Venu Gita 10

nadyas tadä tad upadhärya mukunda-gétam

ävarta-lakñita-manobhava-bhagna-vegäù

äliìgana-sthagitam ürmi-bhujair murärer

gåhëanti päda-yugalaà kamalopahäräù

 

When the rivers hear the flute-song of Kåñëa, their minds begin to desire Him, and thus the flow of their currents is broken and their waters are agitated, moving around in whirlpools. Then with the arms of their waves the rivers embrace Muräri’s lotus feet and, holding on to them, present offerings of lotus flowers. (SB 10.21.15)

 

 

CHAPTER TEN

 

The Rivers Embrace Murari’s Lotus Feet

 

Near the town of Javat and not distant from the River ” Yamuna is the place known as Bakathara, the place where Sri Krsna killed the demon of the name Baka. There is an ancient history of this pastime, which is narrated in the Garga-samhita in the following way.

Long ago there lived a demon of the name Utkala, who was the son of an equally unrighteous father known as Hayagriva. After defeating both demigods and men alike, Utkala lived off the spoils of his conquest and reigned in a kingdom full of unparalleled opulence for the duration of one hundred years.

Like all conditioned souls, Utkala was destined to reap the bitter fruit of his sinful deeds. One day, while in quest of entertain­ment, he approached the hermitage of Jajali Muni at the place where the Ganga meets the ocean. Casting a fishhook into the water, he caught many fish despite the repeated protests of the sage. Like a crane stalking fish in the shallows, time and again the wicked-hearted demon enjoyed his sport, exhausting the patience of Jajali Muni.

Incensed by the foolishness of Utkala who, steeped in igno­rance, had no understanding of the goal of life, that perfect sage

311

touched water and cursed the demon with the words, “Because you eat fish like a crane, then become a crane!”

At that instant Utkala, losing his opulence, power, and beauty, became a great crane with a long, pointed beak and billowy white feathers. Repeatedly appealing to the sage for mercy, the demon invoked the compassion of Jajali Rsi, who said, “During the Vaivasvata-manvantara at the conclusion of the twenty-eighth cycle of Dvapara-yuga, and in the area of Mathura within Bharata-varsa, while sporting in the circle of Vraja by the bank of the Yamuna, Sri Krsna, the Supreme Person, will absorb you into His bodily effulgence.” Offering his blessings, the sage disappeared and Utkala, trapped in that form of ignorance, wandered the worlds as the great Bakasura.

One day while herding His calves in the company of Sri Balarama and the gopas, Sri Krsna saw the great crane once known as Utkala by the Yamuna’s shore. Its form was like a great snowcapped mountain, its feet were like gigantic trees, its squawk­ing was like the rumbling of clouds, and its beak appeared like a thunderbolt.

Surging forward with its wings outspread, its beak open, its rapacious tongue slashing, Baka attacked Sri Krsna and swal­lowed Him whole while the little cowherd boys fled here and there in fear of their lives. When the gopas turned to see their beloved Gopala gone, they wept as if their hearts were about to break. Falling to the ground in sorrow, their lamentation attracted the demigods, who appeared in the sky above the demon, hiding behind the clouds.

When the devas understood the gravity of the situation, they agreed to kill the demon and save Sri Krsna, now sitting in Bakasura’s belly. With his thunderbolt Indra hit the demon, with his danda Brahma struck him unconscious, with his trident Siva cut off one wing, and with his sharp sword Kuvera cut off the other. Vayu struck him with his wind weapon, Yama beat him with his danda, Surya pierced him with a hundred sharp arrows, and Soma struck him with his ice weapon. Agni burned his feathers with fire, Varuna tied him with his rope, and Bhadrakali smashed him with her mace.

312

 

The Rivers Embrace Murari’s Lotus Feet

Although cut, slashed, burned, frozen, tied, and pierced, having lost consciousness many times and feeling great pain, Bakasura did not die. His head broken, that very wicked and powerful demon rose, shook his body and, roaring like thunder, chased the demigods with his sharp beak, making them flee.

With the encouragement of the devarsis, brahmarsis, and brahmanas, and unhappy by the confined space and the bad smells in the demon’s stomach, Sri Krsna expanded His delicate form and caused the crane to spit Him out. Although Bakasura relentlessly tried to catch Gopala in his beak, Sri Krsna cleverly evaded his attack and, rushing between the crane’s legs, caught his tail and threw him to the ground.

Frustrated, the demon once again opened its beak and, stagger­ing forward, attacked Sri Krsna, who stood before him like the child-god of death. Catching hold of the crane’s beaks with both hands, Govinda split them like an elephant breaking a tree branch, bringing to an end Bakasura’s long reign of terror. As the demon died, his effulgent soul entered the body of Sri Krsna, while the demigods showered flowers and shouted, “]ayal Jaya!”

The gopas, surrounding their beloved Krsna, embraced Him, massaged His limbs, and while lovingly touching him, said, “Dear friend. You have certainly been saved from the jaws of death today.” Then, keeping Gopala in their midst, cheering, dancing, and singing, they herded their calves back to the village of Maharaja Nanda and recounted the story of Sri Krsna’s deeds to their astonished parents.

Thus one of the many pastimes of Sri Krsna was concluded on the banks of the divine Yamuna River, which is always associated with His eternal lila, His eternal associates, and Sri Vrndavana-dhama.

 

 

In the transcendental realm of Goloka, which is situated far beyond the material world and remains inaccessible even to the

313

greatest jndnis and yogis, flows the beautiful River Yamuna. Her blackish form resembles a sapphire necklace or the blue lotus garland worn by the goddess of Vrndavana.

The waters of Yamuna-devi are the liquid form of divine love and taste like a mixture of grape juice, sugar, and milk. After bathing with the gopis, the musk that anoints the body of Sri Krsna mixes with the kunkuma decorating their breasts and scents the water with an intoxicating aroma.

Yamuna-devi’s waves are her overflowing transcendental bliss, and they sound like the pure melodies of the Sama Veda, glorifying the ever-youthful prince of Vrndavana. These ever-dancing waves are decorated with blue, red, pink, and golden lotus buds and are laced with an unlimited variety of water blossoms unique only to

her.

The shores of the Yamuna are sometimes decorated with groves of fragrant kadamba trees and sometimes with forests of golden campaka trees. Scattered here and there are pure white beaches of diamond dust, and the riverbanks are always decorated with many jewels, which are the ecstatic symptoms of Vraja’s soil when it meets to discuss the ever-flowing glories of Nanda-nandana with

the waters of Yamuna-devi.

