Venu Gita 8


gävaç ca kåñëa-mukha-nirgata-veëu-géta

péyüñam uttabhita-karëa-puöaiù pibantyaù

çäväù snuta-stana-payaù-kavaläù sma tasthur

govindam ätmani dåçäçru-kaläù spåçantyaù


Using their upraised ears as vessels, the cows are drinking the nectar of the flute-song flowing out of Kåñëa’s mouth. The calves, their mouths full of milk from their mothers’ moist nipples, stand still as they take Govinda within themselves through their tear-filled eyes and embrace Him within their hearts. (SB 10.21.13)





The Cows and Calves Embrace Krsna

in Their Hearts


AIthough the verses of Venu-gita are spoken by different groups of gopis in diverse parts of Vraja, all commentators agree there is a consistency in their statements. Srila Jiva Gosvami groups verses 11 and 12, and Sri Sanatana Gosvami groups verses 13 to 16. The following chapters shall follow the same procedure and describe verses 13 to 16.

In the previous verse, beginning with the words krsnam ninksya vanUotsava-rupa-silam, the devis had achieved great ecstasy by seeing Sri Krsna. The following verses describe the cows, birds, rivers, and clouds of Vrndavana who also enjoy ecstatic transfor­mations through intimacy with Him and His flute. The cows do not see Krsna, but achieve bliss by hearing the flute; the birds cannot match the peacocks’ love, but resemble great sages; and both the clouds and rivers are inanimate things. By their lesser encounter, these four are at a greater distance from Sri Krsna than the peacocks, deer, or devis. It is this common distance from

Govinda by which they are collectively classified in the following chapters.

In categorizing verses 13 to 16, Sanatana Gosvami refers to the principle of varnasya nyunatva, or “that which has been spoken after is lesser by degree of comparison.” This means that each successive statement expresses a condition inferior to its predeces­sor. For example, after describing the demigoddesses, it may appear that nothing inferior can be described, nanyunatvam sambhavet. However, as the cows are subordinate to humans, they are natu­rally in a junior position.

According to the vision of the gopis, both sentient and non-sentient things enjoy a relationship with Sri Krsna, the master of Vrndavana. This is the repeating theme of Venu-gita. What the gopis describe is the reality they see, and that reality is a consequence of the intensity of their love.

A bird may sing in a tree with no intent other than singing, as birds are wont to do. When the gopis see this, they think the bird is glorifying their dear friend. While grazing on the soft grasses, if a cow moves towards Govinda, the gopis will take it that she is offer­ing her obeisances. These are examples of the uttama-adhikari gopis, whose perception is molded primarily by their bhava, which may or may not conform to the conditions of an external reality.

A sadhaka may experience difficulty in resolving the apparently contradictory intuition of the gopis. How can both their love-bound vision and a generally perceived reality be authentic? Although the gopis live in the transcendental realm of the inconceivable and their words are factual according to their cognition, for the untrained , practitioner they may appear as imagination.

Certainly the gopis’ plane of transcendence is not accessible by mere intellectual endeavor. However, it can be known through the teachings of the deary as. In commenting on the Bhagavad-gita sloka beginning with yo math pasyati sarvatra, Srila Prabhupada writes, “A person in Krsna consciousness certainly sees Lord Krsna every­where, and he sees everything in Krsna. Such a person may appear’ to see all separate manifestations of the material nature, but in each and every instance he is conscious of Krsna, knowing that every­thing is a manifestation of Krsna’s energy.”



The Cows and Calves Embrace Krsna


By dint of their loving vision, the gopis see all things in relation­ship with Sri Krsna. Because they covet the desire to serve Him, for the gopis seeing everything in relationship to Hari means seeing all other beings serving Him. The further they are from Sri Krsna, the greater their yearning to be with Him. That great desire, combined with their unparalleled love, manifests a vision in which their aspirations are projected upon the activities of everything they see. In this way, the vraja-gopis live in a reality of their own, a reality colored by their love.

Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura also explains this phenom­enon in his Raga-vartma-candrika through the description of the prakata-dhama and its diverse appearance to the sadhaka and siddha.

First it should be considered that the soil, stones, and trees of celestial Vrndavana are fully conscious and possess an eternal relationship with Hari. However, such relationships are expressed through an exchange of pure love and can only be perceived by devotees whose eyes are similarly anointed. This is the eligibility of the gopis.

We may further consider that the description of Srimad-Bhagavatam is of Bhauma-Vrndavana, which incorporates the features of the spiritual realm projected onto the canvas of the material energy. In this way, the eternal associates of the Lord, sadhakas, and non-devotees are simultaneously coexistent, as are the mundane and spiritual realms. What appears as reality to the sadhaka is different from the reality of the siddha.

Because the gopis possess the qualification of unalloyed love, their descriptions are a factual narration of interaction on the supernatural plane. Conversely, what a sadhaka or even non-devotee perceives in visiting Vraja is factual from their limited mundane viewpoint. Thus, in Vrndavana two realities of an appar­ently contradictory nature coexist. According to the consciousness of the observer, a corresponding vision will manifest.

Thus, the description of the gopis is what takes place beyond the range of mundane sensory perception. Although such lila is invisible to a practitioner, it should be revered as authentic. In this way, the all-perfect words of Sukadeva Gosvami, free of any contra­diction or defect, now describe the cows and their calves. He says,


gavas ca krsna-mukha-nirgata-venu-gita

piyusam uttabhita-kama-putaih pibantyah

savah snuta-stana-payah-kavalah sma tasthur

govindam dtmani drsasru-kalah sprsantyah

“Using their upraised ears as vessels, the cows are drinking the nectar of the flute-song flowing out of Krsna’s mouth. The calves, their mouths full of milk from their mothers’ moist nipples, stand still as they take Govinda within themselves through their tear-filled eyes and embrace Him within their hearts.” (Bhag. 10.21.13)

For the vraja-vasis the cows are their sole means of livelihood. From his 900,000 cows Nanda Maharaja obtains an unlimited ocean of milk, which provides his clan with their staple foodstuffs and the prime commodity for barter. In this way, the gopas have become incomparably rich, their opulence dwarfing the heavenly kingdom of Indra.


Sri Krsna’s pastime of herding cows is His eternal sport. Daily He indulges in play with His friends, kills the occasional demon, and meets the gopis in a secluded place. Although the details of his amusements vary, in principle they are ever recurring and follow a transcendental routine.

