dṛśyāsaṁ tribhuvana-sundaraṁ mahas te
O Lord, please let me see Your enchanting form, which is the most beautiful object in all the three worlds, which bears Your continuous smiles and Your long, wide eyes—let me see that form which exudes a divine bluish effulgence, like clusters of blossoms, while the Vraja-devīs tightly embrace You, holding You against their breasts.
Kṛṣṇa is the most beautiful personality in the three worlds. He comes walking slowly, looking for the gopīs, searching, “Where are the Vraja-devīs’ soft hearts?”
Meeting them, the gopīs embrace Him, and tightly hold Him to their breasts. He becomes covered in red kuṁkum from the bodies of the gopīs. His body is bluish, and on top of that there are many reddish marks. This is called prema-jyoti, the love’s lamp.
The gopīs want to embrace Kṛṣṇa, but first think, ‘Our body is hard.” They then consider, “Our breasts are soft.”
When the gopīs embrace Kṛṣṇa, the kuṁkum from their chests come on Kṛṣṇa’s face, cheeks, forehead, and so forth. That is prema-jyoti, the effulgent lamp of love. That light is very powerful. This love touches Kṛṣṇa and is offered to Him.
The gopīs arrange a bed for Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa lies down to rest, and the gopīs massage His feet. Kṛṣṇa murmurs, “Ah,” as if He feels pain in His feet. The gopīs think, “My hands are very hard, and Kṛṣṇa’s body is very soft.” Then they check, “Which part of my body is soft?” They then hold Kṛṣṇa’s feet to their hearts. He feels immense happiness from this. When the gopīs embrace Kṛṣṇa like this, they feel Kṛṣṇa is entering their hearts.
All the Vraja-devis bring Kṛṣṇa into their hearts with this deep embrace.
There are many types of service. However, Kṛṣṇa is especially pleased with this service of the gopīs. His heart melts, and He hides in the gopīs’ hearts. Then a big jyoti, light and power, comes from the gopīs. This is prema-jyoti.
When a fruit is juicy and sweet, the color of the fruit changes, as if it is blushing. Similarly, when the sakhīs feel this anurāga inside them, they become very healthy. Before, both looked skinny, but when they meet, they get good health.
Nīla-kānti-dhāraṁ means that their breasts have designs painted on with sandal paste, musk, and kuṅkum. When the gopīs embrace Kṛṣṇa, these designs are printed on Kṛṣṇa’s body. The gopīs’ love is inside their breasts; by touching Kṛṣṇa with them, Kṛṣṇa feels happiness.
He thinks, “They have given Me everything; they are not hiding anything from Me.”
mayi prasādaṁ madhuraiḥ katākṣair
tvayi prasanne kim ihā ‘parair nas
tvayy aprasanne kim ihā ‘parair naḥ
O Lord, please show me Your mercy by casting upon me Your charming sidelong glances, moving to the accompaniment of Your flute-song. If I have Your blessings, what is the use of others’? And if I am without Your blessings, then what is the use of others’?
“Kṛṣṇa,” the gopīs say, “You have many types of weapons, like Your flute and eyes. You are a hunter who shoots and kills everyone with Your eyes. Anyone Your eyes once watch is stolen by You and can never give You up. Anyone You are pleased with, this is good, and if You are not pleased, there is no other way. We do everything for Your pleasure. Without Your pleasure, our life is useless. We don’t endeavor to please any other.”
The flute sound gives saṅketa, an indication the gopīs follow. This is madhuraiḥ kaṭākṣaiḥ and is very wonderful. In a forest bower, kuñja-kuṭīra, this hint comes. Kṛṣṇa says, “Please come, I am waiting for you.
If you are happy with Me, then My life in this Vṛndāvana will be successful.”
The sakhīs say, “Yes, we are coming. We have no need of our parents’ permission. If they are displeased with us, there is no problem. As long as we meet with You and can please You, we are happy and have no worry. This is our life.
If You are not happy, everything is useless. We don’t care if any other is happy with us or not. We won’t carry this burden in our life. Our life is only for You. If You don’t call us, we understand that You are neglecting us. But we will not give our lives for anyone else. We don’t like the love of any other. You are kind to us. You call us, and we try only to give You happiness. Please once smile upon us, giving us life.”
The sakhīs hear the flute’s message and become very proud and happy. They pray, “O Lord, mādhurī-kaṭākṣe, Your glance is very sweet. When You look upon us and give us Your mercy, this is the life and food of our bodies. Regardless of everyone rejecting us, and our minds and senses being against us, if You are pleased, there is no problem. If You are not pleased and happy, and we don’t do anything for You, then we will not save this body for any other or share it. Everything will be reserved for You. If You accept us, then our life is perfect—we are Your property. If You don’t accept us, then our lives are useless. If You don’t accept us, and if we are not Your prasāda, then everything we have will be useless. Many rough and dirty persons will come to try to acquire us. But we are reserved as Your property. You are very powerful. No one can touch Your property or disturb it.”
nibaddha-mūrdhāñjalir eṣa yāce
dayā-nidhe deva bhavat-kaṭākṣa-
dākṣinya-leśena sakṛn niṣiṣca
I fix my folded palms upon my head and, given voice by my increasing, ceaseless, pitiable misery, pray, “O Lord, O ocean of mercy, please anoint me just once with a drop of kindness from Your sidelong glance.”
Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura says, “Now I am praying to You with body, mind, and senses. I offer myself totally to You. Please glance my way once with Your kṛpā-kaṭākṣa.
Give me once Your blessings. O Lord, O reservoir of mercy, I am praying only to You. Please once look at me. I am Your fallen servant. I fold my hands and place them upon my head. Given voice by my increasing, ceaseless misery, I pray, O Lord, O ocean of mercy, please anoint me just once with a drop of mercy from Your sidelong glance.”
The gopīs say, “I will be crooked and will cheat everyone, making them think I am honest and good.
I will cheat ordinary people. Externally, I will cheat all people, giving them respect, glorifying and serving them, so that they don’t disturb me. Then I will be able to meet with You without being hampered.”
Like a woman who is married but has a lover—she will work very hard to please her husband, in-laws, and other family members. She will follow their orders and respect them until she has gained their trust and sees that they have deep faith in her. Then, whenever she gets a chance, she will arrange the time and place to meet with her lover. When they meet, she will talk sweetly and please him and will then secretly return home.
In this world, people have desires to enjoy mundane things. If you give them mundane things, they will not disturb you. However, keep your love hidden and solely for Kṛṣṇa. There is no need to display your love.
Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura shows how to pray with the mood of the gopīs, “O Kṛṣṇa, You are an ocean of kindness! How will I be niṣkiñcana and akiñcana? How will Your mercy come so that I will cheat everyone. Thus my heart, soul, desire, and everything will be clean for You,
and I will be close to You. I will serve You, follow You, and will never divide my heart from You. Everyone may think that I am their property, but I am only Yours in fact. Not even one bit of me will be given to anyone.
I will not accept any other’s kaṭākṣa. I will not take any other’s food, offers, love, or anything. Everything will come, but I shall refuse it. When in their proximity, I will tell them, ‘I am yours, I am yours.’
But, really, I am only Yours, O Kṛṣṇa. Thousands of times I pray to You. You are mine, You are mine, You are mine; I am Yours, I am Yours, I am Yours. Others may think that I am theirs, but I am not any other’s—I am only Yours.”
cāpalyam eti nayanaṁ tava śaiśave naḥ
O Lord, our eyes have become restless and eager to see Your childlike form, with its clustered locks delightfully adorned with a peacock feather. That form, which is worshiped by the buxom gopīs’ lotus eyes, possesses a face that defeats the beauty of the moon and the lotus.
A peacock feather is soft and beautiful; although it appears inert, it has life. When it touches or brushes someone, their bodies shiver. Why? These feathers have rati. By brushing someone very softly with a peacock feather, rati, or a loving mood, will come, making the body shiver.
When Kṛṣṇa’s hair brushes against His face, it is as if each strand is kissing Him with rati, amorous desire.
Each of Kṛṣṇa’s hairs have life—they are not ordinary. Every strand of hair is like a kiśorī, a young gopī, and when they brush against Kṛṣṇa, He feels as if the gopīs are embracing Him to their hearts. Watching this, all the kiśorīs become restless.
