Sri Lalita-devi and Srimati Radharani
Published on June 19th, 2023 | by Harmonist staff0
By Srila B.R. Sridhara Deva Goswami
Svarupa-damodara is the constant companion of Mahaprabhu in Puri. He is a scholar of the highest class and also a very good singer. Without consideration of his elevated social position, he will perform the simplest service. Svarupa-damodara is there always, everywhere with Mahaprabhu. When Mahaprabhu was lost, the devotees inquired after Him the whole night and Svarupa-damodara was there with a lantern, moving along the seashore, looking for Him. In Krishna–lila, Svarupa-damodara is Lalita-devi.
yam kam api vraja-kule vrsabhanu-jayah
preksya sva-paksa-padavim anurudhyamanam
sadyas tad ista-ghananena krtarthayantim
devim gunaih su-lalitam lalitam namami
“I offer my respects to charming and virtuous Lalita-devi. If Lalita meets any person in Vraja and perceives that they are favorable towards Srimati Radharani, she immediately requests Radharani to accept that person in her camp. Radharani obeys Lalita and fulfills the desires of such a fortunate person.” (Lalita-pranama Stotra 7)
Whoever Lalita-devi meets in Vraja-dhama, she requests them to join her own party. And when they come, “Yes, come with me.” At once she is giving admission. “Come! Join the service of Radharani.” She is canvassing to look after the interests of Radharani. Such intense attention to the service of Radharani is never found anywhere else. Lalita-devi sometimes even chastises Krishna boldly. She takes risks by reproaching Krishna, “You do not know the dignity of my mistress.”
Sometimes Radharani feels ashamed within her mind. She thinks, “What does he say about me?” Lalita-devi replies, “This shame is very bad. You just sit quietly. You do not know your own interest. I know what is your interest, your position. I cannot tolerate that your dignity should be minimized in any way, ever.” That is the spirit of Lalita-devi. Rupa Gosvami has composed one stanza:
devim gunaih su-lalitam lalitam namami
“I offer respects to charming and virtuous Lalita-devi, who worships the perspiration from Sri Sri Radha-Mukunda’s feet, and who, out of great love, is very bold and agressive.” (Lalita-pranama Stotra 1)
Rupa Gosvami has composed a song in praise of Lalita-devi – how she is, the first attendant of Radharani. Radha-mukunda-pada-sambhava-gharma – Lalita-devi is a little aggressive in nature, pushing and meddling in the affairs which are connected with Sri Radha and Krsna. She interferes with anything and everything in connection with Radha and Krsna, thinking that the affairs connecting Them are her responsibility. She is very aggressive in nature and also intolerant. But Rupa Gosvami has justified her character. How? Radha-mukunda-pada-sambhava-gharma-bindu-nirmanchanopakarani-krta-deha-laksam. What is the high standard of her love and sacrifice for Radha and Krsna? He says that if she finds even a drop of sweat on the foot of either Radharani or Krishna, she will come as if with millions of bodies. With such eagerness she will jump to remove that drop of sweat. Lalita-devi feels such affection for the Divine Couple.
At the source of her aggression and interference in the affairs of Radha and Krishna we find a great and deep affection. This justifies all her activities as the leader accepted by the associates of Radha-Krishna. She always veers towards that couple with such a standard. She can’t tolerate a drop of sweat on the foot of the divine damsel. On that level she works, as if with millions of bodies she wants to correct it, to remove that drop of sweat. She can’t tolerate any trouble, not the least trouble. Uttunga-sauhrda-visesa-bharat pragalbham – she is very aggressive and talkative, and goes forward to do anything and everything as if she is mad with leadership. But at the source is her great concern for them. This justification is there.
Sometimes she chastises Radharani, “You do not know how to behave with Krishna. I will teach you what to do. Don’t make yourself available to Krishna so cheaply. You must be careful of your own dignity.” Though a little younger, still Lalita takes the position as caretaker of Radharani, always first to look after the cause of Radharani, to espouse the cause of Radharani. And she is always thinking herself responsible for all the affairs concerning them.
Sometimes she goes to chastise Krishna also, “You don’t know the dignified position, what dignified love my friend has towards you. You undermine that. I cannot allow it.
From our mundane plane of experience it is not an understandable thing. We are creatures of the plane of lust. Although similar, the difference between the two is great. One is the perverted reflection of the other, the opposite. One is prema, the highest sacrifice, and the other is this lust, gross sense pleasure. It is like the North Pole and the South Pole, the distance is like that; just the opposite.