After rising in the early morning, lotus-eyed Sri Krsna will be attended to by His servants who perform their scheduled services, like washing His lotus face. While mother Yasoda fusses over Him, a mustached cowherd man enters the room and says, “0 Govinda, protector of the cows! 0 Pasupati Hari! The most qualified of cow-herders fail to milk our restless cows, and the calves will not drink a drop of milk due to their sorrow. Your mothers are looking down the road with tear-filled eyes, licking their calves and filling the directions with their mooing. Restless and unhappy, they are unable to tolerate another moment without You. Just hear their pitiful cries!”



The Cows and Calves Embrace Krsna

Sri Krsna immediately jumps to His feet. His camphor-like smile indicating His own happiness. Accompanied by Balarama and Madhumangala, Gopala hastens down the gold-paved road, the ankle bells on His feet jingling sweetly. His intoxicating fragrance pervading all directions.

As He approaches the vicinity of the gosala, the anxiuos cows, aware of His arrival, low with exuberance, stamping their hooves and shaking their heads. When He enters the barn along with Balarama the curious demigods see Govinda like a black bee among white lotus flowers, and Haladhara like an Airavata elephant among the great boulders of Kailasa. Their faces turned upward, the cows low in chorus at His appearance, and Govinda returns their show of love with His transcendental smile. Each cow perceives Sri Krsna to be looking at her alone, and at whatever distance they stand, each feels Him to be by her side. Moving their rear legs, the mothers eagerly desire Sri Krsna to milk them, scratch their heads, or speak some affectionate words. Until they have this morning darsana, the cows of Vraja will not be milked nor feed their hungry calves. So great is their love for Govinda!

Although the cows live in opulence excelling that of the greatest of demigods, without the comforting presence of Sri Krsna they see their palatial barns as drab and void. While their comfortable residential quarters have walls of crystal, roofs fashioned from jewels, roof-beams hewn from emerald, tall pillars cast in gold, and many cornices carved of ruby, their greatest opulence is the loving glance of Gopala. With His regular patronage and the tender care of Nanda’s cowherd-men, the cows and calves live there in great happiness.

Surrounding the barns are innumerable cow pens enclosed with decoratively carved fences festooned with flowering vines, strings of pearls, and cloth ribbons. Beyond them stretch the vast meadows of Vrndavana like a multihued sea of green swaying gracefully in the gentle breezes from the Yamuna. Everywhere are scattered blue, gold, and pink flowers, and the occasional banyan tree towering against the turquoise sky provides ample shade for the grazing cows.                        ‘

The whole area is softened by scattered cow dung powder,


which increases the sanctity of the charming atmosphere. At some places there are heaps of cow dung as high as mountains; at other places, cow dung patties are stacked like the many peaks of the Himalayas. The majestic bulls of Vraja wander here and there like liberated souls, sometimes fighting each other for cows, sometimes peacefully grazing on grass, but at all times absorbed in thoughts of Govinda.

While singing the glories of Sri Krsna, innumerable young gopis collect cow dung, and elderly gopis sit in circles making them into large patties. Their songs and laughter settle like a nectarean dew on the pasture and saturate the grass with an ever sweeter taste. Many wealthy vmja-vasis walk here and there dressed in fine silks, decorative turbans, and golden ornaments. They speak amongst themselves of the heroic deeds of Hari and glorify the good fortune of the King and Queen of Vraja. “What pious deeds did Nanda Baba and Yasoda-devi perform to be blessed with such a son?”

Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami describes Sri Hari’s departure with the cows in this way: “The barns appear like the multicolored lakes of Kuvera’s domain, and the rows of white clouds are like the many rivers that descend from the heavenly realm. Their flowing milk is like the water in those rivers, and the cowherd men trying to stop the calves (from going) are the fishes in that river. The milk pots are like turtles, the faces of the gopis collecting cow dung like lotus flowers, the white and red calves like cakravaka. birds, and the cows’ raised tails like moss in the river.”

When the cows start for the meadows they are joined by black buffaloes, and the meeting resembles the confluence of the Triveni. The white cows appear like the Ganga and the black buffaloes like the River Yamuna. As they gracefully walk out of Nandagoan, the animals create billowing golden clouds with the dust from their hooves. Brahma, Indra, and Siva consider themselves blessed to receive this powder, for like the waters of the celestial Ganga, its touch purifies their intelligence and senses.

The cows that accompany Sri Krsna have been selected person­ally by the King of Vraja. Aware of their good fortune, Gopala’s cows walk with their heads up, tails erect, smiling in all directions and casting happy glances at all. When the cows walk over the



The Cows and Calves Embrace Krsna

fields of Vrndavana their hooves split the old grass, but when lotus-eyed Hari again touches the soil, it shivers in ecstasy and manifests fresh sprouts. The cows walk before, behind, and on both sides of Krsna-Balarama, lovingly gazing upon Their handsome faces as the boys joke, play, and laugh in abandon.

Although mother Yasoda fears the cows may step on her son’s delicate feet, such things are not possible. The cows and bulls of Vrndavana consider every breath of Govinda more precious than millions of their lives and, loving Him with all their hearts, they care for His welfare like a mother. Although anxious for the fresh grasses of Govardhana Hill and intoxicated by Sri Krsna’s youth­ful presence, they are conscious of every step they take and could never be so careless as to allow a mishap. For them, the words of Vraja’s queen are impelled by a maternal love that is held in the highest esteem by all inhabitants of Vrndavana.

Sometimes the tails of the cows are decorated with peacock feathers and sometimes with bunches of pearls. Many wear auspi­cious necklaces of nava-ratna and others a crown-jewel between their horns. It is said that the least of Nanda’s herd have no equal in heaven, for there are no cows which are not exquisitely beauti­ful, which are not decorated with countless virtues, and which do not possess good character. Walking serenely, with full udders, they simply float along the fields of Vraja like wondrous clouds of love, their affectionate mooing like a low resonant thunder and the movement of their tails like flashing lightning.

Carried by the ever-swelling tide of His loving pastimes, which are decorated by the lotus flowers of His playful associates, Sri Krsna and His herd pass the lush meadows alongside the Yamuna, under the canopy of many tamala, kadamba, mango, bilva, and asvattha trees. When they arrive at Govardhana Hill, the cows feast on the fresh grasses and nectarean waters, while the cowherd boys amuse themselves in the wonderful mountainside play­ground.

Gathering the happy cows and His mischievous friends, Sri Krsna continues to wander from forest to forest, passing through Vrndavana, Madhuvana, Talavana, Kumudavana, Bahulavana, and Divya-Kamyavana. The cows are like well-behaved mothers


and the gopas like their noisy children, laughing, shouting, jump­ing, and running everywhere.

