parama īśvara kṛṣṇa—svayaṁ bhagavān
ananta vaikuṇṭha, āra ananta avatāra
ananta brahmāṇḍa ihāṅ,—sabāra ādhāra
“Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Controller and He is Svayam Bhagavān, the original Supreme Person; He is both the source of all other incarnations and the principal cause of all causes. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the root of unlimited Vaikuṇṭha planets, innumerable incarnations, and infinite universes. He is the actual form of eternality, knowledge, and bliss, yet still He is the son of Nanda Bābā, the king of Vraja. He is the eternal son of Nanda Mahārāja, even though factually He is unborn, being the primordial beginning of everything. Not only does Nanda Bābā feel “I am Kṛṣṇa’s father,” but Śrī Kṛṣṇa also maintains the eternal self-conception, “I am Nanda and Yaśodā’s son.” He is the definitive master of all opulences and all energies. Ultimately, He is raso vai saḥ, replete with all rasas, and rasa-svarūpa, the very embodiment of rasa.
īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ
anādir ādir govindaḥ sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam
Śrī Brahmā-saṁhitā (5.1)
“ ‘This same Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is the very embodiment of eternality, knowledge, and bliss, is truly the supreme controller of all other controllers. He is the original two-handed form of Kṛṣṇa (svayam-rūpa). Furthermore, He is without beginning and He is the source of everything else. He is Govinda, the absolute cause of all causes.’
In the previous verse, Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya explained that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, and now he gives evidence of this in this verse, wherein Śrī Kṛṣṇa is addressed as īśvaraḥ paramaḥ. This denotes that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Controller and the original Personality of Godhead, the source of all other forms of the Lord – ete cāṁśa-kalāḥ puṁsaḥ kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.3.28). Here “Kṛṣṇa” is the proper noun, and all the remaining terms are adjectives qualifying that noun. Śrī Brahmā said to Devarṣi Nārada, “O sinless one, I have described to you countless incarnations of the Lord, and I have counted Śrī Kṛṣṇa as one of these.”
However, no one should think that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is another incarnation of these three puruṣa-avatāras. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the source of all other incarnations, including even Śrī Rāma and Śrī Nṛsiṁha. Therefore, it is clear that only Śrī Kṛṣṇa is Svayam Bhagavān, or the original Supreme Person. This is also confirmed in Śrī Kṛṣṇa-sandarbha (Anuccheda 82, text 36):
avatārā hy asaṅkhyātāḥ
kathitā me tavāgrataḥ
paraṁ samyak pravakṣyāmi
kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam
“Now that I have described the innumerable incarnations of Godhead to you, I shall tell you that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the original form of Bhagavān.”
At the time of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s advent in this world, Śrī Gargācārya said, kṛṣṇatāṁ gatāḥ, meaning “Now all the other incarnations that appeared in the previous ages have appeared within this blackish complexioned child.” In other words, all of the incarnations have entered into the body of Kṛṣṇa, and They have attained oneness within Him. According to the logic of payasā kumbhaṁ pūrayati (filling a clay pot with milk), or just as the pores of a clay pot becomes soaked with milk, the name “Śrī Kṛṣṇa” pervades the scriptures. He who is the supreme controller of all, the topmost reality and the nondual Absolute Truth, is known by the name Śrī Kṛṣṇa. In the conversation between Śrī Nārada and Kuśadhvaja that is included in the Prabhāsa-khaṇḍa [of the Mahābhārata] and the Padma Purāṇa, Śrī Bhagavān Himself declares: “nāmnāṁ mukhyatamaṁ nāma kṛṣṇākhyaṁ me parantapa – O Arjuna, subduer of enemies, of all My names, the most prominent is Kṛṣṇa.”
Here in the verse under discussion (īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇa), Śrī Brahmā glorifies Śrī Kṛṣṇa by the name Govinda, who is none other than Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself. He who maintains the cows, gopas, and gopīs, as well as all the other residents of Vraja is Śrī Govinda. His special characteristic is being the indra, or Lord, of the cows. In the context of the verse, the etymology of the word “Kṛṣṇa” is as follows:
kṛṣir bhū-vācakaḥ śabdo
ṇaś ca nirvṛtti-vācakaḥ
tayor aikyaṁ paraṁ brahma
kṛṣṇa ity abhidhīyate
Mahābhārata, Udyoga-parva (71.4)
This verse is related to Kṛṣṇa. The verbal root kṛṣ indicates all that exists (bhū- or satta-vācaka), and ṇa indicates His blissful nature (ānanda-vācaka), or He who generates an attraction towards Himself that negates attraction to everything else (nirvṛtti-vācaka).
