Krishna Nectar Lilas part 25 “Tent City”

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Tent City

Many cowherd men simultaneously shouted orders to different people. All the words merged into a mass of indiscernible noise. Except with hand gestures, communication was impossible in the clamor. The combined vibrations of carts, people, drums, and the bellowing of cows silenced all other sounds. At last all those sounds merged quietly within the ethereal element. Learned men proclaim that sound is by-product of ether.

Boarding their cart, Yasoda and Rohini appeared like two valuable jewels. The cart itself looked like a mountain cave enacting a pastime o displaying its storehouse of costly jewels in the form of these two lovely ladies. Their sons Krsna and Balarama shone as the embodiments of benediction for the three worlds. With their all-auspicious sons sitting on their laps the two mothers achieved all perfection, and looked very beautiful at the same time. Yasoda and Rohini simultaneously glorified Krsna, from a distance it seemed they were quarreling.

Hundreds of armed sentinels stood guard around the carts. When the bullock procession left Mahavana it looked like the personified wealth of the capital had suddenly risen to touch the sky. It seemed that the goddess of the city personally lead the way to beautify the journey. All that was left of the capital was the land. At that time the advance party of Nanda Maharaja returned from Vrndavana to join the procession.

Since such a vast party could not cross the Yamuna before sunset, they decided to camp on the banks of the river. The elderly cowherd men, even without receiving Vrajaraja Nanda’s order, erected their tents and prepared for the night. Invisibly, the goddess of the city helped everyone quickly establish his habitat.

Please hear about that splendid city which arose on the bank of the Yamuna. A kaleidoscope of colorful tent canopies covered the ten directions. The cowherd men expertly erected walls made of cloth to surround that temporary city of tents. As in an ordinary city, they made four pathways bisecting the four directions. They also established footpaths and marketplaces to facilitate the residents.

While sitting under the evening sky chewing their cud, the numerous white cows looked like a collection of soothing moon rays or a small lake of milk. As more and more cows sat amongst them that lake expanded to appear like the ocean of milk. Sunanda, Upananda, and other respected relatives met and conversed with Nanda in his tent. Afterwards they went to their own tents.

Meanwhile they unloaded all the necessary items from the carts. After unyoking the bulls, the caretakers fed them and let them take rest. The servants busied themselves buying and selling different products while the kitchen helpers cleaned and prepared for cooking.

After spending twelve hours moving across the sky, the weary sun god happily met with his wife in the form of the westerly direction. Birds chirped excitedly and soared through the sky before securing themselves in their nests for the night. The peacocks flew up to perch in the treetops. Due to frolicking all day, the deer felt tired and walked lazily along the Yamuna.

Intoxicated honeybees trapped themselves in closing lotus flowers. As a woman conceals herself before running off for a lover’s tryst, the presiding devis of the directions covered their faces with the blue veil of darkness. Night blooming red and white lotuses welcomed the evening with blissful smiles. Separated from their lovers, the cakravaka birds wailed piteously.

As the day’s heat abated and evening approached, no one could clearly distinguish the forms of the men or the cows. Under the dim light of the twinkling stars the shadows of the cows appeared to be fat and short, while those of men looked long and tall. As the starlight increased, the shadows of the humans grew larger and larger.

Just as a charitable man distributes his compassion to one and all, the many lamps in the campsite diffused their light in all directions. Posted sentries guarded all the roads. The natural beauty of evening appeared like a goddess eager to serve Sri Krsna.

Satisfied by eating their fill and seeing their calves standing nearby the cows stood peacefully while the cowherd men milked them. The milking of so many cows produced a tremendous sound that resembled the vibration created at the time of churning the ocean of milk. Krsna derived great pleasure from hearing that beautiful, sweet deep sound.

While milking the cows the gopas loudly called their names, “Hee! Hee! Dhavali! Shavali” and the cows responded by mooing. The men affectionately fondled and caressed the cows as they gathered around them.

After taking their evening meal the Vrajavasis relaxed and happily wandered about the campsite. The sentries showed off their techniques for staying awake through the night. Seeing this, the Vrajavasis felt confident of their expertise, so they returned to their tents for a peaceful rest.

Excerpt: Sri Kavi Karnapura’s Ananda Vrindavana Campu ki jai!

Krishna Nectar Lilas ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

All parts of Krishna Nectar Lilas can be found here.

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