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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Ananda Vrindavana Champu > 10 Gopis Purva Raga

Chapter Ten


The Purva-raga of the Gopis


The minds of the young gopis of Vrndavana transformed due to their rising  desire to enjoy intimately with Krishna. Many impediments prevented their  meeting, but the chariots of the gopis' minds always carried them to  thoughts of Krishna. Because of their strong attraction for Krishna they could  hardly think or act correctly. Cupid had seized control of their hearts  and confounded their minds. They tried their best to hide their feelings,  and by discussing among themselves they attempted to relieve the anxiety  caused by the pangs of love. One gopi named Candravali, anxious and overcome by intense love, spoke to  her confidant Padma, whose elegance defeats the beauty of a lotus. "O  golden-one! Listen my dear sakhil My heart is totally attached to  Syamasundara. My superiors are heavily criticizing me for this and my  sister-in-law is poisoning others by speaking ill of me, but I cannot give  up my attraction to Him."

Padma replied, "O lotus-eyed one! You should know that the fresh love of  the daughter of Vrsabhanu surpasses all of us. But as yet She has not met  alone with Krishna. Before She consorts with Krishna, you should fulfill your  heart's desire by associating with Him first. Once Syamasundara enjoys  with you, He will forget all about Her. Come now and I will make all  arrangements for your love tryst. When Radha and Syama met that night  beside the lake everyone understood the superexcellent position of Their  confidential love. But my dear friend, you should know that Krishna's love  has no beginning and no end." Thus Padma, who is expert in fulfill­ing the  cherished desires of Candravali, encouraged her and made the necessary  arrangements for her to meet Syamasundara.

Meanwhile, Radhika sat in a secluded place with Her dear sakhis Lalita and  Visakha. The immeasurable weight of Her love for Krishna overpow­ered Her.  While Radhika remained in a lonely place, Syama-sakhi, who is pure and  faultless, and Bakula-mala sakhi arrived carrying a bakula gar­land.

Syama-sakhi said, "O darling of Vrsabhanu! You are the tilaka on the head  of all the Vraja gopis and the crest-jewel of all beautiful girls. Who is  more fortunate than You? Verily, among all living entities, You are the  personification of love. What to speak of all living entities, You attract  even the heart of Krishna, who is an ocean of wealth and good fortune. That  night on the banks of the Yamuna after the Kaliya pastime con­vinced me  that Krishna was madly in love with You.


"He pleased everyone and filled the gopis with rasa. His enticing form  acted like an elephant goad pulling the hearts of the gopis hankering to  taste His love. Like a cakora bird relishing the rays of the moon, He  drank the nectar dripping from Your moon-like face with His sidelong  glances. As far as I am concerned, You are certainly the only object of  His love. Seeing Your mutual love my distress is now gone, and my heart is  inun­dated with waves of bliss."

Radhika replied, "O bold one! Why are you exaggerating so much? Hey sakhil  Where is that housewife in Gokula who has not accepted Kaliya-damana  (Krishna) as her only object of love? Kumuda flowers open without the moon,  but lilies need the moon's tender touch to blossom into sweet­ness.  Therefore You should know that Syamasundara is the only sweet­heart for  all the gorgeous girls in Vrndavana. He does not belong to any one sakhil"  Syama-sakhi said, "Doliot doubt my words and thereby inflict pain upon  Yourself. Be satisfied with Your unique good fortune and be convinced that  Syamasundara belongs only to You."

Lalita said, "Syame! Are you speaking just to console Radha, or do you  really mean what you say?"Syama-sakhi replied, "O Lalite! Why don't you  ask my friend Bakula-mala?"

Lalita said, "O my dear sakhi Bakula-mala! Tell the truth. Do not say  something just to please me."

Bakula-mala said, "Hey Radhe! Radhe! This Bakula-mala herself will dispel  Your doubts. Just hearing my words will give pleasure to Your ears. This  morning that handsome boy passed by me on His way to tend the cows on  Govardhana Hill, the source of happiness. For sometime Krishna played  joyfully with His intimate companions.


"Then He went for a walk with Madhumangala and entered a forest of bakula  trees. Krishna appeared like an ocean of bliss meandering amongst the bakula  trees, which were laden with blossoming flowers. Krishna and his friend  Kusumasava sat down and strung a garland of delicate bakula flowers. That  bakula garland glowed brightly and emitted an extremely sweet fragrance.  Feeling very shy and afraid that someone might see me, I hid behind some  forest creepers and watched Him for a long time."At that time I heard  Kusumasava, who was holding the pet parrot of Radhika on his hand,  describing to Krishna about how Radha looks at Him with loving eyes. He told  Krishna that when He goes out behind the cows, Radhika stands in the  watchtower of Her palace and gazes upon Him with great longing. During His  birthday festival Radhika spent the whole time simply looking at Him.  Radhika stared at Krishna with totally fixed attention the day He subdued  Kaliya.


