Radha Dasyam - The highest Bhava

By editor - 28.1 2020

Prabhodananda Saraswati  writes in his Vrndavana Mahamamrta 2.35 as follows:

“Glorious are those persons who desire to climb out of the well of material existence and attain liberation; even more glorious are they who have dedicated themselves to the service of the Lord. Even more elevated are those who have become attached to the lotus feet of ´Sri Krsna. Those who love the husband of Queen Rukminı are superior again to them; more praiseworthy still are those who are dear to the son of Yasoda. More glorious again are those who have made friends with the comrade of Subala. More glorious again than them are those who worship the Lord as the lover of the gopıs. Yet standing at the head of all the devotees in creation are those whose thoughts have been washed away by the great flow of sacred rapture emanating from the daughter of King Vrsabhanu, Radha, and worship her above all.”
Sri Rupa Manjari, Sri Rati Manjari, Sri Lavanga Manjari etc are adhik-snehadhika or Radha- snehadhika. They love Srimati Radharani more than Sri Krishna. We call them ‘manjaris’. In all situations they relish immeasurable and inexpressible ever-new pleasure of seva. Although they do not expect any pleasure – all they desire is seva – yet it is the nature of manjari-bhava and Sri Sri Radha- Krishna’s very confidential seva that they feel happy on their own. Their bhava is so immense that even when they are close to Sri Krishna Who is Madan-Mohan; they retain their individual freedom and yet submerge Him in the ocean of joy simply by doing seva. Their rati is the only one of its kind; it reaches the height of wonder and becomes ‘bhavollasa rati’.

“When the rati of sakhis (for Srimati Radharani) such as Lalita is equal or less than the passion for Sri Krishna, then we call their rati for Srimati Radharani as the ‘passing rati’, and that rati also nourishes their passion for Sri Krishna. However when the rati for Srimati Radharani is more than the passion for Sri Krishna, and keeps on increasing due to constant absorption in that rati, we call that passion as ‘bhavollasa’.”
– (B.R.S.)

This bhavollasa-rati is the permanent bhava of the manjaris such as Sri Rupa manjari. When we determinedly follow in the footsteps of the manjaris in this bhava and perform seva then our bhava is called ‘manjari-bhava’.
This manjari-bhava alone is the ‘hitherto unoffered’ gift of compassionate Sriman-Mahaprabhu; Sri Rupa and Sanatana have practiced and preached this bhava only.

Śrī Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta by Srila Sanātana Gosvāmi(Verse 2.1.21) states:
ye sarva-nairapekṣyeṇa
rādhā-dāsyecchavaḥ param
saṅkīrtayanti tan-nāma
“They chant His names and are full of unique love for Him.
Indifferent to everything else, they want only to become servants of Śrī Rādhā.”

Commentary by Srila Sanātana Gosvāmi: “The devotees of Śrī Rādhā, who is the dearmost beloved of Lord Madana-gopāla, are not impersonalists void of desires. They are fully confident that if Śrī Rādhikā accepts them as Her servants, everything they desire will be achieved, and more. The privilege of serving Śrī Rādhā is the rarest goal of life, and it is fitting that this privilege be attainable only by executing the most excellent of sādhanas.”

Srila Narottama das Thakur Mahashaya has written in his Prema-Bhakti-Chandrika text 51 –
“Equal affection for Radha and Krisna or more affection for Krisna than for Sri Radha – do not become attached to that. I will just speak about preference for Sri Radha! They are always in Her company, blissfully telling Her about Krisna. They are all called narma sakhis.”

I shall understand what seva I should do by a mere hint from them. Bouncing with beauty and talents I shall follow them with deep love and stay amidst the sakhis. When the Divine Couple will sit surrounded by the sakhis, I will serve them at the right time. When the sakhi gestures I will fan Them with the fly-whisk and offer betel-leaf at Their sweet lips.
I will meditate constantly on the lotus feet of the divine Couple with deep love. Whatever I meditate upon during my sadhana I shall get in my siddha-deha – this is the only process in the path of eternal love.”– (P.B.C.)

A raganuga devotee should take the shelter of the eternal associates such as Sri Rupa Manjari and surrender unto them; in this manner we should worship in manjari-bhava (given to us by our Spiritual Master). We should be more enthusiastic about serving Srimati Radharani than serving Sri Krishna and think of ourselves as Srimati Radharani’s very near and dear person.

We may ask – ‘All the scriptures proclaim Sri Krishna-prema as the topmost achievable goal, then why should we love Srimati Radharani more than Sri Krishna?” The reply is that – Sri Krishna is controlled by Srimati Radharani. When we love Her, we will attain Sri Krishna-prema much more and this will happen automatically.

Srila Rupa Goswamipad has written –
“vayam-idam-anubhuya shikshayama, kuru chature ! saha radhayaiva sakhyam, priya-sahachari ! yatra vadhamantar-bhavati hari-pranaya-pramoda-lakshmih.” – (U.N.)

