As Kṛṣṇa walks step by step with His lotus feet, looking here and there, Pṛthivī-devī, touched by the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, experiences ecstatic symptoms. She becomes overjoyed. If anyone has a relationship with Pṛthivī-devī—like the trees, plants, and creepers—this nectar goes inside his heart at that time, creating a service tendency, and he also becomes supremely joyful. Before, the trees had no flowers or fruits, but now, they take the love from their hearts and become decorated with honey, fruits and flowers. Also, the pathways become full of lush grass.
As Kṛṣṇa walks step by step, how can Pṛthivī-devī serve Him? She gives instructions to her followers. Vṛndā-devī prepares all the pathways for Kṛṣṇa. Now, Pṛthivī-devī follows the footsteps of Vṛndā-devī. If one is young and beautiful, and decorated with ornaments, those jewels enhance his or her beauty. But if the person is extremely beautiful, then the ornaments’ beauty is enhanced by that person’s own beauty. Before, the jewels appear dull, but when placed on the body of such an attractive person, they come to life. All the stones, minerals, and landscape of the Earth are infused with power. Before, they were as if dead, but now from inside even the stones, light emanates. They become like touchstones, with all types of power. All the limbs of Pṛthivī-devī are enabled for Kṛṣṇa’s service.
Kiśora Kṛṣṇa dresses in an enchanting way that surprises all the Vrajavāsīs. Yaśodā Mātā and Rohiṇī Mātā dress Kṛṣṇa, and then Kṛṣṇa goes to the forest. As Kṛṣṇa walks step by step, on both sides many mothers are waiting with flower garlands, flower earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and flower crowns. As Kṛṣṇa goes step by step, all the Vrajavāsīs offer these to Kṛṣṇa. They know to not make the same thing daily; they always offer something unique, as it is inspired in their heart. This devotionally novel type of dress is very attractive. Brahmā, Indra, Shiva and the demigods watch Kṛṣṇa’s form and think of that without cessation. When they next see Kṛṣṇa in the evening, His mood, face, smile, and decoration new and unique, they become surprised, “I never saw Him look like this before.”
The mothers think, “He went to the forest and then returned. Is this my Kṛṣṇa or another?” One mother goes very near with a light—a ghee lamp—to inspect Kṛṣṇa. She thought, “Kṛṣṇa’s face is covered with some dust from the jungle; some coating is there.” She goes nearby to see. The sakhās paste many minerals and decorate Kṛṣṇa’s body with these. This decoration isn’t washed off easily. They decorate Kṛṣṇa with heartfelt love, and, by that, it becomes as if permanent.
For example: A sugar cane is full of sweetness, but all trees don’t have this sweet juice. A date tree is hard, but at the top of the tree, many litres of sweet gur come out. All the Vrajavāsīs drink the nectar of Kṛṣṇa’s beauty and sweetness, and they attain great energy. Is Kṛṣṇa’s energy diminished by this? No.
How can this be explained with words and sentences? This mood cannot be expressed. Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura says, “This kiśora-mohana–mūrti of Kṛṣṇa cannot be fully described. But seeing His eternal pastimes in my heart, I speak something only for the happiness of Kṛṣṇa and the Vraja-devīs.”
Kṛṣṇa is nearby and hearing of His own form. Why is He happy? Kṛṣṇa knows that His devotees feel great bliss hearing of His beautiful form, and therefore He also feels joy.
Kṛṣṇa’s different svarūpas have many different names. Guṇa Mañjarī watches Him and gives the name Rādhā-ramaṇa. Lavaṅga Mañjarī says, “No, He is Madana-mohana.” Then another says, “No, no, He is Rāsabihārī.”
At the same time, in the same place, devotees see Kṛṣṇa and have a relationship with a different form of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa’s svarūpa reflects in their hearts, and they then address Him with different names. All the Vraja-devīs have names for Kṛṣṇa, according to their mood. These are Kṛṣṇa’s attractive dresses and form.
