When they hear Sri Radhika playing her Kacchapī vīṇā and Sri Krishna playing his beautiful Muralikā flute, the deer become ecstatic and the bunches of grass fall half from their mouths before they remain stunned. May these charming best of deer, who then surround Śrī-Sri Radha and Mādhava in a mood of friendship, delight me.
srastārddhas tṛṇa-guccha eṣa nitarāṁ vaktreṣu saṁstambhate
sakhyenāpi tayoḥ paraṁ parivṛta-rādhā-bakadveṣiṇos
te hṛdyā mṛga-yuthapāḥ prati dinaṁ māṁ toṣayantu sphuṭam
In Śrīmad Bhāgavatam we can find the fortune of Vrindavan’s deer and does being praised by the pūrva-rāgavatī Vrajasundarīs, the gopīs who had just fallen in love with Krishna:
yā nandanandanam upātta-vicitra-veṣam
ākarṇya veṇu-raṇitaṁ saha kṛṣṇa-sārāḥ
pūjāṁ dadhur viracitāṁ praṇayāvalokaiḥ
In this way both husband and wife are blessed by seeing Krishna. Just as a guest is heartily welcomed and lovingly given entry into the house when he comes to the door of a gṛhastha, similarly when the beloved guest Sri Govinda comes to the gate of the does’ abode they heartily welcome him and offer him love-arghya or water to wash the hands with their restless eyes. They cannot speak, but their heart’s love is expressed through the eyes.
Blessed are the lives of these deer! They know very well how to worship the god of love (Krishna). And blessed are their husbands too, for they do not obstruct their service to Krishna, but act in a favorable way. They are justly called Krishna-sāra, for the essence of their lives is Krishna! We are unfortunate girls, for although we attained gopī bodies in Vrindavan, we have not been able to worship Gopīnātha. It would have been better if we had taken birth as does!” (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.21.11)
Raghunath Das Goswami is Sri Radharani’s maidservant, so he knows how fortunate the does of Vrindavan are. Once he was absorbed in the taste of bhajan on the bank of Radha Kund when he suddenly perceived a honey sweet pastime of Sri Sri Radha-Mādhava.
Sri Sri Radha Giridhārī are seated on a jeweled platform under a wish-yielding tree, illuminating the bank of the kuṇḍa with their golden and bluish splendor. There are no sakhīs around, but Das Goswami, as an antaraṅgā sevādhikāriṇī kiṅkarī, a maidservant who is eligible to render intimate services, is fanning the Divine Pair, who are absorbed in various rasika conversations. Suddenly Krishna lifts his enchanting flute to his lips and starts to play, while Sri Radharani picks up her Kacchapī vīṇā and begins plucking at its strings.
The mobile and immobile beings are enchanted by the charming melody. The sweetness that Srimati’s vīṇā playing reveals stifles even the sweetness of Sri Krishna’s flute. Seeing this, the grazing deer and does, their mouths full of bunches of grass, come to surround Śyāma and Svāminī as if they are bewitched by a mantra. The grass falls half from their mouths, but remain stuck there. What sweet feelings are revealed in their eyes! They are just like the Divine Pair’s dearmost girlfriends, the priya-narma-sakhīs. Their hearts are filled with the sweetness of the flute and the vīṇā. With their eyes they offer flowers of love to the lotus feet of the Divine Couple, to whose sweetness they are so attracted.
Remembering his vision of that day and taking that remembrance in his heart Das Goswami says: “May those charming best of deer always delight me!” In other words, “May I relish the enchanting sweetness of Śyāma and Svāminī and attain their service together with them, this is my prayer!”
āra kṛṣṇa muralīra tāne.
śravaṇete kṛṣṇa sāra, mantra mugdha bhāva yāra,
preme stabdha hoy toto-kṣaṇe
When the Krishnasāra-deer hear the sound of the Kacchapī vīṇā, that looks so beautiful in Radha’s hands, and the sound of Krishna’s muralī-flute, they become stunned of ecstatic love as if they are bewitched by a mantra.”
avicala dāḍāye royeche
rādhā-kṛṣṇe sakhya-bhāve, antarera anurāge,
citravat yeno virājiche
“Half-chewed bunches of grass hang in their mouths and they stand there staring, motionless like pictures, their hearts filled with passionate fraternal love for Radha and Krishna.
ei bhikṣā māge akiñcane
tāhādera bhāva-rāji, kṛpāya arpiyā āji,
santuṣṭa koruna anukṣaṇe
“I humbly beg this alm from these best of deer, that are so deeply in love with Krishna: May they give me the treasure of their ecstatic love today and thus delight me at every moment.”
Commentary of Sri Radha Kund Mahant, Pandit Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj is named Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā (a drop of the nectar of Stavāvalī), and was published in Gaurābda 503 (1989 A.D.) from Sri Krishna Chaitanya Shastra Mandir, Vrajananda Ghera, PO Radhakunda (district Mathura), U.P., India.
Devotional songs in Bengali that follow each commentary were composed by Dr. Haripada Sheel.
© Translated by Advaita dāsa in 1994
More of Ananta Das Pandit’s writings in English translation can be found at Tarun Govinda’s blog, Amrita Tarangini.
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