Krsna took birth in Gokula. He manifested Himself partially in Mathura as well, but He Himself is fully the son of Mother Yasoda and Nanda Baba. In Mathura He did not appear as a son - He appeared with four hands, and was sixteen years old. He was wearing golden ornaments, a golden crown, and very opulent clothing, and His wavy hair was very long. In Gokula, on the other hand, He emerged from the womb of Yasoda as a baby, along with His younger sister. He was actually the son of Nanda and Yasoda, not their adopted son. Sometimes it is written that He was the son of Vasudeva and Devaki, but the Vrajavasis do not accept that idea. They personally saw Him come from the womb of Yasoda, so how could they believe that He took birth in Mathura? There was no birth ceremony in Mathura, but in Vraja, Nanda Baba gave thousands of cows to the brahmanas on Krsna's birthday. He donated everything and kept nothing in his house, but his house still filled up with wealth again. It was such a good festival.
Krsna was raised in Gokula, where Yasoda bound Him to the grinding mortar by her love and affection, and where so many other sweet pastimes took place. When Krsna became older, He went cowherding with His friends, playing sweetly on His flute. Over a period of time, He killed Trnavarta, Bakasura, Aghasura, and other demons. He performed the rasa-lila in Vrndavana, and He played at Vamsivata and Kesi-ghata. Then, after some time, Akrua came to Vrndavana and told Krsna, "Kamsa wants to kill Your father and mother, Vasudeva and Devaki." Krsna replied, "My father is Nanda Baba and My mother is Yasoda-maiya. But Vasudeva and Devaki are friends of My father and mother, so I should go and save them." He immediately went with Akrura, killed Kamsa, enthroned Ugrasena as the king, and after some time He went to Dvaraka.
Sri Sanatana Gosvami's Brhad-bhagavatamrta relates the following pastime that took place while Krsna was residing in Dvaraka. You have heard of Sri Narada Muni, who is very expert in performing many unfathomable pastimes to please Krsna. He is very near and dear to Krsna, and he always discovers new ways by which he can glorify Krsna's various manifestations and pure devotees. It may be said that Narada Muni is very "tricky," because no one can comprehend what he is doing, or why, or how, or where he is going. Krsna is "tricky," and so are His gopis, His mother, His Vraja, His Yamuna, and His devotees. Similarly, wherever Narada goes, only for the purpose of serving Krsna, he is always busy inventing unique ways to glorify his holy master Krsna, along with Radhika, the gopis, and the devotees.
Once Narada went to Dvaraka in order to see the ever-increasingly new glories of Krsna and the gopis. No one would understand who are the greatest devotees if Narada had not revealed this knowledge. He went to Dvaraka to discover a scheme to glorify them.
In the palace of Rukmini, Narada saw a big festival taking place. All the 16,108 queens were present, headed by the eight prominent queens, such as Rukmini, Satyabhama, Jambavati, Bhadra, Mitravinda, and Nagnajiti; and other Dvarakavasis were also there. Narada approached Rukmini, Satyabhama, and the other queens and said in their assembly, "You are very fortunate to serve Krsna. You are the best servants of Krsna. You are His queens. You are the most glorious in this entire world. I pay my respects to you." What Narada was really conveying to the queens was: "Krsna does not love any of you. I know that He only and always remembers the gopis. He does not really want to be with you - really He wants to return to Vrndavana and taste the love of the gopis."
Rukmini and Satyabhama became unhappy and informed Narada, "You are glorifying us, but we are well aware that we have not been able to make Krsna happy since the time He married us. Our love cannot control Him. There are so many of us, and we are very beautiful and qualified in all the arts, but still we cannot satisfy Him."
Rukmini said, "When He sleeps in my room, on my bed, He cries continually. Sometimes when He dreams, He takes hold of my veil and pulls on it, crying, 'O Radhika! O Radhika! Where are You? I will die without You! O Lalita, where are you? O Visakha, where are you?' Sometimes He weeps piteously and calls out, 'Mother Yasoda, where are you? I want to eat bread and butter! I want to sit in your lap! I want to drink your breast milk! Where are you?' Sometimes He calls His friends, 'O Sridama! Subala! Madhumangala! Kokila! Bhrnga! Where are you? Come on! Come on! I cannot maintain My life without you. Where are you? The cows are waiting and you aren't coming. Now it's time for cowherding. You must come.' And sometimes He even calls His cows, 'Syamali, Dhavali, Kalindi, Ganga, Pisanga! Where are you? Where are you?' He weeps like this throughout the night, and the entire bed becomes wet with His tears. And this did not happen on just one night - He is always like this. He never sees where we are or who we are. We are just 'there.'
