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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Ananda Vrindavana Champu > 08 Purva Raga Beginning

Chapter Eight

The Beginning of Purva-raga



As Krishna entered His pauganda period (six to ten years old) He looked  exceedingly attractive with His sweet nectarean smile, puffy raised  cheeks, and the natural fragrance of His body. At this time Krishna and  Balarama no longer played in the dust of Vrndavana, nor did They play with  the honeybees that always buzz in the lotus flowers. For mother Bhumi, the  touch of Krishna's lotus feet gave the perfection of happiness. At six years  of age Krishna and the gopas, the abodes of purity and good qualities,  stopped caring for the calves and tended the cows instead. Now Krishna rarely acted restlessly and frivolously as He did during His  kaumara period. As a student of the Vedas becomes sober and serious, Krishna  turned thoughtful and grave in His movements. His waist reduced to slender  proportions and His eyes shone with a glimmer of excitement. He cast  anxious glances in all directions. Where did Krishna's naughty child­ish  behavior suddenly go?

As a great epic is full of expertly placed words and phrases, similarly,  Krishna now used precise language with perfect pronunciation. The nectarean  beauty of Krishna's effulgence far surpassed the splendor of a tamala tree  blooming in spring with fresh sprouts and colorful flowers. Every part of  Krishna's transcendental body diffused a special sweetness like the liquid  nectar oozing from a lotus flower. When flower buds un­fold their petals,  pollen, and honey they become surrounded by swarms of eager bees.  Similarly, at this time Krishna's body revealed all the qualities of beauty,  softness, fragrance, and sweetness. Krishna combined these at­tributes with  a playful desire to enjoy in a way just suitable for this age. This is  symptomatic of His characteristic as Cupid personified and His dhira  lalita nature (a youthful hero expert at joking, devoid of anxiety, and  controlled by the prema of His beloveds).

The creeper named syama-lata becomes free from bitterness before it  produces fruits. Even before fully ripe, the fruits are soft, tasty, and  tempt­ing. Similarly, though not fully mature, Krishna's body displayed a  tantaliz­ing charm. As a necklace acquires more attraction when strung  with dif­ferent jewels, similarly, the elegance of Krishna's body enhanced  from the variety of radiant pastimes He performed. The serenity of a lake  is de­stroyed when intoxicated elephants enter and playfully spray water  from their trunks. Similarly, Krishna's broad chest and wide shoulders  emanated a sweet wantonness that enchanted and agitated the minds of all  observers.


Radha and all the other beloved gopis of Krishna appeared on earth along  with the Lord. Krishna's complexion compares with the hue of a blue  sap­phire, a blue lotus, or a fresh monsoon cloud. The complexion of the  gopis' defeats the brilliance of molten gold, lightning, and golden  campaka flowers. The gopis appeared on earth within two weeks or one month  of the birth of Shri Krishna. The beauty of any one gopi could easily crush  the pride of Parvati. To increase the various flavors of  Radha-Govinda'ssragara rasa (ecstatic conjugal love), the gopis appeared  in Vrndavana to self-lessly serve Krishna, the fountainhead of madhura-rasa.  Radhika and Syama could not have relished the summit of sweetness in  srngara rasa without the Vraja gopis. In the beginning stage, tulasi manjaris grow straight but upon develop­ing  they turn crooked. Similarly, Radhika and the other lovers of Krishna  behaved innocently and honestly as children, but upon attaining youth they  were crafty and cunning. As a verse from an epic can have many different  meanings, the gopis' speech at this time contained many outer and inner  meanings. The slow and measured steps of the gopis re­sembled the gentle  dripping of water falling off the edge of a roof after a monsoon. The  gopis felt a little insecure about the new sensations they felt upon  flowering into youth. As the whorl of a lotus flower looks like a golden  demigod sitting there ruling over his kingdom, it seemed that the demigod  of lust had suddenly taken possession of the gopis' hearts and established  his kingdom there. They no longer cared to play in the dust of Vrndavana.


