All the Gopis had been previously wandering from forest to forest. When they met with Radharani they thought, “There is no need to keep searching, if we keep going, Krsna will just go further and deeper into the forest.” Up to this point the Gopis were in the forested areas that were lit up by the rays of the full moon, but further ahead the jungle was becoming more dense, deep, and dark. The Gopis then thought, “We will not proceed further because the Lord may step on sharp stones or thorns in the dark, and may possibly cut His feet. We do not want to give any distress to Krsna like this. Instead we will go to the bank of the Yamuna where we were previously.”
The Gopis with Radharani then returned to the bank of the Yamuna and began to do kirtana of Sri Krsna. They began to sing Sri Krsna’s glories and meditate on His pastimes. Now these prayers will be expressed and described by Srila Sukadeva Goswami.
Until this point they had searched everywhere and could not find Krsna. They had even asked the grass, the plants, the trees, the creepers, and the rivers, “Where is Krsna? Where is Krsna?” Then they began to blame them, “Oh you will not tell us. You are afraid of Krsna. You are very proud so you will not tell us where Krsna is.”
By Radharani’s connection, the Gopis finally understood that Krsna and His names are non-different. They could experience and understand their own shortcomings, and became very humble. Those who are very advanced and senior will not be afraid to tell others of their own faults, but those who are junior, even if they have so many faults, they will try to blame everyone else without thinking that they themselves have any faults.
GETTING YOUR BHAJAN FOCUSED
There is no need to wander here, there, and everywhere, doing so many tours, travels, and parikramas. What gain will you get from doing so much hard work and sadhana with your body. You may develop some good impressions, pious merits, and sukrti. But even if you do parikrama for a thousand lifetimes, wandering here and there, going in circles, what will you gain? What will you get? Who are you doing it for, and who has told you to do this? Are you doing this for your own pleasure or for Krsna’s pleasure? You should consider this first. What is the subject? What is the object? What is the aim and goal? What is my purpose? What is the positive point and what is the negative?
Whatever I am doing, from morning to evening, make a ledger, and account for what you have gained in your day’s work. Just like Citragupta, who is the accountant of Yamaraja, he keeps ledgers on all the jivas’ activities. But this only concerns worldly affairs and we need to look towards our spiritual life. What have we done in our day? What service was there in moving about here and there? Was it for one’s own self, or for one’s own desire to meet with Sri Krsna.
Srimati Radhika therefore said, “There is no need to wander here and there. The Lord can wander here and there if He desires, but we will sit in one place and do kirtan.” So they returned to the bank of the Yamuna and sitting there they began to sing the glories of Sri Krsna. This is the duty of Sri Guru. After Mangal Arati, Svami Prabhupada would take his disciples and sit down and say, “Now chant harinama with me.” When their harinama was complete he would say, “Now you can do as you like, otherwise don’t leave here until you have finished your harinama.” This is the pure instructions of a pure Guru. The Guru will not let the disciples wander here and there frivolously. Sitting in a room he would lock the gate and say, “Now do harinama.” Even in todays schools and universities, you cannot wander here and there as you like. You have to sit down in the classroom and do your studies. If they are wandering about here and there, they will never do their studies. Therefore, Prabhupada would say, “Close the door and do your harinama and studies, then you can move around.” In this way we can learn.
RADHIKA AND THE GOPIS BEGIN TO PRAY AND DO KIRTANA
Srimati Radhika then sat down on the banks of the Yamuna with all the Gopis and they all began to pray to Krsna. What did they pray?
jayati te ‘dhikam janmana vrajah
srayata indira sasvad atra hi
dayita drsyatam diksu tavakas
tvayi dhrtasavas tvam vicinvate
The Gopis prayed, “Oh Beloved, because of Your taking birth here in Vraja, Vraja-mandala has become more glorious than Vaikuntha, or any of the other spiritual planets.” They are not just saying it will be, they are saying it in the present tense. “Now, Vrindavan is more glorious than any other spiritual abode because of Your birth here.”