"We are very sad. We are not near and dear to Him at all. If we're near and dear, why does He not call out, 'Rukmini! Satyabhama!'? He never calls out our names."
Then Satyabhama said, "O sakhi, you speak the truth. Last night He wept bitterly and pulled my veil, calling out, 'O Radha! O Radha!' He fell unconscious, and I could not think of what to do. What is the history behind this? Why does Krsna never look upon us, although we are married to Him? We are so sweet and beautiful, and we are so expert in all the arts, yet we cannot please Krsna. We want to know how we can please Him."
Meanwhile, Krsna was sitting in His assembly hall named Sudharma. This hall was equipped with all kinds of facilities. Sometimes it was large, sometimes small, sometimes cool, sometimes warm, and sometimes it was air-conditioned. It would provide whatever one desired simply by the power of his mind. Sometimes one hundred people would be present there, and sometimes thousands. It expanded and contracted, like Krsna Himself. While the queens were talking, Krsna's associates were sitting in the council chamber, discussing various problems and how to solve them. Ugrasena Maharaja sat on the throne in the middle, and Akrura, Krsna, Baladeva, Uddhava, and others sat beside him.
Krsna was not His normal self. He was somewhat upset, absorbed in worrying about something. In the Padma Purana it is said:
naham tisthami vaikuntheKrsna once told Narada, "I never live in Vaikuntha, nor do I live in the hearts of the yogis. I live in the hearts of pure devotees. I live wherever they remember me, and I take rest very comfortably there. I do not live anywhere else." It was for this reason that Krsna was upset. Being the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He could understand the following pastime was taking place in Rukmini's palace:
yoginam hrdayesu va
tatra tisthami narada
yatra gayanti mad-bhaktah
Mother Rohini entered in the midst of the queens. She was Baladeva Prabhu's mother, had lived in Vrndavana with Yasoda for many years, and had nourished and supported both Krsna and Baladeva. As soon as she came in, all the queens present offered her pranama and gave her a good seat. Then, when she was comfortably seated, they all approached her and said, "O Mother, we know that you were in Vraja when Krsna and Baladeva were babies, and you stayed there for eleven years. You know the history of all the gopis. You know about the love and affection of the gopis, of Mother Yasoda, and of all the Vrajavasis. We want to know the importance of Vraja. We want to know what it is about the nature of the Vrajavasis' love that makes Krsna unable to forget them. Many years have now passed. We have been serving Krsna for more than fifty years, but still He is not controlled by our loving service. He never calls out, 'O Rukmini! O Satyabhama!' Rather, He always calls, 'Radha! Radha! Lalita! Visakha!' What is the reason for all this?
"Sometimes His heart melts so much that He calls out, 'Mother! Mother Yasoda! Where are you? Give Me bread and butter. My cows are hungry. I must go out cowherding at once. The boys are calling Me - Dama, Sudama, Sridama, and others are calling Me. They are waiting for Me by the door, and all the cows are mooing very loudly. They are not giving milk to their calves, because they are all hankering for Me; so I must go at once.'
"He does not think, 'I am in Dvaraka with My beloved Rukmini and Satyabhama.' Why? What is there in Vraja? They do not have any wealth, as we do here. The gopis have no ornaments like us, and they are not as beautiful. They live in the forest, and they can only decorate themselves with flowers, not with gold and jewels as we do. Krsna used to go cowherding there, and here He is like a king, so why does He always remember them? Why has He given His heart to them? We want to know. Do they know some magic? Do they know an enchanting mantra? They must know one, and that must be why Krsna always remembers them and weeps for them.
"We are Krsna's 16,108 queens. We are the most beautiful ladies in the entire world, and our qualities and expertise in everything is unique and unparalleled. Still, all of us together can never control Him. Mother, what is the reason that He never looks toward us? Why is it that we cannot satisfy one Krsna although we are so many? We serve Him in innumerable ways and we love Him so much, but we cannot satisfy Him. He is only worried about the gopis - and about calling out to them. What is the reason? We want to know everything."
When Rohini-maiya remembered her friend Yasoda and all the gopis, she began to weep, and then she began to explain the reason. She related all of Krsna's pastimes, from boyhood up to His twelfth year. Meanwhile, Kamsa's mother came in their midst. Being more than a hundred years old, she was bent over with her head at an odd angle and walked with a stick. "This is very dangerous," she told them. "Why talk about the gopis and gopas? They are very cruel, very cruel. Yasoda could not nurture Krsna and Baladeva properly. They are the sons of Devaki, but somehow they were sent to Gokula because their parents were afraid of Kamsa. Yasoda never gave a drop of yogurt or butter to Krsna and Baladeva, so they were forced to steal them from neighbors' houses. Then, when the neighbors complained to Yasoda, she would immediately chastise Krsna, and sometimes She would tie His hands and bind Him to a grinding mortar. Yasoda and Nanda Baba were so cruel and evil that they never gave Krsna any shoes or sandals, although the forests were full of many thorns and hard pieces of stone. Don't talk about them.