The pajms of the gopis now displayed a pinkish hue like the rising sun.  Their reddened lips looked like luscious ripe bimba fruits shining with  nectar. Under the control of Cupid, their eyes and limbs moved in various  enchanting ways. Their hips expanded with shapely curves and their speech  sounded sweet and captivating. The gopis now walked with petite and gentle  steps. Their long, thick hair defeated the dense darkness. These beautiful  characteristics heralded the glories of the gopis like a raised flag  waving in the wind. The subtle powers of the nine planets now reposed  within them. Since they had lost all the attributes of their childhood, the gopis now  plundered the special qualities of others. Their restless running here and  there as children reentered their eyes as furtive glances. Their waists  be­came very slender as the broadness of their childhood waists moved out  to their hips. Their talkative nature as children turned into the abundant  sweetness of youth. The eight mystic siddhis now resided in the bodies of the gopis.  Anima-siddhi (becoming smaller than the smallest) entered their waists.  Mahima-siddhi (becoming bigger than the biggest) took shelter within the  broad hips of the gopis. Laghima-siddhi (becoming lighter than the  lightest) entered their rarely spoken words. Prapti-siddhi (acquire whatever one  desires) took the form of the gopis' shyness. Kamavasayita-siddhi (obtain  anything from anywhere) moved into the corner of their eyes.  Vasitva-siddhi (ability to control others) took shelter in the gopis'  glances. Prakamya-siddhi (fulfillment of all desires) manifested in the  sweetness of their forms. Isitva-siddhi (create something wonderful or  willfully anni­hilate something) entered their sidelong glances. Thus the  eight mystic siddhis fully manifested within the bodies of the gopis.


When Krishna's beloved gopi Radhika appeared the whole world drowned in  unlimited transcendental ecstasy. Radhika's touch turned the village of  Vrndavana into an abode of the sweetest fortune. The birth of the  flower-archer Cupid attained perfection by Radha's presence, and the poets  achieved perfection by praising the mellow exchanges of Radha and Krishna. The gopis were extremely anxious to meet Krishna, but they did not mani­fest  any external symptoms of their ecstasy. Transcendental lust had taken over  their minds, but they did not show any lusty behavior. Though desir­ing,  they did not act on their desire. They sustained their lives with just one  thought: "Soon we will enjoy many playful pastimes with our beloved  Syamasundara."

The gopis hid this intense longing deep in their hearts. They covered the  emotions swirling within their hearts with a veneer of boundless shyness.  Their sudden detachment from ordinary activities created a slight fear  within their minds. The functions of their minds appeared to be ham­pered  by a type of dreaminess. The incurable disease of inertia had  mys­teriously infected the gopis. The sudden transformation of the gopis'  minds resembled a type of rice that is ripe inside though appearing raw  outside.


Though the gopis concealed their internal attachment to Krishna, their  relatives detected a change in their behavior. The experience of rasa  tran­scends verbal description. It can only be appreciated by tasting and  feel­ing it. In the same way, no words can accurately depict the agitation  in the gopis' minds due to their rising love for Krishna. As a word like  Ganga has both outer and inner meanings, similarly, no one can know the  confiden­tial desires within the minds of the gopis just by observing  their outer behavior.