We are mad with this lust, but such madness is only perverted. In the original position it is a noble thing. It is self-forgetfulness, sacrifice, reckless sacrifice for the satisfaction of the prime cause, the autocrat whose extent cannot be calculated. It is noble. Such intensity can never be calculated, it cannot come into our calculation here in this plane. Renunciation, liberation, salvation, these are only the negative aspect of lust. But the positive life, the life of sacrifice, the acme is found only there.
Lalita-devi thinks herself the guardian of Radharani. “I am Her guardian, I cannot allow anyone to minimize this great divine love and sacrifice of Radharani.” Lalita-devi stands as guarantor, even to Krishna, what to speak of other ordinary persons. To Krishna this is most valuable and rare; such is Radharani’s sacrifice in love, the highest intensity and utmost dignity.
It is unthinkable, unknown and unknowable. We may only conjecture as to this ideal. But if we think that we have obtained that position, if we think that we are the masters of that ideal, then it is finished; we have obtained something else. It is such an inconceivable thing, it is adhoksaja. It can never be caught by any force of our mind, or intelligence; avan manasa gocara. Its existence transcends our mental speculation and logical considerations. But still it exists. And Lalita-devi is of that special temperament; she has a unique importance in the lila of Krishna, as the guardian of the lila.
There are other friends of Radharani. Some are neutral towards Krishna and Radharani, some are a little partial towards Krishna, but Lalita-devi is cent-percent partial towards Radharani’s cause. This is Lalita-devi. Her birthday, the day of her appearance, is just before that of Radharani.
We are told that Radharani was found floating in a lotus. Her father, Vrsabhanu Raja, was childless. He was a gopa chief, the cowherd king, the chief cow-keeper. But he did not have any children. Then one day he found a beautiful girl in a lotus flower on the lake. He found her and took her home. The girl was very beautiful, perfect, but her eyes did not open.
Vrsabhanu Raja had a friendship with Nanda Maharaja. Through Nanda Maharaja, Yasoda heard that her friend Kirtida, the wife of Vrsabhanu Raja, had found a girl of exquisite beauty in a lake somewhere, but she was blind. She went to visit her, to congratulate Kirtida. Going there, Yasoda took Krishna with her. The ladies were talking and Krishna went up to this beautiful girl. Suddenly she opened her eyes and saw the boy Krishna first. The story is told like that: when she first opened her eyes, Radharani saw Krishna. This is lila, eternal incidents, events which are repeated in a particular way, like a drama. One drama is repeated many times in the eternal quarter. By Krishna’s will, some glimpse comes to the current mundane brahmanda as an exhibition, to attract the people of this age. It was in that way. First it was the children’s union, interchanging their vision.
Afterwards Vrsabhanu Raja came and his queen Kirtida began to nurture the baby girl until she was grown up. Vrsabhanudadhi nava sasi lekhe lalita-sakhi guna ramita visakhe. Vrsabhanu-udadhi – Rupa Gosvami describes that the family of Vrsabhanu is compared to the milk ocean and from this, the moon has arisen as Radharani. So beautiful a comparison: as the moon, Srimati Radharani has come from the ocean of Vrsabhanu’s fortune. The fortune of Vrsabhanu is compared with the ocean, and from there sprung up Vrsabhanu-nandini Sri Radhika.
Gradually, Radharani grew up and the time came to marry. The marriage was performed ostentatiously. There are different angles of vision about her marriage. Some say that one day Lord Brahma married Radha and Krishna in a jungle. Some say that They were married according to social customs. In different kalpas, various versions are known.
But Mahaprabhu accepted parakiya to be the highest attainment. They are not married, but each other’s heart did not know anyone else as their lover. Their hearts automatic connection was full. It is not chance coincidence, but rather fulfilled a necessity. Free love, recklessly crossing the directions and the influence of society and the scriptures, crossing the conceptions of religious sentiment, taking so much risk for the union with Krishna, this holds the highest position.
There are two very fine points here. One is that it is very rarely possible, it is very hard to get that favorable situation. Another is that at this stage one is taking the greatest risk possible, without caring for anything. This is given the supreme-most position, parakiya-madhurya-rasa. In madhurya-rasa these parakiya circumstances are necessary to increase the rasa to its fullest and most intense capacity.
The highest intensity can be produced by such artificial dearth. If we hide the rice or wheat underground to create a shortage of food, then food becomes very valuable. So also the dearth, the rareness, the impossibility of union has been created in parakiya-rasa. To facilitate this relationship, such adjustment is necessary between the two, among the divine couple. They are crossing all sort of conceptions of religious sentiments. This is the highest limit. There is no consideration of anything when they meet. At all cost, at all risk They are going to serve each other. The intensity becomes as high as possible. It is managed by Yogamaya to raise it to the highest level. Yogamaya manages in such a way that the union will be most fruitful and pleasing. It is necessary to manage in such a way to maximize their pleasure.
