17 September 2018, Raval/India
(English translation from Hindi)
We are doing the parikrama under the guidance of vaishnavas. We are now in the birthplace of our worshipable Deity. Radharani appears here. This is the birthplace of Shrimati Radhika.
In different kalpas She appears in different ways. Gurudev says that, in this kalpa, Radhaji was born in Raval. In Brahmanda Purana and in other Puranas it is written about the birth of Radhaji. So Radhaji sometimes takes birth in Varshana and in another kalpas She is born from an egg or fire. In this kalpa, Radha is manifested here in Raval. “Raval” is a title. Vraja means “jalan” (moving). How the vrajavasis maintain themselves? By keeping cows, they nourish the cows getting milk and butter. This is how they maintain their life. When the grass for cows is finished, they leave the place and go to another place and that’s how they move. Just like gypsy people move from here to there, they stay for a while in one place and then move to another place. Vrajavasis are nomads like that.
So, Nanda Baba started to live in Nandagaon and Vrshabhanu Maharaja was in Varshana. When Nandagaon and Varshana had less grass, they left it and went to Gokula. Тhey kept going on. That’s their culture. When some demons came, like Keshi, the vrajavasis left Nandagaon and went to Gokula.
In this kalpa Krishna took birth in Gokula and Nanda Maharaja had this festival for the birth of his son. Then Shiva came to see Krishna. Narada Rshi also came to relish this lila of Krishna. And what did Narada Rshi do? He noticed that Krishna took birth in Gokula… and where Krishna is, His hladini-shakti Radha must also be there. So he was searching for Her. Where is Radhika? He went here and there and suddenly came to Raval. When Narada Risi came there, mother Kirtida Sundari Devi and Vrshabhanu Maharaja welcomed him in a very beautiful way. Because it is very good to give respect to santa-mahatma – whenever santa-mahatma used to come, they did a lot of seva. They had so much faith. So Narada Rshi was thinking, “Ok, let me ask.” He asked Vrshabhanu Maharaja, “Is there any girl in your house? Do you have a newborn baby?”
That day, very early in the morning, Vrshabhanu Maharaja went to Yamuna. In brahma-muhurta he went to take a bath in Yamuna. At that time, Prithivi Devi came and she had made that place very beautiful because Radharani was going to appear there. Yamuna’s water was very nice and beautiful. Yamuna Devi was like a girl of 16 years. For a few moments, the water stopped moving. It was so beautiful and Gurudev said, “If you dropped a coin in the water, you could see it in the bottom of the water”. On both banks of the river there were beautiful trees, and they were beautifully decorated like bride and groom. All sorts of trees that have fruits where there on the banks of Yamuna.
The bananas on the banana trees were so beautiful. There are no words to describe this decoration. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur (Kamala Manjari) describes this lila. On the banks of Yamuna there were beautiful banana trees. They looked like they were kissing the earth. And the mango trees were also so beautiful with beautiful mangos. The trees sang and hug mother earth. So these banana trees… It is very auspicious when you see a house, in the morning, with a banana tree behind it. Prithivi Devi, aprakrita Vrinda Devi decorated Yamuna’s banks with kadamba trees, kamal trees and different kinds of flowers. The blue water of Yamuna was so clear and a nice fragrance of agura, chandan and kumkuma was coming out of it.
There were thousands of different birds. They were cleaning their wings in the water. The birds were singing and exchanging their feelings with each other. Different kinds of flowers were blossoming there. They made the water of Yamuna so fragrant. And the big trees on the bank of Yamuna had so many flowers. It looked like Holi.
At that time, Vrshabhanu Maharaja came to the river and bathed 3 times. When he came out of the water he saw, 15 meters in front of him, in the middle of Yamuna, a nice lotus flower with a thousands petals. There was a bright light on that lotus. Vrshabhanu Maharaja thought, “What am I seeing?” He took some water and put on his eyes and then he saw a divine girl on the top of that lotus flower – a baby, with only one band around her waist. She had very big eyes and red lips. This nice girl was sucking Her toe. When Vrshabhanu Maharaja saw this, his heart melted. He approached that small girl and very carefully took Her in his arms, like he was taking a very soft lotus. ’Tapta-kanchana-gaurangi’ was in his hands. Normally you feel the weight when you carry a baby, but that baby girl had no weight. Vrshabhanu Maharaja held Her to his heart. And then the moon of Radharani came up inside his heart.
Vrshabhanu Maharaja got tears in his eyes and thought, “What am I seeing today? What happened?” Radharani, Her mahabhava… What happened to Vrshabhanu Maharaja’s body when he was holding Radharani… By seeing Radharani… he lost his strength. He could not move and then by the mercy of Yogamaya, he got some strength back in his body and started walking. I do pranams to Radhaji. So Vrshabhanu Maharaja had so much love for Her and then he came home with the child. He offered the baby to Kirtida Devi and she felt so much bliss when she had the baby on her lap.
