In the summer season, the trees became dry.
All the leaves on the trees dried up and fell. There were no flowers, birds, fruits, or anything on the trees.
Similarly, in this world, all jīvas are always suffering from many types of fires that burn them. They go to many places to find relief, following various processes like austerity and yoga, but none of it helps. Where will one find this flow of cooling nectar? Most people have no idea, and therefore they suffer.

During the first rains of the rainy season, the water reaches the trees, and their life returns. The trees have branches, and on these branches small red leaves and mañjarīs appear. Having carried these bodies through millions of lives, we have become very tired. This body is very heavy. In old age, this body is more troublesome, and it feels like a big punishment to carry it every day. The body’s structure punishes the soul in so many different ways. Especially in old age, people understand the suffering. The body becomes feeble and gets overtaken by diseases. All living entities suffer in this world with different kinds of karmic reactions. We should hear the glories of Kṛṣṇa and come to Vṛndāvana, where Kṛṣṇa plays His flute. Hearing His flute, the soul which has been fasting for a long time immediately drinks this nectar distributed by the Supreme Soul. Therefore Kṛṣṇa plays His flute. If Kṛṣṇa doesn’t play His flute, this nectar, adharāmṛta, will not get distributed.

The conditioned souls have been drinking mundane poison for a long time. Ordinary people talk, sing, dance, and play, but they are full of mundane destructive ideas and garbage. Kṛṣṇa, with His flute, gives the Veṇu-gīta, flute song. His messenger distributes His heartfelt love to those fortunate souls who have perfected themselves by spiritual practice, sādhana-siddha, and to the personification of the scriptures, śruti-cārī, smṛti-cārī, and upaniṣad-cārī, and to all the gopīs.
Devotees drink and distribute this, and become rejuvenated.

Earlier they waited and undertook sādhana, but their perfection had not yet manifested. Taking mahā-prasāda, hearing hari-kathā, and staying in the holy dhāma are all helpful, but this veṇu gives permanent help. This flute is always helpful—therefore Kṛṣṇa utilizes His flute.

Like a lotus flower in April or May: its blossoms are beautiful, and its fragrance goes everywhere. Similarly, upon hearing Kṛṣṇa’s flute, your nature, senses, mind, and soul—all become red with anurāga. Your face will smile, and your senses will not be weak or punish you. And you will not be attached to your senses; you will attain your constitutional form, svarūpa, and become situated in it— svarūpa-siddhi.

Ullasan-madhurādhara-dyuti-mañjarī-sarasānanaṁ: Kṛṣṇa Himself comes with His nearest and dearest associates. For example, only after you hear a word does an idea come in your mind. However, with Kṛṣṇa’s flute, Kṛṣṇa Himself comes. If anyone hears that flute nectar, then Kṛṣṇa’s svarūpa and Vraja’s svarūpa manifest in the heart, and the desire to enjoy with any other people or to taste mundane things is checked. Just like little mañjarīs who have matured to kiśori age, they now cover their bodies carefully and are shy. They have a relation with Kṛṣṇa and love and affection for Him. They don’t talk or reveal anything to anyone. They are silent and peaceful.

ātmārāmāś ca munayo
nirgranthā apy urukrame
kurvanty ahaitukīṁ bhaktim
ittham bhūta guṇo hariḥ
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.7.10

Śrī Kṛṣṇa has such an attractive potency that even self-satisfied sages who have completely cut the knot of ignorance become attracted to Him and start performing causeless devotion to Urukrama, the performer of wonderful activities. What to speak, then, of a person absorbed in attraction to mundane matter?

In this condition you will no longer be restless, rather you will taste bliss within the self, ātmārāma, and content, āptakāma. You will not run towards anything else. No more taunting, insulting, or wrestling. People fight because they haven’t drunk this rasotsava, and are therefore thirsty and fight like animals. We are thus defeated by māyā. If, however, one drinks that rasa, then one becomes self-satisfied.

satāṁ prasaṅgān mama vīrya-saṁvido
bhavanti hṛt-karṇa-rasāyanāḥ kathāḥ
taj-joṣaṇād āśv apavarga-vartmani
śraddhā ratir bhaktir anukramiṣyati
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 3.25.25

In the association of pure devotees one hears descriptions of My heroic deeds, which are very pleasing to the ear and the heart. Such descriptions bestow real knowledge of My excellence. By regular hearing and contemplation of
such topics one is liberated from ignorance, as a result of which one successively attains sublime faith, śraddhā, deep attachment, rati and pure loving devotion, prema-bhakti, towards Me.

