires of their beloved Lord. The original Lord, Govinda, who is filled with inconceivable qualities, resides in this abode beyond Paravyoma Dham.
There is a full description of Goloka Vrndavan in Brahma-samhita:
sriyah kantah kantah parama-purusah kalpa-taravo
druma bhumis chintamani-gana-mayi toyam amrtam
katha ganam natyam gamanam api vamsi priya-sakhi
chid-anandam jyotih param api tad asvadyam api cha
sa yatra ksirabdhih sravati surabhibhyas cha sumahan
nimesardhakhyo va vrajati na hi yatrapi samayah
bhaje svetadvipam tam aham iha golokam iti yam
vidantas te santah ksiti-virala-charah katipaye
(Sri Brahma-samhita: 5.56)
[“I worship Goloka Vrndavan, where goddesses are the lovers; the Supreme Lord is the beloved; the trees are wish-fulfilling trees; the land is made of wish-fulfilling gems; the water is nectar; speech is song; movement is dance; the flute is Krishna’s dear friend; the light is spiritual, joyful, and thus supremely relishable; a vast ocean of milk flows from the cows; and even half a moment does not pass (the time is the eternal present). Only a few reclusive sadhus know of this abode.”]
Laksmi-sahasra-sata-sambhrama-sevyamanam: Radharani fulfils Krishna’s desires in all respects in thousands and thousands of forms. We see that She appeared in this world during Krishna’s Pastimes in Gokula. The only difference between Goloka and Gokula is that Gokula appears in this world while the Lord’s eternal Pastimes go on in Goloka. The same Pastimes manifest in two forms. We desire to become particles of dust in that land, where the cause of all causes who is the origin of all but has no origin, Govinda, is accompanied by His servants and served in all five rasas. In Goloka Vrndavan, the Divine Couple, Radha and Krishna, are served in all five rasas as Their eternal Pastimes unfold.
In Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s sole worshippable Deity is identified, but mention of Sri Radhika is made only in a very covered way.
aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa-tanayas tad-dhama vrndavanam
ramya kachid upasana vraja-vadhu-vargena ya kalpita
srimad-bhagavatam pramanam amalam prema pumartho mahan
sri-chaitanya-mahaprabhor matam idam tatradarah nah parah
(Srila Srinath Chakravarti)
[“‘The worshippable Supreme Lord is the son of the King of Vraja, Krishna, whose abode is Vrndavan. The most pleasing worship is that performed by the wives of Vraja. Srimad Bhagavatam is the flawless authority, and divine love is the ultimate goal of human life.’ This is the conception of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. We adore it as supreme.”]
Sriman Mahaprabhu said that Srimad Bhagavatam, the flawless Purana, is the highest authority, and Radharani is the best of the wives of Vraja, yet Sukadev Goswami, with great difficulty, did not mention Radharani in Srimad Bhagavatam. Why not? His character is not like that of someone who sells goods in the market. Many great sages were present in the assembly of Sukadev Goswami and Maharaj Pariksit.
atrir vasisthas chyavanah saradvan
aristanemir bhrgur angiras cha
parasaro gadhi-suto ’tha rama
dvaipayano bhagavan naradas cha
(Srimad Bhagavatam: 1.19.9–10)
[“Sages like Atri, Chyavan, Saradvan, Aristanemi, Bhrgu, Vasistha, Parasara, Visvamitra, Ańgira, Parasurama, Krsna Dvaipayan, and the great Narad were assembled.”]
Sukadev Goswami described Radharani in a hidden way in the presence of all these great sages, yet the entire Bhagavatam is filled with glorification of Radharani. The Goswamis have stated this, and Sriman Mahaprabhu has revealed it to this world. Our Guru Maharaj wanted to condense the Bhagavatam into three hundred verses. When he started this work, he began with a set of prayers. Within them is this verse:
yad amiya-mahima-sri-bhagavatyah kathayam
pratipadam anubhutam chapy alabdhabhidheya
(Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj)
[“I surrender to the lotus feet of the fountain of madhura-rasa, Sri Radha. Though their name is not found within the narrative of the glorious, nectarean Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Radha’s lotus feet are present within every word of it and are the basis of the Pastimes of the embodiment of all rasa, Syam.”]
We can find nectar, beauty, and glory in every verse of the Bhagavatam, but Radharani is not mentioned, not identified, within it. That is to say, She has been spoken of everywhere, but Her identity has not been pulled into the forefront. In a couple of places, there is some allusion to Her, but even that is done very carefully.
anayaradhito nunam bhagavan harir isvarah
yan no vihaya govindah prito yam anayad rahah
(Srimad Bhagavatam: 10.30.28)
In this verse we find mention of Radharani: “After She left the Rasa dance out of jealous anger and went into the forest, Krishna also broke away from His play with gopis and went after Her.” Here Radharani’s name is not stated, but from other Puranas and scriptures we can understand that ‘She’ is Radharani. Radharani’s name is not stated in the Bhagavatam, given the circumstances in which it was spoken. Why? Even Sukadev Goswami honours Radharani’s position from a distance.
