Krsna Meets the Gopis

by Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

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[From Chapter 6 of "The Origin of Ratha-yatra" available in .pdf format here.]

That Time Has Passed

As Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu dances at the Ratha-yatra Festival, He remembers a poem from a mundane Sanskrit literature called Sahitya-darpana. He raises His arms and recites that poem in a loud voice:
yah kaumara-harah sa eva hi varas ta eva caitra-ksapas
te conmilita-malati-surabhayah praudhah kadambanilah
sa caivasmi tathapi tatra surata-vyapara-lila-vidhau
reva-rodhasi vetasi-taru-tale cetah samutkanthate

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.121)

["That very personality who stole away my heart during my youth is now again my master. These are the same moonlit nights of the month of Caitra. The same fragrance of malati flowers is there, and the same sweet breezes are blowing from the kadamba forest. In our intimate relationship, I am also the same lover, yet still my mind is not happy here. I am eager to go back to that place on the bank of the Reva under the Vetasi tree. That is my desire."]

Mahaprabhu sings, "In our teenage years, when we were twelve or fourteen, we used to meet on the bank of the Reva river, where there were so many fragrant kadamba trees and vetasi canes." Cane cannot be uprooted, even if there is a strong wind. It will bend according to the direction in which the wind blows, and even a flood cannot uproot it. It will simply bend this way and that. Devotees should be like this vetasi cane in their practice of bhakti.

Mahaprabhu continues, "Although there are thorns in the groves of vetasi cane, we never cared for them when we were meeting. We never cared about any problems. We engaged in very sweet talks on the river bank, opening our hearts to one another in love and affection, and there was no one to create any walls or problems. But some time has passed, and now we are married. You are my husband and I am your wife, but I am not happy. I was happy then, but I am not happy now. We are meeting here, and there is no obstruction. We can live in our home together without any shame, because we have permission. We can meet now, because we have a ‘passport’ to meet. No one will criticize us now, but we don’t have the love and affection that we had at our first meeting. How glorious, how beautiful, how sweet and pleasing was that love! I want you to come to those very groves on the banks of the Reva river, and I want our love and affection to be renewed. I want it to be t he same as it was before."

Mahaprabhu remembers this scene, and He is dancing and weeping, and reciting this verse at the same time: "yah kaumaraharah – He who stole our youth and teenage years, and played with us, has now become our husband. Our kaumara age has been stolen away by marriage."

A girlfriend and boyfriend meet together without being married. They meet very secretly here and there, and enjoy themselves. Then, if after some time they get married, there is no longer any restriction at all, and they can meet freely. Mahaprabhu’s mood is like this, though not exactly the same. In other words, in the mood of the gopis, and especially in Radharani’s mood, He is actually saying, "All Your relatives are here at Kuruksetra. I cannot meet You in the forest, where we used to meet. There were many good kadamba trees with beautiful flowers, all with an abundance of fragrance. There was no one there to disturb us. There were only the two of us sitting on the bank of the river, talking throughout the day without ever stopping. We talked continually while we were meeting each other and pleasing each other. I remember this. I do not want a royal palace or vast wealth. I want to be in that place where we used to meet together and sit and talk."

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Pastimes at Radha-kunda

Giving this example, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is thinking, "We were meeting there in Vrndavana, at Radha-kunda, in Nandagaon, Sanketa, Tera-kadamba, Kadamba-kyari, and elsewhere." The air was so fragrant in the beautiful groves of kadamba, and Radha and Krsna used to meet each other and perform so many pleasant pastimes there. Sometimes They played on swings and sometimes They gambled. When Srimati Radhika used to defeat Krsna, everyone on the gopis’ side clapped, and Krsna became very happy even though He was defeated. Sometimes the gopis stole Krsna’s flute, and He would look for it here and there. He would say, "Oh, I will die if you keep My flute. Why are you keeping it? I will have to search everywhere to see where you have kept it."

The gopis remember these pastimes and they tell Krsna at Kuruksetra, "If You come to Vrndavana, we will meet freely there once again. We cannot meet You here, because there are thousands and thousands of horses, elephants, and soldiers. Grandfather Bhisma, Dronacarya, and many kings are here; Vasudeva and Devaki are here; and especially, all Your queens are here."

Krsna asks the gopis, "What shall I do?" They reply, "We want You to come with us to Vrndavana. We are feeling some happiness in our meeting here, but not full happiness. We cannot talk with You here in front of the others, and there is so much opulence here. We remember Vrndavana, when we were kisora and kisori. You were kisora at that time, entering Your teenage years, and You were more beautiful than in Your childhood. There was no restriction at all at that time. We met freely in the shade of the kadamba trees, where the fragrance of the beli, cameli, and juhi flowers mixed together. We talked with each other happily, and there was no need of a mediator."

This is the hidden meaning of the poem of the mundane poet, which Sri Rupa Gosvami transformed into his own poem. Rupa Gosvami heard this sloka from Mahaprabhu, and he at once wrote another sloka that explained it: "I am that same Radha, and You are that same Krsna. We used to be lover and beloved. There was no mediator then, and we met freely. So many cuckoos were singing, and peacocks were dancing there. Now we are meeting here, but there is not as much pleasure as when we met freely in Vrndavana. We want You to come with us to Vrndavana, to play with all the gopas and gopis. You should make Your friends happy, and we will also become happy by dancing and singing with You there – freely."

Radhika is like that lover and Krsna is like Her beloved. They were meeting in Vrndavana outside of marriage – dancing in rasalila, and meeting each other and pleasing each other. Sometimes Krsna massaged Radhika’s feet and sometimes He applied red lac to Her feet. Sometimes Radhika placed Her foot on Krsna’s head, and Her footprint became like a stamp on it because the red lac was fresh and moist. That stamp stated: "Now You are Mine."

Now Krsna becomes ready. A chariot is there, and that chariot is the gopis’ hearts. They have made their hearts like a chariot, and now they tell Krsna to sit there. They say, "You should sit on this chariot of our hearts and come to Vrndavana. We will never give You up. You will always remain there." All the gopis become very happy as they take Krsna to Vrndavana on the chariots of their hearts, and Caitanya Mahaprabhu is bringing this same mood to Puri.

To Bring Krsna to His Chariot

During the Ratha-yatra Festival, bringing Krsna (in the form of Jagannatha) to His chariot is a very difficult and dangerous task. Many strong, tall, and beautiful dayitas wrap their chaddars around themselves as wrestlers would, and then, imitating the mood of the gopis, they tie Jagannatha-deva with ropes. They "abuse" Him in so many ways, addressing Him, "Sala, Sala!" Sala means "brother-in-law," but in India the word is also used to abuse others. The dayitas are telling Krsna, "We don’t know where You took birth, or who Your mother and father are. Perhaps You are fatherless and motherless." This is like an abuse. It is not certain who Krsna’s father is – Vasudeva or Nanda Maharaja. Neither is it certain who is actually His mother; in fact, no one is actually His mother. The gopis hurl so much abuse at Krsna as they pull Him on the chariot of their hearts, and during the festival attended by Mahaprabhu, Jagannatha-d eva is pulled by hundreds and hundreds of big wrestlers who jostle Him back and forth to make Him move forward. He is well decorated with jewels and many garlands, and He wears very large peacock feathers on His head.

Then, there is a very big problem when Jagannatha-deva approaches His chariot to get up on it. Sometimes He slips from above. Sometimes He does not reach His throne on the chariot, even after two, three, four, or five hours, and sometimes even for the whole day. There are always many parties continually performing kirtana and chanting, "Jaya Jagannatha! Jaya Jagannatha! Jaya Jagannatha, Subhadra, and Baladeva!", "Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare," and "sei ta parana-natha painu."

In this way there were many kirtanas, and millions of people were pulling the chariots.

sei ta parana-natha painu
yaha lagi’ madana-dahane jhuri’ genu’

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.113)

["Now I have gained the Lord of My life, in whose absence I was being burned by Cupid and was withering away."]

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu becomes completely immersed in this mood, and Jagannatha is totally absorbed in Mahaprabhu’s dancing and singing. His chariot makes the sound, "hada hada, hada hada."
gaura yadi pache cale, syama haya sthire
gaura age cale, syama cale dhire-dhire

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.118)

["When Caitanya Mahaprabhu was dramatically enacting the song, He would sometimes fall behind in the procession. At such times, Lord Jagannatha would come to a standstill. When Caitanya Mahaprabhu went forward again, Lord Jagannatha’s car would slowly start again."]

These are very pleasing pastimes. Who made it so? Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself. The Ratha-yatra Festival was not like this at first. Before Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s time, there was only one ratha. It carried Jagannatha, Subhadra, and Baladeva and was pulled by their servants and elephants, but there was no kirtana and no special moods. Mahaprabhu introduced these moods by His dancing and singing when He joined along with His associates such as Vakresvara Pandita and others in His kirtana party. Hundreds of thousands of devotees also began to join from Bengal, Orissa, and other places, and all in all there were not less than four million devotees.

Sometimes Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to test Jagannatha. [See Endnote 1] He thought, "Will Krsna go forward or not, if I do not come?" He therefore went behind Jagannatha’s chariot, and then the chariot stopped. Thousands of elephants pulled, and millions of people were chanting, "Jaya Jagannatha-deva! Jaya Jagannatha-deva!" but Jagannatha became "deaf" at that time, and did not hear them. Instead, He stood in one place for hours and hours, until Mahaprabhu came forward and began to sing. Then Mahaprabhu said, "Everyone else can stop trying. I will do it alone." He put His head against the chariot and pushed it, and it began moving in a good way. The chariot stopped when Mahaprabhu was behind it, and moved when He proceeded in front, dancing and singing. In this way Jagannatha watched the dancing and singing of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and it took two or three days to reach the Gundica Mandira.

Mahaprabhu sang:

sei ta parana-natha painu
yaha lagi’ madana-dahane jhuri’ genu’
We should feel some separation for Krsna. We begin by feeling separation from gurudeva and devotees, and gradually develop that feeling for Radha and Krsna. This is our objective, and it has been explained very beautifully and sweetly in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta.

The gopis are weeping and half-dead when they first reach Krsna. Then, when they meet Him, their whole mood pours from their hearts and they begin to weep even more bitterly. In their entire lives, they have never wept as they do on this day. They have become almost senseless and are about to die, but now they finally have the chance to come and meet Krsna.

gopyas ca krsnam upalabhya cirad abhistam
yat-preksane drsisu paksma-krtam sapanti
drgbhir hrdikrtam alam parirabhya sarvas
tad-bhavam apur api nitya-yujam durapam

Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.82.39)

["Sukadeva Gosvami said: 'While the young gopis used to gaze at their beloved Krsna, they condemned the creator of their eyelids (which would momentarily block their vision of Him). Now, seeing Krsna again after such a long separation, by their eyes they took Him into their hearts, and there they embraced Him to their full satisfaction. In this way they became totally absorbed in ecstatic meditation on Him, although those who constantly practice mystic yoga find it difficult to achieve such absorption.'"]

Now, when Krsna sees the gopis, He also begins to weep more loudly than before.

Sri Vyasadeva and Sri Sukadeva Gosvami explain the way in which they meet. A person becomes like this if he dies and then by good fortune is restored back to life. The gopis are all as if dead, but they come to life again when they see Krsna. Here Sukadeva Gosvami says: "krsnam upalabhya cirad abhistam – they are meeting Krsna after a long time." Through their eyes they take Him into their hearts, and there they embrace Him very tightly. It is there that they become as one, and this is especially true for Srimati Radhika.

