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Description of Shri Goloka
1. O Shri Krishna, O Shri Krishna Chaitanya, O Lord accompanied by Shrila Rupa Goswami and Shrila Sanatana Goswami. O Lord attained by Shrila Gopal Bhatta Goswami and Shrila Raghunatha dasa Goswami, O Lord dear to the residents of Vraja, please protect me!
2. With a happy heart I have written this verse. Now I will explain it. With is that explanation? This verse means: Step by step I meditate on my worshipable Supreme Lord(istadeva), His devotees, and certain specific devotees. Yes. Yes. This verse has three meanings. I will begin by explaining the first meaning. This verse is in the anustup meter. The first word is prefaced by "Shri" (glorious). Although the other words are not prefaced by "Shri" , the "Shri" in the first word should be assumed to apply to the other words.
Explanation of the Mangalacarana
3. In this verse "Shri Krishna" means, "O greatest of all, O Lord named Shri Krishna." "Shri Krishna Chaitanya" means "O Lord glorious with all auspiciousness." "Sa-sanathana" means "accompanied by glorious Shri Sanatana Goswami". 'Rupaka" means "O great saint named Rupa Goswami, O great saint whose feet I place on my head." "Gopala" means, "O Shri Gopala Bhatta Goswami rich in learning and saintliness." "Raghunatha" means "O Raghunatha dasa Goswami". "Aptavraja" means "O devotee famous in Vraja for your great and perfect devotion, " or it may mean "Apta" means "O saint like an ornament decorating the ears of the devotees", or it may also mean "O leader of the devotees headed by Shri Bhugarbha Goswami." "Vallabha" means "O Shri Vallabha, O my saintly father of whose feet I take shelter." Or, "Raghunathapta-vraja-vallabha" may mean "O you who are dear to the followers of Shri Raghunatha." "Pahi mam" means "By giving me the shade of your lotus feet, please protect me."
4. Now I will explain the second meaning of this verse. In this verse the word "Shri" means "Radha". She is called Shri because She is the first of all goddesses of fortune, as will be proved later in this book. The word following "Shri" is "Krishna", which is the name of Nanda's son, the secret Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus the words "Shri-Krishna" mean "Krishna, who is accompanied by His internal potency named Radha." The derivation of the word Krishna is given in these words (Mahabharata, Udyoga-parva 71.4):
krsir bhu-vacakah sabdo
nas ca nirvrti-vacakah
tayor aikyam param brahma
krishna ity abhidhiyate
"The word 'krs' is the attractive feature of the Lord's existence, and 'na' means spiritual pleasure. When the verb 'krs' is added to the affix 'na', it become Krishna which indicates the Absolute Truth."
This verse indicates how the two syllables "krs" and "na" are joined to make the name Krishna. The word "bhu-vacakah" here refers to the way the verb "bhu" is thus changed into the noun "bhava"(being) by the agency of the kvip-pratyaya affix. As the verb "bhu" is thus changed to become "bhava" so the verb "krs" to attract becomes "akarsana" (attraction). Thus "krs" means "He who attracts the hearts of others." The words "tayor aikyam," mean "As two lovers join, so the two syllables "krs" and "na" (bliss) join. When united in this way they create the meaning "all-attractive bliss". " The words "param brahma" are explained in these famous words:
naraktri param brahma
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead has a humanlike form."
The two syllables "krs" and "na" thus combine to become the name of Nanda's son. The words "ity abhidhiyate" mean "the power of the word is thus revealed." The Lord's nature is also described in the name "Chaitanya", which means "all-pervading". The word "Rupaka" means "O Lord whose form is the shelter of all" or it may also mean "O Lord understood by the wise saints." The Lord's form is described in these words of Shri Gopala-tapani Upanisad:
"I offer my respectful obeisances to Lord Krishna, who rescues the devotees from all distress, and whose form is eternal and full of knowledge and bliss."
The Lord's form is also described in these words from Brahma's prayers in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.22):
tvayy eva nitya-sukha-bodha-tanav anante
"O Lord, Your body is eternal and full of bliss and knowledge"
The word "sa-sanatana-rupaka" means "O Lord on whose form the devotees always (sanatana) gaze (rupaka), O Lord who always appear before the devotees, O Lord who appear before the devotees whose only treasure is devotion for You they keep in their hearts." Among the words "gopala raghunathapta vraja-vallabha" the word "gopala raghunathapta" means "O Lord who are attained (apta) by the leaders (natha) of the small boys (raghu) that protect the cows (gopala)." The word "apta-vraja-vallabha" means "O Lord dear to the glorious cowherd people of Vraja." "Gopala-raghunatha" may also be interpreted to mean, "O Lord who are the master (natha) the gopas (gopala) worship and yearn to attain (raghu)." In the Amara-kosa Dictionary these definitions of the word "raghu" are given:
trisv iste ‘lpe laghuh
“The word ‘raghu’ may mean ‘three’, ‘desired’, ‘worshipped’, or ‘small’.”
Following these three different meanings one may accept many different interpretations of the vocative case word “gopala-raghunathapta.”
The word “apta-vraja-vallabha” may also be interpreted to mean “O Lord dear to Your multitude (vraja) of kinsmen (apta).” Implied in that interpretation is the thought, “O Lord, Your glory is never perceived by outsiders.”
5. Now I will explain the third meaning of this verse. In the word “Shri-Krishna” the word “Shri” means “Shri Radha, the best of the Lord’s beloveds”. “Krishna means “Krishna who enjoys charming pastimes with Her.” “Krishna-Chaitanya” means “O bhakta-avatara (the Lord’s incarnation as a devotee) named Krishna-Chaitanya” and “O same Supreme Personality of Godhead who descended to this world.” “Sa-sanatana-rupaka” means “O Lord who stays with Your two devotees Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Shrila Sanatan Gosvami.” “Gopala-raghunathapta” means “O lord attained by Your devotees Gopala Bhatta Gosvami and Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.” “Vraja-vallabha” means “O lord always dear to the residents of Vraja.” “Pahi mam” means “Please protect me.”
