Sri Sri Vilapa Kusumanjali
sva kuṇḍaṁ tava lolākṣi sapriyāyāḥ sadāspadam
atraiva mama saṁvāsa ihaiva mama saṁsthitiḥ
O Lolākṣi (restless eyed girl)! Your lake is always the dwelling place of You and Your Beloved. Here only I will live and here alone I will stay!
In the previous verse Śrī Raghunātha desired to be taken close to Śrī Rādhārāṇī’s feet, and along with this desire for direct caraṇa-sevā (foot-service) a natural flood of humility arises in the heart of the lover. When this humility arises the lover cries about his own unworthiness. Śrī Rādhā’s lotus feet are very rarely attained. Even Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Uddhava and others can hardly get a speck of dust from these most wonderful feet. brahmeśvarādi sudurūha padāravinda śrīmat parāga paramādbhuta vaibhavāyāḥ (Rādhā Rasa Sudhānidhi – 3). Śrī Raghunātha thinks: “Alas! Am I worthy to attain these precious feet of Śrī Rādhā? O restless-eyed Svāmini! I’m totally unqualified to serve Your lotus feet, hence I say – this kuṇḍa is most dear to You and Your Priyatama, You don’t have any more beautiful place in Vraja for Your loving pastimes than this! O Īśvari! May I reside here! Please be kind to me and don’t let me go anywhere, away from Your kuṇḍa!”
Śrī Raghunātha’s heart is filled with the relish of Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa. Whenever Śrī Raghunātha considers the precious śrī caraṇa-sevā of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa to be hard to attain the firm determination to live at Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa awakens in his mind. At the end of his Stavāvalī, in his Prārthanāśraya Caturdaśakam (3) Śrīla Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī prays:
udañcat kārunyāmṛta vitaraṇair jīvita jagad
yuva-dvandvaṁ gandhair guṇa sumanasaṁ vāsita janam
kṛpāṁ cen mayy evaṁ kirati na tadā tvaṁ kuru tathā
yathā me śrī kuṇḍe sakhi sakalam aṅgaṁ nivasati
“O sakhi Rūpa Mañjari! If the adolescent Couple, who revive the whole world with a shower of nectarean mercy and who scent all the people with the fragrance of Their flower-like attributes, are not merciful to me, then please arrange it for me that I can live my whole life at Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa (and that I may leave my body there)!” In this verse also Śrīpāda shows a firm resolve to live at Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa and to leave his body there.
atraiva mama saṁvāsa “Here I will firmly reside, and even if there is a very important duty to perform elsewhere, may I not go anywhere else”. Therefore he says ihaiva mama saṁsthitiḥ. The verbal root stha stands for gati nivṛtti, or cessation of motion. Such an unshakable determination is the root cause of perfection for the practising devotees, and it is seen in all the self-realized souls. The assembly of practising devotees is well acquainted with the vow Lord Buddha took before he reached perfection. Sitting under the Bodhi-tree he vowed:
ihāsane śoṣyatu me śarīraṁ tvag asthi māṁsaṁ vilayaṁ ca yātu
aprāpya bodhiṁ bahu kalpa durlabhāṁ naivāsanāt kāyamataś caliṣyate
“My body may parch under this tree and My skin, bones and flesh may dissolve, but until I reached enlightenment, even if it takes many ages, I will not move My body from this sitting place!” The same firm determination is visible in Śrīmad Dāsa Gosvāmī’s words atraiva mama samvāsa ihaiva mama saṁsthitiḥ. In his Prārthanāśraya Caturdaśakam (13 and 14) he also says:
girivara-taṭa kuñje mañju vṛndāvaneśā
sarasi ca racayan śrī rādhikā Kṛṣṇa-kīrtim
dhṛta rati ramanīyaṁ saṁsmaraṁs tat padābjaṁ
vraja dadhi phalam aśnan sarva kālaṁ vasāmi
“I will spend all my time at the base of Girirāja Govardhana, by the charming lake of Vṛndāvaneśvarī, singing the glories of Śrī Rādhikā and Kṛṣṇa, remembering Their beautiful lotus feet with great loving attachment and eating fruits and yoghurt from Vraja.”