Laksmi, who resides on Narayana’s chest as a curl of goldenwhite hair, always remembers Krsna in her heart, and the rsis and munis who have purified their hearts do so as well. Still, Krsna’s lotus feet never actually manifest in their hearts. They try and try, but no such event ever occurs. On the other hand, these gopis, who are weeping and feeling profound separation, take Krsna into their hearts and embrace Him there.

They cannot speak. They want to speak, but they cannot; so Krsna Himself says, "O gopis, My friends! You are the life of My life. I know that you were feeling terrible separation, thinking that I was very cruel-hearted. You gave up everything for Me – your husbands, homes, wealth, reputation, and everything else. You even gave up your Vedic religious principles of chastity for My sake, but I left you. Please forgive Me for this. You must be thinking that I am a very ungrateful creature, but I am not ungrateful to you. I always remember you."

After some time, when their weeping subsides, Krsna tells them:

aham hi sarva-bhutanam
adir anto ’ntaram bahih
bhautikanam yatha kham var
bhur vayur jyotir anganah

Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.82.45)

["Dear ladies, I am the beginning and end of all created beings. I exist both within them and outside them, just as the elements ether, water, earth, air, and fire are the beginning and end of all material objects."]

"My dear gopis, I want to tell you a secret. Have you heard that I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead? Really I am. You should know that I am Visnu. I am everywhere, in everyone’s heart, and I am even in the hearts of animals, grass, and particles of water and air. I am in your hearts as well. I am everywhere, and therefore you are never separate from Me.

"An earthen vessel cannot be separated from the earth from which it is made. You are My parts, so you are like My body. You are made of Me, and I am everywhere. I am inside and outside, and up and down. I am in you, so why do you feel separated? You should go into trance. Meditate on Me, and then you will realize that I am everywhere. You should think that your body, your mind – your everything – is made of My love and affection. Think about Me and remember Me, and do not be upset. I am always with you."

When the gopis hear this, their feelings of separation increase more and more, and their mood changes to one of anger. They tell Krsna, not by words, but by mood, "O big cheater, You are black inside and outside. You always want to cheat us. We know that You are not Bhagavan; You are not the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We know You from the beginning. We know that You came from Mother Yasoda’s womb. You were always weeping for her milk, and always wandering here and there, telling lies. You put earth in Your mouth, and then You told Your mother, ‘I have not eaten earth!’ You were always stealing butter and milk in the houses of the elderly gopis and telling them, ‘I have never stolen anything.’ Bhagavan cannot be like this. Bhagavan cannot steal the garments of young girls and make them naked. Can He do that? Why would He do that? The Supreme Personality of Godhead would do that?

"We know that You are very passionate. You used to call us by the melody of Your flute: ‘Radha! Radha! Lalita! Visakha!’ You called all the gopis by playing ‘klim’ on Your flute, and then we came and danced with You. Why would the Supreme Personality of Godhead come and dance with us? We also know that You kept Your sweet vamsi and Your head at Radhika’s lotus feet, and You begged for Her forgiveness. Would the Supreme Personality of Godhead behave like this? Never. You are cheating. We know that You are not Bhagavan."

ahus ca te nalina-nabha-padaravindam
yogesvarair hrdi vicintyam agadha-bodhaih
geham jusam api manasy udiyat sada nah

Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.82.48)

["The gopis spoke thus: 'Dear Lord, whose navel is just like a lotus flower, Your lotus feet are the only shelter for those who have fallen into the deep well of material existence. Your feet are worshiped and meditated upon by great mystic yogis and highly learned philosophers. We wish that these lotus feet may also be awakened within our hearts, although we are only ordinary persons engaged in household affairs.'"]

The gopis speak the words of this sloka externally, but their real mood is hidden. Internally they are saying, "You Yourself are drowning in the well of separation from our love and affection. We know this, and only we can save You. You cannot save us. We are powerful, and we can give You life by our love and affection. When You tell us, ‘You should meditate,’ it is like a joke; this is a laughing matter for us. You tell us, ‘You should meditate on Me’ but don’t You remember that we were playing with You from the beginning of our lives? Brahma, Sankara, Sukadeva Gosvami, and others can meditate on Your lotus feet – and nothing but Your lotus feet – in their hearts, but it may be that these feet will still not come into their hearts. On the other hand, we have kept those same feet directly on our breasts. Why? To please You and to give You satisfaction, because You become happy when we keep Your feet there.

"Brahma was born from the lotus-navel of Padmanabha Visnu, so he is like that lotus flower. His intelligence is quite dull, because he has come from the stem of an inert lotus. How can demigods like Brahma know anything? They can pray to You and believe that You are the Supreme Lord. They can believe that You can create this entire universe in a second and then destroy it. They can glorify You like this, but we have known You from the beginning of Your birth, and we know You at this very moment. These demigods and yogis may pray to You for salvation, or they can pray to You that Your lotus feet may appear in their hearts. They should do so, because they are as foolish as anything.

"We are not like them, for we are very clever and intelligent. We know who You really are: You are only a black cheater. You can cheat anyone, and You can even easily take our hearts. Brahma says – and others say so, too – that if anyone in this world is drowning in the well of birth and death, and suffering greatly from old age and all kinds of troubles and problems, he can chant Your name and escape from that well. But we are not in any well like that.

"We are not like Brahma, that we will meditate on You. We are hankering for Your satisfaction, not for our own. We know that You will die without us, and that is why we have mercifully come to You. Don’t think that we have come to enjoy our own happiness; we want You to be happy. We have come here because we want You to remain alive. We are not weeping for ourselves. We are weeping for You, because You are helpless. No one can satisfy You except us, and especially our sakhi Radhika. She is Your life and soul.

"If You want to be happy forever, then please come onto the chariot of our hearts. We will take You where our minds and hearts reside, and we will satisfy You there – not here. We don’t want to meet You here, because we cannot satisfy You here. Here You have thousands of wives, so many children, so many generals, a great army, and so many friends, rsis, and maharsis. But we remember Vrndavana."

The Gopis Remember Vrndavana

Krsna tells the gopis, "You should remember Me and see Me in trance. I am always there with you. I cannot give you up." Now He personally tells them what He explained in Bhagavad-gita, what He had requested Uddhava to tell them, and what He had asked Baladeva Prabhu to tell them: "You should always remember Me as Paramatma, as the yogis do."

Somewhat angry, the gopis continue their reply with this sloka: anyera hrdaya mana, mora mana vrndavana,

‘mane’ ‘vane’ eka kari’ jani
tahan tomara pada-dvaya, karaha yadi udaya,
tabe tomara purna krpa mani

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.137)

["Speaking in the mood of Srimati Radharani, Caitanya Mahaprabhu said: 'For most people, the mind and heart are one, but I consider My mind and Vrndavana to be one, because My mind is never separated from Vrndavana. My mind is already Vrndavana, and since You like Vrndavana, will You please place Your lotus feet there? I would deem that Your full mercy.'"]

Mahaprabhu is remembering Kuruksetra and thinking, "I am Radhika, and all my friends, the gopis, are in Kuruksetra with Nanda Baba and Yasoda." From there, the gopis carry Krsna on their mano-ratha, the chariot of their hearts. They always carry Him in that way.

In Radhika’s mood, Mahaprabhu tells Jagannatha-deva, "Our hearts and minds are the same, and especially, our hearts are Vrndavana. Others’ hearts are not." We try to make our hearts and minds one, and we try to make them both like Vrndavana. We want to be in Vrndavana, but our hearts are not there because our minds and hearts are made of material things. The gopis are quite different, and they tell Krsna, "Our hearts are Vrndavana. You have said, ‘You should remember Me in trance,’ but we are not yogis. We are ordinary people, and we were with You from the beginning of our lives; from birth."

Yogis can meditate in trance, and sometimes they can see the lotus feet of Paramatma, but not of Krsna. Paramatma is not amsi, the origin. The origin of Paramatma is Garbhodakasayi Visnu, and His origin is Karanodakasayi Visnu. His origin is Maha- Sankarsana, His origin is Mula-Sankarsana, His origin is Baladeva Prabhu, and His origin is Krsna.

The gopis continue, "We always kept Your feet on our breasts and upon our laps. We played with those feet. And what to speak of Your feet – You used to massage our feet with Your hands. We played with You as friends from the beginning, from our childhood. You could not be separated from us at that time. You were always with us, playing here and there in the groves of Govardhana, and we used to dance with You at Vamsivata. We are not like yogis. In their trance, they may think, ‘I pray that the lotus feet of Paramatma should appear in my heart,’ but those feet never come; they may come, but very seldom; very rarely. As far as we are concerned, we want to forget You – to forget You. The root of all our problems is remembering You and Your pastimes – especially remembering You – so we want to forget You. If You can forget us, why can we not forget You? But this is the problem: we cannot forget You. We want to give You up, but we cannot. W e can give You up in the sense that You can leave Vrndavana, as You have done – no harm. But we cannot give up remembering Your pastimes."

Previously, when Krsna resided in Vrndavana, the gopis used to say, "Don’t have any relation with that black person, that cheater. Stay far away from Him and don’t utter His name. He is the biggest cheater. If anyone remembers Him, or hears His pastimes, or chants His name, that person will become bewildered, like a mad person. If you want to live with your husbands, sisters, brothers, fathers, and other family members, and if you want to remain very happy with them, then don’t remember this boy, or have any relationship with Him. We have seen that those who remember Him become like birds. Birds have no homes to live in, and no fields where they can grow flowers or wheat or anything else. They have nothing. Similarly, if anyone hears, chants, and remembers Krsna’s glories, they become like street beggars."

Now, at Kuruksetra, they tell Krsna, "We can give You up, as You have given us up. In other words, You are living in a place very distant from us, and we can also live far away from You. But we cannot give up remembering You. You instruct us to remember You, but we wonder why You are giving us such instructions. We have always remembered You since our childhood, and yet You say, ‘You should remember Me.’ We want to forget You forever, and not remember anything about You. We laugh at Your words. You are telling very learned Ph.D. scholars, ‘Oh, you should go to primary school and learn A-B-C-D.’"

The gopis begin to weep loudly, and at that time Krsna tells them:

mayi bhaktir hi bhutanam
amrtatvaya kalpate
distya yad asin mat-sneho
bhavatinam mad-apanah

Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.82.44)

["Devotional service that the living beings render to Me revives their eternal life. O My dear damsels of Vraja, your affection for Me is your good fortune, for it is the only means by which you have obtained My favor."]

Krsna is "Tricky"

As you know, only Vedic Hindus can enter Lord Jagannatha’s temple in Puri; no Western or Eastern devotees are allowed in. The temple administrators are very strict. Those who are not actually Hindu by birth cannot enter, even if they were born in India. Indira Gandhi, the former Prime Minister of India, was born of a brahmana family, but she left her brahminical religion and married a Muslim. She was a powerful and wealthy person, but still the pandas of Puri never allowed her or her son Rajiv Gandhi to enter the temple. They told them, "You can come to Puri, but you cannot enter the temple." There are so many police guards everywhere, at all the four doors of the temple. Not even a bird from a Western or Eastern country can enter; even Western air cannot get in there.

The guards once checked me at the gate. They said, "Your eyes are not like the Hindus’ eyes, and you have a rather fair complexion." I am not really so fair, but still they checked me. My panda was there and he told them, "O bogus people, he is my client." And he took me inside.

