(The Search For the Lord's Mercy)
Chapter Six Priyatama Nama (The Most Dear Devotees)
1 Sri Pariksit said: O noble lady, after hearing these words, Lord Maha-Vishnu's dear devotee Narada, who holds a vina in his hand, overwhelmed with love, forgetting everything, and like a man possessed, walked on the path to the inner rooms of the Lord's palace, a path full of wonders that he had travelled many times before.
2 Sometimes he stumbled. Sometimes he fell to the ground. Sometimes he stood motionless. Sometimes he trembled. Sometimes he rolled about. Sometimes he cried out. Sometimes wept floods of tears. Sometimes he sang and danced. Sometimes in a single moment he manifested together all the symptoms of the treasure of ecstatic love.
3 O my mother, please be attentive. Please carefully hear something that makes me become stunned with love.
4 On that day, as Lord Krishna morosely slept in His bedroom, Sriman Uddhava left His side and came to the doorway. Then Baladeva, Devaki, Rohini, Rukmini, the other queens headed by Satyabhama, Kamsa's gossipy mother Padmavati, the servants, and many others became silent and with wonder they gazed at Narada, who was acting in a way never seen before.
5 Rising, they made him wash his face and brought him to his natural condition. Slowly and softly they said: "O brahmana, we have never seen anything like this. What has happened to You? Please sit quietly for a moment."
6 Sri Pariksit said: Bowing down, trembling and his bodily hairs erect, with great effort he opened his eyes flooded with tears, and with a voice choked with emotion said:
7 Sri Narada said: Please bring me to supreme fortunate Uddhava. The dust of his feet will bring peace to my heart.
8 No devotee, either in ancient times or today, has attained the great mercy of the Lord he has attained. He is the greatest of devotees. The Lord Himself has described his glories.
9 His ancient and recent sons headed by Brahma, His brothers headed by Balarama, His friends headed by Shiva, His wives headed by the goddess of fortune, and even His own transcendental form are not as dear to the Lord as Uddhava is. The Lord Himself has said this.
10 The Lord's words since ancient times show the great glory of Uddhava's good fortune.
11 Today the extraordinary wonders of this mercy were sung by the best of the Yadus.
12 Passing through the door of my ears, and entering my heart, that description has now plundered all the wealth of my peaceful composure.
13 Sri Pariksit said: Bewildered, Uddhava at once stood up, placed Narada's feet on his chest, embraced them, understood what was in (Narada's) heart, remembered the great souls who have attained the Lord's great mercy, and was overcome with tears. With a great struggle regaining his peacefulness, happy with transcendental envy, he said to Narada Muni:
14 Sriman Uddhava said: O all-knowing one, O best of the truthful, O best of the great sages, O lord, because you are the first teacher of the path of devotional service to the Lord, what you say is certainly true.
15 All that you have said and more is true of me. I know this and others also know.
16 Recently I went to Vraja and saw something that ground into dust my pride in my own great good fortune.
17 There I could understand the wonderful sweetness of Lord Krishna, His mercy, His love and His devotees.
18 By seeing them I became very fortunate and attained all the Lord's mercy. Thinking that I had attained the Lord's great mercy, I became flooded with bliss.
19 Singing about them again and again, I yearned to become their follower. Everyone knew. I cannot say more. O best of sages, I bow before you again and again. With plaintive words I beg you: Don't be so eager to hear of this.
20 Sri Pariksit said: Understanding the meaning of what Uddhava said, Rohini, who having stayed for a long time in Gokula was dearly loved by the people there, tearfully said:
21 Sri Rohini said: O servant of Lord Hari, I am happy. I have not a moment's worry. Please don't place on the path of my memory they whom misfortune has destroyed, who have not the slightest scent of good fortune, who are plunged in an ocean of sorrows, who are poisoned, who are set aflame by a host of burning volcanoes.
22 When Maharaj Vasudeva took me (to Mathura) Yasoda cried so bitterly her tears broke what is harder than thunderbolts. On his mouth who can place the news of the other women there, who were like the living dead?
