How can living entities cross beyond mundane existence and enter the eternal world? For this purpose, the gosvāmīs in Mahāprabhu’s movement manifested strong connections to the spiritual world. Anyhow, from morning to evening, if one is absorbed in Kṛṣṇa’s name, the holy dhāma and Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes there, remembering this day and night, he will automatically achieve great benefit, becoming connected to spiritual power.
Mahāprabhu came to distribute vraja-prema, vraja-rasa, and vraja-bhakti. There is a barrier between Māyā and Yogāmāya, or the mundane world and Vraja-maṇḍala. It is as if there is a great dam separating the material and spiritual worlds. How can the flow of love from the spiritual world come into the mundane world?
Mahāprabhu requested Nityānanda Prabhu to break this dam and freely distribute pure love. Nityānanda Prabhu went everywhere and distributed this vraja-prema, rasa and bhakti.
All Mahaprabhu’s associates distributed this in their own unique way. Gadādhara Paṇḍita, Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita, Vakesvrara Paṇḍita, Haridāsa Ṭhākura—all had specialties. The line is not different, but the process of distribution is unique.
With the saṅkīrtana movement, Nityānanda Prabhu went to everyone and took all anarthas from them, and then gave this vraja-prema. Gadādhara Paṇḍita served Gopinātha and anyone who came to him, he gave entrance into the service of Gopinātha and vigraha-sevā. Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita distributed saṅkīrtana rasa. Adavita Ācārya Prabhu gave the conclusions of śāstra, and all spiritual knowledge. He collected the living entities and offered them to the lotus feet of Mahāprabhu. Making them related to Mahāprabhu and giving them respect for Him.
The Gosvāmīs, having understood fully the movement of Mahāprabhu, distributed pure love by describing the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. If there is no relation with Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, then attachment will remain for mundane pastimes and activities.
Hence, the Gosvāmīs began to distribute vraja-līlā, and vraja-bhakti. Do not think this is mundane or any worldly conception or speculation. If anyone passes along this way, their family members generally do not make their lives into a biography and save it. Kṛṣṇa-līlā, vraja-līlā, is not like this. The Gosvāmīs collected all of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in Vraja, from dawn to dawn, and distributed it in the form of literature. When one drinks a little bit of this nectar, he realizes how powerful it is and how much benefit comes.
Kavirāja Gosvāmī distributes the eternal pastimes of the spiritual world. If anyone wants to enter the holy dhāma and make relationship with the Vrajavāsīs, they must take shelter of līlā-śakti. Līlā-śakti doesn’t look at any qualification or disqualification. If a person has greed to enter the dhāma and the eternal pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa then She will give it without condition.
If you humbly offer yourself to līlā-śakti, she will not look to see if You have anarthas, or are a sanyasi, Bābājī, brahmacārī or gṛhastha. She does not think about any of this. Līlā-śakti looks only to see if you have some respect. If She sees your desire is pure then She will take you to that world. Therefore, the guru-varga did not give so much emphasis on a person being qualified or unqualified.
Once, when Śrīla Gurudeva was the west, some people asked him, “Why did you give dīkṣā to this new person? Why did you not wait for some time to see if he was qualified?”
Śrīla Gurudeva said, “The living entities have been moving in this world for millions of lifetimes. They are disconnected from the Lord and their eternal relationship with Him. If they are connected to svarūpa-śakti and līlā-śakti, then they will be pulled out of this endless sea of misery and brought to Kṛṣṇa.”
If someone bathes in the Gaṅgā or Yamunā, they will feel clean and well. Similarly, the guru-varga brings one to the lotus feet of līlā-śakti. Līlā-śakti comes directly from svarūpa–śakti and svarūpa-śakti has unlimited power, being the personal energy of the Unlimited Himself. By drinking and bathing in the holy waters of the Lords pastimes, automatically one changes. This is the power of līlā-śakti.
By one’s own sādhana he cannot cross māyā and come to God. The living entities have no strength. They may have good desire, but they have no strength. Mercy is required.
Once, a paṇḍita was speaking on the tenth canto of Śrīmad Bhagvatam before a faithful assembly. The paṇḍita spoke of Kṛṣṇa’s amazing power, His sweet pastimes and also his enchanting svarūpa, decorated by His mother with many ornaments and precious jewels such as the Kaustubha-maṇi.
In the large assembly there was a thief who was thinking to steal from anyone who fell asleep or lost themselves in the sweet hari-kathā.
“I will steal their necklaces, and their gold right from their pockets,” he thought. This was his nature.
