Once, a landlord came to Vṛndāvana and told a sādhu, “I heard prema-bhakti is available here in Vraja. Where can I get it?”
“You can collect it from the local sādhus and vaiṣṇavas,” the sādhu replied.
“I don’t understand.”
“Please don’t tease me.”
“I am not teasing you.”
“Please explain more clearly?”
“Go to them and serve them and after pleasing them, ask them for a copy of Prema-bhakti-candrika. Then you can obtain this prema-bhakti. Read it daily and try to practice its teachings.
Then you will certainly achieve prema-bhakti. The glories and potency of all the Vraja-devīs are present in this Prema-bhakti-candrika. The Vraja-devīs are very kind. They cleanse the anarthas and bestow prema-bhakti to those who take exclusive shelter of them.”
How to achieve perfection? Give up everything else and go to Vṛndāvana. Take shelter of Vṛndāvana-dhāma and the Vraja-devīs. You cannot directly meet with them, so pray to them and take the dust of Vraja on your body. They will then give you prema-bhakti. By surrendering to Vraja and the Vraja-devīs, you will achieve prema-bhakti.
Kṛṣṇa-nāma-rādhā-nāma upāsana rasa-dhāma—hearing and chanting Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s name, form, qualities, and pastimes is our worship. Rādhā-nāma and kṛṣṇa-nāma together produce unprecedented nectar.
rādheti nāma nava-sundara-sīdhu mugdhaṁ
kṛṣṇeti nāma madhurādbhuta-gāḍha-dugdham
sarva-kṣaṇaṁ surabhi-rāga-himena ramyaṁ
kṛtvā tadaiva piba me rasane kṣud-ārte
Śrī Stavāvalī, Abhīṣṭa-sūcanam 10,
Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī
O tongue tormented by thirst, please mix the fresh lovely nectar of the name Rādhā with the astonishingly sweet condensed milk of the name Kṛṣṇa. Also add the aromatic ice of loving attachment and drink this enchanting drink at every moment!
kṛṣṇa-nāma gāne bhai, rādhikā-caraṇa pāi,
rādhā-nāma gāne kṛṣṇacandra
saṅkṣepe kahinu kathā, ghucāo manera byathā,
duḥkhamaya anya kathā dvandva
O brother, by singing Kṛṣṇa’s name you will attain Rādhā, and by singing Rādhā’s name you will attain Kṛṣṇacandra.
I have now briefly explained to you how to relieve yourself from all sufferings in the heart. Whatever goes against these words will bring only suffering.
manera smaraṇa prāṇa madhūra madhūra dhāma
yugala vilāsa smṛti-sāra
sādhya sādhana ei ihā vai āra nāi
ei tattva sarva-siddha-sāra
Contemplation of the sweet nectarine pastimes of Śrī Yugala is the very life of the devotee and the essence of all remembrance. This is the goal as well as the process (sādhya sādhana). This philosophical truth is the essence of all perfection.
The mind is the king of the senses. The body and senses enjoy or suffer according to the dictates of the mind and whatever it is attracted to. If we can engage the mind in collecting the glories and qualities of the Vraja-devīs and Vrajavāsīs, the body and senses will be blissful and free of all anxiety. If you ignorantly put your hand in fire or grab a live electric wire, you will certainly suffer. Material objects are like this. They give pain to the ātmā. But if you are intelligent, you will understand this world is like a dream and you will not waste time thinking about or collecting things of this world.
What is sādhya and sādhana—the goal and the process? Daily chant and remember the names of the Vrajavāsīs and associates of Mahāprabhu, along with chanting the names of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. In the books of our Vaisnava-ācāryas, we therefore find the names of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s associates. They all possess prema-bhakti and can bestow it upon us. General people remember so many things of this world, but they have no memory of Vraja. The Guru-varga give spiritual names related to Vraja to their disciples, and by this, at least when addressing each other, they speak and remember the names of the Vrajavāsīs. By chanting these transcendental names, gradually attachment to the material body and mind will dissipate.
