Sri Lalita Sakhi

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !

There are four types of sakhis: svapaksa, vipaksa, tatastha and suhrt. Sva-paksa means those sakhis who are totally on the side of Srimati Radhika. Vipaksa means those gopis who are totally on the opposite side, i.e. supporting Candravali and opposed to Radhika. Tatastha means those who are neutral towards Srimati Radha Rani and more favorably inclined towards Candravali. Suhrt means those who are more favorably disposed towards Srimati Radhika and neutral towards Candravali.

Lalita-devi and Visakha-devi are examples of gopis who are svapaksa to Srimati Radhika, Candravali is vipaksa, Bhadra is tatastha, and Syamala is suhrt.

Lalita Devi is the prime ashtasakhi of the eight primary sakhis of Srimati Radharani. Lalita is 27 days older to Sri Radha. According to the lunar 'tithi' calendar, Lalita-devi's appearance day falls on the day before Srimati Radhika's appearance day. She generally has the same loving attitude towards both Radha and Krishna, yet she is more protective of and loyal to Srimati Radharani.

Lalita-devi was born in the village of Karhala, and later on her father brought her to Uchagaon. Uchagaon is known as the place of her pastimes. Her mother is Saradi-devi and her father is Visoka. Her husband is Bhairava who is a close friend of Govardhana-gopa (husband of Candravali).

Lalita sakhi is always favourably disposed towards the pastimes of Radha and Krishna, and she always tries to please Them. When Radha and Krishna meet and engage in amorous pastimes, Lalita gently wipes away the perspiration on Their lotus feet.

One of Lalita’s special characteristics is her dominating and assertive nature. She is hot tempered and can speak cutting words. Her complexion is the color of gorocana (bright yellow pigment) and her garments are the color of peacock feathers. Sometimes she authoritatively commands both Radha and Krishna, wagging her index finger at them, but she is able to do this only because she is also fiercely loving towards them. Also this sort of affectionate ‘bullying’ heightens the Divine Couple’s enjoyment in union.

Lalita has many charming qualities. For the sadhakas she is their best hope, if she sees in Vrndavana any gopi, or anyone who has even the slightest desire to serve Srimati Radhika, she immediately fulfills that person's wish and gives her the unlimited wealth of the service of Srimati’s lotus feet. If anyone has a one-pointed desire to perform service to Srimati Radharani under the direct guidance of Srimati Lalita-devi and furthermore under the shelter of Sri Rupa Manjari, that devotee should know that Lalita-devi's shelter is the only path by which one can achieve this.

Lalita is the same age as Srimati Radhika, or she is twenty-seven days older. Like Radharani, Lalita also has all the qualities of being a yuthesvari – group leader of a band of gopis. However, despite being older than Radhika and having the qualification of a yuthesvari, still, the only goal of her life is to serve Srimati Radhika and to facilitate the meeting of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna. Her only happiness is the meeting of Radha and Krishna and to achieve that goal, she never considers any amount of discomfort or suffering.

She is very beautiful and very sweet, but at the same time very serious and composed. Her heart is so sweet that she attracts the heart of all others, but at the same time she is pragalbha, which means she can speak harsh words and can thus chastise both Radha and Krishna.

She is so beautiful that her beauty surpasses the autumnal full moon. Her specific quality is that she is very expert in applying make-up, and especially in arranging the hair decoration of Srimati Radhika. Although all the eight principal sakhis are very famous for adorning and applying the make-up of Srimati Radharani, Lalita and Visakha are the most expert. And of these two, Lalita is considered the most proficient.

Lalita is the siksa-guru of all the gopis in Radhika's group, and also of Radha Herself. Srila Rupa Gosvami writes: Lalita-devi sometimes chastises Radhika, saying, "Oh Kalankini, Oh unchaste one, don't give in to Krishna so easily." And she does not spare Krishna when he shows up at Sri Radha's kunja "You blackguard, why have you come now? Go back to that one with whom you have been dallying..."

In his Lalita Ashtakam, Srila Rupa Gosvami prays, "I offer pranama again and again unto Srimati Lalita-devi."

yam kam api vraja-kule vrsabhanu-jayah
preksya sva-paksa-padavim anurudhyamanam
sadyas tad-ista-ghatanena krtarthayantim
devim gunaih sulalitam lalitam namami

"I offer pranama unto the supremely charming Sri Lalita-devi, the treasure house of all good qualities. Upon seeing any young maiden anywhere in Vraja and discerning that she is inclined towards her priya-sakhi Srimati Radhika, Lalita immediately tells Radha that She must accept this person in Her own party (svapaksa). Radha obeys Lalita, who thus fulfills that maiden's desires."
(Sri Lalitastakam, verse 7)

Rupa manjari (Rupa Goswami) is the chief assistant and follower of Lalita-sakhi. All those who consider themselves as Rupanuga bhaktas (followers of Rupa Goswami) are ultimately the followers of Lalita-devi and thus through the system of parampara should always be longing to assist her in her service to the Divine Couple. When finally Lalita devi is pleased with our service, she will engage us directly in the intimate loving service of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna according to our heart's desire.

Sri Sri Lalita Devi ki Jai !

Jai Jai Sri Radhey !!