The guards are very strict, but Krsna is very funny and "tricky." They may make these rules, but Krsna does not. Krsna – that is, Jagannatha, Baladeva, Subhadra, and Sudarsana cakra – come out on the road, and they do not move quickly at all. They are not in a hurry. Sometimes they stand at the same place for a day, two days, or even three days, abundantly giving Their darsana to all. Jagannatha comes with Subhadra and Baladeva, by a "trick," as Patita-pavana, the deliverer of the most fallen. He is Patita-pavana and He belongs to everyone. He does not make any distinction between an Indian devotee, a brahmana, a ksatriya, or a Western devotee, and that is why He plays a trick. He thinks, "I will remain in the temple for the entire year, but for these nine or ten days I will be Patita-pavana. I will go on the street, and then everyone can receive My darsana and be liberated."

Krsna is very merciful, and His devotees are more merciful still. You could not have called parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja to preach in the West, and you have not called me. Our guru-varga (disciplic succession) has sent me, and Srila Swami Maharaja came because his gurudeva mercifully ordered him to preach throughout Western countries. Srila Swami Maharaja also came through his own compassion and mercy. He came on a ship belonging to Scindia Navigation, and, in his human-like pastimes, he almost died of a heart attack on the way. He thought, "Will I die? What will happen?" But Krsna’s mercy was with him. Krsna wanted him to come, so he came; and he preached with immediate effect.

Krsna also played a trick with Arjuna during the Mahabharata battle. He told him:

sarva-dharman parityajya
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah

Bhagavad-gita (18.66)

["Abandon all varieties of material religion and just surrender to Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear."]

This is the best instruction to Arjuna in Bhagavad-gita, but Mahaprabhu still rejected it. When He met Ramananda Raya at Godavari, He told him, "These are external things. Say something more." Why did He reject this statement? Arjuna felt great pain when Krsna gave him this instruction. He thought, "How ‘funny’ Krsna is. He is telling me to be saranagata, surrendered. But He has been my bosom friend for so many years. He has even slept with me on the same bed."

Sometimes Arjuna used to place his feet on Krsna’s chest when they both lay down together, and Rukmini and Satyabhama fanned them with camaras. At the same time, Krsna’s feet lay upon Arjuna’s chest, and Draupadi and Subhadra fanned at the other end of the bed. Krsna was very happy to lie on the same bed as Arjuna, and also to take prasada remnants with him.

Arjuna therefore thought, "Friends are far superior to saranagatas, and yet He is telling me to surrender. Haven’t I surrendered? Why is this tricky person telling me this?" Arjuna was not satisfied, just as the gopis were not satisfied, so Krsna told him, "Don’t worry. I am not giving this instruction for you. I am giving it to others through you."

Now, at Kuruksetra, the gopis also complain to Krsna.

The Gopis are More "Tricky" than Krsna

Madhurya (sweetness) and aisvarya (opulence) can never exist together. There is immense opulence in Dvaraka. There Krsna cannot say, "I am the son of Nanda Baba and Yasoda;" He is bound to say, "I am a ksatriya, and I am the son of Vasudeva and Devaki." He cannot wear a peacock feather and He cannot play His flute. In Dvaraka He is surrounded by many thousands of raja-maharsis, queens, horses, and so on, so the gopis request Him, "We want You to come to Vrndavana."

The gopis seem to be very selfish. Why did they request Krsna, "You should give up all the thousands of devotees in Mathura and Dvaraka, and come to Vrndavana"? I am giving a very simple answer. All the Vrajavasis, and especially the gopis, know Krsna’s heart. In Vraja, Krsna is not like the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Vrajavasis cannot think of Him in that way, even in dreams. They can only think that He is the son of Nanda Baba and Yasoda, the beloved of all the gopis, and the friend of Sridama and Subala Sakha.

All the Vrajavasis want Krsna to be happy in every way, and they also know that He is always very shy. Therefore Nanda Baba, Yasoda, and all the gopis and friends have to be very tricky with Him. They know that He will be shy to eat butter when Yasoda offers it to Him, so she plays many tricks to induce Him to eat. Once she told Him, "Oh Krsna, You are so weak, but still You don’t want to take any bread and butter and other prasada. How will Your sikha become thick like Baladeva’s? You see? Baladeva is very strong, and his sikha is very thick and long. But You are so weak. We cannot compare You with Him." Krsna replied, "Mother, I want to defeat Baladeva. Please give Me bread and butter." This is how Yasoda and others trick Krsna to make Him eat.

Yasoda had previously thought, "Krsna is going to become weak, because He doesn’t want to eat anything." She therefore called Srimati Radhika from Yavata by a trick, by regularly sending Radhika’s in-laws in Yavata vast wealth in the form of many jewels, ornaments, and garments. Why did Yasoda call Srimati Radhika? She considered, "Krsna doesn’t eat very much, because He becomes shy and cannot admit His hunger. But He will become very strong if He eats what Radhika cooks.2 If I send these gifts to Her in-laws, they will surely send Her to cook. [See Endnote 2] As a result of Yasoda’s trick, Srimati Radhika comes and prepares manohara-laddu, amrta-keli, and so many other dishes.

There is no one in Mathura or Dvaraka who can give Krsna delicious food like Yasoda-maiya, and Krsna can never address other elderly relatives, "Mother! Mother!" Yasoda-maiya cooked a great variety of preparations through Rohini, Radhika, Lalita, and Visakha. She would call them all to her kitchen, and they would quickly prepare many delicious dishes. Then, if Krsna was not eating, Mother Yasoda would come over and tell Him, "Oh, I have made a vow to Narayana that You will eat this. If You don’t eat, Narayana will be disappointed with You, and that will be very inauspicious for You." She would request Him again, and then He would take His meal. Neither Devaki nor anyone else in Dvaraka knew all these tricks. Krsna may have felt hungry there, but He was too shy to ask for anything to eat.

All the gopis know how Yasoda-maiya used to trick Krsna into taking those preparations, so they think, "He will always be neglected in Dvaraka. He cannot say, ‘Mother, give me bread and butter.’" The gopis remember Krsna’s shy nature. Sometimes He would want something from them, and He would play on His flute to call them all. But then, when they came to Him, He would tell them, "You should return home now." In His heart He thought, "I want to dance with the gopis," and the gopis thought, "We want to satisfy Krsna." But because Krsna was tricky, He would tell them, "You should all return home." The gopis are also tricky, however, and they knew how to satisfy Him. They would tell Him, "Oh, You are our guru, and we are all Your disciples. Disciples should worship their guru, and after that they can worship their husbands or even Narayana. If someone is not worshiping his guru, he cannot satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana. Therefore, You will be an offender of the Vedas if You do not accept this worship."

ye yatha mam prapadyante
tams tathaiva bhajamy aham
mama vartmanuvartante
manusyah partha sarvasah

Bhagavad-gita (4.11)

["I reward everyone according to their surrender unto Me. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Prtha."]

The gopis would thus defeat Krsna by clever words so that He could engage in the rasa dance with them. Krsna desired to touch their bodies, but they would tell Him, "Oh, You cannot touch us. You should remain far away." They were always able to satisfy Krsna by continually increasing His greed.

Krsna can only be satisfied by these tricks, which are not known in Dvaraka or Mathura, or in any other place in the world. Thus, the gopis are selfless. There is no blemish in their hearts, and they have no desire other than to please Krsna. They serve Krsna totally with all their senses, with their minds, and with their souls, and He is always indebted to them.

Now Krsna assures them, "Those who are engaged in the process of attaining My love and affection – beginning with sraddha, nistha, ruci, and so on – are all fortunate. But even more fortunate are those who already have prema, sneha, pranaya, and beyond that. You have these qualities, and they attract Me to come to Vrndavana very soon. Don’t worry. I must come to you, because you have that sneha, mana, pranaya, raga, anuraga, bhava, and mahabhava. Your qualities charm and attract Me, and they will also compel Me to return with you to Vrndavana."

The gopis tell Krsna, "You should come on our chariot." Their chariot is their minds and hearts, which are the same as Vrndavana. "You should come to Vrndavana, and then we will think that You are entering our trance. This is ‘trance’ – that You should come to Vrndavana."

Srimati Radhika is reminding Krsna – that is, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is reminding Krsna as Jagannatha: "We are those unmarried teenage girls. We used to meet in Vrndavana with love and affection under the kadamba trees."

The Meaning of Prema

Try to understand the meaning of prema. In English, there is no exact word for prema; there are only words such as "love" and "affection." In Sanskrit, however, each word has a special meaning. All the stages of prema, such as asakti, bhava, prema, sneha, mana, pranaya, raga, anuraga, and so on, have specific meanings.

What kind of love does Radhika have for Krsna? Her love increases more and more, even if there are circumstances that should make it diminish. This is the meaning of prema.

Krsna left Radhika, the gopis, and the other Vrajavasis and went to Mathura, where He took upanayana-samskara (brahminical initiation), became a ksatriya, and declared, "I am the son of Devaki and Vasudeva. I am a Yadava." After that He went to Dvaraka, where He married eight very beautiful princesses, and then 16,100 more, and then He begot so many children. This should be enough to break anyone’s love and affection, but here you can see the nature of the love and affection that Radhika has toward Krsna. You can see the nature of the love of Mother Yasoda and Nanda Baba, the love of Krsna’s friends, and the love of all the Vrajavasis, including the cows and other animals. They did not give up their love and affection, although they were actually dying of separation.

Here in this world, if a husband divorces his wife and marries again, the ex-wife will go to court and file a suit, and he will be bound to sign an agreement to pay her maintenance. She will forcibly take that money, and she may also marry another man. She cannot tolerate the thought that he has given her up, but she will herself remarry two, three, four, or five times. Thus, here in this world, love and affection stops when there is an obstacle. But there, Radhika’s love for Krsna and His love for Her did not stop, even though He had so many wives and children, and even though He changed His name. If you want to realize that transcendental love, then try to be like the Vrajavasis. Love in this world is not actually love, it is merely sense gratification and lust. We simply kick away and divorce our spouse upon the slightest provocation.

Radhika knows that Krsna has many wives and many children. Now He is like a king, and He has changed into a Yadava – but still Her love increases. This is called transcendental prema. Read these topics, and then go deeply into what you have read. Try to forget yourself, where you are, and what you are doing. Forget everything else, go deep, become totally absorbed in meditation upon these topics, and then you will be able to realize something of this love. It is because you cannot do this that you become weak in your spiritual life. So try to hear all these topics in elevated association.

The gopis have forgotten everything other than Krsna. They are feeling great separation for Him, and consequently they have become more than yogis. Through the window of their eyes, they take Him in their hearts, and there they embrace Him so intensely that they lose external consciousness.

I have already described how Krsna tried to pacify Radharani and the gopis by saying, "O gopis, why are you feeling so much separation? I am not away from you for even a moment. There is no separation between clay and a clay statue or murti, because the clay is everywhere in the murti. In just the same way, this physical body is made of five elements – earth, water, fire, air, and ether – so one’s body cannot be separated from them. As one cannot differentiate between the body and these elements, similarly, You are made of My mood."

