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Tungavidya- The Transcendental Vina Player

Today is the divine appearance day of Tungavidya Sakhi. In Sri Mayapur Dham Tungavidya Sakhi was adorned with nice garlands and ornaments to celebrate her divine appearance day. Lalita, Visakha, Citra, Campakalata, Tungavidya, Indulekha, Rangadevi and Sudevi are the parama-prestha-sakhis. These eight gopis are chief amongst all the gopis. The exalted qualities of Tungavidya are described in Sri Sri Radha-Krishna Ganoddesa Dipika, and the Gaura Govindarcana Smarana Paddhati.

There are some differences of opinion in regards to the actual appearance day of Tungavidya Sakhi. In the Gaura Govindarcana Smarana Paddhati it states that Tungavidya is 14 years, 2 months and 22 days old, and that Radharani is 14 years, 2 months and 15 days old, this would mean that Tungavidya’s appearance would be 7 days before Radharani’s. But according to the Radha-Krishna Ganoddesa Dipika, Tungavidya is 15 days older or younger according to the translator. Our Jananivas Prabhu says that the proper time is 15 days before Radharani’s appearance.

The Sri Sri Radha-Krishna Ganoddesa Dipika States that, Tungavidya is the fifth of the varistha gopis. Her complexion is the color of kunkuma and the fragrance of her body is like sandalwood mixed with camphor. She is fifteen days younger than Srimati Radharani. Tungavidya is hot-tempered and expert at dissimulation. She wears white garments. Her parents are Puskara and Medha-devi and her husband is Balisa. Tungavidya is one of the leaders of the gopis. She is learned in the eighteen branches of knowledge. She has full faith in Krsna. She is very expert at arranging the meeting of the divine couple. She is learned in rasa-sastra (transcendental mellows), niti-sastra (morality), dancing, drama, literature and all other arts and sciences. She is a celebrated music teacher expert at playing the vina and singing in the style known as marga. Eight gopi messengers headed by Manjumedha-devi are especially expect at arranging political alliances (sandhi) the first of diplomatic maneuvers in the art of politics between Radha and Krsna. These gopis are the best of dancers. They are musicians expert at playing the mrdanga and singing in recital halls. These gopis are especially engaged in fetching water from the streams in Vrndavana. Tungavidya is the leader of these gopis.

Gaura Govindarcana Smarana Paddhati describe that, on the western petal of Madana-sukhada Kunja lies the extremely beautiful crimson-colored Tungavidyanandada Kunja, where Sri Tungavidya Sakhi always resides. She loves Sri Krsna very much and, filled with eagerness for that prema, she exhibits the bhava known as vipralabdhatva. Her complexion is radiant like saffron mixed with camphor and sandalwood paste, and her dress is pandu-mandana (pale yellow). Her mood is daksina-prakhara. Her mother’s name is Medha, her father’s Puskara, and her husband’s Balisa. She is very devoted to her seva of dancing and singing, etc. Her home is in Yavata, and her age is 14 years, 2 months and 22 days. In gaura-lila she appears as Sri Vakresvara Pandita.

The characteristics of a vipralabdha-nayika: The sages have said that the nayika who is very distressed at heart because her lover has not arrived for their secret meeting is known as a vipralabdha-nayika. Her behavior is marked by despondency, anxiety, lamentation, weeping, fainting, sighing, etc.

An example: A certain vrajadevi said to her saki, “O fawn-eyed Sakhi! As surely as the moon has risen, have we not been deceived by the Lord of Laksmi? In this situation, what shall I do? You please give me some advice.” Saying this, she became depressed.

The characteristics of a daksina-nayika are now given: That nayika who is intolerant in protecting her dignity, who speaks in a very reasonable and logical way to her lover, but who is enchanted and appeased by his sweet words of praise is called a daksina-nayika.

In Sri Radhika’s group, Sri Tungavidya and others are daksina-prakhara.

An example occurred when a certain prakhara priya-sakhi of¸ Sri Radha reprimanded Her like this: “O Sakhi! When Krishna has shown affection to You, You’ve been very hard on Him. When He offers obeisance to You, You are arrogant. When He tries to show You His love, You act inimically toward Him. When He is eager to be with You, You are indifferent to Him. O Difficult One! When You try to argue with Him, He speaks very reasonably. Now He has truly seen the contrary nature in You. Because of it You take sandalwood paste to be poison, the moon to be the sun, snow as fire, and pleasurable pastimes as pain.”

Some of the sakhis in Tungavidya’s yutha are Manjumedha, Sumadhura, Sumadhya, Madhureksana, Tanumadhya, Madhusyanda, Gunacuda and Varangada.

candradyhair api candanaih sulalitam sri-kunkumabha-dyutim
sad-ratnanvita-bhusanancita-tanum sonambarollasitam
sad-gitavali-samyutam bahu-gunam damphasya sabdena vai
nrtyantim purato hare rasavatim sri-tungavidyam bhaje

I worship the very rasika , Sri Tungavidya, who is adorned with sandalwood paste mixed with camphor. Her beautiful saffron-colored body is decorated with many fine jeweled ornaments, she delights in wearing a lovely red dress, and she has many wonderful qualities. She knows many transcendental songs, and she dances before¸ Sri Hari to the beat of a dampha drum.

All glories to Tungavidya Sakhi!