våndävanaà sakhi bhuvo vitanoti kéåtià
govinda-veëum anu matta-mayüra-nåtyaà
O friend, Våndävana is spreading the glory of the earth, having obtained the treasure of the lotus feet of Kåñëa, the son of Devaké. The peacocks dance madly when they hear Govinda’s flute, and when other creatures see them from the hilltops, they all become stunned.
Vrndavana Glorifies this Earth
Once upon a time, when the earth was overburdened with many daityas, danavas, and human beings all possessed of an insatiable desire to exploit creation, the earth, assuming the form of a cow, took shelter of Lord Brahma. After comforting her, the four-faced creator, accompanied by the demigods, went to the palace of Sri Hari. Bowing to the husband of Laksmi, they explained the reason for their visit. Lord Visnu, who is the all-knowing Supersoul, said, “Only by the grace of Sri Krsna, the original Supreme Person, whose transcendental pastimes are the secret of the Vedas, will this problem be resolved. 0 Brahma, accompanied by the demigods, you should immediately go to His eternal abode and submit your petition.”
Upon the request of Brahma, Lord Visnu agreed to accompany the demigods to see Sri Krsna. By His mystic power, Sri Hari revealed an effulgent spiritual river flowing through a hole in the universal shell, caused long ago by Lord Vamana. Boarding a bejeweled boat, the demigods left by this mysterious path, seeing other universes like insignificant bubbles in the Karana Ocean.
Traveling beyond the confines of time, they passed the deities of
creation, the snow-white Viraja River, and many splendid Vaikuntha planets and entered into an effulgence as brilliant as millions of suns. In the center of that light was a most peaceful and transcendental realm resting on the blackish hoods of Lord Sesa, His soft body adorned with ornaments of ecstasy.
Bowing to that thousand-faced Lord, the demigods saw Goloka, the emperor of all spiritual abodes. Free from the influence of time, the modes of nature, and the mahat-tattva, Goloka was constituted of unalloyed goodness, known as visuddha-sattva.
The entrance to Goloka was protected by Sri Krsna’s eternal associates, who were possessed of ever-youthful forms that put to shame the beauty of Laksmi-devi. With sticks in their hands but smiling very sweetly, they asked, “0 great demigods, of which universe are you kings? Please let us know your origins, and we shall announce your presence to Sri Krsna!”
Perplexed by the question, the demigods replied, “0 beautiful girls with exquisite eyes, you say there are many creations beyond ours, but we do not know of any universe other than our own. How, then, can we identify our origins?”
Mocking the simplicity of the demigods, the girls said, “0 Brahma, as there are countless mustard seeds in a basket, millions of universes float in the Causal Ocean, of which yours is the least significant. In the same way, there are many demigods inhabiting those worlds, whose names you cannot even know. Because you never leave your own homes, what will you know of the reality beyond your doorstep?”
Seeing the demigods silent and intimidated. Lord Visnu said, “We inhabit the universe pierced by the toenail of Lord Trvik-rama!” Happily receiving this news and extensively glorifying the pastimes of Lord Vamanadeva, those girls entered Goloka to gain admission for the demigods. Having done so, they once again returned and invited that assembly to pass beyond its golden gates.
When the demigods entered into that transcendental realm, they beheld the inconceivable land of Goloka, decorated with many beautiful forests full of flowering vines, blossoming trees, buzzing bees, and joyful birds, and surrounding the King of Mountains known as Govardhana, which wore as its ornaments many colored
Vrndavana Glorifies this Earth
waterfalls, beautiful caves, and aromatic grasses, and near which the dark River Yamuna wound its way through many ghatas of priceless gems, pleasure palaces, and beaches of diamond dust, where many beautiful gopis dressed in colorful sans, many virtuous gopas with turbans and sticks, and many white cows decorated with flower garlands wandered here and there, intoxicated by the unlimited varieties of spiritual mellows which permeated the atmosphere like the fragrance of flowers, under the hypnotic influence of the flute, whose song drew them through many divine forests, gardens, and groves, until they finally reached an eternal desire tree, beneath which, sitting on a throne studded with kaustubha jewels and accompanied by Sri Radha, was Sri Krsna.
Sri Krsna was decorated with many golden ornaments, a peacock-feathered crown, and a vaijayanti garland. He appeared like a tamala tree, embraced by the golden vine of Sri Radha, who was similarly ornamented and dressed in a cloud-blue sari. They were surrounded by many sakhis and gopas, and the sweetness of their faces melted the hearts of the demigods. Feeling as if they were plunged into an ocean of bliss, those guests of Goloka folded their hands, bowed their heads, and offered their respectful obeisances to the Supreme Lord.
In the presence of all the demigods. Lord Hari, the eight-armed master of Vaikuntha, appeared and merged into the body of Sri Krsna. One after another, the forms of Godhead like Nrsimha, Sri Visnu, Ramacandra, Yajna, and Nara-Narayana appeared in Their full splendor and then united with the form of Sri Krsna. While all these astounding events took place, that beloved friend of Sri Radha simply sat by Her right side, casually holding His flute and smiling.
Filled with wonder, understanding Sri Krsna to be the original Supreme Being, the demigods offered many prayers as tears rolled down their cheeks to wet the cintamani soil. Speaking with a voice like thunder, sweet as honey and very difficult to describe, Sri Krsna said, “Dear demigods, fear no longer! I will descend to remove the burden of the earth and will take birth in the dynasty of the Yadus. Appearing with you and your wives, I will perform the work which you now request.”
With a smile He said, “The Vedas are My words, the brahmanas are My mouth, the cows are My body, you demigods are My limbs, and My devotees are the life of My heart. To protect them all I will now descend.”
Hearing that Her beloved would depart for the world of men, Sri Radha, overcome with fear of separation, cried and trembled, Her hair standing on end. Displaying Her great torment. She spoke to Him as follows: “0 My beloved. You have vowed to remove the suffering of the earth and please the demigods. But My vow is that in Your absence I will not keep My body alive.”
Sri Radha repeated Her promise again and again, and Sri Krsna, bound by His duty to the faithful, driven by the intricacies of divine love but always desirous to please His devotees, said, “Dear beloved Radhika! When I think of being separated from You for a moment, all of Vaikuntha and the universes below lose significance for Me. Could I leave here without You? To fulfill the desire of these great devotees, let Us go to earth together. Performing Our loving pastimes. We will enchant the pious, while the demons will ineet their ends at the hands of Sri Visnu.”
Pacified but not satisfied, Sri Radha said, “O dearly beloved! To be with You is the perfection of My life. Yet, where there is no Vrndavana forest, where the Yamuna River does not flow, where the shadow of Govardhana Hill is absent, there My heart cannot be happy.”
; With a cheerful smile, Sri Krsna then called upon the divine realm of Vraja. To fulfill Radha’s request. He sent to earth glorious Govardhana Hill, the enchanting River Yamuna, and a 47 krosas (94 miles) portion of Vrndavana-dhama. With that portion of Vraja went the many birds, bees, trees, and diverse creatures that walk its cintamani soil and bask in its atmosphere of divine love. All His associates, like Devaki, Vasudeva, Haladhara, Nanda, Yasoda, Sridama, Subala, Lalita, Visakha, and many, many more, whose names glorify any habitation but extend the length of this book, appeared along with Him.
