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  1. The meanings of Dīpāvali, its symbols and rituals, and the reasons for celebration are innumerable. Dīpāvali celebrates Lord Rama’s glorious and long-awaited return to his kingdom of Ayodhya after fourteen long years of exile in the forests. It also commemorates Lord Krishna’s victory over the demon Narakasura who had kidnapped and terrorized the gopīs of Vrindavan. When the evil Narakā was finally killed by Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa in the presence of Satyabhāmā, he begged pitifully for mercy; thus, upon his entreaties, it was declared that this day of his death would be celebrated with great joy and festivity. It is also celebrated as the day Bhagavān Viṣṇu married Maha Lakṣmī. Dīpāvali is also associated with the story of the fall of Bali – a demon king who was conquered by Lord Viṣṇu. Lord Viṣṇu appeared to the demon king Bali in the form of a dwarf and requested only three steps of land. Bali granted the dwarf’s meager request for only three feet. Suddenly, Lord Vishnu took on His grand size and placed one foot on the Earth, another on the Heavens and His third on the head of Bali. In general, Dīpāvali signifies the triumph of good over evil, of righteousness over treachery, of truth over falsehood, and of light over darkness. Last night at Radha Kund, a multi-step lamp offering was made, many pilgrims offered individual lamps from the banks; a maha arotik was also performed. As the Rādhārāṇī Braja Yatra celebrates in Vṛndāvana may this Diwalli day(where ever you are), more importantly than personal gain, bring new unprecedented victories in the protection and preservation of Braja Dhāma. The following are some of the photos taken during the occasion…
  2. A sadhu from the Himalayas offered 156 tons of fruit today on the banks of Shri Radhakund. The offering was done on the occasion of the new year. For the last several years, Shri Balak Yogeshwar Ji Maharaj of Jammu and Kashmir has made the huge New Year’s offering. This afternoon, local Brajwasi families could be seen flocking excitedly to Shri Radhakund dressed in their finest attire. Tonight, Shri Radhakund is decorated with colorful lights. Giant lotus flowers and waterfowl have been set afloat upon the holy lake’s surface. The local Brajwasis and other devotees are delighted at the spectacle. The sadhu behind the festivities, Balak Yogeshwar Ji Maharaj, is a practitioner and guru of the Kriya Yoga tradition, however a miraculous event in the 1990s brought him to Radhakund. According to his website: “In 1990, an elderly person in the holy place “Radhakund” (Dist. Mathura, Uttar Pradesh) had a dream that he should deliver some Radha-Krishna murtis [sacred statues] to a very young sadhu (i.e. Balak Yogeshwar Maharaj) in Badrinath. Stirred up by this dream, that elderly man made out the whereabouts of the murtis to be delivered and upon excavating them, he started his journey towards Badrinath where he was searching for that young saint whom he initially could not find. The elderly man then again had a dream in which he was able to recognize Mahbalak-yogeshwar-ji-maharaj-2araj’s face, and by some divine arrangement they both met at the Badrinath temple the very next day. That’s the moment Balak Yogeshwar Maharaj received his beloved Radha-Krishna Deities of which he is very fond. Since his Deities came from that holy place Radhakund, Maharaj started visiting Radhakund occasionally in the year 1993, and he used to stay at that old man’s house who had delivered the Radha-Krishna murtis to him.” The enormous amount of prasad that was offered on Shri Radhakund’s steps will be distributed to devotees. In years past, one could see beaming Brajwasi folk carrying home big boxes of fruit prasad for their families. What a lovely way to serve the residents of Shri Radha and Krishna’s beloved homeland!
  3. avikala-mati devyāś cāru kuṇḍāṣṭakaṁ yaḥ paripaṭhati tadīyollāsi-dāsyārpitātmā aciram iha śarīre darśayaty eva tasmai madhu-ripur ati-modaiḥ śliṣyamāṇāṁ priyāṁ tām Anyone who recites this beautiful Radhakuṇḍāṣṭakam for goddess Radha with an unagitated mind and a fixed intelligence and who submits him/her-self to her blissful service will soon see Madhuripu (Krishna) in her delightful embrace, even while being in this (material) body! Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā by Radha Kund Mahant Pandit Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj: In this verse Shripada Das Goswami describes the phala-śruti (benediction on the reciters) of Śrī Radhakuṇḍāṣṭakam. Can there be any doubt that there must be an extraordinary, indescribable fruit (result) from reciting this Śrī Kuṇḍāṣṭakam, which is filled with the glorification of Shri Radha Kund? This lake, which is most dear to Shri Krishna, just like sākṣāt mādanākhya-mahābhāvavatī kṛṣṇa-priyā śiromaṇi Shri Radharani, which bestows a love for Krishna just like Shri Radha’s on anyone who simply bathes there once, and which blesses anyone who serves it by seeing it or touching it with the greatest love, culminating in the personal service of Shri Radha? Shri Raghunath says: “Anyone who has dedicated himself to the service of Shri Radha in topmost bliss and who recites this Radhakuṇḍāṣṭakam with a steady intelligence is qualified to receive the above-mentioned boon.” The word avikala-mati then means that there must be no doubt at all in the intelligence of the reciter about the glories of Radha Kund being described in these eight verses. Unswerving faith in the words of the saints, the spiritual master and the scriptures is called śraddhā. This śraddhā qualifies the devotee to commence bhajana or devotional practice. A person who doubts the words of the saints, the spiritual master or the scriptures can’t experience anything tanglible as a result from his devotional practice, therefore the saints and the scriptures have adviced us to do bhajana, consisting of hearing and chanting, while keeping unswerving faith in the scriptures and in the guru. The word avikalamati can also mean niścayātmikā buddhi, the fixed intelligence described in Bhagavad Gītā (2.41). Shrila Vishwanath Chakravartipada comments as follows on this verse and thereby gives the following definition of niścayātmikā buddhi: mama gurūpadiṣṭaṁ bhagavat-kīrtana-smaraṇa-caraṇa paricaraṇādikam etad eva mama sādhanam, etad eva mama sādhyam, etad eva mama jīvātuḥ, sādhana-sādhya-daśayos tyaktum aśakyam etad eva me kāmyam, etad eva me kāryam, etad-anyaṁ na me kāryaṁ, nāpy abhilaṣaṇīyaṁ svapne’pīty atra sukham astu duḥkhaṁ vāstu saṁsāra naśyatu vā na naśyatu tatra mama kvāpi kṣatir ity evaṁ niścayātmikā buddhiḥ “The devotional service my Guru has given me, consisting of hearing, chanting, remembering and serving the lotus feet of my beloved deity is my practice, my goal and my very life. Neither in the stage of sādhana, nor in the state of perfection will I be able to give up this order. This is what I desire, this is my duty and I don’t want to do anything else, not even in dreams! It may make me happy, it may make me miserable, it may liberate me from material life, it may not liberate me from material life, all this doesn’t matter to me! This attitude is called niścayātmika buddhi.” This is also the kind of determination of a person who is dedicated to the service of Shri Radha, which is the most blissful and most delicious thing existing in the kingdom of devotion: “The service of Shri Radha is my goal, it is my practice, it is my very life, I am absolutely unable to give up the service of Shri Radha. It may make me happy, it may make me unhappy, I may take birth in any kind of womb, I may go either to heaven or hell as a result of my activities – let my only duty and activity be the practice of rādhā-dāsya, consisting of hearing, chanting, remembering or serving the deity of Shri Radha!” If an avikalamati person, who is thus exclusively fixed in the service of Shri Radha, recites this Radhakuṇḍāṣṭakam, he then will swiftly be able to see Shri Radharani in the embrace of Shri Krishna. This is the highest perfection for the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas, for their only desire is: ballabī bhujalatābaddhe brahmaṇi mano me ramate “May the Supreme Brahman delight my mind as he is bound by the vine like arms of the gopīs!” rādhāpade kori yihoṅ ātma-samarpaṇa; rādhā pada-dāsī nāma koreche dhāraṇa śrī rādhāra manohara ei kuṇḍāṣṭaka; nitya pāṭha kore yiho loṭāye mastaka kṛṣṇa-candra tāra prati hon suprasanna; yugala darśana bhāgye hoy upasanna rādhāliṅgita kṛṣṇe sādhaka śarīre; śrī kuṇḍa dekhāye dena rādhākuṇḍa-tīre kuṇḍa-taṭe vāsa kori raghunātha dāsa; bhajanaa sampuṭa korilā prakāśa “Krishna-candra will be very satisfied with anyone who surrenders unto Radha’s lotus feet, who bears a name thus marking her as a maidservant of Radha’s lotus feet and who always recites this enchanting Radhakuṇḍāṣṭakam, rolling with his head (at the feet of this aṣṭakam) and he will bestow the audience of the Yugala Kiśora to such a fortunate soul. Such a devotee will be able to see Shri Radha wrapped in Shri Krishna’s embrace on the bank of Radha Kund. In this way Shrila Raghunath Das Goswami, who lives on the bank of Radha Kund, opens the basket of his bhajan and shows us its contents.” Thus ends Shrila Raghunath Das Goswami’s Radhakuṇḍāṣṭakam.