“When will I see Kṛṣṇa again in this life?” They think this. Then a little later another svarūpa is in front of them. Do they forget the previous one? No. Therefore Kṛṣṇa has many svarūpas. In many temples and many groups, all group leaders, yūtheśvarīs, arrange many programs. But Kṛṣṇa is the same, He is not different. According to the devotees’ own heartfelt love, they feel some difference and see some speciality in their beloved form of Kṛṣṇa in their heart. Those of meager intelligence cannot understand this. How is His forehead, face, and teeth? How does He smile? How is He dressed? Sometimes the sakhīs give Kṛṣṇa a big mirror to see Himself, saying, “Kṛṣṇa, just see your face.” What does Kṛṣṇa see? How many people are present, hidden within His heart. Many people see Kṛṣṇa and give Him a seat in their heart. Then where are they? Nearby to Kṛṣṇa.
Kṛṣṇa looks in the mirror, “How many are close to Me? How many hearts have a place for Me?” He sees thousands and millions. This is called kaivalya–prayojanam. Kaivalya means only Kṛṣṇa and the Vraja-devīs. Śakti śaktimator abheda. They are not distant or different to each other.
The māyāvādīs say the jīva and brahman are non-different. They say like this, but when is it actually true? When the jīva’s heart has a seat only for Parabrahma and when Parabrahma has a seat in His heart for His beloved devotee, then they become one at heart.
agre samagrayati kām api keli-lakṣmīm
anyāsu dikṣv api vilocanam eva sākṣi
hā hanta hasta-patha-dūram aho kim etad
āśā-kiśoramayam amba jagat-trayaṁ me
Oh, what an indescribable sportive beauty Kṛṣṇa has fully revealed before me! In all directions my eyes witness this beauty. But alas, alas, He is beyond my grasp! O divine mother, the three worlds are filled with my longed-for youth, Kṛṣṇa!
Mahā Lakṣmī is a gold line on the heart of Nārāyaṇa, as oṁkāra. One Lakṣmī is near Lord Nārāyaṇa. But many Lakṣmis are near Kṛṣṇa. They are called gopīs. They are very secret. How do they hide in the corners of Kṛṣṇa’s heart? The Vedas, Vedānta, and Upaniṣads cannot fully understand Kṛṣṇa, what to speak of the millions of ordinary souls.
The sakhīs are Kṛṣṇa’s beauty. Like in a tree—how many wonderful fragrances and colors can be found? Who can understand? When the tree blossoms it becomes decorated with the flowers’ beauty. The flowers are filled with nectar, dripping to the ground, and when the flowers fall to the ground, they are replaced by sweet fruits. Kṛṣṇa is with His near and dearest, very close companions, the Vraja-devīs, gopīs. He has a relationship with them. They are not distant to Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa is not distant to them.
Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura becomes astonished and feels, “Oh, how can I express this? Anywhere I look, prāṇanātha Kiśora Kṛṣṇa is present with a smiling face.”
One sakhī addresses another, “When will I go near Kṛṣṇa? Kṛṣṇa is very far away. All others are qualified, but I am unqualified.”
Kṛṣṇa’s curly hair is surrounding His face like bumblebees. This sometimes covers His forehead and eyes, and comes from both sides to the front. Why does it come forward and cover Kṛṣṇa’s face? The curly hair wants to kiss Kṛṣṇa. The gopīs watch from a distance and feel great jealousy towards Kṛṣṇa’s hair, seeing the hair to be like their step-wives kissing Kṛṣṇa’s face. Some gopīs say, “Let us go bind Kṛṣṇa’s hair up in a turban and place a peacock feather on top, and then Kṛṣṇa’s face will be free of hair.”
Then another sakhī says, “No, this is not good. Speak sweetly, then your mind will be pure. I would go and take a fan, and by gently fanning Kṛṣṇa, all His hair would go to both sides. Why do you want to tie and bind His hair? That is not good. Our hair and the hair of others is dead, but Kṛṣṇa’s hair? Don’t you know what that is? His hairs grow on His head to drink madhura–rasa. Like a farmer plants seeds in a field, then many things grow. Now the hairs grow on Kṛṣṇa’s head to cool Him; to massage Him and kiss Him, and to protect him from the Sun. They are not just ordinary, inert hairs.”
Another gopī says, “Yes, this is true. Now it is the same as before; it doesn’t grow more. Normally, hair grows and is then cut, but Kṛṣṇa’s hair remains the same. And His hairs are very enthusiastic—sometimes crooked, curly; then in rolls, or open; sometimes they go up, or down—and they move from one side to another.”