; And so it was that upon the all-blissful desire of Sri Radha, for the pleasure of the great demigods and for the deliverance of lost souls, Sri Vrndavana-dhama appeared on this earth as its only fortune, glory, and opulence.
Vrndavana Glorifies this Earth
In the previous verse, the gopis extensively described the partial nature of the flute. When Sri Krsna raises His venu and blows into it the indescribable nectar of His lips, it selfishly drinks that ambrosia, ignoring its true proprietors, the gopis. What remains is fraudulently distributed by the flute to its relatives, the rivers and trees, leaving the destitute gopis of Vraja in distress. These are the pastimes of Sri Krsna’s venu. ‘ •
Then the gopis say, “Aho kim vaktavya: What to speak of the flute in Sri Krsna7 s hand, who can describe the glories of Vrndavana?” In Vrndavana, the wonderful pastimes of playing the flute, dancing, and herding cows can be seen by all fortunate souls. Above all, Sri Krsna saturates the atmosphere with His charming smile, humor, and loveliness. The gopis, desiring to see the extreme sweetness of that place, say, “Let us see Vrndavana forest! It is a public place and freely available to all; therefore what fault can befall us in such an innocent venture? Why should we hesitate?” In support of their argument, they speak the tenth verse of Venu’gita: • •
vmdavanam sakhi bhuvo vitanoti kirtim
yad devaki-suta-padambuja-labdha-laksmi govinda-venum anu matta-mayura-nrtyam
“0 friend, Vrndavana is spreading the glory of the earth, having obtained the treasure of the lotus feet of Sri Krsna, the son of Devaki. The peacocks dance madly when they hear Govinda’s flute, and when other creatures see them from the hilltops, they all become stunned.” (Bhdg. 10.21.10)
The gopis speaking this verse are from a different group than those who spoke earlier. Jiva Gosvami claims they are of a domi-nantly madhya or intermediate disposition.
The various temperaments of the gopis have been categorized by
Sri Rupa Gosvami into three divisions. Those who are hot tempered like Lalita and Syamala are known as prakara-gopis, those who are meek-mannered like Candravali are called mrdvi-gopis, and the madhya-gopis are of an intermediate disposition, as exemplified by Srimati Radharani. In any group, there is a mixture of differing temperaments. However, by her influence the leader of the group will determine the overall mood of her followers. Sanatana Gosvami precisely explains that this verse is being spoken to Srimati Radharani by Lalita-devi and other friends in Her yutha.
Dressed in multicolored cloth like the feathers of a peacock, her complexion like gorocana smeared with vermilion, her teeth glittering like pearls in the sunlight, Lalita-devi says to beautiful Radharani, “He sakhil Because You have given Yourself to Govinda, Your fortune is immeasurable! Can anyone even estimate the limits of Your saubhagya?”
Hearing of the exclusive good fortune of the flute and experiencing the gopis’ separation from Sri Krsna, Radhika stands on the threshold of lamentation. Now Lalita and other sakhis try to pacify Her, lest She plunge in an ocean of grief.
The gopis’ ensuing discussion exhibits the characteristics of prema known as tripti-artha-laksanam, a combination of satisfaction and distress. The exclusive glories of Vrndavana and the dancing of the peacocks are the source of satisfaction, and the inability to witness these pastimes is a source of distress.
In his Krsna book commentary, Srila Prabhupada describes this verse as follows: “Another gopi spoke thus to her friend about Sri Krsna: ‘Dear friend, our Vrndavana is proclaiming the glories of this entire earth, because this planet is glorified by the lotus footprints of the son of Devaki. Besides that, when Govinda plays His flute, the peacocks immediately become mad, as if they had heard the rumbling of a new cloud. When all the animals and trees and plants, either on the top of Govardhana Hill or in the valley, see the dancing of the peacocks, they all stand still and listen to the transcendental sound of the flute with great attention. We think that this boon is not possible or available on any other planet.’ Although the gopis were village cowherd women and girls, they had extensive Vedic knowledge. Such is the effect of Vedic
Vrndavana Glorifies this Earth
civilization. People in general would learn the highest truths of the Vedas simply by hearing from authoritative sources.”
Srila Prabhupada and other commentators describe this verse as a glorification of the earth due to the presence of Vmdavana-dhama. The two main causes for this glorification are the presence of Sri Krsna’s footprints and the spectacular dance of the peacocks. Sanatana Gosvami refers to the superiority of Vrndavana as the sarva-artha-mula, the root theme of this sloka.
The gopis emphasize the great fortune of Vrndavana after having heard the glories of the flute. What makes Vrndavana so glorious? The verse answers the question beginning with the words vrndavanam sakhi bhuvoh vitanoti kirtim. Simply by its presence, Vrndavana is spreading the fame of this planet beyond Svarga and Vaikuntha. That is its greatness!
According to the gopis, the extraordinary treasure of Vrndavana is the presence of Sri Krsna’s footprints. Govinda’s feet are generally compared to the lotus because they possess natural qualities like coolness and fresh youth. Now, without the benefit of any footwear, with these same lotus feet, Sri Krsna touches the land of Vrndavana.
When He walks here and there the symbols on His feet, like the flag, elephant goad, and thunderbolt, mark the ground. The all-pervasive presence of these beautiful signs are the sampatti-visesa, special opulence of Vrndavana. Thus, Vrndavana contains opulences unknown in Svarga or Vaikuntha, where Lord Narayana always traverses the soil wearing shoes. Since this Vrndavana is now manifest on earth, the fortune of Bhumi-devi knows no bounds.
Someone may argue that because the word bhuvah refers to all the planets in the Bhur planetary system, exclusive emphasis should not be placed on the earth planet. In answer, the acaryas say that Sri Krsna has appeared only on this planet, and His footprints are only in Vrndavana; consequently, bhu refers only to the earth planet. Within this universe, no other planet enjoys the presence of Sri Krsna’s footprints; therefore, our earth has become so famous.
One gopi says, “How wonderful it is! In its liberality, Vrndavana glorifies its place of domicile. Sakhis, please answer
this! Why does Vrndavana not glorify itself, since the footprints of Sri Krsna are only one of its wonders?”
Lalita-devi replies, “The glory of Vrndavana is ananta, unlimited, and cannot even be described by Lord Sesa with His thousands of mouths. Because even Vrndavana-dhama is unaware of the-extent of its glories, only a portion of its splendor is broadcast through the fame of this earth.”
All acaryas comment that in describing Sri Krsna’s footprints, the gopis refer to Him as Devaki-suta/ the son of Devaki. This is quite unusual, since the entire subject of the verse is the unique glories of Vrndavana, where Sri Krsna is known as the son of mother Yasoda. The following verse of the Brhad-visnu Purana sheds light on this paradox, explaining that Devaki is another name of Yasoda:
dve namni nanda-bharyayd
yasoda devakiti ca atah sakhyam abhut tasya
“The wife of Nanda had two names, Yasoda and also Devaki. Therefore, it was natural that she develop friendship with Devaki, the wife of Sauri (Vasudeva).”
In this way, by using the word devaki-suta, the gopis may be referring to Yasoda by her second name. Alternatively, Sanatana Gosvami opines that the gopis may be speaking of the wife of Vasudeva. It was known to some vraja-vasis, that, at His name-giving ceremony, Garga Muni disclosed Sri Krsna’s identity as the son of Anakadundubhi. The gopis may have acquired complete knowledge of this history through Paurnamasi, and the Devaki they refer to is the wife of Vasudeva, not Yasoda-devi. If this is the case, the word suta implies that Sri Krsna was only “born” from Devaki. Because He did not actually enjoy His childhood with her, the inference is that Sri Krsna is really the son of Yasoda.
