(The Glory of Sri Goloka)
The Nectar of the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
Part Two Sri Goloka-mahatmya (The Glory of Sri Goloka),
Chapter One: Vairagya (Renunciation)
Obeisances to Lord Sri Krsna, the son of Vasudeva.
1 Sri Janamejaya said: My father, who dearly loved Lord Krsna, taught the rare, secret meaning of the scriptures to my mother.
Note: Srila Sanatana Gosvami begins his Digdarsini Tika commentary with the following prayers:
O Lord dressed in yellow silk, I who am full of love for You, have tied You with the ropes of hearing about Krsna, the ropes of meditating on You, and the chains of chanting Your names. Now I hold You tightly. You will never escape.
Obeisances to Lord Sri Gopinatha. Obeisances to Lord Sri Caitanyadeva. By taking shelter of the jewel of His form, even this dull and foolish person dances wonderfully.
2 O best of sages, as I drink the Bhagavatam-ocean's nectar, which is fragrant with the lotus flower of Your mouth, I am still not satiated.
3 O wise one, please relate more of the nectarean conversation of mother and son, who both relished the nectar of Lord Krsna's lotus feet.
Note: Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the mother is Uttara and the son Maharaj Pariksit.
4 Sri Jaimini said: O king, what they said even the all-knowing sages and the seers of Brahman cannot know or describe by their own powers.
Note: Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the topic of their conversation was the glory of Goloka Vrndavana.
5 By the mercy of Sukadev Gosvami, who is an ocean of the nectar of devotion to Krsna, I stayed by the side of King Pariksit and Uttara-devi and directly heard what they said.
Note: Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that only the mercy of a great devotee can one understand or speak the nectar of Srimad Bhagavatam.
6 O fortunate one, now please hear the glory of Goloka, which although a great secret, the Vedas say may be revealed to an affectionate disciple.
7 When she heard this description of Lord Krsna's great mercy, your grandmother became filled with bliss.
8-9 Wishing to hear of (1) the result of great devotion to Lord Gopikanta and (2) the Lord's pastime-place above Vaikuntha, and not fully understanding them in her heart, she asked Sri Pariksit:
10 Sri Uttara said: Three worlds are abodes for materialistic householders who perform pious deeds. Above them are four worlds that are abodes for they who are not householders.
Note: Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the three worlds are the Bhuh, Bhuvah, and Svah planets. The householders here wish to enjoy the fruits of their work. Householders that have no material desires, by performing prescribed duties may go to Maharloka or the other higher planets, and, when their hearts are pure, may become liberated. This is described in Srimad Bhagavatam (4.24.29):
"A person who executes his occupational duty properly for one hundred births becomes qualified to occupy the post of Brahma, and if he becomes more qualified, he can approach Lord Shiva. A person who is directly surrendered to Lord Krsna, or Vishnu, in unalloyed devotional service is immediately promoted to the spiritual planets. Lord Shiva and other demigods attain these planets after the destruction of this material world."*
The persons who are not householders are the naistika-brahmacaris, vanaprasthas, and sannyasis. The four realms they attain are Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka, and Satyaloka. The ultimate fate of these renounced souls is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.6.20):
"The Spiritual world, which consists of three-fourths of the Lord's energy, is situated beyond this material world, and it is especially meant for those who will never be reborn. Others, who are attached to family life and who do not strictly follow celibacy vows, must live within the three material worlds."*
11 When their enjoyments are ended they all return. Some who go to Maharloka and the other higher planets become liberated with Lord Brahma.
Note: Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains they who have material desires again take birth, but they who have no material desires and only act out of duty become liberated.
12 Some, after enjoying on Arcirloka and other planets, attain liberation. The renounced souls devoted to transcendental knowledge attain liberation at once.
Note: Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that Arcih is the demigod of fire and the other planets here are the planets in the Sisumara circle. This is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.2.24-31.
13 The Lord's devotees that have material desires enjoy according to their own desires and when they become purified they also attain that abode.
14 The devotees that have no material desires at once attain the blissful spiritual realm of Vaikuntha, which even the liberated souls cannot attain.
Note: Srila Sanatana Gosvami here quotes the description of Vaikuntha in Srimad Bhagavatam 2.2.17-18, 2.9.9-10, and 10.28.14-15.
15 Eternally and in many different ways experiencing there the happiness of direct service to Lord Krsna's lotus feet, a happiness that eclipses impersonal liberation, they feel great bliss.
16 Some are devotees situated in knowledge (jnana-bhakta), some are pure devotees (suddha-bhakta), some are devotees situated in love (prema-bhakta), some are devotees situated in great love (premapara-bhakta), and some are overwhelmed by love (prematura-bhakta).
Note: Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that here four and a half, with the jnana-bhaktas the half, kinds of love are described. The devotion of the jnana-bhaktas is mixed with the desire for knowledge. The knowledge here is not the pathetic liberation of the impersonalists, but rather the awareness of the glories of serving the Lord's lotus feet. Maharaj Bharata is an example of the jnana-bhaktas.
The suddha-bhaktas are devoted to the nine processes of devotional service. Their devotion is not distracted by fruitive work, the desire for knowledge, or non-devotional renunciation. Maharaj Ambarisa is an example of the suddha-bhaktas.