When His peacock feather or own hair touches Him, Kṛṣṇa feels as if the gopīs are directly embracing Him to their hearts. When the gopīs make Kṛṣṇa a turban and adorn it with peacock feathers, He feels as if, from behind, they are embracing Him tightly to their chests.
When they dress and decorate the front of His body, Kṛṣṇa feels like He is being embraced from in front. He becomes restless and trembles with rati, amorous desire. Blushing, His face turns red and His eyes anxiously glance side to side. He thinks, “When will I embrace them?” However, Kṛṣṇa has already been embraced from all sides. The gopīs have already taken Him on their lap. The ointment of their eyes has already been spread all over Kṛṣṇa’s body. They want Kṛṣṇa to always sit within their eyes. They don’t want that, for a single moment, Kṛṣṇa will be distant from them. This is now their strong desire. This is capala-jñānam, restless knowledge.
Candrāravinda-vaktra-bimbe, when the moon rises, the white lotuses blossom, telling the moon, “O moon, I have blossomed only to drink your nectar.” In this way, all the kiśorīs come to dress Kṛṣṇa, to touch and embrace Him. They bind Kṛṣṇa’s hair on top of His head, feeling it is a rival. Then, when there is nothing blocking Kṛṣṇa’s face and cheeks, all the gopīs can freely kiss Him.
They say, “Now Your hair won’t kiss Your face. We are binding Your hair up, without letting it down, as its punishment.”
tvac-chaiśavaṁ tri-bhuvanādbhutam ity avehi
mac-cāpalaṁ ca tava vā mama vādhigamyam
tat kiṁ karomi viralaṁ muralī-vilāsi
mugdhaṁ mukhāmbujam udīkṣitum īkṣaṇābhyām
O Kṛṣṇa, O flute-player, the sweetness of Your early age is wonderful within these three worlds. You know My unsteadiness, and I know Yours. No one else knows about this. I want to see Your beautiful, attractive face somewhere in a solitary place, but how can this be accomplished?
“O Kṛṣṇa, You are naṭavara Nanda-kiśora, the dancing youthful son of Nanda. You are Brahma and Parabrahma, desireless and satisfied in Yourself. But in Vraja-maṇḍala You have many desires. You always run here and there, moving and meeting with many gopīs. You steal anything that anyone has, showing, ‘I like your gift.’ You steal everyone’s composure and heart. O Kṛṣṇa, O transcendental flute-player, the sweetness of Your early age is wonderful within these three worlds. You know My unsteadiness, and I know Yours. No one else knows about this. I want to see Your beautiful, attractive face somewhere in a solitary place, but how can this be accomplished?”
In this world, young age comes to all living entities. But Kṛṣṇa’s kiśora age and kiśora-līlā are adbhuta, wonderful and charming. He is restless, capala and cancala, His restless mind and restless pastimes are wonderful. If anyone drinks or witnesses this kṛṣṇa-līlā, they also become restless and uncontrolled. They think, “‘I shall keep everything hidden.” But it is not possible. Drinking this nectar, it goes inside them and makes all their senses restless.
Kṛṣṇa likes the Muralī. That muralī-vilasi-kiśora Kṛṣṇa continuously plays with the Vraja-devīs. Kṛṣṇa sometimes plays His flute, but the Vraja-devīs feel, “‘He always sends messages and inspiration one after the other to us.” Is this direct or indirect? It is reflected in their hearts. Now they think, ‘How will we go nearby and directly see Kṛṣṇa’s face?’
In this world, when a young boy and girl are together, they become restless and nervous. Animals don’t become restless by kiśora or kiśorīs in their presence; neither do babies or old people. However, in Vraja-maṇḍala, anyone who meets or even thinks of this kiśora Kṛṣṇa becomes restless. When they bring kiśora Kṛṣṇa in their hearts, they become even more restless. At the time of their restlessness, they don’t go to any other. They think about Kṛṣṇa and how they can meet with sweet Kṛṣṇa.
They have this strong desire. They drink Kṛṣṇa’s kiśora form with their soul’s eyes, capturing Him in their hearts.
