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Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Krishna Frees Shakatasura

In Gokula, at the age of three months Krishna rolled over and crawled out of the bed. To commemorate the event Yasoda observed a special ceremony. The elderly gopis, looking like creepers of maternal affection, felt intoxicated with bliss by taking part in this function. It seems this pleasure came result of their previous piety. Since the gopis’ hearts overflowed with compassion, they always observed auspicious rituals for the satisfaction and protection of Krishna.

All the Vrajavasis anxiously rushed to see Krishna. The arrival of the splendidly dressed elderly gopis greatly enhanced the joyous atmosphere of the festival. Yasoda and other gopis smeared oil on Krishna’s body to celebrate the auspicious occasion of His leaving home for the first time to crawl about on His hands and knees. Mrdangas played melodiously while Yasoda bathed her son and honored the guests. Krishna-kumara looked extremely beautiful after His auspicious bath and the application of kajala to His lotus eyes.

Vrajesvari Yasoda pleased all her relatives by performing the traditional family rituals. Vrajaraja Nanda also relished boundless happiness during the festival. As an expert in domestic affairs, Rohini remembered her husband and distributed charity to all the guests. Afterwards, Yasoda put Krishna to rest on a soft mattress, which was whiter than powdered camphor, in an ornately decorated cradle, which she placed under a handcart. Mother Yasoda worshiped the guests while Krishna rested peacefully.

Melodious music from rumbling mrdangas, bherries, dundubhis and other instruments filled the air. The waves of music produced by the talented musicians sweetened all directions. Satisfied brahmanas recited Vedic hymns to bless the child. Yasodanandana, whose beauty defeats beauty personified, started crying due to hunger and a desire to drink Yasoda’s breast milk. But Vrajesvari could not hear Him due to the loud music and singing.

At this time, Krishna decided to kill Sakatasura, a demon who was hiding in the cart under which He lay. Opening His joyful eyes, Krishna simultaneously destroyed the cart and killed the demon by playfully kicking His feet. Without any effort Krishna vanquished that demon with His tender feet, which were unlimitedly beautiful and softer than the petals of a lotus flower. These were not the thunderbolt nails He used to kill Hiranyakasipu; nor were they the legs He extended throughout the universe in His Vamana incarnation.

The gentle tinkling of Krishna’s ankle-bells increased the splendour of His delicate little legs. Although the cart stood considerably higher than the child, Krishna easily kicked the wheel of the cart with His feet. The brass pots on the cart made a tremendously loud sound as they tumbled over the ground. From the force of Krishna’s kick the wheels split from the axle, the hubs and spokes fell apart, and the handcart collapsed. Everyone’s hearts stopped when they heard the shattering sound of Shakatasura falling down dead.

Thinking that Krishna may have been hurt, the Vrajavasis filled with anguish. Their hearts overwhelmed in fear, they anxiously rushed to the spot.With great anxiety they met Krishna and said, “Alas! Is this the beginning of some imminent danger? This cart represented auspiciousness since it remained in their house for so long without moving. How did this cart suddenly become inauspicious? This perfect boy is the sum total of all pious activities.

Although many heavy brass pots crashed down, hone of them touched the tender limbs of Krishna whose glossy body is smeared with musk. O Lord of Vrindavana, Nanda Maharaja! In any assembly you are the natural leader, and along with your wife Yasoda you are the embodiments of all fortune. Our words fail to describe the extent of your wonderful glories.” Thus the Vrajavasis praised the King of Vrindavana.

The cowherd boys met their parents and described the heroic deeds of Krishna in broken language. They said, “It is not His fault. Krishna felt hungry and started crying loudly for some milk. When He did not get any, then why blame Him if He did something wrong? You should not scold Krishna. Unless driven by the wind how can a lotus bud move, similarly, the cart broke and fell to the ground because Krishna kicked it with His legs while crying.” Assuming there must be some unknown cause, the elderly persons did not believe the statements of the children.

Fearing that the death of Sakatasura must have brought some danger to her son, Yasodarani fell down on the ground. Rohini and the gopis affectionately picked up Yasoda, and pacified her with the good news about Krishna’s safety. By their comforting words Yasoda regained her senses .and wiped away her tears.

Mother Yasoda said, “Alas! My three-month old baby, whose body is softer than butter, has suffered so much. Suddenly this cart broke and fell upon my son. Since my heart did not stop upon hearing about this, it must be harder than a thunderbolt. Shame on my motherly love! Alas! I am His mother in name only.

“The earth shook from the crashing of the cart and the people became speechless. When that cart fell down around my child He cried in fear but did not get hurt. I guess it must be the result of my misfortune. Otherwise, why are such evil events occurring like Putana’s visit and the breaking of the cart? Therefore the auspicious King of Vrindavana must arrange to prevent any further calamities coming to my child. From this incident I can only guess what further misfortune awaits me.”

Thus lamenting and feeling apprehensive, Mother Yasoda ran quickly to her son. She saw Krishna’s attractive face conquering the effulgent beauty of the moon with its ever-increasing charm. Yasoda drowned in an ocean of sweetness when she placed Krishna on her lap. Surcharged with feelings of bliss, Yasoda’s mind became pacified and free from worry.Nanda and Yasoda observed an auspicious religious ritual on behalf of Krishna-kumara, whose radiant body looked gorgeous.

Although Krishna is the Supreme Brahman, He appeared in Vrindavana as a boy with curly dark bluish black hair and a tender transcendental form. As Yasoda fondly fed Krishna the milk dripping from her breasts, He gradually fell asleep. Then she tucked Krishna back in His bed under the cart just as before. Rohini, the wife of Vasudeva, whose lustrous beauty surpasses all the women of heaven, engaged the brahmanas in chanting auspicious mantras to counteract the evil effects caused by Shakatasura.

Krishna Frees Trnavarta

One blissful day during Krishna’s first year, Yasoda lifted up her resplendent, jewel-like son while passing through the main chamber of the palace. She lovingly fondled and caressed Him. With His perfect intelligence Krishna immediately perceived some danger. Employing His Yogamaya potency, Krishna decided to reveal an ecstatic childhood pastime to show compassion to those rotting in the material world.

Thinking thus, Krishna made His body so heavy that He forced His mother to set Him down. Mother Yasoda, who is worshipable by all the three worlds, suddenly felt very tired from carrying her heavy son. As a creeper hangs down from the weight of ripened fruits, similarly, mother Yasoda bent over from the heavy weight of her maternal affection. Afraid of dropping her beloved son, Yasoda carefully sat Krishna down.

By the sweet will of the Lord, Yogamaya influenced Yasoda’s mind. Without the slightest worry, She left Krishna alone outside the house and went inside to perform other domestic duties. Mother Yasoda had no idea that she had left Krishna in a dangerous position. Yasoda’s bewilderment had no other apparent cause than the all-powerful manifestation of her son’s majesty. Realizing her mistake upon entering the house, Yasoda ran back to get Krishna.

Meanwhile a demon named Trnavarta descended upon Vrindavana. Taking the form of a huge cyclone, he terrorized all the people and animals. The whirlwind created by the demon seemed like a blacksmith’s bellows emitting a loud sound in all directions. Trnavartacovered all of Vrindavana in a dense cloud of darkness.

Trnavarta was one extremely powerful demon sent by Kamsa, whose very presence disturbed the natural balance of the material world made of five gross elements. He converted the three worlds into one element, namely wind. At its zenith it was so dense that it blinded everyone on earth.

Intent on killing Krishna, Trnavarta quickly attacked Him with his powerful winds. He dropped a deadly shower of dust, grass, and broken pots on the people of Vrindavana. Mother Yasoda worried about her son’s safety. She did not realize that her darling son, whose soft hands and feet possess the beauty, fragrance, and coolness of a lotus flower, could easily kill the biggest giants or the immortal demigods in heaven.

Suddenly Trnavarta kidnapped that tender baby who would soon cause his death. But Krishna did not feel the slightest pain or distress. The whirlwind sent the sweet fragrance of Krishna’s body into the celestial abodes. Krishna happily assumed a powerful feature while contemplating how to kill the demon. Trnavarta felt that he was carrying a fire bound in a cloth, a deadly poison within his throat, or death personified.

To satisfy the celestial damsels desirous of His darsana, Krishna rode the whirlwind into the heavens. When Krishna struck the demon with His hand, which smelled like musk and looked as splendid as the stem of a lotus, the demon’s life air slowly left his body. Then with a final blow Krishna crushed the demon to dust.

Krishna looked like a blue sapphire locket hanging from the demon’s throat. When they crashed on the ground the demon died, but Krishna landed safely on the earth. Seeing this amazing feat, the Vrajavasis filled with joy. Though appeared as a mere baby, Krishna sometimes proved His by displaying His unlimited potency. That great whirlwind demon, who showered dust, rain and clumps of earth all over Vrindavana, touched Krishna’s body, and by that attained the supreme fortune of becoming eligible for liberation.