However in the course of the thief plan, he heard so much description of Kṛṣṇa’s valuable ornaments that his greed became fixed on those riches alone. Now all he could think was, “How can I steal Kṛṣṇa’s wealth?”
His clever mind formulated a plan and he suddenly began to cry loudly in the middle of the assembled listeners.
The paṇḍita asked him, “Young man, why are you crying?”
“You have spoken so much about this small boy Kṛṣṇa, but you have not said where He stays and where I can find Him.”
“Why do you want to meet with Him?” asked the paṇḍita.
“My heart has been captivated by His sweetness. I must meet this boy.
“He is in Nandagrāma,” said the paṇḍita. “He comes out of the gate in the early morning. You can meet Him then.”
“What should I offer Him? What pleases most?”
“He likes soft and fresh butter.”
“What else does He like?”
“He also likes laḍḍu, sandeśa, and fresh fruits like bananas, pomegranates, and cherries.”
The thief left that place, filled with excitement. He arranged some offerings in accordance to what the paṇḍita had advised and went straight to Nandagrāma and stayed there through the night. He waited outside the gate all night without sleeping. All the while he was thinking “Gopāla, Gopāla, Gopāla. Will He come out or not?”
Then in the early morning the gates opened and he saw Gopāla coming out. The paṇḍita’s words were true. The small boy was covered in costly jewelry.
The thief was very happy to see Gopāla. He thought, “He must be hungry. I will take Him in my lap, give Him some butter and then take Him away from here to steal His jewels.
The thief’s heart had softened, “Such a sweet boy!” he thought. “I will not hurt him. I will simply take everything from Him, give Him some laḍḍus. He will be happy and I will go away wealthy.”
Unknowingly he had developed a respect and taste for kṛṣṇa-sevā as a result of hearing hari-kathā. He now showed the butter, sandeśa, laḍḍus and fruit that he had brought to the beautiful little boy. “Do you want some?” He asked.
Kṛṣṇa put out his hand to say, “Give me.”
The thief went forward. Kṛṣṇa went back. The thief went further, holding a ball of fresh butter in his outstretched hand, but however fast he ran, Gopāla was always ten steps back.
The thief saw that he was running out of time. Sunrise was coming. He ran to catch Gopāla, but could not.
The thief became overwhelmed and fell senseless. When he woke, his nature had changed completely. He no longer wanted to steal wealth. Now, he had no taste for anything but Kṛṣṇa.
This is līlā-śakti’s mercy. Līlā-śakti is the expansion of svarūpa-śakti. If the jīva comes in contact with Her, then immediately all his anarthas are dissipated.
The glories of hari-kathā is described by the vraja-gopīs—
tava kathāmṛtaṁ tapta-jīvanaṁ
kavibhir īḍitaṁ kalmaṣāpaham
bhuvi gṛṇanti ye bhūridā janāḥ
Srīmad Bhāgavatam 10.31.9
“The nectar of Your words and the descriptions of Your activities are like nectar for those who are parched in this dry material world. Transmitted by exalted personalities, these narrations eradicate all sinful reactions. Whoever hears them attains all good fortune. Those in this world who broadcast these delightful topics are certainly the most munificent altruists.”
This hari-kathā is not ordinary. Līlā-kathā or līlāmṛta—if anyone hears this, remembers it, or sometimes repeats it, then it is kalmaṣāpaham. The jīva has been collecting all kinds of anarthas for millions of lives. Because of this he is defeated by māyā and runs here and there after sense gratification in material existence. However, when this flow of līlāmṛta touches him, then all darkness of ignorance is dispelled. All is washed away. By hearing hari-kathā one receive supreme auspiciousness—śravaṇa-maṅgalam.
This līlā-kathā comes like a good friend into the heart and purifies it of all anarthas and desires for sensual pleasure. There will be no more attachment to body, wealth or health. Everything will be clean and the heart will be the playing place of God.
Therefore, this līlā-kathā is distributed by the guru-varga. If anyone drinks this nectar, then he is lucky and his life will be successful.
When Kṛṣṇa comes through Nanda-bhavana on the way to His room to bathe, holding Yaśodā Mātā’s hands, He sees many groups of sakhīs and mañjarīs.
Kṛṣṇa asks, “Is it my birthday today? Why are so many people here? O mother, they are also decorated nicely, have you given them all these things?”
Mātā Yaśodā says, “It’s not time to talk now, everyone is waiting for prasādam.”
“This is very nice prasādam,” Kṛṣṇa says, “I’ve never seen them like this. Many gopīs are here in My house. I’ve never seen such nicely dressed gopīs before. Where have they all come from? I’ve never seen them. Mother, you know that I go into the garden in the early morning, and return at night. I hardly ever get to meet or talk with anyone. Now, please introduce me to these different girls.”