Hey Radhe! Jsten to the other sweet words that Kusumasava spoke. Although  his seaking seemed irrelevant, he said, 'O my dear friend! The garland  that ^u made is very special and You should use' it to win the heart of  Radhia. May it swing around Her neck and enhance Her beauty.' Krishna smiled  uile replying, 'How will this ever happen? Your statements are as  illusorys the will-o'-the wisp.' Kusumasava reacted to cover up his  statements. Afirst he did not respond but just stood there silently like a  picture."Just then, Idma-sakhi arrived there like an untimely storm and  stood next to KrishnaCarrying the passenger of intense anxiety, the chariot  of my mind ran yay. But since I was only a short distance away, I  overheard everything ths Kusumasava said to Padma. He said, 'Are sakhi\  What are you doing hei? You appear like the crest-jewel of cunning  persons. What brought you tthis lonely forest grove? Abandoning all  shyness, you stand fearlessly in f>nt of my friend Syamasundara who always  tastes varieties of rasas.'

"Then full f pretension, Padma put a proposal before Krishna saying, 'Listen  beautul one! My name is Padma and I am an intimate friend of  Candravali-sdii. She sent me here to pick flowers for the worship of  Mother Gau (wife of Lord Siva), the pure one. The particular flowers  required for er puja only available only in this grove of Yours. Hence, I  have come he in order to pick these bakula flowers.'

"Kusumassa replied, 'It is well known that Gauri (Candravali) is at­tached  to wfshiping Gauri-devi (Durga), who is pleased by faith and love. Why  din't Candravali come herself to pick flowers for her pujaT "Padma sa, 'O  bold one! You are correct. But Candravali got bitten the first time sheaw  that poisonous black snake named Krishna standing by the bank of the "imuna.  The poison of His love now sears her tender heart.'

"Kusumassa said, 'The only remedy to counteract that poison is to stop  thinkin about that snake.' "Padma sal, 'I am searching for the means to  distract her mind.' "Kusumas'a said, 'It is very difficult to find such a  means. Due to its cowardly naire, a mind fearful of a snake can never give  up its fear. Similarly, win one's mind becomes completely attached to  Krishna it can­not go anywere else.'"Padma rolied, 'Nothing is impossible  for one who is full of anxiety. Where thei is mind, there must be anxiety.  When one loses his mind, however, nurally he gives up all his anxiety.  When that anxiety disap­pears then can no longer dominate him. Becoming  enchanted by a beau­tiful object in also steal away the mind. Indeed, that  anxiety is amazing!' "Kusumaiva said, 'Go and look for that one who steals  the mind (Manohara-Krishna)!'

"Padma said, 'At present your bahxla-mala is that manohara. But that  bakula-mala should decorate the neck of Gauri (name for Durga or  Candravali).'

"Syamasundara said, 'Hey my friend Varsa! This sakhi seems to be very  clever. She wants to decorate the neck of Gauri with My bakula-mala. But  she is not allowing Me to finish the garland.'

"Kusumasava said, 'O bold one! Your bakula garland is meant for our dear  friends. Who else could be qualified to receive it? Therefore sakhi, why  not just pick up the bakula flowers lying on the ground and take those  with you?'

"Padma replied, 'How can I even dare to do that? Why a/e you depriv­ing me  in this way? If the prince of Vrndavana is inclined, He will person­ally  give us some flowers.'

"Krishna said to Kusumasava, 'What she said is perfectly correct. So you  should give her some flowers in order to satisfy her sakhi and to perform  the worship of Gauri.' Then Padma, feeling overwhelmed in joy, took some  bakula flowers and left."

Bakula-mala continued to narrate Krishna's pastimes to Radhika, "Hey Radhe!  I overheard Kusumasava say, 'O my friend Krishna! If among the young sakhis  like Padma and others, a sakhi of Radha's party comes here she could  mitigate the pain in your heart. Then Your bakula-mala will have meaning.'

"After hearing this I moved closer to them on the pretext of collecting  fallen flowers. Yet I acted in such a way that they could not tell I was  listening to them. Seeing me, Kusumasava said, 'Hey sakhil Who are you?'  Immediately after saying this, the parrot perched on his hand said, 'Aho,  look! Here is Bakula-mala, the associate of Syama-sakhi who is a friend of  Radhika. She is picking up bakula flowers to make a garland.'

"Kusumasava said, 'What need is there of a garland? When the shame­less  young girls of Gokula can create bakula flowers and agitate everyone just  by their sidelong glances.'

"The parrot said, 'Now that you have this garland of bakula flowers you  should give it to Syama-sakhi's maidservant who in turn will give it to my  deserving mistress Radhika.'

