Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das
Unlike any other place on earth which may have trees and magical forests, sacred mountains, lakes, rivers and curious creatures, Sri Dhama Vrndavana is directly the transcendental body of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.
In his Brahma-samhita (43) commentary, Sri Jiva Goswami quotes the Brhad Gautamiya-tantra:
panca yojanam evasti, vanam me deha rupakam
kalindiyam susumankhya, param amrta vahini
Sri Krishna says, “O Naradaji! The forest of Vrndavana on earth, comprising five yojanas, is non-different from My body. The sweet nectar filled Yamuna River is the sushumna nadi of My transcendental body of Vrndavana.”
Sri Jiva Goswami: “The unmanifest Vrndavana Dhama, aprakata-vrndavana, in the spiritual sky can be seen by eyes filled with Krishna prema. Moreover, terrestial Vrndavana has a special power in it, i.e. Yogamaya, that allows premi bhaktas to see right here and now before them the blissful, divine lilas of Radha and Krishna going on in Goloka Vrndavana in the spiritual realm. Thus it is said, ‘one can see Gokula in Goloka, and Goloka in Gokula.’”
The verse quoted above, which proves that Vrndavana Dhama is non-different from the spiritual body of Bhagavan Sri Krishna, is cited in many sastras i.e. Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (3.4.76); Brahma-samhita verse 43 tika of Sri Jiva Goswami; Gopala Campu (1.1.18); Krishna Sandarbha 106; Brhad and Laghu-Vaisnava Tosani (chapter 11).
Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja also confirms that Vrndavana dhama is the body of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. When Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave His personal Govardhana Sila to Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami, He said:
ei sila krsnera vigraha inhara,
seva kara tumi kariya agraha
“O Dasa Raghunatha! This Govardhana sila is directly the transcendental form of Sri Krishna, so you must worship Giriraja with great eagerness.” (Caitanya Caritamrita 3.6.294)
puja kale dekhi silaya, vrajendra-nandana
“At the time of puja, Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami saw his Govardhana sila as Vrajendranandan Sri Krishna.” (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.6.300)
Saints say that Govardhana is Visnu Parvata, and He is also the tilaka gracing the elegant forehead of Govinda’s transcendental body of Vrndavana.
The question may be asked, “Ok, fine, Vrndavana is the transcendental body of Sri Krishna. But is there any chance that I will ever see Radha and Krishna while living in Vrndavana?” Sri Jiva Goswami answers this question by saying YES! Then he gives a meditation from Gautamiya-tantra (chapter 4) to attain Krishna’s darsana:
“The entire Vrndavana community of millions of gopis, cows and calves has descended from Goloka Vrndavana. In Vraja, lacs of blossoming lotus-eyed gopis worship Sri Hari with the flowers of their ecstatic emotions.
ahar nisam japen mantram, mantra niyata manasah
sa pasyati na sandeho, gopa rupa dharam harim
“To get darsana of Sri Hari and the gopis, you should continually chant japa of the Krishna/Gopala diksa mantra day and night with single-minded attention. Then without any doubt (na-sandeho) you will see Krishna the cowherd boy of Vrndavana.”
Sri Jiva Goswami quotes the Trailokya-sammohana-tantra: “Any sadhaka who chants the eighteen syllable Krishna/Gopala diksa mantra WILL DEFINITELY SEE SRI KRISHNA, the cowherd boy.”
Barefoot in Vraja
Before we get to the main point of this post, let’s hear some Vraja dhuli mahima, about the greatness and transcendental significance of the sacred dust of Vrndavana.
Throughout His Vraja lila, Govinda Gopala ran all over Vraja mandala without any shoes or socks. The Srimad Bhagavatam (10.15.1) says:
Padaih vrndavanam punyam ativa cakratuh
“Krishna especially beautified the land of Vrndavana by imprinting upon it the marks of His lotus feet.”
