na mayy āveśita-dhiyāṁ
kāmaḥ kāmāya kalpate
bharjitā kvathitā dhānāḥ
prāyo bījāya neśate

After taking sannyāsa, Caitanya Mahāprabhu came to Śrī Jagannātha Purī. In the Gauḍīya-sampradāya, sannyāsa means accepting gopī-bhāva and the shelter of the vraja-gopīs. Why then did Mahāprabhu not go to Vṛndāvana? This is an important question.

Most people think that Jagannātha Kṣetra is Dvārakā Purī or Vaikuṇṭha. This same Jagannātha Purī (Jagannātha Kṣetra) is known as Nīlāñcala or Nīlācala. Nīlā means blue, and the extra part of a sāḍī that women wear over their heads is known as āṅcala. Who is She whose āṅcala is blue? She is Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. Jagannātha has taken shelter under Rādhārānī’s blue āṅcala. This is the confidential purport of Jagannātha’s residence in Nīlācala.

Jagannātha left Dvārakā and His 16,108 queens, thinking, “I will go to Nīlācala. I will seek refuge under Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s āṅcala. She will take care of Me. No one else takes care of me.”

Kṛṣṇa was not happy in Dvārakā. “My queens are always fighting and stealing everything I have.” He thought. “They each have ten sons and one daughter and each of those sons and daughters have ten sons of their own. None of them however, have a soft heart. They are all interested in their own opulence and comfort. They like Me and they respect  Me, but they are attached to their family.”

Then one day, Kṛṣṇa, along with Baladeva Prabhu and His sister Subhadrā-devī, heard Rohiṇī Mātā glorify the Vraja-devīs. The Vraja-devīs were always in Kṛṣṇa’s thoughts, but till now He had not received the chance to hear about them.

Rohiṇī Mātā was speaking vraja-kathā to Kṛṣṇa’s queens, her heart overflowing with love. “She is speaking about the Vraja-devīs?”
Kṛṣṇa thought. “I will also hear.” But when this kathā entered Kṛṣṇa’s ears His body melted. Baladeva Prabhu and Subhadrā, who were also listening with Kṛṣṇa from outside the room, also melted. They now wondered where to go.

“Where will I stay now?” Kṛṣṇa thought. “I cannot stay in Dvārakā anymore. Here no one has vraja-bhāva; nobody likes the Vraja-devīs. Everyone has health and wealth and they are proud of their opulence. They have no humility. They are selfish and have no service tendency.”

People who think they are great must consider what the real meaning of greatness is. If you serve everyone, you are great. If you have no service tendency then you cannot be called great. Then you are a stone or a mountain. Even mountains can be very helpful for others.
The Himālayas produce many herbs, medicines, and water that bring benefit to all beings. I may have collected what I think is a vast amount of good qualities and opulences, but if I do not help others then I am more useless than a huge lump of rock.

“I can’t stay here more,” Kṛṣṇa decided. His eyes, hands, legs, nose and ears, having drunk the powerful nectar of the Vrajavāsī’s glories, were swept away to Vṛndāvana. Now Kṛṣṇa had nothing. Hearing Rohiṇī Mātā words with His ears, His legs ran to Vṛndāvana. His nose went to smell the foot dust of the Vrajavāsīs and His hands went to serve them. Now He was left in Dvārakā with only His middle portion—a tree trunk-like structure.

Then Kṛṣṇa left Dvārakā and went to Nīlāṅcala. There is no disturbance or unhappiness there. Now He was not known as Dvārakādīṣa, Mathurādīṣa, nor Kṛṣṇa. If He kept these names, He would be found and brought back to Dvārakā. He was now Jagannātha.

Jagannātha desired to go to a place where He could perform austerity to call Rādhārānī. Once She came She could take care of Him and take Him back to Vṛndāvana.

With this as His purpose He left Dvārakā. But He did not go alone. Baladeva Prabhu said, “I am coming also. I too can stay here no longer.”

Subhadrā said, “I will not stay here alone. I will also come with You.” Thus, the two brothers and their sister came to Nīlāṅcala-dhāma.

Lakṣmī, Rukmiṇī or Satyabhāmā, did not go—only Jagannātha, Baladeva and Subhadrā.

Commonly, no one calls Jagannātha Purī “Dvārakā Purī”. It is renowned as Nīlācala. It is the place of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s shelter. Śrīmatī has covered that area with her own āṅcala. Anyone who comes has a chance to receive gopī-bhāva and vraja-bhāva.

Another name for Jagannātha Purī is Kṣetra-maṇḍala. Kṣetra means field or farmland. What is it that grows on this farmland?

nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalaṁ
śuka-mukhād amṛta-drava-saṁyutam
pibata bhāgavataṁ rasam ālayaṁ
muhur aho rasikā bhuvi bhāvukāḥ

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.1.3

O expert and thoughtful men, just drink the nectar of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of the Vedas. Although this nectarean fruit was already relishable by all souls, it has become even more tasteful, having come from the lips of Śukadeva Gosvāmī.

The harvest of Kṣetra-maṇḍala is rasa. It is for this reason that Caitanya Mahāprabhu came to Jagannātha Purī after taking sannyāsa.

Mahāprabhu called to His dear associates, “He Rāmānanda Rāya! He Svarūpa Dāmodara! He Haridāsa Ṭhākura! He Gadādhara Paṇḍa! Do not go here and there. Come with me to this special place.”

He gathered these great personalities and gave them each a kuñja-kuṭīra to stay in. Mahāprabhu Himself stayed in the Gambhīrā at Kāśī Miśra’s home. Haridāsa Ṭhākura stayed at Siddha Bakula, and Gadādhara Paṇḍa stayed at Ṭoṭā Gopinātha. Rāmānanda Rāya, Svarūpa Dāmodara and the rest, all stayed in their different places in Jagannātha Purī.