Many mysteries surround the nature of Sri Krsna’s appearance which are understood only by the devotees of the Lord. One such subtlety is implied by the dual use of the word devaki-suta, “the son
Vrndavana Glorifies this Earth
of Devaki.” If both Yasoda and Devaki are the mothers of Lord Sri Krsna, then whose son is He? The common answer is that Sri Krsna is the son of both. He is the son of Devaki from whom He took birth in the prison cell of Kaihsa, and He is the son of Yasoda, by whom He was raised in Vrndavana. This answer is satisfactory from the general point of view. A more exact resolution is given by Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas, which takes into account the tattva of Sri Krsna and His expansions.
In Chapter Three, it was explained that Sri Krsna never leaves Vrndavana. It is His Vasudeva expansion who enacts His Mathura and Dvaraka lilas. As evidence of this, Bhagavatam narrates how, at His birth, Devaki saw this very Vasudeva appear before her in His beautiful four-handed form.
Where, then, does svayam bhagavan Sri Krsna appear? This subject matter has been explained by Srila Prabhupada in his purport to verse 10.3.47 of the Bhagavatam. Quoting Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura on the authority of Hari-vamsa, Prabhupada explains that the Supreme Personality of Godhead was born simultaneously from Yasoda and Devaki. The son of Yasoda is Vrajendra-nandana Sri Krsna, the original, primordial Personality of Godhead, and the son of Devaki is His Vasudeva expansion. In reality, then, Sri Krsna appeared to both mothers.
After the pastime of Lord Vasudeva’s birth, by the arrangement of Yogamaya, the chains binding Vasudeva miraculously opened, and the prison guards of Karhsa fell asleep. While a great storm raged, Vasudeva, following the order of Lord Visnu, took his son across the Yamuna to Gokula. In the house of Nanda Maharaja everyone was asleep, unaware that mother Yasoda had given birth to twins. The girl was Yogamaya, the Lord’s pastime potency, and the boy was Sri Krsna, the original Personality of Godhead.
Under the influence of the Lord’s mystic potency, Vasudeva saw only the daughter of Yasoda but not her son. Placing his son beside Yasoda, he took her daughter, unaware that his son had entered into the son of Yasoda, the origin of all incarnations of Godhead.
In this way, there is one Sri Krsna, although He is known as the son of two mothers. This is the understanding of Sri Krsna’s birth and His parental ties.
In addition to the mystery of His birth, Srila Prabhupada points to another mystery in the parental affection of Devaki and Yasoda. Devaki understood that Sri Krsna was the Supreme Visnu, and consequently, her dealings with Him were mixed with awe and reverence. This is called jnanamayi-bhakti, or devotion imbued with knowledge of Sri Krsna’s divinity. On the other hand, mother Yasoda accepted Sri Krsna as her beloved son and was oblivious to His God-hood. Even when Sri Krsna performed superhuman acts, she considered Him only a wonderful child. Her affection was so intense that any glimpse of Sri Krsna’s omnipotence became submerged in its depths. This sentiment of unqualified love is characteristic in all the inhabitants of Vrndavana and is not to be found anywhere else. It is the original form of devotion and the highest stage of attainment, known as kevala-bhakti.
Once again the gopis refer to Sri Krsna playing His flute with the words govinda venum. The name Govinda was given by King Indra following the pastime of lifting Govardhana Hill. It means that He is the king of the cows, gava indra govinda. Because all the demigods reside within the body of the cow, by crowning Sri Krsna as king of the cows, Indra accepted Him as the true king of the demigods.
The gopis call Sri Krsna Govinda. Govinda also indicates that person who presses His flute to His ruby-like lips, who is the crest-jewel of the cowherd boys, surrounded by cows and gopas, engaged in childhood play, and the supreme ornament of Vrndavana. With loving glances from His lotus eyes and the nectar from His tender smile, Sri Krsna gave pleasure to every tree, vine, and creature of Vraja. Therefore, He is known as Govinda!
When Hari sees His cows wandering away, eager to gather them together. He begins to play His flute, calling them by name. “Padme! Hee! Hee! Harini! Rangini! Kanjagandhe! Rambhe! Hee! Hee! Camari! Khanjani! Kajjalaksi! Sande! Hee! Hee! Gange! Kalindi! Vamsi-priye! Syame! Hamsi!”
Deluded by divine love, each cow thought, “Krsna is walking behind me with His friends.” When they heard Sri Krsna’s flute, the cows realized that He was far away and, although they were accustomed to moving slowly because of their full udders, the herd
Vrndavana Glorifies this Earth
immediately began to run. As they hurried towards Govinda, their faces, tails, and ears erect, bunches of grass in their mouths, their ornamented blankets swaying, their beautiful heads moved to and fro.
The cows, headed by Ganga, drank the nectar of Hari’s beauty with their eyes, smelled the fragrance of His form with their noses, and, mooing in great joy, surrounded Him. Overwhelmed by their affection, Sri Krsna caressed His cows with His nectarean hand, saying, “0 mothers! Do not stray too far away while enjoying the sweet grasses of Govardhana Hill. If you do so, I become full of anxiety at your separation and fear for your safety. When drinking the nectarean waters of this area, always stay within My vision; do not wander away.”
Hearing the gentle words of Govinda, the cows all tried to embrace Him with their bodies and lick Him with their tongues. The cowherd boys then carefully separated the cows and continued to herd them towards beautiful Govardhana Hill. When the party of boys and animals passed under the shelter of the grand trees of Vraja, the many bells on the necks and legs of the cows created a beautiful symphony that blended with the harmony of the flute.
Sri Krsna moved along with His friends, singing and playing His flute, waiting by every tree, happily absorbed in play and then moving on again. The autumn forest, eager to serve Sri Krsna, adopted the form of His maidservant. She possessed restless khanjana bird-like eyes, a lotus face, bee-like locks, a white cloud dress, red lotus lips, cooing crane ankle bells, and blue lotus earrings. The autumn was further decorated by red gunja beads, multi-colored peacock feathers, and a carpet of white kesa flowers. The thirsty bees, who always drank nectar, caused the sephali flowers to fall as a puspanjali offering to Govinda.
Krsna played ball and wrestled with His friends, who knew no one else than Him as the object of their love. Challenged by Sridama to fight, Krsna said, “A-re, Srzdaman! Think well before you challenge Me! Do you not remember our last fight, when I almost crushed you with My bolt-like arms? If you desire your own. welfare, immediately withdraw your challenge and seek someone more your rank.”
Sridama, dressed in a yellow dhoti and reddish turban, with a buffalo horn in his hand, said, “Sridama, who is world famous for his strength, has been victorious, is victorious, and will remain victorious. Do You not remember how You were recently obliged to carry me on Your shoulders? At that time. You were soundly thrashed in fighting. Still, You continue to dimmish Your own glory by showing Your pride in the assembly of these noble youths.
