With His beautiful form, fragrance, features, ages, dress, ornaments, hair styles, footmarks, flute and pastimes Sri Krishnachandra ignites, nourishes and excites love in the soft and sweet hearts of His devotees (bhava uddipana:Bhakti-rasamrita sindhu. 2.1.301).
The contents of this post come from Bhakti-rasamrita sindhu (Vibhava: 2.1.301-381, wherein Sri Rupa Gosvami describes the following unique features of Bhagavan Sri Krishna which, although actually part of His svarupa i.e. divine transcendental form, also act independently as stimulants or excitants (uddipanas) to expand the blissful feelings of His loving premi bhaktas.
Reading about these features of Sri Krishna will create attraction in the curious; nourish the surrendered hearts of Krishna’s bhaktas, and cause a cascade of bliss within Krishna’s loving servants.
KRISHNA’S THREE AGES
In his prakata bhauma Vrindavana lila, Bhagavan Sri Krishna displays three ages: kaumara, pauganda, kaishora. From babyhood to a fun-filled five year old Kaumara Makhancora Gopala plays and frolics stealing yogurt and so on with Janani Yashoda and other mothers.
Pauganda Krishna Govinda cavorts with His cows and boyfriends through the meadows of Vraja from ages 5-10.
From 10-15 Krishna Kaishora exhibits His youthful pastimes with the cows, boys and the charming fresh damsels of Vrajabhumi. Upon reaching the age of 15 years, 9 months, 7 ½ days, Sri Krishna stays eternally in this most complete condition of being carefree, beautiful, playful and youthful.
KRISHNA’S KAISHORA AGE: THREE STAGES
Ages 10-12 years
Sri Rupa Gosvami describes Krishna’s beauty during this part His kaishora age. Sri Krishna’s complexion is indescribably radiant; His eye corners turn ruddy; and fine hairs arise on His body. During this time, Govinda wears a Vaijayanti mala, peacock feather, refulgent dress like an actor, and plays sweetly on His flute, vamshi madhurima. At this time, as per local Vrajavasi customs, Govinda sports very sharp fingernails, dancing Cupid eyebrows, and fine designs painted on His glistening white teeth.
When Vrinda-devi sees this dashing boy, she exclaims, “O when the sakhis see Your fresh sweet smile they become stunned and bewildered unable to reveal their budding love. They feel such love pangs that their life airs practically leave their bodies.”
Now Krishna exhibits an indescribably sweet form with His beautiful chest rivaling a door of gems; arms challenging the bolts of doors; and thighs conquering the beauty of elephant trunks. Krishna’s restless flirty eyes move craftily like another Cupid, and His radiant lotus face is embellished with attractive lips and smiles. Krishna’s sweet singing enchants all and breaks the vows of chaste women. Krishna’s behavior consists of lots of charming, cunning actions, festive pastimes in Vraja bowers (kunja keli mahotsavah), and initiating His famous His rasa-lila, arambho rasa lila.
Entering His nitya-kaishora period, Sri Krishna’s limbs and entire form become extremely beautiful and alluring with three lines manifest in His belly. This last part of Krishna’s youth is called nava-yauvana, which is Krishna’s eternal feature. During the Kurukshetra war, Krishna was about 100 years old but looked like sweet sixteen!
At this time, Sri Krishna’s youth is distinguished by His special bodily characteristics, dress, actions and astonishing beauty. Now a special quality of sweetness appears in Krishna as one experiences great pleasure in the unique beauty and attractiveness manifesting in Krishna during this amazing period. In this last period of youth, Sri Krishna displays various romantic actions including quarreling with a beloved; dispatching love letters; eagerness to meet and enjoy; resolving differences via a go between; and meeting intimately with a gopi.
KRISHNA’S THREE SETS OF CLOTHES
Sri Krishna has three styles of outfits which include two, four or multi piece dresses worn according to the occasion.
Two-piece: Here Mukunda wears a golden yellow dhoti because it’s Radha’s complexion, and a brilliant red chaddar, representing His passionate attraction for His beloved Priyaji Radha.
Four-piece: Here Sri Krishna sports a turban, shirt, dhoti and sash. “Smiling blissfully, Krishna wore an orange turban, gold vest, pink dhoti and a multi-color sash.” (351)
Multi-piece: This consists of pieces of cloth of many colors, cut and uncut, suitable for performing artists. “One gopi said, “O sakhi! I feel blissful seeing Madhava so radiantly attractive with His fancy red, white, blue and gold cut and uncut cloth.” (353)
KRISHNA’S DECORATIONS & ACCESSORIES
Hair styles: Sri Hari shows four hair styles: a pony tail tied behind the neck; a tightly tied braid hanging far down His beautiful back; a topknot tied atop His head; and floral decorations bound in His hair.
Flower Garlands: Shyama adorns Himself with five types of malas: vaijayanti of five colored flowers hanging to knees; forest mala of leaves and wild flowers extending to the lotus feet; a mala draped on the chest; a chaplet of flowers around the topknot; and a small mala hanging straight down from the throat.
KRISHNA’S TILAKA AND DESIGNS
Sri Krishna’s tilaka and body designs in curly patterns and so are made with red, white and yellow substances. Sri Rupa says wise decorators can make additional colors including black as in musk tilaka.
Shyama’s jewelry includes a colorful belt, an incomparable diadem, enchanting diamond earrings, a necklace of spotless pearls, golden bracelets, a pearl-studded broach, delightful rings, armbands and anklets filled with sweetness.
KRISHNA’S MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
Flute: “O killer of Kamsa, all glories to your unpredictable flute song which defeats the sweetest nectar, shatters sages’ meditations, and continually surpasses the burden of Cupid.” (364) Krishna expertly plays three types of flutes made from gold, jewels and bamboo: Venu: 9 inches long; Vamshi: 12 inches in four types called akarshini, anandini, mahananda, sammohini. Murali: 18 inches.
Horns: Hari’s horns, made from antelope or wild buffalo horns, are bound with gold at both ends and inlaid in the middle. Mandraghosha (rumbling thunder) is the name of Krishna’s buffalo horn. These items along with Sri Krishna’s lovely divine footprints, lila sthalis and Tulasi-devi are all sources of stimulating and exciting a devotees’ loving sentiments for Sri Krishna.
Sri Krishna uddipanas ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!