Does the Jīva “Enjoy with Krishna” in Rāsa-Līlā

QuestionI heard that the highest topmost form of pleasure or bliss for the jiva is to see Sri Radha and Kṛṣṇa enjoying. But in the rasa dance, the mood is different. There the jiva is enjoying with the Lord. So which is higher or more pure?

It is not different. The mood of rāsa-līlā is not different from the mood of enhancing the enjoyment of Śrī Rādhā and Krishna.

The highest pleasure in the rāsa-līlā is to see Krishna dancing with Rādhā.

Now think about it practically and with your whole intelligence. What is more delightful, to see a lone flower on a shelf, or to see the flower surrounded by leaves and arranged so nicely with other flowers? Is a jewel more beautiful by itself, or when set in gold and surrounded by similar gems? Usually the beauty is enhanced when it is surrounded by similar beauty that pays homage to it by putting it in a central position. This is the service done by the devotees during rāsa-līlā.

Mañjarī is a word that many people use very often these days when discussing these things. But this is the meaning of the word “mañjarī.” It means “many flowers clustered together.” Many flowers clustering together is even more fragrant and beautiful than a lone flower.

The devotees cluster together to provide more beauty and pleasure to surround Rādhā and Krishna and thus enhance their own beauty and pleasure.

The highest pleasure is to see Krishna dancing with Rādhā. Yes, but not passively in some type of śānta-rati. We will do something in that scene.

Most beautiful is to see them surrounded by so many dancing gopīs, surrounded by music played by so many beautiful girls, and so many flower arrangements and so many fruits and drinks, and so much beautiful clothing and decoration and cosmetics, and such a beautiful forest, with such beautiful flora and fauna and moonlight and breezes. The mood in rāsa-līlā is to augment the beauty of Rādhā and Krishna’s dance. To be a part of what facilitates that atmosphere in which Rādhā and Krishna dance is the greatest thrill, the highest bliss. It might mean being a butterfly or a deer. It might mean playing vīṇā or karatāla. It might mean actually getting up to dance, and batting eyelashes with Krishna. It is all the same in essence. It is all about enhancing the thrilling romantic atmosphere that Rādhā and Krishna enjoy.

No one is trying to “enjoy.” Everyone is trying to augment Krishna’s enjoyment, which is done by augmenting Rādhā’s beauty and desirability.

No one tries to take what is Rādhā’s. Nobody in Vṛndāvana wants such things. The people who want such things may be here and there, but at least they are not in Vṛndāvana. Even Candrāvalī does not truly wish to compete with Rādhā. She only wants to make Rādhā’s dance with Krishna more precious and passionate. She only wants to inspire Rādhā to strive to be the very best that she can be for Krishna.

The jīva never interacts with Krishna without the medium of Krishna’s śakti. Jīva itself is Krishna’s śakti, but is a small and dependent śakti – “taṭastha.” It requires a more powerful śakti to assist it’s interaction with reality. In the external world this śakti is Māyā-devī. In the internal realm, it is Yogamāyā-devī. The jīva always aspires to augment Krishna’s enjoyment of his primary śakti’s, not by trying to replace them but by adding its individual beauty and ingenuity and passion to theirs.

Nowhere is this seen more vividly and beautifully than in the attempts of the various gopīs, nitya and sādhana siddhas alike, to create an incalculably gorgeous and delightful atmosphere and arena for Rādhā and Krishna to dance and play in.

Vraja Kishor dās

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  1. What if the jiva would want to serve Krishna directly? Would such a desire incense and offend Radha? Would She, knowing this desire of the jiva, keep back Her potency by which the jiva could fulfil its desire of directly serving Krishna? If so, would such a Goddess be worthy of worship? It stands to reason, the Highest Goddess can never harbour such petty selfishness. Some of the parampara philosophical conclusions seem more like over enthusiastic attempts at devotion for Radha. Devotion does not arise by foisting servitude. It comes by the realisation how selflessly Radha and Krishna love the jiva. When the jiva factually experiences the love that Radha and Krishna have for it and can see the extent to which They can go, rather make sacrifices, for its happiness, the jiva begins to dwell in eternal gratitude towards Them and automatically the desire arises in it that it should do all in its capacity to make Them happy, and this desire increases to an extent, so much so, that there remains no difference in Radha and Krishna’s happiness and the jiva’s happiness.


    1. Who said she would not approve it? However none of us can please Krishna as well as she can do it is not sincere love if we want to take the place of her. Certainly we want to directly please krishna, but in concert with Śrī Rādhā.


      1. I don’t think we can call into question the sincerity of all other gopis who are not manjaris. Without sincerity can anybody even enter Vaikuntha? Krishna says in Gita, howsoever a devotee wants to surrender to me, I reciprocate likewise. Manjari philosophy is specifically a Gaudiya vaishnav construct and that too of the orthodox variety and is quiet debatable outside. Anyway my point being trying to foist precepts and protocols in matters of heart can achieve only so much. Those who consider Radha their life and soul naturally are predisposed to the realisation you speak of, but that doesn’t make others “insincere”. In all likelihood, Chandravali’s “manjaris” would have a realisation that only Chandravali can please Krishna fully, so would that make them insincere?


        1. Manjari concept is not spoken of by Śrī rūpa, jīva or viśvanātha. I do not cherish that ideal exactly. I am saying slightly different. Also let them have what they have I am not judging. I am only stating my point of view.


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