23 When your master returned from His guru's home I, being a fool, briefly and sadly told Him their story.
24 His heart was not softened, for (He did not return, but in His stead) sent you, an eloquent speaker of messages.
25 Why, then, do you say that your master has given His best mercy to them?
26 When Krishna was in Vraja, from demons beginning with Putana and ending with Kesi, from demigods beginning with Varuna and Indra, from a serpent and other creatures, from the breaking of the old cart and the arjuna trees, what calamity did not attack Vraja before my own eyes? Still, the people there were not troubled.
27 It was as if they have become enchanted. They always wished for Krishna's welfare and they never considered their own.
28 Everything they did was for Krishna's happiness, done out of love.
29 Before your master did not do anything for their welfare. How can I describe what He does now that His goals are fulfilled?
30 Sri Pariksit said: Hearing this, wicked Kamsa's arrogant and senile mother, shaking her head, said:
31 Sri Padmavati said: Alas! From childhood Krishna protected in a forest of brambles the cows of these merciless cowherds!
32 They never gave Him even shoes! When, tortured by hunger, He drank a little milk, the women tied Him up!
33 Let them cry. Krishna suffered so much in the course of time. What must He do for them now?
34 Deeply intelligent Rohini, who was very dear to Vraja, ignored her words and chose to glorify (the people of Vraja).
35 Sri Rohini said: Krishna went to the Yadus' capitol, Mathura, killed His enemies, and then became the happy king of kings of kings.
36 Your master, to whom the defeated demigods bow down, in His heart does not remember them.
37 Sri Pariksit said: Unable to tolerate these words, Krishna's beloved queen Rukmini, who always stays in His heart said:
38 Sri Rukmini said: O mother, how, without understanding how His heart is softer than fresh butter, can you speak in this way?
39 All of you please hear what I have heard. When He sleeps at night sometimes He sweetly and lovingly calls many cows by name and sometimes he calls His charming gopa friends. Sometimes His transcendental form bends in three places and He pretends to place the flute to His mouth. Sometimes He says, "Mother, give Me some fresh butter!"
Sometimes He calls to me, "Sri Radha! Lalita!" Sometimes He says, "Candravali, why?" and tugs at my garment. Sometimes, as He sleeps, He softens the pillow with many tears.
40 Suddenly rising from the bed, He weeps, making sounds of grief, and by this we become plunged in an ocean of tormented grief.
41 Seeing something in a dream last night, He has become very depressed. Weeping in grief, He covers His head with a blanket and pretends to sleep. Today He has not done any of His regular duties.
42 Surrounded by her co-wives, Queen Satyabhama jealously said: O Sri Rukmini, why do you say "at night".
43 Awake He is dazed, as if in His heart He sleeps, and again and again He (laments) as when He slept. We are His wives in name only. His young gopi maidservants are more dear to Him than we.
44 Sri Pariksit said: Unable to tolerate these words, Rohini's son, glorious Balarama, who was the life-friend of Gokula, angrily said:
45 Sri Baladeva said: Girls, My brother is tricking us. His talk of the sorrows of the people there (in Vraja) is only His expert skill at cheating others.
46 Although, wishing to bring the (people there) to an auspicious condition of life, I stayed (in Vraja) for two months, with my words and deeds I was not able to do it.
47 Seeing that no one but Krishna could help them, with hundreds of promises I comforted them a little and then I quickly returned here.
48 I anxiously said: "Krishna, go at once to Vraja and with Your company save the lives of the people there."
49 His mouth said: "I will go," but His heart did not say it. His deeds bear witness to the real condition of His heart.
50 Sri Pariksit said: Hearing this, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is conquered by His dear devotees' love suddenly rose from bed and, weeping loudly, went outside.
51 Overcome with compassion, and raining streams of tears from His blossoming lotus eyes, in a choked voice He said:
52 The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Though struck by the greatest thunderbolt, My heart does not break in two.
53 I have forgotten their extraordinary love for Me and how they protected Me for a long time while I was a child.
54 May they somehow become happy. I have cruelly brought great suffering to they whose hearts are gentle.
55 All-knowing, dearest friend, brother Uddhava, what should I do? Please tell Me at once. Lift Me up from this ocean of grief.
