nyaviçad väyunä vätaà
sa -go-gopälako ‘cyutaù
Çukadeva Gosvämé said: Thus the Våndävana forest was filled with transparent autumnal waters and cooled by breezes perfumed with the fragrance of lotus flowers growing in the clear lakes. The infallible Lord, accompanied by His cows and cowherd boyfriends, entered that Våndävana forest. (SB 10.21.1)
madhupatir avagähya cärayan gäù
saha-paçu-päla-balaç cuküja veëum
The lakes, rivers and hills of Våndävana resounded with the sounds of maddened bees and flocks of birds moving about the flowering trees. In the company of the cowherd boys and Balaräma, Madhupati [Çré Kåñëa] entered that forest, and while herding the cows He began to vibrate His flute. (SB 10.21.2)
Vrndavana in Autumn
As the sun appeared on the horizon of Vraja, it illuminated the deep forests with its soft saffron rays, dissipating the darkness that had given shelter to the night-pastimes of the original Lord of Creation, Sri Krsna. Like rays of nectar cast from a mine of crystals, golden sunbeams caressed the dark leaves of the many trees which, embraced by weary vines bearing flowers of many colors, were still closed from their long night’s vigil of His artistic pastimes.
Perhaps the sun rose in the east out of anxiety to see a new chapter in the ever-unfolding adventures of Sri Krsna, the wonders of which are the original cause of its effulgence. After all, innumerable pure-hearted brdhmanas of Mathura were now calling upon Him in praise. Perhaps the full moon was setting in the west, having become saturated with affection for Him whose radiant face was the model upon which it was created. Unable to sustain its weight in the sky, has it now sunk into that mysterious region where the earth and heavens meet? Who other than Paurnamasi-devi, now speaking with Vrnda in a bejeweled forest east of Nanda-grama and absorbed in making many plans for the upcoming day, knows?
Revived from their devotional reverie, the trees stretched their
limbs in the aromatic breeze that carried the many scents of Vrndavana. When they moved, the many birds, blissfully sleeping on their branches, were startled. Although they had remained silent throughout the night, being eager now to sing of the Prince of their hearts, their voices mixed with the rays of dawn and moved the monkeys, deer, and other forest creatures.
The she-parrots sang in the grapevines, the male parrots warbled in the pomegranate trees, the cuckoos cooed in the mango trees, the pigeons chattered in the pllu trees, and the innumerable peacocks cried in the kadamba trees. Entering the sweet concert of that song, the bees began to hum among the many multicolored vines, producing a background melody of bliss.
Melted by the rays of the sun, the fragrant honey oozing from newly grown mango buds attracted groups of bumblebees, which awoke Vrndavana forest, already trembling due to the softly moving breezes of the Malayan Hills. Because the area of Vrndavana is an expansion of the body of Govinda, when its back, which is the river Yamuna, thrilled with spiritual energy, the entire area of Vraja arose in ecstasy.
This Vrndavana-dhama, in the form of a 108-petaled lotus with;
Yoga-pitha as its radiant whorl, is a manifestation of the divine potency of Sri Baladeva. Out of affection for His younger brother. He has created this supernatural playground. Completely spiritual, fully cognizant, and saturated with unlimited prema, this transcendental abode facilitates lotus-eyed Sri Krsna’s pastimes in unlimited ways.
The eastern bank of the Yamuna River is decorated by five enchanting forests known as Bhadravana, Bhandiravana, Bilva-vana, Lohavana and Mahavana, which have Sri Baladeva as their presiding Deity. The seven forests adorning the western bank are Bahulavana, Kamyavana, Khadiravana, Kumudavana, Madhu-vana, Talavana and Vrndavana. Here, Radha and Krsna are the Mistress and Lord of the flower groves.
As dawn exerts its influence throughout the domain of Vraja, the many inhabitants residing in its charming towns leave their homes and greet a new love-saturated day with great happiness. East of the Yamuna are Gokula and Raval, and to the west are Nandagoan,
Varsana, and Javat, each excelling the cities of the demigods in splendor, opulence, and purity. Everywhere are the world-famous cows of Vrndavana, overwhelmed with love for their Gopala and anxious to offer oceans of nectarean milk for His pleasure.
In his opening description of Venu-gita, Srila Prabhupada writes: “Krsna was very pleased with the atmosphere of the forest, where flowers bloomed and bees and drones hummed very jubilantly. While the birds, trees and branches were all looking very happy, Krsna, tending the cows, accompanied by Sri Balarama and the cowherd boys, began to vibrate His transcendental flute.” (Krsna book, chapter 21, p.l)
It is the autumn season. The best of all seasons! The season which contests the pride of spring with the fragrant aroma of blossoming flowers, the verdant condition of the forests, the concert of happy birds, and the attention of Krsna’s rasa-lila. Also known as Sarada, this season appears like a charming young girl with restless khanjana bird eyes, a sweet lotus flower face, curly bee-like locks, cakravaka bird breasts, a white cloud-like dress, red lotus-lips, cooing crane ankle bells and blue lotus earrings.
The days are moderate. The sun, which had scorched the earth in summer and then caused the monsoon rains to fall, has now taken a northerly course and attained a soothing demeanor. The nights are cool and the scent of blooming jasmine flowers permeates the darkness. The autumnal forest is reddened by ripe gunja beads, decorated with innumerable peacock feathers, and whitened by heaps of fallen kasa flowers. The peacocks are now silent, but the swans are gracefully cooing, “The autumn has come, the autumn has come.”
|In Snmad-Bhagavatam, Sukadeva Gosvami follows the description of the rainy season by narrating the many glories of Vraja’s autumn. After glorifying the unlimited ways in which this season takes shelter of Baladeva, he reveals its chief opulence to be neither in the verdant foliage, nor the crystalline waters, nor the abundant wildlife of the forest. The prime eminence of autumn is the vibration of the flute. Issuing from the lips of Sri Krsna, this treasure of autumn spreads across the fields and forests to the beautiful cowherd girls of Vraja who, overwhelmed with its song, glorify other fortunate beneficiaries of its concert.