“If You want to brag about the host of demons who died in Vraja, think again! You have no reason to be proud of killing them. You did not enter Aghasura’s belly alone, so why take the credit? As for Putana, she was killed by the mantras of the brahmanas. And if You want to raise the incident of Govardhana Hill again, I say, being pleased with our pujd, it went up in the air by itself! Now why be so proud? I know that once my sister defeated You in wrestling! So what kind of great man are You?”
At this, all the cowherd boys began to laugh uproariously. They jumped up and down, slapped their thighs, and poked each other, taunting their beloved Krsna. Balarama made peace among the boys and, seeing they were hungry. He brought them to the bank of Manasi-Gahga. He then made both cows and cowherd boys drink its cool waters, sparkling like crystal, with a taste like nectar. The boys bathed and played, splashing each other, imitating frogs, swimming after fish, and scaring the water birds.
Dhanistha then arrived with her maidservants, carrying many preparations sent by mother Yasoda. Coming on shore, Sri Krsna, surrounded by His friends, sat in a large circle, and He made them eat many preparations cooked in ghee, tasty savories, nectarean mangoes, and sweetened condensed milk with yogurt. When they had eaten beyond their capacity, Sri Krsna and the gopas lay beneath the boughs of a great banyan tree. While Subala massaged His legs, other boys rubbed Sri Krsna’s stomach with affection, saying, “Sakhd, Your dancing earlier was superb. We have never seen anything like that.” The bees and drones hummed, gently lulling Sri Krsna to sleep. In this way He rested.
In His sleep, Sri Krsna dreamt of His meeting with the gopis at Kusuma-sarovara and quarreling over the proprietorship of Sri Vrndavana.
Vrndavana Glorifies this Earth
With the purpose of collecting flowers for the worship of the sun, Sri Radhika and Her sakhis visited the gardens of Kusuma-sarovara. At that time, accompanied by a great cloud of dust, Sri Krsna, along with the gopas and cows, also arrived.
As the gopis picked many flowers from the trees and vines, Sri Krsna, who was dressed in the clothes of a gardener, confronted those peaceful girls with the words, “Aha! Just see the impudence of these gopis who dare to steal flowers in My very presence.”
Sri Radha, not even taking the slightest notice of Sri Krsna, continued in Her work. Captivated by Her neglect and beset with a desire to pick a quarrel, Hari clasped Radhika’s wrist in His strong hand and said, “Hey Cauril How dare You be so impudent, ignoring My presence as You loot My gardens and deprive Vrndavana of its natural decorations!”
Freeing Herself from His powerful grip, Sri Radhika said, “Since when has this garden become Yours, and of what consequence is Vrndavana’s appearance to You?”
Smiling at Her unyielding attitude, Sri Krsna said, “While it is not My habit to advertise My inherited rights, you gopis should know that picking flowers in the gardens of Vrndavana can only be done with the permission of its owner. Since I do not recall having given such license to you beautiful girls, I suggest that you desist from your thievery until the needful has been done.”
At such a challenge, the many moon-faced gopis, dressed in clothing as colorful as their flowers, surrounded Sri Krsna and His few friends. Looking from the corner of Her eyes while picking a campaka flower, Sri Radha said, “How is it that You are under the false impression that Vrndavana is in any way Your property?”
The other gopis laughed as Sri Krsna replied, “There is no need to be offensive while taking advantage of My charitable disposition and high-mindedness. It is an undisputed fact that the
King of Vraja is Nanda Maharaja and, as his only son, I remain the exclusive heir.”
“Ho, ho, ho!” exclaimed Lalita-devi, “Kali-yuga is truly on the way when servants meant to safeguard the property of their master think they have become the true proprietors. It is true that Nanda Maharaja governs Vraja as its sovereign, but it is well known that he acts as a custodian on behalf of the true landlord, Sri Radha. Can anyone dispute such a fact?”
At this, Madhumangala stepped forward and raised the stick in his hand, saying, “The servants of Kali are certainly present when destitute gopis lay claim to this tract of land by the sheer wealth of their audacity. To deny my humble friend, the crowned Prince of Vraja, His administrative rights is nothing short of anarchy.”
Turning to Bhato while purposefully twirling the flower in Her hand, Sri Radhika replied, “Because this forest is maintained by My friend Vrnda, it is known as Vrndavana. After My coronation ceremony, at which all of you were present, she handed this forest to Me as a gift of love. Since then, I have been known as Vrnda-vanesvari. We come here to pick flowers for our worship of the sun-god, and you intrude in others’ private places, calling them your own! Shame, shame, shame!”
Sri Krsna drank the sweet words of moon-faced Radhika like a cakora bird and said, “Madhu, there is no value in such freelance arguments. The scriptures state, satyatve dharstyam eva hi. In the age of Kali, audacity will be synonymous with truth. With a conventional approach we will get nowhere with these emissaries of duplicity.”
At the mention of the word “scripture” those beautiful gopis exploded into an uproarious laughter, which caused lotus-eyed Sri Krsna to smile in His sleep. Lalita said, “Oh, You who are known for Your great adherence to scriptural injunctions! Our ears are incredulous at hearing You even pronounce the sacred words of all-knowing Vyasadeva.”
“Here, here!” said Madhumangala. “Why are you village girls faulting my friend, religion personified and the goal of all the Vedas? Is it that you are unable to substantiate your claim that Sri Radhika is the mistress of this land?”
Vrndavana Glorifies this Earth
At this, Sri Krsna spoke privately to Madhumangala, “Oh, learned brahmana, be careful not to enter the quicksand of fallacious arguments with these false-tongued gopis.”
Wrapping the thumb of his right hand around his brahmana thread, Madhumangala said, “Friend, when You have an advisor such as I, the very embodiment of the Vedas, the knower of all scriptures, and the mouth of Lord Visnu, why do You hesitate in scriptural debate with the housewives of gopas, whose wisdom is in cooking and making cow dung patties?”
Turning to Lalita-devi, Madhu said, “SakhT Lalite, it is well known in sastra that Vrndavana is glorified throughout the three worlds as ‘krsnavana,’ the forest of Sri Krsna. Is there any more conclusive evidence needed to discredit your claim and validate Nanda’s son?” Subala placed His arm about Sri Krsna with confidence, and the other gopas smiled happily amongst each other.
Looking at her sakhi with a mischievous grin, Lalita replied, “With the words ‘radha Vrndavana vane’ the Puranas state very clearly that the forest of Vrndavana is the property of Sri Radhika. Is this not an explicit statement, which removes all doubt and duality?”
As Sri Radha decorated Him with a garland of blue lotus-like glances, Sri Krsna said, “What you say is certainly true, dear Lalita. Now it appears that we have two contradictory statements from sastra. All scholars know that in such circumstances the statements of the sruti, krsnavana, must take precedence over the words of smrti, radha Vrndavana vane, for of the two, the authority of sruti is always preeminent. In this way, the conclusive understanding is established; I am the master of Vrndavana!”
Clapping his hands, Madhumangala jumped about with the words, “Hee, hee, sakha, You have truly humbled those arrogant gopis.”
While her sakhis feigned impartiality, Lalita smiled sweetly and, casting a glance at Radha, said, “What You say is not incorrect, provided the evidence from sruti and smrti are of equal weight. In this case, the weakness of Your argument is evident. Please note how the word krsna in the compound krsnavana, has no reference to Your good self. It is an adjective of the forest of
Vrndavana indicating darkness caused by the proximity of the trees and the deep color of the foliage.