When Srimati Radhika began praying like this, did she first teach the Gopis to sing after Her? Like when people sing in kirtan, they follow a book or repeat after the main singer. However, after the sadhana-siddha-gopis took shelter of Srimati Radhika and Her nitya-siddha-gopis (eternal associates), then Radharani’s desire, the tendency of svarupa-sakti, manifested directly into their hearts. They then immediately understood everything, and in complete synchronicity, they all began to sing kirtan.
THE GOPIS GLORIFY KRSNA’S BIRTH
The Gopis sang, “jayati te ‘dhikam janmana vrajah,” you have taken birth in Vraja-mandala. They did not say Krsna took birth in Mathura, because there is no ‘janma-lila’ birth pastime, in Mathura. In Mathura Krsna appeared in a four-armed form as Narayana. He was wearing His ornaments, dress, crown, and He had long hair, so this was not considered a birth pastime. Krsna is never born with a crown, ankle bells, bracelets, necklaces, garlands, and four-armed, like Narayana. He appeared in Mathura, but in Vraja He took birth. His umbilical cord was cut in Vraja, and He was born from the womb of Yasoda in Nanda-bhavan (the home of Nanda Baba).
The Gopis said, “Vrndavan is more glorious than any of the other abodes.” In Vraja, everything then manifested outwardly, the trees became filled with fresh fruits and green leaves. Everyone’s heart became filled with beauty, and because of the beauty in their hearts, all their bodily forms became beautiful. Even those who were old became bright, red, fresh, and young looking.
Those Vraja children who were mischievous, now became even more restless and mischievous. Before they were somewhat peaceful being under the control and disciple of their parents and families. After Krsna took birth, all the different sakhas became out of control and undisciplined. If the parents and elders were in ecstasy, and became like children, then who will control the children? When we think I am elderly, I am in control, I am the master, then we try to control others. But if we ourselves feel like children, then how will we be able to control anyone? They all became very innocent and childlike and all of Vraja became filled with transcendental energy.
LAKSMI-DEVI STAYS IN VRAJA
The Gopis then said, “srayata indira sasvad atra hi,” Laksmi-devi is present here in Vraja. Previously, Laksmi-devi would wander throughout the whole universe, she would go everywhere. Whoever called her she will go to them. But now Laksmi-devi is saying, “My Lord has come so I will serve here in Vraja and not leave to go anywhere.”
Why? What has changed? Why will Laksmi serve in Vraja? What will she do there? Laksmi-devi said, “I saw what happens when I went and served everyone. There is no one who is always thinking about how to serve Krsna. They do not appear to be very dear to Him and He is not very dear to them, they are all independent enjoyers. But in Vraja everyone is dear to Krsna and He is dear to them. There is a reciprocation of love and affection.
Therefore, by serving the Vraja-vasis, my master, Krsna, will always be pleased with me.”
In other places, Laksmi-devi gives so much wealth to businessmen, wealthy people, and aristocrats but they do not have any love for Krsna and therefore He does not have a relationship with them. They are only in love with their own material enjoyment and their outward display of collecting name, fame, and prestige. They do not have love for Krsna. Therefore, they are only misusing Laksmi.
“Srayata indira sasvad atra hi.” Laksmi-devi says, “I will not leave Vraja dhama, I will serve here. Because I have never seen such a place where everyone is so extremely dear to Krsna and He is so extremely dear to them. No one here has any other desire. The subject and the object is only for Krsna, there is no other consideration. Even the deer, the peacocks, the parrots, and the cows are the Lord’s very dear and intimate associates.
“Dayita drsyatam diksu tavakas,” in this Vraja-dhama, who is present? The preyasi, the beloveds of Sri Krsna.
The Gopis said, “Krsna, we are very sad, and are offering our lives to You. Please give us Your darsana.” Krsna said, “Why are you searching for Me? Why are you lamenting so much? Are you greedy for something from Me?” If you want something then do austerity, do sadhana.”
