atha tepe sa suciraṁ
prīṇan govindam avyayam
goloka-sthaṁ parāt param
bhūmiś cintāmaṇis tatra
svaiḥ svair aṁśair abhiṣṭutam
atha – then (after hearing that divine message); saḥ – Brahmājī; tepe – performed austerities; su-ciram – for a very long time; prīṇan – for the purpose of pleasing; kṛṣṇam govindam – Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is known as Govinda; avyayam – whose form is immutable; śveta-dvīpa-patim – who is the master of Śvetadvīpa; parāt param – the supreme transcendence; go-loka-stham – and who is situated within the planet of the cows; paryupāsitam – (then in Brahmā’s trance he saw that from outside Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s abode) He was being offered worship; rūpiṇyā – by the beautiful; prakṛtyā – material nature personified; guṇa-rūpiṇyā – whose form comprises the three modes of material nature (guṇas), namely goodness, passion and ignorance; tatra – there (He saw); bhūmiḥ – a land; cintā-maṇiḥ – composed of wish-fulfilling gems; karṇikāre – within the pericarp; sahasra-dala-sampanne – of a thousand-petaled lotus; koṭi-kiñjalka-bṛṁhite – filled with millions of saffron filaments; mahā-āsane – and upon a great throne; samāsīnam – comfortably seated; sanātanam – was the eternal; jyoti-rūpam – effulgent form; cid-ānandam – of cognizance and bliss; mukha-ambuje – upon His lotus mouth; vādayantam – He was playing; veṇum – His flute; śabda-brahma-mayam – which is imbued with the sound of the Vedic hymns; āvṛtam – He was surrounded; vilāsinī-gaṇa – by a group of gopīs who engaged in pleasure-pastimes with Him; abhiṣṭutam – He was offered praise; svaiḥ svaiḥ – by His respective; aṁśaiḥ – plenary portions.
After hearing this divine message, Brahmājī engaged in austerities for a very long time in order to please Govinda, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of Śvetadvīpa, who is situated in Goloka Vṛndāvana. Brahmā’s meditation was as follows: “In that land, which is made of transcendental desire- fulfilling gems, there is a lotus with thousands of petals and millions of filaments. In the center or pericarp there is a great sitting-place or throne, upon which is seated Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the eternal form of effulgent cognizance and bliss. With His lotus lips He is playing the flute, whose sound contains all the Vedic hymns, and He is surrounded by gopīs engaged in pleasure-pastimes with Him. He is attended by His own plenary portions who are pastime expansions, and who are engaged in offering praise to Him. From outside Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s abode, māyā, who takes the form of the three material modes of ignorance, passion and goodness, is also worshiping Him.”
After Brahmā had performed japa of the aforementioned mantra on account of his specific desire to create, he recited the following hymn to worship Śrī Govindadeva as He gracefully reclines in the holy sanctuary of Gokula. In these four ślokas beginning with the words atha tepe, Brahmājī describes the nature of Govindadeva, the master of Goloka, whom he was worshiping. In that astonishing vision, Brahmājī saw that the personified illusory energy, who embodies the three qualities of material nature, also performed worship of the all-worshipable Bhagavān Śrī Govindadeva through meditation from outside His abode. She did not come directly in Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s presence, because she felt very ashamed, considering herself an offender for punishing the rebellious living entities (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 2.7.47): “yogābhimukhe māyā vilajjamānā satī pṛṣṭha-deśam upaiti – the extremely chaste māyā remains far behind Bhagavān, and offers Him worship through meditation.”
It is also stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.87.28): “balim udvahanti samadanty ajayā nimiṣaḥ – the demigods and material nature herself offer tribute to You.” In this verse it is stated that the demigods are also external functionaries of the material creation, and they remain outside Śrī Bhagavān’s planet, together with the illusory potency. As the lords of small kingdoms offer oblations to their emperor, so the demigods also offer their oblations of pūjā to Govinda. What to speak of others, even the great demigods must certainly remain situated in their separate worlds.
The word aṁśaiḥ (meaning “by the plenary portions”) in this verse indicates the direct expansions of the personal form of Bhagavān who are situated in Goloka. These associates also perform worship of Śrī Govindadeva. Brahmājī engaged in austerities for a long time in order to please the imperishable Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is known as Govinda, and who is the supreme transcendence and the master of Śvetadvīpa. To please Śrī Kṛṣṇa, His external potency also performed worship of Him by meditation, not directly before Him but remaining far away, outside of His abode.