Regarding the worship of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Gautamīya-tantra, one of the sāttvata-tantras (Vaiṣṇava scriptures) says:
sukha-rūpo bhaved ātmā
“The word kṛṣi indicates existence, or truth, and ṇa refers to the embodiment of natural bliss. The combined meaning is ‘one whose existence is characterized by bliss’ or ‘one who attracts all and bestows bliss upon them.’”
He is Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the embodiment of happiness and He who is full of the topmost bliss.
Sadaiva saumya idamagramāsīt. This means, “O saumya, O gentle one, before the creation was manifest, there was only sat-svarūpa Bhagavān (He whose form is eternal).” He is a storehouse of total bliss. The Vāsudeva Upaniṣad also tells us: “devakī-nandano nikhilam ānandayet – The son of Devakī, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, makes all moving and nonmoving living entities blissful.” Śrī Kṛṣṇa alone is Parabrahman, the Absolute Truth.
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.10.48) states that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Absolute Truth appearing under cover as a human being – gūḍhaṁ paraṁ brahma manuṣya-liṅgam. The Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad also states “yo ’sau paraṁ brahma – Lord Gopāla is the Supreme Truth.” Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself says:
brahmaṇo hi pratiṣṭhāham
śāśvatasya ca dharmasya
Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā (14.27)
“I, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, am nirguṇa-saviśeṣa-tattva-svarūpa – My form is possessed of all transcendental qualities, while devoid of even a scent of matter. It is I who am the shelter or source of the brahmajyoti (Brahman effulgence), which is the topmost goal of the impersonalists.”
Immortality, immutability, eternality, nitya-dharma (prema), and vraja-rasa, the mellow of Vraja that bestows exclusive happiness – all these rest upon Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental form, which is devoid of material qualities (nirguṇa) and full of all varieties of transcendental qualities (sa-viśeṣa). “Kṛṣṇo vai paramaṁ daivatam – Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead” (Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad 1.2). As Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Person (parama-puruṣa), He is also the Original Person (ādi-puruṣa):
śrutvā ’jitaṁ jarāsandhaṁ
nṛpater dhyāyato hariḥ
āhopāyaṁ tam evādya
uddhavo yam uvāca ha
“After conquering all directions, Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was contemplating how to defeat Jarāsandha, who seemed invincible. At that moment Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, indeed the original personality, suggested a method that He had heard from Uddhava.”
From this evidence, it is determined that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the original Śrī Hari – this is certain. It is not only because He is the source of all avatāras that He has the quality of being the original cause; it is also because He is anādi, He has no beginning. He is the sat-cit-ānanda-vigraha, or the very form of eternality, knowledge, and bliss. His body is His soul, and His soul is indeed His body. “Ānandaṁ brahmaṇo rūpam – the form of the Supreme Person is ānanda (bliss)” (Taittirīya Upaniṣad 2.4.1).
In Vraja during His pastimes as a baby, a child, and a youth, He was called Vrajendra-nandana or Govinda. Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī says:
śrī-kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa-sakha vṛṣṇy-ṛṣabhāvani-dhrug-
tīrtha-śravaḥ śravaṇa-maṅgala pāhi bhṛtyān
“O Kṛṣṇa! O friend of Arjuna! O best of the Vṛṣṇi dynasty! O destroyer of the royal dynasties who are ravishing the Earth! O You whose splendors bestow auspiciousness upon all who hear about them! O You whose sacred glories are sung by the cowherd men and women of Vraja! O Govinda! O Śrī Kṛṣṇa, please protect us, Your servants.”
The Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.27.20) states that while ceremonially bathing Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Surabhī cow addressed Him as Govinda and said: “tvaṁ na indro jagat-pate – O You who are endowed with powerful, inconceivable energies! O You, the Supersoul of the entire universe! O Acyuta, who never fall from Your position! O Śrī Kṛṣṇa! O Jagatpati, Lord of the universe! You alone are our worshipful Lord. You, not Indra, are the maintainer of the universe.” Śrī Kṛṣṇa received the name “Śrī Govinda” after His bathing ceremony was completed. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.27.23) states: “govinda iti cābhyadhāt – Indra named the Lord ‘Govinda’.”
