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Lalita Devi’s Appearance

Today is a very auspicious day, it is Lalita-saptami (appearance day of Lalita-devi). Over the last couple of days we have heard about radha-tattva from the lotus mouths of Vrajavasis. This tattva (truth) is so gambhira (deep), however, they have nicely simplified these truths in their beautiful descriptions of the pastimes. Many demigods, like Brahmaji, cannot attain the darshana (auspicious sight) of Srimati Radharani. And Srimati Radharani, also known as Vrishabhanu-nandini, is our aradhya (worshipable deity). So therefore, all of our efforts must be focused on attaining seva (service) for Her lotus feet. Actually, we want Her kripa-kataksha (merciful sidelong glance), and thus, our lives will become successful.

Lalita Sakhi – Srimati Radhika’s Harsh Aspect

Lalita-sakhi is a manifestation of the prakhara-bhava (harsh mood) of Srimati Radhika. Moreover, Vishakha-sakhi is the embodiment of love and the direct manifestation of this particular quality of Srimati Radharani. And, Sri Rupa Manjari is the epitome of rupa; in this context, rupa means the beauty of the combined form of Srimati Radharani and Vrajendra-nandana Shyamasundara.

Now, I want to discuss the katha (narration) of Lalita-sakhi, the embodiment of Srimati Radhika’s prakhara-bhava, where prakhara means tough. First, try to understand that Krishna is chanchala, restless. To protect Radharani, Lalita-devi must take a strong position and at times, even use harsh words towards Them. In Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, Srila Rupa Gosvamipada described ninety six types of heroes and three hundred and sixty types of heroines. Their characteristics are also eloquently described in the grantha (book), Ujjvala-nilamani.

By nature, Lalita-sakhi is very tough. She also guides Krishna. Her character is briefly described in the dana-ghati lila (the pastimes when taxes were collected by Krishna). Dana-keli-kaumudi grantha describes this particular lila in Govardhana. As aforementioned, Lalita is prakhara—and due to this characteristic of toughness—she says anything out of necessity; even to Vrajendra-nandana Shyamasundara. In this grantha, Srila Rupa Gosvamipada beautifully describes how Lalita-sakhi saves Srimati Radharani from Krishna.

Krishna receives unbounded pleasure from all the activities of the gopis (Vraja cowherd damsels), and their main goal, including that of Srimati Radharani, is to exclusively please Sri Krishna. Many demigods praise Krishna through Vedic mantras (verses composed of the names of the Lord), except, Bhagavan Sri Krishna is not fully satisfied with their offerings. He is substantially more pleased when the gopis call His name. One of Krishna’s aspects is dhira-lalita-nayaka (Sri Krishna as a hero in amorous sports). Why is He called dhira-lalita-nayaka? He is always laughing and is controlled by His beloved. His face is so beautiful and He is always relaxed. He likes to gossip, and He knows how to please His beloved very well. Despite all of these qualifications, dhira-lalita Madhava is always controlled by Srimati Radhika.

Krishna Applies Vermillion on Srimati Radhika’s Lotus Feet

There are mainly eight types of heroines—svadhina-bhartrika nayika (the heroine who happily controls her lover after her  jealous anger has broken) is Srimati Radharani. Meaning, She controls Her beloved with Her qualities and makes Him do whatever She instructs. For example, Srimati Radharani tells Krishna, “Put alta (red dye) on My lotus feet,” and Krishna does exactly that. Another time, when Radhaji is in a sulky mood, Her sakhis (female friends) say, “He is a cowherd boy, He cannot paint. How can He apply alta on Your lotus feet? He is stupid and can only herd cows.”

After Krishna completed putting alta on Srimati Radharani’s lotus feet, She moved them and placed a mark on Krishna’s forehead and chest. As described in Gita-govinda, Krishna proclaimed, “I am the servant of Srimati Radhika”, and incidentally, servants imprint the names of their masters on their body. Similarly, Sri Krishna writes down the name of Sri Radha on His chest.

