Sri Sri Radha Krishna and the Asta-Sakhis.
"And what degree of attraction and service to Radharani do we find in Lalitadevi? If a drop of perspiration is found on the feet of Radha or Govinda she prays for one hundred thousand bodies to busily remove that perspiration. This sort of intense devotion is the unit of measurement to gauge love for one's beloved. This is the inner feeling. Waves of such nature come from within one who comes in connection with that Vrndavan proper."
~Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, Centenary Anthology, Ch. 14
Actually, Radharani does not give entrance. Admission is granted by the Sakhis, the girlfriends of Radharani. Especially, we are in the group of Lalitadevi and in that group, Rupa Manjari is the head of the Manjari section, and Lalitadevi is our Mistress. Our prayer is that she will take us and engage us in service. We are very hopeful because Lalitadevi's mood is very open, something like that of Nityananda Prabhu. She is very affectionate with all, and she is the head of all the Sakhis.
The Asta-Sakhis, the eight principal Gopis are: Lalita, Vishakha, Citra, Campakalata, Tungavidya, Indurekha, Sudevi and Rangadevi. Lalitadevi is the leader of that group. She has
a special group and through them she arranges for maintaining the service to Radharani. She is the head Mistress of our spiritual form. We are now in mundane bodies so we will not think of that, still that is our goal of life. Therefore we must worship that with our full regard, and we must not make any offence in the Dham.
It is very difficult to stay in Vrndavan-Dham. We must have an exclusive service mood to Radha-Krishna, and that can give us some place here. By the mercy of Lalitadevi, through our Srila Guru Maharaj and Rupa Goswami, it is possible to get that. And if in that way we try to see everything, then no problem will come to us.
We are so fortunate that we have reached, by the grace of Srila Guru Maharaj, Vrndavan-Dham. Actually Vrndavan is in the transcendental world and we cannot reach that transcendental plane with our mundane body. But here we have some special facility by the mercy of Mahaprabhu as well as Srimati Radharani. We are like bees who try to take honey from a tightly sealed honey pot; but they may give us some chance to attach with that transcendental world. The pot is solid and the bees cannot remove the seal and take the honey. This is an example only, but still, from it we can understand what our position is like. The bees are on the outside of the bottle, and our position is similar - but we are also near the honey!
We can enter Vrndavan-Dham by the mercy of Radharani. But She is engaged with the service of Sri Krishna, and She has no time to see to us, but by the mercy of Her finest, closest and topmost associate, Lalitadevi, we may gain a chance to enter. Lalitadevi is the leader of the group of Sakhis, the friends of Radharani; she is very merciful and can give us admission to Vraja-Dham, Vrndavan-Dham.
But here is one question. Do we want that or not? We hear about Vrndavan-Dham, but we hear through our mundane senses and with our mundane feelings. Some essence, however, is coming through that and we express, "We like Vrndavan-Dham." But, like Sri Harinama Mahamantra , Vrndavan-Dham is also transcendental. If we want to enter there, we need some special mercy of Srimati Radharani through Her associates, and we can only get that with our super-hankering mood.
Srila Rupa Goswami said;
kriyatam yadi kuto 'pi labhyate
tatra laulyam api mulyam ekalam
janma-koti-sukutair na labhyate
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, Madhya-lila 8.70)
We can do many auspicious services to the Lord but that is not the cause of the real hankering necessary for service to Vrndavan-Dham. We need to have the association of the associates of Vraja-Dham, hear the lila of Krishna, and engage in sravanam, kirttanam, visnoh-smaranam, pada-sevanam, etc. With that kind of activity in our devotional path, inspiration can come to us, and by the causeless mercy of Srimati Radharani, that kind of devotional hankering can enter our heart; Krsna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita matih. It is very rare in this mundane world, but that is our super goal of life. We need it. We cannot touch that ecstatic lila through our mundane body, but we may understand it a little through our preceptorial Masters' line, the Guru-parampara.
isvarah paramah krsnah
anadir adir govindah
(Sri Brahma-samhita 5.1)
"The Supreme Lord, the embodiment of truth, consciousness and joy, is Govinda, Krishna. He is beginningless, the origin of all that be, and the cause of all causes."
That is His position.
nama chintamanih krsnas chaitanya-rasa-vigraha
purna suddho nitya-mukto 'bhinnatvan nama naminoh
The Holy Name and Krishna are non-different. Both are
transcendental, therefore through our mundane knowledge
and mundane activity we cannot touch that ecstasy. In
the Upanisads it is said:
nayam atma pravachanena labhyo
na medhaya na bahuna srutena
yam evaisa vrnute tena labhyas
tasyaisa atma vivrnute tanum svam
"The Supreme Lord is not attained by preaching, by vast intelligence, nor by knowing very expertly the Vedas. He is attained only by one who He Himself chooses. To such a person He manifests His own Form."