The sweet and beautiful dark complexion of Kṛṣṇa is like an effulgent fresh raincloud. He is exquisitely dressed and expert in performing conjugal pastimes.He wears yellow garments, is adorned with jewelled ornaments, and decorates His curly hair with a peacock feather.
Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura describes Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beautiful form and encourages us to contemplate His charming all-attractive beauty.
Śrī Govinda dāsa writes:
Kṛṣṇa’s eyes have blackish añjana on them, His śyāma complexion resembles a raincloud, His hair has decorations of mallī flowers, His sweetness is sweeter than honey and His flower garland is made from mālati flowers. Kṛṣṇa’s body is as cool as the moon and He is as fragrant as a flower.
By praying to the Vraja-devīs, they will reveal Kṛṣṇa’s form as a dhīra-lalita nāyaka to you.
Our ācāryas have written a description of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beautiful form.
Aho! His birth is successful who has had the good fortune to take darśana of Kṛṣṇa just once, because by looking at Him with the eyes of devotion, all the transformations (anarthas) in the heart of the jīva go far away.
Wearing garlands of forest flowers, He expertly performs amorous pastimes in Vṛndāvana. Standing in His three-fold bending form and holding His flute, He displays unprecedented beauty. He is a storehouse of rasa and an abode of all good qualities.
His hue is like a fresh rain cloud, He has a peacock feather on His head, and candana tilaka splendidly adorns His forehead. Wearing a yellow cloth on His shoulders and smiling sweetly, He maddens the whole universe with His beauty.
Oh! Now that I have seen Kṛṣṇa’s form, which is more beautiful than the dark indranīla jewel, standing beneath a kadamba tree, my mind has become restless. My feet cannot move and I have forgotten the material world.
Hey sakhī! His sweet form is comprised of nectar. Whoever sees Him with their eyes falls unconscious, and tears of love flow from their eyes. Oh, how wonderful is His peacock feather on His head, the vaṁsi in His hands, His three-fold bending form, and His feet with anklebells which shower nectar.
I always desire to take the form of a bee so that I can eternally stay at His lotus feet. Thus I will easily sing about Kṛṣṇa’s qualities and glories and will never worship anyone else again.
Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya in his Śrī Jagannātha Vallabha Nāṭaka (1.27) has described Kṛṣṇa’s form.
His peacock feather and flowers shake in the mild breeze. His tilaka mocks the beauty of the crescent moon reflected in a sapphire. Just see! He is like the moon that has descended on earth in another form. He enchants the hearts of the young Vraja-devīs by His exquisite dress. His beautiful face is attractive with playfully swinging jewelled-earrings. His restless amorous glances arouse greed in the gopīs’ hearts. Composed by the poet Rāmānanda Rāya, may Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental form always bring happiness to Gajapati Mahārāja Pratāparudra’s heart.
Śrīla Jayadeva Gosvāmī has also sung about Kṛṣṇa’s form in his Gīta-Govinda (2.2):
Holding the vaṁsi He infuses it with the nectar of His lips, producing an enchanting melody. Glancing from the corners of His eyes filled with amorous desire, the jewelled decorations on His head shake and His hanging earrings kiss His cheeks. He wears a charming peacock feather in His hair, which is enhanced by its natural half-moon-shape. His hue resembles fresh rainclouds. He hangs His head with greed to kiss the faces of the Vraja-devīs in a festival of love. His soft lips are captivating and tender like the reddish bud of a mallow flower. The beauty of His gentle smile has no comparison and spreads across His charming face. Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s whole body shivers with horripilation when He embraces thousands of young gopīs with His arms as soft as flower petals. He spreads light in all directions with the twinkling rays radiating from the jewelled decorations on His hands, feet, and chest.”
Rasika-śiromaṇi Prabodhānanda Sarasvatīpāda has written:
May my mind always dwell on Madana Gopāla Whose ever-new pastimes of romantic play are the highest limit of the ocean of nectarean mellows, especially when He unites with Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. When He plays His flute, the peacock feather on His curly hair moves, looking beautiful like the feathers of a dancing, maddened peacock. When He plays on His flute, all the beautiful young gopīs leave everything—their shyness, chastity, religious principles, and patience, and come running to meet Him.
He is standing under a kadamba tree by the effulgent banks of the Yamunā, playing on His flute and dancing. He wears a fine yellow cloth and when He dances, the bells around His waist jingle making a sweet sound, stealing the minds of all the Vraja-devīs. May my mind rest upon that budding youth whose complexion defeats the fame of dark rainclouds, and whose lips are full of sweetness and enchanting as they kiss the flute. Oh! May I meditate on He, who like a cakora bird, is eager to drink the beams of the bright moonlike face of the young daughter of King Vṛṣabhānu, seeing which He becomes mesmerized.