Vrndavana in Autumn
The infallible son of Vyasa, who is the guru of all sages and the topmost of paramahamsas, has reserved the greatest opulence of Sarat for the conclusion of his description. In great detail, Sukadeva Gosvami now sings the glories of the song of the flute and the love it inspires in the hearts of the gopls. Maintaining continuity from the previous chapter, he begins with the word “ittham,” or “in this way”
nyavisad vayuna vatam
“Sukadeva Gosvami said: Thus the Vrndavana forest was filled with transparent autumnal waters and cooled by breezes perfumed with the fragrance of lotus flowers growing in the clear lakes. The infallible Lord, accompanied by His cows and cowherd boyfriends, entered that Vrndavana forest.” (Bhag. 10.21.1)
The second verse also constitutes the description of the autumn setting of Sri Krsna’s pastimes.
madhupatir avagdhya carayan gah
saha-pasu-pala-balas cukuja venum
“The lakes, rivers, and hills of Vrndavana resounded with the sounds of maddened bees and flocks of birds moving about the flowering trees. In the company of the boys and Balarama, Madhupati (Sri Krsna) entered that forest and, while herding the cows. He began to vibrate His flute.” (Bhag. 10.21.2)
Srila Prabhupada has combined these two verses in Krsna book to form a picturesque introduction to the chapter. Following his divine example, this chapter will deal with both verses as the setting for the song of the flute.
The lush forest of Vrndavana is the transcendental stage upon which Sri Krsna, the master performer, accompanied by His eternal
retinue, has appeared. Through the narration of that great sage, Krsna’s friends, cows and gopis enact the script of His eternally revolving pastimes for the audience of swanlike devotees. Such is the extraordinary atmosphere of His sports. ;
Having described the autumn, Sukadeva Gosvami now cites its special features, which impel Sri Krsna to reveal His impenetrable pastimes. Sanatana Gosvami says such impetus is called upa-karana. In the mind of Sri Krsna, the All-Attractive Person reveling in the association of His loving associates, Vrndavana forest creates an extraordinary enchantment. Therefore, it is known as manohara, the seducer of Hart’s mind.
The charm of Vrndavana allures Sri Krsna, for it is the manifestation of His internal potency and is non-different from Him. Gazing upon the display of natural opulence present before Him, Sri Krsna marvels at the beauty of His own energies as a child gazes at his reflection. If Sri Krsna, the All-Attractive Person, is attracted by Vrndavana, then how captivating that place must be for all living entities? It is simply manohara\
When Hari saw the restless eyes of the does grazing nearby, the remembrance of Radharani’s glance appeared in His mind. Seeing the tails of the love-intoxicated peahens, Murari remembered the glistening braids of His mother as she labored to bathe Him. The warbling of the swans reminded Him of the gopis’ waist bells in the rasa dance, and the restless honeybees made Him think of the tearful eyes of balakas unable to accompany Him to the forest.
Wherever Hari cast His glance. He remembered His associates, the variety of love they feel for Him, the mysterious depths of their love, and the supreme happiness they enjoy from it. Thinking in this way. He tasted unlimited joy, for Vrndavana forest had adopted many forms just to give Him pleasure. Of the entire realm of beauty displayed for Sri Krsna’s pleasure, two factors dominate the mystique of Vraja. According to the aeon/as, these are the breezes, or vayuna, and the clear autumnal waters, svacchajalam.
|Lotus flowers bloom out of joy in the rainy season, and the many lakes and rivers of Vrndavana were crowded with flowers of all colors and sizes. There were red kahlara, blue indwara, white pundanka, as well as pink, yellow, and multicolored lotuses. Their
Vrndavana in Autumn
intoxicating fragrances permeated the air and mixed with the coolness of the lakes. These lotuses are sometimes strung into a garland to decorate the broad chest of Mukunda; at other times He may hold them in His hands like a toy.
When Krsna sports in the water. His friends hide by swimming among lotus flowers, which become indistinguishable from their own lotus faces. If one boy happens to discover another, they playfully beat each other, holding the stems of lotuses like a club.
In addition, there is a rare species of lotus that grows on land and is known as stala-kamalini. When Sri Krsna, in anticipation of a meeting with the gopis, walks over the cintamani soil of Vraja under the canopy of a full moonlit night, land lotuses sprout in His wake and spread their unique fragrance only for the duration of that pastime.
The King and Queen of lotuses must have performed innumerable austerities on account of which Sri Krsna’s eyes, face, smile, hands, feet, and transcendental limbs are the constant object of comparison for great Vaisnava poets. Even the moon, who shines from the pages of many great compositions, falls down in embarrassment in the presence of the lotus.
An unlimited variety of aromatic flowers blossoms in the trees of Vrndavana, each a reflection of Sri Krsna’s inconceivable artistic skill. Although trees generally blossom in the spring, in the land of wonder which is Vrndavana the seasonal laws act only for the pleasure of Sri Krsna. There are divine kadamba, campaka, sinsa, ketaki, and kimsuka trees, along with beautiful lavanga, jati, yuthi, and madhavi vines. They bear flowers of many heavenly colors, and their combined fragrance is carried by a slow, singular breeze.