While enjoying the pranks of His friends, Sri Krsna revels in the natural beauty of the forests. He listens to the singing of cuckoos, sees the dancing of peacocks, smells the aroma of flowers, and tastes the fruits from the trees. The forests of Vrndavana completely satisfy the transcendental senses of the Supreme Transcendental Person, for they are also transcendental, being free of any mundane attributes.

Although a day of Brahma may pass in the few hours of their play, to the cowherd boys it appears like the twinkling of an eye. In Sri Krsna’s association every minute is an unparalleled experience, free from the destructive influence of time. As nectar is to the demigods, as moonlight is to the cakora bird, and as love is to newlyweds, the company of Gopala is an enticing intoxicant, ever increasing the gopas’ craving for another draught.

While the cows taste the sweet grass or rest as they will, the boys swim, wrestle, and play. When they are tired of their exertion, they enjoy their lunch-packs, sitting around Krsna and Balarama and recounting the day’s heroic deeds. Then, as if by Vraja’s decree, they all rest in the shade of the kindly trees, and for a while there is silence as the cows take turn to guard their cowherds. Within a little while the boys rise once again, brandishing their sticks, calling to the cows, and making merry with renewed energy.

Then, as the all-powerful sun begins its decline toward the west, Sri Krsna/ newly dressed in the treasures of the forest, turns toward His eternal home at Nandagoan. Dressed in yellow garments, decorated with many peacock feathers, adorned with colorful garlands, and painted with mineral pigments, Sri Hari keeps the cows in front. His friends by His side, and happily plays His flute.

At Nanda Baitaka, the King of the cowherds sits on a golden throne. Always jolly due to absorption in thoughts of Krsna, Nanda Maharaja delights the residents of Vraja with his sweet talk and kindly demeanor. His protruding belly is the sign of his affec­tion for nice cooking, and his complexion is the color of newly ground sandalwood. He is tall by stature, dresses in garments the



The Cows and Calves Embrace Krsna

color of a VandhujTva flower, and possesses a lovely white and black beard that is very dear to Krsna.  •<;

Not far away are the numerous barns of the cows, appearing like so many bejeweled palaces. At the time of milking, morning and evening, Nanda Maharaja will count the pails of milk and give instructions to his cowherds in the service of the cows. Krsna and Balarama sometimes sit on the lap of Their father, appearing like a cloud and the moon under the happy patronage of the sun. At other times. They assist the gopas in attending to the mothers, engaged in the happy work of Their vaisya caste.

Reluctantly leaving the cows to the care of the elder men, Sri Krsna finally enters the village of Nandagoan to be greeted by the loving affection of its residents. Consigning their beloved Govinda to the care of His mother, the cows enter their barns and await another rising of the sun, when they will see His charming face once again. To mitigate the pangs of separation, they take shelter of His many pastimes, absorbed in His remembrance like great mystic yogis.


Like the gopis, the cows and calves come from two categories: i the nitya-siddha associates who have descended from the spiritual! world and the sadhana-siddhas who have achieved the perfection of Sri Krsna’s association. Again, among the sadhakas there are further | divisions according to their own history. Srimad-Bhagavatam says ! that both calves and cows were great sages who appeared on the ‘ order of the Lord, while some commentators opine that the cows were sruti-mantras possessed of a particular desire for service. In any case, by association with the nitya-siddha cows they were able to perfect their attachment to Krsna and gain His intimate associa­tion as He roams the incomparable land of Vraja-dhama.

The eternal associates of Sri Krsna appear as descendants of the cow known as Surabhi and are also known as surabhi cows. Always wandering in the courtyards of the barns or in the fields of


Vraja, they are as white as the goddess Sarasvati and grave like great ascetics. By association with the surabhis, the sddhakas achieve perfection and, gaming qualification for Goloka, they too become known as surabhi cows.

Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says the surabhi cows are like cintamani jewels which fulfill all desires, their mooing is the most beautiful poetry, their happy calves are like pleasant summers, and they always lift their ears to hear the sound of Krsna’s flute. The calves look like moving rocks on the peak of Mount Kailasa, and as they wander over the earth, they resemble the bubbles of the milk ocean, the chuckles of Lord Siva, or the infant children of moon­light.

All together, there are 108 groups of cows according to their physical characteristics. Their four main colors are white, red, black, and yellow, and each of these four categories has a further twenty-five subdivisions. In addition, there are a further eight qualities, like being the color of sandalwood pulp, having tilaka on the forehead, being speckled, or possessing a head like a mrdanga.

Each herd has a leader, and when Krsna calls out the name “Hey Dhavali!” (a leader of white cows), the whole group of white cows comes forward. As they arrive He touches the leader’s snout with His soft pinkish hand and, knowing the name of every cow, Govinda counts each herd on a string of 108 jewel beads. If any cows are missing He calls them with His divine flute and, hearing their names, they bellow in joy and come running.

The whitish cows are known by names like Hamsi, Candani, Ganga, and Mukta; the reddish cows are called Aruni, Kunkuma, and Sarasvati; the blackish ones are Syamala, Dhumala, and Yamuna; and the yellowish ones Pita, Pingala, and Haritaki. Those in the groups with tilaka marks are called Citra, Citra-tilaka, and Dirgha-tilaka, and according to their appearance, other groups are known as Mrdanga-mukhi and Simha-mukhi. The beautiful color­ing of the cows, their happy disposition, and Sri Krsna’s affection for them enlivens the transcendental atmosphere of Vrndavana.

In addition to their divine beauty and gentle temperament, all the cows are beautifully bedecked with neck bells. These bells differ from cow to cow by their pitch and tone. When they walk, their


combined sound resembles the congregational kirtana of the Gandharvas. Many cows are adorned with costly blankets embroidered with varying patterns and colors, and their horns are covered with gold or silver and beautified with jewels and pearls. Some cows even have golden ankle bells, while others proudly wear pearl necklaces gifted by Hari.

The bulls are also handsomely decorated: their horns are covered with gold, their hooves are decorated with sapphires, and flower garlands hang about their necks.

Of the many types of cows, some have short horns, some have long horns, some have high horns, and some have horizontal horns. Others have bent horns, and still others have horns like the antlers of deer. All in all, the variety exhibited by the herd of Krsna glorifies the ingenuity and inventiveness of a highly artistic creator.