KRSNA – THE REAL AIM AND OBJECT OF ALL AUSTERITIES
Someone will do ‘dandavat pranam parikrama’, but what service is this for Krsna? Is this for His pleasure? You may be doing dandavat parikrama a hundred times, a thousand times, ten million times, but what service to Krsna is there in this? This is only to satisfy your own desires and for your own enjoyment, that ‘I will be very great and exalted. I will be very prestigious. I will have such a high position and so much facility and enjoyment. I will be a king. I will be a master. I will get so much wealth. Everyone will become my servant. Everyone will be my follower. I will be crowned with the highest position of prestige.’
But why are we doing this? Why are we working so hard? There are so many yogis and bhogis that go to the Himalayas to perform tapasya and austerities, but if their mood is not pleasing to Krsna, then what is the purpose of all this endeavor? Hiranyakasipu stood on his fingers with his feet up in the air for 60,000 years, and he was so proud, and against Krsna, so what was the benefit of this austerity? He received so much strength and power, but then he began to fight with the Lord and His devotees. What was the fault of his son, Prahlada? Hiranyakasipu said, “Prahlada doesn’t listen to me, and he is so proud. Now I will show him and see what he does.” Then he even tried to kill his own son Prahlada, all because of his pride.
What benefit was there in all of Hiranyakasipu’s austerities? His pride only increased. He did not become purified. Instead he became very filthy and filled with a polluted sense of self-importance. Whatever fruit that comes to a person who is independently engaged, or acting according to his own desires, in ‘tyaga’ renunciation, ‘tapasya’ austerity, or ‘sankalpa’ vows, will not be for the Lord’s bhakti or service. If they do it for Krsna, under His authority, desire, and pleasure, and under the guidance of His devotees, they only will not incur suffering nor have any anxiety or perplexity.
THE REAL GOPI-GITA
The Gopis now said, “We are offering our lives to You. We are searching for You and praying for Your darsana? We made the mistake of becoming proud and now You have gone far away, so please be merciful and give us Your darsana, and allow us to be engaged in Your service.”
Sridhara Swami explains in his commentary, that at the end of the third chapter it describes how the Vraja-devis returned to the bank of the Yamuna, and in a mood of intense separation, they began to sing the glories of Sri Krsna. These prayers of the Vraja-devis are called the ‘viraha-gita’ – the song of separation, or the ‘Gopi-gita’ – the song of the Gopis.
Previously, when the sadhana-siddha-gopis were wandering in the forest, imitating Krsna’s pastimes, praying, singing, asking the trees and plants where Krsna was, it was not considered the Gopi-gita. Only when they came under the guidance of Srimati Radhika and the nitya-siddha-gopis, was their singing considered the Gopi-gita. Why is this? Because this song was exclusively for the pleasure of Krsna.
UPON KRSNA’S BIRTH LAKSMI DEVI DECORATES VRAJA
Sridhara Svami says, “Oh Beloved Krsna, because of Your birth in Vraja it is filled with all glory and is supremely victorious. Without You, there is no value to Vraja. No one knew what the speciality of Vraja was. Many cowherd families lived here and the demons Bhaumasura and Lavanasura also stayed here. It had become like a realm of demons. Sometimes they would kill cows and cowherd men and eat them. Even though Bhaumasura and Lavanasura and other demons were constantly disturbing everyone, we were not afraid of them, and they were not the main reason for Your birth. But after Your birth, Vraja became more glorious than Vaikuntha. Not only that, Laksmi-devi herself has come to Vraja and decorated it. She is always present here and is day and night serving Vraja.
The Brahma-samhita states:
laksavrtesu surabhir abhipalayantam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
The Lord is the caretaker of the cows, and Laksmi has come in millions and millions of forms. She is sweeping the pathways, taking care of the gardens and maintaining the fields. In this way Laksmi devi began to decorate Vraja and it became a festival place.