The prema-bhaktas want only to serve the Lord's lotus feet with love. Hanuman is an example of the prema-bhaktas.
The premapara-bhaktas are the Lord's affectionate associates who by the Lord's boundless mercy are tied by the chains of affectionately gazing at the Lord, gazing at the Lord with the longings of love, friendship with the Lord, and close friendship where they joke with the Lord. The Pandavas are examples of the premapara-bhaktas.
The prematura-bhaktas are always overwhelmed by the treasure of wonderful love. Uddhava and the Yadavas are examples of the prematura-bhaktas.
Although Vaikuntha cannot be attained without love for the Lord, there are varying degrees of that love. Thus the prema-bhaktas are better than the suddha-bhaktas, the premapara-bhaktas better than the prema-bhaktas, and the prematura-bhaktas better than the premapara-bhaktas.
17 These different kinds of devotees do not attain the same results. Still, in Vaikuntha one is not considered better than the others.
18 Sarupya-mukti, Samipya-mukti, and the other kinds of liberation are also all equal. What place is better than Vaikuntha? The Vedas do not say.
Note: Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that sarupya-mukti is the liberation where one attains a four-armed form like the Lord's, and samipya-mukti is the liberation where one always stays near the Lord.
19 Each in his own part of Vaikuntha, each according to his own kind of love, and each attaining his own object of love, everyone is happy.
Note: Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that Ayodhya, Dvaraka and the many other abodes of the Lord are situated in Vaikuntha. This is described in the Vedic literatures:
The Lord's many favourite cities that rest on the earth also exist in Vaikuntha so the Lord may enjoy different pastimes in them.
20 The devotees in the different mellow have all attained the highest happiness. Still, what is the destination of they who are devoted to the Lord who performs the rasa-lila?
21-22 My heart is not happy if others attain the same destination attained by the loving devotees who chant the holy names and who, indifferent to all material goals, yearn to become Sri Radha's maidservants. I cannot tolerate that others attain the same destination as that attained by Nanda, Yasoda and their associates.
Note: Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the "others" here are the Pandavas and Yadavas.
23 The most sublime of millions of glories rest in them as many rivers enter the ocean.
24 They must have their own place above Vaikuntha. Please show it to me and rescue me.
Note: Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the word "prakasya" means "please show me by describing it" and "uddharasva" means "please rescue me from this ocean of unhappiness filled with waves of doubts and whirlpools of illusions."
The description of the glories of Goloka Vrndavana, which is above the material worlds, which is not destroyed at the time of cosmic devastation, and which is above even the realms of Vaikuntha, is the answer to this question of Uttara-devi.
25 Sri Jaimini said: Delighted by his mother's beautiful question, the son bowed before her and shedding tears and the hairs of his body erect in ecstasy, began to speak.
26 Sri Pariksit said: O mother for whom Lord Krsna is your very life and who cannot bear separation from Him, you can ask such a question. Others cannot.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the word "Krsna-jivite" may also mean "you whom Krsna rescued from Asvatthama's' brahmastra-weapon".
That Uttara could not bear separation from Lord Krsna is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.10.9-10.
That Lord Krsna is her very life and that she cannot bear separation from Him show that Uttara is a very exalted devotee. For this reason it is proper for her, and not others, to ask this question.
27 In your womb I have taken a very pious birth as the grandson of Subhadra's husband, who was your dear friend.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that Subhadra was Lord Krsna's sister and her husband was Arjuna.
28-32 Bowing down before Lord Krsna who, holding a club and cakra, in your own womb protected both you and me from the brahmastra, who in my childhood made me search, as the great devotees do, again and again for His own form in the world of men, who gave me the virtues of the great souls, who made me famous for subduing Kali, who gave me wonderful royal opulence, who filled me with despair by arranging a brahmana's curse, who in the form of His disciple told me of the curse, which I welcomed, who as Lord Vasudeva dragged me from the blind well of my home and made me sit by the Ganges, fasting until death, who in the form of Sri Sukadev Gosvami taught me the truth in the assembly of sages, dispelled my fears, and delighted me, who by giving me the company of His dear devotees now makes me drink the nectar of words about Him, and who is kind without limit, I, nourished by the brahmana's words, with a single heart, at this, my last moment, will speak the answer to your question, an answer that contains the essence of all Vaishnava scriptures.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that these activities of King Pariksit are described in the following verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.12.9, 10.1.6, 1.12.8-9, 1.12.30, 1.12.19-25, 1.18.37, 1.19.14 and 1.19.2.
33-34 I could satisfy you by quoting and explaining the Sruti and Smrti, but instead I will tell a story I got from the mercy of my guru, a story that will explain and dispel all doubts.
35-37 In ancient times a certain penniless brahmana who lived in Pragjyotisa-pura, who had no knowledge of the scriptures, and who with the desire for great wealth daily worshipped goddess Kama-devi there with faith, in a dream received from the satisfied goddess a ten-syllable mantra for the worship of Lord Madana-Gopala's lotus feet, a mantra that was spoken with instructions on its use in meditation and various kinds of worship and was like a great treasure.
