WHAT CAN HAPPEN WHEN YOU GO TO A CONTAMINATED PLACE?

After the bhagavat-katha kirtan, Sukadeva Goswami met with Pariksit Maharaja who was coming along the banks of the Ganga. Pariksit Maharaja had renounced his kingdom and had taken shelter of the Ganga. Why had he done this? Throughout Pariksit Maharaja life he had done many yajnas, given in charity and done many austerities. Besides doing so many vratas, he always respected the sadhus and would never disrespect anyone. Why then did he commit an offence to a sage?

When Pariksit Maharaja was travelling in the forest, he became thirsty and went to a sadhu’s ashram to ask for water. The sage there was absorbed in deep meditation and was unable to hear the kings request for water. Pariksit Maharaja being ignored by the sage, took a dead snake and wrapped it around the sadhu’s neck.

What influenced him to disrespect a sadhu like this? As long as a person is not established in nirguna-tattva (transcendental knowledge) then tamo-guna, rajo-guna, and sattva-guna, will always have influence over him. When we enter a tamasik or rajasik place, the influences of that location will enter within us. Besides why would there be a dead snake near a sadhu’s ashram? Did someone kill the snake and put it there? It’s not normal to find a dead snake in a sadhu’s ashram.

Nearby the sadhu’s ashram, in the forest, there were some very low class people living, and they would kill animals and keep them here and there. They would kill buffaloes, deer, cows, and snakes, then dry them, eat them, sell them, and use their leather. Pariksit Maharaja had been going through that area which was influenced by the tamasik nature of these people. This bad mood had entered and adversely affected him.

Ksatriya kings were known to hunt in the forest, and Pariksit Maharaja had been hunting in the forest when he entered that tamasik area of the forest. By being in the locale of these tamasik class of people, his mind became negatively influenced. When Pariksit Maharaja entered the Rsi’s ashram and asked for water, the Rsi’s son was playing on one side with his friends.

STORY OF DASARATHA MAHARAJA AND SRAVAN KUMAR

We see in the pastime of Sravan Kumar, how he served his parents so much. His father was Andak Muni. Both of his parents were blind and Sravan Kumar had loyally served them his whole life. Once they came to the bank of a river, and Sravan Kumar said, “Oh! My whole life I have been serving you and wasting my time. You have never given me a chance to be free, independent and enjoy, now I am leaving you here and rejecting you.” 

The blind parents replied, “Oh, no problem dear son. Please just take us to the other side. On the other side we can live by taking the leaves of trees, eating whatever is found on the ground, and drinking the water from the river. No problem. You can then go and be free and enjoy your life.”

When Sravan Kumar brought them to the other side of the river, his heart changed and he began to lament saying, “Why have I done this? Why have I disrespected my parents? Why was my mind so contaminated? My whole life I have served both of you?” Parents should always be respected, and they were also great sages, even though they were blind and lame. They were established in brahma-jnana. 

On thinking like this Sravan Kumar said, “Please punish me for my offence to you.” The parents replied, “Oh son it is not your fault. That place you were in was very impure. It was a very contaminated place. By going to that place your mind was completely contaminated, and therefore you spoke harshly to us, but we are not upset with you. You are our dear son and have served us so nicely. You are our son, but you are also like our disciple. 

It is said if you commit a sin you will have to suffer the results of that. Speaking harshly to your elders, parents, or Guru is like a great offence and certainly a reaction will come from this. 

One day later, when his parents were in an ashram, Sravan Kumar went to a river to bring them water and at that time Maharaja Dasaratha, the father of Lord Rama, (this was before Rama was born) was hunting in that area. It was evening time and Dasaratha Maharaja heard someone drinking water and he thought it was a deer, so he shot a sound arrow in that direction.

Dasaratha Maharaja had the power to shoot arrows just by hearing the sound. He shot the arrow and it struck Sravan Kumar, the beautiful son of the sages. When Dasaratha Maharaja heard the boy cry out, he realized he had made a great mistake, and had shot a person. Dasaratha Maharaja went there wondering what had happened, and he began to lament so much seeing that this boy was about to die. 

Sravan Kumar said, “This is no problem, this is only a result of my own offences, but please at least take me to my parents and tell them what has happened, otherwise they will be very disturbed and worried. Dasaratha Maharaja then lifted up the dead body of Sravan Kumar, and he went to find his parents.

The parents heard someone approaching and asked, “Oh son, why were you so late bringing the water?” Dasaratha Maharaja replied shyly, feeling very ashamed, “Oh I accidentally killed your son and I have brought him to you.” 

Andak Rsi and his wife replied, “Who can not change inevitable fate. We are not cursing you, but we will leave our bodies now, please perform our creation rite as our son cannot do it. You have killed our son, we are not cursing you, but we are just letting you know, you will also understand by karma, the pain of losing a very beloved son. 

When they told him this, Dasaratha Maharaja, was actually overjoyed because he had been struggling for a long time to have a son. At first, he was overjoyed just like Citraketu Maharaja, who also could not have a son, and upon hearing the news that he would have a son, became so happy. Dasaratha Maharaja thought that he had been blessed to have a son, and felt that he had been given a boon. In this way Andak Rsi and his wife gave up their bodies, and Dasaratha Maharaja performed the last cremation rites for Sravan Kumar and his parents. 

Later after Rama had been exiled to the forest by the request of Kaikeyi, Dasaratha Maharaja could understand everything. He had previously told the story of Sravan Kumar, but now he again told his wife Kausalya, “What I did I before, having killed Sravan Kumar, now I am suffering for this.” So, we see Dasaratha Maharaja lamenting, “Ha Rama, Ha Rama, Ha Rama” and giving up his life. 

DO NOT GO TO CONTAMINATED PLACES

Therefore, we should be extremely careful not to go to contaminated places that are full of tamo-guna and rajo-guna. It is described in sastra that a place where there is prostitution, gambling, and intoxication, is a very tamasik place. We can see this mostly in big cities. When there is a temple of God, that is nirguna, a transcendental place. It is described that the forest is a sattvik place, where the mode of goodness will enter you. By going to villages and towns then the nature of rajo-guna will come. What does that mean? It means you will want to be a creator and progenitor. You will want to have many children and a big family. This is rajo-guna. If you go to places where there is intoxication, gambling, and illicit sinful activities, then the influences of tamo-guna will enter you. (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE)

WHO WAS SUKADEVA GOSVAMI? Why did he stay in his mother’s womb for 16 years?

Siva was speaking the Srimad Bhagavatam that he had attained in samadhi and Parvati was listening, but when the Srimad Bhagavatam begins people begin to fall asleep. This is a great problem. This world is controlled by the three ‘gunas’ and when we get something of this world from the these gunas we take it very happily. But if we are presented with something which is nirguna (transcendental), what to speak of having a taste for it, it is like we enter ‘maha-pralaya’, deep sleep. We have no taste for Bhagavan’s nama and kirtan. It is not such an easy thing to enter.

Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja once said, “There are people who haven’t been able to sleep properly for years, even after taking medicine to induce sleep. Once a man came to me and asked for help. I said, ‘Sit in hari-katha,’ and as soon as I began bhagavat-katha, within a few moments he fell asleep. Afterwards he came to me and said, ‘Oh you are like my God, I have taken your shelter.’ I said why? He replied, ‘Finally I have been able to sleep nicely. Please accept me as your disciple.” It is not so easy for everyone to enter into this bhagavat-katha rasa. When we start hearing hari-katha we start to enter maha-pralaya, deep, deep sleep.

Sati fell asleep and Suka the parrot, hearing this katha from Siva Thakur, became completely absorbed in bliss. He copied the voice of Sati, and when Siva Thakur asked, “Oh did you hear that? Do you understand that? Did you like that?” Suka would reply, “Ha, Ha, Ha, yes, yes, yes.” 

In this way Siva Thakur was happily giving hari-katha completely absorbed with his eyes closed. He went through all of Vraja-lila. In a very beautiful way, he was explaining all the pastimes of Krsna. At that time Suka became so happy, he felt, “My life is now successful!” He thought, “When I was in Vraja, staying with Srimati Radhika, I was receiving so much affection from Her. She would give me pomegranate seeds with milk and rice, and She would speak so much beautiful katha.”

It is very rare and hard to find someone in this world who is giving this hari-katha. Many people are there to give us pain, but who is there to give us spiritual happiness? In this world maya katha is going on everywhere, and it is very rare to find someone that will give us this spiritual happiness. Nowadays there are so many different people, so many movies, and TV channels, all distributing only ‘maya katha’. People are so anxious to go and hear this. It has now become their food. This poison is their food. Suka became so happy to hear this hari-katha, because Bhagavat katha is so rare in this world.

When the hari-katha was finished, Sati woke up and said, “What happened? What happened?”

Siva Thakur asked, “Oh you didn’t hear the hari-katha?” 

Sati replied, “Oh I fell asleep, what did you say?” 

Siva Thakur then asked, “So who was listening? Who was answering in your voice, saying yes, yes?”

Siva Thakur then began to search around for the person who was saying ‘yes, yes’, but he could not find anyone. 

Siva Thakur had meditated, and then this bhagavat-katha had entered his heart after which he spoke it. He began wondering, “If Parvati didn’t hear it, then who was replying in your voice? Who heard this ‘amrta’, nectar?”

There are many different types of hari-katha that Siva Thakur would speak, but this was one of the first times he had spoken this bhagavat-katha. He said, “If anyone will hear this hari-katha then they can distribute it and help everyone. Everyone will accept them, worship them and they will become like the mother of everyone in this world. But you didn’t hear this hari-katha?” 

Sati replied, “No, I fell asleep.”

Siva Thakur said, “Ok, then you lost this chance.” 

SIVA THAKUR CHASES SUKA WITH HIS TRIDENT

Then searching everywhere Siva Thakur finally found a parrot sitting in a mango tree. He was very happy from drinking this nectar which is the ornament of our life. On finding him Siva Thakur became angry and said, “Oh you stole everything from me! You heard this hari-katha. Now look!”

Siva Thakur then took his trisula (trident) and began to run after the parrot as if to kill him. Suka flew away in fear, and Siva Thakur followed him. Wherever Suka would fly Siva Thakur would follow him with his trisula (trident) ready to kill him. 

SUKA ENTERS VITIKA’S WOMB

Then finally Sukadeva Goswami flew towards the ashram of Vyasadeva and entered. At that time, Vyasadeva was also speaking hari-katha from the Puranas. Vitika, Vyasadeva’s wife, was also a little tired and she yawned, and when she yawned Suka flew directly into her mouth and went into her womb. 

