Although hearing and reading Vilāpa-kusumāñjali is generally the prerogative of liberated souls, Śrīla Prabhupāda makes it clear that due to Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s great desire to inundate the world with talks of Kṛṣṇa, it can be said that any interested person may become the beneficiary of such transcendental literature.
A hesitancy often arises from a misunderstanding that for conditioned souls to hear topics of mādhurya-līlā is sahajiyāism, and only leads to falling away from the path. From this introductions in this volume and Volume One, it is clear that nothing could be further from the truth. We will not elaborate further, other than to note that the result of this misconception is that even with advanced association devotees will not awaken deep faith in Kṛṣṇa’s gopī pastimes. Rather, by continued practise of vaidhī-bhakti they will gradually rise to ecstatic devotion, at which stage both their greed and their love will awaken and they shall gain entrance into the treasurehouse of kṛṣṇa-līlā.
Practitioners relish reading and hearing about conjugal pastimes, and learning Rūpa Gosvāmī’s principles of rasa as taught to them by their advanced gurus. As a consequence of their strong faith in Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, prema increasingly manifests in their hearts, and as it does so it cleans away anarthas and that greatest enemy, lust.
In summary, while this Vilāpa-kusumāñjali and its commentary may be read by everyone, devotees will appreciate it according to their level of advancement. Moreover, the purificatory effect of reading this book will similarly vary. And while there is no obligation for anyone to read Vilāpa-kusumāñjali, devotees who have practised strict sādhana for twenty years are strongly recommended to do so.
I have already expressed impudence by declaring that this commentary to Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī’s great work will be of spiritual benefit to faithful sādhakas. Therefore I dare not reflect upon the prema-bhaktas who bask in the bhāvas of perfection. Even commenting on the great ācārya’s masterpiece is evidence of this author’s shamelessness, what to speak of the mistakes in my composition that are evidence of my conditioned nature. Still I have faith that my Vaiṣṇavas readers will overlook my faults, since they too share my conviction in the infallible words of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam:
yasmin prati-ślokam abaddhavaty api
nāmāny anantasya yaśo 'ṅkitāni yat
śṛṇvanti gāyanti gṛṇanti sādhavaḥ
On the other hand, that literature which is full of descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, forms, pastimes, etc., of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a different creation, full of transcendental words directed toward bringing about a revolution in the impious lives of this world’s misdirected civilisation. Such transcendental literatures, even though imperfectly composed, are heard, sung, and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest.
I conclude by falling at the feet of the Vaiṣṇavas and begging them to forgive my shamelessness in composing this work.
2 May 2023
Exquisitely presented with 4-colour, high-quality paper, gilt-edged and with original artwork, this book is truly literary and visual art, a unique and beautiful production that takes the reader on a magnificent journey with Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī and Rati-mañjarī into the intimate and longed-for world of service to the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
150x230mm / 5.9x9in