“However, the statement of the Puranas, radha Vrndavana vane, is clear, unambiguous, and non-contentious.” Smiling demurely at a stunned Sri Krsna and Bhato, Lalita said/ “As learned brahmanas, you all know that the Puranas are the appendix to the Vedas. They are meant to clarify any ambiguity in their statements. Taking all things into consideration, if we view the two quotes in relation to each other, the final conclusion must be this. The Puranic statement clarifies that the dark forest of Vrndavana, which is the residence of many secret places, is the property of Sri Radha.”
All the gopis applauded the words of wise Lalita, who simply beamed with the innocence of true realization. Taking the hand of her Radha, she placed it to her forehead as a sign of submission. Madhumahgala whispered to Krsna, “Dear friend, now it is You who have become stuck in the mire of these gopis’ clever words. I will attend to my midday duties and shall be back later.”
Restraining His friend, Sri Krsna continued to expound on the grammatical meaning of the phrase krsnavana. Like a black deer fallen into quicksand. He became trapped as a consequence of His own statements. Repeatedly whipped by the irrefutable wisdom of Lalita-devi, taunted by the laughter of the gopis, mocked by the glance of Sri Radha, Hart’s embarrassment became intolerable. Unable to find any means of escape, Sri Krsna took the only accessible salvation and awoke from His dream.
Opening His lotus eyes and stretching His arms, Krsna smiled at Subala, who was still sitting by His feet. To revive His friends sleeping nearby and to call the cows grazing at a distance. He began to play His flute. When Krsna blew the nectar of His lips into the flute, a melodious raga with a slow rhythm and deep base notes emerged from its end. Sounding like the mystifying mantra of rumbling clouds, this wonderful vibration enchanted the peacocks
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on and around Govardhana Hill. Enthused by its sound, their hearts began to sing in happiness. They raised their legs, fanned their tails, and arched their necks, filling the sky with their own song. This parama-mohana mantra, the resonant vibration of the flute, then drew all the peacocks and peahens to the side of Govardhana Hill, encouraging them to enter into their pastime of dance.
Sri Krsna, who is known as Kalanidhi, the source of all dramatic arts, became very pleased with the dancing of the peacocks. Sailing into their midst like a wonderful cloud. He encouraged them by His kind glances and sweet smiling.
Sri Krsna is just like a blue cloud, and the sound of the flute is like the rumbling of thunder. When ordinary clouds resound, special feelings arise in peacocks, but Syamasundara is no ordinary cloud. He is a megha-visesa, a very special cloud. Also, the sound of the venu is no ordinary thunderclap; it produces a very special rumbling, like gargita, gargita. When the peacocks see this special cloud and when they hear its special thunder, their ecstasy surpasses any earthly experience and, intoxicated by love, they dance with their wives in a very, very special way.
The peacocks lifted their legs rhythmically, moving forward and backward, their heads bobbing up and down, tears of ecstasy rolling from their eyes. Expanding their tails to reveal multiple rainbows, they vibrated their feathers with ever-increasing speed until they finally stopped/and then began once again slowly, then fast, and then faster.
Every time they stopped, the peacocks called out ke ka, ke ka, ke ka, their voices echoing through the valleys from Radha-kunda to Punchari. As the holy name circles the globe when chanted, the kirtana of the peacocks bound Govardhana Hill like a firebrand of spiritual sound. In time, it became impossible to distinguish their cries from the echoes they produced, and the combined vibration became tumultuous. Experiencing this wonderful medley of sound, the excitement of the peacocks reached a pitch, and they repeatedly jumped up and down, their wings flapping, their feathers quivering, their necks arched, and their heads swiveling from side to side. Encouraged by the ecstasy of their husbands, the peahens looked
from side to side, rotated clockwise, then counterclockwise, all the while expanding their dark tails like demure fans of delight.
While this extraordinary dancing of fowl took place, the great king of peacocks, swaying under the influence of kirtana-rasa, made his way to Govinda’s lotus feet, the tears from his eyes muddying the earth. He first touched his beak to Sri Krsna’s lotus feet and then raised his neck to the sky, calling out in ecstasy, ke ka,keka\ Sri Krsna, who knows the language of all animals, accepted the king’s request, who prayed, “Dear Govinda, please dance here with us. Please play Your flute and make us dance, that we may glorify Your unlimited pastimes and qualities.”
Without removing the flute from His lips, Sri Krsna cast a love-laden glance at the king of peacocks, causing him to stagger under the weight of its tenderness. All the peacocks and peahens then gathered in a large clearing, with Sri Krsna purposefully moving in i their midst like the royal guest of honor. Once in the center of that congregation, Sri Krsna began to dance like the peacocks, increasing the tempo of His flute playing to the rhythm of His steps. Moving His neck as they do, Sri Hari arched His back and projected His posterior to the delight of all. With stiff erratic movements. His eyes roving from side to side, ornaments and garlands swaying, Sri Krsna appeared like the presiding deity of peacocks teaching His descendants their own heritage.
By residing in Vrndavana the happiness of the peacocks surpasses the ecstasies conceived of by great yogis. When Sri Krsna began to play His flute, the bliss of the peacocks doubled, and when He accepted their invitation to dance, it doubled again. But when Sri Krsna actually began to dance among them, playing His flute and smiling, their mayura-matta reached its peak, and some fainted to the ground, overwhelmed and senseless. In this way the peacocks danced to the songs of the flute, moving to the moods Sri Krsna manifest through His eternal emissary.
Although time had stopped, each second competing with the next for extended darsana of this scene, in the course of events the dancing of the peacocks became unprecedented. The dancing became so extraordinary, so rasika, that under the influence of Sri Krsna’s internal potency a miraculous event took place. The flute
in Sri Krsna’s hands, seeing the uncommon performance of its master and the peacocks, began to sing of its own accord. Sanatana Gosvami says, govindasya venu tad vadanami! This exceptional development greatly surprised even Sri Krsna, who watched as, without His effort, the flute played in response to the dancing of the birds.
The general practice of the flute is to respond to the soft touch of Sri Krsna’s lips and the lithesome movement of His petal-like fingers. Now, without His camphor-like breath or any manual effort, the flute sang of its own volition. Its wind was the call of the peacocks, and its preferred melody a response to their great bhava. While Sri Krsna held the flute in His left hand His eyebrows arched in wonder, and He danced even more dexterously, in awe of the self-manifesting song of His venu.
Charmed by the dancing and music, a great audience assembled to witness this inconceivable performance. The boys and cows stood transfixed in the meadow, surrounding the assemblage of peacocks that had Sri Krsna as its center. The various animals and birds along the slopes of Govardhana Hill stopped their eating, drinking, and play and, without further movement, fixed their eyes on the scene below.
Those animals who regularly sit on the mountain peaks, anxious to receive Sri Krsna’s darsana, the blessing of His smile, or the shower of His glance, were overjoyed to fulfill their desires. To be closer to Govinda they inched forward on their seats, almost on the verge of falling into the picture below. By the arrangement of Yogamaya they continued to remain secure, although the laws of nature underwent some adjustment to achieve that end.
Other black deer, rabbits, snakes, pigeons, and birds also joined them, attracted by the kirtana of the peacocks and the vibration of the flute. They all tasted the singing and dancing in the valley, experiencing great ananda at the scene below.