What is the nature of her meditation? Herein it is specifically described: “The land in Goloka is made of desire-fulfilling gems. In that place is a thousand-petaled lotus, the beauty of which is enhanced by millions of saffron filaments. Śrī Govindadeva, whose effulgent form is composed of eternity, knowledge and bliss, is seated upon the pericarp of that lotus, which takes the form of a throne. With His lotus lips He plays a flute, whose sound manifests the Vedic hymns. He is surrounded by His dearmost beloved gopīs, and He is glorified by His associates, who also reside in Goloka.” Such a meditation is capable of bestowing all blessings.
One who achieves a human birth but does not worship Śrī Bhagavān certainly lives in vain. Bewildered by māyā, he becomes her slave and wanders through the 8,400,000 species, being devoured by the threefold miseries. For a specific discussion on this topic, see Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.15.25).
Although the subject matter of this meditation is transcendental, the illusory potency is still situated in the material mode of passion. She is the personification of the material modes of goodness, passion and ignorance, and, as the embodiment of Bhagavān’s inferior potency, she has many forms, such as Durgā. Herein she is meditating on Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa as the object of her worship.
When a person desires to acquire a material object, Māyā-devī certainly becomes his worshipable deity. If he does not worship Māyā-devī, then he should perform pūjā of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and by this means he will attain the fulfillment of all his desires. This is also confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.3.10):
akāmaḥ sarva-kāmo vā
yajeta puruṣaṁ param
Whether one is desireless, or desires sense enjoyment or liberation, one who is intelligent should worship the Supreme Person through intense and unalloyed cultivation of bhakti-yoga.
This means that the various demigods and demigoddesses are expansions of Śrī Bhagavān’s opulences, and they bestow their respective boons. However, an intelligent person should give up worshiping them, and should engage in undeviating bhakti to Bhagavān Śrī Hari, who is fully capable of bestowing all boons.
In accordance with this principle, Brahmājī meditated upon the Supreme Personality, who performs pastimes in Goloka and who is the worshipable deity of Māyā-devī. Pure bhakti means niṣkāma-bhakti, i.e. bhakti that is free from any other desire, whereas the bhakti of Brahmā and other demigods is mixed with desire (sakāma). Within sakāma there also exists a type of bhakti called niṣkāma, and this is elaborately described in five ślokas at the end of this book. These concluding verses describe the practice of sādhana-bhakti through the processes of hearing, chanting, remembering and so on with knowledge of one’s eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa (sambandha-jñāna). Until one attains the perfectional stage of svarūpa-siddhi, this sādhana-bhakti is an easily accessible facility for the soul bound in illusion.
gāyatrīṁ gāyatas tasmād
dvijatām agamat tataḥ
atha – then (after Brahmā had performed penance for a long time); sphurantī – the brilliant melody, i.e. the kāma-gāyatrī mantra that was articulated on Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s flute; trayī-mūrtimayī gatiḥ – which was imbued with the three Vedas; veṇu-ninādasya – of the vibration of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s bamboo flute; āśu – swiftly; praviveśa – entered; mukha-abjāni – the ears of the four lotus faces; svayambhuvaḥ – of the self-born Brahmā; adhigatya – having thus received Gāyatrī; tasmāt – from Śrī Kṛṣṇa; saroja-jaḥ – that lotus-born Brahmā; gāyatrīm gāyataḥ – through chanting that Gāyatrī; saṁskṛtaḥ – became fully trained and enlightened; ādi-guruṇā – by the original preceptor, Śrī Kṛṣṇa; tataḥ – and thereby; agamat – he achieved; dvijatvam – twice-born status.
Then the mother of all Vedic hymns, Gāyatrī (which emanated as the sound of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s flute), along with the means for receiving and transmitting it, entered the lotus faces of Brahmā through his eight earholes, and Brahmā achieved realization of the kāma-gāyatrī mantra. The lotus-born Brahmā was thus initiated by the flute-song of Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the original guru, and by that reformation he attained twice-born status.