What is our duty?
smṛtyoḥ krameṇa rasanā-manasī niyojya
tiṣṭhan vraje tad-anurāgi-janānugāmī
kālaṁ nayed akhilam ity upadeśa-sāram
While residing in Vraja as a follower of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s associates who possess deep loving attachment, one should use all his time by gradually absorbing his tongue and mind in the chanting and remembrance of the narrations of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s name, form, qualities, and pastimes. This is the essence of all instruction.
samaṁ śrī-rūpeṇa smara-vivaśa-rādhā-giribhṛtor
vraje sākṣāt-sevā-labhana-vidhaye tad-gaṇa-yujoḥ
dhayan nītyā govardhanam anudinaṁ tvaṁ bhaja manaḥ
Manaḥ Śīkṣā 11
O mind, in order to achieve the direct sevā of Śrī Rādhā-Giridhārī, who are always enamoured by amorous desire, and the service of Their eternal companions in Vraja, one should relish pañcāmṛta, the five-fold nectar of service to Them according to the process explained by Rūpa Gosvāmī. This nectarean ambrosia is comprised of the following five ingredients: worship (arcana), singing Their transcendental names, forms, qualities and pastimes (saṅkīrtana), contemplation upon Them (dhyāna), hearing about Their names, forms, qualities, and pastimes (śravaṇa), and offering obeisance unto Them. Furthermore one should worship Śrī Girirāja Govardhana every day in accordance with devotional principles.
Our Guru-varga describes this subject wonderfully. Dhyāna is a specific limb that is included within the broader practice of smaraṇa, remembrance. But in this śloka the whole practice of smaraṇa has been referred to simply as dhyāna. Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī has explained further this subject in his Bhakti-sandarbha (Anuccheda 278):
smaraṇaṁ manasānusandhānam. atha pūrvavat krama-sopāna-rītyā sukha-labhyaṁ guṇa-parikara-sevā-līlā smaraṇaṁ cānusandheyam. tad idam smaraṇaṁ pañca-vidham – yat kincid anusandhānaṁ smaraṇam. sarvataś-cittam ākṛṣya sāmānyākāreṇa manodhāraṇaṁ dhāraṇā. viśeṣato rūpādi cintanaṁ dhyānam. amṛta-dhārāvadanavacchinnaṁ tad dhruvānusmṛtiḥ. dhyeyamātra-sphūraṇaṁ samādhir iti.
Close investigation with the mind is known as smaraṇa, remembrance. Thereafter, one should practice smaraṇa by first remembering the names, form, qualities, associates, services, and pastimes of the Lord. This remembrance is of five kinds: (1) A little inspection of the Lord’s names, forms, and so on, is called smaraṇa; (2) to pull the mind back from all external objects and focus it in a general way upon the names, form, and so forth, of Śrī Hari, is called dhārana; (3) to meditate on the Lord’s names, form, and so on, in a distinctive fashion is called dhyāna; (4) when that meditation proceeds in an unbroken fashion like an uninterrupted flow of nectar, it is known as dhruvānusmṛti; (5) that contemplation in which the object of one’s meditation is the only personality manifest in the heart is called samādhi.
The remembrance of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes is the essence of all instructions given in the scriptures. The Padma Purāṇa states:
smartavyaḥ satataṁ viṣṇur vismartavyo na jātucit
sarve vidhi-niṣedhāḥ syur etayor eva kiṅkarāḥ
Always remember and never forget Bhagavān. All other injunctions of scripture are servants of this order.
If you follow this, you will also become a member of God’s family. But if you don’t, you will always remember material things, and you will be a slave of māyā.
yad-anudhyāsinā yuktāḥ karma-granthi-nibandhanam
chindanti kovidās tasya ko na kuryāt kathā-ratim
With a sharp blade, learned men cut through the binding knots of karma by remembrance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, which person will not be attracted to His topics?
mad-guṇa-śruti-mātreṇa mayi sarva-guhāśaye
mano-gatir avicchinnā yathā gaṅgāmbhaso ’mbudhau
lakṣaṇaṁ bhakti-yogasya nirguṇasya hy udāhṛtam
ahaituky avyavahitā yā bhaktiḥ puruṣottame
I am the Lord of the heart who dwells within all. When there is causeless and uninterrupted spontaneous love for Me, and when simply on hearing My qualities the motion of the mind flows towards Me, like an unbroken stream of honey, just as the Gaṅgā flows in a continuous fashion towards the ocean, that is called transcendental loving service.
Kapiladeva told His mother, Devahūti, “One who hears and remembers My specialties transcends this world.”