The peaks of Govardhana, which number hundred-one in all, were crowded with animals, birds, snakes, and even insects. Although some were very distant, by the will of Sri Krsna all spectators witnessed the performance as if it were right before them. The peaks of Govardhana Hill are known to be extremely
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beautiful, and Jiva Gosvami says they are darsaniyani, worth taking darsana of, being non-different than Sri Krsna. For this reason, Adridharana says, sailo’ smi: “\ am that hill!” Now, with the added decoration of many animals like multicolored ornaments, themselves decorated with symptoms of ecstasy, the peaks of Giriraja reached an unprecedented splendor.
The many animals on the summit of Govardhana Hill were greatly influenced by the spectacle before them. The added effect of their divine asanas, comprised of the rocks, grass, and soil of Govardhana, who also felt insuperable ecstasy, first caused them to become inactive, then motionless, and finally, stunned. Other than watching with unblinking eyes, they became incapable of any movement. Many of these animals had seen Sri Krsna here in times past. Now, overcome by the fortune of seeing Him again, blissful to witness this performance, they thought, “Aho ati ramyam asi: How pleasing is this place of meeting!”
As their life airs contacted the earth element, the sattvika-bhava of rigidity, stabdha, progressively manifested in the creatures’ limbs. By seeing the dancing of the maddened peacocks, hearing the enchanting melody of the flute, and seeing Sri Krsna’s parama sundara, unparalleled beauty, the animals were overwhelmed with ecstasy. Because of their bhagavan avesa, complete absorption in Sri Krsna/ the animals of Vraja attained a perfection unknown to the greatest of yogis.
Hearing the vibration of the flute and observing the dancing of the peacocks, the animals of Govardhana were stunned, all Vrndavana was immobile, and all living entities from Patala to Vaikuntha ceased to move.
Seen from the top of Govardhana Hill or seen from Vaikuntha, the setting was extraordinarily enchanting. The great meadow, which was the dancing stage of the peacocks, was an emerald amulet in which were set the vaidurya gems of the peacocks, surrounding a sapphire Sri Krsna set in the gold of His silken dhoti. The cows were the snow-white pearls at its edge, the turbans of the cowherd boys a coral and ruby inlay, and the ring of trees a jade trim. Although this amulet was stationary, its gems moved individually, and while its shape was fixed, it always changed.
As the protective amulet of Vrndavana, this charm eternally guards its inhabitants from the rising fever of separation from Govinda. ‘ Late morning gave way to midday, and fatigue overcame the peacocks. Taking their place among the audience, they watched spellbound as Nataraja Sri Krsna continued to dance. His flute vibrating spontaneously in His hand. His lotus eyes closed, immersed in His own ecstasies. The Supreme Lord of dance, absorbed in some incomprehensible mood, danced here and there, as a lone cloud moves in the sky.
After the echoes of the kirtana abated, a mystical silence surrounded the sound of the flute, the jingling of His ankle bells, and the low tatham tatham of Sri Krsna’s foot-taps. There was no singing of birds, no lowing of cows, and no movement in the trees. The bees stopped humming, the Yamuna stopped flowing, and all other pastoral sounds ceased. The land of wonder that is Vrndavana became entranced as its master, Sri Krsna, danced alone to the rhythm of His own footsteps.
Intoxicated by His ecstasy, the flute in Sri Krsna’s lotus hand sang of its own accord. Exhilarated by that transcendental vibration, Govinda rose and sank in the waves of its many bhavas. As His lotus feet tapped the ground, the flute changed its pitch; as His ankle bells jingled, jham jham, the flute resonated with the vibration; as His limbs expressed His ecstasy, the inflected notes raised His moods of love. Whether Sri Krsna danced to the sound of the venu or the venu played to His dancing was a mystery, indiscernible to anyone. Even Sri Baladeva, the knower of everything, judged their competition a tie.
The turban on Sri Krsna’s head was askew, its decorations in full disarray. His garland and ornaments, like battlefield booty, beautified the meadow with their splendor. Golden dust powdered His hair, and drops of perspiration, like diamonds, shimmered on His sapphire form. Sri Hari’s extraordinary beauty, like an ever-delightful nectarean beverage, was being constantly drunk by the eyes of the gopas, cows, and forest animals. As He was unable to stop dancing, so they were unable to cease their meditation on Him. His inconceivable form of grace. His artistic movements of aesthetic delight, and the flute’s song of enigmatic bliss enchanted His associates like a hypnotic charm.
Vrndavana Glorifies this Earth
Days of Brahma passed in the twinkling of an eye until Haladhara, like a majestic white cloud, approached His younger brother, tenderly embracing Him in His arms. Slowly, Sri Krsna’s external consciousness returned and, opening His lotus eyes. He gradually looked around Him. As if with one body. His happy friends, the cows and creatures in valleys or on peaks, either near or far away, whether large or small, all held their breath. Then, a radiant smile formed on His bimba lips, and for each and every entity it was as if Sri Krsna looked into their eyes and smiled only at them. Once again, as if with one body, sharing one universal breath, they all sighed in happiness. The breeze produced of that exhalation rolled out over the pastures of Vraja like a camphor-scented wind-stream of ecstasy.
Some servant boys helped Balarama wipe the dust from Krsna’s limbs, changed His clothing, and renewed His decoration. Then, standing like the moon surrounded by its luminaries, Govinda once again shone in the reflected love of His friends and cows. At that time the king of peacocks, surrounded by his ministers and entourage, approached Lord Hari in a mood of great humility. Bowing low to the ground, they said, “Dear Krsna, we are lowly creatures of the forest and, having no possessions, we live in the trees and eat whatever flowers and herbs are available in season. In making us dance. You have created a great festival of bliss, for which we remain eternally in Your debt. Despite our poverty, it is our duty to offer You daksina, failing to do which we would appear ungrateful and lose our reputation. Therefore, I request You to accept our only opulence, the feathers of our plumage, and wear them in Your crown as its decoration.” With large tears of ecstasy flowing down his beak, that leader of peacocks dropped many divine feathers of an extraordinary hue at Govinda’s lotus feet.
Men of this world graciously accept gifts as a token of love. Similarly, Sri Krsna agreeably received the offerings of the peacocks and, while gathering their feathers. He fondly caressed their heads, To everyone’s great joy. He placed a few feathers in His turban and, while holding the rest in His hand. He turned to His friends, who embraced Him with love and affection.
Concluding her description to Srimati Radharani, Lalita said, “Devi! What the glories of this earth are I cannot say! Know it for
certain, neither in Vaikuntha nor the residence of the devas, neither in the earthly planets nor the heavens below is such a mayura-nrtya to the accompaniment of the flute ever seen! Where else are lower creatures stunned by the vibration of the flute, where else do they exhibit symptoms of ecstasy, and where is Govinda’s unsurpassable beauty freely available in a festival of song and dance? These things are possible only in Vrndavana. And because Vrndavana is now present on this earth, its glories are extensively sung in the assemblies of SarasvatI, Parvati and Laksmi-devi.”
Visakha, wearing a sari decorated with stars and the very replica of Srimati Radharani, expressed her heart: “Sakhis! We should immediately go to the foot of Govardhana Hill and see this wonderful performance. Why should our eyes be deprived of this cascade of nectar, rarely if ever seen, now flowing nearby?”
Citra adjusted her blue cloth as if preparing to go, and said, “Well said, Visakhe! If the inhabitants of the three worlds have no access to this festival of delight, why do we, who have taken birth on this planet, sit idly, bereft of our own natural resource, Sri Hari?”