Many playful fish swim in her waters, sometimes jumping, sometimes diving, always relishing the varying currents of Yamuna-devi’s inconceivable devotion to Sri Hari. These fish sometimes become stiff with ecstasy and then resemble the bejew-eled playthings Bala-Krsna keeps in the toy vaults at Nanda-grama. The large turtles living in the shallows are the wisdom of the personified Vedas, having attained sarvajna, full cognizance, by eating the marine vegetation of the Yamuna.

On either shore glistening jewel staircases lead to many simhasanas, or resting places, and temples, which overflow with unlimited paraphernalia for Sri Krsna’s service and are always kept in full supply by Vrnda-devi. There are innumerable groves of flowering trees, vines, bushes, and creepers whose rainbow colors and varied scents create an atmosphere that enchants the mind and invigorates the senses. The pollen of those flowers decorates the waters just as spices are added to a beverage for flavor.

There are beautiful deer delighting in the forest groves and

314

 

The Rivers Embrace Murari’s Lotus Feet

many other animals who achieve perfection by drinking theintoxi-

cating potion of Yamuna’s waters. Birds of all species incessantly sing the glories of Sri Krsna as they become intoxicated by their own kirtana and the blissful atmosphere of Vraja.

The breezes blowing through the foliage are scented with the fragrance of Yamuna-devi’s waters and cooled by the spray thrown up by her hand-like waves. When one atomic particle of that divine fragrance strays from its service to Govinda, it falls to the material world and is known as the breeze from the Malaya Hills.

Many surabhi cows graze on the tender grasses growing by the banks of the Kalindi, whose happy smile is the white foam of her waves that rivals the brilliance of the nearby herds and reflects the billowing clouds overhead. When the cows drink the divine water and eat the luscious grass, their milk becomes imbued with Yamuna’s potency, which further enhances the many mind-enchanting preparations served by mother Yasoda to Krsna-Balarama for Their meals.

Yoga-pitha is on the bank of the Kalindi and is also known as Govinda-sthali. Shaped like the back of a turtle and looking like a thousand-petaled lotus, it is a raised area of land surrounded on its eastern and western sides by the current of the northerly-flowing Yamuna. This Yoga-pitha is full of many flowering kadamba, bakula, banyan, bael, asoka, parijata, santaka, and sandal trees, which are embraced by passionate vines and surrounded by sitting platforms fashioned from sapphire, ruby, or moonstone, reaching to the ankles, knees, hips, or navel.

In the center of this charming forest is a great desire tree whose broad trunk of shimmering gold cleaves into many branches of white crystal and then further divides into innumerable beautiful sub-branches of sapphire. The branches and twigs are further ornamented with emerald leaves, crystal flowers, delicate ruby buds, and fruits shaped like jeweled baskets. These divine fruits fulfill Sri Krsna’s every desire and provide clothing, ornaments, scents, and fragrant powders for the prince of cowherds. Known as the king of desire trees, this tree is embraced by many golden vines which appear like its attendant ministers and whose flowers are naturally shaped like garlands;^ vft^fi^

At the base of this kalpa-taru, surrounded by jeweled steps on its

315

eight sides and with a smaller tree at each comer, is a bejeweled temple that inspires wonder and delight. Within the temple is a golden simhasana, which appears like a flying eight-petaled lotus whose wings are its unsurpassable luster. This extraordinary site is the sitting place of the divine couple, the place of Their confiden­tial loving pastimes, the abode of all transcendental bliss, and the very summit of Vrndavana.

The sand of the Yamuna’s bank defeats the cool splendor of camphor, made twice as smooth by the footprints of Sri Krsna and tinted red with the foot lacquer of the gopis as they blended moon­light into the sand with their nocturnal dancing. Here and there are scattered flower garlands, remnants of chewed betel, and discarded ornaments left by Sri Krsna and the gopis as prasadam of the maha-rasa for Yamuna-devi’s pleasure.

Yamuna-devi is very attached to these moonlit pastimes full of melodic singing, merry music, joyful laughter, and the vibration of the flute. In an attempt to retain the memory of these wonderful nights, she moves slowly by Govinda-sthali, her waters sometimes knee deep, sometimes up to the chest, and sometimes over the head.

As the love-intoxicated current of Yamuna-devi’s blackish water flows past the infinite boundaries of Vraja, she meets the golden waters of Ganga-devi, just arrived from the land where Sri Krsna takes the golden form of Radhika and constantly sings the sankirtana of His own holy names. Doing pranamas to her elder sister, Yamuna-devi inquires, “0 devi, where are you going in such a great hurry, your currents furling with the excitement of a great a; mission?”

;i   Ganga-devi replies, “I have been ordered by Gaura-Krsna to go (swith you to earth! We have been instructed to participate in His pastimes as He appears first as Syama-Raya in Vrndavana and then as Gauranga in Navadvipa. His unquenchable desire is to liberate the conditioned souls from the clutches of birth and death and restore them to their original position here in Goloka.”

Enlivened by the order of their Lord, the two sister-rivers | combined and began to flow as one throughout the unlimited^ planets of Vaikuntha. They were like a braided chain of silver and gold, and with their purifying waters they pleased the blissful

316

 

The Rivers Embrace Murari’s Lotus Feet

inhabitants of the spiritual world. At the entrance to the kingdom of matter they paused to see the great darkness which is bom of the forgetfulness of Govinda’s service and became overwhelmed by compassion for its sorrowful inhabitants.

At that time the toenail of Lord Vamanadeva protruded through the coverings of the universe, like sunlight entering an impen­etrable forest of misery. Gazing from the sacrificial arena of Bali Maharaja, He saw the two sisters still hesitant to leave the spiritual realm and thus inspired them by His all-loving glance. Taking heart once again, the transcendental waters of Ganga-Yamuna moved forward and descended upon Dhruvaloka to take darsana of the great devotee of the Lord and receive his assurance of safety for their onward journey. They then flowed down to the planets of the seven sages and from there were transported by countless celestial airplanes to the moon.

As they reached the abode of Lord Brahma atop mount Meru, Yamuna-devi became frightened at the passion of the conditioned souls and hid within the waters of the Ganga. From the golden peak of this mountain the current divided into four and the southerly branch made its way to the famous Himalayan mountain range. Ganga-devi bid farewell to Yamuna, who then cascaded down the Kalinda Mountain and appeared at the place known as Yamunotri, continuing to flow quickly eastward through Indraprastha.

Taking shelter of emperor Yudhisthira and his bothers, Kalindi-devi continued to the boundary of Gokula, which is the earthly manifestation of Goloka. There she began to flow slowly through the transcendental playground of Sri Krsna and eventually rested at Visrama-ghata in Mathura. To visit all the places of Sri Krsna’s pastimes, Yamuna-devi divided into many branches, some flowing around Govardhana Hill, some by Varsana, some near Nanda-grama, and some around the many forests of Vraja.

