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(6:00 p.m. - 8:24 p.m.)
While Krishna entered the meadows, the demigoddesses in the sky said to each other, "Sakhi, the sun and Krishna are both friends of the lotus flowers and they are both effulgent, but Krishna, being heavy or valuable, stays on the earth, while the sun, being light or cheap, hangs in the sky with its yellow light. The Creator is a big fool trying to compare them with each other. Is there anyone who would compare a mustard seed to gold? The sun shines only in the day, but Krishna shines day and night. The sun is merely visible to the eyes, but Krishna showers the eyes with a stream of transcendental bliss. The sun only reveals moving and nonmoving beings, shedding his light on them, but Krishna reveals the religion of sacred love, love for Him. The sun has harsh rays, but Krishna's soft rays are like an ocean of sweetness. The sun has a thousand go (rays), but Krishna has billions of go (cows). The sun only removes the material darkness, but Krishna removes the darkness of maya (illusion). The beauty of the sun is sometimes covered by the clouds, while Krishna's beauty defeats that of a cloud. The sun is unable to remove the lady loves' fear of the upcoming day by placing his kara (rays) on their chakravaka-like breasts. He redeems them from distress in name only, but Krishna is really the best boat for the gopis to cross over the ocean of their love pangs when He places His kara (hands) on their chakravaka-like breasts.
The earth is surely blessed by the sunrise, but this same son also sets again, whereas Krishna blesses the earth with the touch of His lotus feet day and night. At the end of the day the sun goes to the gavadishwara (eastern) asa (direction, and Krishna, who is a mine of incomparable qualities, goes to fulfill the asa (desires) of His gavadishwara (parents, the masters of the cows), going out of the sight of us unfortunate demigoddesses." The sun experienced this kind of chatter from the devis (demigoddesses) like nectar to his ears. "He's really a fool to think that they speak about him when they see that Krishna goes to the east! He falsely thinks himself to be so fortunate and attractive."
When Krishna strolled through the streets of the town, He was showered with flowers moistened by the tears of the demigoddesses that stood on the roofs on both sides of the street, and when He looked up, all the fair eyed gopis thought, "Krishna is looking at me!" and shivered with the highest bliss, praising their own fortune. When Krishna entered His parents' livingroom, He merged into the nectar ocean of their affection, while the sun sank into the salt water ocean as a penence to attain Krishna's audience once more.
Even cool things like lotus pollen, fragrant usira grass, camphor, sandalwood paste and lotus flowers were not able to bring down Gandharvika's hot fever of separation from Krishna. Just then, one sakhi came from Nandishwar and began to sprinkle Her earholes with drops of the nectar like stories about Krishna, being ordered by Lalita.
Doe eyed Radhika came back to Her senses, got up and carefully asked her, "Sakhi, today My utterly afflicted desert-like ears are blessed because they experienced a wonderful nectar shower in My dream that cooled them off amd made them happy."
Lalita said, "O fair faced One, Tulasi manjari has come from the house of queen Yashoda to Shower You with nectarean stories about Your lover. That's how You woke up."
Lotus eyed Radhika then told Tulasi, "Tulasi, glorify My Priyatama's qualities before the assembled sakhis."
Tulasi said, "When Krishna came to the town gate and father Nanda saw Him, Nanda extended his arms and embraced Him. Father Nanda's body was stunned and studded with goose bumps of ecstasy as he took Krishna on his lap. Together, They shone like a beautiful, blue lotus flower in a lake on Mount Kailasa. Nanda baba slightly removed Krishna's turban to smell His head and showered Him with his tears of love. He covered Krishna's face with his face, so that they looked like a spotless autumn cloud covering the moon who removed the heated affliction with his cool rays.