The sādhaka first becomes trained and purified through the process of becoming twice-born as described in this verse, and afterwards, through mantra-sādhana he attains darśana of the presiding deity of the mantra. For example, Dhruva Mahārāja left his home at the age of five years to worship Śrī Bhagavān, although he had no knowledge of the procedure for His worship. Bhagavān, who dwells in the hearts of all, sent Devarṣi Nārada to him, and when Śrī Nārada clearly saw Dhruva’s firm determination, he bestowed dīkṣā-mantra upon him on the bank of the Yamunā at Mathurā, and told him, “Go to Madhuvana and perform bhajana of Śrī Bhagavān there. He will give you His darśana very soon.” As a result of performing severe sādhana in accordance with Nārada’s instructions, Dhruva received the Lord’s darśana within six months. As illustrated in this history, the acceptance of dīkṣā is absolutely necessary in order to perform the sādhana and bhajana for realizing Śrī Bhagavān.
Brahmājī also became fully accomplished after undergoing the process of purification by becoming twice-born, just as Dhruva did. This process is described by the two ślokas beginning with the words atha veṇu-ninādasya. It is clearly stated in the second śloka that Gāyatrī is the mother of the Vedas. Tan-mayī gatiḥ means that the mantra, together with the traditions for receiving, practicing and transmitting it, entered within his lotus faces by way of his eight earholes. In this way Brahmā received the reformatory process of initiation by means of gāyatrī-mantra from the original guru Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and attained the status of a twice-born brāhmaṇa.
The nature of the sound of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s flute is specifically eternity, knowledge and bliss, and therefore all of the Vedas exist in their perfect form within that sound. Gāyatrī is a Vedic meter, and in brief it can be said to contain a meditation and a prayer. Among all the gāyatrīs, kāma-gāyatrī is the best because, unlike any other gāyatrī, the prayer and meditation within it are fully imbued with transcendental pleasure-pastimes.
The gāyatrī that is chanted after the eighteen-syllable gopāla-mantra is known as kāma-gāyatrī. It is as follows: klīṁ kāma-devāya vidmahe puṣpa-bāṇāya dhīmahi tan no ’naṅgaḥ pracodayāt. Within this gāyatrī, after a fully complete meditation on Śrī Gopījana-vallabha, the transcendental Cupid is invoked by a prayer to attain entrance into His pastimes. Nowhere can one find a more excellent example of rasika poetry concerning the transcendental world, through which the sādhaka can take shelter of the abode of prema. At the moment this very gāyatrī entered the ears of Brahmājī, he became qualified as a brāhmaṇa and began to sing it. It should be properly understood that whichever fortunate jīva receives this mantra factually attains spiritual rebirth. There are two types of second birth. One is automatically attained by entrance into the transcendental world. The second, which is for those conditioned by gross matter in this illusory material existence, is the acceptance of the reformatory process called second birth according to the customs pertaining to one’s lineage and personal nature. The jīva who attains second birth in the first way is in every way sublime and superexcellent in comparison to the jīva who undergoes second birth by the second process. This is because the purpose of undergoing dīkṣā, enlightenment concerning spiritual topics, is to attain spiritual birth, and the consequent attainment of the transcendental realm is the ultimate glory of the jīva. This is the ultimate benefit, which makes the life of a jīva successful.
trayyā prabuddho ’tha vidhir
atha – thereafter; trayyā – through taking shelter of gāyatrī-mantra, the essence of all the Vedas; vidhiḥ – Brahmā; prabuddhaḥ – (became) fully enlightened; vijñāta-tattva-sāgaraḥ – and an ocean of realized truths, that is to say he comprehended the svarūpa of Śrī Bhagavān; tuṣṭāva – he pleased; keśavam – Śrī Kṛṣṇa (who has beautiful hair); anena stotreṇa – by (composing) the (following) hymn.
By remembrance of that gāyatrī-mantra, which is the essence of all the Vedas, Brahmājī became fully enlightened with the ocean of realized truths, and with that essence of Vedic knowledge he offered the following hymn to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is known as Keśava.
Following the mood of verse 26, Brahmājī performed ārādhana (worship) by means of the kāma-gāyatrī kṛṣṇa-mantra for a very long time. After that long period, Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is supremely full of compassion, manifested all the truths and conclusions of the Vedas and other scriptures within the heart of Brahmājī. Then Brahmā began to offer prayers that were born from the essence of the Vedas. Whatever else has been said in this śloka is clear.
The word keśava is derived as follows: keśa means “all the parts” or the expansion of all the various energies. One who manifests these parts (aṁśas) and energies is called Keśava. Also, ka means Brahmā, and īśa means Śaṅkara, so the one who manifests both Brahmā and Śaṅkara is called Keśava. There is one more hidden meaning: keśān vayati saṁskarotīti keśavaḥ. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is called Keśava because He arranges the hair (keśa) of His dearmost gopīs.