Practice the activities of bhakti in Jagannātha Purī, like waking early, attending maṅgala-āratī, bathing in the ocean and hearing hari-kathā—as Mahāprabhu did Himself— then gradually the heart will become a playing place of God and no longer a place of garbage and bacteria.

Caitanya-candra said that darśana of Jagannātha and attendance in His ārati, where fire is offered to His divine form, will cause the fire of material desire that is present in the conditioned soul to go out. That fire of ārati will purify the heart and make it a pure area. What will fill that area? Mahāprabhu explains that this purified condition, coupled with the chanting of the mahā-mantra in entreaty to Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, will bring about Her bestowal of mercy and the appearance of nitya-līlā in the heart.

Then one can go to Vṛndāvana. Before this the jīva is raw and unable to be of any service in Vṛndāvana. It is necessary to first make the heart a pure center for Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s play. If we are properly trained, then we can offer our service, otherwise there will be a problem. If a person wants to work for a large company but has no qualification, then how will this be possible?

Therefore, Caitanya Mahāprabhu referred to Jagannātha Purī as a training center. Without going to Jagannātha Purī, realization cannot be attained.

Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura appeared in Jagannātha Purī, and Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura started his mission from here. All of our ācāryas after them following in their line have also spent time there.

Before, Śrīla Gurudeva would visit Purī and stay for two or three months at a time. Often he was joined by my Guru Mahārāja—Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Aṣṭottaraśata Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja and Oṁ Viṣṇupada Aṣṭottaraśata Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Trivikrama Gosvāmī Mahārāja. Pūjyapāda Bhaktikumuda Santa Gosvāmī Mahārāja, Pūjyapāda Bhaktipramoda Purī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, Pūjyapāda Bhaktidayita Mādhava Gosvāmī Mahārāja and other gauḍīya-ācāryas have a nice center in Jagannātha Purī. They know the importance of this dhāma.

Without hearing from and receiving guidance of an ācārya, no one can understand the glories of Jagannātha Purī. The dhāma is not a place for sense enjoyment. To obtain the real fruit of residing in the dhāma, austerity is necessary. Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī is the example of this. He stayed in Jagannātha Purī, taking the old rice from the drain of the Jagannātha temple. He would wash it, eat it with great faith and in this way maintain his life. After this he was given a place at Rādhā-kuṇḍa by Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He is an eternal associate of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and present in Their eternal pastimes, but for the benefit of all the jīvas he performed exemplary sādhana in Jagannātha Purī.

One time, Mahāprabhu disappeared from the Gambhīrā and the house of Kāśī Miśra. Seven gates separated Mahāprabhu and the outside of the house. Govinda Prabhu was sleeping in the small entrance to the Gambhīrā but somehow the Lord passed by without being noticed.

No one could find Him. Weeping in separation, Rāmānanda Rāya, Svarūpa Dāmodara and other devotees searched for Him everywhere. They went to all surrounding temples. They looked in the Guṇḍīcā Temple, at Candana-sarovara, on the bank of the ocean and at Svarga-dvāra but still could not find Him. They finally came to Cakra-tīrtha, where our Śrīla Gurudeva’s Jayaśrī Dāmodara Gauḍīya-maṭha stands today. There they met a fisherman who was shivering and running about shouting loudly. Svarūpa Dāmodara asked the fisherman, “What is the problem?”

“Don’t go that way,” said the fisherman, pointing a short distance down the beach.

“There is a ghost there. He haunts me!”

“You have been possessed by a ghost?” Svarūpa Dāmodara asked.

“Yes, a very big ghost.”

“What exactly happened?”

“I was fishing and then the ghost came in my net. It had an indiscernible body. It looked almost like a jellyfish. Alas! I touched the ghost and now I am so disturbed. He has entered inside me and now I can’t stop saying ‘Hari, Hari!’ ”

Svarūpa Dāmodara understood who the fisherman had really caught. “Don’t worry,” he said to the fisherman, “I know a process that will send the ghost from your body.” Then Svarūpa Dāmodara gave the fisherman a strong slap on each cheek, followed by two more.

“The ghost has left your body,” Svarūpa Dāmodara said. “Now, tell me where you found him.”

“No, no. I will not go back there. He will catch me again. If you walk a little down the beach you will see my net. He is still there.”

When the devotees found Mahāprabhu they gathered around Him in great worry. A piece of cotton was held to His nose but no sign of breath could be seen. Then they started loud nāma-saṅkīrtana. This caused the Lord to wake and jump high into the air in ecstasy.

Now back in external consciousness, Mahāprabhu said, “O Svarūpa Dāmodara, why did you bring Me back? I was in Vṛndāvana, playing in the waters of the Yamunā. Why did you take Me away from there? Such a sweet song was coming from Kṛṣṇa’s flute and He was playing with us. Oh, I have long heard of that sweetness, but never realized it until today. But now you have brought Me back. You are very cruel.”

Jagannātha Purī is no ordinary place. Those that go to Jagannātha Purī for sense gratification will soon be distanced from the dhāma by millions of kilometers. The pandas there are known to beat those with bad desires.

Looking at Jagannātha Purī with mundane eyes, a person will see hotels, movie theaters, fish markets and restaurants that serve garlic, onions, and meat. The Jagannātha Temple is covered with stone figures of naked men and women in various erotic poses. Seeing these images could bewilder the mind of even the most sober. Entering the Temple is dangerous for this reason. But the conception and vision of the Gauḍīya-vaiṣṇavas differs from the mass of materialistic people. The Gauḍīya-vaiṣṇavas see through the eyes of scripture. Their vision is guided by the knowledge received from the Guru-varga. Therefore, they do not even notice the external display.