38 By the goddess' instruction always chanting the mantra in a secluded place, he gave up all desire for wealth and become happy at heart.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that, thinking it only a dream, the brahmana did not at once chant the mantra. Only when she instructed him again, in a second dream, did he chant it.
39 Although he could not understand the truth, he thought there was both a spiritual goal to be attained and a way to attain it.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that although formerly he had no interest in anything spiritual, now, by the power of the mantra, he had faith in a spiritual goal and a way to attain it.
40 Renouncing his home and other things, and maintaining his body by begging as he wandered to the holy places, he came to the place where the Ganges meets the ocean.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that as he travelled to the holy places he became free from sin and material desires.
41 At the Ganges' shore he saw many dutiful brahmanas who were learned in all knowledge and were mostly householders.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the branches of knowledge these brahmanas knew are described in the Vishnu Purana:
The fourteen branches of knowledge are: The four Vedas, the Vedangas, the Mimamsa, and many nyaya-sastras, the dharma-sastras and the Puranas.
42 He heard them describe the regular and occasional ritual duties by which one attains material things and goes to Svargaloka.
43 Seeing their faith in these various duties, he also had faith and he acted on their teachings.
44 By the goddess' order he regularly chanted the mantra in secret. By the mantra's power his heart was not satisfied with these karma-rituals.
45 Dissatisfied, he went to Varanasi, where he saw many people from different countries, mostly sannyasis, debating the theories of monism.
46 He offered obeisances to Lord Visvesvara and then, going to each monastery, offered obeisances to the sannyasis, conversed with them, and rested by their side.
47 Their intelligence clear in the Vedas, they spoke as if liberation stood in the palms of their hands. He thought about the essence of their views.
48-49 Again and again hearing from them the words of Vedanta, which proclaim the superiority of impersonal liberation, bathing at the Manikarna-ghata, gazing at Lord Visvesvara, happily staying among them, and eating many sweets, he wished to take sannyasa.
50 Because it brought happiness to his heart, he did not stop respectfully chanting the mantra the goddess gave. Then one night in a dream he saw the Deity of the mantra.
51 Attracted by the Deity's handsomeness, he became filled with bliss. Now his heart had no power to do anything but chant.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that his heart was no longer attracted to sannyasa, ritual bathing, or other activities.
52 The poor fellow was bewildered about what to do. Then, accompanied by the goddess, Lord Shiva appeared in a dream and gave him this instruction.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that he thought, "Should I take sannyasa, or should I chant this mantra?"
53 Fool, don't take sannyasa! At once go to Sri Mathura. There, in Vrndavana, your desires will be fulfilled.
54 Eager to go to Mathura, and glorifying it again and again, as he went there he came to Prayaga.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that again and again he called out, "O Mathura! O Mathura! with great love.
55 There he saw hundreds of saintly persons who had come at sunrise in the month of Magha to bathe there at that king of holy places, which was beautiful with the Ganges and Yamuna, and which was touched by Lord Madhava's glistening lotus feet.
56 Everywhere he saw them, with songs, obeisances, prayers, nama-sankirtana, instrumental music, and dancing, observing a beautiful festival of the worship of Lord Vishnu.
57-59 Ignorant, and struck with wonder, he asked the Vaishnavas: "O singers, O reciters of prayers, O you who fall to the ground as sticks, O musicians, O you calling out Rama! Krsna!, O you crying, O you with beautiful tilaka, O you wearing a beautiful garland, be quite for a moment, stop making so much noise, and tell me: what are you doing? Whom are you worshipping with such reverence?"
60 Hearing this, some laughed at him, some said, "Fool, be quiet!", and some, kind to the poor fellow, said:
61 "O son of a brahmana, you don't know anything. Your intelligence is confused. Don't again and again call out to the Vaishnavas, and don't talk to them in this way.
62 "Initiated by a guru in mantras and rules of worship, we always worship Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
63 "O best of brahmanas, some of us worship the form of Lord Nrsimha, some Lord Ramacandra, and some Lord Gopala. We worship Lord Vishnu, who has many forms."
64 Sri Pariksit said: Embarrassed, the brahmana humbly and cheerfully asked, "Where does He live? What benediction can He give?"
65 The Vaishnavas said: "He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He lives everywhere eternally. He is within and He is without. No one is like Him.
66 He, the supersoul in everyone's heart, the master of the demigods that control the universes, the handsome person whose form is full of eternity, knowledge and bliss, eternally lives in Vaikunthaloka. He gives Himself as a gift to His servants.
67 The Sruti and Smrti offer prayers to Him. Who can speak his glories? In this place again and again you may hear the Puranas that describe Him.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the question in the second sentence is answered in the third.
68 Gaze on Lord Madhava, the Deity form of the Lord of the universes, and soon you will understand everything.
69 Sri Pariksit said: Gazing at Lord Madhava and bowing down, he saw that Madhava and the Madana-Gopala he meditated on in his mantra were the same person.
70 There he heard some passages of the Purana in the Vaishnavas' company and he saw the many forms of Lord Vishnu they worshipped.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the word "tatra" means "in Prayaga, near the Deity of Lord Madhava", and "kincit" means "the Magha-mahatmya and other passages".