By remembering the kāma-gāyatrī, Brahmājī achieved some degree of realization that “I am the eternal maidservant of Kṛṣṇa.” The conception of being a maidservant of Kṛṣṇa is such a deep and confidential mystery that it was not fully realized by Brahmā, but his ability to distinguish between spirit (cit) and dull matter (acit) was so developed that the ocean of truths such as kṛṣṇa-tattva, kṛṣṇa-śakti-tattva, māyā-tattva, bhakti-tattva23 and so on were fully manifest within his heart. All Vedic knowledge was thus revealed to Brahmā, and with the essence of the Vedas he offered this prayer known as Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. In this prayer all the conclusions of Vaiṣṇava philosophy are present, as if the ocean were condensed into a waterpot. For this reason, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu taught this to His own devotees, and all intelligent readers should therefore make every endeavor to recite and taste the moods of this Brahma-saṁhitā every day.
lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhīr abhipālayantam
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
aham bhajāmi – I perform bhajana; tam – of that; ādi-puruṣam govindam – primeval person, Śrī Govinda; abhipālayantam – who is tending with great care; surabhīḥ – the wish-fulfilling cows; āvrteṣu – amidst; lakṣa – hundreds of thousands; kalpa-vṛkṣa – of wish-fulfilling trees; sevyamānam – He is served; sambhrama – with special care and attention; laksmī-sahasra-śata – by hundreds of thousands of goddesses of fortune, i.e. the gopīs who are all Mahā-Lakṣmīs; sadmasu – in abodes; prakara – constructed; cintāmaṇi – from wish-fulfilling gems.
The transcendental realm is eternally adorned by millions of wish-fulfilling trees, by pavilions made of desire-fulfilling jewels and by innumerable wish-fulfilling cows. There, thousands upon thousands of Lakṣmīs, or gopīs, are rendering services to the Supreme Personality with great affection. I worship that original Supreme Personality, Śrī Govinda.
Beginning with this verse 29, Brahmājī has praised the primeval personality, Śrī Govinda, with thirty-one verses describing the glories of His name, form, qualities, pastimes, opulence, sweetness, transcendental abode and so on.
The pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa are endless, and among them His daily pastimes are also innumerable. Those pastimes are called aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā, the pastimes performed throughout the eight periods of the day and night. In these pastimes, Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s associates who have taken shelter of the transcendental mellows of parenthood, friendship and amorous love simultaneously relish the pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s infancy, childhood and adolescence respectively according to their own moods. Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s svarūpa is that of an eternal adolescent, a fresh youth, the best of dancers, dressed in the attire of a cowherd boy with a flute in His hands (nava-kiśora-naṭavara, gopa-veśa veṇukara). This is His eternal and original svarūpa, which every devotee realizes according to his own transcendental sentiment.
In śāstra we find that His worship is of two kinds. One type is svārasikī and the other mantramayī-upāsanā, and they are understood as follows. The pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa in various places in Goloka Vṛndāvana are of many types; therefore, the worship that is performed through the limbs of bhakti, such as remembering, hearing and chanting about those pastimes, is called svārasikī-upāsanā. The term mantramayī-upāsanā applies to the forms of hearing, contemplation and formal worship with auspicious articles, in which a mantra is employed in order to apply the consciousness to one particular pastime that occurs in one particular location in Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s place of pastimes. In this method of worship, there is meditation upon only one of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in one place, and therefore it has been called mantramayī-upāsanā.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa has unlimited pastimes, such as the pastimes of Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa and other expansions in the realm of transcendental opulence; the pastimes of the puruṣa-avatāra Kāraṇodakaśāyī Mahā-Viṣṇu; the pastimes of the occasional incarnations such as Matsya and Kūrma; the pastimes of the presiding deities of the material modes such as Brahmā and Śiva; the pastimes of the empowered incarnations such as Pṛthu and Vyāsa; the pastimes of Paramātmā, who is endowed with attributes (saviśeṣa); and the pastimes of the formless undifferentiated Brahman, which is devoid of specific attributes.24 First of all, Brahmājī has praised the supermost of all pastimes of the unlimitedly sportive Bhagavān, namely Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in Gokula Vṛndāvana. This is the object of his soul’s deepest yearning.