Previously the cows would have to go great distances to find nice grass, but now everything became favorable. There were waterfalls, fields full of fresh green grass, and all the trees and plants were filled with beautiful flowers and fruits. All the plants, rivers, pathways, and even the stones were all soft, sweet, and favorable. In this way, Laksmi-devi decorated and prepared all of Vraja with her own energy and she made everyone fit and able to serve. Like in a village, if there is one person who is very wealthy, and he distributes his wealth to all the poor villagers. Like in India now, the government has opened free bank accounts for all the poor people and gave them some money.
Laksmi-devi did not keep anyone poor. She filled everyone with so much wealth and said, “Now you can serve. Everyone can serve. Oh tree, you can serve. Oh stone, you can serve. Oh peacock, you can serve.” The pigeons, the quail, the deer, she decorated everyone with all good qualities so they could serve. Not only this, but the pathways, the ghatas, the drains, the jungles, the forests, the groves, the gardens, everything was decorated and became very beautiful and filled with divine fragrance.
Laksmi-devi serves everyone and everything in Vraja. She resides in Vraja and she decorates Vraja with all her beauty, but the Vrajavasis were never greedy for this opulence. The rivers, hills, animals, and birds were all ornamented with Laksmi-devi’s qualities.
THE GOPIS ONLY WANT KRSNA
However, the Gopis now said, “Everything else is auspicious in Vraja but we are very unfortunate because You have left us. We do not want any wealth or anything of this world. Oh Lord, You can give us so much to eat, and beautiful clothes to wear, but this is not what we want.”
In this world, if you give wealth, a nice house, ornaments, outfits, and so forth, to your wife she will not be sad, even if you are going elsewhere. She will still be very happy with all the things you give her. But the Gopis were not like that. Even if thousands and millions of Laksmis came and decorated Vraja, filling the houses with nice ingredients like milk, yogurt, ghee, and nice children, but the Gopis would still not desire any of this. Without Krsna, they knew nothing else.
The Gopis prayed, “Oh Lord, this is all fine that by Your birth, Vraja has become so glorious, and Laksmi comes and decorates everything, but this is all valueless to us. At least once, please accept us. You accepted us once before and made us Your own, so now we cannot live without You and we are feeling very sad. Previously we searched for you, prayed to You, now give us Your mercy by showing us Your beautiful face, and accepting us into Your service. Without Your transcendental service, we have no desire for anything else. Even if Maha-laksmi gave us unlimited things, we would not accept them. We are not attached to any of this.”
Srila Jiva Goswami Prabhu in his ‘Vaisnava Tosani’ commentary explains that aside from Sri Krsna, the Gopis did not desire anything else. It is very difficult for anyone else to understand the lamentation and prayers of the Gopis in the Gopi-gita, unless they are in the line of the Gopis. Which means only Krsna can understand this. What do the Gopis truly desire, what are they praying for? Others cannot understand the inner purport.
KRSNA TAKES BIRTH IN THE VRAJAVASIS HEARTS
Vraja became more glorious than Vaikuntha because of Krsna taking birth there. Not all places are perfectly fit to be engaged in such service as is performed in Vraja. Krsna did not take birth only in Yasoda’s womb but He appeared in the hearts of all the Vrajavasis. Not only in Nanda-bhavan or Yasoda-bhavan, but even the cows thought that Krsna was their son. All the elderly gopis thought that Krsna was their son and from morning to evening would try to go to Krsna instead of spending time in their homes. The young kisori-gopis thought, “He is prana-priyatama – the beloved of my life.” We do not see this pastime in Vaikuntha or anywhere else, where all at once Sri Krsna appeared in everyone’s hearts simultaneously according to their rasas.
The Vraja Gopis thought, “Krsna, since You have left us, the beauty and opulence of Vraja has no value to us. You are the beloved of our life, and we have lost You because of our own fault. We are so unfortunate and are suffering so much. We cannot live without You. When You were not present in Vraja, everything was like a desert, but now that You have come, all of Vraja is very green, fresh, and everyone’s hearts are also green and fresh. But now that You have left us, we are barren like a desert again. Without You we cannot live.”
Guruvarga ki Jaya ki Jaya!
Excerpted from the up and coming Bhakta Bandhav Publications, “Rasa Pancadhyayi”
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