About This Book
6. Now that the mangalacarana is explained, the purpose of this book is explained in the following words. The nectar conclusions I collected in the book Krishna-sandarbha are now tasted by the tongue of the poet's intelligence.
7. I am the author of this poem. I am its heart. What I write the great souls will see is like a jewel set in gold.
8. This book is two campus, a first campu (purva) and a concluding campu (uttara). Each of these campus is divided in three parts. I pray the saintly devotees may, as they wish, place their intelligence on these campus.
9. I pray this book named Gopala-campu will please Lord Krishna and His devotees.
10. Although a long time has passed since they took birth and then disappeared from this world, the people of Gokula are even now present before the great souls.
The Book Begins
11. The glorious forest named Vrndavana begins a great auspiciousness to the earth goddess. This forest has the power to deliver all living beings in all the worlds. The mere touch of its purifying breeze washes away all troubles. That touch opens the bolt on the door in the prison of the three vargas (economic development, sense gratification, and material piety) and it carries away the fragrance of impersonal liberation. With is great glories it unties the bonds of impersonal liberation. Although in other places the Supreme Personality of Godhead does not easily give the gift of devotional service, in the land of Vrndavana He easily gives it always. In his heart the demigod Brahma yearned to attain even a lowly birth in Vrndavana. He thought his contact with Vrndavana was the beginning of his own glorious good fortune. The ways of Vrndavan are very mysterious. They are like the poetic ornament virodha-alankara, where what seems a contradiction is resolved in the end. Even if their authors lack poetic skill, poems about Vrndavana are glorious. That is because in those poems is an awareness of what is truly important and glorious. To help the people of this world, blissful Lord Krishna, the son of Nanda, descends again and again to the realm of Vrndavana. In this way a great festival of bliss always fills Vrndavana.
12. Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami says Vrndavana is filled with wonderful bliss (Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.11.36):
viksyasid uttama priti
“O King Pariksit, when Rama and Krishna saw Vrndavana, Govardhana, and the banks of the river Yamuna, They both enjoyed great pleasure.”
13. In Vrndavana is Govardhana Hill, which is glorified in these words:
The Puranas call Lord Krishna by the name Gokulesvara (the master of Gokula). This confirms the truth that Gokula is Lord Krishna’s abode. Gokula is also the abode of the surabhi cows. Govardhana Hill is the shelter of Krishna and His cows.
14. It is also said:
Manasa-ganga and Govardhana are considered two different places in the realm of the three worlds. However, I think they are the same place. They are the same flood of love for Lord Krishna that has entered this world.
15. It is also said:
The two lakes Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda are the lover’s meeting of Shri Shri Radha Krishna. I think the sweet fragrances at those lakes are actually Shri Shri Radha-Krishna passionate embraces, the breezes are Radha-Krishna’s passionate sighs and trembling, and the water seen in those lakes is Radha-Krishna’s passionate love melted into nectar.
16. About the Yamuna it is said:
To one who simply bathes in her waters, the Yamuna gives the power to see Lord Krishna. To one who sees her, the Yamuna gives the sweetness of Lord Krishna’s abode.
17. Here is a guess about Yamuna’s true identity:
Is the Yamuna a single drop of perspiration from Lord Krishna’s body? Is the Yamuna love for Lord Krishna, love that has assumed the form of a dark river?
18. The Yamuna’s banks manifest great bliss and love:
Gazing on the Yamuna’s shore, the wise devotees have a vision of Lord Krishna’s nectar rasa-dance pastimes. Did the Yamuna sprinkle on her shores a divine elixir in the form of grains of sand?
19. A banyan tree makes our hearts tremble:
How can I describe the love a certain banyan tree feels for Lord Krishna? When Lord Krishna disappeared from this world, that tree thought, ‘Let Govardhana Hill and the other places stay in this world in their partial expansions. I have no power to stay.’ Then that tree also disappeared from this world.
20. Ah! Look at the deep love Vrndavan forest feels:
Sometimes Lord Krishna’s forest becomes stunned like an motionless mountain. Sometimes that forest trembles, its leaves and petals moving. Suddenly pushing out many new sprouts, that forest sometimes stands with the hairs of its body erect in ecstasy.
21. Why would Lord Krishna and His multitude (vraja) of associates not wish to appear in that land of Vrndavan? We see Their appearance in Vrndavana as very appropriate. Some pundits say the land of Vraja is named for the multitudes (vraja) of the Lords associates.
22. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.5.18) it is said:
“O Maharaja Pariksit, the home of Nanda Maharaja is eternally the abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His transcendental qualities and is therefore always naturally endowed with the opulence of all wealth. Yet beginning from Lord Krishna’s appearance there, it became the place for the pastimes of the goddess of fortune.”
23. Following the Padma Purana’s descriptions of the Lord’s advent in this world, I will soon describe the Lord’s entrance, kalpa after kalpa, into the land of Vrndavana, a delightful, beautiful, opulent land where the Lord killed many crooked demons with dangerous fangs. Because it is never touched by the material bodies or minds of the residents of the material world, because it is filled with kadamba trees and many other kinds of glorious trees and plants elaborately described in Varaha Purana and other scriptures, and because within its borders Lord Krishna enjoys many eternal nectar pastimes with Balarama, the gopas, and the surabhi cows, pastimes elaborate descriptions of which may be heard in Skanda Purana and other scriptures, it should be understood that the glory and beauty of Vrndavana has no limit. Indeed, Vrndavana is outside the realm of the material world.
24-28. Vrndavana is described in these words by Lord Krishna Himself in these words from the Gautamiya Tantra:
“Vrndavana is My delightful spiritual abode. When they die, the cows, birds, deer, animals, human beings, and demigods who reside in Vrndavana go to My eternal spiritual abode.”