"Kusumasava said, 'Syamasundara! Just see, my words are coming true.' And  the parrot replied, 'A brahmana's words are infallible. You should give  this bakula garland to Bakula sakhi and she will give it to Radhika.'

"Then Krishna, the destroyer of demons, smiled gently and spoke just  according to the time and circumstance, 'The young girls of Vrndavana are  naturally proud. Why should they come here on the orders of Batu (nickname  for Kusumasava or Madhumangala) who is simply a brahmana entertaining  everyone with his jokes and silly behavior? Therefore, O best among the  birds! In order to comfort your mistress, why don't you fly to her.  Hearing your pure, soft, and sweet request, that Bakula sakhi will accept  your bakula garland.'"Immediately that best of the birds flew to me and  said, 'O Bakula-mala! Do you recognize me? Why are you picking bakula  flowers? Why not come see the prince of Vrndavana? I will give you the  garland that Syamasundara has made Himself, so you need not toil so hard  picking flowers.'"I replied to that parrot, O best of the parrots! The  scriptures are right when they say that one's good and bad qualities  depend on his associa­tion. It appears that associating with a person who  is wanton by nature, dresses in yellow garments, and is intoxicated from  drinking madira-rasa has bewildered your intelligence. Tell me, do you  think that any chaste girl will accept a garland from someone who is not  her husband?

"The parrot said, 'Hey listen! He is the supreme person, not just an  ordinary person. His lotus feet are very difficult to attain.' (Inner  mean­ing of parrot's statements: 'So why don't you try to meet Krishna?') "I  replied Arel Wait a minute! I can see He is just a man. Why are you  calling Him the supreme person? Do not try to attract me to Krishna by your  word jugglery."


Bakula-mala continued speaking to Radhika, "The parrot told me that if I  understood his words I should take the garland. Since the parrot de­feated  me, I could not take the dominant role. So I returned to Krishna who wears  makara-kundala. Then the mild and sweet brahmana named Kusumasava talked  to his dear friend the parrot."After their argument ended Kusumasava said,  'This sakhi named Bakula-mala should take this bakula garland to the  mistress of the parrot. Even Laksmi-devi, who has sweet-smelling hands,  can rarely obtain such a garland. This bakula garland should be taken to  Radhika, the eternal lover of Krishna. By doing this Bakula-sakhi will  attain success in accom­plishing her task. This Bakula sakhi, who is the  personification of Krishna's sweet love, is expert in this work.'"At that  moment Damodara slightly trembled as He raised His soft, lotus palm,  moistened with perspiration. While looking in the opposite direction a  sweet nectarean smile appeared on His face. Then He gently touched my hand  as He gave me the garland. I returned to my mistress Syama-sakhi and  presented this garland which embodies the fragrance of Krishna's pure love  for You. I told her all the details of my meeting with Krishna, and how this  garland conveyed His heartfelt desire to meet You. And now my mistress has  brought that garland to You."

Then Syama-sakhi adorned Radha's neck with the bakula garland. Radhika  felt the thrilling touch of Her beloved by contacting the garland made by  Syamasundara's hands. As a result, Radha's body surged with ecstatic  symptoms and Her cheeks swelled with delight. Feeling the ris­ing of love,  Radhika's eyes moistened with tears as She looked slightly downward out of  shyness. A mild nectarean smile bathed Her gentle lips, which defeated the  tenderness of fresh sprouts. Overwhelmed by insur­mountable ecstasy,  Radharani embraced Bakula-sakhi and fell uncon­scious.

Lalita-sakhi said, "Hey Syame! It is not only in name, but also in fame  and quality that your sakhi Bakula-mala and this bakula garland are the  same. Can't you see that both these bakula-malas are fragrant and freshly  youthful? They both enjoyed the touch of Krishna's lotus hands and got to  decorate the neck of our Swamini Radhika." Syama-sakhi replied, "You have  spoken very sweetly."


Nanda Maharaja Visits King Vrsabhanu


Once upon a time, the illustrious and powerful King Vrsabhanu met with his  ministers to discuss inviting Vrajaraja Nanda and his family for a visit.  With all intelligence Vrsabhanu Maharaja submissively upheld the family  traditions, and executed them in a wonderful beautiful way. He desired to  celebrate the festival in grand style, and He wanted Radhika, the  embodiment of the art of cooking, to prepare Her finest dishes. He sent a nursemaid's daughter named Sucarita, who possessed good  character and auspicious qualities, to convey his plan to Radha. Coming  before Radha, Sucarita said, "Your parents want You to prepare a grand  feast for the upcoming visit of the king of Vrndavana. I will not leave  here until I see You depart for Your father's palace." As the sakhis  happily worship Radhika, She fills them with joy in return. Sucarita also addressed the other sakhis attending Radhika, "Listen Syame!  Radha's father wants you to give up your pretension of laziness and help  the other sakfiis. It will be good for you to uphold the etiquette of  family traditions. O Visakhe! You should also bring your friend Lalita who  always exhibits a playful nature."