Our Guru Maharaj wrote a poem about Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur, the Bhakti Vinod Viraha Dasakam. There He described Radharani, Her service, and Her abode. He also stated that only Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur can give us direct service to Radharani. In a short verse, Srila Guru Maharaj explained where Vrndavan, the service world, exists, who serves there, and how service goes on there. He explained everything:
sarvachintyamaye paratpara-pure goloka-vrndavane
chil-lila-rasa-rangini parivrta sa radhika sri-hareh
vatsalyadi-rasais cha sevita-tanor madhurya-seva-sukham
nityam yatra muda tanoti hi bhavan tad dhama-seva-pradah
(Srimad Bhakti Vinod Viraha Dasakam: 8)
[“In Goloka Vrndavan, the highest plane within the completely inconceivable spiritual sky, surrounded by the sakhis, Srimati Radhika, who revels in the rasas of spiritual Pastimes, eternally expands the joy of loving service to Sri Krishnachandra, who is also served in relationships of affection, friendship, servitude, and adoration. You, O Bhakti Vinod Thakur, give us service in that abode.”]
The spiritual abode of Goloka Vrndavan is above all. It is supreme. There Chil-lila-rasa-rangini parivrta Sa Radhika: with Her associates, the sakhis, Radharani always serves Krishna with five kinds of rasa, ecstasy. All the rasas, ecstasies, are infinite, and thus in an infinite way, Radharani serves Krishna.
Radharani is the storehouse of unlimited rasa. She serves Krishna in Goloka Vrndavan in all possible ways, and amongst all of the arrangements for service She makes, Her personal service to Krishna is supreme. She offers many varieties of service, but Her service with Her own body and associates, that is, Her madhura-rasa service, is best, and all other rasas are also included within it.
When we hear of paramour love, can we understand that it is the highest? It is very hard to understand how paramour love is the highest. I cannot explain it in English. When all of a lover’s intentions are for their lover, and they have no other intentions, then that lover has real paramour love. And when one’s lover is Krishna, then there is no question of where one’s love is being directed. When Krishna is one’s lover, then one gives all the wealth of love to His lotus feet. And not only to His lotus feet, one covers Krishna with all one’s energy. That is paramour love.
When Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu corresponded with Sriman Mahaprabhu by letter, Mahaprabhu described this type of love when He wrote His reply, which was only a verse:
para-vyasanini nari vyagrapi grha-karmasu
tad evasvadayaty antar nava-sanga-rasayanam
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Madhya-lila, 1.211)
[“Although a wife who has a paramour is dedicated to her household duties, internally she relishes the pleasure of Her paramour’s association.”]
A lover can do many types of work, many different things, but they cannot forget their lover for a second. When we dedicate our love to the supreme lover, Krishna, with that kind of attachment and attraction and with our full energy, then it is called paramour love.
Today is Radharani’s birthday, and we are praying to Srila Guru Maharaj, because our Gurudev’s highest service-form is Radharani. If we look from a high level, then we can see it, and when we go to that level, we will see, but for now what we are seeing is sufficient for us, that is, we see Sri Gurudev in front of us. Under his guidance, we must get a chance to attain that paramour love. One day, by Gurudev’s mercy, we will get that fortune. We have this hope in our heart. What should be done and not done is beyond our control. We simply depend upon mercy. If we can do what is necessary to attract that mercy to us, then our birth will be successful. Today is Radharani’s appearance day. Let us bow at Her feet. When we receive Srila Guru Maharaj’s mercy, we will be given the qualification to serve Her and become completely fulfilled.
There is a song Srila Guru Maharaj likes. When Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj would come here, Srila Guru Maharaj would order Babaji Maharaj to sing this song. Now I will try to sing it.
(jaya) radhe! radhe! govinda! govinda!
[“Glory to Radha and Govinda!”]
syama-sundara madana-mohana vrndavanachandra
rasesvari vinodini bhanu-kula-chandra 
[“Glory to Govinda, whose dark form is beautiful, who is the enchanter of Cupid, and who is the moon of Vrndavan! Glory to Radha, the controller of the Rasa Dance, delight personified, the moon of Maharaj Vrsabhanu’s family!”]
radha-ramana rasa-bihari sri-gokulananda
radha-kanta radha-vinoda sri-radha-govinda 
[“Glory to Govinda, Radha’s pleasure, the enjoyer of the Rasa Dance, the joy of Gokula, Radha’s lover, Radha’s inspiration! Glory to Sri Radha and Govinda!”]
sri-rupa-manjari adi manjari ananga
lalita visakha adi yata sakhi-vrnda 
[“Glory to Sri Rupa Manjari, Ananga Manjari, and all the other manjaris! Glory to Lalita, Visakha, and all the other sakhis!”]
paurnamasi kunda-lata jaya vira-vrnda
saba mili’ kara krpa ami ati manda 
[“Glory to Paurnamasi, Kundalata, and all the ladies of Vraja! May they all bless me. I am most fallen.”]
krpa kari’ deha yugala-charanaravinda
(yena) akula-prane gaite pari sri-radha-govinda 
[“May they mercifully give me the lotus feet of the Divine Couple so that I can sing Sri Radha and Govinda’s glories with an eager heart!”]
This is an English translation of Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj’s Bengali lecture on Sri Radhastami in 1991.