nā gaṇi āpana-duḥkha, sabe vāñchi tāṅra sukha,
tāṅra sukha – āmāra tātparya
more yadi diyā duḥkha, tāṅra haila mahā-sukha,
sei duḥkha – mora sukha-varya
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 20.52
Śrīmatī Rādhikā says: “I do not mind My personal distress. I only wish for the happiness of Kṛṣṇa, for His happiness is the aim and object of My life. If He feels great happiness in giving Me distress, that distress is the best of My happiness.”
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came with the mood of Śrīmatī Rādhikā. He also said, “I do not think about My own happiness. Whether Kṛṣṇa punishes Me or makes Me sad, if He is pleased doing so, then this is My happiness.”
āśliṣya vā pāda-ratāṁ pinaṣṭu mām
adarśanān marma-hatāṁ karotu vā
yathā tathā vā vidadhātu lampaṭo
mat-prāna-nāthas tu sa eva nāparaḥ
Śrīla Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura expresses a similar mood. He says, “I will do everything for Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure. He may do with me as He likes, but my only desire is to serve and please Him. Kṛṣṇa likes to play with the vraja-gopīs. I do not drink the nectar of those pastimes for myself, I explain those pastimes and distribute them everywhere. When Kṛṣṇa hears this, He is overjoyed.”
How powerful and great the Vraja-devīs are! Kṛṣṇa is overjoyed to hear the glories of the Vraja-devīs, and when many people follow and respect the Vraja-devīs, then Kṛṣṇa will be more and more happy. The Vraja-devīs playful pastimes with Kṛṣṇa are the essence of sweetness. Kṛṣṇa says, “If anyone takes training from them, then they will become My dearest associates.” Otherwise, if people offer many things according to the injunctions of śāstra, or with their own desire, this doesn’t necessarily please Kṛṣṇa.
Mahāprabhu came to give sva-bhakti-śrīyam. What is this? He did not give any other kind of bhakti, only sva–bhakti. How will Kṛṣṇa be pleased? Who knows that process? What is His desire? Only Śrīmati Rādhārānī and those engaged in Her service understand that. If they don’t know how to please God, then how can they consider serving Him? If they have no pure knowledge, then any service they perform will be based on speculation. Mahāprabhu came to give sva–bhakti–śrīyam, that is the service of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in unnata–ujjvala-rasa.
Śrīla Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura was with Kṛṣṇa in Vraja-dhāma among the Vraja-devīs. Daily, with his internal vision, he observed the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa with the Vraja-devīs and saw how pleased Kṛṣṇa was with them, and how they did everything for the happiness of Kṛṣṇa. He then described their glories and pastimes with Kṛṣṇa.
Kṛṣṇa is kiśora. His face is like a budding lotus, not yet fully blossomed. When the sun rises, the lotus blossoms. When the Vraja-devīs come from a distance, Kṛṣṇa waits to speak with them. Slowly a smile appears on His face. Kṛṣṇa looks at someone and waits to speak. With the sun’s light, the lotus blossoms. All the gopīs are like rays of the sun. The sun is the power of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. When this power comes, then darkness is dispelled. Light comes, and everywhere, everyone is smiling; pure happiness comes. Svarūpa-śakti is supremely powerful. That power is greater than millions of suns. This gives inspiration to everyone and causes everyone’s hearts to blossom.
Kṛṣṇa’s kiśora age is only for the kiśorīs, not for any others. His mercy, līlā-kaṭākṣa, and beauty are not available for any demigods, yakṣas, rākṣasas, or kinnaras; His beauty is only for the Vraja-devīs. Without the Vraja-devīs, He is Brahma and neutral; He is Nārāyaṇa, Viṣṇu.
paśyāmaḥ pathi pathi śaiśavam murāreḥ
On every path we see the childlike form of Murāri, whose one fixed vow is to relieve all the afflictions of those whose hearts are blossoming with faith in Him. His soft, bright bluish cheeks glow with ever new effulgence. The devotees have deep faith and love. They take dīkṣā. Does dīkṣā mean only a promise, and to try again and again? Dīkṣā means a firm vow to follow this line with an attitude of do or die.
In Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s movement, if anyone takes true dīkṣā, then he becomes a follower of unnata–ujjvala-rasa. This unnata–ujjvala-rasa comes from Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. We accept dīkṣā to attain Her service. We do not take dīkṣā to attain any mundane rasa. How can this bright, clean and powerful rasa come in our heart? This unnata–ujjvala-rasa spreads from the heart of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī to all the Vraja-devīs and Vrajavāsīs and pervades all of Vraja-maṇḍala with its powerful love. The Vrajavāsīs serve Kṛṣṇa with rays of that love. To achieve that love we must have faith. Kṛṣṇa accepts that love; this is the paraphernalia, instrument, and bhoga for offering to Kṛṣṇa. Without this rasa, if you offer anything, this will not be bhoga; Kṛṣṇa will not accept it.
During nāma-saṅkīrtana, or while moving anywhere, while cleaning or doing any service, if you have no love, your action is dry and not bhakti. Kṛṣṇa will never accept an offering or any service done without love. Therefore we must have deep faith. If you have faith, then all problems and other attractions and disturbances will not affect you. By taking that dīkṣā, Kṛṣṇa will stay always on the path of one’s eyes in His kiśora form, and then one will not be able to watch anything else.
When and how will Kṛṣṇa come, there is no guarantee. One person is in his room, and the door and the ventilators, everything is locked and closed. Sunshine can’t even enter. He is hiding in a dark room and serving Kṛṣṇa—thinking of Kṛṣṇa. He has dīkṣā and promises to follow this line, meaning, from the early morning he remembers aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā and continuously serves in those pastimes. Then Kṛṣṇa comes and is present there. By serving Kṛṣṇa, and keeping appointments with Kṛṣṇa, no other thing will come. That Kiśora Kṛṣṇa will come. His lotus feet will walk and dance gracefully there.
If anyone remembers Kṛṣṇa, then Kṛṣṇa’s mercy comes to help him. Kṛṣṇa doesn’t send His mercy. Without waiting for Kṛṣṇa’s permission, Kṛṣṇa’s karuṇā–śakti goes to help whoever is remembering Him, saying, “I will help him and make friendship with him, then he will not wait for the mercy or help of any other.”
When karuṇā–śakti goes there, She makes deep faith in the heart of that person. Before, they sometimes have faith and sometimes doubt, and then faith again and then doubt. This is because they are weak. Sometimes they chant and sometimes they don’t, sometimes they offer something to Kṛṣṇa and sometimes do not. But when Kṛṣṇa’s mercy comes, they will have deep faith for everything and will never be tired or exhausted by the practice of bhakti. When one has this faith, everything will be easy and sweet.
Many people try to chant harināma again and again, but can’t complete even one mālā. Many problems come when they try to chant. One friend comes and distracts them, or problems in business disturb them, or family problems come—then they can’t chant. But if Kṛṣṇa’s karuṇā–śakti comes, this makes strong faith and a prohibited area where no one will come, or if someone comes, they will be favorable and will speak of Kṛṣṇa’s nāma, rūpa, guṇa, and līlā.
When Kṛṣṇa’s karuṇā–śakti comes, you will be filled with bliss. She gives good energy, and one will chant Kṛṣṇa’s holy name. Then, by chanting, Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes will come in the heart. No other pastimes will come. This is the greatness of karuṇā–śakti. When will She come? When you have dikṣā in this unnata–ujjvala-rasa and you have a desire for sva-bhakti–śrīyam, then karuṇā-śakti will certainly come. If one has no energy, then karuṇā-śakti will come and give cit-bala. Nāyamātmā bala-hīnena labhyo—bhakti is not for the weak of heart. Powerless people cannot follow bhakti. If one has a lot of strength, it is possible for him to follow bhakti. Otherwise, weak and hopeless people may try, and jump again and again, without reaching their goal. They stay always at a distance. What is the nature of qualified person? Even if facing so many problems, he will be unfazed. He will have no desire for enjoyment or recreation, and will also not neglect or show hatred to anything.