In his prayers at the end of this subject in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.26.25), Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī also invokes the name Govinda: “prīyān na indro gavām – O indra of the cows (Govinda), be pleased with us.” In the Gautamīya Tantra, there is the following
gopīṁ tu prakṛtiṁ vidyāj janas tattva-samūhakaḥ
anayor āśrayo vyāptyā kāraṇatvena ceśvaraḥ
sāndrānandaṁ paraṁ jyotir vallabhatvena ca kathyate
athavā gopī prakṛtir janas tad-aṁśa-maṇḍalam
anayor vallabhaḥ proktaḥ svāmī kṛṣṇāś ca īśvaraḥ
kārya-kāraṇayor īśaḥ śrutibhis tena gīyate
aneka-janma-siddhānāṁ gopīnāṁ patir eva vā
nanda-nandana ity uktas trailokyānanda-vardhanaḥ
“He who is famous amongst the cows, the Earth, and the Vedas, and, who is the shelter of all of these is Śrī Govinda-deva. He who is surrounded by the cows and is full of unparalleled opulence and sweetness is expert at manifesting His unlimited pastimes freely. He who is famous in all the worlds and in the Vedas, who always stays in Śrī Nanda-Gokula, and whose dark complexion is the color of fresh rain clouds, enchants the minds of the residents of Vraja. He expands His supremely sweet pastimes, and His sweet activities are sung loudly by the Vedas throughout all the worlds. That moon of Gokula, Śrī Kṛṣṇacandra, who wears the dress of a cowherd boy, is indeed called ‘Govinda’.”
It is clear that to the extent of the increase of prema-rasa in Lord Brahmā’s heart, his greed to obtain the sweet form of Govinda increases to that same degree. Initially, he began to surrender himself unto the svarūpa of Govinda within Śrī Kṛṣṇa, that is, to Gopāla, a cowherd boy who is the son of Śrī Nanda Mahārāja, the king of Vraja, and who is the life and soul of Mother Yaśodā.
When that prema-rasa matured and filled the rasika heart of Brahmā, he became exceedingly restless to attain the supremely beautiful, dark complexioned Śyāmasundara, who is an ever-fresh youth (nava-kiśora), who is the greatest dancer (naṭavara), and whose beauty bewilders even Cupid himself (madana-mohana), especially when He is surrounded by the lotus-eyed vraja-gopīs. Furthermore, he offered himself unto gopī-jana-vallabha (the beloved of the gopīs) within Kṛṣṇa. Brahmā’s heart was restless to taste the nectar of gopī-prema; thus he was not satisfied simply by chanting kṛṣṇāya svāhā (I offer myself to Kṛṣṇa) or kṛṣṇāya govindāya svāhā (I offer myself to Kṛṣṇa who is Govinda). His satisfaction came by only chanting kṛṣṇāya govindāya gopī-jana-vallabhāya svāhā (I offer myself to Kṛṣṇa who is Govinda and the beloved of the gopīs)
From the verbal root gupa comes the word gopī, which means “to protect and to maintain.” In this case, the meaning refers to the special śakti that bestows prema and maintains the devotees – that energy is the hlādinī-śakti, which is embodied in Rādhā. The phrase gopī-jana consists of the words gopī, or rādhā, and jana, which indicates the associates who are Her expansions. Therefore, the phrase applies to the circle of Rādhā’s associates, who are Her direct bodily expansions. One should understand the word gopī-jana to indicate Śrī Rādhā and Her kāya-vyūha expansions such as Lalitā and Viśākhā. Their vallabha, or most beloved, is Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Thus, gopī-jana-vallabha means “that form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa whom Śrī Rādhā embraces eternally.” Therefore, the use of gopī-jana-vallabha naturally signifies the Divine Couple, Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.
vṛndāvane ‘aprākṛta navīna madana’
kāma-gāyatrī, kāma-bīje yāṅra upāsana
puruṣa, yoṣit, kibā sthāvara-jaṅgama
sarva-cittākarṣaka, sākṣāt manmatha-madana
“In Vṛndāvana, Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the ever-fresh transcendental Cupid. He is worshiped by the kāma-gāyatrī and the kāma-bīja, the seed sound vibration klīṁ. He attracts the hearts of all living entities – male and female, moving and non-moving alike – and He is directly the very attractor of Cupid himself.