  4. anudinam ati-raṅgaiḥ prema-mattāli-saṅghair vara-sarasija-gandhair hāri-vāri-prapūrṇe viharata iha yasmin dam-patī tau pramattau tad ati-surabhi rādhā-kuṇḍam evāśrayo me That very beautiful and fragrant Radha Kund, in whose water filled with nicely smelling lotus flowers, Radha and Krishna daily sport in loving intoxication along with their girlfriends, who are in a similar loving frenzy – this Radha Kund is my only shelter! Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā by Radha Kund Mahant Pandit Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj: By the grace of Shri Kuṇḍeśvarī, Kuṇḍāśrayī Shripada Raghunath perceives the water sports of the Twin Divinities in Radha Kund and he describes them here in this final verse of the Radhakuṇḍāṣṭakam. yei kuṇḍe nitya kṛṣṇa rādhikāra saṅge; jale jalakeli kore – tīre rāsa raṅge “In the water of this (Radha) Kund, Krishna eternally performs water sports with Radhika or dances the Rāsa on its banks.” (C.C.) śrī rādheva hares tadīya-sarasī preṣṭhādbhutaiḥ svair guṇair yasyāṁ śrī-yukta-mādhavendur aniśaṁ prītyā tayā krīḍati “Because of its own qualities this lake is as dear to Hari as Shri Radha herself is. Here the beautiful moon-like Madhava always lovingly plays with her.” (Govinda-līlāmṛta 7.102) In this transcendental vision Shri Raghunath sees that Radha and Madhava have become tired of their midday-sports such as touring the forest, drinking honey wine and making love. Thus they enter into the water of Shri Radha Kund to play there with their girlfriends like a king of elephants with its she-elephants. When Krishna and the gopīs enter into the water, holding hands, they look like a golden net (the gopīs) radiating moonbeams (their radiant smiles) surrounding a monsoon cloud (Krishna). The most amazing thing is though that the rain cloud itself is sprinkled by the golden net (with Radha Kund water) although a cloud usually sprinkles water itself. The gopīs gently sprinkle Krishna with small handfuls of water and Krishna blissfully protects his eyes with his hands. Then, when Shri Krishna forcefully splashes the beautiful gopīs in return they all become physically agitated. Only their moon like faces do not wilt because of their great ecstasy. Now Radha and Krishna begin to play in the water. The loser of this water splashing game must give a prize to the winner. Kundalata is the referee. Shri Radha first splashes Krishna. How sweetly her jewelled bangles jingle around her lotus whorl-like hands! It is as if Cupid wants to defeat Krishna with his water missile! It has become intolerable for Krishna! How beautiful Shrimati looks when she throws the water! Shyam and the sakhis swim in this ocean of beauty. The water Shrimati throws at her Prāṇanātha brightly shimmers on his chest. His garland of divine forest flowers loosens and his big vine like necklace falls off. Only the powerful Kaustubha-gem is able to tolerate this stream of water without agitation and it remains on Priyatama’s body.After this Shri Krishna says: “Priyatame! Now you tolerate this!” He blissfully starts splashing Preyasī’s lotus like face with enchanting streams of water. Tulasi watches on the bank of the kuṇḍa how Radha and Shyam are having a huge fight in the water. Tender hearted Swamini thinks that her prāṇanātha, who is dearer to her than millions of her life-airs, will suffer too much if she splashes in his eyes, so she doesn’t do that, but Shyam, desiring victory, does splash Shrimati’s eyes again and again. The premavatī-sakhis forbid Shyam again and again to throw water at her eyes, but Shyam does not listen. Swamini becomes mad from his expert splashing, although she is normally so grave and she backs away. Shyam loudly laughs, claps his hands and says: “You’re defeated! You’re vanquished! Give me my prize! I’m the victor!” How beautiful are Swamini’s eyes and face when Shyam holds her around the neck! How many hundreds of waves of ecstatic love are there in this ocean of beauty! The fish like eyes of Shyamasundar, the sakhis and manjaris are swimming in this ocean of beauty! Then, when Shyam has collected his prize, Swamini dives under water and swims to a patch of golden lotus flowers, feeling ashamed before her girlfriends. Her lotus like face on her deha-mṛṇāla, lotus stem-like body, mixes with the golden lotus flowers (in the kuṇḍa). The sakhis tell Shyam: “What have you done to our sakhī? Quickly go and look for her!” But Shyamasundar can’t find Shrimati anywhere. Finally he notices many bees becoming attracted to the extraordinary fragrance of Ishwari’s face. They abandon a cluster of lotus flowers and they are madly flying towards the cluster of golden lotus flowers where she’s hiding, so He goes there and catches Shrimati. The sakhis go there too. Then Madhusudan forcibly begins to drink the honey from the lotus like mouths of Shri Radha-padminī and her sakhis, who are maddened by prema in the lotus scented water. Of some sakhis he removes the jewell\ed ornaments. Soon some sakhis loudly exclaim, “My necklace is gone!”; some say, “My locket is gone!” and some cry out, “Where have my waistbells gone?” Krishna then removes the veils and blouses of some of the sakhis in order to behold their indescribable sweetness. Seeing the different erotic water sports of Shri Shri Radha Madhava, who are maddened by their own pastimes, Tulasi Manjari and the other kiṅkarīs are beside themselves in transcendental bliss. After the watersports the Navīna-Yugala comes back to the shore with their sakhis and there the kiṅkarīs anoint and massage Them with oil, bathe them once more and dress them in the nikuñja-mandira with a variety of wonderful garments and ornaments. After remembering his vision of this pastime Shri Raghunath ends this Kuṇḍāṣṭakam by saying: padma-gandhe suvāsita rādhākuṇḍa jale; vihare pramatta hoiyā dampati yugale prema mattā sakhīgaṇa yugalera saṅge; sarovare kore keli nava rasa raṅge manojña se rādhākuṇḍe ekānta prārthanā; āmāra āśraya hon kori e kāmanā “The loving Couple madly plays ever-fresh watersports in the lotus-scented water of Radha Kund with their equally love-intoxicated sakhis. My sole prayer to this beautiful Radha Kund is: May it be my sanctuary! This is my desire!”
  5. taṭa-bhuvi vara-vedyāṁ yasya narmāti-hṛdyāṁ madhura-madhura-vārtāṁ goṣṭha-candrasya bhaṅgyā praṭhayati mitha īśā prāṇa-sakhyālibhiḥ sā tad ati-surabhi rādhā-kuṇḍam evāśrayo me That very beautiful and fragrant Radha Kund, where my mistress Shri Radhika makes ever-so-sweet and pleasant jokes about Krishna, the moon of Vraja, with her dearest girlfriends on a nice platform on the shore – this Radha Kund is my only shelter! Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā by Radha Kund Mahant Pandit Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj: Shri Raghunath’s consciousness is immersed in the sweetness of the kuṇḍa. He is the eternally perfect maidservant of Shri Radharani and his life-airs are offered to Shri Radha’s lotus feet. The bank of the kuṇḍa is dearer to him than millions of life-airs, because this is the peerless abode of Rasika Mithuna Shri Shri Radha Madhava’s greatly intoxicated erotic pastimes. On the bank of this kuṇḍa the priya-kiṅkarīs of Shri Radha are always absorbed in the transcendentally blissful devotional service of the Yugala and in the concomitant relish of their sweet intimate love-pastimes. The sakhis and mañjarīs are like fishes blissfully swimming in the billowing waves of the rasika pastimes of the ocean of rasa, Shri Krishna, and the ocean of prema, Shri Radha. These things can’t be understood as long as we are materially conditioned. One must awaken the consciousness of “I am Shri Radhika’s maidservant” in order to enter into this. Shri Raghunath is a nitya-siddha-kiṅkarī of Vraja and the transcendental saṁskāra of the Yugala-rasa is his innate wealth. Shrila Narottama Thakur Mahashaya called Shrila Rupa Goswami and Shrila Sanatan Goswami yugala ujjvalamaya tanu (“the embodiments of the erotic flavors of the Divine Pair”): jaya sanātana rūpa, premabhakti rasakūpa, yugala ujjvalamaya tanu (Prema-bhakti-candrikā). By their grace Shrila Raghunath Das Goswami was emancipated with them. Shrila Jīva Goswami has written: yan-mitraṁ raghunātha-dāsa iti vikhyātaḥ kṣitau rādhikā- kṛṣṇa prema-mahārṇavormi-nivahe ghṛṇan sadā dīvyati dṛṣṭānta-prakara-prabhābharam atityaivānayor bhrājator yas tulyatva-padaṁ matas tribhuvane sāścaryam āryottamaiḥ “Raghunath Das has become world famous for being the friend of Shri Rupa and Sanatan. He always swims in the waves of the great ocean of love for Radhika and Krishna. The greatest saints say that no one in the world can be compared to Rupa and Sanatan, but amazingly enough Raghunath Das has attained a position equal to theirs!” Therefore Shri Raghunath always perceives the self-manifested sweetness of the kuṇḍa as well as the sweet pastimes which are performed there in his consciousness that is fixed on Shri Radha. In this verse a sweet pastime is described which was perceived one day. On Jatila’s order Shri Radharani leaves her village Javat to go and worship the Sungod with