Somehow they maintained patience despite the fact that the forceful  movements of their hearts spun their minds in circles. Though concerned,  the gopis did nothing to stop the growing force of their desire. Just as  one with a fever always feels thirsty, the gopis always felt severe aching  in their bones and joints due to the raging fire of their intense desire  to enjoy with Krishna. As termites eat dry bamboo devoid of moisture (rasa),  the termites of desire slowly nibbled away the dry, mellow (rasa) less  hearts of the gopis. Although their minds vibrated with attraction for  Krishna, their tender bodies were not yet experienced in savoring the sweet  mellows of love.The disturbance in the gopis' minds made their cheeks turn  pale yellow in color like the lavati fruit. Their lips dried out like  fresh leaves withered by the sun. As the petals of blue lotus flowers  loose their luster with the arrival of winter, the childish glimmer in the  blue lotus eyes of the gopis gradually faded with the onset of youthful  desires. They breathed heavily as if afflicted by sunstroke. Their erratic  movements resembled a deranged person moving here and there without any  purpose. Uttering incoherent phrases, the gopis appeared like a person who  has lost his speaking ability due to negative planetary influences. When a  person develops a mood of detachment he loses interest in domestic  affairs, similarly, the gopis be­came totally detached from their homes  and relatives. Day by day the minds of the gopis were steadily and  spontaneously more attracted to Krishna. This created contempt for their  household chores. But they carefully hid these feelings even from their  closest friends. As the gopis blossomed with youth, they looked incredibly  beautiful and effulgent. Gradually, the gopis understood each other's  purva-raga (love prior to meeting). Radhika's flourishing heart radiated  most prominently. To hide the intolerable rise of affection that they felt  for Krishna, the gopis acted in various tricky ways. With their intelligence  they reassured them­selves of the reality of their deep attachment to  Krishna.


Pushed by their disturbed minds, the gopis gave many valuable orna­ments  to each other in charity. The effulgence of this jewelry rivaled that of  royalty, and resembled the beautiful radiance of Krishna's transcenden­tal  body. Receiving these ornaments, the gopis felt blissful and manifested  various symptoms of divine ecstasy such as crying, thrill-bumps, and  stand­ing up of bodily hairs. Kajala highlighted their eyes and blue lotus  flowers adorned their ears. The sweet fragrance of those flowers filled  the earth with jubilation. Because those lotus earrings reminded them of  Krishna's beautiful body, they enlivened the gopis and removed the pain in  their hearts. The blue lotuses made a perfect match for the golden bodies  of the gopis. While thus absorbed in thoughts of Krishna, the gopis chanted His sweet  name. As the nectar of the name exhilarated their hearts, the gopis  dis­played various symptoms of ecstatic love. Waterfalls of tears washed  away the kajala bordering their lotus-petal eyes. Their life airs seemed  to pass out of their fragile bodies as they sighed deeply. Their heavy  breathing and tear-filled eyes brought the gopis to a wonderful state of  intensely desiring to meet Krishna.


Overwhelmed with such feelings of love, one gopi joked with a girlfriend.  "O sakhil Ah! My heart pains and is full of grief. I am completely

contaminated by lust. Upon seeing the beautiful form of Syamasundara, my  tears have moistened the pathway of my eyes."

Her girlfriend replied cleverly, "Though you are not wearing a blue  sap­phire, your body is showing the symptoms of divine ecstasy. You have  not directly smelled that blue lotus, yet even smelling it from a distance  has filled your nose with jubilation. Your eyes and other senses are also  illu­minated with ecstasy due to this absorption. Therefore I think you  should have this ecstatic encounter again and again."


Due to the appearance of their unparalleled love for Krishna, the gopis  talked madly with each other. One gopi said to herself, "O sakhil Do not  lament! This is the life of one who rejects the rules of morality. Only  because of this are you full of remorse and lamentation. It is a  well-known fact that you have a secret love for Krishna. Are you becoming  adversely affected by the celestial power of all the gems you are wearing?  Or are you just going crazy?"

