(A Moonbeam of Sheer Astonishment)
by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur
MANJUSIKA-MILANA (THE MEETING IN THE BOX)
.... One day....at Nandagram....in the morning, Sri Yashoda is placing some very nice enjoyable things within a large wooden box. As she is packing the box with different kinds of clothing and ornaments, Sri Krishna happens to come along and begins to question her.
He asks, "My dear mother! What are you doing at this time of the morning?"
Yashoda replies, "My dear Son! I am filling up this box."
Sri Krishna: "What is it that you are keeping so carefully within the box?"
Yashoda: "My Son! Why do You need to know? Just go outside now and play with Your boyfriends."
Sri Krishna: "I really want to know what you are doing! If you don't tell me, then I will not leave this room!"
Yashoda: "Within this box, I am putting sandalwood sticks, jewelled pollen of the camphor lotus, musk, and red kunkum powder for making nice scented body-ointments. And for making different kinds of dresses, I am packing extremely valuable cloth, waist ornaments made of tiny tinkling bells, earrings, bangles, uncommonly rare lapis-lazuli gems, emeralds and pearls."
Sri Krishna: "All these things you are packing in the box....are they for me? Or are they meant for my Brother Balarama?"
Yashoda: "My delightful Son! I will tell You, if You will listen. There is another box that I have already prepared for You, and it is much bigger than this one. It is filled with very valuable jewels and cloth. I have also prepared a similar one for your Brother Balarama."
Sri Krishna: " If you are not preparing this new box for Me or for My older Brother, then who are you preparing it for, anyway? Who is such a dear object of your affection."
Yashoda: "Hey Vatsa! Hey Vrajapuralankara, The decorative ornament of Vraja-pura! Hey Putra! Just as Providence has bestowed You upon me as a result of my meritorious austerities performed in the past, in the same way, there is one daughter here in Gokula Who is like the medicine that sustains my very life. She is just like soothing camphor for my otherwise burning eyes. It is Her clothing and ornaments that I am keeping in this box. Hey Vatsa! The Creator has made many different feminine qualities such as beauty, good behavior, simplicity, humility and so on. But there is one girl who is such that when all those good qualities take shelter of Her, then only can they become great. Usually, if ordinary girls take shelter of such feminine qualities, then the girls become great. But there is one girl who is so wonderful, that when all those good womanly qualities take shelter of Her, then the qualities themselves thereby become truly glorious! This is most amazing! This girl's name is SRI RADHA, and it is for Her that I have natural love and affection."
As soon as Sri Krishna hears Sri Radha's divine name and qualities being described by His mother's own mouth, His entire body erupts in bumps of ecstatic delight, which He immediately covers up with His cloth. Then, filled with incredibly intense enthusiasm, He again questions mother Yashoda.
Sri Krishna: "He Janani! Who is this girl? Whose daughter is She, and where does She live? How is it that you have such intense love and affection for Her? Kindly explain everything to Me."
Yashoda: "Hey Vatsa! Listen! From the jewel-mine of My sakhi Kirtida's womb has arisen a sinless, matchless jewel of a daughter. By the shimmering waves of this jewel's aura, She is illuminating Vrisabhanu. Usually, the sun makes ordinary jewels shine brightly, but this daughter-jewel of Maharaja Vrisabhanu is so effulgent that Her aura makes even the brightest summer sun perk up and shine still more brightly. (vrsa=the hottest summer month of jyestha; bhanu=sun).
This girl is verily the personified austerities of King Versa, and She lives at the palace that he made for Her at Yavat, along with Her husband, Abhimanyu. But just now, Her husband has arrived here at our home in Nandagram. He is outside with Gostha-raja, the king of the pasture land, Nanda Maharaja, tending to some household affairs. When Abhimanyu comes to this inner chamber to see me before leaving, then I will tell him in sweet words,
‘Hey Abhimanyu! Please take this box yourself and, carrying it back to your home, kindly offer it to Sri Radha'.