her girlfriends, but instead she goes to Radha Kund to meet Krishna there. With her left hand she holds the hand of her friend Kundalata and with her right she twirls her play lotus. In this way the Radha, the sura-taraṅginī (Ganges-river), runs towards the Shyam ocean. Dhanishtha and Tulasī walk ahead of her. Lalita and Vishakha walk to her either side, and her maidservants headed by Shri Rupa Manjari follow her, carrying the paraphernalia for the Surya puja and other ingredients for their upcoming devotional service to Radha and Krishna with them. Bhāva-kusuma (“flowers of ecstatic love”) like goose pimples, tears of love and paralysis are blossoming on Shrimati’s vine-like body when she thinks of her upcoming meeting with Shri Krishna. How beautiful is Shri Radha, the abhisārikā! taruṇāruṇa caraṇa yugala mañjarī tāhe śobhe; bhṛṅgāvali puñja puñja guñjare madhulobhe kumbhi kumbha jini nitamba keśarī khina mājhe; līlāñcita paṭṭāmbara kiṅkiṇī tahi bāje bāhu yugala thira vijuri kari śāvaka śuṇḍe; hemāṅgada maṇi kaṅkaṇa nakhare śaśikhaṇḍe hemācala kucamaṇḍala kāñcali tahi mājhe; candrakānta dhvānta damana kaṇṭhe karṇe sāje jāmbūnada hema yoto mukutāphala pāṅti; phaṇi maṇi yuta dāma śobhita dāminī sama bhāṅti bimbaphala nindi adhara dāḍima bīja daśane; besara tahi nolake jhalake manda manda hasane nāsā tila phula tula bāṅdhe kabarī chānde madana mohana mana mohinī calali tahi rādhe ”Her reddish, youthful lotus feet are beautiful like shoots attracting hosts of buzzing bumblebees who are greedy for their honey. Her buttocks defeat the trunks of elephants and her waist is as thin as that of a lion. Waist bells are jingling on her playfully flapping silken sari and her arms resemble the trunks of baby-elephants or a steady lightning streak. She wears golden armlets and jewelled bangles and her nails resemble moons. Her breasts resemble golden mountains which are covered by a blouse and the ornaments on her ears and her neck destroy the shining of the moonlight. She shines like a lightning streak with her golden ornaments. Her pearls and her lips defeat the red splendor of bimba cherries and her teeth shine more brightly than pomegranate seeds. Her nose pearl shimmers and oscillates on her sesame flower-like nose when she slightly smiles and her hair is nicely braided. Thus Radha moves on, enchanting the mind of the enchanter of Cupid (Krishna).” (Pada-kalpataru) Keeping the paraphernalia for her pūjā at the Sūrya mandir in Surya Kund Shrimati proceeds to Radha Kund, accompanied by her sakhis, thereby floating on waves of ecstatic love. Goṣṭhacandra Shri Krishna meanwhile hands the responsibility for his herd of cows over to Baladeva and his friends at Govardhana and then also comes to the bank of Radha Kund on the pretext of admiring the beauty of the forest there. Here he sits down, endlessly waiting for Premamayī, eagerly desiring to see her. Then they see each other from close by through the vines. Endless waves of bhāva well up from the ocean of rasa (Krishna) and the ocean of prema (Radha) when they thus meet each other. duhuṇ mukha heraite duhuṅ bhelo dhanda; rāi kohe tamāla mādhava kohe canda cita putalī janu rahu duhuṅ deha; nā jāniye prema kemona achu leho e sakhi! dekho dekhi duhuṅka vicāra; ṭhāmahi koi lakhai nāhi pāra dhanī kohe kānanamaya dekhi śyāma; so kiye guṇabo majhu pariṇāma camaki camaki dekhi nāgara kāna; prati tarutale dekhi rāi samāna doṅhe doṅhe yabahu nicaya kori jāno; duhuṅka hṛdaye paiṭhala premabāna daraśane nayane nayane bohe lora; āpāda mastaka duhuṅ pulake āgora sajani hero dekho prema taraṅga; koto bhāve thakito bhelo aṅga duhuṅkara dehe ghāma bohi yāto; gada gada kāhuka nā nikasaye bāta duhuṅ jana kampana heri lāge dhanda; rādhā mohana heri parama ānanda “When they saw each other’s faces they became doubtful. Rāi said ‘This (Krishna) is a tamāla tree!’ and Madhava said ‘This (Radha) is the moon!’ I don’t know how love dwells within their bodies and within their doll-like hearts! O sakhi! Just behold their doubts! They can’t distinguish between anything of Each other! Fortunate Dhanī Radha says ‘I see Shyam all throughout the forest! How will I distinguish him from all?’” Nāgara Kāna is astonished as He sees Rāi at the base of each and every tree. And then, when They clearly have recognized Each other, Cupid’s arrows enter into Their hearts! As They look at Each other tears stream from Their eyes and Their bodies are covered from tip to toe with goose pimples. O sakhi! Look at these waves of love! How many ecstatic symptoms are visible on Their limbs! Their bodies are studded with sweat drops and They can’t utter a word because Their voices are faltering. They see Each other shivering and when Radha Mohana dāsa sees this he is most ecstatic.” (Pada Kalpataru) After this the Divine Pair and their sakhis have a lot of rasika fun over flower picking, the theft of Krishna’s flute and so on. While Krishna quarrels with the sakhis over his stolen flute Shri Radha catches the opportunity to hide herself in a secret kuñja. Finally, after a long search for Radha, Krishna gets a hint from Kundalata that she’s hiding in that kuñja so He enters it and becomes absorbed in a highly astonishing love game there with Shri Radha. After this vilāsa the Yugala comes out of the kuñja and sits on a jewelled platform on the bank of Radha Kund. Shri Raghunath Das, in his kiṅkarī-svarūpa, then becomes absorbed in fanning the Twin Divinities along with other maidservants. Lalita, Vishakha and other sakhis all giggle and come to sit around the jewelled platform where the Shri Yugala is seated, releasing a stream of parihāsa-rasa by telling Shri Radha: “O sakhi! Where have you gone, leaving us all behind? We looked for you everywhere, but could not find you! Where did you meet this shameless guy? Anyway, fortunately you were not defeated by that cheater. This is very good news!” When Shri Radha heard these joking, crooked words from her sakhis and saw the naughty insinuating gestures they made about the signs of her love making with Krishna, she became both shy and malicious. She frowned her vine like eyebrows, waved her index finger and chastised her kānta with trembling lips and a faltering voice, telling her friends: “Sakhis! I was on my way home when you tugged at my garment and then brought Krishna who was in hiding to me! In this way I had to suffer even while you were here with me! Tell me, why should I still stay with you?” In this way Shri Radha and her sakhis engage in so many hundreds of rasika discussions. Nothing can be compared to these ever-so-sweet discussions between Shrimati and her prāṇa-sakhis! While the maidservants are absorbed in their ecstatic devotional services they float on the waves of sweet Krishna-kathā created by their Ishwari and her sakhis. Remembering these most lovely pastimes Shri Raghunath says: “May Shri Radha Kund, where all these rasika pastimes are performed, be my sanctuary! If I take shelter of this place then I can be blessed with the ever-so-sweet relish of Krishna-kathā!” yei rādhākuṇḍa-tīre ratana vedite; bosi rādhārāṇī sab sakhīra sahite prāṇa koṭi nirmañchana govinda prasaṅga; bhaṅgīkori bole sumadhura rasaraṅga sarva jana manohara rādhākuṇḍa nāma; āmāra āśraya hauk nayanābhirāma “May that eye-enchanting Radha Kund, on whose bank Radharani sits on a jewelled platform with her sakhis, speaking so sweetly about Govinda, who is dearer to her than millions of life-airs, and that enchants everyone, be my shelter!”
  6. The meanings of Dīpāvali, its symbols and rituals, and the reasons for celebration are innumerable. Dīpāvali celebrates Lord Rama’s glorious and long-awaited return to his kingdom of Ayodhya after fourteen long years of exile in the forests. It also commemorates Lord Krishna’s victory over the demon Narakasura who had kidnapped and terrorized the gopīs of Vrindavan. When the evil Narakā was finally killed by Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa in the presence of Satyabhāmā, he begged pitifully for mercy; thus, upon his entreaties, it was declared that this day of his death would be celebrated with great joy and festivity. It is also celebrated as the day Bhagavān Viṣṇu married Maha Lakṣmī. Dīpāvali is also associated with the story of the fall of Bali – a demon king who was conquered by Lord Viṣṇu. Lord Viṣṇu appeared to the demon king Bali in the form of a dwarf and requested only three steps of land. Bali granted the dwarf’s meager request for only three feet. Suddenly, Lord Vishnu took on His grand size and placed one foot on the Earth, another on the Heavens and His third on the head of Bali. In general, Dīpāvali signifies the triumph of good over evil, of righteousness over treachery, of truth over falsehood, and of light over darkness. Last night at Radha Kund, a multi-step lamp offering was made, many pilgrims offered individual lamps from the banks; a maha arotik was also performed. As the Rādhārāṇī Braja Yatra celebrates in Vṛndāvana may this Diwalli day(where ever you are), more importantly than personal gain, bring new unprecedented victories in the protection and preservation of Braja Dhāma.
