A sakhi of the nitya parikar (eternal attendants) manifested close to dedicated Usha Bahenji for the purpose of extensively acquainting us with the nitya (constant) and prakat (evident) divine play of Shri Radha-Krishna and the Braj cowherdesses. We present a lila 'Ranga (Rangini) Jara Suno' from the vast collection bestowed by her. Bhagwan Shri Nimbarka is said to be an incarnation of Rangini Sakhi, one of the eight primary sakhis of Krishna.
'Rang (Rangini) Jara Suno'
The icy wind transformed the cool autumn into a glorious season. The radiance of the sun seemed joyous. A varied array of flowers bloomed in forest groves. The water of lakes and Shri Yamuna's gushing blue waves turned very cool. The days of water sports were over but could not put any restriction on the spirited antics of mischievous Krishna.
He would venture to the sandy banks of the flowing river before the sun rose. Teasing the maidens come to bathe, he created an uproar; sprinkling water on them and getting wet in the process. His winsome manners melted away any vexation caused by his pranks, with no change in his daily regime.
Putting the dark lustre of the evening to shame, the impassioned supreme lover reveled in various playful dalliances. Returning from the forest at the hour of cowdust, he would figure out some clever stratagem centered in Braj's lanes, at wells and various paths. Kunjas-nikunjas glowed with the dark-hued lustre of his body in the wee hours of the night. He celebrated auspicious festivals with the younger gopis and quelled his passion in nights of rapturous lovemaking.
That particular day the supreme lover was sitting alone in a grove located on the banks of the Yamuna, early in the afternoon. The ardent longing of his eyes clearly revealed his impassioned state. The quintessential romantic hero leaning against the root of a tree, with his tender feet sprawled, amidst the hide and seek of the sun, seemed irresistibly attractive, with an attractiveness as mysterious as it was compelling.
The sound of tinkling anklets startled him, but Krishna hid. Peeking from a small opening of dense leaves he saw Shri Bhadraji coming along with two-three sakhis, laughing merrily. Having reached the sandy banks of the Yamuna she looked around once and sat down.
She asked a sakhi to sing a pada (a verse of devotional poetry specially intended to be sung.) When the sakhi asked which one, Bhadraji gave a lacklustre smile and gravely replied,' Can you possibly sing what I want? You recite your favourite and I will listen...' The sakhis were dazed but quiet.
Silence prevailed for some moments. Conscious soon after, Bhadraji entreated,' Rangini, sing on. Do not delay.' The mellifluous sound of Rangini's tender voice, resonated in the Yamuna banks. Bhadraji was sure that her intense desire gushed forth in this composition. Krishna hiding in the cluster of trees was also stupefied.
All of a sudden Rangini smiled and teased,' Bhadra tell the truth. Didn't the song embody the state of your mind? The ardent longing veiled in your peals of laughter burst forth in my rendition.'
Madhura barged in,' In case the elusive and insistent paramour is hiding nearby and listening to the melody...' Now Bhadraji voiced her thoughts. A charming smile invaded her face, and she exulted,' Let him...He very well recognizes her voice and adores it.'
Rangini laughed,' And what about your heart? I did not sing but your pathos of longing was expressed in this enthused exultation ...'
The discussion was left at that. Krishna, the supreme lover, stepped out of the cluster and headed towards them to complete the episode. The maidens were enraptured to see the shapely eyes of the romantic hero exuding sensuality. An ardent longing apparent on his face left them spellbound. Most sensible Bhadraji soon regained her composure. She mocked,' Whom are you seeking?'
Krishna the colour of the condensed sky, smiled and retorted,' Do you want to see who I am looking for?'
Bhadraji replied,' Sighting her is a different matter, I will search and get her.'
The lover was about to comment but didn't and smiled instead. Unable to control the welling ardour, Bhadraji got up all of a sudden. Seeing her, the rest followed suit. She began walking without a word with the other sakhis in tow. Impassioned Krishna did not intervene. Bhadraji looked behind, reluctant to move ahead but she went on.
She made a gesture to Rangini, who looked back and precisely then Krishna whispered,' Rang! Jara Suno (Rang! Just listen).' All the others left with exquisite desires tugging their hearts while Rangini returned to the supreme lover. Both of them went and sat on the banks of the Yamuna. Krishna tickled Shri Yamuna with his feet submerged, watching the surging waves. Holding Shri Rangini's lotus hand in his own, Krishna fondled her with the other.
Soon after he raved,'Is it a small feat to merge your heart with another and express her romantic yearning in your own voice?'
With lowered eyes, Rangini explained softly,' But this was Bhadra's heart exhibiting its sweet romance.'
Priyatam asked,' Whose voice was it anyway?'
Shri Rangini did not respond. Holding her hand, the romantic hero Krishna came to the forest grove. Soon enough the two dallied romantically.
On the other hand, Bhadraji headed straight for her bhavan (abode); quiet, steeped in some irrepressible emotion. The darkness of the evening merged with the silent blackness of the night. Once Bhadraji peeped out of the window and sighing went and lay on her bed again.
A moment later Shri Rangini entered the chamber. Hope flashed in Bhadraji's eyes and coming out of her reverie she teased,' Rangini I was correct, isn't it? Do not make a futile attempt to hide the ecstasy apparent on your face.'
Shri Rangini chirped,'But listen to what I have to say!' Shri Bhadra's laughter vanished and she raised her eager eyes. Well-versed in the secrets of love-play, Rangini did not give any message of Krishna's but insisted on taking her for a stroll. 'Why stay at home? Bhadra let us go for a walk to the grove nearby and delight in the luminescence of the moon dallying in the forest.'
Bhadraji made excuses initially but went along soon enough.Stepping into the moonlit night she was thrilled...the whispering fragrant cool breeze aroused her sensually. The serious demeanour of the constantly chattering and merry Bhadra, seemed strange.
The supreme lover saw her coming slowly and strode ahead swiftly. He extended his hands, as if the moon had lifted a female partridge with its hands...The handsome god and his beloved had no inkling when Rangini left. Snuggling Bhadra to his heart, wrapping his arms around her,Krishna entered the dense shrine-like nikunja (bower).
The terrifying rush of love fused in a serious stratagem...delighting them in a different manner, Priyatam confirmed,' Priya, I can sing your favourite song. Shall I right now?' Bhadra smiled. Her lips quivered to reveal her state but couldn't. Embodying a throbbing longing, someone's heart entreated her for a favour. The silent private dialogue continued for some time.
Then the supreme lover tickled her and enthused,' What punishment should be meted out to the person resonancing somebody's yearning, by adorning her voice.' Bhadra kept quiet for some time and spoke,' Why don't you explain?'
Krishna laughed and affirmed,' I will certainly!'
Soon after their bodies, minds and souls were fused and focused in a single expression of love. Heart with heart...lips with lips, eyes with eyes met, arms enfolded arms, limbs were intertwined; caressing each other with loving tenderness as they spent a night of rapturous love-making.