(Dhanashi Raga – Dirgha chhanda)
Bole devi Rukmini , shuno prabhu gunamani
Chitte na bhabio kichhu aan
Ja laagi kandiye aami, se katha na jano tumi
Ara jata jata saba gyan
Tuya charana kamale, ki achhe katek bol-e
Bhalo na janoho tumi iha
E pada amara ghare, chadiya jabe anyatare
Ta laagi kandiye mor hiya
Rukmini devi said,’O Lord (Krishna) , who is a jewel of virtues, please listen to Me. You cannot feel it in Your heart the reason why I am weeping. You do not know this, although everything else is known to You.You do not properly know the power of Your lotus feet. This same lotus feet will eventually leave my house and go somewhere else – this is why my heart cries’
The love that a devotee feels for the supreme Lord when He/She is in His separation (vipralambha) is many times more intense and more developed than the love that the same devotee feels in the association of the Lord (Sambhoga). This is a great confidential subject matter. The Gopis of Vrindavana were in a state of greater transcendental ecstasy living in separation from Krishna, than living in His association in Vrindavana. Similarly, the residents of Navadvipa felt their love for Nimai increase many folds once He accepted sannyasa and left Navadvipa. The residents of Ayodhya felt a more intense love for Lord Ramachandra when He was banished to the forest and when He lived away from them. A devotee ,however, always hankers for the Lord’s association and does not want to leave Him at any moment. However, the Lord at times apparently goes away from His dear devotees so as to increase their love for Him, many folds.
This love in separation is very much exhibited in the later pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who although being the supreme Lord , had descended as His own devotee. Relishing the mood of Srimati Radharani, Lord Gauranga, cried day and night feeling an intense separation from Sri Krishna. Visualizing the sea as yamuna, the Chataka parvata as Govardhan, or a tamala tree as Lord Krishna, Mahaprabhu remained immersed in the mood of an apparently suffering Radhika, whose love for Lord Krishna (living in His separation) had reached the peak of transcendental ecstasy.
E pada-padam gandhe, jay jei digante
Sedik chharoye jara mrityu
Pada-makaranda pane, jiye jei jei jane
Tare kiba diba nishi ritu
padapadma-padmarage , je dhoroye anurage
Tar pada pai punyabhage
Kandiya kohiye katha, jata achhe mon-o byatha
Sab nibedoye tuya aage
(Rukmini devi continued) ‘In whichever direction the fragrance of Your lotus feet spreads, old age and death abandons it.He, who lives drinking and relishing the nectar of Your lotus feet, cares for neither day nor night nor any passing season.The feet of one, who lovingly clasps onto the reddish lotus feet of Yours (Krishna), can be obtained only by good fortune. Weeping, I humbly narrate all of that, which causes my heart to be filled with pain’
This is the meditation of those who have realized that Gauranga prema(love) is the highest form of spiritual practice and the sole objective of one’s existence :
kandarpad api sundarah surasarit purad aho pavanah
sitamsor api shitalah sumadhuroh madhvika sarad api
data kalpa mahiruhad api maha snigdho jananya api
premna Gaura harih kada nu hrdi me dhyatuh padah dhasyati
(Chaitanya Chandramrita, Text 72)
When will Lord Gaurahari, who is unlimitedly more beautiful than Cupid, infinitely more purifying than the celestial Ganges, more soothing than millions of moons, sweeter than madhavika nectar, more charitable and generous than the celestial desire creepers, and more affectionate than millions of mothers , appear in my meditation and lovingly place His lotus feet upon my heart ?
tumi Thakura sabhakara, tomara thakura ara
Ke achhe shakala samsare
Yanr pada anurage, e rasa aswad pabe
Ei ponhu nibedoye tore
Radhamatra jane iha , o rasa piriti paiya
Yata sukh yateke sohaag
Bhakata bismaya gune, ei katha ratri dine
Ki na rasa prema anurag
‘You are the master of all in this entire creation. There is no one superior to You.Whoever is devoted and loves Your lotus feet, tastes this sweet nectar. Besides Me,only Srimati Radharani knows how to relish the mellows of love and taste this highest transcendental ecstasy.The devotees are struck with wonder contemplating day and night about the unique qualities and the ecstatic love that Radharani feels for You’.
Brahma adi deva-devi, lakshmi-charana-sevi
Se pan apana anurage
Kara kamale kamala, ati arati bihavala
Tuya pada-padme madhu mange
Se punah hridaye rahi, sajjay sutoye nahi
Badane badan rahu roma
Epada madhuri aashe, seho taha nahi base
Keba kahu charana mahima
‘All the demigods headed by Lord Brahma, including Lakshmi devi,who serves Your lotus feet, all yearn to receive this ecstatic love for You. Devi kamala (goddess Lakshmi), whose hands are like lotus flowers, who is always overwhelmed with a deep love for You, begs the nectar of Your lotus feet. She (Lakshmi devi) forever remains in your chest and sleeps with you in the same bed. Being Your beloved, She is able to keep Her face upon Yours. Yet She yearns for the sweetness of Your feet. Who can describe the unlimited glories of Your feet ?’