When one drinks hari-kathā rasa from sādhus, then all God’s vīrya or potency comes within one, and he becomes sober.
For example, one young girl goes to her friend, and then another friend and another friend. She runs here and there, smiles, laughs, jokes, and talks with many friends, but a little later people see she is very grave and silent. She gives no answer and doesn’t talk; she has become very peaceful now. Her nature has changed because she became pregnant. Sādhus give satāṁ-prasaṅgān.

When mama vīrya, Kṛṣṇa’s potency, comes to someone, he will cease to be restless. Before that time, everything was empty and dry for the jīva. He would run here and there, being restless and without a taste for anything.

The gopīs take the kuṁkuma from Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet—they don’t want anything else. Caitanya-candra took this anurāga-colored kuṁkuma and used it to color His cloth and smear on His body, following the footsteps of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī.
Vraja-bhūmi’s dust is ‘va’ ‘raja’; ‘va’ means special and ‘raja’ means dust. The Vraja-devīs, sakhās, cows, deer, and animals all possess deep love. They walk in Vraja-dhāma, and therefore this dust is very pure. If any unqualified person, who is untrained and knows nothing, simply smears this dust on his body, and respects the dust of Vraja, then just this is sufficient for this lifetime. The result will be liberation from attatchment to his own body and family relations, and his prārabdha and aprārabdha sins will be destroyed. He should follow this process with deep feeling, relishing them internally, and never displaying them openly.

saṅkhyā-pūrvaka-nāma-gāna-natibhiḥ kālāvasānī-kṛtau
nidrāhāra-vihārakādi-vijitau cātyanta-dīnau ca yau
rādhā-kṛṣṇa-guṇa-smṛter madhurimā nandena sammohitau
vande rūpa-sanātanau raghu-yugau śrī-jīva-gopālakau
Śrī Ṣaḍ-gosvāmyaṣṭakam

I offer my prayers to the Six Gosvāmīs, who passed all their time in chanting the holy names, singing songs and offering postrated obeisance, daṇḍavat-praṇāmas, thereby humbly fulfilling their vow to complete a fixed number daily. In this way they utilized their valuable lives and conquered over eating, sleeping and other such pleasures. Always seeing themselves as completely worthless, they became enchanted in divine rapture by remembering Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s sweet qualities.
We should offer praṇāma every day to Vraja-maṇḍala, but not in a joking way or for recreation, fitness, or to show others how great and humble we are. These activities are for the soul’s health, not the body’s. We take shelter of the lotus feet of Prabhu, and then permanently attain the spiritual form of the soul, svarūpa-siddhi.

To become qualified, come to Vraja-maṇḍala and take shelter there. Completely surrender to Vraja-maṇḍala. On your own merit, you do not have power, strength, energy, taste, or sweetness. Being unqualified, we should surrender.

ānukūlyasya saṅkalpaḥ
prātikūlyasya varjanaṁ
rakṣiṣyatīti viśvāso
goptṛtve varaṇaṁ tathā
ātma-nikṣepa-kārpaṇye
ṣaḍ-vidhā śaraṇāgatiḥ
Vaiṣṇava-tantra

There are six symptoms of self-surrender:

(1) Ānukūlyasya saṅkalpa–fully surrendered sādhakas should accept only those things which are favorable for prema-bhakti. (2) Prātikūlyasya varjana–they should completely reject those things which are unfavorable to prema-bhakti. (3) Rakṣiṣyatīti viśvāsa–they have firm faith that Kṛṣṇa is their only protector, that there is no protector other than Kṛṣṇa, and that one cannot obtain protection by any other activity. (4) Goptṛtve varaṇa–surrendered devotees have absolutely no doubt that Kṛṣṇa is their only guardian and maintainer. (5) Ātma-nikṣepa–offering the self to the Lord is expressed in this attitude: “I am incapable of doing anything independently. Unless Kṛṣṇa desires, no one can do anything.” Devotees who are without any other resort have this kind of faith. (6) Kārpaṇya–humility is expressed as follows: “I am very fallen and insignificant.” Unalloyed devotees are possessed of this very firm and simple faith. To possess all these attitudes is called śaraṇāgati, or self-surrender.

We should vow to accept only what is favorable for the development of bhakti. We should go wherever there are sādhus; they are our good friends. There is no need for a big gathering; go to any place that is favorable. Where there is kṛṣṇa-guṇa-gāna, nāma-kīrtana, prasādam, and where bhakti’s rules and regulations are being followed—go to that favorable place. We should not go to a big gathering where there are politics. So many things are present there but there is no cultivation of devotion, bhakti-anuśīlana.

Many people make a show that they are following bhakti, but this is actually only as a business. Their view, aim, and object is only business—body business, mind business, health business, and pratiṣṭhā, name and fame. They think, “I am Guru; I am Ācārya.” And they insult others. All this is unfavorable, pratikūla. If you need anything, pray to Kṛṣṇa, His associates, and to the Vraja-devīs. Pray to the holy dhāma. The followers of the Vrajavāsīs and Vraja-devīs reside here.

Where is Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s līlā-bhūmi? Where is Girirāja Govardhana? How can we meet with them? Gurau goṣṭhe goṣṭhālayiṣu sujane bhūsura-gaṇe: who is guru? He is always present in Vraja, goṣṭha. He is near the gopas and gopīs. Go and pray to them. Don’t go to anyone else. Have no other relationship. Fix your faith and relation. If you go today here and next day there, then one day it will be favorable and the next day unfavorable. If I run everywhere, then I will lose everything, because I won’t have any fixed relation.

In the early morning, before Kṛṣṇa wakes, deer, cuckoos, pigeons, and all animals come; the cows moo, and the calves are thirsty and waiting. After Kṛṣṇa awakens, He goes to the cowshed and meets with the cows. They are very happy and pleased, and the calves never drink milk without Kṛṣṇa. They want Kṛṣṇa’s prasāda. Kṛṣṇa gives them sweet prasāda. What prasāda? He takes His flute and plays. All the calves come forward and wait, “When will Kṛṣṇa go to the forest.” Kṛṣṇa says,
“First drink milk. I’ll milk the cows, and then we will go.”

With Kṛṣṇa’s desire, they go to take milk and say, “First You drink, then I will take; otherwise not.” This is the rule. If someone takes anything first, how is he surrendered? Anything I have, I shall first offer to my beloved Kṛṣṇa. Independently, alone, I won’t take anything.

The calves have taken birth as animals, but their mood is exalted. The calves chew a little, drink milk, and look at Kṛṣṇa. When Kṛṣṇa also drinks milk, they are very happy and dance. The cows cry and lick Kṛṣṇa. When they go to the forest, the calves go first. Why? If there are any thorns, sharp stones, or dirty, broken pathways, they break that down, clear everywhere, and make the road soft—then Kṛṣṇa comes. If millions of cows go, then automatically that place will become soft and clean. The dust touches the cows’ hooves and goes up into the air, and Kṛṣṇa smears that dust on His entire body.

He says, “This is not mere dust, this is raja. This is very helpful and more than sandlewood, candana.” Like a tree—with its roots it collects water and nutrients from all around and brings them to the trunk and branches, which in turn causes flowers to bloom in beautiful colors. This is the function for the roots of a tree. If you are in Vraja-maṇḍala, collecting the nectar and dust of Vraja, then what will your position be? Kṛṣṇa walks with bare feet and those feet are aruṇa-varṇa, a reddish color. His heart, mind, and senses are filled with anurāga. The sakhās also are full of anurāga. If you remember those lotus feet, and if you smear that vraja-raja on your body, then what will happen? Happiness will come in an unlimited amount. Your eyes will drink Kṛṣṇa’s nectarful face and svarūpa.

As eye ointment gives power to the eyes, similarly, when you see Kṛṣṇa’s face, this is more than ointment, and you will not desire to see anything else. This is very sweet. You will wait, “When will Kṛṣṇa speak with His sweet mouth? When will He say something to me?”

apāṅga-rekhābhir abhaṅgurābhir
anaṅga-rekhā-rasa-rañjitābhiḥ
anukṣaṇaṁ ballava-sundarībhir
abhyarcyamānaṁ vibhum āśrayāmaḥ
Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta 10

I take shelter of my Lord whom the beautiful gopīs worship at every moment with unbroken sidelong glances from eyes tinged red with passion. You are present near Kṛṣṇa, watching His face. Then with His sweet eyes, He looks; at that time, transcendental potency emanates from His eyes. When that glance reaches the Vraja-devīs, it steals everything they possess. Merely by one glance, He steals everything and then runs away. This is difficult to understand. Kṛṣṇa’s chest has a golden line. When Kṛṣṇa watches the mañjarīs and gopīs, in one glance He gives thousands of golden lines. He accepts their devotion and gives this pure nature and rather than send one to Vaikuṇṭha, Mathurā, or Dvārakā, He gives sakhī-bhāva, or close friendship. Before, He did not watch us. We have many friends who do. But when He watches us, that is when He accepts us. Then, all our other friendships are finished.

Srila Bilvamangala Thakur ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Krsna Karnamrta”. Available from: rasik@kripa.tv )