In his sādhana, a rāgānugā devotee will deeply meditate on the morning pastimes of Kṛṣṇa and His associates. As he remembers these pastimes more and more, the sentiment of a particular rāgātmikā eternal associate such as Lalitā, Viśākhā, Nanda Bābā, Yaśodā, Subala, Śrīdāmā or Raktaka will begin to flow in his heart like an electric current. But at present that light is not lit in our hearts because the connection is not there. The bulb is in our hearts, and our guru is the one who makes the connection. The current comes through the medium of those devotees who practise lobhamayī-bhakti. When the guru presses the switch, at once the current of bhava begins to flow.
It is early morning, and Śrīmatī is in deep sleep. Kṛṣṇa has returned to Nandagrāma after His evening pastimes and is also sleeping. Meanwhile, in the course of carrying out her morning duties, Rādhikā’s maternal grandmother, Mukharā, approaches Her. She helped raise Rādhikā from infancy and also arranged Her marriage. Calling out, “My dear granddaughter, where are You?” she entered Rādhikā’s home without any hesitation. There she saw Lalitā, Viśākhā, and numerous other sakhīs and mañjarīs sitting and waiting outside Rādhikā’s room, meditating on their specific services to be performed when Rādhikā awakens. A rāgānuga-sādhaka will also sit in meditation like this in the morning while taking harināma. The sakhīs said to Mukharā, “Hey! Don’t awaken Her! Be quiet!” But because Mukharā is older than them, she didn’t listen and kept calling. Then Rādhikā slowly opened Her eyes; She was still very tired. Then Mukharā said, “Hey! What is this? Yesterday I saw Śyāma wearing this yellow shawl – how has it now come on the body of Rādhikā? Alas!” and she began to worry.
Then Viśākhā said, “O fool, you have really become old! Your vision is now distorted. The strong rays of the rising sun have come, and they have made Her cloth appear yellow.” Then Viśākhā pointed at the sun, and while Mukharā turned her head to see, Viśākhā gave a signal with her eyes to Rūpa Mañjarī indicating, “Take away that cloth!” At once, within only one second, Rūpa Mañjarī removed the yellow cloth and replaced it with Rādhikā’s usual blue shawl. Then Viśākhā said to Mukharā, “Just look! The light is better now – is Her cloth yellow or blue?”
Mukharā replied, “Yes – it really is blue.” Being very embarrassed, she forgot why she had come to awaken Rādhikā in the first place and quickly departed. Then all of the sakhīs began laughing, “Just see how our priyā has belittled this old lady!” Then they said to Rādhikā, “Get up quickly! We must go now for our sūrya-pūjā. Quickly take Your bath; as soon as Your husband is finished milking the cows, he will be coming. We must clean the house.” Rādhājī arose, and at once all of the sakhīs became present at Her side to render service. They placed a beautiful golden pot full of scented water from Mānasī-gaṅgā, Rādhā-kuṇḍa and the Yamunā there for Her to wash Her hands and face.
Then they saw that Śyāmalā, who is a suhṛta (friendly) sakhī, had come. Rādhikā stood up and embraced Śyāmalā, saying, “By meeting such a sakhī as you, this has become a very good morning indeed! And by your mercy it will become an even better morning. I planted a seedling of prema, and at once it grew into a big tree. It has very beautiful green leaves and flowers on its branches, but the fruit has not yet come; when will it bear fruit?”
Śyāmalā replied, “Oh, I think that You are not speaking truthfully! I see that this tree has very beautiful golden fruits, and that they are now ripe. I also see that You have been eating so much of this fruit that Your face has become discoloured. And it appears that the juice of this fruit has made Your eyes turn red (because You did not sleep last night). It also appears that this juice has been dripping on Your cloth, and that Your cloth has become dampened and stained. But You are trying to tell me that Your tree has not yet given any fruit?” In this way they discussed rasa between themselves.
Rādhājī said, “You are merely applying salt to My wounds. I am such a poor soul, and so unhappy. You are supposed to be helping Me, but you are just giving Me more misery. When the rainy season comes the clouds become very dark, and in the amāvasyā (new moon) night, there is no trace of the moon. When there is a flash of lightning, everything is illuminated, but afterwards it seems to be even darker than it was before. In the same way, I met Kṛṣṇa; but after meeting Him, what happened next, I simply don’t know. When I came to My senses, I saw that I was sleeping in My home, and now I am more unhappy than I was before.”
Śyāmalā said, “Oh, I understand. It is like when someone is so thirsty that they very quickly drink to their satisfaction, not paying any attention to the taste of the water, but simply drinking to quench their thirst. If anyone asks them, ‘What did that water taste like?’ they will reply that they did not notice. In the same way, You must have drank that rasa without tasting it, so again You will have to approach that guru Śyāma and this time pay attention to the taste. There is theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge. You are well-versed in theoretical knowledge, but You are not at all experienced, so You must approach Him again to learn.”
Śrīmatī Rādhikā replied, “I am very weak-minded and I fear that black person. I don’t want to accept Him as my guru and study from Him, but I see that you are so qualified, so mature and, unlike Me, you understand both theoretical and practical knowledge. So I think it would be better if you were to go and learn from Him and then return here to teach Me what you have learned.”
Hearing all of this, the sakhīs and mañjarīs were tasting the same rasa that Rādhikā had tasted the night before, only they were drinking it through their ears. Then Śyāmalā embraced Śrīmatī Rādhikā and said, “Sakhī, I see that Your tree is full of fruit, and even if You are not seeing them now, within a few days You will certainly see that so many beautiful and sweet fruits have come.” After saying this, Śyāmalā departed, laughing.
At that time Dhaniṣṭhā sent a sakhī to Śrīmatī Rādhikā to inform Her of Kṛṣṇa’s position. That morning the news was that after Yaśodā kissed Kṛṣṇa’s head, she said to Him, “O my dear child, the cows and your friends are waiting for You, but You are still sleeping!” Then she noticed some marks on Kṛṣṇa’s mouth and thought, “These naughty boys must have scratched Him while wrestling, or perhaps while running after the cows He was scratched by thorns.” At that moment Madhumaṅgala arrived calling, “O sakhā, O Kanhaiyā!” Seeing Mother Yaśodā pondering the scratches on Kṛṣṇa’s mouth, Madhumaṅgala said, ”I know where these marks have come from – He was playing with the sakhīs.” In Sanskrit, the word sakhi can refer to both male and female friends, so Yaśodā thought that he was referring to Kṛṣṇa’s cowherd boyfriends. Behind Yaśodā’s back, Kṛṣṇa placed His forefinger to His lips, signalling Madhumaṅgala not to tell her, but Madhumaṅgala signalled back indicating, “I will disclose everything to her!” Kṛṣṇa was thinking that if Madhumaṅgala were to disclose the truth, it would be very shameful, so as Yaśodā went to fetch some water, He pulled Madhumaṅgala close and said, “If you don’t disclose the truth, I will give you a laḍḍu, but if you do, I will certainly beat you!” and Madhumaṅgala laughed and kept the truth concealed. Then Kṛṣṇa took the water from Yaśodā, washed His mouth, drank something, ate some sweets which were prepared with butter, and went to Govardhana for the day.
As they were preparing Śrīmatī Rādhikā for Her daily duties, the sakhīs and mañjarīs were bathing in this hari-kathā being described by the sakhī sent by Dhaniṣṭhā. This is a summary of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s morning pastimes as described in Govinda-līlāmṛta. We will follow the path of rāgānuga-sādhana, not the path of vaidhī-sādhana, and eventually the sun of full realisation of these pastimes will arise in our hearts.
―Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja