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Pastimes in Summer and Other Seasons
The arrival of the summer season brought a suitable time for Krishna to relish refreshing pastimes with Shri Radha. But when Krishna played with Balarama and the cowherd boys at this time, He felt the scorching heat of summer manifesting within Himself as the burning pain of separation from Radhika. Before telling the next pastime, I will describe the summer season in Vrndavana. During the summer, the pathways become hard and dry from the blistering heat of the sun. A person's fingernails become brittle and crack. But inside the caves of Govardhana, where Krishna secretly enjoys with His beloveds, there is always a soothing and cooling atmosphere due to its natural springs and small ponds of water. The waves of the Yamuna meander lazily by her blistering banks of sand. People also move slowly due to the heat. Profuse perspiration brings relief from the sizzling sunrays. Everyone forgets the discomfort of perspiring by smelling the pleasing fragrance of sirisa flowers. The tops of the trees hang down to form natural canopies, which shade the footpaths and kindly protect the Vrajavasis from the pinching rays of the sun. In Vrndavana's cool shady groves the vanadevis (forest maidens) are busy making delightful arrangements for Radha-Krishna's confidential pastimes. Scattered here and there are various kunjas (natural cottages) made of groups of lush bushes, trees, and vines that have entrance doors on one side. The vanadevis keep a variety of pleasurable substances such as pan, candana, and pots of cool sandal-scented water inside the kunjas.. There are also containers of refreshing drinks like madhu and mango nectar waiting to satisfy the Divine Couple and relieve Their fatigue.
The Killing of Pralambasura
One summer day the brilliantly powerful brothers Krishna and Balarama, surrounded by Their associates and displaying wonderful grace and beauty, came to Bhandiravana forest to enjoy pastimes. The moment the Lord desired to enjoy a particular pastime, all the necessary paraphernalia automatically appeared. Nourished by eating the fresh green grass and satisfied by drinking the crystal clear water from the valleys of Giri-Govardhana, the cows relaxed peacefully in the dense shade of the banyan trees. The gopas wore garlands of freshly blossomed mallika flowers and natural earrings made from sirisa flowers. They tied garlands of kurci flowers in the'r nau"- Adorned with these attractive fragrant flowers, they tied garlands of kurci flowers in their hair. Adorned with these attractive fragrant flowers, the two brothers, Balarama and Damodara played happily with Their friends.One boy sang in a very sweet voice. Some boys played musical instruments while others danced. Sometimes Krishna vibrated His flute while Balarama danced. At other times, Krishna danced to the singing of Balarama and His friends. In a melodious tone Krishna called the gopas, "Ho! Ho! My brothers! Now stop your dancing because we are going to play a new game."
While running to meet their friend, the gopas replied, "O Damodara! What sort of game do You want to play?"
Krishna said, "Listen! Let us divide ourselves into two parties. One party will go with the powerful Balarama and the other party will side with Me." Thus Krishna divided His friends into two parties in order to hold a contest of strength. The boys in Balarama's party followed Him like loyal soldiers and the other boys accompanied Krishna. The losing party had to carry the victors on their backs. Krishna's party lost, and even though Krishna carries the whole universe in His belly, He had to carry Shridama on His shoulders.Under the influence of time, Pralambasura, the deceitful one, disguised himself as a cowherd boy and secretly mixed with Krishna's friends. Being defeated in the contest, Pralambasura had to carry the victorious Baladeva, who looked extremely enchanting and effulgent with sandalwood paste daubed on His golden white body. Taking Balarama on his shoulders, the demon carried Him to the edge of the Bhandiravana forest. Pralambasura thrilled with the thought; "I have accomplished my mission. Like a thief I have broken all the rules of the game and stolen a valuable jewel."
At first Balarama was amazed at the extraordinary power of His carrier, but then He instantly understood the situation. Smiling mildly, Balarama called out to His playful younger brother, "O Damodara! Hey Manorama! Just as insanity robs one's intelligence, this demon is trying kidnap Me. O You of infallible will power! What should I do now? Hey relisher of mellows! Without hesitating any longer, please give Me proper instructions."
Krishna felt somewhat amused to see and hear all of this. Then in a thundering voice He assured Baladeva, "Give up all Your fears. Why are You submitting to illusion? Just remember Your own divine power and slay the demon."
Using His unrivaled strength, which far exceeded the power of the thunderbolts Indra uses to cut the wings of mountains, Balarama, the elder brother of Madhusudana, smashed the demon's head into little pieces with His fist. With tremendous power the Lord drove the demon to the kingdom of Yama. Before departing, the demon assumed a huge grotesque form. The Vrajavasis thought that Balarama, whose complexion is whiter than fresh camphor, looked like the full moon sitting on top of the domelike covering of the universe as He sat upon the demon's shoulders.The demon's body had a dark smoky color. But due to profuse bleeding his hideous body now looked like a cluster of clouds in the reddish sky at sunset. Covered completely in blood, Pralambasura slowly fell to the ground. While falling he appeared like the sun setting behind the Vindhya Mountain, which is covered with red asoka flowers. The splendid demigods, who are expert in glorifying others, showered flowers on the head of Balarama to celebrate His victory over the demon. The notorious demon named Pralamba had displayed great tantric magic. But eventually he perished under the fierce blows of Baladeva whose chariot bears the symbol of a palm tree. In front of everyone, Balarama humbly accepted the name Pralambaghna (one who removes all sins from the heart) honorably bestowed upon Him by Lord Indra. Thereafter Balarama met with His brother Damodara, who always gives joy to others and is dear to all the gopas. Proud of His recent accomplishment, Balarama felt unlimitedly blissful within His mind. But He became confused upon seeing the bewildered faces of the cowherd boys when He rejoined Krishna who was resting in the shade of a beautiful banyan tree named Bhandiravat.
Krishna Swallows the Munjatavi Fire
Once upon a time while Damodara, Balarama, Shridama, Sudama, Subala and the other gopas rested beside the Yamuna, the cows, attracted by the fresh sprouted grass, wandered deep into a nearby forest named Munjatavi. For no apparent reason the birds sleeping in the trees suddenly startled, filled with fear, and darted from the treetops when the cows entered the forest. Krishna, whose eyes are colored like pink lotus flowers and who is the inner guide of all living entities, noticed that the gopas had become apprehensive about the safety of the cows. In a mood of love Krishna compassionately addressed them, "Hey friends! Look! Where have our cows gone? Only the light of happiness shines in this forest full of birds and deer. So there is really no need to worry about the cows. Nevertheless, since we cannot see any of them right now, let us go find the cows and rejoice again in their company."
After the beautiful Lord spoke, the gopas, who are expert in herding cows, looked for partially chewed grass, fresh hoof prints in the soil, and any other signs of the cows' movements. Following these signs, they walked through the densely foliated forest. Reaching the end of their desire to search any longer, the cowherd boys became doubtful and apprehensive about the safely of the cows. They resembled people who become full of distress and lamentation after not finding any happiness in life.Suddenly the gopas saw a powerful forest fire devouring all the dry reeds and grass in its path. Their eyes burned from the blustery hot winds generated by that fire. Overwhelmed with sadness and anxiety, the cowherd boys looked at each other with tear-filled eyes. Their movements resembled a bewildered man who prays when facing difficulty. Not finding the cows, the gopas just kept thinking about them.Meanwhile, seeing no sign of their masters, no escape from the fire, and no hope for survival, the cows cried in fear. Upon returning to the Bhandiravat tree, the gopas reported the results of their search. Krishna responded by promising to personally save the cows from imminent death. Although Krishna is the Supreme Brahman and a cintamani gem fulfilling the desires of all, He assumes the form of an ordinary human being.Dashing into the Munjatavi forest, Krishna summoned the cows with a sweet tune from His flute. Then He called them individually with His melodious voice, "Hee! Hee! Hee! Hey Dhavalike! Hey Candani! Hey Nandini! Hey Mukte! Hey Indu-tilake! Hey Kasturi! Hey Karpurike! Hey Pinge! Hey Rangini! Hey Dhumale! Hey Kinjalike! Hey Syame! Hey Ketuki! Hey Candrike! Hey Shavalike! Hey Kasmirike! Hey Campake! Hee! Hee! Hee!"
- The transcendental vibration of Krishna's magnificent murali enchanted the entire universe and attracted the cows. Hearing the gentle sound of Krishna's sweet flute reassured the cows of their imminent rescue. Overwhelmed with joy, the cows eagerly waited for Krishna. But since they were trapped in a ring of fire they could not see their savior. In desperation they cried in response to Krishna's call. Their voices choked with fear, the cows continually vibrated a piteous "Humba! Humba! Humba!"
Though far beyond the comprehension of munis, jnanis, and impersonalists, Krishna is easily seen by His pure devotees. Hearing the wailing of the cows in the distance, Nandanandana, Haladhara, and Their gopa friends felt reassured that they were nearby. The brilliant effulgences and radiant smiles of the cowherd boys dispelled the deep darkness of the forest as they rushed toward the cows. The rising tidal wave of jubilation cleansed all anxieties from their bewildered minds. Then by the arrangement of Providence, the boys found the cows standing helplessly unprotected in the middle of a blazing fire. "Alas! Look how they are suffering! They are in great danger and very close to death," thought the cowherd boys. The greatly distressed cows immersed their minds in thoughts of Krishna while staring at Him with shining, tear-filled eyes. Being the limitless ocean of compassion, Krishna felt very much ag-
grieved to see their agonized condition. The raging flames of the fire reached so high into the sky that even a torrential downpour could not extinguish them. Before immediately swallowing that uncontrollable forest fire, Krishna, whose face is incomparably beautiful, addressed His followers, "O friends! Just close your eyes, forget about this illusion, and be happy again." The cowherd boys, their long hair hanging attractively over their shoulders, closed their eyes while Krishna displayed a drop of His unlimited opulence.Krishnacandra, who can do anything, held His cupped hands to His lotus mouth and drank the forest fire as if were liquid ambrosia. It appeared that His majestic power personified had swallowed the fire. Usually it takes a torrential downpour to stop a forest fire. But Krishna, however, who easily extinguishes the blazing fire of material existence, put out the fire with a sidelong glance. Out of compassion for the cows, Krishna saved them with a mere touch of His own energy.
Krishna attracts worldly people to His transcendental pastimes by showing His majestic opulence from time to time. As one presses pulp to extract the essence, Krishna's pastimes reveal the essence of the Absolute Truth. This is not surprising since Krishna is the Supreme Parabrahman, the embodiment of all power who energizes the sun, moon, and fire. At the same time He is full of variegated personal energies. At one moment Krishna kills the demon Bakasura, and the next moment He relishes intimate pastimes with the gopis. Sometimes He covers His sweet personal aspect, and displays the inestimable power of His unlimited majestic opulences. Besides acting as the resting place of Brahman, Krishna shelters all types of energies. Therefore, swallowing a tiny forest fire is an insignificant feat for such a wonderful personality as Krishna, who is the combined form of complete sweetness and majesty. What scholar would not become totally captivated when trying to understand the inconceivable truth of Shri Krishna?
Inspired and blissful over the whole pastime, Brahma and other demigods showered flowers from the celestial gardens. The flower shower appeared like the falling of an unlimited number of teardrops mixed with kajala. Krishna pleased the demigods by happily accepting their prayers. By the arrangement of Yogamaya no one saw Krishna swallow the forest fire. Afterwards Krishna returned to the gopas who were relaxing with the cows in the cool sweet shade of Bhandiravat. Smiling mildly, Krishna said, "Now you understand why I asked you to close your eyes. Now open your eyes and look at Me."
The gopas opened their eyes and exclaimed, "O look! What happened? Did we go crazy? Where is that forest fire? Was it just a dream? Somehow we are just sitting here peacefully under the banyan tree with the cows."Feeling astonished, the cowherd boys became silent.
The cows felt happy and secure now that the forest fire was extinguished. Seeing Krishna, whose feet are the supreme objects of worship and the epitome of purity, the cows became overwhelmed with joy. The cows cried while repeatedly licking and smelling the Lord's transcendental body due to intense affection. Reciprocating with them, Krishna compassionately fondled the cows with His delicate pinkish palms.
Returning to Nandagrama with the Cows
Indicating his desire to disappear behind the mountains, the sun gradually diminished his painful scorching rays. The scent of honey from the lotus flowers blossoming in the lakes refreshed the air with a sweet fragrance. Smelling it, the bees went mad with desire to taste it. The atmosphere felt pleasant and the ground was soothing to touch.Gathering the herds of cows, the gopas walked along with Krishna, who played sweet, gentle tunes on His murali while driving the cows home. Bellowing happily as they moved, the cows fixed their eyes in the direction of Nandagrama. As they passed through the various villages along the way, Krishna cast sidelong glances toward the gopis, who stood on their rooftops to greet Him as He walked by. The Vrajavasis took immense pleasure in seeing their beloved Krishna and Balarama after the long summer's day. Krishna's beautiful dark blue curly locks peeking out from the edge of His limestone-white turban enchanted the eyes of everyone. The dust rising from the hooves of the cows created an auspicious atmosphere. Gentle breezes added a comfortable sensation. The breeze, purified by the touch of Krishna's transcendental body, soothed and satisfied all the Vrajavasis as they watched the returning boys and cows.Drinking the sweet vibration of Krishna's flute with the cups of their ears, the deer hurried to the edge of the forest to see Him. The birds that felt empty in His separation and the trees that had become lean and thin again rejoiced upon hearing Krishna's reassuring flute. Krishna entered a joyful mood as He approached the border of Vrndavana. Rows of excited bumblebees formed a garland of blue sapphires to adorn the neck of Vrndavana. The bees went blind from smelling the sweet fragrance of lotus-eyed Krishna. And although a strong wind crushed their pride in flying, they tried their best to follow Him.Enthusiastic to return home, Haladhara ran down the long road into Vrndavana. Krishna, the radiant prince of Vrndavana, who is the abundant treasure house of beauty endowed with unlimited varieties of good fortune, however, lagged behind while returning from the pasturing ground.He deliberately walked slowly like an intoxicated baby elephant in order to create some distance between Himself and His brother Balarama. Krishna was suddenly maddened with bliss as a result of His deep-rooted affection for the Vraja gopis. Now without any shame or fear of His elder brother, Krishna unhesitatingly fixed His eyes on the candrasalikas (small rooftop rooms for panoramic viewing). Standing in the candrasalikas, the gopis filled the sky with the countless full moons of their faces glowing with love. The blue lotuses of their eyes covered the broad lakes of their chests. Colorful rainbows from their dazzling jewelry illumined the sky. The black bees of their darkened eyebrows restlessly circled the flowering creepers of their smiles. The rivers of their liquid beauty flowed down to touch the ground below.
The gopis thought continuously of Krishna within their hearts while separated from Him during the day. Although Lord Siva held poison in his throat, the gopis could not contain the intense hankering of their hearts to see Krishna. Forcefully surging from their hearts, this fervor choked their voices and made them lose external awareness. As the day gradually met the evening, the gopis, forever bound to Krishna by unbreakable ties of love, became agitated with the desire to see Him. Seeing Krishna in the distance with His ever fresh, youthful body glistening like a dark blue cloud, the gopis immediately blossomed in ecstatic love. Krishna wore a colorful turban decorated with a peacock feather jutting out the side. Suddenly Krishna glanced directly at the gopis standing in the candrasalikas. At that moment the gopis appeared to be drinking the sweet nectar of Krishna's gorgeous form with the cups of their eyes; touching Him with their hands; and licking Him with their tongues. Krishna transformed into the black kajala around their eyes, the blue lotuses over their ears, the sapphire necklaces on their chests, and the musk ointment smeared on their bodies. Stunned in love, the gopis just stood motionless like figures drawn on a painting.
Viewing the situation, Krishna's dear friend Kusumasava said jokingly, "O dear friend! For many days we have not seen anything so astonishing. When You disappear in the forest like the sun sinking into the water, the gopis in the candrasalikas look like lotuses growing in the sky sustaining their life in the waters of love. When You reappear as the moon throwing its rays on the earth, they blossom in delight like night blooming lotuses. There is nothing more amazing anywhere on the earth. In Brahma's entire creation you will not find a more astounding or attractive scene." After saying this, Madhumangala cleverly pointed out the beloved daughter of Vrsabhanu.
Though glancing at all the gopis, Krishna especially noticed the attractive lotus face of Radhika, which pleases the eyes, exceeds all description, and is beautified with ecstatic love. Their meeting ended the day's long separation as They satisfied each other with sidelong glances. The nectar of love for each other constantly flowed in Krishna's heart and in the hearts of the gopis. With great anticipation the Vrajavasis awaited the return of Krishna and the cows. First they saw the dust clouds in the distance created by the hooves of the cows cutting the earth. Then they heard the bellowing of the cows and saw the gopas coming close behind. And finally they beheld the bright blue effulgence preceding the jewel-like prince of Vrndavana. Overwhelmed with the desire to lick their calves, the cows tried to run, but the heavy weight of their full milk bags checked their forward movement. Becoming jubilant upon hearing Krishna's flute, their eyes rolled in ecstasy. Though their voices faltered when they mooed, they produced a pleasing sound as they entered Vrndavana. The touch of Vanamali's cows purified the earth. The rays of the sun shined in the house of Nanda and Yasoda as they welcomed their beloved son. Moved by limitless joy, Yasoda rushed to embrace Nandanandana. Finally seeing Him after the long day of His playing in the forest overwhelmed Yasoda with happiness and removed the pangs of separation. Rejecting all rules of formality, she took Krishna through the lion gate and directly into the palace courtyard.
Krishna's lips bathed in the beautiful light of His radiant teeth. The cowherd boys accompanying Krishna felt happy and pleased in heart. With great animation they spoke excitedly to Vrajesvari Yasoda, "O mother! Today a demon disguised himself as one of us and tried to kidnap Haladhara. But your son Balarama easily killed this malicious character. Then a terrible forest fire threatened to devour the cows, the very source of our wealth. But Krishna promised to save them, and did by performing the impossible task of destroying that fire." After reporting this, the boys returned to their respective homes.
Due to Yasoda's deep motherly affection, milk automatically poured from her breasts as she embraced Krishna whose body surpasses the beauty of a monsoon cloud. A festive mood pervaded the house as Yasoda led Krishna to His room. Raktaka, Patraka, and other house servants, with hearts full of affection, served Krishna by bathing and dressing Him.
A brilliant necklace glowed on Krishna's chest. A yellow silk dhoti as beautiful as stationary lightning enwrapped His exquisite form. The sandalwood pulp on His body appeared like snow sprinkled on the land of Vrndavana. Ridiculing the radiance of the sun, the kaustubha gem, which is the king of all jewels, reigned over the kingdom of Krishna's broad chest. His earrings outshone the brilliance of Venus and Jupiter. The luster of Krishna's face far surpassed the pleasing full moon in autumn. The turban resting on His head looked like an intoxicated swan.
Krishna chewed on betel nuts scented with camphor to remove the fatigue of the hot summer's day. The pan represented the intoxicating mellow of the gopas' love-filled hearts. Krishna, the best of respected persons, stole the minds of the gopas and filled them with ecstatic sweetness of sakhya bhava. Krishna's jewel inlaid shoes did not touch the earth as He stepped outside to walk to the goshalla. His tightly wrapped yellow dhoti moved slightly in the gentle breeze as He walked along the royal road before the lion gate. The light from its inset candrakanta jewels illuminated the road that had been decorated with garlands to honor Shri Krishna's return. These jewels perspired drops of cooling nectar which in turn made the wind moist and refreshing. Everything became even more pleasing due to the nectar shower of the rising full moon.
The Gopis Watch Krishna Milking the Cows
The white hue of the pure-minded cows sitting along the road, which looked as white as powdered camphor, easily surpassed the glow of the full moon to create a satisfying sight for all. The beautiful white bodies of the cows could only be distinguished from the lustrous setting by their thick horns that appeared blacker than a swarm of bumblebees. Sitting there peacefully the cows felt boundless joy. Desirous to milk the cows, the gopas met with Krishna, who tastefully performs all artistic feats and derives pleasure from all that He does. Moving His lotus eyes in all directions, Krishna milked the cows with great fun and affection.he news that Krishna was milking the cows entered the ears of the gopis like a lusty elephant trampling the lotus flowers of their minds. Their minds captivated by Madan-mohan, the gopis ignored their relatives and courageously climbed the watchtowers to see their beloved. One gopi enthusiastically clutched another's hand and pulled her up the stairs. As the doe-eyed gopis gazed in the direction of Krishna and the cows, the sky filled with the blue lotus flowers of their ardent, loving glances.
They bathed their minds in the river of nectar flowing from the moonlight face of Krishna. Like independent yoginis, the curious eyes of the gopis blissfully roamed in all directions as they stood on the rooftops watching Krishna milk the cows. Nothing could prevent their eyes from staring at Krishna. Their eyes tried to milk the nectar from the gorgeous face of their beloved. Though Brahma himself cannot describe this pastime of Krishna milking the cows, and a sparrow can never reach the stars, still this insignificant poet cannot resist the temptation to delight in the transcendental pastimes of Krishna. Therefore he has tried to glorify them by using the choicest words. Krishna's turban looked very attractive as it tilted slightly from rubbing against the belly of the cows. Squatting down and holding the golden milk pail between His knees, Krishna looked very enchanting in His glimmering yellow dhoti. While milking the cows His back arched beautifully and His elbows jutted out to the sides as He squeezed and released the udders with His bud like fingers. First Krishna moistened His thumb and forefinger with milk foam, and then He deftly pulled showers of milk from one udder after another. The touch of Krishna's lotus hand felt dearer to the cows than their own calves. Out of affection for the Lord, the cows freely poured forth streams of milk. That forceful pouring of milk made a pleasant sound as it filled the deep milking pot. It spilled out on the ground before a new pot could be brought.
As they stood in the watchtowers glancing restlessly at Krishna, the gopis succumbed to both anxiety and ecstasy. Now that Krishna had sat down in the minds of those desirous gopis, their minds became so heavy that even a thousand chariots could not drag them away from their beloved Lord. Though shaking in fear of their superiors, the gopis were totally enchanted by the sweet festival of Krishna's beautiful darsana. The mood of awe and reverence could not stand before their spontaneous love for Krishna. Even if the gopis seem hypocritical, they are completely infallible and beyond mistakes. Those gorgeous gopis looked like golden creepers fashioned by an expert goldsmith. Feeling compassion for the maidservants standing beside them in the candrasalikas, they shared the joy rising within their hearts by conversing with them. "Hey sakhi, listen! The creation of my eyes has attained perfection by the soothing sight of Syamasundara. I am relishing the palatable elegance of my Lord whose ever-youthful, dark blue body glows like a fresh rain cloud. My body is tormented with fever due to opposition from the village elders. Still I want to make my body fit to be controlled by Krishna who expertly displays the highest perfection in different arts.
"Just see, even in this condition my intelligence works nicely. Hey listen, O playful creepers! In the absence of the bees, the clusters of lotuses lose their joy and luster. Therefore, O best of beautiful girls! We must now exhibit the strength of our mantra chanting by attracting Krishna into our courtyards."
Another sakhi replied, "How can we do it?"
The first sakhi answered, "Listen, I will tell you. In our house even the strongest girl cannot possibly milk the cows. Even for a fearless person, it is very difficult to control the cows because they are very strong and frisky. But due to our reluctance to milk them we are not deriving any wealth from their milk products. Therefore the minds of our superiors like our mothers-in-law and fathers-in-law are burning with grief like the blazing sun."
Second sakhi said, "So what does that matter to you? Just ask your guardians why aren't they milking the cows and deriving any milk products from them? Advise them to simply lovingly call out for Krishna. And when the cows see Him they will automatically surrender their milk.
The first sakhi responded, "But then our elders will ask, 'Who is He and where does He live?' "
Second sakhi, "You should answer them by describing the wonderful milking activities of Krishna that you have just seen. O sakhil Then I am sure that your superiors will immediately respond to your entreaty. Because the wise and intelligent always respond to a good idea. Krishna alone has the power to break all psychic inhibitions and fill the mind with unprecedented delight. He always affectionately cares for everyone. By His ecstatic pastimes He provides soothing shelter for a tormented mind. Although Krishna is the supremely independent master of all intelligence, at the present time He submits to the authority and protection of His affectionate parents. Due to His love for all of us, I am convinced that as soon as our superiors inform Him of our dilemma, Krishna will respond by rushing here to milk our unruly cows." Thus the gopis passed their time discussing these delightful topics.
Garlanded with wild flowers and surrounded by humming bees, Krishna walked back to His house after milking the cows. Unlimited qualities decorated Krishna at this time. The necklace adorning His broad chest swung back and forth like a shooting star. The ocean of joy within Krishna flowed out of His lotus eyes to flood the lakes of the gopis' hearts. Krishna's unlimited attributes appeared like sharks to devour the tender hearts the gopis.
With the carefree movement of a royal elephant Krishna rocked from side to side as He walked down the road. Immersed in loving rapture, the gopis stared with unblinking eyes at His sweet lotus feet as He passed by. Krishna's presence inflamed their senses with excitement and satisfaction. But when Krishna left their sight their eyes stopped functioning for want of anything worth looking at. Within their minds, however, the gopis found paramount pleasure by lying down with Krishna on the flowerbed of surrender. When Krishna takes the cows to the pastures in the daytime, His lovers almost die from the severe pain of separation piercing the core of their hearts. It appears that a virulent poison has spread through their bodies. This intolerable, burning pain of separation, however, is extinguished by the two nectar showers of seeing Krishna returning in the cool summer evening, and relishing His matchless beauty at that refreshing time.
Thus the Lord of unlimited power joyfully passed everyday of the summer tending the cows in the forest. Surrendered souls can easily perceive this delightful form of the Lord. By His personal presence Krishna sweetened the whole world and attracted everyone to His spectacular transcendental pastimes.
Krishna Pastimes in the Rainy Season
Krishna went to the forest to tend the cows and play various sportive games in the company of Haladhara and the cowherd boys. Upon entering the forest they met the fortunate goddess of the rainy season. Seeing the beauty of the rainy season personified as a heroine, Krishna remarked, "Aho! Look what a wonderful sight!" Krishna saw the goddess of the rainy season pervaded by a lusciously sweet fragrance from wearing the pollen of kadamba flowers. The swarms of bumblebees darting through the air were her provocative glances cast at Krishna. She wore effulgent, attractive blue garments in the form of freshly formed, glistening rain clouds. The gentle rumbling of radiant rain clouds filled the forest with the sweet sound of her elegant voice. She offered newly sprouted barley grass as a bed for Krishna's pleasure. This colorful green bed of fresh grass defeated the beauty of a collection of the brightest emeralds. The millions of indragopas (tiny red insects) crawling over the ground colored the delicate lotus feet of that goddess of the rainy season with an effulgent red lac. A row of splendid restless cranes adorned her throat as a pearl necklace. The fanned tails of the dancing peacocks comprised her beautiful hair. The fragrant air blowing by the arjuna trees laden with sweet flowers formed her pleasant breath. Her gentle, enchanting face was moistened with tears of tiny raindrops. Erect petals of bright yellow kadamba flowers formed her hairs that stood on end due to a rarely perceived ecstasy. She eagerly waited to offer Krishna a fragrant garland made from the tiny malati flowers on her dangling creepers. Her restless eyes lowered out of respect and timidity when she offered her services to Krishna.
As an expert maidservant, she made wonderful garlands to decorate the whole forest of Vrndavana with an abundance of fragrant flowers. Overflowing with love and affection for Krishna, she desired to serve the Lord in various ways. Her bodily complexion -reflected the fresh, dark blue rain clouds decorating the sky. Thus the goddess of the rainy season pleased the entire world with her sweetness. Just as one gets relief from the scorching heat of summer by taking the proper medicine, similarly, all the living entities in Vrndavana delighted with the appearance of the refreshing rainy season. The Vrajavasis felt that a magnanimous physician in the form of time had awarded them the personified wealth of the rainy season. The blustering winds appeared to be the cool breath of the goddess of the rainy season. The grass standing erect on the ground represented the thrill bumps of the rainy season due to feelings of ecstatic joy. The peaceful green fields looked very charming under the beautiful deep blue sky. It seemed that the sun had retreated to a distant place to fall asleep. And with its disappearance all the miseries of the hot season also disappeared. The rainy season felt proud of the many peacocks jubilantly dancing here and there. Seeing the joyful flying of the cataki and gallinule birds made her smile in happiness. Hearing the delightful voice of the cataki birds brought her immense satisfaction. The abundant blossoming kadamba flowers formed the smiling face of the rainy season.
A rich fragrance of musk saturated the entire atmosphere. Profuse rains bathed the mountainsides and washed the forest pathways of all debris. Just as the bones of a fat man cannot be seen, similarly, due to flooding, the islands in the middle of rivers disappeared. Since the whole foresit had become overrun with a dense growth of reeds, the herds of deer could no longer sport and play. Fresh grass abounded everywhere to fatten the joyous cows that no longer wandered to distant pastures.
What more can I say about the beauty of the rainy season in Vrndavana which brought supreme satisfaction to the playful prince of Vrndavana?
During this time the cows ambled lazily under the shady trees. Krishna beautified the entire scene by sitting nearby on the root of a tree and singing a wonderful melody. The cows looked lovingly at Krishna while munching the plentiful grass. The sound of their teeth cutting the grass was very pleasing. Becoming fully satisfied from eating the lush foliage, the cows moved very slowly. They walked peacefully here and there without any disturbance from insects like mosquitoes and biting horse flies. The constant swinging of their tails created a marvelous scene of pure effulgent beauty. Upon filling their bellies, the cows lost all desire to eat any more grass. To find relief from the heat of the day, they rested amidst the soft cooling grass and slowly chewed their cud. Turning their gentle faces toward Krishna, the cows glanced at Him with love and gratitude. Krishna took great delight in seeing them.
As the cows rested, Krishna and His boyfriends absorbed themselves in playing ball with the flower buds of the kadamba trees. Observing the sweet sporting of Krishna and the cowherd boys, the demigods flying in their airplanes became totally infatuated. Exhilarated with joy, the clouds raced across the sky, broke into small pieces, and gradually disappeared. Due to the increasing heat of the day attractive pearl-like drops of perspiration formed on Krishna's sweet lips and lotus face. Though tired from playing, Krishna looked very radiant and attractive. Stopping His play, Krishna sat down on a large root under the shade of a tall tree. To free themselves from the offense of subjecting Krishna to such intense sunrays, the clouds released tiny drops of rain that felt like a shower of cooling camphor. Gentle, refreshing breezes scented with the sweet fragrance of malati flowers blew in all directions. In this way, the season served the Lord who forever enacts the sweetest pastimes.
Standing in a three-fold bending form, Krishna emanated the finest elegance. Placing His cow herding stick under His left arm, Krishna looked very attractive as He leaned on it and crossed His right leg over His left. The flower garland hanging from His graceful neck gently swung back and forth. Enchanting tunes and melodies echoed throughout the forest as Krishna played His celebrated flute. The cows extended their ears to drink the stream of nectar, and the male deer stood motionless, captivated by the sweet vibration. Krishna's flute song, the very embodiment of transcendental sound, completely enchanted the minds of the cowherd boys. One boy said to Krishna, "It is the nature of the mallara raga that You are playing to indicate an impending rainfall. The rumbling of the clouds resembles the maudlin mood created by the crying of Your flute. O Krishna! Please tell us why You are playing so sweetly and artistically? Due to the thick covering of rain clouds, I am bewildered and cannot tell whether it is day or night.
"O remover of all.misfortune! Let us go now and return to the village. Although Your nature is to be gentle and joyful, sometimes You are naughty and disobedient. The monsoon showers have stopped for now, so put Your sweet-sounding flute to rest. Let us wake up the sleeping cows and quickly go home."
Krishna, whose face is more radiant than the full moon, enjoyed the joking and laughter of His intimate boyfriends. While taking the cows along the path home He made sweet music on His celebrated flute. Looking in all directions, Krishna became absorbed in His transcendental pastimes. His unique matchless elegance put to shame the beauty of blue lotus flowers and the best of emeralds. His hands, feet, and body moved in waves of condensed brilliance.
According to scriptures, Krishna is the personification of Parabrahman. As He strolled gracefully down the path, it seemed as if another rain cloud moved along the earth. The embodiment of the earth's greatest treasure now walked on her surface. Somewhat tired from the long day of playing and tending the cows, Krishna moved slowly as He proceeded toward Vrndavana. The cows also ambled along in a leisurely mood. It appeared that the entire city of Vrndavana bathed in the first shower of the rainy season. After the rainfall, proud peacocks, famous for their dancing ability, strutted about the roof tops of every home with their long, thick, green tail feathers fanned out to dry in the sun. As the sun set over the city of Vrndavana, its reddish rays, redder than a bimba fruit, spread across the clear western sky. The red sunrays looked like the line of sindura on a woman's hair part.
The eighty four thousand jalousie windows within the palaces appeared like the eyes of the city of Vrndavana, who had now attained the fortune of relishing the wonderful elegance of Krishna's body as He sauntered into the city. The holes of these windows seemed like the eyes of Krishna's thousands of cows that constantly drink the nectar of His exquisite beauty. The splendid flags flying over the city looked like tender green leaves waving in the wind. Their flapping indicated the intense joy felt within the mind of the goddess of Vrndavana as she watched Krishna return.
Overwhelmed with ecstasy, the goddess of Vrndavana desired to dance. Due to the heavy downpour pools of water were lying here and there. The excess water spilling over the rooftops merged with these pools and made them overflow. The water, scented by sweet flowers of various creepers, smelled more fragrant than sandalwood as it rushed through the gutters of the city. Due to carrying an abundance of white sand that water appeared brighter than camphor. Out of pure love the fortunate goddess of Vrndavana used this water to wash the feet of Krishna's cows as they entered their respective goshallas.
Krishna, dressed in glittering yellow garments and smiling attractively, churned the heart of Cupid and dispelled all darkness as He led the cows into the goshalla. With a loving glance He instantly removed the sadness rising within the hearts of His companions who contemplated their imminent separation. Consoled, the boys ran off to their respective homes. Entering the palace, Krishna sat down to eat a variety of palatable foods. All the wealth of the heavenly planets could not compare to the opulence of those sumptuous eatables.After being fed wonderful foods and drinks by mother Yasoda, Krishna laid down to rest on a bed with sheets whiter than powdered camphor. The buzzing of the bees hovering about filled Krishna's bedroom with a melodious sound. While enjoying the sweet smell of the aromatic herbs and dried flowers stuffed in His pillow, Krishna slowly fell asleep and passed the night.
The Purva-raga of Shrimati Radhika
Before Radhika ever met personally with Krishna, She had already developed immense attraction for Him. Radharani's relatives, however, barely perceived the change in Her consciousness due to the infection of Krishna's attraction. None of the other gopis understood the extent of the pain Radhika felt in separation from Krishna. Radhika had attained the ultimate state of attachment to Krishna on account of the burning fire of Her growing love for Him.
As they learned of this burning attraction, Radhika's relatives wondered how to extinguish this fire and remove Radhika's depression. Radhika's dearest sakhis tried to restore Her blissful state by waking Her from this position of unconsciousness. The sakhis drenched the daughter of Vrsabhanu with the fountain-spray of their tears whenever Radhika's mind burned with the fire of separation. Despite this display of affection, Radhika gradually became more and more entangled in the network of love.
And whenever Radhika would return to external consciousness, She realized that only Krishna's intimate association could cure Her disease. Radhika maintained Her life with the fleeting hope of some day meeting Krishna, who is impossible to attain. But gradually Her life dwindled away and rapidly approached the point of total devastation, the final stage of love in separation. Being struck by the arrow of Cupid, Radhika's mind stopped functioning, Her external senses failed to work properly, and She appeared inert. Clusters of rain clouds raced across the sky. The horizon appeared like a devastated woman with closed eyes crying in separation from her lover. The torrential rain falling from those clouds appeared like profuse tears rolling down the face of that saddened woman.
Krishna, on the other hand, externally continued to relish different rasas with His loving mother, father, brother and friends. Together they enjoyed many happy pastimes. But within His heart Krishna also felt afflicted due to separation from His most dearly beloved Radhika. To alleviate this condition, Krishna constantly thought of Radhika and enjoyed various loving pastimes with Her within His mind. In this way, Krishna executed His unlimited pastimes of bliss.
One auspicious day during the rainy season the cows grazed on the fresh green grass growing in a beautiful valley beside Govardhana. The jewels and precious stones on the surface of Govardhana Hill radiated a beautiful glow. Krishna sat on a throne made of smooth stones next to a waterfall flowing with fragrant water from the top of the hill. Enjoying the atmosphere, He laughed and joked with His friends. Krishna's boyfriends played a game using some crystalline stones having a dark blue mirror-like surface.While they pushed and shoved each other, a lightning bolt suddenly flashed out of the clouds. It seemed that the clouds cast an angry look just-to stop the boys' playing. Becoming frightened, the boys ran away. They returned upon regaining their courage. But when the clouds thundered once more, the boys ran away again. Picking up some creepers, they pretended to beat the clouds in retaliation. The clouds, however, responded by drenching them with a quick spray of rainwater.At this time the joyful cowherd boys painted Krishna's body with colored mineral powders. As His friends surrounded Him and happily danced for His pleasure, Krishna floated in a river of bliss. Then He wandered around Govardhana Hill performing various ecstatic pastimes. As Krishna's heart is full of rasa and decorated with the mark of Laksmi, similarly, Govardhana Hill is full of beauty and a wealth of fresh fruits and edible roots during the rainy season. Krishna relished the sweet natural taste of the various fruits and roots brought by His intimate friends, whose hearts surged with happiness. Bound by their pure devotion, Krishna easily finished all the foodstuffs collected from Govardhana Hill.
With His white teeth shining attractively as He smiled in satisfaction, Krishna easily stole the hearts of every living entity. Krishna's friends quickly prepared His favorite flavored pan from betel nuts, pure white lime paste, fragrant juice of banana that smelled like camphor, and the other items that they had previously collected. Thus being served in various ways, Krishna enjoyed His pastimes on Govardhana Hill. Krishna took shelter in the caves of Govardhana Hill whenever the clouds sprinkled water. Sitting there biding His time until the rain stopped, Krishna appeared like a beautiful baby elephant. The boys entertained that enchanting person by playing a game of shouting loudly into the back of the cave and laughing at the echo. Vibrating deep angry sounds, they said, "Who are you? What are you saying?" The cave filled with clamor. Ordinarily it is offensive to mistreat a giver of shelter. Yet this irreverent behavior in the cave did not fault the cowherd boys, but embellished them with the ability to please Krishna. Indeed, they blessed the cave by their presence.Meanwhile, outside the cave it appeared that the rain smiled with its teeth of hailstones falling everywhere. Krishna's friends ran outside to pick up the particles of ice and bring them back to the cave. With hands folded as in pushpanjali, they offered the hailstones as flowers to Krishna's lotus feet.
When the rain stopped, Krishna, whose face outshines the beauty of the full moon, and the cowherd boys, overflowing with bliss, left the cave and ran to the top of Govardhana Hill. Krishna sat peacefully on a beautiful emerald rock that glittered brightly after being washed by the rain. His friends fanned Him with a pure white camara that saturated the air with the pleasing fragrance of musk. Hari, who removes all miseries, sat there in great happiness while gazing at the beauty of the forest, which appeared like a reflection of His own body.Glancing over the earth and splendorous sky, Krishna called the cows, "Hey Dhavali! Hey Kali! Hey Shavali!" Mooing in response, the cows ran across the valley to stand beside Krishna. During the rainy season the forest of Vrndavana looked elegant and effulgent. As Krishna's body appears to be without qualities when viewed from a distance, the forest lost its detail when illuminated by the bright clouds. The expanse of forest resembled Krishna's attractive body, surrounded by buzzing bees and decorated with a kadamba garland fragrant with honey pollen.
As the brilliance of the Shrivatsa mark beautifies Krishna's body, the forest served as a beautiful playground for herding the cows and calves. Krishna's body glowed with golden-yellow cloth and the forest shone with the sun's rays, rivaling the radiance of the clouds. Impelled by deep attraction, the doe-eyed gopis desired to embrace the Lord's body. Similarly, the forest abounded with the furtive glances of the deer, restless with attraction for Krishna. As Krishna's hands have long delicate fingers, the branches of the trees were covered with tender fresh leaves.Fragrant herbs scented the forest. The emerald sprouts covering the ground tinted the trees with various pleasing colors due to their reflections. Being shielded from the sun's rays by the thick foliage and spotted with jewel-like lakes fed by fresh, fast flowing streams, the earth felt cool and refreshing. Moving clouds resembling clumps of herbs periodically covered the pleasing sky that wore the sun like an earring. That sky, spreading out in all directions and ringed at its edges by the expansive forest, appeared to merge with the forest. Playing the purest notes on His flute, Krishna looked like a blue sapphire pillar standing in the forest. That pillar held the flag of the abode of Laksmi as He stood amidst the circle of His fortunate and astonishing cowherd friends. Krishna twirled the edge of His yellow cloth while admiring the remarkable combination of sky and forest. Then He called out the names of His cows in deep, clear syllables. Without any fear of attack from ferocious animals like tigers, the cows grazed peacefully on the sweet grass at the base of Govardhana Hill. But as soon as they heard Krishna's voice, all the cows immediately became stunned and appeared like toy cows. Due to their heavy weight the cows moved forward in a crooked manner. Yet as they got closer to Krishna, they galloped quickly and trampled the grass under their hooves as they went to their merciful Lord. Crying and mooing over and over, the cows assembled before Krishna. He addressed them, "Do not stay any longer." The cows respected the Lord's order and immediately proceeded to the valley.
The bees hummed in tune with the vibration of Krishna's celestial flute. Krishna's friends, who are bound to Him in love and forever assist Him in His playful pastimes, slowly climbed down Govardhana Hill. As Krishna walked home it seemed as though He stole the minds of the various birds and beasts who could not go with Him. Thus throughout the rainy season Krishna and His cowherd boyfriends enjoyed various fun-filled pastimes along with the wonderful cows of Vrndavana.
Krishna's jeweled ankle-bells chimed sweetly as He strolled gracefully along the plateau. The purifying dust of Vrndavana now covered the lotus feet of Krishna, which are worshiped by the jeweled crowns of Brahma, Siva, and Parvati. Krishna moved in measured steps as He walked behind the cows. He impressed the soft, moist breast of mother earth with the lotus flower, elephant goad, conchshell, and other marks on the bottom of His feet. The touch of Krishna's tender feet relieved mother earth from the painful burden of demons like Agha, Baka, Putana, and others. Thus Krishna and the sakhas returned home.
Taking advantage of the rainy season, Yogamaya always created auspi-ciousness by her incomprehensible actions. At this time she could easily arrange for Radhika's rendezvous with Krishna because the Vrajavasis move around less due to the inclement weather. During the beautiful nights Radhika patiently tolerated all the pains and difficulties induced by Her intense attachment to Krishna. No one can describe the burden of Her love. The unlimited desire to meet the beloved of Gokula formed the heart of Radha. Krishna inundates the universe with His beautiful form, qualities, and sweet pastimes whenever He manifests His transcendental love for Radhika. It is the perennial duty of Yogamaya to bring about the union of the Divine Couple. The actions of Yogamaya are not so astonishing considering that Citralekha, a mere insignificant and unqualified mystic, easily transported Aniruddha from his palace in Dvaraka to secretly meet Usa within her father's impenetrable palace, which even powerful demigods like Indra could not enter. Each of Krishna's transcendental pastimes gives bliss in accordance with one's angle of vision. Being eternal, they have nothing to due with the temporary pleasure derived from adolescence. By the influence of Yogamaya, the gopis attracted to Krishna in the mood of conjugal love never witnessed His parental pastimes of sucking Yasoda's breast. This would not be compatible with the nature of the gopis' extraordinary relationship with the Lord.
Overwhelmed with love, Radhika decided to go out for Her first lover's tryst with the Lord of Her life. Auspicious signs adorned the night. The rain clouds overhead looked like a garland of tamala trees stretched across the evening sky. Radhika and Her confidential sakhis fearlessly entered the dark forest in quest of meeting the gallant Syamasundara. The menacing sound of the palace guards faded into the background as the gopis made their way deeper into the forest. Rati (Cupid's wife—the goddess of conjugal play) or Radhika's intense attachment personified as a messenger to lead Radha along the forest path to Krishna.
Actually the unseen power of prema propelled all of Radhika's movements. To prevent Her relatives from discovering Her nocturnal journey,Radharani wore a blue sari and smeared Her body with musk. Abandoning fear, anxiety, and hesitation Radhika ran into the dark forest as fast as She could. Although She did not know the way, it did not matter because the driving force of Krishna prema pushed Her automatically along the forest path. Only one thought checked the fickleness of Her mind— enjoying loving union with Syama. By distinct mental changes, Radhika understood that She had reached the meeting place. In the minds of both Radha and Krishna the anticipation of union personified as Cupid to direct Them to the exact meeting place.Radhika's thighs went numb as stone pillars upon arriving at the entrance of the kunja. Tears rolled down Her cheeks, Her hands and body shook, and Her mind lost all sense of direction. To get confidence Radhika clutched the hand of an intimate girlfriend, and with great hesitancy entered the kunja of Her beloved. But Alas! Alas! She suddenly desired to run away.Then the sakhis urged Radhika to move closer to Krishna, and Her bodily limbs slackened a little. She inched forward and then stopped abruptly. Within Her heart Radhika eagerly desired to embrace Syamasundara, but externally She feigned unwillingness. What more can be said? Although young and tender, the beautiful sakhis showed the utmost expertise in witty and crafty behavior.
One affectionate sakhi cajoled Radhika, "Hey sakhil Today we beg one thing of You. Please give Krishna the pleasure of touching You just once. After this we will never force You to go to Him again. O compassionate one! Seeing His distress and anxiety, please be kind to Him."
Then the sakhis pushed beautiful, slender-waisted Radhika into the kunja. Since Radha had not yet been enriched in the art of making love, the sakhi named shyness personified appeared before Her. When the sakhis started to leave the kunja, Radhika tried to join them, but Krishna forcefully grabbed Her hand. The touch of Her beloved evaporated Her desire to go. Being kept in the kunja, Radhika moved Her eyebrows to inform the sakhis not to leave Her alone with Krishna. Reassuring Her with their glances, the sakhis remained by the side of Radhika. Seeing Krishna look wantonly at Her, Radhika closed Her eyes slightly out of shyness. When Krishna asked what troubled Her, Radhika listened quietly but did not respond. While holding Her right hand in His left, Krishna reached out to touch Radhika's body. Radhika blocked His hand and broke away from Him. Though not afraid, She stood some distance away from Krishna.Externally Radhika acted contrary to Krishna, but internally She desired nothing but giving Krishna the pleasure of union. Such are the dealings of new lovers. The seeming contrary behavior of Radhika increased the delight of Syamasundara's heart. Attaining something that is difficult to achieve always brings a feeling of great satisfaction. Paramour love, therefore, which is so rarely attained, brings the utmost pleasure.Again Krishna tried to embrace Radhika, but She arched Her eyebrows menacingly, and tried to get up from the pastime bed. Despite this display of opposition, Radhika really desired to please Krishna with Her youthful behavior. Everyone knows that the effulgence of a powerful jewel easily removes the darkness of night. Nevertheless, neither the inducement of Her sakhis, the enchanting words of Krishna, nor the powerful arrows of Cupid could convince Radhika to submit. Finally, Krishna conquered Radhika's fortress of unwillingness. Casting a love-laden sidelong glance and roaring loudly, Krishna forcibly embraced Radha to His powerful chest with the speed of lightning.
Krishna drowned in a shower of inconceivable loving bliss. The changing moods of love expressed by Radhika resembled the soft, soothing tender rays of the moon passing through its various phases. At one moment, Radhika appeared to be thrown far away, way beyond the desire of anyone. Like a flower full of sweet nectar beyond the reach of the bees, Radhika became unattainable, beyond the touch of anyone's hand.The next moment, Radhika was a garland of desire-tree flowers adorning the neck of Krishna. Radha is non-different from Her name, which contains an unlimited flow of intoxicating nectar. One who chants japa of Her name will realize this. Wrapped within the embrace of the effulgent Prince of Vrndavana, Radhika lost all anxiety, independence, and fear of the thundering clouds. Totally overwhelmed in bliss, She forgot everything else.Meanwhile, the sakhis abandoned their shyness and burst out with loud laughing upon seeing their cherished desire fulfilled. While glancing toward Radhika they spoke amongst themselves in such a way that Radha could hear them. They praised the roaring of the dark monsoon cloud, "Hey cluster of dark rain clouds! Due to your beautiful bodily complexion you are certainly qualified to make friendship with Krishna. Indeed, you are the giver of blissful mellows and are therefore blessed. For this friend of yours has befriended the freshest and best of beauties. Although it is difficult for us to control Radhika, simply by roaring your friend forced Her into submission. It is your good fortune that your friend has achieved such an unprecedented victory."Pierced by the arrow of the sakhis joking, Radha became shy and showed opposition toward Krishna. In reality Her heart spun in a whirlpool of rasa. Radiant with boldness, Krishna held Radhika's braid in one hand and Her chin in another. With great difficulty Krishna subdued the maddened force of His ecstasy in order to treat Radha with the greatest tenderness in Their first meeting. He kissed Radha's cheek so gently that the flower creeper designs painted there remained perfectly intact. Then He carefully kissed Her eyes so as not to smudge Her kajala, which was as dark as the Yamuna in color. Krishna's soft light touch did not even disturb one line of any drawing. This compares with the heart of a pure devotee that always remains undisturbed and free from fault.It is a well-known fact that Siva lingas are always held in great respect. Similarly, Krishna respectfully embraced the firm breasts of Radhika to His chest in gentle way in order not to break Her precious pearl necklace. As one overlooks the spots on the moon, similarly, Radhika, feeling ecstatic, overlooked the scratches that appeared on Her lips and breasts as Krishna held Her blossoming breasts in His lotus hands. Just as it requires courage to hold a highly poisonous snake, similarly, Krishna fearlessly touched the creeper like hairs near Radhika's navel. Just as one thinks he will become successful by contacting the waters of the holy places, similarly, Krishna gently touched the lake of nectar in Radha's navel. As a jnani attains liberation from material bondage with great difficulty, similarly, with great endeavor Krishna loosened the knot binding Radha's dress.To attain Brahman realization one must practice negating the things of this world by saying, "neti, neti" (not this, not this). Similarly, during the exchange of rasa and bhava in the beginning of conjugal union, only the negative words, "No! No! No!" came from the mouth of mahabhava Radharani. At this time, Krishna attacked Radhika with the lightning strikes of His sidelong glances. As water forcefully cascades from a cloud punctured by mountain peak, a stream of loving tears poured from Radhika's eyes.The water rushing over the jeweled-rocks on top of Govardhana Hill makes a very pleasant sound. Similarly, the jeweled bangles around Radhika's wrists vibrated with a sweet jingling as Her arms trembled in loving ecstasy. As clouds cover the mountain peaks during the rainy season, similarly, the broad chest of Ghanasyama covered the mountain-like breasts of Radhika. As the southern breeze blows gently, similarly, the movement of Radhika's body slowed down by the appearance of the symptoms of ecstatic love. As the hot rays of the spring time sun cause perspiration, similarly, Radhika's body broke out in pearl-like drops of perspiration as the bliss in love increased.Like fresh leaves rustling in the wind, Radhika's leaf-like fingers trembled slightly as She filled with Krishna's love. As swelling waves sometimes disrupt a reservoir, similarly, Radha's choking up due to loving ecstasy disrupted the fluid movement of Her voice. While embraced by Krishna, Radhika tried to hide Her emotions by hanging Her head shyly in a beautiful manner. Due to Her fresh youthfulness, Radhika appeared intoxicated in bliss. With great difficulty She tolerated the surging waves of madhura rasa moving deep within Her heart. It seemed as if some inauspicious planet appearing as Her lovers' longing for conjugal union opposed Her.Meanwhile, the sakhis standing near the door of the kunja conversed among themselves while observing this wonderful scene. One sakhi said, "It seems as if Cupid has become bewildered about his duty in this pleasure pastime of the Divine Couple. Yet on the other side, Radhika's longstanding desire for love has now fructified and is filling Her with grief. Alas! Such are the ways of love. In both the states of happiness and distress the desires of Radhika's heart have become unbearable."The sakhis watched Radhika collapse in defeat during Her love battle with Syama. Radhika's loud forceful exhalations sounded like a stormy wind. Both Her hair braid and the knot of Her waistcloth, which upheld the wealth of Her pride loosened. But Radhika tried to protect the wealth of Her pride by holding up Her waistcloth with one hand. Her favorite necklaces broke and scattered during the love battle. Despite Her confusion, Radhika hastily tried to redress and ornament Herself.Even though Radhika felt satiated in transcendental bliss, Krishna still craved for more lovemaking. With various intimate gestures, however, Krishna brought Their pastimes of love to a close. Then He personally braided Radhika's hair and restrung Her broken pearl necklace. After retying the knot of Her waistcloth, Syama removed the drops of perspiration from Radha's forehead with the cooling touch of His lotus palm. Then He whispered sweet words of love that filled Radha's heart with endless joy.Seeing Radhika in that state, the sakhis showed their approval with affectionate glances. They talked about Radhika's recent love festival with great excitement and just loud enough for Radha to hear. Relaxing a bit, Radhika casually glanced in the direction of the sakhis. But feeling shy about Her recent pastimes with Krishna, Radhika, whose face outshines the full moon, hung Her head down. From time to time Radhika countered the looks of the sakhis with Her own sidelong glances that said, "Why did you trap Me with Him and thereby destroy My chastity?"The sakhis jokingly replied, "The night is almost over, so now let us go home. Let Your lessons in lovemaking from the guru of conjugal union come to a close. Now leave Your pleasure bed behind."Pretending to be angry, Radhika curved Her eyebrows while simultaneously twirling a play-lotus in Her hand. Then She replied to the sakhis in a voice mixed with laughter and chastisement. Even though Radha's mind floated in joy, She showed a touch of anger while smiling slightly and speaking to the sakhis, "Like You, I have acted as the heroine in the drama wherein Krishna played the hero. Today I became a play doll in your hands. I willfully gave up My independence. Although you have instructed Me in this particular art, I have dutifully followed your words as if directed by Providence. Now please tell Me among the sakhis who came inside the kunja and who did not come?"
