Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj explains Śrīla Narottam Ṭhākur’s prayers to Śrī Rūpa.
Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī is considered to be the leader of all of the mañjarīs in the camp of Rādhārāṇī. The mañjarīs are younger than the sakhīs, so they have the facility to enter into the room of Rādhā-Govinda when the older sakhīs cannot enter. These young girls know much about the advanced Pastimes, and they enjoy that confidence. When Rādhā and Govinda are in solitude, these young girls are allowed to serve Them, but the older friends of Rādhārāṇī hesitate to join Her at that time. When Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa meet for Their private affairs, the highest quality of rasa is produced by Their union, and the mañjarīs, not the sakhīs, come in connection with that highest quality of rasa. So, the Rūpānuga sampradāya means the opportunity to taste that highest quality of the rasa produced by Rādhā and Govinda’s confidential union. Mahāprabhu recommended that this is the highest attainment ever possible for the soul. The Rūpānuga sampradāya: the soul can reach madhura-rasa, then the camp of Rādhārāṇī, and then that of Śrī Rūpa.
Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur has given a description, a sketch, of the confidential spiritual service in madhura-rasa under the leadership of Rūpa Goswāmī in his Rūpānuga-bhajana-darpaṇa. Śrīla Narottam Ṭhākur also understands the substantial characteristic of Rūpānuga-bhajan so much so that he expresses this aspiration, “When will my Gurudev, Lokanāth Goswāmī, take me by my hand and connect me to Rūpa, saying ‘O Rūpa, I am giving you this new young maidservant. Take her.’ When will my Gurudev give charge of me to Śrī Rūpa in this way?”
Rūpa’s transaction is higher. The mañjarīs’ service means a higher plan and design, different dealings and services unique within the camp of Rādhārāṇī that are most confidential, that are generally not aspired for even by other sakhīs and their associates.
In Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī Pada, the exclusive, concentrated attempt, the aspiration to be admitted and enter the camp of Śrī Rūpa is expressed with earnestness. Exclusive earnestness to get admission into the camp of Śrī Rūpa is expressed. The characteristic of one’s aspiration should be like this.
Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī pada sei mora sampada: I consider the holy feet of Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī to be my only wealth. I do not consider anything else to be wealth. Sei mora bhajana pūjana: Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī’s feet are the object of my bhajan and pūjan. Bhajan means a sincere, internal presentation towards the higher, and pūjan means a respectful, formal offering. Sei mora prāṇa-dhana: her feet are the source of my life, my sustenance. Sei mora ābharaṇa: her feet are my ornaments, my outer qualifications. Both my inner and outer existence are there. Sei mora jīvanera jīvana: I consider her feet to be the very life of my life, the essence of my existence.
Sei mora rasa-nidhi: her feet are the source of all my ecstatic aspirations, the ocean of my ecstatic joy. Sei mora vāñchhā-siddhi: the fulfilment of my inner aspiration is at her feet. Sei mora Vedera dharama: the Vedas have a strong position, a hold over society, but I consider that the Vedas inspire me only to accept her feet as the real meaning of the Vedas.
Sei vrata: there is a fashion especially in the female section of society to accept various types of vows. A vow means a temporary commitment to a particular good action. Savitrī is famous for her vow of chastity. By her chastity, she saved her husband from death. Savitrī, Sītā, and many other ancient ladies exemplified high ideals, and modern women often take vows in their names. I have no other formal vow than the vow to serve Śrī Rūpa’s feet.
Sei tapa: men practise many penances to achieve their desired ends, but my only penance is for her feet. By accepting that, I consider that I have finished all penances. Sei mora mantra japa: others engage themselves in japam, repetition of a particular spiritual sound for the attainment of some auspicious end, but my only engagement is the service of Śrī Rūpa’s feet. Sei mora dharama karama: the service of Śrī Rūpa covers all possible phases of duty and activity, all possible engagements to discover or serve holy purposes. I concentrate all my activities only to achieve the service of her feet. Everything will be fulfilled by that service.
yasmin prāpte sarvam idaṁ prāptaṁ bhavati
In all phases of life and duty, I want only the service of Śrī Rūpa.
Anukūla habe viddhi, se-pade ha-ibe siddhi: I only want that the vidhātā, the controller of the world’s forces, will be propitiated by me and make arrangements in favour of such an attempt and attainment in life. If he becomes favourable to me, then my fulfilment will be achieved.
Nirakhiba e dui nayane se rūpa-mādhurī-rāśi: What will be the effect? I will be allowed to have a vision of Śrī Rūpa’s beautiful figure, movement, and serving attitude. I will be connected, I will see Śrī Rūpa’s feet, and I will serve under Śrī Rūpa’s guidance. Prāṇa-kuvalaya-śaśī: I will be allowed to have a vision of Śrī Rūpa’s beautiful figure, which is likened to the moon. The moon is the kumud’s source of energy and beauty. The kumud is a red, night lotus. Generally, the sun helps the lotus, and the moon helps the red flowers that we find in a pond, like the kumud, which flourish in moonlight. The lotus and lily get energy from sunlight. Praphullita habe niśi-dine: my demand is not only during the night or the day, but during both the night and the day. Perhaps the principal necessity of madhura-rasa is the night, so the moon of the night is taken as the sustaining agency. Here, not the kumud, but the kuvalaya, a particular type of lotus, is mentioned. Praphullita habe niśi-dine: that lotus, my heart, will be encouraged and sustained both day and night by the rays from the beautiful figure, colour, and movement of Śrī Rūpa. That will inspire me day and night in the service of Kṛṣṇa’s camp.
Then comes another stage. When it is as if I have attained this and it has become my own property, I shudder to lose it again and feel I may not be able to maintain myself. If I become dispossessed of such association for a long time, I will not be able to tolerate it for long. After attaining that association, after it became my own, my home, why might I be forced to remain apart from it? I shudder. I cannot tolerate being separated from it. Tuyā adarśana-ahi-garale jārala dehi: when your separation, like a serpent, bites me, my whole being feels the pain produced by a serpent’s poison. The whole world seems to feel the uneasiness produced by poison. Chira-dina tāpita jīvana: for a long time, I have undergone this sort of pang of separation from you, my mistress.
Now I again come to your feet. Please grant me permanent service in your camp. I am taking refuge under you. I have no alternative. I fully surrender to you. You should give me permanent service in your camp. Without that, it is not possible for me to go on with my life.