O Pariksit Maharaja; (verse 22 continues) “The Gopis went to a place in the forest where they saw Sri Krsna’s footprints”. In the beginning the lotus feet of Sri Krsna will appear first in your meditation and in your heart, but only when you have surrendered and are fully engaged in Bhagavat bhajan. At that time, the dust particles of the lotus feet of Lord and his pure devotees will help you to make advancement.

The gopis pray to all the creepers, plants and trees with so much humility, glorifying them all awhile thinking; “They are so glorious, their service to Krsna is so much greater than ours “. Krsna could see the Gopis and it is said; “akincana gouracaran”, the Lord gives shelter to those who are destitute and have a mood of being wretched. Now Krsna gave them his mercy by giving them the darsana of the lotus footprints of Srimati Radhika. Now the Gopis are not independent, now they will not try and steal me and keep me separate from Radhika, now they will know the glories of Sri Radha and will take Her shelter.

It is said that singing these pastimes again and again and meditating on them, that the four different ingredients of rasa will begin to mix and awaken. In this way bhakti-rasa manifests, bhava, anubhava, sattvika and vybhicari uddipanas will come and nourish them. While moving about the forest the Gopis had darsan of Krsna lotus footprints, when the devotees hear this pastime they become overwhelmed with aishwarya bhava, because throughout all the vedas the lotus feet of the Lord are glorified as the source of all good fortune and mercy upon the jivatmas lost in the forest of material enjoyment.

An ordinary person cannot find or see the lotus footprints of Krsna, yet by serving a lotus footprint of the Lord or even an image of them, the soul will achieve true auspiciousness through that aradhana or worship. Being absorbed in the separation of Sri Krsna, the Gopis searched in the forest of Vrndavana and found his lotus footprints he had left behind, while walking in the forest with Sri Radha. The veda sastra and upanishads all glorify these footprints and think “Oh how glorious are the gopis, to be able to serve Sri Krsna’s lotus feet with their love and by the mood of being a lover of Sri Krsna “. Even though Sri Krsna disappeared from the Gopis, he still left his lotus footprints for them.

REAL DEVOTEE’S HAVE ENTHUSIASM

Sridhar Swami explains, in the pastimes of the Gopis they were feeling the burning fire of separation from Krsna, and it caused them to become so absorbed in Krsna that they never began to think, I am so tired from searching for such a long time, I want to go home now or they didn’t think; “Oh Krsna is so mean to us so we should just leave “. Real devotees always have enthusiasm utsaha, niscayat, dharayat, steadfastness and patience. They will not be cowards and will always go forward. They don’t give up on bhajan and again turn to sense gratification. If you want to do sadhana you need to be very courageous. Cowardly people or Visayas, cannot do bhajan, one must follow the courageous mood of devotees. If the Lord’s potency enters within one, then that person will not run away from the practice of spiritual life. He will not become a slave of any material person. He will not become greedy for any material thing and in this way become absorbed in sense gratification or material enjoyment.

When the Gopis began to enact the pastimes of Krsna, they again began to weep and pray, moving through the forest they found the footprints of Sri Krsna. This increased a fire of separation in their hearts and gave them such a burning sensation. Then in their minds they embraced Sri Krsna and served him. Externally the Gopis seemed senseless but internally they were embracing Him and serving Him. They were searching for Sri Krsna while singing and praying to him and then they began to exhibit his pastimes. Moving forward at one point they began to pray to all the creepers, plants and trees of Vrndavana. They fell unconscious for some time, while internally embracing and serving Him.

ONENESS IN HEART

After that they regained consciousness they moved forward again, only to find Sri Krsna’s footprints. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur says that asking the trees and plants to show them the way, they went forward and then they began to speak to one another, glorifying each other on how wonderfully they had each served Sri Krsna in different loving moods. In a maddened state of unmada, being fully absorbed in “oneness of heart” with Krsna, they prayed for His mercy, his kripa kataksha, his merciful glance.