After completing her parikmma, Yamuna-devi once again began her journey in great sorrow, passing through Mahavana and finally crossing the border of Vrndavana until she once again met the Ganga at Prayag. Combining into one great stream, those divine sisters passed through the city of the king of devotees. Lord

317

Mahadeva, and proceeded in haste to Gupta- Vrndavana/, the nine-island abode known as Navadvipa.

In Navadvipa-dhama, Yamuna-devi stayed on the western bank while Ganga flowed by the eastern bank. To fully appreciate the place of Gaurahga’s pastimes they slowly flowed through all the nine islands, relishing the manifestation of great compassion enshrined in the atmosphere of Navadvipa. They reverentially viewed the place of Jagannatha Misra’s house, the sacred Yoga-pitha where in Kali-yuga Lord Gaura would make His divine appearance, and then, impelled by their itinerant nature, they continued on an easterly course with great regret. While approach­ing the saltwater ocean, the rivers took shelter of Lord Kapila’s asrama as demigods sang their glories and Apsaras showered a monsoon of flowers. Overwhelmed by their impending separation, Yamuna-devi then spoke to Ganga-devi as follows: “Dear sister, as the embodiment of compassion you desire to continue throughout this forsaken place to purify the bewildered conditioned souls. I take the dust of your lotus feet. Please give me permission to depart for Goloka once again.”

With tears in her eyes, beautiful Ganga-devi said, “0 Yamuna, my beloved! When my waters are purified one hundred times, then they are known as your waters. What can I say? Your fortune is unlimited, as you always embrace the body of Sri Krsna in your arms and caress His form with your hands. By the order of the Lord, I will descend to Patalaloka, but I shall long for the time to join you in the service of Radha-Krsna in Goloka.”

Falling at each other’s feet, shedding tears of sorrow, and repeatedly embracing while begging forgiveness for offenses, those sisters separated once again to execute the orders of the Lord. While Ganga-devi descended to the nether regions, Yamuna started to flow through the ocean, crossing the islands of Jambudvipa until she reached the golden mountains of Lokaloka. Ascending their slopes, she retraced her previous course and once again entered Goloka, while the demigods and denizens of Vaikuntha showered flowers and sang songs of her who purifies the three worlds and is the liquid form of love of God.

All things have their origin in Sri Krsna, the ultimate cause of

318

 

The Rivers Embrace Murari’s Lotus Feet

all causes, both spiritual and mundane. Thus, the ultimate source of the Yamuna, like all things, is the one indestructible Supreme Person. If one searches for the immediate cause of the Kalindi, then it can be said that she is an expansion of Visakha-devi, who takes this liquid form as the means to provide variegated pleasure for Sri Krsna. As Srimati Radharani is the feminine counter-form of Govinda and the embodiment of His infinite potencies, so Visakha is Her expansion, imbued with independent volition for the purpose of serving Radha-Krsna’s loving pastimes. To enhance the landscape of Vrndavana, Visakha’s offering of love to the divine couple includes eternally manifesting in the form of a river that flows throughout the spiritual and material worlds.

The descent of Yamuna-devi from Goloka Vrndavana also coincides with the perspective of the demigods, who envisage the creation as a by-product of their karma. Thus Kalindi, who is known as Krsna because of her darkish complexion, is also known as the twin sister of Yamaraja and the daughter of the sun-god, Vivasvan.

After having come of age, Yamuna-devi informed her father that she was unwilling to marry anyone other than the Supreme Person, Lord Visnu. Vivasvan advised Kalindi to moderate her marital goals, for Sri Krsna was very difficult to behold even by the greatest demigods like Brahma and Lord Siva. However, Yamuna was not to be dissuaded from her determination, and she decided to perform severe austerities to obtain Sri Krsna as her husband. To please his daughter, Vivasvan constructed a residence within the waters of the Yamuna River near the Khandava forest. Residing there with great determination and an insatiable desire to achieve the shelter of bhakta-vatsala Sri Krsna/ Kalindi-devi performed austerities and waited for the time when the Lord would bestow His mercy on her.

After He constructed the Dvaraka fort in the midst of the ocean, Sri Krsna regularly visited the Panda vas at Indraprastha, bound as He was by their affectionate family ties. On one such trip, while hunting in the forest not far from Kuruksetra, Krsna and Arjuna rested in the area of the Yamuna within which was the residence of Kalindi. While refreshing themselves with the cool waters of the

319

river, the daughter of the sun appeared in her very attractive form, decorated with glittering teeth and a smiling face. Making inquiries on behalf of his divine friend, Arjuna discovered how this beautiful maiden had come to live in this secluded place without even a guardian.

With great tears of submission in her eyes, her hands folded in surrender and a voice quaking with emotion, Yamuna-devi expressed her desire to accept only Sri Krsna as her husband. Knowing that even the most difficult request from the Lord can be easily realized by the grace of His unflinching servitor, and recog­nizing Arjuna to be not only a devotee but Sri Krsna’s close friend, and seeing him as the only boat to cross over the great ocean of obstacles that had the fulfillment of her desire as its farther shore, Yamuna-devi fell at Phalguni’s feet and bathed them with her tears.

‘ Moved by Yamuna-devi’s devotion, Arjuna conveyed her desire to Govinda who, always bound by His devotees’ love and always ready to fulfill their desires, immediately understood the situation and accepted her hand. Upon their return to Dvaraka, the long desire of Yamuna-devi was fulfilled as Sri Krsna married her in regal splendor and installed her in one of His great palaces, where she lived happily in the association of the Supreme Person, dedicating herself to fulfilling His every desire.

