May Mānasa Gaṅgā, who enjoys the great sweetness of Śrī-Sri Radha and Krishna’s boating pastimes and whose waves of ecstasy splash against Govardhana hill’s brilliant boulders, protect me.
gāndharvikā mura-vimardana nau vihāra
līlā vinoda; rasa-nirbhara bhoginīyam
govardhanojjvala śilā-kulam unnayantī
vīcī-bharair avatu mānasa jāhnavī mām
Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this verse Raghunath Das Goswami praises Mānasa Gaṅgā, one of Govardhana hill’s holy waters. yatra vai mānasī gaṅgā mahā-pāpaugha-nāśinī (Garga Saṁhitā) “On Govardhana hill is Mānasī Gaṅga, which destroys all great sins.” This Mānasa Gaṅgā is Sri Sri Girirāja’s eye. netre vai mānasī gaṅgā (ibid.) Mānasa Gaṅgā is the abode where Krishna plays watersports with his boyfriends and where Śrī-Sri Radha-Mādhava play different watersports with Their girlfriends. Raghunath Das Goswami is Sri Radha’s maidservant, hence he mentions the most rasik boating-pastimes of Śrī-Sri Radha-Mādhava when he praises Mānasa Gaṅgā.
In this verse, Mānasa Gaṅgā is praised in connection with the revelation of a sweet pastime. Das Goswami was absorbed in bhajan on the bank of Sri Radhakuṇḍ when he suddenly got a divine vision in which he saw Sri Radharani, Lalitā, Viśākhā and other sakhīs taking jugs with ghee and yoghurt to Govinda Kuṇḍ, a lake at the base of Govardhana hill. Under the guidance of Paurṇamāsī they set out from Radhakuṇḍ to Govardhan on the pretext of donating ghee to a fire sacrifice there, but with the actual desire to meet Shyam nearby. In his kiṅkarī-rūpa Das Goswami follows his/her Īśvarī.
The woods are illuminated by the golden bodily splendour of Srimati and her girlfriends. With restless eyes, Īśvarī looks all around: “Where is the Lord of my life?!” Waves of mahābhāva-desires to see her loving Sri Krishna rise on the ocean of her heart. When Shyam gets a message that Srimati Radharani and her girlfriends are approaching Govardhan Hill with ghee and yoghurt, Shyam dresses himself like an amazing boatman and sits in a boat on the Mānasa Jāhnavī.
Mānasa Gaṅgā’s bosom is illuminated by the bluish lustre of this boatman who enchants the three worlds. Seeing this young boatman, Srimati and her girlfriends put down their pots of yoghurt and stand on the shore. Then Srimati Radharani tells Paurṇamāsī:
boḍāi! ai ki ghāṭera neye
kothā hoite āsi, dilo daraśana, vinoda taraṇī beye
rajata kāñcane, nā-khāni jaḍita, bājiche kiṅkiṇī jāla
aparūpa tā’te, śobhā rāṅgā hāte, maṇi-bāṅdhā kerowāla
hāsite hāsite, gīta ālāpiche, ḍhulāiche rāṅgā āṅkhi
cāpāiyā nāya, ke jāne ki cāya, cañcala nayana dekhi
ratanera phāli, śire jhalamali, kadamba kusuma kāne
jaṭhara añcale, vāṁśiṭi guṅjeche, śobhe nānā ābharaṇe
āmarā kohibo, kaṁsera yogāni, buke nā heliho kehu
jagannātha kohe, śaśī ṣola kalā, pele ki chāḍibe rāhu?
“O holy mother! Who is that there near the Ghat? Where has he come from, showing himself to us, steering his blissful boat that is studded with gold and silver? His waistbells jingle and on his reddish hands are beautiful bangles! He smiles and laughs and sings a song while his reddish eyes are flitting this way and that. He wants me to board the boat. Who knows what he wants when you look at his naughty, restless eyes? A jeweled turban shimmers on his head and he wears Kadamba-flowers on his ears. He keeps his flute tucked in the scarf around his waist and is beautified by different other ornaments. We will say: King Kaṁsa will punish you!” But, Jagannātha dāsa says: “Will Rāhu (the eclipse) give up the full moon when he has caught it?”