"Krsna used to herd the cows from morning to evening all over Vraja, with no pay and without shoes or an umbrella to shield Him from the afternoon sun. There are great quantities of butter there in Vraja, but He never got any of it. Anyone would give butter even to a servant, but they never gave Him any.
"Yasoda once tied Krsna up with ropes. He was weeping bitterly, but that lady had no mercy. She took a stick and wanted to beat Him, although He was crying, 'Mother! Mother! Please don't beat Me! I will never do it again!' He never did anything wrong, but still she wanted to beat Him. On the other hand, my husband, Ugrasena, is extremely merciful.
"I think Krsna was there for twelve years, and during that entire time He only received a small quantity of milk from Mother Yasoda. Between the ages of five and twelve years He and Balarama were merely given some bread and butter. So we should count how much Yasoda and Nanda Baba spent on Krsna during those twelve years. We should also count how many days He herded the cows there, and we also have to consider that sometimes He went to others' houses and stole their goods. They should pay Krsna and Baladeva some money for the cow-grazing they did. But on the other hand, Krsna received at least some clothing from them. Anyway, we will count everything up and call Gargacarya, because he is an expert accountant, as well as an astrologer. He knows everything. When he writes the accounts, he will make a statement regarding the salary owed to Krsna and Baladeva for cowherding, and what was actually already spent on them.
"We will not pay for Rohini, because she is a member of the party of Nanda, Yasoda, and the gopis. We will never pay for her. We can only pay for Krsna and Baladeva. There should be a report. When the accounts are written and balanced, if anything is owed to Yasoda and Nanda, we will pay double."
Rohini became more and more angry as Padmavati continued, "My husband is extremely broadminded, generous, and merciful. If anything is owed to Yasoda and Nanda, we can pay double, and if something is owed for Krsna and Baladeva's herding the cows, we will immediately be compassionate and say, 'We will not take anything.' So we are going to call Gargacarya."
Mother Rohini then became extremely angry and said, "I know who you are!" Padmavati was the wife of Ugrasena, but Kamsa was not Ugrasena's son. Once, when Padmavati was very young, she was playing with her friends on the bank of the Yamuna in the evening. A demon named Drumila approached her in a lusty mood, and that is how Kamsa was conceived. Rohini continued, "I know that you are not a chaste lady, and that is why you can't understand the glory of the Vrajavasis' love and affection."
Rohini stopped speaking to Padmavati and now addressed the queens. One by one, she explained the moods of Nanda Baba, Yasoda, Subala, and Sridama; and at last she began to speak about the gopis. She said, "The Vrajavasis love Krsna so much that they cannot live without Him. When Krsna and Baladeva were still very young, they wanted to take the cows out to graze, so they told Mother Yasoda again and again, 'Mother, we want to go cowherding, because we are gopas. Please give us the order to go.' When they were not given permission, they began to weep. At last, Mother Yasoda told them, 'You may go with the calves to a nearby forest in Vrndavana, but You must return home soon.' She brought them very beautiful shoes and umbrellas to shade them from the sun, but Krsna told her, 'The cows are worshipable for us because they are like our mothers. If you want to give Me shoes, then bring shoes for all the 900,000 cows. You should bring 400,000 shoes for every 100,000 cows, because they each have four feet. Bring umbrellas for all of them, too, and then I will also take the shoes and umbrella; otherwise I won't. I don't want to be their master. I want to be a servant of the cows, because I am a gopa. Gopa means maintainer, supporter, and nourisher of the cows - as their servant.'
"Yasoda once told Krsna, 'My son, all the gopis come to me and complain that You have been going to their houses and taking butter from their storerooms.' Krsna said, 'Mother, why are you speaking like this? Maiya, main nahin makkhana khaya - Mother, why do you say that I have stolen butter? I have not stolen butter and eaten it. You sent Me cowherding in Madhuvana in the very early morning, so I went there, and I was always with the cows. Now it's evening, so I have come back with the cows, and after this I will go to bed. When did I have time to steal butter? If you think I've stolen it, then it must be because I'm not your son. Either you've borrowed Me, or else I took birth somewhere and My mother left Me, and that is why you think I'm a thief. I want to go to the Yamuna and jump in - I will not live with you anymore.'
"Yasoda at once began to weep bitterly. She embraced Krsna and said, 'O Krsna, You have not taken butter. I have not said this.' Krsna replied, 'Mother, I have taken butter: Maiya, main ne hi makkhana khaya,' and Yasoda replied to Him, 'No, no, You have not taken butter.' Then she began to caress Krsna. She wept and bathed Him in her tears, and milk flowed spontaneously from her breasts. Yasoda cried, 'I will never say such a thing again.' "
Rohini-devi continued, "The Vrajavasis only know that Krsna is their son, their beloved, or their friend. You sometimes think that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, and you can see His four hands, but this idea is never present in Vraja. The Vrajavasis see Krsna as an innocent boy. He is always dancing and playing on His flute, His turban is decorated with a peacock feather, and all the gopis are His beloveds. He is Gopi-jana-vallabha, the beloved of all the gopis.
"The gopis do not require a formal relationship with Krsna. Since childhood They have given their hearts and everything else to Him, and therefore He cannot repay them. Oh, listen attentively. The gopis never want to gain anything from Krsna. They always serve Him without any desire for self-gain. In Dvaraka, you, Rukmini and Satyabhama, are Krsna's wives, but not His beloveds. Do you know why? Because your love and affection is divided into many fractions. Besides your husband Krsna, you each have ten sons and a daughter as well. Your one husband plus these eleven make twelve, so your love and affection is divided into twelve parts. The gopis' love, on the other hand, is not divided. They have given up their husbands, they have no children, they do not take care of their houses, and they have no animals - they have nothing to look after. Their love and affection is akhanda - total, full, and undivided.
"In the relationship of a lover and beloved, a lady gives her entire time for her beloved, but her love and affection becomes divided if a child is born. She will give much more time to the baby than to her husband. If she has ten or eleven children, her love and affection will then be divided still further."
Rohini explained that when the gopis perform any duty, such as sweeping in their homes, they always keep Krsna foremost in their minds and hearts. They sweep, and at the same time they chant, "Govinda Damodara Madhaveti," and while cooking, they sing, "Govinda Damodara Madhaveti." If a gopi is looking after her elders' small son and she wants him to sleep, she pats him and sings, "Govinda Damodara Madhaveti." The gopis do not tell the babies, "Go to sleep, go to sleep." Instead they sing, "Govinda Damodara Madhaveti." If they are threshing corn, wheat, or rice, they sing, "Govinda Damodara Madhaveti." There are some parrots in the gopis' homes, and very early in the morning, at four a.m., they teach those parrots, "Repeat after me: 'Govinda Damodara Madhaveti.' "
The minds and hearts of the gopis are always absorbed in Krsna. Their minds and hearts are like a chariot on which Krsna is always sitting, and His mind and heart is like a chariot on which the gopis ride. Krsna always thinks of the gopis, calling, "Radhe, Radhe, Radhe, Jaya, Jaya, Jaya, Sri Radhe..." He always remembers, "Radha, Radha! Lalita! Visakha! Mother Yasoda!"
Krsna's love and affection is divided into many parts. In the Gita (4.11) He has promised, "ye yatha mam prapadyante - I will remember those who remember Me," and He is bound to keep His promise. He will go to that place where His devotee remembers Him and chants His name. He is very loving towards the Vrajavasis, but at the same time, He cannot give up the devotees of Mathura, Dvaraka, or other parts of India or the rest of the world. If anyone chants, He will go to that person. He always remembers them, and He always feels great separation from them. Consequently, His love is divided; but the gopis' love is not divided, and that is why He is so attached to them.
Mother Rohini continued, "Krsna used to wipe the faces of the gopis when they became tired from dancing and singing during the rasa-lila. The gopis can sing more sweetly than He can. He can sing, 'sa, re, ga, ma, pa,' but the gopis can do more than this. Krsna will stop there, but they will sing, 'sa, re, ga, ma, pa, da, ni, sa.' When Krsna heard them He became very happy and said, 'Sadhu, sadhu! Very good! I cannot do as you have done.' He always used to praise them."
The gopis' rati, their love and affection for Krsna in mahabhava, is called samartha-rati. The word samartha means capable, suitable, and complete; therefore samartha-rati means "capable of controlling Krsna." The rati of the queens of Dvaraka is called samaijasa, which means that it is doubtful that their love can control Krsna. They are not like the gopis, whose love is capable of controlling Him. The gopis' prema is so elevated that the queens' love can never even be compared with it. The queens' love reaches the stages of prema, sneha, mana, pranaya, raga, and anuraga. Sometimes they attain a shadow of mahabhava, and sometimes they experience divyonmada and citra-jalpa, but only to a very slight extent. Their asta-sattvika-bhavas cannot go up to ujjvalita (blazing) and prajvalita (inflamed). Their bhava may go up to dhumayita, which is compared to a flame covered with smoke. Sometimes their bhava is also without smoke, in other words more intense, but it is never as high as that of the gopis. The "smokeless" flame of the gopis' love goes up to the highest extent.