Kṛṣṇa is with the Vraja-devīs, engaged in beautiful and sweet pastimes. Karuṇā-śakti helps the sādhakas by arranging sādhu-saṅga. One may be chanting harināma absent-mindedly in a solitary place, and then many Vaiṣṇavas come nearby and start a hari-kathā festival. Even if you have no desire to hear, the air brings that message and attracts the sincere aspirant. He goes and sits nearby the Vaiṣṇavas to hear, offering his respectful obeisance, and gets sukṛti. This is God’s arrangement that Vaiṣṇavas come. If one has no attachment for Vaiṣṇavas, then Kṛṣṇa will inspire him to serve the Vaiṣṇavas in any small way, and by this, the seed of bhakti will begin to develop.
The Vaiṣṇavas’ hearts have bhakti. From them, bhakti comes in the heart of the aspirant. Then the sādhaka’s heart is cleansed and melts with love. In that soft place, the mantra–dīkṣā will begin its work.
mauliś candraka-bhūṣaṇo marakata-stambhābhirāmaṁ
vaktraṁ citra-vimugdha-hāsa-mudhuraṁ bāle vilole dṛśau
vācaḥ śaiśava-śītalā mada-gaja-ślāghyā vilāsa-sthitir
mandaṁ mandam aye ka eṣa mathurā-vīthīm ito gāhate
O friend, who is this person slowly coming along the path to Mathurā? His head is adorned with a peacock feather, and His body is more captivating than a sapphire column. His eyes are rolling, and His face is beautified by the sweetness of His wonderfully fascinating smiles. His words, with their natural boyishness, are very soothing, and His natural grace would win praise from an elephant in rut.
Kṛṣṇa wears a turban decorated with peacock feathers on His head. If anyone sees these peacock feathers, then his heart will become completely clean. It will give him strength, and greed to see Kṛṣṇa will increase more and more. Kṛṣṇa smiles, and His eyes are restless. Kiśora Kṛṣṇa is like a young elephant, moving restlessly here and there. Kṛṣṇa moves everywhere in Vraja-maṇḍala and meets with everyone. He goes and distributes the nectar of His affection to everyone. We should endeavor to develop greed to see the beautiful form of Kṛṣṇa.
The Vraja-devīs are present to receive Kṛṣṇa’s darśana. They open their eyes and watch Kṛṣṇa, but seeing one part of Kṛṣṇa, His fingernails or hair, they cannot move their focus from that spot. Their eyes are one-pointed, not restless. They don’t go up and down. When we see Kṛṣṇa, than after millions of lives of misery in material existence, our eyes will have found pure nectar to drink. Finding that, we will no longer be thirsty or eager for anything else. We will be pleased and satisfied, and won’t desire to go here and there to see anything else. The gopīs say, “Brahmā, alas, alas, you have no intelligence. You made this human body and only gave it two eyes. On top of that, you gave them lids; they close and open, and make me suffer. When my eyelids close, I cannot drink the nectar of Kṛṣṇa’s face. If you gave eyes all over the body, it would be better. Who gave you this position? You have four heads and eight eyes, but you gave all your descendents only two eyes. This is not good, Brahmā. If we were the creators instead of you, then we would have given millions of eyes to see Kṛṣṇa with.”
How does Kṛṣṇa move from one place to another with His dearest friends? He goes to one heart and then leaves that heart for another. Then how does that heart feel? If Kṛṣṇa is in Bhāṇḍīravana and then goes to Mahāvana, then what is the position of Bhāṇḍīravana? All the living beings that reside in Bhāṇḍīravana feel great separation and think of Kṛṣṇa day and night in His absence. They discuss and talk about the glories, beauty, and attraction of Kṛṣṇa. This is their ornament, bhūṣaṇa–bhūṣaṇāṅgam.