Smiling, Lalita replied to Sucarita, "O auspicious one! Why are we  sud­denly invited to a festival?"

Sucarita replied, "It is not a surprise event. When the king of Vrndavana  celebrated Krishna's birthday he invited everyone to participate. After  at­tending this mahotsava, King Vrsabhanu got the idea to hold a similar  festival in his palace. So naturally he thought to invite the king of the  cowherd men who possesses pure consciousness. After riding in the chariot  of the mind for long time, this joyful festival is about to be held. It  will definitely be an ecstatic event."


Syama-sakhi said, "O one who excels all in good qualities! No doubt it  will be a wonderful festival. Who will not enjoy great bliss by attending  this rewarding festival? We must immediately start preparing, since this  is the order of Radha's father." Then all the gopis went to the  magnificent palace of King Vrsabhanu. It seemed that the embodiment of all  joyous festivals had manifested there. King Vrsabhanu welcomed the sakhis,  "Are you all feeling happy?" After Radhika paid obeisances, He smelled Her  head and said, "O auspicious one! Please use all Your cooking skills to  make very delicious and tempt­ing preparations. Surely Your lotus hands  will attain perfection by cook­ing this feast. Tomorrow the king of the  cowherd men, his wife, family, and Krishna and Balarama will take their meal  here."Lalita said, "O father! Have you collected all the necessary  ingredi­ents?"

King Vrsabhanu replied, "Not just today, but for many days we have been  arranging for this mahotsava. For a long time I have been eager to observe  this. Now all the ingredients have been procured in unlimited amounts. You  cannot see the end of them. Enter the storeroom and see for yourself.  Please consider if all the proper divine articles and items have been  assembled. If the best of anything remains to be collected, then please  tell me and I will immediately get it."

All the effulgent, slender-waisted sakhis like Lalita, Visakha, and  oth­ers expert in the art of cooking met and joyfully entered the  enchanting kitchen. After paying obeisances to Mother Kirtida the sakhis  inspected the ingredients.Meanwhile, Krishna returned from the forest with  the cows. Seeing her approaching son, Mother Yasoda, who is glorified by  all the demigods like Lord Siva and Brahma, anxiously desired to speak to  Him. In a lov­able, unpretentious way Krishna cast fresh, sidelong glances  to reciprocate with each one of His friends. He walked with the gait of a  lordly elephant in rut. Yasoda said in a sweet voice, "O Vatsa! The honorable King Vrsabhanu, who  is opulent with the wealth of many bulls, desires to host You tomor­row at  his palace. After consulting his ministers and associates he sent an  invitation. My darling, You should go there tomorrow to reciprocate with  his loving request. Your friends will stay back to tend the cows. So  tomor­row You need not go to the forest."Krishna, the ocean of compassion,  said, "How is it possible for Me to go alone and eat without My friends?  What is the use of such an invitation." Yasoda, who fully knows the laws  of social etiquette, replied, "Do not be distressed in Your mind. If You  cannot give up Your attachment to Your friends, then just stay home with  them." After she said this, Krishna, who removes the distress of everyone in  the universe, forgot about going to the forest. Contemplating the upcoming  festival, Krishna remembered the sweet name, form, and qualities of Radhika.  As Krishna fixed His mind on Radhika, His affection for Radha increased more  and more. Then Krishna meditated on all the wonderful preparations that  Radha would make on the order of Her father.On the day of the mahotsava  King Vrsabhanu beamed happily like the rays of the rising sun. Vrajesvari  Yasoda received a warm greeting upon arriving in Varsana. After offering  obeisances to the queen of Vrndavana, the younger ladies of the house  glorified her, "Please listen attentively as we recount how Kirtida-devi  (Radhika's mother) praised you. She said, 'Even Sarasvati cannot properly  describe the wonderful nature of the creeper of mother Yasoda's parental  love. Then how can I possibly glorify her? As a devotee of Lord Hari can  remove the miseries of material exist­ence, similarly, Yasoda's visit to  our house will remove all inauspicious-ness. Rohini-devi and her  all-auspicious family members will be also wel­comed into our house. I  hope they will be kind and bestow their compas­sion on me. Tell them that  they need not bathe at home, but they can quickly come here and do all  their bathing in our palace."Vrajesvari Yasoda affectionately addressed  them, "O ladies! You have conquered us with your humble praises. You need  not treat us so respect­fully or worry about us because we can take care  of ourselves."