The Supreme Lord left eternal Vṛndāvana and came to Navadvīpa-dhāma. There He performed His bāla-līlā, and tasted vātsalya-rasa. He tasted all the rasas there in full with the exception of śṛīngāra-rasa. He tried to understand it but He could not satisfy His desire fully. Later, He tried to go Vṛndāvana, but this was not possible. He then came to Jagannātha Purī, and it was there where He not only realized and tasted śṛīngāra-rasa, but also distributed it. What Mahāprabhu experienced in Purī-dhāma expanded and spread throughout the world.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja established the festival of Ratha-yātrā all around the world. He made a large statue of Mahāprabhu which proceeded in front of Jagannātha’s chariot. In this grand festival, Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja performed kīrtana and danced on the street, surrounded by his loving disciples.

Who is his Jagannātha? He is described as premamaya-kalevara, the form of love. Unable to tolerate the separation from the Vrajavāsīs, He left Dvārakā. He took sannyāsa in an endeavor to please the gopīs. The gopīs themselves left everything for Him. Kṛṣṇa said to them:

na pāraye ‘haṁ niravadya-saṁyujāṁ
sva-sādhu-kṛtyaṁ vibudhāyuṣāpi vaḥ
yā mābhajan durjara-geha-śṛṅkhalāḥ
saṁvṛścya tad vaḥ pratiyātu sādhunā

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.32.22

Jagannātha thought, “The Vraja-devīs have done this for Me. Let Me try to do it for them.” Then He practiced. Where did He practice? Leaving all the opulence of Dvārakā, He went to Kṣetra-maṇḍala, Nīlācala-dhāma. He became a sannyāsī on the bank of the ocean.

Jagannātha has a group of sevakas known as the dayita-patis. The dayitas are Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s party. They perform all of Jagannātha’s service for one month during the time of Ratha-yātrā.

Do not think that Jagannātha-dhāma is Dvārakā or Vaikuṇṭha-puram. The place of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu cannot be Vaikuṇṭha. He never goes to Vaikuṇṭha. The Gauḍīya-vaiṣṇavas never go to Dvārakā or Vaikuṇṭha, and even if they did, they would bring Vṛndāvana there with them.

This is not a surprising power for a Vrajavāsī. We see that Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja went to the Western countries and opened branch offices of Vṛndāvana, in which service to Rādhā-Mādhava is taught.

Śrīla Gurudeva mercifully manifested a place for his followers in Jagannātha Purī-dhāma. Human life is short. The soul however, is not material, like the body. For achieving realization of the soul’s eternal svarūpa, Kṣetra-maṇḍala is ideal. Kṣetra-maṇḍala is that place where the seed of one’s svarūpa can sprout and grow and is revealed.

Coming to Jagannātha Purī and practicing under the guidance of Mahāprabhu and His associates will definitely bring about supreme benefit in the life of a sādhaka. Serve with the conviction that, “I am not serving anyone else—only Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and Mahāprabhu’s associates.” If everything you do, from A to Z, is with this understanding, and if while you are cleaning, cooking, or performing other temple services you maintain this mood, then by that connection the plant of the soul will be watered and self-realization will come to you very soon.

How can we understand the meaning of the Snāna-yātrā festival? We must follow Śrīman Mahāprabhu, our Guru-varga, Guru-pāda-padma, and the rasika Vaiṣṇavas. Whatever we receive of their mercy is our wealth in life and gives us a chance for spiritual realization.

Śrīla Gurudeva explained many times how Caitanya Mahāprabhu met with Rāmānanda Rāya at the Godāvarī. Mahāprabhu asked, “If Kṛṣṇa’s love for Śrīmatī Rādhārānī was supreme above His love for all others, why would He not take Rādhārānī away from all the other gopīs in front of them?”

Śrīmatī Rādhārānī Herself disappeared first from the Rāsa dance. Kṛṣṇa and all the Vraja-devīs were present, but Rādhārānī disappeared. Seeing that Rādhārānī was not there, Kṛṣṇa thought what to do. He was suffering so much in separation from Her. Then Kṛṣṇa left the Rāsa dance. The gopīs all suffered, feeling separation when Kṛṣṇa disappeared from the Rāsa dance. But Kṛṣṇa left all the gopīs without any difficulty, because of His pangs of separation from Śrīmatī Rādhārānī.

Without His śakti, Kṛṣṇa is alone, Parabrahma, suffering. He thought, “Where is She?” He searched for Her but could not find Her. He then thought to play on His flute, thinking, “She will hear My pain expressed through My flute and will then be kind and give Me darśana.” He tried to play on His flute, but He had no strength. Without rādhā-śakti, He was powerless. He was thinking, “Rādhe, Rādhe, Rādhe,” and He achieved Her mood and began chanting, “Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa.” This is Mahāprabhu. Antar kṛṣṇa bahir gaura—at every moment, Kṛṣṇa was thinking and chanting Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s names, and then He received Her mood and began chanting as She does, “Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa.”

Kṛṣṇa is always chanting and thinking of the glories of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. He then melts in separation. His eyelids no longer work. He has no śakti anymore in His eyelids, and His flute falls from His hands. His eyes expand and are fixed wide open, looking for Rādhārānī, and thinking, “How can I meet Her? What is My fault? How will She forgive Me?” Kṛṣṇa then assumes the form of Lord Jagannātha. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura sings:

śata koṭi gopī mādhava māna rakhite nārilo kori jatana
venu-gīte ḍāke rādhikā nāma, “eṣo, eṣo, rādhe!” ḍākaye syāma

On one side there were hundreds of millions of gopīs, but without Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, the Rāsa was immediately broken. Bhāṅgiyā śrī rāsa-maṇḍala-tabe—the rāsa-maṇḍala broken, Kṛṣṇa went searching, thinking only, “Where is Rādhārānī?”

In Dvārakā-purī, the queens asked Mother Rohiṇī, “How much power and attraction does Śrīmatī Rādhārānī have? Please explain a little bit about the power of Her love. Day and night Kṛṣṇa cries and chants, ‘Rādhe, Rādhe.’ Seeing anyone wearing a bluish sārī or anything that reminds Him of Her, He weeps and calls out to Rādhārānī.”

Rohiṇī Mātā began to speak the glories of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. In the morning, how does She serve? She bathes Kṛṣṇa. How? Don’t think abhiṣeka is just bathing with water. By the divine shower of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s love and affection, Kṛṣṇa is cooled, happy, satisfied, and pleased within and without. What does Śrīmatī Rādhārānī give? Kāruṇyāmṛta-dhārā-snāna. This is the first bath. This is the shower of mercy. Mercy and blessings are not the only kāruṇya. Kāruṇya is praṇaya. Love. Prema is not only one thing. Prema has many gradations. There is sneha, māna, praṇaya. This praṇaya is gāḍhā-anurāga, very deep love. In the early morning Śrīmatī Rādhārānī bathes Kṛṣṇa with kāruṇyāmṛta-snāna.

Śrīmatī Rādhārānī prepares in advance many clay pots full of special water for Kṛṣṇa’s bath. At night, Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and the mañjarīs collect mist by giving cotton cloths on top of the grass in the fields of Vraja and when they become wet, they squeeze out the water into clay pots. They also collect water from rainfall as well as from waterfalls and from flowers. They collect all kinds of herbs and soak these in water for Kṛṣṇa’s health. They think about Kṛṣṇa’s welfare 24 hours of the day. The gopīs take thin plates of gold, cut them into small pieces, then wrap them in special leaves, put this inside small clay pots, which are put inside other clay pots and then put them like this in cow dung coals overnight. The coals of cow dung burn very hot. In the morning, the gold is extracted from the burnt clay pots, and then again, for seven days, the same process is followed, until, finally, the gold is turned to fine ash and is taken out from the parcel wrapped around it. This gold ash is used for many internal medicinal purposes, as well as for smearing on the body. A similar process is used for making medicine from silver, pearls, and gemstones. Śrīmatī Rādhārānī uses gold, silver, pearls, and jewels and with these makes a drink for Kṛṣṇa. She mixes them with pure ghee, pure honey, and gives it for Kṛṣṇa to eat, and also smears it on His body. After washing Kṛṣṇa’s body, She smears candana on His body. This all goes on His body and makes Him heat and cold proof.

Nowadays, because of only eating chemicals, people are sick. Few people take such medicines and pure cow milk. The Vrajavāsīs all take this. In real cow milk, the qualities of gold are present. This is very healthy, but people do not take. In India, kings and big gurus take the ash of gold, pearls, and gemstones, and this enables them to do heavy brainwork.

The Vraja-devīs have unparalleled love, thus they do all these services. They smear the gold ash on Kṛṣṇa’s body before bathing Him. They also paste candana and camphor and place it in water. They take petals of roses, beli, mallika, gandharāja, rajni-gandhā, campā and other flowers, and keep them in a cloth tied on top of clay pots overnight, and the fragrance of the flowers enters the water.

Wherever Śrīmatī Rādhārānī looks, She empowers whatever She sees with the mood and tendency to serve Kṛṣṇa. Jāhā Jāhā netra paḍe tāhā kṛṣṇa sphure. Whatever She sees, She wants to engage in Kṛṣṇa’s service. Śrīmatī looks to see who among Her maidservants have perfect understanding and ability to serve Kṛṣṇa. Śrīmatī Rādhārānī feels so much humility and says to the mañjarīs, “You can serve Kṛṣṇa better than Me. You know more than Me.” Her kāruṇya-śakti sends them forward to serve. She tells the mañjarīs, “Your hands are very soft, your eyes are very beautiful, your bodies are very fragrant. Go forward and serve Kṛṣṇa.”

Those who have no connection to nitya-līlā, how can they serve? Kāruṇyāmṛta-dhārā-snāna is not only a bath. Śrīmatī Rādhārānī arranges everything in Nanda-bhavana for Kṛṣṇa’s happiness. Before Kṛṣṇa comes out of His room, She makes everything very nice, fragrant, and everyone is smiling and joyful when Kṛṣṇa comes and gives darśana.

When Śrīla Gurudeva goes somewhere for a hari-kathā festival, when he arrives, if someone is crying over some trivial matter, others are fighting, and some not paying attention and distracted doing other activities, then Gurudeva will not be pleased. So Śrīmatī Rādhārānī makes everyone very happy, enthusiastic, and ready to please Kṛṣṇa. All the birds, animals, the atmosphere, weather, all Vrajavāsīs, everyone, A to Z is prepared to please Kṛṣṇa. This is kāruṇyāmṛta-dhārā-snāna. This is the first bath. If you come from far away to a place, and everyone is waiting for you, and someone gives you sweets, another gives fruits, and another flowers, and another embraces you with affection, then how pleased you will be! When Kṛṣṇa wakes and comes out of His room, then the sakhās rush to embrace Him. “O Kṛṣṇa!” they say. The peacocks surround Kṛṣṇa and dance and offer their feathers. The gopīs shower Kṛṣṇa with their loving sidelong glances. This is kāruṇyāmṛta-dhārā-snāna.