“Many gopi girls also reside here in Vrndavana. Great yoginis, they eternally serve Me with devotion.”
“This forty mile forest of Vrndavan is My own transcendental form. Flowing with nectar, the Yamuna is the transcendental Susumna-cakra.”
“Manifesting spiritual forms, the demigods and sages stay in this abode of Vrndavana. I, the master of all the demigods, never leave this forest.”
“Yuga after yuga I appear in this abode, and then again I disappear. Material eyes have no power to see this glorious and delightful world of Vrndavana.”
29. The realm of Gokula, which is full of all glories and opulences, which, as we will describe later in this book by following the descriptions in Shrimad-Bhagavatam, is the place where the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is an ocean of mercy, after leaving His ocean abode, entered, and which is Lord Krishna’s own abode and the abode of His cowherd people, and which is the place where, by entering and then leaving the waters of delightful Brahma Lake, and by revealing His Vaikuntha opulences to Akrura, and by accepting the prayers of the Vedas Personified, Lord Krishna revealed the truth of His humanlike pastimes in Vrndavana and filled His associates with wonder, and where even now the wise devotees take shelter and directly see the Supreme Lord’s pastimes, and where, according to Hari-vamsa’s description of Govindabhiseka (Krishna’s coronation), King Indra came to understand that Krishna is the all-pervading Supreme Personality of Godhead, and which, including its forest of Vrndavana and the surrounding area, some say is situated in the spiritual sky, far above the coverings of the material world, and where the devotees take shelter of the spiritual ground where Lord Krishna enjoyed many pastimes, and where Lord Krishna manifested His spiritual form, a form described in Brahma-samhita and other scriptures, is the abode where Lord Krishna enjoys many manifest and unmanifest pastimes, described in many scriptures. This abode of Gokula is described in Brahma-samhita, which affirms (5.56, 2, 4, and 5):
30-31. I worship that seat known as Svetadvipa, where as loving consorts the Laksmis in their unalloyed spiritual essence practise the amorous service of the Supreme Lord Krishna as their only lover, where every tree is a transcendental purpose tree, where the soil is the only gem, all water is nectar, every word is a song, every gait is a dance, the flute is the favourite attendant, effulgence is full of transcendental bliss, and the supreme spiritual entities are all enjoyable and tasty, where numberless milk cows always emit transcendental oceans of milk, where there is eternal existence of transcendental time, who is ever present and without past or future and hence is not subject to the quality of passing away even for the space of half a moment. That realm is known as Goloka to only a very few self-realized souls in this world.
32. “The superexcellent station of Krishna, which is known as Gokula, has thousands of petals and a corolla like that of a lotus sprouted from a part of His infinittary aspect, the whorl of the leaves being the actual abode of Krishna.”
“The whorl of that eternal realm of Goloka is the hexagonal abode of Krishna. Its petals are the abodes of gopis who are part and parcel of Krishna to whom they are most lovingly devoted and are similar in essence. The petals shine so beautifully like so many walls. The extended leaves of that lotus are the garden-like dhama, i.e. the spiritual abode of Shri Radhika, the most beloved of Krishna.”
33 -36. “There is a mysterious quadrangular place named Svetadvipa surrounding the outskirts of Gokula. Svetadvipa is divided into four parts on all sides. The abodes of Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha are separately located in each of these four parts. These four divided abodes are enveloped by the fourfold human requirements such as piety, wealth, passion, and liberation, as also by the four Vedas, viz. Rg, Sama, Yajur, and Atharva, which deal with the mantra and which are the bases of achievements of the fourfold mundane requirements. Ten tridents are fixed in the ten directions, including the zenith and nadir. The eight directions are decorated with the eight jewels of Mahapadma, Padma, Sankha, Makara, Kacchapa, Mukunda, Kunda, and Nila. There are ten protectors (dik - palas) of the ten directions in the form of mantra. The associates of the hues of blue, yellow, red, and white, and the extraordinary potencies bearing the names of Vimala etc., shine on all sides.”
37. “I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor, who is tending the cows, yielding all desire, in abodes built in spiritual gems, surrounded by millions of purpose trees, always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds of thousands of laksmis or gopis.”
38. In the Vamana Purana it is said:
“Studded with jewels and glorious with mineral pigments, Govardhana Hill is glorious in Gokula. Its banks studded with jewels, the Yamuna, the best of rivers flows in Gokula.”
39. The evidence of the scripture will be the resting place of this poem. That evidence will be like a board where I paint the picture that is this poem.
40. Because it is the home of the cows and cowherd people, Lord Krishna’s abode is called by the name “Goloka” (the world of the cows), and because it is untouched by matter and therefore is supremely pure, it is also called by the name “Svetadvipa” (the white island). Some few wise souls in this world know that this is the supreme, the highest realm. Therefore the transcendental Goloka and the transcendental Svetadvipa both mentioned in the Brahma-samhita verse quoted here in text 30 are the same place.
41. That is the proper, logical conclusion. The word “shriyah” in the Brahma-samhita verse quoted here in text 30 is in the nominative plural and refers to the blissful and independent gopis. In the other Vaikuntha realms there is only one Goddess Shri (Laksmi), but in Goloka there are many Shris. Therefore Goloka’s glory is without limit. These many Shris are the gopis, who are described in the great mantra “gopijana-vallabhaya svaha.”