“Alright,” Yaśodā Mātā says, “If You promise to wait a while and not go straight to the forest, I will speak with You and introduce You to everyone. You should stay here and meet and talk with everyone. I can send the servants to the forest with the cows and calves.”
“This is not possible,” Kṛṣṇa says, “Quickly tell Me who they all are.”
Yaśodā Mātā says, “This is the daughter of Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja, Rādhā. This is Viśākhā, and this is Lalitā.”
Yaśodā Mātā tells the different names of the gopīs while pointing to them.
Kṛṣṇa asks them, “Will you be My friends?” But they become very shy and run away.
Kṛṣṇa asks, “Why do go away? How old are they?”
“They are three or four years old,” Yaśodā Mātā replies.
Kṛṣṇa tries to speak with the gopīs, but they run away; very shy. From a distance, they watch Kṛṣṇa. Seeing His sweet face smile and how He speaks with His mother, their hearts become so attracted to Him.
Kṛṣṇa says, “I’ve never met or spoken with any of them.”
Yaśodā Mātā thinks, “Yes, my son goes every morning in to the forest and returns in the evening. He never has a chance to meet or talk with any of the gopīs. He is a very simple and honest boy.”
Kṛṣṇa proceeds to His room, and Yaśodā Mātā removes all His ornaments and gives Him a short waistcloth. She smears His body with a paste made of raw turmeric, neem leaves and mustard seeds. After this, she uses raw milk with turmeric powder and massages it on His body. Next she cleans His body with some warm water. She next arranges sesame seed paste and gorocanā and smears it on Kṛṣṇa’s body.
As Yaśodā Mātā prepares to bathe Kṛṣṇa with water, sometimes the sakhīs and mañjarīs come in the room and say to her, “O mother, we know you are very busy. Go ahead and check on the cooking and other services. We will bathe your son.”
When Yaśodā Mātā goes away for a moment, the gopīs take a certain grease mixed with ashes and smear it on Kṛṣṇa’s body. Otherwise He would quickly bathe and run off.
Yaśodā returned and the sakhīs said, “Look mother, just see how dirty your son is!”
They wiped a towel across Kṛṣṇa’s body and showed Yaśodā all the black soot that came off.
They said, “He goes to the forest and jumps around in the ponds and lakes and rolls in the mud! How dirty He has become!”
Then so much time will be needed to bathe and the sakhīs can touch Him, and Kṛṣṇa fells very well.
The sakhīs smear Kṛṣṇa’s body with yogurt mixed with chickpea flour. Then He becomes clean and shiny.
The sakhīs say, “Mother, now your He is bright and shiny.”
As they joke like this, Nanda Bābā, the priests and elders are waiting outside for breakfast. But the gopīs are not giving any time. They bathe Him with one pot of water after another.
Some mañjarīs come and say, “Nanda Bābā is coming.” Then Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs become restless. They quickly run hide here and there.
Nanda Bābā comes in and says to Yaśodā Mātā, “Kanhaiyā has not eaten this morning. He must be hungry and thirsty. How long will you bathe Him? This is not good. Hurry and dress Him, it is late.”
When Nanda Bābā departs, Rūpa Mañjarī, Rati Mañjarī and other mañjarīs come in singing, holding pouches of soft and delicate flower pollen.
After Kṛṣṇa’s bath is finished the gopīs dry Him with towels and smear His body with this flower pollen.
Yaśodā Mātā says, “What is this?”
“The Sun gave this gift to the flowers, the sakhīs say, “And the flowers gave this gift to us for Kṛṣṇa. We daily go and worship the Sun at Surya-kuṇḍa and the Sun gave this gift to Kṛṣṇa. If this is smeared on the body, then one will never get any allergy or reaction to heat from the Sun.”
The son of a barber, named Snigdha, came with his brother, named Kalyāṇa, and arranged Nārāyaṇa oil to massage Kṛṣṇa. This is made from many different medicinal herbs and oils. Some oils are used in Jagannātha Purī, and are put in the ground for a whole year and then taken out. And then, when Lord Jagannātha is sick for fifteen days, after Snāna Yātrā, they massage Him with this oil.
A servant named Patraka gives Kṛṣṇa a turban. Sugandha, the son of a barber, massages Kṛṣṇa’s body. One servant named Snigdha and another named Karpura brought amla oil and massaged it on Kṛṣṇa’s head. Other servants offered garlands and with these decorated Kṛṣṇa’s body, hands, neck and ankles. Other servants came with many ornaments, from gold and other precious metals and stones and gave these to Kṛṣṇa.