Rasika-śekhara Nanda-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa is present in Vṛndāvana as Madana-mohana, the very enchanter of Cupid, with Śrī Rādhikā, who is surrounded by the ever-fresh, beautiful, lotus-eyed young gopīs. Even after attaining Him, one’s greed to be with Him simply goes on increasing more and more. His beauty and sweetness are realized every second in eternally new ways. For this reason, He is the transcendental ever-fresh Cupid (aprākṛta-navīna-madana). In the hearts of those who worship Him as Cupid, a very powerful, spiritual amorous love (kāma) awakens, and a type of madness ensues. His ever-fresh Madana form is beyond material nature. The ordinary Cupid only operates in this material world, inciting attraction towards the flesh. This is simply lust, which is grossly materialistic and quite detestable. Those in the bodily conception of life are bound by this material Cupid and forced to submit to material lust.
Knowledge of one’s relationship with Śrī Kṛṣṇa marks the onset of the jīva being situated in the transcendental position. This spiritual position is of two kinds: svarūpa-gata and vastu-gata. In the beginning stage, the sādhaka does not gain liberation from his relationship with matter. Only partial spiritualization arises in him at that point. Although he may come to live in Vṛndāvana, he is not a factual resident. This is svarūpa-gata. Once the materialistic tendency of the gross and subtle bodies is destroyed, the practitioner gradually achieves his factual position in Vṛndāvana by Kṛṣṇa’s desire. At this point, during the stage of sādhana (spiritual practice), the jīva worships Śrī Kṛṣṇa by the kāma-gāyatrī and the transcendental kāma-bīja. “Gāyantaṁ trāyate yasmāt gāyatrī tvaṁ tataḥ smṛtaḥ – that which delivers the chanter is known as gāyatrī.’’ The kāma-gāyatrī bestows appreciation of the form of the ever-fresh, transcendental Cupid, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and reciting it makes that form manifest in the heart. Furthermore, by evoking a momentary glimpse of that form, it gives that person who meditates upon it an intense desire to obtain Him completely.
As revealed in Hayaśīrṣa-paṅcarātra, those who are well-versed in understanding of fundamental truths have explained that the ultimate object – the Lord who is signified by His mantra – the reciter, the presiding deity, and the mantra itself are all non-different. The kāma-bīja, or the seed syllable of the kāma-gāyatrī, is klīṁ. Just as the kāma-gāyatrī is the rasātmaka-svarūpa (the form that is full of rasa) of the ordinary Vedic gāyatrī, the kāma-bīja is likewise the rasātmaka-svarūpa of the original sound vibration, praṇava, or oṁkāra. The kāma-bīja – klīṁ – consists of the four letters ka, la, ī, bindu, and anusvāra. The Bṛhad-gautamīya-tantra states:
ka-kāraḥ puruṣaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ
ī-kāraḥ prakṛtī rādhā nitya vṛndāvaneśvarī
laścānandātmakaṁ premasukhaṁ tayośca kīrttitam
cumbana-ānanda-mādhuryaṁ nādabinduḥ samīritaḥ
The letter ka means Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Person, whose body is composed of eternality, knowledge, and bliss. The letter ī designates the supreme power and the eternal presiding Goddess of Vṛndāvana (Vṛndāvaneśvarī) Śrī Rādhā. The letter la indicates the bliss of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, and the nāda-bindu suggests the mādhurya that comes from the happiness of Their kissing each other. Thus, the kāma-gāyatrī, composed of twenty-four and a half syllables, is the very form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. This mantra makes the whole universe restless to attain love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa. From the verbal root kam (to desire), the word kāma is derived. Kāma is the object that one desires. Kāmadeva is the name of Madana-mohana Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the ever-fresh transcendental Cupid, who is endowed with beauty, sweetness, and all divine qualities such as vaidagdhya (cleverness). As the emperor and the very embodiment of amorous love, He attracts the minds of all.
There are twenty-five syllables of the kāma-gāyatrī: kā, ma, de, vā, ya, vi, dma, he, pu, ṣpa, bā, ṇā, ya, dhī, ma, hi, ta, nno, na, ṅgaḥ, pra, co, da, yā, and t. The syllable ya of the word kāma-devāya (the last syllable) is considered a half-syllable. Four aspects of Kṛṣṇa – the holy name, the mantra, His body (or deity form), and His svarūpa (nature) – are non-different from Him and from each other. Every syllable of the kāma-gāyatrī represents one of the “moons” within His form. One of these twenty-four moons is manifest upon every one of His limbs. His ten fingernails and ten toenails are twenty of these moons, two are His cheeks, one whole moon corresponds to His entire face, another is the drop of musk decorating His chin, and the half-moon is Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s forehead.