Mother Rohini then began to glorify Srimati Radhika's affection for Krsna. She said, "Once Srimati Radhika was sitting on Krsna's lap. A bee came by, humming, thinking that Her feet were a very fragrant, sweet and tasteful lotus flower. It wanted to enter Her lotus feet and Radhika became frightened. She tried to chase the bee away, but it kept coming back. Meanwhile, Madhumangala came and drove it away with his stick. When he returned, he boasted, 'Madhusudana has gone. I have driven him away and he will not come back.' When Srimati Radhika heard this, She forgot that She was sitting in Krsna's lap and being caressed by Him, and She began to weep. Taking the word Madhusudana to mean Krsna Himself, She cried out, 'O Madhusudana! Where have You gone? When will You come back? You must come, otherwise I will die.' Speaking in this way, She became unconscious in Her mood of separation. Astonished, Krsna thought, 'What shall I do? How will I pacify Her?' "
Rohini-maiya continued, "Once Krsna was going cowherding with Dama, Sridama, Madhumangala, and all the other cowherd boys and His hundreds of thousands of cows. Some of the cows were black, some were golden, and some were white, and it looked as though the rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and Sarasvati were mixing together and separating again. All that could be seen for miles and miles were the heads and bodies of cows. Krsna was just going to enter the forest, and Mother Yasoda and Nanda Baba were following Him. They could not leave Him easily, although Krsna told them, 'It is My wish that you return home now.' Just then, Krsna somehow saw Lalita, Visakha, and all the other gopis as they peered from their windows, groves, and doors here and there. Krsna was at once attracted, and then he saw Srimati Radhika."
venu-karan nipatitah skhalitam sikhandamIn this verse (Sri-Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi (39)), Prabodhananda Sarasvati Thakura is explaining that Krsna saw Srimati Radhika performing arcana from the corners of Her eyes, and He very lovingly accepted Her glance. He began to tremble, His flute fell from His hands, and His yellow garment fell from His shoulders. He was just about to faint when Madhumangala pushed Him and said, "Don't You see that Your father Nanda Baba is here? What are You doing?"
bhrastam ca pita-vasanam vraja-raja-sunoh
Krsna is controlled by this kind of love and affection. The gopis have so much affection that they think that they have only a little.
dhanyah sma mudha-gatayo 'py harinya eta[(The gopis lamented:) The female deer are coming with their husbands. Their husbands are somewhat black in color, so they are called Krsna-sara. Their husbands tell them, "You can happily go and see Krsna. Don't fear - we are with you." Our husbands are just the opposite. If they see us talking with Krsna or looking at Him, they come and chastise us. We want to die and take birth again as deer. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.21.11)]
ya nanda-nandanam upatta-vicitra-vesam
akarnya venu-ranitam saha krsna-sarah
pujam dadhur viracitam pranayavalokaih
Sometimes Krsna becomes upset because He lacks the moods enjoyed by Srimati Radhika, Lalita, and Visakha. Therefore He comes in the form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to learn those moods. Mahaprabhu went to Godavari and met Sri Raya Ramananda, who is Visakha-devi in his gopi-svarupa, and there He underwent training for many days. After that He went to the Gambhira, and only then was He able to taste something of Radhika's love. The moods of the gopis are thus very high.
Krsna is the ocean of rasa, the mellows exchanged in transcendental loving relationships. He Himself is rasa, and He is also rasika, the taster of rasa. At one and the same time, He is eka-rasa (one rasa) and aneka-rasa (many rasas). When He is eka-rasa, there is nothing in all the three worlds, even in Goloka Vrndavana, that is not in Him. He is purnatama, most complete. He knows everything; nothing is unknown to Him. When He is aneka-rasa, however, there is a certain mixture of rasas that He both knows and does not know. Although He knows the rasa (the taste that He experiences) in Himself, He does not know the rasa in Srimati Radhika. He knows what He can taste as the enjoyer, but He does not know what is tasted by the enjoyed. The pastimes of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sacinandana Gaurahari, are a mixture of both eka-rasa and aneka-rasa. Eka-rasa is fully in Krsna, but aneka-rasa is fully in Caitanya Mahaprabhu, because in Him Srimati Radhika is present with Krsna.
What are the moods in Radhika? They are of mahabhava, and especially adhirudha and madana. Even if Srimati Radhika is sitting on the lap of Krsna, She may forget that She is with Him. She thinks, "Where am I? Where has Krsna gone?" She feels such separation in meeting that Krsna cannot imagine its depth. He thinks, "I am here, and She is on my lap. My hand is on Her shoulder, and yet She is searching for Me, crying, 'Where is He? Where is He?' Why is this so?"