Siva Thakur arrived there shortly afterwards and asked, “I saw a parrot fly in here, did you see a parrot enter your ashram?” 

Vyasadeva replied, “Oh Siva Thakur, why are you looking for him? Oh Lord, why are you so angry? Normally you are very peaceful. What has happened?” 

Siva Thakur replied, “The Srimad Bhagavatam had appeared in my heart by samadhi, and I was speaking it to Parvati. There was a parrot sitting in a nearby mango tree. Parvati fell asleep, and the parrot was cheating by using her voice to respond to everything, and in this way, he heard the entire Bhagavatam thereby stealing everything from me.”

Vyasadeva asked, “What will happen by hearing this Srimad Bhagavatam?

Siva Thakur replied, “He will become immortal.”

Vyasadeva said, “If he has become immortal by hearing it, then how can you kill him? If anyone hears this bhagavat-katha, then death will not be able to touch them. They will not again enter this cycle of birth and death, samsara. This parrot has transcended the three gunas of maya.” When Vyasadeva said this, Siva Thakur smiled, offered his respects and departed. 

The Srimad Bhagavatam first came through Siva Thakur, and he is always considering the auspiciousness and welfare of all beings. Who Bhagavan wants to give something to, may be different than who we want to give it to. So Vyasadeva could now understand that by God’s desire, a great personality had entered his wife’s womb.

Sukadeva Goswami came out only after he received the blessing from Sri Krsna that maya would be removed for as long as it took him to come out of the womb. He then ran into the forest, and was later attracted back by the hunters singing sloka’s of bhagavat-katha. (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE)

PART 2 WHY DID KRSNA TEST THE SADHANA-SIDDHA-GOPIS?

All the Gopis had been previously wandering from forest to forest. When they met with Radharani they thought, “There is no need to keep searching, if we keep going, Krsna will just go further and deeper into the forest.” Up to this point the Gopis were in the forested areas that were lit up by the rays of the full moon, but further ahead the jungle was becoming more dense, deep, and dark. The Gopis then thought, “We will not proceed further because the Lord may step on sharp stones or thorns in the dark, and may possibly cut His feet. We do not want to give any distress to Krsna like this. Instead we will go to the bank of the Yamuna where we were previously.” 

The Gopis with Radharani then returned to the bank of the Yamuna and began to do kirtana of Sri Krsna. They began to sing Sri Krsna’s glories and meditate on His pastimes. Now these prayers will be expressed and described by Srila Sukadeva Goswami. 

Until this point they had searched everywhere and could not find Krsna. They had even asked the grass, the plants, the trees, the creepers, and the rivers, “Where is Krsna? Where is Krsna?” Then they began to blame them, “Oh you will not tell us. You are afraid of Krsna. You are very proud so you will not tell us where Krsna is.”

By Radharani’s connection, the Gopis finally understood that Krsna and His names are non-different. They could experience and understand their own shortcomings, and became very humble. Those who are very advanced and senior will not be afraid to tell others of their own faults, but those who are junior, even if they have so many faults, they will try to blame everyone else without thinking that they themselves have any faults.

GETTING YOUR BHAJAN FOCUSED

There is no need to wander here, there, and everywhere, doing so many tours, travels, and parikramas. What gain will you get from doing so much hard work and sadhana with your body. You may develop some good impressions, pious merits, and sukrti. But even if you do parikrama for a thousand lifetimes, wandering here and there, going in circles, what will you gain? What will you get? Who are you doing it for, and who has told you to do this? Are you doing this for your own pleasure or for Krsna’s pleasure? You should consider this first. What is the subject? What is the object? What is the aim and goal? What is my purpose? What is the positive point and what is the negative?

Whatever I am doing, from morning to evening, make a ledger, and account for what you have gained in your day’s work. Just like Citragupta, who is the accountant of Yamaraja, he keeps ledgers on all the jivas’ activities. But this only concerns worldly affairs and we need to look towards our spiritual life. What have we done in our day? What service was there in moving about here and there? Was it for one’s own self, or for one’s own desire to meet with Sri Krsna.

Srimati Radhika therefore said, “There is no need to wander here and there. The Lord can wander here and there if He desires, but we will sit in one place and do kirtan.” So they returned to the bank of the Yamuna and sitting there they began to sing the glories of Sri Krsna. This is the duty of Sri Guru. After Mangal Arati, Svami Prabhupada would take his disciples and sit down and say, “Now chant harinama with me.” When their harinama was complete he would say, “Now you can do as you like, otherwise don’t leave here until you have finished your harinama.” This is the pure instructions of a pure Guru. The Guru will not let the disciples wander here and there frivolously. Sitting in a room he would lock the gate and say, “Now do harinama.” Even in todays schools and universities, you cannot wander here and there as you like. You have to sit down in the classroom and do your studies. If they are wandering about here and there, they will never do their studies. Therefore, Prabhupada would say, “Close the door and do your harinama and studies, then you can move around.” In this way we can learn.

RADHIKA AND THE GOPIS BEGIN TO PRAY AND DO KIRTANA

Srimati Radhika then sat down on the banks of the Yamuna with all the Gopis and they all began to pray to Krsna. What did they pray?  

jayati te ‘dhikam janmana vrajah

srayata indira sasvad atra hi

dayita drsyatam diksu tavakas

tvayi dhrtasavas tvam vicinvate   

The Gopis prayed, “Oh Beloved, because of Your taking birth here in Vraja, Vraja-mandala has become more glorious than Vaikuntha, or any of the other spiritual planets.” They are not just saying it will be, they are saying it in the present tense. “Now, Vrindavan is more glorious than any other spiritual abode because of Your birth here.”

When Srimati Radhika began praying like this, did she first teach the Gopis to sing after Her? Like when people sing in kirtan, they follow a book or repeat after the main singer. However, after the sadhana-siddha-gopis took shelter of Srimati Radhika and Her nitya-siddha-gopis (eternal associates), then Radharani’s desire, the tendency of svarupa-sakti, manifested directly into their hearts. They then immediately understood everything, and in complete synchronicity, they all began to sing kirtan.

THE GOPIS GLORIFY KRSNA’S BIRTH

The Gopis sang, “jayati te ‘dhikam janmana vrajah,” you have taken birth in Vraja-mandala. They did not say Krsna took birth in Mathura, because there is no ‘janma-lila’ birth pastime, in Mathura. In Mathura Krsna appeared in a four-armed form as Narayana. He was wearing His ornaments, dress, crown, and He had long hair, so this was not considered a birth pastime. Krsna is never born with a crown, ankle bells, bracelets, necklaces, garlands, and four-armed, like Narayana. He appeared in Mathura, but in Vraja He took birth. His umbilical cord was cut in Vraja, and He was born from the womb of Yasoda in Nanda-bhavan (the home of Nanda Baba).

The Gopis said, “Vrndavan is more glorious than any of the other abodes.” In Vraja, everything then manifested outwardly, the trees became filled with fresh fruits and green leaves. Everyone’s heart became filled with beauty, and because of the beauty in their hearts, all their bodily forms became beautiful. Even those who were old became bright, red, fresh, and young looking.

Those Vraja children who were mischievous, now became even more restless and mischievous. Before they were somewhat peaceful being under the control and disciple of their parents and families. After Krsna took birth, all the different sakhas became out of control and undisciplined. If the parents and elders were in ecstasy, and became like children, then who will control the children? When we think I am elderly, I am in control, I am the master, then we try to control others. But if we ourselves feel like children, then how will we be able to control anyone? They all became very innocent and childlike and all of Vraja became filled with transcendental energy.

LAKSMI-DEVI STAYS IN VRAJA

The Gopis then said, “srayata indira sasvad atra hi,” Laksmi-devi is present here in Vraja. Previously, Laksmi-devi would wander throughout the whole universe, she would go everywhere. Whoever called her she will go to them. But now Laksmi-devi is saying, “My Lord has come so I will serve here in Vraja and not leave to go anywhere.”

Why? What has changed? Why will Laksmi serve in Vraja? What will she do there? Laksmi-devi said, “I saw what happens when I went and served everyone. There is no one who is always thinking about how to serve Krsna. They do not appear to be very dear to Him and He is not very dear to them, they are all independent enjoyers. But in Vraja everyone is dear to Krsna and He is dear to them. There is a reciprocation of love and affection. Therefore, by serving the Vraja-vasis, my master, Krsna, will always be pleased with me.”

In other places, Laksmi-devi gives so much wealth to businessmen, wealthy people, and aristocrats but they do not have any love for Krsna and therefore He does not have a relationship with them. They are only in love with their own material enjoyment and their outward display of collecting name, fame, and prestige. They do not have love for Krsna. Therefore, they are only misusing Laksmi.

“Srayata indira sasvad atra hi.” Laksmi-devi says, “I will not leave Vraja dhama, I will serve here. Because I have never seen such a place where everyone is so extremely dear to Krsna and He is so extremely dear to them. No one here has any other desire. The subject and the object is only for Krsna, there is no other consideration. Even the deer, the peacocks, the parrots, and the cows are the Lord’s very dear and intimate associates. 

“Dayita drsyatam diksu tavakas,” in this Vraja-dhama, who is present? The preyasi, the beloveds of Sri Krsna.

The Gopis said, “Krsna, we are very sad, and are offering our lives to You. Please give us Your darsana.” Krsna said, “Why are you searching for Me? Why are you lamenting so much? Are you greedy for something from Me?” If you want something then do austerity, do sadhana.”

KRSNA – THE REAL AIM AND OBJECT OF ALL AUSTERITIES

Someone will do ‘dandavat pranam parikrama’, but what service is this for Krsna? Is this for His pleasure? You may be doing dandavat parikrama a hundred times, a thousand times, ten million times, but what service to Krsna is there in this? This is only to satisfy your own desires and for your own enjoyment, that ‘I will be very great and exalted. I will be very prestigious. I will have such a high position and so much facility and enjoyment. I will be a king. I will be a master. I will get so much wealth. Everyone will become my servant. Everyone will be my follower. I will be crowned with the highest position of prestige.’

But why are we doing this? Why are we working so hard? There are so many yogis and bhogis that go to the Himalayas to perform tapasya and austerities, but if their mood is not pleasing to Krsna, then what is the purpose of all this endeavor? Hiranyakasipu stood on his fingers with his feet up in the air for 60,000 years, and he was so proud, and against Krsna, so what was the benefit of this austerity? He received so much strength and power, but then he began to fight with the Lord and His devotees. What was the fault of his son, Prahlada? Hiranyakasipu said, “Prahlada doesn’t listen to me, and he is so proud. Now I will show him and see what he does.” Then he even tried to kill his own son Prahlada, all because of his pride.