  7. taṭa-madhura-nikuñjaḥ klpta-nāmāna uccair nija-parijana-vargaiḥ saṁvibhajyāśritas taiḥ madhukara-ruta-ramyā yasya rājanti kāmyās tad ati-surabhi rādhā-kuṇḍam evāśrayo me That very beautiful and fragrant Radha Kund, whose shores are divided among Shri Radhika’s girlfriends who all have their own sweet nikuñjas (groves), each one taking their respective names, and where the bees are buzzing sweetly – this Radha Kund is my only shelter! Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā by Radha Kund Mahant Pandit Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj: Shri Radha Kund’s heart has melted from the deep anguish of Shri Raghunath’s prayers and so the kuṇḍa now showers him with the rasa of grace, through which he can now perceive the transcendental form of the water and the bank of the kuṇḍa. Here the actual transcendental form (svarūpa) and sweetness of the kuṇḍa’s banks are described. The bank of this beautiful lake of Shri Radharani has been divided by the kuñjas of Lalita, Vishakha and the other sakhis and they have become known under the names of these sakhis. The eight corners of Shri Radha Kund thus shelter eight kuñjas: one for each of the eight sakhis, starting with Lalita. In the north is the kuñja named Lalitanandada, which has a regal courtyard named Anaṅga-raṅgāmbuja, the lotus for Cupid’s pastimes, which is nicely maintained by Lalita’s sakhi Kalavali. This Lalitanandada Kunj is shaped like an eight-petaled lotus flower, and each petal contains its own kuñja. In the north is Sitāmbuja (white lotus), in the north-west Vasanta-Sukhada (delighter of spring), in the west Hemāmbuja (golden lotus), in the south-west Shri Padma-mandira (the beautiful lotus temple), in the south is Aruṇāmbuja, in the south-east is Madanāndolana (Cupid’s swing), in the east is Asitāmbuja (the dark lotus) and in the north-east is a wonderful, variegated kuñja named Mādhavānandada (the delighter of Madhava). The Rasika Mithuna (“relishing couple”) Shri Shri Radha Krishna always plays various pastimes in this king of kuñjas which is filled with a very wonderful natural beauty and which is studded with various jewels. In the north-eastern corner of Radha Kund is the four-colored Vishakhanandada Kunj, also called Madana-sukhada. Vishakha’s very expert and artistic disciple named Mañjumukhī maintains this kuñja. The Madana-Sukhada Kunj resembles a large royal palace which is always inundated by the rasika flood of Shri Shri Radha Krishna’s pastimes and always gives great joy to the eyes. In the east is Chitranandada Kunj, where there are trees, vines, animals and birds of various colors. Here Chitra Sakhi blissfully serves Shri Shri Radha Krishna and their friends in various ways. In the south-eastern corner is the white kuñja called Indulekhā-sukhada. The trees, vines, animals and birds are all white here. If Radha and Krishna and their sakhis come on the full moon night and sport here dressed in white, no one will immediately recognize them. Here Indulekha Sakhi lovingly serves Radha and Krishna and their sakhis. In the south of Radha Kund is the golden kuñja named Campakalatānandada. Here all the trees, vines, animals and birds are golden. If Radha enters this kuñja dressed and ornamented in yellow, Shri Krishna will not recognize her. Here is the famous kitchen of Campakalatā, the expert culinary master, where she prepares feasts for the Divine Yugala and pleases them with various other services. In the south-western corner of Shri Radha Kund is the all-shyam-colored kuñja named Raṅgadevī-sukhada. If Mukharā or other elders come here while Radha and Krishna are enjoying themselves, they will only see Radha and not Krishna. In the western corner of Shri Radha Kund is the red kuñja called Tuṅgavidyānandada. Here everything is red. This is wished for by Shri Krishna. In the north-western corner is the green kuñja called Sudevī-sukhada. Here everything is green and here Radha and Krishna play their rasika game of dice. Apart from that there is also a kuñja in the middle of the kuṇḍa named Shri Anaṅga-Manjari-sukhada. This ruby, moonstone and emerald-studded kuñja appears to the viewers to be radiant as water and is shaped like a 16-petaled lotus flower and it is connected with the northern bank of the kuṇḍa by a bridge. Here the different articles required for the Shri Yugala’s service are stored and here Ananga Manjari and her group are engaged in this service. Because it is floating on the water like a lotus flower it is called salila-kamala. All these kuñjas are beautified by different trees and vines, singing birds and cuckoos, humming honeybees, different fragrant flowers, freely playing deer, rabbits and dancing peacocks that all arouse erotic feelings in the hearts of Shri Shri Radha Krishna. This greatly delights the eyes of anyone who sees it. But only if the mind, the senses and the heart of the neophyte become immersed in viśuddha-sattva, pure goodness, this place can be seen in its real svarūpa (transcendental form). Ordinary eyes see it just as a material place. cintāmaṇi bhūmi, kalpavṛkṣamaya vana; carma cakṣe dekhe tāre prapañcera sama prema netre dekhe tāra svarūpa prakāśa gopa gopī saṅge yāhā kṛṣṇera vilāsa “The ground is made of thought-stones and the forests are full of desire-trees, but the physical eye sees it just as a material forest. A loving eye can see this realm, where Krishna plays with the cowherd boys and girls in its real, transcendental form.” (Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Ādi 5) līlānukūleṣu janeṣu citteṣv utpanna-bhāveṣu ca sādhakānāṁ evaṁ-vidhaṁ sarvam idaṁ cakāsti svarūpataḥ prākṛtavat pareṣu Those nitya-siddhas who are favorable to these pastimes and the practitioners in whose hearts these transcendental emotions have appeared, can see the holy realm in its real form, but others (non-devotees) see it just as a material place.” (Govinda-līlāmṛta 7,119) Shrila Raghunath Das Goswami is an eternal associate of the Lord, so the endless wealth of Shri Radha Kund’s sweetness is naturally manifest to his love-saturated eyes. Therefore Shri Raghunath says: “May that most enchanting Radha Kund be my sanctuary!” śrī rādhākuṇḍera tīre sakhīyūtha vāsa; sakhī nāme kuñjanāma korilā prakāśa uttare lalitānanda kuñjavana nāme; viśākhā-sukhada kuñja śobhita īśāne pūrva-taṭe nāma hoy citrā-sukhada; agnikoṇe indulekhā nāma manomada dakṣiṇe campakalatā nairṛte raṅgadevī; paścimete tuṅgavidyā vāyute sudevī prati kuñja ramaṇīya bhramara guñjita; śṛṅgāra rasakeli kore uddīpita surabhi se rādhākuṇḍa āmāra āśraya; snāna pāna tīre vāsa e lālasā hoy “On the banks of Shri Radha Kund all groups of sakhis reside and each kuñja is named after one of them. In the north is a forest named Lalitanandada Kunj, in the north-east is the beautiful Vishakha-sukhada Kunj, on the eastern bank is the Citrā-sukhada Kunj, in the south-eastern corner is the inebriating kuñja named after Indulekhā, in the south is Champakalata, in the southwest Rangadevi, in the west Tungavidya and in the northwest Sudevi. Each kuñja is laden with buzzing bumblebees inciting lusty feelings. That fragrant, beautiful Radha Kund is my sanctuary and I desire to drink its water, bathe in it and reside on its banks!”
  8. api jana iha kaścid yasya sevā-prasādaiḥ praṇaya-sura-latā syāt tasya goṣṭhendra-sūnoḥ sapadi kila mad-īśā-dāsya-puṣpa-praśasyā tad ati-surabhi rādhā-kuṇḍam evāśrayo me That very beautiful and fragrant Radha Kund, by whose mercy the desire vine of love for Krishna, which bears the flowers of service for my queen Shri Radha, instantly sprouts in the heart of anyone who performs devotional service there – this Radha Kund is my only shelter! Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā by Radha Kund Mahant Pandit Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj: Shri Kuṇḍāśrayī Shripada Raghunath has attained the greatest fixation in the kuṇḍa of his Prāṇeśvarī. In his heart pervaded by mahābhāva, he perceives the glorious sweetness of the kuṇḍa, which is as glorious as Radharani herself hundreds of times over. In the previous two verses Shri Raghunath described how Shri Govinda took shelter of the kuṇḍa in order to please Shri Radha and how glorious the kuṇḍa is because its service is dear even to Krishna. Hearing this, someone may ask: “Shripada! Shri Krishna may attain Radharani by serving her kuṇḍa, the kuṇḍa may be as dear to him as she is, and the kuṇḍa may be the supreme attainment for great saints like yourself who can sit there and get such sublime visions, but please tell me something about the kuṇḍa’s mercy upon persons like me, who are attached to materialistic life and who are fallen and blinded by ignorance! Although you have already said something about this before (in verse 2), still I would like to hear such kind of aspirations once more from your blessed mouth!” To answer such people, Shri Raghunath Das speaks this verse: api jana iha kaścid yasya sevā-prasādaiḥ praṇaya-suralatā syāt tasya goṣṭhendra-sūnoḥ “By the kuṇḍa’s mercy the desire vine of love for Krishna will swiftly sprout and grow in the heart of any person (kaścit), even one who is unscrupulous or unqualified, who serves it by living on its banks, bathing there, performing some worship there, seeing or touching the water or circumambulating the kuṇḍas.” Love for Krishna is the crown jewel of all human pursuits, the great treasure of the spirit soul and the highest result of any human activity. It is the only thing that can permit one to relish Shri Krishna’s sweetness. Prema makes the otherwise supremely independent Krishna completely submissive to his surrendered devotee and prema can forever bless all the living entities, who are constitutionally Krishna’s eternal servants, by bestowing the bliss of devotional service on them. pañcama puruṣārtha sei prema mahādhana; kṛṣṇera mādhurya rasa korāya āsvādana premā hoite hoy kṛṣṇa nija bhakta vaśa; premā hoite pāi kṛṣṇa sevā sukha rasa “The great treasure of prema is the fifth goal of human life (beyond religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation) and it makes one relish the sweet Krishna-flavors. Through prema Krishna becomes controlled by his devotees and through prema the devotees attain the blissful mellows of Krishna’s devotional service.” (Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Ādi 7) Devotion is a rarely attained thing. the Bhāgavata states: bhagavān mukundo muktiṁ dadāti karhicit sma na bhakti-yogam Lord Mukuṇḍa may grant liberation to some, but he does not give bhakti yoga so easily! (5.6.18) akaitava kṛṣṇa-prema, yeno jāmbūnada hema, [ sei premā nṛ-loke nā hoy. Earnest love for Krishna is as pure as the gold from the Jambu River. Such love can’t be found in the human world. (Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Madhya 2)” In all these statements the rarity of prema is declared. After realizing how rarely attained prema is, Shrimat Rupa Goswami wrote,: yasya sphūrti-lavāṅkureṇa laghunāpy antar munīnāṁ manaḥ spṛṣṭaṁ mokṣa-sukhād virajyati jhaṭity āsvādyamānād api premṇas tasya mukunda sāhasitayā śaknotu kaḥ prārthane bhūyāj janmani janmani pracayinī kintu spṛhāpy atra me O Mukunda! Who dares to pray for that prema, even the slightest relish of which causes the munis to give up the bliss of liberation? May my desire for prema simply increase birth after birth!” (Stavamālā) Again, love of God, prema, the ultimate result of bhakti, is the highest aspiration for a living entity and is most rarely attained. It is the Lord’s svarūpa-śakti, or innate potency, being a combination of the essence of the hlādinī-śakti and the sandhinī-śakti. A fortunate soul who attains the grace of a great saint can enter into the workings of this innate potency of the Lord through the process of hearing, chanting and remembering the glories of the Lord. In this way the material dullness will disappear from the heart of the neophyte and everything will culminate in prema. Prema is the culmination of a whole sequence of spiritual advancement: Association with the saints, hearing and remembering the glories of the Lord, faith in the scriptures, obtaining the association of a qualified guru, taking initiation and instructions from him, surrendering and serving the guru and the Vaishnavas, serving the deity, aspiring for bhajana, earnestly practicing bhajana, having taste for bhajana, becoming attached to the Lord, bhāva and rati. This is attained by two kinds of fortunate souls: those who attain it on the strength of their own bhajana and those who attain it by the grace of Krishna or his devotees. Everywhere it is seen that prema is attained through sādhana while the attainment of prema through grace is rare. Shrila Rupa Goswami teaches us: sādhanābhiniveśena kṛṣṇa-tad-bhaktayos tathāprasādenati dhanyānāṁ bhāvo dvedhābhijāyateādyas tu prāyikas tatra dvitīyo viralodayaḥ Love of God is attained either by absorption in devotional practice or by the grace of Krishna and/or his devotees. Of these, the former occurs most often, the latter rarely. (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.3.6) This very rarely attained desire vine of love for Krishna, which is attained by grace, suddenly grows in the soil of the heart of any person (either qualified or unqualified) who serves Shri Radha Kund by bathing in it, seeing it, touching it, living on its banks or worshiping it, by the inconceivable potency and grace of the kuṇḍa. Shri Raghunath says: “And this is also not just dāsya or sakhya-bhāva, but mad-īśā-dāsya-puṣpa-praśasyā: “The desire-vine of love becomes manifest, beautified by the flowers of service to my Ishwari Shri Radha.” By the grace of the the service to the kuṇḍa the highest goal ever to be achieved by any sādhaka, mañjarī-bhāva or the loving devotional service to Shri Radha, grows up. No higher stage than this can be achieved for a person who treads the path of loving devotion. Shrila Prabodhananda Saraswati says: rādhā-nāgara-keli-sāgara-nimagnāli-dṛśāṁ yat sukham no tal-leśa-lavāyate bhagavataḥ sarvo’pi saukhyotsavaḥ “All the bliss enjoyed in connection with the Lord can’t be compared to even a drop of the transcendental bliss the gopīs experience when they are absorbed in witnessing the ocean of pastimes of Radha’s lover!” (Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛta 1.54) The maidservants of Shri Radha swim in an ocean of indescribable bliss when they relish the mellows of these devotional services. rati-raṇe śrama-yuta, nāgarī nāgara mukha bhari tāmbūla yogāya malaya-ja kuṅkuma, mṛga-mada karpūra, militahi gāta lāgāya aparūpa priya sakhī prema! nija prāṇa koṭi, dei niramañchai, naha tula lākho bāṇa hema “How wonderful is the love of the priya sakhis! They serve Nāgarī (heroine Radhika) and Nāgara (hero Krishna) with millions of lives when they are tired of love making, by filling their mouths with betel leaves and by anointing their bodies with sandalwood paste, vermilion, musk and camphor. Their love is so pure that it can’t even be compared to gold smelted a hundred thousand times over!” manorama mālya, duhu gole arpai, vījai śīta mṛdu bāta sugandhī śītala, koru jala arpaṇa, yaiche hota duhu śāṅta “They offer enchanting garlands to their necks, give them a cool breeze by fanning them and relieve them from their heated affliction by offering them cool and fragrant water.” duhuka caraṇa puna, mṛdu saṁvāhana, kori śrama korolohi dūra iṅgite śayana, korolo duhu sakhī-gaṇa abahu manoratha pūra “These sakhis again softly massage their feet and thus remove their fatigue. On their indication they put the Divine Pair to rest and fulfill any of their other desires.” kusuma śeje duhu, nidrita herai, sevana parāyaṇa sukha. rādhā mohana dāsa, kiye herabo, meṭabo sab mano-duḥkha “These girls, being totally dedicated to their devotional service, then put the Divine Pair to sleep on a bed of flowers. All the mental distress of Radha Mohana Das is mitigated when he sees this.” The practicing devotee is blessed if he attains this wealth of service and supreme love by the grace of serving the kuṇḍa. Shri Raghunath said: “May that most glorious Shri Radha Kund be my sanctuary!” ei saṁsāre vivekādi śūnya kon jana; śrī rādhākuṇḍera yadi koroye sevana kuṇḍera prasāde sei bhāgyavanta jana; kṛṣṇa premakalpalatā peye dhanya hon śrī rādhāra dāsya rūpa vicitra puṣpete; kalpalatā suśobhita hoy trijagate ei rūpa guṇānvita ati manorame; rādhākuṇḍa āśraya mora jīvane maraṇe “Even if any dull-witted person in this world would serve Shri Radha Kund, then by the grace of the kuṇḍa such a fortunate person would be blessed to attain the wish-yielding vine of love for Krishna. This wish-yielding vine beautifies the three worlds with the wonderful flowers of Shri Radha’s service. The shelter of such a qualified and utterly enchanting Radha Kund is my shelter, in life or in death!”
  9. vraja-bhuvana-sudhāṁśoḥ prema-bhūmir nikāmaṁ vraja-madhura-kiśorī-mauli-ratna-priyeva paricitam api nāmnā yā ca tenaiva tasyās tad ati-surabhi rādhā-kuṇḍam evāśrayo me That very dear, beautiful and fragrant Radha Kund, which is the abode of love for the moon of Vraja (Krishna), which is as dear to him as the crown jewel of sweet adolescent girls of Vraja (Shri Radhika) herself and which was named after her by Krishna; this Radha Kund is my only shelter! (Rādhā-kuṇḍāṣṭakam, Verse 4) Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā by Radha Kund Mahant, Pandit Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj:: How many self manifested, transcendental realizations of the glories of Radha Kund are coming to Shri Raghunath, who is the greatest object of mercy of Radha Kund, the lake of which he has taken shelter! In the previous verse Shri Raghunath explained how even Shri Krishna, who is the universal object of worship, must worship Radha Kund in order to attain the mercy of māninī Radha and get his desires fulfilled. One may now ask: “Did Shri Krishna worship Radha Kund to have his own desires fulfilled or simply because the place is so dear to him? After all, there is no glory in motivated service (sakāma sevā), because when the sevyā (object of service) does not fulfill the worshiper’s desires such a ‘devotee’ will give up his worship. Service becomes eternal and earnest when the sevyā is dear to the devotee and to answer such questions this verse has been written. It has been said that Shri Radha Kund is as dear to Shri Krishna the moon of Vraja as is Shri Radha, the crown jewel of adolescent girls of Vraja. yathā rādhā priyā viṣṇos tasyā kuṇḍaṁ priyaṁ tathā sarva-gopīṣu saivaika viṣṇor atyanta vallabhā “Just as Radha is dear to Lord Vishnu, so is her lake. Of all the gopīs, she is Lord Vishnu’s most beloved one.” This verse from the Padma Purāṇa proves that it is simply out of love that Krishna worships Radha Kund as described in the previous verse and not just for the fulfillment of his own desires. Shri Krishna is the emperor of the fullest rasa and Shri Radha is the empress of the fullest bhāva. When we study rasa and bhāva we find that bhāva is the worshiper and rasa is the worshiped. Within this worshiped/worshiper relationship, Shri Radha is the crown jewel of all Vraja’s mahā-bhāvavatī-madhura-kiśorīs, because she can fulfill all of Krishna’s desires. kṛṣṇa vāñchā-pūrti-rūpa kore ārādhane; ataeva ‘rādhikā’ nāma purāṇe vākhāne She worships Krishna by satisfying all of his senses, hence the Purāṇas call her Radhika. (CC 1.4) Shripada Shuka Muni describes how the gopīs reveal the extraordinary status of Shri Radha’s worship of Krishna: anayārādhito nūnaṁ bhagavān harir īśvaraḥ yanno vihāya govinda prīto yām anayad rahaḥ “Lord Hari who destroys the misery of his devotees and who fulfills their desires must certainly have been worshiped by this girl because Govinda was so much in love with her that he left us all behind and took her along to another place.” (Bhāgavata 10.30.28) From this statement we can understand what is the distinction between the worship of Radha and the worship of all the other mahā-bhāvavatī gopa-sundarīs. The verbal root rādh means ‘to worship’ and she who worships is therefore named Radha, the greatest of all the milkmaids of Vraja to worship Krishna. No other gopī in Vraja has such a significant name. For instance, anything which contains water can be called jaladhi, but pools, ponds and rivers are never called jaladhi by anyone. When one says jaladhi, everyone will understand that one means the ocean. That is so because the ocean is the root reservoir of all the water in the world. In the same way all the gopīs and indeed all the loving devotees may worship Krishna according to their own love for