Jai Jai Sri Radhey! Today is an ultra-auspicious day for all Caitanya Vaisnavas. It is the day celebrated as the birthday of Brindavaneshvari Sri Radhey and also Sri Bisakha Sakhi. I wasn’t sure what I should write. This day is overwhelmingly important and nothing will seem adequate as a proper glorification of our life and soul, our Svamini, Sri Radharani. A verse from Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi by Sri Prabodhananda Saraswatipada caught my attention and I will post that along with commentary from Madhusudan Das, Prabhupad Ananda Gopal Goswami, and Sri Ananta Das Pandit the Mahant of Sri Radhakund and attempt to glorify Her is this way. Surely by the grace of guru and Nitai we will one day attain the position of Her nitya-dasi serving Her and Shyam in the kunjas of Braja.
vaidagdhya sindhur anurAga rasaika sindhur
vAtsalya sindhur ati sAndra kRpaika sindhuH |
lAvaNya sindhur amRta cchabi rUpa sindhuH
zrI rAdhikA sphuratu me hRdi keli sindhuH ||RRSN 18 ||
The ocean of clever expertise
The ocean of singleminded extraordinary love
The ocean of motherly affection
The ocean of extremely condensed deep compassion
The ocean of graceful charms
The ocean of nectarean effulgence of sheer beauty
May the ocean of the the sportive amorous lilas of Sri Radhika manifest in my heart.
Sri Radha — The Seven Cosmic Oceans Personified
(1) Sri Radha is vaidagdhya sindhuH, an ocean of cleverness. This means rasa pANDitya, She is learned in the science of rasa. She even teaches rasika zekhara, the king of relishers, Sri Krishna expertise in erotic rasa. Sri Krishna Himself admits in Caitanya Caritamrta: rAdhikAra prema – guru; Ami – ziSya naTa; sadA AmA nAna nRtye nAcAye udbhaTa “Radhika’s love is the teacher and I am the dancing pupil. She always causes Me to dance different wonderful dances!” She is the teacher of arts. Sri Rupa Goswamipada writes in Ujjvala Nilamani (rAdhA prakaraNa 21):
AcArya dhAtu citre pacana viracanA cAturI cAru cittA
vAg yuddhe mugdhayanti gurum api ca girAM paNDitA malya gumphe |
pAThe zArI-zukAnAM paTur ajutam api dyuti keliSu jiSNur
vidyA vidyoti buddhiH sphurati rati kalAzAlini rAdhikeyam ||
Kundalata told Gargi: “O Devi! What more can I say about the artful expertise of Sri Radhika? She is the teacher by example of making pictures of mineral pigments (Sri Visvanath Cakravartipada writes in his Ananda candrikA commentary on this verse: AcArya na tu kadAcid api kasyacic chiSya….evaM sarvatra jJeyam. “The word acarya here means that She did not learn this science from anyone, it was spontaneously manifest to Her.”) She is expert is cooking, She can even stifle Krishna in verbal battle. She is very learned in stringing flower garlands, She is expert in teaching the Suka and Sari parrots how to recite beautiful verses. She can defeat even the unconquerable Ajita in a game of dice, and She has a keen intelligence.” Because of Her cleverness She is compared here with the ocean of Sweet Water (the seventh of the cosmic oceans).
(2) Sri Radha is the only ocean of anurAga. anurAga means mahabhAva. anurAga is ever-fresh and ever-astonishing. Srimati thinks Krishna’s sweetness is ever fresh and She always has more taste for His sweetness, so She always relishes it. With the statement that Radharani is the only ocean of anurAga rasa is meant that when anurAga increases, it becomes mahabhAva and that when, mahabhAva increases it is called mAdana mahAbhAva. Sri Radharani is the only one who has this mAdana mahAbhAva and She is the fountainhead of all mahAbhAva, just as the ocean is the fountainhead of all the rivers and ponds. The other gopis are Her phalanx that help Her to complete Krsna’s relishing of prema rasa. Just as milk becomes thick kSIra when it is boiled down, anuraga turns into mahAbhAva when it becomes ‘thick’ (intensified). Therefore the anurAga-ocean is compared to the ocean of milk (the sixth of the cosmic oceans).
(3) Sri Radha is the ocean of vAtsalya. vAtsalya means love for the poor and the fallen. Just as Sri Radha is an inexhaustible storehouse of erotic rasa, She is also a great ocean of vAtsalya-affection. The writers of the rasa zAstra say that the vAtsalya rasa is not compatible with the madhurya rasa, but Radharani makes them compatible in some situations. For instance, She gives the greatest bliss to rasika ziromaNi Sri Krishna and Her girlfriends and maidservants when She gives this ‘motherly’ affection to Krishna while He takes His meal. Sri Radha’s vAtsalya towards Her girlfriends is also most wonderful. She is always controlled by their affection. Sri Rupa Goswamipada gives the following example in his Ujjvala Nilamani (rAdhA prakAraNa 34):
upadiza sakhi vRnde vallabendrasya sUnuM kim ayam iha sakhInAM mAm adhInAM dunoti
apasaratu sazaGkaM mandirAn mAninInAM kalayati lalitAyAH kiM na zauTIrya dhATIm
Sri Radha had a quarrel with Sri Krishna, but now She regrets it (kalahAntarita bhAva). She is once more eager to meet Him, but in order to show that She is under the full control of her girlfriends, She tells Vrinda: “O sakhi Vrnde! Tell this prince of Braja that I am controlled by my girlfriends! Why does He waste His words on Me? We are proud girls it is not proper for Him to stay in our abodes! Tell Him that He better fearfully flee! Doesn’t He know the prowess of my friend Lalita?” With these words sakhI vatsalA Sri Radha pleases Her girlfriends and gives a hidden instruction to Shyamasundar to come and meet Her at the same time. Sri Radha’s vAtsalya towards Her maidservants is incomparable! The maidservants are always showered by the waves from the ocean of Her motherly affection. She always keeps them by Her side, calling them, “My Rupa Manjari, My Rati Manjari, with strong feelings of mineness. Because there is a lot of the essential part of affection in the vAtsalya-ocean, just as yoghurt is the essence of milk, this ocean can be compared the ocean of yoghurt (the fifth of the cosmic oceans).