Being fully absorbed in their search for Sri Krsna, their maddened state had become exasperated to the point that they began to see Krsna rupavilas everywhere. They could not see anything else. They began to see Sri Krsna everywhere, thinking he was behind the trees waiting to pounce on them so he could tax their butter and yoghurt, or hiding in the trees after stealing their clothes. They imagined that they were the vines embracing the Krsna trees. Finally they lost all sense of self awareness and thought that I am Krsna, being absorbed in this mood, they thought that they should not let the Gopis see Him as He hid in the forest. They no longer had any concept of being a Gopi, but had become the original complete sat, cit ananda tattva. They moved as Sri Krsna did in total bliss and grace, liberating even the demoness like Putana, who came to kill Krsna. The demoness Putana had come in disguise as a heavenly damsel to try and kill Sri Krsna.  She poisoned the nipples of her breasts and then offered to become His nursemaid and have Krsna suck her breasts. Thus one gopi sucked the breast of another imitating the pastime where Sri Krsna sucked the life air out of Putana, who was the most powerful kechari in the world. She was a witch who was fond of killing babies and king Kamsa had foolishly ordered her to kill Sri Krsna.

FOOTPRINTS IN THE FOREST

Moving forward in the Vrindavan forest under the guidance of the creepers, shrubs and trees of Vrindavan the Vraja Gopis finally saw the lotus footprints of Sri Krsna. Seeing the lotus footprints they immediately recognized them to be Sri Krsna’s. They thought this is Nanda Nandan Syamasundars footprints have the symbols of a flag, the lotus, a thunderbolt, an elephant goad, a barleycorn, and the sankhya or conchshell. Srila Jiva Goswami says that when we do our spiritual practice or sadhana we should meditate on the lotus feet of Sri Krsna. At that time, we should think of the lotus flower symbol on Krsna’s feet. When we meditate on his footprints, we can offer a flower and the Lord accepts these flowers.

The symbols on Sri Krsna footprints are always on his feet eternally like the lotus flower and the vrajra or thunderbolt. If someone takes shelter of the Lord’s lotus feet and embraces them in his heart, then like a thunderbolt, Krsna’s lotus feet will destroy all their anarthas and obstacles, helping him come toward to him. Simply by meditating on His feet the ankus, Elephant goad or hook will keep you engaged in bhakti and bhajan, goading you to take sadhu sanga. Then there is the flag on Krsna’s footprint, this indicates that wherever Krsna goes there will be victory, thus the flag is known as jayapataka, by worshiping Sri Krsna’s lotus feet, we will conquer over material desires or samsara and be victorious. To meditate on Sri Krsna’s lotus feet, or especially to have darsana of his Lotus feet is to obtain all auspiciousness.

GAYASURA

Once in Gaya there was a demon called Gayasura attacking all the different lokas or worlds within the material universe. After experiencing defeat, the Devas prayed to the Lord. The Lord came and began to fight with the demon Gayasura. No matter how many times the Lord smashed Gayasura, seemingly defeating him, the powerful asura (demon) would always recover. Despite the fact that to anyone else, the Lord’s consummate blow, would mean certain death to his mortal body. But the demon Gayasura could not be vanquished. Then the Lord placed his lotus foot on the demons head. He held his head to the ground so that he could not rise up again.

Then the demon called out “save me, save me, I am so hungry, you are holding me down with your foot to the ground. I am so hungry at least give me something to eat. If you give me some nice prasadam I promise not to fight or disturb anyone again. I will leave the devas alone”.

Sri Visnu said; “There is so much sin in your heart, you have done so many sinful activities, so I will give you these sinful activities to eat. Eat all of them and be happy”. The demon replied “One thing, if you take your lotus foot away from my head, then I will again start to fight with everyone. I didn’t understand the power and peace, present in your feet, before I fought with you. But once you placed your lotus foot on my head I felt so much bliss and peace. So I am requesting you to please always keep your lotus feet on my head, otherwise I will again become proud and challenge everyone to fight”.

The Lord offered to feed Gayasura the sins of all the people who commit suicide, by jumping of buildings, murdering people and other similar sins. Gayasura only agreed to accept then as long as the Lord would keep his lotus feet there to cure him of any stomach upsets that came with eating so many sins.  Now in Gaya people go there to do pinda or oblations, to the forefathers in order to purify them of any sins they may have committed throughout their life. In this way they hope to have a better destination in their next life, or to attain supreme liberation. This is coming only by the grace of the supreme Lord’s lotus feet. which has the power to subdue even the most powerful demon in the world.

CLOSE THE TEMPLE

One time the British came and said “Oh these Hindus are only making some drama.” close the Jaganatha Temple and in Gaya stop the pinda offerings. Taking all the pandas or temple servants away from the temples, they told them to go do some  proper work, otherwise you are just creating some drama, that is a joke through your foolish worship. Even In Calcutta they closed the Kali Mandira saying they will tear down the Kali mandir.

