Vrindavan, 2017.12.31 (Nandu Joshi) The time has finally come. The stage is set for the most fascinating event since the beginning of time to occur. The Incarnators have incarnated Themselves in Their very own divine forms of pure Love, Srimati Radha Rani and unbounded Joy, Sri Krishna. This divine Couple, has just entered into Their teen age years and are ready to enact Their love dance of unprecedented glory called the Maharasa or “great, beyond-cosmic, dance of Love”.
The cosmos is waiting to watch. This kind of event happens rarely, even according to the timeless eye of time itself. It has already been authenticated by Brahma, the creator and Indra, the king of heaven thru their individual blunderous experiences that this child Krishna is no ordinary child but God Himself. And now everyone is about to get a glimpse of the secret side of God; God as His female counter part, Srimati Radha Rani. She is about to be introduced, in Her full glory to all earthling gods. An event of the eternal world of Spirit has descended to the mortal world for all blessed beings to witness.
The demigods have already bought tickets thru lifetimes of inner work and are arriving in hordes on their specific rides to find their spots in space to watch the show with bedazzlement. This kind of divine event will never happen again in the lives of all of these demigods, including Lord Brahma, and is therefore a must-see event on their life-time calendar. Only Lord Shiva has seen such events as He is Eternal. Yet, even for Him, such beauty has not happened in a long long time. In fact, He has been chewing over the events (in His deep meditations) of the last last Maharasa for the past millions of millenniums. The Love that is about to be witnessed and experienced, is so deep that there really is no way of explaining it. How full of Maha Ras (extreme, divine pleasure) is the Maharasa? Even Goddess Saraswati can not really explain.
Lord Shiva, on Mt. Kailash, in the Himalayas, receives message of this event thru His meditation. Instantly He rises, shivering in excitement and immediately sets off for Braj, forgetting everything, even His ride Nandi. Radha and Krishna are His very heart. They are His objects of deep Love and worship. And now They are about to enact the very purpose of all existence – Their divine song and dance. There is no way that the adoring Shiva is going to miss this event. Most hastily, He heads for Sri Vrindavan, the mystical forest groves of eternal enchantment that have manifested on earth from the spiritual world.
Being the Lord of all mystics, Lord Shiva immediately arrives at the outskirts of Vrindavan. The whole place is unimaginably decorated and indescribably festive. Vrinda Devi, the Goddess of Vrindavan and her personal Forest Goddess Assistants have been busy decorating the place. Vrindavan is resplendent with love, radiating like the sun – a kind of light that is unseen and unknown to mortal beings. This light is a radiance of incomparable, incredible emotions and feelings. It is soothing to the heart, pleasing to the sight, spiritually sensual in touch, mystical to smell and mysteriously even heard. Light being heard, quite unheard of! Vision of this Divine space of Sri Vrindavan is cherished by the greatest demigods and goddesses. What to speak of humans.
Yamuna Devi, the river of Braj, encircles Sri Vrindavan, like a mote, as if to protect this mystical place from unqualified persons. Her waterways form many different water gardens, flowing in mystical mandala designs with enchanting island gardens in their centre. There are musical fountains with little butterfly angels providing different orchestras throughout the forest. She has arranged waterfalls with mist guns that shoot fragrances into the air according to different heart-moods. Each fragrance is a scent that has never been smelt before. The mood is saturated with love, light, and realness in a way that has never before been experienced.
Massive sapphire, ruby and diamond boulders are radiating energized, coloured lights. These boulders are encircled by matching, wish-fulfilling flower shrubs that are actually light-beings. Each of these flowers, shrubs, vines and trees are none other than great sages who have perfected their heart thru purified love and are now here to serve and witness Radha and Krishna’s magical pastimes. Each flower has its own fragrance, unique to itself, which, upon mixing with the fragrance of Vrindavan, becomes even more intoxicating. Everything here presides with purpose, imbuing the landscape with incomparable beauty. The peacocks and night angels are in a frenzy of dance and song as they are totally intoxicated by this fragrance. Every atom of Sri Vrindavan is exploding with excitement about the Maharasa; the great cosmic dance is about to happen.
Krishna is going to play His flute tonight, and Radha is going to dance. They are about to manifest Their divine love for each other for all the divine lovers to participate in. There is going to be a meeting of Their hearts in the form of mystical sound and dynamic dance. Sound is about to be heard in its purest, most exquisite vibration. Sound is about to be seen in a physical form. Sound is going to be felt, tasted and even smelt with a whole new feeling, like never before. Radha-Krishna are about to show the cosmos how They are non-different from the sound vibration of Their Names. Sound is going to take a visible form that is made of condensed emotional light from the heart.
