The exalted character of Sri Lalita Devi.

By Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj

yam kam api vraja-kule vrsabhanujayah
preksya sva-paksa-padavim anuruddhyamanam
sadyas tad ista-ghatanena krtarthayantim
(Sri Lalitastakam: 7)

Whoever she mets in Vraja Dham, she requests them to join her party, and whenever anyone comes and says, “Yes, admit me”, she at once admits them to come and join the service of Radharani, of Sri Guru.

Her intense attention to look after the interest of Radharani is never found anywhere else. Sometimes, she even boldly chastises Krishna and asserts the side of Radharani. She takes the risk of blaming Krishna: “You do not know the dignity of my Mistress. You are undervaluing Her.” Lalita Devi’s impact is such. Radharani’s interest is the highest in her consciousness. These things are beyond even our dreams, but such a position is possible, so much so that Radharani Herself feels ashamed: “What does she say about Me? So much?” She feels uneasiness, but Lalita says, “No. You sit quiet. You don’t know Your interest. I am Your leader. I know what is Your interest, Your position, and I can’t tolerate that Your dignity should be minimised in any way, ever.” This is the spirit of Lalita Devi.

Svarup Damodar in Nabadwip is Lalita, and he is the constant companion of Sriman Mahaprabhu in Puri. He is the highest class of scholar and also a good singer, but without consideration, He performs the simple services of a servant. When a pandit comes, Svarup Damodar is there, and when there is any lower service, Svarup Damodar is also there; he is everywhere. When Mahaprabhu was lost, Svarup Damodar searched for Him with a lantern all night, moving along the seashore. This is how Lalita Devi serves Radharani.

Srila Rupa Goswami has composed a song in praise of Lalita Devi:

radha-mukunda pada-sambhava-gharma-bindu-
uttunga-sauhrda-visesa-vasat pragalbham
devim gunaih sulalitam lalitam namami
(Sri Lalitastakam: 1)

Here, he explains how Lalita Devi is the first attendant of Radharani. In the inauguration of the song, he says, “Lalita Devi is a little aggressive in nature. She pushes and meddles in the affairs of Radha and Krishna. She thinks all the affairs to connect Them are her responsibility. So, she may go to interfere with anything in connection with them. She is forward, a little uddhata, aggressive in nature, intolerant. But Srila Rupa Goswami has justified her character. How? What is the standard of her love and sacrifice for Radha and Krishna? Radha-Mukunda-pada-sambhava-gharma-bindu: if she finds a drop of sweat on the foot of either Radharani or Krishna, then nirmanchanopakarani-krta-deha-laksam, as if with millions of bodies, with so much eagerness, she jumps to remove that drop of sweat. So much affection she feels for both of Them. At the bottom of her aggression and interference in the affairs connecting Them is such great affection, deep affection. That justifies all her activities as the leader accepted by Radha and Krishna’s entire group. She is the leader, and this is the standard of her love and affection. With that, she veers towards the Couple: she can’t tolerate a drop of sweat on the foot of the divine damsel, and as if with millions of bodies she wants to remove that drop of sweat. She cannot tolerate any trouble, even least trouble, coming to Them.

uttunga-sauhrda-visesa-vasat pragalbham
(Sri Lalitastakam: 1)

She is very aggressive and talkative, and goes forward to do anything and everything as if she is mad with her leadership. But at the bottom of this is her great concern for Them. The justification is there.

Sometimes she chastises Radharani Herself: “You do not know how to behave with Krishna. I will teach You what to do. Sit here in this way and don’t make Yourself available to Krishna so cheaply. You must be careful about Your own dignity.” In this way, she teaches Radharani also as a guardian. Although she is a little younger in age, she is a caretaker of Radharani. She always comes forward to look after the cause of Radharani, to espouse the cause of Radharani above that of the Lord. She always thinks herself responsible for all the affairs concerning Them, and sometimes she goes to chastise Krishna also: “You don’t know the dignified position of my friend, the dignified love She has for You. You undermine that, but I can’t allow You to do that.”

From our mundane plane, it is not at all an understandable thing, We are creatures of the plane of lust. There is similarity but also a great and great difference between the two. One is the perverted reflection of the other, its opposite. One is prema, the highest sacrifice, and there other is lust, gross sense pleasure. The distance between them is like that of the north pole and south pole. They are exact opposites. We are mad with lustfulness, but such madness is an effect, a perversion, of an original that is higher and noble because sacrifice is at the bottom of it. Self-forgetful sacrifice, reckless sacrifice, for the satisfaction of the prime cause, the autocrat, whose extent and intensity can never be calculated, that is plain. It is the utmost sacrifice. Renunciation is a very pale thing compared to such service, such sacrifice. Renunciation, liberation, salvation, these mean only to come out of the negative aspect of life. Then there is the positive life, the life of sacrifice, and the acme of that is to be found here. Lalita Devi’s position is such. She thinks herself a guardian of Radharani: “I am Her guardian. I can’t allow anything to minimise Her great divine love and sacrifice.” She stands to guarantee this even to Krishna, not to speak of other persons in the ordinary public market: “It is the most valuable and rare. Such is Radharani’s sacrifice in love.” Such intensity and dignity are unthinkable, unknown, and unknowable. Only we are to conjecture the ideal. If we think that we have got that, then it is finished. We have only some maya. It is adhoksaja. It can never be caught by any force within our mind or intelligence. Avan-manasa-gochara: it exists transcending our mental speculation and also our consideration of judiciousness.

Lalita Devi has unique importance in the lila of Krishna. She is the guardian of the lila. There are other friends of Radharani, some of neutral spirit towards Krishna and Radharani, and some a little partial towards Krishna. But Lalita Devi is cent per cent partial to Radharani’s cause. This is Lalita Devi.

Her birthday, the day of her appearance, was just before that of Radharani.


Spoken on 27 August 1982.

Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj is the foremost modern exponent of the conception of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the school of Srila Rupa Goswami. Subtle and profound yet vivid and practical, his representation of both the broadest and deepest spiritual truths has and continues to fortify and nurture the faith of spiritual aspirants the world over. For more information on Srila Sridhar Maharaj, please visit his biography page.

Load more results

Generic filters
Search for exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Filter by Custom Post Type