42. Here we accept not only the customary meaning of the word “Shri” but also a special meaning, namely “gopi”. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.47.60 Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami uses the general meaning of the word “Shri”, which there means “Goddess Laksmi.” In Brahma-samhita 5.29 (quoted here in text 37) Lord Brahma uses the word “Shri” in its special sense. There the word means “the gopis”. The words “Shri” and “gopi” are like the words “kuru” and “pandava”. In one sense they are not different, but in another sense there is a distinction. The most exalted Shri is Goddess Radha. This is described in the Padma, Skanda, Varaha, Matsya, and other Puranas, and also in the Govinda-Vrndavana Tantra. What more need be said? It is said:
43. Of all women, the Laksmis are the best. Among the Laksmis, the gopis are the best. Among the gopis, Radha is the best. What girl is beautiful and playful like Radha?
44. All the gopis share the same lover. His name is Govinda (Krishna), and He is the glory of Gokula. One by one, he enjoys pastimes with each of the beautiful gopis. He is the best of all lovers of beautiful girls.
45. Bewildered by Yogamaya, the gopis believe they are others wives and Krishna is their paramour. Because this idea is completely untrue, they are bewildered. The use here of the word “shri” (goddess of fortune) and “parama purusa” (the Supreme Personality of Godhead) prove that the idea is untrue. Quoting many passages from scripture, this I will explain later in this book.
46. The same truth applies also to Lord Balarama.
47. As explained in Brahma-samhita 5.56 (quoted here in text 30), because they have the power to fulfil all desires, all trees in Goloka are kalpa-vrksa trees(purpose trees). Not only are those trees glorious, but they are very extraordinary and rare. In their very nature kalpa-vrksa trees have very extraordinary qualities.
48. Furthermore, the land in Goloka is splendid to touch and splendid to see, splendid like a great mirror. It is a great monsoon of splendour. It is filled with cintamani jewels.
49. It is more beautiful and more glorious than any place in the fourteen worlds. Its palaces and buildings are all made of cintamini jewels. The great beauty of its trees and plants and flowers always takes birth in the devotee’s heart.
50. It is said:
That the sights and sounds of the different kinds of beautiful hills, birds, and beasts there fill the people of Goloka with wonder.
51. In Goloka all water is nectar. What is the nectar of this world in comparison to that nectar? In Goloka all words are song, are like nectar poured into the ears. What are the songs of this world in comparison to those songs? In Goloka all walking is the most graceful dance. Those dances are very glorious and charming.
52. In Goloka Lord Krishna’s flute sings very sweetly and playfully. That flute is Krishna’s dear friend. No one is fortunate like that flute.
53. Goloka is full of transcendental bliss. By the power of the Lord’s unparalleled transcendental potency, His pastimes, pastimes seeming like pastimes of the material world, are manifested in Goloka. By the Lord’s potency are manifest there a sun, moon, and stars, and other things very beautiful and charming. Still, Goloka is not at all like the material world. In Goloka are none of the inevitable transformations that make the material worlds so horrible.
54. In the course of its description of the five tattvas, in the Hayasirsa-pancaratra the things in Vaikuntha are described in these words:
“In the spiritual world the flowers and everything else are fragrant and very pleasing to the senses. Everything there is full of nectar.”
55. “There unpleasant things do not exist. Everything there is nectar. The fruits there have no skin, seed, hardness, or anything unpleasant. Please know that nothing there is made of matter.”
56. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.37) it is said:
“My dear Lord, Your Vrndavan pastimes are simply to enthuse Your devotees. If someone takes Your Vrndavana pastimes to be material, he will be misled.”
In these words the demigod Brahma says, “O Lord, Your surrendered devotees participate in Your pastimes, eternal, spiritual pastimes that are like an imitation of the activities of the material world. I cannot participate in these eternal pastimes as they can.”
57. In these words of the demigod Brahma the first sentence describes participating in the Lord’s pastimes and the second sentence also describes participating in Lord’s pastimes.
58. The first sentence refers to the transcendental potency that manifests pastimes according to the Lord’s will. The second sentence also refers to the Lord’s potency, the same potency that manifests all the Lord’s pastimes.
59. When Lord Krishna plays the flute, the surabhi cows become completely enchanted. The cows then make many great rivers of fragrant milk flow from the great mountains of their udders, rivers that join to become an ocean, an ocean of milk like a great moat surrounding Goloka on all sides. These cows are kamadhenu cows, cows that fulfil all desires, for from them flows an ocean of milk.
60. The wise devotees know that many different rivers of many different kinds of nectar flow in Goloka.
61. Furthermore, Lord Krishna’s parents, brother, friends, and other associates of different ages, some in kaisora(childhood), some in nava-yauvana (new youth), some in yauvana (youth), some in ardha-vardhakya (middle age), and some in other ages. They keep these ages eternally. They do not grow older.
62. In the middle of the face of Goloka is a jewel lotus of many thousands of petals. Lord Krishna affirms the world of Gokula is His very self. He says; “I am Vraja, the home of the cowherd people and their cows.”
63. Here the ordinary meaning of the word “Gokula” (a multitude of cows) should be rejected. It is said:
“A definition accepted by tradition and custom takes precedence over a definition based on mere etymology.”
The word “jalaja” may be taken as an example. The etymological definition is “anything born in water.” However in tradition and custom this word is used to mean “lotus flower.” In the same way “gokula” here refers not to a multitude of cows, but to a specific place.
64. Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami uses the word “gokula” in this way when he says (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.10.39):
“Shri Krishna is the master of Gokula.”
In this passage the “gokulesvara” is an example of the pratyaya varac. Another example of this usage is seen in these words from the Vedas:
“Gokula is a forest in Vaikuntha.”
65. In this way is gloriously manifest the abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who enjoys pastimes as Nanda’s son. That abode is made of jewels and filled with glorious variety. Its limitless variety is manifested from Lord Ananta Sesa. It is said:
66. In the filament of the lotus flower of Goloka are the abodes where the kind gopas, gopas who think Krishna is their only treasure, reside.
67. In this verse the word “daya” means “treasure”, and “dayadayah” means “they who think Krishna is their only treasure.”