Remembering Bhagavān gives us strength and life, whereas, remembering māyā drains our lifeforce. Remember how Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa meet in Vraja. Remember how Kṛṣṇa plays on His flute, and how the gopīs collect flowers in the gardens of Vraja. Remember how Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa drink honey at Rādhā-kuṇḍa. Remember how They perform rāsa-līlā. Remember all these pastimes. Also, remember Navadvīpa-dhāma, Jagannatha-puri, and all the Lord’s pastimes there. By so doing, you will quickly transcend material attachment.
Engaging in nāma-saṅkīrtana while remembering vraja-bhūmi and vraja-līlā is extremely helpful for the sādhaka. While performing nāma-saṅkīrtana, endeavor to internally be present in Gaura-dhāma, Kṣetra-dhāma, and Vraja-dhāma.
Mahāprabhu Himself says in His Śikṣāṣṭaka: niyamitaḥ smaraṇe na kālaḥ. There are no restrictions in chanting the holy name.
ki bhojane ki śayane kibā jāgaraṇe
aharniśa cinta kṛṣṇa balaha vadane
Remember Kṛṣṇa and chant His names both day and night, whether you are eating, lying down, or engaged while awake.
sarva kṣaṇa bala ithe vidhi nāhi āra
The only regulation is to chant the names of God always. There is no other requirement. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī’s statements support this siddhānta. Without kīrtana, remembrance of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa cannot take place.
ataeva yady anyāpi bhaktiḥ kalau kartavyā
tadā tat-saṁyoge naivety uktam
Bhakti-sandarbha, Anuccheda 273
In Kali-yuga if another limb of devotion is practiced, it has to be accompanied by harināma-saṅkīrtana.
In his commentary on Hari-bhakti-vilāsa (11.247) Sanātana Gosvāmīpāda has said: “Vācikasya kīrtanāntargatvāt mānasi-kasya smaraṇātmatvāt—vācika-japa is included within the aṅga of kīrtana, and mānasika-japa is included within the aṅga of smaraṇa.”
Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmīpāda continues in his Bhakti-sandarbha (Anuccheda 275).
atha śaraṇāpatty-ādibhiḥ śuddhāntaḥ-karaṇaś cet etan-nirvidhyamānānām icchatām akutobhayam ity ādy-uktatvān
nāma-kīrtanāparityāgena smaraṇaṁ kuryāt tac ca manasānusandhānam
If a clean hearted person engages in bhakti beginning with surrender and does not give up the practice of chanting Bhagavān’s holy name, (as advised in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 2.1.11, etan nirvidhyamānānām icchatām akutobhayam), he will find himself performing smaraṇam with his mind focused on the Supreme Lord.
In the Bhakti-sandarbha (Anuccheda 276) Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī continues as follows:
tatra nāma-smaraṇaṁ – harer nāma paraṁ japyaṁ dhyeyaṁ geyaṁ nirantaram. kīrtanīyaṁ ca bahudhā nirvṛttīr bahudhecchatā. iti jāvāli-samhitādy-anusāreṇa jñeyam. nāma-smaraṇaṁ tu śuddhāntaḥ-karaṇatām apekṣate. tat saṅkīrtanāc-cāvaram iti mūle tu nodāharaṇa spaṣṭatā.
In the Jāvāli-saṁhitā the practice of nāma-smaraṇa has been explained in the following way. Those who have a desire to obtain unlimited varieties of spiritual happiness should always do japa, dhyāna, singing (gāna), and kīrtana of the names of Śrī Hari. But in nāma-smaraṇa one cannot attain spiritual happiness as long as the heart remains impure, whereas the method of nāma-saṅkīrtana does not rely on purification of the heart. Therefore nāma-smaraṇa is not as effective than nāma-saṅkīrtana, and nāma-saṅkīrtana has greater importance.
Therefore, our Guru-varga has declared:
śrī-dayita-dāsa, kīrtanete āśa koro uccaiḥ-svare hari-nāma-rava
kīrtana-prabhāve, smaraṇa hoibe se-kāle bhajana-nirjana sambhava
Duṣṭa-mana tumi! Kisera Vaiṣṇava 19
Śrī Dayita Dāsa, the humble servant of Śrī Rādhā Kṛṣṇa, always aspires for kīrtana, and begs everyone to loudly chant the holy names. By the power of kīrtana, remembrance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and His pastimes will automatically awaken. Only then will one be able to go to a solitary place and engage in nirjana-bhajana.
