Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Ashtasakhis: Rangadevi & Sudevi

Rangadevi Sakhi

On the southwest petal of Madana-sukhada Kunja lies the dark blue, cloud like Sukhada Kunja, where Sri Krishna's beloved Sri Rangadevi always resides. Her birthplace is Sunehra Gram, a village in Varsana.

Sunehra Gram (Swaran Haar) and Kadamba Khandi:

Shri Vallabhacharyaji also ventured to the golden mountain and the ethereal Kadamba khandi, a site of Raas abounding with swings and an expanse of water. This isolated place of Raas is surrounded by kadamba trees wherein its cool environs incapacitate the sweltering heat. The fragrance of its flowers bathed in rain; enchant us as they blossom with the touch of madhurya or sweet love. The trees form a sort of canopy beneath which Shri Radha-Krishna fix their tryst.

The Ratan Kund is nearby. Sunehra Gram is the birthplace of both the sakhis, Sudevi and Rangadevi. Sudevi is adept at applying mahavar on Shri Radha's feet and Rangadevi is skilled at decking Shri Radha's hair with veni or a string of flowers.

Rangadevi is the seventh of the varistha gopis. Her complexion is the color of a lotus stamen, and her dress is red like a jaba blossom.

Her home is in Yavata, and her age is 14 years, 2 months and 4 1/2 days, seven days younger than Sri Radharani. Her mother's name is Karuna, her father's Rangasagara and her husband is Vakreksana.

Rangadevi's virtues are similar to those of Campakalata. Replete with coquetry and gestures, she is witty with her friend Sri Radharani in the presence of Lord Krishna.

Regarding diplomacy she is adept in patiently waiting for the enemy to make the next move. An expert logician, she has attained a mantra that can attract Lord Krishna due to previous austerities.

Kalakanti-devi is the leader of the eight important friends of Rangadevi, who are proficient in the use of perfumes and cosmetics. The group is expert at burning fragrant incenses, carrying coal during the winter and fanning the divine couple in the summer. Ranga-devi is the leader of gopis able to control the lions, deer and other wild animals in the forest.

She possesses the utkanthita-bhava, (one who longs for an absent lover) and has a contrary and hot-tempered temperament. In every way attached to Sri Krishna, her seva is offering candana and her nature is vama-madhya. In Kali-yuga she appears in Gaura-lila as Govindananda Ghosa.

The chief gopis in Sri Rangadevi's yutha are Kalakanthi, Sasikala, Kamala, Prema Manjari, Madhavi, Madhura, Kamalata and Kandarpa-sundari.

Sudevi Sakhi

She looks so much like Srimati Radharani that she is often mistaken to be Her sister. She has a golden complexion and wears coral color clothing.

She is always beside Radharani and arranges Her hair, darkens the eyes and massages Her body with oil, being highly adept at applying mahavar on Sri Radha's feet.

Shringar Vat:

In Varsana is Shringar Vat which has two temples. The Shringar temple is to the south and Shaiya temple is to its left. Initiating a new idea, Lord Krishna thought of doing shringara with flowers to adorn his beloved Shri Radha, an outward expression of their love-play.

He arranged for an array of tender jasmine flowers. She already knew of this scheme but came fully decked with her sakhis. Holding her hand in his, he raved about her unprecedented beauty,"The sakhis and Sudevi are the most fortunate since they always dress you up while I am merely enchanted by your appearance." He made her wear a garland of flowers, loose bracelets weaved with flowers, braided her hair with blossoms, slid a girdle of flowers around the waist, and flower anklets on her feet with kundals of flowers, attaching a bunch to her light blue bodice.

As Krishna was captivated by her loveliness the sakhis took them to the appointed nikunja, making them recline on the decorated bed of tender shoots. Shri Radha-Krishna beautiful as the moon and their transcendental intimacy was truly a divine sight which delighted all the sakhis. Located about six miles from Kosi, Shringar Vat imparts joy to us all.

Sudevi is expert at training parrots, reading omens, gardening and decorating couches.

Her father's name is Rangasara and mother is Karuna. She is said to be from the village of Bajhera. Rangadevi is her twin sister.

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