The sakhīs call out: “Boatman! Boatman!” Hearing their call the enchanting boatman slowly brings his boat to the shore. With slow gait Srimati and her friends board the boat, casting ecstatic glances here and there. Suddenly the boatman Krishna stops Srimati from boarding the boat and says:
kohiche cikaṇa kālā
vāsa parihari, boisoho kiśorī, kori ei belā
nīla vasana, kaṭite paraho, dekhiye kāmpiche gā
navīna nīrada, bharame pavana, tvarāya ḍubābe lā
kānura vacana, śuniye tokhona, kapaṭe kohice dhani
tomāra aṅgera, cikaṇa varaṇa, kemone lukābe tumi
śuniyā e kothā, kohoye lalitā, keho nā koriho gola
kāliyā varaṇa, chāpābo ekhona, ḍhāli diyā ghana ghola
śuniyā nāgara, hoiyā phāṁphara, madhura madhura hāse
kohe guru dāsa, hṛdaye ullāsa, sukhera sāyare bhāse
Chikana Kālā (glossy-complexioned Krishna) said: “Give up Your veil and sit down, o Kiśori (adolescent girl). Now I will help You to cross the river. If You wear this blue sārī on Your waist, though, the wind will tremble quickly sink our ship, thinking it to be a monsoon cloud.” Hearing Kānu’s words Dhani (fortunate Radhika) falsely said: “Your body has this glossy black-bluish complexion; how will You hide that?” Hearing this, Lalitā said: “Let nobody cause any confusion! I will cover his black complexion now by pouring yoghurt over him!” Hearing this, Nāgara (amorous hero Krishna) became puzzled and began to smile sweetly.” Guru dāsa says: “My heart floats in an ocean of bliss!”
Joking in this way, Srimati and her girlfriends eagerly boarded the boat, while waves of deep love played in her heart. The young boatman brought the boat to the middle of the Jāhnavī, whose bosom became illuminated by the sweet and wonderful forms of the Divine Pair. Jāhnavī could not control the upsurge of ecstasy now that she got her most beloved pair on her bosom, and became agitated by high waves that smashed up against the large and brilliant boulders of Govardhana hill.
The billowing waves of ecstatic Jāhnavī gushed inside the boat, making Srimati afraid. The sakhīs said: “O incompetent boatman! Are You going to kill us by making us drown in the middle of the Gaṅgā today, or what?” The boatman didn’t notice anything; he was simply absorbed in relishing the sweet feelings of restless-eyed Srimati. As the boat sank Srimati became terrified and with eyes startled with fear she tightly clasped Shyam around the neck. In this way the sakhīs and mañjarīs relished the wonderful sweetness of the union of the Divine Pair. Jāhnavī’s desires were fulfilled. Slowly her waves became more peaceful and the boat reached the shore. After feeding Shyamsundar the yoghurt and the butter they were carrying, everyone went back to their own homes.
Holding the memory of this vision in his heart, Raghunath Das Goswami says: “May Mānasa Gaṅgā, who enjoys the great sweetness of Śrī-Sri Radha and Krishna’s boating pastimes and whose ecstatic waves are splashing on Govardhana hill’s brilliant boulders, protect me.” Śrīla Rūpa Goswamicharan also praised Sri Govardhan as such:
kaṁsārātes tari vilasitairātarānaṅga raṅgair
ābhīrīṇāṁ praṇayam abhitaḥ pātram unmīlayantyāḥ
dhauta grāvāvalir amalinair mānasāmartya sindhor
vīci-vrātaiḥ prathayatu sadā śarma govardhano naḥ
“The waves of the Mānasa Gaṅgā-lake, where Sri Krishna becomes a boatman and accepts fees for his boat services from the gopīs, and which increases the love of the gopīs, which subdues Sri Krishna, wash the rocks of Govardhana hill. May that Govardhana hill bestow all auspiciousness on us.”
rādhā-kṛṣṇera nau vihāra, ujjvala rasera sāra,
nitya bhoga koritechen yini
govardhana śilā-kule, abhinava jhalamale,
taraṅgete ūrdhvete cālani
sei to mānasa gaṅgā, bhāgyavatī antaraṅgā,
rakṣā korun pratikūla hoite
yugalera līlā-rasa, hoibe ki saravasa,
e lālasā jāge mora citte
“May that fortunate Mānasa Gaṅgā, who always enjoys the boating pastimes of Radha and Krishna, which is the essence of the romantic mood, whose waves splash upon the newly shimmering boulders of Govardhana hill, and who is very close to the Divine Pair, protect me from all inauspiciousness. May the flavours of the pastimes of the Divine Pair become everything to me. This is the desire that awakens in my heart.”
© Translated by Advaita dāsa in 1994
Source: Tarun Govinda Das, Flowing Nectar Stream blog.
(Slightly altered by the editor for Vrindavan Today)
It was published in Gaurābda 503 (1989 A.D.) by Sri Krishna Chaitanya Shastra Mandir, Vrajananda Ghera, PO Radhakunda (district Mathura), U.P., India.
The devotional songs in Bengali that follow each commentary were composed by Dr. Haripada Sheel.