Moved by a feeling of doubt and unable to discover the half-syllable of the kāma-gāyatrī, Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura went to the bank of Rādhā-kuṇḍa to give up his life; but Śrī Rādhā revealed to him in a dream: vi-kārānta-ya-kāreṇa (ca cārddhākṣaraṁ) prakīrttitam. The Varṇāgama-bhāsvata, which is a Sanskrit grammar book, also gives the same conclusion. Śrīmatī Rādhikā explained that when the letter ya precedes the letter vi, then ya is considered a half-syllable. It is stated in this book that except for the letter ya that precedes the letter vi, all other syllables are complete and are considered full-moons: “vyanta ya-kāro ’rdhākṣam lalāṭe ’rdha-candra-bimbaḥ, tad-itaraṁ purṇākṣaraṁ purṇa-candraḥ iti – The forehead of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the half-moon, the half-syllable.”
Śrī Śyāmasundara, who churns even the mind of Cupid, attracts the hearts of the entire world with His astonishingly beautiful attire:
madhuraṁ madhuraṁ vapur asya vibhor
madhuraṁ madhuraṁ vadanaṁ madhuram
madhu-gandhi mṛdu-smitam etad aho
madhuraṁ madhuraṁ madhuraṁ madhuram
Śrī Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta (92)
The composer of Śrī Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta, Śrī Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura, says, “Ah! The body of unlimited Śrī Kṛṣṇa is exceedingly sweet. Atop this body, His moon-like face is even sweeter still. Upon His face, His soft and mild smile and fragrant breath are even sweeter than the sweetest. Everything about Śrī Kṛṣṇa is sweet, sweet, sweet. This person, who is the ultimate extent of sweetness, completely blossoms when He is with Śrī Rādhā.”
When Śrī Kṛṣṇa disappeared from the rāsa-līlā, leaving the gopīs behind, they became distressed in separation and lamented. Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī achieved oneness of mood (tādātmya) with these gopīs and said:
tāsām āvirabhūc chauriḥ
“ ‘When Śrī Kṛṣṇa again appeared before the beautiful ladies of Vraja, He was wearing a yellow cloth. He was also wearing a garland made of blossoming forest flowers, and upon His lotus face was a sweet smile. Indeed, the beauty of such a form bewilders the mind of even Cupid, who agitates the minds of all beings.’
The god of love (Kāmadevaer to achie), who is in the svarūpa of both Śrī Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs, was himself situated there in ordve Śrī Kṛṣṇa in the mood of the gopīs. Encountering such beauty and elegance, Kāmadeva himself fainted, being wounded by the arrows of love.
nānā-bhaktera rasāmṛta nānā-vidha haya
sei saba rasāmṛtera ‘viṣaya’ ‘āśraya’
“The previously mentioned five types of devotees (śānta, dāsya, etc.) have various moods of worship. According to their devotional sentiments, they experience varieties of rasa. Both the worshipable object and shelter of all of these different rasas is Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself.
It is stated in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu that there are twelve rasas. There are five mukhya, or primary rasas, namely, śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya, and mādhurya; and the gauṇa, or secondary rasas, are seven in number, namely, laughter (hāsya), compassion (karuṇa), chivalry (vīra), fear (bhayānaka ), disgust (vībhatsa), and astonishment (adbhuta). The object (viṣaya) and the receptacle (āśraya), or the object of relish (āsvādya) and the relisher (āsvādaka), of all of these rasas is Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself.
A description of the two aspects of sakhya-rasa is given as an example here. Upon His defeat, Śrī Kṛṣṇa carried His friends upon His shoulders. At this time He becomes the āśraya of sakhya-rasa; and when He is victorious and climbs upon the shoulders of His friends, He becomes the viṣaya, or the taster of sakhya-rasa.
rādhā-preyān vidhur jayati
“ ‘All glories to Him, all glories to Him, the complete embodiment of all nectarean loving mellows (rasas), who by the diffusion of His bodily effulgence, kept both the gopīs named Tārakā and Pālī most subjugated, who also controlled Lalitā and Śyāmā Sakhī, and who is the most beloved of Śrī Rādhā.’
