Book excerpts Sri Upadesamrta VERSE 9: What is the Topmost Holy Place?

VERSE 9: What is the Topmost Holy Place?

वैकुण्ठाज्जनितो वरा मधुपुरी तत्रापि रासोत्सवाद्
वृन्दारण्यमुदारपाणिरमणात्तत्रापि गोवर्धनः ।
राधाकुण्डमिहापि गोकुलपतेः प्रेमामृताप्लावनात्
कुर्यादस्य विराजतो गिरितटे सेवां विवेकी न कः ॥९॥

vaikuṇṭhāj janito varā madhu-purī tatrāpi rāsotsavād
vṛndāraṇyam udāra-pāṇi-ramaṇāt tatrāpi govardhanaḥ
rādhā-kuṇḍam ihāpi gokula-pateḥ premāmṛtāplāvanāt
kuryād asya virājato giri-taṭe sevāṁ vivekī na kaḥ

Anvaya

janitaḥ – due to Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s having taken birth there; madhu-purī – the abode of Mathurā; varā – is superior; vaikuṇṭhāt – than Vaikuṇṭha, the realm of spiritual opulence; vṛndāraṇyam – the forest of Vṛndāvana; (is superior) tatra api – even than that (the abode of Mathurā); rāsa-utsavāt – because the festival of the rāsa dance took place there; govardhanaḥ – Govardhana Hill; (is superior) tatra api – even than that (Vṛndāvana forest); ramaṇāt – because of the playful pastimes (because Śrī Kṛṣṇa raised it with His lotus hand and performed many pastimes there with His devotees); udāra-pāṇi – of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, whose hand is mercifully disposed to bestow prema upon His beloved devotees; rādhā-kuṇḍam – Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa; (is superior) iha api – even than this (Govardhana); āplāvanāt – due to immersing those (who bathe in its waters); premāmṛta – in the nectar of divine love; gokula-pateḥ – of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the master of Gokula; kaḥ – what; vivekī – intelligent person; na kuryāt – would not render; sevām – service; asya – to this magnificent pond; virājitaḥ – splendidly situated; taṭe – at the base; giri – of the hill known as Govardhana.

Translation

Due to Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s having taken birth there, the abode of Mathurā is superior even to Vaikuṇṭha, the realm of spiritual opulence. Superior to Mathurā is the forest of Vṛndāvana because there the festival of the rāsa dance took place. Superior to Vṛndāvana forest is Govardhana Hill because Śrī Kṛṣṇa raised it with His lotus hand and performed many pastimes there with His devotees. Yet superior even to Govardhana Hill is Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa because it immerses one in the nectar of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s divine love. What intelligent person would not desire to render service to this magnificent pond, which is splendidly situated at the base of Govardhana Hill?

Upadeśa-prakāśikā-ṭīkā

The previous verse instructed us to perform bhajana while residing in Vraja. This verse very clearly answers precisely where one should reside within Vraja. Due to Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s having taken birth there, the abode of Mathurā is superior even to Vaikuṇṭha, the realm of great spiritual opulence. Superior even to the abode of Mathurā is the forest of Vṛndāvana because there the festival of the rāsa dance took place. Superior to the Vṛndāvana forest is Govardhana Hill because it playfully rested on Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s lotus hand, and because there Kṛṣṇa freely enjoyed many pastimes with His devotees. Yet superior even to this Govardhana Hill is the super-excellent Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa because it immerses one in the nectarean divine love that Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the moon of Gokula, feels for Śrīmatī Rādhikā. The scriptures declare that Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa is as dear to Śrī Kṛṣṇa as the daughter of Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja, Śrīmatī Rādhikā Herself.

All the above-mentioned spiritual realms or locations where Śrī Kṛṣṇa performed pastimes are manifest from His internal potency (svarūpa-śakti) and are therefore purely spiritual. However, Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa is superior to them all because it manifests the highest display of the inherent variegated pastimes of svarūpa-śakti.