One gopī says, “Kṛṣṇa’s hairs are like bumblebees.” Bumblebees come flying with wings outstretched and alight on a flower. Then their wings fold, and they appear like a black ball. Afterwards, when the bumblebee flies off, his wings come out, and with a whirring sound he takes flight. The gopī says, “Kṛṣṇa’s hair is very nice. When He runs, His hair flies out on both sides like wings.”
Does Kṛṣṇa’s hair ever fall out? Does one strand ever leave Kṛṣṇa and fall down? This is never possible. If anyone ever has a relationship with Kṛṣṇa, they can never leave Him. Our hair falls. Why? We have no real relation with it. Our hair is dead and dirty, but Kṛṣṇa’s hair is not like that. Don’t think that. Nothing in Vraja ever leaves Kṛṣṇa. If anyone has a relationship with Kṛṣṇa, not only in this world, in any world, they will never leave Kṛṣṇa. Rather, they will have an eternal, ever-increasing service tendency.
Some śāstras mention that Kṛṣṇa’s hair is a manifestation of Anantadeva, Baladeva Prabhu. But the gopīs consider Kṛṣṇa’s hair to be in madhura-rasa, for it always drinks the nectar of Kṛṣṇa’s face. Kṛṣṇa’s hair always watches His sweet face and is able to continuously kiss Kṛṣṇa. When Kṛṣṇa’s hair kisses Him, He feels as if it is the kiss of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, Lalitā, or other gopīs, and He remembers them.
His hairs are very light and soft—they don’t pinch him. The touch of some people’s hair is very sharp, like steel wires—touching it causes pain. But Kṛṣṇa’s hair is very soft. Kṛṣṇa is restless, but His hair is not restless—it stays always with Kṛṣṇa.
cikuraṁ bahulaṁ viralaṁ bhramaraṁ
mṛdulaṁ vacanaṁ vipulaṁ nayanam
adharaṁ madhuraṁ vadanaṁ madhuraṁ
capalaṁ caritaṁ ca kadā nu vibhoḥ
Oh, when shall I again fasten into a top-knot my Beloved’s thick locks, which are lying like separate rows of bees on His shoulders? When shall I hear His mild words, see His large eyes, kiss His sweet lips, see His sweetly beautiful face, and experience His fickle nature?
Now one sakhī says to another, “When will that time come when we will always be with Him and watch His lotus eyes and sweet face, and be able to kiss Him?” This is their deep desire. They say, “We will always be with Kṛṣṇa.” How is that possible?
They have this desire. Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura watches which person likes Kṛṣṇa and thinks continuously about Kṛṣṇa. Whose heartfelt love increases at every moment? With that love they serve Kṛṣṇa, Who accepts this love. This is called service tendency; otherwise, service is only dry. A person will do service for some time, then, because of no taste, he will leave. There are many sevakas here now, but after sometime, perhaps none of them will be here, like a garden with many flowers that get picked and taken away. But the garden’s beauty is its flowers. In that way, Kṛṣṇa’s beauty is in His followers. And they do not remain far away from Kṛṣṇa for even a moment.
“Kṛṣṇa, You are vibho, very great, and You mitigate the worry and sadness of all. You steal their poverty, and by your unlimited ānandinī–śakti, you make them happy.” Now, today, the gopīs pray, “When will I comb Your hair and bind it on top of Your head, and decorate it with flowers and peacock feathers?”
Your hair will come together, meaning, all the gopīs, Vraja-devīs, have a desire to be in one group and serve Kṛṣṇa all together. But how can Kṛṣṇa accept them all? They all have a desire and sweet mood for service. But how can Kṛṣṇa accept all their service at once?
In this world there are many bumblebees and honeybees, and also many flowers. So many bees drink the flowers’ honey. Even though many young bumblebees are always being born, still there is no lack of honey. God arranges honey for all the bees.
Is Kṛṣṇa present in only one form and place? No. All the sakhīs and Vraja-devīs’ groups have leaders. They go with their leader and decorate Kṛṣṇa and serve Him. In a hidden way, one gopī tells another what to do, and she understands this. But how can any other understand? They think that only their group is serving and decorating Kṛṣṇa and are nearby to Him. But another group thinks the same thing. They think, “I am serving Kṛṣṇa, and He is very happy. We are decorating Kṛṣṇa.” Then another gopī waits, “When will Kṛṣṇa tell me something in a happy mood?” They wait to drink His words, and they wait for a chance to kiss Kṛṣṇa. They think, “I am restless. Will Kṛṣṇa accept me? How can I become peaceful?” They have desires that come one by one like waves. They think, “I will become peaceful, silent and satisfied like a sage, and will only think of Kṛṣṇa in my meditation. This is much better.” But while thinking of Kṛṣṇa, so many inspirations begin to come for service, and they can’t stop themselves from running to Kṛṣṇa.