Śrīla Gurudeva would explain this and weep. This is possible to see in samādhi, by meditating on aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā. This is possible to achieve by Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s shower of mercy, kāruṇyāmṛta-dhārā-snāna.

Kavirāja Gosvāmī describes Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s three types of abhiṣeka: kāruṇyāmṛta-dhārā, tāruṇyāmṛta-dhārā, and lavanyāmṛta-dhārā. Just water is not sufficient for abhiṣeka, nor is honey, sugar, milk, and yogurt. When you understand this properly, you can understand what pañcamṛta-abhiṣeka is.

Śrīmatī Rādhārānī is walking from Yavata to Nandagaon. She is thinking of Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa is thinking of Her. A light mist is falling from the sky. Flowers are blossoming, the grass is soft, and honey drips from the branches of the trees, lining the pathway to Nandagaon. The mañjarīs spread rose and lotus petals on the pathway.

Śrīmatī arrives in Nanda-bhavana and makes rangoli decorations on the ground around the house. In His room, Kṛṣṇa opens His eyes, stretches, and comes into the courtyard of Nanda-bhavana. He looks and checks everyone’s moods. The sakhās rush to embrace Him; the sakhīs shower Him with their sidelong glances. Parrots, cuckoos, and peacocks sing in their language of the glorious love of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. How is the weather?

Jayadeva Kavi describes this in Gīta-govinda: dhīra-samīre yamunā-tīre vasati-vane-vanamalī. The breeze is gently, sweetly, softly flowing. Why? The air is intoxicated. From what? Rati-sukha-sāre gatam abhisāre madana-manohara-veśam. He sees Kṛṣṇa in His madana-manohara-veśam and becomes intoxicated. Kṛṣṇa’s face has many signs from kuṁkum and kastūrī. Why? He kisses Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s feet. Why? Before leaving the kuñja during niśānta-līlā, Kṛṣṇa prays to Śrīmatī, “I wish to meet You again and again? Will You allow Me to have Your darśana tonight?” He prays to Her and holds on to Her feet and kisses them. Then the sign of kuṁkum comes on His face. Smara-garala-khaṇḍanaṁ mama śirasi maṇḍanaṁ dehi pada-pallavam-udāraṁ.

This is kāruṇyāmṛta-dhārā. Who explains this? Rohiṇī Mātā explains this to the queens. However, they cannot all digest this. Not everyone can drink vraja-rasa. Some of the queens are sleeping or nodding off and others are feeling so much jealousy. But Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva run there from the assembly hall, the Sudharma-sabhā.

Subhadrā-devī had said, “I will guard the door and stop Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva from coming inside, because if They hear this, They will immediately leave to Vraja.”

Subhadrā-devī was standing there on guard when Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva arrived there at a run. At the start of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s name, then the kāruṇyāmṛta-dhārā began to flow and Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva ran there.
Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva begged Subhadrā, “Please let us pass and go inside.”

“You cannot enter.”

“Please, please, please.”

Kṛṣṇa has the habit of washing everyone’s feet. At the time of the Rajasūya-yajña, He held and washed everyone’s feet, and in Vraja-maṇḍala, He held the gopīs’ feet and would wash them with His tears. He would also wash Nanda Bābā’s feet. So now, Kṛṣṇa bathed Subhadrā’s feet with His tears and prayed for entrance into the queens’ quarters were Rohiṇī Mātā was speaking vraja-kathā.

When she did not let them pass, Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva said, “We will hear from here.”

Kṛṣṇa was standing on one side, Baladeva on the other side, and Subhadrā was in the middle.

Snāna-yātrā is the appearance day of Jagannātha, Baladeva, and Subhadrā in this form. As they heard this vraja-kathā, and the glories of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s love, They melted in separation and became manifest to the world in the form of Dāru-vigraha (wooden deity).

The queens heard this vraja-kathā from Rohiṇī Mātā. How does she know of this? Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva are like sons to her. She has vātsalya-rasa. Still, she knows of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes with the gopīs. She helps Dhaniṣṭhā and Kundalatā to arrange the meetings of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Līlā-śakti arranged for her to act as a helper and guardian for Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes. Yaśodā Mātā doesn’t know of the intimate pastimes of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, she only thinks of Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva as innocent little boys. But Rohiṇī Mātā knows something. She thinks, “Kanhaiyā is always playing with the gopīs, but Dāū is a simple chubby boy who likes to eat as much as He can.” Sometimes Rohiṇī Mātā will help Kṛṣṇa leave Nanda-bhavana without being detected. She will open the locked gate at night for Him and will whisper, “Come, go quickly!”

She knows of the mañjarī’s sevā. Kṛṣṇa’s love is completely clean and pure. The mañjarīs and gopīs love is likewise completely clean and pure. In the morning, Kṛṣṇa bathes. This is not only with water, or honey, and butter. This is millions of times greater than honey or butter. Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s kāruṇya-śakti arranges everything. This is kāruṇyāmṛta-dhārā-snāna and is flowing until nine a.m.

After this, the tāruṇyāmṛta-dhārā begins to flow. Tāruṇyāmṛta is the nectar and blossoming of fresh youth. In the morning in Nandagaon, Kṛṣṇa is bound by vātsalya-rasa. Yaśodā Mātā feeds and lovingly serves Kṛṣṇa and keeps Him bound by Her vātsalya-sneha, maternal affection. From nine a.m., Kṛṣṇa is free. At that time there is freedom. Kṛṣṇa plays with the sakhās, animals, and calves in the forests, hills, rivers, and caves of Vraja. He secretly meets with the gopīs. The gopīs also don the costumes of sakhās and play with Kṛṣṇa and the boys in their forest gambols.
This is from nine to twelve. Kṛṣṇa freely meets with His friends during the go-cāraṇa festival in the forest.