This breeze, pregnant with the weight of an intoxicating fragrance, now moves in lazy patterns, winding among the many trees like an ethereal python, sometimes stopping, sometimes continuing its love-induced course. Those living entities who gain the fortune of receiving its touch are released from the cycle of birth and death. Aromatic, cooling, and pleasant in every way, it sends an invitation to Sri Krsna; Vrndavana forest is now prepared to receive Him!
If one asks how such divine fragrances came to be, the answer is that mother Earth has adopted the scent of Sri Krsna’s body at
the time of His bath. When mother Yasoda removes His cloth, allowing it to fall to the ground, the assimilated scent of His limbs, which resembles a mixture of sandalwood pulp, camphor, musk, and aguru, is immediately plundered by Prthvi-devi. She then distributes it to all her associates, like the trees, bushes, and flowers, who forward it to their offspring, the flowers. Each flower, according to its qualification, receives some portion of this aroma, which is then known as its own bouquet.
When it rains, the water flows along the soil in countless rivulets, absorbing this divine scent and transporting it to the rivers and lakes of Vraja. Such reservoirs become the envy of the celestial Ganges, for their fragrance can only be compared to themselves, their taste to the nectar of the Gods, and their color to the reflection in the eyes of Kamala, the Goddess of Fortune.
By autumn, the waters of Vrndavana are clear and transparent, adding untold glory to the unique atmosphere. The blackish Yamuna and the golden Manasi-Ganga are celebrated by liberated souls as the liquefied form of rasa. These rivers happily serve as a playground for the cowherd boys and provide pure drinking water for the cows.
The gentle waves of Manasi-Ganga sing mantras unknown to the Vedas as they caress the many stones lining their sacred shores. The happiness and merriment Sri Krsna enjoyed when He frightened the gopis by threatening to submerge their boat have dissolved into Ganga-devi’s deep waters and bestow indescribably wonderful benefits.
Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda contain the water of all the sacred rivers. They are the essence of all pilgrimage sites, and their glories are without limit. By offering a ghee lamp to Radha-kunda, the performer will see the universe during his bath, and at death will attain eternal residence in Goloka.
At Kusuma-sarovara, Sri Hari combs and braids Radhika’s hair. As His ecstasy overflows, it mixes with the water and enables Narada to easily assume the body of a gopl. At Candra-sarovara, near Govardhana, Sri Krsna took rest and, dressed in His charming rasa outfit, refreshed Himself with the waters of this lake.
After King Indra had been humbled and the torrential rains on
Vrndavana in Autumn
Vraja abated, the demigods performed the abhiseka ceremony of Sri Krsna, and the abundant carandmrta became known as Govinda-kunda. Simply by seeing this lake, one achieves the same merit as performing one-hundred asvamedha-yajnas.
In Kamyavana is the delightful Mohini-kunda, where Sri Krsna displayed the form of Mohini that had previously bewildered the demons and distributed nectar to the demigods. One who is fortunate enough to see this lake will never be overcome by the illusion of the material nature.
Next to Nandisvara is the lake built by Nanda Maharaja for the pleasure of his little son. It is here that Sri Krsna, invisible to all, would swim underwater to the far shore, embrace His favorite gopi, and return unnoticed. Surrounded by many kadamba trees, this Pavana-sarovara is the ultimate pilgrimage place for Puskara, and the king of all holy places.
While enjoying the pastime of eating, Sri Krsna, intoxicated with the association of His friends and the tasty cooking of His mothers, drank the water of Panihari-kunda, kissing it with His bimba fruit lips. The favor known only to His flute and the gopis was now bestowed upon this fortunate lake.
The glories of the Yamuna are known only to Sri Krsna and His most intimate associates. At Ujani she changes her course, flowing upstream to hear the sweet music of Krsna’s flute. Always embracing the delicate body of Govinda, her waters turn blackish with the kajal decorating the gopis’ eyes and reddish by the finely powdered kunkuma from their breasts. The fortune of the Yamuna, the happy place of Sri Krsna’s pleasure pastimes, is known only by her grace.
Although seated side by side, under the influence of Their mutual love Radha and Krsna’s feelings of separation reached its pinnacle and caused a shower of tears, which mixed to form the charming Prema-sarovara. This place knows no equal in the fourteen worlds and is glorified by other waters of Vrndavana.
Let us not forget the many waterfalls on Govardhana Hill, which are especially valued by Sri Krsna as places of unlimited amusement. The devas say they are the tears of the King of Mountains, that greatest of devotees, who always witnesses the pastimes of the Prince of Vraja.
These are but some of the many streams, rivers/ ponds, and lakes of Vrndavana, which are all saturated with the loving pastimes of Sri Hari and His associates. The waters are transparent because of their purity and devoid of any taint of material contamination. Their clarity reflects the nature of pure love in Vrndavana, always free of Godly veneration and the giver of the greatest bliss to Sri Krsna. If one lived for a lifetime of Lord Brahma and possessed as many tongues as King Ananta, one would never know even an atomic fraction of their glories.
The water within the lakes and rivers of Vrndavana is a soothing nectarean beverage. It is a mixture of rainfall, the scent of Sri Krsna’s limbs, and the essential bhava of local pastimes. The trees, creepers, and plants grow luxuriant, nourished by these .glorious bodies of water, warmed by the all-compassionate sun, and caressed by the Malayan breezes. The honey produced of their flowers contains the distilled essence of this nectar and appears as golden tears of ecstasy flowing from their whorl to their petals and then slowly down the stem to golden pools.
