Sri Radha: “in charge of the domestic affairs of Krishna.”

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Many years ago I was present when Srila Sridhara Maharaja was speaking with a small group of devotees about a high topic in which we were all keenly interested. One of his disciples interrupted. He needed a few rupees to pay a ricksha walla who had delivered something to the Math. Srila Sridhara Maharaja told the devotee to bring his money belt. Srila Sridhara Maharaja carefully and very deliberately examined the various rupee notes, extracted the exact amount needed, seven or so ( about twenty cents for us), and handed them over to his disciple. He then carefully put the money belt away as the disciple went off to pay for the rickshaw.

I think many of us were thinking the same thing. “Srila Guru Maharaja is speaking about a very important topic, his train of thought should not be interrupted for such an insignificant matter involving a few pennies.”

As if he knew what we were thinking, he rejoined the conversation saying “Srimati Radharani is in charge of the domestic affairs of Krishna.” He chuckled a bit and returned to the topic at hand, exactly where he had left it.

It is sometimes thought that management or other affairs of the Math are beneath the dignity of the status of a preacher, a brahman or a particular servitor. Srila Sridhara Maharaja summarily demolished that notion with astonishing efficiency with his very brief casual remark: “Srimati Radharani is in charge of the domestic affairs of Krishna.” It is worth remembering today, as we celebrate Sri Radhastami Maha Mahotsava.

When we see our guru in his highest station, we will see the representation of Sri Radha, the highest servitor of Sri Krishna who undertakes the management of all His household affairs for His supreme satisfaction and enjoyment.

“Math” means residence, it could also be taken to mean “household”. It is a place where the Lord resides with His intimate servitors who attend to all the particulars (details) needed to satisfy their Lord in every respect. Sri Radha is the Mistress of that household who, with the assistance of Her most intimate friends such as Srimati Lalita Devi, and their assistants, supply all manner of articles and services for Sri Yashodhanandana’s complete happiness and satisfaction.

Accepting responsibility to attend to the many details necessary for a particular service to be successful is a challenging and often frustrating task. I thought it appropriate today to recall some of Srila Govinda Maharaja’s words addressing such a task.

Like Srila Sridhara Maharaja, he also makes reference to Sri Radha in connection with the duties of management. He reminds us that we should not allow ourselves to be dissuaded from performing our service to our utmost capacity despite being faced with the most difficult of circumstances:

“Srimati Radharani cannot tolerate to give any other party Her divine, exclusive service share for Krishna.”

Question: You have much faith in my ability to manage, but I cannot see how it is possible to carry out your order, and I fear that if I continue, then the situation will get much worse. Please, Maharaj, remove me from this position and appoint someone else and I will try to serve that devotee. If it is your desire that I continue, then I shall have to try again but I am deeply frustrated and feel hopeless.

Srila Maharaj replied: In our practitioner’s life, for the time being many disturbing things and also frustration, must come, but with our deep service intention and faith, by the mercy of Srila Guru Maharaj everything will be vanquished. Every morning in winter we shall not see the clear sun, as some days must be foggy, but we do not stop our duty because of that. Sri Krishna said in Srimad Bhagavad-gita:

matra-sparsas tu kaunteya
sitosna-sukha-duhkha-dah
agamapayino ‘nityas
tams titiksasva bharata

What is necessary is only our capacity to tolerate. And this is also one kind of test. If I think of my own life’s history, almost every day I have spent with anxiety in my service-life. But I am happy with that, that is, I am thinking that Krishna is taking something from my energy for His divine service by making me worried. When a good boy after trying hard, fails his class exam, what does his father do? Does he oust him from the house, or give him nourishment to give him more enthusiasm? We must remember this.

alabdhe va vinaste va
bhaksyacchadana-sadhane
aviklava-matir bhutva
harim eva dhiya smaret

[“Even if a devotee is frustrated in his attempt to eat properly or clothe himself properly, he should not allow this material failure to disturb his mind; rather, he should use his intelligence to remember his master, Lord Krsna, and thus remain undisturbed.”—BRS 1.2.114]

Therefore we must try with our double energy to fulfill the desire of our Srila Guru Maharaj for the super-benefit of our spiritual lives.

Whatever is my duty is exclusively mine—I cannot give any share to anyone to make a massacre. If I know that only I can do the duty that has come to me, then I must do that. Those who can accept the challenge of service to Guru-Gauranga, they can do many things even beyond their capacity, by the grace of Their Lordships. Therefore don’t you worry.

I can remember one phrase in Bengali poetry that says that even if the whole world will leave their service with a crying mood, I will not run, but I will try. Srila Guru Maharaj many times recited this story of Ravindranath Tagore:

yadi tora daka shune keu na ase tabe esala calore

If nobody will come with you, you must proceed alone, without even a stick. It is necessary to be steady in your point of position of service. It is a very high thing, but for your attention I can say humbly, but beyond my jurisdiction, in remembrance of Srila Guru Maharaj: “Srimati Radharani cannot tolerate to give any other party Her divine, exclusive service share for Krishna.” I think it is enough for your remembrance….

…We have got this very rare human body, intelligence, energy, and many qualifications for the service to Krishna, therefore we cannot allow ourselves to make a massacre of our service-mind in exchange for some part of the mundane.

Dear Prabhu, don’t you be worried for any illusory environment. You must think that Srila Guru Maharaj is always with us, watching us, and taking care of us. It must be we will finally get a victorious service position by His divine mercy.

We are very fortunate, that is we are enlightened by Srila Guru Maharaj’s and Srila Swami Maharaj’s divine service life. After Sriman Mahaprabhu, this kind of wave of devotion has not come out until the time of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada. That wave has been blown all over the world by Srila Swami Maharaj and Srila Guru Maharaj in order to successfully smash the illusory environment; and now the whole world is chanting “Hare Krishna.” By hook or by crook they established Krishna consciousness, but if we think how much obstruction came in their lifetime, we must forget our own sorrow and difficulties. Srila Dasa Goswami said that when you will be in a very much troubled position from your inner enemies—kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada, matsarya—you chant loudly the name of your protector: the Vaishnavas. Pray to them for the protection of your spiritual divine life, and, if you are sincere, you must get help from them. Then I can only say, “Proceed, proceed, and proceed, and the foggy sky must timely leave your vision.”

— Srila Bhakti Sundara Govinda, Divine Guidance

May Sri Gurudeva, who embodies and manifests the mercy of Srimati Radharani, bless us to remain ever faithful to his Divine Service.

Swami B.K. Giri