The cows that Krsna and His friends take to pasture do not constitute the entire herd of Vraja’s King. Some of Nanda Maharaja’s cows are newly calved, some are older, some are in season, some have young calves, and some have many calves. The cows which Krsna and Balarama take with Them have no new calves, for those who have calved stay in the compound at Nanda-grama and care for their offspring. Still unfit to wander the forests of Vraja, these cows stay in touch with Krsna by hearing the far-off vibration of His flute.


Srila Prabhupada says, “Another gopi said to her friends, ‘My dear friends, the cows are also charmed as soon as they hear the transcendental sound of the flute of Krsna. It sounds to them like the pouring of nectar, and they immediately spread their long ears just to catch the liquid nectar of the flute. As for the calves, they are seen with the nipples of their mothers pressed in their mouths, but they cannot suck the milk. They remain struck with devotion, and tears glide down their eyes, illustrating vividly how they are embracing Krsna heart to heart.’ These phenomena indicate that



The Cows and Calves Embrace Krsna

even the cows and calves in Vrndavana knew how to cry for Krsna and embrace Him heart to heart. Actually, the perfection of Krsna consciousness can be culminated in the shedding of tears from the


A group of gopis accompanied Sri Krsna to the edge of Vrndavana forest, where they stopped and watched the festive party disappear from view. Before He vanished among the trees, Sri Krsna cast an assuring glance at His beloved girlfriends, and that glance remained the medicinal herb to soothe the rising fever of His imminent absence.

Fearing chastisement from their superiors, the vraja-devis turned in the direction of Nanda-grama and with great difficulty caused their feet to move in its direction. Holding each other’s hands for comfort, they passed near the barns of Nanda Maharaja, where the cows stood motionless, like paintings on the canvas of a living background. One charming girl raised her palm in their direction and said, “He sakhyah! 0 friends! We have witnessed how the demigoddesses became controlled by love! It seems the sound of the flute creates an illusion not only for the residents of heaven, but for all living entities. Just see these cows and their calves!”

Turning their lotus-like faces, the gopis saw the cows standing .alongside their calves, inert and stone-like, their ears fully erect, trying to catch every note issuing from the flute of Sri Krsna.

Another gopi said, “Just see the cup-like ears of the cows, which serve as drinking vessels and with which they carefully catch every drop of the flute’s extraordinary nectar. These mothers know Krsna as a pamma-dnanda-murti, an embodiment of supreme bliss, and by continually drinking this nectar they have become bewil­dered by its ever spreading kama.”

One young girl inquired, “How do we know the cows are not standing in this way due to the overwhelming affection they possess for their calves?”

Her friends replied, “Sakhi, just behold the condition of those pretty calves. Like their mothers, they are stunned and they too drink the nectar of the flute with their raised ears. In truth, the parental affection exhibited by the cows is for Krsna and not their offspring.”


Overcome with wonder, that young gopi exclaimed once again “Is it not amazing that the both the cows, who are always affection­ate to their young, and the calves, who are always greedy for milk, have completely forgotten each other? To drink the nectarean beverage of that naughty flute they have rejected all diversion and stand motionless, jam.”

Absorbed in appreciating the loving sentiments of the cows and calves, tears appeared in the soft lotus eyes of the gopis. They watched the cows who, although indifferent to their calves, fed them milk out of affection for Sri Krsna. One gopi said, “Are these mothers not like the Queen of Vrndavana, who by the mere thought of her jewel-like son emits a Ganga stream of milk from her breasts?”

Another gopi replied, “How many times have we seen mother Yasoda exhibit the topmost level of parental affection in a similar way? While awakening her son in the morning, while embracing Him as He leaves for the pastures, or while caressing His dust-covered body in the evening, the clothes of the Queen of Nanda are always wet with the milk of parental love.”

Smiling sweetly, one girl said with emphasis, “Such unique attachment was not shown by mother Kausalya to Sri Rama, the Lord of Ayodhya!”

Her friend continued, “These cows have achieved the highest stage of devotional love, and they now exhibit the sattvika-vikara of stabdha or being stunned. Through the medium of transcendental sound, both calves and cows are touching Govinda with great affection, and by their simple devotion they have superseded the greatest of yogis.”

“What you say is certainly correct,” added one gopi in apprecia­tion of the spiritual attainment of the cows. “Although they are animals, the cows and calves have transcended all bodily designa­tion and have completely forgotten their bodies by absorption in Krsna. Even the baby calves are fully detached from all sensual enjoyment and simply hold their mothers’ milk in their mouths. They are not interested in drinking but are absorbed in the song of the flute.”

Giggling as she spoke, one of the gopis said, “Just see how the


The Cows and Calves Embrace Krsna

milk drips from their mouths to form pools on the ground. The calves show no awareness of what they are doing.”

Sharing her humor, another girl said, “Look at that motionless calf. The grass in his mouth is sticking out in all directions, his body trembles with love, and he is unable to chew his fodder.”

Continuing her description, her friend replied, “Like great mystics, the calves and cows have taken Krsna within their hearts and, having captured Him, they now embrace Him to their full satisfaction. Look at the tears of ecstasy flowing from their eyes!”

When the gopis heard that the cows were embracing Sri Krsna in their hearts, they became very attentive and said, “How are these cows able to achieve the association of Adhoksaja, whose darsana is rarely achieved even by the goddess of fortune?”

Riding the fresh wave of curiosity that swept over the gopis, one young girl replied, “In their last lives the cows and calves were great mystics who learned the art of drawing Krsna through their eyes and into their hearts. Having abducted Him in this way, they now forcibly retain Hari within their very beings.”

Full of new-found admiration for the cows, another gopi inquired, “Sri Krsna is not conquered merely by mystic perfection. How have these bewildered animals, jara-pasu, lured Govinda into the recesses of their hearts and managed to keep Him there?”

Her sakhi replied, “When Krsna and Balarama were in their kaumara age these cows were under Their care as young calves. Being of the same age and a playful disposition, a close friendship developed with Govinda, which has now matured into a deep parental love that binds Sri Hari with its possessiveness.”

Her face flushed with happiness, another gopi said, “Dear friend, what you say must certainly be true, for no creature can find satisfaction alone. Yet we see the cows standing motionless, their ears erect, oblivious of everything and experiencing great happi­ness. By some mystical art they must have touched Govinda through the vibration of the flute and now enjoy the pleasure of His association. From the behavior of the calves it appears they have learned this art from their mothers. They, too, are in bliss!”

As the gopis continued to talk of Govinda’s association, their enthusiasm and happiness greatly increased. One slender girl



said, “Dear friends, please consider; how is it possible for cows to embrace Govinda? Even if they achieve such fortune within their hearts, their anatomy makes such an undertaking physically impossible. This statement is impractical and figurative at best.”