May my mind remember the beauty of His ankle bells, bangles and jewelled fish-shaped earrings as well as His garland of guñjā berries. O my mind, rest upon He who incites greed within the hearts of the romantic Vraja-vadhū’s with His amorous glances and mild sweet smiles. O my mind, remember He who wears on his neck a garland of forest flowers which attracts intoxicated humming bees and sways to and fro. O mind, meditate on His strong arms which are smeared with fragrant ointments and which look beautiful when they horripilate with bliss.
O mind! Contemplate His nose which is adorned with a pearl set in gold, His lovely curling locks and His brilliant bejewelled tilaka. Contemplate His face which blooms like a lotus and which is radiant like millions of autumn moons. Contemplate His enchanting, ever-fresh, adolescent youthful form bent in three places. Contemplate He, who although very grave, enjoys battles of love in the eternally fresh kuñjas of Vṛndāvana.
O my mind! Contemplate His effulgent body which is richly anointed with sandalwood paste mixed with saffron and which is the very essence of fragrance. Meditate upon that form which emanates waves of Cupid that flood forth and which is entirely made of the condensed mellows of supreme bliss. O mind, remember the radiance emanating from His jewel-like toenails which are like moons, seeing which millions of Kāmadevas become embarrassed. Meditate on this ever-fresh prince of Vraja who is most expert in enacting astonishing amorous pastimes.
May my mind reflect upon this form of ambrosia, Mādhava, who is the essence of all mellows, as described by the rasika-vaiṣṇava Prabodhānanda Sarasvatīpāda. Intelligent men will experience bliss from within their hearts for it is very lofty, whereas fools wander in the cycle of birth and death. For them what else is there except illusion?
mṛgamada candana kūṅkūma vilepana
māna mūrati tri-bhaṅga
navīna-kūsūmāvalī śrī-aṅge śobhaye bhāli
madhū-lābhe phire matta bhṛṅga
He has sandalwood paste mixed with saffron and musk on His forehead and His threefold bending form is most enchanting. He ornaments his beautiful limbs with fresh blooming flowers which attract maddened bees searching for honey.
Our ācāryas have glorified Kṛṣṇa’s form in choice words such as mṛga-mada and tri-bhaṅgam:
I worship Parabrahma, whose crown has a peacock feather, whose broad forehead is anointed with tilaka of musk and saffron mixed sandalwood, whose makara-shaped earrings reflect upon His lovely cheeks which themselves defeat the pride of sapphires, whose eyes are like fully-blossomed lotus flowers, whose neck is shaped like a conch, whose lotus face possesses a gentle smile, who holds a flute to His reddish lips, whose bodily luster is like that of a fresh raincloud, who is supremely peaceful, who stands in an attractive three-fold bending pose, whose yellow cloth is brilliant like the rays of the sun, who wears a garland of forest flowers down to His knees, who is surrounded on all sides by thousands of young gopīs, and who resides in Śrī Vṛndāvana dressed as a cowherd boy.
In Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī describes how Mahāprabhu would remember and speak about the beauty of Kṛṣṇa.
O restless Rādhā, just see! Dressed in yellow garments and a vanamālā garland, with sandalwood pulp smeared upon His bluish limbs, Kṛṣṇa feels the utmost joy as He relishes pastimes with captivated young women in this forest of Vṛndāvana. His earrings swing back and forth, His cheeks are astonishingly beautiful and His face emanates an astonishing sweetness with the nectar of His playful laughter.
Śrīmatī Rādhikā speaks to Her sakhī, “What have I witnessed today under the kadamba tree? I cannot forget this vision. O sakhī, I am surprised. I have seen a full moon rising in the night sky.”
Kṛṣṇa is present everywhere, but with the gopīs, He is Madana-mohana; He attracts the whole world at that time.
bhaja kṛṣṇa-nidhiṁ vraja-rāja-sutam
Śrī Vraja-rāja-sutāṣṭakam 6
Just worship the son of the king of Vraja, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is a store-house of priceless jewels. His graceful body is lavishly smeared with sandalwood pulp and His effulgent Kaustubha-maṇi eclipses the sun. He has appeared as the crest jewel among the young cowherd boys of Vraja.
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī glorifies the son of Nanda Mahārāja:
jaya jaya sundara nanda-kumāra
praṇayi janerita, candana-sahakṛta, cūrṇita-vara-ghana-sāra
All glories to You Nanda-kumāra! Your body anointed with sandalwood paste and made red with dyed powder thrown by Your beloveds, defeats the beauty of a fresh monsoon cloud.
Kṛṣṇa likes to be covered in candana from head to toe. During Candana-yātrā this takes place for forty-two days every summer. The following verse describes this form of Kṛṣṇa covered in candana:
kasturī-tilakaṁ lalāṭa-paṭale vakṣaḥ-sthale kaustubhaṁ
nāsāgre vara-mauktikaṁ kara-tale veṇuḥ kare kaṅkaṇam
sarvāṅge hari-candanaṁ sulalitaṁ kaṇṭhe ca muktāvalī
gopa-strī-pariveṣṭito vijayate gopāla-cūḍāmaṇiḥ
His forehead is anointed with tilaka made from musk, upon His chest hangs the Kaustubha jewel, and an exquisite pearl decorates the end of His nose. He has a flute in His lotus hands, bracelets adorning His wrists, and His entire form is smeared with candana. A necklace of pearls adorns His lovely neck, and He is surrounded by cowherd girlfriends. All glories to Him who is the crown-jewel of cowherd boys!
Thus meditate on Kṛṣṇa in this way:
O My mind, remember His effulgent body which is smeared with saffron sandalwood paste and which is itself the very essence of all fragrance.
īṣata madhūra-smita vaidagadhi-līlāmṛta
caraṇa-kamala-para maṇimaya nūpūra
His gentle sweet smile and the nectar of his clever conjugal pastimes capture the hearts of all the Vraja-vadhūs. Ankle bells studded with gems decorate His lotus feet, and His jewel-like toe-nails glow brightly like the moon.
The vraja-gopīs are the āśrayālambana (the receptacle of rati) and Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the viṣayālambana (the object of rati) of this mādhurya-rasa. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmīpāda sings about the attractiveness of Kṛṣṇa’s smile: adhara-virājita, mandatara-smita, locita-nija-parivāra (Śrī Stava-mālā), “The sweet gentle smile on Your lips incites greed in the gopīs’ hearts.”
A description of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s smile is given in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.32.2).
tāsām āvirabhūc chauriḥ smayamāna-mukhāmbujaḥ
pītāmbara-dharaḥ sragvī sākṣān manmatha-manmathaḥ
Just then, Śrī Kṛṣṇa appeared before the gopīs. His lotus face bloomed with a gentle smile and around His neck was a flower garland. He wore a golden garment and His beauty bewildered the mind of Kāmadeva, who stirs the minds of everyone.
Our ācārya-varya explains that although there was a smile on Kṛṣṇa’s beaming face His heart was remorseful. When Kṛṣṇa came before the gopīs and began smiling it was because of the many moods He experienced in His heart upon seeing them. Also, because He wanted to remove their sorrow and console them He began smiling; not only because of his quality of being Bhagavān, which is to smile.
Śrī Gaurasundara, who is Kṛṣṇa resplendent with the luster and intrinsic mood of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, attracts the heart of all jīvas by His loving smile.375
sakhe, kalaya gauram udāram
nidhuvana nāgarī mohita-mānasa-vikathita-gadgada-bhāṣam
Śrī Gaura-Gīti, Śrī Rādhā-Mohana dāsa
O Sakhī! Sing about the sweet name, form, qualities, and pastimes of Śrī Gaura, whose sweet, mild smile, and unparalleled sentiments of love attract all embodied souls, whose heart is thoroughly drowning in Nidhuvana-nāgarī Śrī Rādhā’s love, and who lovingly calls out to Kṛṣṇa in a choked voice.
Śrīmad Vallabhācārya has sung:
adharaṁ madhuraṁ vadanaṁ madhuraṁ
nayanaṁ madhuraṁ hasitaṁ madhuram
hṛdayaṁ madhuraṁ gamanaṁ madhuraṁ
madhurādhi-pater akhilaṁ madhuram
Everything is completely sweet about the original Lord of Sweetness. His lips are sweet, His face is sweet, His eyes are sweet, His smiling is sweet, His heart is sweet, and His movement is sweet.
Kṛṣṇa’s sweet attractive smile captures the minds of the Vraja-devīs. The composer of Śrī Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta, Śrī Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura, sang:
madhuraṁ madhuraṁ vapur asya vibhor
madhuraṁ madhuraṁ vadanaṁ madhuram
madhu-gandhi mṛdu-smitam etad aho
madhuraṁ madhuraṁ madhuraṁ madhuram
Ah! The sweet body of Lord Kṛṣṇa is so sweet. His beautiful face is even sweeter still. His sweet mild smile and sweet breath are even sweeter. Everything about Śrī Kṛṣṇa is sweet, sweet, sweet, especially when He is in the company of Śrī Rādhā.
kim iha kṛṇumaḥ kasya brūmaḥ kṛtaṁ kṛtam āśayā
kathayata kathām anyāṁ dhanyām aho hṛdayeśayaḥ376
kṛpaṇa kṛpaṇā kṛṣṇe tṛṣṇā ciraṁ bata lambate
What should I do now and to whom shall I speak? What is the point of maintaining the useless hope of seeing Him again? Please talk about something else that is better. Oh! But how can I possibly not talk about He, who is trapped within My heart? His mild, sweet smile is a festival for the eyes and mind. My eagerness to see this form of Kṛṣṇa is increasing at every moment.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī has described how the vraja-gopīs go to the rāsa-sthalī and meet with Kṛṣṇa, who then begins to joke with them. They respond to Him with words full of sarcastic humor. They pray to Him, “O Kṛṣṇa, Your darśana destroys all suffering. We have left everything and come to You. Please do not hide from us. Please accept us.” The meaning of these words of the gopīs is hidden in the commentaries of our ācāryas.
