I always worship all the rivers and lakes of Vraja, in whose waters Krishna plays with his charming friends in the summertime, eager to defeat these friends, that also all desire victory, and with whom he was blissfully herding the cows, by lovingly splashing them with water.
grīṣme vāri-vihāra-keli-nivahair gopendra-divyātmajaḥ
prītyā siñcati mugdha-mitra-nikarān harṣeṇa mugdhaḥ svayaṁ
kāṅkṣan svīya-jayaṁ jayārthina imān nityaṁ tad etad bhaje
Stavāmṛta-kaṇā Vyākhyā: Now Raghunath Das Goswami praises the lakes and rivers of Vraja, like the Yamuna and Mānasa Gaṅgā, on whose banks Śrī Krishna performs his sweet cowherding pastimes with his friends.
vṛndāvane svacchanda vihāra.
yāra veṇu-dhvani śuni, sthāvara jaṅgama prāṇī,
pulaka kampa aśru bohe dhāra
“Krishna freely plays in Vrindavan with his equal friends, with whom he enjoys herding the cows. When they hear his flutesong, the mobile and immobile beings shed streams of tears, shiver and get goosepimples of ecstasy.” (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhye 21.108)
Although it is eternally spring in Sri Krishna’s playground Vrindavan, where there is no influence of material time, still the seasons like summer and the monsoon appear to nourish the humors of his divine pastimes. In the hot season Krishna herds the cows, taking them to drink the water of the many rivers and lakes in Braj, and freely playing himself in these water bodies with his friends.
jagāma tāḥ pāyayituṁ vayasyaiḥ sañcālayan mānasa jāhnavīṁ saḥ
pāyayitvā jalaṁ gās tāḥ śītaṁ svādu sunirmalam
svayaṁ gopāḥ papuḥ sasnur vijahraḥ salile ciram
Krishna gathered his cows, that were wandering here and there, with the sound of his flute and brought them to the Mānasa Gaṅgā-lake with the cowherdboys to make them drink. Then he made all the cows and cowherdboys drink nice cool and clear water. He himself also drank and spent a lot of time bathing and playing in the water.” (Govinda-līlāmṛta 6.36-37)
In his Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta Sripad Sanatan Goswami gives a delightful description of how Śrī Krishna and his cowherd boyfriends desire to defeat each other during their watersports in the Yamuna:
As Krishna and his friends were splashing each other with water Krishna sometimes defeated his friends and sometimes the boys defeated Vinoda-kovida, Krishna, who is expert in having fun, by splashing him with water to his delight.
Sometimes Śrī Krishna and his friends played sweet music on the water, sometimes they swam along with the stream of the Yamuna and sometimes they swam against the stream. Sometimes Krishna played a joke on the boys by concealing his Śyāma-body in the blue Yamuna water and hiding his face in a cluster of blue lotus flowers, so that nobody could distinguish him anymore.
The boys then began to search for him whose darshan is their very lives, and when they could not find him they began to weep loudly in great anguish. Hearing their weeping, Śrī Krishna, the Joker, laughed and came out of the lotus cluster. Seeing him back, the dearmost friends began to run and jump around in front of him.
After this Śrī Krishna enjoyed different water games with them. He strung wonderful garlands of lotuses on strings of lotus stems and decorated his friends with them, and his friends reciprocated by decorating him likewise. Finally they all came out of the water onto the shore. (Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta 2.7.46-51)
Śrī Hari plays such competitive watersports with his friends in Radhakuṇḍa, Śyāmakuṇḍa, Pāvana Sarovara, Kusuma Sarovara and other large lakes. In this way Śrīpāda Dāsa Goswami reveals these endlessly sweet transcendental pastimes, calling Śrī Krishna gopendra divyātmaja, the divine son of the cowherd king. Das Goswami says: “I always worship all these lakes and rivers!”
rādhākuṇḍa kālindīra jale
se gopendra-divyātmaja, mūrtimanta manasija,
jala keli kore grīṣma-kāle
“The divine son of the cowherdking, who is Cupid in very own person, always sports in the waters of Radhakuṇḍa and Yamuna when he herds his cows there in the summer.”
nitya yārā jalakeli kore.
govinda kautuka bhore, jayākāṅkṣī antare,
jala siñce tādera upore
“Govinda eternally plays in the water with his dearmost friends, intoxicated by the flavours of loving games he plays with them. Desiring victory in these sports, Govinda sprinkles them with water.”
sadā se sarit sarovare.
bhajana koribo āmi, hoiyā tāra anugāmī,
e vāsanā jāgaye antare
“His friends, who also desire victory, constantly splash him with water. I will worship these lakes and rivers and will become their follower; this desire has awoken in my heart.”