Thus Trnavarta did the best possible act to purify his family line. When Yasoda could not find her son after the cessation of the storm, her heart turned into a desert of lamentation. At that time, she lost all patience, and unconsciousness personified appeared as her only companion. Feeling helpless and overwhelmed, Mother Yasoda collapsed on the earth. Though suffering immensely, Yasoda’s faint breathing indicated that she still lived.

Understanding her intense pain of lamentation, the Vrajavasis tried to revive Yasoda by sprinkling water on her face and speaking comforting words. They said, “O pious and learned lady! The extent of your good fortune is unlimited. Your son gives happiness to the eyes of everyone. . The honey-sweet dealings of Krishna-kumara continually increase our attachment to Him. Due to your purity your son is still alive.

“O King and Queen of Vrindavana! Now we realize that all your fortune and prestige is caused by your illustrious son. Ma Yasoda! Although you are apprehensive about your son’s safety, you can give up your distress, for the illusion has left our village. Do not let your mind burn any longer. Lift up your son and rejoice.”

Thus reassured, Yasoda regained consciousness, but she was still in anxiety. She said, “Just a few minutes ago I could not tolerate the weight of my son so I put Him down, and then that demon captured Him. Can you explain how a tiny baby can suddenly become so heavy that even his mother cannot carry him? I guess this must be due to my bad luck. Alas! How could my son, who is as soft as butter and cannot even tolerate the pain of my lap, endure the tremendous pain generated by that demon who attacked Vrindavana with a shower of grass, high winds, and pieces of bricks?

“Previously Providence protected my son from the poisonous breasts of Putana and the falling cart demon. Now I pray to Him to always protect my beloved son. Alas! I got my son back because of the Narayana’s protection. From now on I will never take Him off my lap and put Him on the ground. Quickly help me find my son. Where is He? Has the wind demon snatched Him and carried Him away? As long as I live I will never again leave Him outside alone.”**

Saying this,Yasoda fell down unconscious. Sympathizing with the plight of Yasoda, the elderly gopis again tried to pacify her. Due to the burning fire of lamentation, Yasoda’s lotus face looked morose and took on the hue of a red lotus. Her sadness submerged the Vrajavasis in an ocean of distress.On the outskirts of the village, where He had previously played upon the breast of Putana, Krishna-kumara triumphed over His enemy by smashing him on the earth. This location brought success, just as victory is assured for one choosing a favorable constellation before fighting.

******

While vanquishing that demon, Krishna, the greatest of all relishers, looked like a blossoming aparajita flower amidst a garden of thorns, or a blue lotus rising above a lake choked with tall reeds, or a small shining lamp atop a dense cloud of darkness. Krishna stood as the embodiment of transcendental knowledge amidst an ocean of ignorance. He resembled a river of nectar flowing in a desert, or a flower of personified bliss atop of a tree of misery.

Seeing the beautiful blue baby in a safe position, the crowds gradually dispersed. One person commented, “This low-class, faithless demon has kept the demigods from blessing us with their association. Taking the form of a whirlwind, he prevented all auspicious acts and tortured Mother Earth. Finally he destroyed himself by the reaction of his heinous sin of attempting to kidnap the Prince of Vrindavana. Since he did even have enough piety to approach Krishna’s house, he died outside of town instead.”

Someone else said, “O look at this boy! He is the eternal

Parambrahma and the Supreme Personality of Godhead! The effulgence of His unlimited opulence is always expanding. He is an invincible razor sharp sword annihilating the asuric kings with His awesome power. From the very beginning, Krishna established the glories of His name by killing the Putana demon. It is He who freed everyone from distress by destroying Sakatasura. He also demolished that demon who terrorized the three worlds.”

Another Vrajavasi said, “Like King Indra, Nanda Maharaja must have performed severe austerities and done many good deeds to accrue such vast piety. As a result, Nanda Baba received a boon that enabled his son to defeat formidable asuras like Putana and others. There is no other way to explain how all these demons met their death.”

Having accepted Krishna as the wealth of their lives, the Vrajavasis rejoiced upon finding Him free from danger. Picking Him up in their loving arms, they carried Krishna into Yasoda’s inner chambers. The atmosphere filled with the happy news of Krishna’s well-being. Witnessing the pleasure of the Vrajavasis also brought waves of bliss to the mind of Asurari, Krishna, the destroyer of demons.

Observing this joyful pastime of Krishna, the elderly gopis. smiled and said, “Hey Bhagavati! You are worshipable by everyone in the world. Due to your good fortune your son is now safe and happy.” Such reassuring words greatly pleased the mind of Yasoda. When rain clouds forcefully pour water on a burned out forest, a fresh abundance of life reappears to beautify that forest with elegance and contentment. In a similar way, Yasoda looked refreshed and beautiful upon regaining her beloved son.

Though happy, Yasoda felt somewhat anxious and confused by the unusual event. In this state of bewilderment she said, “Where is He? Where is He?” Compassionately taking charge of Yasoda, the Vrajavasis gradually nursed her back to consciousness. At that time Yasoda’s eyes looked like a pair of lotus flowers moistened with cool drops of dew. Her name, fame, and position surpass everyone in creation. Waking from her trance, Yasoda stood up and drowned in an ocean of joy upon beholding her all-attractive son.

Other ladies glorified Krishna-kumara, “Hey Krishna! Hey Krishna!” A dying man receives new life by taking sanjivam rasa. Similarly, Yasoda, who nearly died in separation, revived upon meeting her dearest son Krishna. She felt she had retrieved an invaluable lost treasure. Sitting Krishna on her lap, she lovingly gazed at Him with unblinking eyes. But being only semi-conscious, Yasoda could not relish the full bliss of Krishna’s direct association.

As her sleeping senses awoke in the service of her beloved son, she said, “O darling! From the time of Your birth You have caused so much trouble to Your mother. Of course, this is not Your fault, so how can J blame You? I am the one who left You outside and unprotected. This shows my heart is as dry as wood, and therefore I qualify as Your mother in name only. But since I am known as Your mother, You have never treated me cruelly.

“Although that demon kidnapped You, because You of Your innocence You somehow escaped and returned. O my beloved! Your love for me is unprecedented and transcendental. I should be punished for my grave mistake.”

Out of intense motherly affection, Mother Yasoda suckled Krishna with her breast milk and put Him to rest. Although appearing in a human form to act as the son of Yasoda, Krishna-kumara eternally exists as the personification of transcendental bliss.

Kaviraja Sri Karnapura Goswami’s AnandaVrindavanaCampuki jai!

Radha-GovindaVraja Lilas ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

The Witch Becomes a Mother

The Supreme Brahman, taking the form of a human being, descended on earth and assumed the mood of a village boy. Although He appeared like an ordinary human to the common people, Sri Krishna, who is famous as the beautiful form of supreme transcendence, has a completely pure spiritual body. Manifesting along with His divine consort Srimati Radharani, Krishna fully satisfied the minds of everyone.

Once, Vrajaraja Nanda, having accepted the customs of ordinary people, followed the proper etiquette to protect his city. Nanda and other senior men went to Mathura to pay taxes to King Kamsa for their yearly milk production. The Yadus and their faithful servants accompanied him.

Meanwhile, in Mathura, the cruel and wicked Kamsa, remembering his past enmity toward Lord Vishnu, tactfully sent Putana rakshasi to Vrindavana to kill baby Krishna. She was as foreboding as an evil planet. Capable of assuming any form, Putana disguised herself as the most beautiful woman in the three worlds and went to Nanda’s capital. The villagers became attracted and bewildered by seeing such an exceptionally charming woman. In this way, Putana astonished the minds of everyone with her superbly enchanting form.

Seeing the extraordinary elegance of Putana, the Vrajavasis openly mocked the famous society girls of heaven, saying, “O Urvasi! You are the best of the heavenly damsels, but in the presence of Putana you are no more than a beggar! O Rambhe! Very soon you will become the consort of a frog. O Ghitachi! Your fame is now as valuable as a crematorium covered by water. O Citralekhe! Your captivating form appears now like lines in a painting.”

The Vrajavasis, speculating as to the identity of Putana, thought, “Is this lady the presiding demigoddess of Vrindavana? Is she the goddess of fortune of the three worlds? Is she a creeper of lightning appearing without a cloud? Is she a friend of the kumuda flowers blossoming under the moon?”

When Putana entered Yasoda’s home, the Vrajavasis concluded that the goddess of the three worlds had favored that great soul, the King of Vrindavana by personally coming to render all kinds of service. Baby Krishna lay on a bed as white as the rays of the full moon, or the foam produced from churning the ocean of milk. Nandulala looked like a great emerald sprouting from a field of powdered camphor.

Putana played the part of the sweet deceiver who outwardly speaks pleasing words, but harbors cruelty within his vicious heart. She exactly resembled a well concealed by straw in order to trap a wild elephant. Her attractive form rivaled the jeweled sheath of a deadly sword. Although assuming the form of a desire creeper, Putanawas really a poisonous plant.

