In 2017 and 2018, His Holiness Kadamba Kanana Swami took us to the Sudevi Mandir in Kamyavana, where we meditate on Sudevi, one of the asta-sakhis. Sudevi was an expert in training male and female parrots and she always remained at the side of her dear friend, Srimati Radharani. Check out Maharaja’s full kirtans and lectures below, along with a few photos, at the Sudevi Mandir in Kamyavana during Parikrama 2017 and Parikrama 2018.
At Sudevi Mandir, we pray that we are able to cultivate our mind to be that of a Vaisnava’s, as the mind of a Vaisnava is always fixed in Vrndavana, always fixed on serving Krsna. We pray to Sudevi for spiritual strength, so that when we leave Vrndavana and return to ordinary mundane places, we can remember Vrndavana. Especially Goloka Vrndavana, the eternal Vrndavana, where hope to be!
We will talk a little about the asta-sakhis. One point I wanted to make is that their focus is not Krsna. Their focus is on Srimati
Radharani. Their aim is to unite and serve Radha and Krsna but particularly to assist Srimati Radharani in every possible way and they, in turn, are assisted by the manjaris. The leader of the asta-sakhis is Lalita and the assistant of Lalita is Rupa-manjari, the head of our sampradaya. Rupa-manjari, who makes arrangements to support and assist Radharani, is none other than Rupa Gosvami. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami explains that this is particularly the essence of the movement of Lord Caitanya: to assist the greater devotees. We do not think, “I will serve Krsna directly.” Who are we to serve Krsna directly? We will assist Srimati Radharani. Sudevi is also in that mood of assisting Srimati Radharani and this mood is something very specific to her group of gopi followers. There are other groups, as we have already discussed, that are in competition with Radharani’s group but this group aims to please Her. As we are part of Lord Caitanya’s movement, we belong to that group. We are always meant to be in the mood of assisting someone, assisting a senior Vaisnava. Therefore our identity is that of a servant.
Srila Prabhupada emphasised that the nature of the jiva is to be a servant, but the highest service is to be the servant of the servant. Rather than serving the Supreme Lord directly, we are serving the devotee of the Supreme Lord. Let that be our meditation; may we become the servant of a devotee.