vasato giri-vara kuñje lapataḥ śrī rādhike’nu kṛṣṇeti
dhāyato vraja dadhi takraṁ nātha sadā me dināni gacchantu
“O master (Rūpa Gosvāmī)! May I spend all my days in a kuñja at the foot of Girirāja Govardhana, singing ‘Śrī Rādhike! Kṛṣṇa!’ and drinking yoghurt and buttermilk from Vraja!” In great ecstatic love Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī prays like this again and again. Day and night, in dreams and in wakefulness, he cherishes only one desire – Śrī Rādhikā’s intimate service, and he expresses that in different moods and in different words. The powerful riverstream of his love constantly flows with high waves towards the ocean of Śrī Rādhikā’s devotional service. This stream does not stop, and it does not rest….
Tulasī says: “Hā Svāmini! You are Mahābhāvamayi! I’m unqualified for attaining the service of Your lotus feet, like a dwarf reaching for the moon. Still I cannot give up the desire for them.” This transcendental greed does not allow the devotee to consider whether he is qualified or not. “I am completely overwhelmed by this greed! Who else can be so merciful to give a desperate soul like me that service of Your lotus feet? Thinking like this I remembered Your dear lake Rādhākuṇḍa! O Restless-eyed girl! Please be so merciful to allow me always to live on the bank of Your lake! Because this lake is Your dearmost place I will surely receive Your mercy by taking shelter of it! Surely one day Your loving pastimes in this lake will appear before the spiritualised eyes of an unfortunate soul like me!”
Śrī Rasika-Candra Dāsa sings:
cañcala nayani rāi! ei bhikṣā tomā cāi,
śuno mora monera vāsanā.
tava kuṇḍa ati sāndra, prema vilāsera kendra,
ei sthāne koriyā karuṇā.
vāsa more dibe niti, nitya more hobe sthiti,
kutūhole rahibo paḍiyā.
sakhī priyatama sane, premalīlā daraśane,
ānande bhāsābe mora hiyā.
“O restless-eyed Rāi! I want this alm from You, listen to my heart’s desire! Please give me an eternal place by Your kuṇḍa, which is the centre of Your intense loving pastimes! I am very eager to stay there! My heart will float in an ocean of bliss when I can see Your love-pastimes there with Your sakhīs and Your Priyatama!”
sva kuṇḍaṁ tava lolākṣi sapriyāyāḥ sadāspadam
atraiva mama saṁvāsa ihaiva mama saṁsthitiḥ
O beautiful lake (Rādhākuṇḍa)! My mistress always plays erotic games in you with Her beloved Krsna. If you are dearer to Them than the dearest, then please show me my mistress, who is my very life!
Śrī Raghunātha’s mind is absorbed in the glories of Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa. In the previous verse he humbly realized his own unworthiness and how rarely Śrī Rādhā’s personal service or audience is attained, and therefore he prayed to Her lotus feet that he may be fixed in living at Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa. In this verse he becomes unsteady while realizing the kuṇḍa’s glories, so he prays to Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa that he may see Śrī Rādhārāṇī, who is his very life (prāṇa svarūpiṇī) this very day. Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa makes no distinction between who is qualified and who is not and blesses everyone who performs some devotional service there with the treasure of love of God, even if they do not perform any sādhana bhajan. Śrīla Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī, who had personally experienced this, states in his Rādhākuṇḍāṣṭakam (5):
api jana iha kaścid yasya sevā prasādaiḥ praṇaya suralatā syāttasya goṣṭhendra sūnoḥ
sapadi kila mad īśā dāsya puṣpa praśasyās tad ati surabhi rādhākuṇḍam evāśrayo me
“That beautiful Rādhākuṇḍa, by whose grace the desire-vine of love for Kṛṣṇa, that bears the flowers of service to my Queen Rādhikā, instantly sprouts in the heart of anyone who performs devotional service there, is my only shelter!”
This place is dearer to Śrī-Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava than the dearest place, because there are beautiful intimate kuñjas all around where They can freely enjoy all Their intimate pastimes.