Displaying motherly affection, Putana held Nandu in her lap. Yasoda and Rohini wondered, “Is this woman Bhagavati Gauri? Or is she the presiding deity of the material elements? Is she the consort of Indra, the queen of Varuna, or the consort of Agnideva? Has she appeared here to display affection toward my son?” Thinking thus, they did not prevent Putana from offering her breast milk to the baby.

Fearlessly, Putana picked up baby Krishna and cuddled Him in her lap. The compassionate Lord, who is absolute knowledge personified, acted as if He was unaware of the situation. Krishna immediately accepted Putana as His mother and climbed up on her lap. Yasoda and Rohini watched attentively as Putana expressed motherly affection toward Krishna by pressing her poison covered nipple into His mouth. Krishna’s soft, copper-colored lips resembled drinking cups made of the petals of a cluster of bandhuka flowers. Expert at performing pastimes, Krishna skillfully sucked out both Putana’s milk and her very life, which left her helpless and stupefied.

Feeling intense pain, Putana shrieked, “Please leave me, leave me!” while trying her best to throw the baby off her breast. But Krishna held tightly with both hands and sucked her breast milk with the cup of His soft lips. Then Putana assumed her raksasi form as a horrible demon. Krishna immediately killed her and cast Putana’s huge and hideous body out of town to prevent her crushing the Vrajavasis. However, when Putana fell to the ground, her dead body smashed all of Kamsa’s favourite mango trees in his fruit orchard. The ugly body of Putana extended for twelve miles.

The Vrajavasis froze in fright upon seeing the gigantic body of that witch. Everyone was amazed to see Krishna sitting playfully in the rakshasi’s lap. Yasoda sighed, “Alas! How painful, what happened to my son? While thus lamenting, Yasoda staggered a few steps and fell senseless. But the moment she heard that her son was safe and sound, Vrajesvari Yasoda regained her consciousness.

To relieve His grieving family and friends, Krishna crawled up on Putana’s chest so they could see Him freely playing there. Upon seeing Krishna, the gopas cried out, “O look! That woman came to kill the son of Nanda, but she died as a result of her grave offense. O how fortunate we are!” Beholding that gentle yet fearless, beautiful boy with a sweet smile, the cowherd men picked Krishna up and handed Him from one to another.

The gopis consoled Yasoda, “O pious one, here is your son, please embrace Him.” Yasoda swelled with joy upon seeing her son’s face. Thereafter, Yasoda and Rohini, along with the other elderly gopis, waved about the switch of a cow, bathed the beautiful child with cow’s urine, and performed other purifying acts to create auspiciousness. To further protect the child they chanted the holy names of the Lord.

The Vrajavasis chopped up the gigantic body of Putana, took it away, and burned it. From a distance that burning body, spewing forth deep black smoke and many sparks, looked like a monsoon cloud illuminated by streaks of lightning. Because Krishna had touched Putana the smoke rising from her burning body filled every planet up to Vaikuntha with a sweet aroma. Everyone enjoyed that fragrance which smelled like incense of aguru and sandalwood. The rain falling through that fragrant smoke saturated the earth with a sweet smell.

Vrajaraja Nanda returned from Mathura amidst all this commotion. Observing the smoke and feeling apprehensive, the associates of Nanda said, “O King of Vrindavana, what is this dense cloud of dark blue smoke?” Moving closer to Putana, the elderly gopas wondered, “Where has all this aromatic smoke suddenly come from? Has the fragrance of the earth expressing its desire to conquer the sky, taken the form of smoke to spread throughout the world?”Thus, the gopas argued amongst themselves about the amazing event.

Vrajaraja Nanda anxiously said, “What happened? What is wrong?” Within minutes the Vrajavasis assembled before Nanda Maharaja and told him all about Putana’s demoniac deeds. Upon seeing the face of his beloved child, Nanda felt relieved and refreshed. Picking up Gopala, Nanda Baba affectionately smelled His head. Overwhelmed with unlimited pleasure, his mind melted with ecstatic feelings and his eyes streamed tears of happiness.

Who can describe the mercy of the Lord? Even though Putana rakshasi came disguised as a mother to kill Krishna with her poisonous breast milk, the compassionate Sri Krishna gave her the position of a mother in the spiritual world.

Anandakanda Bhagavan Sri Krishna ki jai! Vrajalila ki jai!

Kaviraja Sri Karnapura Goswami’s Ananda Vrindavana Campu ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Nandotsava in Puri

Srila Raghunatha Dasa Goswamipada describes Mahaprabhu’s celebration of Nandotsava: Krishna On Nandotsava, Sri Gauranga and His devotees dressed as cowherd boys and carried heavy pots with yoghurt and milk on their shoulders. When they came to the festival-grounds, they chanted ‘Hari! Hari!’ Kanai Khutiya dressed as father Nanda and Jagannatha Mahati as Queen Yasoda.

The Lord took King Prataparudra, Kasi Mishra, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya and Tulasi Podichapatra all along in a swinging dance, and everyone was sprinkled with yoghurt, milk and turmeric-water.” (Gauranga Stava Kalpadruma 9)

Krishna’s Childhood Nandotsava

In Krishna’s sixth year, Nanda Maharaja organized a grand festival (Nandotsava) to celebrate Krishna’s auspicious birthday. Krishna sat upon a celestial golden throne and all the Vrajagopis came to worship Him. The loud pounding of the bheri drums, the dhintadhinta sounds from the mrdangas and dundubhis, and the skillful beats on the dolaks announced the auspicious festival of Krishna’s birthday. The joyous vibration of the occasion was enhanced by the excited voices and jingling ankle-bells of the elderly gopis as they greeted the various guests.

The learned brahmanas bathed Krishna with thousands of streams of pure water poured from crystal pitchers while purifying the environment with perfectly enunciated mantras. This added waves of attraction to Krishna’s already gorgeous body. They dried Krishna with a fine linen cloth, dressed Him in a yellow silk dhoti and chaddar, decorated Him with glittering gems, and anointed Krishna’s forehead with gorocana tilaka. After fixing His jeweled bracelets and armbands, they tied some durva grass around Krishna’s wrist with turmeric soaked thread.

Following the local customs of such blissful festivals, the merciful Yasoda blessed Krishna by showering flowers upon His head. The elderly gopis sang traditional Vrajabhasha songs and waved lamps respectfully before Krishna. He, who is kind to His friends and the object of the gopis’ love, sat quietly on His asana accepting arati. Then the Vrajavasis very enthusiastically and joyfully offered Krishna wonderful gifts and a variety of creamy milk sweets.

To properly complete the festival, Yasoda had her servants invite the general public. Yasoda offered palatable food to the wives of the village leaders, the married women and the young girls of Vrindavana. Nanda Maharaja invited the cowherd men such as Sananda, Upananda, and their wives to take the sumptuous foods cooked by Rohini, the crest-jewel among women. When the cowherd men arrived Yasoda honored their youngest sons by worshiping them and offering pearl necklaces.

Though pained by separation from their husbands because they had to accompany their mothers-in-law to the festival, the newly married gopis put on ornate and elegant ankle-length dresses. The tender faces of these newlyweds glowed splendidly under the fine fabric of their veils.

The gopis felt intensely attracted to Krishna, so they revealed their loving sentiments by offering Him their sidelong glances in charity. Their bangles fell silent as they embraced Krishna with their eyes. They felt as if they were beholding a bouquet of beautiful flowers. No one noticed the auspicious meeting of Krishna and the gopis.

Though they had seen Krishna before, the young unmarried gopis like Dhanya-sakhi just stood with their mothers and gazed timidly upon Him as if it was the first time. While bathing in the lake of Krishna’s exquisite beauty, the unmarried gopis expressed their desire to be His wives by offering Him mental flowers scented with camphor. They became shy, however, when Krishna accepted their proposal with a favorable glance. No one could detect the infinite bliss the gopis now relished within their hearts.

At that time, Krishna’s pet parrot left His side and landed on the lotus held by gopi whose heart throbbed with love. Hoping to hear news of Krishna that excited gopi respectfully welcomed the parrot. Understanding the parrot’s hint, Krishna cast the fresh lotus garland of His glance toward Radha, the daughter of Vrshabhanu. Krishna’s glance seemed to say, O parrot! I saw this same gopi gazing at Me from the watchtower as I took the cows to the forest.

No one else saw this secret exchange of sweet love. Understanding that Radha’s body had become slender due to Her purva-raga, Krishna looked upon Her with great compassion. Then Yasoda, shining with all auspicious qualities, smiled gently and took lotus-faced Radhika and the other gopis to another room to feed them.