This verse presents three adjectives establishing that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the sole object of all rasas. Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the epitome of all nectarean rasa, is the only one who tastes the rasa of Śrī Rādhā, She who surpasses everyone in qualities, sweetness, and cleverness. Furthermore, He is the supreme and exclusive enjoyer of all the gopīs, who are the receptacles of love. He controls them all, including sva-pakṣā Lalitā, vi-pakṣā Tārakā or Candrāvalī, suhṛt-pakṣā Śyāmala, and taṭasthā-pakṣā Bhadrā (Pāli).
In rāsa-līlā, when Śrī Kṛṣṇa once more came before the gopīs, wearing a garland that was placed around His neck by a beloved in a solitary place, then Śrī Rādhā, who was full of loving anger, launched Her crooked glances at Him. Chastising Him She said, “O crest jewel of magicians, the use of Your loving poison on us was successful. You took the life out of our bodies. Have You come back to burn us on the funeral pyre?” Śrīmatī Rādhikā is the crest jewel of all of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s beloveds. She is full of crookedness that arises from Her honey-sweet affection for Śrī Kṛṣṇa (madhu-sneha), thus She is full of the feeling that “Śrī Kṛṣṇa is Mine.” Situated on the next level beneath Rādhā in loving affairs are Śyāmā and Lalitā, while Tārakā and other gopīs such as Pālikā are on the third level.
“Of all the various rasas, the amorous mellow (śṛṅgāra-rasa) is the topmost. This rasa is the emperor of all transcendental mellows and Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the embodiment and the king of this mellow. This form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is all-attractive, even to Himself.
viśveṣām anurañjanena janayann ānandam indīvara-
śreṇī-śyāmala-komalair upanayann aṅgair anaṅgotsavam
svacchandaṁ vraja-sundarībhir abhitaḥ praty-aṅgam āliṅgitaḥ
śṛṅgāraḥ sakhī mūrtimān iva madhau mugdho hariḥ krīḍati
Śrī Gītā-govinda (1.48)
“ ‘O sakhī, in this spring season, Śrī Hari has become amorous love incarnate and intoxicated by this rasa is enjoying loving pastimes. With the limbs of His body, which are softer, darker, and more beautiful than a blue lotus, He begins the festival of love. With ever-increasing ardor, He is satisfying the gopīs’ unbridled passion far in excess of their expectations, and having taken on an aggressive mood, the beautiful Vraja maidens are fully and unrestrainedly embracing each and every limb of His body.’
This verse establishes that Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the very personification of the amorous mellow, or śṛṅgāra-rasa.
lakṣmī-kāntādi avatārera hare mana
lakṣmī-ādi nārī-gaṇera kare ākarṣaṇa
“Śrī Nārāyaṇa, who is the beloved of Lakṣmī, and all the incarnations of Bhagavān, as well as Lakṣmī and all the other female energies of these incarnations – all are attracted to Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa attracts the hearts of Bhūmā-puruṣa (Mahā-Viṣṇu), puruṣa-avatāras, Śrī Nārāyaṇa, Lakṣmī, and all others.
dvijātmajā me yuvayor didṛkṣuṇā
mayopanītā bhuvi dharma-guptaye
kalāvatīrṇāv avaner bharāsurān
hatveha bhūyas tvarayetam anti me
“The Bhūmā-puruṣa (Lord Mahā-Viṣṇu) said to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, ‘O Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who possesses all potencies! O Arjuna! Only to see both of you did I bring the sons of the brāhmaṇa to My abode. You have appeared with Your plenary portion to take away the burden of the Earth and to protect religion. After removing the burden of the Earth by killing the demons, please quickly return.’
Discussed here is an event that occurred in Dvārakā when a brāhmaṇa’s new-born son died as soon as that child touched the Earth. Taking up his son’s dead body, the brāhmaṇa placed it on the doorway of the royal palace and said, “Without a doubt, because of the bad behavior of this greedy, licentious, materialistic king, who is envious of the brāhmaṇas, my son has died. A king who is coarse and violent and whose senses are uncontrolled ensures that his subjects will always remain poor and unhappy.”
The eight sons of the brāhmaṇa died successively in the same manner. The brāhmaṇa placed all the bodies of his dead sons at the palace gate. When the ninth of his sons died, Arjuna, who was standing near Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, said, “O brāhmaṇa, is there no kṣatriya here in Dvārakā who carries a bow? This time I will protect your son.” The brāhmaṇa replied, “If my sons could not be protected by Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, then what can you do?” Arjuna said, “My name is Arjuna, and the name of my bow is Gāṇḍīva. After I fight with Yamarāja, the god of death, I will protect your son.”