Srila Vishwanath Chakravartipad has explained this verse as follows in his Ananda-Chandrika purport –

” Sri Mani Manjari instructed a new manjari –“My dear clever girl, I am telling you from my own experience, it is better you make friends with Srimati Radha. You may ask – why should I form a loving relation with Srimati Radha? Rather, is it not better to establish a loving relation with Sri Krishna? No, it is not. I’ll tell you why – please listen carefully. No doubt it is highly pleasurable to get Sri Hari’s love; but if you love Srimati Radharani deeply then that precious pleasure will present itself to you on its own. This is because love for Sri Krishna is included within your love for Srimati Radha. Hence if you make friends with Her – it is needless to say that – a loving relation with Sri Krishna will form naturally.

When you become Srimati Radharani’s firm sakhi, then Sri Krishna will consider you as His beloved’s dear friend and so He will love you all the more. He will not love you so much if you make friends with Him directly, however He will love you more if you love Her. So I am telling you if you can prove your love for Srimati Radharani then Sri Krishna will love you even if you do not try for it. Sri Krishna is happier when our love for Srimati Radharani is more than our love for Him . Also when Srimati Radharani does maan or if the elders shut Her up in the house, then Sri Krishna will need you desperately to help Him meet Her. Then He will, on His own, run behind you to make friends with you. You see, you don’t have to work hard to make friends with Him.”

if we wish to relish the sweet rasa of Sri Krishna then worshiping the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani becomes inevitable. Srila Raghunath das Goswamipad has written –

“The one who has not worshiped the dust of Srimati Radharani’s lotus feet, has not taken shelter of Sri Vrindavana that is decorated with Her footprints, has not conversed with the great devotees who are deeply immersed in Srimati Radharani’s servitude, how will such a person ever relish the most mysterious fathomless ocean of rasa that is Sri Krishna?” – (Stavavali)

Srimati Radharani’s servitude is not a mean thing – it is the highest position or the most blessed status. Srimati Radharani’s maidservant is a servant in spite of being a sakhi. She has the right to the entire sweet rasa. First she relishes sweet rasa and then she performs seva. Therefore Srimati Radharani’s servitude is overflowing with rasa.

Sometimes, by Srimati Radharani’s wish sakhis such as Lalita do unite with Sri Krishna, yet the manjaris never have a conjugal relation with Him. They are so much averse to it that even if Sri Krishna begs them for it and even if their group leader orders them to do so – the manjaris never ever have the slightest wish to make love to Sri Krishna in spite of such an activity being extremely joyous. Sri Vrindavana-Mahimamritam says –
“The manjari is exclusively immersed in relishing the rasa of serving the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani, and she never accepts love-dalliance with Sri Krishna even in her dreams (definitely not when awake). When Sri Krishna forcibly tears her bodice and makes an advance towards her, then the manjari tearfully protests and laments – and beholding this scene – Srimati Radharani, the Beloved of my life laughs.’

Even sakhis such as Lalita do not get the pleasure of serving the Divine couple in a manner that the manjaris can serve. We are fortunate to get such seva when we are completely surrender at Srimati Radharani’s lotus feet.

“I seek the refuge of Srimati Radharani’s maidservants headed by Sri Rupa Manjari – who can move freely and unhesitatingly in the sports ground of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna’s love-making – that even the pran-preshtha sakhis such as Lalita cannot – and they constantly please Srimati Radharani, Who is the controller of Sri Vrindavana, with their sweet seva, such as offering tambul, massaging feet, offering water and helping in abhisar.” – (Vraja-Vilasa-Stava)

We, the Gaudiya Vaishnavas, who wish to become Srimati Radharani’s maidservants, pray from the bottom of our hearts –

“When will I get the association of my sakhi and sew flower-garlands for both of Them?  O when will I stand in front of them fanning Them with the fly-whisk? And anoint Them with aguru and chandan? When, on the command of the sakhi, will I offer tambul? And adorn Their foreheads with sindur and tilak? When will I behold their charming and loving pastimes with my eyes?  And gaze at Their moon like faces after seating Them on the throne? I wish to relish that sweetness with all my heart when will Narottama das get such mercy?” – (Prarthana)

The reason that almost all of our acharyas preached Radha Dasyam  is no coincidence. They want us to practice Radha Dasyam and that is the only reason that the Gutikas of Gopal Guru Goswami , Dhyanchandra Goswami , Siddha Krishna Das Goswami only refer to practice of manjari Bhava (maid servant of Srimati Radharani) . However it does not mean that practice in other bhavas (Dasya, Sakhya, Vatsalya,Madhurya in other bhavas)are forbidden  . But it is not what Mahaprabhu came to distribute. He came to distribute only unnata ujjvala-rasa as stated in Chaitanya Charitamrita.

anarpita-carim ciriat karunayavatirnah kalau samarpayitum unnata ujjvala-rasam sva-bhakti-sriyam harih purata-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandipitah sada hrdaya-kandare sphuratu vah saci-nandana. (C.C)

TRANSLATION: May the Supreme Lord who is known as the son of Srimati Saci-devi be transcendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has appeared in the Age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation has ever offered before: the most sublime and radiant mellow of devotional service, the mellow of conjugal love.