Kṛṣṇa plays, but is not completely pleased. He moves everywhere to play. If He teases anyone, He is happy. He doesn’t taunt or insult anyone, but He also doesn’t work for the pleasure of anyone. He arranges a program people to become angry with Him. Madhumaṅgala was sitting in a happy mood. Kṛṣṇa brought one pakora stuffed with a chili and another stuffed with bitter neem leaves. First Kṛṣṇa gave Madhumaṅgala a sweet, tasty pakora. Madhumaṅgala eats it and becomes greedy for more. Then Kṛṣṇa gives the next one—the hot chili pakora. Madhumaṅgala eats it, and then his mouth burns. Then Kṛṣṇa gives two or three more sweet pakoras and then the bitter one. Kṛṣṇa is like this. Why? He checks. Do you have faith, love—or not? At the time of your sweetness, you think of God. If sweetness doesn’t come, rather bitterness comes, then what is your position? Where are you then? Which way does your love run?
Kṛṣṇa plays in His eternal kaiśora age. He smiles sweetly. He gave the sakhās all sweets, but gave a bitter and chili pakora to Madhumaṅgala. Then Madhumaṅgala said, “Everyone made a plan against me.”
Kṛṣṇa does this type of līlā-vilāsa with Madhumaṅgala. He also plays in a crooked way with the Vraja-devīs. He calls them to Him, and then says, “Why did you come? Why are you here unnecessarily?” Then He teases and abuses them, checking, “How much strong faith do they have for Me? How much love do they have for Me?”
pādau vāda-vinirjitāmbuja-vanau padmālayālambitau
pāṇī veṇu-vinodana-praṇayiṇau paryāpta-śilpa-śriyau
bāhū daurhṛda-bhājanaṁ mṛga-dṛśāṁ mādhurya-dhārā-kirau
vaktraṁ vāg-viṣayātilaṅghitam aho bālaṁ kim etan mahaḥ
What is this luster in the form of a young boy! His feet, having in a contest totally conquered clusters of lotuses, are the shelter for Lakṣṁī-devī. His hands, which express His love while playing the flute, are seats of artistic beauty. His arms, diffusing a flood of sweetness, are the vessel of desire’s fulfillment for the doe-eyed gopīs.And His face, His beautiful face is beyond description.
Kṛṣṇa goes to bathe in any lake, under a waterfall, or in the Yamunā. But anywhere Kṛṣṇa goes, He has His flute. In the lake there are lotuses. Once, the sakhās went with Kṛṣṇa to a lake of Vraja to collect lotuses. Many devīs were present. They declared, “You can’t touch a single lotus without our permission. If you ask nicely, we shall give you some.”
The sakhās broke etiquette and quickly went inside to take the lotuses. Their legs and bodies got entangled with the stems, and they could not escape. The sakhās cried out to Kṛṣṇa, saying, “There are many snakes here. Before, in the Kāliya lake, there was one snake, and You fought with it, now please save us from these many snakes attacking us.”
Then Kṛṣṇa said, “Why did you go to collect the lotuses without permission?”
“We wanted to bring the seeds to You.”
Raw lotus seeds are sweet and tasty. The sakhās like to bring those seeds to Kṛṣṇa. The new lotuses are filled with honey. They would bring that to Kṛṣṇa for Him to drink. And with the lotus petals, they make color and decorate Kṛṣṇa.
Kṛṣṇa said, “Mahā Lakṣmī stays in this lotus forest. Therefore you cannot collect these lotuses without her permission. First surrender, and then her attendants will give you the lotuses.”
“No, we like You,” the sakhās said, “we have no faith in any other person.”
Kṛṣṇa smiled and then began playing His flute on the bank of the lake. Many devīs came out of the lake with lotuses and offered them to Kṛṣṇa. “See,” Kṛṣṇa said, “it is very easy. You went and were arrested and are suffering. Now, how will you come back to Me?”
