The Sakhis Tend to the Kunja

Radharani’s Manjaris: Tattva & Lilas


The jubilant sakhīs left the forest cottage carrying various articles, including a golden pitcher, a polished mirror and a fan with a golden handle. One sakhī held a multicolored bowl filled with kuṅkuma and sandalwood. Another grasped a jeweled case filled with betel nuts and someone else clutched a caged parrot. One sakhī smiled slightly as she emerged from the kuñja holding a small, gold inlay ivory sindhūr[1] casket that was shaped like two budding breasts and studded with sapphires.

One sakhī collected all the pearls that had fallen from the necklaces broken by Rādhā-Mādhava’s firm embraces, and happily tied them in the edge of her veil. Rati-mañjarī found an earring that had fallen on the bed during Rādhā-Mādhava’s conjugal skirmishes. She left the kuñja and immediately fixed it on Rādhā’s ear. The sakhī named Rūpa-mañjarī snatched up Rādhā’s bodice from the edge of the bed and privately returned it to Her. Guṇa-mañjarī took the spittoon with Rādhā-Mādhava’s chewed betel nuts and distributed the prasādam to the sakhīs outside the cottage.

Mañjulālī-mañjarī gathered the garlands and sandalwood pulp that had fallen from Rādhā-Mādhava’s bodies and divided it amongst the sakhīs. The sakhīs, seeing Krishna wearing Rādhā’s blue cloth and Rādhā wearing His yellow cloth, covered their mouths with their delicate hands to conceal their laughter. They shared the bliss swelling in their hearts by passing subtle glances to each other to indicate the exchange of clothing.

[1] Vermilion


This is a section of the book “Vrindavana Lila”.

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