The gopis envisaged a picture of Krsna being clumsily embraced by cows and, clapping their hands, they laughed in happiness. Raising her hand, that girl continued, “However, we cannot dismiss the cows’ clear exhibition of ecstatic love. When they draw Krsna into their hearts, the cows and calves must show their affection in a natural way.” Looking at her friends for emphasis, she concluded, “They fondly rub their heads against Sri Krsna and lick His aguru-scented body with their tongues.”

Having heard this description with attention, the gopis reacted as if with one mind. Although the picture of Krsna being embraced within the cows’ hearts invoked a merry picture, the gopis could not control the transcendental envy that it caused. Simultaneously, the account of the cows’ licking Krsna caused all their senses to acquire the sense of taste, and they became permeated with His wonderful bodily aroma. In this way, the forces of union, sambhoga, and separation, vipralambha, simultaneously exerted their influ­ence, and in the struggle for dominance over the gopis’ minds, neither would give ground to the other.

, To secure the gopis’ good humor and protect them from feelings of separation, that pretty girl who led the katha of the cows took the side of sambhoga and continued, “Behold these wonderful animals who issue an incessant flow of tears from their eyes. Theirs is not a shadow attachment; they are the fortunate proprietors of nirupadhi-prema, undesignated and unadulterated love towards Krsna.”

Try as she might, that gopi could not drag the minds of her friends from their growing feelings of misfortune. Under the sway of their natural humility, the gopis became absorbed in their separation from Syamasundara, and their happy countenances faded. As their distress intensified, their cold tears of happiness warmed, and with sobbing voices they said, “The intimacy of the cows with Krsna is their unmatched good fortune. In contrast, we who are confined to our houses, unable to touch Govinda, are the hapless victims of a cruel and heartless destiny. How have we been abandoned in this way?”



The Cows and Calves Embrace Krsna

The despondency of the gopis surged like an insurmountable tidal wave and threatened to crush their helpless minds in its wake. In a last attempt to stem its course, that compassionate gopi took shelter of hari-katha and said, “Dear friends, do you remember Krsna’s childhood pastimes with these cows? Do you not remem­ber how He used to amuse His relatives with His carefree pranks? Oh, how the residents of Vraja used to laugh as Gopala grew up among the calves and discovered the world of the cowherds beyond the lap of His mother, Yasoda!”

The sound of these words first entered the ears of the gopis and conquered the governing emptiness there. Then its echo resounded within their minds and forced gloom to flee into the inner recesses of their hearts. Following the shadowy culprits of despondency and sorrow, it illuminated that very secluded place with hope and once again drew their attention to their heroic sakhi.

Using the corner of her dncala to wipe her tears while smearing the kajal decorating her eyes, one gopi responded, sobbing, “What are those amusements of Gopala with His calves?”

Holding her chin and removing the smudged eyeliner, the speaker among the gopis said, “When Krsna and Balarama were just babies. They would crawl on Their hands and knees, deco­rated only with waist bells, ankle bells, and the ten directions. Appearing like the new moon moving with a dark cloud, Balai and Kanai stole the hearts of the elder gopis with Their chubby limbs and angelic features.” Hearing this sweet description brought pleasure to the gopis’ minds and smiles to their lotus-like faces. All remaining traces of sadness were removed by the sound vibration of Krsna’s pastimes, and by the grace of His katha, they felt His

association once again.

“By Their awkward movements and incoherent speech, Rama and Krsna would bring great happiness to Their mothers. When They heard an unexpected sound They would become frightened and, crying. They would hurry to Their mothers for protection. Mothers Yasoda and Rohini were always careful to comfort their children and, taking Them on their laps, they would allow Them to suck their breasts.”

Another gopi, being caught up in the mood of Krsna’s pastimes, continued, “As the boys grew They became more restless and


naughty, crawling here and there in search of amusement. One day, attracted by the playful behavior of the calves. They crawled to the cow shed, scrambled under the fence, and catching hold of a calf’s tail, stood up. The frightened animals ran here and there, dragging the children behind them over the clay and cow dung. The boys would not let go of the calves’ tails but, laughing and shrieking in excitement. They continued to enjoy Their new-found amusement. When Yasoda and Rohini saw the fun, they hastily called their neighboring friends, who laughed to see Their childhood pastimes and merged in the ocean of transcendental bliss.”

Decorated with happy smiles and playful expressions, the gopis fully forgot their separation from Sri Krsna and found solace in hearing of His childhood exploits. Subscribing to the recital, another slim-waisted gopi said, “Krsna’s pet bull, Padmagandha, is the focus of His attention. Every day Govinda collects very sweet grass from the riverbanks on Govardhana Hill and presents it to him with love and affection. Even today he was nicely decorated with a garland of reddish flowers.”

Another gopi, often engaged in the care of her own family’s cows, said, “Krsna’s affection for His cows is like the love He bears for His friends or parents. Seeing the young calves frolicking in the fields of Vraja, His happiness knows no bounds. Calling them by name, Gopala gingerly places small bunches of tender grass in their mouths and sometimes carefully massages their limbs.”

Speaking in succession, impelled by the excitement of His pastimes, the gopis recalled how Krsna decorates His cows. “To glorify the descendants of Surabhi, Mukunda takes His best ornaments and decorates the cows’ hooves with sapphires and their horns with gold. Do you not remember our great dispute with the gopas for failing to supply Him with pearls for just the very purpose?”

; When the gopis were reminded of the Pearl Story, mukta-carita, they conversed among themselves in pairs. They recalled how they had been sorely embarrassed by a clever Sri Krsna who, having been humiliated by their neglect, adopted the dharma of cultivating and trading in pearls.

One day, while stringing pearls near Radha-kunda, the gopis



The Cows and Calves Embrace Krsna

were approached by Sri Hari for a donation of their best beads to beautify His pet cows, Hamsi and Mangala. Infatuated by youthful pride, the uraja-devis refused His request and insulted Yasoda-nandana’s cows. Smarting from the indignity heaped upon Him and His herd, Sri Krsna then hatched a plan to grow pearls in the fields of Vraja.

Taking permission from His skeptical but indulgent mother, Sri Krsna planted many pearls from Nanda Maharaja’s treasure house near the village of Dubrao, by the bank of Mukta-kunda. Irrigating the seeds with milk, curd, and ghee, Govinda cultivated luxuriant pearl trees, which bore many thousands of pearls of an extraordi­nary quality.