Krsna is sac-cid-ananda-vigraha, the complete form of eternity, knowledge, and bliss, and Srimati Radhika’s constitutional position is mahabhava. Because She is the embodiment of mahabhava, She is called hladini-sakti. She and Krsna are always combined as the essence of hladini and samvit. Samvit and hladini are the same as cit and ananda, and that is why Krsna told Her, "I am always with You. I am sac-cid-ananda, so how can I be separated from You? I am always in Your body and Your heart."

I have already explained that the gopis became very sulky and angry when they heard Krsna’s words, and they began to chastise Him, not by words but by mood: "Why are You telling us these things? We don’t accept this theory of Yours. We are not yogis. Yogis worship You and meditate upon You, but they cannot purify their hearts, or even their minds, in thousands and thousands of births. We, on the other hand, want to forget You forever. We were so happy in the homes of our fathers and mothers in Vraja, but You have upset and destroyed everything. We gave You our whole love, one hundred percent, or one hundred and ten percent. We left our fathers, mothers, husbands, children, and everything else. Our relation was very deep when You were in Vraja, and it is the same even today. So we want to forget You forever.

"If You can forget us and all of Your Vrndavana – Gokula, Govardhana, and all Your cows, Your calves, Your peacocks, Your deer, and even Your own mother from whom You took birth – then why can we not forget You? This is the problem: we cannot forget You. From the beginning, whenever we were engaged in any household task, we sang, ‘Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti.’ Even when we were cleaning our houses, sweeping, or churning yogurt, tears came from our melting hearts as we remembered Your pastimes and sang, ‘Govinda Damodara Madhaveti,’ ‘Radha-ramana hari bol,’ and ‘Govinda jaya jaya.’"

In Vraja, the gopis had always been weeping and lamenting, "O Krsna, where are You? Where are You?" Words cannot explain how they were behaving internally and externally. Now at Kuruksetra, they say, "We want to drive You away from our hearts, but You come inside automatically. You tell us, ‘Give up samsara-kupa, the deep, dark well of family life,’ and, ‘Meditate upon Me as the yogis do.’ But where is our family life? We have no samsara-kupa."

The gopis had forgotten their homes, duties, husbands, fathers, and mothers, and they had even forgotten to eat anything or to see anything. They appeared to look at things just as we do, but they did not see anything. They only contemplated, "Where is my beloved Krsna?" Only this. It is we who are in the well of family attachments. Still, although the gopis were not attached to their families as we are, Krsna advised them, "Come out of that well and meditate upon Me."

The gopis now reply:

ahus ca te nalina-nabha padaravindam
yogesvarair hrdi vicintyam agadha-bodhaih
geham jusam api manasy udiyat sada nah
This sloka has two meanings. The meaning for general persons and for those who are not very advanced devotees is that the gopis are requesting Krsna, "You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead. O Kamala-nayana, You whose eyes are like reddish lotus petals, You are very, very merciful. We have now fallen into the well of family life, and we want to remember Your lotus feet as the yogis do. We want to meditate, so please be merciful to us."

This meaning is external. Sometimes, when juniors try to instruct superiors, the superiors may reply, "I am very foolish, and you are so intelligent. I want to obey your instructions. Please instruct me how to act properly." In reality, the senior is angry at heart, and he is actually speaking sarcastically. His real meaning is, "I’m so many years older than you, and I am so much more intelligent than you. You’re instructing me, even though you’re so junior to me?" Similarly, the gopis are in an angry mood, and their deeper meaning is, "O Krsna, don’t try to cheat us. We have known You from the beginning, and we know that You are a great cheater. You have been deceiving us for a long time, but now we have become somewhat clever. You can cheat Laksmidevi, You can cheat Your wives in Dvaraka, and You can cheat everyone else; but as for us, we will not enter Your trap."

The Heart Cannot Consider

anyera hrdaya mana, mora mana vrndavana,
‘mane’ ‘vane’ eka kari’ jani
tahan tomara pada-dvaya, karaha yadi udaya,
tabe tomara purna krpa mani

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.137)

["Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in the mood of Srimati Radharani, said: 'Most people’s minds are one with their heart, but I consider My mind to be one with Vrndavana, because My mind is never separated from Vrndavana. My mind is already Vrndavana, and since You like Vrndavana, will You please place Your lotus feet there? I would deem that Your full mercy."]

The gopis tell Krsna, "We know, and You should also know, that there is so much difference between the heart and the mind of a worldly person. The heart is always full of love, whereas the mind calculates, ‘What is better for me? What is good? What is bad? This is better; this is not so good.’ The mind can do all this, but the heart can never consider whether a person is beautiful or not, or whether or not he is very intelligent or qualified."

Rukmini had heard abundant glorification of Krsna’s mercy, beauty, and all His other qualities. Because of this, she did not accept the proposal of her friends, parents, and others to give her in marriage to Sisupala. They told her, "Krsna is not a king; He is only the son of a landlord – and not even that. He is not as qualified as Sisupala. Sisupala is the King of kings. He is a very beautiful young emperor and he has a golden complexion, whereas this other person is black and unqualified. When Krsna was younger, He always used to tell lies and steal from others’ houses. You should give up that black fellow and marry Sisupala. Try to obey your father, mother, and brother." Rukmini replied, "Once I have given my heart to someone, I can never, ever reclaim it." Without the consent of her father, mother, and brother, she then sent a brahmana to Krsna with a message: "I don’t want to marry this jackal. I have given my heart to a lion. How can a jackal come and take me away in the presence of the lion? Everything depends on the lion. I have given myself solely to You, for You are that lion, and I will not go with that jackal. If that lion is not qualified and powerful enough to save me from the jackal, then I will take poison and die."

Before Uma was married to Sankara, Narada came and revealed Sankara’s glories to her. After that, Sankara told someone, "Go and test that girl," so his messenger went to Uma and told her, "Siva is an unintelligent, bogus man. He is always naked, he wears garlands of skulls and ornaments of snakes, he smears dust from the ashes of corpses all over his body, he wears rudraksa beads, he always carries a trident, and he sits on a bull like a mad person. Why have you chosen him to be your husband?"

Her father also told her, "O my dear darling daughter, change your mood. I will marry you to an exalted personality like Visnu, or someone else who is very beautiful. Why have you chosen Sankara?"

Uma told her father, "It may be that Sankara wanders naked, plays with ghosts and witches, ornaments himself with serpents, and sometimes swallows poison. But even if this is true, I will marry him and no one else. I have chosen him for all time, even though he does nothing. I don’t want to give him up. I will marry him." So many other suitors came, and even Sankara came in disguise to test her, but she did not change her mind.

For worldly persons, for all of you, the mind and heart are different, but these examples confirm that the hearts of elevated personalities never consider whether someone is beautiful or not, or what he has done or not done. The decision to love is "forever." Anyera hrdaya mana. For most people the mind always gives problems. Sometimes it accepts something, and at other times it rejects the same thing; this is called sankalpavikalpa. But "mora mana vrndavana – My mind is Vrndavana." The mind and heart of the gopis are one.

The gopis continue, "You have told us, ‘Meditate upon Me,’ but from where does meditation come? It comes from the mind. Understanding comes from the mind. But mora mana vrndavana. Let others meditate. You are instructing us, ‘You should meditate, and My lotus feet will come in Your meditation.’ Therefore, we will be satisfied if Your lotus feet walk to Vrndavana; otherwise, we can never be satisfied."

Try to make your heart and mind Vrndavana, under the guidance of the gopis. It does not matter whether you are male or female. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has said that all jivas – both male and female – are a transformation of tatastha-sakti, Krsna’s marginal potency. We are prakrti (the potency – feminine gender), not purusa (the possessor of the potency – male gender). Try to realize this. If you think very deeply, these meanings will come in your heart, and your heart will be greatly developed. There is no need to do anything else.

If Narada Rsi comes before the gopis, however, they will offer him pranama, and it may be that they will take the dust of his lotus feet. Narada Rsi will then think, "I should not upset these gopis. Krsna is my worshipable Lord, and these gopis are His worshipable deities, so I should not disturb their mood." Then, after the gopis leave, he will take their foot-dust and rub it all over his body.

Even Narada is not qualified to be the foot-dust of the gopis. He prays for this perfection, but he cannot achieve it. Such perfection is very rarely achieved for anyone, even Brahma. Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati has written, "I always remember the dust of Radhika’s lotus feet. Even Brahma, Narada, Suka, Sankara, Bhisma, and other devotees like them meditate on Krsna’s lotus feet so that His lotus feet may enter their hearts. On the other hand, when Krsna calls to the maidservants of the gopis, ‘Come on! Come on!’ they reply, ‘We will not come. We know that You are a cheater.’ Instead of their following Krsna, He follows them."

yat-kinkarisu bahusah khalu kaku-vani
nityam parasya purusasya sikhanda-mauleh
tasyah kada rasa-nidher vrsabhanu-jayas
tat-keli-kunja-bhavanangana-marjani syam

Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi (8)

["O daughter of Vrsabhanu Maharaja, O ocean of rasa! The Supreme Bhagavan, the source of all incarnations who wears a peacock feather in His hair, falls at the feet of Your maidservants and propitiates them with many humble and griefstricken words to be allowed entrance into Your kunja where You engage in playful, amorous pastimes. I would consider my life a success if I could become one stick in the broom used by Your maidservants to clean Your delightful grove."]

Krsna knocks at the door of the gopis’ kunja, and Sri Rupa Manjari and Sri Rati Manjari stand there in a somewhat angry mood. They tell Krsna, "Go back at once, You cheater. Go back! You cannot come and meet Srimati Radhika. She is angry with You now, and She has told us, ‘Be aware that this cheater may come in a disguise. Although disguised as a gopi or someone else, He will be that same Krsna, the friend of Subala. I don’t want to see anything black. Not even a black bumblebee should enter My kunja. You should even remove your black kajjala before you come here.’"

Krsna then offers His head at the lotus feet of Rupa Manjari and her sakhis, and begs them, "Please allow me to go there, just for a moment." They reply, "Never!" How can we imagine the greatness of Radhika’s position? Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati concludes, "I want to be a broom – and not even a whole broom, just one straw of a broom – that is used for sweeping Radhika’s kunja." How glorious She is!

More Mysterious Meaning

After citing the Srimad-Bhagavatam verse beginning ahus ca te nalina-nabha padaravindam, Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami quotes the gopis (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhyalila 1.82)):
tomara carana mora vraja-pura-ghare
udaya karaye yadi, tabe vancha pure

["The gopis thought: 'If Your lotus feet again come to our home in Vrndavana, our desires will be fulfilled."]

The gopis tell Krsna, "O Prananatha! Vraja is our life and soul. We are telling You the truth: Vraja is our home. If You do not come and meet us in Vrndavana, we will not be able to remain alive. We will die at once. Fish become restless the moment they are taken out of water, and the next moment they are dead. We are in an even worse condition than that. Fish may have a moment to live, but we will not be able to live even that long." Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami then quotes Rupa Gosvami’s deep explanation of that same Srimad-Bhagavatam verse:
ya te lila-rasa-parimalodgari-vanyaparita
dhanya ksauni vilasati vrta mathuri madhuribhih
tatrasmabhis catula-pasupi-bhava-mugdhantarabhih
samvitas tvam kalaya vadanollasi-venur viharam

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 1.84)

["The gopis said: 'Dear Krsna, the fragrance of the mellows of Your pastimes is spread throughout the forests of the glorious land of Vrndavana, which is surrounded by the sweetness of the district of Mathura. In the congenial atmosphere of that wonderful land, You may enjoy Your pastimes, with Your flute dancing on Your lips, and surrounded by us, the gopis, whose hearts are always enchanted by unpredictable ecstatic emotions.'"]