What benefit was there in all of Hiranyakasipu’s austerities? His pride only increased. He did not become purified. Instead he became very filthy and filled with a polluted sense of self-importance. Whatever fruit that comes to a person who is independently engaged, or acting according to his own desires, in ‘tyaga’ renunciation, ‘tapasya’ austerity, or ‘sankalpa’ vows, will not be for the Lord’s bhakti or service. If they do it for Krsna, under His authority, desire, and pleasure, and under the guidance of His devotees, they only will not incur suffering nor have any anxiety or perplexity. 

THE REAL GOPI-GITA

The Gopis now said, “We are offering our lives to You. We are searching for You and praying for Your darsana? We made the mistake of becoming proud and now You have gone far away, so please be merciful and give us Your darsana, and allow us to be engaged in Your service.”

Sridhara Swami explains in his commentary, that at the end of the third chapter it describes how the Vraja-devis returned to the bank of the Yamuna, and in a mood of intense separation, they began to sing the glories of Sri Krsna. These prayers of the Vraja-devis are called the ‘viraha-gita’ – the song of separation, or the ‘Gopi-gita’ – the song of the Gopis.

Previously, when the sadhana-siddha-gopis were wandering in the forest, imitating Krsna’s pastimes, praying, singing, asking the trees and plants where Krsna was, it was not considered the Gopi-gita. Only when they came under the guidance of Srimati Radhika and the nitya-siddha-gopis, was their singing considered the Gopi-gita. Why is this? Because this song was exclusively for the pleasure of Krsna. (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE)

PART 1 WHY DID KRSNA TEST THE SADHANA-SIDDHA-GOPIS?

The Sruticari, Smrticari, Upanisadcari Gopis, and the Dandakaranya Rsis, who had come to Vraja and achieved the bodies of Gopis, performed Katyayani-vrata. After their vrata the Lord called them to perform rasa-lila. He brought them into His company and showed them His love and affection. In this way He accepted them and made them eligible for His company.

In the Caitanya Caritamrta, it explains that a doctor gave a medicine to a person to cure a disease but upon taking it, the disease increased. This was because the sick person did not follow the proper diet and so forth, so he became even more sick. Similarly, the jivas pray to God for so many things, but even if you give it to them, they become so proud when they receive it. As soon as they get some position, post, or qualification, then their pride devours them. When Krsna danced, played, sang, and showed His affection to the Gopis, they became proud, thinking, “I am no less than anyone. I am the dearmost of God. I am the dearmost of Krsna.” In this way so much pride came within the sadhana-siddha-gopis, and they did not respect Srimati Radharani who is svarupa-sakti, and hladini-sakti, nor the nitya-siddha-gopis, therefore the Lord disappeared.

What did the Gopis do when Krsna left them? They were experiencing so much separation from Him and were greatly lamenting. After meeting with Krsna there was so much joy, but when He left, they felt extreme separation. They began to search throughout the forest for Krsna. They asked everything and everyone, “Where is Krsna?” They asked the plants, the trees, the river, everything, but no-one was ready to give any answer or response to them. As long as the Lord is present in the heart, the jivas have some foundation and strength, but as soon as the Lord leaves or disappears, then the embodied souls have no position. Because of their karma they sometimes move in water, fire, air, ether, or earth. Without Paramatma (supersoul) the embodied souls have no form, and they move here and there in the elements like orphans. This is the fate of the ‘baddha-jivas’ – conditioned souls.

Those who are ‘mukta’ liberated souls, can achieve Vraja-dhama in this world, ‘bhauma Vrindavan’. Before the liberated souls go to ‘aprakrta Vraja’ – transcendental Vraja, the Lord will give them many tests. The Vraja in this world is like a training center for the sadhana-siddhas, those who have achieved perfection through spiritual practice. Before Krsna met with the sadhana-siddhas-gopis in the Rasa dance, He tested them so much. He saw that they were not displeased with Him, nor were they selfishly thinking of themselves, so they passed the test.

Krsna had previously danced, sang, and embraced the Gopis, filling them with the joy of meeting Him. He then thought, “I want to see what the sadhana-siddha-gopis will do.” This was like another test. Then what the Lord was thinking would happen, did indeed occur. They did not respect the other Gopis. The Lord then disappeared and the Gopis lamented greatly searching here and there for Him.

After wandering far and wide throughout the forests and groves they finally saw the footprints of Krsna. Seeing these footprints, they realized that they had never taken shelter of the footprints of the Lord. They had never meditated on or taken shelter of the symbols that are on Krsna’s feet, like the flag, goad, fish, pyramid, pot, and conch. There are very beautiful symbols on the Lord’s lotus feet and these were present in the footprints.

THE GOPIS BLAME KRSNA

The Gopis began to meditate on these symbols. By the influence of this meditation their hearts became completely purified, and the pride of their good fortune in meeting with Krsna was washed away. Because they meditated on His feet, everything was cleansed. Now they began to experience their own shortcomings. Before they were very proud and they thought, “Why has He left us? Why has He given us up? This is His fault. This is wrong. We left everything and came here to meet Him, and now He has neglected us!” They were thinking there was some fault in the Lord’s activities.

Although externally you couldn’t see this, Krsna thought, “Now I will see their behavior.”

The sadhana-siddhas-gopis were not feeling, “Oh we have neglected and disrespected the nitya-siddha-gopis, the eternal associates of the Lord.” It was like they have entered the house by force and tried to become the masters of the house. For example, it is like when a rich and wealthy person has just married a girl from a poor village. Within two days she will challenge and try controlling everyone in an attempt to become the master of the house. She will think, “Who is this aunt? Who are these in-laws? Who is this mother-in-law?” This is called ‘gusbeti’. They enter the house and within a few days try to exert their influence and try to dominate everyone thinking, “This is my place, now you can leave. Get out.” They have no respect and those who were always there, who were the masters for many, many years, are shown contempt and disrespect. Then the wife tries to become the queen, but there is no value in it.

Similarly, the Lord thought, “If they are competing here in ‘bhauma Vrndavan’, then what will they do in eternal Vraja?” It is not so easy to enter the eternal realm, so Krsna thought, “I will help purify them of this pride.” For this reason, He left with Srimati Radhika.

THE GOPIS FIND FOOTPRINTS

The Gopis then began to weep and search for Krsna. Finally, they reached the footprints of Krsna and began to pray and take shelter of them. Then they saw another set of footprints and thought, “Oh how dear this other Gopi must be to Krsna? How great She must be? How much greater than us She must be? But we did not respect Her, we neglected Her. How great She must be that Krsna left us all but He did not leave Her, therefore She is the most dear to Sri Krsna.” When they saw Srimati Radharani’s footprints, they also saw some other items including a broken garland, and flowers that had been picked and used by Krsna to decorate Srimati Radharani’s hair. In this way they developed some faith for Radharani.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF SRADDHA AND ANURAGA

There is one kind of faith that is called, ‘laukika’ meaning weak or material faith. Another one is paramarthika or transcendental faith. Laukika-sraddha, material faith, can easily be destroyed, it is very flimsy. But paramarthika-sraddha, transcendental faith, is much more firm and strong when one is progressing from sraddha to nistha, firm dedication and faith. And then further it develops to ruci – transcendental taste, and then on to asakti – transcendental attraction and deep attachment. Then finally to bhava – pure ecstatic emotion, and it even goes higher to sneha, raga, mana, pranaya, and anuraga, which is loving attraction.

Until this state of faith has reached all the way up to the pure state of anuraga or loving attraction, then one still has anuraga or love for one’s own body, mind, and senses. You cannot use this anuraga solely for Sri Krsna, you do not have that strength. For one’s own happiness one is ready to do anything, however for someone else’s pleasure or happiness no one is ready to sacrifice themselves for the pleasure of another, they cannot possibly do this.

Therefore, tad-anuragi-jananugami, we must follow in the footsteps of those who have this anuraga, and to follow them is considered the mature state of sadhana. Otherwise you may exhibit yourself as becoming a big babaji or sadhu, and show off so much faith, bang on the drums and karatals, but as soon as you are a little bit disturbed or disrespected, or there is some disturbance in your enjoyment and sense gratification, or maybe even a little chastisement and discipline from Guru and Vaisnavas, and you have to renounce all other things for service, then what will you do? You will enter your room or house and flee from service. This is laukika-sraddha – material faith, and it is very weak.

Until you follow this instruction of Rupa Gosvami, to follow in the footsteps of those who have anuraga – pure devotion, you will not be able to progress to the higher stages of devotion. Once you follow this tad-anuragi-jananugami properly then you can progress to mana, pranaya, anuraga and so forth. Otherwise this laukika-sraddha (material faith) is not very valuable. When you achieve paramarthika-sraddha (transcendental faith) this will progress to higher and higher stages of bhakti. We should strive only for this, and be prepared to sacrifice everything, renouncing all our own comforts and selfish desires. We have to sincerely look and see, who is dear to Guru, who is most dear to Krsna, and then take shelter of them.

THE GOPIS LEARN FROM RADHIKA’S PRAYERS

Proceeding forward, the Gopis found Srimati Radhika senseless on the ground. They began to fan Her, and witnessed many different ecstatic symptoms on Her body, like perspiring, hairs standing on end, and a choked voice. This made their faith in Her develop even more. They took shelter of Her and asked Her, “How did You get here?”

Those who have good qualities or good qualifications are actually exalted, when they experience any shortcoming they have, they are not shy to express this. They do not try to hide their faults. But we try to hide our faults. We lie, cheat, and steal, and then we will make ten or twenty people our witnesses to say, “No, this is a good person. They are not a thief, they are not a sinner, they are very good.” We think, “Everyone else is a sinner, everyone else is very bad, but I am so good.” We will arrange hundreds of people to give evidence in our favor. But a good person will not be afraid to show their faults.

Srimati Radhika did not say, “Oh it was your fault that Krsna left with Me.” Instead She said, “Krsna left Me. I told Krsna, ‘I am tired and cannot walk any further’. This was My own pride. I tried to engage the Lord in My own service. How great a mistake this was and as a result of this, Krsna left Me.”

The Gopis, hearing Srimati Radhika’s humility, could now understand Her exalted position. If those who occupy high positions are very exalted and advanced, have all good qualities, then those under them will also be decorated with these qualities. If they express their own faults, and are very open and honest, then those under their guidance will also become like that. Otherwise they will only develop more faults. If people from the outside criticize us, we should not think, “Why are they complaining and blaming?” but instead we should be ready to accept and see our own faults.