This completes a brief description of the story of Yamuna-devi, the eternal associate of Sri Krsna and Sri Vrndavana-dhama. Great devotees bathe in her pure waters, receive her blessing of pure devotion, and glorify her with wonderful prayers. This is exempli­fied in the Yamunastakam of Sri Rupa Gosvami below:

bhratur antakasya pattane ‘bhipatti-harini

preksayati-papino ‘pi papa-smdhu-tarim nira-mddhunbhir apy asesa-citta-bandhim

mam punatu sarvadaravinda-bandhu-nandim

“May Yamuna-devi, the daughter of Surya the sun-god, always purify me. She saves those who touch her from going to the realm

320

 

The Rivers Embrace Mumri’s Lotus Weet

of her brother Yamaraja, and merely seeing her exonerates even greatly sinful people from the reactions to their sins. The attractive­ness of her waters captivates everyone’s heart.”

hari-vari-dharayabhimanditoru-khandava

pundarika-mandalodyad-andajali-tandava snana-kama-pamarogra-papa-sampad-andhim

mam punatu sarvadaravinda-bandhu-nandim

“Yamuna-devi adorns Indra’s massive Khandava forest with her enchanting current, and upon her blooming white lotuses, birds such as wagtails always dance. Simply desiring to bathe in her crystalline waters pardons one from even the greatest of sins. May that Yamuna-devi, the daughter of Surya the sun-god, always purify me.”

sikarabhimrsta-jantu-durvipaka-mardim

nanda-nandanantaranga-bhakti-pilra-vardhim tira-sahgamabhilasi-mangalanubandhim

mam punatu sarvadaravinda-bandhu-nandini

“Sprinkling a single drop of her water upon oneself frees one from the reaction to even the most heinous crime. She increases the flow of devotion for Nanda-nandana Sri Krsna within one’s heart and benedicts anyone who simply desires to reside on her banks. May Yamuna-devi, the daughter of Surya the sun-god, always purify me.”

dvipa-cakravala-justa-sapta-sindhu-bnedini

sn-mukunda-nirmitoru-divya-keli-vedini kanti-kandalibhir indramla-vrnda-nindini •• mam punatu sarvadaravinda-bandhu-nandini

“Yamuna-devi is so inconceivably powerful that although she

321

flows through the seven oceans which surround the earth’s seven giant islands, she never merges into them as ordinary rivers do. Being an intimate witness to Sri Krsna’s wonderful pastimes, she makes those pastimes arise in the hearts of those who take shelter of her. Her dark, shimmering beauty defeats even that of a precious blue sapphire. May Yamuna-devi, the daughter of Surya the sun-god, always purify me.”

5 mathurena mandalena carunabhimandita

prema-naddha-vaisnavddhva-vardhanaya panditd ilrmi-dor-vilasa-padmandbha-pada-vandini

mam punatu sarvadaravinda-bandhu-nandini

“Ornamented by the supremely enchanting land of Mathura-mandala, Yamuna-devi inspires spontaneous devotion in the hearts of the loving Vaisnavas who bathe in her waters. With her waves, which are like playful arms, she worships Sri Krsna’s lotus feet. May Yamuna-devi, the daughter of Surya the sun-god, always purify me.”

ramya-tira-rambhamdna-go-kadamba-bhusita

divya-gandha-bhdk-kadamba-puspa-raji-rusita nanda-sunu-bhakta-sangha-sangamdbhinandini

mam punatu sarvadaravinda-bandhu-nandini

“Yamuna-devi’s supremely attractive banks are further beauti­fied by the celestial fragrance emanating from the flowers of the kadamba trees which line them and by the presence of mooing cows. She is especially delighted when Nanda-lala’s devotees assemble on those banks. May Yamuna-devi, the daughter of Surya the sun-god, always purify me.”

phulla-paksa-mallikaksa-hamsa-laksa-kujita bhakti-viddha-deva-siddha-kinnardli-piljita

322

 

The Rivers Embrace Muraii’s Lotus Feet

tira-gandhavaha-gandha-janma-bandha-randhini mam punatu sarvadaravinda-bandhu-nandini

“Hundreds of thousands of swans glide along the waters of Yamuna-devi, who is worshipable to the demigods, siddhas, Kinnaras, and humans whose hearts are dedicated to the service of Sri Hari. Anyone who is touched by her gentle breezes is released from the cycle of birth and death. May Yamuna-devi, the daughter of Surya the sun-god, always purify me.”

cid-vilasa-vdri-pura-bhur-bhuvah-svar-dpini

kirtitdpidurmadaru-pdpa-marma-tapini ballavendra-nandandfigardga-bhanga-gandhini

mam punatu sarvadaravinda-bandhu-nandini

“Yamuna-devi distributes transcendental knowledge through­out the three worlds known as Bhuh, Bhuvah, and Svah as she flows through them, and singing her glories burns to ashes the reactions of even the greatest of sins. She has become supremely fragrant due to the sandal paste from Sri Krsna’s body melting in her waters as He enjoys His water-sports. May Yamuna-devi, the daughter of Surya the sun-god, always purify me.”

tusta-buddhir astakena nirmalormi-cestitdm

tvdm anena bhdnu-putri! sarva-deua-vestitdm yah staviti vardhayasva sarva-papa-mocane

bhakti-puram asya devil pundarika-locane

“Hey Surya-putri! Devi! 0 Yamune, whose forceful waves are so purifying and who is surrounded by all the demigods! Please increase the current of bhakti for the lotus-eyed Sri Krsna, He who liberates people from their sins, of that contented, intelligent person who recites this prayer—this is my supplication at your feet.”

323

Sitting under a great banyan tree, surrounded by all the illustri­ous thinkers of the universe, Sukadeva Gosvami turned his gaze from his dear disciple, Maharaja Pariksit, and looked with great feeling towards the Yamuna River flowing nearby. It was the month of Kartika, and the thought of the tranquil river flowing through Hastinapura to Vrndavana stimulated the ecstasy of that celebrated sage. As he continued to perceive the pastimes of Vraja within his heart, his eyes welled with tears.

As the sound of the flute rolled across the glossy waters of the Yamuna, it became especially beautiful by contact with the river, very cooling, smooth, and comforting. A group of gopis who had gone to collect water stood silently at the river’s edge, bathing in the song of Sri Krsna’s flute, when one of them said:

wdyas tada tad upadharya mukunda-gitam

avarta-laksita-manobhava-bhagna-vegah alingana-sthagitam urmi-bhujair murarer

grhnanti pada-yugalam kamalopahdrah

“When the rivers hear the flute-song of Krsna, their minds begin to desire Him, and thus the flow of their current is broken and their waters are agitated, moving around in whirlpools. Then, with the arms of their waves, the rivers embrace Murari’s lotus feet and, holding on to them, present offerings of lotus flowers.” (Bhag. 10.21.15)

Srila Prabhupada explained, “Even the River Yamuna, being desirous to embrace the lotus feet of Krsna after hearing the transcendental vibration of His flute, broke her fierce waves to flow very nicely with lotus flowers in her hands, just to present flowers to Mukunda with deep feeling.”

Wandering and wandering through the forest of Vrndavana, ever absorbed in play, dance, and song, Sri Krsna, accompanied by

324

 

 

The Rivers Embrace Murari’s Lotus Feet

Balarama, the cowherd boys, and the cows, eventually reached the beautiful banks of the Yamuna River. While the cowherd boys made the cows drink the sweet water, Krsna and Madhumangala, walking arm in arm along the riverbank, enjoyed the cooling, aromatic breezes from the Yamuna.