To understand Radhika's mood, Krsna assumed the form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sometimes it is said that He stole it, and sometimes it is said that He begged for it. Radhika gave Him something of Her mood, and in the form of Sri Gadadhara Pandita, She was testing to see whether He was playing Her part well or not.
In this way there is something that Krsna never knows, and that is the mood of Radhika, the nature of Her love for Him, and the way in which She tastes the madhuris (sweet mellows) of His flute playing, His beautiful face, His form, His qualities, and His pastimes. Although those madhuris exist in Krsna Himself, He does not fully know their sweetness - He cannot taste their sweetness fully. In aneka-rasa, therefore, Krsna lacks something and He has to go to the school of the gopis. There, Srimati Radhika is like the principal, and Visakha and Lalita are like departmental heads, and there He learns something about love and affection.
You should know that if one performs bhajana of Radha-Krsna Yugala, and at the same time worships Dvarakadhisa and Rukmini or Satyabhama, Srimati Radharani will give him up. She will say, "Go to the queens in Dvaraka."
An incident occurred one hundred and fifty years ago, in a place in India called Ranavadi, a village in Vraja-mandala. A very advanced devotee lived there, and he always remembered Radhika and Krsna and Their eternal pastimes throughout the eight prahara (periods) of the day. He was so absorbed that he almost forgot his body, senses, and everything else. One day, however, he had a desire to go to the places of pilgrimage. As he had never been to Dvaraka before, he especially desired to go there. In the meantime, a brahmana of his village came to him and said, "I am going to Dvaraka. If you want, you can come with me. I will pay the full fare and take care of everything." The devotee replied, "Yes, I want to go with you." So they traveled here and there together, and finally arrived in Dvaraka.
There is a rule in Dvaraka that if one wants to enter its territory he must be stamped with the hot firebrand of a cakra. The brand will remain throughout his life, but he will receive some medicine so that it will not be like a scar. That devotee from Vrndavana was branded, and then he entered the city and had darsana of many places there. After that, he returned to his own place in Vrndavana and tried to resume his bhajana. However, something strange occurred when he wanted to remember all of Krsna's pastimes: the pastimes no longer came in his memory, and instead he remembered incidents from Dvaraka and other places. He became very, very worried and disturbed because of not being able to chant and remember as he had done before. He wanted to know the cause of his misfortune, but he could not discern it. Although he practiced for many days, the lilas did not manifest as before.
This Babaji Maharaja had a very dear friend who lived at Radha-kunda. He was called Siddha Krsnadasa Babaji, and he was always absorbed in remembering Krsna, and in chanting. Tears constantly fell from his eyes, and his heart was always melted. Babaji Maharaja went to visit his friend, but when Siddha Krsnadasa saw him from a distance, he turned away and refused to converse with him. "Go away from here at once," he said, "otherwise Srimati Radhika will be displeased with me as well. I know that you have gone to Dvaraka and you have accepted the firebrand there. Why have you come here? If Radhika knows that you have come to me, She will be displeased with me. Go at once. At once!"
That devotee became very upset and thought, "If the pastimes of Radhika and Krsna do not come in my meditation, what is the use of my life?" He returned to his bhajana-kutira and locked the door from inside in a mood of great separation from Srimati Radhika. After three days a fire emanated from his heart, and he was totally consumed, so that only some ashes remained. The villagers could not understand why he had not come out for three days, and finally they broke open the door and saw that there were only the ashes remaining. "Perhaps Babaji was in a mood of separation," they said. When they put some wooden sticks in those ashes, the sticks burned at once, and thus they realized, "Yes, Babaji has left his body in separation." To this very day, the residents of that village celebrate his disappearance day.
Srimati Radhika may give up a devotee if he worships Radhika and Krsna of Vraja, but is simultaneously remembering Rukmini and Satyabhama, and offering pranama and arcana to them. You should know all these truths. Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura have written that you should be one-pointed in your devotion to your gurudeva and your istadeva. You can honor everyone, including trees, creepers, animals, and devotees who are favorable to Krsna, and even those who are not favorable. You can think that Krsna is everywhere, and that all beings are His eternal servants in their constitutional spiritual forms. However, if one takes initiation in the rupanuga line and is trying to be one-pointed, especially in trying to be a servant of Radhika, he cannot honor everyone in the same way. He cannot think that all are in the same category. Dvarakadhisa-Krsna and Vrajesa-Krsna are not the same. They are the same, but at the same time, They are different.