The Gopis now realized, “We have made a mistake!” Hearing the prayers of Srimati Radhika and the nitya-siddha-gopis, which are full of svarupa-sakti, the sadhana-siddha-gopis understood that these prayers are real and proper. They thought, “Until this point, we were all praying, but what was our mood?”

It is said that only Madhavendra Puri, Srimati Radharani, and Caitanya Mahaprabhu understood this sloka of Srimati Radhika. There was really no one else who could understand it. Mahaprabhu also performed kirtana of this verse. (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE)

The Only Way To Be Happy

We have told from the beginning that, without bhajana, no one can be happy. Actually, we are not this physical body. We are different from this body. But by the illusory energy of Krsna, we are thinking that we are this body. The happiness and problems we experience come from the mind. But actually, this is illusory. We are the eternal servants of Krsna. But we have forgotten Him. And that is why the illusory maya has covered over us, and we are thinking that we are this body. And whatever we do is not to please Krsna, but rather, to be pleased ourselves. But this is quite wrong. You cannot be happy independently. This has been true since time immemorial…

Interview with Satyaraja Prabhu

Oh, I had been wanting to meet him for years. Several dear friends, in whom I put a lot of trust, had told me about him, that he was not only a mystic and very knowledgeable, but that he was a sweet individual, giving of his time, and always engaged in service. I just had to meet him. And you were there when we first met. You saw it. We hit it off immediately. He took me into his room and I asked him all my longstanding questions, and we told each other about our lives, and our work, and we really bonded. I’m sure most people feel that way with him. How can you not?! [laughter] But this was really special. I briefly wrote about it in that coffee-table picture book about my travels in India. I gave you a copy last time I was there. Radhe Kunj is now a non-negotiable stop for me in Vrindavan. I can’t imagine going there without seeing Prabhuji!

Truthfully, when you’re there, at Radhe Kunj, you feel, “To hell with this sanga or that sanga. To hell with external affiliation. Give me bhakti, give me seva, give me Radhika!” [laughter] At the end of the day, that’s what we all thirst for, isn’t it?! He gave me all his books, and you continue to do that, kindly. I really appreciate it. His books are a wealth of information, and I can feel Gurudeva in his books…

Part 2 WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO MAKE A RELATIONSHIP WITH VRAJA RASA?

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that Krsna began to dance in such a way, that it appeared as if there was no one else there but Him. He was in His own form, but He manifested many other forms. These forms were all non-different and inseparable from Krsna, even though they all had their own individual forms.

Krsna danced with all of them and exhibited ‘hasa-parihasa’, joking, laughing, playing, singing, dancing and embracing. Krsna played in these loving affairs with the Gopis, just like little children play with one another. In this way Krsna was playing and dancing with His own expansions or reflections.

The Gopi’s vilasa or loving exchange, is manifested through Krsna’s svarupa-sakti, Divine potency, and they are inseparable. The rasa play of dancing and singing is a manifestation of the soul’s divine play with the Lord and is not any kind of ordinary play.

THE GOPIS BECOME ‘KRSNA-MAYA’

Sukadeva Goswami said; “Oh Pariksit Maharaja being touched by the limbs of Sri Krsna the Gopis senses became overwhelmed with love and ecstasy. Krsna touched them by putting His hand on their shoulders or head while playing of His flute. They also witnessed His supremely beautiful face and became so absorbed in Sri Krsna that they were completely ‘Krsna-maya’, fully immersed in Sri Krsna. They lost all awareness of their cloth, their bodies, their senses and anything that was with them. They could not maintain or take care of anything. They were so absorbed in Sri Krsna that they forgot their own bodies. Their ornaments were also slipping and falling off. They forgot where they were and what they were doing. Through this ‘vilasa’ loving exchange, each Vraja-devi became ‘vyakula’ , submerged in the rasa dance. Each Gopi forgot completely where her cloth was, her ornaments, bracelets, ankle bells, where her chaddar was, the waist belt, and the garland she had been wearing. In the midst of this ‘ananda-rasa’, everything was forgotten.”

THE DEMIGODS BEWILDERED

As long as we do not receive the mercy of Sri Guru, we will always be externally absorbed in this world and its affairs. By the touch and the vision of Sri Krsna, our absorption will be pulled away from maya, and we will become completely absorbed in the Lord to the extent that we completely forget everything else. The demigods and their goddesses seeing Sri Krsna’s rasa-lila from their airplanes, along with the moon and all the stars, became completely bewildered and stunned seeing this. They were all thinking, “Will we ever be able to meet Sri Krsna, the Supreme Lord like this?”

Sridhara Swami explains that seeing the situation of the Vraja-sundaris, the wives of the demigods became bewildered and thought, “How can we also meet with Krsna like this?” Thinking about this, and having His darsana they fell unconscious. Why? The Lord’s mercy and His potency are very powerful. If it touches someone it does not allow any material thought or object to remain with that person, everything is washed away. Material objects have no connection to this ‘aprakrta-rasa’ transcendental nectar. Simply by thinking of Krsna they fell senseless. The stars and the moon all became bewildered and fixed in their places. For the whole night of Brahma lasting billions and billions of years, they did not move being transfixed in Krsna’s rasa-dance. When Krsna began to dance during the rasa-lila, it lasted for the entire night of Lord Brahma which is 311 trillion years.

ONLY THE GOPIS HAD THE QUALIFICATION TO PARTICIPATE

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says ‘vikriditam’, what is the nature of this play? Because of lack of qualification we have become very far from Krsna. When we become the objects of Sri Krsna’s divine mercy, we will go to Him and not have any memory of, “Who I am, what I am doing, where am I, and what is the nature of my body and senses?” The Gopis were dancing without any knowledge of this for the entire night of Lord Brahma, which is equal to 1000 catur-yugas and after the night passed, they all returned to their homes.

The Lord’s potency, ‘Yogamaya’, initiates these pastimes and also concludes them, preparing for the next pastimes. However not everyone was able to be present. Some did not have enough sadhana with which they were able to participate, like the moon and the stars. All these planets and stars are presided over by different personalities, and they were not able to enter the rasa-dance. They were fixed, motionless. They became bewildered by Krsna’s ‘mohan-vidya’ bewildering power, and could not enter these pastimes.

Sri Krsna’s loving affairs with the Vraja-sundaris was not anything ordinary, and even the demigods were not eligible to participate. No one had achieved the ‘adhikara’ (qualification), except for the Vraja-gopis. By Yogamaya’s arrangement, Krsna didn’t have the mood of ‘purusha bhava’ – the mood of an enjoyer. He was just experiencing Himself as a young boy mixing and dancing with His beloveds. Even though He was in the midst of millions and millions of Gopis Sri Krsna is ‘atmarama’ and ‘aptakama’, fully self satisfied and pleased within Himself.

The maidens who prayed to Katyayani:

kātyāyani mahā-māye
mahā-yoginy adhīśvari
nanda-gopa-sutaṁ devi
patiṁ me kuru te namaḥ

They said, “Oh Mahamaya, Goddess of Illusion, Oh Srimati Radhika, please make that son of Nanda my husband or my beloved.”

Krsna told them at the end of Katyayani vrata, “Oh ‘abala’ ladies, – your desire will be fulfilled. Don’t worry, soon I will meet with all of you, so now return.” Krsna took such a wonderful form, like the crest jewel of all beauty, and danced with all the Gopis. During the ‘Brahma-vimohana-lila’, Krsna stayed with the Gopis for one year as the Gopas – the cowherd boys, but they were not satisfied by this. All the sakhas present were actually Sri Krsna, in this way the Gopis received their long, cherished desire to have Krsna as their husband. They had all married the various sakhas, but still they were not satisfied. Therefore, Krsna called them on a full moon night, and for the entire night of Lord Brahma, He danced and played with them. Sri Krsna is the embodiment of all compassion and mercy, and He appeared like an ordinary human being. Krsna was not only in one form, but He appeared in millions and millions of forms.

It is said ‘gopa yosita’, no one else had the eligibility to meet with Sri Krsna in this way, except for the Vraja-gopis. The daughters of the gopas who had come to the rasa dance were all young maidens – ‘kisoris’, and were decorated with all rasas to a fullest extent. Therefore, they could understand Sri Krsna’s, ‘rupa-madhurya, guna-madhurya, lila-madhurya, venu-madhurya and prema-madhurya’. They could realize and taste the sweetness of Sri Krsna’s form, beauty, flute playing, and loving exchanges. After perfection or ‘siddhi’, a sadhaka will also have acquaintance with these various kinds of sweetness’s, that Sri Krsna has only in Vraja. After Krsna completely surcharged the Gopis with this rasa, He danced and met with them. Therefore, Krsna is known as ‘Acyuta’ – infallible.

KRSNA REJUVENATES THE GOPIS

Sukadeva Goswami said, “Oh Pariksit Maharaja, the dancing and singing in the Rasa-dance continued on for a very long time, and the Gopis became covered in perspiration and became slightly tired and exhausted. Then with so much love, Sri Krsna, with His soft, fragrant and beautiful lotus hands, began to wipe the perspiration from the Gopis foreheads and faces with His chaddar. In this way, He showed His love for them and rejuvenated them. Sri Krsna always knew how to free them from any type of exhaustion or tiredness.

By Sri Krsna’s touch the Gopis became rejuvenated and completely satisfied in ‘ananda-rasa’. Out of love, they began to say something and He then began to fan them, gave them His own tambula remnants of pan from His mouth, and applied sandalwood paste to their foreheads.

Part 1-WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO MAKE A RELATIONSHIP WITH VRAJA RASA?

Krsna thought, “My sadhaka may engage in spiritual practice for many millions of lifetimes, and after that he may be able to achieve perfection by taking birth in Vraja or getting the qualification to stay in Vraja. However, if he does not make a relationship with Vraja-rasa and the Vrajavasis, then he will not be able to understand Me or come near Me.” Bhagavan Himself decided to distribute this rasa through rasa-lila. Krsna was dancing, singing, playing on His flute and meeting with everyone and by this He gave rasa.

PARAMATMA HELPS THE SADHAKA

The Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead is present within the hearts of all living entities as Paramatma. But the Lord does not reveal His form as Paramatma, nor does He manifest His qualities and names, He is always neutral and peaceful. He is present everywhere in a neutral manner.