"Queen Yoshoda spent the evening in great distress, walking out of her house onto the palace courtyard and back again, her face dried up from different worries about her son's delay in returning home. Suddenly, she saw her beloved boy and her eyes emitted a Yamuna-stream of tears and her breasts a Ganga-stream of milk. Stunned with ecstasy, she embraced her boy and asked Him about His welfare. She was not able to see Him properly because her eyes were filled with loving tears. Then, Rohini, Balarama's mother, performed a charming arati ceremony for Krishna by waving small golden lamps, which held burning wicks, and then placed Him on His mother's lap. Is Krishna like the moon, sitting on the lap of His birth place who is like a nectar ocean of parental affection? Is He the king of love-jewels, sitting in His own mine, or is He a sapphire ornamenting a doll, tinted blue by His effulgence, smeared with the musk of nectarean affection, placed nicely on her lap by fate?
"Although Krishna already sat on His mother's lap, Yashoda was still stunned with ecstasy, so Krishna affeectionately told her, 'O mother, I'm already sitting on your lap! Why don't you look at Me instead of showering Me with your tears?' Saying this, He wiped the tears from her face with His own hand, making her happy like a female swan on a lake. With her breast milk, mother Yashoda washed the cowdust from Krishna's body, and lovingly fondled Him. Seeing that there was no end to Yashoda's ecstasy, that flew from her like incomparable waves, Vatsalya Laxmi, the goddess of affection, brought her back to her senses and engaged her in caressing Krishna's body with her hands and engaging her maid servants in anointing and bathing Him.
"Yashoda melted with affection as she told Krishna, 'Vatsa, O abode of pure love, I was very worried when You were in the forest tending Your cows! O moon faced One, you're not even slightly kind to me. O child, lotus of Your family, You don't take Your mother with You into the forest even once. O merciful One, although a very long day has passed and although Your father repeatedly tried to take You home, and eventhough Your friends could not tolerate their fatigue, hunger and thirst anymore, You still did not come home. Why should this mother continue to maintain her hard and useless life'
"Madhu mangala then said, 'Mother, my very whimsical friend Krishna was merged in an ocean of playfulness with His balali (boyfriends or girlfriends) and forgot Himself, what to speak about you? I'm His only superior, O mother! If I didn't control Him, then Krishna wouldn't be home yet!'
"Queen Yashoda said, 'Well spoken, Bato! Every day I see nail marks on Krishna's body, but these balas just don't listen to my prohibition! Every day again they forcibly scratch His body, that is more tender than a blue lotus flower, while they wrestle with their arms! Alas! What should I do to stop these naughty boys?'
"Radha!" Tulasi continued, "after hearing this conversation, I was ordered by Queen Yashoda to do my scheduled duties. Then Rohini went to the kitchen, while mother Yashoda fondled Krishna along with Paurnamasi, Kilimba, Mukhara, Gargi and all the rest. After bathing, Krishna was dressed in His usual yellow garments and His hair was bound in locks on the sides of His forehead. He was smeared with sandalwood paste and adorned with a Vaijayanti garland of forest flowers. Then they put on His waistbells, necklaces, armlets, bangles, the Kaustubha gem, earrings, anklebells and spotles tilaka. Then Balarama, Madhumangala and the other boys came and mother Yashoda seated them all. Blissfully she served them nice sweets, scented cold water and three kinds of food (to be chewed, licked or sucked on). While they were eating, she said, 'O boys, these dishes are very dear to you!' and served them the five kinds of cakes, like sidhukeli, that You cooked. Their five senses merged into the ocean of the nectarean fragrance, softness, taste and forms of these cakes.
"While eating, Madhumangala said, 'O mother, whoever is so fortunate to smell these cakes loses his taste for the heavenly planets or liberation. Curses on the Creator for not giving me an unlimited belly! I call anyone who says, 'No, thank you.', while this is being served, an offender!.' Radhe, after hearing these jokes from Madhumangala and after joking with him, Krishna finished His meal and took rest for some time, chewing betel leaves, with His mother's permission. Then, I came here to see You."
Saying this, Tulasi untied Her apron and gave Radhika some Krishna prasad (leftover food from Krishna's plate). Shri Radhika and Her girlfriends had their ears sprinkled with Tulasi's nectarean Krishna stories and their tongues with nectarean Krishna prasad that were like two rivers that cooled them off and made them happy.