Although bees naturally become intoxicated by drinking the honey of flowers, the fortune of the bees of Vraja is not caused by the diversity of its flora. Because their auspicious diet is the liquid essence of devotional bhavas, Sukadeva Gosvami refers to them as susmi-bhrnga. The inebriating nature of this spiritual energy induces them to gather in swarms and perform the congregational chanting of Sri Krsna’s pastimes. Surcharged with devotion, they are always absorbed in discussion of topics of pure bhakti. When these bees become intoxicated in transcendental bliss, gorging themselves on their nectar fare, they fly erratically here and there, in search of the object of their devotions. That object is Madhupati.
One very large bhramara with a blackish-blue complexion, barely able to lift its body and navigating with great difficulty, set off in search of Sri Krsna. Wandering through groves steaming with the scent of many flowers, he reached an area not distant from Varsana, the four-peaked home of King Vrsabhanu.
In that place was a highly attractive kunja decorated with flowers, vines, fruits, garlands, mirrors, pictures, and canopies. It was surrounded by tamala and kadamba trees and was in the form
Vrndavana in Autumn
of an eight-petaled lotus. All-cognizant desire trees, covering the area with their shady foliage, bowed down with the weight of their ripe fruits, unripe fruits, sprouts, flowers, buds, and vines. Many parrots recited poetry about Sri Krsna’s love-laden pastimes in response to the songs of the swans, cranes, and cakravakas. A solitary path leading through a bejeweled gate, trimmed and decorated by sylvan goddesses, led to the interior of that splendid abode.
Enchanted by this pleasure resort, that king of bees made his way down the path and into the shady sanctuary of the kunja. At that time Sri Krsna and His beloved Radharani were sitting together on a golden seat, exchanging many wonderful riddles. Looking like the prince and princess of loving beauty manifest in two separated forms, one golden and one blackish, Radhe-Syama sat close together, looking into each other’s eyes, smiling. Syama said, “What is alive though dead and lovingly enchants the three worlds, living in a body of nine gates, like embodied living entities?”
Turning Her face. Her lotus eyes fixed on His, Gauri said, “0 Hari! It is Your crooked flute, which enjoys the nectar of Your lips as its fee.” Then posing Her own riddle. She said with a charming laugh, “Who is known as being very young, but also very old, who is both bound and liberated, and who is the abode of darkness and duplicity, but is still very pure? Now You tell Me!”
Syama replied, “It is I, it is I, Krsna! I become entangled in all kinds of pastimes, but remain the bestower of liberation for all. I am Syama, the abode of darkness, full of duplicity and guile, but I remain suci, for by chanting My name the greatest saints achieve perfection.”
Perceiving those lustrous forms, the king of bees thought, “Now I have finally found the treasures of my life!” In his wisdom, that bhrnga saw the blackish prince as the source of loving mellows and His golden gopi as the embodiment of divine love. Unable to choose between his two desired objects, he flew into Their midst, in Their exchange of clever words.
When that bumblebee entered between the Divine Couple, his humming echoed amidst Their bodies and frightened Sri Radha.
Turning Her face and raising Her left hand, Radhika fanned Her dncala in an attempt to scare him away. Savoring Their honey-like breath, that belligerent bhramara continued to circle the area, feeling the greatest pleasure.
When he began to hover near the lotus face of Sri Radha; She became distressed at his persistence. Expressing Her alarm with the words “Hai! Hai!” Sri Radha arched like a golden bow, Her hair hanging like a serpent, while Sri Krsna sat bemused and insolent.
Then, the king of brahmanas, the protector of religious principles, the most intimate friend of Vraja’s prince, Madhumangala, who had dozed at the entrance of the kunja after consuming an immeasurable quantity of mangoes, came charging through the gate brandishing a stick, his sikha flying, his wrapper dragging on the ground.
With clear brahminical acumen, he immediately assessed the situation and called out, “Hey rogue, how dare you attack the princess of Varsana in the presence of Her guardian, Sri Krsna, and His minister of world fame, Madhumangala!” Charging forward with stick in hand, he slashed the air, as if preparing to parry with a wild beast.
Feeling the movement of the air, the strong vibrations of sound, and the disturbance in the ether, that bumblebee decided to retreat. Escaping in the direction from whence he had come, he buzzed out the kunja gate, an enraged Bhato close behind. The charming laughter of Sri Krsna echoed through the forest like a cascade of bliss as Sri Radha recovered from Her fright and rose to behold Her beloved.
Panting in labor, with great beads of perspiration on his brow and his rotund belly heaving, Madhumangala returned from his mission with the words “Madhusudana has gone!”
The sound “Madhusudana has gone!” entered Sri Radha’s ears with devastating force and, assuming the form of a virulent poison, it immediately claimed Her eyesight. While Bhato had referred to the bee as Madhusudana, in Her confusion Radhika took it to mean Sri Krsna. Looking in His direction. She saw only Her reflection in His body, while His gentle laughter echoed, as if taunting
Her from a distance. Dilating Her eyes to see better. She searched everywhere for Him, without whom Her life was without meaning. In vain, Sri Radha saw only a baffled Madhu.
Unable to see that Her beloved was by Her side, thinking He had left Her alone, Sri Radha collapsed like a vine without support. Like a swan singing its death song. She echoed in a plaintive voice, “Madhusudana has gone! My Madhusudana has gone!” Crying uncontrollably. Her delicate frame shaking, hot tears streaming from Her lotus eyes, Radha exhibited the many symptoms of separation in union, known as prema-vaicittya.
The overwhelming impact of Sri Radha’s bhava caused the trees to shed their flowers, the vines to wilt, the birds to stop singing, and the stones to melt. While holding Her in His arms, Sri Krsna sat speechless, wondering at Her great exhibition of love. Feeling the intensity of emotion surging through Her form. He became caught in Her mood of separation, and His tears became a second torrential downpour.
