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Vraja Vilasa: I worship the motherly gopis

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I worship the dust from the lotus feet of the gopīs who are endowed with motherly love for Shri Krishna, who love Him millions of times more than their own sons, who worship the delicate drops of perspiration that trickle from His lotus feet, and who kiss His head, decorated by a beautiful peacock feather crown.


prāṇebhyo’pyadhikaiḥ priyair api paraṁ putrair mukundasya yāḥ
snehāt pāda-saroja yugma vigalad gharmasya bindoḥ kaṇam
nirmañchyoru śikhaṇḍa sundara śiraś cumbanti gopyaś ciraṁ
tāsāṁ pāda rajāṁsi santatam ahaṁ nirmañchayāmi sphuṭam

Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this verse, Raghunath Das Goswami praises the most fortunate elder gopīs who are endowed with parental love for Krishna.

In the Brahma Vimohana līlā [1] it was tested whether they loved Sri Krishna even more than their own sons, who are dearer to them than life, and if they would recognize the disguised Sri Krishna as Himself.

When Lord Brahmā stole Sri Krishna’s cows, calves and cowherd boy friends, Sri Krishna personally entered into the homes of the cowherd folk, assuming the forms of innumerable cows, cowherd boys and calves. Then the love for Krishna which the elderly gopīs possessed – a love that is pure like molten gold – manifested through love for their sons, who were actually just manifestations of Krishna.

Śrīpāda Śuka Muni describes the situation as follows:

tan mātaro veṇu ravatvarotthitā utthāpya dorbhiḥ parirabhya nirbharam
sneha snuta stanya payaḥ sudhāsavaṁ matvā paraṁ brahma sutānapāyayan
tato nṛponmardana majja lepanā-laṅkāra rakṣā tilakāśanādibhiḥ
saṁlālitaḥ svācaritaiḥ praharṣayan sāyaṁ gato yāmayamena mādhavaḥ

 (Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.13.22-23)

“Each day, when Krishna returned home from cowherding in the meadows with his friends, the mothers of Krishna’s friends – the cowherd women who had great motherly love for Krishna – put aside their household duties as soon as they heard the boys blowing their horns.  They came out into their courtyards and stared down the road with thirsty eyes.

As soon as they saw Krishna coming, the mothers ran out, embraced Him to their hearts, smelled His head lovingly and kissed His lotus face. Their garments were moistened by the flood of tears from their eyes, and the milk from their breasts.

Then Mother Yashoda would take Krishna inside her house, and his friends’ mothers also ecstatically took their sons into their own houses, where they spent the night in blissful remembrance of Krishna. They thought to themselves: “If Krishna was our son, how blessed we would be by being able to pamper and cuddle Him!”

On the day of the Brahma-mohana līlā, Krishna fulfilled their desires by assuming the forms of innumerable cows, calves and cowherd boys. That day the elderly gopīs came running out of their houses into their courtyards, as they did every day when they heard the sweet melody of His flute.

This time, however, they did not run quickly towards Krishna with outspread arms, as they usually did, but instead they took their own sons in their laps and locked them in a tight embrace. They then made the Supreme Brahman, who had taken the forms of their sons, drink the delicious ambrosia of their breastmilk.

Then they took them (Him) to their homes, massaged them with fragrant oils, bathed them, anointed their bodies with fine cosmetics like sandalwood paste, dressed them with beautiful clothes and ornaments, adorned their foreheads with a protective tilak, fed them their meals and lay down to rest with them.

Embracing the children whilst cuddling them in bed, the mothers drowned in an ocean of transcendental bliss as they listened to their day’s adventures in the meadows.

In this way, the mothers showed that they had greater love for Sri Krishna than for their own sons, who themselves were dearer to them than life. In this way they all had Sri Krishna for themselves for one year.

Sri Raghunath Das Goswami says: “With the utmost love they worship the honey-like drops of sweat that trickle from Sri Krishna’s lotus feet (by wiping them off) and kiss His head, which is adorned by a peacock feather.” These are all signs of motherly love. Sri Rūpa Goswami has written:

anubhāvāḥ śiro-ghrāṇaṁ kareṇāṅgābhimārjanam
āśīrvādo nideśaś ca lālanaṁ pratipālanam
hitopadeśa dānādyā vatsale parikīrtitāḥ


cumbāśleṣo tathāhvānaṁ nāma grahaṇa pūrvakam
upālambhādayaś cātra mitraiḥ sādhāraṇāḥ kriyāḥ

(Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 3.4.41, 44)

“Smelling the head, rubbing the body with the hands, offering words of benediction and permission, cuddling, pampering and giving instruction for the child’s benefit – these are the activities of parental love. The main activities of fraternal and parental love consist of kissing, embracing, calling the child by name and chastising him.”

Raghunath Das Goswami says: “Just as the elder gopīs wipe away all kinds of misfortune for Sri Krishna, I will also wipe the dust from the lotus feet of these elder gopīs with my hair!”

prāṇādhika putrāpekṣā adhika snehete;
priya jñāna yāhādera ei mukundete
pāda-padma vigalita gharma-bindu-caya;
ati sūkṣma-vastra dvārā mārjanā koroya
śikhaṇḍa śobhita mastaka koriyā cumbana;
ānanda samudra-mājhe ho’teche magana
sei sab gopikāra pāda-padma dhūli;
mārjanāte kori yena nitya snāna keli

The elder gopīs love Sri Krishna even more than their own sons, who are themselves dearer to them than life. They wipe away the sweat drops that trickle from Sri Krishna’s lotus feet with very soft and fine cloths, and they drown in an ocean of bliss when they kiss His head, decorated by a peacock feather. May I eternally wipe the lotus feet of these loving mothers with my hair, and thus bathe in their footdust forever.

[1] The pastime described in chapters 13 and 14 of the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavata.

anantadas_thumbThe commentary of Sri Radha Kund Mahant, Pandit Sri Ananta Das Babaji Maharaj, is named Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā (a drop of the nectar of Stavāvalī).

It was published in Gaurābda 503 (1989 A.D.) by Sri Krishna Chaitanya Shastra Mandir, Vrajananda Ghera, PO Radhakunda (district Mathura), U.P., India.

The devotional songs in Bengali that follow each commentary were composed by Dr. Haripada Sheel.


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