King Vrsabhanu had collected beautiful paraphernalia from all direc­tions  in order to offer a royal reception to Maharaja Nanda, the king of the  cowherd men. Lavish decorations beautified the entire city of Varsana.  Beginning from the city gate, gorgeous ornaments adorned the entire royal  road. Strings of sweetly jingling bells hung over the roadway. Auspicious  water pots lined the sides of the road. Coconuts set on mango leaves  rested above shiny brass pots. Rows of decorated lamps accented the  at­mosphere. Being nicely swept and cleansed, the main road appeared free  from dirt and dust. The densely foliated branches of the dark green  ba­nana trees prevented the sun's rays from shining on the path.  Kettle­drums and mrdangas resounded melodiously in glorification. They  cre­ated a festive atmosphere to greet the party of Nanda Maharaja.After  making all the arrangements Vrsabhanu Maharaja petitioned Suiya-deva, his  worshipable deity, to make his endeavors successful. Then he went to the  path beside the main road and waited expectantly for the arrival of his  guests. Rows of fruit-bearing betel trees lined both sides of the lane on  which Vrsabhanu stood. First he saw the attractive young prince of  Vrndavana strolling before His relatives. Surrounded by His friends, Krishna  illuminated the world with the brilliant effulgence coming from His  lightning hued dhoti. The gopis herishing paramour love for Krishna strongly  desired to embrace His lotus feet that now graced the earth of Varsana.  Thus Krishna, the personification of srngara rasa, entered the vision of the  eager King Vrsabhanu. Other family members such as the queen of Vrndavana,  who is totally free from all faults and falsity, walked behind Krishna.  Nanda Maharaja, who brings joy to the earth like a veritable manifestation  of all good for­tune, and his associates followed behind. Seeing them,  Vrsabhanu Maha­raja rushed forward to warmly embrace Krishna, the moon of  Gokula who has attractive curly, dark blue hair. After bending his head  slightly to show respect to the king and queen of Vrndavana, Vrsabhanu led  them to his palace.Upon entering the palace, King Vrsabhanu expertly  arranged sitting places for his guests according to their position. He  provided for all their comforts by engaging his servants in carefully and  respectfully bathing, massaging, and dressing them. Everyone felt happy  and refreshed from the fatigue of the journey after the warm  reception.Yasoda entered the kitchen to check on Radhika. Appearing in  Vrndavana as personified bliss, Radhika made a wonderful feast with Her  expert cooking and tasteful arrangements. Seeing mother Yasoda entering  the kitchen, Radhika offered her respectful obeisances. Yasoda, the bearer  of beauty and fame for her family, felt boundless affection for Radhika.  Smiling joyfully, Yasoda said, "The art of cooking is like the jewel in  the ornament of praise for the female class. Even though Your beautiful  body is as delicate as a flower, You have taken on this heavy burden of  cooking. And by doing so Your elegance has enhanced." Although Radhika had  worked very hard, She did not feel the least bit tired. When requested by  Yasoda, Radhika felt shy about displaying all the items that She had  pre­pared.

Mother Yasoda said, "Just see what amazing delicacies You have made. One  can easily perceive all Your good qualities of taste, beauty, and  fra­grance in these astonishing preparations. Your perfect cooking has  turned everything into ambrosia." Then giving Radha a full embrace, Yasoda  congratulated Her saying, "Darling, bravo! I really appreciate Your  ex­pertise in cooking. Seeing Your skill has removed whatever unhappiness  I felt within myself."

Her face glowing like the full moon, Yasoda continued her joyful mood. She  embraced the fragrant youthful Lalita and Syama-sakhi and praised them  saying, "O Lalite! O Syame! O Visakhe! Your friendly dealings with each  other, and your respectful attitude toward your superiors is certainly  commendable. For this is the standard of behavior of cultured people."  After glorifying Radhika, who is expert in all arts, and Her  girlfriends,Yasoda turned to Rohini-devi and said, "O mother of  Balabhadra! Learned persons always honor such mutual loving affection.  This Radhika, who is delicate and tender by nature, has filled my heart  with ecstasy. She ap­pears in this world like an auspicious flower from  Nanda-kanana, or a beautiful creeper of sandalwood. Radhika is the ripened  fruit of the tree of Vrsabhanu's piety. Radhika is a rare jewel-mine of  the best qualities found in the three worlds."Rohini replied, "O Yasoda!  Everything you said is perfectly correct. There is no doubt about it.  Moreover, the delightful son of the lord of Vrndavana is an ocean of good  qualities and Radhika is Sumukhi, sweet­ness personified. O Yasoda, this  pair of jewels is the central ornament on the neck of the goddess of  Vrndavana. They give pleasure to anyone who sees or hears about  Them."Feeling bashful over hearing Her praises, Radhika gently lowered Her  head in shyness. From observing Radhika's facial expressions, Syama-sakhi  and the other gopis detected the joy swirling within Her heart. They  smiled slightly in understanding and thought within themselves, "O  Rohini-devi! Your statements disclose our inner thoughts. Truly you are  blessed. Without a doubt rain gives cooling relief to one tortured by  scorching sunshine. There is a deeper more satisfying meaning to your  statement that Radhika and Syama-sakhi are the jewels on the neck of the  goddess of Vrndavana. Everyone holds this pair of jewels on their heads.  Do you not feel repentant about engaging this delicate girl in such  difficult work?"