While chanting nāma, internally go to Govardhana, Varṣāṇā, Nandagaon, Yamunā; to all the holy places. Then your nāma-saṅkīrtana will be perfect. If you go to mundane places and think about how to be famous while chanting harināma, then Nāma Prabhu will give you mundane results.
When a dacoit attacks you, you may think about so many people who could help you. But they cannot come and help. Māyā-devī punishes us in so many ways for our past sinful activities. If we remember harināma and are always chanting, Nāma Prabhu will certainly help us.
jalada-sūndara kāṅti madhūra madhūra bhāti
vaidagadhi avadhi sūveśa
pīta-vasana-dhara ābharaṇa maṇi-vara
mayūra-candrikā karu keśa
The sweet and beautiful dark complexion of Kṛṣṇa is like an effulgent fresh raincloud. He is exquisitely dressed and expert in performing conjugal pastimes.
He wears yellow garments, is adorned with jewelled ornaments, and decorates His curly hair with a peacock feather.
Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura describes Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beautiful form and encourages us to contemplate His charming all-attractive beauty.
Śrī Govinda dāsa writes:
añjana gañjana jagajana rañjana, jalada puñja jini varaṇā
mukalita mallī, madhura madhu-mādhurī mālati mañjulamāla
kuvalaya kandala kusumā kalevara kālima-kānti kalola
Kṛṣṇa’s eyes have blackish añjana on them, His śyāma complexion resembles a raincloud, His hair has decorations of mallī flowers, His sweetness is sweeter than honey and His flower garland is made from mālati flowers. Kṛṣṇa’s body is as cool as the moon and He is as fragrant as a flower.
By praying to the Vraja-devīs, they will reveal Kṛṣṇa’s form as a dhīra-lalita nāyaka to you.
Our ācāryas have written a description of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beautiful form.
janama saphala tā’ra, kṛṣṇa-daraśana jāra,
bhāgye hoiyāche eka-bār
vikaśiyā hṛn-nayana, kori’ kṛṣṇa-daraśana,
chāḍe jīva cittera vikāra
vṛndāvana-keli catur vana-mālī,
vaṁśī-dhārī aparūpa, rasamaya-nidhi, guṇa-śālī
varṇa-nava-jaladhara, śire śikhi piccha vara,
alakā tilaka śobhā pāya,
paridhāne pīta-vāsa, vadane madhura hāsa,
heno rūpa jagata mātāya
indranīla jini, kṛṣṇa-rūpa khāni,
mana ucāṭana, nā cale caraṇa,
saṁsāra gelāma bhūle
(sakhī he) sudhāmaya, se rūpa-mādhurī,
dekhile nayana, haya acetana,
jhare premamoya vāri
kibā cūḍā śire, kibā vaṁśī kare,
kibā se tri-bhaṅga-ṭhāma,
caraṇa-kamale, amiyā uchale,
sadā āśā kori, bhṛṅga-rūpa dhari’,
anāyāse pāi, kṛṣṇa-guṇa gāi,
āra nā bhajibo āna
Aho! His birth is successful who has had the good fortune to take darśana of Kṛṣṇa just once, because by looking at Him with the eyes of devotion, all the transformations (anarthas) in the heart of the jīva go far away.
Wearing garlands of forest flowers, He expertly performs amorous pastimes in Vṛndāvana. Standing in His three-fold bending form and holding His flute, He displays unprecedented beauty. He is a storehouse of rasa and an abode of all good qualities.
His hue is like a fresh rain cloud, He has a peacock feather on His head, and candana tilaka splendidly adorns His forehead. Wearing a yellow cloth on His shoulders and smiling sweetly, He maddens the whole universe with His beauty.
Oh! Now that I have seen Kṛṣṇa’s form, which is more beautiful than the dark indranīla jewel, standing beneath a kadamba tree, my mind has become restless. My feet cannot move and I have forgotten the material world.
Hey sakhī! His sweet form is comprised of nectar. Whoever sees Him with their eyes falls unconscious, and tears of love flow from their eyes. Oh, how wonderful is His peacock feather on His head, the vaṁsi in His hands, His three-fold bending form, and His feet with anklebells which shower nectar.