When the practitioner begins his spiritual practice, he will gradually understand Paramatma and Visnu-tattva, ‘the indwelling witness in the heart’. Paramatma’s primary function will be to help the sadhaka make spiritual progress. If someone worships the ‘para-vasta’ avatars such as Rama, Narayana, Nrsinghadeva or Krsna, then Paramatma will personally help them progress towards their ultimate attainment. The Lord Himself will come, and through ‘rasa’, will fulfill and satisfy them, making them effulgent. He fully decorates the sadhaka, giving them all eligibility for His service.

BUMBLEBEES PARTICIPATE IN THE RASA DANCE

In Vrindavan the Lord Himself initiated the rasa dance. ‘Kamala’, lotus flowers, were decorating the hair and ears of the Gopis. Their braided hair was swinging back and forth and the faces of the Gopis were beautifully decorated with flowers. When Krsna was dancing in the rasa-mandala, the Gopis ankle bells were chiming, and as Krsna was beautifully dancing, so were the Gopis. Even the bumblebees were singing so sweetly, wanting to participate in the symphony of music of the rasa dance.

In Vrindavan the bumblebees drink nectar from the various flowers, and when they saw the wonderful dancing of Krsna and the Gopis, they also wanted to sing and dance. They think, “I will also participate in this wonderful symphony of music.” Even though the bumblebees seem to be without rational thought, still they became maddened by the nectar of the rasa dance and wanted to participate.

Sridhara Swami explains that the bumblebees made a very sweet sound like the drone of a tambura, in this way, they assisted in the rasa dance symphony. The residents of the heavenly realm also came to witness the rasa dance. Seeing the rasa dance, they became overwhelmed. Even though they could not understand anything externally, still their hearts became filled with love for Krsna.

During the Rasa-dance the singers were the Gandharvas and the Kinnaras. These heavenly performers became intoxicated and senseless by the attractive performance of Sri Krsna and the Gopis. Even without an invitation, they would instinctively come. When the Vraja-devis danced, their ankle bells, waste-belts and bracelets all resounded like musical instruments. The flowers that were decorating the Gopis hair-braids would shake and fall off, when their heads shook back and forth to the sound of the music and dance. The flowers in their hair were showering down like a shower of flowers that were dancing with Krsna.

The Gandharvas and Kinnaras, who were the heavenly performers and damsels, had appeared in their heavenly airplanes. They did not have a complete understanding of why the Gopis and Krsna were singing and dancing, they were still immersed in complete joy. Even the animals, birds, peacocks, bumblebees, cuckoos, and deer, all participated in the Rasa-dance and became completely intoxicated in divine love for Sri Krsna. The bumblebees were drinking the nectar from the lotus and other flowers that decorated the Gopis hair, and they also participated as singers.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains, a person while taking full shelter of the Lord’s transcendental names, forms, qualities and pastimes, chants Their glories by singing and dancing, that person will become decorated with all good qualities.

QUALITIES OF GOOD PLACES AND BAD PLACES

What is the nature of a place filled with good qualities, and the nature of a place filled with bad qualities? It is described here, that wherever good qualities are present, everyone’s heart will be attracted and simultaneously pleased and joyful without bad or dark moods. As long as these good qualities are being distributed, people will come participate and not be able to leave that place because there is no selfishness present there.

Even if you don’t know any melody, have a good tone, or know any words to a kirtan, just chant the holy names of the Lord with all sincerity and faith, and whatever you don’t know, will manifest in your heart, simultaneously. Even if you don’t know anything, just start chanting the Lord’s holy names and mantras with full faith.

THE MOODS OF THE GOPIS ARE ORNAMENTS AND INSTRUMENTS

All the various ornaments of the Gopis, the ankle bells, waist belts with small hanging bells, and their bracelets, all participated in and manifested an effulgent beauty in the musical performance of the Rasa-dance. These ornaments all manifested a different mood and they all had a personality.

Can you comprehend the qualities of a flute that is made of wood, or a mrdanga that is made of clay and leather? What love is present within them? In Krsna lila the mrdanga, flute, ankle bells, bracelets, and the waist belts, all become favorable to Krsna-rasa. They became instruments of His loving rasa, and became intoxicated in the ‘vilasa’ or loving affairs of Sri Krsna with his beloveds.

The Gopis had braids that were adorned and wound with flowers and flower garlands, and when they were dancing, these flowers would begin to fall from their hair and it would appear like a shower of flower petals covering the whole area. Everyone became bewildered by their dancing, and as previous mentioned, even the bumble bees became instruments and participated in the singing.

In Sri Krsna’s Rasa-lila in Vraja, there is no pollution or lust. It was like children playing together, there was no lust. Krsna was dancing and having loving affairs with his own associates who are all manifestations of His divine potency.

THE NATURE OF SRNGARA-BHAVA

When Krsna began His loving affairs with the Vraja-gopis, they could not control or bewilder Him. Krsna is not controlled by anything, and is completely transcendental. It is like a child playing with its shadow or reflection. Krsna was not bewildered or influenced by any trace of lust, even though He was dancing with millions and millions of Gopis, who were all more beautiful than millions of Goddesses of fortune. Krsna attracts everyone, but at the same time He is not influenced by, nor does He come under the control of anyone because of their beauty or attractive qualities.

What is ‘srngara-bhava’? What is the nature of the Gopis’ srngara? They are all gifts and ornaments for Sri Krsna. With so much love Krsna gave so many gifts to the Gopis. Some He gave more gifts to, others He gave different gifts to. What were these gifts? The skills to sing, play the vina, mrdanga drum, dancing, and all the qualities through which they could perform their loving affairs, were the gifts given by Sri Krsna.

Krsna was playing with them, just as a little child would play with his own reflection in the water. He was like a small boy playing with His own reflection, being attracted by His own beauty, and being satisfied within Himself by His own sweetness. The limit of Krsna’s sweetness came to its full extent amidst the Gopis, and even though His sweetness is boundless, it fully appeared amidst the Vraja-gopis.

THE GOPIS ARE MORE FORTUNATE THAN LAKSMI

The gifts that Krsna bestowed to the Gopis were the gifts of love. The Goddess of fortune, Laksmi, could never receive this. The Lord never danced and sang with her like He did with the Gopis. She is present with Him with all ‘maryada’, rules and regulations. The Vraja-devis therefore are more fortunate than even Laksmi-devi. Their beauty increased more and more because of Sri Krsna’s love for them, but at the same time, there was no lust. Krsna was dancing and playing with His own potencies, just as a small boy would play with His own reflection or shadow. In this way Krsna began His play.

Krsna is perfected in the 64 arts that manifest through His ‘kaya-vyuha’, personal expansions. All of Krsna’s pleasure potencies and His various expansions are the Vraja-devis. They are not separate from Krsna, and we should not think they are something different. These potencies are present in other forms to facilitate His loving exchanges, and to serve Him. Krsna is the original personality that is engaged in loving affairs and wonderful pastimes, that bestow ‘ananda-cinmaya-rasa’ upon all the Vraja-gopis. (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE)

Srila Gurudeva Speaks on Katyayani-vrata – 1993

Śrīla Gurudeva speaks on Kātyāyanī-vrata Vraja maṇḍala parikramā, Cīra ghāṭa, 9th November 1993   Śrīla Gurudeva, Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja, leading a group of faithful devotees and pilgrims throughout the land of Vraja maṇḍala arrives at the bank of the...

WHY IS ‘KRSNA KIRTAN’ THE BEST PROCESS TO FIND KRSNA?

Srila Jiva Goswami Prabhu describes in his commentary that when the sakhis met with Radharani, they had a mood of friendship between one another, they all had the exact same mood. Radharani then spoke with tears in Her eyes. She said; “I don’t know how I went so far away from all of you. I was with Krsna, but then suddenly I realized I was all alone in the forest. Oh sakhis, what can I tell you? Madhava, who is the master of Laksmi Devi is filled with all good qualities. He is the master of all divine wealth. I don’t even understand how he brought Me aside, and then took Me out of the rasa dance. I couldn’t see that I was not with all of you. I was so absorbed in meeting Krsna, and being with Him.”,

When Krsna was dancing and singing with all the Gopis each Gopi felt Krsna was with them alone. Krsna was fully exhibiting His prowess in prema. With each Gopi, He was present and everyone had the mood that, “I am just with Krsna and Krsna is just with Me”. They did not see any of the other Gopis there.

Radharani said; “When He went with Me I couldn’t understand what was happening. Then when Krsna left Me, I was completely alone in the forest. I was so fortunate to have received such an exalted chance to be with Madhava, but then He left Me aside”.

In a mood of humility Radharani’s said; “Now I am a ‘duratma’. Krsna is present everywhere but still He has gone very far away from Me. Now I am a ‘duratma’.” If Krsna has left and gone far away from someone that person is called ‘duratma’, which means a wicked person. ‘Dur’ means far away. When the Gopis heard Radharani speak like this, they had a natural mood of friendship and love towards Her. They had a natural respect awaken. This would not be possible for Krsna.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura states that the Sakhis were loudly weeping and began to fan Srimati Radhika. Radharani then returned to Her senses. After this the Sakhis asked Her, “Oh tell us what happened. Where is Krsna?” Radharani then told Her Sakhis; “I don’t understand how I went so far away from you. I do not know any of this. However later I saw that I was all alone and I began to lament, and fell senseless on the ground. I have slighted all of you when I went alone with Krsna, but now Krsna has also left Me. Before He left all of you, but now He has also rejected Me. I had the mood that, ‘Krsna is leaving everyone else and took Me with Him, and all of you were left lamenting in separation’. I told Him I cannot go forward, if You want You can carry Me. This was My ‘kutilita’ crookedness. By this Krsna was perhaps slighted and therefore He left Me. Now I am experiencing extreme lamentation because Krsna has forsaken Me and gone.

This mood of humility is described by Sukadeva Goswami. Seeing Radhika’s separation, the mood of ‘viraha-rasa’ from Srimati Radhika went into the hearts of all the Gopis, and they developed an intense desire to serve and take shelter of Krsna. Now they began to pray to ‘Dayanidhi Rasika-sekhara’ Sri Krsna. 

They began to think; “Meeting Krsna was His supreme mercy. We were not at all qualified, but by His great mercy He gave us His association and affection. Then we became proud and He left us again”.

FOREST JUNGLE BECOMES TOO DEEP, DARK, AND DENSE

Then Vraja-devis again started searching for Krsna. They saw the forest and jungle was now becoming very dark. They went into a dense area of the jungle and searched there. They thought Krsna must be hidden in the deep grove of the forest. “If we go further, He will go deeper and deeper into the dark forest, therefore we will not go any further to search for Him. They thought, “We will wait here. It is too deep and dark ahead”.