tan naḥ prasīda vṛjinārdana te ’ṅghri-mūlaṁ
prāptā visṛjya vasatīs tvad-upāsanāśāḥ
taptātmanāṁ puruṣa-bhūṣaṇa dehi dāsyam
O You who destroy suffering! We have abandoned our homes, family, and relatives, and we have come to Your lotus feet only because we want to serve You. O ornament among men! Be pleased with us. Your sweet smile and captivating glances have lit our hearts up with a burning desire to privately meet You. Every pore in our bodies burns with this amorous desire. Please take us as Your maidservants.
The gopīs cannot tolerate to even think of being separated from Kṛṣṇa. Love in separation from Kṛṣṇa manifests in these words of the gopīs. This is the nature of viraha. A moment’s separation seems like ages (yugas) and a night of Brahmā of sporting with Kṛṣṇa passes in a moment.
nītāḥ sma naḥ kṣaṇam iva kṣaṇadā vinā taṁ
gopyaḥ kathaṁ nv atitarema tamo durantam
Sakhīs, by His enchanting loving smile, sweet loving conversations, restless glances and affectionate embraces, the everlasting night of the rāsa-līlā passed in a single moment. Indeed, how can we now tolerate the limitless anguish of being separate from Him?
Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura is describing Kṛṣṇa’s rasamāya beauty. Any darkness in the heart will disappear for one who takes shelter of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. How will this be possible? Even Brahmā and other great souls cannot receive darśana of Kṛṣṇa’s feet. What to speak of others. We can see how glorious even Kṛṣṇa’s toenails are. But if one takes shelter of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī then one can easily attain Kṛṣṇa’s shelter. Therefore we meditate upon Śrīmatī’s footdust.
ālakṣito na sahasā puruṣasya tasya
sadyo vaśī-karaṇa-cūrṇam ananta-śaktiṁ
taṁ rādhikā-caraṇa-reṇum anusmarāmi
Śrī Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi 4
I contemplate the dust of Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s lotus feet, whose unlimited power instantly controls the Supreme Personality Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is not easily achievable even by great persons like Brahmā, Śiva, Śukadeva, Nārada Muni, and Bhīṣma.
yadyapi samādhiṣu vidhir api paśyati, na tava nakhāgra-marīcim
idam icchāmi niśamya tavācyuta! tad api kṛpādbhuta-vīcim (1)
Kṛṣṇa deva bhavantam vande
Although Lord Brahmā in deep samādhi cannot attain a glimpse of even a sparkle of light from the tips of Your toe-nails, still Oh Acyuta! Having heard Your wonderful qualities, I hope to receive Your mercy.
One Vaiṣṇava Poet sings:
amūlya-ratna-bhūṣaṇaṁ namāmi nanda-nandanam (5)
I offer obeisances to Nanda-nandana, whose three-fold-bending pose is extremely beautiful, the glow of whose toe-nails defeats the moon, and who wears priceless jewels and ornaments.
Ādi-guru Brahmā prays for premāñjana to receive līlā–darśana.
santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti
yaṁ śyāmasundaram acintya-guṇa-svarūpaṁ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
With the eyes of devotion which are anointed with the ointment of love, devotees always see the inconceivable form and qualities of Śrī Śyāmasundara within their hearts.
śuniyā rahite nāre ghare
hṛdaye bāḍaye rati jena mile pati satī
kūlera dharama jara dūre
Hearing the captivating sounds of His ankle bells, and flute playing, which are like the call of a male swan, the female swan-like Vraja-devīs cannot stay anymore in their houses. Their religious principles get left far behind when their attraction for Śrī Kṛṣṇa in their hearts swells uncontrollably, and they run to meet Him like a chaste wife runs to meet her husband.
The anklebells on Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet are singing. Whoever hears or remembers this beautiful sound is attracted by Kṛṣṇa’s sweetness and can never forget Him. Kṛṣṇa’s beauty, glories, pastimes, and sweetness are the wealth of the sādhaka. This pastime has been described in Śrī Rāsa Pañcādhayī:
niśamya gītāṁ tad anaṅga-vardhanaṁ
ājagmur anyonyam alakṣitodyamāḥ
sa yatra kānto java-lola-kuṇḍalāḥ
When the Vraja-devīs heard the song of Kṛṣṇa’s flute, which increases amorous feelings, their minds were stolen by the Lord. They went to that place where their lover waited, each not knowing about the other, moving in such haste that their earrings swung to and fro.
Reside in Vraja-bhūmi and never leave. Keep your heart always at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa and the Vraja-devīs. Be one-pointed in this way. Externally, you may do various activities to maintain yourself. But internally, be one-pointed. Stay in Vṛndāvana and pray for the mercy of the Vraja-devīs.
Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura explains and distributes unatta-ujjavala-bhakti-rasa. This rasa makes the heart light and bright and cools everything. How will this be everlasting? Sometimes, in one season trees have nice fruits and flowers, and green leaves. When this season of produce is finished, the trees have no leaves, flowers, or fruits for the rest of the year. Sometimes people follow bhakti with great enthusiasm, dancing, singing nāma-saṅkīrtana. And everyone respects and gives affection to them. But other times they become hopeless. People have misconceptions. Sometimes they follow what is sweet for them, and sometimes they lose their enthusiasm. In family relationship, love goes up and down. In the time of ratha–yatra, Mahāprabhu sung a verse from Sahitya-darpana:
yaḥ kaumāra-haraḥ sa eva hi varas tā eva caitra-kṣapās
te conmīlita-mālatī-surabhayaḥ prauḍhāḥ kadambānilāḥ
sā caivāsmi tathāpi tatra surata-vyāpāra-līlā-vidhau
revā-rodhasi vetasī-taru-tale cetaḥ samutkaṇṭhate
O friend, that beautiful man who stole my heart in my youth has now come. These are also the same lovely nights of the month of Caitra, with the same fragrance of blooming mālatī flowers and the same cool, mild, fragrant breeze from the kadamba trees. I have not changed nor has my beloved. Nonetheless, my heart is eager for love play beneath the vetasī tree on the bank of the river Revā.
“I was in my fresh youth, and you were also a fresh youth. I was waiting for you by a river in a grove in the forest. You were coming on a hidden pathway and spoke with me. But now you have gone one way and I am another way. I cannot forget that time. Now we are meeting in family life, but that sweetness which was present before is not here now. We are both here, but there is no sweetness.” Mahāprabhu sang this verse over and over again. People could not understand why. He was a grave sannyāsī who would never think about ladies. People thought, “Why is He singing this?”
People thought, “Is He remembering His past? This is not good for Him.”
Rūpa Gosvāmī was present there, and Svarūpa Dāmodara was also present. Not all could understand Mahāprabhu’s moods. What did He want to say?
“That day was a very sweet day, when I was waiting and You were coming, or You were waiting, and I was coming. At that time our meeting was so sweet. Now we are together, but there is no sweetness.” Can such sweetness be tasted in the svakīya–līlā of Dvārakā or Mathurā?
parakīya-bhāve ati rasera ullāsa
vraja vinā ihāra anyatra nāhi vasa
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 4.47
Rasa greatly increases in the unwedded paramour mood (parakīya-bhāva). Outside of Vraja such love cannot be found.
There are many nayikas but it is not easy to meet with Kṛṣṇa, the supreme nayaka. Sometimes Kṛṣṇa comes but gopīs don’t look at Him or talk with Him and He becomes distressed. When He leaves, the gopīs see that Rādhārānī is very disturbed and thinking, “Why did I neglect Him?”
Sometimes Kṛṣṇa comes, but for a little mistake, the gopīs will not talk or meet with Him. Then, after a few minutes they feel such great separation and are burning at heart. Both sides continuously think about each other. Sometimes when people are very near to each other they did not think of each other so much. At distance, they continuously remember each other. How sweet is that? They cannot tolerate the pain of separation. They are greatly pained when distanced from each other, but they did not speak to each other when they weren’t far apart. When apart, their hearts burn, and when near, their hearts burn even more. But this is very sweet.
The Vraja-devīs are in family life and have intense love for Kṛṣṇa. They sometimes escape from their houses and meet with Kṛṣṇa. When Kṛṣṇa is coming back to Nanda-bhavana from the forest in Vraja, the gopīs wait all along the pathways to see Him. They don’t know when Kṛṣṇa passes by them. They know that Kṛṣṇa is coming, and the cows are following Him. Kṛṣṇa goes by, Baldeva Prabhu goes by, and the gopīs are still standing there motionless. Why? Kṛṣṇa went in front of them, took some drink from one, a sweet from another, some flowers, and He also gave something to them and they become motionless.
Kṛṣṇa was surprised, “Is she a deity? Is she alive or simply a statue?”
The gopīs were internally thinking of Kṛṣṇa so much that when He came by them, they were inwardly absorbed in Him and had no external consciousness. Kṛṣṇa tried to bring back her senses but they did not return. She was in the eternal world with Him. Kṛṣṇa became surprised, “They have been waiting for Me since so long, and now I’m here; yet, they are not with Me. Where have they gone?”
Kṛṣṇa has no practice or process to retrieve the gopīs’ external consciousness. One gopī’s mother-in-law and sister-in-law came and told her, “Come home.” The gopī shook, and then said, “Where am I? It is dark now. Has everyone gone?” She didn’t say that Kṛṣṇa had passed by her. Her relatives asked, “Why are you alone here?”