It is said that Madhumangala was at first unable to bring peace to the hearts of the Divine Couple. They remained devastated, drenched in Their tears and absorbed in each other’s love. After great effort, for what appeared a very long time, that knower of devotional science convinced Sri Radha of Hari’s presence and reversed the unhappy situation. By that time, a small lake had formed from the mixed tears of Radha and Krsna, which even now is known as the Lake of Love, Prema-sarovara.
That inquisitive bee, who was intoxicated by the honey of vraja-bhava, who upon entering the grove had become more intoxicated by the honey of yugala-bhava and who had fled the boundary of the kunja, intoxicated once again by the honey of rddha-bhava, hastily returned to his associates. Composing himself in a grove of jasmine vines, he related the many events of that day to the great delight of his bee-friends.
In this verse, Sukadeva Gosvami refers to Krsna by a name known among the communities of bees, men, and demigods. This name is Madhupati, the master of Madhu.
The many bees of Vraja surpass the greatest yogis in tasting the essence of mellows. Because Syamasundara wears a golden dhoti,
plays on His flute, is the master of the bees, and Lord of all sweetness, they know Him as Madhupati.
As bees have a blackish-blue complexion. His form is possessed of a buffed black hue; as bees have yellow bands decorating their trunk, Sri Krsna is always clothed in golden attire; as bees decorate their limbs with pollen. He is adorned with golden ornaments; as they whimsically taste one flower after another, Syama savors the association of gopi after gopr, as bees make a low humming sound, Sri Krsna produces a bewitching vibration with His flute.
With so many shared characteristics, can the bumblebees of Vraja be censured for mistaking Madhupati for the emperor of all bees? When those collectors of honey are fortunate enough to see Him, their excitement reaches a fever pitch. Using His vaijayanti garland as a pretext, they congregate in His fore, singing His glories and gorging on the sweetness of His beauty, aura, and words. These bees are true rasikas. They know that the essence of all the sweetness found in the honey of flowers flows from the fountain of sweetness, who is sweeter than all things and is known as Madhupati. \
One resident of Vraja, Bilvamangala Thakura, writes:
madhuram madhuram vapur asya vibhor
madhuram madhuram vadanam madhuram
madhu-gandhi mrdu-smitam etad aho
madhuram madhuram madhuram madhuram
“The transcendental body of Krsna is very sweet, and His face is even sweeter than His body. The soft smile on His face, which is like the fragrance of honey, is sweeter still.” (Krsna-karnamrta 92)
According to Sanatana Gosvami, the word Madhupati is associated with the special attachment Sri Krsna exhibits towards His devotees. Madhu is another name of the Yadava dynasty, of which Sri Krsna is the acclaimed leader. As the Yadavas are great ksatriya kings accustomed to the opulence of palatial Dvaraka, they are not readily found in the simple rural atmosphere of Vrndavana. Yet the Lord of the Yadavas, Madhupati, now walks barefoot in the forests of Vraja to tend His father’s herd of cows. This He does
Vrndavana in Autumn
solely out of His great affection for His devotees. In this way. He exhibits His supreme attribute of bhakta-vatsatya, which is His partiality to His devotees.
At the beginning of creation, a great demon of the name Madhu stole the Vedas from Lord Brahma. Bereft of all transcendental knowledge and aggrieved at the loss to humanity, the creator prayed to the Lord for shelter. Hearing the prayers of His son, Sri Krsna assumed the form of Lord Hayagriva and killed the demon. In the planets of the devas. He has become known as Madhupati and is worshipped by the demigods to gain freedom from duplicity.
As bees are intoxicated by the sweetness of honey, so Madhu refers to the spiritually intoxicating effect of conjugal love, known as madhurya-rasa. This divine mellow, the shelter of all other relationships, has two divisions: wedded and unwedded. In Dvaraka, Madhupati is the master of His 16,108 queens with whom He enjoys the happiness of family life, known as svakiya-bhava. In Vrndavana, Sri Krsna, in the prime of youth, enjoys the mood of a paramour in the acquaintance of the many beautiful gopis of Vraja. This parakiya-rasa finds its ultimate shelter in Srimati Radharani, the most accomplished and beautiful of all vraja-gopis. According to the acaryas, the mention of Madhupati invokes the conjugal mellow and indicates that this and all other rasas are to be found in connection with this pastime.
Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura states that the name Madhupati invokes Sri Krsna, the Lord of the spring forest. One after another. He enters the forests of Vrndavana and beautifies them with His mystifying presence, reflected in the mountains, rivers, trees, flowers, rocks, and moving creatures. While all things are known to manifest from Sri Krsna’s potencies, Vrndavana is special. The spiritual world is a display of His internal potency, which reaches its pinnacle in the exhibition of His youthful vitality within the boundaries of Vraja. As ever-fresh youth represents the spring of life, Madhupati indicates Sri Krsna, exhilarated by the opulence of the spring forest.
If one inquires into the relevance of the spring forest during autumn, the answer will be that for the service of their Lord, all seasons simultaneously coexist in Vrndavana. In all, there are six
seasons, of which spring and autumn are considered foremost. While seasons generally succeed each other in order, in Vrndavana all the seasons coexist simultaneously. To exhibit variety, one becomes prominent over the others.
