Radha Teaches Tulasi to Play Vina
Based on the Vilapa Kusumanjali of Raghunath Das Gosvami,
from the commentary of Pandit Ananta Das Babaji Maharaja,
as originally narrated by Ananda Gopal Gosvami
One day Radhika and Syama are playing together in a kunja when Syama faints out of ecstasy. No matter what Svamini tries, She can not bring Krishna back to His senses. The boat-like mind of enchanting Mohana has sunk in the bottomless ocean of Sri Radhika’s beauty and sweetness. Svamini is desperate. She cannot find anyone who can pull Syama out of this deep ocean-like swoon. Then Tulasi, who sits outside with her back against the wall of the kunja, begins to sing a beautiful song. When Syama hears this song about Svamini’s sweetness, He slowly comes back to His senses and becomes fit again to continue the loveplay. These songs cannot be taught in the presence of the sakhis, therefore they are taught within the caves of Govardhana Hill.
The subject of these songs are the various pastimes of Rasaraja Krishna and Madanakhya Mahabhavavati Sri Radha. Radhika Herself is the subject of these songs, so She can't sing them Herself to bring Krishna back to life. A third person is necessary, and a maidservant of Sri Radha is the most fitting person to do it. Of all maidservants, Tulasi is again most intimate with Sri Radhika, so Svamini calls her into a cave of Govardhana Hill to teach her these intimate songs in different tunes. This is the limit of human perfection, the great gift of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Now Srimati will examine if Tulasi has properly learned the songs. This examination is also so wonderful! The cave of Govardhana Hill is like a wonderful temple of play. Svamini takes a vina in Her hand and teaches a sweet song. The song itself is endlessly sweet and on top of that there is Svamini’s own nectarine voice. This sound attracts Syamasundara, who comes close and stares through a slit in the cave at the beauty of Srimati’s form. She is there alone with Tulasi. Her head is not covered by Her veil and Her fingers, that defeat the beauty of golden Campaka-buds, twang the strings of the vina. Along with the strings of the vina She twangs the strings of Syama’s heart! How wonderfully Her jeweled rings are blazing on Her golden fingers! It is as if Her beauty and sweetness comes gushing out of Her limbs!
Syama is enchanted by Her lovely nectarine voice and can’t hide Himself anymore. He approaches slowly and enters into the cave as if He is enchanted by some mantra. Seeing Syama, Svamini at once stops singing, puts the vina away and quickly pulls Her veil over Her head. Gravely She says: Syama! Are You here?” Syama says: “What song have You taught to Tulasi?” Svamini: “What’s that to You? Tulasi! Let us hear what song You have learned!” Tulasi takes the vina in her hand and begins to sing. How wonderful is the prowess of Tulasi, the object of Svamini’s affection! She has learned the song after one single hearing. It is as if the song takes shape before Their eyes. Syama does not hear a song -- He relishes Svamini’s sweetness. Syama is enchanted and sits down next to Svamini to listen. Tulasi asks: “Did I pass the examination?” Both praise Tulasi, saying: “Bravo, Tulasi! Well learnt!”