him, but no one else but Vrishabhanu Nandini can be called Radha. Vrishabhanu Nandini is the root reservoir of all Krishna-worship. Again, according to the quality and the quantity of their love all the different devotees may be dear to Krishna, but mahā-premavatī Radha is Krishna’s dearmost beloved for her love is the greatest, both in quantity and in quality. Therefore her sounds, touch and so on are the cause of the greatest relish to Krishna, although he is the embodiment of full transcendental bliss. Shri Krishna says: koṭi kāma jini rūpa yadyapi āmāra; asamordhva mādhurya – sāmya nāhi yāra mora rūpa āpyāyita hoy tribhuvana; rādhāra darśane mora juḍāya nayana mora vaṁśī gīte ākarṣaye tribhuvana; rādhāra vacane hare āmāra śravaṇa yadyapi āmāra gandhe jagata sugandha; mora citta prāṇa hare rādhā aṅga gandha yadyapi āmāra rase jagata surasa; rādhāra adhara rasa āmā kore vaśa yadyapi āmāra sparśa koṭīndu śītala; rādhikāra sparśe āmā kore suśītala eimata jagatera sukhe āmi hetu; rādhikāra rūpa guṇa āmāra jīvātu “Although my form defeats that of millions of Cupids and is unrivaled in its sweetness, soothing the three worlds, but the sight of Radha soothes my eyes. The song of my flute attracts the three worlds but Radha’s words soothe my ears. Although my fragrance scents the whole world, my heart is stolen by Radha’s bodily fragrance. Although the whole world is juiced up by my flavor, the flavor of Radha’s lips subdues me. Although my touch is cooler than that of millions of moons, Radhika’s touch cools off even me! In this way, although I am the cause of all the pleasure of the world, Radhika’s form and qualities are my very life!” (Caitanya Caritāmṛta Ādi 4) Shri Radha Kund pleases all of Krishna’s five transcendental senses just as Shri Radha herself does: Krishna’s eyes enjoy seeing it, his nose enjoys the smell of its water and the lotus flowers floating in it, his skin enjoys the touch of this cool water, his ears enjoy the sounds of its chirping birds and humming bumblebees and his tongue enjoys the taste of its ambrosial water. Although Krishna is called vraja-bhuvana-sudhāṁśu, the moon who pleases the whole circle of Vraja, in this verse it is declared that Radha Kund pleases even his senses! Then Shri Raghunath says: paricitam api nāmnā yac ca tenaiva tasyāḥ. tenaiva vraja-bhuvana-sudhāṁśunā tasyāḥ śrī rādhāyā nāmnā eva paricitaṁ saṅketitam api “The kuṇḍa has been named after Radha by Shri Krishna himself.” When Radha Kund advented itself Krishna personally gave it that name, as Shrila Vishwanath Chakravarti has stated: proce hariḥ priyatame tava kuṇḍam etat. Because Shri Radha is non different from her name Shri Krishna is seen to be most attached to her name as well. In the stage of pūrva-rāga we can read: sakhi! rādhā-nāma ki kohile!; śuni kāna mana juḍāile koto nāma āchaye gokule; heno hiyā nā kore ākule ei nāme āche ki mādhurī; śravaṇe rahalo sudhā bhari cite niti murati vikāśa; amiyā sāyare yeno bāsa āṅkhite dekhite kore sādha; e yadunandana mana kāṅda “Sakhi! What is this name ‘Radha’ you have uttered? When I hear it my mind and ears are soothed! How many names there are in Gokula! Yet none of them has agitated my heart as much (as this one)! How much sweetness is there in this name? It fills my ears with nectar! Her form becomes clearly manifest in my mind and it is as if I float in an ocean of nectar! I will be fulfilled if I can see her with my own eyes!” In this way, Yadunandana’s mind weeps. (Pada-kalpataru) When he first hears the name of Radha the ears and mind of Shyam, the embodiment of bliss, are soothed, his heart becomes agitated, his ears are showered by a stream of nectar, and the name has given to the bearer of that name a clear shape within his mind. When he hears this name he becomes very eager to meet the named one too; the name of Radha is filled with sweet honey. Not only that, simply by hearing that Radha-nāma the transcendental youthful Cupid of Vrindavan Shyamasundar feels the agitation of lust within his heart, which means that he is actually very eager to relish the flavors of her mādana-prema. His mind is absorbed in Shri Radha and he thinks: “If this girl’s name is so sweet, then what must her form be like?” Thinking like this, he becomes very eager to see her and he impatiently asks one sakhī to describe her form to him: rādhā-nāma ki kohile āge; śunaite manamatha jāge sakhi! kāhe koholi uha nāma; mana māhā nāhi lāge āna koho tachu anupama rūpa; bujhlam amiyā svarūpa heraite āṅkhi kore āśa; koho rādhā mohana dāsa “What is this name Radha you have uttered just now? After I heard it Cupid awakened! Sakhi! Tell me, who has such a name? My mind can’t think of anyone else anymore! Describe her unrivalled form to me; I understand that it must be pure nectar! My eyes yearn to see her!” Thus spoke Radha Mohana Das. When Shyam hears even a single syllable of Radha’s holy name he eagerly wants to run up to the person who pronounced it, and when he hears the second syllable he immediately runs anxiously up to that person. The Purāṇas say: rā-śabdoccāraṇād eva sphīto bhavati mādhavaḥ dhā-śabdoccārata paścād dhāvaty eva sa-sambhramaḥ When Madhava hears the syllable rā he becomes very happy, and when he hears the syllable dhā coming after it, he eagerly runs [after the person chanting it]. That is why Shri Krishna gave the name Radha Kund to the lake of his priyājī Radha, because her name is as dear to him as she is. Shri Raghunath concludes: “May that most lovely Shri Radha Kund be my sanctuary.” vraja madhura kiśorī vrajāṅganāgaṇa; tāhādera śiroratna rādhārāṇī hon vṛndāvana candra yini vrajendra nandana; kuṇḍa tāra rādhā sama premāspada hon rādhā nāma dvārā śrī kuṇḍera paricaya; rādhā sama rādhākuṇḍa priyatama hoy sei rādhākuṇḍa hoy ati manorama; āmāra āśraya hon ei mora mana Radharani is the crown jewel of all the sweet adolescent girls of Vraja and her kuṇḍa is as dear to Vrajendra-nandana, the moon of Vṛndāvana as she is. You become acquainted to the kuṇḍa through the name Radha and nothing is as dear to Krishna as Radha Kund, just as Radha herself is. May that most enchanting Radha Kund be the shelter of my mind!
  10. agha-ripur api yatnād atra devyāḥ prasāda- prasara-kṛta-katākṣa-prāpti-kāmaḥ prakāmam anusarati yad ucaaiḥ snāna-sevānubandhais tad ati-surabhi rādhā-kuṇḍam evāśrayo me That very dear, beautiful and fragrant Radha Kund, where even Krishna, the enemy of Aghasura, eagerly and carefully bathes and renders submissive and expert devotional service, thereby desiring to obtain the merciful glance of goddess Radhika, this Radha Kund is my only shelter! (Rādhākuṇḍāṣṭakam, Verse 3) Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā by Radha Kund Mahant, Pandit Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj: Shrila Das Goswami is the embodiment of Shri Radha Kund’s mercy and therefore he is always aware of the kuṇḍa’s glories. For the sake of all the devotees who take shelter of Radharani’s lotus feet he reveals all the confidential truths about Radha Kund in this Radhakuṇḍāṣṭakam. In the previous verse it was explained that the wish yielding tree of mañjarī-bhāva sprouts in the hearts of those who simply bathe in Radha Kund. In this verse it is shown that not only the neophyte-devotees but even Vrajendra-nandana, the original Personality of Godhead, has his greatest desires fulfilled here by Shri Radha’s grace. This verse describes the sweet memory of a vision attained one day. Once Shripada Raghunath falls on the bank of Radha Kund, weeping out of separation from Shri Radharani. his life-airs reach up to his throat due to his strong feelings of love-in-separation. Suddenly he sees a sweet pastime before him. Absorbed in his mañjarī-svarūpa he sees the sweet meeting of Shri Shri Radha Madhava on the bank of the kuṇḍa. The Shri Yugala sits down in a beautiful kuñja on a jeweled throne faced by their girlfriends like Lalita and Vishakha, illuminating the bower house with their blue and golden auras. Many wave-like jokes well up in the ocean of their conversation and maidservants are around everywhere, absorbed in their service. Shri Raghunath Das, in his transcendental identity as Tulasi Manjari, serves the Divine Couple by fanning them. Everyone is immersed in boundless bliss. Then one very amazing wave wells up in this ocean of divine ecstasy: Shrimati sees her own golden luster reflected in Shyam’s shining emerald-colored bluish chest and she becomes angry with him, taking this luster to be that of one of her rival gopis. rasavatī rāi rasika-vara ṭhāma; śyāma tanu mukure herai anupāma nija pratibimba śyāma aṅge heri; rokhe kohoto dhanī ānana pheri nāgara eto kiye cañcala bheli; hāmāri samukhe koru āna saṅge keli eto kohi rāi korolo tahi māna; āna ṭhāme cololi upekhiyā kāna sahacarī gaṇa taba kotoye bujhāya; uddhava dāsa minati koru pāy “Rasavatī Rāi looked in the peerless mirror of the body of Shyam, the greatest rasika. Seeing her own reflection there, Dhanī became angry and turned her face away from him, saying: ‘Nāgara! You’ve become so naughty that you’re enjoying with another girl right in front of us!’ Seeing that Rāi was angry Krishna went somewhere else, thus leaving and ignoring her. Now the sakhis have quite some explaining to do to Rāi! Uddhava Das thus humbly prays at Shri Radha’s lotus feet.” (Pada-kalpataru) Before coming to Radha Kund, Radha had heard that Chandravali’s girlfriend Shyamala had met Shyamasundar on the bank of Kusuma Sarovar (close to Radha Kund) and had told him where he could meet Chandravali, and now, seeing her own reflection in his body, Radhika anxiously presumed that Krishna had actually met her. “Oh! Shyam is playing with Chandravali on his lap right before me! Who can tolerate that?” She went to another cottage near Radha Kund, covered her head with her veil and proudly turned her back on Krishna! Her girlfriends tried to convince her of Krishna’s innocence, but in vain! sundari! jānaluṁ tuyā dūra bhāṇa hari ura mukure, heri nija cāhari, tāhe sautinī kori māna “O Beautiful girl! We know that you are mistaking! You’ve seen your own reflection in Hari’s mirror-like chest and you take it to be one of your rivals!” kānana kuñje, kusuma śara jarajara, vayāna heri puna tori. bhāgye milalo puna, tohe kamala mukhi, rokhe cololi mukha moḍi “We see your face now in this kuñja forest tormented by Cupid’s floral arrows! O lotus faced girl! Fortunately you have met him again, but now you are angrily turning your face away from him!” koto koto mugadhī, aiche bhelo vañchita, hari puna tāhe nā lāgi. tuhuṁ puṇavatī tohe, yohi mānāoto, ki kohobo tohāri sohāgi. “How many young girls aren’t there, all deprived of Hari’s love! He doesn’t care about them! But you are such a fortunate girl! Who can describe your fortune in love?” to vinu śutalo, śītala bhūtale, dūratara viraha hutāśe tuyā koro sarasa, paraśe rijhāoha tohe koho govinda dāsa “When he is deprived of your love he sleeps on the cold floor, but he doesn’t feel cold at all for he’s burning in the fire of separation from you! Please soothe him once more with your blessed touch, Govinda Das says to you!” But Shrimati’s māna did not subside because of the sakhis’ canvassing words. When she heard their words she thought that they were all engaged by Krishna in pacifying her with false and crooked words. As a princess, she gave up her honor, her family reputation and her shame and she went through different kinds of bodily suffering to come out of her house to see this boy, and now he enjoys with one of her rivals on his lap right before her? This agony is intolerable! When the sakhis saw that Shrimati could not be pacified, they went to Krishna and urged him to personally apologize to her lotus feet. He went to her and tried his best: yāhāṅ sakhīgaṇa, saba rāi bujhāyato, turite āolo tāhā kāna.heraite kama la vayanī, dhanī māninī avanata korolo vayāna “The sakhis all tried to explain to Rāi the truth of the matter when Krishna quickly arrived there. Seeing him, lotus faced Dhanī-Māninī lowered her face.” heraite nāgara, gadagada antara, mana māhā bhelo bahu bhīte. gale pītāmbara, caraṇa yugala dhara, kohotohi gadagada cite “Seeing this, Nāgara became very much afraid at heart and spoke with faltering voice, keeping his pītāmbara at his neck and clasping both her lotus feet.” sundari! michāi koroho mujhe māna. nirahetu hetu, jāni tuhu rokhali. pratibimba heri koho āna. “O beautiful girl! You are wrongly proud at me for no reason! You mistook your own reflection to be some other girl!” tuyā vine nayane, āna nāhi heriye, nā kohiye āna saṅe bāta. tohāri sakhinī vine, bāta nā puchiye, nā bosiye kāhuka sātha “My eyes don’t see anyone else but you. I don’t speak with anyone else. I don’t inquire from anyone else but from your girlfriends or maidservants and I don’t sit with anyone else either! tab tuhuṁ kāhe, māna mujhe korotahi, nā bujhiye tuyā manakāje uddhava dāsa minati, kori kohotohi heraho nāgara rāja “But still You maintain this unreasonable huff against me; I don’t understand what’s on Your mind! Uddhava Das humbly prays to You: Look at Your king of lovers!” Despite Nāgara’s endeavours Shrimati’s māna was not broken. She just stubbornly sat there, covering her head with her veil. The rejected Nāgara thought of different means to break Shrimati’s māna. Suddenly He thought: “Aho! I’m standing on the bank of Radha Kund! By the grace of the kuṇḍa I will also be showered by the grace of Shri Kuṇḍeśvarī!After all, the Mahājanas have written: śrī kṛṣṇa yokhon rādhā daraśana lāgi utkaṇṭhita hoy; sakala upāya viphala hoiyā rādhākuṇḍāśraya loy tat kāle rādhāra pāya daraśana emati kuṇḍa prabhāva; rādhāra-o temati śyāmakuṇḍāśraye kṛṣṇa saṅga hoy lābha “When Krishna becomes eager to see Radha, and all his endeavours fail, He takes shelter of Radha Kund. At that moment He gets the audience of Radha on the strength of the kuṇḍa. In the same way Radha also takes shelter of Shyam Kund and thus attains the company of Shri Krishna.” In this way some hope illuminated Nāgara’s desperate heart. He bathed in Shri Radha Kund, picked flowers from the trees and vines on its banks and sat down on his knees on the jewelled steps leading down to the kuṇḍa, moistening the flowers with his tears of love before throwing them into the kuṇḍa as a devotional offering. He offered prostrated obeisances to the kuṇḍa while praying: “O Shri Radha Kund! May I get the merciful glance of your Ishwari (presiding goddess) by your grace!” One sakhī who witnessed Nāgara’s activities ran to Shrimati’s kuñja and told Kuṇḍeśvarī of Krishna’s devotional service to her kuṇḍa, making tears of compassion trickle from her lotus like eyes. The sakhis understood that Shrimati was pleased with Krishna again, so they quickly brought him to her. Kuṇḍeśvarī, being pleased with this servant of the kuṇḍa, cast a merciful glance at him, filled with the rasa of love. Nāgara, understanding that his service of the kuṇḍa was successful, considered himself blessed and the sakhis and mañjarīs were also blessed by seeing the sweet meeting of the Yugala. Remembering his vision of this pastime Shri Raghunath said: anyera kā kathā svayaṁ vrajendranandana; rādhikāra praṇaya kaṭākṣa korite darśana rādhā-priya rādhākuṇḍe avagāhana kore; sevā pāripāṭye koto bhāse aśru-nīre atiśaya kamanīya rādhākuṇḍa nāma; satata āśraya hok prema pariṇāma “What to speak of others, even Vrajendra-Nandana himself, in order to receive Radhika’s loving glance, bathes in Radha’s dear lake Radha Kund! Floating on his own tears, He shows his dexterity in devotional service. May the most enchanting and lovely name of Radha Kund always be my shelter, culminating in prema!”
  11. Yesterday was Radha Kund’s appearance day. In honor of this occasion, over the next nine days we will start posting the Rādhākuṇḍāṣṭakam of Raghunath Das Goswami with Ananta Dasji’s commentary translated by Advaita Das. Today we give the first verse. Śrī-Śrī Rādhākuṇḍāṣṭakam Eight prayers to Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa vṛṣabha-danuja-nāśān narma-dharmokti-raṅgair nikhila-nija-sakhībhir yat sva-hastena pūrṇam prakaṭitam api vṛndāraṇya-rājñā pramodais tad ati-surabhi rādhā-kuṇḍam evāśrayo me That very dear, beautiful and fragrant Rādhākuṇḍa, which appeared after a joking quarrel about piety between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa after the killing of the Ariṣṭa bull demon, and which was joyfully revealed and filled up by Śrī Rādhā’s own hand with the assistance of Her girlfriends –this Rādhākuṇḍa is my only shelter! Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā by Radha Kund Mahant Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj: In the preceding Śrī Govardhanāśraya-daśakam Śrīpāda Raghunātha discussed the importance of taking shelter of Govardhana, and in his Śrī Govardhana-vāsa-Prārthanā-daśakam he prayed to live at the base of Govardhana. Although there are many holy lakes and ponds around Govardhana Hill, Śrī Dāsa Gosvāmī is mostly attached to Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa, because Rādhākuṇḍa’s glories equal Śrī Rādhā’s glories. kuṇḍera mahimā yeno rādhāra mahimā (C.C.). Particularly the desire to serve Śrī Rādhā awoke within the heart of Śrī Raghunātha when he first saw the kuṇḍa. In Vilāpa Kusumāñjali (15) he has written: yadā tava sarovaraṁ sarasa bhṛṅgasaṅghollasat saroruhakulojjvalaṁ madhura vāri sampūritam sphuṭat sarasijākṣi he nayana yugma sākṣād vabhau tadaiva mama lālasājani tavaiva dāsye rase “O Blooming lotus-eyed girl (Rādhe)! When my eyes directly saw Your pond (Rādhākuṇḍa), which is filled with sweet water and lotus flowers surrounded by blissfully humming bees, then I really got the desire to taste the nectar of Your service!” Hence Śrī Raghunātha glorifies Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa in this Rādhākuṇḍāṣṭakam because he desires to live on its banks. In this verse he describes the appearance of Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa, which is also praised as vraja-mukuṭa-maṇi, the crown jewel of all holy places of Vraja. Although Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa and Śyāmakuṇḍa are manifest from beginningless time during Kṛṣṇa’s manifest pastimes on earth, Śrī-Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava and their sakhīs used a humorous pastime to reveal the kuṇḍas. In the Ādi-Varāha-Purāṇa, Govardhana-parikramā-prasaṅga, it is thus described: gaṅgāyāś cottaraṁ gatvā deva devasya cakriṇaḥ; ariṣṭena samaṁ yatra mahad yuddhaṁ pravartitam ghātayitvā tatas tasminn ariṣṭaṁ vṛṣarūpiṇam; kopena pāṛṣṇi-ghātena mahyās tīrthaṁ prakalpitam vṛṣabhasya vadho jñeya ātmanaḥ śuddhim icchatā; snātas tatra tadā kṛṣṇo vṛṣaṁ hatvā sagopakaḥ vipāpmā rādhāṁ provāca kathaṁ bhadre bhaviṣyasi; vṛṣa hato mayā cāyam ariṣṭah pāpa sūcakaḥ tatra rādhā samāśliṣya kṛṣṇam akliṣṭa kāriṇam; sva nāmnā viditaṁ kuṇḍaṁ kṛtaṁ tīrtham adūrataḥ rādhākuṇḍam iti khyātaṁ sarva pāpaharaṁ śubhaṁ “On the northern side of Mānasa Gaṅgā, the God of Gods Who carries a disc (Viṣṇu or Kṛṣṇa) began a fierce fight with Ariṣṭāsura. Then, to atone for the sin of killing a bull, the Lord angrily struck the ground with His left heel and revealed a great holy tank (Śyāmākuṇḍa) in which He bathed for purification along with His cowherd boyfriends. (According to the Hari Vaṁśa, Kṛṣṇa then entered the goṣṭha (meadows) with His friends for an hour or so, after which He called Śrī Rādhā and the gopīs for a Rāsa-dance with His all-attractive flute playing) Then He said: “Bhadre! (beautiful, auspicious Rādhe) Now I am purified from the sin of killing a bull, how will You get purified now (the whole area is, after all, polluted by the sin I committed and everyone must share my karma for it!)