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Monday, May 07, 2007

Dhaniṣṭhā's comprehensive role

Dhaniṣṭhā is much more than just a maidservant of Mother Yaśodā at Nandagrām. She brings Kṛṣṇa His meal and messages from Mother Yaśodā and Nanda Mahārāja at Govardhana late in the morning (Govinda Līlāmṛta 6.32), Kṛṣṇa sees her as His best support for meeting Rādhikā (6.35) and consults her along with others about how to meet Her (6.40-43). She goes with Him to Kusum Sarovara where Kṛṣṇa plans His milan with Rādhikā (6.48-82), She makes the beautiful comparison between Kṛṣṇa and Girirāja to Rādhikā in the pūrva-rāga (GL 8.21-37) chapter of madhyāhna līlā, She walks ahead of Rādhikā when She goes on abhisāra (journey to meet Kṛṣṇa, GL 8.40) and on the way, in loving delusion, Rādhā calls Her a cheater (GL 8.55-64). Dhaniṣṭhā is ordered to stay behind at Sūryakuṇḍa with the pūjā-ingredients (8.70), yet a little later she does take part in the Smara Yajña (Cupid's sacrifice) in chapter 10, in which she plays the star Jyeṣṭhā (10.33); Dhaniṣṭhā is once again singled out for a rebuke by Rādhikā during Her second delusion, the ecstatic prema vaicittya-delusion (GL 14.6-10) and is Her cheerleader during the jala keli (midday water pastimes at Rādhākuṇḍa, Govinda Līlāmṛta 15.53), though she is usually described as being in Kṛṣṇa's camp. She takes Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa's prasād in the padma mandir (at Rādhākuṇḍa at midday, GL 15.141) and is sent by Jaṭilā to get Kṛṣṇa for the Sūrya Pūjā (18.62-63). In the evening she is sent by Yaśodā to ask Rādhikā to cook Kṛṣṇa's supper (20.2-10). After Kṛṣṇa dined, "Dhaniṣṭhikā collected the remnants of Kṛṣṇa's meal and secretly gave it to her friend Guṇamālā to bring it to Śrī Rādhā" (20.17). Finally she sends Rādhikā that prasād through Tulasī (GL 20.57-61, as well as Vilāp Kusumāñjali verse 48).

In Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī's Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Gaṇoddeśa Dīpikā (240) and Ujjvala Nīlamaṇi (3.56-58) she is listed among the principal gopīs. She appears to be a maidservant (she is listed as such too in the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Gaṇoddeśa Dīpikā), nāyikā (heroine) and dūtikā (messenger) all rolled into one.

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