One may say that this includes direct conjugal relationship with Krishna without anugatya of Srimati Radharani  . But it is not the truth . Chaitanya Mahaprabhu always preached allegiance to Srimati Radharani and stressed on understanding her mood . We can come to this conclusion very easily by reading books of acharyas like Chaitanya Charitamrita and others.

On the other hand sadhana in direct conjugal relationship with Krishna like sakhis  was preached by Lord Ramchandra to the sages of Dandakaranya while he was in exile  as recorded in sastras. It was already given by another incarnation but it is not the mood of gaudiya vaishnavas . So what was the unique gift of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in relation to conjugal relationship ? It is understanding the conjugal mellow via the mood of Srimati Radharani which is actually   Radha Dasyam. It is Radha Dasyam which is referred as unnata ujjvala-rasam . However the mood of  sama sneha sakhis of Radharani  who owe their allegiance to Radharani can also be included in this category but as our gaudiya acharyas who practised madhurya rasa have only preached Radha Dasyam and have not directly mentioned sama sneha sakhi’s mood to be practiced by gaudiya vaishnava so we wish not to comment on this topic.

Srila Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj commentary on Sri Caitanyastakam verse 4 says:

In the pre-Caitanya era there was a cult of sakhi-bhava (love for Krsna as a participating amorous consort) preached by great devotees like the poet Jayadeva, Chandidasa, Vidyapati, Bilvamangala and others, but the manjari-bhava-sadhana, the personal and exclusive service of Sri Radha, was a new gift, introduced by Sri Gaurasundara and the acaryas who took shelter of His lotus feet. The seed of this vine of devotion is given by a Gaudiya Vaishnava saint or guru and it is sprinkled by the water of hearing, chanting and remembering, so that the vine will ultimately bear the ripened, delicious fruits of Radha-dasyabhava. This is the premojjvala-rasa- phalam mentioned in the verse.


In fact prema kalpataru Srila Narottama das thakura mahasaya has  warned the readers not to follow the sama sneha sakhis in his Prema  Bhakti Chandrika text 51. One may argue that Srila Thakura Mahasaya is reflecting his own mood but that is not true. In the statement he is urging the readers “naa koriho” which means he is urging the readers “do not become attached to that” . Had he mentioned “naa koribo” then that would reflect his own mood “I will not  become attached to that”.  There is no direct statement from any acharya recommending to follow the mood of sama sneha sakhis of Radharani though we can see Radha-krsna-ganoddesa-dipika text 234 states priya sakhis can be bhakti siddha. However having the provision for practice and path recommended are two different things. Even one can follow the mood of the queens of Dwaraka but that is not recommended by any Gaudiya Vaishnava acharyas as we follow vraja bhava in raganuga bhakti . There are lots of direct statements of acharyas recommending to follow the hand maids of Radharani bhavas which are meant to develop the necessary lobha for that bhava only.

However we do not mean to discourage the followers of other moods from their bhava  as they might be naturally inclined towards that bhava from their previous samskaras which is certainly allowed .  But since it is not the mood of our  parampara or recommended path for gaudiya vaishnavas so we don’t preach it.

Sripad Raghunatha das Goswamicharan who is our prayojan tattva acharya has rejected the position of Srimati Radharani’s sakhi and has begged Her to exclusively make him Her maidservant –

“O Devi Radhike, to become a servant of Your lotus feet is the highest position; leaving this I do not desire anything else (such as the position of Your sakhi). I pay obeisance to Your sakhi-hood eternally, however please let me always remain rooted in the position of Your maidservant – this is my pledge.” – (Vilapa Kusumanjali)


We desire Radha Dasyam

sri radha-pada-dasyam-eva paramabhistam hrda dharayan
karhi syam tad-anugrahena paramadbhutanuragotsavah

“When will I relish that most wonderful festival of attachment to the lotus  feet of Sri Radha by holding that most supreme desire of serving the Divine  Couple, within my heart?” (Radha-rasa-sudhanidhi )
ha devi! kaku-bhara-gadgadayadya vaca
yace nipatya bhuvi dandavad udbhatartih
asya prasadam abudhasya janasya krtva
gandharvike! nija-gane gananam vidhehi

“O Goddess Gandharvika! Feeling intense distress I fall on the ground like  a stick and implore You with many words and in a faltering voice to be merciful to this fool and accept me as one of Your own associates.”  (Gandharva-prarthanastakam 2)