Lotus-eyed Sri Krsna saw the Yamuna to be like the long black braid of His beloved Radhika; the many lotus flowers in the Yamuna like the small jasmine flowers She braids into Her hair; the swans gliding here and there like the decorative string of pearls entwined in Her tresses; the small whirlpools within the Yamuna like the curly locks that ornament Her forehead; and the free-flowing current within Her banks like the swaying of Her braids against Her back.

As Sri Krsna was absorbed in such pleasant thoughts, the two boys eventually came to Nanda-ghata, where the servants of Varuna had arrested Nanda Maharaja. Here Sri Hari remembered how, after fasting and worshipping Lord Janardana on the Ekadasi day. His dear father entered the Yamuna during an inauspicious time, to be carried away by some foolish servant of Varuna. When the associates of Nanda Baba called out the names of Rama and Krsna/ Sri Hari had immediately appeared and, along with Baladeva, entered deep within the water. Reaching the ocean capital of Varuna known as Vibhavari, Govinda fearlessly entered the court of Varuna and reclaimed His father without much ado.

Sri Krsna smiled sweetly, recalling the embarrassment of the deity of water, who immediately appeased Him with many prayers and gifts and offered Him his own throne as a sign of submission. Not since Sri Rama gazed in fiery anger over the ocean to Lanka had Varuna experienced such humiliation at the hands of a human, demon, or demigod. When Nanda Maharaja saw the humility of Varuna he became astonished due to paternal love, and after relating the incident to his associates, they concluded Sri Krsna must be the Supreme Lord of all gods. While the vraja-vasi men were speaking in such a high philosophical way, Govinda became compassionate upon them and, revealing the spiritual planet of Goloka, He assured His kinsmen of this most excellent of destinations in their next births.

In the previous verse, beginning with the words prayo batamba vihaga munayo vane ‘smin, the bewilderment of birds was described as being sarva mohanatva. Now, while walking very close to the Yamuna’s bank, Sri Krsna poured the nectar of divine love into the holes of His flute through His ruby-colored lips and inspired the gopis to speak of the unconscious rivers of Vrndavana who, being nan-jati, of the same female class as they, embrace His lotus feet and feel greater embarrassment than the muni birds.

One gopi, a girlfriend of Srimati Radharani who is praudha, senior by age and experience, exclaimed, “What to speak of conscious living entities, just see the saubhagya, the good fortune of unconscious bodies of water like the Kalindi and Manasi-Ganga. Although the sound of the flute is a source of embarrassment for everyone, tat paramo, mohanatva, it is especially so for females like the gopis and the rivers of Vraja.”

Taking a golden pot ornamented with many valuable gems from her head and placing it on the ground before her, another gopi, decorated with great affection for Govinda, said, “Hey sakhl, the flow of the river is by nature vegavan, very powerful, and carries all things away with it! But just see! As that current attentively hears the approaching sound of the flute, it loses its steadiness and becomes broken by lust.”

Following her direction, all the gopis looked towards the Yamuna and observed in amazement how the vibration of the flute caused it to stop flowing. Standing motionless like a great sheet of ice, the Kalindi became transfixed, appearing like a lake unwilling to move by even a hair’s breadth. In its supreme happiness, instead of heading towards the sea, its current became stationary and it began to spin around in many whirlpools and eddies that repre­sented its thick gadha-bhava or manobhava.

Expressing amusement with her hand to her mouth, the same gopi continued, “What is this manobhava which causes such distress to Yamuna-devi? Dear friends, that same lust, kama, which makes the gopis cast aside their shyness, steadiness, and patience has eaten its way into the waters of the river and caused an obstruction to its natural seaward course.”

Standing together like beautiful reeds on the shore, bending in

the wind of their amazement, the gopis looked at the great transfor­mation the venu-gita brought about in the rivers of Vrndavana. Another gopi, already bewildered by the flute itself and now further mystified by the inertia of the Yamuna, spoke with great curiosity. “Sakhi, how do you understand, the influence of this manobhava within the waters of the river?”

Raising her expressive hands, her friend replied, “The many broken streams and deep twirling whirlpools are the symptoms of the ecstatic love Yamuna-devi and other rivers exhibit. Dear friend, do not doubt this! The bodily beauty of Sri Krsna is like a wave in the ocean of eternal youth to which all the rivers of Vraja flow. In that great ocean are the whirlpools of awakening ecstatic love and the random flow of transitory sub-ecstasies which have affected these rivers so.” Considering the position of the gopis to be similar to that of the rivers, she then expressed their feelings with great humility. “The vibration of Sri Krsna’s flute is like a whirlwind, and the flickering minds of the gopis are like straws and dry leaves. After they fall down in the whirlwind, they never rise again but remain eternally at His lotus feet.”

Whispers of “Sadhu! Sadhu!” rolled out over the expanse of water, echoing like the sweet sound of many waterfowl. Another softly-spoken girl, her smile sweetened by the camphor of love for Sri Krsna, said, “Just behold the greediness of this river! In its great happiness it has not only stopped flowing, but the water which has long passed this area is returning to hear the vibration of the flute and make offerings of love to Murari.”

As she spoke, the gopis observed the Yamuna’s water level rising and the waters from downstream retracing their course to be nearer to Krsna. “The husband of the rivers is the ocean, and all chaste women find their place at the shelter of their own spouse. But just see how, returning from their ocean-husband, the rivers bring divine presentations of flowers, pearls, and coral to offer at 6ri Krsna’s lotus feet.”

Putting her hands forward as if to touch Govinda’s lotus feet, one young girl said, “The waves of the rivers are its hands and their offerings of love are the many-colored lotus flowers floating on its waters. Krsna is now sthagitam, stationary, and standing in

328

 

The Rivers Embrace Murari’s Lotus Feet

one spot on the bank of the Yamuna, He feels great happiness as the rivers embrace His lotus feet in their liquid palms.” The gopis leaned forward, looking down the waterfront to catch a glimpse of Sri Krsna’s lotus feet being embraced by the river, their colorful saris billowing in the wind. “Aside from offerings of aromatic flowers, sugandha-kamala, the rivers offer their own sweet waters, kamala, washing the lotus feet of Mukunda, pada-kamala, which are like the most splendid pair of blue lotuses, nila-kamala.”

Enlivened by the vision of her own love-anointed eyes, another gopi said, “Look there! With great love and devotion the personi­fied river offers its entire storehouse of treasures, kamala, in addition to an unlimited variety of lotuses, kamala, to Sri Hari.”