56 Sri Pariksit said: Then Devaki, who loved her son and who was the dear friend of Nanda's wife, said: "You should give Your dear friends whatever they wish."
57 Then Padmavati, who is the Lord's old grandmother and Yaduraja Ugrasena's senile queen, who feared that now the kingdom would be given away in charity, and who felt insulted because Balarama's mother would not listen to her words, in order to protect her husband's kingdom, cleverly spoke, as if joking.
58 With her words to change His mind and bring an auspicious condition to Him, Lord Krishna, the only shelter of the Yadu family, she said:
59 Sri Padmavati said: Krishna, why are You troubled? Listen to my advice. With his own hand Garga Muni will calculate every morsel of food You two brothers ate for the eleven years You protected the cows in Nanda's home. Then I promise that my husband (Ugrasena) will give him (Nanda) twice that. I promise this.
60 Sri Pariksit said: As if He both heard and did not hear, and as if He did not understand at all, out of grief the Supreme Personality of Godhead spoke to Uddhava.
61 The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O best of the wise, O you who know all the wishes of Vraja's people, tell Me at once what they wish of Me.
62 Sri Pariksit said: Hearing the Lord's words Uddhava became filled with wonder and unhappy at heart. He sighed and unhappily said to Him:
63 Sriman Uddhava said: They do not wish the opulences of the king of kings of kings. They do not wish from You any glorious valuables. They do not wish anything but You in this life or the next.
64 Please give me the mercy of Your attention. I will speak, and then You may consider what should be done.
65 Previously (when the people of Vraja) saw the ornaments and other things You had sent back with Nanda, they became plunged in an ocean of grief and said:
66 "Alas! Alas! Alas! Now Krishna thinks we want these things (and giving them to us) is His mercy! Miserable! Miserable is the life-breath that still stays on our throats! Miserable! Miserable are Nanda and the gopas, who left Krishna behind and brought us these things!"
67 Now that they have given up hope that You will return, the people of Vraja, along with Your mother, Yasoda, are on the verge of death. Now they have begun a great fasting (until death).
68 Overcome with grief, and thinking he had committed an offense, Nanda could not speak for three days. Then, explaining with great reason, and repeating Your promise to return, He gave hope to the people of Vraja and saved their lives.
69 Sri Nanda said: My son sent these things as tokens of His love. He will keep His word. He will quickly return as soon as He finishes His duties there.
70 Sriman Uddhava said: Hearing these words, the simple-hearted people of Vraja believed them. Seeing these ornaments as signs of Your love, they placed them on their bodies.
71 They thought: "When He returns, Krishna will see that we followed His order by wearing these prasadam-ornaments and He will be very kind to us."
72 When You did not personally return, but only sent me with a message, they all became as if dead.
73 Seeing this, I promised You would return, and with a great effort I saved their lives.
74 To attain You they have renounced all sense pleasures. Ask Your elder brother what condition they have attained.
75 Sri Pariksit said: Seeing that Devaki, Rukmini and the others were terrified of being separated from Him and their bowed faces were wilting and shedding tears out of love, Krishna's heart became softened and, agitated, He suddenly called for leaf-pages and a pot of ink.
76 "After I finish My duties and have comforted My friends here, I will soon return. O dear friends, please know this." With His own hand He wrote this comforting letter of love to make their faith strong.
77 Knowing what Krishna had done, and also knowing the hearts of the people of Vraja, Uddhava became very unhappy and exclaimed:
78 Sriman Uddhava said: Lord, Please understand the conclusion. Without the auspicious return of Your lotus feet, the people of Vraja cannot remain alive. They do not desire anything but this.
79 Sri Pariksit said: Shaking her head and laughing, Kamsa's mother, senile Padmavati said, "ah! Ah! Foolish Devaki, now I understand! Now I understand!
80 "By giving him milk again and again the cowherd people bewitched Uddhava so he would bring your son Krishna back to Vraja to help them. These rascals want Him to protect their cows in the terrible, impassable, bramble filled forest filled with wild animals."