All the married gopis like Radhika and Candravali, and the unmarried gopis  who had fallen in love with Krishna displayed these superexcellent emotional  ornaments. They were curious to test each other's loving mood toward  Krishna. The exquisite elegance and radiance of even the toenails of the  gopis easily derided all the dazzling ornaments decorating the god­dess of  fortune. The beautiful raised hips of the gopis frustrated the pride of  the celestial nymph Rambha, and crushed to dust the royal throne of Cupid,  who now sits on their hips to rule his kingdom. Their slender waists mocked the middle portion of Siva's damru (small  x-shaped drum). The luscious beauty of their full breasts made  pome­granate fruits seem worthless. Indeed, upon seeing these wonderful  fruits the pomegranate tree stops producing fruits. The rich red hue of  their lips looked like the sky at sunrise or a blossoming bandhujiva  flower. One easily abandons the association of his very self just by  glancing at them. Their teeth beamed more brilliantly than shining pearls.  The arrow quiver of Cupid felt insulted upon seeing the charming open­ings  of their noses. Upon viewing the captivating sidelong glances of the  gopis, Cupid  hung his face in shame and forgot how to shoot his arrows.  The attractive blue eyes of the gopis heavily rebuked the natural beauty  of the blossoming blue  lotuses swaying in the Yamuna. The incomparable  beauty of the moon-like lotus faces of the gopis appears to have closed  the petals of the lotus flowers and  dried up the lake supporting them.The  most beautiful of the gopis acted as group leaders and accepted submissive  service from their faithful gopi associates. The gopi group lead­ers are  eternally liberated companions of Shri Krishna, and famous for their  expertise in relishing smgara-rasa. They always display favorable moods of  love toward Krishna. The intensity of their love, however, is not a  by-product of passionate youth as in ordinary humans. Although the gopis  are eter­nally the dearmost lovers of Krishna, according to human  calculation it ap­pears that the gopis begin to manifest intense loving  emotions toward Krishna when they enter youth. Mundane scholars should not  be surprised by the natural expression of the gopis' purva-raga for Krishna.  The gopis did not taste this rasa upon attaining a particular age, but  rather from birth they felt this inconceivably sweet form of love for  Krishna. Visakha, a group leader and dearmost friend of Shri Radha, exists as a  sweet branch of an enchanting creeper of nectar. Once upon a time in a  secluded place, Visakha composed an exceptional verse and spoke to her  dear friend Radhika. "Hey Sumukhi! How has Your heart suddenly been so  transformed? Your present state of mental agitation is greatly paining the  minds of Your relatives. This mentality has been steadily growing within  You from the day of its appearance. Even an intelligent person using his  powers of argument and persuasion cannot understand Your mental state!  "Why are You no longer interested in Your studies? Previously, You took  such care to train Your pet parrots, and You used to amuse Yourself  watching the dancing peacocks. Why have You suddenly stopped playing Your  vina and joking and laughing with Your dear friends? Has that Vanamali  Krishna stolen the precious jewel of Your mind?

"Hey sakhil As a lake devoid of lotus flowers feels no pleasure, it is not  surprising that You feel such anguish. There cannot be any happiness for  Jhe white lotus flowers until the life-giving sun rises. Besides seeing  the monsoon cloud, nothing gives You joy. Your condition is just like the  cataki bird who lives only by drinking rainwater falling in the sky, or  like Rati-devi who accepts no other lover but the flower archer Kamadeva. "Besides sitting on the lap of a rain cloud, can a lightning bolt ever  cherish any other display of elegance? Does the wife of the cuckoo,  ex­cept in the month oicaitra, ever become intensely eager or worried  about separation from its lover? Can a royal swan appear beautiful if  there is no water in the lake? Can a waxing moon grow during the dark  fortnight? Without a gold-testing stone, how can pure gold reveal its own  character? Only in the presence of spring (mddhava—a month or Krishna) does  the creeper {madhavi— Radha) produce its sweet and fragrant flowers. White  lilies blossom and give forth their honey only when the full moon appears  overhead.


"Hey sakhi Radhe! Why are You concealing Your sentiments from me? Nothing  can be hidden from a trained jeweler who can easily test the value and  quality of a particular gem. In the same way, You cannot con­ceal Your  emotions from me, for Your love is well known and praised by all. Be  merciful and quickly tell me everything about Your new found love."