When Kṛṣṇa is going to the forest, the sakhās play on bugles, buffalo horns, and other instruments. Kṛṣṇa plays on His flute and invites everyone, “I am coming! Come and join the fun!” This is the time of tāruṇyāmṛta, the blossoming of youth, or the kiśora age. How sweet this is!

In Gīta-govinda, Jayadeva Gosvāmī sings: śrita-kamalā-kuca-maṇḍala dhṛta-kuṇḍala e. Kṛṣṇa is wearing kuṇḍala, earrings, and many flower ornaments, a turban, with a peacock feather, and a vaijayantī-mālā. There are eight kinds of flowers of different colors in His garland, signifying the eight prominent sakhīs. His kuṇḍalas are made of many small delicate flowers. Lasat-kuṇḍalam gokule vrajamānam. Kṛṣṇa wanders through Vraja wearing earrings made of many flowers that swing on His cheeks and kiss them. These flowers are forms of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, Lalitā, Viśākhā, Rūpa Mañjarī, Rati Mañjarī, and other gopīs. The small flowers in Kṛṣṇa’s earrings are all the gopīs in one form kissing Kṛṣṇa’s cheeks. This is tāruṇyāmṛta-dhārā. The gopīs are directly present there.

Tāruni-amṛta becomes tāruṇyāmṛta. A tāruni is a very attractive maiden in fresh youth. Rūpa Gosvāmī describes how all the beautiful maidens in Vraja glorify Śrīmatī Rādhārānī: gokula tāruni maṇḍala mahite. So, at the time of tāruṇyāmṛta-dhārā-snāna, Kṛṣṇa is bathed with the nectar of the love and affection of all the tārunis combined. The tārunis give nectar to Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa drinks and showers in this nectar. This is called tāruṇyāmṛta-dhārā-snāna. Tāruni is singular and tāruṇyā is plural. So when there are many tārunis or kiśorīs together giving the nectar of their love to Kṛṣṇa by kissing and embracing Him, then this is called tāruṇyāmṛta-dhārā-snāna. How is this? Kṛṣṇa’s body is decorated with so many ornaments made of flowers and these are all tārunis hiding in the form of flowers.
Also, the gopīs take the forms of candana, kuṁkum, pasted minerals, and all this is smeared on Kṛṣṇa’s body. In this way, the gopīs embrace Kṛṣṇa and shower Him in the nectar of tāruṇyāmṛta-dhārā. The gopīs are thus always present with Kṛṣṇa in a hidden form. They are therefore known as the gopīs, or those who act confidentially.

At the start of madhyānikalīlā, Kṛṣṇa proceeds alone to Rādhā-kuṇḍa. Kṛṣṇa is on the south side of Rādhā-kuṇḍa and Śrīmatī is in the north, in the kuñja-kuṭīra. The breeze touches Rādhārānī’s shawl and flows to where Kṛṣṇa is and touches Kṛṣṇa.

yasya kadāpi vasanāñcala-khelanottha-
dhanyāti-dhanya-pavanena kṛtārtha-māni
yogīdra-durgama-gatir madhusūdano ’pi
tasya namo ’stu vṛṣabhānu-bhuvo diśe ’pi

Śrī Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi 2

Kṛṣṇa says, “Oh! I am lucky, today the fragrance of Rādhārānī has touched Me, coming from Her shawl.”

yo brahma-rudra-śuka-nārada-bhīṣma-mukhyair
ālakṣito na sahasā puruṣasya tasya
sadyo vaśī-karaṇa-cūrṇam ananta-śaktiṁ
taṁ rādhikā-caraṇa-renum anusmarāmi

Śrī Rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi 4

Brahmā, Nārada, Śuka, Bhīṣma, and Prahlāda all wait and pray for Rādhārānī’s mercy. Kṛṣṇa is now Naṭavara-Nanda-kiśora, and Śrīmatī is giving Him tāruṇyāmṛta-dhārā-snāna. If someone has love for another person in this world, simply by hearing the beloved’s name or seeing a picture of the beloved, he becomes happy. When Kṛṣṇa goes to the forest, He sees pictures of Rādhārānī in all the flowers and leaves of the trees and He hears Her name in all the sounds of the forest. As He passes under the trees, honey drips on His head, flower blossoms shower around Him and ripe fruits fall and offer themselves to Him. All the fruits and flowers in the forest want to touch, embrace, and kiss Kṛṣṇa. This is tāruṇyāmṛta-dhārā-snāna.

If you only drink water, this goes inside of your mouth. But when you bathe, then all the water comes and embraces you on all sides. Your whole body becomes wet. This is tāruṇyāmṛta-dhārā-snāna. Kṛṣṇa’s whole body is served in this way. In the mundane world, when people hear this, it reminds them of their own amorous affairs. However, for those who hear with sincerity and faith, they are purified of all material contaminations. By hearing Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, one transcends the influence of māyā.
Kṛṣṇa said:

na mayy āveśita-dhiyāṁ
kāmaḥ kāmāya kalpate
bharjitā kvathitā dhānāḥ
prāyo bījāya neśate

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.22.26

The desire of those who fix their minds on Me does not lead to material desire for sense gratification, just as barleycorns burned by the sun and then cooked can no longer grow into new sprouts.