71 Bewildered, and still not understanding, He thought: The Lord of my mantra is the Lord of the universes, and Lord Madhava is the Lord of the devotees.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that he did not understand that Lord Madana-Gopala, the Deity of His mantra, and the Deity of Lord Madhava were the same person.
72 He wondered: Is the Lord I worship a person different from the Lord they worship, Madhava, the Lord of the universes?
73 This Lord has four arms decorated with conch. cakra, club and lotus. My Lord is not like He. How can my Lord be the same person as Lord Madhava?
74 My Lord does not have a form half-man and half-lion. He is not a dwarf. He does not have forms of a fish, tortoise, boar or other animals.
75 He is not Ramacandra, who is a king and holds a bow in His hand. He is like the Gopala worshipped here by some.
76 Still, I don't think my Lord is the Lord of the universes. He is not like the Lord I heard of in the Magha-mahatmya and the other passages.
77 Holding a flute to His mouth, and decorated with forest flowers, He protects the cows with His cowherd-boy friends. A despot who enjoys pastimes with the gopis, He jumps over the religion of the pious.
78 By the power of the goddess I found bliss in worshipping Him. I will never give Him up or stop chanting His mantra.
79 Chanting his mantra in a secluded place by the power of associating with the devotees he saw his Lord.
80 He fainted in ecstasy. When somehow he again stood, he lamented that so much time for chanting had been lost:
81 How has this calamity happened to me? This is a great obstacle. Night has come, but I have not completed my chanting.
82 Was I overcome by sleep? Was I possessed by a ghost? Ah, I am so wretched that even in this misfortune my heart somehow feels happy.
83 Lamenting and fasting, he fell asleep. Lord Madhava then consoled him, saying:
84 Remember, O brahmana, the words of Lord Shiva, the master of the kings of the universe and the husband of Uma. Go on the Yamuna's path to Sri Vrndavana.
85 By my mercy you will find uncommon happiness there. Don't delay.
86 He rose early in the morning and, a happy man, began his journey. Gradually he reached Mathura City and he bathed at Visrama-tirtha.
87 Then he went to Vrndavana. As He chanted, in meditation he saw the Lord's associates. At every moment he rejoiced.
88 Not seeing anyone in that land decorated with cows, he wandered here and there. Then he heard crying east of Kesi-tirtha.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that he did not see any people, only cows. Kesi-tirtha is glorified in the Varaha Purana, Mathura-mahatmya
"Kesi-tirtha, where Kesi died, is hundreds of times more sacred than the Ganges, and Visrama-tirtha, where Lord Hari rested, is hundreds of times more sacred than Kesi-tirtha,"
89 He went in that direction. Hearing a human lovingly chanting the holy names, again and again he searched for him.
90 Because of the forest's blinding darkness he could not see anyone. Concluding that the sound was coming from the Yamuna's shore, he eagerly went there.
91 There, in a kadamba grove, he saw a handsome youth with delicate limbs dressed as a cowherd boy.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the youth wore a peacock-feather crown and was holding a flute, buffalo horn, bugle, stick and other objects.
92 Mistakenly thinking this was his worshipable Deity, in great happiness he called out, O Gopala! and to offer respects fell as a stick to the ground.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the brahmana thought this person was Krsna because of his dress and ornaments.
93-94 Returning to external vision, this person, who was the crest-jewel of they who know everything, could understand that this was a brahmana of Mathura living in Kama-desa and engaged in the worship of Lord Madana-Gopala. He came out from the forest grove, lifted his guest up, bowed before him, embraced him, and made him sit by his side.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that this person could understand that his guest had been sent by Sri Radha.
95 He pleased him with hospitality and, to gain his trust, with a smile revealed something of what he had seen in life.
96 Aware that this was a cowherd boy, and thinking him his dearmost friend, the brahmana, full of faith, happily narrated the story of his entire life.
97 Thinking him the best of they who know everything, the humble brahmana plaintively said to the exalted cowherd-boy.
98 The brahmana said: I have heard of many goals of life and many ways to attain them, but I do not have the power to determine what goal should be sought and how it is attained.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that some of the goals here are attainment of Svargaloka and attainment of impersonal liberation, and some of the methods to attain them are karma (pious fruitive activity) and jnana (philosophical speculation). The brahmana had heard of these at the Ganges shore, at Varanasi, and at other places.
99 I always follow the goddess' orders. What am I doing? What will be the result? I don't know.
100 Thinking my life wasted, I yearn for death. It is only by the mercy of Lord Madhava and the two Shivas that I live.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the two Shivas here are Lord Shiva and Goddess Kama-devi (Parvati).
101 Here today I have attained you, who are very kind, who know everything, and who are like my own Lord. I am surrendered to you. Please rescue me, a wretched man.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the word "svadevavat" means "like Lord Madana-Gopala" and the word "samuddhara" means "please rescue me from the ocean of doubt", or "please rescue me from the ocean of repeated birth and death."
102 Sri Pariksit said: Respectfully hearing these words, he thought: This person has attained the goal of life. He has attained all that is good.
103 For him only the direct sight of the Lord's lotus feet remains. He should not be attached to chanting mantras. He should be attached to chanting the Lord's holy names.
