This year, 2016, the divine disappearance day of Srila Rupa Goswami is celebrated on August 15 in Vrindavan. For your own transcendental reading pleasure on this day, and for your sharing with friends, we are happy to present Srila Narayana Goswami Maharaja’s discourse on Srila Rupa Goswami’s glories, spoken at Sri Rupa Sanatan Gaudiya Matha on August 6, 1998: Movie at the Rupa Goswami’s Samadhi. Sincerely, the Harikatha team]
In Sri Krishna’s pastimes, Srila Rupa Goswami is Rupa Manjari, a special maidservant of Srimati Radhika. Rupa Manjari is always serving Srimati Radhika, and she is always on her side. If Krishna orders her to do something, she will not be afraid to disobey, and by disobeying she will be so pleasing to Krishna. Among all the maidservants of Radhika, including Rati Manjari (Raghunath Das Goswami) and Labanga Manjari (Sanatan Goswami), she is the most prominent. Ananga Manjari, the younger sister of Radhika, is her bosom friend.
Because Rupa Manjari is the prominent maidservant of Srimati Radhika and always lives with Her, she knows some things that are unknown even to the closest sakhis (gopi friends) of Radhika, namely Lalita, Vishakha, and Tungavidya. By her causeless mercy, she came in the form of Srila Rupa Goswami, the associate of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
All of the associates of Krishna act as if they are dumb when it comes to expressing themselves about their own loving exchanges with Sri Krishna. They personally relish Krishna’s pastimes, but they cannot tell anything about their experiences. Radhika will also not tell anything about how she meets with Krishna. Sometimes, in the early morning, Shyamala visits Srimati Radhika and asks, “I want to hear something from you. I want to take bath in hearing your Krishna katha; I want to hear how you met with Krishna last night.”
Srimati Radhika replies, “I don’t remember. I went there and I saw him, and then I fainted, and I don’t know anything about what happened after that.”
If Chandravali asks what happened, Radhika’s sakhis tell the opposite of what actually transpired. They will not reveal what incidents actually took place. Whenever they are asked this question, all act as if dumb. Neither Lalita nor Vishakha nor any other sakhis will tell, and even Krishna will not tell what happened. They will relish their pastimes together, but not tell others about them.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has said:
na prema-gandho’sti darāpi me harau krandāmi saubhāgya-bharaṁ prakāśitum vaṁśī-vilāsy-ānana-lokanaṁ vinā bibharmi yat prāṇa-pataṅgakān vṛthā
My dear friends, I have not the slightest tinge of prema within my heart. When you see me crying in separation, I am just falsely exhibiting a demonstration of my great fortune. Indeed, not seeing the beautiful face of Krishna playing his flute, I continue to live my life like an insect, without purpose. (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 2.45)
Mahaprabhu said, “I have not a scent of that prema.” In this way, he is also as if dumb.
In Srila Raya Ramananda’s conversation with Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (R;am;ananda-samvada), Raya Ramananda – who is Vishakha in Krishna’s pastimes – barely told anything. He was simply replying to Mahaprabhu’s questions, one after another.
In Mahaprabhu’s instructions to Srila Sanatan Goswami (Sanatana-śikṣā), what did he tell? He did not say anything about the confidential pastimes of Sri Sri Radha Krishna, nor did he reveal how the gopis serve them.
What has Mahaprabhu told in his instructions to Srila Rupa Goswami in Sri Rupa-śikṣā? He told next to nothing regarding Radha and Krishna’s pastimes. And finally, He ordered Rupa Goswami to reveal all that He Himself could not.
Even Rupa Manjari cannot tell anything. Only Rupa Goswami can tell; he tells everything.
Srila Rupa Goswami is very intelligent and expert. He explains how, in the form of Rupa Manjari, he personally serves Srimati Radhika in Krishna’s pastimes. For example, he sees that Srimati Radhika has appointed him, in the form of Rupa Manjari: “O my dear sakhi, please stand at the door of the kunj and do not allow anyone to come to me, especially that black person (Krishna). He should not come to me. He might come disguised as a girl; His cowherd friend Subala is so expert that he may disguise him as a very enchanting gopi. If that happens, you should know that it is him.”
Srila Rupa Goswami is seeing: “Srimati Radhika has told me to do this, and I am now standing guard at the door of her kunj. When Krishna comes in the disguise of any girl, I will chastise Him because of His misbehaviour towards Radhika and not allow Him to enter. Will such a day ever come to me, that I may perform that service?”
He tells us what he has seen: In the form of Rupa Manjari he is serving Krishna and Srimati Radhika. He is obeying the orders of Srimati Radhika and stopping Krishna from entering her kunj. He is seeing how Krishna, being so much pleased, is begging her to be allowed to enter Radhika’s kunj and is placing his head at her (Rupa Manjari’s) own lotus feet to attain her (Rupa Manjari’s) mercy.