81 Sri Pariksit said: Unable to bear hearing these horrible words, Rohini, who was Balarama's mother and Yasoda's dear friend, became angry and spoke.
82 Sri Rohini said: O mother of Kamsa, what is this about Krishna being used to protect the cows? If they do not see Him, the people in Vraja cannot live for a moment.
83 When Krishna was behind a tree or something else, His friends would call out, "Sri Krishna! Krishna!" with a loud sound. Without Krishna every moment of the day and night became like a yuga for the people of Vraja. Again and again they looked for the sun or the pathway of dust or listened for the flute.
Note: When during the day Krishna was protecting the cows in the pasturing ground, the people of Vraja anxiously waited for His return. They looked to see how soon the sun would set (the time of Krishna's return), they looked in the distance for signs of dust raised by the cows' hooves (the harbinger of Krishna's return), and they listened for the sound of Krishna playing the flute.
84 Eager to play, He would happily wander with His elder brother, His friends, and the cows through many forests.
85 There are many splendid lakes fragrant with lotus flowers moving with the pastimes of many intoxicated water-birds and bumblebees. There the very wonderful Yamuna touches the land of Vraja. There many other rivers like the Yamuna gloriously flow from the Vindhya Hills and other places.
86 The charming river and lake shores are filled with delicate bakula flowers, covered with fresh grass, crowded with many different birds and animals free from natural feelings of enmity, decorated with many vines, trees, and bushes bowing down with the great weight of many splendid fruits, flowers, and blossoming twigs, and musical with the sounds of maddened peacocks and cuckoos. They are the object of Brahma's prayers.
87 In the land of Vraja, in Vrndavana forest, or on Govardhana Hill, places where there is no danger of their being killed or stolen, the cows, buffaloes, and other animals go in the morning, eat grass and drink water to their heart's content, and then voluntarily return to their homes in the evening.
Note: The people of Vraja have no need to lure Krishna back to protect the cows that can take care of themselves and need no protector.
88 The old lady said: O talkative child, then why have we heard that now, for want of protection, many of the cows and other animals have died?
89 Sri Pariksit said: Hearing this, Lord Krishna, bewildered, tormented with fears, His heart burning with pain, and His lotus face withered, tearfully looked at the face of Balarama, who knew all the news, past and present, of Vraja.
90 Balarama understood His brother's condition. Unable to remain peaceful as He remembered Vraja, weeping, He spoke.
91 Sri Balarama said: O Krishna, what can I say about the cows? Everyone in Vraja is dear to You. The deer, birds, trees, headed by the bhandiras and kadambas, vines, forest groves, and even the grass have now given up their lives for Your sake. Even the hills and rivers have withered and gone dry.
92 Brother, nourished by the hope that You will keep Your promise, a few humans remain alive. Surely You don't wish to hear any more.
93 If You are not kind to them now, then death will quickly be kind to them.
94 That You removed the poison from Kaliya lake makes them lament bitterly. Now please hear another reason for their lamentation.
95 The Yamuna river has very little water. It is almost dry. Govardhana Hill, which You personally held, has become stunted.
96 They do not eat, but because they still drink the nectar of Your name life does not leave them. Their future is a fire in the great dry forest.
97 Sri Pariksit said: Hearing this, gentle Krishna was overwhelmed with grief. Clinging to Balarama's neck, He loudly wept as if He were the most miserable person. The stream of His tears washed away the ointments decorating His body.
98 O mother, then Krishna and Balarama rolled about on the ground and, after a moment, fainted. Seeing the unprecedented nature of Their weeping and pain, Rohini, Devaki, Rukmini, Satyabhama, and everyone else in the palace's inner rooms became overwhelmed with grief. They wept again and again.
99 Hearing from the palace's inner rooms screams of grief never heard before, Vasudeva and the Yadavas headed by Ugrasena quickly ran there. Arriving, and seeing their Lord in that way, they wept, overcome with grief. By seeing this sight, which had never been seen before, the people of the city and the brahmanas headed by Garga Muni also wept.