Sri Shyamsundar – Manifested from Radharani’s Heart
The Transcendental Conversation
One day, while in his bhajan-kutir, Srila Shyamananda Pandit was deeply immersed in the thoughts of sweet and nectarean pastimes of Krishna. He felt that Krishna who is also known as Shyamsundar was dancing and singing with the beautiful damsels of Vraja in a grove. Srimati Radharani and the gopis had formed a circle around Krishna by holding each other’s hand and it appeared like the moon encircled by the stars. Some gopis were dancing and others were singing melodious songs. At the same time Srimati Radharani started dancing to give more pleasure to Krishna. During the dance, a golden anklet named Manjughosha which was studded with precious gems, slipped from the left foot of Srimati Radharani and fell in the dancing arena unnoticed. When the dance was over the divine couple went to sleep and at dawn They both left to Their respective houses.
Even Shyamananda woke up and as usual left for cleaning the groves known as Seva-kunja. On reaching the place where Srimati Radharani danced, he noticed all the trees and creepers were full of fragrance emitting flowers. Further inside of Seva-kunja, foot-prints of Radha and Krishna and the gopis could be seen. Seeing all this, Shyamananda felt very ecstatic. He then started cleaning the sacred groves. Suddenly, he saw a glittering object under a pomegranate tree illuminating every nook and corner of the grove. He ran towards that spot. He then became wonderstruck on finding a transcendental anklet studded with precious stones such as Indraneel mani.
Immediately he heard a prophecy from the sky to guard that transcendental anklet. He lifted the anklet and touched it to his forehead. As he touched it to his head, he became very ecstatic. Tears started rolling down his cheeks and symptoms of ecstasy such as rolling on the ground, sweating, etc appeared in his body. He started dancing in jubilation, chanting the names of Srimati Radharani. He hid the anklet under his garment and continued his work of cleaning and beautifying the groves of Seva-kunja.
During this time Srimati Radharani and Her associates came to that place in disguise in search of the anklet. She hid Herself behind a creeper and asked Lalita sakhi to look for the anklet. Lalita sakhi, in the disguise of a poor old brahmin lady, approached Shyamananda and told him that the previous night her newly married daughter-in-law had come to that place to pluck flowers, but having seen a lion (Krishna) standing next to Her, She left the place in fear. At that time, an anklet from Her left foot had slipped and fell on the ground unnoticed. She inquired from him whether he had found it. Hearing these words from Lalita sakhi, Shyamananda felt satisfied but showered a list of questions out of anxiety such as “Who was she? And where did she live?”
“Kindly give her introduction to my complete satisfaction,” he requested.
Lalita sakhi said, “She is a ‘Kanya-kubja brahmin lady’ and belongs to a village near Yavat of Mathura and Her name is Radha Dasi.” She further said, “Since you clean the groves every day, I have come to enquire about the anklet.”
Shyamananda with great humility answered, “Your guess is true. I did find a wonderful anklet studded with Indraneel mani. As soon as I touched the anklet, I felt happiness and was also over-whelmed with the devotion for Srimati Radharani.”
In a doubt he further added, “This anklet surely does not belong to an ordinary lady. There is some mystery behind this. Wise people say that wonderful things are possessed only by deserving people and not by ordinary persons.”
“Since your daughter-in-law is an inhabitant of this material world, the transcendental anklet cannot belong to her,” he said. In a view of confirming the situation he further told Lalita sakhi, “You belong to this material world, therefore my mind does not feel satisfied to part away with the anklet in your favor as you are just like the material entity and the transcendental ornament cannot belong to you.”
Pointing at her ordinary dress he said, “Your ordinary garments speak of your poverty. An anklet embedded with Indraneel mani cannot belong to the daughter-in-law of a poverty-stricken lady under any circumstances.” He thought for a while and agreed on one condition, “However if your daughter-in-law comes before me to show the similar anklet on Her right foot, I will return the anklet in the presence of the villagers.”
Srimati Radharani, the daughter of Sri Vrishabhanu who with Her companions was listening to the conversation of Sri Lalita sakhi and Shyamananda from behind a creeper, felt that Lalita sakhi was no match to Shyamananda as far as cleverness was concerned. Srimati Radharani came out and said, “O saintly person! You said that this transcendental anklet does not deserve to be given to any person of this material world, but don’t you know that all the objects of Vrindavana are transcendental? Does any ordinary person of this material world have the right to enter Vrindavana?”
Cleverly Shyamananda replied, “Your words that all the objects of Sri Vrindavan Dham are transcendental are absolutely true but those objects are not visible to the materially naked eyes. This land as known by the shastras and wise people looks earthly although it has houses made of touchstones and is filled only with desire trees.”