While Yashoda is thus conversing with Sri Krishna, a dasi named Lavanga-latika comes into the room. Approaching Mother Yashoda, she announces,"Hey Queen of the pasture lands! Those two goldsmiths named Rangana and Tankana, whom you have called for, have just arrived outside."
Hearing this, the lovely-faced Sumukhi Yashoda then says to the girl Dhanistha,
"Hey Dhanistha! I am going outside now in order to arrange for the manufacture of Krishna's ornaments like crowns, earrings and bracelets. You just stay here and keep an eye on this box."
Saying this, Vrajesvari then leaves the room.
Just then, Sri Krishna's dearest, most confidential cowherd boyfriends headed by Subala Sakha arrive on the scene. In the topmost bliss, Krishna has a little discussion with them. Then, taking the box to a solitary place, they open it up. Taking out all the clothing and ornaments and entrusting it all in Dhanistha's hands, Krishna then climbs into the box. Subala and the other boys close the lid and place the box just as it was before.
After a little while, Sri Vrajesvari returns. Then Abhimanyu comes in to offer his respects to Yashoda before he returns home to Yavat. Seeing Abhimanyu bowing down, Sri Yashoda inquires of his welfare, and then instructs him, "Hey Abhimanyu! I have prepared a box full of jewelled ornaments for your wife. It contains many riches like spotless gemstones and gold necklaces, many different types of cloth, as well as various ointments like musk, camphor and so on. So many nice things are packed in different layers. I want you to personally take this box and offer it to Sri Radhika, because I don't trust anyone else to do it responsibly. Present it to Her in a solitary place, and relay to Her this message of mine---
sandestavya tvayi madaksi-sukhade! sri kirtida-kirtide!radhe! presita- petikantara gaten atyujjvala jyotisatvad gatrocita mandanena nitaram tvad vallabhena sphutamtvam srngaravati sada bhava ciranjiveti sambhogyatah
‘Oh You Who give pleasure to my eyes! Oh You Who bestow fame and glory upon Kirtida! Oh Radhe! Within this box, I have sent You an extremely brilliant aura. It consists of ornaments just befitting Your body, and I am sure that You will cherish them to the utmost. By all of these dear things, may You become radiantly decorated every day. Thus achieving great fortune and happiness, may You become enthused with newer life forever and ever.'
Hearing this from Yashoda, Abhimanyu replies,
"Oh Vrajesvari! As you have ordered me, I will faithfully carry it out."
Saying this, he lifts the box up onto his head and starts for home in a loving mood.
Sri Krishna-candra, being carried upon Abhimanyu's head, thus travels on for a rendezvous with Abhimanyu's own Wife----and His own Priya Radhika. Thus throwing Himself into an ocean of novel prankish fun, He breaks into a sweet, mischievous grin within the box.
That foolish, dull-brained cowherd boy Abhimanyu then begins to think to himself, "Today I have really become rich---I have now become successful and fortunate. Judging by the weight of this box, I can just imagine how many heaps of pure gold must be packed inside. With all this wealth, I will purchase millions of cows. Thus, just like my friend Govardhana Malla, I will have the Goddess of Fortune fixed permanently in my very own home."
Thinking like this again and again while traveling with the box on his head from Nandagram, Abhimanyu arrives before his own home at Yavat with his entire body studded with bumps of joy and his eyes brimming with tears of loving bliss. Thus, feeling such great happiness, he could not perceive even for a second the fatigue of carrying such a load upon his head. The reason for this is----would anyone feel any difficulty carrying such a divine object composed of thickly condensed, absolutely complete ecstatic bliss such as Sri Krishna???