As the sun lights up the entire universe, similarly, with her pure  con­sciousness Kirtida illuminates her family and increases their fame.  After embracing her, Yasoda said, "O Kirtida! Why did you engage the  youth­ful Radhika in the toilsome duty of cooking, which is usually done  by the elderly housewives? You should not have caused such distress to the  fresh flower-like body of Radhika, who has wilted from the heat of the  cooking fires. Don't you feel repentant over this?"


Kirtida replied, "O Vrajesvari! Indeed, I took a risk by engaging Radhika  in that work. But the fact is that Radhika is an expert cook. And besides,  this particular festival we are hosting will fill everyone with delight.  The munificent king of the cowherd men, his wife, and children will all  enjoy a wonderful feast here today. Actually Radhika, who possesses  brilliant in­telligence, willfully engaged Herself in this service with  great happiness and enthusiasm.

"Moreover Radhika has a natural ability in Her hand so that whatever She  cooks exhibits the best qualities of taste, beauty, and fragrance. O you  who have such strong affection for Radhika! Being eager to please his  guests, Radha's father humorously asked Her to help. The majority of the  feast preparations are being made in another big kitchen. In this kitchen  Radhika is cooking only a few especially delectable items. Is there anyone  in Vrndavana not considering himself blessed today? But since you are the  most worshipable lady in Vrndavana, I think you should take charge here.  If that will make you happy, then I am sure all the problems with the  festival will be solved."

Vrajesvari Yasoda replied, "Let Rohini, who is famous for her expertise in  serving, distribute all the food items lovingly cooked by Radhika."

Before Yasoda could finish speaking, Kirtida interjected, "Wait! Let my  darling Radhika serve the King and Queen of Vrndavana, along with their  sons Krishna and Balarama who are like a pair of fresh blue and white  lotuses. Radhika should also serve Rohini, the personified jewel all good  qualities. The intimate friends of Radhika such as Lalita and Syama-sakhi,  who are also experienced servers, should distribute food to Krishna's  friends."

Although this order filled Radhika's ears with nectar, it created a  di­lemma due to the rising waves of love within Her heart. Radharani could  not accept the proposal, but at the same time She did not want to refuse  the request. Inertia overtook Radhika's mind. As the gentle, sweet smile  slowly disappeared from Her tender sprout-like lips, Radhika bashfully  confided in her mother. Radhika said, "I am feeling overwhelmed with  feelings of shyness and reluctance. Therefore, I will only serve the  divine queen of Vrndavana, who is the embodiment of absolute fortune, and  her family members pri­vately in the inner chambers. Let Syama-sakhi serve  a line of guests sit­ting on the outer veranda."Syama-sakhi, a clever  expert in juggling words, said, "O doe-eyed one! Your statements are  unreasonable. Let Your father Vrsabhanu, who is as powerful as the sun,  more famous than Lord Siva and the purifier of the fallen, serve the  guests sitting on veranda."

After listening to the sweet talks of these sakhis whose pleasing voices  sounded like the warbling of swans, Yasoda, the reservoir of parental  af­fection, said, "O my two well-behaved girls! Do not be afraid, but  listen to my words and you will benefit. Following my suggestion, you  should learn the proper method of serving. Now both of you become  proficient in this art."

After giving this instruction, mother Yasoda, who is pure and famous,  walked out on the huge, gem-studded veranda. She ordered her servants to  properly arrange the wooden seats. They fixed fine white covers on the  seats and made all comfortable arrangements.Then Haladhara, the brother of  Krishna, who subdues the demons and whose bright complexion outshines the  purest crystal, sat on the right side of Nanda Maharaja. Krishna, whose body  is more brilliant than a blue sapphire, sat on his left. The brahmana boy Batu, who is an expert joker  with a very strong and beautiful neck, sat next to Krishna. Subala, who is  strong, wealthy, and full of deep affection for Krishna and the other  sakhas, sat beside Batii.The respectable and handsome Nanda Maharaja, the  main cause Gokula's wealth, cleansed his feet and sat down. Everyone in  the assem­bly drowned in joy upon seeing beam a pleasant smile. Radhika,  the god­dess of personified beauty, came before the honorable King of  Vrndavana and respectfully offered him lotus flowers in Her folded palms.  Then Yasoda summoned Radhika to serve the foodstuffs. With a heart full of  joy Radhika served Nanda Maharaja while Syama-sakhi served Krishna and  Balarama. Noticing that Radhika was not serving Krishna, Yasoda told Her,  "With­out Your help Syama-sakhi will not be able to serve properly. Why  don't You help her serve Krishna." Although eager to do this, Radhika tried  to restrain Her restless heart. Soon, however, a bad star appeared to  destroy Her restraint and remove Her fickle modesty. Radharani's mind is  com­pletely saturated with a mood of eternal love and Her blissful form  bright­ens the world with a wonderful effulgence. Although Her hand  trembled due to fear, Radhika controlled it and served Krishna. On the order  of Vrajesvari, Radhika and Syama-sakhi served Krishna and His friends like  Subala and Kusumasava.