The universe is abuzz with anticipation. Joy itself. Sri Krishna is about to express His love for His beloved Srimati Radhika. Srimati Radha Rani, Love personified, is about to dance out Her love for Her Beloved Sri Krishna. The Gods of Truth are about to express Their love. Can you imagine the amount of REALNESS that is about to be displayed? Every one knows this event leave an impression in their heart for eternity and they are here to be transformed forever. Never before has anyone experienced anything like what is going to be displayed tonight.
So, you can only imagine what sort of divine excitement is in the air. The demigods, sages, and other mystical beings have all heard that the sound of Krishna’s flute -as He plays it for His beloved Radha and the Gopis- is the very source of all creation. They have read in the Vedas that within Krishnas flute playing and Radhas dancing all the mysteries of the universe are hidden. And now the Vedas and Upanishads themselves are here to witness and confirm their own truths. Their truths will be experienced in real-time. Words can not even begin to describe the sweetness of this festival of hearts, as it communions in form of song and dance.
The dance floors are ready. The soft velvet grasses have been strewn with rose petals and jasmine flowers. The garden skies have been lit up by eight full moons (one in each direction) that change colour and brightness according to the Divine mood. The birds are perfectly placed on trees with dazzling flowers of mesmerizing colours. The breeze is laden with many varieties of enchanting, never smelt before, fragrances that exhibit the excitement of Mother Nature. The vision is enough to make many moons swoon in trance for a millennium. The whole of Vrindavan is waiting for Vrinda Devi’s cue to participate in Her orchestra, which is called the ‘symphony of Prema’.
Sri Krishna, the enchanter of millions of cupid’s, now starts to play on His magical flute and life itself is stunned. Lord Shiva, just arriving on the outskirts of Vrindavan cant keep His composure any more and, in ecstatic excitement, He cries, “Jai Sri Radhe! Jai Sri Krishna! Jai Jai Sri Vrindavan Dham!” He is totally intoxicated and, upon hearing Krishna’s flute, He literally faints. Who can understand Lord Shivas love for Radha and Krishna?
When the Gopis or cowherd damsels, who are all still home doing their houesehold chores, hear Krishna’s flute, it is as if they are struck by lightening. They have been praying to the Goddess of Love, Katyayani Maa, “please help us. When will we be called by the sound of that flute by our Paramour to come and dance with Him?” And now the time has come. But they have lost all composure and are frantically running around, not knowing what to do.
Unable to think straight, the Gopis start running towards the forest as if under a spell. They are dressing themselves as they run. They are ecstatic with passion and crying and laughing and running as they make their way towards Krishna. Madness has overtaken their worldly ‘sanity’. They have become fearless thus don’t care anymore about anyone or anything in society. They have left their children, husbands, fathers, mothers or whatever they were some how bound to and have run, almost naked, to meet their Praan-Vallabha, Bansidhari Sri Krishna.
In fact, they have been waiting for this moment since the beginning of their very existence. From the beginning of time, until their final evolution into being Gopis, this was the moment they had been waiting for. In their previous life, they were sages of the forest of Daṇḍakaaraṇya, where Lord Rama, pleased by their loving efforts, had promised them that, in their next life, He would fulfill their wish of being their Lover. Now that time has finally arrived.
The Gopis, following the mysterious sound, finally arrive at the dance grounds. There, they witness Sri Hari standing in tribhanga (tri-bent) posture, under a gaint, Avatar-sized wish-fulfilling Kadamba tree, on a massive, gold encrusted pearl stage, playing His sweet flute.
Srimati Radhika is standing in front of Him, literally lost in the sound of His flute as she sways back and forth, drinking the nectar of His heart in total adoration. Sri Radha and Sri Govind are thus lost in trance, dancing in gentle sway, as Krishna plays His flute. The Divine Couple are surrounded by the eight main Gopis, headed by Lalita and Vishakha, each having their personal entourages.
This is a vision of instant enchantment. Sri Krishna gently opens His eyes and looks at each Gopi with sidelong glances, as if to welcome them. The Gopis enter into deep trance instantly. They are spellbound, as if shot by Kamdev’s (Cupid’s) arrows from the bow of Krishna’s brows. Their beautiful doe-like eyes are fixed on this vision of transcendental emotion and their hearts are now locked in love’s tight embrace, as they start to sway their bodies gently. Their ears have taken the form of vessels and are now drinking the elixir of immortal nectar, cascading from Krishna’s lips. Thru their ears, Sri Krishna enters into their hearts. There they meet in the greatest intimacy ever experienced by each Gopi. He touches them, kisses them and hugs them as He flutters the wings of their hearts with His metaphysical touch. Thus, He welcomes each Gopi into His own heart, which is the dance floor of Sri Vrindavan Dham.
Gradually the momentum starts picking up. The movements of Radha and Krishna start to get faster and more animated. Each Gopi, who now number in the thousands, is dancing with their own, personal Krishna who has manifested on the lotus throne, upon the lake of their hearts.