The place of pastimes that are the object of mantramayī- upāsanā, which are situated in one particular place, as well as the settings of innumerable pastimes (such as the rāsa-līlā) that occur in many different locations and are the object of svārasikī-upāsanā, are both present in Goloka. Nevertheless, in this first verse beginning cintāmaṇi-prakara-sadmasu, Brahmājī prays by describing the superior meditation on svārasikī-līlās that occur in the central, most prominent seat of pastimes (yoga-pīṭha).
What kinds of pastimes occur there? Surabhīr abhipālayantam: Śrī Kṛṣṇa takes the cows from the village to the forest to graze on very green, soft grass. He makes them drink and take bath in lakes such as Pāvana-sarovara, and then again He brings them back to the cowsheds. In this way He protects and nourishes them with much affection. Sometimes, in a solitary place, He also engages in exceptionally confidential pastimes. What are those astonishing, secret activities? Lakṣmī-sahasra-śata: I render service to the primeval personality who, in a pavilion made of desire-fulfilling gems which is completely hidden among countless surrounding desire-trees, is intimately served with elation by unlimited numbers of beautiful vraja-gopīs. The word lakṣmī should be understood to mean charming cowherd girls.
Here the word cintāmaṇi indicates transcendental, desire-fulfilling jewels. Just as the illusory potency has created the mundane world from the five inert gross elements, similarly the spiritual potency has produced the spiritual world from a transcendental substance, namely cintāmaṇi. Furthermore, the cintāmaṇi jewels used as the materials in the construction of Bhagavān’s chambers in Goloka are infinitely more rare and resourceful than ordinary touchstone. Whenever one milks the ordinary wish-fulfilling cows of the heavenly planets (kāma-dhenus), they give ordinary milk.
However, an ocean of milk, which is actually a transcendental current of prema, is constantly cascading from the udders of the wish-fulfilling cows of Goloka to allay the hunger and thirst of the
jīvas engaged in pure bhakti. In this verse the words lakṣa-lakṣa and sahasra-śata indicate an infinite or uncountable number. The word sambhrama, meaning “with veneration,” is used to indicate “saturated with unconditional love.” One should understand the word lakṣmī to refer to the beautiful cowherd maidens. The words ādi-puruṣa indicate that Śrī Govindadeva is the origin of all existence, though He Himself, being eternal, has no origin.
Śrī Brahmā has glorified Śrī Kṛṣṇa with this śloka beginning with the words cintāmaṇi-prakara-sadmasu. In this verse he has expressed profound moods of immense longing. Regarding the most effective sādhana for a sādhaka-bhakta, there are two methods, each appropriate to the sādhaka in different stages. One is mantramayī-upāsanā, which entails contemplating one specific pastime situated in one place. The other is the method of svārasikī, which entails contemplation on all the pastimes collectively. In this prayer, Brahmājī has first of all described the subject of the superior meditation, svārasikī-līlā.
Brahmājī has also offered similar prayers in the Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad (1.37):
govindāya namo namaḥ
O Bhagavān, You are the foundation of that realized knowledge, by whose power all things are illuminated. You are the original reservoir of all pleasure, and You attract all and bestow joy upon all. O Gopīnātha! O Govinda! I offer my praṇāma unto You again and again.
O Prabhu, Your two eyes expand like the petals of a lotus flower, and a garland of forest flowers hangs down gracefully from Your neck. O Govinda, the creation of the universe has sprung up from the lotus of Your navel, and You maintain the life-breath of all the gopīs. May You accept my obeisances unto You.
govindāya namo namaḥ
Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad (1.39)
O Bhagavān, Your head is decorated with a crown bedecked with peacock feathers. You delight the hearts of all, and there is no anxiety at all within You. You are the embodiment of immeasurable knowledge. You are the king of swans, who always plays upon the lake of the gopīs’ hearts. Therefore, O Govinda, may You kindly accept my praṇāma at Your lotus feet.
Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad (1.41)
O Śrī Kṛṣṇa, You frolic eternally in the forest of Vṛndāvana, and at every moment You attract the devotees by playing sweetly upon Your flute. You are the guardian of the Vedas, Mother Earth and the cows. Your splendid presence in the form of a cowherd boy, protecting the land, cowherd boys, gopīs and cows is eternal. You give life to all the gopas and gopīs by vanquishing wicked demons such as Kāliya, Agha and Baka.