When the time came for the brāhmaṇa’s wife to have their next son, the brāhmaṇa sent word to Arjuna, who arrived there and by his barrage of arrows formed a complete cage around the maternity house. At the time of birth, the brāhmaṇa’s son cried and cried until suddenly, the child completely disappeared from the maternity room.
By the strength of his mystic power, Arjuna went to many planets, looking for the child. When he could not find him anywhere, he prepared to give up his life by entering fire and immolating himself. Witnessing this, Bhagavān said to Arjuna, “Come with Me. I will show you all the sons of the brāhmaṇa.” Both Arjuna and Śrī Kṛṣṇa mounted the chariot and crossed the seven islands and seven mountain ranges of this universe. As they approached Lokāloka Mountain, such a dense darkness came upon them that even the four horses pulling Bhagavān’s chariot, namely, Śaibya, Sugrīva, Meghapuṣpa, and Balāhaka, became bewildered and could no longer discern the correct path. Then Śrī Kṛṣṇa ordered His Sudarśana cakra to proceed ahead of the chariot to show the way. Moving onwards, Arjuna and Śrī Kṛṣṇa entered Mahākāla-purī, the city of Bhūmā-puruṣa (Śeṣa-nāga). That Śrī Bhūmā-puruṣa rests on the Causal Ocean. He is the Lord of the spiritual sky and non-different from Śrī Nārāyaṇa. That Bhūmā-puruṣa spoke this verse to Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna.
Thus, it is clear that Śrī Kṛṣṇa captures the hearts of Bhūmā-puruṣa, or Nārāyaṇa, and indeed of all of Bhagavān’s incarnations. This verse gives evidence of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s all-attractiveness. The next verse presents further evidence of this:
kasyānubhāvo ’sya na deva vidmahe
yad-vāñchayā śrīr lalanācarat tapo
vihāya kāmān su-ciraṁ dhṛta-vratā
“The wives of the serpent Kāliya said, ‘O Bhagavān, we cannot understand which sādhana this Kāliya serpent has performed that rewarded him with the qualification to receive the dust of Your lotus feet on his head. To attain the dust of Your feet is so rare that even Lakṣmī, who is Your wife, performed severe austerities, in a very regulated manner, giving up all types of pleasures for a very long time.’
In essence, Lakṣmī was so attracted by the beauty of Śrī Kṛṣṇa that she left behind the enjoyment of intimate association with her husband, Śrī Nārāyaṇa, in favor of performing very severe austerities to avail herself of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s association. Yet even so, she still did not achieve the qualification to touch His lotus feet. She could only attain a faint glimmer, or shadow, of His association by becoming a fine golden line upon Śrī Śyāmasundara’s chest.
By contrast, what pious activities did the serpent Kāliya perform that Śrī Kṛṣṇa bestowed His causeless mercy upon him by dancing upon his hoods, while Lakṣmī, to this day, is still performing severe austerities?
When Śrī Kṛṣṇa inquired from Lakṣmī the reason behind her austerities, she replied, “I want to sport in Vṛndāvana with You just like the gopīs do, and receive a form like theirs.” Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa said, “Lakṣmī, it will be most difficult for you to attain that.” From this it is clear that the beauty and sweetness of Śrī Kṛṣṇa stole the mind of even the wife of Śrī Nārāyaṇa.
āpana-mādhurye hare āpanāra mana
āpanā āpani cāhe karite āliṅgana
“The sweetness of Śrī Śyāmasundara is so unparalleled that it enchants His own mind. Becoming bewildered, He even wants to embrace Himself.
aparikalita-pūrvaḥ kaś camatkāra-kārī
sphurati mama garīyān eṣa mādhurya-pūraḥ
ayam aham api hanta prekṣya yaṁ lubdha-cetāḥ
sa-rabhasam upabhoktuṁ kāmaye rādhikeva
“Seeing His own sweetness reflected in a bejeweled pillar, Śrī Kṛṣṇa said, ‘How wonderful! How astonishing and indescribable is My profound beauty, which is the cause of great wonderment. I am enchanted by this beauty, which is arousing the eager desire to embrace and enjoy Myself, exactly like Śrīmatī Rādhikā does.’ ”