How does one understand this? Therefore it is explained that the face, chest, and body become effulgent with anurāga. The color of anurāga is like when young girls or boys blush, their lāvaṇya, beauty, is in their blushing, as a reddish shine. This is the color of anurāga. By taking Kṛṣṇa in their hearts, this shine increases. When in kiśora age, all people have this lāvaṇya. Ordinarily, when those in kiśora age are in love, and have brought someone in their heart, their form becomes more beautiful.
Yet, when someone brings Śyāmasundara in his heart, he becomes far more beautiful.
bhāve luṭhanti sukṛtāṁ tava jalpitāni
O Kṛṣṇa, Your verbal duels with the impassioned, vivacious gopīs exhilarate the hearts of the fortunate. These talks are filled with the nectar of the exchanges of love, are rendered pleasant by waves of witty meanings, imbued with Your natural boyishness, and punctuated by the movements of Your wide, dancing eyes.
Anyone who has an abundance of sukṛti can come to Vṛndāvana, and there he will meet with Your followers, the Vraja-devīs and sakhās.
Then, coming near You, they can watch Your pastimes and serve You. All Your goodness and qualities will then transfer to their hearts.
In His kiśora age, Kṛṣṇa engages in verbal duels with the gopīs. He says one thing, and they take the meaning to be something else and defeat Him. When they win, they clap, laugh, and joke. When they see that Kṛṣṇa is somewhat sad, some gopīs take His side, some remain neutral, and some stay on Rādhārānī’s side. The gopīs that take Kṛṣṇa’s side teach Him how to be victorious.
This time, when the opposing gopīs speak, Kṛṣṇa defeats them with cunning answers. Then the gopīs challenging Kṛṣṇa become very heated and again verbally attack Him.In this way, they argue back and forth. When Kṛṣṇa’s party is strong and winning, they dance and taunt the gopīs. The sakhīs are proud, because they’re drinking nectar from Kṛṣṇa. With their eyes, ears, and other senses they are serving Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa’s rasa, His love and His nectar, it is all present within their hearts.
They are rich with the wealth of remembering Kṛṣṇa and His pastimes.
Through their eyes they see Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes and hear Him through their ears. They take His fragrance through their nose, and through their speech, they receive all His guṇas (qualities), becoming very powerful, fortunate, and enthralled in ānanda-rasa. Seeing this, Kṛṣṇa is also very pleased. And because He is pleased, the gopīs become even more pleased. In this way, the joy of Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs increases higher and higher.
Kṛṣṇa tries to taste the gopīs’ ullasa, joy. Therefore Kṛṣṇa jokes and teases them. Even though He seems to speak cruelly to them, they do not become discouraged, for they do not desire any other rasa. Kṛṣṇa tries to fix their minds and hearts on any other person, but it is impossible. He might send them away, or go distant from them, but they will never give themselves to anyone else. Once Kṛṣṇa comes in someone’s heart, he will not allow others to enter. Kṛṣṇa is restless everywhere, but when near the gopīs He can’t be restless and run, because they bind Him in their hearts.
punaḥ prasannendu-mukhena tejasā
puro ‘vatīrṇasya kṛpā-mahāmbudheḥ
tad eva līlā-muralī-ravāmṛtaṁ
samādhi-vighnāya kadā nu me bhavet
O, when will Kṛṣṇa, the great ocean of mercy, appear before me again with His spotless, effulgent moon-like face? And when will the nectarean sound of His flute, expressive of His pastimes, remove my great disease?
Some sakhīs remember their meetings with Kṛṣṇa, and within their hearts they actually meet with Him.
They are samādhistha, fully absorbed in Kṛṣṇa. They bind Kṛṣṇa in their embrace. This is their samādhi. Kṛṣṇa tries to play the flute to stop this, but they don’t hear. He comes near them and teases them, but they don’t notice or change. They are in samādhi. He wants to hear something from them, but nothing is said. Sometimes they sit or stand with their eyes open, but inside they are samādhistha, fully absorbed, and thus have no external awareness. They have no idea what is happening in the world. When they are in samādhi, everything else is lost.
Kṛṣṇa thinks, “‘How can I break their samādhi? Breaking their samādhi is very difficult.” Kṛṣṇa is now deeply eager to speak with the gopīs, but thinks, “‘Though they are sitting here, they won’t speak with Me. Where are they? Are they even present inside their bodies?” Then Kṛṣṇa touches them, but they give no response. He talks, but they can’t hear Him. He thinks, “‘They are no longer here. Where are they?” Now He goes in their hearts and sees that they are meeting with Him, embracing and kissing Him. Kṛṣṇa witnesses the gopīs’ samādhi and thinks, ‘Oh! They are with Me in their hearts, but I am here present in front of them and they don’t realize this.’
How can their bahya dāsa, external sense, come? How can they come to ardha bahya, half-external sense, and bahya dāsa, full awareness of outside surroundings? Kṛṣṇa tries again and again with His muralī to make them come out of their samādhi.
Beautiful and wonderful Kṛṣṇa changes His face, figure, and uniform at every minute. As the gopīs drink the beauty of His form and pastimes through their eyes, they bind Him in their hearts. Thereafter, Kṛṣṇa is not restless; He peacefully sits and rests there, feeling very pleased.
One sakhī takes Kṛṣṇa in her heart. Then another sakhī comes in front of her and sees her condition.
She understands, ‘Oh, Kṛṣṇa is in her heart.’ Now this sakhī becomes very greedy. She touches the sakhī and then becomes even greedier. She ardently desires, “Oh! How will I be like her? How will I capture Kṛṣṇa in my heart? How will I make my heart His playing center?” Kṛṣṇa then accepts this sakhī’s heart, and then rests and plays in it.
A couple sits somewhere and talks with a sweet mood. If another person is watching from a distance, he will become greedy for this. Similarly, when one sakhī sees the bhāva of another, this is her uddīpana, stimulus of love.
Sages perform spiritual practice and control everything with an impersonal mood. They do sādhana for a relationship with Parabrahma. When Kṛṣṇa plays His muralī, the sound goes and touches their bodies, but they close all their senses. If they would open their ears just a little and the sound goes inside, they would forget their samādhi and sādhana and everything, and run to Vṛndāvana.
In Vṛndāvana, desiring a relationship with Vṛndāvana-candra, they would pray, “Where can I meet Muralī-manohara?” In this way, Kṛṣṇa is all-attractive.
anena kenāpi mono-hareṇa
hā hanta hā hanta mano dunoṣi
O Kṛṣṇa, the playful movements of Your restless red lips, the flood of Your joyous flute sounds, and other such enchantments of Yours are, alas, alas, tormenting me!
How much love is present inside Kṛṣṇa? His lips reveal this. They are red, juicy, and very sweet. Sometimes Kṛṣṇa chews pan and gives some of His remnants to a sakhī. Tasting this a little bit, she becomes maddened.
Kṛṣṇa smiles and she becomes maddened even further. Now she hears Kṛṣṇa’s flute and becomes exceedingly mad, until the point that she cannot tolerate it.
She exclaims, “This is very painful. I can’t tolerate this!” At first, anything she sees related to Kṛṣṇa seems to be sweet. But a little later, it is very painful and she can’t tolerate it.
Kṛṣṇa then comes in her pained heart and caresses her and she is cooled by this medicine. She is given a complete treatment simply by Kṛṣṇa’s touch.
Kṛṣṇa makes soft any place that is hard. After some time a sprout will come, then plants, and finally this place will become green and lush. By this Kṛṣṇa becomes happy. Kṛṣṇa first melts all hearts, and then makes His center there, where He performs His playful pastimes.
Upon once meeting with Kṛṣṇa, we can never forget Him. That is not possible. If we are separated we will feel intense anguish. If Kṛṣṇa goes a distance for one second, the sakhās run and say, “I will meet with Him first. I will touch Him. I will talk with Him.” They run fast to get back with Him. If Kṛṣṇa disappears for one or two minutes, they feel great discomfort remembering His beauty. They think, “How can I watch His beauty and drink this more and more?”
God has many incarnations, but they do not have this power of attraction. “O Kṛṣṇa, Your attraction is very powerful. When anyone sees You with Your Vrajavāsīs, You give them vraja-rasa, vraja-bhāva, and entrance into service in Vraja—You also accept their service. Therefore my hope is that You will not neglect me or send me out of Vraja-maṇḍala.”
“Nectar for the All Attractive”, Chapter 8
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]