? Then Rādhā embraced Kṛṣṇa, the remover of all distress Who can easily perform difficult tasks like destroying demons, and made a lake which was named after Her on the west of Śyāma’s kuṇḍa. This auspicious lake destroying all sins, is known as Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa.” How Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa appeared is also elaborately described by parama-surasika-kavi Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartīpāda in his Sārārtha-darśinī commentary on Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, verse 10.36.15. Here he quotes twenty verses from the Purāṇas describing the humorous pastimes surrounding the advent of Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa and Śrī Śyāmakuṇḍa. The essence of this story is written down here. After Kṛṣṇa had killed the demon named Ariṣṭāsura, who had assumed the form of a bull, Śrī Rādhārāṇī and Her girlfriends blamed Him for killing a bull and told Him that He could only get purified from this sin by bathing in all the holy waters if He ever wanted to gain qualification to touch the gopīs again! Hearing their words Kṛṣṇa forcefully struck the ground with His left heel and thus made the water of the Bhogavatī Gaṅgā appear from the Pātāla-region. Like this Kṛṣṇa invoked all the holy waters and thus revealed Śrī Śyāmakuṇḍa. He bathed in the water of this kuṇḍa and then told all the holy waters of the world to appear within it. The gopīs did not believe Him, though and therefore by Kṛṣṇa’s wish, all the holy waters assumed visible forms and thus introduced themselves. Kṛṣṇa then jokingly told the gopīs that He had revealed such an enormous holy place, but that they were bereft of all religiosity and pious merit. Hearing these joking challenges of Kṛṣṇa Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī wanted to reveal another beautiful kuṇḍa, and, seeing a huge cavity created by the hooves of the bull on the western side of Śyāmakuṇḍa, she began to dig out the earth there with Her own hands assisted by Her girlfriends. Within 48 minutes she had dug out a beautiful lake of Her own. In this way Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa advented itself. Then Kṛṣṇa wanted to fill up Rādhākuṇḍa with all the holy waters which had filled up Śyāmakuṇḍa, but Rādhārāṇī refused, saying that the water of Śyāmakuṇḍa, in which Śyāmasundara had bathed, was now stained by His sin of killing a bull and that Her creation of Rādhākuṇḍa would thus become useless. So she went with her sakhīs to the pure Mānasa Gaṅgā lake and filled up her own kuṇḍa with its water. Then, on Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s indication, all the holy waters of Śyāmakuṇḍa arose and offered choice praises and obeisances unto Śrī Rādhikā. Being satisfied with these praises Rādhārāṇī gave them permission to enter into her kuṇḍa, so they broke the dam which existed between the kuṇḍas and forcefully entered into Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa, thereby filling it up. In this kuṇḍa Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa eternally play Their watersports. Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa is even more glorious than Śyāmakuṇḍa and in this lake Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa always play their midday-pastimes. Hearing about the appearance of Rādhākuṇḍa, Bhagavatī (the holy mother) Paurṇamāsī ecstatically called Vṛndādevī (the presiding goddess of the Vraja-forests) and told her to plant various trees and vines on all four banks of the kuṇḍas. According to her own wish, Vṛndādevī also had different jewelled and pearly ghāṭas (bathing places) built which were suitable for Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, with stairs leading down to the kuṇḍa. She arranged for beautiful kuñjas to be laid out with different kinds of trees, vines and flowers. On both sides of the ghāṭa she had charming, wish-yielding kalpavṛkṣa-trees planted. Singing male and female parrots, pigeons, cuckoos and peacocks are always sitting on the branches of these trees and the kuñjas are filled with golden, yellow, green, red, blue and white lotus flowers. On all four sides of the kuṇḍa are the enchanting arbours of Lalitā, Viśākhā and the other sakhīs. This Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa is the place where Śrī-Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava have Their most confidential, eternal midday-pastimes. Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī says: “May this very fragrant and beautiful Rādhākuṇḍa be my only shelter.” śrī nandanandana saha māti raṅga rase; rādhā nija kuṇḍavara karilā prakāśe vṛṣāsura vināśānte parihāsa chale; sakhī saha rādhā khanana kori nija kare prakaṭita koriyāche yei sarovara; atiśaya ramaṇīya mano mugdhakara sei rādhākuṇḍa mora ekānta āśraya; hauk ei prārthanā koriye niścoya “May that Rādhākuṇḍa, where Śrī Nanda-nandana blissfully revealed the greatest of holy tanks with Rādhā, joking with her after killing the Ariṣṭāsura, which was dug out by hand by Rādhā and her sakhīs and which is the most mind-enchanting place in existence, be my only shelter. Therein lies my ardent prayer!”
  12. vraja-bhuvi mura-śatroḥ preyasīnāṁ nikāmair asulabham api tūrṇaṁ prema-kalpa-drumaṁ tam janayati hṛdi bhūmau snātur uccair priyaṁ yat tad ati-surabhi rādhā-kuṇḍam evāśrayo me This very fragrant, dear and beautiful Radha Kund, which instantly makes the desire tree of prema (love of God) sprout in the heart soil of anyone who bathes in it, something that is very difficult for even Krishna’s beloveds in Vrajabhumi to attain — this Radha Kund is my only shelter! (Radhakuṇḍāṣṭakam, Verse 2) Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā by Radha Kund Mahant Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj: In this verse Shrila Raghunath Das Goswami explains more confidential truths about Shri Radha Kund, saying it is “the desire tree of prema grows in anyone who bathes there.” One may ask here: “How can that supreme goal which is only attained after a long time of devotional practice be suddenly attained just by bathing in Radha Kund?” The answer is that Radha Kund’s glories are said to be equal to Radharani’s glories. That love which is normally only attained after a long time of practice (sādhya vastu sādhana vinā keho nāhi pāy , “no one can attain the goal without practicing,” CC 2.8.196) is attained simply by seeing Shrimati Radharani, even without performing any sādhanā. This is the special feature of Radharani that even Svayaṁ Bhagavān Shri Vrajendra-nandana (Krishna) does not have! Shrimat Sanatan Goswami has written in his Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta: sā rādhikā bhagavatī kvacid īkṣyate cet premā tad anubhavam ṛcchati mūrtimān saḥ Anyone who somehow sees the supreme Goddess Radhika will experience prema in its real form. (2.5.233) Therefore it is no wonder that a single bath in Radha Kund causes the tree of prema to sprout in the field of one’s heart. One may now ask: “But I see thousands of men and women taking bath in Radha Kund every year! Why don’t I see at least one of them getting prema at once then? How can I establish my faith in these statements of the great self-realized souls?” To this the answer of the Mahājanas will be: Wherever the scriptures and the saints proclaim such miraculous and inconceivable results, it must be understood to refer to offenseless practitioners. Only an offenseless soul who bathes in Radha Kund will attain love of God, otherwise this would actually be visible in anyone who bathes there. Such offenseless persons are very rare and the fruits of such a benediction are not visible to our eyes so soon. Still, there is no reason to doubt these glorifications, for even an offensive person who bathes in Radha Kund can get rid of his offensive attitude and attain this supreme goal by patiently bathing in Radha Kund again and again. This is the realized conclusion of the scriptures and the great saints. Someone may also think: “The whole of Vraja-maṇḍala has the power to give love of God to its pilgrims, for the Padma Purāna states dinam ekaṁ nivāsena harau bhaktir prajāyate: Simply by staying in the Mathura district for one day one will attain devotion to Lord Hari. What then is so special about bathing in Radha Kund? The answer to this is: Love for Krishna is greater than love for any other form of God, because Krishna is the Original Personality of Godhead. The pure and intimate love of the rāgātmikā-vrajavāsīs is far greater than the reverential devotion to Lord Hari found in the inhabitants of Dwaraka and Mathura. On top of that, as the text says, the prema-kalpa-druma (desire tree of love) attained by bathing in Radha Kund is not only unattainable by aiśvarya devotees or by those who worship Krishna in the mood of a servant, friend, or parent, but it is even hard to attain by Krishna’s own madhura-bhāvamayī girlfriends. It is well known that the amorous mood is superior to the rasas of the fraternal and servitude moods. dāsya sakhya, vātsalya, āra śṛṅgāra; cāri bhāvera caturvidha bhaktai ādhāra nija nija bhāva sabe śreṣṭha kori māne; nija bhāve kore kṛṣṇa sukha āsvādane taṭastha hoiyā mone vicāra yadi kori; saba rasa hoite śṛṅgāra adhika mādhurī “There are four kinds of feelings devotees can have for the Lord: servitude, fraternal love, parental love and amorous love. Everyone considers his own feeling to be the best and most fulfilling and through these feelings he makes Krishna relish happiness according to the quantity and quality of his love. But if a rasika considers things from a neutral point of view, considering the superiority and inferiority of the different ingredients of relish, such as vibhāvas, anubhāvas, sāttvika bhāvas and vyabhicāri-bhāvas, then we will see that the amorous love has the sweetest taste and is the most astonishing.” (Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Ādi 4) The crown jewel of all the madhura-rasa-nāyikās, the gopīs, is Vrishabhanu’s princess Shri Radharani. Her astonishing mādana-rasa gives the greatest and indeed complete relish to Krishna and she has mercifully infused this sweet rasa in her surrendered girlfriends and handmaidens too. Therefore in the kingdom of ecstatic love the relish of the sakhis and mañjarīs reigns supreme. Still, the maidservants taste even more rasa than the sakhis. It is their prema which is hard to attain even for Krishna’s beloveds (the sakhis and other nayikas), but which is sown in the heart of someone who faithfully and offenselessly bathes in Shri Radha Kund! Shripada Raghunath says: “May my dear most and most desired Shri Radha Kund be my shelter!” nitya snāna kore yihoṅ śrī rādhākuṇḍete; kṛṣṇa prema kalpa-vṛkṣa tāra hṛdayete prādurbhūta hoy śīghra kuṇḍera prabhāve; vraje vraja-rāmādera-o yāhā to durlabhe yei rādhākuṇḍa hoy atiśaya priya; sei sarovara mora ekānta āśraya The wish-yielding tree of love for Krishna swiftly grows in the heart of anyone who always bathes in Shri Radha Kund. Such is the prowess of the kuṇḍa! That dear most Radha Kund which is hard to attain even by the Vraja-gopīs, is my only shelter!
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