Sri Krsna's Vrindavan Associates – Gandharva


Painting by Haridas Thakur das

Mar 08, 2011 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of Sri Krsna's transcendental Vrindavan associates.

Today we are discussing another of Sri Krsna's Vrindavan associates – Gandharva sakha. Gandharva is the last of the group of priya-narma confidential friends, along with Arjuna, Subala, Ujjvala and Vasanta. Gandharva's role as a topmost Vraja associate is recorded numerous places in sastra, including Nectar of Devotion 41 and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur's Jaiva-dharma Vol. 5, which have been quoted numerous times throughout this series.

In addition to being Krsna's dear friend, in Sri Sri Radha-Krsna-Ganoddesa-Dipika by Srila Rupa Goswami we read that Gandharva is also Sri Radha's servant:

    "Also included among Srimati Radharani's servants [along with the gopis] are Gargi-devi and other very respectable brahmana girls, Bhrngarika-devi and other girls from the ceti community, Vijaya-devi, Rasala-devi, Payoda-devi and other girls from the vita community, as well as the boys Subala, Ujjvala, Gandharva, Madhumangala and Raktaka." (Text 195)

In fact, Radharani is often associated with the name 'Gandharva'. It is one Her transcendental Names, and we find it in several references to the Divine Couple, in Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's Sri Vraja-vilasa-stava:

    Sri Sri Gandharva-Giridhari
    Sri Sri Gandharva-Muravairi
    Sri Sri Gandharva-Acyuta

Radharani is sometimes called Gandharva because she is worshipped by the Gandharva-angels. In general, throughout Vedic literature, the name Gandharva most often refers to the celestial singers, and in Krsna-lila pastimes it also refers to the Gandharva rite:

    "When all the girls of Vraja married Lord Krsna, the moon of Vraja, according to the gandharva rite, the demigoddesses in the celestial planets jubilantly and wonderfully scattered flowers, sang, danced, and played mrdangas."

    (Sri Aisvarya-kadambini by Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana)

In Sri Sri Radha-Krsna-Ganoddesa-Dipika we read:

    "Because She possesses all charm and sweetness, Srimati Radharani is the better of the two. She is supremely famous. In the Sruti-sastra She is known by the name Gandharva-devi." (Text 143)

Unfortunately, there are far fewer references to the gopa friend of Krsna's, Gandharva sakha, although he was undoubtedly involved in many intimate pastimes with Radha, Krsna, the gopas and gopis of Vraja.

Again in Sri Sri Radha-Krsna-Ganoddesa-Dipika - A Lamp to See the Associates of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna we read:

    "Krsna's Intimate Friends (priya-narma-sakha) -- Subala, Arjuna, Gandharva, Vasanta, Ujjvala, Kokila, Sanandana and Vidagdha are the most important of Krsna's intimate friends." (Text 35)

In texts 48-50, Rupa Goswami gives further description of the handsome Gandharva, who is described as having a complexion the color of moonlight. He wears red garments and many different ornaments. He is twelve years old and full of youthful luster. He is decorated with many kinds of flowers. His mother is the saintly Mitra-devi and his father, the great soul Vinoka. He is very playful and very dear to Sri Krsna.

In text 125 of the 'Govinda Vrndavana' portion of Gautamiya tantra it states:

    "As Lord Krishna is glorious, so also are glorious Lord Balarama and the gopas Subahu, Subala, Sridama… and Gandharva." (130)

In text 180 we read:

    "Many beautiful gopis are the associates of Lord Krishna, who enjoys pastimes in Vrndavana. Please hear these gopis' names. The gopis are Radha, Tilottama, Puspa… and Gandharva." (199)

While we know that Gandharva sakha also participated in Caitanya-lila, no information is available about his pastimes with Mahaprabhu. In the Sri Gaura Ganodesa Dipika by Kavi Karnapura we read:

    "136. The devotee who had been the cowherd boy Gandharva in Vrajabhumi appeared in Lord Caitanya's pastimes as Kumudananda Pandita."


Series Introduction
Subala – Part 1
Subala – Part 2
Subala – Part 3
Subala – Part 4
Subala – Part 5
Subala – Part 6
Subala – Part 7
Subala – Part 8
Subala – Part 9
Subala – Part 10
Ujjvala – Part 1
Ujjvala – Part 2
Arjuna - Part 2


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