“Please bring us back,” the sakhās said, “otherwise we won’t be able to escape.” “Now you must pray to Mahā Lakṣmī’s party and they will free you.”
In Vraja-maṇḍala, or anywhere you go, if you cross beyond the near and dear of Kṛṣṇa, trying to collect anything, even for the pūjā of Kṛṣṇa, you will find many obstacles in your path. You have a desire to serve Kṛṣṇa and this is good, but if you neglect the associates of Kṛṣṇa and act independently, then your actions are not pure bhakti.
Kiśora Kṛṣṇa says to the sakhās, “Please don’t be independent any more. Anywhere you go, first offer obeisance to these goddesses. They are the protectors of the forest and lakes. Offer them your humble obeisance, then they will fulfil your desire and will teach you how to serve properly.”
Sometimes the sakhās fight and wrestle with Kṛṣṇa, but today they became silent. Why? Their strength was not working. They did not know how to escape from the lake. Before, the sakhās called out to Kṛṣṇa. Now, they did not call only to Kṛṣṇa—they called to Yaśodā-nandana Kṛṣṇa, Nanda-nandana Kṛṣṇa, Gopījana-vallabha Kṛṣṇa, Gopīnātha Kṛṣṇa, and Rādhānātha Kṛṣṇa. One by one, they chanted and remembered these names.
Kṛṣṇa’s name is an ornament. We are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, but not for Gopījana-vallabha, Gopīnātha, or Rādhānātha. If this Hare Kṛṣṇa is for curing one’s illnesses or diseases or for getting wealth, health, land, property, or treatment, then this is not for Gopīnātha. I will go and collect something to serve Kṛṣṇa, but is this according to my own desire, or for the pleasure of Kṛṣṇa? First you must have a relationship with Gopījana-vallabha. Then do everything for His pleasure. His party will give you instruction, advice, and inspiration. Then do anything—everything will be very easy. Otherwise, everything we do is nonsense. Śrīla Gurudeva, Param Gurudeva, Parameṣṭhī Gurudeva, Parātpara Gurudeva, and the entire Guru-paramparā are authorized. If we are connected to the Guru-varga and the Vraja-devīs, then we will not be tied to any attraction of māyā. Anywhere we go, we will be liberated and will have no disturbance in our service. All of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, help, and the association of the devotees will come to us. What is Kṛṣṇa’s group? His nose, ears, face, body—everything—will be near us. At that time, all processes of serving Him will come in our heart.
etan nāma vibhūṣaṇaṁ bahumataṁ veṣāya śeṣair alaṁ
śilpair alpa-dhiyāṁ agamya-vibhavaiḥ śṛṅgāra-bhaṅgī-mayaṁ
citraṁ citraṁ aho vicitram aha ho citraṁ vicitraṁ mahaḥ
Indeed, His face, abundantly adorned with lovely lips that possess two or three specially arranged waves of luster, needs no other ornament. The wealth of His artistic attributes and amorous gestures are beyond the understanding of fools. Oh, how wonderful! How amazing! How astonishing is this splendor in the form of the youth Kṛsṇa!
The Vraja-devīs and Vrajavāsīs’ hearts have mādhurya, sweetness. If you surrender and remember them while chanting kṛṣṇa-nāma, their sweetness and service will come to you. Then you will be surprised, “How did all these pastimes come in my heart?”
To dress and decorate Kṛṣṇa, everything will be present near you. You will have no desire remaining to decorate yourself. Only śṛṅgāra-rasa is necessary to serve Kṛṣṇa. If your heart has no śṛṅgāra-rasa, any service you perform will not be sweet and correct. If you have that rasamālayam inside, then everything will be sweet. Kṛṣṇa is Gopījana-vallabha, He is with the gopīs. He is Gopīnātha and Vrajanātha. He is present with the Vrajavāsīs. If the Vrajavāsīs are with you, then all rasa will come and help you automatically.
Śrīla Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta”. Available from: firstname.lastname@example.org )