paripālaya naḥ kṛpālaye ‘ty
asakṛt kranditam ārta-bāndhavaḥ
vibhur ākarṇayitā kadā nu naḥ
If the Lord, the friend of the distressed, is always surrounded by the bewildering sound of His flute, when will He be able to hear us repeatedly crying out, “O abode of mercy, please protect us!”
The gopīs say, “O Kṛṣṇa, You are very kind, merciful, sweet and soft. Please give us Your darśana. We are waiting to see You.” How will You give darśana? If You meet with anyone, this is not called darśana. This is just a meeting after which one is not fully satisfied. What is true darśana? Come nearby and accept our service. How will You be happy? Give us training how to please You. Then come and check how we have learned, and protect our moods—You are then our protector.”
The sakhīs speak one word, and the meaning is another. Kṛṣṇa gives one answer in front of everyone, but the meaning is different. The sakhīs are tricky, but Kṛṣṇa is millions of times more tricky. He is never straight. He has three bends in His body, but millions more in His speech and activities. Straightforward people can’t understand Kṛṣṇa, and a dictionary word like trickiness can’t express the nature of Kṛṣṇa’s exploits.
Kṛṣṇa calls with a sweet melody from His flute. This is Kṛṣṇa’s heartfelt love going with an air messenger. He sends these messages one after the other, as if to say, “If you didn’t understand the first message, I am sending more. I will send you many helpers.”
The sakhīs then go to the bank of the Yamunā, or to a big forest, or on top of the hills, and there they weep, praying for Kṛṣṇa to come and protect them from the burning torment of separation from Him. Sometimes, when Kṛṣṇa merely sends a message by His flute and doesn’t come directly, or comes only for a few minutes and gives His darśana and then runs, the gopīs feel even more distress, and they pray for Kṛṣṇa to always be with them accepting their service.
Merely by Kṛṣṇa’s speech the sakhīs are not satisfied. They call out, “O Anātha-bāndhava, O friend of the distressed, dear friend, You always help the forsaken, but is this help only by Your Muralī message? This is not everything. O Kṛṣṇa, please come directly to us. We want to speak with You and to meet with You and serve You. This is our desire.”
kadā nu kasyāṁ nu vipad-daśāyāṁ
kaiśora-gandhiḥ karuṇāmbudhir naḥ
Kṛṣṇa, an ocean of mercy, bears the fragrance of fresh youth. When oh when will some danger to me focus His attention so that He looks upon me with His beautiful, wide eyes?
The gopīs desire that Kṛṣṇa always remain in kiśora age, and they pray to Him, “Kṛṣṇa, you are an ocean of mercy. Please never grow up and leave us.”
Why do they say this? If Kṛṣṇa grows up, then He will not be able to stay with them. Childhood friends play together without a care, but for how long does it last? As kids they have no responsibility; they are free. They have no desire but to play. They play, talk and move here and there. But the gopīs are scared, “Kṛṣṇa will become mature and get many responsibilities. Our time with Him then will be very short.”
Like one grown-up person may play for some time, but for how long? Half an hour or an hour, then he goes to his house or for service. He has many responsibilities for maintaining the family. Then he can’t play twenty four hours a day. Even for a prince this is not possible.
The gopīs pray, “Don’t let Your young age pass. Then we will be orphans.”
Millions of Kṛṣṇa’s devotees had been doing sādhana for millions of years. Now they came to meet with Kṛṣṇa, like a founder-ācārya, divine master, who has thousands of followers and disciples, who all want to meet with him. They all wait for a chance, thinking, “When will Guru Mahārāja be free so that I can go and speak with him?” But they have no chance. They only think and pray for this, but then suffer. If Gurudeva is once alone, they think, “This is our good luck. Now there is a chance to meet with him.” The vraja-gopīs lament, saying, “If Kṛṣṇa was nitya–kiśora and we kiśorīs, it would be best. May we never cross this kiśora age. This is very bad. Then we will have family, and many responsibilities, headache and tension. This is not good. You should remain kiśora, and we will all be Your kiśorī friends with no other responsibility besides Your service and company. Kṛṣṇa, You are very kind; don’t give us any punishment. What punishment? Please don’t grow up and leave us. This is not good.” Then they do a hunger strike, saying, “Don’t cross this age. If You grow up, then a big problem will come.”