So when she had Radharani in her lap, she covered Her with her veil, hiding Her from evil eyes. And then Narada Rshi asked Vrshabhanu Maharaja, “Is there a child born in your house, any child?” Vrshabhanu Maharaja said nothing. He had such a special wealth, but because he was simple, he said, “Yes”. Then Narada Rshi said, “Let me see”. What did Vrshabhanu Maharaja do? He brought his son Sridhama and showed him to Narada Rshi. Narada Rshi said, “Do you have a girl?” and Vrshabhanu Maharaja said, “Yes”. He took the girl from the lap of Kirtida Devi and brought her to Narada Rshi. He was thinking, “Maybe this santa-mahatma can bless my child, he can free Her from sorrows and sickness, so She will be happy. This santa-mahatma can do swasti-vachana and give Her blessings”.
Just like in Raksa Bandhan they put a thread around the wrist. What is the meaning of that? Bad spell or ghost will not catch you. That’s why people have this thread around their wrist. Every vrajavasi has… they bind this thread around their hand. All men in India have a thread around their hand. Foreigners will say, “What is this?” and they laugh, but this is auspicious. Evil eyes will not come…you will not get bad influences. So that’s why they keep that thread around their wrist. Ladies have it on their left hand and males on their right hand. So, Vrshabhanu Maharaja went to do swasti-vachana for his daughter to protect Her from bad influences.
When someone is eating he can get bad spell. That’s why santa-mahatmas eat alone in a hidden place. So, you should hide your bhajan and bhojan. How do you do harinama? Do not show your mala. How do you chant? My Gurudev Shrila Vamana Goswami Maharaja said, “Do not show your japa-mala to anyone. You should do it in a hidden way. Haribol Haribol!” Sometimes people are chanting and showing their japa-mala when there are people around. But when people are gone, they stop chanting. They cannot finish one round even in seven days. Because when no one is there, they put their mala away. So do bhajan and bhojan in a hidden way. You should not eat in front of everyone, because people will say, “Aw, he is sadhu and he is eating so much.” Some people have bad vision. When mothers give milk to their babies, they do it in a hidden way, because if they do it in public, the baby starts to vomit. The food will not be digested.
So Vrshabhanu Maharaja was thinking, “My beautiful divine daughter Radha is so beautiful. Her nose is so beautiful, her body is so beautiful. It is like tapta-kanchana, molten gold. She has to be covered with the veil and protected by Narada Rshi”. Narada Rshi agreed to make swasti-vachana. He said, “Ok, do one thing. Please, prepare all the ingredients for the ceremony.” What did he need? Turmeric, rice, betel nut, etc. You need 25 different ingredients for swasti-vachana.
So, Vrshabhanu Maharaja went to collect all the ingredients and he left the child with Narada Rshi.
If the sadhu was another person, not Narada, he would have kidnapped the child. These days you cannot trust sadhus. They can take your child and go. But Vrshabhanu Maharaja was simple and he left the child with Narada Rshi. Then Lalita and the eight sakhis came. They appeared in front of Narada Rshi and Shrimati Radhika got the form of a 16 year old girl. Narada Rshi was seeing this and he got tears in his eyes. Whose heart would not melt when seeing this? Lalita Devi said, “Oh, the sadhu has lost his mind.” Narada’s body, his hands and feet were stunned. He was like a statue. Lalita Devi said, “Sadhu wake up!” Lalita Devi is the boss, she said, “What do you have to do? Your stutis. Do it quickly.” So Narada Rshi started to do stutis.
kada karishyasiha mam kripa-kataksha-bhajanam?
А few moments later, Vrshabhanu Maharaja came back and then Lalita, Vishakha, and all the sakhis disappeared and Shrimati Radhika again became a baby girl like she was before. She was sucking her toe and laughing. Vrshabhanu Maharaja saw this and he was completely immersed in the ocean of divine love and bliss.
Narada Risi did swasti-vachana. Those who have seen divya-darshan of Radharani cannot forget it. Narada Rshi said to Vrshabhanu Maharaja, “Your daughter is very beautiful. We shall name her Radha.” All the people in Vraj say, “Radharani’s face is like the moon of Astami”. Radha. There is so much anuraga in everyone’s heart when they see Her. At the name giving ceremony, astrologers give the name to a baby. The letter of the name depends on the location of the stars at the time of birth. So She was given the name Radha.
Hey Vrshabhanu Maharaja and Kirtida Sundari, from today your daughter’s name is Radha! Radhe Radhe Radhe Jay Jay Jay Shri Radhe! Radharani ki jay! Maharani ki Jay! Bolo Radharani ki jay! Jay Jay Shri Radhe!
Translator: Ragalekha dasi (Holland)
Transcriber: Sanatan das (Miami)
Editors: Divya Premamayi (Slovakia) and Acyuta Priya Devi Dasi (Brazil)