Don’t think Kṛṣṇa goes into the forest like an ordinary boy. Anywhere He goes, He is Natavara-nanda-kiśora Śyāmasundara.
One servant brushes Kṛṣṇa’s curly hair and puts flowers on it. One servant gives musk on Kṛṣṇa’s hair. This sweet fragrance cools Kṛṣṇa’s head, and when the air takes this fragrance into the breeze it distributed to all and makes Him feel very happy.
When Kṛṣṇa goes to the forest, He wears a little thick cloth and on His head He has a big cloth for the turban. Some cloth has gold in it and some silver. If Kṛṣṇa’s body touches gold, then He feels strong and good. Another sakhā’s name is Bakula. He is a servant as well as a sakhā. He makes Kṛṣṇa’s turban. Kṛṣṇa’s and Baladeva’s turbans are different. One is reddish, and one is golden. Their shirts are pinkish. Kṛṣṇa wears a brownish color cloth around His waist.
Every day, the tailor makes new outfits for Kṛṣṇa. He never gives an old outfit to Kṛṣṇa. He knows what will be tasteful and favorable for Kṛṣṇa. He changes Kṛṣṇa’s outfits according to the seasons, as well as the days of the week. The color changes, as well as style. The tailor uses astrology and sees what is best for Krsna to wear at different times of the year. He knows when it will rain and gives Kṛṣṇa appropriate cloth. All pieces of cloth have different qualities and power. The tailor knows what type of cloth to give Kṛṣṇa by what is helpful for him.
A sakhā named Sucitra knows how to make nice art. He makes intricately detailed designs and prints on Kṛṣṇa’s body, like spider-webs, sharks, crocodiles and turtles.
A long time before, one person gave a jewel to Śrīla Gurudeva and told, “If you keep this with you, and everyone will come to you, and become happy”
“You will also smile and be happy.” It was only like a stone piece. When it was nearby Śrīla Gurudeva, everyone would come, and even if they were sad or angry, they became happy. It was like magic.
Even today we can see the extraordinary power of the things some people think are only for decoration. The art and ornaments that that decorate the bodies of both Srimati Radharani and Sri Krsna all have special powers and functions apart from shining or beautifying.
As Krsna bathes and dresses, Nanda Bābā worships Śālagrāma in the temple of Nanda-bhavana with sages and priests such as Bhāgurī Ṛṣi, Śāṇḍilya Ṛṣi and many others.
Yaśodā Mātā arranges for the bhoga to be offered, and then she thinks to give the brahmaṇas praśādam first, but they will not eat before Kṛṣṇa. Without Kṛṣṇa’s darśana the Ṛṣis will not eat anything. This is called etiquette. Kṛṣṇa is very small and junior, but Nanda Bābā, his grandfather, grandmother, or others, would not eat before Kṛṣṇa. When Kṛṣṇa comes, they take prasādam.
Yaśodā Mātā washes Kṛṣṇa’s hands and dries them, and tells the sakhās, “Wash your hands and sit in line.”
There are millions of Kṛṣṇa’s friends, and they all wash their hands and sit. Seeing them all, Kṛṣṇa becomes very happy.
Yaśodā Mātā says, “O my dear sons, I know you want to meet and play with Kṛṣṇa, but first eat peacefully, and then when you are strong, you can play and talk with Kṛṣṇa. Take breakfast here with Kṛṣṇa and take what your mothers cooked for you for a lunch picnic in the forest.”
The sakhās say, “We are very hungry, we cannot tolerate any longer.” They don’t sit. They stand and move around, running very restlessly. Why? They know Kṛṣṇa will then talk to them, and say, “O sakhās, follow proper etiquette. First allow the brahmaṇas to be served.”
But the brahmaṇas say, “First give to Kṛṣṇa, then we will eat.”
Nanda Bābā thinks, “That is not good.”
He orders Yaśodā Mātā, “First give to the brahmaṇas, sages and gurus, then Kṛṣṇa and the sakhās.”
Yaśodā Mātā goes to feed them all, but they say, “First give Kṛṣṇa and Nanda Bābā. Nanda Bābā is our guardian, and Kṛṣṇa is our beloved. He must take first, then we will eat.”
Yaśodā Mātā is surprised and does not know what to do. Rohiṇī Mātā and Kundalatā come and Yaśodā Mātā says, “I will give Kṛṣṇa. Rohiṇī, you should give the sages; Kundalatā, you can give the sakhās.”
Then they start distribution.