We should not apply permanent tattoos on our bodies, rather, only utilise gopi-chandana (sacred clay). Again, we should only write Bhagavan’s holy names on our bodies using gopi-chandana; a tattoo is unnecessary, you can just make dvadasha-tilaka (twelve clay markings) on your body. Krishna is incredibly happy when Srimati Radhika, His mistress, His Svamini, Herself, puts signs of Her holy name on His chest.

Special Characteristics of Lalita Devi

Lalita-devi also plays the role of a teacher to Srimati Radharani and Krishna. Among the eight prominent sakhis, Lalita-devi is the topmost; externally, she is very rigid, yet, she is very soft on the inside. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura states, “Only extremely fortunate jivas (souls) can join the gana (group) of Lalita-devi.” However, in reality, anybody can be in Lalita-devi’s gana as she is very simple-hearted. When Lalita hears of someone who genuinely desires to be the maidservant of Srimati Radharani, then she comes to that person, catches him or her and brings them back to her gana. You see, Lalita-devi is unbelievably pleased when someone truly aspires to be a maidservant of Srimati Radhika.

The most special characteristic of Lalita-sakhi is that she always teaches Radharani. At times, if They do something wrong, she shouts at both Radharani and Sri Krishna. In dana-ghati lila, when Krishna came to Lalita-sakhi, Vishakha-sakhi and Radharani to get dana (offering), Lalita shouted at Him, “How come You are asking for dana? If You want to have it, You should bow Your head and pray for it. Yet, You ask for it forcibly.” In today’s world, we should be very careful when we give dana; and to whom we are giving it to. Because, if we offer a donation to an unrighteous cause, then we will also suffer the negative reactions for such an untoward donation.

What are people doing in this world? They want to show off—they want their names immortalised on plaques. For example, in our mandira-parikrama (temple circumambulation), there, you will find many stones with the names of donors etched on them. This is not the proper way of donating, if you want to donate, do it privately.

Hence, Lalita-devi is instructing Krishna, “Hey Krishna, go back! You are not qualified to receive any dana.” Srimati Radhika would never speak in this manner, but Lalita-devi does not care, she will say anything necessary. As discussed earlier, she also educates Radharani. For instance, when Krishna is doing something wrong, He touches His ears and laments to Sri Radha, “I will never do it again, just forgive Me this time.” Sri Radhika cannot tolerate this mood of Sri Krishna, however, Lalita is always close by, guiding Her, “O Radha, do not be charmed by Krishna’s words of flattery.” Upon listening to Lalita-devi’s advice, Radharani starts to control Herself. In this, and many other ways, Lalita often mentors Radharani.

A noticeable facet of Western culture is that people there never take off their shoes, they even sleep with them on. Because they always wear shoes, these people are unaware if the road they walk on is hard or soft. Nonetheless, Sri Radha has no option but to walk barefoot as She meets with Krishna in the middle of the night, yet, Her lotus feet are so soft. How can She possibly walk barefoot through a dark, dense forest? In Vraja, along the footpaths, there are so many fallen tree thorns and these thorns are everywhere. The only reason Radharani can walk along these dangerous paths barefoot is because Lalita-devi taught Her how to properly walk without shoes, and even how to step on thorns without getting hurt. To not to be heard, Lalita-devi also trains Radharani how to walk without Her ankle bells making a sound. To not be seen, Lalita-devi tells Srimati Radharani not to smile—Radharani’s teeth are so bright, that whenever She smiles, it appears as if ten full moons have arisen. And to protect Her from dangerous creatures, Lalita-devi also shows Srimati Radhika how to control snakes through mantras. These are just a few of the wondrous ways in which Lalita-devi renders service unto the Divine Couple, and most importantly, to her Svamini, Srimati Radha Thakurani.

Bolo Lalita-devi ki jaya!

Jaya jaya Sri Radhe!

Date: 28 August 2017 Location: Mathura


Translator: Unknown Transcriber: Sanatana dasa (USA) Editor: Sanatana dasa (USA) Integrity Check: Divya-premamayi dasi (Slovakia), Ragalekha dasi (Holland) Proofreader: Chandrika dasi (UK), Damodara dasa (UK) Image: Narasimhananda dasa (Russia)

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