Nanda Bābā and Yaśodā Mātā thought, “When Kṛṣṇa is young, we will arrange His marriage and celebrate with a huge feast.”
Then Gargācārya came from Mathurā and said, “Until Kṛṣṇa has a sacred thread, don’t let Him be married.”
Hearing this, the vraja-gopīs clap, “This is very good.” Then Nanda and Yaśodā Mātā are very sad. All in vātsalya–rasa are sad: “Oh, Kṛṣṇa will not get married—this is very bad.”
But Kṛṣṇa’s sakhās and sakhīs say, “This is very good. Otherwise, Kṛṣṇa will be distant and divided from us. Then we will feel deep pain.”
In the daytime Kṛṣṇa plays and wrestles with the sakhās, and at night He slips out of bed and goes to meet with the sakhīs. Yaśodā Mātā thinks Kṛṣṇa is sleeping, but He slips out into the forest. But if a wife is there, she will never give one a free life. She will tie and bind one, and say, “You are mine. Your mind is not your own. You are mine and no other can have any share.”
Therefore the sakhīs start a big strike to stop Kṛṣṇa from growing up. They know that if Kṛṣṇa grows up, they will never be able to be with Him. He will go and sit in big assemblies and perform great deeds. This is a big problem for them. When Kṛṣṇa fights with demons and then comes back and meets with His sakhās and sakhīs, they tease Him, “O Kṛṣṇa, You killed such a powerful demon.”
Kṛṣṇa says, “No. He came, and I asked him, ‘Do you know any good fighting moves or have any mystic powers?’ In response he showed Me a move, but did it wrong and then broke his legs and knees. I went and tried to help him, and then all of a sudden he came out of his body and joined Me as a sakhā. What can I do? Look, he is here. He left his physical structure, which was like the costume of a joker, but now he is here with us. His outfit was as a demon to play, but now he is here as My eternal friend.”
When Aghāsura came, the sakhās entered his mouth. Then Kṛṣṇa went inside and liberated Aghāsura. Kṛṣṇa said, “He was wearing this dress. He is not really a snake.” The demigods were watching and saw that an effulgent light came out of Aghāsura, moved in the sky, and then came and entered Kṛṣṇa’s feet. Brahmā and the demigods were surprised, “Who is this Kṛṣṇa?”
But the sakhās fear that Kṛṣṇa will leave them, and they say to Him, “Promise that You will never grow up and leave us.” The sakhās and sakhīs do not like Kṛṣṇa growing up.
madhuram adhara-bimbe mañjulaṁ manda-hāse
śiśiram amṛta-nāde śītalaṁ dṛṣṭi-pāte
vipulam aruṇa-netre viśrutaṁ veṇu-nāde
marakata-maṇi-nīlaṁ bālam alokaye nu
Oh, when may I see that young boy, who has a complexion as deep blue as a sapphire, sweet lips like bimba fruit, a charming, mild smile, soothing, nectarean words, cooling glances, and large, dawn-red eyes, and who is famous for His flute-song.
When Kṛṣṇa smiles or laughs, it is very sweet. In the early morning, on top of grass, there is dew. In the winter, this water is very clean on the grass. Touching it, the water will come to your hand, not staying on the grass—this is very light and clean. Heavy water can’t stand and sit on top of the grass. It is very light. Now when Kṛṣṇa smiles and laughs, this is not heavy. Like if you laugh, after sometime you become weak, but when Kṛṣṇa smiles and laughs, you will also laugh with Kṛṣṇa and not become weak; more and more strength will come.
When Kṛṣṇa smiles and laughs, the sakhās also laugh with Him, and their combined laughter echoes through the hills and comes back. Then they laugh even harder, and the echo returns, and they compete with the echo, laughing louder and louder without ever getting tired.
Hearing Kṛṣṇa’s flute cools the heart, like a nectarful drink. When Kṛṣṇa smiles, laughs or plays on His flute, He fulfills the desires of His devotees.
Bilavamangala Thakur ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Krsna-Karnamrta”. Available from: firstname.lastname@example.org)