I always desire to take the form of a bee so that I can eternally stay at His lotus feet. Thus I will easily sing about Kṛṣṇa’s qualities and glories and will never worship anyone else again.
Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya in his Śrī Jagannātha Vallabha Nāṭaka (1.27) has described Kṛṣṇa’s form.
yuvati-manohara-veśam, kelaya kalānidhim iva dharaṇīm
gajapati-rudra-narādhipa-cetasi janayatu mudam anuvāram
rāmānanda-rāya-kavi-bhaṇitaṁ madhuripu-rūpam udāram
His peacock feather and flowers shake in the mild breeze. His tilaka mocks the beauty of the crescent moon reflected in a sapphire. Just see! He is like the moon that has descended on earth in another form. He enchants the hearts of the young Vraja-devīs by His exquisite dress.
His beautiful face is attractive with playfully swinging jewelled-earrings. His restless amorous glances arouse greed in the gopīs’ hearts. Composed by the poet Rāmānanda Rāya, may Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental form always bring happiness to Gajapati Mahārāja Pratāparudra’s heart.
Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī has also sung about Kṛṣṇa’s form in his Gīta-Govinda (2.2):
bandhu jīva-madhurādhara-pallavam ullasita-smita-śobham
Holding the vaṁsi He infuses it with the nectar of His lips, producing an enchanting melody. Glancing from the corners of His eyes filled with amorous desire, the jewelled decorations on His head shake and His hanging earrings kiss His cheeks. He wears a charming peacock feather in His hair, which is enhanced by its natural half-moon-shape. His hue resembles fresh rainclouds. He hangs His head with greed to kiss the faces of the Vraja-devīs in a festival of love. His soft lips are captivating and tender like the reddish bud of a mallow flower. The beauty of His gentle smile has no comparison and spreads across His charming face. Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s whole body shivers with horripilation when He embraces thousands of young gopīs with His arms as soft as flower petals. He spreads light in all directions with the twinkling rays radiating from the jewelled decorations on His hands, feet, and chest.”
Rasika-śiromaṇi Prabodhānanda Sarasvatīpāda has written:
vasatu mano mama madana-gopāle
ramayata sādhu budhā nija-hṛdayaṁ bhramatha mūḍhā kim asāre
May my mind always dwell on Madana Gopāla Whose ever-new pastimes of romantic play are the highest limit of the ocean of nectarean mellows, especially when He unites with Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. When He plays His flute, the peacock feather on His curly hair moves, looking beautiful like the feathers of a dancing, maddened peacock. When He plays on His flute, all the beautiful young gopīs leave everything—their shyness, chastity, religious principles, and patience, and come running to meet Him.
He is standing under a kadamba tree by the effulgent banks of the Yamunā, playing on His flute and dancing. He wears a fine yellow cloth and when He dances, the bells around His waist jingle making a sweet sound, stealing the minds of all the Vraja-devīs. May my mind rest upon that budding youth whose complexion defeats the fame of dark rainclouds, and whose lips are full of sweetness and enchanting as they kiss the flute. Oh! May I meditate on He, who like a cakora bird, is eager to drink the beams of the bright moonlike face of the young daughter of King Vṛṣabhānu, seeing which He becomes mesmerized.
May my mind remember the beauty of His ankle bells, bangles and jewelled fish-shaped earrings as well as His garland of guñjā berries. O my mind, rest upon He who incites greed within the hearts of the romantic Vraja-vadhū’s with His amorous glances and mild sweet smiles. O my mind, remember He who wears on his neck a garland of forest flowers which attracts intoxicated humming bees and sways to and fro. O mind, meditate on His strong arms which are smeared with fragrant ointments and which look beautiful when they horripilate with bliss.
O mind! Contemplate His nose which is adorned with a pearl set in gold, His lovely curling locks and His brilliant be-jewelled tilaka. Contemplate His face which blooms like a lotus and which is radiant like millions of autumn moons. Contemplate His enchanting, ever-fresh, adolescent youthful form bent in three places. Contemplate He, who although very grave, enjoys battles of love in the eternally fresh kuñjas of Vṛndāvana.
