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Vraja Vilasa 99: Obeisances to Uddhava Mahashay

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Sri Uddhava Mahashaya, who is always filled with flavors of love for Murari both as a servant and a friend, left the Lord’s lotus feet, although they are dearer to him than billions of life-airs, and stayed in Vraja for ten months, consoling and reviving the Vrajavasis by saying: “Look, Krishna is coming back to you!” I carry this Sri Uddhava on my head.


pūrṇaḥ prema-rasaiḥ sadā muraripor dāsaḥ sakhā ca priyaṁ
sva-prāṇārbudato’pi tat-pada-yugaṁ hitveha māsān daśa
prītyā yo nivasaṁs tadīya-kathayā goṣṭhaṁ muhur jīvayaty
āyātaṁ kila paśya kṛṣṇam iti taṁ mūrdhnā vahāmy uddhavam


Stavāmṛta Kaṇā Vyākhyā: In this verse Raghunath Das Goswami is praising Sri Uddhava Mahashay. Sri Uddhava Mahashay is a devotee of Sri Krishna in the mood of friendship mixed with servitude. But he is not just an ordinary servant and friend, but Sri Krishna’s dearmost friend and servant, because his heart was filled with all the flavours of love.

Only love makes a devotee qualified to become the Lord’s dearest beloved. We can learn from the Lord’s own lotus-like mouth how he offered Uddhava a seat of affection because of his love-filled heart:

na tathā me priyatama ātma-yonir na śaṅkaraḥ;
na ca saṅkarṣaṇo na śrīr naivātmā ca yathā bhavān

“O Uddhava! Not Brahmā, my lotus-born son, nor Shankara (Shiva), who is born from my nature, nor Sankarshan (Balaram), although he is my own brother, nor Lakshmi, who plays on my chest as my wife, nor even I myself am so dear to me as you are!” (SB 11.14.15)

 

The quality of service to Sri Krishna was a treasure that Sri Uddhava was born with. In the second chapter of the Third Canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavata it is seen:

yaḥ paṣca hāyano mātrā prātar-āśāya yācitaḥ;
tan naicchad racayan yasya saparyāṁ bāla-līlayā

“When Sri Uddhava Mahashay was a child of five years old he fashioned a deity of Sri Krishna to serve and he got so absorbed in this childhood-pastime that he was not even interested when his mother called him for breakfast.” (SB 3.2.2)

From this statement we can learn that he was deeply absorbed in the service of Sri Krishna from his childhood.

Just as the Lord is always served by his six opulences, similarly Uddhava Mahashay was decorated by six kinds of extraordinary qualities in his adolescence while engaging himself in Sri Krishna’s service. Srīla Shukadeva Muni describes in the 46th chapter of the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavata:

vṛṣṇināṁ sammato mantrī kṛṣṇasya dayitaḥ sakhaḥ;
śiṣyo bṛhaspateḥ sākṣād uddhavo buddhi-sammataḥ

” Uddhava Mahashay was honoured by the Yādavas, he was Sri Krishna’s counsellor, his dear friend and the object of his grace. He was the direct disciple of Brihaspati and the most intelligent of men.” (SB 10.46.1)

Because Sri Uddhava was endowed with so many qualities Sri Krishna sent him to Vraja to console Sri Nanda, Yashoda and all the cowherd men and women.

When Uddhava saw the billowing waves on the vast ocean of love of the Nanda and the Vrajavasis, and especially Sri Radha and the Vrajasundarīs, he was stunned in amazement and remained in Vraja for ten months in great blissful astonishment, even though that meant he had to be separated from the lotus feet of Sri Krishna, who was dearer to him than billions of life-airs. Saying: “Look! Krishna is returning from Mathura!” he offered them consolation, and by singing about Sri Krishna’s pastimes with a sweet voice it was as if he reproduced the divine form of Sri Krishna directly before the eyes of the Vrajavasis.

uvāsa katicin māsān gopīnāṁ vinudan śucaḥ;
kṛṣṇa-līlā-kathāṁ gāyan ramayāmāsa gokulam
yāvanty ahāni nandasya vraje’vātsīṭ sa uddhavaḥ;
vrajaukasāṁ kṣaṇa-prāyāṇy āsan kṛṣṇasya vārtayā
sarid-vana-giri-droṇīr vīkṣan kusumitān drumān;
kṛṣṇaṁ saṁsmārayan reme haridāso vrajaukasām

Uddhava stayed in Vraja for a few months and removed the gopīs’ agony of separation. When the gopīs lost all external consciousness because of their severe feelings of separation he reminded them of Sri Krishna and thereby soothed their pain as if he were neutralizing burning poison through the use of a powerful mantra. In this way Uddhava also went before the cowherds and cowherdesses, headed by Sri Nanda and Yashoda, and revived them by singing about Sri Krishna’s pastimes, thus crystallizing Sri Krishna before them and plunging them into an ocean of transcendental bliss.

As long as Sri Uddhava Mahashay was in Vraja, he spoke about Sri Krishna and thus these ten long months appeared to be just like a moment. Thus they thought as if “Uddhava has just come to us and now he is already leaving again!”

Sri Uddhava Mahashay and the Vrajavasis went to the banks of the ponds, into the woods and to the mountain caves, and, seeing the blossoming trees and vines, Uddhava sang to the Vrajavasis about the particular pastimes that Sri Krishna had performed there in such a way that the Vrajavasis thought that these pastimes and playful Sri Krishna himself directly appeared before their eyes. Ecstatically calling Sri Uddhava haridāsa, Sri Śuka Muni says: “O King! Sri Uddhava Mahashay acted exactly like a servant of Lord Hari, because the main duty of a servant of Lord Hari is to revive the devotees who suffer separation from Sri Krishna with kṛṣṇa-kathā.” (Śrīmad Bhāgavata 10.47.54-56)

Raghunath Das Goswami says: “I constantly praise Sri Krishna’s dearmost Haridāsa Sri Uddhava by carrying him on my head.”

prema rase vigalita, nirantara yāra citta,
govindera ati priyatama
sakhya miśra priya dāsa, khyāti yāra ‘haridāsa’,
śrī uddhava bhāgavatottama

“The heart of Govinda’s dearmost Sri Uddhava, the greatest of devotees, who is famous as haridāsa and who is in the combined mood of servant and friend, constantly melts of the flavours of love.”

prāṇa koṭi nirmanchana, śrī kṛṣṇera śrī caraṇa,
heno kṛṣṇa pāda padma cheḍe
vrajavāsi-gaṇe nitya, kṛṣṇa līlā rasāmṛta
pāna korāiyā sevā kore

“Although the lotus feet of Sri Krishna were dearer to him than billions of life-airs he left them to serve the Vrajavasis by constantly making them drink the nectar of Krishna’s pastimes.”

daśa māsa vrajavāse, sabāre se āśvāse,
śrī uddhava ei vākya bole
śrī kṛṣṇa āgata prāya, āra se vilamba nāi,
daraśana koroho sakale

“Sri Uddhava stayed in Vraja for ten months, consoling everyone with the words: “Sri Krishna is coming, he won’t be long! Look, everyone!”

govinda preyasī yoto, prasādhane suśobhita,
vastra mālya śrī hari-candana
śrī uddhava daraśane, kṛṣṇa korāya uddīpane,
śire vandi tāra śrī caraṇa

“When Govinda’s beloved gopīs saw Sri Uddhava wearing beautiful garments, garlands and white sandalwood pulp, they all remembered Krishna. I bow my head down before his divine feet.”

 

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