68. The word “dayadayah” is a bahuvrihi-samasa. As the word “bahuvrihi” means “a person who has a great store of rice,” so the word “dayadayah” means “a person who has a great store of love for Lord Krishna.” Such a person takes shelter of Lord Krishna.
69. The word “dayadayah” may also be interpreted to mean kinsmen. That many of the cowherd people were Krishna’s kinsmen is explained by Shri Sukadeva Gosvami in these words (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.36.15):
“Krishna was already the life and soul of the inhabitants of Vrndavana, and after killing this demon in the shape of a bull, He became the cynosure of all eyes. With Balarama He triumphantly entered Vrndavana village, and the inhabitants glorified Him and Balarama with great jubilation. When a person performs some wonderful feat, his kinsmen and relatives and friends naturally become jubilant.”
70. The petals of the Goloka lotus are many forests where the gopis, who are all expansions of the goddess of fortune, enjoy pastimes. As it is said in Brahma-samhita (5.29):
“In those abodes built with spiritual gems, surrounded by millions of purpose trees, Lord Krishna enjoys pastimes.”
71. Lord Krishna made Radha the queen of Goloka. That is described in the Puranas. There it is also said that Krishna has fallen under the spell of Radha’s transcendental qualities. This I know.
72. The words “Shri” and “parama-purusa” in Brahma-samhita refer to Lord Krishna and the gopis. If they did not, then why would these verses describe the lotus-petal world of Vraja?
73. From the centre of the lotus flower of Gokula came many raised and slightly jewelled petals connected by various paths. In the midst of these petals many cowherd villages are gloriously manifested. In this way Gokula is know.
74. Seeing that the time has come to milk the cows, Krishna and the gopas bring the cows to the barns made of jewels, barns surrounded by lotus flowers and kalpa-vrksa trees.
75. Surrounding the lotus flower of Gokula is a quadrangular place. This entire place is called by the name Vrndavana. The places that are like great splendid islands outside that place are called by the names Svetadvipa and Goloka. Beyond those islands is a great ocean. Beyond that ocean are lands that are a great variety of wonderful planets where suffering does not exist. On the petals of the Gokula lotus are many forests known by the name “Keli-Vrndavana‘ (Pastime Vrndavana). This is described in the following words from the Pancaratras:
“In the great world of Vrndavan are many pastimes of Vrndavan forests.”
76. Streams of nectar flow everywhere from that lotus flower of Gokula. In the south and west are bumblebee mountains that sip the stream of nectar. The king of the mountains is jewel-summit delightful Mount Govardhana.
77. With many charming jewel boulders, the mountain named Govardhana offers a sitting place for Lord Krishna. With the cooing of many birds Govardhana offers Lord Krishna a welcome. With its swiftly flowing streams filled with lotus flowers, durva grass, and syamaka seeds, Govardhana offers padya. With limitless new shoots of darbha grass growing deer-hoofprint puddles, Govardhana offers arghya. With ponds where jati, lavanga and kakkola grow on the shores Govardhana offers acamaniya. With fresh, fresh, fresh, yoghurt, ghee, and honey Govardhana offers madhuparka.. With water from a clear spring at its summit Govardhana offers bathing water. With golden tree bark, fine like silk, Govardhana offers garments. With fragrant powders, sandal paste, and red and white minerals Govardhana offers fragrant ointment. With blooms of malati vines and other vines Govardhana offers pleasing flowers. With the dust raised by the surabhi cows hooves Govardhana offers incense. With the glistening of its many jewels Govardhana offers a glittering lamp even in the daytime. With charming gunja, peacock feathers, clusters of flowers, and many other pleasing objects, Govardhana offers ornaments. With pleasing fruits and roots Govardhana offers delicious meals. With cool flower-scented water mixed with fragrant and pure tulasi leaves Govardhana offers water to rinse the mouth. With campaka flowers and other glorious blooming flowers moving in the gentle breeze Govardhana offers arati. With budding nakula flowers and other trees Govardhana offers a graceful parasol. With blooming branches moving in the breezes from the Malaya Hills, Govardhana offers the service of fanning Lord Krishna. With the dancing of the cooing peacocks Govardhana offers a festival of dancing. When, attracted by Krishna’s flute music carried by the breeze, a gopi comes, Govardhana prepares a soft couch of flowers. With the cuckoos’ cooing Govardhana makes sweet singing. Gazing at Lord Krishna and performing these services to please Him, Govardhana Hill confirms his reputation as the best of the Lord’s servants.
78. Near Govardhana Hill is his companion, delightful Manasa-ganga, who melts with love for Lord Krishna. Manasa-ganga’s name is explained in this verse:
79. With a slight touch from the feet of Lord Vamana, who is an amsa incarnation of Lord Krishna, the Ganga river, which washes away all sins, came to this world and was carried on Lord Siva’s head. What then can be said of the peerless Ganga brought to this world by Lord Krishna Himself, Lord Krishna who always stays with the people of Vraja, people more exalted and glorious than Brahma, Siva, and Laksmi?
80. The Yamuna, which is also called by the name “Kalindi” (daughter of Mount Kalinda), enjoys pastimes in the northern and eastern terrace of the blissful land of Vraja. It is described in these words:
When Krishna does not play His flute, the Yamuna flows with waters like melted sapphires. When Krishna does play His flute, the Yamuna, stunned in ecstasy, becomes like the land paved with sapphires. In these ways, as either water or land the Yamuna serves Lord Krishna.
81. The lotus flowers that grow in her waters are the eyes with which she gazes at Lord Krishna. Her whirlpools are the ears with which hears about Krishna. Her fish are the nose with which she smells the fragrance of Lord Krishna. Her waves are the arms with which she embraces Lord Krishna. Her swans and cranes are the mouth with which she glorifies Lord Krishna. Her waters are the servant with which she glorifies Lord Krishna. What kind of goddess is Yamuna-devi, that she serves Lord Krishna in these ways?