The Gopis had previously gone through all the different forests groves and caves, and they had searched everywhere for Krsna. They said; “Oh we have lamented so much in separation. We will now wait here”. Previously they had been ready to continue searching, and since they were now with Radharani, they went just a little ahead and decided to wait there. 

In the Visnu Purana it states that when Krsna entered the deep forest grove it was the full moon night and it was very bright everywhere. Krsna thought they would easily find Him so he decided He must hide somewhere. 

When the gopis went into the dark forest they saw there were no rays of the full moon there, so they returned to a brighter area of the forest, that was lit by the rays of the moon. They thought Krsna had hidden in the deep dark area of the jungle so they would not continue to search for Him, as it would not be proper. They thought; “We will arrange to somehow bring Krsna out. We will not run behind Him. Instead of going further into the dark forest, we will pray to Him and through that, He will come before us”.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura states that when they all again searched for Krsna, the rays of the moon were helping them as if they were saying, “Go and search. I am behind you like a searchlight. I am with you and helping you. Don’t worry.” Then they went further ahead and the forest became very deep and thick and the rays of the moon could not enter there. They thought, “Ok we will not proceed any further.” 

The commentator states that by the color of Syama-Krsna’s limbs, the whole area became filled with darkness, or the Syama color. The light of the moon was not working there, so the gopis did not enter the ‘Syama’, dark area of the forest.

Now their mood changed. Why?  They thought, “Krsna’s body is very beautiful and soft and Krsna will feel some suffering and disturbance. When they met with Radharani then after that they had this mood that, “Oh Krsna will have to wander here and there in the dark forest and He may hurt His limbs or feet.”

Sukadeva Goswami said, “Oh Pariksit Maharaja the Gopis mood up to this point had been different. Now after meeting with Srimati Radharani, their mood changed and their bodies were absorbed in searching for Krsna. Every pore of their body was absorbed in Krsna and they were singing about His lilas, pastimes and qualities. They had no awareness of their own bodies.

Sridhara Swami states that even after meeting Krsna and even after He left them, they never thought of their homes or anything else. They were one-pointedly absorbed in Krsna. They were moving here and there but they did not think of anyone else aside from Krsna. In ordinary separation one thinks of so many things naturally, but when one is fully ‘tadatmika’, one at heart, then other moods cannot possibly come into the heart.

GOPIS STOP SEARCHING AND RETURN TO THE YAMUNA

Srila Jiva Goswami Prabhu states that after the Vraja-devis searched from forest to forest, they thought of Krsna’s very soft feet and how He was wandering everywhere in the forest. And at the same time, we are trying to follow behind Him. He may step on sharp stones or thorns and there are many sharp stones and sharp blades of grass here that He could step on. Since He is barefoot, we should not search anymore. We will not make Him sad or suffer because of our own sadness. Instead we should begin kirtan of Krsna’s glories and meditate on Him. We can never find Him if we continue searching for Him like this, we do not have the strength. If we stay together and from deep within our souls, we meditate on Him, and pray to Him from the bottom of our hearts, then certainly Krsna will return to us, giving us His darsana. In this way the Gopis decided what to do.

They went back to the bank of the Yamuna where they were before. Previously, they had searched and gone very deep into the different areas of the forest, finally they came back to the bank of the Yamuna and in loud voices, began to sing Krsna’s glories. Every pore of the Gopis bodies was like prayer to Krsna, “When will He come? When will He come?” 

Before they were always thinking of how they could meet with Krsna. He called them with His flute, they came and met with Him, and then He left. Now in great separation, sitting on the bank of the Yamuna, they all began to sing His glories.

Srila Sridhara Swami states here that when the Gopis came to the bank of the Yamuna, they began singing kirtans of Krsna’s glories. The mood that, “Certainly Krsna will come and give us His darsana”, became fixed in their hearts. At the time of ‘Katayani-vrata’, Krsna came to the bank of the Yamuna and during ‘Saradiya-rasa Purnima’, He also gave His darsana there. The Gopis felt that through kirtan, the power and rasa through which to attract Krsna would manifest.

Srila Jiva Goswami states that the Gopis searched everywhere for Krsna but now their mood changed. They thought, “We should sit. His feet are very soft and the sharp stones, thorns and grasses of the forest could cut them. It is like we are chasing Him and He is fleeing from us. He will suffer because of his so we should sit down and do kirtan and Krsna will come to us.” After they met with Srimati Radharani this faith came. They thought that certainly Krsna will come back to us. In this way they went to the bank of the Yamuna and in loud voices began kirtan to glorify Krsna.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says the gopis were saying, “Alas, Alas. For how long will we run here and there in the jungle? Wherever we go we are finding only sadness and suffering and we are giving Him suffering too by making Him run everywhere to hide from us.”

Those who become completely surrendered, the Lord will not be far away. There will be no need to chase the Lord. Therefore, we only need to perform ‘nama-sankirtana’. Krsna and His names are non-different. If you sit in a pure place with others and then all together sing ‘Krsna-kirtan’, then through the power of this kirtan, Krsna will definitely come, because He is non-different from his names. 

In this way this chapter of Rasa-pancadhyayi is complete. This is the end of the third chapter of Rasa-pancadhyayi. Sukadeva Goswami described that the Gopis determined this best process to find Krsna which is Krsna-kirtan. (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE)

WHAT IS REAL ‘VIRAHA’ – SEPARATION?

What is our prayer, is it sadness or a request? In which way are we expressing the moods of our heart? Is it pure or mixed? Is it filled with poison or is it mixed with the Lord’s transcendental shakti? Someone cries and is sad when they are disrespected or offended. Someone cries because they don’t get the objects of their enjoyment, the objects that they desire. Some people cry because they don’t get respect in this world. Some people cry because they love someone but they don’t receive love in return from that person, even though they have offered everything to their beloved, they do not receive any love.

This is all included within one’s own selfishness. We must learn to tolerate everything for the satisfaction and pleasure of our Lord. We endeavor to please and satisfy ourselves, but when we cannot be successful in this and our desires are not fulfilled, what do we do? We begin to cry alone. When we can not tolerate any longer, we will cry very loudly even in front of others. The cry of a child or an adult to express one’s own sadness, is not real ‘viraha’ – separation. This is not based on a real relationship. If someone’s husband, father, or son dies, they cry for some time and then forget them. They eat and live life as normal.

Once the Queen in Jagannatha Puri Orissa, came to Srila Prabhupada after her had son died. He was called Nila-Bhavan. The Queen was crying so much, so one day the sevaka who was with Prabhupada said; “Oh Prabhupada she is not fit to receive your mercy or to accept the knowledge you are giving, your ‘tattva-jnana’. She is bound within her own material attachment and cannot be freed from this covering. If someone does not have ‘sevonmukha-vrtii’, then how will they have the ability to accept the mercy of the Guru-varga? They have not done any service. They are attached to family, son and so forth. If you like I will speak with the King”.

The sevaka spoke with the King and he advised him to bring a large amount of gold and put it in front of the Queen, hundreds of kilos of gold from your treasury. Then she will become absorbed in thinking about the gold and taking care of the gold and will forget her son.

The King thought, “Ok I have tried everything else and it has not worked, so I will try this now”. He brought so much gold, silver, diamonds, jewels and many baskets of gold ornaments, and threw it all around. He scattered it in the garden, in the kitchen and in the different areas of the palace. Wherever she walked she would see the jewels and ornaments and put it in her pockets, smile and laugh. The next day he did it again, for 3 or 4 days he did this. Gradually collecting and maintaining all these ornaments she forgot her son. Otherwise before she would take the dead body of her son, embrace it and cry and wail very loudly like a mad lady.

HAVING PROPER FAITH

When I was in Mathura, we had a brahmacari who was very thin and sickly. He could not be fixed by any medicine. One day there was the Acarya of the Catur-Vedi-Vidyali a University for Brahmans. We asked him what we should do for the brahmacari as no medicine was working. He said; “Let him count the money everyday. Just give him the job of counting all the notes and then he will become fat. He doesn’t need anything else. A sad person becomes thin because they are always thinking, “Oh I am so poor. I have no money”. Then we gave this brahmacari the work of counting all the notes. If any notes were broken, I would tell him to keep them with him. He collected all these old notes and he felt like, “Oh I have something with me. They have faith in me. Now they must consider me as their own”.

 
Once Gurudeva called me and said; “Do you have faith that if you ask me for 30,000 rupees I will give it to you?” I said; “If you want you can give it. If you don’t want you won’t give it”.
Gurudeva said; “If you don’t have faith that I will give you 30,000 rupees, then how will you have faith that I will give you pure love of God, Bhagavat-prema”? I thought, “Oh from where has he taken me”? He said: “If you don’t have faith that I will give you 30,000 rupees, then how will you have faith that I will give you the transcendental wealth of prema? It means you don’t have the faith that I have the ability to give this to you”. We can not mix everything into one. One person cries day and night like a mad person. Is that viraha? Is this vipralambha? Is this the same as Mahaprabhu’s weeping?

 
At the time of Ratha-yatra, Mahaprabhu was weeping so powerfully that the tears from His eyes would shoot forth like spray jets and shower onto all the devotees around Him. Bhaktivinoda Thakura prays ***sravanera dhara..??? (:7:57) from his eyes tears were flowing like a rain storm in the monsoon season. This separation and material people’s weeping and sadness is that the same? If we want to understand this properly then we should study ‘Rasa-pancadhyayi’.

GOPIS AMAZING MOODS

It is said that when all the Vraja-devis were dancing, playing and singing with Krsna for the entire night of Brahma. They had the chance to meet with Krsna and serve Him. He would always glorify and praise them. Through various verses He would glorify them and sing kirtans with their names. On the other side the Gopis were praising Krsna through kirtan and glorifying His beautiful form and qualities. In this way they were having a divine competition.

Krsna’s complexion and form would continue changing for each Gopi. The Gopis also manifested so many amazing moods. Radharani was given the name Gandharvika and Krsna received the name Giridhari. In this way they became Gandharvika-Giridhari and they also received the name Naval Kisora because they had such beautiful forms in their meeting.

 
WHY DID KRSNA DISAPPEAR?

After their meeting, when Krsna disappeared, in their sadness and separation from Krsna they said; “Krsna should not be so cruel”. He called them, so they left everything and came to Krsna. They gave up everything and surrendered to Him, so why did Krsna leave them? Was there any fault? They had some pride, in their good fortune.