O Yamunā-taṭa-vihārī! You engage in delightful revelry on the banks of the River Yamunā! Your dangling earrings swing to and fro. O Govinda! May You kindly accept my humble obeisances.
In this way Brahmājī has offered prayers while immersed in the waves of a variety of wonderful bhāvas.
When the lotus-eyed Śrī Kṛṣṇa, surrounded by all His friends, leaves the cowherd village and enters the forest to tend the cows, He increases the bliss of the residents of Vraja, especially the vraja-gopīs, and steals their hearts, minds and life-breath. The unprecedented aura of His cowherd-boy attire and His attractive, dark, fresh raincloud complexion seems to expand in all directions. As a blue sapphire fills its surroundings with its brilliant luster, similarly Śyāmasundara’s radiant hue makes the entire forest of Vṛndāvana azure.
In the arbors of Vṛndāvana forest, the trees, which are covered with flowering vines, observe a grand festival to welcome Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Immediately upon His return to the forest, the friendly creatures and birds become submerged in the highest bliss of prema. On the pretext of dripping streams of honey, all the trees weep tears of joy. They experience bhāvas such as horripilation by sprouting new thorns.
Brahmājī saw such love-laden trees of Vṛndāvana as desire-trees (kalpa-vṛkṣa); therefore, to indicate that thousands upon thousands of such desire-trees adorn the transcendental forest of Vṛndāvana, he has said, kalpa-vṛkṣa-lakṣāvṛteṣu. Countless bowers of desire-trees stand as the concentrated embodiments of eternal, conscious and euphoric rasa, fulfilling all the desires of those who take shelter of them. Their different colors are astonishing, and their various shapes cause one to be struck with wonder. They produce exquisite fruits, flowers and tender buds (mañjarīs) that perfume the forest with amazing fragrances. For the sake of facilitating Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s loving affairs, the bowers of Vṛndāvana’s desire-trees are manifest in many varieties. Some are the highest transformation of the essence of nectar; some appear to be artistically fashioned from transcendental butter; and some hold intoxicating condensed nectar in their branches. There are also some that have a brilliant white appearance – one type resembles crystal, while others are like camphor.
Another idea is conveyed by the words kalpa-vṛkṣa-lakṣāvṛteṣu: the trees, which are covered with flowering vines, are animate and possessed of ecstatic emotions. Śrīla Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī has also stated: “he mādhavī-madhurāṅga-taruṇa-tamāla – O young tamāla tree, in the empire of the Vṛndāvana forest, Rājya-lakṣmī, the empress in the form of the flowering mādhavī vine, has enveloped you from head to toe, and thus she is enhancing the exceptionally enchanting beauty of your trunk, branches, twigs and other features. All directions of Śrī Vṛndāvana are fully permeated by your fragrance, and all the burning distress of the people of this world is relieved by the cooling shade of Your fame.”
The trees of Vṛndāvana are studded with horripilation in the form of newly-sprouted shoots, due to their intense transcendental affection (anurāga) for Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. On the pretext of dropping honey, they rain down streams of tears. When the gentle breezes blow, the trees strike comical poses by moving their leaves, and they begin to perform a transcendental dance in the bliss of prema. When the trees appear to bring forth a profusion of blossoming flowers, they are actually bursting out laughing. The desire-trees also perfectly sing the praises of Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava through the chirping of the birds residing in their branches. By bending down due to the burden of so many fruits, they offer praṇāma to the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. May the bowers of Śrī Vṛndāvana confer the supreme transcendental bliss upon us all.
Thus all the trees and creepers of Vṛndāvana are desire-trees and desire-creepers. They cannot be compared with ordinary desire-trees and vines that fulfill the worldly desires of mortal beings in the spheres of religiosity, economic development and sense gratification. By taking shelter of these transcendental desire-trees and desire-creepers, all material ambitions and desires are dispelled from the heart, which becomes completely filled with the mood of divine service to Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava. These trees and creepers bestow prema for the Divine Couple upon those who are under Their shelter, thus allowing such surrendered souls to become supremely fortunate.