82. The sages make this guess about the Yamuna’s waters:
Staying always in the forests of Vraja, the Yamuna nourishes all the lakes. Look. With her waters the Yamuna fills all the lakes.
83. It is also said:
In some places by the Yamuna’s shores lotuses and water lilies grow by the water’s edge, in other places are forests filled with many glorious flowers, in other places are the sweet sounds of peacocks, cuckoos, or bumblebees, and in other places are beautiful marks of rasa dances. All these places always delight the eyes, ears and nose.
84. It is also said:
Its great branches extending from one side to the other, a banyan tree is like a bridge across the Yamuna. Playing on that bridge, again and again the cowherd boys cross from one side to the other.
85. It is also said:
In one place it had a hollow like a palace. In another place it had a delightful branch like a couch. In another place was a vine-covered branch like a swing. What pastime-place did that banyan tree not provide for Lord Krishna?
86. North of that banyan tree is Rama-ghatta, where Krishna enjoys pastimes with Balarama.
87. In the sky of Goloka the most exalted demigods, the demigods worshipped by the rulers of the planets, fly in their airplanes. There the catur-vyuha expansions headed by Lord Vasudeva stand guard with Their armies. Of what use are petty human goals in Goloka?
88. The place named Goloka is supremely glorious. How can anyone say it is ordinary? To the demi-gods it is an ocean of nectar. To the poets it is filled with glory. To the followers of religion it is wonderful religious deeds personified. To they who meditate on the Supreme it is the bliss of seeing the Supreme directly. To the devotees of the Lord it is ecstatic love for Him. Thus, according to the different conceptions, they all see Goloka in different ways.
89. It is also said:
“What glory is this? What wonders are these? What kind of dancing is this? What world is this? What kind of love is this, love standing before us like a person, love glorified by Sukadeva Gosvami?” The demi-gods ruling the planets question and guess in these ways. Day after day they feel bewilderment in awe about Lord Krishna’s abode.
90. Lord Krishna’s world of Goloka is beyond the material intelligence’s power of understanding. Even so, that spiritual world forcibly enters the intelligence:
I do not hanker after material sense objects, objects that sometime bring pleasure and sometimes bring no pleasure. I speak the truth. Krishna, Krishna’s eternal world, and the souls who love Krishna have placed in me the hankering to see Them.
91. When they hear of Goloka’s wonderful glories, the people in numberless millions of material universes and even in the Vaikuntha worlds yearn to go there. What to speak of them, even Goddess Laksmi yearns to go to Goloka. Accompanied by His friends and kinsmen, Lord Krishna eternally enjoys glorious pastimes in Goloka. Again and again plunged in Goloka’s sweetness, my heart yearns to go there.
92. Ah! What am I doing? I have rashly begun a description of Goloka. I do not see how I will have the power to complete my description.
93. First I will gaze at this meditation on the beauty and glory of Lord Krishna’s pastimes in the quadrangular world of Goloka:
As He takes care of the cows, Krishna jokes and plays with His friends. When He calls, the cows come. I pray that playful Krishna will enter my memory and make me tremble with love for Him.
94. It is also said:
When will Krishna and Balarama, holding hands, laughing, and joking, make my heart tremble with love?
95. It is also said:
Some day will the music of Krishna's flute, music that makes the trees push out new shoots, makes the hills melt, makes the water become solid, and makes the rivers flow backwards, enter my ears as I meditate and make me tremble with love?
96. I have no power to describe the happiness persons who meditate on Lord Krishna feel in their heart:
When Krishna enters the heart to enjoy pastimes there, that heart blossoms with joy. About that joy there can be neither questions nor descriptions. No one should ask about it. No one has the power to describe it.
97. Lord Krishna attracts the hearts of the pious:
Anyone who meditates on Lord Krishna’s birth, His protecting the cows, His singing charming songs with the gopas, and His other pastimes, will find himself overcome with bliss and love.
98. Aha! How can one hold back a heart that yearns to see the land of Vraja?
Its palatial trees anointed with dust raised by the cows, dust fragrant like camphor, its days filled with young calves, and its evenings filled with surabhi cows that defeat the sweetest fragrance, the pasture lands of Vraja give to every heart a hundred memories.
99. At sunrise and sunset:
Pulling back the calves, milking the cows, collecting the milk, taking the cows into the barns, meeting with Krishna, singing songs of Krishna’s pastimes, and shedding tears of love, the cowherd boys, the hairs of their bodies erect, fill my heart with bliss.
100. Always filled with the chanting of Lord Krishna’s glories, the pathways of Goloka attract my heart:
“Rama! Krishna! Krishna-Rama! Krishna! Krishna! Krishna!” Here and there on the pathways of Goloka one may hear the people chanting these names as they come and go.
101. The poets are shy to describe some petals of the Goloka lotus, the garden petals where the beautiful gopis, who bring Krishna such pleasure reside. Those petals are very wonderful and glorious, and very difficult to know. It is said:
In some places are delightful forest gardens. In other places are hundreds of wonderful palaces delightful like gardens. In other places are bodies of water filled with lotus flowers. How can anyone know of all the beautiful places here?
102. The beautiful-eyed goddesses of Vraja’s forests sing songs describing a girl’s first beginnings of sweet and passionate love for Lord Krishna, love that overcomes her again and again. Who, hearing these songs, has the power to understand the bliss and despair they describe?
103. In some places are exquisite songs. In other places are singing, dancing, and instrumental music. In other places are passionate declarations of love. In other places are lovers’ quarrels. Again and again the poets’ hearts meditate on these pastimes, the gopis’ pastimes of love.
104. Pastimes of love are manifest. Lovers quarrels are manifest. Being stunned and other symptoms of ecstatic love wander among the gopis. The gopis enjoy pastimes that jump over the rules of the Vedas. Shaking to pieces the path of the speculative philosophers, the divine couple’s pastimes shine with great splendour.