Tungavidya-devi, well learned in the arts and sciences, then spoke. “Govinda-venum anu can also be read to mean gauinda venu manu. This newer meaning establishes the flute as the guru of mankind in the religious principles known as manu-dharma. On the authority of such an acclaimed superior, we have completely renounced our families and good behavior to perfect religious practices. Can there be any defect on our part for following the direction of a universally acclaimed authority. Lord Manu? Certainly not! Therefore, why hesitate a moment longer, fearing the criticism of others? We should immediately follow the directions of the flute and see the dancing of Govinda and the peacocks.”
The twins, Indulekha and Rarigadevi, spoke together: “The Vedic aphorism is na dasa manura bravit: The sayings of Manu can never be faulty.’ Consequently, as adherents of dharma, we are perfectly within our rights to follow his order and proceed to the place of the dancing peacocks. Let us be off!”
Campakalata, who was stringing a garland of flowers, stood up and said, “The gopas, cows, animals, birds, and even insects are
Vrndavana Glorifies this Earth
seeing this spectacle of delight by the slopes of Govardhana Hill. If all the creatures of Vrndavana freely attend such a performance, why are we barred entry? Although we, too, have taken birth in Vraja, how is it we have become so unfortunate?” Looking to the dejected faces of her friends, her hands held out before her, she asks, “What have we done wrong? Sakhis, what is our sin?”
Feeling the emotion of her despondency, the gopis expressed their common sorrow. “Is there any limit to the extent of our misfortune? Does our misery know the limit of its shores?”
Lalita-devi was alert to the onslaught of unfavorable emotions which would overwhelm the gopis’ minds. Aware that hopelessness and restraint were arrayed to plunder the happiness of hearing Govinda’s peacock lila, she diverted the gopis’ attention to another nectarean pastime.
“Sakhis! We must certainly go there without delay to fill our eyes with the sight of Govinda’s dancing and our ears with the kirtana of the peacocks. I have not heard of such a performance since Gandharva and Giridhari, in the dress of peacocks, danced on a peak of Mount Varsana.”
Always absorbed in the loving service of the Divine Couple, the gopis immediately turned in the direction of their jyesta-sakhi and spoke with one voice. “Lalite, what is that dancing of Radhika and Govinda as peacocks?”
Citra-devi said, “Have you been withholding some secrets from your intimate friends? Please immediately tell us of this extraordinary pastime of Radhika in the guise of a peacock!”
Although the gopis were anxious to witness Sri Hari’s peacock dance and satisfy the yearning of their eyes, when the promise of a novel pastime was poured into their ears, their minds again became tranquil. Taking her seat in their midst, Lalita-sundari narrated how Sri Krsna and Radha once danced as intoxicated. peacocks. Sitting beside Her dear friend, Srimati Radharani listened to the past encounter with Her prana-natha and thus completely forgot Her distress of separation. With closed eyes. She drank the kathamrta from Lalita and envisaged that She was with;
Sri Govinda once again.
In establishing the transcendental nature of Vrndavana-dhama,
Srila Sanatana Gosvami concludes his commentary with a detailed study of the phrase avaratanya-samasta-sattvam. It is an adjective of the word Vrndavana.
The word avarata indicates that the modes of material nature, tamas, rajas, and sattva, have no residence in Vrndavana, and only the transcendental potency of visuddha-sattva remains. This is the meaning of the word sattvam.
In support of this argument, he quotes Snmad-Bhagavatam, verse 10.35.9, which states:
vana-latas tarava atmani visnum
vyanjayantya iva puspa-phaladhyah pranata-bhara-vitapa madhu-dharah
prema-hrsta-tanavo vavrsuh sma
“The trees and creepers in the forest respond by becoming so luxuriant with fruits and flowers that they seem to be manifesting Lord Visnu within their hearts. As their branches bend low with the weight, the filaments on their trunks and vines stand erect out of the ecstasy of love of God, and both the trees and the creepers pour down a rain of sweet sap.”
Sanatana Gosvami says, “Since the plants, trees, and forest creepers of Vrndavana, generally in the mode of ignorance in any other place, are possessed of prema and experience a rise of sattvika-bhava, then prema must be the dominant feature of Vraja. Prema is manifest from visuddha-sattva, and it is the unalloyed spiritual energy which governs the atmosphere of Vrndavana.”
Then he quotes another verse (Bhag. 2.9.10):
pravartate yatra rajas tamas tayoh
sattvam ca misram na ca kala-vikramah na yatra maya kirn utapare barer
anuvrata yatra surasurarcitah
“In that personal abode of the Lord, the material modes of ignorance and passion do not prevail, nor is there any of their influence in goodness. There is no predominance of the influence of time, so
Vrndavana Glorifies this Earth
what to speak of the illusory, external energy; it cannot enter that region. Without discrimination, both the demigods and the demons worship the Lord as devotees.”
He explains that on all planets within this material realm, the modes of passion and ignorance contaminate the mode of goodness, and pure goodness cannot be found. However, Bhauma-Vrndavana is in the transcendental position, free from the influence of maya, and is the domain of the sat-cit-ananda. (All this he has explained in his book, Brhad-Bhagavatamrtam).
Srila Sanatana Gosvami says, “By the grace of Sri Vrndavana-dhama, one may attain shelter from the material modes of nature and achieve spiritual perfection on this planet.” In this way, the exclusive glories of the earth, owing to the presence of Vrndavana-dhama, its prince regent, and His associates, are known throughout the creation.
During the time of Aurangzeb, when the descendant of the great Akbar imprisoned his father Shahjahan and killed his brother Dara, the fate of Mogul rule entered it final stages. By decree of the tyrant of Delhi, all Hindus were taxed for their beliefs. The once tolerant Muslim tradition turned against the brahminical class, persecuted Vaisnavas, and desecrated many great temples in envy of their grandeur.
Under the protection of the Delhi Sultanate, the tax collector of Agra was an aggressive and ambitious servant of the throne. Having abandoned his Vaisnava upbringing, he indulged in the sinful activities bom of an opulent life at court. To fulfill the avaricious desires of his masters, he never hesitated to persecute the innocent.
As a consequence of the devotional acts performed in his youth, however, while on a tour of his region the collector had an opportunity to gain association of some Radha-kunda Vaisnavas. As followers of the great Krsnadasa Kaviraja, those pure devotees
prevailed upon him to revive his past practices in line with Lord Caitanya’s teachings.
Very quickly, the life of a sense enjoyer became intolerable to that soul. Recalling the example of Sanatana Gosvami, one dark moon night he left his palace, family, opulence, and royal service. Following the path by the Yamuna, he made his way to Vrndavana with a desire to follow the life of a sadhu and reside in the holy dhama until the end.
Initiated as Vaisnava dasanudasa, he now sits by the bank of the Yamuna at Kaliya-hrda. Beside the samadhi of Prabhodananda Sarasvati Thakura, associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, contemporary of the Gosvamis, and author of many great books, Vaisnava dasanudasa reads verses from Sri Vrnddvana-mahimamrta:
“0 my dear friend, think of Vrndavana with love, roll in its dust without reservation, love it ardently as you have never loved anything before, please its moving and non-moving residents in some way, worship Sri Radha’s birthplace, and, with all your heart, take shelter of Sri Vrndavana, the best of all holy places.
