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Pratah Lila Morning Pastimes
(6:00 a.m. - 8:24 a.m.)
When Shri Radhika fell asleep, Her maidservants, that were all as qualified as their leader Shrimati Rupa manjari, and who had given up all their personal desires, nourished their own luster by bathing, anointing and decorating themselves with pure garlands and clothes. Each line on these manjaris' toes defeats the bright splendor of lightning. They are cleverness personified and although they are qualified to be group leaders of gopis (yuthesvaris) they have no taste for this, but are always immersed in the nectar ocean of Shri Radhika's service.
King Vrisabhanu built a separate residence for his daughter, Shri Radhika, north of Jatila's inner chamber, and had this residence decorated with different kinds of artful handicraft and an incomparably beautiful, elegant moontower. In this watchtower are pillars, verandas, roofs, a courtyard, other kinds of rooms, sitting platforms and gates. The eyes of those who behold this building, that is illuminated by jewelled lamps and has many nice pictures, are astonished. Above the cloud-like saphire balconies on this moontower are rows of most charming silver swans. The peacocks, looking at this bluish balcony, take it to be their friend the cloud, but when they see the lines of silver swans, that are their enemies, they contract their tail feathers.
In the middle of this moontower is a room where Shri Radhika's maidservants clean Her sitting place, dining table and bed, smearing them with sandalwood pulp. When the water is dried up they spread out a soft rug made from the hair of a Ranku deer and in topmost bliss they hang a canopy inset with pearls there. One maidservant cleaned the golden and jeweled vessels. Another one fetched water that was appropriate for the season (cold in the summer and warm in the winter), and another one placed a pillow on the jeweled bench which was covered with sheets of different colors. Another maidservant kept Rhadika's clothes and jeweled ornaments of the previous day all in a box, after cleaning them. Her bangles jingled loudly as she opened the box. Another maidservant began to crush camphor, vermilion and sandalwood. Another purehearted maidservant began to make bangles, crowns, flower garlands and flower sashes, and another one lovingly made a tasty pan of catechu, jatiphala, cloves and other ingredients.
Meanwhile, the sounds of the churning of curd and of brahmanas reciting the Vedas became audible everywhere in the village. The cows wanted to call their calves with their mooing, but they were drowned out by the brahmanas. The praisers sang waves of nectarean poetry describing Shri Krishna's glories, and the saris, sukas, sparrows, peacocks and other birds increased the volume of their songs. Gradually, all the people woke up, sat up in their beds and considered their duties for the day. Then they eagerly went to the house of Nanda, the King of Vraja, to see Krishna.
Mukhara, whose very life is the audience of her granddaughter Radhika's lotus-like face, and who is like a box full of jewels of parental affection, came in and called out, "Radha! My daughter! Where are You?"
Shri Radhika said, "O holy mother, here I am!" as yawned and got up, looking at Mukhara with eyes rolling from sleep. When Mukhara saw Shri Krishna's yellow cloth on Shri Radhika's chest, she pretended not to see it, in order not to embarrass Her.
She said, "Radha, morning has broken! Why are You still sleeping? Don't You see that the sun is up already? Take Your bath and eat something before You go out to do Your puja. Alas! Your body is getting skinnier every day!" While saying this, Mukhara sprinkled Shri Radhika with her loving teardrops. With her hand she carressed Her body and then she took Radhika on her lap to fondle Her before hurrying to the palace of the King of Vraja, being eager to see Krishna.
Then, one by one, Shri Radhika's friends came into the room and surrounded Her while She sat on Her jeweled sofa. They were laughing and joking with each other. "The meeting with Shri Radhika is certainly a shower of nectar for the wheat of my joy!" they thought. Shyamala sakhi came along with them. Shri Radhika, who is beauty personified, embraced her and offered her a seat.
Shri Radhika said, "Shyama! Just as I was thinking of you, you came before my eyes by the arrangement of fate. Sakhi, if the tree of My desires will now bear fruit, I will consider this a good morning. Alas, O beautiful one, that tree of my desires is constantly sprinkled by My girlfriends, but still it does not bear fruit! How is it possible? O, when will I ever see those fruits?"