She thought, “Why have I lost so much time?” She quickly went home and began to cook something. But suddenly she heard the flute when she was dressing herself. This message came and then she left everything and ran away. People say, “Where are you going? What is the problem?”
“Why are you disturbed?”
The gopīs could not understand why they were like this. People try to catch them; is this craziness? No. They have eternal relation and this affection makes them unaware of their surroundings. The gopīs who were connected could hear the sound of Kṛṣṇa’s flute.
This parakīya–rasa is very powerful. Those in parakīya-rasa are most able for eternal service. They can hear Kṛṣṇa’s special flute-call, others cannot. The gopīs ran, and those who tried to stop them could not. Some gopīs were caught, but their condition was like leaves falling from a tree. Although the gopīs’ physical bodies were confined, they immediately left them and went to Kṛṣṇa in their soul bodies.
The nature of the purest eternal love of the Vraja-devī’s is that it may manifest at times uncontrollably. When one gopī sees the love for Kṛṣṇa being expressed by another gopī then her own love increases even more. In this state her love is uncontrolled, like an overflowing river. The gopī’s love is like a flood. They keep their love in their heart. But how long can the dam of their self-control contain their ever increasing current of love? The more they attempt to conceal it the more its force builds, until finally the dam is broken and their love flows out from their hearts. At this time their love can be seen externally.
When love has been collected and concealed for a long time, it will be accepted by Kṛṣṇa. This love between Kṛṣṇa and His paramour beloveds is called parakīya-rasa. Kṛṣṇa tastes this rasa and is so pleased by its sweetness that He becomes controlled by that love. When the gopīs see Kṛṣṇa accepting their love, they experience great bliss, and their love grows to an even higher state. The Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya-līlā 19.23) states:
ākāśādi guṇa yena para para bhūte
eka-dui-tina-cāri krame pañca pṛthivīte383
The material elements evolve one after another, beginning from ether. First one element develops, then two, three, and four, until all five elements are found in the earth.
Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī writes, “Within earth, all the other four elements: ether, air, fire, and water are present. Similarly, the gopīs have all the rasas present in their love. Everything is included in their love. Their love is unlimited and unparalleled. This love is always increasing and is eternally fresh.
It is not possible to express this rasa to all, and everyone cannot relish it. This connection is very deep. The gopīs alone understand Kṛṣṇa’s desire, and Kṛṣṇa alone understands the Vraja-devīs’ desires. Their internal connection is known as parakīya-rasa, or paramour love.
Śrī Guru-pāda-padma gives dīkṣā-mantras to chant. When the sādhaka chants this continuously, he gradually becomes connected and does not know how he has come so close to Gurudeva and what Gurudeva has given. Guru thinks, “How can these devotees conquer Kṛṣṇa’s heart?”
The heat of fire does not heat fire. The eternal beloveds of Kṛṣṇa are not different or distance from Kṛṣṇa. It is not possible for anyone else to touch them. Externally, the power of yogamāyā–śakti is manifest with them as some husband or friend, but this is external. Ignorant people cannot comprehend this. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī writes in Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi (1.20):
bahu vāryate khalu yatra pracchanna-kāmuktvaṁ ca
yā ca mitho durlabhatā sā manmathasya paramā-rati
The following aspects of loving affairs create the greatest pleasure: bahu-vāraṇatā—rejecting the proposals of your lover many times; pracchanna-kāmukatā—hiding your passionate desires; and durlabhatā—rarely having the chance to meet with your beloved due to impediments.
Contrariness, difficulty of attainment, and rejection are considered Kāmadeva’s greatest weapons. When the nāyikā and nāyaka meet, many obstacles may appear. The more the disturbances, the more love and sweetness increases. If they easily meet, the sweetness is not relished as much. When love is forbidden and the beloved is difficult to attain, then the passionate lover’s heart becomes ever more attached to the beloved.
Therefore, Yogamāyā keeps Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs away from each other. She keeps them distance from each other and then they always think about each other. This is very sweet.
The love of the gopīs is described in these words of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.47.58):
etāḥ paraṁ tanu-bhṛto bhuvi gopa-vadhvo
govinda eva nikhilātmani rūḍha-bhāvāḥ
vānchanti yad bhava-bhiyo munayo vayaṁ ca
kiṁ brahma-janmabhir ananta-kathā-rasasya
Uddhava said: On this earth, these cowherd girls alone have actually perfected their lives, for they have attained unmatched love for Govinda. Their pure love is desired by those who fear material existence, by great munis, and by ourselves as well. For one who has relished the topics of the Supreme Lord, what is the use of taking birth as even Brahmā himself?
