A mystery within the Siksastakam.

By Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj

Srila Guru Maharaj explained the Siksastakam, and I am surprised by his explanation of the very finest point within it: vidya-vadhu-jivanam. It is very heavy.

cheto-darpana-marjanam bhava-mahadavagni-nirvapanam
sreyah-kairava-chandrika-vitaranam vidya-vadhu-jivanam
anandambudhi-vardhanam prati-padam purnamrtasvadanam
sarvatma-snapanam param vijayate sri-krsna-sankirtanam

Everything in this verse is understandable except vidya-vadhu-jivanam. What does it mean? That is the main thing, and nobody explains it. Everywhere I have looked in Bengali and Sanskrit, it is given as vidya-vadhu-jivana-svarupa: Hari-nam is the life of vidya-vadhu [‘the wife of knowledge’]). Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur has explained vidya-vadhu-jivanam in gist, but in a guarded way. Srila Guru Maharaj has very wisely explained it, and everybody will be interested in that. Nowhere have we seen an explanation like that of Srila Guru Maharaj. But to understand it, the capacity to catch the meaning is necessary. Even if you read The Golden Volcano of Divine Love, you may not understand it. We often say “conjugal love”, but how does that come to us? Interest, heartfelt desire, and hankering for that are necessary. Otherwise, it will not come to us. In Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Srila Rupa Goswami wrote,

vyatitya bhavana-vartma yas chamatkara-bhara-bhuh
hrdi sattvojjvale badham svadate sa raso matah
(Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu: 2.5.132)

What is rasa? First of all, it is inconceivable. Vyatitya bhavana-vartma: rasa-loka [the plane of rasa] begins from a level beyond the highest idea of rasa we can form. Yas chamatkara-bhara-bhuh: in that plane, we will see the Sweet Absolute playing in transcendental motion within a transcendental environment. There everything is chintamani. That means everything can immediately supply you with whatever you desire. If you come to a neem tree and think, “I need a mango”, you will receive one. Everything is possible everywhere for everyone there, and there everything is always beautifully set up.

yasyah kadapi vasananchala-khelanottha-
dhanyatidhanya-pavenena krtarthamani
yogindra-durgama-gatir madhusudano ’pi
tasyah namo ’stu vrsabhanubhuvo dise ’pi
(Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi: 2)

When Krishna stands with His father and mother and the wind blows through Radharani’s sari towards Krishna as She walks by, Krishna feels, “I am so fortunate to feel this breeze.” In this way, the Sweet Absolute’s play goes on in Vrndavan.

When a devotee surrenders, not only surrenders in the ordinary sense, but fully surrenders at Krishna’s lotus feet, then Krishna shines the light of prema [divine love] upon them. Krishna of Vrndavan has no property—nothing to give His devotees—other than prema. Devotees become enlightened by the light of that prema and automatically receive the form of a servitor. There are many classes of servitors, and the highest class are those in conjugal love. Amongst them, the supremely highest class are those in paramour conjugal love, and vidya-vadhu-jivanam describes that class.

In Bengali, Sanskrit, and similar languages, when the word vadhu is spoken, it is immediately understood to mean a married girl standing with her face covered in a very happy yet shy mood. Chandi Das explained this on the highest level, and one who knows that explanation can immediately catch the meaning vadhu in the Siksastakam.

vayase kisori rajara kumari tahe kula-vadhu bala
(Sri Chandi Dasera Padavali: 86.4)

[“Adolescent in age, She is a princess, a chaste, youthful wife.”]

This is from Chandi Das’s explanation of Radharani’s first purva-raga for Krishna. He also described Radharani’s experience of hearing Krishna’s Name.

keba sunaila syama-nama
kanera bhitara diya marame pasila go
akula karila mama prana

[Radharani: “Who caused Me to hear Syam’s Name? Entering through My ears into the core of My being, Syam’s Name has overwhelmed My heart.”]

The wives in Vraja serve their husbands, but internally they always think of their paramour Krishna. They always remember Krishna’s Pastimes with them, but outwardly they perform their work, maintain their households, and serve their husbands. Sriman Mahaprabhu described this to Srila Rupa Goswami,

para-vyasanini nari vyagrapi grha-karmasu
tad evasvadayaty antar nava-sanga-rasayanam
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Madhya-lila, 1.211)

[“Although a wife captivated by a paramour is dedicated to her household duties, she internally relishes the pleasure of her paramour’s association.”]

Mahaprabhu advised Rupa Goswami in Ramakeli, “Go home, continue your work, and always think of Krishna in this way”, and Srila Guru Maharaj interpreted vidya-vadhu-jivanam in the same way.


Spoken on 27 March 1991.


Srila Sridhar Maharaj explains vidya-vadhu-jivanam in two instances in The Golden Volcano of Divine Love:

(1) Vidya-vadhi-jivanam: the Holy Name prepares us for the wholesale surrender to Krishna that is found in conjugal love (madhura-rasa), where the devotees surrender themselves infinitely at the disposal of Krishna.

(2) Under the guidance of the svarup-sakti, the Lord’s internal energy yogamaya, we come to the vadhu conception: we are potency, we are to serve Krishna unconditionally. Vadhu means that rasa which gives full connection with the Lord (madhura-rasa).

In the second passage, yogamaya, the Lord’s svarup-sakti, is a gloss of vidya. Srila Govinda Maharaj’s description of Krishna enlightening a fully surrendered devotee with the light of prema also glosses vidya [‘knowledge’]. Such enlightenment (revelation of the svarup-sakti) brings about realisation of one’s eternal form as a vadhu (wife) in Sri Vraja Dham. Vadhu is thus understood in the verse not only to suggest that vidya means sakti, but to indicate that the singular aim in chanting the Holy Name Sriman Mahaprabhu’s line is service to Krishna in madhura-rasa under the guidance of Srimati Radharani and Her associates led by Lalita Devi and Sri Rupa.

cheto-darpana-marjanam bhava-mahadavagni-nirvapanam
sreyah-kairava-chandrika-vitaranam vidya-vadhu-jivanam
anandambudhi-vardhanam prati-padam purnamrtasvadanam
sarvatma-snapanam param vijayate sri-krsna-sankirtanam

“Sri Krishna-sankirtan cleanses the mirror of consciousness, extinguishes the raging forest fire of material existence, shines moonlight on the evening lotus of good fortune, is the life of those enlightened with paramour love for the Lord, expands the ocean of ecstasy, is the taste of full nectar at every moment, and soothes the entire self. May Sri Krishna-sankirtan be supremely victorious!”