In vatsalya-rasa, Yasoda is arranging everything, but child Krishna does not find satisfaction there. He is satisfied only in stealing foodstuffs. Yasoda has reserved the very finest stock to feed her child, but he is not satisfied with this. He wants to stealthily take and to feed others also. There he finds great satisfaction. He does not find satisfaction in the ordinary state. His mother is calling, “Come, my boy, take your seat here. I have kept many valuable dishes for you. I am serving all these things. You please take.” Ordinarily Krishna does not find pleasure there; he can’t relish it. So stealthily he will go and snatch things and throw them to the monkeys or to some other boys. That is his boyish nature. His satisfaction does not come in the ordinary way.
In vatsalya-rasa the Lord is showing autocracy, the autocratic nature of exacting affection from the environment. And autocratic nature is also there extracting the highest form of love from the consort group, in madhurya-rasa. We are to understand all these things in a scientific way.
Everything belongs to Krishna. Yasoda prepares everything for satisfying Krishna, to make him eat, to feed him. But he is not satisfied to take in that way. Everything belongs to him; he is the enjoyer of everything, the Absolute. But still, aher iva gatih premnah svabhava – just as a snake naturally moves in a crooked way, so the crooked movement of the waves of love is natural. We are to approach it in this way. If we understand these relationships step by step in a scientific way, then we’ll be able to answer any questions that may generally come. “What is the ideal of God, that he is a debauchee? He is stealing! How can such things be adjusted with the ideal of the holiness of God?”
Generally people will come and attack in this way. But they forget that they cannot understand; they cannot follow that first this must be understood from the plane of sacrifice, not from the plane of enjoyment or exploitation. It is beyond renunciation and sacrifice; it is dedication. He is the owner and consumer of anything and everything. He can take it in any way. Everything is for him. And no one has been given a position to comment on this. It is eternal and irresistible; it is the flow of the divine plane. The highest fundamental flow, the flow of the fundamental plane is of such nature. There is no question of morality, because there is not a second party present there. He is the only party. His movement is such. None may question. It is such by nature.
We have come to rebuke God, but who are we? What is our position that we have become jealous of his activities, which are advaya-jnana, absolute? We are culprits, nirmatsaranam satam. In the beginning Veda-Vyasa says, “What I am going to say here is not meant for malicious people, for the jealous. Such foolish, jealous and malicious people have no entrance into this – of Krishna, which I will describe. Only the sympathetic, the innocent, those who understand his position, what he is, only they may enter.” He cannot be questioned. If we question the absolute movement, then he is wrong. But the absolute lila can never be wrong. It is causeless and irresistible. It is the sweetest and the purest.
And we, jealous contrarians, will we rebuke him? We are culpable and are to be punished for that. The universal wave is such. He is the autocrat. Everything is for him. He is for himself. He is not accountable to any person, nor is he required to give explanations to anyone. If that were to be the case, then his absolute characteristic would be compromised. The absolute wave is such; it cares for none.
We are represented there. If we can appreciate this, we can have entrance there. In this way we can have a taste of that finest quality of sweetness. We are allowed. If we can adjust, if we do away with all jealousy and maliciousness, we will find in our hearts that it is of the nature of the absolute sweetness. And then we will be considered bonafide participants in that lila. We will find that we will attain the highest ecstasy in our hearts. We are to prepare ourselves for the absolute lila.
This is what is necessary for us. We must be open to receive the absolute wave of sweetness that comes to us; try to understand. Through the divine agent we can prepare ourselves to find this plane of sweetness. This is the background of the lila of Radha-Krishna. Srimad Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave this for us, such a beautiful thing. We must be selfless to the extreme. This is the standard of selflessness, self-effacement, self-forgetfulness, self-surrendering. Then we will be able to participate. The universe, the characteristic, the movement, the sweetness of the absolute wave, the wave of sweetness absolute, that is irresistible. It can never be opposed by any force. The ultimate existence of the reality is of such nature. It is not equipoised; it is dynamic. The ecstasy, the happiness is dynamic, and its movement is in such a way.
We can participate if we simply remove all our selfishness, crookedness, and jealous temperament. Then we will be considered fit to connect with that most fundamental wave of absolute sweetness. This is the background of Radha-Govinda lila. We must prepare ourselves in such a way if we wish to approach that highest plane of divinity. This is Vrindavana, the characteristic of Vrindavana. Mahaprabhu and the acaryas, Bhaktivinoda Thakura and Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura came with this fact to give it to the world.