O my mind! Contemplate His effulgent body which is richly anointed with sandalwood paste mixed with saffron and which is the very essence of fragrance. Meditate upon that form which emanates waves of Cupid that flood forth and which is entirely made of the condensed mellows of supreme bliss. O mind, remember the radiance emanating from His jewel-like toenails which are like moons, seeing which millions of Kāmadevas become embarrassed. Meditate on this ever-fresh prince of Vraja who is most expert in enacting astonishing amorous pastimes.
May my mind reflect upon this form of ambrosia, Mādhava, who is the essence of all mellows, as described by the rasika-vaiṣṇava Prabodhānanda Sarasvatīpāda. Intelligent men will experience bliss from within their hearts for it is very lofty, whereas fools wander in the cycle of birth and death. For them what else is there except illusion?
mṛgamada candana kūṅkūma vilepana
māna mūrati tri-bhaṅga
navīna-kūsūmāvalī śrī-aṅge śobhaye bhāli
madhū-lābhe phire matta bhṛṅga
He has sandalwood paste mixed with saffron and musk on His forehead and His threefold bending form is most enchanting. He ornaments his beautiful limbs with fresh blooming flowers which attract maddened bees searching for honey.
Our ācāryas have glorified Kṛṣṇa’s form in choice words such as mṛga-mada and tri-bhaṅgam:
kañjākṣaṁ kambu-kaṇṭhaṁ smita-subhaga-mukhaṁ
śyāmaṁ śāntaṁ tri-bhaṅgaṁ ravi-kara-vasanaṁ
vande vṛndāvana-sthaṁ yuvati-śata-vṛṭaṁ
I worship Parabrahma, whose crown has a peacock feather, whose broad forehead is anointed with tilaka of musk and saffron mixed sandalwood, whose makara-shaped earrings reflect upon His lovely cheeks which themselves defeat the pride of sapphires, whose eyes are like fully-blossomed lotus flowers, whose neck is shaped like a conch, whose lotus face possesses a gentle smile, who holds a flute to His reddish lips, whose bodily luster is like that of a fresh raincloud, who is supremely peaceful, who stands in an attractive three-fold bending pose, whose yellow cloth is brilliant like the rays of the sun, who wears a garland of forest flowers down to His knees, who is surrounded on all sides by thousands of young gopīs, and who resides in Śrī Vṛndāvana dressed as a cowherd boy.
In Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī describes how Mahāprabhu would remember and speak about the beauty of Kṛṣṇa.
O restless Rādhā, just see! Dressed in yellow garments and a vanamālā garland, with sandalwood pulp smeared upon His bluish limbs, Kṛṣṇa feels the utmost joy as He relishes pastimes with captivated young women in this forest of Vṛndāvana. His earrings swing back and forth, His cheeks are astonishingly beautiful and His face emanates an astonishing sweetness with the nectar of His playful laughter.
Śrīmatī Rādhikā speaks to Her sakhī, “What have I witnessed today under the kadamba tree? I cannot forget this vision. O sakhī, I am surprised. I have seen a full moon rising in the night sky.”
Kṛṣṇa is present everywhere, but with the gopīs, He is Madana-mohana; He attracts the whole world at that time.
bhaja kṛṣṇa-nidhiṁ vraja-rāja-sutam
Śrī Vraja-rāja-sutāṣṭakam 6
Just worship the son of the king of Vraja, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is a store-house of priceless jewels. His graceful body is lavishly smeared with sandalwood pulp and His effulgent Kaustubha-maṇi eclipses the sun. He has appeared as the crest jewel among the young cowherd boys of Vraja.
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī glorifies the son of Nanda Mahārāja:
jaya jaya sundara nanda-kumāra
praṇayi janerita, candana-sahakṛta, cūrṇita-vara-ghana-sāra
All glories to You Nanda-kumāra! Your body anointed with sandalwood paste and made red with dyed powder thrown by Your beloveds, defeats the beauty of a fresh monsoon cloud.
Kṛṣṇa likes to be covered in candana from head to toe. During Candana-yātrā this takes place for forty-two days every summer. The following verse describes this form of Kṛṣṇa covered in candana:
kasturī-tilakaṁ lalāṭa-paṭale vakṣaḥ-sthale kaustubhaṁ
nāsāgre vara-mauktikaṁ kara-tale veṇuḥ kare kaṅkaṇam
sarvāṅge hari-candanaṁ sulalitaṁ kaṇṭhe ca muktāvalī
gopa-strī-pariveṣṭito vijayate gopāla-cūḍāmaṇiḥ
His forehead is anointed with tilaka made from musk, upon His chest hangs the Kaustubha jewel, and an exquisite pearl decorates the end of His nose. He has a flute in His lotus hands, bracelets adorning His wrists, and His entire form is smeared with candana. A necklace of pearls adorns His lovely neck, and He is surrounded by cowherd girlfriends. All glories to Him who is the crown-jewel of cowherd boys!