After Visakha finished speaking, Lalita, who is an abode of all spiritual  qualities adoined with Krishna prema, said, "Like the branch of a supremely  gorgeous tree of love, Visakha has spoken quite befittingly. The splendor  of night is appreciated during the presence of the moon. But who can  cherish the beauty of the moon more than a cakori bird?"

Radhika responded, "Lalite! You have acted very boldly and coura­geously  by thinking about the possibility of an impossible attainment. When  Visakha-sakhi attains the month of Madhava (Krishna), she does not give up  the nature of the star named Visakha, which enters the sky during the  month of Madhava. Similarly, it is quite proper to declare that Visakha  desires only to unite with Krishna. Therefore do not consider Me to be like  You, although Visakha usually helps to enhance the beauty of Madhava  (Krishna)."

Lalita replied, "Hey sakhil Whatever is destined will definitely happen.  This is because the month of Visakha is also known as the month Radha. It  is only Radhika who gives service during the month named Radha or Visakha.  Since the words Radha and Visakha are both of the same cat­egory, it can  be said that the name of the star called Visakha is actually Radha. Who is  the one who becomes beautified by that Radha star? In­deed, it is Krishna  who is adorned and served by that Radha."

Her face beaming with a sweet nectarean smile, Radhika said, "Hey Lalite!  What kind of flower appears on a creeper in the sky? One may answer by  saying that it is a sky flower of course. Similarly, since your question  is also illusory, should I give an illusory answer? Certainly sakhi, you  have conquered Laksmi by your words. Now do not perturb Me by speaking  imaginary statements."

Then Syama-sakhi, whose body by nature is warm in the winter and cool in  the summer, came before Radhika. Syama-sakhi had offered her heart to  Radha and she came every day to serve Her. Seeing this softhearted,  lotus-faced sakhi group leader filled Radhika's own butter soft heart with  joy and enchantment. All of Radha's girlfriends displayed cunning  behav­ior and expertise in all the sixty-four arts.

Shrimati Radhika, though displaying an air of gravity to hide Her inner  emotions, greeted Syama-sakhi with a gentle, sweet smile and said, "O  lotus faced one! Your appearance before Me is like a cooling camphor lamp  for My eyes. For you know what is in My mind and heart. So listen as I  fill your ears with some pleasing words." Then Shri Radha told her what  Lalita and Visakha had just spoken.


Syama-sakhi replied, "You are the crest-jewel of all the vraja-sundaris  (beautiful women of Vrndavana), and the object of everyone's worship and  adoration. Due to Your compassionate nature, You cannot tolerate the  unhappiness of other sakhis. As the lotus has a natural attraction for the  moon, You seem to have developed a spontaneous attraction to Krishnacandra,  the moon of Gokula. The sweet fragrance of Your love spreads throughout  Gokula."

Radhika, the leader of all the gopis, smiled and replied, "O sakhil The  effulgence of your smile brightens your beautiful face. Actually sakhi, it  seems you desire that man, and that you are projecting your feelings on  others. In this regard, you have achieved excellence in all respects.  After all, is there any woman who does not desire to reach out and touch  the sun or the moon? What woman would not give the valuable jewel of her  love to attain that supremely precious blue sapphire (Shri Krishna)? And what  woman in the world does not wish to possess all the jewels in the ocean?"

Syama-sakhi said, "Why are You laughing and making fun of my words? You  should be happy to hear my statements and accept them as mercy."

Radha replied, "O Syame! O you with a belly shaped like the leaf of a  peepul tree. You do not understand Syamasundara's words. Please do not  joke with Me. The phrase tat purusa means that He is very difficult to  attain. So why are you proposing such an impossible idea? Or you can take  tat purusa to mean that Krishna exists in a supremely wonderful state. A  person like Me, therefore, could never achieve such a rare fortune. So,  how have you become so sure of My success? How could you even guess such a  thing? This might happen to someone else, but it could never hap­pen to  one as unfortunate as I. Although you are as dear as My very self, You  have not fulfilled by desire. Now You are just joking with Me and having  fun. Radharani continued, "O Syame! Your speech is unreasonable. Every­one  in Gokula knows that Madhurika-sakhi is your devoted follower. When  Madhurika said, 'This parrot belongs to my Devi,' Krishna took the phrase  "my Devi" to mean you. Therefore what is the use of thinking anything  else." Thus the dispute came to an end.