When the gopis witnessed Sri Krsna’s miraculous achievement, they greedily followed suit and secured the entire stock of their families’ pearls. Although they planted many pearl gardens and sprinkled them with the finest milk, to their fathomless embarrass­ment only sticker bushes sprouted, bearing prickly thorns and thistles.

When the gopis’ relatives saw their family jewels gone, they pressed their daughters to return their investment, as well as its sworn profits. Forced by circumstance, the vraja-devis were obliged to humble themselves and thus entered the swampy waters of commercial exchange with the indignant merchant, Sri Krsna. After wading through the mire of protracted contractual arrange­ments, repeatedly stung by the mosquitoes of suggestive innuendo and scorched by the glaring sun of Govinda’s revenge, humiliated and discouraged, the gopis left the marketplace empty handed.

Although the gopis failed to secure Sri Krsna’s pearls through a commercial arrangement, when Govinda’s heart softened to their plight. He filled many boxes with His best pearls and sent them as gifts through Subala and Madhumangala. In this way, through His self-invented pastimes Hari saved the gopis from humiliation and regained the dignity of His own beloved cows.

Hearing the nectarean beverage of Krsna-Balarama’s pastimes, the gopis were revived from their melancholy and thus recounted many pleasing stories about Govinda and His cows. Her eyebrows raised, one wide-eyed gopi said, “Ter Kadamba, the place of many


kadamba trees, is at a short distance from Nanda-grama on the road to Javat. At the close of the day, Sri Krsna climbs onto the branches of a great tree and, looking over the vast ocean of cows the care of which constitutes His service to the King of Vraja, He smiles with great satisfaction. Playing His flute with His right hand while fingering jewel counting beads with His left, Hari calls each cow by name, one at a time. As they pass beneath Him in single file. He acknowledges each cow, doing the japa of their names on His beads. When the entire herd has been accounted for. He leads them to the barns and hands them to the elder cowherd men, having completed another day of duty.”

The unique vision of Sri Krsna seated in a tree while counting His cows brought great happiness to the gopis’ hearts. His blackish arms were a carefree snake coiled about a branch. His billowing cloth was its golden leaves dancing in the wind. His many ornaments were its budding flowers, and His reddish lotus feet the Unprecedented fruit dangling from its boughs. Inspired by this scene, the gopis were anxious to hear more about the pleasing

pastimes of Sri Hari.

    Her mind floating in remembrance of Sri Krsna, one fair-complexioned gopi placed the forefinger of her right hand to her lips to indicate great confidentiality. With her eyes roving from left to right, she stepped forward among her friends and said, “The mention of Ter Kadamba brought to mind an event I recently witnessed which I thought you may all desire to hear.” Eager to be brought into confidence, the other gopis responded, “Sakhi, why do you even hesitate to speak? Please immediately let us know what you have seen and heard!”

Pointing to her beautiful eyes, she said, “Taking your permis­sion, I will recount what I witnessed with these very eyes.” With their curiosity reaching ever greater heights, her friend responded, “Please sakhl, do so quickly and without delay!”

“On Sunday morning the queen of Vraja requested me to accom­pany Dhanistha to Abhimanyu’s house in Javat. I stood patiently in the courtyard while Dhanistha pleaded with the miserly Jatila to send her saintly daughter-in-law to cook Sri Krsna’s breakfast.”

“Did she make any objections to your request?” inquired one



The Cows and Calves Embrace Krsna

girl, familiar with the routine of bringing Radharani to Nanda-grama.

Emphasizing their achievement with wide-open eyes/her friend replied, “With the expertise of Garuda snatching the pot of nectar from the demigods, we escorted Vrsabhanu-nandini from the house of Jatila on the path leading to Nandagaon.”

Curious to know more, one young girl inquired, “For what reason does Sri Radha, the most chaste among the housewives of Vraja, travel daily to the kitchen of another man’s home to prepare His meal? Such behavior is certainly unusual in the society of cultured men and women.”

“While still a young girl, Radhika was blessed by the great sage Durvasa that whatever She cooked would taste like nectar. Whoever ate Her cooking would never know disease, invalidity, or defeat at the hands of his enemies. Knowing of this boon, mother Yasoda, the foremost well-wisher of her sons, exercised her royal authority to arrange Gandharva’s daily service in her kitchen,” replied the speaker of that group.

“Please continue with your narration, dear friend!” the gopi-gana said in unison.

Clearly envisaging the scene before her, her golden skin studded with goose-bumps of ecstasy, the speaker of the gopis continued, “Stumbling due to the rising waves of happiness in Her heart, the hairs of Her body standing erect, Sri Radha walked towards Nanda-grama to prepare a nectarean feast for Madhava. Sri Rupa walked in front, Lalita and Visakha were at Her sides, from behind Rati held Her waist, and other close friends gathered all around. That assembly of gopis appeared like a flock of beautiful swans, their humorous words like melodious cooing, their regal movements ornamented by many ecstasies, and their attention exclusively focused on Govinda. Their hearts surging with excite­ment, the gopis eagerly walked the path to Nandisvara, which was filled with the tumultuous sounds of the gopas and the lowing of surabhi cows.

“As we reached the canal bridge before Ter Kadamba, Lalita-devi turned to her friend and said. There are two paths to Nanda-grama from here; to the left is Asesvara Mahadeva and to the right


is Ter Kadamba. Although the path to the right is shorter, it is frequented by a black snake that takes pleasure in obstructing the progress of saintly young girls. My advice is to walk quickly on the longer path and receive the merciful glance of Pasupati.’

“Her deep blue eyes flashing with pride, Sri Radha replied, ‘I have no fear of snakes, nor do I see why we should exert our­selves to reach our destination. Let us offer our pranamas to the three-eyed lord from here and, with his blessings, continue freely to the right.'”

While they listened spellbound to the story, all the gopis began to writhe and giggle, feeling the excitement of imminent danger awaiting Sri Radha.

“Gracefully covering Her head and catching the hand of Lalita with determination, Sukumari Radha, dressed in a reddish sari, headed straight towards the forest of kadamba trees.

“The charming meadows of Ter Kadamba resembled the gardens of Vaikuntha. There were clusters of large kadamba trees tightly embraced by flowering vines, scattered lakes with crystal clear waters, and groups of birds chattering in the branches. Everywhere cows grazed, peacefully enjoying the early morning sun, their contented lowing a testimony to the sanctity of the place. A carpet of white flowers appeared like spilled foam from the milk ocean, and the aroma of newly blossoming kadamba flowers pervaded the atmosphere.