Srila Rupa Goswami is very clever. He has written all his prayers as though he has not already experienced the fruit of those prayers. Although he has actually experienced his personal services to Radhika, he is writing prayers as if he has never experienced this – for us. What he felt in the form of Rupa Manjari, he has very cleverly shared with us by means of his prayers.
Rupa Goswami has personally taken darshan of Radha and Krishna, but for the true, sincere sadhaka, he has written this verse in his prayer, Gāndharvā-samprārthanāṣṭakam:
vṛndāvane viharator iha keli-kuñjematta-dvipa-pravara-kautuka-vibhrameṇa |sandarśayasva yuvayor vadanāravinda-dvandvaṁ vidhehi mayi devi kṛpāṁ prasīda
O devi Radhike! Like the intoxicated king of elephants sporting with his queen elephant, Sri Krishna and You are constantly enjoying your ambrosial amorous pastimes in the lush pleasure groves of Vrindavan. Therefore, O Gandharvike, be pleased with me and mercifully grant me the darshan of your two lotus-like faces.
Srila Rupa Goswami is teaching by his own example how a Rupanuga Vaishnava prays to Srimati Radhika. Those who want to follow him never pretend to have already attained ekadasa-bhava (gopi-bhava, or manjari-bhava). Those who pretend to be already on that platform when they are actually not so, are actually mad; they have no sense at all. We should always pray as Srila Rupa Goswami prayed. Then, by the mercy of the gopis and by the mercy of Srimati Radhika, we can realise all the truths hidden within Rupa Goswami’s prayers. Srimati Radhika will give this realization. She will at once be pleased and give her service.
Srila Rupa Goswami teaches us how to pray: vṛndāvane viharator iha “O, when will that time come? O my dear Srimati Radhika Devi, you are very merciful, so please be merciful to me. Please sprinkle your mercy upon me.”
When uttering this verse we should weep; we should not chant this verse as a parrot would chant it. We should be alone, weeping with a melted heart so that Srimati Radhika’s heart may melt. If our heart is not melted at the time of prayer, then the heart of Srimati Radhika, Mahaprabhu, Krishna, and Gurudeva will not melt for us.
If they see that we have so many worldly desires, they will not be merciful. Therefore, we must be one-pointed, thinking only this: “I want Srimati Radhika’s service.
tavaivāsmi tavaivāsmi na jīvāmi tvayā vinā |iti vijñāya devi tvaṁ naya māṁ caraṇāntike ||
O Radha, I cannot live without you, so please be merciful to me. If you are not merciful to me, I can no longer remain alive; I will die at once.
And certainly he must die.
Srimati Radhika will not reveal herself to one who is not actually feeling like he is dying without her mercy. She will look to see this: “Is he really feeling that without me he will die at once, or is he only saying so?”
There should be a sense of “mine-ness” (mamatā) towards Srimati Radhika. Then, by the mercy of Gurudeva, we can attain a little fraction of her mercy. If we desire so many worldly things, then Srimati Radhika, Gurudeva, and Vaishnavas will not hear our prayers. When we only want Radhika’s mercy, then they will hear and give their full mercy.
In the above-mentioned verse, Srila Rupa Goswami prays to serve Radha and Krishna when they are performing their amorous pastimes in the keli-kuñjas throughout Vrindavan: in Bhandirvana, Nandagaon, and Barsana, and especially at Radha Kund. The word keli in this verse refers to Sri Sri Radha and Krishna’s amorous pastimes, and the word kuñja in this connection refers to the secluded groves in which they are absorbed in playing like “mad elephants” (matta-dvipa). Rupa Goswami also prays to serve them when They are roaming throughout Vrindavan. He begs them, “O my dear Srimati Radhika, O my dear Krishna, when will a day come that I will see your lotus feet?
In another verse of this prayer he begs Radhika,
hā devi kāku-bhara-gadgadayādya vācāyāce nipatya bhuvi daṇḍavad udbhatārtiḥ |asya prasādam abudhasya janasya kṛtvāgāndharvike nija-gaṇe gaṇanāṁ vidhehi ||2||O Devi, Radhika, I want my heart to melt, but it does not do so because it is full with so many anarthas (unhelpful thoughts and habits), especially hṛdaya-daurbalya, asat-tṛṣṇā, svarūpa-bhrama and aparādha *[see endnote 1]. We are bound to commit all these offences (aparādhas). We cannot give appropriate honour to any Vaishnava, and we cannot follow their orders. Therefore, although Radha and Krishna, Mahaprabhu, the Guru and the Vaishnavas want to bestow their mercy upon us, we cannot receive their mercy because we are not qualified.
