Srila Narottam Thakur’s prayers to Sri Rupa explained.
Sri Rupa Manjari is considered to be the leader of all of the manjaris in the camp of Radharani. The manjaris are younger than the sakhis, so they have the facility to enter into the room of Radha-Govinda when the older sakhis cannot enter. These young girls know much about the advanced Pastimes, and they enjoy that confidence. When Radha and Govinda are in solitude, these young girls are allowed to serve Them, but the older friends of Radharani hesitate to join Her at that time. When Radharani and Krishna meet for Their private affairs, the highest quality of rasa is produced by Their union, and the manjaris, not the sakhis, come in connection with that highest quality of rasa. So, the Rupanuga sampradaya means the opportunity to taste that highest quality of the rasa produced by Radha and Govinda’s confidential union. Mahaprabhu recommended that this is the highest attainment ever possible for the soul. The Rupanuga sampradaya: the soul can reach madhura-rasa, then the camp of Radharani, and then that of Sri Rupa.
Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur has given a description, a sketch, of the confidential spiritual service in madhura-rasa under the leadership of Rupa Goswami in his Rupanuga-bhajana-darpana. Srila Narottam Thakur also understands the substantial characteristic of Rupanuga-bhajan so much so that he expresses this aspiration, “When will my Gurudev, Lokanath Goswami, take me by my hand and connect me to Rupa, saying ‘O Rupa, I am giving you this new young maidservant. Take her.’ When will my Gurudev give charge of me to Sri Rupa in this way?”
Rupa’s transaction is higher. The manjaris’ service means a higher plan and design, different dealings and services unique within the camp of Radharani that are most confidential, that are generally not aspired for even by other sakhis and their associates.
sri-rupa-manjari-pada sei mora sampada
sei mora bhajana-pujana
sei mora prana-dhana sei mora abharana
sei mora jivanera jivana
In Sri-Rupa-Manjari-pada, the exclusive, concentrated attempt, the aspiration to be admitted and enter the camp of Sri Rupa, is expressed with earnestness. Exclusive earnestness to get admission into the camp of Sri Rupa is expressed. The characteristic of one’s aspiration should be like this.
Sri-Rupa-Manjari-pada sei mora sampada: I consider the holy feet of Sri Rupa Manjari to be my only wealth. I do not consider anything else to be wealth. Sei mora bhajana pujana: Sri Rupa Manjari’s feet are the object of my bhajan and pujan. Bhajan means a sincere, internal presentation towards the higher, and pujan means a respectful, formal offering. Sei mora prana-dhana: her feet are the source of my life, my sustenance. Sei mora abharana: her feet are my ornaments, my outer qualifications. Both my inner and outer existence are there. Sei mora jivanera jivana: I consider her feet to be the very life of my life, the essence of my existence.
sei mora rasa-nidhi sei mora vanchha-siddhi
sei mora vedera dharama
Sei mora rasa-nidhi: her feet are the source of all my ecstatic aspirations, the ocean of my ecstatic joy. Sei mora vanchha-siddhi: the fulfilment of my inner aspiration is at her feet. Sei mora Vedera dharama: the Vedas have a strong position, a hold over society, but I consider that the Vedas inspire me only to accept her feet as the real meaning of the Vedas.
sei vrata sei tapa sei mora mantra-japa
sei mora dharama karama
Sei vrata: there is a fashion especially in the female section of society to accept various types of vows. A vow means a temporary commitment to a particular good action. Savitri is famous for her vow of chastity. By her chastity, she saved her husband from death. Savitri, Sita, and many other ancient ladies exemplified high ideals, and modern women often take vows in their names. I have no other formal vow than the vow to serve Sri Rupa’s feet.
Sei tapa: men practise many penances to achieve their desired ends, but my only penance is for her feet. By accepting that, I consider that I have finished all penances. Sei mora mantra japa: others engage themselves in japam, repetition of a particular spiritual sound for the attainment of some auspicious end, but my only engagement is the service of Sri Rupa’s feet. Sei mora dharama karama: the service of Sri Rupa covers all possible phases of duty and activity, all possible engagements to discover or serve holy purposes. I concentrate all my activities only to achieve the service of her feet. Everything will be fulfilled by that service.
yasmin jnate sarvam idam vijnatam bhavati
yasmin prapte sarvam idam praptam bhavati
In all phases of life and duty, I want only the service of Sri Rupa.
anukula habe viddhi se pade ha-ibe siddhi
nirakhiba e dui nayane
se rupa-madhuri-rasi prana-kuvalaya-sasi
praphullita habe nisi-dine
Anukula habe viddhi se pade ha-ibe siddhi: I only want that the vidhata, the controller of the world’s forces, will be propitiated by me and make arrangements in favour of such an attempt and attainment in life. If he becomes favourable to me, then my fulfilment will be achieved.
Nirakhiba e dui nayane se rupa-madhuri-rasi: What will be the effect? I will be allowed to have a vision of Sri Rupa’s beautiful figure, movement, and serving attitude. I will be connected, I will see Sri Rupa’s feet, and I will serve under Sri Rupa’s guidance. Prana-kuvalaya-sasi: I will be allowed to have a vision of Sri Rupa’s beautiful figure, which is likened to the moon. The moon is the kumud’s source of energy and beauty. The kumud is a red, night lotus. Generally, the sun helps the lotus, and the moon helps the red flowers that we find in a pond, like the kumud, which flourish in moonlight. The lotus and lily get energy from sunlight. Praphullita habe nisi-dine: my demand is not only during the night or the day, but during both the night and the day. Perhaps the principal necessity of madhura-rasa is the night, so the moon of the night is taken as the sustaining agency. Here, not the kumud, but the kuvalaya, a particular type of lotus, is mentioned. Praphullita habe nisi-dine: that lotus, my heart, will be encouraged and sustained both day and night by the rays from the beautiful figure, colour, and movement of Sri Rupa. That will inspire me day and night in the service of Krishna’s camp.
tuya adarsana-ahi-garale jarala dehi
chira-dina tapita jivana
Then comes another stage. When it is as if I have attained this and it has become my own property, I shudder to lose it again and feel I may not be able to maintain myself. If I become dispossessed of such association for a long time, I will not be able to tolerate it for long. After attaining that association, after it became my own, my home, why might I be forced to remain apart from it? I shudder. I cannot tolerate being separated from it. Tuya adarsana-ahi-garale jarala dehi: when your separation, like a serpent, bites me, my whole being feels the pain produced by a serpent’s poison. The whole world seems to feel the uneasiness produced by poison. Chira-dina tapita jivana: for a long time, I have undergone this sort of pang of separation from you, my mistress.
ha ha rupa kara daya deha more pada chhaya
narottama la-ila sarana
Now I again come to your feet. Please grant me permanent service in your camp. I am taking refuge under you. I have no alternative. I fully surrender to you. You should give me permanent service in your camp. Without that, it is not possible for me to go on with my life.