Krishna felt great pleasure by witnessing these exchanges. He praised Radhika for exhibiting such an enchanting variety of loving moods. After hearing the tender words of Radhika, Krishna, who removes the distress of everyone, who enjoys the rarely attained state of perfect bliss, yet whose own mind now reeled in distress said, "Oh sakhisl O personified forms of auspiciousness! By Your mercy I have become free from grief by drinking the nectar flow of Your words." Then overwhelmed by love and affection, Krishna showed His appreciation by warmly embracing each of the sakhis. Radhika happily observed this, and spoke some joking words that filled the ears with drops of nectar. Radharani said, "O sakhisl Presently, Your mental illness appears to be cured. Your tendency to find the faults in others is now gone. You are no longer making fun of others."Surprisingly enough, the sakhis who performed the joyful service of uniting Radha and Krishna also tasted the same transcendental pleasure as Radharani. Although their dearest sakhi no longer relished intimate pastimes with Krishna, it somehow appeared to them that She still enjoyed such conjugal happiness. Though the night served in the best way possible by being dark, the gopis called it dosha (full of faults) for they only had another hour to spend with Krishna. They encountered severe unhappiness over the impending separation. For soon they would take Radhika out of Krishna's kunja and lead Her home.After returning to Yavat early that morning Radhika became happy and amazed upon seeing Syama-sakhi, whose lips were beautified by the rays of her tender sweet smile. Syama-sakhi started reiterating the previous night's pastimes so that Radhika could again relish the association of Krishna. But Radha felt shy and hung Her head in embarrassment when hearing about Her first intimate meeting with Krishna. Due to having received Krishna's love, however, Radhika felt that She had attained a priceless jewel from the ocean of unlimited good fortune.
Syama-sakhi spoke softly to Radhika, "Oh Kalavati! (expert in all arts) Please tell us why You are acting so shyly because of Your recent activities? The world has never seen the unique type of bashfulness that You are showing. Oh, look! What a shame! Everyone will think that You have enacted a drama full of unending joy. Moreover, Your weary body clearly tells the story of Your total exhaustion from enjoying Your dearest.
"Your two arms, like the stems of the lotus, hang limply after losing their strength. Your lips are pallid, devoid of their attractive red color. The expertly drawn leaf designs on Your cheeks have been broken and destroyed. Please tell us what new arts You are now studying? What disaster has befallen You?"You who are like a fresh tender creeper have been thrown down suddenly by a high wind, and trampled like a lotus smashed by an elephant. You look like a fresh tender sweet garland that has been ravaged by a swarm of intoxicated bees. Please tell us, O sakhi Radhe! O embodiment of love! You must have fulfilled that difficult to attain, long cherished desire of Yours. How could it be otherwise? How else could the vines of the tree of our good fortune bear fruit?"
Radhika reacted to Syama-sakhi's direct, boldly presented questions by giving up all deceit and becoming straightforward. Since Syama-sakhi had now revealed everything, Radharani could no longer hide the facts. Feeling somewhat surprised, Radhika covered Her face with the edge of Her sari and spoke to Her smiling companion, "O lotus-eyed Syame! How can I tell you where I have been or where I am going? And where is the path? Who has led Me to His side and what happened to Me after meeting Him there? Had I known all these things, O sakhi, then how could it remain unknown to you?
"Alas! What is that which is beyond the reach of the mind and beyond the realm of thought? Is it magic, a dream, or just a long period of bewilderment? Does He bring pleasure, distress, or both? Or is He beyond all of these? I cannot tell at all. But He makes My heart palpitate and then I fall unconscious. Only this much impression remains within Me."
While smiling, Syama-sakhi jokingly said, "O Radhe, whose eyes defeat the blue lotus! Indeed this is true that one cannot become a master in the art of love. Therefore, to become somewhat learned in this field one must take lessons from a guru of conjugal union."
Radhika, who is endowed with good fortune, watched the ocean of Her joy churn into ecstasy and surge with waves from the rising full moon of Syama-sakhi's joking words. Tasting a special mellow, Radhika said, "O beautiful one! From now on I will not go anywhere near Him or even lay My eyes on Him. O intelligent one! But you can go and take regular lessons from that guru of conjugal union. Seeing Your scholarship will give Me great delight."
While replying to Syama-sakhi the brilliant moon rays of laughing and joking continually bathed the lips of Radha. At this time, Lalita-sakhi spoke some charming words, "O Radhe! You are certainly worshipable. Your proposal that Syama-sakhi learns the art of loving mellows is befitting. But if she stops her studies before mastering the subject, how will the other students be inspired to go on studying? Therefore, I tell You, oh slender-waisted Radhe! You should go with Syama-sakhi and also take many lessons from that guru of conjugal union.
Suddenly Kutila, Radharani's sister-in-law who speaks bitter words, arrived there like the appearance of an untimely windstorm. The sakhis became very cautious and quiet upon seeing her. Among the sakhis, Lalita, who is brilliantly perceptive, pretended to be teaching some lessons to the sakhis as if reading from a textbook. She continued reading without stopping or changing her voice. Taking charge, Lalita spoke in a hidden way so that the crooked Kutila could not detect the real meaning of their discussion.Lalita read, "Upon enrolling in school the student acted obediently toward her teacher and went on taking lessons." Kutila, whose nature is sharp and cutting, became suspicious seeing the sakhis rejoicing so much over Lalita's reading.Kutila: "Lalite! What are you teaching here?"Lalita: "We are teaching the principle of surrender to the guru."Kutila: "What is the meaning of what you just read about the disciple and other things?"Lalita: "She learned what her guru taught Her, but then She left the teachings. Actually that lesson cannot be learned alone. That is why I told her that it is better to learn along with someone. Therefore, I instructed Her to take Syama-sakhi along with Her to learn the lesson."
Kutila: "What is the matter? I see that these days you have become very busy in associating with other people (inner meaning: associating with men other than your husbands)."Syama-sakhi: "What do you mean? From their childhood the sakhis have been joyfully engaged in worshiping the lords of other planets. So Kutila, why did you say that just these days they are worshiping or associating with others?"Kutila: "Oh Syame! I see you do not know that the gopis are strongly attached to Syama (syama anuraginah)."Syama: "O Kutila! It is well known that from their childhood these gopis are attached to me (syama anuraginah)."Kutila: "These gopis are always expert in the art of taking the side of Krishna (Krishna pakha vati kala)."
Syama: "This cannot be, because the moon diminishes in phases to darkness (Krishna pakha vati kala) and it loses its beauty."
Kutila: "They all follow Krishna (Krishna varta gah)."Syama: "Arel What? How is that you are discussing the forest fire (Krishna varta gah) that appeared the night after Krishna subdued Kaliya?"Kutila: "Are you testing me? Definitely the gopis are lovers of that one, Krishna, who wears yellow garments (pitambara anuraginah)."Syama: "Do not speak so rashly. What you are saying is just the opposite of what can be directly seen. It is easy to see that the gopis like blue cloth with a reddish hue (nilaruna ambara)."Kutila: "O Syame! In various ways, the gopis are bound by their love to the son of the King of Vrndavana (vraja raja tanaye). Do you believe my words?" Syame: "No, you are absolutely wrong! How is it possible that they will take the silver ornaments of Vrndavana (vraja raja tanaye), since they already possess valuable jewels?"
Kutila: "The minds of all the gopis have been stolen (harina) by Krishna."
Syama: "What? Why are you talking about deer (harina)! That is why I am saying, 'O you talkative one.' You are repeatedly speaking witty words (vidagdha). But you are not qualified to speak like this, so do not speak anymore."
Kutila: "You are right. I do not have the capacity to speak like a witty person (vidagdha). If anybody can speak cleverly, then surely you can. Your witty intelligence (vidagdhi) is burning up (vidagdha) my mind. All right! Then please tell me why Radhika's body never displayed these characteristics before?
Syama: "There is a devata well known as Candrasekhara who never complains, who makes the deer eyed one fortunate, and who has a half-moon symbol on his head. This one worships Him with great determination. That is why Her tender, flower-soft body has become pale and lifeless."
Kutila: "Where is that devataV
Syame: "Well recently He became well-behaved and now resides in Her mind. Please believe me, you need not worry about Her any longer."
While they talked like this, the rainy season appeared with all its rich and varied flavors. At that time Candravali, whose face defeats the beauty of the moon, glowed with attachment to Krishna and the freshness of youth. She and her sakhis enjoyed Krishna's association. When Candravali experienced ecstatic symptoms due to Krishna's love, the bodies of her sakhis also displayed the same ecstatic transformations. In their own way the chaste housewives of Vrndavana also relished the sweet mellow of that unending love. But since their families acted unfavorably, they hesitated to show their attachment to Krishna.
By exhibiting various playful arts the lotus-faced gopis enjoyed the refreshing association of Krishna. The darling son of the king of Vrndavana is witty and expert in different arts, especially the confidential art of lovemaking. Thus during the rainy season, which is full of variegatedness, Krishna wandered playfully in the hearts of the gopis relishing the finer sentiments of love.