104-5 There is no way other than the worship of Sri Madana-Gopala's lotus feet, a worship that consists mostly of glorification of His holy names, that gives a result beyond what one can desire, and that should be performed with faithful and respectful sighting of the places where the Lord enjoyed pastimes.
106 There is no goal other than pure love, which mocks the four goals of life and conquers the Lord's lotus feet.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the four goals of life are material piety, economic development, sense gratification, and liberation.
107 Therefore to enlighten him and remove his doubts I will tell all of my own story.
108 Although the great souls think a person would not speak his own glories, there is not another story that will be good for him.
109 Thinking in this way, the very experienced cowherd boy turned to the brahmana and, as a sage speaking the Puranas to a company of sages, began to tell of his own experience.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami quotes Devala Muni's definition of a sage:
"A sage is one who is celibate, very austere, who eats little, controls his senses, speaks the truth, and has the power both to curse and to forgive.
110 The cowherd boy Gopa-kumara said: For this there are many histories in the scriptures. Still, as I remember, I will tell the story of my own life and what I experienced in ecstatic trance.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the word "moha" means "what I experienced in the trance of love for the Lord" and "adi" means "and other very confidential topics".
111-2 O best of brahmanas, I, the young son of a vaisya cowherd of Govardhana Hill, accompanied by young friends, tend my cows on Govardhana, the Yamuna's shore, here in Vrndavana forest, and in the circle of Mathura.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami here quotes the description of the activities of the cowherd boys in Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.24.21. He also notes that later in the book it will be revealed that Gopa-kumara's eternal rasa is as a cowherd boy.
113-6 In the middle of the forest we always see a great brahmana whose form is splendid, who is rich in renunciation, and who wanders here and there again and again chanting the holy names of Lord Krsna, sometimes engaged in japa and meditation, sometimes dancing, sometimes singing, sometimes laughing loudly, sometimes crying, sometimes falling to the ground, sometimes rolling on the ground as a madman, sometimes loudly calling out , sometimes fainting unconscious, sometimes muddying the ground with a stream of tears of love, and sometimes lying as a corpse on the dust of the cowpath.
117 Out of curiosity we boys always go to see him. When we come he bows down to us with devotion.
118 Out of love he tightly embraces us and kisses our bodies. As if we were his dearest friends, he cannot leave us.
119 He was pleased by my gifts of milk and other services. One day, finding me on the Yamuna's shore, he embraced me and said:
120 Child, if you wish the perfection desired by all, then bathe in Kesi-tirtha and you may take from me the mercy of the Lord of the universes.
121 Then, when I had bathed, he, the crest jewel of the merciful, who, although he was indifferent to all material things had all his desires fulfilled, taught me your mantra.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that this was the same ten-syllable mantra the brahmana chanted.
122 Then, to teach the method of worship he began to describe the Lord, the object of meditation. Overcome with love, and crying as a woman separated from her love, he suddenly fainted in ecstasy.
123 When he became conscious again I was too frightened to ask him anything. His mind fixed on something else, he suddenly rose and left. I never met him again.
124 What had I obtained? What result would it bring? How should the mantra be chanted? I did not know anything.
125 Out of respect for his words this mantra alone was on my mouth. Unnoticed by anyone, I eagerly chanted it at every moment.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that he chanted the mantra silently. The word "kautukat" may also mean "filled with wonder".
126 By the power of that great person my heart became purified as I chanted. Then I developed faith.
127 Thinking of his words I decided that this mantra would lead me to the Lord of the universes. I became happy and I was dedicated to chanting it.
128 I thought: What is the Lord of the universes like? When will I see Him? Intent only on Him, I left my home and everything and went to the Ganges.
129 Hearing a conchshell I went to the riverbank. Seeing a brahmana worshipping a Salagrama-sila, I bowed down in respect.
130 I asked him: O Svami, whom are you worshipping? He smiled and said: Child, don't you know? This is the Lord of the universes.
131 When I heard this I became happy as a penniless man who finds a treasure or a man who finds his long-lost dearest friend.
132 I gazed at the Lord of the universes and with faith I fell down as a stick to offer respects. By the brahmana's mercy I got the water of the Lord's feet and the prasadam offered to Him.
133 When he was about to go home he put the Lord of the universes to rest in a box. When I saw this I became very unhappy and, shedding tears, I lamented:
134 Alas! Alas! The Supreme Lord is put in a very unsuitable box. He has not eaten anything. How can He sleep if He is hungry.
135 O best of brahmanas, that there might be another Lord of the universes in another place, I did not understand.
136 Me, who was sincerely aggrieved, the humble brahmana, as if embarrassed, comforted and said:
137 O new Vaishnava, what more can I, a poor man do? I offer to the Lord of the universes only what I myself can eat.
138-40 If you wish to see His opulence and a great festival of His worship, then to the nearby palace of this country's saintly king, who loves to worship Lord Vishnu. There you will directly see the Lord of the universes, who is so difficult to see. There you will see your heart filled with bliss. For now come to my home and eat the food that Lord Vishnu has enjoyed.
141 I was delighted to hear his words. Even though I was hungry I did not go to his home, but I bowed down before him and, following the path he showed, at once went to the palace.
142 From far away I heard unprecedented tumultuous sounds of the worship of the Lord of the universes. I asked question of the people there.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the sounds were wonderful singing and instrumental music. The questions asked may have been "Where is the Lord of the universes?" or "What are these sounds?"