“It appeared that Govinda had been waiting for our party and intentionally stationed Himself by the pathway, pretending to be engrossed in milking His cows. Seated on a small stool, a golden pitcher between His knees. His turban pushed back on His head, Sri Hari appeared fully absorbed in His dharma and oblivious to the approaching group of gopls.

“Her face almost completely veiled. Her head turned to the ground, lotus-eyed Radha began to stumble as the iceberg of Her determination melted in proximity of the Krsna sun.”

Looking into the eyes of her friends with excitement, that gopi said, “I took care to watch the expressions on the faces of Radha and Madhava, knowing that some sweet encounter would take place. Although Sri Krsna’s back was to the road and He was



The Cows and Calves Embrace Krsna

behaving as if indifferent to our approach, I could see Him gauging our every step from the corner of His eye. In the same way, while Radha feigned absorption in Her progress. Her eyes were directed towards Govinda, observing the movement of His youthful limbs.

“Lalita-devi whispered to her friend, ‘Be careful of that black snake; if we come too close, it will certainly bite and infect us with its venom.’ Sri Radha answered quietly. Her voice trembling slightly, ‘I am not afraid!’

“Like an iron filing drawn by a magnet, like an infant drawn to its mother, or like Gauri is ever drawn to Lord Siva, our yuthesvan was forcibly drawn to Sri Hari as He colored the roadside with His sapphire luster. Coming abreast of Syama’s sitting place, the tumult of the lowing cows, the singing birds, and the shouting of cowherds was swallowed by an all-pervading silence. Only the sound of the gopis’ footsteps and the ghusna ghusna of Krsna’s milking could be heard.

“When the Yamuna River of Radha’s glance met the divine Ganga of Sri Krsna’s glance, some communication not understood by me took place. Feeling incomplete in the absence of the Sarasvati, the confluence of Their subtle union demanded fulfill­ment to be known as Triveni. With a slight smile from the corner of His ruby lips, Gopala deftly turned the nipple in His hand and sprayed a stream of snow-white milk at Radha’s face. His aim was perfect and it entered the opening of Radha’s veil unobstructed, flowing down Her lotus face and onto Her bosom.

“The gopis shrieked with astonishment and delight as He quickly sprayed all the girls in His immediate vicinity, wetting their clothes and faces with milk. Then, with a deft movement of His hand, Govinda slapped His cow, who, bolting forward in fear, separated Sri Radha from Her party. In that brief moment, as the cow ran for safety, that libertine who is very expert in fulfilling His endless desires took advantage of our unprotected Radha. What He did I could not see but could only conjecture from the look on Her face.

“The gopis ran here and there in fear of Govinda, His frightened cow, and their attraction to Him. Grasping the hand of her dear friend, Lalita immediately freed Radha from Sri Krsna’s hold and


shouted, ‘Shame, shame, shame, contaminating pure young girls with Your dirty hands and polluted consciousness! Shame on You, 0 Prince of Vraja! While You roam here and there, unbathed and unpurified, we are proceeding to cook for Lord Narayana and worship the sun. Out of our way!’

“Recoiling in fear of Lalita’s unmatched anger, seeing her face flushed and menacing, Sri Krsna ran towards His naughty friends, jumping up and down at a distance, greatly amused by His mischief. As the gopis assembled again, I saw Radhika stoop down to collect pearls from a necklace that had broken in the foray. While searching for pearls, Radha occasionally glanced toward Sri Krsna, who now stood at a distance. His hand on Subala’s shoulder, swinging a lotus flower in His right hand as if in defiance of Lalita-devi.     :

“‘I told You this path was dangerous and that knave would cause us trouble. Now let us leave quickly before He invents some new trick to distract us from our work.’ Saying these words, Lalita-devi gathered the last of the pearls, tied them in a corner of Radhika’s ancala, and with pronounced movements herded the gopis to their destination.

“As we left, being close behind Radha, I saw Her gracefully turn Her neck and cast a final glance at Her prana-natha. It appeared to me that that glance had more force than the assault of Sri Krsna, and He seemed to reel from its influence. His lotus fell from His hand. His turban rolled off His head, and in an attempt to keep from losing balance, Sri Krsna forcibly grasped the neck of Subala. Then I turned away and continued with that party to Nanda-grama, where Queen Yasoda was anxiously waiting to greet Radhika, bestowing as much love on Her as she does to her own son.”

Completing her narration of Sri Krsna’s pranks at Ter Kadamba, her mind enlivened and her body decorated with symptoms of ecstasy, the speaker of the gopis gradually became silent, absorbed in the memories of her experience. Her girlfriends embraced her one by one, fully absorbed in what they had heard from her lips. Carried away by the high tide of Sri Krsna’s pastimes, they were swept out into the great ocean of His pastimes, far distant from the



The Cows and Calves Embrace Krsna

shores of separation. Unaware of the winds of time, the gopis floated in the current of Govinda’s childhood sports as He daily herds His beloved cows through the pastures of Vraja.


The influence of the flute is formidable. Like a monsoon shower of bliss falling from the black Krsna cloud, it nourishes the individual bhavas of the cows, calves, and creatures of Vraja. Whatever relationship is possessed by a jiva, the song of the flute causes it to grow luxuriantly and blossom with the many flowers and fruits of transcendental ecstasy.

The very young calves have a relationship that is not yet mature. By association with older calves, cows, and Krsna Himself, their affinity will grow to a vatsalya-bhava, which causes milk to flow from their udders. This means that even when their calves are not sucking their teats, at the sound of the flute or the remembrance of Gopala, milk will flow freely, without obstruction. Such a developed symptom of ecstatic love is unusual and is to be found to a superlative degree in mother Yasoda. After all, the influence of the flute exerts its greatest effect on the nitya-siddha devotees, whose love for Sri Krsna is complete in every way and whose paragon of maternal affection is the Queen of Vraja. The many examples of mother Yasoda’s love decorate the golden pastimes of Sri Hari like so many divine diamonds of devotion.

While engaged in herding His animals, the dust raised by the hooves of the cows covers Krsna’s beautiful face, curly locks, and artistic tilaka. When He returns home in such an attractive state, the milk flowing from the breasts of mother Yasoda washes His face in her embrace, the way a Deity is bathed during abhiseka. This is an exhibition of love due to gaining Sri Krsna’s association.

When, due to absorption in playing many games, Krsna is late in returning from the pasturing grounds, mother Yasoda becomes very anxious to hear the sound of His flute and milk begins to flow from her breasts out of anxiety. In this condition, like a cow who


has lost her calf, she sometimes goes within the house and sometimes comes onto the road in; hope of catching a glimpse of Govinda.