Every morning during the rainy season Krishna remained with His parents and the cows stayed in the goshallas until it stopped raining. Krishna reciprocated favorably with His parents by allowing them to fondle and caress Him. The cows went out to pasture as soon as the sky cleared. In .. , „i„„„ „,:*i, T^rsna and His attractive cow-
the evening the cows returned along with 1 •. •
,' , r , . uuu ° j- n ' with their elders at that time,
herd boyfriends who would behave cordiallv .....,., ._. __
. •>., r.u j j i„^ „t „;„v,f Krishna joyfully associated with In the middle of the day and late at night. ¦ ¦ • J J }
The Autumn Season
TO BE SCANE
• „* „ •*„ „,u„se mmd floods with happiness
The sarad season appeared just a wife, who ^
, • i . • . i ,^ u^ i,,„KJ(i W1th her service. The long-
as she anxiously tries to please her husba^ *
billed storks of this season looked as beauuT11 the cheertul tace ot a newly
married housewife. . c . , , , . , .,
.. r, . , . , ¦ . , , iy types of colorful birds, the
Full of clear water and inhabited by maf J/ '
• ,, . v . u~ m ¦' fi 11 of the wealth of pure love,
reservoirs resembled chaste housewives fi , ** .,
11 , , j- u-i„ . ™ „„„the ground-looked like a ridge
The rows of pleasant and jubilant swans on 6 . &
. r . . .. -. ; of autumn personified. The
of white mountains appearing as the tee „ J , ...
u , , , \Y ¦ . , ,. f „ ,umn. The abundance of blos-
singing storks formed the waist belt ot aui *
aiii£"& attractive blue eyes of a newly
soming blue lotus flowers appeared like the Qf ^ husband
married girl enchanting the eyes and mind '
~~ r ii i j _.u ti *ua „„„t„i clear sky overhead resembled
The fully cleansed earth and the crystal . / .
*. . . ™ „ ,,. „„„„;ng m the lakes exploded their
the pure mmd of a sage. The catkins grow & *;
F ^ , . ,, ,. .. ,-, ..„ spreading fame of the Lord. It
white cottonseeds in all directions like the ^ °. •
seemed as if the moon had been rubbed 0n a P° ?shinf stone * pr°duCe
an extraordinary brilliant effulgence. The^f^ stars in thfe ** aP"
, ... . / A° n,„ K^Jy °f autumn personified,
neared like ointments smeared on the boc\ /^
Fl~ r ff , ,.„,, «„„.„,„, nhanced the beauty of the for-
The sweet fragrance of chatima flowers e »
„_ . r ... r .i. , . „f oyrul clouds gradually reduced
est. The rains falling from the garland of j^ .^ ^ J
Ito the love sulk of a delighted lady^that v hosted q
clouds of the rainy season departed, the / b
... 1 ... .*!. -- . Mooked like a woman wearing
clouds resembling fine white cloth. The sk ^^ . »
. r .• iir.1. 11 .u o j„ 'ations the bnde m the form of
the dress of an ascetic. With all these deco
the autumn season looked exquisitely be*u. '
„ , , • , , nends, the joyful waves of the
Due to separation from her ram cloud ' J 3
I i j *u» oU«^„^°fwater. Many small and slow
river danced no longer due to the shortage f .
. .. .° , ., .. • stream of the river, which dried
movmg rivulets replaced the gushing mam
up in autumn. The transparent river waer ^."f0 *° reveal tne pure
. ru l t-u • ~„ ory birds wandermg along the
tendency of her heart. The various migra \ ~~ 5 f.
...Li r.. „•„. i, Aa orated the ground with artistic
dried banks of the river unconsciously d& 6
j u .u • u i „^ fca. n„„kmg ducks, storks, cakravakas,
lines drawn by their beaks and feet. Qua b '
and intoxicated swans beautified the rive"
The beautiful scenery of the sarad season attracted the denizens of heaven. Even Sarasvati herself could not describe the extent of Vrndavana's incredible elegance. Acting as an expert dance instructor, the wind directed the pure white lotus flowers to gently rock back and forth in the river. As it passed over the slowly moving water, the wind became cool and scented with lotus pollen. This gentle aromatic breeze satisfied and enchanted the minds of everyone. Thus the bride in the form of the sarad season dressed and ornamented herself in order to worship Krishna.Krishna found great happiness in the juncture of the rainy and autumn seasons. Moving with a delightful gait, Krishna pleased all the residents of Vraja with His darsana as He took the cows out to pasture. The favorite of Vrndavana affectionately poured His mercy on everyone. As a result, the Vrajavasis felt great satisfaction seeing Krishna strolling along playing with His friends. Picking up twigs, wild flowers, mineral dyes, and other gifts of nature, the cowherd boys decorated their beloved friend while walking down the road.Krishna's nature will now be compared and contrasted with the rainy season. As Krishna induces lust in the hearts of the gopis, similarly, the rains of the rainy season agitate the minds of the flocks of geese flying and squawking overhead. Just as the rainy season incites lusty feelings, similarly, Krishna causes His devotees to feel matchless happiness. The kadamba flowers bloom in the rainy season and now Krishna wears long aromatic garlands of kadamba flowers. The rainy season is beautified with the fanned tails of intoxicated dancing peacocks. Similarly, Krishna looks elegant with His crest of fresh, iridescent peacock feathers. Lightning bolts enhance the beauty of the dark blue sky in the rainy season. Similarly, Krishna's gorgeous yellow dress derides the brilliance of gold rubbed on a testing stone. As the monsoon sky glitters radiantly, similarly, Krishna possesses a brilliantly handsome aura. Holding His murali to His ruby lips, Krishna vibrates enchanting sounds resembling the low rumbling of thunder, which attract the peacocks to dance around Him. The deer, birds, and other animals never become satiated even after repeatedly relishing that sweet sound. The sound of His flute causes the water trickling out of the mouths of mountain caves to expand into huge reservoirs. Trees and creepers transform into liquid rasa.
Rivers stop moving, back up, and swell in all directions to flood the surrounding land with lotus flowers. Although the flooding washes away the riverbanks, they magically reappear when Krishna plays His flute again. Joyful Krishna always gives happiness to everyone. At this time He suffers in separation from the beloved doe-eyed gopis who have shot Him with the arrows of their sidelong glances. Thus Krishna causes the meeting of the rainy season with autumn which brings a fresh taste of rasa.
A peacock feather accented the beautiful locks of Krishna's curly dark hair. Karnikara flowers hung over His ears, which held glittering golden earrings that dangled attractively on His cheeks. Wrapped in an effulgent golden dhoti, Krishna looked extremely charming with the vaijayanti garland hanging from His neck. Dressed as the best of dancers, the all-attractive Lord Krishna entered the village of Vrndavana.
The Glorious Flute of Krishna
While ambling along the pathway, Krishna left the wonderful marks of a goad, lotus, conch, thunderbolt, and the other symbols of His lotus feet on the breast of mother earth. Holding the flute to His leaf-like lips, Krishna played a slow raga known as mallavashri just fit for the autumn season. Krishna's lips, red as bimba fruits, drank the nectar of His flute as His fingers danced deftly over its holes. The abundant flow of nectar emanating from the belly of the flute spread throughout the atmosphere. Besides the intended raga of mallavashri, the flute seemed to produce a variety of personified tunes.
Krishna's face looked very attractive brightened by His beautiful white teeth shining within His fresh leaf-like lips. Receiving a kiss from Krishna's dazzling smiling face, the flute enjoyed the same fortune as His charming lovers. Indeed the murali is devoid of defects, even though full of holes. It is astonishing that this hard flute softens the hearts of heartless people, and silences the deer, birds, and other forest animals. Though derived from bamboo (vamsa) or a good family (yamsa) like the Candra vamsa dynasty, it infects all chaste women with intense attachment to Madhupati.Aho! Just see this murali of Murari! Although hollow, it holds a stream of ragas. It is formed from one section (parva) of a tree, but it initiates hundreds of festivals (parvani). The sweet sound of the murali simultaneously stuns the whole universe and fills everyone with joy. Murari's sweet flute melodies engage the three worlds in marvelous pastimes. Entering within the ears, the vibration of Murari's flute agitates one's body,mind, and senses.By nature Krishna's flute is simple and sweet, but according to the mood of the listener it manifests as nectar to some and poison to others. It causes river water to freeze solid and hard mountains to melt into rivers of ecstasy. Dead trees spring to life with fresh green leaves. Sages fixed in Brahman become restless and agitated. Among relishable objects, the best thing is the sound of Krishna's flute, which completely maddens qne in bliss. It removes the anxieties of all people and stops the movements of birds and animals. Thus the sound of Krishna's flute is a treasure house of wonders. All glories to the superexcellent vibration of Krishna's flute! Although there were unlimited groups of gorgeous gopis, they all had the great fortune of achieving the highest stage of love for Krishna. The gopis had peaceful natures and the same object of meditation, namely the desire to attain Krishna. These splendid beauties of Vrndavana prayed only for Krishna supreme friendship. With great yearning they looked in the direction of the flute and embraced each other due to the sudden derangement of their minds. Overwhelmed with ecstasy, they uttered some sweet words to describe the transcendental qualities of Krishna. In this way, the Vraja gopis passed the day glorifying their beloved with poetic compositions.
The leaders of each group of gopis spoke two verses of praise. But they felt apprehensive about revealing their inner moods before the common people. To avoid explicitly explaining their intimate pastimes with Krishna, they spoke in a hidden but humorous way.
One gopi said, "How can I properly describe the fortune of one having eyes. To see Krishna's pastimes in Vrndavana is the ultimate limit of vision. Wandering in Vrndavana, Krishna pierces the hearts of everyone with His restless sidelong glances. Those who see Krishna like this feel their bliss rise to the zenith. The sound of His flute makes the whole world impatient. Those who have seen the inexhaustible beauty of Krishna and Balarama tending Their cows are the most fortunate people in the world. But alas! We have been deprived of this good fortune. "Beautiful peacock feathers caress Their crowns and garlands swing from Their necks to ornament Their elegant forms. Radiant tilaka made from various colored mineral powders graces Their foreheads. Bouquets of small creepers and flowers ornament Their bodies. Thus Krishna and Balarama please the eyes of everyone with their charming beauty as They enter Vrndavana just like dramatic actors walking onto a stage."