The Celebration of Krishna's Birthday


One year Nanda Maharaja organized a grand festival (nandotsava) to  celebrate Krishna's auspicious birthday. Krishna sat upon a celestial golden  throne and all the Vraja gopis came to worship Him. The loud pounding of  the bheri drums, the "dhinta dhinta" sounds from the mrdangas and  dundubhis, the bols from the madalas, and the skillful beats on the dolaks  announced the auspicious festival of Krishna's birthday. The joyous  vibra­tion of the occasion was enhanced by the excited voices and jingling  ankle-bells of the elderly gopis as they greeted the various guests. The learned brahmanas bathed Krishna with thousands of streams of pure water poured from crystal pitchers while purifying the environment with  perfectly enunciated mantras. This added waves of attraction to Krishna's  already gorgeous body. They dried Krishna with a fine linen cloth, dressed  Him in a yellow silk dhoti and caddar, decorated Him with glittering gems,  and anointed His forehead with tilaka made of gorocana. After fixing His  jeweled bracelets and armbands, they tied some durva grass around His  wrist with turmeric soaked thread.Following the local customs of such blissful festivals, the merciful  Yasoda blessed Krishna by showering flowers upon His head. The elderly gopis  sang traditional Vraja bhasa songs and waved lamps respectfully before the  Lord. He, who is kind to His friends and the object of the gopis' love,  sat quietly on His asana accepting arati. Then with great enthusiasm the  Vrajavasis joyfully offered gifts to Krishna and gave Him a variety of  creamy

milk sweets.


To properly complete the festival, Yasoda had her servants invite the  general public. Yasoda offered palatable food to the wives of the village  leaders, the married women and the young girls of Vrndavana. Nanda  Maharaja invited the cowherd men such as Sananda, Upananda, and their  wives to take the sumptuous foods cooked by Rohini, the crest-jewel among  women. When the cowherd men arrived Yasoda honored their youngest sons by  worshiping them and offering pearl necklaces. Though pained by separation from their husbands because they had to  accompany their mothers-in-law to the festival, the newly married gopis  put on ornate and elegant ankle-length dresses. The tender faces of these  newlyweds glowed splendidly under the fine fabric of their veils. Feeling  intensely attracted to Krishna; the gopis disclosed their loving sentiments  by offering Him their sidelong glances in charity. Their bangles fell  silent as they embraced Krishna with their eyes. They felt as if they were  behold­ing a bouquet of beautiful flowers. No one noticed the auspicious  meet­ing of Krishna and the gopis.


Though they had seen Krishna before, the young unmarried gopis like  Dhanya-sakhi just stood with their mothers and gazed timidly upon Him as  if it was the first time. While bathing in the lake of Krishna's exquisite  beauty, the unmarried gopis expressed their desire to be His wives by  offering Him mental flowers scented with camphor. They became shy,  however, when Krishna accepted their proposal with a favorable glance. No  could detect the infinite bliss the gopis now relished within their  hearts. At that time, Krishna's pet parrot left His side and landed on the  lotus feet of a gopi whose heart throbbed with love. Hoping to develop a  rela­tionship with Krishna, that excited gopi respectfully welcomed the  parrot. Understanding the hint of the parrot, Krishna cast the fresh lotus  garland of His glance toward Radha, the daughter of Vrsabhanu. Krishna's  glance seemed to say, "O parrot! I saw this gopi Radha looking at Me from  the watchtower as I took the cows to the forest."No one else saw this  secret exchange of sweet love. Understanding that Radha's body had become  slender due to Her purva-raga, Krishna looked upon Her with great  compassion. Then Yasoda, shining with all auspi­cious qualities, smiled  gently and took lotus-faced Radhika and the other gopis to another room to  feed them. After worshiping His best cows with scents and garlands,  Vrajaraja Nanda escorted his guests to a wide jeweled veranda and sat them  down on wooden seats.Then he bathed their feet, performed acamana, and  of­fered arghya. Nanda arranged for Rohini and the wives of Sananda and  Upananda to respectfully serve them first-class food and drink on gold  plates. At the conclusion of the meal. Nanda personally gave them betel  nut, cardamom, scents, garlands, and ornaments. After the elderly men,  children, and babies had eaten the feast, the married women and girls sat  down in two rows to eat. Radhika and others received respect according to  their position. Yasoda swam in an ocean of happiness as she personally  served the gopis. In a voice that sounded as sweet as pattering raindrops  of nectar, Yasoda spoke to each guest, "Please do not feel shy. Just eat  to your heart's content."