Thus meditate on Kṛṣṇa in this way:
O My mind, remember His effulgent body which is smeared with saffron sandalwood paste and which is itself the very essence of all fragrance.
īṣata madhūra-smita vaidagadhi-līlāmṛta
caraṇa-kamala-para maṇimaya nūpūra
His gentle sweet smile and the nectar of his clever conjugal pastimes capture the hearts of all the Vraja-vadhūs. Ankle bells studded with gems decorate His lotus feet, and His jewel-like toe-nails glow brightly like the moon.
The vraja-gopīs are the āśrayālambana (the receptacle of rati) and Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the viṣayālambana (the object of rati) of this mādhurya-rasa. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmīpāda sings about the attractiveness of Kṛṣṇa’s smile: adhara-virājita, mandatara-smita, locita-nija-parivāra (Śrī Stava-mālā), “The sweet gentle smile on Your lips incites greed in the gopīs’ hearts.”
A description of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s smile is given in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.32.2).
tāsām āvirabhūc chauriḥ smayamāna-mukhāmbujaḥ
pītāmbara-dharaḥ sragvī sākṣān manmatha-manmathaḥ
Just then, Śrī Kṛṣṇa appeared before the gopīs. His lotus face bloomed with a gentle smile and around His neck was a flower garland. He wore a golden garment and His beauty bewildered the mind of Kāmadeva, who stirs the minds of everyone.
Our ācārya-varya explains that although there was a smile on Kṛṣṇa’s beaming face His heart was remorseful. When Kṛṣṇa came before the gopīs and began smiling it was because of the many moods He experienced in His heart upon seeing them. Also, because He wanted to remove their sorrow and console them He began smiling; not only because of his quality of being Bhagavān, which is to smile.
Śrī Gaurasundara, who is Kṛṣṇa resplendent with the luster and intrinsic mood of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, attracts the heart of all jīvas by His loving smile.
sakhe, kalaya gauram udāram
nidhuvana nāgarī mohita-mānasa-vikathita-gadgada-bhāṣam
Śrī Gaura-Gīti, Śrī Rādhā-Mohana dāsa
O Sakhī! Sing about the sweet name, form, qualities, and pastimes of Śrī Gaura, whose sweet, mild smile, and unparalleled sentiments of love attract all embodied souls, whose heart is thoroughly drowning in Nidhuvana-nāgarī Śrī Rādhā’s love, and who lovingly calls out to Kṛṣṇa in a choked voice.
Śrīmad Vallabhācārya has sung:
adharaṁ madhuraṁ vadanaṁ madhuraṁ
nayanaṁ madhuraṁ hasitaṁ madhuram
hṛdayaṁ madhuraṁ gamanaṁ madhuraṁ
madhurādhi-pater akhilaṁ madhuram
Everything is completely sweet about the original Lord of Sweetness. His lips are sweet, His face is sweet, His eyes are sweet, His smiling is sweet, His heart is sweet, and His movement is sweet.
Kṛṣṇa’s sweet attractive smile captures the minds of the Vraja-devīs. The composer of Śrī Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta, Śrī Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura, sang:
madhuraṁ madhuraṁ vapur asya vibhor
madhuraṁ madhuraṁ vadanaṁ madhuram
madhu-gandhi mṛdu-smitam etad aho
madhuraṁ madhuraṁ madhuraṁ madhuram
Ah! The sweet body of Lord Kṛṣṇa is so sweet. His beautiful face is even sweeter still. His sweet mild smile and sweet breath are even sweeter. Everything about Śrī Kṛṣṇa is sweet, sweet, sweet, especially when He is in the company of Śrī Rādhā.