The gopis are sad and feel separation when they see Krsna in the royal dress of a prince of Dvaraka. Similarly, in their mood, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu felt separation when He sometimes saw Baladeva and Subhadra along with Jagannatha. Usually He saw only Jagannatha – as Vrajendra-nandana – but when He saw the three deities there, He immediately remembered the gopis’ pastimes at Kuruksetra.
ei-mata mahaprabhu dekhi’ jagannathe
subhadra-sahita dekhe, vamsi nahi hate

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 1.85)

["In this way, when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw Jagannatha, He saw that the Lord was with His sister Subhadra and was not holding a flute in His hand."]

tri-bhanga-sundara vraje vrajendra-nandana
kahan paba, ei vancha bade anuksana

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 1.86)

Absorbed in the ecstasy of the gopis, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wished to see Lord Jagannatha in His original form as Krsna, the son of Nanda Maharaja, standing in Vrndavana and appearing very beautiful, His body curved in three places. His desire to see that form was always increasing.

The gopis are actually telling Krsna, not by their words but by their mood, "Krsna, You cheater, You should know that our mind and heart are the same. Our heart is Vrndavana. Tahan tomara pada-dvaya karaha yadi udaya tabe tomara purna krpa mani (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.137)): If you come to Vrndavana with us, You can meet us there with Your flute. Don’t forget Your flute and peacock feather. And You should change Your dress. You will have to be the son of Nanda and Yasoda. Be Gopi-kanta and Radha-kanta, and then You can enter Vrndavana. Otherwise don’t come. We will not allow You to enter."

The Gopis’ Accusations

The moods of Lord Jagannatha’s Chariot Festival are very, very mysterious. It seems from an external point of view that Krsna simply instructed Srimati Radhika and the gopis, "You should chant, remember, and meditate on Me. Then you can realize My lotus feet in your heart, and by that meditation you will come out of the well of worldly attachment." It also seems that the gopis appreciated this instruction and simply replied, "You have given us good instruction. From now on we will meditate on You and remember You, and then we will be able to come out of the well of worldly life and give up all kinds of attachments."

However, as I have already explained, the actual mood of the gopis is quite different. Externally their words seem to have a particular meaning, but Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja has revealed their inner purport. He heard this meaning from Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, who had understood everything from Srila Svarupa Damodara and Srila Rupa Gosvami, and had noted it all down. Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami’s explanation therefore follows the words of Svarupa Damodara, and especially those of Rupa Gosvami.

Although the gopis are not satisfied at all by Krsna’s instruction, their anger is also a tie of love and affection – a crooked tie. The gopis are actually saying, "You’ve just told us to meditate, and You previously sent Uddhava and Baladeva Prabhu, who also delivered Your message: ‘Meditate on Me.’ You must be joking! Where is our attachment to this world? Where is our family attachment? We’ve never had any. ‘Who am I?’ ‘Where am I?’ We have forgotten these things. We have completely forgotten everything, including all of our senses. Where has our attachment gone? To You! We are always remembering You when You were in Vrndavana. We remember how we sometimes played together at Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda, and sometimes under Bhandiravata, or in Nandagaon, and how we sometimes used to meet together at Tera-kadamba as well. How glorious it was!"

In those days, Srimati Radhika used to go from Yavata to Yasoda-bhavana with all Her sakhis, headed by Lalita and Visakha, to cook for Krsna. Meanwhile, Krsna was milking His cows midway, at Tera-kadamba. As Radhika walked with Her sakhis, Lalita said, "We should change our direction and go by that other path. This cheater has blocked our way. He’s only milking His cows here because He knows that we will come this way. Better that we change paths." Radhika replied, "Oh, why fear? We will not change our course. Let us see what happens." As She continued walking, Krsna began milking a cow in such a way that Her whole face was splashed with milk, and everyone began to laugh. The gopis always remembered all these pastimes. There were so many pastimes that Krsna Himself would not be able to describe them all, even if He were to have thousands and thousands of mouths.

Now the gopis say, "We only remember those pastimes! We already feel so much separation from You, and now You are telling us, ‘You should meditate on My lotus feet.’ We’re not happy with this instruction. We’re not like the four Kumaras. Grandfather Bhisma and Narada can meditate on You, but we want to forget You altogether! We don’t want to think about You, because You are very cruel and ungrateful."

Krsna wanted to hear all this. He held His head down in shame and enjoyed thinking, "All the gopis are blaming Me."

The gopis continue, "Previously, when we were in Vrndavana, You told us, ‘I am coming back tomorrow. If not, then surely I will come the day after tomorrow.’ But You never came! You never returned! You told Uddhava, ‘Tell them that I am coming right away. I am coming after only four days.’ After that Baladeva came to Vraja, and He said on Your behalf, ‘Oh, don’t be worried. Krsna is coming very soon.’ But You never came."

nahe gopi yogesvara, pada-kamala tomara,
dhyana kari’ paibe santosa
tomara vakya-paripati, tara madhye kutinati,
suni’ gopira aro badhe rosa

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.141)

["In the mood of Srimati Radhika, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said: 'The gopis are not like the mystic yogis. They will never be satisfied simply by meditating on Your lotus feet and imitating the so-called yogis. Teaching the gopis about meditation is another kind of duplicity. When they are instructed to undergo mystic yoga practice, they are not at all satisfied. On the contrary, they become more and more angry with You.'"]

"We don’t like Your mode of expression. Tara madhye kutinati. There are so many things that are not good about it. Kutinati. Ku-ti-na-ti. You are telling so many kuti, things that are not good, and nati, things that are not favorable. You say, ‘You should try to meditate on Me and remember Me.’ But You know that since our childhood we were never able to forget You for even a moment."

This is pure love, without desire for any gain. The gopis continue, "You speak to us as if we are unintelligent, and that makes us angry."

deha-smrti nahi yara, samsara-kupa kahan tara,
taha haite na cahe uddhara
viraha-samudra-jale, kama-timingile gile,
gopi-gane neha’ tara para

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.142)

["Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continued: 'The gopis have fallen in the great ocean of separation, and they are being devoured by the timingila fish, which represent the ambition to serve You. The gopis are to be delivered from the mouths of these timingila fish, for they are pure devotees. Since they have no material conception of life, why should they aspire for liberation? The gopis do not want that liberation desired by yogis and jnanis, for they are already liberated from the ocean of material existence.'"]

The gopis continue, "You speak about a well of material life (samsara-kupa), but where are we? We are in an endless, bottomless ocean of separation. And what is going on in that ocean? There are whales, and there are also fish called timingila fish, which are so huge that they can even swallow those whales."
vrndavana, govardhana, yamuna-pulina, vana,
sei kunje rasadika lila
sei vrajera vraja-jana, mata, pita, bandhu-gana,
bada citra, kemane pasarila

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.143)

["It is amazing that You have forgotten the land of Vrndavana. And how is it that You have forgotten Your father, mother, and friends? How have You forgotten Govardhana Hill, the bank of the Yamuna, and the forest where You enjoyed the rasa dance?"]

vidagdha, mrdu, sad-guna, susila, snigdha, karuna,
tumi, tomara nahi dosabhasa
tabe ye tomara mana, nahi smare vraja-jana,
se amara durdaiva-vilasa

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.144)

["Krsna, You are certainly a refined gentleman with all good qualities. You are well-behaved, soft-hearted, and merciful. I know that there is not even a tinge of fault to be found in You, yet Your mind does not even remember the inhabitants of Vrndavana. This is only My misfortune, and nothing else."]

The gopis, and especially Srimati Radharani, continue to voice their apparent complaints, "Do you remember Vrndavana for even a moment? Do you remember Govardhana? In Vrndavana, we gopis were all assembled in rasa-lila. At that time, when we were tired and perspiring, You used to wipe our bodies with Your pitambara (upper yellow garment)."

Srimati Radharani tells Krsna, "You would ask me, ‘Are you tired?’ and then I would keep My hand on Your shoulder." She used to stand in a "crooked" way and look at Krsna with "crooked" sidelong glances. She leaned on Him with all Her weight, as if He were a pillar, and She looked at Him from the corners of Her eyes. When She leaned on Him in this way, He used to think, "Today, due to this pose of Radhika, My life is successful!"

"Do You remember this?" the gopis continue. "Do You remember that we defeated You in dice games? And Radhika used to defeat You in debate. Do You remember that we used to meet with You in each and every grove of Giriraja-Govardhana? Do you remember that we served You in so many ways at Radhakunda and Yamuna-pulina (the bank of the Yamuna)?"

Do you know the meaning of Yamuna-pulina? In his song Yasomati-nandana, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written yamuna-tata-cara gopi-vasana-hara, rasa-rasika-krpamaya. Krsna would always come to the bank of the Yamuna, because He was very eager to meet the gopis, and He would think, "If I go there, surely the gopis will come to take water from the Yamuna with their very big pots. Why will they come? Because they have promised, and I have also promised." That place on the bank of the Yamuna is called panaghata, the place where Krsna could easily meet with the gopis.[See Endnote 3] Because all the gopis came there, Krsna also came. Everyone else thought that the gopis were going to fetch water, but when they dipped their pots into the Yamuna, they never noticed whether the pots were filled with water or not. They only knew that their pots were filled with love and affection for Krsna. They used to tell Him, "We cannot put these pots on our heads. Can You help us? " It was only for that kind of exchange that Krsna would go there. He would lift their pots and proudly think, "I am helping them."

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Pastimes at Manasi-ganga

Srimati Radhika now asks Krsna, "Do You remember all these pastimes on the banks of the Yamuna? Do You remember what kind of pastimes we used to perform at Manasi-ganga? We always remember this! Do You remember Sanketa-kunja?" Sanketa is halfway between Varsana and Nandagaon. "Do You remember Sanketa? When I was on the swing with You, You pushed the swing so high that our garments flew here and there. I was afraid, and I embraced You and called out, ‘Save me! Save me!’ And You were easily satisfied by that. Do you remember?" As Krsna heard all this, He was ashamed and held His head down.

By mood, the gopis tell Krsna, "It is very tragic. How could You have forgotten all Your sakhas like Dama, Sridama, Subala, Madhumangala, Kokila, Kinkini, Vasanta, and all others? How could You forget Your father and mother and all Your friends? It is quite astonishing that You could forget them all. You are very ungrateful, and Your heart is harder than a thunderbolt!"

While Srimati Radhika and the gopis were thinking this, they were in a particular type of very angry mood, but now their mood suddenly changes. Their various moods are called bhavaudaya, bhava-sandhi, bhava-sabalya, and bhava-santi.4 Anyone who has not studied Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, and what to speak of Ujjvala-nilamani, will not be able to taste these moods in thousands of lifetimes. One cannot know all these truths if he has not taken the sanga of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s associates. He is bound to remain in the chain of birth and death, sorrow and suffering. I have come to give this message of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Srila Rupa Gosvami, and our entire guru-parampara.