For a devotee, the lotus feet of the Lord are His most powerful manifestations. Worshipping the Lord’s feet also signifies that a devotee is subservient to the Supreme Lord. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura encaptures this subservient mood of a devotee :
marobi rakhobi – jo ichha tohara
nitya-dasa prati tuya adhikara
Slay me or protect me as You wish my Lord, for You are the master of Your eternal servant.
There is no authority that a devotee can exercise over the Supreme Lord. Being fully surrendered, he worships His master’s lotus feet as his greatest treasure. The more a devotee surrenders himself ,the more the Lord reciprocates and takes charge of His devotee’s life.
That is why Srila Vasudeva Ghosh sings in one of his bhajans –
Gauranga tumi more daya na chadio
Apana kariya ranga caharane rakhio
Oh Lord Gauranga! Please do not neglect to show me Your mercy! Making me Your very own property, please keep me by the reddish soles of Your feet.
Srila Prabodhananda Sarasvati (incarnation of Tungavidya Gopi) writes in Chaitanya Chandramrita :
sadhayantu yatha tatha
(Chaitanya Chandramrita, Text 94)
One may try very hard and wander throughout the whole universe to seek out and achieve real knowledge, renunciation, devotion and other exalted virtues, but one will never be able to achieve these virtues to that fullest extent like those who are devoted to Lord Chaitanya’s lotus feet.
Lakshmi apana sukh, se chahe kator mukh
Heno pada parashada prema
Radhamatra iha jane, je bhunjilo Vrindavan-e
Tar bhagyapathe nahi shima
E punah jagate dhanda, tar gune tumi bandha
Ajiha na chharo hiya jaap
Radha-nama laite ankhi, chhala chhala kare dekhi
Heno pada prema paratapa
‘Goddess Lakshmi, inspite of enjoying so much happiness, makes a sorrowful face and yearns to obtain the ecstatic love by the mercy of serving Your lotus feet. Only Srimati Radharani, who meditated upon You in Vrindavana, knows about this (power of being devoted unto Krishna’s feet) in entirety. There is no limit to Her glorious fortune.
Radharani fills this world with a mysterious wonder. She binds You with the ropes of Her exalted qualities. Even today Your heart has not turned away from Her. Whenever You chant the name of Radha, tears pour from Your eyes. Such is the majestic power of Radharani’s pure love for Your lotus feet’.
The Supreme ecstasy of Srimati Radharani is the very essence of spiritual life. Her only desire is to serve and fulfill all the desires of Lord Krishna.
Though Lakshmi devi is also a great devotee, yet Her love for the supreme Lord is considered inferior to that of Radhika. Lakshmi devi is the wife of Lord Narayana, the opulent form (aishwarya) of the supreme Lord and She is very much conscious that She is the mistress of Vaikuntha.
But the position of Goloka vrindavana, wherein the Supreme Lord manifests His pastimes as a simple cowherd boy, is superior to that of the other realms of the spiritual world, including other vaikuntha planets. Krishna manifests His exceedingly sweet enchanting pastimes (madhuya) in vrindavana, where all of its residents, especially the gopis are madly in love with Him. The transcendental ecstasy of the sweet simple pastimes of Vrindavana supersedes the opulent pastimes of the Lord (for example in Narayana form) in Vaikuntha. Similarly the mood and devotion of Radharani, who is ready to sacrifice everything She possesses for the sake of pleasing Krishna, supersedes, the devotion of Lakshmi ,who possesses the pride of being opulent.
Lord Chaitanya summarizes this humble mood of servitude of the residents of Vrindavana, in His siksastaka prayers:
na dhanam na janam na sundarim
kavitam va jagad isa kamaye
mama janmani janmanishvare
bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi
O Almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate any wealth, nor to enjoy beautiful women. Neither do I want any number of followers. What I want is the causeless mercy of Your devotional service in my life, birth after birth.
Surrendering oneself completely unto the service of the supreme Lord, a devotee achieves the ultimate perfection of his life. Acting as the servant of the Supreme , gets one situated in his original constitutional position. Constitutionally we are servants and not the masters. All of us have a natural urge to serve. This service propensity of the living being is fully satisfied when it is directed towards the Supreme Lord. The greater the surrenderance, the more intense the devotion, the more closer is one to his/her state of perfection. Walking this path leading to perfection, a devotee experiences the highest ecstasy of transcendental love, a feeling completely alien to what we experience interacting with other living beings or the other objects of this material world.
The transcendental pleasure and ecstasy of Srimati Radharani, who is the most surrendered and the most devoted servant, surpasses that of even Lord Krishna Himself, who is the Supreme Master and who is the recipient of these services.