When Shri Radhika heard that Krishna had gone to the barn to milk the cows, She left home on the pretext of taking Her evening bath and came to the garden on the bank of Pavana Sarovara (in Nandigram) where She climbed up on a wonderful watch tower with Her girlfriends. Here She could drink the ambrosial beams of Murari's moon-like face with Her chakora bird like eyes and find great bliss.
She said, "Are the golden strings that tie the pearls to Krishna's turban, that stands on His curly locks that cover His face, slightly swinging? Or has the sun, the swallower of darkness, risen above the moon, winding the stars on the string of His rays with the restless lightning? Krishna's earrings, that restlessly swing on His cheeks and that destroy the darkness of the gopis chastity aren't really earrings, but two boats that dance to produce love, being unable to stay right in front of Krishna's moon-like face. Krishna's arrow-like glances, that reside above these Makara earrings, aim to pierce our minds. But, they lose their concentration on the target as they become afraid of the humming of the bees that circle over their flowers, intoxicated by drinking their honey. It is as if Cupid's carriers, the Makaras, that dance under these arrow-like glances, have tied them down.
Krishna's clear and smooth eyes have two wives named Tara (pupils) and the union of them produced sons in the form of His restless glances that attract the housewives' patience out of their abodes and polluted them. Look! The glances of that swan are like rivers of Cupidity that flow in all directions. The sanchari bhavas (transitory ecstasies) like joy, eagerness, patience, bewilderment,and so on, are like dacoits that climb on the sapphire boats that float on these rivers and that loot the flickering eyes of the gopis, that are like merchants. Sakhi, there's no mild smile emanating from the bimba fruit-like lips of Your enchanter, nor is there any honey flowing from the bandhuka flower-like lips for the honeybees of the world, but camphor water is flowing from Cupid's coral fountains, entering into our eyes! Just see!"
When Radhika entered this ocean of bliss on a wave of bashfulness as She described Her lover's moon-like face, Visakha brought Her to life, saying, "Sakhi, look at Hari's pastime of milking the cows. This sight will make You experience Jatila's sour words to be as sweet as nectar. Sakhi, look! The cows became enthusiastic when Hari called them by name, saying, 'Dhanavali, Sabali, come!', and mooing, they jumped over each other to come near Him. Krishna, being pleased with them, lightly scratched them on their backs with eyes glowing with loving tears. Look! The prince of Vraja keeps His knees on the ground, keeping a jeweled bucket between them as He milks the cows. The milk in the bucket reflects His face, which is like the moon rising from the ocean of milk. His turban was slightly loosened as it touched the cows' bellies, so that His curly locks came out from under it like swarms of bumblebees and His lotus-like eyes stopped dancing. After first worshipping Mother Earth with two or three squirts of milk, Krishna took some milk to moisten the cows' teats and His own fingers. His hands moved up and down while His milking made sounds like 'sana sana' and 'ghamsa ghamsa'.
"O moon faced One, the other cows became very anxious when they saw that Krishna had finished milking one of them. Look! Shyama's hips and thighs are marked with spotless drops of milk and the cows and calves drank the nectar of His fresh, youthful luster with tear filled eyes, keeping their necks bent. The cowherd boys called the multicolored cows after having most blissfully milked them, saying, 'Let go! Come here! Hurry up! Take them! Go!' in different words. Even the greatest poets could not count the number of cows that were as blackish as Giridhari Himself."
After milking the cows, Krishna heard indications from His dear friends about Radhika's whereabouts. So, He went to the watch tower in the garden near Pavana Sarovara, being overcome by desires for love play. On other days He may return home. On summer evenings, He swims in Pavana Sarovara to find relief from the heat. Thus, some fortunate rasika souls can be immersed in the nectar ocean of Krishna's pastimes.
"Is the sun, that destroys the darkness in the day with its thousands of all pervading, lion-like rays now swallowed by the lion of darkness in the sky, and has disolved in it?"
Thus ends chapter seventeen of Shrila Visvanatha Cakravrti's "Krishna Bhavanamrita Mahakavya," dealing with Radha and Krishna's Evening Pastimes.