Listening to the very clever answer of Shyamananda, Lalita sakhi laughed mildly but keeping in mind the execution of her task, she said, “Your observation is perfectly right. The anklet found by you is absolutely transcendental and it’s owner is also extremely transcendental in Her beauty, Her nature, Her dress, Her characteristics and above all in Her virtues.”
Shyamananda felt little perplexed and pointing towards the old lady who was using mysterious phrases, he said, “I am unable to understand you as I lack wisdom. Moreover how can I know what you want me to do? Kindly explain to me in plain words what can I do for you?” Then Lalita sakhi disclosed their identity and with confidence said, “This lady standing to my right is the owner of this transcendental anklet. She is Srimati Radharani, the daughter of King Vrishabhanu. She is the resident of Yavat and the sweet heart of the King of Gokula.”
This introduction of Srimati Radharani was enough for Shyamananda to be surprised and his body was surcharged with ecstasy. He was amused and entered into trance. After a while he regained his consciousness and with hesitation said: “I am afflicted with pain and fail to understand how the anklet of Srimati Radharani fell on the ground in the dancing arena. I want to know the complete event.”
Sri Lalita sakhi said, “You are the right person to know about this and thus I will reveal the whole story as it is to you.” Sri Lalita sakhi then narrated as follows:
When the night approached, at that very moment the moon, the Lord of the stars, appeared in the sky displaying its most beautiful features. When the full moon rose in the east, it tinged everything with a reddish color. With the rising of the moon, the whole sky appeared smeared by red kumkuma. The forests were filled with fragrant flowers. The atmosphere was cooling and festive.
Krishna was immersed in performing rasa-lila with the beautiful damsels of Vraja. During the dance, a golden anklet named Manjugosha slipped from Radharani’s left foot and fell in the dancing arena. A parrot, it’s female and a female monkey Samyagya uttered that the night was about to end and the sun was soon to rise. They warned that Jatila may soon come to know about the meeting between Radharani and Krishna. Hearing the name Jatila, Srimati Radharani’s mother-in-law, from their mouths, Radha and Krishna decided to return to Their homes. Since Srimati Radharani left the place in a hurry, she did not notice the loss of Her anklet. She found the anklet missing only on Her arrival at Her home. The anklet had been gifted to Her by Her mother-in–law out of deep affection, the previous night. She expressed that either it had fallen somewhere on the way home or in the grove at the dancing arena. She advised the gopis to consult each other and decide the future course of action accordingly.
At this, one of Her sakhis guessed that the anklet could have slipped and fallen on Her way back home. The other sakhi expressed the view that the anklet could have fallen somewhere in the grove. While this discussion was going on, wise Vrinda-devi appeared and consoled Srimati Radharani telling her that she had heard from the parrot named Vichakshan that a very fortunate person had found the anklet in the dancing arena. She advised that they go to the dancing arena to bring back the anklet from that person. She further advised that they would go with Srimati Radharani for that purpose. On hearing these words of Vrinda, all the sakhis told Radharani to go to the grove to get the anklet.
Unveiling the purpose of their visit Lalita sakhi said to Shyamananda, “Please return the anklet so that we can go back soon before the short-tempered mother-in-law of Radharani, Jatila, wakes up. You can have anything from us in exchange for this anklet.”
Hearing all this Shyamananda felt delighted and fell on the feet of Lalita sakhi. He took out the anklet from his upper garment, touched it to his head and gave it to Lalita sakhi. With folded hands he expressed his desire as follows:
“Can I have darshan of your real form as Lalita sakhi?”
Affectionately Lalita sakhi said, “It is difficult, rather impossible, for you to have my darshan with the help of these material eyes.”
Shyamananda replied, “I will be definitely able to have your darshan if you are kind enough to shower your mercy on me. Again I request you to kindly fulfill this desire of mine.”
Lalita sakhi then empowered him with transcendental vision and showed to him her original form. After having her darshan Shyamananda fell unconscious on the ground.
The Shyam Mohan Tilaka
He then requested to have darshana of Srimati Radharani’s lotus feet. At this Lalita sakhi became worried but on hearing the humble request of Shyamananda, Srimati Radharani told Lalita sakhi as follows:
“Give him My mantra and make him take bath in Radha Kunda. He will then take the form of a ‘Manjari’ and will be able to have My darshana. Please do not delay as Shyamananda is extremely dear to Me.”
As per the directions of Srimati Radharani, Lalita sakhi gave him the siddha-radha mantra (a mantra specially composed for worship of a Deity). As soon as Shyamananda took bath in Radha Kunda after chanting the mantra, he attained the transcendental form of a ‘manjari’. Whoever saw him in that form, was perplexed. His body resembled molten gold, his waist was like that of a lion’s and his beautiful eyebrows were shaped like a bow to shake even Cupid. He wore fine silken clothes. Placing the anklet on his head, he entered the temple of Srimati Radharani. Presenting him at the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani, Sri Lalita sakhi requested, “Please place Your lotus feet on his head to consider him Your own servant.”