The gopis continue to accuse Krsna in various angry and mixed moods. Suppose there is an ugly person who is very black and unqualified, and his teeth stick out of his mouth. Someone may say to him, "How handsome you are! Your teeth are more beautiful than if they were made of gold, and the whole world is charmed by your smile! You are so qualified!" What is this? It is sarcasm or parihasa, a joke. Similarly, the gopis’ words appear to mean, "You are very rasika – very, very rasika! You are also very sweet, and not at all cruel. You have all good qualities. Your tongue never speaks any lies; it can never do so. And Your hands are always controlled; they cannot do anything wrong." But what do the gopis really mean? They are actually taunting Krsna, and telling Him, "Your tongue is always controlled. How is it controlled? It has kissed millions of gopis, and now perhaps it is satisfied. Your hands and feet are always going towards the gopis, searching for them. You have touched the gopis, and that is why Your tongue has become pure, You Yourself have become pure, and everything about You has become pure."

The gopis continue with words that cover their actual mood, and they tell Krsna, "You are very sweet and You have such a good character! You are very soft and mild, and You are also very merciful. All of these qualities are in You. But we are very unfortunate. Even though You are so qualified, sweet, soft, and merciful, You have left us, and this is our misfortune. We must have done something wrong, either in our past lives or in this life, and that is why You have left us."

Nanda Baba has also spoken in this way. When he returned home after leaving Krsna and Balarama in Mathura, he was weeping bitterly. "There was only one true father," he said, "and that was Dasaratha Maharaja. He could not survive in separation from Rama. He called out, ‘Ha Rama! Ha Ra...!’ and left his body. I cannot do this! My heart is very cruel, and it is harder than a thunderbolt. Why could I not die? I wanted to die, but I could not. Krsna is very qualified in every way. He is sweet and mild, and He has all good qualities. He must have decided, ‘My mother and father, Yasoda and Nanda Baba, are not qualified, and neither are all the other Vrajavasis. They cannot give Me the love and affection I want,’ and that is why He left us and went where He would receive more love and affection." Speaking thus, Nanda Baba fainted.

In the same way, the gopis are telling Krsna, "We are most unfortunate because You don’t remember any of us. We know that we have no familial relationship with You, because we are not married to You. That is why a man can give up a lady, even if there is some love between them. On the other hand, if they are married, he will give his whole mood of love to her. We were not married, and that is why You could give us up so easily.

"But how could You give up Your mother and father, and especially Your mother? Your body is made of Your mother, so how could You forget her? Even if You can give her up, Your body will always tell You, ‘I am the son of Mother Yasoda’ because You are made from her blood and everything else. It is very strange that You have left everyone.

"Do You know that because of You the birds are no longer singing? The cuckoo birds have stopped singing and now they only weep. The peacocks do not dance now; they are very sad. The calves do not drink their mothers’ milk, and the cows are about to die. They no longer eat grass or anything else, and Mother Yasoda never cooks."

Hearing this, Krsna began to weep very loudly, and He was about to fall unconscious. There is a poem describing this, and it is very heart-rending.

tuhun se rahila madhupura
vrajakula akula, dukula kalarava,
kanu kanu kari jhura

yasomati-nanda, andha sama baithai,
sahase uthai na para
sakha-gana dhenu, venu-rava na suniye,
vichurala nagara bajara

kusuma tyajiya ali, ksiti-tale lutata,
taru-gana malina samana
mayuri na nacata, kapoti na bolata,
kokila na karatahi gana

virahini rai, viraha-jvare jare jare,
caudike viraha hutasa
sahaje yamuna jala, agi samana bhela,
kahatahi govinda dasa

In this kirtana, the Vaisnava poet Govinda dasa is singing in Radharani’s mood, "O Krsnacandra, now You live very far away in Madhupuri – in Mathura. But what is the condition of Vrndavana? All the Vrajavasis are feeling extreme pain and distress in separation from You. They call out, ‘Kanu, Kanu!’ But there is no answer, and only an echo is heard." Kanu is a nickname of Krsna. "Kanu, Kanu! O Kanu, where are You? Even the birds are calling, ‘Where are You? O Kanu, where are You?’ Everyone is weeping. O Yasomati-nandana, Yasoda-maiya and Nanda Baba are crying bitterly. It is as if they have become blind; they cannot see anymore, and they only sit and cry. They have no strength, and they are hardly more than skeletons. They are about to die because they no longer cook anything. For whom will they cook? They do not even have enough strength in their bodies to stand up.

"And what is the condition of all Your cows and friends? They cannot hear You calling them with Your flute, so the marketplaces and the roads are all deserted. No one is there; no one at all. Not only that; previously, the bumblebees were very busy collecting honey, but now they are so upset that they have left the flowers, and even they are crying and rolling on the ground in the pain of separation. "

All the trees look drab and distressed. The peacocks no longer dance, and the pigeons no longer sing. The cuckoos are silent; they no longer call, ‘Kuhu, kuhu.’ All are feeling great pain in separation from You.

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Radharani's feelings of separation

"Virahini rai, viraha-jvare jare jare. Srimati Radharani is burning and burning in the fever of separation. Everywhere, in all directions, everyone is sinking in the ocean of separation from You. Even the Yamuna does not flow anymore. This is the condition of Vrndavana! The water that is seen in the Yamuna is actually the tears that have fallen from the eyes of all the gopis. Tuhun se rahila madhupura. Why are you staying so far away in Mathura, when everyone in Vrndavana is on the verge of death?"

There is another song by Candidasa, also written in the mood of Srimati Radhika. The words of this song are heart-breaking, and it is unparalleled in any language of the world. You cannot hear these topics anywhere else:

sukhera lagiya, ei ghara bandhinu, agune pudiya gela
amiya sagare, sinana karite, sakali garala bhela

sakhi! ki mora kapale lekhi
sitala baliya, canda sevinu, bhanura kirana dekhi

ucala baliya, acale cadinu, padinu agadha-jale
lachami cahite, daridrya bedhala, manika haranu hele

nagara basalama, sagara bandhilama, manika pabara ase
sagara sukala, manika lukala, abhagi-karama-dose

piyasa lagiya, jalada sevinu, bajara padiya gela
kahe candidasa, syamera piriti, marame rahala sela

"I built a house in order to be very happy there, but that house was suddenly burned in a fire. I wanted to take bath in the ocean of nectar in order to make My heart very cool, but instead it was crushed and burned. I wanted to go to the ocean to bathe and to make My heart soft, but I saw that all the water was gone. There was no water left at all. Then I looked toward the moon so that some of its cooling rays would come upon Me, but it turned out that those were not the cool rays of the moon; instead, the blazing hot rays of the sun came and scorched Me.

"I thought I was in a very high place where there was no water, but instead I see that I’ve fallen into an endless ocean of water. I wanted wealth, but I became penniless. A very valuable jewel came into My hand, and then suddenly it was gone.

"I built a city near the ocean, so that I could get a valuable jewel from that ocean. Then I made a dam, and I moved the ocean from one side of the dam to the other. However, when the ocean was finally drained, the jewel was nowhere to be seen. It was hidden somewhere, due to My misfortune. I looked towards the clouds to quench My thirst, but instead of rain, a thunderbolt came on My head.

"I loved Krsna in order to be happy, and I gave Him My body, mind, heart, soul, and everything, but He left Me. The fire of separation enveloped Me and I was burned. Krsna’s love is endless like the ocean, and I wanted to take bath in that ocean; but what happened? The water dried up and in its place was a great conflagration. Everything burned in separation. What should I do?" Krsna would not be able to survive if He were to hear all these heart-breaking words.

These feelings of Srimati Radhika are the mood at Ratha-yatra, and this is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mood at that time. He experiences all the sentiments of Radhika, and no one can explain Her moods without the help of His bhavas. His moods have been passed on through Sri Svarupa Damodara to Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, who have expressed them in their own writings. Try to realize all these truths

Who Went to Kuruksetra?

This subject matter is very extraordinary. It is not less in depth and significance than Ramananda-samvada (Mahaprabhu’s conversation with Raya Ramananda as found in Sri Caitanyacaritamrta); in fact, it is even deeper. Krsna has promised, "I will never, never give up Vrndavana; I will always be there." Radhika has also promised, "Krsna may go, but I cannot leave Vrndavana." Then who went to Kuruksetra? There are innumerable manifestations of Krsna, and so many of Radhika as well, and this is very wondrous. Krsna can be thousands and thousands of Krsnas at the same time. Yet, there can be millions more manifestations of Radhika than there are of Krsna (as She displayed during rasa-lila). She is very expert.

Radhika and Krsna eternally play with Their gopi associates in Vrndavana, where Radhika is called Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika. She never leaves Vrndavana, and She hardly ever laments. So who was lamenting in Nandagaon when Uddhava went there? Radhika is always with Krsna, so how did this separation come about?

Who went to Mathura and Dvaraka? Krsna’s manifestations went. Similarly, who was weeping bitterly with all Her sakhis in Nandagaon? It was Viyogini-Radha. She was the one whom Uddhava met, who was feeling intense separation, and who recited Bhramara-gita, which is one of the jewels of Srimad- Bhagavatam.

Who went to Kuruksetra? It was Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika, but in Her manifestation as Samyogini-Radhika. She is the same Radha, but as a manifestation. She went to Kuruksetra, and there She attracted Krsna to return to Vrndavana.

Even Krsna Cannot Know

Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya (Bhagavad-gita (4.34)). Everything is reconciled when you approach a realized spiritual master, inquire from him submissively, and serve him. This process will enable you to realize everything automatically. Your mental speculation alone will not suffice. You may be a learned person, but your learning will not help you; instead, it will betray you.

I have been explaining the moods of the gopis at Kuruksetra, and Krsna’s statements to them. You can also study this subject matter yourselves, but only a rare person can go into it very deeply. It is stated in Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi (4):

yo brahma-rudra-suka-narada-bhisma-mukhyair
alaksito na sahasa purusasya tasya
sadyo vasi-karana-curnam ananta-saktim
tam radhika-carana-renum anusmarami
Brahma, Rudra (Sankara), Bhisma, Narada, and others like them are very advanced jnani-bhaktas. They are all atmarama and aptakama (fully satisfied internally and externally, respectively), yet even they can only rarely have darsana of Krsna, and what to speak of having darsana of Radhika. The demigods came during Krsna’s rasa-lila, but they only saw Krsna dancing and singing; they did not see the gopis. On the other hand, their wives saw Krsna with the gopis and fainted. The author of this prayer, Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati, says that if Krsna knows that someone has on his head a minute dust-particle from Srimati Radhika’s lotus feet, He will wholly and solely give Himself to that devotee.

Devotees like Brahma, Rudra, Suka, Narada, Bhisma, and the four Kumaras – Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana, and Sanat1 kumara – are all very elevated, and they are prominent among the twelve mahajanas. Yet they cannot control Krsna. On the other hand, curnam ananta-saktim: the dust of Radhika’s lotus feet is so powerful that it can control Krsna very easily. Krsna may be happy and satisfied with the love and affection He receives from these other devotees, but in comparison to the gopis, they cannot control Him in the slightest degree.

If one wants to control Krsna, he must search for Srimati Radhika’s foot-dust – even a single particle of that foot-dust – and try to collect it. In other words, he must accept the guidance of Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Sanatana Gosvami, and Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, who are Rupa Manjari, Lavanga Manjari, and Rati Manjari in Radha and Krsna’s pastimes. Krsna will be controlled at once if He knows, "These are the maidservants of Radhika," but no one can control Him otherwise. Try to become a particle of dust of Radhika’s lotus feet.

