Srimati Radharani- The Origin of the Sankirtan Movement
By Samapriya dasi
How can one understand the esoteric personality of Srimati Radharani? She is the principal inspiration for the Lord, and only confidentially revealed in the Vedic scriptures. Yet, She takes shelter within the deepest realizations of pure hearted bhakti yogis. Lord Sri Krsna is bewildered by the profound brilliance of Her transcendental qualities and thus awakens a yearning within Himself to exhibit, absorb and experience Her divine nature. The influence and presence of Srimati Radharani, the embodiment of the Lord’s hladini shakti, is expanded in the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. For the benefit of all living beings Lord Caitanya expresses the mood of Srimati Radharani in His Sri Siksastika.
“Because Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it is very difficult to approach Him. But the devotees, taking advantage of His compassionate nature, which is represented by Radharani, always pray to Radharani for Krsna’s compassion.” (Nectar of Devotion).
“Srimati Radharani takes Her first bath in the shower of the nectar of compassion and She takes Her second bath in the nectar of youth.” (CC Madhya 8.167) In the purport Srila Prabhupada writes, “She takes Her bath in the water of mercy.”
When the Lord desires to realize the devotional service of Srimati Radharani by assuming Her compassionate nature, the prime benediction for humanity at large comes into existence. Therefore Srimati Radharani is the origin of the Sankitan Movement, for it is an exhibition of Her supreme compassionate, and merciful nature. The essence of the Sankirtan Movement is to glorify Krsna and give love of God to the conditioned souls. It is for all living entities and no one is barred. Within its center is the precious seed of the Holy Name. When this seed sprouts in the heart, love of God begins to grow.
“The result of chanting is that one awakens his love for Krsna and tastes transcendental bliss. Ultimately, one attains the association of Krsna and engages in His devotional service, as if immersing himself in a great ocean of love.” (CC Antya 20.14) This is the mercy of Srimati Radharani.
The Lord has invested all His transcendental potencies in His Holy Names. There are not even hard and fast rules for chanting these names and He has made them easily available. He has millions of names to facilitate the desires of all living entities.
“Srimati Radharani’s earrings are the name, fame and qualities of Lord Krsna.” (CC Madhya 8.179)
“The vibration of Krsna’a flute is always prominent in the ears of the gopis. Naturally they cannot hear anything else. Constant remembrance of the holy sound of Krsna’s flute keeps them enlightened and enlivened, and they do not allow any other sound to enter their ears. Since their attention is fixed on Krsna’s flute, they cannot divert their minds to any other subject. In other words, a devotee who has heard the sound of Krsna’s flute forgets to talk or hear of any other subject. This vibration of Krsna’s flute is represented by the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. A serious devotee of the Lord who chants and hears this transcendental vibration becomes so accustomed to it that he cannot divert his attention to any subject matter not related to Krsna’s blissful characteristics and paraphernalia.” (CC Madhya 21.144 purport )
kirtanaya sada harih
Lord Caitanya instructs the conditioned soul how to chant the holy name; humbler than a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree and with respect for all living entities. These qualities are natural for one who is self-realized. Not motivated by pride, such a person is absorbed in his position as the eternal servant of the Supreme Lord and the spiritual master. Srimati Radharani is the personification of these transcendental qualities. Therefore, “The glories of Krsna’s name, fame and qualities are always inundating Her speech.”(CC Madhya 8.179) Lord Caitanya in the mood of Srimati Radharani exhibits these transcendental qualities for the benefit of the bewildered souls in this world.
When the gopi’s, atttracted by the divine sound of Krsna’s flute ran to Him, leaving behind all other engagements, He asked them to return home and instructed them about the duties and responsibilities of a woman. Having already given up everything for Krsna’s service, with wounded hearts and tearful eyes, they rejected His proposal and said: “You are the only enjoyer, You are the only proprietor, and You are the only friend. As such, we have come to You, leaving aside all so-called friends, society and love, and now You have become our enjoyer. Let us be everlasting enjoyed by You. Be our proprietor, for that is Your natural claim, and be our supreme friend, for You are naturally so. Let us thus embrace You as the supreme beloved.” Lord Caitanya imbibes this mood rejecting profit, distinction and adoration which is most dear in this world. He prays only for the causeless devotional service of the Lord birth after birth. “O Almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor do I desire beautiful women, nor do I want any number of followers. I ony want Your causeless devotional service birth after birth.”