Pīyūṣa-varṣiṇī-vṛtti

This ninth verse informs us that Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa is the best amongst all worshipful places. Because Śrī Kṛṣṇa took birth in the city of Mathurā, it is superior to Vaikuṇṭha, the realm of immense opulence in the spiritual sky. Within the district of Mathurā, the Vṛndāvana forest is the best location. Govardhana Hill is the best place within the entire area of Vraja due to Udāra-pāṇi Śrī Kṛṣṇa having performed various pastimes there. Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa is splendidly situated just near Śrī Govardhana. It is the best place of all due to being the special storehouse of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s nectarean divine love (premāmṛta). Is there any person intent upon performing bhajana who would not desire to render service to Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa? In other words, the devotees of Bhagavān most certainly render service to Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa. Either in their material bodies or in their spiritually perfected forms, devotees should execute the aforementioned process of bhajana while constantly residing at Rādhā-kuṇḍa.

Anuvṛtti

Amongst all holy places, the Vaikuṇṭha realm situated in the spiritual sky is the best. Superior even to Vaikuṇṭha is the district of Mathurā because Bhagavān took birth there. Within Mathurā-maṇḍala, the forest of Vṛndāvana is the best because there the rāsa dance took place. Of all places within Vṛndāvana, Govardhana Hill is greater still due to being the site where Śrī Kṛṣṇa freely enjoyed various pastimes. Superior even to Govardhana Hill is Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa. Because it overflows with the nectar of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s divine love, it is the best place of all. There is no place greater than Rādhā-kuṇḍa. Therefore, what intelligent person would not render service to Rādhā-kuṇḍa, which is so splendidly situated at the base of Govardhana? In other words, anyone endowed with true spiritual intelligence serves Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s eternal devotee Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, being fully conversant with the most elevated devotional sentiments within Gaurahari’s heart, has described service to Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa as the topmost. The glories of Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa are incomprehensible and inaccessible even for loving devotees who may have taken shelter of mādhurya-rasa, yet are devoid of devotion to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

[CC-by-ND GVP]

Previous articleQualification to be Guru
Next articleThe Snake of Time

Must Read

IS RADHA AND KRSNA'S LOVE EVER INCREASING?

Everything can be supplied for the body, but the soul will not experience any happiness. Whatever little service you do for Śrī Hari will automatically reflect on your heart. Śrīla Ṭhākura Mahāśaya says that your desire and eagerness for service will become very strong when the power of svarūpa-śakti appears in your heart. Śrī Hari’s strength is paramānanda-pūrṇam (composed entirely of ecstatic bliss). Such strength is not ordinary.

WHY DEVOTEE'S SHOULD BE CAREFUL ABOUT: “Eating, Sleeping, & Bhajana"

Śrīla Gurudeva instructed the brahmacārīs, “You must take special care regarding your bhojana, bhajana, and sāyana—food intake, spiritual practice, and rest. A sādhaka who desires success in spiritual life must be prudent and pure in his practice.

THE HIGHEST DEVOTION

Now come with me to Dvārakā and see one of the two kinds of mādhurya-rasa, namely svakīya-rasa, the love of Kṛṣṇa’s lawfully wedded wives. In Dvārakā, svakīya is the best rasa of all, and Kṛṣṇa’s 16,108 queens are the excellent examples. Of these queens, eight are most prominent, among them Rukmiṇī and Satyabhāmā are prominent, and among these two queens Satyabhāmā is the most exalted...

The Three Kinds of Love

“If I tell you gopis, ‘You should have any benediction from Me,’ I will not be able to fulfill it, if you all say, ‘You should only love me, and not anyone else.’ I cannot leave Rukmini and Satyabhama; I cannot leave Arjuna; I cannot leave even an ant, what to speak of My devotees? Hence, I will always be indebted to you all...”

The Origin of Ratha-yatra

As I have explained before, Mahaprabhu very rarely sees Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra. When He does, He at once enters a mood of very intense separation and prays, "After a long time I am meeting with My most beloved, for whom I was burning in the fire of separation." He addresses Jagannatha as gopibhartuh and prays, "Pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah." The word gopi-bhartuh reveals Krsna's relationship with the gopis, for it means "the gopis' most beloved," or "He who is always controlled by the gopis." Mahaprabhu concludes, "I want to be the servant of the servant of the servant of that Krsna." ...You will have to consult Srimad-Bhagavatam to understand the meaning of this verse, because the history of Ratha-yatra has been indicated there. Krsna left Vraja at the age of eleven...

More Articles Like This