Does that mean they should be forsaken? Then where is mercy? Where is magnanimity? Is there any shortness in God Himself? If Bhagavan becomes angry with His devotees then who will accept them? No one will accept them. Therefore you should not give any fault to God, there cannot be any fault in God’s activities. We may be at fault and therefore we look to the faults of everyone else, but Bhagavan has no faults.

 
Then why did Krsna leave them? Why did the Gopis have to roll about, weep, and lament so much? While searching through the forests in separation from Krsna. He gave them shelter and then after they surrendered everything, He rejected them! This is not the fault of Krsna.

How do you make a nice clay pot? First you take clay, then you soak it, then sift it, then cook it, then when it starts to dry a little you beat it, then you mix water again, then you dry it and then beat it again. Is it ready now? No, it’s not finished. Then you put it on ash in the fire and burn it. After that you put on another layer and again put it in the fire. In this way you make it black. Until the pot has become black, it is not ready. The clay pot will become black like coal. You put different layers on it then and after each layer you put it back in the fire. Now it becomes so strong it becomes like stone. All the power that is within stone, the clay pot will be even stronger. It becomes very shiny and you can cook anything in it now. Even if you try cooking with a raw pot then after two days it will disintegrate. When you cook it in the fire again and again and prepare even more layers again and again, then it will be completely strong and sand black. At that time, it will be even stronger than stone. A stone will break before the pot will break. Now you know it is ready.

In Vraja, Krsna witnessed this fire of the Vraja-devis separation. They had not seen ‘Krsna- viraha’, they had their own separation. Bhagavan can also have viraha. When Krsna left with Srimati Radharani, He was carrying Her. She said; “Look all the gopis are nearby. If they see Me with You, they will argue and fight with You, causing some problem. Let us go. I am very tired and cannot walk anymore, if you want you can carry Me but I cannot go further. Together we have come so far into the forest.” 

Radharani desired to give mercy and shelter to the Gopis. She thought about how Krsna had left them, and how they were wandering deep into the different forests, and felt they should be given mercy. She thought, “If we proceed even further into the forest and if Krsna is not pleased with Gopis and He does not accept the them again, then it will become very difficult for them.” (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE)

HOW DID KRSNA SERVE AND DECORATE RADHARANI?

Krsna who is param premi’, the topmost beloved, served His dear most Srimati Radhika. He picked flowers and decorated Her hair and braid. Before this some Gopis had enmity and jealousy toward Radharani, but seeing how the Lord had served Her, some good mood came within them and they had the realization of how dear she was to the Lord. The Gopis came to this place where the Lord Himself served His beloved with so much love and affection and this caused Krsna’s mood of love and respect for Radharani to enter their hearts. They began to think; “How did Krsna serve Her”? They began to directly experience these things as if it was happening before their eyes. You can go to places where you see people are always talking about material subjects and this will adversely affect your mind.

The Gopis were present there in such an exalted place where the Lord had served Srimati Radharani, and they began to think; “How did Krsna serve Her”? They began to directly experience these things as if it was happening before their eyes.

When Srila Gurudeva was in Mathura, he used to say; “Serve the devotees! By serving the sadhus, all their good qualities, and the love they have for God will naturally come within your heart. This is the method to gain love of God. Otherwise by your own practice it is not possible, but if you serve the devotees, it can easily be attained. If you become absorbed in serving maya, then so many more lifetimes will pass fruitlessly. If you want to achieve siddhi, perfection, then serve the sadhus and naturally good qualities will come within you.

First become established in your own bhajana, otherwise if you go here and there maya will influence you and materialistic people will colour you with their moods. On the other side, if you are always absorbed in hari bhakti in the association of devotees then you will be firmly situated and established in devotion. Sthane sthitah, become firmly situated and fixed in this devotion and with the help of good association you will become strong and able to help others.

The Gopis said; “Oh look, this beloved Gopi sat on Krsna`s shoulders”! They then began to think; “Oh, look how Krsna has served Her”. Were they imagining this? They had not directly seen it. Then the gopis said; “Look at these footprints, we can see where Krsna has picked Her up”!

IMPORTANCE OF FLOWERS

If you go to South India you will see that the ladies always wear flowers in their hair. Generally we do not see it so much here in North India. In South India it is very common to see ladies in the streets and markets, with their hair, and braids decorated with flowers. If you see them in their homes they are even more nicely decorated with flowers. This is the custom there. They sing and dance in the morning do Rangoli, a very beautiful decoration that is done outside their homes in the soil. How they do it? Amazingly it is even more perfect then if machine had done it.

The Lord Himself learned from the Gopis how to serve and decorate with flowers and He began to use these skills they had taught Him to serve Srimati Radhika. In this way Krsna, decorated Her hair, and gave Her flower bracelets, gold belts and so forth. If a person comes in contact with different kinds of flowers when he is weak or tired, then he will become full of energy. If you take a flower garland on your head or around your neck, so much transcendental energy will come within you. In Bengal you will see all the temples there have so many nice flower garlands. When the temples open up at four in the afternoon, you will see so many nice flowers like rajne gandha, and the Deities will have a garland around their neck, on their hands, their feet and on their crowns. They are always being served like this. Just as when Indian girls come to their new home after their wedding, they will be decorated very nicely with so many flowers.

If you want to purify your consciousness you should take sat sanga. And flowers are the most sat or pure and full of goodness, they have no hypocrisy, no deceitfulness, and they are so honest. By the association of flowers and by wearing these flowers, your consciousness can change. Flowers do not wish ill of anyone and they are always serving. If you take these prasad flower garlands (flower garlands that have been offered to Deities or sadhus), they can give you a kind of ‘darshana’ and help you progress in bhakti. Why are these flowers like campaka, so dear to the Lord? Because they are full of honesty and goodness, they have no deceitfulness, therefore the Lord decorates Srimati Radhika with them.

To decorate with flowers, first you put a flower garland around the head and then put small little garlands dangling around it. In the front you put flowers that hang down on either side of the head and go to the cheeks and by the ears. Usually there is more than one garland around the neck. In India, if you go to someone`s wedding you can see in some places how the whole body will be covered in flower garlands from head to toe, and you cannot even see the person anymore.

Western flowers have no good scent only some color which is like plastic. Only Indian flowers have so much fragrance, so much softness. But western flowers have some nice color, but no nice scent and they are not soft, they are very hard. Sometimes Gurudeva would say; “People in the western countries would offer me flower garlands, red, yellow, blue, etc. but they have no fragrance or softness, they are just like artificial flowers”.

The Gopis saw on the ground some broken flowers that had fallen off the garland that Krsna had used to decorate Radharani. Many times Krsna had tried to decorate Radharani with flowers in Vraja, but She wouldn’t let Him. Then Krsna performed the “Keshava Vrata” for a month in order to get a chance to decorate Radharani at Srngara Vata. For a whole month He was worshipping Radharani and learning from Visakha how to serve Her, and for the chance to decorate Her hair. He said to Radharani; “My name is Keshava and Kesh means hair and Keshava means, one who decorates the hair, so let me make the name Keshava successful by being able to serve and decorate Your hair”.

If Keshava Krsna, cannot learn how to serve, then how will He teach anyone else? Krsna took admission into the school of the Gopis at Seva Kunj and at Srngara Vata. Under the guidance of Visakha Devi, Krsna took a vow and leaned how to serve and do srngara. Krsna is always taking service, but if He is not serving Himself how will He learn how to do that? Krsna said; “Seva dharma, to serve is our religion! If you do seva then you can easily understand this”. Krsna felt fortunate at the time of ‘Rasa Lila’ because he had this chance to serve Radharani. Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura and the rasika acaryas have described how this ‘ramani’, beloved Radharani, had Her hair decorated by Krsna and sat on His shoulders. This was all arranged by the Vana Devata, the forest god, who is very tricky. (CLLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE)

KRSNA THE GREAT MASSEUSE

Krsna once said; “I am a great masseuse. I can relieve all kinds of distress and pain and anxiety through my massaging. When I massage the feet, then within the body all kinds of strength and youthfulness enter.“  Krsna had taken the form of a masseuse and became, “Syamasakhi”. He had ointments, nail decorations, nail polish, as well as lipstick and oil for massaging. The gopis said; “Oh, my Radharani, our sakhi is so sad, if you can please Her by your medicine and ointments, we will give you whatever you desire”.

They took Krsna in the form of Syama sakhi into the kunja. He saw Srimati Radhika laying down on a bed, taking deep rest and burning in the fire of separation. He massaged Her feet and gave some different ointments like alta, a red ointment, in this way He softly massaged Her feet. Radharani became very happy. The sakhis were so happy and began to dance and sing and said; “Oh, now Radharani has become well again”!

Then Radharani said; “This sakhi She has served so much, but look she has such old cloth, she is wearing broken old cloth, you should give her some new cloth. She has served so much. You should give her some gift”. Then they asked Her; “Do you want anything?“ “Oh, no. I only want to serve! I am happy, I am satisfied just by serving. My whole life is only meant for service. I am only serving everyone. I will not take anything or any remuneration”.

Then Radharani said; “No, dress her very nicely, then we can send her away! Don`t let her leave without dressing her very nicely! Take all these old clothes away”! Different sakhis came from all sides. Someone took her hand, someone took her lower cloth, someone took her upper cloth. They were all trying to pull off her clothes. Krsna was standing very strongly, not letting them take the clothes off. He was standing very firmly along the ground and Krsna`s footprints became an imprint in the stone.

Krsna said; “It`s not proper to rip off my clothes and then dress me. Let me bath first, and then you can dress me”. Krsna then jumped into the near by kunda (small lake) and very quickly swam away to the other side of the lake, jumped out and ran into the jungle and hid. Otherwise, He was afraid His disguise would be lost. The The Gopis said; “Oh, Where has she gone”? There is a tamala tree and the tamala creeper is climbing up the tree. The Gopis said; “Oh, where is the sakhi hiding”? They searched for her, but they could not find her. Where Krsna had been standing, His footprints are present in that confidential kunja on Giriraja, which is where Radharani was present in Her state of viraha.