Shyamala said, "Radha, if the tree of Your desires did not bear fruit yet, don't worry. It will surely bear fruit! But, O Idle One, I understand that these fruits are most amazing! Although their fragrance is relishable by the honeybees (or gopis), they are always relished as if never tasted before. How amazing! Can't You see those fruits that have reddened You own eyelids (red from sleep or Krishna's lipstick)? O Lotus Faced One, haven't You tasted those fruits that have cut Your lips (Krishna's bite marks) by repeatedly savoring them?"
Shri Radhika replied, "O Shyama, you joke about Me because you don't know My heartache. Just as the lightning illuminates the cloudless night just once, first destroying the darkness and then disappearing again, making the darkness twice as dense as before, similarly, after having seen Krishna just once, His disappearance doubles the misery of His absence."
Shyamala said, "Radha, that moon (kalanidhi means moon or clever Krishna) whom you compare with the lightning, pleased You with its nectarean rays (karagra means rays or nails). Its phases now become visible on Your breasts."
Shri Radhika said, "Shyama, He simply pollutes Me with His phases! You are right in calling Him Kalanidhi. He sometimes gives a drop of moonlight to My cakora bird-like eyes, but not much. He cannot fullfill My desires in this way!"
Shyamala said, "Radha, tell us everything frankly. I am eager to have my affliction mitigated by bathing in the nectarean Ganga stream of stories about Your nocturnal pastimes with Krishna, that flows from Your lotus-like mouth! How can I perform any activities without first tasting that nectar?"
Shri Radhika said, "Shyamala, when a stream of fresh bluish luster bagan to shower Me in the kunja cottage tonight, then who took Me on the dancing stage of innumerable Cupids that were dancing there? When I was pleased by seeing this dancing, I gave all My sense activities as a reward to them, as the audience. I cannot remember anymore what wonderful performance began on the stage then."
Shyamala said, "Radha! How amazing! You became the stage manager of this erotic fight of that One Ocean of Happiness who astonished millions of Cupids with His own dancing."
Shri Radhika said, "Shyama, I experienced so many other things than what you just described. Alas! Is this all some magic trick, a dream or an illusion in the mind?"
Shyamala replied, "Radha, You have drunk so much honey from the lotus-like face of He who blinds all the housewives from afar with the fragrance of His face, so this error of Your mind is not so surprising."
Then, Madhurika appeared. The sakhis asked her, "Sakhi, where do you come from?"
Madhurika answered, "I went to the house of the king of Vraja this morning for some duty. Listen to all the fun I saw going on there!. When Queen Yashoda called out, 'Bho, Krishna! Krishna! Get up, O lotus eyed One!', she showered Him with her breastmilk and her tears of loving ecstasy, as she saw Him lying on the bed. While Krishna got up, His eyes slightly rolled out of drowsiness. The fragrance from His mouth spread here and there as He yawned, causing the honeybees to become intoxicated. While He stretched Himself out, His lotus like face looked very beautiful, tilted upwards to one side, making His curly locks fall loosely downwards. Queen Yashoda caressed her son from head to toe with her palms, pronouncing the mantra 'avyadajo'nghri maniman' to protect His whole body. She looked upwards, pitifully praying to the Lord, "O God of Gods! You mercifully gave me this son, who is the very life of all of Vraja. Please protect Him in all circumstances."
Madhurika continued, "Listen, O Gandharvika, to another wonderful thing that happened! When the queen of Vraja saw Your blue cloth on her son's chest, Pauramasi told her, 'Just see, Krishna exchanged clothes with His brother, Balarama.' Then, seeing the spots from Your pan on Krishna's cheek, Paurnamasi said, 'Madhava, has a ruby from Your earings been reflected in Your emerald like cheek?' and wiped away the red spots of Your lipstick with her hand. Seeing Krishna dizzily getting up from bed, Yashoda told Rohini, 'Sakhi Rohini, last evening Krishna did not eat enough, that is why He is so thin and dizzy! Give Him something to eat, now!' Hearing this, Rohini went to get something to eat. Then, Krishna sat down on a jewelled chair brought in by His servants who began their scheduled services like washing His lotus like face. Then, Balarama and Madhumangala arrived and stood on eah side of Krishna's chair, making Him look like a raincloud flanked by the moon and the lightning.
"When Rohini brought Krishna fragrant butter mixed with rock candy and seasoned with camphor on a silver tray, it looked like the manifestation of motherly affection from her lotus like heart. Everyone became very happy to see this. Mother Yashoda repeatedly served this to Krishna and His friends. However, Madhumangala told her, 'Mother, I'm still hungry, although I have already eaten unlimited amounts of food!' So, Mother Yashoda gave him more.
"Meanwhile, one of the cowherd men came in and said, 'Krishna! The expert cowherds fail to milk the cows and the calves cannot drink even a drop of their mother's milk, being very morose. The cows are looking down the road for You to come with tear filled eyes, liking their calves, filling all directions with their mooing, unable to tolerate another moment without You.' Krishna then gladdened His mother by sprinkling her with the nectar of His slightly smiling lotus like face, indicating His own bliss. Chewing pan, He got up to milk His cows. Mother Yashoda then told Balarama, "O Balabhadra, if You go to wrestle after milking the cows, then don't delay! I urge You, come back quickly for breakfast after playing with Your friends.'
"Hearing His mother's words, Hari said, 'O Mother! You're saying this because you don't trust Me! I am the only leader of all the cowherd boys, so why should I accept the control of My older brother?'
"Mother Yashoda replied, "All the older people of Vraja know how You are the leader of the boys from Your very childhood! How many times did they not complain to me about Your stealing butter and yoghurt from thier homes in the past?' Mother Yashoda personally handed Krishna a golden bucket for the milk, placing it into His right hand. Into His left hand she placed a wonderful rope for tying cows, that defeats the splendor of lightning. Like that, O sakhi, Krishna looks even more beautiful.
"Then, Krishna went out, walking more slowly than a mad elephant. His anklebells jingled, His moving, curly locks were black, like the Yamuna river, and His jewelled earrings were white, like the Ganga river. These streams of nectar sprinkled the globe of His moonlike face like the Triveni (the confluence of the three holy rivers, the Yamuna, Ganga and Sarasvati.) Krishna's yellow scarf danced on His chest like a restless lightning strike dancing on a cloud. His pearl necklace started dancing of joy when it saw the Kaustubha gem dancing on His chest, rising like the sun, and His long flower garland kissed His foot ornaments.
"When Krishna thus went out of His house, He gave great joy to His mother's eyes. Sometimes He chewed pan which was given to Him by His servants, and His body was studded with goose bumps as He stood by the town gate. Krihna sat down on a platform outside the gate, waiting for His friends, trying to find out which girl was doing what there. Then, one by one, His dear friends came there to meet Him.
"O mistress, How can I describe the mild smile on the lotus like face of Krishna, who has such good taste, as He relished the soft words that His friends whispered in His ears at every step? How can I describe the meaning of these words? May your bee-like mind always search for this! Whose mind will not be enchanted by the profuse sweetness of the turban Krishna wore at that time? The net of golden strings on top of that turban, on which beautiful jewels are strung, is indescribable. Then, Krishna got up and went down the road to the barn. The anklebells on His feet jingled sweetly, and His bodily fragrance, that pervaded all the directions, forcibly attractde the young housewives, who climbed the nearest watchtower from where they repeatedly worshipped Him with their lotus-like eyes."
Shri Radhika's fever of separation was extinguished for the time being by Madhurika, who served Her the soothing nectar drink of descriptions of Krishna's beautiful play with His friends. However, shortly after that, the fever of Her desire increased a hundred times again. The joy of Radhika's ears had increased, but the high fever of desire entered Her eyes. These eyes became envious of their neighbors' incomparable wealth of Krishna nectar and became afflicted with sorrow. Then, Shri Radhika, the Supreme Goddess of anuraga (constant passion) for Krishna told Madhurika, "O Fairfaced One, Most blessed are the girls of Vraja, whose fishlike eyes always play in the ocean of Krishna's natural beauty and playfulness."
Then She told Shyamala, "Sakhi, Although I took birth in Gokula I could never relish Krishna's sweetness! And even if I heard about it, My restless mind could not keep even a drop of it!"
Shyamala said to Lalita, "Lalita, listen! I'm going home now. Let my words stop now. Please offer this lotus-like girl to the thirsty Krishna honeybee in the abode of the king of Vraja." When Shyamala went home, Shri Radhika's mind got upset with feelings of separation from Krishna, making Her experience eeach second to be like a millenium. When Her maidservants began their usual duties for Her bathing and ornamentation, She went through them as a mere custom. Then all tha sakhis were also bathed, ornamented and dressed by their friends, so that even the beauty of their lotus feet defeated that of the goddess of fortune, who was churned out of the milk ocean along with a spotless autumn moon.