105. At every moment Krishna longs to be with the gopis, and at every moment the gopis long to be with Krishna. When They meet great pleasure is gloriously manifest. Their longings are sincere and very passionate. To what may I compare them?
106. Are the gopis beautiful? The gopis are indeed beautiful. The gopis have become the ornaments decorating Shri Krishna, who is decorated by only the most splendid and glorious of ornaments.
107. “Goddess Laksmi is not Radha’s equal.” Shall I praise Radha with those words? With their beauty the gopis defeat Laksmi. Radha is the most beautiful of the gopis.
108. How is it possible for even the ancient sages, what to speak of a person like me in present times, to see or describe the divine couple?
109. Sitting on a splendid throne in a palace in a forest more splendid than the sun or any other light, visible only to the devotees and hidden from others, and served and served by a host of gopis, the sweet nectar that is Shri Shri Radha-Krishna in vain tries to satisfy my thirst to always gaze on Them.
110. The effulgent abode of Lord Krishna, the prince of the gopas, who eternally enjoys pastimes with His associates in the whorl of the lotus flower previously described, an abode in the highest part of the blissful-petaled lotus world, an abode with many great-branched kalpa-vrksa trees, trees with roots too deep to be found, an abode with seven secret gardens, an abode made of cintamini jewels, an abode beyond what the unaided human mind can grasp, makes our eyes open wide with wonder. This peerless splendid abode is also the home of numberless trillions of personal associates of Lord Krishna. Falling in love with this abode, the devotee poets speak this question:
111. Why has the Goddess Yamuna, the daughter of the sun-god, come here to embrace this realm that was never created? This realm is glorious and effulgent, a great circle of light. This realm is the place where the gopa people have their homes. This realm is the home of Krishna, the gopas’ king.
112. The residents of Lord Krishna’s realm are glorified with these words:
Their wealth surpasses all others’ wealth. Their desires are the best of all desires. Their religion and their activities are glorified in all the Vedas. Their liberation surpasses all other kinds of liberation. They reside in Krishna’s abode. They serve Krishna. They thirst after Krishna’s company. Krishna is their glory, wealth, friend, lover, son, heart, and life.
113. If they do not see, hear, or think of Lord Krishna, then the eyes, ears, mind, and every other sense are all pathetic and worthless. Look! In the Vedas it is said, “Krishna is the eye of every eye.”
114. It is also said:
Will the gopa people of Vraja, their hearts bound by ropes of love for Krishna, ever leave the world of Vraja and wander here and there? Will wooden puppets some day become free from the puppetmaster’s strings and wander the earth to see many things?
115. It is also said:
Here is Krishna. Here are His father, mother, kinsmen, and glorious friends. The fame of Krishna’s companions in Vraja shines with great splendour. Where is any love equal to the love they feel for Him?
116. Now we will consider another topic. If what the devotees directly see of Lord Krishna is described, that is good. If poems do not describe invented things about Lord Krishna, then the readers will not be misled. Still, I think the devotees’ desire to hear new things about Lord Krishna is glorious.
117. Now let us consider this: The saintly devotees may find a home in the spiritual world of the gopas, a world where the wonderful and colourful gates are like great palaces, a lotus-like world where many glorious pathways converge on the whorl of that lotus, a world where many great and very beautiful palaces may be seen together, palaces all would desire to attain, a world where many great thrones, thrones touched by the feet of powerful lion-like gopas make the eyes open wide with wonder, a world with many hundreds of thousands of secret places for confidential pastimes, a world that showers hundreds of pleasures, a world with places where the metaphors in metaphor-poetry (rupaka-kavya) are all proved to be true, a world where not only metaphors, but also the hints in poetry filled with hints (dhvani-kavya) may be seen directly, a world where pure-hearted souls manifest a host of spiritual qualities, a world where all these glories are seen and proved to be truth, a world where foolish material ideas are rejected and mocked, a world where Lord Krishna, who is the moon of Nanda's family, who is supremely happy and independent, and whose handsome glory is a flood of bliss, fills the cakora-bird eyes of the devotees with the nectar of His splendid form. He is the greatest festival of all festivals of bliss.
118. In that realm of Goloka are five confidential abodes. The first is the abode of Lord Krishna. There Lord Krishna stays with His mother, father, and kinsmen. That abode is in the centre of Goloka. The other confidential abodes are clustered around it in four directions. These five abodes are all very wonderful. In the west are many palaces and many great courtyards. That is the abode of King Nanda’s beloved Yasoda. In the north is the abode of Rohini. She is filled with splendour and beauty and joy. In the east is the abode of King Nanda. He is served by all. In the south is the abode where the foodstuffs and various valuable things are stored.
119. In the centre is the most confidential abode. Around it, in the west and other directions are other confidential abodes. These are the abode of Queen Yasoda whose glance brings all auspiciousness, the abode of Balarama called Rama-ghatta, the abode of King Nanda, an abode that is the goal of all the worlds, and the abode where Lord Krishna, who is Vraja’s prince and who enjoys pastimes on Govardhana Hill, is the glorious master.
120. In the centre is the abode where the best of the goddesses of fortune reside in their palaces. Day after day Krishna and Balarama enjoy pastimes there. They never leave. The goddesses are never separated from Them.
121. As Krishna gracefully enters the palaces, the goddesses gaze at Him and sing sweet songs describing the first feelings of passionate love the leader of the goddesses felt for Lord Krishna. The goddesses melted with ecstasy. Seeing the divine couple meet, the goddesses became stunned with bliss.
122. In another secluded place Krishna and Balarama both enter. As They sit together a host of blisses enters the gateway of Them both.