It is interesting to note that this symptom of ecstasy is not dependent on Krsna’s age. As an adult with grandchildren, Krsna and Balarama attended a solar eclipse at Kuruksetra, accompanied by the members of the Yadu dynasty. While many sages offered prayers and chanted Vedic hymns in His glorification, mother Yasoda entered their assembly with the milk of maternal affection flowing from her breasts and wetting the lower part of her sari.

At that time, one of mother Yasoda’s friends addressed her, say­ing, “My dear Queen, the milk flowing out of your breast-mountain has already whitened the River Ganges, and the tears from your eyes, mixed with black mascara, have already blackened the color of the Yamuna. And as you are standing just between the two rivers, I think that there is no need for your anxiety to see your son’s face. Your parental affection has already been exhibited to Him by these two rivers!”

That same friend then turned to address Krsna, “My dear Mukunda, if mother Yasoda, the queen of Gokula, is forced to stand on fire but is allowed to see Your lotus face, then this fire will appear to her like the Himalayan Mountains: full of ice. In the same way, if she is allowed to stay in the ocean of nectar but is not allowed to see the lotus face of Your Grace, then even this ocean of nectar will appear to her like an ocean of arsenic poison.”

This is the wonderful glory of mother Yasoda’s love, which is ever impelled by the constant anticipation to see Krsna’s lotus face. The cows possess a fragment of this vatsaiya-rasa and, through their own behavior, they exhibit its symptoms while participating m the cowherding lila of Hari. In this verse, Sukadeva Gosvami has revealed the love of the cows and their ability to cry for Sri Krsna.

; Srila Prabhupada wrote, “…the perfection of Krsna conscious­ness can be culminated in the shedding of tears from the eyes.” Vaisnavas must be well aware that the tears referred to by His Divine Grace are not simply the watering of the eyes. While a symptom of ecstatic love is the shedding of tears, all those who shed tears do not necessarily experience ecstasy.



The Cows and Calves Embrace Krsna

In concluding this chapter, a few words should be spoken about this theme. Sometimes both conditioned souls and sadhakas are seen to cry while engaged in some devotional activity. While such a favorable sign may indicate a softening of the heart, it is not evidence of the stage of perfection. It should be noted that ecstatic symptoms often bear a close resemblance to symptoms of condi­tional existence. Caitanya-caritamrta states,

sveda, kampa, romancasru, gadgada, vaivamya unmada, visada, dhairya, garva, harsa, dainya

eta bhdve premd bhaktaganere nacaya krsnera anandamrta-sagare bhasaya

“Perspiration, trembling, standing on end of one’s bodily hairs, tears, faltering voice, fading complexion, madness, melancholy, patience, pride, joy, and humility—these are various natural symptoms of ecstatic love of Godhead, which causes a devotee to dance and float in an ocean of transcendental bliss while chanting the Hare Krsna mantra.” (Adi 7.89-90)

For example, it is natural that while performing kirtana a devotee will perspire. However, one should not prematurely conclude this to be a symptom of ecstasy, for perspiration manifests in everyone as a consequence of physical exertion. In the same way, the shedding of tears also occurs due to emotional duress far removed from a spiritual experience and does not indicate spiritual maturity.

One may then question how real spiritual symptoms can be discerned as “the perfection of Krsna consciousness.” Srila Prabhupada quotes Sri Jiva Gosvami from the Pnti-sandarbha and explains as follows: “Sometimes a person thus melts and manifests these transcendental symptoms, yet at the same time is not well behaved in his personal transactions. This indicates that he has not yet reached complete perfection in devotional life. In other words, a devotee who dances in ecstasy but, after dancing and crying, appears to be attracted to material affairs has not yet reached the perfection of devotional service, which is called




                                                       The Cows and Calves Embrace Krsna

asaya-suddhi, or the perfection of existence. One who attains the perfection of existence is completely averse to material enjoyment and engrossed in transcendental love of Godhead. It is therefore to be concluded that the ecstatic symptoms of asaya-suddhi are visible when a devotee’s service has no material cause and is purely spiritual in nature.”

In other words, while shedding tears may be common to karmis, sadhakas, and siddhas, in the perfectional stage, crying for Krsna is accompanied by complete detachment from material existence. This is the standard of Krsna consciousness. Such tears of pure love, accompanied by complete detachment from matter, are exhibited by the calves and cows of Vraja. Although they are all beyond the pale of maya, their devotion varies by stages, and by the arrangement of yogamaya, they transit from the stage of the perfect to the more perfect and then the most perfect expression of love.

Hearing of the love possessed by the cows, gopis, and mother Yasoda, a desire may arise to achieve similar success in spiritual life. In its preliminary stage, this aspiration is known as asa-bandha, the hope to one day develop a comparable mood of devotion. By continual devotional service, characterized by regular chanting and hearing in the association of advanced devotees, this hope becomes very strong and is known as laulyam, or greed. Srila Prabhupada says, “If one is very greedy to enhance his Krsna consciousness, this is a great boon. Tatra laulyam ekalam mulam. This is the best path available.” After intense purification, one’s mature aspiration is directed to a specific service in one of the five primary rasas, and that is known as Idlasamayi, or yearning at the stage of liberation.

There is no restriction in serving Sri Krsna. Through the eyes of the gopis a devotee hears of the position of the deer, cows, birds, and gopas of Vrndavana and comes to recognize that bhakti is simply a matter of love. While hearing the sound of the flute, the gopis teach us how to appreciate the love of the vraja-vasis and give us hope that one day we too may acquire such good fortune.


This concludes the eighth chapter of The Song of the Flute, by a very insignificant disciple of His Divine Grace AC. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who desires the perfection of Krsna consciousness, which is culminated in shedding tears, as exhibited in the presence of the gopis by the beautiful cows and calves of Vraja, who at a distance greater than the peacock, deer, or devis were able to hear the enchanting sound of the flute, but were not able see the parama-mohana-rupa of Krsna and thus, are in a category similar to the birds, rivers, and clouds, but who, by attentively drinking that sweet vibration through the cups of their ears, became com­pletely bewildered by its divine influence and oblivious of each other, exhibited the sattvika-vicara of being stunned, which induced the cows to give milk to their calves out of affection for Krsna, and the calves to keep that milk within their mouths, fully detached like great yogis, while both were absorbed in embracing Krsna within the core of their lotus-like hearts and thus, feeling great transcendental bliss, caused the gopis to become envious of their tears of devotion, which are the teachers of prema for all devotees on the path to Vrndavana.

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