This series chronicles interesting experiences recounted by the devotees of HH Maharanyam Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji. These articles are translations from the series, “Madhuramaana Mahaneeyar” that is published every month in Madhuramurali Tamil monthly magazine.
Pure Love of Radharani
Navaratri festival was being celebrated in our Madhurapuri Ashram; Sri Swamiji, staying at the Ashram all the nine days, celebrated Premika Varadan-Madhuri Sakhi’s Navaratri festival in a grand manner. Every morning Srimad Ramayana was read and puja was performed. All these nine days
One day, Sri Swamiji was sitting in Madhuvan, his cottage. He spoke out the wonderful bhava (divine spiritual mood) that rose up in his heart with regard to Sri Radharani.
It was a night in Brindavan… the full moon was spreading his cool rays all over Brindavan. Cool breeze was blowing. In Brindavan, filled with green plants, trees and creepers, Radha and Gopis – her sakhis (mates) – sitting on the banks of the Yamuna, were lamenting. What could be the subject matter of Radharani’s lamentation? They were talking and lamenting about Sri Krishna in the manner said in Gopika Gitam (hymn sung by Gopis when Krishna suddenly disappeared from their midst) – ‘tava kathAmrutam tapta jIvanam…’ – (Thy divine plays are verily my life). They kept speaking only about the Lord’s beautiful peacock feather that moves in breeze, His flute play that enraptures all, the beauty of a crore Manmathas (Cupid) in the posture of His crossed Feet, and lamenting “Ah, He has disappeared from here leaving us to pine for Him!”
Suddenly Radharani was not to be seen! Lalita and Chandravali, the prime sakhis of Radharani, along with others stood there at a loss to know what to do. Their lamentation over the missing Lord now turned to the missing Radharani. They began to search for Radharani.
“Radha cannot bear Krishna viraham (deep pining for Krishna born of separation). Due to such deep pining even the life force may leave her body. Or Radharani might have fallen into the Yamuna which flows nearby…!” Filled with such distressing thoughts the Gopis wandered in all directions searching for Radharani. What could the Gopis, who were mere women, do in this dense forest at night?
In their search for Radharani they came near a tree. Then a Gopi exclaimed, “What wonder! Do you all see the leaves of this tree? Dew is dropping from them! Does not dew drop only in the early hours of the morning? How is it happening at night?” Another Gopi explained to her, “Don’t you understand? These are not dew drops. Radha must be here somewhere close by. Unable to bear the separation from Krishna she is shedding tears. It is verily these tears that are falling from the leaves as dew drops.” They continued their search with the hope of finding Radha soon.
Just then the earth began to quake suddenly.
One Gopi screamed thinking that it was earthquake. Everyone felt scared. When a Gopi asked what it could be, another Gopi who was wise said, “This must be due to Radha’s body shuddering due to her pining for Krishna.”
The sakhis who were wandering around there found another wonder. Flowers from some trees had dropped down. Who could have done this? They looked up to see if this was the work of monkeys. But not a single monkey was seen. So they realized that it was not the work of any monkey. They guessed that Radha, unable to bear the separation from Krishna, must have fallen in a swoon; as a result these flowers must have dropped down. Their hope of finding Radha was raised and they thought, “This shows that Radha is somewhere close by. We shall certainly find her.”
Just then the night time which was filled with cool breeze turned blazing hot as in peak summer, and the cool breeze turned into cyclonic wind! “Is there a forest fire in Brindavan? And, is there a cyclonic storm, too?” thought and feared the Gopis.
Seeing them experience such fear, Chandravali and Lalita said, “Friends! Do not worry. It is neither a forest fire nor cyclonic storm. Radha is certainly somewhere close by. This heat is emanating only from her body due to her pining for Krishna (Krishna viraham). She is breathing hard calling out ‘Krishna! Krishna!’ and this is reflected as a cyclonic storm.”
Just then they saw a scene that had not been seen even in a dream! At this time of night, the blue sky descended very close to them, almost as if it was touching them, and surrounded them. The Gopis were unable to comprehend what was happening. They felt confused. “What magic! In this dark night has the blue sky come down? We have never witnessed such a scene nor have we heard anyone speak of such a thing.” Chandravali pointed out to them, “Look there! Don’t you see Radha seated in the middle of that blue shade?”
All of them ran towards Radha. When they surrounded Radha they understood the secret of the blue shade. It was verily from the heart of Radha who had totally lost herself in deep meditation of the blue-hued handsome Lord Sri Krishna that the blue shade was being reflected upon this whole universe!
“Ah!” sighed all of them. They were all delighted to have found Radha! On the one hand all of them were filled with wonder that their Radha was in such supreme state, while on the other hand they were unable to bear even a little of the distressed state of Radha as a result of her separation from Krishna. Radha’s life-force was Krishna. But the life-force of her sakhis was verily Radharani. The Gopis could not bear this deep pining (viraha thaapam) of Radha. They began to discuss amongst themselves as to how to save Radha from this distress.
But none felt bold to go near Radha nor touch her. They stood in a circle around Radha.
One sakhi said, “Radha should, at once, be saved from this distress. I am unable to just stand mute looking at her state of distress. Either Krishna should come here, which would at once put a stop to her pining, or we should somehow bring her to the normal state. She is in a very high state of bhakti; while I do not possess even an iota of Krishna Bhakti. I have been yearning for Krishna Bhakti to sprout in my dry heart. Therefore, if I now go and touch Radharani it would certainly bring her down from the high state to the normal state.” Uttering these words she ran and hugged Radha.
Everyone thought that Radha would come down from her high state. But what happened was the contrary! The state of Radha only moved further up! Gopis, who are verily the ideal of Krishna Bhakti, always feel that the devotion that they have for Krishna is not deep enough. It is in this way that this sakhi, who was a great Krishna devotee, considered herself. Is it not the true sign of a devotee to consider himself lacking in devotion though full of devotion?
Well! Do you know what happened to that Gopi? The touch of Radha transformed her also into a Radha!
Original Tamil article by Dr.Bhagyanathan,
Madhuramurali November 2015
Translated by Nisha Giri Houston, TX