As a wild elephant cannot be stopped, so the gopīs’ anurāga for Kṛṣṇa cannot be halted. Although the gopīs were all forbidden in the same way to associate with Lord Kṛṣṇa, every one of them had a different intensity of love for Him. Among them, Rādhā has the greatest love. She has the greatest power to bring Lord Kṛṣṇa under Her control. The supremely exalted position of Śrī Rādhā’s love is indirectly described in these words of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.30.28):
anayārādhito nūnaṁ bhagavān harir īśvaraḥ
yan no vihāya govindaḥ prīto yām anayad rahaḥ
The gopīs said, “Certainly She has worshipped Śrī Kṛṣṇa to the greatest extent, therefore, being happy with Her, Govinda has left us and taken Her away to a secluded place.”
The gopīs did not associate with Kṛṣṇa as a wife associates with her husband. They passionately loved Kṛṣṇa as a girl loves her paramour. Their love for Kṛṣṇa has been described in these words of Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi:
neṣṭā yad aṅgini rase kavibhiḥ paroḍhā
tad gokulāmbuja-dṛśāṁ kulam antareṇa
āśaṁsayā rasa-vidher avatāritānāṁ
Scholars do not praise adultery, which is contemptible. However, they do glorify the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa enjoying with the lotus-eyed girls of Gokula, who descended to this world to enjoy nectarean pastimes with Him.
By tattva you should see that the gopīs are eternally dear to Lord Kṛṣṇa. They are His consorts eternally. Their love for Kṛṣṇa is most exalted. This is only present in Vraja-maṇḍala. Parakīya-rasa is not available for anyone except the Vraja-devīs. Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and the gopīs are the eternal beloveds of Kṛṣṇa. The queens do not have this opportunity. Uddhava, Brahmā, and the others have prayed to the residents in Vraja-maṇḍala.
āsām aho caraṇa-reṇu-juṣām ahaṁ syāṁ
vṛndāvane kim api gulma-latauṣadhīnām
yā dustyajaṁ sva-janam ārya-pathaṁ ca hitvā
bhejur mukuṇḍa-padavīṁ śrutibhir vimṛgyām
Aho! The vraja-gopīs have abandoned all that is hard to give up, such as children, family, and the path of chastity, and they have surrendered with pure love to Śrī Kṛṣṇa whose lotus feet are eternally searched for by the Vedas. My desire is to take birth among the bushes, creepers, and herbs of Vraja-maṇḍala so I may receive the dust of the gopīs’ lotus feet.
tad bhūri-bhāgyam iha janma kim apy aṭavyāṁ
yad gokule ’pi katamāṅghri-rajo-’bhiṣekam
yaj-jīvitaṁ tu nikhilaṁ bhagavān mukuṇḍas
tv adyāpi yat-pada-rajaḥ śruti-mṛgyam eva
Lord Brahmā prays: Aho! It would be my great fortune to take birth as grass, a shrub, or any species which may be touched by the dust falling from the lotus feet of the Vrajavāsīs. Even scriptures like the Śrutis, who have been searching for ages, and have not yet achieved the dust of the lotus feet of Bhagavān Mukuṇḍa, who is the very heart of the Vrajavāsīs. If it is not possible for me to take birth in any plant species in Vraja, then let me take birth even as a stone in Gokula. May the ladies who clean and sweep the roads rub their feet on me to clean them, and in this way I will receive the immeasurable fortune of their footdust.
The process to attain prema–bhakti is to smear the body with the foot dust of the Vraja-devīs; their foot dust should be considered one’s aim and object, life and soul.
The Vraja-devīs cut all attachments with their relatives.It is very hard to give up social etiquette and principles, but they broke it all and went to Mukuṇḍa. By taking this caraṇa reṇu of the gopīs, one can come close to Mukuṇḍa.
They give strong desire to follow the process of prema-bhakti. Any husband, social etiquette, or anything else will be crossed by taking this foot dust. The Vraja-devīs’ foot dust has power to bestow this parakīya-rasa. It has the topmost love. It is never diminished; it never goes towards any other. No one can ever steal this love and nothing is ever mixed there. This is the cleanest, highest, and topmost love. No other sādhana is needed; the Vraja-devīs’ foot dust is our life and soul.
vande nanda-vraja-strīṇāṁ pāda-reṇum abhīkṣṇaśaḥ
yāsāṁ hari-kathodgītaṁ punāti bhuvana-trayam
I lower my head to the dust of the feet of the gopīs who reside in Vraja. Whatever the gopīs sing in glorification of Kṛṣṇa purifies the three worlds.
The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the paramahaṁsa-saṁhitā. It rejects all cheating in the name of religion.