Yasoda affectionately served everyone, and then honored them with  offerings of betel nuts, garlands, ointments, sindura, and gold  embroidered cloth. Finally, Yasoda, the crest jewel of good fortune,  embraced each of the gopis before sending them home. Smiling broadly,  Yasoda distributed the remnants of the feast to the sinless residents of  the village. Nanda Maharaja presented gifts to the dancers and musicians  while Yasoda blessed them with her upraised palm. Upon concluding the  festival, Yasoda thought holding such a festival everyday would surely  fulfill all her de­sires. For a moment she felt a touch of sadness,  fearing that she may not have fully satisfied all the guests.


Playing Ball


After His birthday festival Krishna and His boyfriends spent the days in the  forests herding the cows. While walking they rolled clusters of kunda  flowers into balls, which looked sesame seed laddus, and bombard each  other's bodies with infallible aim. The boys enjoyed this sport very much.  Sometimes they threw the balls high into the sky as if to tantalize the  svarga-devis (demigoddesses). At other times they threw them  horizon­tally, as if making earrings for the deities of the directions.  Running along with His companions, the son of the king of Vrndavana  absorbed Himself in playing and did not even stop for a moment's rest. To  catch a ball thrown high above His head, Krishna looked up, held His tilted  turban with His left hand, and caught the ball perfectly in His right  hand. Whenever Krishna threw a ball high in the sky, He gracefully raised  His right hand, and squinted His eyes to reduce the glare of the sun.

With His curly hair flying about, Gopala played for hours on end with His  friends. His face and body covered in perspiration, Krishna looked like the  autumnal full moon studded with pearls. When the game ended Krishna took  shelter of some shady trees to relieve His fatigue. One friend spread his  cloth on the ground as a bed, one friend fanned Krishna with leaves, and  another massaged His feet. In this way the cowherd boys humbly served  Krishna. The boyfriends of the Lord, who had performed heaps of pious  activities, expressed varieties of blissful rasas as they passed their  days herding cows with Krishna, the Supreme Soul of all.


The Killing of Dhenukasura


The demigods felt great satisfaction as they flew in sky above Vrndavana  watching Krishna's blissful cowherding pastimes. The happiness of Krishna and  Balarama increased moment after moment as they played with their friends.  One day everyone listened to Krishna narrate the glories of Vrndavana's  trees, creepers, bees, deer, and animals to His elder brother. Due to the  hot sun, drops of perspiration appeared on the foreheads of Krishna and  Balarama. To relieve Their exhaustion They rested in the shade of some  thick foliage. The cowherd boys, while laughing and speaking sweetly,  removed the fatigue of Krishna and Balarama by offering various items. These  personal services increased their affection for Krishna more and more. Sometimes Krishna comforted Balarama by personally massaging His feet and  offering other services. Feeling refreshed, Krishna and Balarama ig­nored  the hot sun and played again with the cowherd boys laughing glee­fully in  great delight. Overcome with merriment, they followed the cows into the  forest. Everyone relished a festive mood bathing in the natural aura of  Krishna's sweet love.