After worshiping His best cows with scents and garlands, Vrajaraja Nanda escorted his guests to a wide jeweled veranda and sat them down on wooden seats. Then he bathed their feet, performed acamana, and offered arghya. Nanda arranged for Rohini and the wives of Sananda and Upananda to respectfully serve them first-class food and drink on gold plates. At the conclusion of the meal, Nanda personally gave them betel nut, cardamom, scents, garlands, and ornaments.

After the elderly men, children, and babies had eaten the feast, the married women and girls sat down in two rows to eat. Radhika and others received respect according to their position. Yasoda swam in an ocean of happiness as she personally served the gopis. In a voice that sounded as sweet as pattering raindrops of nectar, Yasoda spoke to each guest, “Please do not feel shy. Just eat to your heart’s content.”

Yasoda affectionately served everyone, and then honored them with offerings of betel nuts, garlands, ointments, sindura, and gold embroidered cloth. Finally, Yasoda, the crest jewel of good fortune, embraced each of the gopis before sending them home. Smiling broadly, Yasoda distributed the remnants of the feast to the sinless residents of the village.

Nanda Maharaja presented gifts to the dancers and musicians while Yasoda blessed them with her upraised palm. Upon concluding the festival, Yasoda thought holding such a festival everyday would surely fulfill all her desires. For a moment she felt a touch of sadness, fearing that she may not have fully satisfied all the guests.

Sri Krishna Nandotsava ki jai! 

Kaviraja Sri Karnapura Goswami’s Ananda Vrindavana Campu ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Glories of Sri Krishna’s Nandagrama (continued from part 5)

IV. Eternal Associates of Sri Krishna 

Although all the people of Nandishvara appear to exhibit temporary qualities such as youth and old age to facilitate their individual rasas, they are actually all liberated souls. Their so-called youth and old age are beyond the transformations of time.

Nanda Maharaja, the king of Vrindavana, resides in this town as the embodiment of paternal affection. Manifesting the pure nature of the soul, he is the essence of all auspiciousness, a veritable island amidst an ocean of bliss. By assuming the role of Krishna’s father, which he plays eternally, he has become endowed with all auspicious qualities. His wife Yasoda resides in Nandishvara as the embodiment of maternal affection, and a desire creeper awarding the darsana of Krishna. As a beautiful flower spreads its fragrance in all directions, the effulgence of Yasoda’s fame illuminates her entire dynasty.

Hundreds of honest and gentle cowherd men live in this capital city. They are not attached to their families, but they are completely attached to Krishna. Although they diligently care for their domestic animals and maintain themselves by trading in milk and yogurt, they exist totally in the spiritual world. A few of the cowherd men are intimate relatives of Nanda Maharaja, but all them are closely related to each other.

The husbands embody religious principles and the wives embody devotional feelings. Their sons are Krishna’s cowherd boyfriends and their daughters are His dearest lovers. Like the four Kumaras, all of Krishna’s friends are eternally youthful. As flocks of birds decorate a forest, Krishna is surrounded by friends of the same age. Krishna and His friends have a very close and intimate relationship resembling the intimacy of flowers strung on a thread. 

The blissful boyfriends of Krishna have clear eyes and brilliantly shining hair. With their musk and sandal scented bodies, smiling lotus faces, well-proportioned ears, elegantly shaped noses, handsome and resplendent necks, long, beautiful arms, and their chests are always swelling with happiness. The waists of the boys are as firm as the sides of an elephant. Krishna’s friends have very strong thighs that give joy to everyone. They walk on their bare feet, which are as tender as the rays of the moon. The cowherd boys of Vrindavana far surpass the demigods, and they exist eternally as Krishna’s beloved associates. Subala, Sridama, Sudama and Vasudama are some of Krishna’s intimate boyfriends.

Now the intimate girlfriends of Krishna will be described. The delicate feet of Krishna’s gopis resemble poetry full of wonderful rhymes. Their slender ankles move with the speed of the mind. The thighs of the gopis conquer the splendor of the broad trunks of banana trees, and the sweetness of their graceful hips is very attractive. They have charming bellies, delightful navels and thin waists. 

They have long graceful arms, and their throats have three attractive lines resembling a conch shell. They have beautiful noses, captivating eyes and beautiful ears that always drink the sweet nectar of hari-katha. They sport splendid curls and attractive hairstyles. 

Sri Radha reigns as the best of Krishna’s beloveds. This beautiful young girl is resplendent with all good qualities such as mercy, sweetness, and vitality. As the crest-jewel among Krishna’s lovers, Kishori possesses all ornaments, and all types of emotional mellows. Radhika is a golden flower in a garden of prema; a lightning flash in a cloud of sweetness; or a golden line on a testing stone of beauty. 

Radhika is the light of the moon of bliss. Her slender arms conquer the pride of Cupid. Radharani is the splendorous essence of the ocean of loveliness, and the enchanting smile of those intoxicated by love. She is a mine of the sixty-four arts, and the precious crest-jewel of all good qualities. Radhika’s complexion is more golden than a thousand Parvatis.

Radhika is also called Syama, which means that Her transcendental body is warm in the winter and cool in the hot season. Her breasts are firm, full, slightly raised, and very beautiful. Although existing since time immemorial, Radhika is an ever-fresh young girl. Radharani is the epitome of beauty and the life and soul of Her girlfriends. 

Though just an innocent young girl, Radharani controls all the goddesses of fortune in the universe. Learned pandits call Her Maha-Laksmi, tantrics call Her Lila-sakti and bhaktas call Her Hladini-sakti. Radhika is ornamented by Her dear friends who display all good qualities and move as Radha’s reflections.

Among all the young gopis, there is also one group leader named Candravali, who is the crest jewel of dalliance. She bestows the bliss of a million moons. Candravali has all good qualities, and her feminine form is the natural embodiment of beauty. Candravali is the essence of all rasa who gives bliss to all. Padma, Saibya, and others serve as her dearest companions. Although she is very prominent, Candravali is merely another gopi group leader amongst the Vraja gopis. There is another gopi group leader named Syama-sakhi, who is very dear to Radhika.

All the brahmanas living in Nanda Baba’s capital embody the principles of bhagavata dharma. They are extremely merciful, and always display sense and mind control, tolerance, and renunciation. With great skill they recite sastras like the Bhagavata, and always study the Narada Pancaratra and other Vedic works that corroborate the Bhagavata. They alone qualify for Nanda Maharaja’s charity, and only they perform the appropriate rituals and ceremonies.

Some of these brahmanas worship the aishvarya aspect of Krishna, and others adore the madhurya feature of the Lord. After thorough study of the eighteen branches of knowledge they have become genuinely peaceful and fixed in their own realizations. It is not surprising that they have never been defeated in debate. Though possessing abundant wealth, they always remain humble and exhibit gentle behavior, friendship, kindness, and compassion to one and all. 

Although the oil-sellers, tambula salesmen, goldsmiths, pot makers, weavers, and blacksmiths have spiritual forms, they behave like ordinary humans. Commanding the respect of all pious men, they freely distribute their wealth wherever needed. They do not have material bodies, nor do they experience the sufferings of ordinary mortals.

Surrounding the town of Nandishvara are many rows of small forest groves filled with varieties of multi-hued trees, dangling creepers, kunjas and bowers. The vanadevis wander hand in hand along the forest paths softened from the sap constantly dripping from the trees. The whole forest is sweetly scented from the juice of the kakkola berries spilling out of the mouths of the wild rams as they contentedly ruminate. The air is also scented from the aromatic bark of the deva daru trees rubbed off by the horns of wild buffaloes.

The sides of the hills are strewn with tree branches broken by the tusks of the wild baby elephants. And the ground is covered with bunches of half-eaten grapes scattered by families of monkeys. The aborigine women wander through the thick forest groves.

There are many other forests such as Kamyavana and Lohavan, full of trees and exotic vegetation. The lakes are full of crystal clear water and covered with water lilies. White, blue and red lotuses lie scattered throughout these forests. These lakes resound with singing herons, ducks, swans, cranes, ospreys, and cakravakas. 

  Vraja-mandala, although completely spiritual, is situated within the material world. Thus those with mundane vision see Vrindavana as a material place. Svatantra Bhagavan Sri Krishna freely chose to appear in this world in Vrindavana as the baby son of Nanda and Yasoda, the eternal embodiments of parental affection. Since Krishna is the origin of all avataras and the ocean of all pastimes, why does He perform pastimes in the material world? Simply to give pleasure to  His devotees. 

To show the world the astonishing depths of their parental affection, Krishna appeared as the son of Nanda and Yasoda. Accepting their care and attention, the omnipotent Lord covered His majesty with an unprecedented sweetness. By exhibiting all the different stages of boyhood such as kumara, pauganda, and kaisora, the Supreme Lord Krishna appeared like an ordinary human being. But throughout these stages Krishna remained in His original form as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Although madhurya rasa is predominant one in Vrindavana, the previous verse has only mentioned parental affection. The reason for this is that all of Krishna’s pastimes with the cows, gopas, and gopis also go on eternally in the spiritual world. But Krishna’s babyhood pastimes and the killing of demons occurs only in the Gokula in the material world. Thus one should understand that the sweetness of bhauma-lila is not available in the spiritual world.