If one is just entering bhakti, there is no harm in worshiping Jagannatha, Rukmini, Satyabhama, Ramacandra, Nrsimhadeva, Gaura-Nitai, and also Radha-Krsna. However, this is not for advanced madhyama-adhikaris in Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's line. One will have to be determined in one-pointed devotion; otherwise, Srimati Radhika, the gopis, and Yogamaya will give him up. Though all incarnations and expansions are the same in tattva-siddhanta, there is some difference from the perspective of rasa. One cannot remain a neophyte devotee forever. He should gradually learn all these truths and try to become one-pointed.
There is no harm in worshiping Jagannatha if one sees Him as Vrajendra-nandana Syamasundara, which is how He appears in the eyes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Rupa Gosvami. Whenever Mahaprabhu went to the Jagannatha Temple, He did not see Baladeva Prabhu and Subhadra. He simply thought, "O Vrajendra-nandana!" and He ran like a mad person to embrace Him. He never saw Jagannatha's large, round eyes, and He never saw Him without His peacock feather and flute. He thought, "Krsna is there, playing on His flute, His eyes are very attractive, and He is wearing a large peacock feather."
Do you see that very Krsna there in Jagannatha Puri? Do you see Radhika? At present you do not see Them, and therefore, in order to achieve this vision, you should be one-pointed to your gurudeva. There may be many Siksa-gurus, but one Siksa-guru should be prominent so that we can follow him and give him our hearts. Even the cloud, the mountain, the earth, and the python may be our Siksa-gurus, but one Siksa-guru should be prominent, and he is similar to our diksa-guru. There is no difference between the two. Sometimes the Siksa-guru may be superior to the diksa-guru, sometimes the diksa-guru may be superior, or they may be on the same level.
From the beginning, we should be one-pointed to Vrajendra-nandana Krsna. That Krsna should not simply be Gopi-kanta, the beloved of the gopis, because if He is, then He may also be Candravali-kanta, Padma-kanta, and Saibya-kanta. We should be one-pointed to Radha-kanta and pray, radha-kanta namo 'stu te. This is a very deep and high siddhanta. During the Ratha-yatra Festival, Caitanya Mahaprabhu engaged in many elevated dialogues with His intimate associate, Svarupa Damodara, about the difference between the love of the gopis and that of the queens of Dvaraka. If one has some taste and greed to follow the gopis, and his aim and object is samartha-rati, then he can know something about these topics. This is the essence of the entire Chariot Festival.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu added to the meaning of the Ratha-yatra Festival, turning it in a different way than previously performed. He made Gundica like Sundaracala, Vrndavana, while the Jagannatha Puri temple in Nilacala represented Dvaraka. All the gopis were in a mood of great separation at their Gundica Mandira, just as they were in Vrndavana. That is why, after Jagannatha had been in the Puri temple for an entire year, He made an excuse to leave. He told His wife Laksmi, "I am so sick. I need to go somewhere else for ten days, for a change. I will go and then return very quickly." That is how He got permission from Laksmi to go. (See Endnote 1)
Jagannatha-deva took Baladeva with Him, because Baladeva had taken birth in Gokula as Rohini-suta, the son of Rohini. His sister Subhadra is a manifestation of Yogamaya, and she always used to associate with Rohini, so she knew the glories of the gopis and gopas. She requested Krsna, "Brother, I want to go with you. Please take me." And He replied "Yes, you can come." Laksmi never knew where Krsna desired to go. None of the queens ever knew. Vimala-devi,3 who represents the queens of Dvaraka, never knew, and that is why she allowed Him to go.
Krsna was so engaged in playing in the groves with the gopis that He forgot to return. On the fifth day, called Hera-pancami, Laksmi became very worried and wondered, "Where has my husband gone?" She searched here and there, but could not discover His whereabouts. Then, adorned with great opulence, she sat on a golden chariot and went to search further with many associates, who were holding sticks and other paraphernalia. When they arrived at the Gundica Mandira and saw Krsna's chariot there, the associates of Laksmi picked up their sticks and began to beat the chariot. They captured all the associates of Jagannatha, who were all actually associates of Mahaprabhu and who represented the gopis. When Krsna entered a room and locked it from the inside, Laksmi told the gopis, "You must return Him; otherwise I will come again and punish you, and Krsna as well." After speaking like this, She returned.
rathera upare kare dandera tadana[All the maidservants began to beat the chariot with sticks, and they treated the servants of Lord Jagannatha almost like thieves. Finally all of Lord Jagannatha's servants submitted to the goddess of fortune with folded hands, assuring her that they would bring Lord Jagannatha before her the very next day. Being thus pacified, the goddess of fortune returned to her apartment. Just see! My goddess of fortune is opulent beyond all description. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 14.211-13]
cora-praya kare jagannathera sevaka-gana
saba bhrtya-gana kahe, - yoda kari' hata
kali ani diba tomara age jagannatha'
tabe santa hana laksmi yaya nija ghara
amara laksmira sampad - vakya-agocara
Mahaprabhu added this idea to the Ratha-yatra Festival, that the gopis brought Krsna from the mandira in Nilacala - they brought Him from Dvaraka.