143 Understanding that the Lord of the universes was there, I, not stopped by anyone, quickly entered to see Him. There before my eyes I saw Him, a conchshell, disc, lotus and club in the splendid hands of His four handsome arms...
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that he understood either: 1. where the sounds were coming from, or 2. where the Lord of the universes was. Without being stopped by anyone, he quickly entered the temple.
144 ...all His limbs very handsome, splendid as a new cloud, dressed in yellow silk, rich with a garland of forest flowers, decorated with golden ornaments, His youthful form beyond description, His face a full moon, His smile nectar, His eyes lotus flowers,...
145 ...worshipped by His devoted servants with a host of rare and glorious things, seeing the dancing and other entertainments played before Him, sitting on a wonderful throne, and served with a flood of paraphernalia.
146 Filled with bliss, again and again I fell down as a stick to offer obeisances. I thought: Today I saw what I wished to see.
147 Now my birth is a success. I will never leave this place. By the Vaishnavas' mercy I happily lived there.
148-9 O brahmana, I ate the prasadam of Lord Vishnu, saw the great festival of His worship, heard the glories of worshipping Him, and secretly chanted my mantra with great care. Still, the beauty of Vrajabhumi and the happiness of playing as a cowherd boy never left my heart.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami quotes the following verse glorifying the prasadam of Lord Vishnu.
"In Kali-yuga they who eat Lord Vishnu's prasadam attain the same result said to be gained by fasting for six months."
The word "kadacit" here means "awake or even asleep".
150 Happily staying there for some days, I developed a great yearning to worship the Lord in that way.
151 The king, who was sonless, and who, seeing my good character, affectionately considered me his adopted son even though I was a foreigner, soon died.
152 Inheriting his kingdom, I increased the bliss of the worship of Lord Vishnu. Every day many saintly devotees enjoyed His prasadam.
153 Not attached to any of this, I remained as before. I chanted my mantra and I ate the Lord's prasadam.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that by the mantra's power he remained unattached to the royal opulences there. He continued to live as an unattached, penniless person, as he had before he inherited the kingdom. He accepted only the Lord's prasadam, and that only to maintain his body.
154 Although I divided the kingdom among the king's associates, still it made me very unhappy.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that a kingdom does not please an intelligent Vaishnava.
155 Sometimes I was afraid of other kingdoms. Sometimes the emperor's orders curtailed my independence.
156 Sometimes a pious person would not eat the prasadam of the Lord of the universes because it had been touched by someone else, or carried outside.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that these bewildered brahmanas were concerned that the prasadam may have been touched by a non-brahmana. The prasadam of the Lord never becomes contaminated. This is confirmed by the following words of the Vishnu Purana:
"O brahmana, one should not consider whether it is proper to eat or not to eat the food, drink, or other things offered to the Lord of the universes. These offerings are spiritual as Lord Vishnu Himself is spiritual. Brahmanas who make such distinctions in eating the Lord's prasadam become afflicted with disease and bereft of wife and children. They go to a hell from which they do not easily return."
157 At this my heart was wounded by a arrow and I became despondent. Still, I could not leave the Lord I so yearned to see.
158 At this time some saintly pilgrims who had come from the southern countries said:
159 In Purusottama-ksetra Nilacala, by the shore of the salt-water ocean, the Lord of the universes (Jagannatha) is splendidly manifest in a spiritual form of wood.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami quotes the Padma Purana's description of Lord Jagannatha:
"On the northern shore of the ocean, in Purusottama-ksetra, the supremely blissful Personality of Godhead pretends to be made of wood."
The Vishnu Purana explains:
In the country of Orissa, in Nilacala in Purusottama-ksetra, the spiritual and blissful Personality of Godhead appears as the wooden Deity named Lord Jagannatha."
160 Opulent and powerful, He personally protects the kingdom of Orissa. He is glorious. He loves His servants.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami quotes the Tattva-yamala:
"In Bharata-varsa, in the country of Orissa, in Bhu-svarga, in Purusottama-ksetra, the Lord of the universes (Jagannatha), who makes the devotees fearless, whose pastimes are like those of a human being, and who grants liberation, appears in a form of wood."
161 The goddess of fortune personally cooks for Him. When He has eaten, the merciful Lord gives His remnants, which even the demigods cannot obtain, to His devotees."
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the question may be asked: If the Lord eats the food, how is anything left? The answer is found in the word "dayaluna" (merciful). Although the Lord eats all that is offered to Him, and leaves no remnants, He mercifully makes it as full as before and then gives it to His devotees.
162 These remnants, called mahaprasadam, should be eaten without considering who has touched them or from where they were brought.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami quotes the Vedic literatures:
"The food cooked by the goddess of fortune, that the Supreme Personality of Godhead eats, is like Lord Vishnu Himself. One should not consider whether some unworthy person has touched it or not."
- Vedic literature
"Whether old, dried-up, or already tasted by someone else, the prasadam of the Lord removes all sins."
- Skanda Purana
"Whether touched by people of the lowest caste, people who have no caste, or people born of mixed caste, food once eaten by the Lord of the universes destroys all sins."