(4) Sri Radha is the ocean of deep compassion, always showering Her devotees with the nectar stream of Her mercy. Those who have been touched by the nectar of that compassion, can testify. Sri Raghunath Das Gosvami says: karuNA vidravad dehA – “Her body melts with compassion”. Normally, a person’s heart melts with compassion, but only in Radharani’s case Her whole body melts with compassion. She always bathes in streams of ambrosial compassion, and because Krishna accepted Her mood when He became Gaura Mahaprabhu, Mahaprabhu is so merciful! Mahaprabhu does not consider who is qualified or unqualified, who is from which caste or from which asrama. He gives prema without making such distinctions! That is ‘a body melting with compassion! It is Radha’s storehouse of compassion, not Krishna’s! In Braja-lila the storehouse of Radha’s mercy remained hidden and closed, but when Mahaprabhu accepted the mood and complexion of Sri Radha, it became manifest to the world! Mahaprabhu showed the people of the world how the body can melt with compassion, because He assumed Sn Radha’s merciful mood. Because Radhika’s body melts with compassion, it can be compared to the ocean of clarified butter (the fourth of the cosmic oceans).
(5) Sri Radha is the ocean of lAvaNya. Sri Rupa Gosvami defines lAvaNya as follows in his Ujjvala Nilamani:
muktAphaleSu chAyAyAs taralatvam ivAntarA |
pratibhAti yad aGgeSu lAvaNyam tad ihocyate ||
“The luster that gushes out of each bodily limb like the luster shining out from inside pearls, is called lAvaNya.” Srimati is the ocean of lAvaNya, or elegance. The fishlike eyes of Sri Krishna, who is called lAvaNya sAra (the essence of lAvaNya, or elegance) in Srimad Bhagavat (10.44.14), never gets tired of swimming in the ocean of Sri Radha’s lAvaNya. Indeed, His desire to swim in that ocean simply increases! Sripada Bilvamangala Thakura said in Krishna Karnamrtam (3): lAvAnyAmRta vIci lolita dRSaM – “Krishna’s eyes billow on the waves of nectarean lAvaNya.” Sri Krishna Das Kaviraja writes in his sAraGga RaGgadA commentary on this verse: zrI rAdhAyA evA lAvanyAmRta vIcibhir lolite satRSNIkRte dRzau yasya tam “Sri Krishna’s eyes have become very thirsty after the nectar waves of Sri Radha’s lAvaNya.” Because Krishna is intoxicated by seeing Radha’s lAvaNya and Her maidservants and girlfriends are intoxicated by seeing Krishna looking at Radhika like this. The practicing devotees should also forget everything related to this world or the next world and become intoxicated by worshiping the lotus feet of that Sri Radha! The ocean of lAvaNya is compared to the ocean of wine (the third of the cosmic oceans).
(6) Sri Radha is the ocean of amRta cchabi rUpa. She is the very form of glowing nectar and Her form is like a vast ocean. She is mahAbhAva personified and mahAbhAva is compared to nectar. It is the deepest possible love for Krishna, and Radha’s form reveals this beauty and tastefulness to the utmost, therefore She is the amRtacchabi rUpa sindhu. Although Sri Krishna inundates the world with a mere drop of His beauty, even He drowns in the nectar ocean of Radha’s form! Krishna says in the Caitanya Caritamrta 1.4.242-243:
koTi kAma jini rUpa yayapi AmAra, asamordhva mAdhurya sAmya nahi yAra more rUpe apyAyita hoy tribhuvana, rAdhAra darzane AmAra juDAya nayana
eimata jagatera sukhe Ami hetu, rAdhikAra rUpa guNa AmAra jivAtu
“Although My form defeats millions of Cupids, it is unrivalled in it’s sweetness and pleases all the three worlds, My eyes are still pleased by seeing Radha…In this way I am the cause of joy to the world, but Radhika’s form and attributes are My very life! Because the ocean of Sri Radha’s form is so sweet it is compared to the ocean of sugarcane juice (the second of the cosmic oceans).
(7) Sri Radha is the ocean of playfulness, which means She frolics with Her beloved Syamasundara. She keeps Syamasundara immersed in the waves of the ocean of Her pastimes when She meets Him. When the waves of mAdana rasa swell in the ocean of Sri Radha’s pastimes even Sri Krishna, the transcendental youthful Cupid of Brindavan does not dare to place His boat-like heart on its surface, just as a boatman fearfully keeps his boat on the bank of the Ganga when her huge waves meet the ocean. The very sight of this ocean destroys all sins, but a person who drinks it’s water will die. Similarly, when one faithfully chants and hears about the pastimes of Radha and Madhava one will become free from all sins and from the heart’s disease of lust, but when one tries to imitate these pastimes one will perish. This ocean of play is compared to the ocean of salt water (the first of the cosmic oceans).