When Brahma went to Vrndavana and saw Krsna’s pastimes, he personally prayed:

naumidya te ’bhra-vapuse tadid-ambaraya gunjavatamsa-paripiccha-lasan-mukhaya
vanya-sraje kavala-vetra-visana-venulaksma-
sriye mrdu-pade pasupangajaya

Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.1) ["My dear Lord, You are the only worshipable Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore I offer my humble obeisances and prayers just to please You. O son of the King of the cowherds, Your transcendental body is dark blue like a fresh cloud, Your garment is brilliant like lightning, and the beauty of Your face is enhanced by Your gunja earrings and the peacock feather on Your head. Wearing garlands of various forest flowers and leaves, and equipped with a herding stick, a buffalo horn, and a flute, You stand beautifully with a morsel of food in Your hand."]
Sri Sukadeva Gosvami is also an extremely elevated devotee, and in Radha-Krsna’s pastimes he is a special parrot belonging to Srimati Radhika. He always sits on Her hand, and She caresses him, feeds him pomegranate seeds, and teaches him to chant, "Krsna, Krsna," "Govinda," "Vrajanatha," and "Prananatha." Suka always remains in the association of Radha and Krsna, and he may even be there to awaken Them during Their pre-dawn pastimes of nisanta-lila. That Suka became Sukadeva Gosvami, and yet Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati says that even Sukadeva Gosvami cannot control Krsna. He can serve Krsna, but only the members of Srimati Radhika’s party can fully control Him.

Sri Narada Rsi went to Gokula in Vrndavana and thought, "Krsna has just descended to this world, so Radhika must also be present somewhere." He went to Raval and discovered Her there. After that, he performed severe austerities at Naradakunda and became Naradi-gopi, but even Naradi-gopi cannot control Krsna.

Krsna Himself became a bumblebee and went to Nandagaon. There He took darsana of Radhika when She was in mahabhavadivyonmada, but He was still unable to understand the depth of Her mood. Three desires then manifested in His heart. He became intensely eager to relish the exalted state of Her pranaya (loving mood), Her appreciation of His sweetness, and the rapture in Her heart at that time. Krsna could never go deep enough to fully understand Radhika’s moods of madana- and modanamahabhava. Her highest mood of love, sva-samvedya-dasa,[See Endnote 4] never comes in Him, for He is the visaya, the object of love. It only comes in the asraya, the reservoir of love. That is why Krsna – in the form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu – went to the bank of Godavari and was admitted into the school of Radhika’s personal secretary, Visakha, who was there in the form of Ramananda Raya. Mahaprabhu heard many instructions there. He learned about Radha’s moods, and then He went to Puri and realized those moods and relished them.

Srimati Radhika’s sakhis, who are Her party members, can understand and realize Her moods to some extent – more so than Krsna. Krsna is akhila-rasamrta-sindhu, the object of love, but He is not the container of love. The container or reservoir is the asraya-bhakta.

It has been explained in the above verse from Radha-rasasudha- nidhi (yo brahma-rudra-suka-narada) that neither the four Kumaras, nor Narada as a gopi, nor even Sukadeva Gosvami as Radhika’s parrot can fully control Krsna. Even Uddhava could not realize the moods of the gopis, although he went to Vrndavana and had their association there. That is why he prayed:

vande nanda-vraja-strinam
pada-renum abhiksnasah
yasam hari-kathodgitam
punati bhuvana-trayam

Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.63)

"[I repeatedly offer my respects to the dust from the feet of the women of Nanda Maharaja’s cowherd village. When these gopis loudly chant the glories of Sri Krsna, the vibration purifies the three worlds."]

Be very humble, and hollow like a flute, and then go to Srimad-Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanya-caritamrta and pray. Then you will very easily realize something. You will realize that the gopis’ moods are the most elevated.

caitanya-gosanira lila – ananta, apara
‘sahasra-vadana’ yara nahi paya para

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.256)

["The pastimes of Caitanya Mahaprabhu are unlimited and endless. Even Sahasra-vadana, Lord Sesa, cannot reach the limits of His pastimes."]

Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has explained here that Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes are unlimited, endless, and unfathomable, and even Ananta-sesa Baladeva Prabhu cannot explain them all with His unlimited mouths, even in unlimited time. How deep these pastimes are! Even Krsna cannot know their depth, although He is an ocean of rasa. Yet, one can easily know something of their depth by taking shelter at the feet of Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.
sri-rupa-raghunatha-pade yara asa
caitanya-caritamrta kahe krsnadasa

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.257)

["Praying at the lotus feet of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha, always desiring their mercy, I, Krsnadasa, narrate Sri Caitanyacaritamrta, following in their footsteps."]

Krsna’s Reply

You will be successful in your spiritual life if you develop positive understanding and moods. It will not be enough just to think, "Not this, not this, not this." Absorption in the positive must be accompanied by negation of the negative; otherwise you cannot advance. This is true; but still, absorption in negation will not help you very much. If one wants to advance in bhakti, he should try to understand these topics.

The gopis tell Krsna, "We cannot live without You. We cannot maintain our lives without You. It will be better if You come to Vrndavana, and that Vrndavana is non-different from our hearts. If You don’t come, You will see Vrndavana become completely lifeless. Everyone and everything there will die."

suniya radhika-vani, vraja-prema mane ani,
bhave vyakulita deha-mana
vraja-lokera prema suni’, apanake ‘rni’ mani’,
kare krsna tanre asvasana

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.148)

["After Lord Krsna heard Srimati Radharani’s statements, His love for the inhabitants of Vrndavana increased, and His body and mind became very perturbed. After hearing of the Vrajavasis’ love for Him, He immediately considered Himself to be always indebted to them. He began to pacify Srimati Radharani as follows:"]

prana-priye, suna, mora e-satya-vacana
toma-sabara smarane, jhuron muni ratri-dine,
mora duhkha na jane kona jana

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.149)

"[My dearest Srimati Radharani, please hear Me. I am speaking the truth. I cry day and night simply upon remembering all you inhabitants of Vrndavana. No one knows how unhappy this makes Me."]

When Krsna heard the gopis’ desperate words, and especially when He heard from Radhika, He became restless and could not control Himself. He thought, "I cannot repay the Vrajavasis," and He began to pacify all the gopis, especially Radhika. He began to weep as He replied: "Prana-priye, suna, mora e-satyavacana – My most beloved, I am telling you the truth with My pure heart. Toma-sabara smarane, jhuron muni ratri-dine, mora duhkha na jane kona jana – My body is there in Dvaraka, but My heart is with You in Vrndavana. I am always restless, day and night, and I feel unbearable separation. There is no one in Mathura to whom I can reveal My heart. I sent Uddhava to Vraja to be admitted into the school of gopis so that he could learn something about the meaning of prema. I thought that if he were to become expert, then when he would return I could describe to him the extent of My separation and he would realize My heart. But I see that I cannot sha re My heart even with Uddhava, nor with Rukmini or Satyabhama. I thus lament continually."
vraja-vasi yata jana, mata, pita, sakha-gana,
sabe haya mora prana-sama
tanra madhye gopi-gana, saksat mora jivana,
tumi mora jivanera jivana

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.150)

[Sri Krsna continued: 'All the inhabitants of Vrndavana-dhama – My mother, father, cowherd boyfriends, and everyone else – are the same as My life. Amongst all the inhabitants of Vrndavana, the gopis are directly My life and soul. And You, Srimati Radharani, are the chief among the gopis; so You are the very life of My life.'']

toma-sabara prema-rase, amake karila vase,
ami tomara adhina kevala
toma-saba chadana, ama dura-dese lana,
rakhiyache durdaiva prabala

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.151)

["My dear Srimati Radharani, I am always subservient to the love and affection that you all have for Me. I am under your control only. The creator is very cruel, for he has separated Me from You and made Me reside in distant places."]

We are all helpless when it comes to stopping death. Actually, we are helpless in every way. Similarly, Krsna is saying, "Now I am helpless, and You are also helpless. The creator has forcibly taken Me very far away from You and from My birthplace in Gokula. This is My misfortune."
priya priya-sanga-hina, priya priya-sanga vina,
nahi jiye, e satya pramana
mora dasa sone yabe, tanra ei dasa habe,
ei bhaye dunhe rakhe prana

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.152)

["When a woman is separated from her lover, or a man from his beloved, neither of them can live. It is a fact that they only live for each other, for if one dies and the other hears of it, he or she will die also. "]

Krsna continues, "It is true that a woman cannot maintain her life without her beloved. And that beloved can also not maintain his life without his dear one. Mora dasa sone yabe, tanra ei dasa habe, ei bhaye dunhe rakhe prana. Why does a woman not die when she is separated from her lover? She remains alive only by thinking, ‘If I die, my beloved will weep bitterly, and he may also die. So I should not die. I don’t want to give him any suffering.’ Her lover also thinks, ‘If I die, she will suffer grievously, and then she may die of separation.’ For this reason, neither want to die."
sei sati premavati, premavan sei pati,
viyoge ye vanche priya-hite
na gane apana-duhkha, vanche priyajana-sukha,
sei dui mile acirate

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.153)

["Such a loving chaste wife and loving husband desire all welfare for each other in separation and do not care for personal happiness. Such a loving couple only desire each other’s well-being, and they certainly meet again without delay."]

This is an important point. The only chaste lady is one who has such overwhelming love and affection for her beloved that she always thinks of his welfare, even in separation. Rama told Sita, "I must abandon you for the rest of my life." He sent her to the forest, and she wept bitterly in deep separation. She might have died in separation, but she was pregnant at that time, and her two sons Lava and Kusa took birth soon afterwards. Although she suffered on account of her husband, she would say, "I don’t consider whether he has done right or wrong. I only want him to be happy, wherever he is."

At that time, Rama was in his grand royal palace, but he gave up his pillows, his bed, and every other convenience. He became austere and renounced there, and he slept on a mat on the ground, just as Sita-devi did. Instead of eating delicious food, he only took some fruits to maintain his life. He always felt the piercing pain of her separation, and it was because he could not survive without her that he performed fire sacrifices and made statues of her.

The chaste lady who has love and affection for her beloved husband always thinks of his welfare, and even if he does something wrong, she doesn’t mind. And the man also thinks in the same way about his wife or his beloved. Na gane apanaduhkha, vanche priyajana-sukha, sei dui mile acirate. Neither of them cares for their own happiness or suffering. They always think of the happiness and suffering of their loved one.

You should try to understand the instruction given here, and follow it. If you want to enter that transcendental realm, then you should begin these dealings with your gurudeva. If gurudeva is a very high-class devotee, if he has love and affection for you, and if he is taking you more and more toward Krsna consciousness, then place your whole concentration on him. Don’t think about your own suffering and happiness. Rather you should think, "How can I please my gurudeva?" If this mood is not present in a disciple, he is bound to give up the line of devotion. It is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam:

sravanam kirtanam visnoh
smaranam pada-sevanam
arcanam vandanam dasyam
sakhyam atma-nivedanam

iti pumsarpita visnau
bhaktis cen nava-laksana
kriyeta bhagavaty addha
tan manye ’dhitam uttamam

Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.5.23–4)

["Prahlada Maharaja said: 'The following nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service: hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia, and pastimes of Lord Visnu; remembering them; serving the lotus feet of the Lord; offering Him respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia; offering Him prayers; becoming His servant; considering Him one’s best friend; and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind, and words.) One who has dedicated his life to the service of Krsna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge.'"]

