(A Garland of Songs)

Chapter Four
Śrī Śrī Rūpānuga-bhajana-darpaṇa – Song Eighteen
(A Mirror Reflecting the Worship Which Follows Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī)

pañca-sakhī madhye cāra   nitya-siddha rādhikāra
se sakale sādhana nā koilo
sakhī boli’ ukta jei     sādhana-prabhābe tei
braja-rāja pure bāsa pāilo

 1) Amongst the five divisions of Rādhārāṇī’s sakhīs, four of these groups are nitya-siddha, or eternally situated in their roles. They did not have to perform any ritualistic sādhana to achieve their position. The fifth division known as ‘sakhī’ consists of new gopīs who have attained residence in Vraja by dint of their sādhana practice.

sei sakhī dwi-prakāra    sādhanete siddha āra
sādhana-para boliyā gaṇana
siddha boli’ ākhya tāṅra   gopī-deha hoilo jāṅra
kori’ rāge jugala-bhajana

 2) These sakhīs are also of two varieties – those still situated in their sādhana practice as sādhaka mañjarīs, and those who are already situated in their spiritual bodies beyond the rules of sādhana. Thus those who attain perfection receive the body of a gopī and continuously worship the Divine Couple in spontaneous love.

kṛṣṇakṛṣṭa muni-jana    tathā upaniṣad-gaṇa
je nā loilo gopīra swarūpa
sādhana ābeśe bhaje   siddhi tabu nā upaje
braja-bhāba-prāpti aparūpa

 3) There are many great saints and devotees as well as the personified Upaniṣads themselves who are all attracted by Lord Kṛṣṇa, but who haven’t accepted the topmost perfection of receiving the form of a gopī. Although they are all definitely absorbed in their regulative worship of the Lord, their eternal spiritual perfection still doesn’t awaken fully, because attainment of the mood of Vraja is a very uncommon and rare perfection.

je je śruti-muni-gaṇa   gopī haya su-bhajana
korilo sakhīra pada dhari’
nitya-sakhī-kṛpā-bale    tat-sālokya-lābha-phale
sebā kore śrī-rādhā-śrī-hari

 4) But it is heard from authoritative sources that there are some great souls who execute their worship in the mood of the gopīs, catching a firm grip on the lotus feet of one of Rādhārāṇī’s girlfriends. Then, by the power of that nitya-sakhī’s affectionate favor, one ultimately attains a residential place in that sakhī‘s own abode, where she eternally spends her time waiting on the Divine Couple Śrī Rādhā and Śrī Hari.

debī-gaṇa sei bhābe      sakhīra sālokya-lābhe
kṛṣṇa-sebā kore sakhī ho’ye
brajera bidhāna eho       gopī binā āra keho
nā pāibe braja-juba-dwaye

5) Thus one becomes one of Rādhārāṇī’s eternal girlfriends just to be able to render eternal service to the pleasure of Kṛṣṇa within the same abode of another sakhī. This is all due to voluntarily accepting the mood of that sakhī. This is actually the only real law which allows one entrance into Vraja – that is, without the favor on another merciful gopī, it is absolutely impossible for anyone to enter into the ecstatic eternal service of the ecstatic eternal Lovers.

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