Each season has its own unique characteristics of climate, foliage, fruit, harvest, animals, and birds. These qualities achieve a special prominence during a specific time. In summer, the tittibha birds sing like dundubhi drums; in the rainy season, the peacocks dance at the first sign of rain; and in the winter, the forests resound with the sweet sounds of partridges. In this autumn scene, all the birds, including the peacocks, cuckoos, swans, partridges, datyuka birds, and parrots sing together in a grand concert. They have assembled under the unifying influence of Vrndavana. The birds are happy, intoxicated by the divine atmosphere, their voices blending with the humming of the bees and the aromatic breezes touching the trees. All the birds of Vrndavana are great sages, and their songs are laden with timeless wisdom. What do they say?
According to Kaviraja Gosvami, the datyuka birds sing ko va ko va and kva va kva va. “Ko va” means “Who else is as well behaved or extraordinary as Krsna?” and “kva va” means “Where else but in Vrndavana does He play?”
The joyful peacocks sing kekakeka. They ask who, ke, other than Krsna can lift the mountain of Radha’s patience, and what other lady, ka, than Radha can chain down the maddened elephant, Krsna?
The flocks of cuckoos repeatedly sing ku hu ku hu on the fifth note, sounding like the enchanting vim of Cupid, and the many parrots glorify the beautiful bodily limbs of Sri Krsna. In this way, all the birds sing together.
Awakened from their sleep, the frogs are inspired by the songs of the birds and the humming of the bees. Joining in the concert, they criticize the past monsoon season with the words ke va ko va. They happily croak, “Who,” ke va, “will ever leave this Krsna cloud?” and “Where,” ko va, “could they possibly go than Vrndavana?”
The celebrated stage manager, Sri Sukadeva, then makes Sri Krsna, Balarama, Their friends, and the cows enter the wonderful
Vrndavana in Autumn
forest of Vrndavana. With Krsna and Balarama as their cynosure, dressed in vraja-vasi gaiety, cheering in great happiness, decorated with sticks in their hands, silken ropes on their shoulders, surrounded by many, many cows, and possessed of a desire to see Sri Krsna, the transcendental retinue breaks through the curtain of yogamaya and appears on the pages of Srimad-Bhagavatam in full regalia. Srila Prabhupada writes: “…Krsna, tending the cows, accompanied by Sri Balarama and the cowherd boys, began to vibrate His transcendental flute.”
Krsna and the cowherd boys, like all children, are inclined to play and lead a jovial life. Although they are entrusted with the responsibility of tending cows, they successfully entertain themselves throughout the day with the games and sports in which all boys indulge. The many demons sent by Kamsa intrude in Krsna’s play at the cost of their lives but gain eternal benefit to be recorded as part of His lila. Day after day, Krsna’s eternal pastimes unfold. Although they are recurrent, they remain ever fresh, as if having been performed for the first time.
Freed from the affectionate bonds of their parents, the cowherd boys burst forward like a torrential river overflowing a dam. Having reached Vrndavana forest, which is like a great playground, they surge forward in excitement with their beloved friends, Krsna and Balarama.
Sanatana Gosvami indicates that all the cowherd boys, including Krsna, play their flutes. Srila Prabhupada and Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura say that only Krsna plays His venu. The consensus remains that Krsna, who is famous throughout the three worlds for musical skills, plays the flute. His face is constantly decorated with the presence of this companion, and His mind-enchanting melodies bewilder all living entities, from Lord Brahma to the snakes of the nether regions.
Srila Prabhupada continues: “The birds, trees and branches were looking very happy.” While there are no clear statements in the Bhagavatam regarding the cheerfulness of the branches, Prabhupada emphasizes the fully conscious nature of all things in Vraja. Vrndavana is not a realm of dead matter, nor are its inhabitants subject to repeated birth and death. Its substance is cintamani.
Vrndavana in Autumn
The dust, stones, trees, and branches are fully conscious beings expressing their own pleasure at the enchanting atmosphere and the presence of Sri Krsna.
How have the branches become so happy? The birds are very pleased to participate in such an extraordinary concert. While singing, they sit on the branches, their heads swaying from side to side or bobbing up and down. By their touch, they inspire bhava in the trees, and with their songs, they initiate the branches with mantras in praise of Sri Krsna. With their newly acquired diksa, the branches express their gratitude as they creak in the wind and sprout buds of ecstasy.
Because the trees of Vrndavana fulfill the desires of those who take shelter of them, they are known as desire trees. When Sri Krsna has exhausted all avenues to gain the association of a pouting Radharani, He turns to the great desire tree in Yoga-pitha for refuge. If the trees of Vraja can bestow happiness on the foun-tainhead of all bliss, their branches must be exceedingly joyful.
The trees are not distant observers or passive participants in the autumn atmosphere. Whatever possessions they have are offered with great enthusiasm for the pleasure of Sri Krsna. The body of Vrndavana forest shines with ornaments of jati, lotus, and blue jhinti flowers. The madhavi vines blossom with the mango trees, the mallika vines with the sinsa flowers, and the yuthika vines with hidamba trees.
Some of the branches are decorated with buds, other branches bloom with sprouts, others pose with many different flowers, while others offer green leaves, pale leaves, or reddish leaves. These happy branches serve Sri Govinda with ripe, half ripe, and unripe fruit which may be eaten, cooked, or like the bael fruit, used for play. These are the trees and their happy branches.
Finally the flute, the star actor in this pastime, makes its debut m the last word of the second verse. Sri Venu is the master of ceremonies. He is the grand conductor uniting the many sweet sounds from his master’s lips and the acoustic craftsman who weaves a harmonious symphony from the spontaneous glorification of Sri Krsna’s attributes. His resonance echoes through every hill, valley, forest, and grove of Vrndavana. It calls all birds, beasts,
reptiles, waterfalls, and the rustling leaves to raise their voices as a reception for Sri Hari.
