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Discussions on the doctrines of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. Please place practical questions under the Miscellaneous forum and set this aside for the more theoretical side of it.

Ages and dresses of the Manjaris - Static or ecstatic?

Madhava - Fri, 06 Aug 2004 03:10:35 +0530
Here's a little bit of gopI-bhAva for change. Quoted from a letter I wrote to a fellow devotee who was asking about the ages and dresses of the manjaris, in particular on whether they wear one kind of dress from here to eternity, since they are often depicted as such.

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The eight principal manjaris, with the exception of Vilasa Manjari, are 13 years old, some a few months older than others. Vilasa is 12/11/26. None of them are 13/6/6, Lavanga is 13/6/1, Rupa is 13/6/0, Manjulali 13/6/7. At any rate, the specific ages are not that important, the idea is that some are a bit older and some a big younger, and this nuance will be visible in their mutual dealings when one meditates on and is given a vision of the Vraja-pastimes.

So, you have a desire to serve Radha as a manjari-maidservant. That is a good desire. "First deserve, then desire." This must mean that you have done much in your previous lives to deserve this desire you now cherish, for the desire would not appear unless you deserved it. Good: Be stubborn about becoming a gopi, that will be your eternal merit.

All in Vraja is fully conscious, bracelets, earrings and jewels included. However, we aspire for an active position, one in which we may fully respond to the desires and needs of our mistress.

The idea about the maidservants wearing what was given to them by Radha is commonly known, it is mentioned for example in Sanat-kumara-samhita, as quoted by Srila Narottama Das Thakura:

sakhInAM saGginI-rUpAm AtmAnaM vAsanAmayIm |
AjJA-sevA-parAM tat-tad-rUpAlaGkAra-bhUSitAm || PBC 58 || (sanat-kumAra saMhitA)

"One should meditate on oneself in a form that is a female associate of the sakhis, engaged in services on their command, decorated by Her ornaments."

Srila Visvanatha Cakravartipada comments:

sakhInAM zrI-lalitA-zrI-rUpa-maJjary-AdInAM saGginI-rUpAm AtmAnaM dhyAyed iti zeSaH | kimbhUtAm? AjJA-sevA-parAm AjJayA tAsAm anumatyA sevA-parAM zrI-rAdhA-mAdhavayor iti zeSaH | punaH kimbhUtAm? tat-tad-rUpAlaGkAra-bhUSitAM suprasiddha-zrI-kRSNa-manohara-rUpeNa zrI-rAdhikA-nirmAlyAlaGkAreNa bhUSitAM nirmAlya-mAlya-vasanA-bharaNAs tu dAsya ity ukteH | punaH kimbhUtAm? vAsanAmayIM cintAmayIm IkSate cintAmayam etam Izvaram ity Adivat ||58||

sakhInAM - One should think of himself as a female associate of sakhis such as Sri Lalita, Sri Rupa Manjari and others. In which way? AjJA-sevAparAm - Serving Sri Radha-Madhava with their consent and according to their orders. And again, in which way? tat-tad rUpAlaGkAra bhUSitAM - Ornamented with left-over ornaments of Sri Radhika in a celebrated form enchanting the mind of Sri Krishna; in service, ornamented with the left-over flower garlands. Thus it is said. And again, in which way? vAsanAmayIM - Seeing oneself in contemplation in this capacity; and so forth.

Therefore, though principal colors and so forth have been described for the main manjaris, on one day they may wear one color of dress and on another a different color, depending on moods and specific pastimes. If even in this world we have the facility of choosing from so many differend kinds of clothes, why would it be any less in the supremely opulent yet sweet Vraja-bhumi?
Rasaraja dasa - Fri, 06 Aug 2004 04:12:03 +0530
Dandavats. All glories to the Vaisnavas.

Very nice post Madhava. In thinking of the idea that first one must deserve and than desire i believe you approached that perspective well. Another aspect of this vision is that one always works to maintain that sense of deserving and, almost as importantly, the ability to continue to desire for such a lofty position by service to Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas.

For the aspiring sadhika it isn't a finish line we cross which gives us access to these meditations rather we are given access to, and increasing depth of lobha and desire for such, as our service to Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas increases.

Aspiring to serve the Vaisnavas,
Rasaraja dasa
Satyabhama - Mon, 16 Aug 2004 22:07:17 +0530
"First deserve, then desire." This must mean that you have done much in your previous lives to deserve this desire you now cherish, for the desire would not appear unless you deserved it. Good:


DharmaChakra - Sun, 29 Aug 2004 20:24:56 +0530
I just came across this in Srila Visvanatha Cakravartpada's Sri Ujjvala Nilamani Kirana - A summary of Srila Rupa Goswami's 'Ujjivala Nilamani'

Verse 6

Translation by Advaita dasa

The Vraja-gopis have four age-divisions - vayah sandhi, navya yauvana, vyakta yauvana, and purna yauvana. Kalavati and other heroines are in vayah sandhi (the margin between childhood and youth), Dhanya and others are in navya yauvana (fresh youth), Sri Radhika and others are in vyakta yauvana (visible youth), Chandravali and others, like Padma, are in purna yauvana (full youth).