A second sakhi said, "A person is considered fortunate even if he can see Krishna's lotus face from a distance. One is even more fortunate if he can kiss Him with the corners of his eyes. Hey sakhi with a sweet face! That person, however, who drinks the nectar of His lips after He plays the flute is very fortunate. Hey muralil I am not lying. You hold a special position. When Syamasundara kisses you, you become overwhelmed and beautified by the touch of His teeth, glimmering white like the rays of the moon. You echo the pleasant sounds of His young lovers at the time of union and thus drive the world mad. Krishna's brightly shining teeth are so beautiful that they look like ripe pomegranate seeds sitting in the middle of a lotus flower or precious rubies embedded in the full moon. Of course, these things are impossible, therefore, nothing can compare with the beauty of Krishna's teeth."
Another sakhi said, "The murali is acting very boldly because he is tasting the lips of Krishna, which are dear to His paramours and meant only for the gopis' enjoyment. But the murali must be very fortunate, because even without endeavoring he has easily obtained this rarest jewel. Before His evening bath Krishna kisses His flute and imbibes a sweet rasa. The union of Krishna and His flute produces a nectar that makes the Yamuna ecstatic, turn solid, and burst forth with blossoming lotuses. Feeling proud of their son the flute, the bamboo trees along her bank shed tears of love in the form of honey dripping down their trunks."Another gopi, desiring eternal association with Krishna yet fearing impending separation, said, "The fortunate earth holds a position higher than Brahmaloka. She is supremely worshipable because Krishna marks her with His splendid footprints like an independent lover drawing designs on the breasts of His beloved. The endless flow of nectar from Krishna's flute has transformed the heart of mother earth. As one in ecstasy experiences erect bodily hairs and thrill-bumps, similarly, the grasses covering the earth stand straight up in shoots. The glories of Vrndavana are far beyond the comprehension of a person like me. Here the peacocks, feeling joyful at heart, begin gently dancing when they hear the sweet sound of Murari's murali. Stunned by that sound, the soft leaves of the creepers blowing in the wind become motionless."Another gopi group leader, longing to see Krishna, said, "O sakhil The deer and doe must have performed severe penances and austerities in order to always hear Krishna's melodious flute and see His gorgeous face with their large innocent eyes. Now we can appreciate the extent of their fortune. Hey sakhil Aho, look! Even the female parrots are more fortunate than we are. Without any fear or inhibition they enjoy the lotus face of Krishna, which sends forth the nectarean sound of His flute, along with their husbands. Hence they have achieved the highest perfection of the eyes.
"The wives of the demigods and their husbands, who are deeply attached to them, are very fortunate because they have already developed love for Krishna. Therefore, they are always attracted to the captivating form of Krishna, and feel extremely impatient upon hearing His enchanting flute. Losing all composure, the demigoddesses become unsteady. And even while flying in the sky their hair braids loosen and the knots of their waistcloths slacken. In this agitated condition of love, they forget to drop soothing flowers, and shower Krishna with tears of love instead.
"When the cows hear Krishna's flute they cock their ears in rapt attention and close their eyes in bliss. The sound of Krishna's flute enters their ears like a constant flow of nectar. In such a state the cows appear like statues painted on a canvas. As the cows become inert from the captivating sound, their teeth look very beautiful with the half-chewed sprouts hanging out of their mouths. While holding their mothers' udders the calves neither suck milk, nor let go, or swallow the milk already in their mouths. The pleasing sound of Krishna's flute steals the minds of the cows and fills them with satisfaction. At that time mother earth happily drinks the milk automatically streaming from the cow's udders."
"Hey sakhil Abandoning their usual flighty nature, the birds of Vrndavana listen attentively to the sweet sound of Krishna's flute while relishing the beauty of His transcendental form. With their eyes closed in meditation on the music, they look just like sages steeped in bliss. Hey sakhil They have stopped flying, singing, and eating. Becoming fully absorbed in tasting the pleasant sound of Krishna's flute, the birds have fluffed out their feathers due to ecstatic feelings of devotion.
"Listening to the sweet sound of the murali, the Yamuna and other rivers are intensely agitated and spinning in whirlpools. It seems they have been struck by Cupid's arrows and affected by a type of epilepsy. The swans and cakravakas rolling in the waves of the river look like the disarrayed clothing of the river. The sandy banks look like the unclothed hips of the river. The bubbles on the surface seem like foam forming on the mouth of the river.
"Hey sakhil The rivers, shivered in ecstasy from hearing Krishna's flute, are holding lotus flowers in the hands of their waves to offer Himpuspanjali. In the mood of His lovers, the rivers respectfully offer cool water to happily bathe Krishna's feet, and remove the heat of walking on the burning earth of summer. The clouds, acting like friendly sakhis, cool down the hot air by pouring tiny drops of water upon His head.
Observing that every living entity was nicely serving Krishna except herself, one sad gopi said, "Even the cloud, which is an unconscious entity, can show his affection by moving here and there to act as an umbrella shielding Krishna from the scorching rays of the sun. When Krishna plays His flute, the clouds remove the fatigue of cow herding by pouring tiny streams of water from all directions, which seem like a shower of camphor dust. Just see, only we have been cheated from tasting the sweetness of serving Krishna, which is being relished by everyone in the universe."
Then the best of the gopis, thinking like this and feeling an arousal of enchanting love at the same time, said, "Just see the fortune of the Pulindas (aborigine women). They thoroughly enjoy smearing their faces and breasts with the kunkuma fallen onto the grass from Krishna's feet that once adorned the breasts of His dearest sakhi. To relish Krishna's sweetness is the object of everyone's desire. Though the Pulindas are mere aborigines, we cannot say that they do not deserve such fortune. It is quite proper that the Pulinda women have genuine attachment to Krishna. Such signs of greed indicate the extent of one's real attachment to Krishna. Though one feels totally unqualified for such attainment, the greed for Krishna remains."
While speaking of the Pulindas, that gopi remembered the fortune of Govardhana Hill, and revealed to a friend Her intense desire to meet Krishna. She said, "This Govardhana Hill enhances Madhava's pastimes by supplying roots, fruits, water, mineral colors, and caves to hide in. In this way Govardhana is the best servitor of the Lord. It is known that by serving a great devotee one can attain Vishnu. By his selfless service Govardhama has brought Krishna under his control."
Then that chief among the gopis indicated Her desire to meet Krishna by speaking to a friend. "O sakhil It is our opinion that Krishna fulfills the desires and relieves the thirst of those who take shelter of Govardhana Hill. This fact is also supported by sastric evidence."
The unmarried gopis headed by Dhanya-sakhi showed their great fortune by manifesting their ongoing strong attachment to Krishna. The astonishing power of their yearning for Krishna revealed itself in newer and newer ways. But this secret longing for Krishna created a sense of bewilderment in their minds. Even experts in loving affairs cannot understand the intensity of the gopis' desire. Just hearing the flute song of Krishna parci-lyzed their senses, hands, and feet. The unpredictable nature oiprema put them in this embarrassing position. Overwhelmed in love for Krishna, they embraced each other and spoke as follows, "O sakhil The sound of Krishna's flute is a powerful yogi transforming the nature of reality with his mantra. It makes the conscious become unconscious and gives life to the lifeless. O sakhil Look! All the aquatics, birds, and deer remain stunned like statues. The trees, earth, and mountains melt into liquid and the hairs on their bodies stand erect,"Seeing the flute's ability to drastically alter the state of other moving and nonmoving entities, the gopis worried about upholding their vows.The gopis said, "Can any young woman possibly stop the low sound of that resonating flute which the enemy of Kaliya started playing upon attaining youth? It is so terrible that it brings about a state of death like that induced by drinking poison. Rather than stopping it, we simply become play things in the hands of that flute. That flute sound is the blemish on our family. But if we cannot hear it, then we die in the pain of separation.
"Agonized by this painful separation, we absorb our minds in remembering the prince of Vrndavana, the Lord of our hearts. His fickle mind is always agitated by lust. So everyday He proudly displays the attracting power of His flute song and enjoys a festival beneath the trees of Vrndavana. But still the residents of Vrndavana always offer Him the greatest respect. With the sweetness of His bodily effulgence He pleases all living entities and satisfies the world
"When will we smell Krishna's sweet lotus face framed by the thick, glossy locks of His dark blue hair? His eyebrows dance on His broad forehead and His nose is beautifully raised. When an object falls into an ocean of sweetness, it also manifests sweetness. Similarly, the yellow rope draped attractively on His turban, which Murari uses for tying cows, has become joyful by contacting His blissful form."Moreover, the young gopis, who worship the tambula scented lips of Krishna that are bordered by His cheeks, are supremely fortunate. His dancing makara kundala (earrings), studded with jewels and flowers, cast reflections on His cheeks like sparkling bubbles of water. What woman does not desire to embrace the broad chest of Krishna, which is adorned with a forest garland, the marks of Laksmi and Shrivatsa, and brilliant jewels and pearl necklaces?
"Whose lake of the heart would not become agitated by His two arms, which hang at His sides like the trunks of a pair of intoxicated baby elephants, desiring to snatch the nectar beauty of His knees? Within our hearts we hold His waist which is surrounded by three graceful folds of skin. Although measuring only the size of a fist, Krishna's thin waist is exceedingly powerful and makes us very weak."The line of hairs extending from His navel to His broad chest resembles a row of beautiful kalpa-taru trees. They look like the fine hairs on the back of a bumblebee, or a black snake that bites our chest when we tightly embrace Him. His elegant feet, marked with a lotus, goad, and thunderbolt defeat the beauty of red lotus flowers. His toes sparkle from the effulgence of His jeweled inlaid anklets. When will those feet be the ornament on our breasts?"Thus, Dhanya-sakhi and other beautiful young gopis disclosed their intense craving to meet Krishna. Since maha-prema had arisen within them, they manifested so much longing that their throats choked up from the life airs rushing out of their bodies. Tossed by the insurmountable waves of desire to meet Krishna, they spent the days of autumn in great difficulty. In this way, the winter season quickly arrived and the gopis began to worship Katyayani.Dhanya-sakhi and other Vraja kumaris (virgins) came to the banks of the Yamuna to worship Goddess Uma (Katyayani) during the first month of the winter season known as Margasirsa. At this time, the ripened rice paddy in the fields displayed a mixed color of red and brown. Bent in humility, the rice paddy expressed its desire to drink the water made fragrant from the white lilies blooming nearby. The newly sprouted barley spread a red and brown color across the fields. The growth of anise and bunches of coriander sweetened the earth. Spinach bloomed in household gardens. Fields abundant with sugar cane spread in all directions.
The first month of winter displayed immense splendor with its wealth of agricultural products. The Vraja kumaris like Dhanya-sakhi, who possessed unlimited affection for Krishna, played the part of sadhakas seeking to perfect the purity of their love for Krishna. Taking the vow, "May the virtuous son of Nanda Maharaja become our husband," they secretly worshiped goddess Katyayani in order to attain Krishna.