Knowing that Sri Krsna has come from His home, Vrndavana spreads a carpet of flower pollen and petals and induces the vines, branches, and trees to dance happily in the wind. The multicolored flowers, fallen from the trees, are the dress of Vraja, covering the paths for Govinda, His friends, and the cows. Like all qualified hosts, Vrndavana knows how to worship respectable guests. Thus, she offers pancamrta to her divine visitors.
The moonstone altars of the forest melt at the appearance of Krsna-Balarama’s moon-like faces. The ensuing liquid becomes the padya flowing down the path to mix with the sprouts and flowers. The flowers, durva grass, and sprouts offer arghya, while the clove buds from the trees are Rama-Krsna’s mouth-water, acamana. The honey dripping from the flowers is madhuparka, which is served to Them by the many trees bowing down like domesticated servants.
Because she was unable to see Mukunda’s nighttime sports, Dawn cried many tears of sorrow, now preserved on the many leaves as a fragrant shower of nectar.
For Their divine forms, which resembled a monsoon cloud decorated by the full moon, Vrndavana made a suitable dress from fresh buds, flowers, and leaves of various colors. The restless wind, which mixes with the many fragrances of the flowers, happily smeared Their limbs with fragrant pollen.
Vrndavana expands her worship of Sri Krsna by offering different kinds of garlands made of the best self-grown flowers, tulasi leaves, buds, and sprouts. The forest offers incense with ascending waves of fragrance in the form of its restless bumblebees; a lamp, which is the swinging buds of campaka flowers waved by the wind;
and a presentation of unlimited sweet fruits. While the songs of the birds are like the playing of musical instruments, the humming of the bees is the arati song the forest joyfully offers. While all this is taking place, the trees, burdened by their many fruits and flowers, swing up and down in the wind, blissfully offering their obeisances in the presence of these two brothers.
With the words ghusta-sarah-sarim-mahidram, Snmad-Bhagavatam states that the concert of the forest’s reception resounds through
Vrndavana in Autumn
the lakes, rivers, and hills of Vrndavana. As there are innumerable bodies of water, so there are many mountains, hills, and forests in Vraja. The most prominent is Vrndavana forest, in which glorious Govardhana Hill is considered to be the best of all places. By Govardhana are the world-renowned Manasa-Gahga, Radha-kunda, and Syama-kunda lakes.
On Govardhana Hill, Manasa-Ganga is like a lake, but west of Vraja she flows like a river. The majestic Yamuna, daughter of the sun-god, flows around the three sides of Vrndavana forest to the east. Although proud of her tributaries flowing by Varsana and Nanda-grama, near the northern boundary of Vraja, at Rama-ghata, the many streams of the Yamuna respectfully sing the glory of Lord Baladeva.
Once, anxious to meet the residents of Vrndavana, the son of Rohini left Dvaraka and returned to Vraja for the months of Caitra and Vaisakha. By His love and submissive dealings. He consoled Nanda Maharaja and mother Yasoda and satisfied His friends in various ways. One night, desiring to give pleasure to His gopi girlfriends. He stood in a threefold bending form at Rama-ghata and joyfully blew His buffalo horn. Hearing this sound, the moon tilted in its orbit, and the heart of Lord Brahma was moved to tears.
Surrounded by many young girls. Lord Baladeva enjoyed their company in charming flower gardens that were bathed by the light of the full moon and caressed by the aroma of fragrant breezes. When He became intoxicated by drinking the varuni from the hollow of a tree, Balarama began His rasa dance, to the accompaniment of mrdangas, pmakas, vinas, and the rhythmic singing of His own glories.
Sri Balarama became overwhelmed by dancing and singing. Filled with unlimited happiness. He desired to enjoy water sports at that spot and called the Yamuna to relieve His fatigue. When, by her own quiet nature, the daughter of the sun did not respond, Balarama forcibly dragged her with His plow, making many furrows in the ground. Chastened and humbled, Yamuna-devi now always sings the glories of Krsna and Balarama.
Sanatana Gosvami says the description of Sukadeva Gosvami is kama uddipana, one which gives rise to love. The verses of Snmad-
Bhagavatam are not poetry composed to inspire a romantic mood. They are pure devotion appearing in the form of words which act as a stimulus to awaken remembrance of Sri Krsna.
The term uddipana is described in The Nectar of Devotion as follows:
uddlpanas tu te prokta bhdvam uddipayantiye
“Those things which awaken ecstatic love are called uddipana.” It is instructive to understand uddipana as a division of vibhdva, which is the cause of relishing attachment to Krsna. That is also described in this way:
tatra jneya vibhdvds tu
te dvidhalamband eke
“The cause bringing about the tasting of love for Krsna is called vibhava. Vibhava is divided into two categories—alambana (support) and uddipana (awakening).”
According to Sri Rupa Gosvami, Krsna’s flute. His place of residence (Vrndavana-dhama), and His paraphernalia (like the peacock feather or His dress) are some of the impetuses which awaken ecstatic love for Him. Introducing the transcendental atmosphere of Vrndavana, Sukadeva Gosvami awakens attraction to the Lord within the heart of his reader. Indeed, ecstasy—the first symptom of spiritual consciousness—can be awakened by attentive reading of Srimad-Bhdgavatam.
This extraordinary arrangement of natural beauty is arranged for Krsna’s pleasure by His internal potency, whose personification is known as Vrnda-devi. She is the presiding deity of Vraja’s forests and groves, and it is after her that Vrndavana has received its name. With a golden complexion tinged with the color of kunkuma, Vrnda-devi always dresses in blue clothing and ensures that the forests of Vrndavana are properly equipped to fulfill all Sri Govinda’s needs.