Envisaging the beautiful scene, another gopi said, “The rivers have heard the bewildering song of the flute and have renounced flowing to their husbands. With their long hands which are their waves they have adorned themselves with jewels, crowns, and divine decorations, mani mautika divya ham, and their attire now rivals the beauty of Kamala, the goddess of fortune. Because the rivers are inhabitants of Vrndavana they are very dear to Murari, and they now tightly hold His lotus feet to their breasts.”

Srila Sanatana Gosvami gives a detailed explanation why the gopis refer to Krsna as Murari, the killer of the demon named Mura. The Brhad-Vdmana Purana tells the story of the demon called Mura, who received a boon from Lord Siva to be able to kill anyone merely by touching his chest with his hand. The demigods were always in great fear of Murasura, and finally they approached Lord Narayana to bring an end to their misery by killing him. For the pleasure of His devotees, the Lord destroyed the demon after a long battle.

At first glance, the gopis’ use of the word Murari in alingana-sthagitam urmi-bhujair murarer appears to refer to Sri Krsna in His opulent vilasa expansion as Lord Narayana. However, this would indicate a mood that is both inconsistent and at conflict with the gopis’ general attitude of loving attachment to Govinda as the human cowherd son of Nanda Maharaja, which is most prominent in Vraja.

This paradox is resolved by verse 10.8.18, wherein Garga Muni

329

said, “Tasman nandatmajo ‘yam te narayana-samo gunaih,” or “Your son is as good as Narayana.” The key words are “as good as.” The inhabitants of Vraja do not know Sri Krsna to be Narayana due to the intensity of their love, but they do know that by some good fortune He is as powerful as Narayana, and therefore they call Him Murari as well.

Watching the rivers approach Sri Hari, the gopis said, “Previ­ously Sri Krsna killed the Mura demon for the pleasure of His devotees and brought happiness to the planets of the demigods. Having given our hearts to Him for eternity, we too are His devoted maidservants and, as in times past, we deserve to be protected from the influence of Cupid. Tatah asmakam! 0 Govinda, that lust which is rising in our hearts, which is scorching our bodies and choking our words, kindly destroy it!” Lamenting their situation and wringing their hands, their lotus faces downcast, they said, “Although Sri Krsna is kind to the rivers. He neglects us and will not relieve this burning poison in our hearts. Thus the ocean of our misfortune knows no shores!”

The gopis always appreciate the good fortune of those living entities who are engaged in the service of lotus-eyed Sri Krsna. When absorbed in such meditations they feel relief from their own separation, vipralamba-bhdva, and share the happiness of the cows, the birds, or the rivers of Vrndavana. Although happy by such thoughts, the reality of their own condition as one divorced from His transcendental association invariably surfaces within their minds, and once again they begin to lament their own misfortune. This is the recurring pathos of Venu-gita.

Having heard the flute song of Mukunda and having witnessed the good fortune of Vrndavana’s rivers, the gopis felt their ever-present kama surge forward. Recognizing that Murari would not relieve the burning in their own hearts, they once again became despondent and condemned their situation as being inferior to that of the rivers.

Said one lotus-eyed young lady, “The rivers do not flow to their husband, the ocean, but remain happily in Vrndavana embracing the feet of Hari. Devoid of any feelings of animosity, the great samudra glorifies Sri Krsna with the loud clapping of waves and

330

 

 

The Rivers Embrace Murari’s Lotus Feet

praises the good fortune of his wives with words like ‘Sadhu, sadhu!’ Vayantu durbhaga eva, but we are greatly unfortunate, for our husbands cannot share the magnanimity of the great seas, and they constantly condemn our love for Mukunda. How sad is our sorry plight!”

Another gopi, feeling angry at her predicament, furled her eyebrows and exclaimed, “The svabhava of the rivers, which is to ever flow downstream, has today been usurped by the agency of the flute. The waters of the Yamuna have become immovable, representing her solid determination to achieve Sri Krsna’s loving association. But just see, vayantu, we gopis, considered by society to be more intelligent than the rivers, remain clutching the insignifi­cant straws of our conditioned nature, hesitating to cast off the shackles of our kula, lajya, and sila. What fools we are!”

The distinct symptoms of visadha, lamentation, glanih, depres­sion, and dainya, humility fought each other for supremacy over the gopis’ minds. Understanding that combat amongst themselves would compromise their own objectives, they made a truce and in unison assailed the unprotected gopis, who naturally began to totter under the effect of an allied assault.

Expressing their despondency, a gopi dressed in a red-bordered sari said, “The waters of the river are prone to move in various ways due to their cancala-bhava, flickering nature. By embracing Murari’s feet they have overcome this unsteady position and have become fixed in good fortune. Look around you, my dear friends! Ever submerged in our household duties, distracted by the many demands of our husbands, and in fear of the chastisement of supe­riors, we continue to live ever-oblivious to the influence of the flute.

“Our best dresses are of no value, our family jewelry is like straw, and our inherited decorations are unattractive without the merciful glance of Sri Krsna. Worst of all, while others appreciate our beauty, manners, and charm, of what value are such gifts if He for whom they are conceived does not value them? Vaksa sterna. adisu, we cannot hold even one of His soft pinkish lotus feet, which regularly walk the thorny paths of Vraja, to our breasts. Now tell me, dear friends, of what use is such a life?”

The gopis were standing by the crystalline beach of the

331

Yamuna’s shore, their decorative water jugs sitting complacently by their feet. They had all come for the purpose of collecting water for some household duty and now, with a glance of contempt, they all turned their backs on the pots, seeing them as the fatal tie to family obligations and representative of all their misfortune. The sadness in their hearts rose to their faces and then appeared as a cascade of tears from their doe-like eyes. Their tears flowed down their lovely cheeks onto the sand and, mixing with the stagnant water of the Yamuna, caused a veritable flooding of its banks.

Although the gopis exhibited great attachment to Sri Krsna in each other’s presence, their mood of concealment was protected by the arrangement of Yogamaya. Thus, no suspicion arose regarding each other’s affection for the Prince of Vraja.

Controlling her own unhappiness, the senior gopi who had spoken earlier struggled to subdue the pathetic mood of the conver­sation. To console the others and secure the general humor of their chat, she placed her arm around the two gopis nearest her and said very sweetly, “The good fortune of the rivers is not exclusive but is often shared by the ladies of Vraja-dhama. 0 gopi-sundari-gana, do you not remember how, by visiting Durvasa Muni at a distance not far from here, you all received immeasurable good fortune?”

Hearing the mention of their “good fortune,” the despondent gopis began to look here and there, aware that they had publicly sunk into the quicksand of attachment to Sri Krsna and concerned that their expressions of love were not understood by each other.