“By your past pious or impious deeds you may now experience great happiness or distress; you may know fame or infamy; the lowest of persons may insult you or saintly devotees praise you;
poverty or opulence may embrace you, and thus you may obtain great riches or not obtain anything at all. Whatever your fate may be, just make Vrndavana your life and soul.”
Realizing the futility of material life and the exquisite shelter afforded by Vmdavana-dhama, Vaisnava dasanudasa, lamenting his many sinful acts, turns to the surrounding foliage of blossoming vines and trees and addresses them:
“Where does the common man automatically and effortlessly obtain pure ecstatic love for Sri Krsna? Where does the Supreme Lord manifest His supremely wonderful pastime form? Where is the empire of the bliss of devotional service to Sri Krsna’s lotus feet manifest? 0 brother, listen as I tell you a secret; all this is present here in Vrndavana.
“That wise devotee who yearns to attain the sweetness of pure love in Vrndavana but by destiny is forced to live elsewhere constantly laments separation from that divine abode, beautified
Vrndavana Glorifies this Earth
with splendid groves where Radha and Krsna eternally enjoy Their pastimes, and always remembering Vrndavana, He meditates on gaining entrance there, thinking, ‘Now I am serving the Divine Couple.’
“0 dear friend, do you know for how long you will live or when you are destined to leave this body? Considering that even infants die unexpectedly, with purified intelligence, without attachment to the body and senses, and without stopping to think, run to Vrndavana.”
Feeling greatly apprehensive about achieving the pure love for which he hankers, a love rarely obtained by Brahma or Siva and certainly inaccessible to sinners like himself, Vaisnava dasanudasa takes a blade of straw between his teeth, folds his hands to his heart, and prays:
“I have fallen into the blind well of household-life and been devoured by the black snake of lust. 0 abode of Vrndavana, when will you lift me out of this well of suffering and, like a mother, give me shelter on your lap?
“0 Vrndavana, if I have even only once seen you, if I have even only once called out the holy names of Radha-Krsna, or if I have even only once bowed before you with devotion, then please, 0 my mother, do not ignore me.”
When a lingering thought to regain his former prestige enters his mind, without hesitation he casts it aside. Remembering the comforting guidance of his Gurudeva, the constant support of the Vaisnava, and the promise of the Lord, he says:
“I would rather reside in Vrndavana even as an insect than reside in any other place as a liberated soul with a blissful spiritual body. I would rather reside in Vrndavana as a poverty-stricken beggar than reside in any other place possessing wonderful, endless wealth. I would rather reside in Vrndavana as a person devoid of the slightest trace of devotion to Lord Hari than reside in any other place, overwhelmed with the desire to attain the happiness of serving the lotus feet of Lord Krsna, the lover of the gopis.
“A person absorbed in the most wicked sordid deeds who once bows down to offer respect to a blade of grass in Vrndavana at once becomes a very pious person. At the end of his body, by the
mercy of the Supreme Lord who has all power to free him from the bonds of karma, he certainly attains the otherwise unattainable lotus feet of Lord Krsna.”
Feeling relief from the pangs of his conscience, the demand^ of his mind, and the habits of his senses, taking the cool dust of the dhama between his palms and knowing it to be eintamani, he whispers:
“With great devotion I bow down before the most fortunate living entity who has become an insect in Vrndavana. The demigods, headed by Brahma, who live in other places, I do not consider as important as a blade of grass. What more need I say? My mind is made up. Outside of Vrndavana, even Lord Krsna does not appear in His full, complete form.
“One moment it is autumn, another moment it is monsoon, another moment it is spring, and in another moment it is another season. Glistening with splendid nectar at every moment, the land of Vrndavana continually fills Sri Radha-Krsna with great wonder. Please meditate on Vrndavana in this way.
“Anyone who only once smells a flower from Vrndavana, feels the breeze from Vrndavana, sees a person from Vrndavana, somehow bows down in the direction of Vrndavana, or once utters the auspicious name of Vrndavana, even if he dies in Bihar or some place distant from Vrndavana, he will attain at once the transcendental abode glorified by the greatest of sages.”
As the taste for material enjoyments fades in the shadow of ever-increasing attraction for the service of Sri Krsna, which is the result of service to guru, Vaisnavas, and the dhama, Vaisnava dasanudasa now says with great conviction:
“If you drink the sweetest nectar up to your neck, then what is that? If you embrace the breasts of Urvasi, then what is that? If you taste the nectarean bliss of impersonal Brahman, then what is that? The blades of grass in Vrndavana reject all these things and spit on them.”
Then, hankering like a true sadhaka, his heart yearning for the nectar of devotion, his mind filled with the vision of Vraja’s pastimes, his heart fixed on the mercy of Vrndavana-dhama, waiting for some great mercy that will surely come, if not today,
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perhaps tomorrow—certainly some time—the servant of the servant of the Vaisnavas sighs and speaks with a voice choked with emotion.
“When in Vrndavana will I, resting my cheeks on my hands, lamenting, ‘Oh, Krsna! Oh, Krsna!’ with my eyes streaming tears, become simultaneously poverty stricken and fabulously wealthy?
“Vrndavana, where the splendid mountain caves, beautiful forest groves, lakes full of lotus flowers and cottages of flowering vines forever beautified by Radha and Krsna’s pastimes, flooded with a nectarean stream of auspiciousness and decorated with a great treasure of transcendental opulence eternally increasing without limit, is my life and soul.”
Vaisnava dasanudasa continued his glorification of Vrndavana-dhama. In due course of time, his sadhana achieved perfection and became another blossoming flower to decorate the wonderful desire tree of the Gaudiya sampraddya. The fragrance of that flower spread its aroma throughout the groves and pastures of Vraja and became a source of great pleasure for Sri Krsna and His associates. One day, while playing His flute in the association of the gopis, His mind became attracted by the honey drops of ecstasy that flowed from His devotee’s lotus eyes. Appearing before Vaisnava dasanudasa with Sri Radha, Govinda manifest His full potencies before his very eyes and bestowed that love by which all traces of past sins were cleansed from His devotee’s heart. Not long after that vision, unable to bear the separation from his Lord, Vaisnava dasanudasa departed for the prakata-lila of Sri Krsna. Now only a small shrine remains in his memory, near Kaliya-hrda, by the banks of the Yamuna where the waves of the river eternally sing the glories of vraja-lild.
This concludes the sixth chapter of The Song of the Flute, by a very insignificant disciple of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, wherein the madhya-gopis, headed by Sri Radhika, hearfrom Lalitaji how Vrndavana-dhama glorifies this otherwise unfortunate earth by exhibiting extraordinary opulence unheard of in Svarga or Vaikuntha, which are the imprints of Govinda’s lotus feet and the dancing of peacocks intoxicated by the vibration of the flute, which inevitably caused Sri Krsna to dance as well and then danced itself in His lotus hands, while all the gopas, cows, and creatures of Vraja looked on from Govardhana Hill, forming a great arena of bliss, causing its spectators to be stunned in ecstasy as Govinda continued to dance on and on, while the gopis prepared to run there to witness that spectacle, the suitable dharma for mankind, but were restrained by the script of their Ilia, in that truly wonderful and indescribably beautiful land of Vrndavana, the abode of all bliss, which is constituted of visuddha-sattva, the divine potency all Vaisnavas long to obtain.