Going into his home, Abhimanyu addresses his mother, Jatila, "Hey Mata! Today I must have left the house at an auspicious moment, for I have been blessed with the fortune of obtaining this box full of gold, jewels, ornaments and cloth. Hey Janani! Sri Vrajesvari has sent some matchless gifts for your Daughter-in-law, Sri Radhika, and she has sent this message for Her as well:
sandestavya tvayi madaksi-sukhade! Sri Kirtida-kirtide!radhe! presita- petikantara gaten atyujjvala jyotisatvad gatrocita mandanena nitaram tvad vallabhena sphutamtvam srngaravati sada bhava ciranjiveti sambhogyatah
‘Oh You Who gives pleasure to my eyes! Oh You Who bestow fame and glory upon Kirtida! Oh Radhe! Within this box, I have sent You an extremely brilliant aura. It consists of ornaments just befitting Your body, and I am sure that you will cherish them to the utmost. By all of these dear things, may You become radiantly decorated day after day; thus achieving great fortune and happiness, may You become enthused with newer life forever and ever.'
Hearing all this, the old woman Jatila becomes blissfully overwhelmed, and begins to think to herself, "Today, by the power of great Fortune, a wonderful thing has happened. Obtaining such a matchless gift today, my Daughter-in-law will now become very pleased with my son Abhimanyu......"
Then Jatila openly laughs and laughs and says,"Hey Putra! This box is so heavy that even myself, your Wife and your sister Kutila together could not possibly lift it; therefore, you kindly lift it and bring it into Vrisabhanu-nandini's bedroom, placing it upon the raised platform there. Once it is there, then She can quickly and easily open it up and see all of the wonderful gifts and dearmost ornaments inside."
Following the order of his mother, Abhimanyu then carries the box towards Sri Radhika's bedroom.
Seeing the large box upon Abhimanyu's head as he carries it in, Lalita and all the other sakhis and dasis perk up and feel supreme bliss. Sri Radhika's left eyelid, arm, breast and thigh began to vibrate and twitch. Because of that, Sri Radha gleefully addresses Lalita,
"Hey Sakhi! This abode of My mother-in-law is completely pervaded only with the most depressing, miserable suffering---so how is it that My left eyelid, arm, breast and thigh are suddenly dancing without any reason? It seems as if there is no possibility whatsoever of observing such an auspicious sign here, what to speak of obtaining the benediction of such a sign come true as long as I am trapped here in this horrible place."
Lalita replies, "Sri Radhe! I can only guess that within this box is a most fascinating Manohara-ornament (1. ornaments made of the best of fascinating jewels, or 2. Manohara, the mind-enchanting Sri Krishna). Your limbs twitched as an auspicious indication of obtaining such a rare gift. Hey Sakhi! This type of twitching is only indicative of obtaining the absolute zenith of good fortune!"
Sri Radhika says, "Hey Lalita! Just by seeing this box, My mind has become surcharged with an indescribable ecstatic mood----I can't even begin to try and put into word! Opening up the box that has just come into My own home, I will now see what jewelled ornament is inside that will bestow such a great fortune upon Me."
As Srimati Radharani and Sri Lalita Sakhi are thus conversing with one another, Abhimanyu brings the box in, places it upon the raised platform just before Her bed, and then leaves.
Thereafter, all the sakhis, wondering "What's inside the box? What's inside the box?" completely surround the box in the most extremely eager curiosity as Sri Radhika Herself leaves Her other ornaments aside and quickly begins to open it. The very second She opens the lid, Sri Krishna-candra suddenly springs out of the box and stands upright.
Seeing Him there instead of valuable clothing, ornaments and cosmetics, all the sakhis who are surrounding the box exclaim, "AHAHA!!! O MY GOODNESS!!!! WHAT'S THIS?!?!?!" as they clap their hands, laughing and giggling.
The crocodile-like mood of Cupid's invisible presence within the room suddenly manifests and begins to swallow up the bodily limbs of the sakhis, who are not fully covered with cloth in the privacy of Sri Radha's bedroom. The dasis, who were lying about resting, then get up very quickly in shy embarrassment. Topmost divine bliss flows in hundreds and thousands of churning waves, which swell and flourish about the room.