123. Again there are seven confidential abodes in this world, beautiful abodes, some having only one district, others with two districts, and others with more, abodes with many great palaces. In this way the realm of Goloka charms all the worlds. The walls of these palaces there are made of jewels so bright that each palace is reflected in the jewel walls of the other palaces. Seeing this the four directions look at each other. Stunned with bliss, they ask, “What is this?”
124. In the centre of all these confidential places is a great courtyard with many great palaces, palaces filled with splendid great gates, mosaic paved floors, great pillars, palatial rooms, and fluttering flags on their roofs.
125. When Lord Krishna stays like a great ornament in the best of these palaces, how can He not appear like the most glorious of sapphires, like a sapphire that fills that palace with splendour?
126. Around the whorl of the Goloka lotus flower are the many petals that are the abode of Lord Krishna’s gopi beloveds. Those abodes are splendid with many jewel palaces glistening like the sun, glorious with breezes bearing the fragrances of many flowers, delightful with secluded places for confidential pastimes, splendid with couches, sitting places, camaras, and many other kinds of paraphernalia, decorated with places ideal for many kinds of pastimes, and graceful with deer, birds, and many beautiful people. In the pathways and gardens of those realms Lord Krishna, delighting His gopi beloveds, enjoys many pastimes. In this way the four directions of the Goloka world are filled with beautiful gardens.
127. Lord Balarama’s pastime forest is named Rama-ghatta. It’s path is lined with palm trees. Its entrance is hidden with leaves.
128. These verses glorify the king of Vraja’s palace: In that place many flags flutter in the breeze and all the directions are filled with sweet fragrances. Everyone gazes at that place with wonder.
129. There the nectar moonlight fills everything with auspiciousness. The moonlight makes the candrakanta jewels seem like cups of water and the mountain peaks seem like jewel crowns.
130. The moon and the stars are reflected in the diamonds and other jewels of the palaces there. Thus the palaces and the sky look identical. They look like they have attained impersonal liberation, merged together, and become one with each other.
131. The cuckoos, doves, peacocks, and other birds happily stay there without any trouble. Cooing in the forest, they seem to begin controversing, or earnestly engaging in debates.
132. Everywhere on the golden palace walls are jewel pictures of Krishna and the boys enjoying pastimes and they herd cows.
133. The palace porches are like laps where the palaces hold Krishna and embrace Him. In this way even the palaces themselves have become like the devotees that live within them.
134. In the palaces are courtyards splendid like jewel mirrors. There the gopi girls shyly gaze at Lord Krishna.
135. The beautiful faces of Radha and the gopis are like moons. When those moon faces rise they turn the places paved with candrakanta jewels into glistening lakes.
136. The world of Goloka eclipses the glory of Lord Narayana’s Vaikuntha. Goddess Laksmi yearns to stay in Goloka. The residents of Goloka are more glorious than the residents of Vaikuntha. In Goloka Lord Krishna is the enjoyer, and tasting the sweetness of the devotees’ love for Him is His enjoyment. Goloka is eternal. Everything in Goloka is beyond the touch of the limited material mind. Who can find the end of Goloka’s glories?
137. In my heart I know that love for Krishna is the most glorious of all dharmas:
Neither Lord Krishna, nor the gopa rulers Nanda and Yasoda, nor the liberated residents of Goloka have the power to soften my cruel heart even slightly. But the people of Goloka are not like that. They love Krishna very strongly, and Lord Krishna’s love for them makes them melt with love at every moment.
138. Of all that is auspicious, love for Lord Krishna is the most auspicious:
Is it Lord Krishna who now stands before us like spiritual love personified, or is it the people of Vraja assembled together? Though they may try again and again, neither Brahma, Siva, Narada, nor anyone else has the power to love as Krishna and the people of Vraja do.
139. That love is very wonderful. :
Although their love brings great happiness, their only motive is to please Lord Krishna. As the Supreme Lord’s creation of the world is beyond human understanding, so the love felt by the people of Vraja is also beyond human understanding. That love will not tolerate the logicians’ attempts to discuss and understand it.
140. Because that love attracts the heart, therefore:
Fully aware of what those activities are, the worshipable people of Vraja always perform activities that will inflame their thirst for Krishna. As they come and go, busy about their business, their hearts yearn after Krishna. I hope some day I will love Krishna as they do.
141. The people of Vraja are very wonderful to see:
The followers, friends, and associates of the gopa king Nanda and his wife Yasoda, who is like his second self, are overcome with love for Krishna. Because they are tightly tied to Krishna with ropes of love, the splendour of Krishna's handsomeness has made Nanda and Yasoda splendid like the sun and the moon, and their associates splendid like the stars.
142. Even Lord Krishna's seemingly ordinary activities are glorified in song:
Lord Krishna's birth and early childhood, which are mostly seen by the elders of Vraja, Lord Krishna's boyhood victories over the demigods, which are mostly seen by His boyhood friends, Lord Krishna's great mercy to Kaliya and other demons, which is seen by the devoted people of Vraja, and especially Lord Krishna's pastimes of love with His gopis beloveds are all glorified in song.
143. It is also said:
Anyone who thinks that some of Lord Krishna's pastimes are happy pastimes and others of Lord Krishna's pastimes are sad pastimes is bewildered. How can anyone say that about Lord Krishna's pastimes in santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, and madhurya rasa? Can anyone separate milk and water when they are stirred together?
144. Aha! Even a person with a peaceful heart will feel his heart tremble when he reads these two verses:
“Mother! Mother! Mother! Give it to me! Please give it to me!”
“O my child, my calf, my boy who will live a long life, my boy more dear than life to me, for what do you ask?”
When will affectionate words like these make me remember Krishna and Balarama and Their mothers in Vraja?
145. “O queen of my house, you must have performed many pious deeds in past lives that now your glorious son talks to you, eats in your presence, asks you for things, smiles, laughs, and is so charming.“
When, thinking of these affectionate words whispered by Vraja’s king Nanda, will my heart be bewildered with love?