Kaviraja Sri Karnapura Goswami’s Ananda Vrindavana Campu ki jai! 

Radha-Govinda Vraja Lilas ki jai!  Jai Jai Sri Radhe! 

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Nandagram—Glorious Birthplace of Nandanandana Sri Krishna 

Not far from Govardhana stands Nandishvara Hill, which is the second body of Lord Siva. Dhava trees and the blissful pastimes of Madhava fill Nandishvara with splendor. The parrots perched in the palasa trees vibrate sweet music throughout the day. Beautiful peaks of varying heights decorate its skyline. An abundance of roots, herbs, and delicious fruits await the eager hands of the carefree cowherd boys. 

Just as Vamana’s steps brought the Ganga down on Siva’s head, similarly, the water flowing down from its caves nourishes the fennel shrubs growing on the side of Nandishvara Hill. As gentle behavior can break the pride of a coarse man, the thick growth of yellow jinthi flowers growing on its slopes overpowers the red-colored rocks of Nandishvara Hill. Lord Siva always holds Parvati on his lap, and this mountain always holds shilajit in its crevices. 

I. Unique Nandisvara Bhasha (language)

The splendid capital of Nanda Baba rests atop Nandishvara Hill. In this place the syllable khala (deceitful) is only found in words such as mekhala (waistbells), srnkhala (waist chains), and ulukhlala. This syllable, however, is never used alone because there are no deceitful people in Nanda Maharaja’s capital. The word matsara (my lake) is used to describe one’s own lake, but it is not used to describe envy (matsarya) because Nandagrama place is devoid of envy. 

The word doshakara (having faults) is used to describe the moon and nothing else, because there are no doshakara (faulty) people in Nandishvara. The syllable mala (dirt) is used only in such words parimala (fragrance) and syamala (blackish), but it is not used separately to connote mala (filth), because everything in Nandagrama is nirmala (pure and spotless). 

The word danda (rod) is used only to connote the handle of a camara or an umbrella, but it does not connote punishment (danda) because there are no punishable people there. The word bandha (knot or bound) is used only to describe the knots of clothing, but it does not mean imprisoned (bandha) because no one here deserves to be tied up. The word adhi (mental distress) is used only in such words as samadhi and upadhi, because there is no such thing as mental distress in Nandagrama! 

The word pidha (anguish, or group) is seen only in such words as kusumapidha (flower chaplet), because there is no pain or agony in Nandishvara. The word kutila (crooked) is used only to refer to hair locks or eye glances, because there are no crooked or deceitful people there. The word cancalata (greedy or unsteady) is used only in relation to necklaces or the edges of clothing which move back and forth in anticipation of meeting Krishna. It is not used in reference to unsteadiness of the mind (cancala mana) because there are no unsteady people there. The word raga is used only to describe the reddish color of the feet and hands, and not to describe material attachments.

The word madhya (middle, mediocre) is used only to describe the waist, because everything in the spiritual world is uttama (topmost). The word palita (white) is used only to describe a pala (measurement), and not to describe white hair because no one grows old there. The word raja is used only in words describing flower pollen, or the dust of a cow, and not in words like raja-guna because there are no passionate people there. The word tama (darkness) is used only to describe darkness, and not to refer to tama-guna (ignorance), because ignorance cannot be found. The word kathina (hard) is used to describe jewels and gold, and not to refer to people because everyone is very soft and gentle. 

II. Transcendental Abode of Nandishvara

A high insurmountable town wall made of radiant sapphires encompasses all the towns within Nanda Maharaja’s capital of Nandishvara. The towns appear like festive arenas with canopies and colorful jeweled festoons hanging from the archways. The main gateways in that wall have huge, jewel-studded doors. Nandishvara is full of broad sparkling roadways, and many huge palaces which bring joy to the heart.

The many small, attractive and radiant temples have splendorous golden rooftops. Beautiful strands of pearls hang from the cornices. The palaces there are surrounded by jewel-studded verandas, and flower filled sacrificial arenas. The residential quarters are made of emeralds, and have golden rooftops, coral pillars, crystal walls, cat’s eye towers, sapphire sitting platforms, and huge doors studded with big blue sapphires that astound the eyes with their beauty. The stunning opulence of Nandishvara puts to shame the brilliant palaces of the demigods.

The capital of Nanda Maharaja is decorated with rows of shops made of jewels, which spread out from the crossroads in neat rows. These unique transcendental shops have flags atop their roofs and hanging strands of pearls decorate the interiors. The shops have wide verandas and the merchants live in their shops. Some shops smell like spring; others smell like sandalwood, aguru, kasturi, ripe paddy fields, mustard oil, and so on.

Rows of huge goshalas spread out in all directions in Nanda Maharaja’s capital. The four long crystal walls of these goshalas are topped with emerald beams, and golden crossbeams that extend beyond the walls. In all corners are ruby cornices firmly attached to the emerald beams. The roofs have sparkling jeweled surfaces which make them look like jeweled mountain peaks. The goshalas have many solid doors but no pillars. They are very clean and expansive, dust-free and devoid of chilly breezes. Go Mata ki jai! 

III. Krishna’s Cows 

Standing in the yards of the goshalas are the best of cows, which are as white as the full moon and have horns as dark as peaks of blue sapphires. The thick bushy tails of these cows resemble the long hair of the ladies of Vrindavana. Upon seeing Krishna, the cows fill with joy and lift up their tails. The heads of the cows hang down due to the heavy, thick folds of skin under their necks. Their full milk bags resemble the rotund body of Ganesh. Like the mind, these cows are independent and cannot be easily bound. 

As sadhakas gain happiness by engaging in austerities, the cows feel delighted when they are milked. The cows of Vrindavana are called kamadhenus because they fulfill all desires just like cintamani gems. As the summer season is ornamented with blooming flowers, the cows are decorated with happy calves. Many varieties of multi-colored cows beautify the goshalas. The goshalas are alive with herds of calves jumping about. These adorable calves look like clumps of foam from the milk ocean, spots of moonlight cast on the ground, or like ice boulders from Mt. Kailasa tumbling along the earth. They are the purest of offerings to the demigods.

The huge bulls look like crystal boulders or big waves in the ocean of yogurt. Sleeping peacefully in their pens, they look like ancient sages in meditation. Like liberated souls, they freely wander here and there. Their huge horns resemble the tusks of the directional elephants. The high humps on their backs resemble the parasol and fans held above a king. 

With their red eyes and slow movements they appear stunned like intoxicated persons. When the bulls let out a loud bellow it sounds like the boisterous talk of proud men. The skin folds flapping around their necks resemble the long blankets draped over the backs of anchoriteses. All the cows of Vrindavana are expansions from Goloka. Coming next, part six with more description of Krishna’s Nandagrama.

Kaviraja Sri Karnapura Goswami’s Ananda Vrindavana Campu ki jai! 

Radha-Govinda Vraja Lilas ki jai!  Jai Jai Sri Radhe! 

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Sri Yamunaji & Giriraja Ji

The Yamuna River

While meandering through the forest of Vrindavana, the famous River Yamuna appears like a garland of blue lotuses, a moat of kajala, a dark blue sari, or a necklace of blue sapphires around the neck of Vrnda-devi, the presiding deity of Vrindavana. Though agitated with waves, the Yamunaji holds unlimited lotus flowers in her pure waters to offer to the dark Lord of her heart—Shyama! 

Herons continually play in her waters, and delighted fish swim in large schools enjoying the ebb and flow of prema. Yamunaji grants happiness to anyone who surrenders to her or bathes in her sacred waters. And to Krishna’s devotees, Yamunaji forever thrills them with premananda.

Yamunaji looks resplendent with her multi-colored bodice composed of the many tiny saivala creepers floating on her surface. Her breasts are the cakravaka birds, and her colorful yellow dress is the pollen of white lotuses. Swarms of meandering bumblebees form her hair braid. 

The blue lotuses—her eyes; the red lotuses—her lips; the blooming lotuses—her face; the wide riverbanks—her hips; and her waist belt—a flock of herons. Sonorous geese chortle as her ankle-bells. Yamuna-devi, the personification of bliss, worships Krishna by constantly offering Him lotus flowers with her fickle wave-like hands.

The flower-filled trees on her banks reflect in the water to appear like a second blossoming forest. Seeing the reflections of birds in the water, the foolish fish come there and nibble at them. At night when they see the reflections of the stars on the water the small fish, mistaking them for food, swim up to surface and try to eat them. 

The shimmering white banks of the Yamuna appear like streams of camphor; attractive lightning flashing in the dark; sandalwood paste smeared on the limbs of Vrnda-devi; or malati garlands in the braid of a woman.