In Gaya when they stopped the pinda or the offerings to Gayasura, immediately an earthquake began to start, Gayasura was shaking the earth preparing to come out because Gayasura was a Dayita, he was a huge demon, like a titan or a giant, so the British government immediately agreed to start the pinda offerings again, fearing some supernatural wrath would come upon them. Immediately the pandas and Brahmins restarted many offerings in Gaya feeding him in order to keep his hunger satiated.

Also in more recent times in Puri the Congress came trying to take over the temple of Sri Jagganatha. They had become envious of the grand worship of Sri Jaganatha, Baladeva and Subhadra. They claimed that there was no use making such opulent worship of wooden deities, claiming that their Lordships were only pieces of wood and that they don’t need to eat so much, They claimed this is only a waste of time and a big joke. The governor and the leader of the congress, tried to stop the Jaganatha puja, but all the members of the government, and their staff, such as Indira Gandhi and her son, were all destroyed in a very short time. They thought all of this was just imagination, and they foolishly tried to stop all the worship of Krsna.

WORSHIPING KRSNA’S FOOTPRINT

In Gaya all your karma can be destroyed by worshipping that place where Krsna’s footprint permanently holds back the dayita, Gayasura. In Kasi you can have darshan of Lord Siva and bathe in the Ganga, afterwards you can go to Prayag and bathe in the confluence of the Yamuna, Saraswati and Gangadevi, after that you can go to Mathura, and finally you can progress further into Vraja.

There are nineteen symbols on the lotus feet of Sri Krsna, O Devarshi I see there are nineteen symbols on the feet of Sri Krsna. On the right foot there is the barley corn (yava),flag (jayapataka), lotus (padma), goad ( ankus), thunderbolt (vajra), disc (Sudarshana), umbrella (chatra), swastika, Jaman fruit, udhav rekha (auspicious line), astagon ( 8 pointed star ),. On the left foot there is the Akash ( 2 circles), conchshell (sankya), bow (dhanu), cow hoofprint (goksura), waterpots (Kalash,triangle, (trikona), halfmoon (ardha candra), fish (matsya).

Nowadays if you make a swastika people become very upset and ask why are you putting a swastika there. Ghosts will see the swastika and be very afraid of it because this is the symbol of Sri Krsna. Even then some people say, why are you disturbing ghosts, because the ghosts don’t like the swastika symbol, they become afraid and go away. If you put up a flag they say why did you put up a flag, why are you disturbed?  Take it down. All these symbols of Sri Krsna lotus feet are very powerful. Kali Maharaja and all his followers flee from them, therefore some people will try and keep them away so the Lord’s auspicious qualities cannot spread all over the world.

If you see a flag or swastika symbol, they will remind you of the lotus feet of Krsna, therefore we should always meditate on the Lord’s lotus feet and the symbols on his lotus feet. By seeing a lotus the mood to offer yourself to the lotus feet of Krsna is awakened. By seeing the barley or the waterpots we think of how Laksmidevi took the dust of the lotus feet of the Lord, creating grains in order to stop the jivas being so hungry and eating each other at the beginning of creation due to lack of food. Just like snakes will eat their own offspring, unless one or two babies survive, from the hundreds born, and the mother’s and father’s tendency to kill and eat their own offspring, there will be no next generation of snakes. Even nowadays there are some people who will cut out their own babies from the womb and cook them before eating them.

At the beginning of creation when the jivas were eating one another, Laksmidevi thought we should give them nice grains in order to sumptuously feed the jivas and make them satisfied. That is why the first grains created were barley and after that came sesame seeds. All the symbols of Krsna lotus feet are so auspicious like the swastika, the udhva rekha the exalted line, on the left foot there is auspicious symbols like the sankya, a conchshell, kalasha water pots, the sky symbol of akasha, matsya the fish etc. If you remember these symbols and bring them in your heart, then your life will be successful. There is a rule for when you chant the gurumantra, you should meditate on Guru’s lotus feet and surrender to his lotus feet serving them, then when you meditate on Krsna and you remember his lotus feet with all the symbols on his lotus feet, bringing them in your heart, then your life will be successful.

Guruvarga ki Jaya! Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the up and coming Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Rasa Pancadhyayi”. For more info contact: rasik@kripa.tv )