In this regard Śrīla Prabodhānanda Sarasvatīpāda has commented:
yā rādhāyā vara-tanu-natety ukti-mātreṇa nṛtyed
gāyety uktyā madhukara rutair vijña-gānaṁ tanoti
krandety uktyā visṛjati madhutphullitā syād dhaseti
proktā śliṣya-drumam iti girā sasvaje dhṛṣṭa-gucchā
Śrī Vṛndāvana-mahimāmṛta (5.37)
When Śrī Rādhā says to those creepers of Vraja, “O beautiful-limbed ones, you should dance,” they begin to dance by moving their leaves. When She says, “Now sing,” they begin to sing by means of the humming of bumblebees. When She says, “Now weep,” they at once shower streams of honey, and when She says, “Now smile,” they immediately burst into bloom. On hearing Śrī Rādhā say, “Embrace this tree,” they become utterly overjoyed, and wind around the tree.
Sometimes Vṛṣabhānu-nandinī Śrī Rādhā conceals Herself in a kuñja (bower) during a game of hide-and-seek. Śyāmasundara then tries to find Her by taking help from the creepers, who enable Him to discover Her by hinting at Her whereabouts through the trembling of their newly sprouted foliage. In this way, wherever the confidential pastimes of Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava take place in the kuñjas and hidden bowers, all the residents of Vraja are forever immersed in the waves of the topmost bliss of prema. I render service to the primeval personality, Śrī Govinda, who resides eternally in that supreme abode of Vṛndāvana.
veṇuṁ kvaṇantam aravinda-dalāyatākṣaṁ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
aham bhajāmi – I perform bhajana; tam – to that; ādi-puruṣam govindam – the primeval person, Śrī Govinda; kvaṇantam – who is vibrating; veṇum – His flute; akṣam – whose blooming eyes; āyata – are extended; aravinda-dala – like the petals of a lotus; avataṁsam – who has a crest; barha – of peacock feathers; sundara-aṅgam – whose beautiful body; asita-ambu – has the hue of black clouds, i.e. thunderclouds; viśeṣa-śobham – and whose unique loveliness; kamanīya – enchants the hearts; koṭi – of millions; kandarpa – of Cupids.
I worship the primeval personality, Śrī Govinda, who is absorbed in playing upon His flute, whose long eyes expand and bloom like lotus flowers, whose headdress is adorned with peacock feathers, and whose unique bodily complexion, which resembles the luster of a dark blue raincloud, bewilders the minds of millions of Cupids.
Later in this devotional scripture there are descriptions such as: “kathā gānaṁ nāṭyaṁ gamanam api – in that abode even natural speech is melodious song, coming and going is a dance, and the flute is the intimate female companion.” In accordance with these descriptions, the previous verse has also described the abode of desire-fulfilling gems as the extraordinary setting of the svārasikī-līlā in Goloka. Now these two verses (30–31) beginning with the words veṇuṁ kvaṇantam describe the second place of pastimes, wherein the mantra-upāsanāmayī-līlā, the subject of this detailed meditation, takes place. The mantra-upāsanāmayī-līlā is situated in one place, without the singing, dancing and so on included in svārasikī-līlā. I worship Śrī Govindadeva, the primeval personality, who is absorbed in playing a sweet, stirring melody on His flute, who glances softly with His two elongated eyes, which resemble the expanded, soft petals of a lotus flower, who wears a crown of peacock feathers upon His head, whose bodily complexion is like a fresh raincloud, and whose radiant limbs reproach the beauty of millions of Kandarpas (Cupids).
In this verse, the incomparable beauty of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the transcendental lover of Vṛndāvana, is being described. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the supreme conscious entity, whose body has a fully spiritual svarūpa. In describing Kṛṣṇa’s svarūpa, one may compare it with charming aspects of the mundane world, but this simply indicates the general direction of the factual substance, in accordance with the logic known as śākhā-candra-nyāya, “pointing to the moon through the branches of a tree.” Kṛṣṇa is absorbed in playing upon His flute, which steals the consciousness of all living entities when they come in contact with its delightful melody.
Just as the quality of softness is present in the petals of a lotus flower, similarly His transcendental glance, which removes pain from the hearts of all, is full of tenderness and compassion. The sympathetic glances from His lotus eyes expand the unlimited beauty of His moonlike face. The elegance of Kṛṣṇa’s headdress, decorated with peacock feathers, enhances His sublime transcendental countenance. Just as a dark blue raincloud is a soothing sight for the eyes, similarly Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental bluish complexion is a joy to behold. Moreover, if one could multiply a millionfold the attractive qualities present in Cupid, the resultant creation would still become madly infatuated upon seeing Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s enchanting svarūpa.