On these banks stand flowerbeds situated between emerald green strips of grass. There are also many attractive kunjas and beautiful sub-forests containing cintamani cottages. Parrots, cuckoos, cakoras, and water birds such as ducks, herons, sararis, kuraris, and cakravakas move about the courtyards surrounding these cintamani cottages singing happily. 

They appear like a group of rasika devotees discussing the delightful pastimes of Krishna. Bathing ghatas made of rubies, coral, emeralds, and vaidurya gems line the Yamuna’s shores. These ghatas appear like the embodiment of auspiciousness.

The Glories of Govardhana

An exquisite line of mountains called Govardhana stretches down the middle of Vrindavana. Giriraja’s thousands of peaks appear like the thousands of hands and feet of the virata rupa avatara. Many smaller hills surround these peaks, and many jeweled plateaus and lakes like Radha-kunda provide additional beauty. 

In this way, Giriraja appears just like a romantic hero decorated with many jeweled bracelets and earrings. Just as Giriraja contains many minerals (dhatus) of red clay and arsenics, similarly, the Sanskrit language features a wonderful variety of word roots (dhatus).

By the Lord’s grace, Govardhana has surpassed the splendor of Vaikuntha and become famous as the best of mountains–GIRI  RAJA!!! Govardhana holds many difficult to enter caves. For Radha-Shyama the interiors of these caves are the embodiments of bliss. Lord Siva holds the moon in his topknot, but Giriraja’s peaks touch the moon. Govardhana is kind and gentle, and decorated with long lines of forests, as Krishna is adorned with forest garlands reaching to His ankles. 

Cascading waterfalls continually bathe all sides of Govardhana. The glorious and beneficial sight of Giriraja Baba pleases both the eyes and hearts of one and all! The banyan trees around Giriraja are grand and glorious. Their abundant cooling shade always give joy to all the Vrajavasis. It is Govardhana’s nature to protect the deer, forest creatures, and anyone who takes His exclusive shelter.

The grand glories of Mt. Kailasa, Mt. Meru, or even the best of metaphors can never compare with the unlimited glories of Govardhana. Kailasa is composed of silver, and golden Mt. Meru is born of the material nature. They pale in comparison with Govardhana, which is made of divine cintamani gems, and eternally manifested as the transcendental energy and form of Bhagavan Sri Krishna Himself!

Just as dancers enhance the charm of a theatrical performance, the gracious trees of Govardhana forever increase the endlessly sweet splendor in seeing Him. The streams flowing by the roots of the many sandalwood trees growing there pick up the divine fragrance, and pass it on to the valleys and grass growing on Govardhana. 

When all the different animals such as rurus (black deer), camara, gavayas, gandharvas, srmaras, rohisas, sasa, and sambaras bathe in the parrot-green colored streams flowing under the densely foliated green trees they appear to be made of emeralds. No one can tell whether they are real animals or made out of green jewels. 

The crystal rocks of Govardhana reflect the blue rays of its sapphires to appear like Balarama dressed in blue. The large emeralds reflected in the smooth golden rocks look like Narayana adorned in His golden dhoti. The waterfalls pouring over the emerald cliffs look like Lord Rama carrying His curved bow. The clear waterfalls rapidly falling from the tall peaks of Govardhana carry the reflections of many multi-colored jewels and appear like long rainbows. 

The light coming from the various stones and jewels in the plateaus reflect in the sky like a rainbow. The effulgence from the peaks of vaidurya gems appears like the tail of a comet streaking over Govardhana, or like a flock of flying gray birds.

Govardhana offers its many cooling stone thrones as sitting for Krishna’s pleasure. Its flat, jeweled-studded areas await to serve Krishna’s rasa dance. Its wonderful caves look more enchanting than temples made of jewels. For serving Krishna there are many flower canopies that pour down fragrant pollen when moved by the wind. The dense cool forests provide soothing relief from the hot sun. Animals such as deer and tigers always live there in peace and harmony.

Sri Yamunaji ki jai! Sri Giriraja Baba ki jai! 

Kaviraja Sri Karnapura Goswami’s Ananda Vrindavana Campu ki jai! 

Radha-Govinda Vraja Lilas ki jai!  Jai Jai Sri Radhe! 

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Ten Amazing Seasons of Vraja (continued from part two)

3. Hemanta Season (early winter)

The sweet fragrance of various flowers characterizes the early winter season. Everyone enjoys the brief morning hours touched by the weakened rays of the sun. The female deer, thinking it is the rays of the rising sun, become joyful for a short time upon seeing the ruby studded earth. The deer, thinking them to be the cool rays of the moon, avoid the areas filled with bright crystal gems.

What more can be said? Frightened by the cold season, Surya Bhagavan, the sun god, retreats to the Southeast corner and the lotuses disappear. Frost competes with the heat of the sun for sovereignty over the earth.

Pearl ornaments, being cold by nature, do not adorn the gorgeous gopis at this time. But they do decorate their hair with kurubaka flowers, and rub pollen from lodhra flowers into it. Maha-saha flower garlands hang across their budding breasts. Saffron ointments, which heat the body, serve as cosmetics. Heavy clouds of incense fill the pastime cottages and heating spices enhance the tambula. Throughout the Hemanta season the gopis refrain from mentioning any object reminding them of cold.

4. Dewy Season

The brightness of the dewy days increases at every moment to decorate the season. The welcome rays of the sun increase the joy of all by chasing away the chill. Leaving its southern course, the Sun proceeds northward. Surya-deva’s gentle touch gradually dissolves the dew and the mist.

Dense foliage overhead prevents accumulation of dew beneath the tall luxuriant trees. In the evening handsome bucks sit beneath these trees and ruminate without the fear of cold. The setting sun appears like a glowing hot iron ball sinking into the water and giving off steam. Birds cry out as they flee from the darkness. Without talking to their mates, they sleep comfortably amidst the lush growth of the beautiful trees. Due to the cold, the cakora birds cease flying in the rays of the moon.

Lovers ponder sleeping blissfully in deep embraces. The long nights favor extended conversations as the rush to sleep recedes. The gopis give up cosmetics like kunkuma that obstruct a lover’s closeness. Lotuses cannot bloom in this season. In the morning the women of Vrindavana, who are endowed with good qualities, warm up their backs by exposing them to the sun.

5. The Spring Season

Mango trees laden with new buds announce the arrival of spring. Asoka trees exploding with splendid red flowers drive away all lamentation, like the Lord’s devotees who have transcended the misty coverings of hankering and lamenting. Cuckoos play about the trees, like the restless monkeys in Ramacandra’s phalanx. Lingering in the air is the fine scent of clove trees fleeting like the happiness derived from material pleasures. The large numbers of bakula trees appear like the strong men serving in the dynasty of Iksvaku. Creepers of blooming mallika flowers beautify the landscape, just as the seven notes embellish the musical scale. Flowering karira trees fill the air with an intoxicating aroma, like the liquid flowing from the heads of love crazed elephants. Flower scented breezes accent the spring season.

Moon rays increase their brilliance with the departure of the cold. While the springtime moon glistens sweetly in the clear skies above, the young gopis enjoy sweet pastimes in the groves below. When the soft breezes caress the sweet fragrances within the groves, the gopis come to gather flowers. Attracted by the beauty of the unlimited flowers on the trees, playful Krishna, wearing a golden necklace, attains the height of bliss from seeing the gopis in their prime of youth.

Dense swarms of humming bees, eager to taste the pollen of lotuses, darken the sky as they speed toward the flowers. But seeing the bees bypass them, the lotus flowers argue among themselves, “Why not drink from me first? Have I committed any offense to you?” Though the flowers offer their pollen to the bees, the bees do not accept. Instead they become intoxicated by smelling the fragrance from the lotus mouths of the Vraja gopis, whose hearts overflow with intense feelings of love.

That best of the maddened elephants roams about with the intoxicated gopis of Vraja whose sweet whispering defeats the soothing sound of running water. The cuckoos resound like a bell to announce their arrival. Various types of tiny creepers appear at this time of year, which smile with their glittering flowers, cry tears of love in the form of dripping honey nectar, and horripilate with new buds.

6. The Summer Season

The sun shines brightly at this time. The summer seasons brings scorching hot winds that make one feel he is breathing poison filled air. The length of nights gradually decreases in the presence of summer.

Due to the intense suffering experienced during the day, any mention of the word “daytime” instills fear in the heart. Mercy manifests in the cool water flowing in the jeweled basins below the shady trees. As a host carefully tends to his guests, the summer offers these cooling basins to attentively serve the birds and beasts. In the same way that pious gentlemen provide for the needy, the shady trees relieve everyone from the heat of summer.

To gain relief from the intense heat, the creepers and trees fan each other by slowly moving their twigs and branches. Krishna bhaktas find joy by absorbing themselves in His humble service, just as one finds happiness by taking a cool bath in summer.