In Gopi-gita (SB 10.31.11), the cowherd damsels of Vraja cry out:
nalina sundaram natha te padam,
sila trnankurahi sidatiti nah
“O Natha! O Kanta! Your feet are softer and more beautiful than a blue lotus. Thus, O Krishna, You must be feeling great pain when You step on the spiked husks of grains, dried grass and sprouting plants while herding Your cows.”
Sri Caitanya maha-krpa-patra, Sri Kavi Karnapura says, “The pure, colorful dust of Vraja kicked up by the cows’ hooves and sprinkled on Krishna’s curly locks by the gentle breeze looks like pollen sprinkled on the body of a beautiful bumble bee.’ (Krishnaika Kaumudi, 5th ray)
Radha Rasa Sudha Nidhi (14):
radha padanka vilasan madhura sthalike
“The lila sthalis of Vrndavana are sweet and beautiful because of Radha’s pastimes and Her footprints.”
“We should understand that the dust of Vraja is the foot dust of Srimati Radhika. Endless honey-sweet streams of mahabhava flow from Sri Radharani’s lotus feet to saturate the dust of Vrndavana with the nectar of Her astonishing love for Krishna.
“There is no doubt about it that one can attain Giridhari Sri Krishna by serving this unlimitedly powerful divine dust. Thus Krishna’s eternal associates like Uddhava pray for birth in Vraja as a blade of grass just to get covered by this transcendental dust.” (Prema Bhakti Candrika 107 tika, Pandit Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaja)
Besides these few entries, there are literally hundreds of sastric statements and poems in Sanskrit, Bengali and Hindi glorifying the power and benefits of the amazing transcendental dust of Vraja Bhumi. All of these scriptures prescribe going barefoot on parikrama, and thousands of years of tradition have upheld this injunction.
Unfortunately, today we see lots of Vraja yatris performing parikrama of Giriraja, Vrndavana or Radha-kunda while wearing regular shoes, thin “baby” shoes or layers of socks. Acts of devotion like parikrama are included in the fourth limb of nava-vidha bhakti (pada- sevanam).
The purpose all sevas like chanting Hare Krishna japa, studying Srimad Bhagavatam, worshiping Krishna murtis, and parikrama is to please Bhagavan and receive His blessings.
We highly doubt that Sri Krishna will be very happy with or bless anyone who walks on His transcendental body (Vrndavana) while wearing shoes and socks on his/her feet.
Of course, our mushy minds will mutter— “O my feet are too soft and tender. I may get cut or bruised if I go bare foot. I have to protect my feet so I can go to work on Monday. Besides it hurts and it’s painful.”
All these things may be true, but what about the gain gotten from the pain of surrender?
Sadhu vani says that one can get Krishna prema in Navadvipa Dhama from Harinama Sankirtan; in Sri Ksetra Dhama from eating Jagannatha maha-prasadam, and in Vrndavana Dhama prema from contacting the dust, Vraja dhuli.
But how will this prema-giving, mercy-rich, sweet dust of Vraja get through the shoes and layers of socks? When prema is waiting for the taking, pampering one’s feet over receiving the mercy of Vraja is a most paltry proposal.
For centuries, yatris and the saints of Vraja have covered themselves with the precious dust of Vraja—seeing it as the ultimate goal of their lives. When Krishna’s uncle Akrura arrived in Vrndavana, he rolled in the dust of Vraja and honourably held it on his head.
The Gaudiya Vaisnava poets sing:
tyajiya sayana sukha vicitra palanka
kabe vrajera dhulaya dhusara habe anga
“When will I give up the happiness of sleeping in a wonderful bed, and cover my body with the dust and dirt of Vraja?”
It our cherished hope that the gentle words appearing here will encourage devotees to do whatever it takes to make Krishna smile. Our motto should be: “Soul first, body second”.
In other words, perform acts of sacrifice by depending on Krishna, and watch what miracles of mercy manifest in your lives.
Vraja dhuli ki jai! Vrndavana Dhama ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!