Srimati Radharani gravely said, “In your previous birth you were Krishna-priya and was my companion. Because of this I will show My special favor on you by placing you among My own friends.”
“Give the sign of My anklet on his forehead,” Srimati Radharani directed Lalita sakhi.
As soon as Lalita sakhi touched his forehead with the anklet, his tilaka was converted into the tilaka of the shape of Srimati Radharani’s foot. Srimati Radharani took kumkum, sandal and camphor, mixed them with honey and rubbed them on a stone known as chandrakant. With the help of the front part of the anklet, She drew a bright round mark in between the tilaka on the forehead of Shyamananda.
Lalita sakhi on seeing the round mark said to Radharani, “This new noopur (anklet) shaped tilaka adorning the forehead of Shyamananda will be known as ‘Shyam Mohan Tilaka’. This sakhi upon whom Srimati Radharani has favored Her blessings has delighted Her very much. In view of this he will be known as Shyamananda, meaning one who gives pleasure to Srimati Radharani.”
Looking at his new form which was shining like gold, Vishakha sakhi addressed him as ‘Kanaka Manjari’.
Srimati Radharani said to him, “You are very dear to Me like Lalita and Vishakha because you have pleased Lord Krishna and has given pleasure to My own eyes.”
Sri Lalita and Vishakha sakhi while deeply appreciating these words spoken by Srimati Radharani, praised him and said, “Shyamananda has become glorious by Your grace. Having found Your anklet under a pomegranate tree in the grove, he has attained a special status among Your companions.”
The Appearance of Sri Shyamsundar
Addressing Shyamananda, Srimati Radharani said, “With all My associates you have given Me great pleasure. Now you go back to complete the assigned work and with My grace the remembrance of this event will go on giving you unlimited pleasure.”
Hearing these words Shyamananda started weeping and with tears in his eyes said in the chocked voice to Srimati Radharani, “You had been very kind to bring me here to serve Your lotus feet. Please do not send me to the material world again. Please let me serve Your lotus feet only.”
Hearing this most painful request, Srimati Radharani felt deeply afflicted and fondling her head, She expressed, “You are My eternal companion yet you have been sent to the material world for a specific purpose. After your mission of liberating the conditioned souls is completed, you will be called back to serve Me. Since your separation from Me is causing distress and you are experiencing unbearable pangs of separation, I am giving you a Deity which is very dear to Me. By serving Him with extreme love and devotion, you will be able to forget My separation and the desires of all the human beings will also be fulfilled by serving and seeing this Deity.”
Saying this Srimati Radharani then manifested the most beautiful and unique Deity of Sri Shyamsundar from Her heart and gave to Shyamananda through Lalita sakhi. While delivering the Deity to Shyamananda, She said, “O Shyamananda! The living entities affected by Kali-yuga are short lived and bereft of devotion to Krishna. I am giving this Deity to you so that people in Kali-yuga can worship Him and achieve liberation. I am giving you this Deity for the welfare of the world. You should yourself engage in His service and worship Him.”
After this Shyamananda walked out of the grove. His iron scraper had been converted into a golden scraper after touching the anklet. With tears in his eyes and overwhelmed with ecstasy, Shyamananda presented himself before Srila Jiva Goswami bearing Shyam Mohan tilaka on his forehead, Shyamananda written on his chest, the golden scraper with him and the unique Deity on his head. Seeing Shyamananda Jiva Goswami was surprised. He noticed that the fair complexioned Shyamananda was now having a body with golden hue. His tilaka was changed to a new tilaka of the shape of Srimati Radharani’s anklet with a radiant round mark within it. The iron scraper had been converted into a golden one. Above these he was in possession of a wonderful, transcendental and marvelous Deity of Krishna.
He asked, “O Shyamananda! Where had you been all this time? How has your complexion changed? You should tell everything to me sincerely. I think you have been definitely blessed either by Krishna or Srimati Radharani.”
Shyamananda took Jiva Goswami in a solitary place and narrated the whole story word by word in a chocked voice. Hearing about the transcendental favor bestowed upon Shyamananda by Srimati Radharani, he became filled with the love of Krishna and started dancing. He started shedding tears out of deep love and embracing Shyamananda said, “You are the only blessed one in this world as Srimati Radharani has not so far bestowed Her blessings to anyone except you. Just by touching you I am also feeling blessed by Her. With your limitless and unflinching divine love I feel sold to you. Among the Vaishnavas you will be known as Shyamananda, one who gave pleasure to Srimati Radharani and your tilaka will earn fame as Shyamanandee tilaka. The unique and transcendental Deity gifted to you by Srimati Radharani will be famous as Shyamsundar and He will continue to give darshana and liberate the conditioned souls. O Kanaka Manjari! I once again say that you are the only blessed one in this whole world.”