In the verse beginning with hā devi kāku-bhara, Rupa Goswami is praying, “I am weeping bitterly. I am rolling down on the earth and praying at your lotus feet. Although I am so foolish and full of anarthas, still, I am yours. I am not qualified, I have so many undesirable mentalities; that is true, but I know that you alone are mine. O Gandharvika (Radhika), I beg you to write my name in the register of your maidservants. I beg you to sometimes remember me, that I’m yours, your dear maidservant.”
If Srimati Radhika hears these prayers uttered from the core of one’s heart, her heart will melt and she will bestow her mercy.
Srila Rupa Goswami has skilfully written prayers such as this, filled with the pastimes of Krishna. He is Rupa Manjari, a prominent nitya-siddha (eternally perfect) associate of Radha and Krishna, but in the form of a sadhaka he is explaining to us the pastimes and the process to understand and enter them, so that we may be helped. This is his mercy.
śyāme ramā-ramaṇa-sundarata-variṣṭha-saundarya-mohita-samasta-jagaj-janasya |śyāmasya vāma-bhuja-baddha-tanuṁ kadāhaṁtvām indirā-virala-rūpa-bharāṁ bhajāmi ||3||
O Syame (Radhika)! Your Master is even more charming than Lord Narayana, and his beauty enchants the entire creation. You are at his left side, embraced by his arm, and your beauty can never be equalled, even by that of Lakshmi Devi. When will I properly worship such beauty?
“You are so beautiful, even more beautiful than Krishna, and Lakshmi and all the Lakshmis of Dvaraka. You are more beautiful than Chandravali, Lalita, Vishakha, and all the other gopis. Sri Krishna is more beautiful than Rama-ramana (Lord Narayan), and he can charm all incarnations, including Ramachandra and Narayan. Will a day come for me when I may see that very Krishna embracing you as you struggle to free yourself from His embrace? May I be fortunate enough to see this?”
These are some of the prayers of Rupa Goswami, who is very skilfully teaching us how a true rupanuga Vaishnava can gradually develop his bhakti, absorb himself in all the pastimes of Radha and Krishna, and then enter those pastimes. When all these prayers are offered continually, without desiring anything for our body or our mind, not desiring even Vaikuntha, only endeavouring for the service of Radhika, this is called Rupanuga bhajana.
We should try to follow Rupa Goswami, just as all our previous acharyas (spiritual masters) have followed him. All of our acharyas, like Raghunath Das Goswami, Jiva Goswami, Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami, Narottam Das Thakur, Vishwanath Chakravarti Thakur, down to Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur and his pure followers – all are Rupanuga.
We must know the meaning of Rupanuga. Those who have a taste, a greed, to serve Srimati Radhika – only Radhika – they are Rupanuga and they can understand something of the mercy of Srila Rupa Goswami, without which one cannot know his glory. We can know something of his glory by the mercy of Raghunath Das Goswami *[see endnote 2], Jiva Goswami, Narottama dasa Thakura, down to Srila Prabhupada and our Gurudeva. It is incumbent upon us to understand how his mercy is attained, and to understand the extent of our debt to him. If we have no taste, no greed for this, we will not be able to understand.
We should try to associate with rasika Vaishnavas, those who have these elevated moods in relation to Srimati Radhika, and then we can advance in our bhakti. Try to follow Rupa Goswami’s Upadesāmṛta; those who do not read and follow this cannot understand him. Then, after understanding and following Upadesāmṛta, we should read, understand and follow Manah-śikṣā. Then we can know something about his glory and mercy.
[Ramacandra dasa (Delhi):] Can we utter prayers like this?
[srila Narayana Goswami Maharaja:] If you have taste and greed, you can do so, otherwise, don’t touch them.
[Ramacandra dasa:] We should not read the pastimes, but in the form of prayers it is okay?
[srila Narayana Goswami Maharaja:] If anyone has taste and greed for this attainment by hearing the truths mentioned herein, and by serving the bona fide Rupanuga guru and Vaishnavas, that devotee can read and pray. Those who are filled with worldly desires, thinking, “Oh, the association of a girl and a boy is so good,” are not qualified for this. For those who are hearing from the books of Srila Rupa Goswami, from Sri Caitanya-caritāmṛta, and from Srimad Bhāgavatam, if a real greed manifests in their hearts, they are qualified to know all these truths and they can pray in this way. Even if one will warn them not to do it, still they will do it. Regarding those who are not qualified, even if one insists that they do it, they will not do it.
Gaura-premanande !Sri Rupa Goswami ki jaya!
[Endnote 1: (From Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu-bindu by Srila Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakur) Anarthas are of four kinds: (1) svarūpa-bhrama (illusion about spiritual identity), (2) asat-tṛṣṇā (thirst for that which is unreal; that is, material enjoyment), (3) aparādha (offences) and (4) hṛdaya-daurbalya – (weakness of heart). These are further explained there and in Bhajana-rahasya.
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