kim iha kṛṇumaḥ kasya brūmaḥ kṛtaṁ kṛtam āśayā
kathayata kathām anyāṁ dhanyām aho hṛdayeśayaḥ
madhura-madhura-smerākāre mano-nayanot ave
kṛpaṇa kṛpaṇā kṛṣṇe tṛṣṇā ciraṁ bata lambate
What should I do now and to whom shall I speak? What is the point of maintaining the useless hope of seeing Him again? Please talk about something else that is better. Oh! But how can I possibly not talk about He, who is trapped within My heart? His mild, sweet smile is a festival for the eyes and mind. My eagerness to see this form of Kṛṣṇa is increasing at every moment.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī has described how the vraja-gopīs go to the rāsa-sthalī and meet with Kṛṣṇa, who then begins to joke with them. They respond to Him with words full of sarcastic humor. They pray to Him, “O Kṛṣṇa, Your darśana destroys all suffering. We have left everything and come to You. Please do not hide from us. Please accept us.” The meaning of these words of the gopīs is hidden in the commentaries of our ācāryas.
tan naḥ prasīda vṛjinārdana te ’ṅghri-mūlaṁ
prāptā visṛjya vasatīs tvad-upāsanāśāḥ
taptātmanāṁ puruṣa-bhūṣaṇa dehi dāsyam
O You who destroy suffering! We have abandoned our homes, family, and relatives, and we have come to Your lotus feet only because we want to serve You. O ornament among men! Be pleased with us. Your sweet smile and captivating glances have lit our hearts up with a burning desire to privately meet You. Every pore in our bodies burns with this amorous desire. Please take us as Your maidservants.
The gopīs cannot tolerate to even think of being separated from Kṛṣṇa. Love in separation from Kṛṣṇa manifests in these words of the gopīs. This is the nature of viraha. A moment’s separation seems like ages (yugas) and a night of Brahmā of sporting with Kṛṣṇa passes in a moment.
nītāḥ sma naḥ kṣaṇam iva kṣaṇadā vinā taṁ
gopyaḥ kathaṁ nv atitarema tamo durantam
Sakhīs, by His enchanting loving smile, sweet loving conversations, restless glances and affectionate embraces, the everlasting night of the rāsa-līlā passed in a single moment. Indeed, how can we now tolerate the limitless anguish of being separate from Him?
Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura is describing Kṛṣṇa’s rasamāya beauty. Any darkness in the heart will disappear for one who takes shelter of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. How will this be possible? Even Brahmā and other great souls cannot receive darśana of Kṛṣṇa’s feet. What to speak of others. We can see how glorious even Kṛṣṇa’s toenails are. But if one takes shelter of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī then one can easily attain Kṛṣṇa’s shelter. Therefore we meditate upon Śrīmatī’s footdust.
ālakṣito na sahasā puruṣasya tasya
sadyo vaśī-karaṇa-cūrṇam ananta-śaktiṁ
taṁ rādhikā-caraṇa-reṇum anusmarāmi
Śrī Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi 4
I contemplate the dust of Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s lotus feet, whose unlimited power instantly controls the Supreme Personality Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is not easily achievable even by great persons like Brahmā, Śiva, Śukadeva, Nārada Muni, and Bhīṣma.
yadyapi samādhiṣu vidhir api paśyati, na tava nakhāgra-marīcim
idam icchāmi niśamya tavācyuta! tad api kṛpādbhuta-vīcim (1)
Kṛṣṇa deva bhavantam vande
Although Lord Brahmā in deep samādhi cannot attain a glimpse of even a sparkle of light from the tips of Your toe-nails, still Oh Acyuta! Having heard Your wonderful qualities, I hope to receive Your mercy.
One Vaiṣṇava Poet sings:
amūlya-ratna-bhūṣaṇaṁ namāmi nanda-nandanam (5)
I offer obeisances to Nanda-nandana, whose three-fold-bending pose is extremely beautiful, the glow of whose toe-nails defeats the moon, and who wears priceless jewels and ornaments.
Ādi-guru Brahmā prays for premāñjana to receive līlā-darśana.
santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti
yaṁ śyāmasundaram acintya-guṇa-svarūpaṁ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
With the eyes of devotion which are anointed with the ointment of love, devotees always see the inconceivable form and qualities of Śrī Śyāmasundara within their hearts.
Srila Narottama dasThakur ki Jaya! (excerpted from the book “Sri Sri Prema-Bhakti Candrika” please bring your bhajan and sadhana to the highest levels and order this wonderful book from; [email protected])