- Bhavisya Purana
"O king, there is no consideration whether or not some unworthy person has touched the Lord's prasadam, for by once touching it even the most unworthy person is at once purified."
"O brahmanas, if one desires liberation he should eat the Lord's prasadam at once, without considering whether it is the proper time, as one does in the candrayana-vrata."
- Garuda Purana
163 Oh, the glory of that place! Even an ass there becomes a four-armed resident of Vaikuntha. Anyone who goes there once is never born again.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami quotes Lord Brahma in the Brahma Purana:
"Oh, the glory of that place of 80 miles! When one goes there he sees that everyone is a four-armed resident of Vaikuntha."
Veda-vyasa explains in the Garuda Purana:
"When the demigods in heaven see that the people there are four-armed residents of Vaikuntha holding a conchshell, cakra, and lotus in their hands, again and again they faint."
Narada Muni says in the Bahv-rca-parisista
"The people who live there are all seen to be four-armed residents of Vaikuntha."
Veda-vyasa also says in the same scripture:
"Touching that place gives liberation to human beings. The Supreme Personality of Godhead enjoys pastimes there, playing as a wooden Deity. By performing difficult austerities for a hundred births one is able to touch that place and become equal to Lord Vishnu."
164 I heard that when blossoming-lotus-eyed Lord Jagannatha is seen, the seer's birth in this world brings a wonderful result never heard of before.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami quotes the following words spoken by Narada Muni to Prahlad Maharaj in the Padma Purana:
"They who see the Supreme Personality of Godhead who, gloriously manifest on the summit of Nilacala Hill, stands before all eyes and is seen by hearing of Him and in other ways also, attain Lord Vishnu's abode, what to speak of they who are like you."
165 Conquered by the desire to see Him, I at once gave up everything and, glorifying Lord Jagannatha, set out for the country of Orissa.
166 Quickly reaching that place, and falling down as a stick to offer respects to the people there, I entered the temple by the devotees' mercy.
167 From far away I saw the moon of the Supreme Person's face, a moon with large glistening eyes, a forehead decorated with jewel tilaka, a splendour like a glittering cloud, and a delightful glory of red lips, and shining with moonlight of a smile blossoming with all kindness.
168 Although I had a mind to go before Him, I was not able. I trembled with love, the hairs of my body stood erect, tears removed my power to see. Somehow I came to the Garuda-stambha.
160-70 As I gazed on Lord Jagannatha, who was adorned with splendid garments, ornaments, and garlands, whose eyes and heart were filled with happiness, who gracefully set on His throne, who enjoyed many offerings of delicious foods, who lovingly glanced at they who were bowing before Him, dancing, reciting prayers, playing musical instruments, and singing, and who was the abode of great glories, I suddenly fainted and fell to the ground.
171 Regaining consciousness, opening my eyes, and gazing into the Lord's eyes, I became like a madman. I suddenly ran to embrace the Lord.
172 I called out: "I can see the Lord I so long yearned to see! My life is a success! My life is a success! I have my Lord, the Lord of the universes!"
173 Striking me with sticks, the guards stopped me. Thoughtful and ashamed, I went outside and there I received mahaprasadam.
174-5 O brahmana, after eating the prasadam I again entered the Lord's temple. There I saw many blissful wonders. My mind cannot measure it. How can my mouth speak of it? There I spent the entire day filled with bliss.
176 At night there was a great festival of decorations and a great festival of flowers offered in folded hands. Then I left the temple.
177 Enjoying newer and newer festivals in the devotees' company, I was not aware how the time was passing. It was as if the grief of separation from Vrajabhumi had gone away.
178 I heard of in many accounts, and I also saw directly Lord Jagannatha's great mercy to His servants.
179 Nothing other than gazing at Lord Jagannatha pleased me. Even my desire to hear the Purana's description of the Lord's glories left me.
180 Sometimes I would suffer in my body or mind, but when I saw the lotus-eyed Lord my sufferings were at once destroyed.
181 I thought: "I have attained the goal of my life chanting". For many days I lived there very happily.
182 Then I began to yearn to do some confidential service for the Lord. That desire brought me great anxiety.
183-4 When, during great festivals, that country's king, who was a great servant of the Lord, came to see the Lord's glorious face, he brought many saintly visitors and filled the gardens. Then poor people like myself were no longer able to see the Lord whenever we wished.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the most important of these festivals was Rathayatra. Someone may protest that this action is not proper for a saintly king. The answer is given that the king brought with him many saintly persons eager to see Lord Jagannatha. The gardens were filled with the horses and other animals of the kings entourage.
185 One day when for this reason I felt sick at heart I saw my guru, who was overcome with love as he stood before Lord Jagannatha.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that this was the guru who first gave him his mantra in Vrndavana.
186 He was not able to speak. My heart attracted by Lord Jagannatha's face, I did not see when he went somewhere else.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains the guru could not speak because he was overcome with love.
187 Searching here and there, one day I found him alone on the ocean's shore, dancing and chanting the holy names in ecstasy.
188 Seeing me falling down as a stick to offer obeisances, he blessed me, embraced me, and, knowing all, mercifully gave me the following instruction:
189 O child, whatever you desire, you should chant your mantra. By it's power all will be fulfilled beyond what you can desire.