In this verse, Sri Prahlada Maharaja uses the word pumsarpita to advise us that one must first offer himself unto the lotus feet of Krsna. To understand this instruction, we must know that there are two Krsnas. The first is guru-bhagavan, and the second is krsna-bhagavan. The first is asraya (the abode of service), and the second is visaya (the object of service). The qualifications of a maha-bhagavata guru are explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam and the Upanisads. You should have strong faith in such a guru and try to please him. He is very powerful, and by his own power he will transfer your sentiments to Radha-Krsna and Mahaprabhu.

Prahlada Maharaja is instructing us that one should not only surrender, he should always engage his heart, mind, and all his senses to please that sad-guru. The disciple can please him if he is always chanting and remembering, glorifying bhakti, Krsna, and Mahaprabhu, and preaching and practicing bhakti-yoga. Then he will be happy.

Srila Narottama dasa Thakura has explained how Rupa Gosvami pleased his guru:

sthapitam yena bhu-tale
svayam rupah kada mahyam
dadati sva-padantikam

["Srila Rupa Gosvami Prabhupada has established within the material world the mission to fulfill the desire of Lord Caitanya. When will he give me shelter at his lotus feet?"]

There are so many devotees who have pleased their gurus, but the author of this sloka has given the example of Rupa Gosvami. Rupa Gosvami knew what Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted, and why He descended to this world. This is why he wrote books such as Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu and Ujjvala-nilamani. He established the message of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the method to please Him.

Krsna continues: "Na gane apana-duhkha, vanche priyajanasukha, sei dui mile acirate – if the lover and beloved engage in this way, they will be able to meet again." Here, Krsna is consoling the gopis, assuring them that they will certainly meet again.

rakhite tomara jivana, sevi ami narayana,
tanra saktye asi niti-niti
toma-sane krida kari’, niti yai yadu-puri,
taha tumi manaha mora sphurti

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.154)

["Krsna said to Srimati Radhika: 'You are My most dearly beloved, and I know that You cannot live for a moment in My absence. I worship Lord Narayana just to keep You alive. By his merciful potency, I come to Vrndavana every day to enjoy pastimes with You, and then I return to Dvaraka-dhama. That is why You can always feel My presence in Vrndavana.'"]

We should try to realize Krsna’s statements. Do you have madiya-bhava, this sense of possessiveness, toward gurudeva and the pure devotees? If not, then all your endeavors in spiritual life are zero, and you will not be able to accomplish anything. You should think, "Gurudeva is mine. I have left my father, mother, sister, and family for Krsna, and my gurudeva can give me Krsna. Now he is my everything." Such attachment for gurudeva will come by cultivation. If we are not attached to gurudeva and very much attached to everyone else, there is something wrong. There are two conceptions in relation to service to gurudeva. The first conception is, "I will serve all the devotees to please my gurudeva." The other conception is, "I will please all the devotees to serve my gurudeva." Our motive should be, "I want to please my gurudeva," not to please everybody else. Whatever we do should be to please gurudeva, not to please everybody else . You can never please everyone.
yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado
yasya prasadan na gatih kuto ’pi
dhyayan stuvams tasya yasas tri-sandhyam
vande guroh sri-caranaravindam

Sri Gurvastakam (8)

["One receives Krsna’s benedictions by the mercy of the spiritual master, and one cannot make any advancement without his grace. Therefore, I should always remember and praise him. At the three junctions of the day – morning, noon, and evening – I should offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master."]

Everyone will be pleased if gurudeva is pleased, and even if others are not pleased there is no harm, as long as he is pleased. If Krsna is somewhat angry with me, no harm; gurudeva will save me. But if gurudeva is unhappy, even Krsna cannot save me. He will say, "You should go to your gurudeva." We should know this fact. When Durvasa Rsi tried to kill Ambarisa Maharaja, Krsna saved Ambarisa Maharaja and began to chase Durvasa Rsi with His Sudarsana cakra. Durvasa ran throughout the universe, and finally reached the Vaikuntha planet within this universe, where he begged Bhagavan to protect him. However, Bhagavan told him, "I cannot do anything to save you. You should go to Ambarisa Maharaja."

Krsna continues, "I worship Narayana to please You, so that You will not die of separation from Me. By His merciful potency I go to Vraja to meet You. I wipe the tears from Your face with My pitambara, and I embrace You; and You think, ‘Krsna is in Dvaraka, so how can He come here? Prehaps I was dreaming, or perhaps I saw a sphurti (momentary vision).’ On the other hand, as soon as You see a tamala tree, You think, ‘Krsna has come.’ When I really come to You, You think, ‘Krsna has not come. It was just a sphurti,’ but this is not true. I always come to You, and I meet and embrace You. I sport with You, and then I return to Dvaraka. Then, when Your condition is one of extreme separation again, I come to You again. I always do this."

mora bhagya mo-visaye, tomara ye prema haye,
sei prema parama prabala
lukana ama ane, sanga karaya toma-sane,
prakateha anibe satvara

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.155)
Our love affair is more powerful because of My good fortune in receiving Narayana’s grace. This allows Me to come there unseen by others. I hope that very soon I will be visible to everyone.

"I think that Your unprecedented love and affection will very soon make Me come in such a way that everyone will see Me. I have killed so many kings and powerful demons who were fighting for Kamsa, but there are still some left."

yadavera vipaksa, yata dusta kamsa-paksa,
taha ami kailun saba ksaya
ache dui-cari jana, taha mari’ vrndavana,
ailama ami, janiha niscaya

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.156)

["I have already killed all the mischievous demons who are enemies of the Yadu dynasty, and I have also killed Kamsa and his allies, but there are two or four demons still alive. I want to kill them, and when I have done so, I shall return to Vrndavana very soon. Please know this for certain."]

"You may say, ‘Come immediately,’" Krsna tells Radhika and the gopis, "but if I am in Vraja, the demons will decide, ‘Krsna is there in Vrndavana with His father and mother, Nanda and Yasoda, and all His friends. We should try to kill them all. He has no fort, no army, and nothing with which to fight.’ That is why I purposely remain here in the fort of Dvaraka, surrounded by water on every side, and protected by many armies. If I were in Vrndavana and the opposition party came to know of it, I would not be able to save You. That is why I do not come right away. I must first kill the remaining demons."
sei satru-gana haite, vraja-jana rakhite,
rahi rajye udasina hana
yeba stri-putra-dhane, kari rajya avarane,
yadu-ganera santosa lagiya

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.157)

["I remain in My kingdom because I wish to protect the inhabitants of Vrndavana from the attacks of My enemies; otherwise I am indifferent to My royal position. Whatever wives, sons, and wealth I maintain in the kingdom are only for the satisfaction of the Yadus."]

Krsna continues, "My only consideration is that the Vrajavasis should not suffer or be disturbed. I live in Dvaraka, but I am indifferent to My kingdom and associates there, to My many queens, and to My numerous sons and daughters. I have no attachment for them. Rather, I am suffering due to deep separation from the Vrajavasis. Yeba stri-putra-dhane, kari rajya avarane. It is only to satisfy the Yadus that I have married so many princesses and live like a king in Dvaraka. They are my father’s friends. My father is Nanda Baba, and everyone in the Yadu dynasty, such as Vasudeva and the others, are friends of Nanda Baba. That is why I remain in Dvaraka; otherwise I would have already gone to Vrndavana."
tomara ye prema-guna, kare ama akarsana,
anibe ama dina dasa bise
punah asi’ vrndavane, vraja-vadhu toma-sane,
vilasiba rajani-divase

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.158)

"[Your loving qualities always attract Me to Vrndavana. Indeed, they will bring Me back within ten or twenty days, and when I return I shall enjoy both day and night with You and all the damsels of Vraja-bhumi."]

"I will kill the rest of the demons very quickly, within ten days. Then I will come back very soon. In fact, You can consider that I have already come."
eta tanre kahi krsna, vraje yaite satrsna,
eka sloka padi’ sunaila
sei sloka suni’ radha, khandila sakala badha,
krsna-praptye pratiti ha-ila

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.159)

["While Krsna was speaking to Srimati Radharani, He became very anxious to return to Vrndavana. He made Her listen to a verse that banished all Her difficulties, and which assured Her that She would attain Krsna again."]

mayi bhaktir hi bhutanam
amrtatvaya kalpate
distya yad asin mat-sneho
bhavatinam mad-apanah

Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.82.44)

["Any living being becomes qualified for eternal life by rendering devotional service to Me. But by Your good fortune, You have developed a special loving attitude toward Me, by which You have obtained Me."]

"Mayi bhaktir hi bhutanam amrtatvaya kalpate. Sadhanabhakti, devotional activities performed to attain Me, is like nectar, but Your bhakti is far superior to sadhana-bhakti. You have no anarthas, and You already have more than nistha, ruci, asakti, bhava, prema, and sneha." There are two kinds of sneha: ghrtasneha and madhu-sneha. Mana follows sneha, and there are two kinds of mana. There are also two kinds of pranaya, and after pranaya comes raga, anuraga, bhava, and finally mahabhava. Krsna tells the gopis, "You have everything. Sadhana-bhakti is very rare in this world, but what you have is not in this world. Your sneha, mana, pranaya, raga, and anuraga are only found in Goloka Vrndavana. This is the reason that I cannot control Myself, and I am always bound to follow you; there will be no delay in My coming to you."

That Love and How to Attain it

When Srimati Radhika was in Kadamba-kyari, She remembered Krsna deeply, with great love and affection. Weeping, She asked a bumblebee, "Krsna is coming? When is He coming? Is He on the way here? Can you tell Me? How is He? Does He remember His friends in Vraja-bhumi? Does He remember His father and mother? Does He remember us? Does He remember Me? Does He at least say to any of His queens, ‘Radha is not as intelligent as you.’ Or, does He perhaps tell one of them, ‘That garland is not as good as the one that the gopis used to make’?" While Radhika was speaking like this, She became unconscious.

This is the gopis’ love and affection for Krsna, and to attain it we should try to take up bhakti from the beginning stages – starting from initial faith, associating with pure devotees, accepting initiation from a bona fide guru, and engaging in services under his direction.

Don’t look here and there, otherwise maya will attract you. We should try to be like Krsna’s flute; there is nothing inside it. We should try to accept the "air vibration" that gurudeva breathes into "that flute," because he has taken the moods of pure bhakti from his guru-parampara, from Sri Radha-Krsna, and from Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Your speculation will not do. You may be a learned person in the material sense, but that will not help you in spiritual life. Your intelligence will betray you. You should know this truth, and then you will realize everything. Everything will come automatically.


Endnote 1 - Mahaprabhu "tested" Jagannatha by going behind the chariot to see if Jagannatha would continue onward without Him. Here Mahaprabhu is in the mood of Srimati Radhika, so She is testing Krsna to see if He is willing to go and be in Vrndavana with the other gopis if She is not there. Jagannatha’s stopping the chariot until Mahaprabhu pushed it very easily with His own head shows the superiority of Radhika over the other gopis.

Endnote 2 - Radhika had received a boon from Durvasa Rsi that whoever will eat her cooking will be very powerful, long-lived, and able to defeat all enemies.

Endnote 3 - Panaghata has two meanings. Pan is an abbreviation for pani, water. This ghata was originally called pani-ghata, and later on it became known as panaghata. Pan also means promise, and it is called panaghata because Krsna and the gopis promised to meet each other there.

Endnote 4 - This refers to the most elevated state of krsna-prema, which is experienced only by Srimati Radhika and which is comprehensible only to that person who directly experiences it.

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