As for Kala-nidhi Sri Krishna, the abode of all artistries, He feels fully satisfied in His own prestige. Exhibiting majestic motions of such a mild and soft gently manner, He kisses all of the gopis' faces simultaneously.
After that, Lalita Sakhi says to Sri Radhika, "Hey Radhe! That ‘decoration' that has come is indeed glorious!; Your husband who brought it is also glorious; Gostha-mahesvari who sent it is also glorious; and her message to You ‘Hey Radhe! May You become decorated by that which I am sending" is also glorious; and this house, the place where this box is sporting, is also glorious! Hey Ali! My dear Friend! Sri Radhe! You have been ordered by Sri Gosthesvari ‘You should become decorated by that which I have sent'. That order was also repeated by Your husband and Your mother-in-law. Therefore hey Gandharvike! Following the order of Your three superiors, proclaim Your own ideal behavior to the world by such practice of righteous etiquette. In other words, just become decorated with the jewelled ornament that was sent in the box and thus duly honor the order of Your three superiors."
Hearing these words of Lalita, Srimati Radhika becomes very embarrassed, and She blushes in meek shyness.
A moment later, She smiles lightly and says, "My dear Lalita! A rascal thief has stolen all the clothes and ornaments that were given Me by Yashoda Mayi. Taking them out of the box, He has kept them in some other place while keeping Himself hidden within. Go right now and explain all this to My mother-in-law Jatila, and quickly bring her here."
Then Lalita says to Sri Krishna, "Oh clandestine rendezvous-lover of Radha! Rascal carried by Abhimanyu! You rode on Abhimanyu's head in order to rendezvous with his own wife, Sri Radhika! By doing this, are You desirous of seeing the earth become completely bereft of all chaste women? Well, all right, what's done is done - but now You should immediately return all the cloth and jewels that you stole from inside the box; if not, then by bringing Jatila here, I will expose the real truth of Your fame and glory."
Hearing this, Sri Krishna then says, "Oh my dear Lalita! Your friend Radharani is very crooked, and She is extremely skilled in serving Her own selfish purposes. I entered this box while playing at home, and your Sakhi sends Her husband to forcibly carry away Me and the box, bringing Me here just to be framed with this bogus accusation!"
Then, laughing and laughing, He says to Sri Radhika, "Hey Radhe! I became fascinated by smelling the natural wooden fragrance of this box; sending all of the items it contained to You via Dhanistha, I then climbed into the box just to make Myself nicely scented. Right at that moment, Your husband happened to come along by chance and brought Me here."
After saying this to Sri Radhika, He says to all the sakhis, "Hey assembly of sakhis! I now place the topic of this accusation before you all. Just think it over carefully and then decide---- if Sri Radhika is at fault, then I will rightfully punish Her; or, if I'm at fault, then I will allow Myself to be tied up in the binding-noose of each and everyone of your arms. In this way I will voluntarily spend three nights of miserable imprisonment here..."
* * * * * * * *
yasyaivam vibhavena tan-nava-yuva-dvandvam sphurat-yauvanam
sakhyastaksi cakorikam sara-tatim kamo rasah svaditam
dhyanam bhakta-tati sada kavi-kulam sviya vicitra girah
kirtim dsma bhuvanesu sadhu saphali-cakre numastam param
That fresh young Couple
radiating splendrous eternal agelessness
By this sort of wonderful influence-
Who has made fully-blossomed Fame
spread throughout all the world.
in the most boldly fulfilling way
----By the cakori-like eyes of the sakhis,
----By the piercing love-arrows of Kama,
----By the tasting of divine rasa,
----By the meditations of the devotees,
----By the variegated statements of the poets
I offer my must humble, prostrated glorification of Their Divine Lordships
THUS ENDS THE FIRST PRANK OF SRI CAMATKARA-CANDRIKA, ENTITLED MANJUSIKA-MILANA (The Meeting in the Box)
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