With a stream of honey-dipped words, the boys spoke to Krishna, who is  generous, attractive, expert in all types of sports, full of matchless  strength, and the best among all worthy persons. The cowherd boys said, "O  Krishna! O supreme enjoyer and all-powerful one! Please hear us. Our bodies  can no longer tolerate the severe hunger we feel. Nearby is a forest of  tala (palm) trees full of mouth-watering fruits. The sweet aroma of those  rip­ened fruits attracts our minds. Simply shaking the trees will bring  all the luscious fruits to the ground. Our desire to have those fruits is  very great. If You think it is a good idea, then let us go to that tala  forest" After hearing this, Krishna agreed to satisfy their desires by  entering the forest guarded by the evil Dhenuka. While observing the  beauty of the forest, Krishna stated His intentions to take the fruits. The  branches of the trees bent down from the weight of the ripened, bright  orange tala fruits. The tightly packed clusters of fruits appeared like  one big fruit.The fruit trees practically touched the clouds and were  beyond the reach of the common people. The fragrance of the tala fruits  pleased the entire earth. Being greedy for that fragrance, the wind stole  it and made a rus­tling sound in the leaves of the trees as it ran away.  Krishna glanced happily at those trees and gave the command, "Pick the  fruits!"

The cowherd boys threw stones at the tala fruits with their restless  hands. Dhenuka (a demon in the form of a donkey) exploded with anger upon  hearing the loud sound of the falling fruits. Suddenly the sky darkened  from a huge dust cloud created by the scratching of Dhenuka's hooves, and  the earth trembled from the stomping of his feet. His deafening roar  frightened the demigods. Ignoring the other boys, Dhenuka brayed louder  than thunder while attacking Krishna and Balarama. Before the invincible  Lords, Dhenuka looked like a grasshopper jump­ing into a fire. Intending  to kill Them, he charged Balarama and violently kicked the Lord's chest  with the hooves of his hind legs. With the fingers of His left hand  Balarama seized Dhenuka by his hooves and threw him into the top of a palm  tree. The demon groaned loudly and died. Seeing the death of Dhenuka, his  fellow ass demons sought revenge for the loss of their close friend. Large  numbers of strong donkeys immediately at­tacked Krishna and Balarama. But  the two brothers easily killed them all.

Abundant fruits fell from the trees and piled up on the ground below,  which turned muddy from the juice of so many broken fruits. The boys threw  the unripe fruits around in play. Knowing the rules of purity, they did  not touch the fruits contaminated by the blood of the demons. Just  smelling the strong fragrance of the tala fruits satisfied them.Krishna,  Balarama, and the cowherd boys collected the cows while admir­ing the  stout trees of the forest. Noticing the arrival of afternoon, Krishna made  His way back to Vrndavana. Krishna, the crest jewel of lovers, per­formed  human-like feats while playing His flute and wandering on the bank of the  Manasi Ganga.The pleasant evening breeze carried the clouds of dust raised  by the hooves of the cows returning to Vrndavana. The dust appeared to  kiss the cowherd boys as it slowly sprinkled down on their hair and  turbans. The Vraja gopis, watching intently from the rooftops, lost their  minds upon hearing the melodious sound of Krishna's flute and seeing His  de­lightful face. Conveying His secret attachment, Krishna glanced lovingly  toward them with His lotus petal eyes before entering His house.When Krishna  and Balarama arrived, Yasoda and Rohini enthusiastically cleansed the dust  from Their bodies, washed and rubbed Them with oil, and bathed Them.After  dressing and ornamenting the two brothers, they fed them and laid Them to  rest. By nature Krishna is an unfathomable ocean of sweetness, and the best  among all qualified persons. His beauty illuminates the whole universe,  and dispels the lamentation from the hearts of His obedient followers.