taj-jīveṣu ca varṇayan sama-rasaiḥ sambhūya santarkayan |
kuñjaṁ kuñjam anārataṁ bahu pariṣkurvan mahā-bhāvato
dehādau kṛta-helano dayita he vṛndāṭavīm āvasa ||
O my beloved mind! Take up residence in Vrindavan and constantly sing and hear the glories of Radha and Madhava. Describe those glories to the devotees who have dedicated their lives to the Divine Couple, meet with those who share the same taste for such devotion and discuss these matters with them. And go constantly from kunja to kunja, cleaning each one with great feeling, giving up all thought of the body. (1.59)
The glorification of devotional association is something that recurs in all bhakti texts. The most marvelous benefit of living in Vrindavan is the ability to hear kathā and kirtan from the mouths of pure devotees of different tastes and traditions. There is no greater wealth for a devotee than to be constantly encouraged and inspired in the path of bhakti, perfecting his sādhanā through the association of advanced and affectionate devotees who share the same goal (sama-rasa).
In the Gita Krishna describes the life of the devotees as being essentially social:
kathayantaś ca māṁ nityaṁ tuṣyanti ca ramanti ca ||
Their minds fixed on me, their lives devoted to me, they find great satisfaction and pleasure enlightening one another and speaking about me. (Gita 10.9)
Again, the same words are echoed in the Bhāgavatam in one of its most beautiful descriptions of the devotional life as one of a particular type of spiritual community:
mitho ratir mithas tuṣṭir nivṛttir mitha ātmanaḥ ||
smarantaḥ smārayantaś ca mitho’ghaugha-haraṁ harim|
bhaktyā sañjātayā bhaktyā bibhraty utpulakāṁ tanum||
Devotees talk to each other about the glories of the Lord, which are so purifying. In each other’s association, they bring each other pleasure and satisfaction and end of all their distresses. In each other’s company they remember the Lord who removes all sin and remind each other of him. In this way, by such devotional service in practice, they develop a higher devotion which makes them ecstatic and the hairs on their body stand on end. (11.3.30-31)
The last line of this VMA verse has been particularly thought provoking for me. A part of the mood of service taught in the madhura mood of devotion by Prabodhananda is that of cleaning the setting where Radha and Krishna have their pastimes. It is sometimes seen that devotees want to perform mānasī sevā of sweeping Radharani’s kunja, but allow the real world environment to degrade terribly without lifting a finger to change things. If the Dham that is in this world is real and non-different from that one, then surely we can all participate in keeping it clean. Here Prabodhananda is specifically speaking of an action in the sādhaka deha, i.e., as action in the body in this world. And, moreover, it is a community action, because it is about sharing the common space of the Dham with the others who live there, who share the common goal of loving and serving Radha and Krishna.
Vishwanath Chakravarti describes in Gurv-aṣṭakam that one of the guru’s defining activities is cleaning the temple (mandira-mārjanādau). Every temple of Radha and Krishna is merely a replica of the Dham in miniature, so the cleansing of the Dham is a direct service to the Divine Couple. We hear it often that one makes the heart clean in order to make it a suitable throne room for the Divine Couple. And so it is with external devotional activities performed with the body: they imitate or reflect those inner activities of service and become one with them. Mahaprabhu cleaned the Gundicha temple in this consciousness.
Prabodhananda has written many verses speaking of his dream of service to Radha and the Dham emphasizing the cleaning of the Vrindavan kunjas. Some are done in prayers for service in the sādhaka-deha, others for that of the siddha-deha.
jihvā vihvalatām upaitu satataṁ tat-sad-guṇotkīrtane |
hastau tan nava-kuñja-mārjana-vidhau pādau ca tatrāṭane
śrotre tan-mahima-śrutau dṛśi dṛśau nityaṁ smṛtau stān manaḥ ||
May my head always take great pleasure in bowing down to Sri Vrindavan Dham. May my tongue always be fervent about singing its transcendent glories. May my hands be engaged in sweeping the new kunjas, my feet in walking there, my ears in hearing, my eyes in seeing, my mind in remembering its glories. (Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛtam 7.48)
Many of the other verses are in the awareness of the siddha-deha, both from Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛtam and Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi:
nityaṁ parasya puruṣasya śikhaṇḍa-mauleḥ |
tasyāḥ kadā rasanidher vṛṣabhānujāyās
tat-keli-kuñja-bhuvanāṅgaṇa-mārjanī syām ||
When will I become a sweeper of the ocean of rasa Radharani’s keli kunja, where the peacock feathered Krishna, the supreme person, comes always to beg her kiṅkarīs for mercy. (Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi 8)
The point being that because the kiṅkarīs are sweeping the kunja, Krishna has to beg them to let him in and see Radha.
bhajāmy anuga-kiṅkarīm abhisṛtāṁ mudā rādhikām ||
I worship Srimati Radhika, after who after going out into the woods to meet Krishna, followed by her faithful kiṅkarīs, has prepared a flower bower in a wonderful and colorful way for the pleasure of her beloved by her own hand, and there waits, cleaning and decorating the beautiful new groves. (Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛtam 14.78)
The assumption is that the manjaris are here helping Radha sweep and clean the kunja.
śyāmaṁ prārthayituṁ sumañjula-rahaḥ-kuñjāṁś ca sammārjitum|
ādātuṁ ca rasaika-dāyini tava preṣyā kadā syām aham ||
When will I be sent by you, O unique giver of the rasas, to appeal to the blue-lotus hued Govinda by falling at his feet and touching his feet, or to sweep the delightful hidden kunjas, or to bring garlands, sandalwood, fragrances, flavorful tambula and sweet sherbet drinks for your pleasure. (Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi 61)
srasta-prastara-saṅgatair vapur alaṅkurve’ṅga-rāgaiḥ kadā |
tatraiva truṭitāḥ srajo nipatitāḥ sandhāya bhūyaḥ kadā
kaṇṭhe dhārayitāsmi mārjana-kṛte prātaḥ praviṣṭāsmy aham ||
When will the day come when I enter the kunja in the morning to sweep it, and pick up the decorations and garlands that fell to the floor when Radha and Madhava begin their festival of lovemaking, and decorate them with them again as well as with various unguents, and place around their necks again the garlands that broke and fell to the ground. (Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi 180)
See previous 1.58