"O look!" boasted Kusumasava, "Although I am the best among the brahmanas,  still I have become sanctified by honoring this food which has been  personally served by the hand of the daughter of Vrsabhanu. Do you know  why this is true? Radhika is Maha Laksmi-devi Herself. Is there any woman  in the world equal to Her? Hey Krishna, my self-effulgent friend! After  relishing the food cooked by Radhika, we no longer want to eat food cooked  by anyone else." While Radhika served the food with great dexterity and  devotion, Kusumasava continued to laugh and make jokes. Speaking in  varying tones, he sometimes spoke quickly and then very slowly. With his  funny talks and antics, he entertained the entire assembly.Pretending to  be angry, Krishna addressed Kusumasava, "Hey Vacal! (talk­ative one) Take  your meal and stop your mocking and joking. Do not create such   pandemonium. Besides what is the use of all your silly talks?" Kusumasava  replied, "Accepting Your instruction, am I supposed to become like a dumb  man and just eat silently? Even if I had a hundred mouths, I could not  properly glorify the superb quality of this food. Its taste just beyond my  imagination to  explain." While eating Krishna gave some food to a parrot  that sat between He and Kusumasava. The parrot accepted the offerings with  great happiness.Feeling grateful, he extended his neck and looked  restlessly here and there as if preparing to speak. Observing the actions  of the parrot, Yasoda said, "O  best among the dvijas (brahmanas or  birds)! Speak out whatever is on your mind."The brahmana Batu (Kusumasava)  immediately replied in a loud voice,"O just see! Today I have become the  best of the twice born." Yasoda replied, "I am not speaking to you. I am  addressing the parrot."The parrot said, "O son of the twice-born (Batu)!  Do not show off your word jugglery. You seem to be more crazy and  talkative than I am. Do not spoil Krishna's happy mood by speaking any more  nonsense."

Vrajaraja Nanda said, "From where has this wise bird come? Why did this  parrot become morose upon hearing the glories of Laksmi-devi and Radhika?"

Yasoda said, "Just listen to the history of this parrot. It is not fitting  to compare Radhika with one of the demigods." The parrot said, "Why didn't  you give a suitable reply on my behalf?" After hearing these talks,  Radhika and Syama-sakhi met in the kitchen, removed the veils from their  heads, and started joking and laughing. Radhika said, "O Syame! One with a  beautiful face! These two twice-borns (Batu and the parrot)are engaged in  some nonsense talk about Me. So now you continue serving by yourself."  After saying this Radhika re­mained in the kitchen.

Not seeing Radha, Yasoda thought, "Perhaps Radhika became shy upon hearing  the parrot glorify Her, so She stopped serving." Yasoda then went to  encourage Radhika. Accepting her proposal, Radha served again but in  another part of the room. Noticing this, Yasoda approached Radhika and  said, "It is natural for a cultured girl to feel shy upon hearing her own  glories. But my darling, You are not the daughter of Vrsabhanu, but You  are the daughter of the ocean. O sweet-faced one! You should serve the  same line You did before." Surrendering to mother Yasoda, Radhika  con­tinued serving Krishna and His friends.

Besides enjoying the meal, Nanda Maharaja especially appreciated the  cooking expertise of Radhika. Fully satisfied, he laughed and joked with  great joy. With great gusto he relished the six kinds of tastes which  Radha had presented in a pleasing way. He gave the utmost praise to  Radhika for cooking so perfectly. Balarama and His friends felt full  satisfaction. Krishna experienced exceptional flavors while eating the food  cooked and served by Radhika. Since all the preparations contained the  fragrance of Her conjugal love, Krishna savored the sweet madhwya-rasa of  Radhika's heart with every bite.

Vrsabhanu concluded the festive occasion by joyfully distributing tambula,  valuable ornaments, garlands, and sandalwood pulp to all the guests.  Radhika enthusiastically served the mothers of Krishna and Balarama, who  displayed sublime gravity and kindness, as many sweets as they desired.  While relishing the sweets and delighting in Radhika's ser­vice mood, the  two mothers conversed among themselves.


Yasoda said, "That expert talker Batu spoke correctly when he said, 'O  friend! After eating food cooked by this server you will not want to eat  anyone else's cooking.' " Then Yasoda addressed Radhika, "Hey  Vrsabhanunandini! Your prepa­rations give complete satisfaction. From now  on my dear son Krishna must only eat food cooked  by Your hands. He will no  longer accept any meal cooked by another. So in very sweet words I will  seek permission from Your elders, and definitely they will allow You to  cook for my son. For doing this service I will reward You with opulent  dresses and ornaments. From now You must come to my house and prepare all  of Krishna's meals with a joyful heart." On hearing Yasoda's statement,  Kirtida (Radhika's mother) said, "O Vrajesvari Yasoda! You are the Queen  of our lives. Your order has greatly enhanced the  beauty, love and  affection of Radhika. Those who know the workings of love will be pleased  by your request. Everyday Radhika will come and skillfully cook for your  son. As soon as the sun rises She will go to your house. By your mercy the  kingdom of Vrndavana now shines with transcendental glory and stands  beyond the effects of time. Your pleasure alone is our ultimate goal."

After receiving the consent of Her elders, Radhika could now freely  associate with Her beloved from that day on. As Krishna continued to rel­ish  the nectarean foods cooked by Her hands, Radhika's desire to offer Him the  sweet nectar of Her lips increased day by day. Meanwhile, another sakhi named Candravali had tied up Gokulacandra (Krishna)  in the prison house of her heart like a thief. Whenever Krishna and  Candravali met, They looked immensely beautiful. At that time the heart of  Candravali, which possesses the wealth of supreme beauty, would melt in  anticipation. For she hankered always to be pierced by the arrow of  Krishna's love. All the gopis headed by Candravali were like flowers of love  emanating the highly praiseworthy fragrance of the joy of meeting Krishna.  In assessing the stage of their budding love, one could understand that  within a year their love would flourish and clearly express itself.

Sometime later, on the pretext of picking flowers, the Vraja gopis met  their beloved Krishna in a lonely garden decorated with fresh, untouched  creepers and enjoyed intimate pastimes with Him. Krishna, who is more  beautiful than a fresh rain cloud, is the totally independent well-wisher  of everyone. He is the sole object of love for the gopis and all the other  Vrajavasis devoid of envy.Now the Vraja gopis freely displayed their love  without any pretension. Because their superiors did not practice  faultfinding the young girls of Gokula did not fear criticism. Since their  birth, the Vraja gopis had an overflowing loving attraction for Krishna.  They no longer felt any need to hide their feelings. Fully exhibiting  their frivolous moods, the gopis de­lighted in forest pastimes with their  beloved. Discarding all inhibitions, they completely fulfilled their  heart's desires.The husbands of the gopis observed all the proper rules of  social eti­quette, but for some reason they did not prevent their wives  from running to the forest. Just see the wonderful workings of Yogamaya  who made all the necessary arrangements to nourish the rasa of these  eternally perfect lovers of Krishna. But surprisingly enough, under the  influence of the same Yogamaya potency the gopis felt extremely anxious  and apprehensive about their illicit love for Krishna. They thought, "We  gopis are married to other men, therefore we are parakiya or belonging to  others."


Besides creating such thoughts within the gopis, Yogamaya arranged that  their secret meetings with Krishna remained hidden from their superi­ors.  How did she accomplish this? The fathers-and mothers-in-law and the  husbands of the gopis thought of themselves as their superiors and  protectors. For those having this false pride, Yogamaya arranged for a  mayic expansion or duplicate of each gopi to remain home beside her  husband, while the original spiritual body of that gopi went out to meet  Krishna. Yogamaya performed these tasks perfectly. On the other hand, to pacify  Krishna's parents Yogamaya made a completely different arrangement. Krishna,  whose character is praised by even Brahma and Siva, is famous for His  elegance and ability to control Cupid. Although these qualities usu­ally  disappear as a boy matures, tender beauty and impudent behavior mingled  within Krishna's youthful form. Due to this, Nanda and Yasoda who were tied  to Him by the creeper of parental affection, thought that Krishna would  remain perpetually as their little boy.

Despite their thinking, Krishna soon blossomed into manhood. At this time  the gopis saw Krishna as a handsome most lovable young man, but His parents  continued to see Him as their darling son. As a result, Nanda and Yasoda  did not feel any suspicion when Krishna met secretly with the love­lorn,  lotus-eyed gopis. To satisfy the Lord's desire to relish parakiya bhava,  Yogamaya also arranged for the gopis to maintain the consciousness of  identifying as other men's wives. Just see the amazing power of Krishna's  Yogamaya potency!