Pointing in a northerly direction, her veil draping her vine-like arms, the same gopi continued, “There is Pani-ghata, where the gopis brought many sweets and savories cooked in ghee as an offer­ing to the great sage Durvasa, who had taken residence on the far side of the Yamuna. Do you not remember how, baffled by the deep water, we were unable to make a plan to cross the river? There was no boat, no bridge, and yet, neglecting our guest would surely ignite the sage’s displeasure and bring misfortune upon the vraja-

vasis.

The remembrance of Sri Krsna’s pastimes was like a spark that ignited the wick of the gopis’ hope, thus dissipating their melan­choly, which was like a vast darkness with no visible end.

332

 

The Rivers Embrace Mwrarfs Lotus Feet

Continuing her narration, that gopi said, “At that time, absorbed in tending His cows and dressed in a most alluring manner, making a show of His natural opulences and eyeing the vast array of preparations held by the gopis, Sri Krsna appeared along with His many cowherd boy friends. With a very sweet voice He addressed the gopis, saying, ‘He catura gopi-gana, 0 most clever gopis, for what subversive reason do you all assemble here on the bank of the Yamuna, gazing at the other shore as if it were the property of your good husbands?’

“Visakha-devi, appearing like another Radharani, replied, ‘Having been sent by our elders with offerings of food for the sage Durvasa who has taken up residence on the far shore of the Yamuna, we are at a loss as to how to navigate across this very turbulent river.’

“With great charm, smiling as if He were to melt the stones nearby, Sri Krsna said, ‘You are all chaste wives whose fidelity to your husbands is well known throughout the land. Do not under­estimate the strength of your own vows. By the force of your own purity, induce the presiding deity of the waters to give you way to the other side.’

“Of those gopis present some took these words of Vanamali as a compliment, while others, according to their temperament, consid­ered that He was taunting them. Making a show of feigned shyness, Tungavidya-devi, the knower of all sciences, said, ‘Dear sakha, 0 treasure of mother Yasoda, although what You say is true, it is not becoming that we diminish the store of our own piety, for after all, a chaste wife considers the results of her vows and austerities as the property of her husband. Therefore, it would not look right for us to follow Your advice. If however. You offer us the benefit of Your vast austerities, we can certainly cross the ocean of material existence, what to speak of this small creek.’

“The gopis smiled and giggled among themselves as Yamuna-vihari pursed His lips and accepted the challenge posed by Tungavidya. He said, ‘Prana-sakhi, what you say is certainly true. Being of a very magnanimous disposition, I readily offer My devotees the strength to cross over all the obstacles of conditional life. Thus many, many souls have gone to the other shore of

333

material existence by My grace. This is confirmed in all the scrip­tures.’

“At this statement those charming young girls, nicely dressed in festive garments and ornamented with valuable necklaces, began to laugh uncontrollably. Seeing His integrity at question, Sri Hari tightened His belt with emphasis and spoke as follows: ‘I can see that being intoxicated by the liquor of youth, you girls have lost your good judgment and, bewildered by pride, you challenge the penance of the pure.’

“Visakha-devi replied with exaggerated courtesy, ‘0 Yogesvara, master of all mystics, please tell us, by which austerities of Yours may we cross the Yamuna today?’

“Always devoted to the service of his friend Sri Krsna, Madhumangala thought, ‘Seeing the integrity of my prana-sakha ridiculed by these whimsical gopis, I shall save Him from an impending ocean of embarrassment.’ Speaking aloud he said, ‘Dear Visakhe, please hear now my most agreeable words, which I speak for your enlightenment. In your quest for spiritual strength to cross the waters of the Yamuna, I direct you to take shelter of an atomic particle my dear friend’s vow of celibacy. By it, your predicament will readily be solved.’

“Hearing of Sri Krsna’s vow of celibacy, the strength of which they would cross the river, the gopis became overwhelmed with laughter and held each other’s hands in merriment. This certainly resulted in great consternation and embarrassment for Sri Krsna and even more so for His assembled friends, who knitted their brows and tapped the ground with their sticks.

“Visakha-devi replied, ‘Are you sure the advice you give us— taking shelter of Sri Krsna’s brahmacarya—will have sufficient merit for the task at hand? Perhaps we should wait for the summer season and make our crossing more certain.’

“After much humorous argument and innuendo from the gopis, Vraja-kumara Krsna replied in an authoritative way, ‘In the Gopala-tapani Upanisad the very sage Durvasa whom you desire to see has referred to Me as a brahmacan. Accepting the statements of sruti, you girls should have no doubt about the accuracy of Bhato’s statements. Doing acamana and offering your pranamas to the

334

 

The Rivers Embrace Murari’s Lotus Feet

presiding deity of the waters, say “On the strength of Sri Krsna’s brahmacarya, please allow us to cross.” No doubt you shall achieve success in your efforts.’

“Overjoyed at the opportunity of Sri Krsna’s association and feeling sympathy for the embarrassment caused Him by the gopis’ humorous words, Sri Radhika, adorned with all good qualities, stepped close to the bank of the Yamuna, Her lotus feet touching its waters, and said, ‘Very well, today we shall bear testimony to the words of sastra.’ Cupping Her delicate right hand and scooping a palm-full of water, Sri Radha performed acamana with such grace that Sri Hari became mesmerized.

“Then, with Her hands folded to Her breasts in deep concentra­tion like a great yogini, She spoke: ‘0 great lord of the waters, 0 presiding deity of the Yamuna, on the strength of Sri Krsna’s vow of brahmacarya please give us passage to the far shore.’ As Sri Radha spoke these words, the waters of the Yamuna parted, making a path ten cubits in width. From where She stood a cause­way lined with the softest white sand, free of any stones or pebbles and stretching to the distant shore, immediately appeared.

“As the gopis stood in silent amazement, their smiles frozen on their faces, Sri Krsna/ bubbling over with pride, looked to His friends and with great affection spoke to the gopis. ‘Your doubts regarding the potency of My austerities now allayed, without fear you may cross through this passageway so kindly offered by the deity of the waters.’

“That day the gopis, led by Sri Radhika, crossed the Yamuna to the asrama of Durvasa Muni and once again returned by the same means as they had come. With many presentations of sweets and savories they pleased that sage who, accompanied by his innumer­able disciples, ate their offering to their full satisfaction. With his deep spiritual intuition. Sage Durvasa perceived the role he was to play in the pastime of the Lord and thus blessed Sri Radhika with the following words:

” ‘Dear child, vraja-kumari vrsabhanu-sute, from this day hence, whatever You cook will surpass the taste of nectar and will find no equal even in the kitchens of the devas. Whoever eats Your cooking ^11 always remain healthy, strong, and virile and will never know

335

defeat at the hands of his enemies. 0 Sundan, I give You this boon on the strength of all my austerities, for my words have never been proven to be fake. So let it be!'”                ;

The prauda-gopika concluded, “In this way, Ihe good fortune of the gopis was realized on that day by the banks of the Yamuna and at this very place. Have you all forgotten such happy pastimes that you now wallow to the neck in the waters of lamentation?” The gopis, absorbed in hearing these pleasing pastimes, once again forgot their feelings of separation and with great enthusiasm continued to hear the nectar of Sri Krsna’s lila.