KRSNA ASKS FOR PEARLS FOR HIS COWS

Once Krsna went to where the Gopis were and He said; “Can you give me some nice pearls? Dipavali is coming and on Dipavali you should give that person who you have affection for some nice things like pearls”. The Gopis said; “Oh, we are using our pearls to make some nice outfit”. In that way they wouldn`t give anything to Him. Krsna said; “You should give Me some pearls so I can decorate my cows and they will be so happy”. Then the gopis said; “Oh, living with animals your mind has become like an animal. You only know animals, cows and buffalos. You only see cows, calves, butter, ghee, yoghurt and milk”. Krsna asked repeatedly for pearls again and again and they would not even give one single small pearl. “Oh, you won`t give me any, then you will see the result of that. Later you will be begging, but you will not be able to find anything, and no one will give you anything. That person, who does not give Me, what I like, then they are always suffering, they will become street  beggars”. Then the gopis said; “Oh, you speak so many big words. We have seen so many people like you who speak such big words, but here we are not under your control”. Krsna said; “Give”! But they would not give. In this way, what was the result of that fighting?

Krsna decorated His beloved and used flowers to decorate Her hair. A priyasi means someone who you give so much love to or an over-abundance of love and affection. The Gopis said; “Look, Krsna is standing and one footprint is present and then the other footprint is only half. He was standing up on one foot and then with His hand reaching up and taking flowers from the tree branch”. In the Visnu Purana it is written that in this place Damodara decorated Radharani with flowers.

KRSNA’S FOOTPRINTS and ACCEPTING SERVICE

Half of Krsna`s foot is present on the ground in the footprint. When you go to Vraja there are so many places like Carana Pahadi and generally you will see where Krsna has one footprint fully and then a half footprint is there. You will not find generally find both footprints flat upon the earth. Why? Oh, Krsna is always absorbed in serving everyone and always ready to serve the Vrajavasis. He has no time to sit down, He is always standing and what to speak of only standing. He is standing and ready to move and ready to serve. Krsna is always running in Vraja. He is always prepared to serve and he is always ready to serve the gopis. If they do not accept His service then they will not be happy.

Krsna is thinking; “What is the seva or service of the devotee”? If the Lord is pleased, He accepts the devotee’s service. If the Lord does not accept the devotee`s service, then you may do it over and over and over again, but you will never feel any happiness. It is the Lord`s service to accept the devotee’s service. For example, if someone makes some nice butter with love and devotion, the Lord will have to accept it. Shabari in Rama lila, was serving for so long expecting Rama to come, so He had to go there. Day and night, with so much love, she was waiting and preparing everything for Rama’s arrival. So the Lord had to come. There are so many devotees are all over the various universes and they are always arranging different things to serve the Lord with. Therefore the Lord is always going to accept their service. Someone is feeding Him something, someone is dressing Him in something, not only in Vrndavana but in so many places.

You can’t imagine in Vrndavana how many temples there are, how many asramas, how many different small kutiras, and the many temples in houses of devotees. Everywhere the devotees are serving and feeding the Lord, and everywhere He is going to eat. They are saying; “Oh Krsna, oh bhaiya! Please take something”! Someone else may be saying; “Oh beta, oh son, please take something”! Someone is saying; “Oh my beloved, please, I do not have so much, I only have my love, please accept this”! How can you eat love? They said; “Oh, I have nothing to give you, but I have my love, will you take that? Will you eat that”? Krsna then may say; “How can I eat your love”? If you have just that word, prema, premi, these syllables themselves are so very sweet and Krsna takes them.

OFFER WITH LOVE

These sweet words are full of so much nectar that Krsna drinks them very happily. Krsna says; “My premi, my beloved has given Me this”! If someone says: “Radhe! Radhe!“ or “Krsna!“, then some people say; “What is in these words”? You say; “Rama! Rama!“ This is a way to feed or offer bhoga to the Lord. If you have love, like when a beloved speaks to the lover then the words are considered very sweet. The lover will feel happiness just from hearing the words of her beloved.

To offer these words with love to the Lord or to sing with love to the Lord, that is Krsna`s bhojana. Like when Mother Yasoda says; “Oh Lala, come here”! Then this is so sweet to Krsna. This is like His bhoga and He will run quickly to Mother Yasoda and jump in her lap and then begin to drink her breast milk. So Krsna is so busy serving all the devotees. (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE)

WHERE CAN YOU FIND BHAKTI?

If you touch the places where Radha and Krsna have performed their pastimes then your consciousness will naturally be transformed. Sukadeva Gosvami therefore said; “Oh king, sthane sthitah sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhir, be situated in those transcendental pastime places where bhavarti avartham the Lord`s discourses are being spoken and the glories of His pastimes are being sung and where the kirtana is always going on. Go to that place and be firmly situated there.

Jnane prayasam utapasya namanta eva, do not endeavor for knowledge, because pure knowledge will come automatically if you are in that pure place. Understand you cannot conquer the Lord through knowledge, you must go through love and devotion, bhakti. Otherwise jnana is only like dry straw and without any juice. Do not go towards jnana, impersonal knowledge or the cultivation of speculative knowledge. Instead go towards bhakti.

Where can you find that bhakti? Wherever the devotees of the Lord are always engaged in His kirtana and performing sravana and smarana, rememberance of the Lord continuously, then if you go there then you can develop. Otherwise if there is a little gap then that place would be for maya. Therefore wherever there is continous kirtana like an unbroken stream of honey or oil then wherever katha is going on like that you should be present there and fully absorbed in that place

Sukadeva Gosvami told Pariksit Maharaja; “Oh king, simply sitting on the bank of the Ganga is not enough. You should go to that place, sthane sthitah, and sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhir, engage your body, mind and words, hear with your ears. Bring it in your heart and then with your body, touch that place of the Lords transcendental pastimes and serve that place, and manobhih, engage your mind, and by drinking that rasa, naturally you will become absorbed.

If someone takes this Hari rasa, they will become intoxicated with that nectar, and they will have not have desires for anything else. If we don`t have time to physically go with your body to these auspicious places, then go with your mind or by soul. Engage your speech via your tongue in kirtana and do not to listen to anything else, or hear mundane talks. Do not hear of the other incarnations or the demigods. What should we do?

 Avatiya vartam, hear those talks which grant liberation and pure devotion. If you can be continuously absorbed twentyfour hours a day in kirtana, katha and devotional practices, by going to that transcendental place you will feel happiness. That happiness or satisfaction is such, that not only will it take away all our suffering, which is a small thing, but it has the power to give pure love, good qualities and all spiritual power. It will also give spiritual intelligence and then you will understand how to please the Lord, and you will be able understand who is the most dear to the Lord. Sanatana Gosvami explained in the Brhad Bhagavatamrta about the glories of all the different types of devotees in sequence, explaining who is dear to the Lord, who is in which rasa, who is the premi-bhakta, the suddha-bhakta, the prematura-bhakta, he explained the specialities of these different gradations of devotees.

GLORIES OF PASTIME PLACES, FLOWERS AND TULASI

As the Gopis saw the footprints of Krsna, mentally they began to think, “Oh, we never took shelter of these feet!“  They became fully absorbed when they saw the footprints of both Radha and Krsna together, and some Gopis felt mana, or jealousy. The vipaksa Gopis, who are antagonistic to Sri Radha, felt some jealousy or enmity, but then they understood and thought, “How glorious She must be! What worship has She performed by which the Lord himself has decorated Her, picked flowers, and carried Her. Oh, we do not even possess a fraction of Her glories! We have so much arrogance, what to speak of good qualities, we do not even have a fraction of Her power.“ As they touched that holy place in their minds, then a natural kind of stimulus appeared within their mind, a uddipana.

If you go to a place of ignorance or a place of passion, or a place in the mode of goodness, these places they will all influence you, you will become affected by the environment. We cannot get the spiritual, transcendental inspiration without a nirguna or transcendental place. “Oh sakhis! Look, Syamasundara He took His beloved and carried Her. That Sri Krsna, param premi, the greatest beloved, He became engaged in decorating His beloved with flowers. We can see Krsna’s footprints are deeply embedded in the earth in the places where He stood up, carried His beloved and where He picked flowers from the trees. In this way we see the amazing relationship between the lover and the beloved. The Lord stood up on His toes and picked flowers from the trees. With these flowers He decorated His beloved Radha, and sat Her on His shoulders.“

What is the pleasure or the happiness that comes from being decorated with flowers? These flowers beli, cameli, campaka, gandharaja, within these flowers there is so much potency, so much ability. It gives life energy, jivani sakti. It gives such a powerful energy that is not found in other substances. The pollen of flowers, like saffron and other pollens, and pure kumkum from certain flowers, when touched the body will become energetic and you will not feel any sense of exhaustion. It can also cure different kinds of sicknesses, and the good qualities of the flowers, like humility and the ability to attract good intelligence, will come within you. You cannot do worship with other things, you must use flowers. These are some of the glories of flowers and flower garlands.

Tulasi is the most dear to the Lord. She is so dear. Why is she so dear to the Lord? She is respecting the Lord and His devotees and they are respecting her. In Vrndavana so many hundreds and thousands of Tulasi’s have been offered to Thakuraji and when you stay there in the temple for some time, surrounded by a Tulasi garden then your life can be transformed.

Syamasundara took His beloved and He kept Her on His shoulders and later He decorated Her with flowers. He knew, “Oh these Gopis and Sri Radha they are decorating and making so many kunjas for Me!“ Wherever the Lord rests, they make a flower-bed out of flower petals. The Lord is not attracted to gold, jewels and ornaments or soft mattresses, but He likes these soft flower petals and flower decorations. If there are no flower decorations hanging around His bed and no flowers on His body then He is not pleased. Even the Lord`s dress can be made out of flowers. The Lord now felt, “Oh, they have done so much service for Me and made so many nice flower decorations, now I will decorate Sri Radha with flowers Myself.“

KRSNA’S HALF FOOTPRINTS

Sridhara Swami explains, the Gopis could see that Krsna had stood up on His toes, and there was not a full footprint. If you go to carana padi at some of the places you can see that during Krsna’s precence he was standing there and only one foot is half imbedded in the stone. Generally, Krsna would always have one foot down and the other foot crossed over and half up. In Govardhana we also find places where Krsna`s footprints are present, where Krsna had been standing on a stone and the stone melted in ecstasy and imprinted His footprints in the rock.

Where Madhavendra Puri had darshana of Gopal, Krsna`s footprints are also imprinted there. There is also bhajana sila where Krsna and the sakhas would play on a special rock that would make noises like a karatala, and mrdangam. They would play many different instruments on the stones and all the different tones and melodies can be played there. You can take one small stone and play on the big rock with it. The sakhas would go and sit there and make music, they would take different stones and say; This is my instrument!“ and another would say; “This is my instrument!“ In that way they would make a beautiful symphony there and it is like an ananda utsava festival of music. There the Lord`s footprints are present. One full footprint is there and half of another footprint. Also the Gopis sometimes go there. (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE)