The 3 Divisions of Sakhas
Krishna has innumerable friends.
Even great mystics cannot count their numbers.
Of all complexions, tall-dwarf, thin-fat, of all types.
All are handsome, with eyes like lotus petals, and of blissful nature.
Some are grave, while others humorous, but none of them are dull-faced.
These Sakhas have three divisions.
1) In age, some are elder to Krishna.
Their friendship is mixed with a slight tinge of paternal love.
They do not want Krishna to undertake even the slightest pain.
Hence, this division often carries out the Cow grazing pastime.
2) Who are Priya Narma Sakhas?
The other equal-aged gopas, might be older or equal to Krishna in age, but Krishna treats them as his equal.
They are well-known as Priya Narma Sakhas. Krishna never hides his intimate secrets from them and they also aid him in his amorous pastimes.
3) The third division is the group of those younger to Krishna.
Krishna’s infinite love and affection has been endowed on them and to give Krishna pleasure, leisure and rest, they keep following Him during the games.
Dau and Krishna are non-different
Dau and Krishna are non-different.
Their bodies are two, but souls are one.
Hence, in their friend circle, both look alike.
Some play with Dau, while others play with Krishna.
The Sakhas of higher age groups
There are 8 principal Sakhis of KirtiKumari.
Likewise, in Krishna’s friend circle, 12 are foremost.
a) 4 Sakhas of the higher-age groups-
3) Rishabha and
Among which, Vishal, Arjun and Rishaba are his own brothers.
They are the sons of his Tau and Chacha and are hence his cousin brothers.
Besides, they have already been mentioned earlier.
Varuthapa is the son of the Gopa leader.
A twofold- a little wide body, stout, and of the hue of swarthy rain clouds, he ties a rainbow coloured turban.
He is the representative of the cow grazing pastime.
He decides where the cows are let loose to graze, where they should drink water, where fresh grass grows in the meadows.
It is a different case, if naughty Krishna changes his mind and foils Vauthapa’s plans.
The Priya Narma Sakhas- Sakhas of Krishna’s age group
Among the Priya Narma Sakhas- Madhumangala, Bhadrasena, Sridama and Subala are foremost.
Just like in the sakhas of higher-age-groups, each Sakha follows the commandments of their respective authority among the principal 4.
Similarly the Sakhas of this division fall obey 3 of these, since the 4rth one, Madhumangala is an Avadhoota (renunciant).
He doesn’t keep followers.
Sridama and Subala are the sons of Sri Vrishabhanu Baba.
All the Sakhas from Barasana accept the followership of any one of these two.
All Sakhas regard Bhadrasena as their Commander-in-chief.
It is Bhadra who administers the Sakha troops, this is what is said, but in reality, Bhadra has to only attend to Krishna.
Nanda Nandana is so delicate, and innocent, that he is even oblivious of his hunger, thirst and fatigue.
He is so fun-loving that no one can predict what pranks he is up to.
Taking Dau dada as an exception, he only listens to Bhadra to a certain degree.
Hence, it is Bhadra who looks after him from time to time, and during this parenting, he keeps ordering Sakhas,young or old, without hesitation, as he feels right.
May be due to this commanding nature of his, all call him their commander-in-chief (Sanepati).
All accept his authority.
Bhadra is a brother, but a slightly older brother. Though all call him the Jyestha Putra of Nandan Chacha, he identifies himself as the companion and elder brother of Krishna. Baba-Maiya have never denied it.
How old is Madhumangala?
No one knows how old Madhumanga is.
All say- “He is the lord of the Yogis.”
Age is under his control.
He is even older to Dau Dada, but just slightly older does he seem compared to Krishna, and in our Golok, no one lessens or increases.
All have a constant eternal age.
Like, Krishna is 17 years old.
Bhadra is 10 months older to him and Dada is older to Bhadra by 1-1/2 months.
Madhumangala seems as old as Bhadra.
He recites Vedic hymns along with Rishi Shandilya and turns into a Pandita.
But we all know him as a Ponga Pandit (Bogus).
Madhumangala- the jolly friend
Fair as Camphor, a long face, round belly, slightly rotund body, Madhumangal is extremely humorous.
The old women, youthful damsels and girl children, he calls all of them “Ma” with an equal eye.
If they retort back- he will say- “What happened, if you are not now, then you will become ‘Ma’ later.”
He is such an Avadhuta, that sometimes you would see him wearing a fat Brahmin thread, while at other times, he would remove it and garland it on Krishna or someone else.
He does wear a tilak on his forehead, but Krishna and all others paint whatever they please on his stomach, back, arms and cheeks.
The modal lover- Madhumangal neither owns cows nor takes them for grazing.
He comes to the forest just to be in Krishna’s company.
Quite less does he participate in running games and sports.
He will either sit or lay on the grass.
Being a Brahmin he is a voracious eater, and keeps reinstating this right of his.
But he says- In curds-ghee, sweets etc, leftovers are not an offence.
Krishna and all of us love feeding him to the brim. Indeed, He is our jester.
Sridama is the eldest son of Vrishabhanu Baba, the Yuvaraj of Vrishbhanu Pura.
He is a little elder to Krishna, but is fragile and tender in bodily appearance.
Rosy-fair in complexion, he wears a blue garment, just like his sister.
Moreover, he adorns a peacock feather on his hair.
Sridama is very simple hearted, innocent and very loving. Krishna keeps teasing him.
On being teased, he too enters into a battle with Him.
When both start fighting, Bhadra calms Sridama down by explaining to him.
But Sridama is faced with a dual dilemma.
He says- “If Baba comes to know that I have fought with Krishna, he won’t even let me enter the palace. My sister won’t even see my face.”
Sridama loves his sister more than his life.
But Krishna is so naughty, that he wouldn’t stop until he fights, teases and irritates him.
Subala- The twin brother of Radharani
People say that Sridama’s younger brother, Subala is the monozygotic twin of Sri Radharani.
Usually monozygotic twins are identical in physical features.
On seeing Subala from a little distance, he looks like a girl.
People say that he looks so identical to his sister that many times even Kirti Maiya gets confused between her Lala and Lali.
Subala always keeps tagging along with Krishna.
Krishna keeps him inclined on his left side and stands and walks with him.
Subala too keeps whispering his sister’s matters into Krishna’s ears.
Krishna loves him immensely, but when it comes to snatching tiffins, Sridama is the first one. Bhadra says-
“Lali (Radha), is the idol of decency. She can neither speak, nor lift her head and glance.
If you want to see her with Krishna, then look at Subala.”