Epada amara ghare , ulloshito antare
Kandi punah bichheder dare
Tomara adhik tor, sripadapankaja jor
Anubhav karaha bichare
Tumi jar dheyan, tumi se samadhi geyan
Tumi matra sarvatra sahaye
E heno tomara das, tuya pada kare aash
Ei aparupa bara mohe
(Rukmini devi continued) ‘These same feet are now in my home and I feel very jubilant in my heart, as a result. But I cry out of fear of separation from them yet again. Your lotus feet holds more strength, even more than You. Now please judge Yourself by considering this.
The same devotees, who constantly meditate upon You, thinking about You who enter into trance, and who only seek Your shelter under all circumstances, these same devotees hanker for Your feet. Such is the wonderful enchantment of Your lotus feet.
Ye pade Lakshmi dasi, seva Kaila abhilashi
Aichhana tomara Thakural
Thakura haiya punah, tar bhava nahi maano
Abichar-e deho taare shal
Pada makaranda rase , ye koroye abhilashe
Akshaya abyay se bhandar
Kiba rani lakshmini, apnake dhanya maani
Bini seva parabasha tar
‘Lakshmi devi is a maidservant at Your lotus feet. She serves You with a desire to obtain Your love. You are Her Lord and master. But even being Her master, You completely disregard Her feelings and mood, and unfairly give pain by as if driving an iron spear into Her heart.
Anyone who desires to taste the nectar of Your lotus feet, shall find its supply to be eternal and inexhaustible. Devi Lakshmi and Sarasvati consider themselves to be truly fortunate, being able to serve You and place themselves under your dominion’.
Salokya-di mukti chari, tar pachhe anusari
Nahi chahe nayaner kone
Ye parila Premarase , ara kiba tare base
Vaikuntha-di tuchha kari mane
Kor juri bali pahun, o-pada kamala mahun
Madhukara kari deho bor
E-pada bichheda dor-e, e papa parana jhure
Kabhu na chadiyo mora ghar
(Rukmini devi continued) ‘One who receives the ecstasy of Your love, does not glance at the four kinds of liberation, beginning with Salokya, even with the mere corner of his eyes. Such a person considers even a residence in vaikuntha or other such glorious places to be insignificant.
Folding my palms, I beg You to grant me this benediction that I remain a bumblebee at Your lotus feet. Fearing that I shall be separated from Your feet, my sinful life trembles. I beg You to never leave my home again’.
There is no greater pain in a devotee’s life than being separated from the Supreme Lord. When Sri Vasudeva Ghosh received the painful news that Mahaprabhu had left this world, he immediately wanted to commit suicide.As a consequence he ordered his followers to bury him alive. He did this because he considered his life to be meaningless in the absence of Lord Chaitanya. Later however, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, bestowed His darsana to Vasudeva Ghosh, while he was lying in his grave half covered with mud. Only after receiving Mahaprabhu’s darsana did Vasudeva Ghosh ask his disciples to stop and get him out of his burial. His residence in tamluk (Medinipur, Bengal) is hence renowned as Narpota (Nar – human, pota- to bury).
During the mahaprakash Leela pastimes, Mahaprabhu wanted to bestow the greatest material opulences, the greatest mystic siddhis, liberation from material world, etc unto His dear devotee ,Kolavecha Sridhar. But poor Kolavecha Sridhar, who lived by selling banana leaves, refused all of the above, knowing very well that he could have become the king of heavens if he would have asked for. Sridhar was materially impoverished but was highly devoted to the Supreme Lord.With a deeply emotional heart Sridhar then exclaimed that if the Lord really wanted to bestow upon him a benediction , then let him be granted this boon that he be a servant of the little Nimai Pandita life after life. He wished that wherever Nimai goes, he accompany Him as His humble servant and be able to serve Him by providing Him ,all His requirements of vegetables and bananas. This is the stature of a pure devotee of the Lord. Material opulences , liberation or mystic siddhis mean very little to him as compared to loving association of the Lord.
Sri Chaitanya Chandramrita states :
Kaivalyam narakayate tri dasa pur akasha puspayate
Durdantendriya kala sarpa patali protkhata damstrayate
Visvam purna sukhayate vidhi mahendradis ca kitayate
Yat karunya kataksa vaibhav-avatam tam Gauram eva stumah
(Chaitanya Chandramrita, text 5)
For those who have attained the merciful sidelong glance of Lord Gauranga, impersonal liberation (merging into the brahmajyoti) becomes as painful as going to hell, the heavenly cities of the demigods seem to be as trivial as mere flowers floating in the sky, the venomous and poisonous fangs of the untamable black snakes of the senses become extracted and uprooted,the whole world which is otherwise full of misery becomes full of supreme joy and the exalted positions of Brahma, Indra and all the demigods become as insignificant as those of tiny insects. Let us glorify that supremely merciful Lord Gauranga.
Pada aravinda-guna, Rukmini kahila shuna
Kebala Premera parakash
Tahe se prabhura daya, khalabala kare hiya
Guna gaye e Locana das
In this way Rukmini devi recited the glories of Lord Krishna’s lotus feet. It was only a manifestation of Her pure love for the Lord.Receiving the Lord’s mercy, Her heart became overwhelmed with love. Thus I ,Locana das, sing these nectarian glories.