This Deity of Shyamsundar continues to give darshana even today in the temple of Sri Sri Radha Shyamsundar.
About the Temple
The temple of Sri Radha Shyamsundar was established by Srila Shyamananda Pandit, the intimate associate of Narottama Dasa Thakura and Srinivasa Acharya. The earlier name of Shyamananda Pandit was Dukhi Krishna Dasa. This temple is situated in the heart of Vrindavana. It is just few meters away from a very famous market called as Loi Bazaar. Any rickshaw driver can take you to this temple. Built by the king of Bharatpur in 1580 this temple is made out of red sandstone just like the temple of Radha Govindaji in Vrindavana.
Three set of Deities stand on the altar in this temple. The Deity manifested from the heart of Srimati Radharani is on our right side. After the appearance of Shyamsundar, a Deity of Srimati Radharani which got self manifested in the treasure of the king of Bharatpur, was brought to Vrindavana and the marriage ceremony between both the Deities took place on Vasanta Panchami day in 1580. Apart from the name Sri Radha Shyamsundar, These Deities are also lovingly called as Lala Lali meaning little boy and little girl.
The next set of Deities known as Sri Sri Radha Kunjabihari, are on our left side of the altar. These Deities were worshipped in Nanda Gaon by Vraja Janananda Dev Goswami, a descendent of Rasikananda Prabhu and were later brought to this temple for worship by Srila Baladeva Vidyabhushana.
After winning a debate in the valley of Galta and establishing the authenticity of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, the beauty of Govindaji enraptured the heart of Srila Baladeva Vidyabhushana. He desired to dress the Deities of Lala Lali in such a grand way. But the Deities were too small. Hence he procured a special stone from Nilgiri hills in Orissa and got the larger Deity of Shyamsundar carved in Vrindavana. These Deities were installed in 1719 on Vasanta Panchami. There are also the Deities of Nitai and Gauranga, Gopala and Jagannatha on the altar.
In the temple complex there is an underground bhajan kutir of Shyamananda Pandit. It is just below the stage in the temple hall. It was at this place that Shyamananda Pandit used to perform his bhajana and worship Sri Shyamsundar. On a request, pujaris will show this. It is generally kept closed. The temple also has the charnamrita which was collected by Rasikananda Prabhu, a leading disciple of Srila Shyamananda Pandit, after washing the lotus feet of one lakh Vaishnavas. On a request Pujari will give this charnamrita. Just behind the altar in the parikrama marg is the pushpa samadhi of Srila Baladeva Vidyabhushana.
Just few meters further from the temple on the right side of the road is the place where Srimati Radharani’s transcendental anklet was found. A small memorial stands here to mark this place. This place is called as Noopur prapti sthali. The Samadhi of Srila Shymananda Pandit is also here.
This temple is very famous for celebrating the Gaudiya Vaishanava festivals. Festivals like Shringara Utsava conducted in the month of Karthika, Srimati Radharani’s Chathi Utsava, Sri Krishna Janmashtami, Sri Radhashtami, Vasanta Panchami, Annakuta, Phool Bunglow are some of the most remarkable festivals in whole of Vrindavana.
The form of Shyamsundar
premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilochanena santah sadaiva hridayeshu vilokayanti
yam shyamasundaram achintya-guna-svarupam govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
“I worship the primeval Lord, Govinda, who is always seen by the devotee whose eyes are anointed with the pulp of love. He is seen in His eternal form of Shyamsundar, situated within the heart of the devotee.” (Brahma Samhita 5.38)
It is by great fortune that one comes to Krishna consciousness on the path of bhakti-yoga to become well situated according to the Vedic direction. The ideal yogé concentrates his attention on Krishna who is called Shyamsundar, who is as beautifully colored as a cloud, whose lotuslike face is as effulgent as the sun, whose dress is brilliant with jewels and whose body is flower-garlanded. Illuminating all sides is His gorgeous luster, which is called the brahmajyoti. He incarnates in different forms such as Rama, Narasimha, Varaha and Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He descends like a human being, as the son of mother Yashoda, and He is known as Krishna, Govinda and Vasudeva. He is the perfect child, husband, friend and master, and He is full with all opulences and transcendental qualities. If one remains fully conscious of these features of the Lord, he is called the highest yogi. (Bhagavad-gita 6.47)