Absorbed in the ocean of His limitless sports, the gopis recalled how, towering to the heavens, Sri Krsna cleverly exhibited His awesome Varaha-rupa near Gautama Rsi’s dsrama, the kingly generosity of Nanda Baba as he distributed an ocean of cows for the benefit of Krsna-Balarama at Go-ghata, and the happy hours at Dusa-ghata as a mischievous Sri Krsna played hide and seek with

great delight.

As they spoke the day entered its fifth phase. Fully absorbed in hearing the pastimes of their beloved, the gopis became oblivious to their family duties and the impending consequences of time. Indeed, to better hear their words Yamuna-devi checked her course, the aquatics crowded the waters nearby, and forest creatures lined the riverbank. When the discussion became humorous the gopis laughed, and the animals and aquatics also laughed. When the pastimes became full of emotion, the beasts shared the gopis’ tears and even the nearby rocks were seen to cry. In this way many hours passed in great happiness and, absorbed in the glorification of the flute and its charming master, the gopis lost all awareness of the external world by remembering Sri Krsna.

When the impending darkness heralded its appearance by the setting of the sun, the gopis quickly collected their pots, placed them on their heads and, bidding farewell to Yamuna-devi, they made their way back to their village, singing songs of Govinda all the way.

336

 

The. Rivers Embrace Murari’s Lotus Feet

Hearing of the gopis’ enchanting pastimes with Sri Krsna, Yamuna-devi overflowed with bhava. When they departed to their villages Yamuna-devi felt great separation from the gopis and surged up her banks, flooding the low-lying fields. Upon Yogamaya’s indication she returned to her shores and began to flow once again, her charming dark waters all the more mysterious in the reddish glow of the setting sun.

With a great desire to relish the transcendental mellows of Govinda’s remembrance, she stopped once again at Raja-ghata, recalling how Bihari-lala, disguised as a boatman, brought an aged vessel to this place to gain the audience of His beloved gopis.

Once Radhika and Her sakhis took their ghee and yogurt to the market in Mathura. Just the thought of a princess walking many miles to sell a pot of yogurt must be highly suspicious to anyone not under the sway of Sri Krsna’s internal potency. But then, what creature has such freedom when Govinda Himself is completely captivated by Her?

As they approached the Yamuna, the gopis were delighted to see a boat conveniently waiting to take them to the other side. Pulling Her cloud-blue veil over Her beautiful face. King Vrsabhanu’s daughter sent a young maidservant to arrange the fare with the boatman.

Although difficult to appease, the boatman, who possessed a very attractive blue complexion and invoked many feelings of happiness among the gopi-gana, finally agreed on a fair price to carry them to the other shore. However, when all the gopis were properly seated. He made it known that His boat would not accede to the journey without first being purified by the water from a vraja-vasi’s feet.

The gopis were first incredulous that the boat could communi­cate; then they were outraged at its unreasonable demands, and

337

finally they were discouraged at the indifference of the boatman. When they inquired whose feet He wished to bathe, the boatman consulted His boat and informed them that Srimati Radharani’s feet were their common choice.

Exhibiting Her reluctance, Radhika manifest Her loving pique at this unusual fare. Hari replied that His boat was equally adamant and, with Her attitude, it was highly unlikely the cargo would see the Yamuna’s far shore. After much cajoling by sakhis and boatman alike, Radhika succumbed to their desire and a cleverly disguised Hari happily bathed Her lotus feet, keeping the caranamrta in His lota.

He sprinkled the caranamrta on His head, on the boat, on the gopis, and finally on the River Yamuna. At the conclusion of His puja, having declared the crossing now sanctified and when an auspicious moment had arrived, the boat set off. Gracefully travers­ing the Yamuna, that wonderful speaking boat with its wonderful cargo of lotus-like gopis, steered by a wonderful boatman, reached midway across the river where the current was the strongest.

Exhausted by labor due to excessive cargo weight, the boatman announced His weakness occasioned by hunger and His subse­quent inability to exert Himself any further. Despite entreaties, prayers, and threats He refused to labor any more without eating a portion of the milk products in the gopis’ possession. Although at first they refused, as the gopis watched the Vrndavana landscape quickly moving it became apparent that quite soon they would all be out to sea. As they offered their pots of ghee, yogurt, and cream to the boatman. He consumed them one after the other, throwing

the empty containers overboard.

The gopis’ surprise crossed into the realm of disbelief when, after heartily belching, the boatman reclined in the bow of the boat, bloated and unable to move. Rubbing His stomach in satisfaction, He lay down and immediately fell asleep. While attempting to keep order among the alarmed gopis, Radharam instructed a sakhi to investigate what was amiss with the reluctant boatman. Examin­ing Him closely in His inebriated stupor, that gopi began to shriek in happiness and excitedly produced Sri Krsna’s flute from under His boatman’s clothing and revealed His true identity.

338

 

The Rivers Embrace Murari’s Lotus Feet

Pondering the many wonderful pastimes that took place on her shores and in her waters, Yamuna-devi smiled in happiness through her resplendent lotuses and waited eagerly for nightfall, when Sri Krsna and the gopis would arrive at Govinda-ghata to dance the maha-rasa and celebrate their nocturnal festival of bliss.

 

This concludes the tenth chapter of The Song of the Flute, by a very insignificant disciple of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, which is overflowing with the vraja-gopis’ moods of lamentation, depression, and humility as they observe the embarrassment of the rivers who experience kama by hearing the songs of that mischie­vous flute and, as a consequence, exhibit many symptoms of ecstasy in the form of broken currents, many whirlpools, and a disregard for seaward flow, because when Murari, who is as good as Lord Narayana, stands by their banks, they can receive Him by decorating themselves with ornaments and crowns, then worship His lotus feet with lotus flowers, then bathe them in their pure waters, and finally embrace them to their breasts in ecstasy, all of which causes the gopis to lament the hostility of their husbands in comparison to the friendly seas, the husbands of the rivers, and then feel increasing despondency at being unable to change the course of their lives as the rivers do, and thus, in humility, cry a river of tears at their own misfortune, of which not even a drop has found its way to this unfortunate author.

339

343

Leave a reply