Ayi nanda-tanuja kinkaram, “O son of Maharaja Nanda, I am Your eternal servitor.” This describes Srimati Radharani (kinkari means maidservant). Lord Caitanya chants this mantra in Her mood, yet takes the part of a fallen soul separated from Krsna. Crying in deep humility caused by the sufferings of this world, the conditioned soul can only be satisfied by being placed as one of the atoms at the lotus feet of Sri Krsna. “The very name ‘Radha’ suggests that Srimati Radharani is eternally the topmost mistress of the comforts of Sri Krsna. As such, She is the medium transmitting the living entities’ service to Krsna. Devotees in Vrndavana therefore seek the mercy of Srimati Radharani in order to be recognized as loving servitors of Sri Krsna.” (CC Adi 4.56 purport)
In Siksastika 6 Lord Caitanya reveals the two-fold reason for His appearance. The Lord desired to bestow mercy upon the conditioned souls by delivering love of God while experiencing it Himself. He thus prays for the symptoms of divine love to awaken within in Him. Srimati Radharani, whose eyes are decorated with tears of love flowing constantly when She chants the holy name of Krsna, is the perfection of divine love.“Lord Krsna desired to taste the limitless nectarean mellows of the love of one of His multitude of loving damsels [Sri Radha], and so He has assumed the form of Lord Caitanya. He has tasted that love while hiding His own dark complexion with Her effulgent yellow color. May that Lord Caitanya confer upon us His grace.”(CC Adi 4.52 [Stava-mala]) By displaying anxious desire to experience pure love of God, Lord Caitanya has shown the ultimate goal of human life.
“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.” (CC Adi 1.4)
When Sri Krsna accepts the role of Srimati Radharani, He appears as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Srimati Radharani’s love can only be understood by Lord Caitanya. In Siksastika 7 the Lord yearns for Sri Krsna, experiencing the mahabhava of Srimati Radharani. This mood of separation (vipralambha bhava) is the culmination of Lord Caitanya’s advent in which He tastes the highest ecstasies of love for Krsna. “ O Govinda, feeling Your separation, I am considering a moment to be like twelve years or more.”
“The potency called hladini gives Krsna transcendental pleasure. Through this pleasure potency, Krsna personally tastes all spiritual pleasure. Lord Krsna tastes all kinds of transcendental happiness, although He Himself is happiness personified. The pleasure relished by His pure devotees is also manifested by His pleasure potency. The most essential part of this pleasure potency is love of Godhead [prema]. The essential part of love of Godhead is called mahabhava, transcendental ecstasy, and that ecstasy is represented by Srimati Radharani.” (CC Mahdya 8.157-160)
To love is the natural desire and inclination of all living entities. Srimati Radharani is the supreme abode (asraya) of love and Krsna is the only object (visaya). Lord Krsna’s desire to taste this love could only be fulfilled in the guise of a devotee. By demonstrating this to the world and experiencing it Himself, Lord Caitanya gives the process of devotional service to the most fallen living entities. Thus, He reveals the heart of Srimati Radharani.
When Uddhava delivered the message from Krnsa to the gopis, Srimati Radharani feigned detachment and spoke the famous Brahmara Gita. While speaking to the bumble bee and chastising Krsna for abandoning Her, the bee suddenly flew away from Her sight. Srimati Radharani became very distressed thinking Krsna heard Her complaints and dissatisfaction. When the bumble bee returned Radharani expressed regret for speaking of Krsna in such an unfavorable manner and submissively accepts whatever situation Krsna places Her in. Lord Caitanya reveals this mood of complete surrender to Krsna in the last verse of Sri Siksastika. “You may handle Me roughly in Your embrace or make Me broken hearted by not being present before Me, but You are always My worshipful Lord unconditionally.”
Golokera premadhana harinama sankirtana. On a divine plater made of tears shed in the ecstasy of mahabhava, Lord Caitanya bestows the Holy Name upon the world. Krsna is non-different from His Holy Name and one can always be in direct contact with the Lord by continuously chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. All glories to Srimati Radharani, the queen of all devotees and the origin of the Sankirtan Movement. Her very life is the Holy Name of Sri Krsna.