190 Knowing that chanting your mantra is also service to Lord Jagannatha. Have faith and never give up chanting.
191 By the mantra's power you will become an eternally youthful cowherd boy. Now your heart is worthy to attain that.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that here the guru is giving his disciple a benediction.
192 Sometimes you will see me here and sometimes in Vrndavana.
After speaking these words of instruction, he suddenly left.
193 Distraught in separation from him, I went to see Lord Jagannatha. I became strong and again I chanted.
194-5 When I yearned to see Vrajabhumi, by Lord Jagannatha's glory the gardens there became like Vrndavana forest, the ocean like the Yamuna, and Nilacala Hill like Govardhana.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that this happened by Lord Jagannatha's mercy.
196 Thus I lived happily there. Every day, after seeing Lord Jagannatha, I would follow my guru's order and chant to attain my desired perfection.
197 When the king's time was over, his eldest son, a very renounced soul, refused to accept the kingdom.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the king died. His son became very renounced by serving Lord Jagannatha.
198 After asking Him, by Lord Jagannatha's order looking for the signs of a great king, the ministers crowned me.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the king's eldest son refused the kingdom, and the younger sons and other relatives were not qualified to accept it. The king's ministers asked Lord Jagannatha what should be done. Lord Jagannatha might have said to them: "My devotee Gopa-kumara, who was born on Govardhana Hill, should be crowned king." Or then He might have said: "He on whom the signs of a great king are seen should be crowned king". Seeing the signs of a great king on Gopa-Kumara, they crowned him king. The signs of a king are described in Srimad-Bhagavatam (9.20.24) in these words:
"Maharaj Bharata, the son of Dusmanta, had the mark of Lord Krsna's disc on the palm of his right hand, and he had the mark of a lotus whorl on the soles of his feet."*
199 I expanded the great festivals of worshipping the Lord, and I specifically expanded the twelve great yatras, including the yatra to Gundica.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the twelve great yatras, beginning with Dolayatra, Damanakayatra, Candanayatra, Jalasnanayatra, and Rathayatra, are performed in the twelve months. The yatra to Gundica is Rathayatra.
200 Coming in groups and meeting here, all the saintly persons on earth sang and danced with such ecstatic love they looked like madmen.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that this statement may mean that they came for the twelve great yatras, or that they came for the Rathayatra. They came from the different sampradayas.
201 Personally living as a penniless man, and placing my kingdom and all royal enjoyments at Lord Jagannatha's lotus feet, I served Him according to my wish.
202 Sometimes the Lord jokes with His dear eternal servants and sometimes He enjoys loving pastimes with them.
203 When the blissful Lord playfully becomes motionless, the devotees following His pastimes become filled with wonder and bliss.
204 I yearned to become like those devotees. I was a newcomer. My faith was not fixed on Lord Jagannatha alone. How could I enjoy His mercy?
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that Gopa-kumara was attached to Vrndavana.
205 When I thought of the good fortune of the Orissan devotees I yearned to be like them and I became sick at heart.
206 The chanting of prayers, songs, and the holy names before the Lord reminded me of Mathura and filled me with pain.
207 By associating with the devotees I saw the lotus-eyed Lord. Then all my unhappiness disappeared and I did not wish to go anywhere.
208 Still, because I was a king my heart could not feel the same bliss it once felt to see the Lord.
209 Surrounded by kings, I could not enjoy the great yatra festivals to my heart's content.
210 Placing the burden of the kingdom on the king's sons, ministers, and relatives, I became aloof as before.
211 Chanting my mantra in a secluded place, and serving Lord Jagannatha's lotus feet to my heart's content, I lived happily.
212 Because the people continued to treat me with great respect I became very unhappy at heart.
213 One morning I went before the Lord to ask permission to go to Vrndavana, but when I gazed at His glorious face I forgot everything.
214 A year passed. One day I heard Mathura described by some people come from there.
215 That night, as I slept overcome with grief, the Lord, who suffers when others suffer, instructed me, saying:
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the Lord here is Lord Jagannatha. The Lord could not tolerate His devotee's sufferings.
216 O cowherd boy, as this place is dear to Me, so is Mathura dear. Mathura is even more dear, for it is the land of My birth.
217 It is decorated with the places of My childhood pastimes. I still live there, enjoying pastimes.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the word "childhood" here also includes the Lord's adolescence. The word "vibhraman" may also be interpreted to mean "wandering here and there".
218 Why, your heart wavering so, do you suffer? Go there. In time you will see me there in this form.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that Gopa-kumara's heart wavered between two decisions: "I will stay here", and "I will go there". In this way he was filled with doubt and torn in two. The form the Lord predicts he will see is the form of Madana-Gopala, the Deity of Gopa-kumara's mantra.
219 That morning some priests from the temple came to my home and gave me the Lord's order in the form of Lord Jagannatha's garland. Tying the garland around my neck, and bowing down to offer respects to the cakra, I went to the country of Mathura.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that Gopa-kumara might think: "This is just a false dream. Why, simply by words in a dream, should I leave this place and go to another?" The sudden appearance of the priests with the garland confirmed the Lord's order: "Go to Mathura".