Hearing the sound of Krishna’s flute being played to the beat of the Gopis’ hearts, Lord Shiva is brought back to life. But, He nearly drowns again in the depth of sweetness being experienced by all. Bholenath somehow manages composure and, with all His might, arrives at the gates of Vrindavan, which are impeccably protected on all sides by the mote of Yamunaji. By now, He is as frantic and desperate to enter, just as the Gopis had been before they arrived. He is totally oblivious of His dress, the garland of skulls hanging around His neck and His external mad-man-like appearance.
He tries to enter but is immediately stopped by two most powerful, effulgent, striking girls -Prema Paalikaa and Raas Rakshika. “Hold on there, where do you think you are going Mr Baba!? Sorry. No one is allowed entry, other than the gopis of Braj.” “What!?” Lord Shiva exclaims as if struck by lightening. “But, I must go in…” He pleads, begs and tries to explain, “I have come from very far away and I must enter, otherwise I will die”. The gatekeeper Gopis explain, “sorry, this is a girls only party. Men are not allowed, especially not dressed like that. Sorry, no can go in.”
Bholenath’s heart sinks. His knees buckle. Feeling totally hopeless, He collapses right there on the banks of the Yamuna. He is as innocent as a child and starts to cry. His crying becomes so intense that it has now turned into a full-on exasperated wail. Mother Yamuna, upon whose banks our beloved Lord has collapsed hears Bholenath sobbing. Knowing how dear He is to the divine Couple, She immediately appears in front of Him and asks, “My dear Lord Shiva, why are you crying so hopelessly? What causes the source of joy itself to be sitting here so dejected?” Shiva replies like a complaining child, “They ejected me, that’s why I am dejected. I want to go to the Rasa dance, but those girls wont let me in. Oh Goddess Yamuna, you know how far I have come and how much this means to me. Please help me.”
Yamuna Devi, P.C. Sri Mathura
Hearing Lord Shiva speak in this way, Yamuna Ḍevi’s soft heart melts completely. She cant bear to see Krishna’s most beloved devotee so down-and-out. She feels compassion upon Lord Shiva. Perplexed, she thinks, “It doesn’t become of the Lord of the whole universe to be seen in a such a pathetic situation. I must do something to help Him.” So she consoles Him with sweet words, “My dear Shiva, please don’t loose heart. Just take a dip in my cool waters and freshen Yourself. I will see what I can do to arrange for Your entry.” Lord Shiva’s eyes light up, like a blind man receiving the gift of sight. He knows that if Yamuna Devi says she will arrange entry, she will do it. Reassured, Bholenath immediately jumps into the river in exuberant childlike happiness.
As soon as Mahadeva takes His third dip in Yamuna’s cool waters, lo and behold, the matted haired, skull garlended, ash-smeared Lord Shiva turns into this most exquisite personification of beauty. Her body shines like a hundred moons. Her complexion is bluish, like Krishna’s. She is wearing a light green gopi dress that is studded with emerald flowers and has ruby and yellow sapphire petals sprinkled across it. There is an exquisite golden embroidered vine design at the bottom. She has a yellow dupatta (scarf) cascading down her back from her head. A flower crown interlocked with Bilva leaves adorns Her head. Her hair is braided with jasmine flowers and is coiled into an exquisite serpent-like shape. It appears as if the whole sky is lit up with a sunrise radiating from Her crown.
She is adorned with the most mesmerizing ornaments, such as shinning necklaces, melodic ankle bells, dazzling rings and shimmering earrings. She has a most endearing pearl nose-ring that is connected by a row of sparkling stars to her earrings. A most fragrant flower garland extends down Her neck to her knees. She has beautiful pink palms delicately decorated with henna designs that gently hold a blue lotus. Her feet, holders of pure grace, are beautifully decorated with flower anklets and red alta (foot paint). Her toes are decked with blue sapphires that radiate a special light to further enhance Her most-glorious lotus feet. As she walks, the ground lights up with excitement.
When Lord Shiva sees this most incredible new body of His, He starts panting with joy. He can hardly breathe because of his shock and excitement. Tears well up in His eyes and He thanks Yamuna Devi with his all heart by touching her feet, thus further invoking her blessings to dance with Krishna. Wondrously, Yamuna Devi glances upon ‘Shiva Sakhi’ as she herself is bedazzled by the stunning beauty of this exquisite Gopi.
Lord Shiva is now charged with confidence. With this new confidence, He vows that He will dance tonight like He has never danced before in His eternal life. Shiva remembers the time when Sri Hari came in the form of Mohini and made Him mad after Her. Lord Shiva, who burnt Cupid to ashes simply by looking at him, totally lost control and began chasing Mohini (Krishna) hopelessly. Tonight is going to be payback time. He resolves within His heart that He will steal Krishna’s heart at any cost. Tonight Nataraj is going show His beloved Lord that He really is Nataraj, the King of all dancers.