Hearing these pastimes of Kṛṣṇa burns one’s saṁsāravāsanā. These desires may still be present for some time, but they cannot sprout or activate. The desires become like seeds that have been roasted and can no longer sprout.

vikrīḍitaṁ vraja-vadhūbhir idaṁ ca viṣṇoḥ
śraddhānvito ‘nuśṛṇuyād atha varṇayed yaḥ
bhaktiṁ parāṁ bhagavati pratilabhya kāmaṁ
hṛd-rogam āśv apahinoty acireṇa dhīraḥ

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.33.39

The tāruṇyāmṛta-dhārā-snāna is very deep and special. This is explained in sūtra form in Rāya-ramānanda-saṁvāda and Govinda-līlāmṛta.

Now Rohiṇī Mātā is speaking hari-kathā but most of the queens are not hearing. They have jealousy when hearing vraja-kathā. But Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva and Subhadrā are melting. Their eyelids become fixed open, looking towards Vraja-maṇḍala. Kṛṣṇa looks forward and sees as if the Vrajavāsīs are directly in front of Him. Baladeva Prabhu returned and stayed for six months in Vraja-maṇḍala after Kṛṣṇa and He had gone to Mathurā. He stayed for two months with the gopīs and experienced their moods of separation. Now, away from Vraja, He also feels so much separation, like Kṛṣṇa. Subhadrā-devī is in the middle. She became surprised, thinking, “I came here to Dvārakā from Vraja to help Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva by the desire of Rādhārānī, but now why am I supporting the Dvārakāvāsīs? How can I ever forget Vraja?”

Subhadrā is yogamāyā-śakti. But she forgot about Vraja by the aiśvarya of Dvārakā. However, when she heard this kathā from Rohiṇī Mātā, then she felt so much powerful separation. Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva’s arms were lost to Their elbows, having melted in separation, but she completely lost her arms and legs and became like a wooden trunk.

When you hear this hari-kathā from rasika-praṇayi-bhaktas, then you can understand something of vraja-rasa. When you attain realization, you will become like Jagannātha, Baladeva, and Subhadrā. Then you will have no material legs and hands and you will no longer fight, struggle, or run to enjoy in this world. The only enjoyment you will want is to serve the Vraja-devīs and Kṛṣṇa under their guidance. You will always think, “How will I serve? My body and senses take me far away from service, but how will I be permanently serving in Vraja?” The rasika-bhaktas desire to be in Vraja eternally. They lament, “Because of my material senses, everyone wants to steal and enjoy me, but when I will have nothing, then I can become like Jagannātha, like śālagrāma.”

Jagannātha is present as śālagrāma in Rādhārānī’s heart. Rādhārānī’s heart has place for śālagrāma, Kṛṣṇa. He never leaves Her heart. She sees, “Śālagrāma is hiding in My heart. He has come in a hidden way into My heart and never wants to leave.”

When an infant becomes afraid it runs and hides under the cloth of its mother. Kṛṣṇa could not tolerate the viraha of separation from Śrīmatī and He then ran and hid under Her nīlā-āṅcala and entered the kuñja of Her heart. He was suffering like an infant separated from the only one it knows, its mother, and thus He ran and hid in the form of śālagrāma, like a small child, under the shawl of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, saying, “I cannot tolerate separation from You, please do not leave Me.” When Kṛṣṇa runs and hides under Rādhārānī’s nīlaāṅcala, blue shawl, He then becomes known as Jagannātha, the Lord of the Universe, who resides in Nīlācala-dhāma.

The Vrajavāsīs can somewhat tolerate their separation from Kṛṣṇa, because they have each other to console them and speak about Kṛṣṇa. But how can Kṛṣṇa tolerate this separation? Who is there for Him? Therefore Kṛṣṇa, Baladeva, and Subhadrā melt in the love of separation. Their Divine Forms are non-different from their ātmās, therefore, when the ātmā experiences these bhāvas, such as viraha, then the form also changes its features. Similarly, Śrīmatī Rādhārānī became manifest as Prema-sarovara when She wept in separation from Kṛṣṇa.

One of Kṛṣṇa’s forms as rasarāja-mahābhāva is Jagannātha. When His love reaches such a high state, then everything becomes dravibhuta, liquefied. Without entering vipralambha-bhāva, we cannot understand how much pain there is in viraha.

Therefore, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura prays—govinda viraha prāṇa nahī rahi, parāṇa chaḍite āra dina dui carī—I cannot live without Govinda. I am unable to maintain my life airs, and I will give them up at any moment.

Nimeśe hoile yugera samānaevery moment of separation from Kṛṣṇa seems like an age. This separation is very difficult to tolerate. Feeling this separation, Kṛṣṇa melts from the overwhelming deluge of divine love and becomes Jagannātha. In this way, He shows the glory and specialty of the highest love He shares with Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. This is His svarūpavaiśiṣtya—the specialty of this form of Jagannātha. This is tāruṇyāmṛtasnāna. When Kṛṣṇa showers in the love and affection of all the tārunis of Vraja He then becomes dravibhuta, or melted, and shows the specialty of this love to everyone.

After tāruṇyāmṛta-dhārā-snāna comes lavanyāmṛta-dhārāsnāna. Now Śrīmatī Rādhārānī is singing. In Jayadeva Kavi’s poetry we receive a glimpse of this lavanyāmṛta-dhārā-snāna in songs like, “lalita-lavaṅga-latā” and “rati-sukha-sāre.”

Hearing these songs, Jagannātha left the temple sanctum and ran into the jungle where brambles ripped His silken cloth. Similarly, Mahāprabhu heard a Deva-dasī singing Gīta-govinda and ran towards the sound. With great difficulty, His sevaka Govinda Prabhu stopped Mahāprabhu and protected Him.