Just as Vaisnavas feel relieved from material distress when they attain lotus feet of Krishna, similarly, the cooling rays of the moon give great relief from the scorching heat of day. In this season everyone very much appreciates the cool nights.

Krishna and the gopis, their ankle-bells chiming sweetly, hold hands as they meander along the cool forest paths under the shady trees. Besides beautifying the night, the summer moon brings full satisfaction to all. In this way the summer is glorified.

Amidst the lotus flowers in the lake [Pavana Sarovara, Manasi Ganga?], there is a beautiful houseboat covered with a canopy trimmed with hanging pearls that wave in the wind. It is sprayed by a mist scented with fine particles of camphor, and buffeted by the pleasant winds of camaras waved by loving attendants. Within that charming houseboat, Radhika-Shyama rest in bliss after the blazing days of summer.

The summer finds Sri Hari wearing a strand of large pearls bordering His hairline and forehead. Krishna’s shimmering golden dhoti blows in the wind. Garlands of mallika buds, cooling flower ornaments, and sandalwood paste adorn His attractive transcendental form. As embodiments of the summer season, the gopis are decorated with ear ornaments of sirisa flowers, crowns of patala flowers, garlands of mallika flowers, and bracelets of kutaja flowers. At the end of the day the gopis and the flower-filled forest of Vrindavana serve the lotus feet of Krishna.

Thus concludes the description of the blissful sweet transcendental seasons of SridhamaVrindavana. Next we will describe Yamunaji and Giriraja Baba.

Kaviraja Sri Karnapura Goswami’s Ananda Vrindavana Campu ki jai!

Radha-Govinda Vraja Lilas ki jai!  DasaRtuVana Vrindavana ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

The Ten Amazing Seasons of Vraja

Because the seasons and forests are inseparable, we will first describe the astonishing transcendental forest of Vrindavana, which overflows with all wonderful attributes. Though the forest of Vrindavana contains the matchless essence of the majesty of Vaikuntha, it also features limitless sweetness and splendor that eternally manifests in newer ways at every moment.

The ever-increasing natural beauty of the forest kunjas rivals majestic houses made of priceless jewels. What exactly makes a kunja? The corners of the forest cottages (kunja) are formed of four tall kadamba trees which have many leafy branches that hang down to make natural canopies. Each of these four trees is encircled by two creepers appearing like a pair of embracing lovers. The creepers entangle with the flowers, leaves, and fruits of these trees to create a wonderful panorama of color, design and depth.

The four walls of the pastime cottages (kelimandirs) are made of flowering madhavi creepers that comprise the walls of the pastime cottages. The entwined branches of various creepers form the cottage doors that are surrounded by other fragrant creepers. Varieties of colorful flowers hang down to make the domes above the cottages. When the wind blows, these dangling flower creepers move about as natural camara fans to please Priya Yugala.

The sweet sounds of bees and cuckoos echo through the kunjas that are lit by phosphorescent vines. For the pleasure of Radha-Govinda, the kindly musk deer scent the air, and the camari cows sweep clean the forest floor with their long bushy tails.

Although the forest realm of Vrindavana exists beyond the reaches of time, it appears to display six unique seasons. Though resembling their material counterparts, the six seasons of Vrindavana are completely transcendental, charming and unlimitedly sweet because they exist only to increase the spiritual bliss of Krishna’s pastimes. The six seasons are known as: the joy of monsoon, the pleasure of autumn, the satisfaction of winter, the happiness of the dewy season, the beauty of spring, and the auspicious season of summer.

Besides the six distinct seasons mentioned above, the divine realm of Vrindavana is distinguished and beautified by three more seasons appearing in pairs as autumn and winter, dewy and spring, summer and monsoon. In this way, Vrindavana features nine seasonal forests.

But wait! There are actually ten seasonal divisions in Vrindavana (the six different seasons, the three combinations, and the six seasons together simultaneously manifesting in the same place as experienced in aprakata Sri Radha Kunda. Thus, Sri Vrindavana Dhama has ten different seasons!

In the tenth season (all six seasons at once) the youthful gopis take fresh kadamba flowers from the rainy season and fix them in their hair parts. They twirl autumn season lotuses in their petal like fingers, smear the pollen of winter lodhra flowers on their cheeks, and put bandhuli flowers from the dewy season around their necks. They place bunches of asoka buds from the spring over their ears, and entwine mallika garlands in their hair from the summer season. Every day, the Vraja gopis beautifully decorate themselves like this to worship their PriyatamaShyama.

Now we will describe the six major seasons of VrajaDhama which are the source of the ten individual forests.

The Six Seasons of Vraja

1. Rainy Season (monsoon)

During monsoon season the constant torrential rain showers resemble the intense pleasure derived from rendering pure, unalloyed devotional service. As a self-realized person becomes illumined with the eternal light of bliss, this season illumines the sky with flashes of flickering lightning which satisfy the heart. Clamoring dahuka birds mimic the conflicting arguments found in books of logic. Arjuna trees appear like a second sun to brighten all directions with their bold red flowers.

Rain showers during particular naksatras summon effulgent emeralds appearing like tender shoots of grass. The camuru deer mistake the emeralds for shoots of grass and try to nibble on them. When’ the indragopa (tiny red insects) crawl on these emeralds, they appear like tiny rubies moving across a green bodice stretched across the breast of the earth.

Kadamba flowers fill the air with a sweet herbal aroma. Due to the constant pouring of misty rain, the air always feels cool and refreshing. The rumbling clouds sound like cataki birds crying in anguish, “Please give us rain and save our lives.” The clouds answer, “Do not lament, I will rain now.”

The monsoon season abounds with a symphony of sounds. Everywhere catakabirds call, tithi birds chirp, daduri birds cry, peacocks wail piteously, clouds roar, and raindrops pitter-patter. The nourishing waters of this season beautify all the trees and gardens.

The abundant ripened fruits of the mango trees tint the center of the forest with a golden glow. With all kinds of colorful hues the gardens of Vrindavana appear as beautiful as a painting.

2. Autumn Season

Lakes of Vraja

The splendorous season of autumn is characterized by lakes full of deep blue water filled with red lotus flowers that look like the lotus feet of Visnu being caressed by the loving lotus hands of Laksmi. Brimming with water, these lakes are as clean and pure as the sinless heart of a devotee aspiring for prema. As Narayana is beautified by the presence of the joyful Goddess of Fortune, similarly, the autumn lakes are beautified by the presence of cakravaka birds and blossoming lotuses.

Groups of lazy swans sport freely in the lakes. Gliding along the water, they resemble liberated souls (parama/hamsas) swimming in the ocean of spiritual bliss. The cooing herons appear to be echoing the tales of Rama and Laksmana. Blue lotuses please everyone with their splendid fragrance, spreading through the land like the fame of the all-attractive Lord Sri Krishna. Red lotuses cast their colors across the autumn lakes like the setting sun coloring the evening sky with it pastel pinks.

The autumn moon shines brilliantly like a glinting sword unsheathed before battle. The large lakes of this season like Shyama and Radhakundas are very beautiful with warm water on their surfaces and cool water within. They resemble a peaceful man who keeps cool within, even when harassed by the hot words of a fool.

These cloud wisps appear like the white scarf of a young woman waving in the breeze, or cotton fluff carried by the winds personified as young girls. When the groups of pure white clouds reflect in the Yamuna, it appears like a brilliant white sandbar in the middle of the river. Three wonderful features fill the autumn season with bliss, namely the fragrant pollen from blooming lotuses, the directions darkening due to the swarms of bees maddened by the intoxicating fragrance of the chatima tree, and the wind driven clouds moving like freely roaming elephants.

Kaviraja Sri Karnapura Goswami’s Ananda Vrindavana Campu ki jai!

Radha-Govinda Vraja Lilas ki jai!  DasaRtuVanaVrindavana ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Vrindavana is a sacred realm filled with astonishment, sweetness, intimacy, bliss and delight. It is here only that madhurya Sri Krishna eternally enjoys the most fulfilling and sumptuously blissful pastimes of pure love with His dearest gopas and gopis. The wealth of Vrindavana is its unconquerable power of love. Thus Sri Krishna’s pastimes in Vraja surpass all His other lilas in madhurya (sweetness), because Krishna’s subjugation by love is the greatest in Vraja.

In this series, we will present the amazing vraja-lilas of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna as told by Kaviraja Sri Karnapura Goswami in his classic work “Ananda Vrindavana Campu”.

Reading Sri Kavi Karnapura’s writing is like drinking a most refreshing sweet nectar enhanced with a touch of camphor. The nectar is Krishna lila, and the fragrant camphor is the inspiring philosophy that Kavi Karnapura tastefully sprinkles here and there throughout the narration.

The source of Kavi Karnapura’s devotional writing expertise is Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Advaita Prabhu. When he was a baby in Jagannatha Puri, the most fortunate Kaviraja once sucked on Mahaprabhu’s toe. And then later he took diksha from Srinatha Cakravarti, a direct disciple of Sri Advaita Prabhu.

As Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja once blessed the readers of Krishna Karnamrta, we pass on this blessing to our friends: “One who constantly reads the Ananda Vrindavana Campu will understand the unbounded beauty and sweetness of Krishna lila [or the sweet charm of Krishna’s madhurya lila]:

saundarya madhurya krishna lilara avadhi,
sei jane ye karnamrta pade niravadhi

(Caitanya Caritamrta 2.9.308)

Coming soon in part two will be “Ten Seasons of Vraja”.

Kaviraja Sri Karnapura Goswami’s Ananda Vrindavana Campu ki jai!

Radha-Govinda Vraja Lilas ki jai!   Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Welcome all lovers of Vrindavana! This is Part Seven of our continuing series of articles glorifying Sridhama Vrindavana. Vraja [aka Vrindavana] is the divine realm wherein Sri Krishna loves, plays and sports with all and everyone. If you simply visit Vraja or live in Vraja, Gopala will enchant your heart by His sweet love, beauty, charm and naughty playfulness.

Filled with thousands of temples, Vrindavana is known as a “temple town”. In fact, the entire 168 sq. mile area of Vraja Mandala is adorned with thousands of temples, sacred places, mountains, rivers, lakes and bathing tanks.

Bhakti-ratnakara, a 500-year-old holy book penned by Gaudiya Acarya Sri Narahari Chakravarti, describes over 300 different inhabited villages still existing today in Vraja Mandala. Each village is named after and commemorated to a particular amazing pastime of Sri Krishna which occurred there.

Vraja Dhama ki jai ho! This is such a unique and captivating sacred place. In every square mile of Vraja Mandala, one can visit two villages named after a divine lila that Sri Krishna enacted there 5,000 years ago! Here in Vraja, every step is a celebration of love leading us from village to village, lila-to-lila, and on into Krishna’s heart.

These articles are meant to increase attract everyone more and more and more to this most astonishing, wonderland of pure love and never ending play. Sri Krishna’s pastime villages will be grouped by area like Kamavana, Govaradhana, Varsana, etc. The villages will be listed by their modern names. The origin of that name will appear in brackets after its English translation.

Sri Vraja Dhama ki jai!

Vraja Dhama! O, What an amazing sacred place? In every square mile of Vraja Mandala, one can visit two villages named after a divine lila that Sri Krishna enacted there 5,000 years ago! Here in Vraja, every step is a celebration of love leading us from village to village, lila to lila, and on into Krishna’s heart.

Nandagaon & Kokilavana Area Lila Villages

Now come, let us wander through the northern area of Vraja Mandala around Nandagrama to uncover more hidden lila sthalis full of bliss.

** Kosi (Kosikalan)
While waiting here in a kunja, Radhika pretends not to recognize Her eternal beloved when Syama knocks on the bamboo door.

“Who is that?”, Sri Radha tauntingly says from behind the door.
Krishna: I am Krishna.
Radha: O, a black snake has come here to bite Me? Just go from here, slither into the forest and leave Me alone. [word Krishna means black snake]
Krishna: No Priyaji, listen it’s Me—Ghanasyama!
Radha: O, no, no, no! I don’t want any thick rain clouds [ghanasyama] drenching My kunja!
Krishna: Come on Kisori, I am Cakri, wielder of the Sudarsana cakra.
Radha: Sorry, no need, My father has thousands of water pots [cakri].
Krishna: I am Madhusudana.
Radha: There are no blossoming flowers inside this kunja, little bee [madhusudana], so just fly away to some white flowers and drink some honey.
Krishna: What are You saying? It’s Me, Hari, your dearest!
Radha: I am very afraid of being scratched and bitten by a lion [hari]. So just run away somewhere into a deep forest!

May we someday come to Kosi, and hear this wonderful joking pastime of Lila Yugala, Radha Govinda.

** Nari-Semaré (near Chata)
These are two combined villages (Nari & Semari), of which, Semari is the residence of Syamala, a friendly sakhi of Radha. Here, Srimati Radhika is feeling so angry and jealous with Krishna that none of the sakhis even Her confidante Visakha-sakhi can break it. As advised, Krishna arrives disguised as a beautiful girl playing a vina.

Marvelling at her beauty and virtuosity in music, mystified Madhuri asks, “O sakhi, what is Your name and where are you from?”

Krishna [sakhi] “My name is Syamari. I am a celestial Kinnari, and I have come to entertain You.”

To reward Syamari for her stunning performance, Radha starts to drape a costly diamond necklace around Syamari’s lovely neck.

But Syamari [Krishna], immediately lifts her arms to stop Radha while begging with folded palms, “O sakhi, I don’t need a diamond necklace. I just want You to give up your sulky angry mood [maan].” Seeing through the ruse, Radha immediately wraps Ramana in a tight loving embrace while all the sakhi/manjari’s cheer:

“Jai Jai Sri Radheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee—SYAMA!” Thus the village is named.

** Baithäna (Baithana)
Name derived from baithaka [sit]. Here Nanda Baba, Upananda and the village chiefs sit down to discuss the welfare of Krishna, Baladeva and all Vrajavasis in Baba’s kingdom. It’s said that the love and hospitality of Vrajavasis here was so amazing, that only in this village did Sri Sanatana Goswami stay for more than one night as he wandered around Vraja Mandala.

** Rasauli Grama
Near Kotvana and Chota Bhaitan. Puranas say this village is the actual, original site of the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.29-33) Maha Rasa Lila. Hence the name Rasa-uli.

In 2017, Sri Pandit Baba personally showed us this lila sthali, with its Rasa mandala, forests and small “Yamuna” river meandering between its sandy banks. Indeed, a very beautiful, tranquil divine spot.

** Kamara [blanket/lust]
Village name is derived from a lila involving a woollen blanket and divine, spiritual desire or love [kama]. Feeling extremely eager to meet Priyaji and all the gopis, Priyatama Syama summons them all to His side. Radhika and the playful sakhis decide to play a trick on Krishna. Without Syama seeing, the sakhis snatch Krishna’s favorite black blanket [kari kamara] and hide it.

Not finding it, Krishna goes home to complain to Maa Yasoda: “Maiya, while I was grazing cows just now, the pesky sakhis stole My blanket. When I ask them to return it, they say, ‘O Kanhaiya, I saw Your old blanket floating in the Yamuna.’ Maa, another sakhi then says, ‘Hey Gopala, I saw a cow eating Your blanket.’ A third sakhi then teases Me, saying, ‘If you dance for me, then I will buy You a new blanket.’

Maa Yasoda caresses Gopala to her bosom, and says, “O Lala, don’t worry, just go back, and I am sure the gopis will return your blanket.” Upon returning, the gopis give back the black blanket, and then lead Syama into a dark, shady Keli Nikunja to dive in the waves of Radha’s mysteriously sweet love.

Krishna Kanhaiya ki jai! Radha Govinda Yugala ki jai!

** Basosi
Village near Sesasayi. When Krishna comes here, the bees hover all around Syama, smelling the sweeter than sweet fragrance of Krishna’s transcendental form. Basa means fragrance and so the village name, Basosi.

While throwing colors on each other here during Holi, Krishna and the gopis fill the atmosphere with the beautiful flower-like, sandal-scented, natural fragrance of Their beautiful limbs.

** Paya-gaon
10 km. east of Kosi. Feeling hungry because His tiffin has not come, Krishna, Dou and all the gopas do madhukari here, and drink the milk [paya] loving offered by the sweet hands of the Vrajavasis.

** Sesasayi
While sporting here with Srimati and the damsels of Vraja, Krishna tells the lila of Visnu lying on the snake bed of Anantasesa in the milk ocean. Entering the bhava and lila of His form as Anantasayi, Sri Krishna lies down on a huge lotus flower in the middle of a clear water lake.

Srimati adopts the bhava of Visnu’s consort, Laksmi-devi, and massages Krishna’s lotus feet. Astonished, the gopis look on and cheer, “Visnu Visnu Visnu! Syama Syama Syama! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!”

Here today, one can see a large lake called Ksirasagara.

** Kashrata
Kashrata means [exercise or wrestle]. While Radha-Krishna and the sakhis play and sport here, Radha says, “O Pranavallabha! You always boast about your strength, and how You’ve defeated the strongest gopas like Sridhama and Subala!”

Krishna interjects, “That’s right, no one in the whole universe can defeat Me!”

Radhika replies, “O yea? If that’s so, then now just wrestle with us. If by chance you defeat us, then we will believe Your boasting.”

Radha removes Her bangles, ties up Her hair, and folds Her dress. Slapping Her arms like a wrestler, Rai starts tussling with Syama. Within minutes, Radhika easily pins Krishna on the earth. Then all the sakhi/manjaris clap their hands excitedly while crying out happily, “Jai Sri, Jai Sri, Jai Sri Radhe!”

Radha-Krishna nitya Vraja madhurya lila ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!