śrīmad-bhāgavataṁ purāṇam amalaṁ yad vaiṣṇavānāṁ priyaṁ
yasmin pāramahaṁsyam ekam amalaṁ jñānaṁ paraṁ gīyate
tatra jñāna-virāga-bhakti-sahitaṁ naiṣkarmyam āviṣkṛtaṁ
tac chṛṇvan supaṭhan vicāraṇa-paro bhaktyā vimucyen naraḥ
The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is completely pure, free from defects and very dear to the Vaiṣṇavas. The topmost knowledge which is the sole wealth of the swan-like liberated souls is glorified therein. One who listens to it will find liberation along with knowledge, renunciation, and bhakti. Anyone who hears and studies this spotless Purāṇa and then speaks and contemplates what he has heard and read will be liberated.
vikrīḍitaṁ vraja-vadhūbhir idaṁ ca viṣṇoḥ
śraddhānvito ‘nuśṛṇuyād atha varṇayed yaḥ
bhaktiṁ parāṁ bhagavatī pratilabhya kāmaṁ
hṛd-rogam āśv apahinoty acireṇa dhīraḥ
If a person has faith in his heart for the Vraja-devīs, and after hearing describes the mahā-rāsa of the Vraja-devīs with Kṛṣṇa, then Kṛṣṇa becomes very happy, “Oh! They have no doubt about my mahā-rāsa and do not think it is an impure or useless activity.” Kṛṣṇa then bestows this parā-bhakti upon that person. At that time, the disease of the heart, which is lust, dissappears.
When one has anurāga for Kṛṣṇa and the Vraja-devīs then lust cannot remain. By this parakīya-rasa one can taste rasa–vilāsa. Kavirāja Gosvāmī writes: ataeva madhura rasa kahi tāra nāma svakīyā-parakīya-bhāve dvi-vidha saṁsthāna. In Gopāla-campū, Jīva Gosvāmī glorifies parakīya–līlā. He has also described svakīya-līlā but this he has done out of the desire of others. In this regard Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has written:
svecchayā likhitaṁ kincit kiñcid atra parecchayā
yat pūrvāpara-sambandhaṁ tat-pūrvam aparaṁ param
On this topic I have written some parts according to my own will and some parts in line with the desire of others. Those parts that I composed in the previous sections and in the following sections (parakīya) have been composed out of my desire, and whatever is not in line with these parts has been composed to fulfil the desire of others. One should understand it in this way.
We sing every morning: jaya jayojjvala-rasa sarva-rasa-sāra, parakīya-bhāve jāhā vrajete pracāra. “All glories, all glories to śṛṅgāra-rasa, which is the essence and most excellent of all rasas and is propagated in Vraja as parakīya-bhāva.”
In Bhauma-Vṛndāvana, the Vraja-devīs have the parakīya mood and this parakīya-rasa is also present in the eternal world.
Kṛṣṇa is kandarpa, the attractor of cupid Himself. He is Madana-mohana. Everyone in Vṛndāvana contemplates Kṛṣṇa and carries Him in their hearts. They also see Kṛṣṇa in front of them. They internally serve Kṛṣṇa, but how do they serve Kṛṣṇa when He is in front of them? They think of Him in their hearts and serve Him there—this is parakīya. They meet Kṛṣṇa in their hearts and serve Him there. But what do they do when Kṛṣṇa is in front of them? This is a problem. Sometimes, Kṛṣṇa is served in antara-daśā (internal consciousness). Otherwise the Vraja-devīs stand motionless. Coming in front of them, Kṛṣṇa shakes them, and asks, “Where are you?” But they give no answer. Sometimes they come to ardha-bahya–daśā, half consciousness, and then bahya–daśā, external consciousness. They become very shy and cover their faces. Without sādhana this cannot be understood.
The gopīs pray to Kṛṣṇa, “I have love for You, how can I serve You?” Thinking like this, they enter samādhi. To come back is very difficult.
When Caitanya Mahāprabhu was in South India, a rāma-bhakta invited Him for an afternoon meal. He said, “Please take prasādam today at my aśrama.” But when Mahāprabhu arrived at his aśrama the brāhmaṇa had not cooked or offered any bhoga. He was only crying and crying. Mahāprabhu asked him, “Why are you crying?”
“Don’t You know why I’m crying? Rāvaṇa stole Sītā, and Rāma is in the forest crying and weeping, roaming here and there. If there is no Sītā, who will cook? How can I offer anything to Rāma?” Hour after hour he was crying. Mahāprabhu began nāma-saṅkīrtana and after a long time the brāhmaṇa came to his senses and realized it was now evening. Since many days and months he had not cooked or eaten. Mahāprabhu said, “Don’t worry, Rāvaṇa never touched Sītā, this was māyā–śakti.” When Mahāprabhu came back to that place after His further travels, He brought evidence of this from the Kūrma Purāṇa.
In this way, the sādhaka should always be engaged. If one is always present in the eternal world then how can he come down to this plane? When a pastime of Kṛṣṇa manifests in the heart, the devotee begins thinking of that pastime and becomes absorbed there so that he cannot return. Day and night and years pass by. That rasa is most exalted. People cannot understand what the sādhakas are doing and where they are present. Sometimes they don’t chant, sing, eat, or go anywhere. They only stay in one place. But people cannot understand where they are and what they are doing. This is called antara-daśā.
Srila Narottama das Thakur ki Jaya! (a book publication by Bhaktabandhva, available from: [email protected] )