The sweet nectar in singing is lavanyāmṛta-dhārā. Kṛṣṇa floats in the flood of this nectar. When the hearts of the Vraja-devīs’ melt, then their moods inside come out like a flood of song. Kṛṣṇa swims and floats in this flood. This is lavanyāmṛta-dhārāsnāna. This lavanyāmṛta-dhārā-snāna is present in Veṇu-gīta, Gopī-gīta, Praṇaya-gīta, Brahmāra-gīta, and the songs of Jayadeva, Vidyāpati, Caṇḍīdāsa, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, Śrīla Bhaktinoda Ṭhākura, and in songs like:

elo gaura rasa nadī kadambini haye
bhaṣailo gauḍa-deśa prema-vṛṣti diye

Śrīmatī Rādhārānī and the mañjarīs sing and express their love in the form of song, and Kṛṣṇa showers in this flood of nectar. Ordinary people cannot serve Kṛṣṇa like this. This service of lavanyāmṛta-dhārā-snāna is performed by the gopīs. Kṛṣṇa then cannot escape this flood. For even a moment, Kṛṣṇa therefore cannot leave Vraja. After entering and drowning in that rasa ocean of lavanyāmṛta-dhārā, there is no border or shore. One who has entered that ocean of rasa can never come out. Therefore Kṛṣṇa melted and drowned in this ocean. At that time, Śrīmatī Rādhikā and Kṛṣṇa became like one, and expressed Their feelings in the verse:

nā so ramaṇa, nā hāma ramaṇī
duhu-mana manobhava peṣala jāni’

e sakhi, se-saba prema-kāhinī
kānu-ṭhāme kahabi vichurala jāni’

nā khojalu dūtī, nā khojalu ān
duhukeri milane madhya ta pāṅca-bāṇa

ab sohi virāga, tuhu bheli dūtī
su-purukha-premaki aichana rīti

Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.194

This is viraha-vidura Jagannātha. Hearing this kathā, Mahāprabhu manifested His form as Rasarāja-mahābhāva.

rādhā kṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtir hlādinī śaktir asmād
ekātmānāv api bhuvi purā deha-bhedaṁ gatau tau
caitanyākhyaṁ prakaṭam adhunā tad-dvayaṁ caikyam āptaṁ
rādhā-bhāva-dyuti-suvalitaṁ naumi kṛṣṇa-svarūpam

Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Adi-līlā 1.5

The loving affairs of Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are transcendental manifestations of the Lord’s internal pleasure-giving potency. Although Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are one in Their identity, previously They separated Themselves. Now these two transcendental identities have again united, in the form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa-Caitanya. I bow down to Him, who has manifested Himself with the sentiment and complexion of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī although He is Kṛṣṇa Himself. 

In the Gambhīrā, Mahāprabhu became so absorbed in these moods while hearing the songs of Caṇḍīdāsa, Vidyāpati, and Jayadeva Kavi, that He would scratch His face along the walls and would become covered in blood. Sometimes all His joints became separated and elongated and sometimes His body contracted and became like a tortoise.

On the day of Snāna-yātrā, Lord Jagannātha’s birthday, Jagannātha comes with Baladeva and Subhadrā and is bathed from the morning until afternoon by the dayita-patis (Jagannātha’s servants), who are manifestations of the Vraja-devīs and Vrajavāsīs. Jagannātha is then crying and waiting and praying, “When, how will I again be in Vraja-dhāma? When will the Vrajavāsīs, My dayitas (beloveds), take Me to Vraja.”

On the evening of Snāna-yātrā, Jagannātha and His siblings are dressed as elephants, showing that They are now restless to go to Vraja and will not let anything stand in Their way. Jagannātha appears like a maddened elephant, ready to charge to Vraja and not let anyone hold Him back or stand in His way. Thus, one of the times Kṛṣṇa appears as Jagannātha is when He hears Rohiṇī Mātā describing vraja-kathā, and another is when Śrīmatī disappears and He experiences separation from Her. Śrīmatī sometimes disappears in māna and then Kṛṣṇa laments. During separation from Her, Kṛṣṇa is Jagannātha. He loses His hands, legs, and eyelids. Without Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s mercy, darśana, and touch, He cannot feel whole. Sometimes He becomes so absorbed in thoughts of Rādhārānī that He assumes Her mood and complexion and begins to chant, “Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa.” Then Param Gurudeva sings:

rādhā-cintā-niveśena yasya kāntirvilopitā
śrī kṛṣṇa caraṇaṁ vande rādhāliṅgita vigraham

Kṛṣṇa loses His form in separation and takes on the form of Rādhā-Vinoda-Bihari. These topics can be understood by the mercy of Guru-pāda-padma and rasika Vaiṣṇavas.

Love and affection is everything. Kṛṣṇa is not controlled by anyone, but He is controlled by the love and affection of the gopīs. When Rādhārānī embraces Jagannātha Kṛṣṇa, then He becomes golden—rādhā-liṅgita-vigraha. And also, when completely absorbed in Rādhārānī in separation from Her, He assumes Her moods and becomes Rādhā-Vinoda-Bihari, golden complexioned. And then Jagannātha’s hands and legs are restored. At these times, Lord Jagannātha is dressed in sona-veśa, gold. He has golden hands and legs and a large golden flute. He is completely decorated with gold. In this way, He is embraced by Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s golden complexion and is līlā-puruṣottama Kṛṣṇa.

This is the deep meaning of Snāna-yātrā. I have tried to give some indication of Snāna-yātrā. If you chant 64 rounds daily, following the order of Mahāprabhu and instruction of Śrīla Gurudeva, then you can understand these topics. If you don’t chant 64 rounds a day, then you will float on the surface of Jagannātha Purī. You will only see khaja and gaja, and these things will be tasteful for you. But you will not be able to enter the aprākṛta-rasa. Therefore, you should chant harināma deeply, pray to Śrīla Gurudeva, and study the books of the Gosvāmīs.

Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from: )