sei ta parana-natha painu[(Srimati Radhika said) Now I have gained the Lord of My life, in the absence of whom I was being burned by Cupid and was withering away. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 13.113)].
yaha lagi' madana-dahane jhuri' genu
This singing of Radhika and the gopis is the deep mood behind the Ratha-yatra Festival. They were pulling the ropes of Jagannatha's chariot by their moods of separation, and He was coming with them to Vrndavana. Caitanya Mahaprabhu was in the mood of Radhika, and therefore, when He came in front of the ratha, it made a hada hada, hada hada (cracking) sound. It was coming - running - toward Gundica Mandira. In the mood of Radhika, Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not think, "I am Krsna." Rather, He saw Krsna in the deity of Jagannatha.
Rohini-maiya related many pastimes, and all the queens were listening eagerly. As Krsna sat in His Sudharma assembly hall, He was aware that Rohini was speaking in Rukmini's palace, and He could no longer remain where he was. He wanted to go to the place where Rohini-maiya was talking about Vrndavana, and at once He arrived at her door with Baladeva. Subhadra was already standing guard at the door, and as she heard Rohini's words she said, "Brother, You cannot go in. Maiya Rohini will rebuke me if I let You enter. She told me, Stay by the door, and make sure that no males come here - not even Krsna and Baladeva. If they come, stop them.' So please remain here. You can go in when the discussion is finished."
Although Subhadra stopped Krsna and Baladeva from entering, they could hear through the door what Rohini was telling the queens. Krsna was standing at Subhadra-devi's left, and Baladeva Prabhu at her right, and together they began to listen very carefully. As Rohini-maiya continued to speak, her heart began to melt, and all the queens were struck with wonder. As she described the glories of the love and affection of Vrndavana, Krsna became so absorbed that His own heart began to melt, and His fingers also melted in that love and affection. As all three heard about the glories of the gopis and how they love Krsna, they all began to melt. They wept, and as they wept, their hands melted, their feet melted, their mouths melted, and only the shapes of the Jagannatha deities remained. At that time Rohini-maiya could not continue her description. She could no longer speak, for she had fainted from her bitter weeping.
Gradually, Krsna began to return to external consciousness, and His former shape began to come back, little by little. When His form had fully returned to its normal features, Krsna entered the palace room and saw that Mother Rohini had fainted. Then He saw Narada, who was looking very guilty, thinking, "I am responsible for all these incidents. I said something to Rukmini and Satyabhama, and then they called Mother Rohini and she began to speak about all these topics. So I am guilty." As he was thinking like this, Krsna told him, "I think all this has happened only because of you - you are the main cause. Perhaps you said something to the queens to worry them, and that is why they began questioning Mother Rohini. You are the root cause of these events. I am very happy - very happy. You reminded Me of Vraja, and I heard its glories. I want to give you a boon. You may ask Me for anything."
Narada then became very happy as well, and he told Krsna, "I want this boon: all three of you melted when you heard about your pastimes, and the glories of the gopis and Vrajavasis. My desire is that you will remain in those forms somewhere in this world, and that the whole world will see you. In that form, you will be patita-pavana, the savior of the fallen, and the entire world will be liberated by your darsana. That is what I want. Your hands and feet shrank and you melted completely. Everything was melted, and at that time you were absorbed in love and affection. I want the deities of you three to be manifest in this world and worshiped everywhere. People throughout the world will see you, they will learn this history, and they will develop pure love and affection for you."
Krsna replied, "Yes. Tato'stu - it will be. I will manifest these three deities and Sudarsana cakra in Jagannatha Puri, on the bank of the ocean. We will always remain there. There is a mountain called Niladri there, and that mountain is in the shape of a tortoise or a conchshell. I will always be there, and everyone will be able to see us."
It is because of this incident that the deity of Jagannatha smiled when speaking to King Indradyumna. Jagannatha-deva had been remembering this pastime of Rohini-maiya speaking to the queens, and also His promise to Narada Rsi.
Why did Krsna mention Sudarsana cakra here? Su means "very good" and darsana means "vision." If Sudarsana does not give you eyes, if he does not help you by purifying you and giving you transcendental vision, you cannot actually see Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra. You will think they are made of wood, and not very beautiful. But if Sudarsana gives you this light, this vision, then you can realize, "He is Vrajendra-nandana Syamasundara." This history of the appearance of Jagannatha is very lovely, and You are fortunate to hear it.
1. This subject is more elaborately discussed in Chapter 7, Hera-pancami, wherein Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates enjoy seeing the enactment of this drama.