Śrīla Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī writes in his ‘Vraja Vilāsa Stava’ (53):
śrī vṛndā-vipinaṁ suramyam api tac chrīman sa govardhanaḥ
sa rāsa-sthalikāpy alaṁ rasamayī kim tāvad anya sthalam
yasyāpy aṁśa lavena nārhati manāk sāmyaṁ mukundasya tat
prāṇebhyo’py adhika priyeva dayitaṁ tat kuṇḍam evāśraye
“The delightful forest of Vṛndāvana, beautiful Govardhana Hill and the nectarean arena of the Rāsa-dance, what to speak of other places, are not equal to even a single particle of one of the atoms of Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa. I take shelter of that divine lake, which is dearer to Mukunda than His own life breath.”
That this is not an exaggerated devotional glorification, is proven by this statement from the Padma Purāṇa:
yathā rādhā priyā viṣṇos tasyāḥ kuṇḍaṁ priyaṁ tathā
sarva gopīṣu saivaika viṣṇor atyanta vallabhā
“Just as Rādhā is dear to Lord Visnu, so is Her kuṇḍa. Of all the gopīs She alone is Lord Viṣṇu’s most beloved One!”
Although it seems that Rādhākuṇḍa and Śyāmakuṇḍa are filled with ordinary water, they are actually filled with erotic spiritual flavours:
doṅhāra ujjvala madhura ye rasa varṇa viparyaya kori
rahasya lāgiyā bhakte sukha diyā āche ‘sara’ nāma dhari
se kāraṇa bhakta sara kori vyakta se rase koriya snāna;
kṛṣṇera kṛpāya rādhā sama prema lābha kore bhāgyavān
śrī Kṛṣṇa jokhon rādhā daraśana lāgi’ utkaṇṭhita hoy;
sakala upāya viphala hoiyā rādhākuṇḍāśraya loy
tat kāle rādhāra pāy daraśana emati kuṇḍa prabhāva;
rādhāra emati śyāmakuṇḍāśraye Kṛṣṇa saṅga hoy lābha
“When reversing the syllables of the word rasa, which means ‘the sweet erotic flavour of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s play’, you get the word sara, which means ‘lake’ (Rādhākuṇḍa). This secret makes the devotees very happy. Understanding sara (lake) to mean rasa (spiritual flavour), the devotees bathe there and a fortunate soul then attains a love for Kṛṣṇa equal to that of Rādhā’s, by Kṛṣṇa’s grace. When Kṛṣṇa is eager to see Rādhā and all His endeavours fail He takes shelter of Rādhākuṇḍa, on whose strength He then gets to meet Her. Śrī Rādhā similarly takes shelter of Śyāmakuṇḍa to attain Kṛṣṇa’s association.”
Through their inconceivable potency these two kuṇḍas delight separated Rādhā and Śyāma by arranging for Their meetings, therefore Śrī-Kuṇḍa is dearer to the Śrī Yugala than anything or anyone. Virahī Śrī Raghunātha dāsa falls on the bank of the kuṇḍa and cries out: “O beautiful Rādhākuṇḍa! How glorious you are! If you can delight the separated Couple by arranging for Their meeting, then please also allow this fallen wretch, who has fallen on your banks, weeping, to see Īśvarī’s lotus feet now!” And if the kuṇḍa says: “Śrīpāda! Be patient! You will see Them in due course of time! Why do you want to see them right now?”, then Raghunātha answers: mama jīvitaṁ tām “O beautiful kuṇḍa! Īśvarī (Śrī Rādhikā) is my very life! Without Her I cannot stay alive for even a moment anymore!”
Śrī Haripada Śila sings:
he śrī rādhākuṇḍa vara, mahā tīrtha sarovara,
tīre mad īśvarī rādhārāṇī
matta hoiyā kāma raṅge, āpana vallabha saṅge,
keli kore divasa rajanī
“O Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa! O Best of holy lakes! On Your banks my mistress Rādhārāṇī is intoxicated day and night by Her lovesports with Her gallant.”
rasera pāthāre niti, snāna kore bhāgyavatī,
rādhākuṇḍa yugalera priya
āmāra jīviteśvarī, dekhāibe kuṇḍeśvarī,
sarovara hoiyā sadoya
“A beautiful fortunate girl can nicely bathe in the ocean of rasa Śrī Rādhākuṇḍa, the beloved lake of the Divine Couple. O Lake! Be kind and show me the queen of my life and the queen of the kuṇḍa!”