Vrndavana in Autumn
When she saw Sri Krsna arriving in Vrndavana, Vrnda addressed all the mobile and immobile forest creatures that were suffering from separation from Him. “0 friend, the forest, immediately give up your dizziness of separation; your beloved Sri Krsna has come to give you all happiness. Rejoice and quickly remind Him of your delightful Queen Radha. Showing your innumerable attributes, make your beauty useful by facilitating Sri Krsna’s play. 0 vines, wake up! 0 trees, blossom! 0 deer, play around! 0 cuckoos, sing with the bees! 0 peacocks, dance happily! 0 parrots, recite sweet verses! 0 mobile and immobile creatures, rejoice; your dearmost Sri Krsna has come to make you happy.”
It is Vrnda-devi who controls all mobile and immobile creatures in Vrndavana. It is she who arranges to decorate the groves, the timing of the seasons, and the ingredients for Krsna’s pastimes. She is the queen of all sylvan goddesses, and in her merciful counter form, the sacred tulasi tree, her leaves are always to be found at the lotus feet of Sri Krsna.
No one can have access to Vrndavana without the mercy of Vrnda-devi. And without the mercy of Vrndavana, it is not possible to achieve the favor of Lord Krsna. Therefore, devotees worship Vrnda-devi in the forest of Kamyavana, as well as at Vrnda-kunda near Nanda-grama. Outside of Vrndavana, she may be easily worshipped as the tulasi tree. All glories to Srimati Tulasi-devi!
Rupa Gosvami, the eternal associate of the Lord, has taught us how to take shelter of Vrnda-devi and Vrndavana in his Utkalika-vyallari.
hrdi cirdd vasad dsa mandalaldmba padau
gunavati tava nathau ndthitum jantur esah
sapddi bhdvad anujnam ydcate devi vrnde
mayi kila karundrdra drstim atra prasida
“0 merciful qualified Vrnda, Radha and Krsna are your Mistress and Lord. I have carried the desire to see Them in my heart for so long, and only by your grace, this desire can be fulfilled. Please cast a merciful glance upon me. Be kind upon me.”
vrndaranya tvaritdm iha te sevanah parah
param apuh ke va na kila paramananda
padavim ato nicair yace svayam adhipayor iksandvidher
varenyam me cetasy upadisa disam ha kuru krpam
“0 Vrndavana-dhama, who in this world did not attain the topmost bliss from serving you? Therefore, I offer my obeisances unto you with lowered head. I humbly beg you: please reveal in my heart the best way to attain my king and queen. Please give me your mercy.”
Srila Prabhupada emphasizes that Krsna’s flute is transcendental, not mundane. Its mixing with the sounds of the bees and birds of Vrndavana indicates they too are transcendental, for a spiritual thing cannot mix with that which is mundane. Everything about Vrndavana forest is transcendental, as it is not different from Sri Krsna. This is confirmed by Lord Caitanya with the words aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa-tanayas tad-dhdma vrndavanam: “Being fully spiritual, Vrndavana-dhama is as worshipable as Lord Sri Krsna.”
When Sri Krsna enters the enchanting atmosphere of Vrndavana, He hears the songs of the intoxicated bees, the music of the birds, the flowing of the rivers, and the rustling of the leaves. He receives their offerings of flowers, fruits, and scents, sweet waters and brilliant colors. To reciprocate with their mood of love. He places His flute to His lips and begins to play.
The wondrous vibration flowing forth from the holes of the flute is like a many-toned fountain of endless bliss. Embracing the natural music of Vrndavana, this flute song creates a united symphony of bliss. The exhilarating effect of this concert surprises even Sri Krsna, who raises His eyebrows in amazement. The mystic charm of the flute solidifies water, embeds the beaks of drinking birds, melts stones, which flow downhill, and causes the laws of nature to lose regulation. Such is the magic when Krsna plays His flute.
Vrndavana, Lord Krsna, and His entourage have been introduced as the eternal, all-blissful, and fully spiritual exchange of love between the Supreme Person, His energies, and His associates. This is not the description of some romantic pastoral scene in the
Vrndavana in Autumn
mythology of India. It is the supreme reality that ever unfolds in that realm beyond the illusion of matter. While learned transcen-dentalists enter into those pastimes through the process of aural reception, practitioners who lend their full attention become purified to qualify for the Lord’s pastime as birds, bees, trees, cows, cowherd-boys, or gopis. It is simply a matter of reviving one’s lost constitutional relationship.
This concludes the first chapter of The Song of the Flute, by a very insignificant disciple of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, wherein Lord Krsna’s transcendental pastimes in the land of Vrndavana imbue the nectar of His beauty, bodily scent, lips, voice, touch, and many bhdvas within the bodies of water which nurture the many varieties of trees, creepers, and plants, whose flowers produce a transcendental honey empowered with the essence of these ingredients, which intoxicates the buzzing bees with prema, making them mad for Sri Krsna, and who subsequently inspire the many birds of Vraja to provide music for their singing while sitting on the happy branches of the trees, which, upon gaining sufficient merit, receive diksa and qualify to offer pancdmrta, drati, and bhoga to Gavinda, while the great festival of bliss resounds throughout the hills and valleys of Vrndavana, which is meant as a greeting for Sri Krsna, His friends, and cows, who enter that joyous celebration with much merriment at the time when He begins to play His mind-enchanting flute, which mixes with the great sankirtana of Vrndavana and raises that transcendental chorus to such dizzying heights, which I am unable to describe or understand, but I know is heard and seen by the gopis in their wonderful trance of love.