Smiling, Yamunaji takes this new Gopi’s hand and brings Her to the Maharasa arena. It is as if she is bringing a new bride to her groom. Lord Shiva is shining so brilliantly that even Yamunaji is surprised to see how beautiful she has turned out to be. In the spiritual world, physical beauty is measured by the amount of love a person possesses in their heart for the Divine Couple. Other than Shrimati Radha Rani Herself, no one has more love for Sri Krishna than Lord Shiva. Shambhus’ heart, resplendent with the deepest love for His Praan-Vallabha Shyam Sundar, shines externally by way of the unparalleled physical beauty of His Gopi form.
Here, it would be beneficial to note that, in order to enter into the domain of Braj Prem or Radha-Krishnas Love, even Lord Shiva had to first become a woman. Our natural position or true essence, minus the egotistical, male, enjoyer, top-dog, alpha-male spirit is: female. Until and unless this transformation of consciousness happens, there is no way that Radha-Krishna’s amrit Lila will manifest in our heart. Secondly, in order for this transformation of worldview to happen, even Lord Shiva, who is personified Sri Guru Himself, needs a Guru. Even though Bholenath already possesses pure Prem (Love) in his heart, still He takes shelter of Yamuna ji.
As Shiva Sakhi is brought into the dance arena by Yamuna Devi all the Gopis are astonished by Her beauty. They are surprised and over joyed to witness such an immaculate, stunning new Gopi. Vrinda Devi, Lalita Devi, Vishakha Devi and others congregate around Her. They are looking at each other to see if anyone recognized who this ambassador of beauty is. They are bewildered by the pure love that is emanating from Shiva Sakhi’s heart. Who is this incredible, glowing heart of such immaculate love? They are perplexed and bring Her infront of the divine Couple. The air is dripping with excitement.
As soon as Krishna’s eye catches sight of this new Gopi, Shiva Sakhi starts Her heart-dance. Oh my sweet Lord! The first step takes Krishna by surprise. The grace and sweetness of this new flower-like Gopi gives Krishna, the Bumble-Bee, a head spin. Her moves are so stunning that Sri Krishna has to give His flute to Shrimati Radhika to play. Sri Radhika takes over playing the flute with even more sweetness. She starts to play Her own tune of Loving sound, which further enhances the Divine mood.
Now Sri Krishna starts dancing with Nataraj Shiva Sakhi. Srimati Radhika plays the flute even more profusely. All the Gopis are tasting a nectar different from before. Now they are witnessing Sri Guru Shiva, dancing with His beloved Sri Krishna. They are witnessing the Supreme dance with His Supreme Devotee, and, it looks as if the devotee is leading the show. It appears as if Krishna is having a hard time keeping up with the love-play of Shiva Sakhi.
To test the prowess of Shiva Sakhi, Shrimati Radhika is playing the flute in such a way that even Krishna is astonished. The tempo starts to become faster and faster. Nataraj is not going to be stopped tonight. Shiva Sakhi lays out every last bit of Her heart. Krishna starts to get exasperated and is finding it hard to keep up.
Krishna. the bumble bee, totally intoxicated by nectar of the flower that is Nataraj Shiva Sakhi, finally allows Himself to be sucked into Her lotus heart and be enveloped by the petals of Her love. The whole cosmos witnesses with awe how the devotee had conquered God by the sheer might of Her Love. There is an uproar of astonishment and loving joy at the sight of the Supreme Lord’s surrender. It appears that a new river has manifested from the tears that are flowing in ecstatic exuberance. No one can understand what is happening to their hearts. Everyone, everything is simply trembling as their hearts can not contain the immense sweetness of this relationship of pure Divine Love.
Pleased with Shiva Sakhi, Sri Krsna asks Her to ask for a benediction, anything She wants. He says,”Oh my dear Gopi, take what you want from me. I am so pleased with You, that You may ask from me whatever you wish. Anything!” Thinking for a while and remembering the trauma of almost not being allowed into the dance, Shiva Sakhi replies, “Oh dear Lord of my heart, May I eternally be allowed entry into your Raas Lila. That’s all I want”.
Smiling and understanding the ordeal She has been thru, Sri Krishna says, “I hereby give the keys to my heart-dance to you. This is the rarest of the rare and the greatest secret of all. Your name will be GOPESHWAR or, “the Lord of the supreme secret.” Only by Your permission will anyone be granted entry into this realm of Vrindavan, which is my Sanctum Sanctorum (holiest of holy places).”
Hence, Nataraj Shiva, is known and worshiped in Braj as Gopeshwar Mahadeva and His temple is at the entrance of Vamsivata, on the banks of Yamunaji, where Sri Krishna played His flute to call the Gopis. How mystical and utterly sweet.