Germany - Feb 24 2003
Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
You should all come with me to Vraja.
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam it has been clearly written that Krishna appeared in the jail of Kamsa, from the womb of Mother Devaki, by Vasudeva Maharaja. Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami and Shrila Vyasadeva both knew, however, that Krishna was only partly the son of Vasudeva and Devaki, whereas He was fully the son of Yasoda and Nanda Baba. Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami knew that fact, but he concealed it, and he has said instead that Krishna came from the womb of Devaki. Later on, however, the truth came from his mouth.
There is a reason that Shri Sukadeva Gosvami did not reveal this truth clearly at first. Many problems may have come for ordinary people, and especially for the Vedic Smarta brahmanas. They would not have read the Shrimad-Bhagavatam; or, they would have spoken against it. It was only very secretly, therefore, that Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami told Maharaja Pariksit that Krishna took birth from the womb of Yasoda and Nanda Baba. If he had clearly explained this, from the point of view of the Smartas would Krishna have been able to act as the most beloved of all the gopis in Nandagaon, Vraja? It would have been impossible. If Krishna was born of Vraja, the gopis will have had a blood relationship with Him. It must be this way. They will either be like aunties, or like elder or younger cousin-sisters. In those cases, how would Krishna be able to perform the rasa dance with them, and how would He be able to embrace them?
In India, the Smarta-samaja (those caste brahmanas who are attached only to the external, ritualistic rules and regulations of Vedic culture) do not except this behavior, and that is why Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami told the real fact secretly. Such Smartas do not know the secret tattva of the gopis and Krishna, so they may have raised this aforementioned question out of ignorance.
Why is their question based on ignorance? The gopis are not different from Krishna. They are themselves Krishna, or manifestations of Krishna. Shrimati Radhika came from His left side:
tabhir ya eva nija-rupataya kalabhih
goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhuto
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
["I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord. He resides in His own realm, Goloka, with Radha, who resembles His own spiritual figure and who embodies the ecstatic potency [hladini]. Their companions are Her confidantes, who embody extensions of Her bodily form and who are imbued and permeated with ever-blissful spiritual rasa." (Shri Brahma-samhita 5.37)]
Nija-rupataya kalabhih. "Kala" means Krishna's kala (plenary portion), or in other words, the kala of Radhika. Shrimati Radhika is the hladini-sakti of Krishna, and all the gopis have come from hladini-sakti Shrimati Radhika as Her kaya-vyuha rupa (bodily expansions). Krishna can play with His power, as one plays with his own shadow, and there is no harm in that. Similarly, the gopis dance and play with Krishna, embracing and kissing Him, and there is no harm in that. If I wrap my arms around each other, there is no harm in that. In the same way, Krishna plays with the gopis as one plays with His own shadow or His own body, in the form of the gopis. The gopis are like Krishna's own body and atma; they are His everything. Ordinary persons - those who are not associating with Shri Narada Rsi, Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami, Radha and Krishna, and especially with the associates of Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu - cannot understand these facts.
In India, the arya-samaja* [See Endnote] and other groups say, "We accept Krishna on the battlefield of Kuruksetra, but we do not accept Vraja-raja Krishna because He was a wretched and lusty person." And they also write against Krishna. We want to help them understand, but they cannot understand. They are not qualified to understand at all. They have no samskara for this, and therefore Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami tried to conceal all these facts.
Still, he could not conceal them. The truth is compared to the sun, which will automatically manifest itself at the appropriate time. If you secretly perform nonsense activities, one day the truth of this will manifest like the sun, and all will see that you are guilty. You cannot conceal any bad activities - so be careful. Cancer will come, leprosy will come, or other embarrassing diseases and situations will come, and you will always be restless. The reaction will surely come; so do not secretly engage in sinful activities.
Krishna took birth in Kamsa's jail, and simultaneously from the womb of Mother Yasoda in Gokula. It is prominently written, however, that He took birth from Devaki and Vasudeva, and that is why Vasudeva took Him across the river. This has been written in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Vasudeva went to Gokula and secretly placed his son on Yasoda Maiyi's bed, and then he returned to Mathura with the newborn baby daughter of Nanda Baba. Shri Sukadeva Gosvami never revealed that while Vasudeva was taking Krishna across the river, Krishna fell in the river waters, and it was Vrajendra-nandana Krishna who emerged, not Vasudeva-Krishna. Still, our highly realized acaryas like Shrila Sanatana Gosvami, Shrila Jiva Gosvami, and many others have explained that He who appeared in Mathura and crossed the Yamuna River was Devaki-suta and, returning from Vraja years later with Akrura was Nanda-nandana Krishna. When Akrura and Krishna and Balarama came to Yamuna Ghat, Akrura Ghat, Krishna and Baladeva disappeared and then remained in Vraja - and they who came to Mathura with Akrura were Devaki-suta Krishna and Baladeva.
Vasudeva Krishna is somewhat different from Nanda-nandana Krishna. The symptoms of Krishna when He is in Vraja are that He plays His flute and wears a peacock feather in His hair or turban. Even when Mother Yasoda binds His hair, she places a peacock feather there. From His childhood, Krishna went out in the forest to graze calves, and after that, cows. This is the symptom of Vrajendra-nandana Krishna. The son of Devaki and Vasudeva cannot, on the other hand, wear a peacock feather in His hair. He cannot play a flute, or carry a stick, and He cannot wear the dress and turban of a gopa - as these behaviors would be against social etiquette. In Dvaraka, Krishna wears a mukut (crown), He lives in palatial buildings, and He wears the dress of royalty. In Vraja He will not wear royal ornaments; He will only wear necklaces of gunja mala and flowers.
After Krishna went to Mathura, He lamented grievously. During His stay there He first took diksa and upanayana samskara (sacred thread), then He went to a Gurukula that was very far away from Mathura, and after 64 days He returned to Mathura. Then one day, sitting on the top of one of the palatial buildings in Mathura, He saw that the Yamuna was flowing very sweetly and gently. He saw it coming from Vrndavana and, very near, just to the north of Mathura, He saw Vrndavana. He remembered that all the gopis and all the cows were dying, as He had previously heard that from Lalita's messenger and other messengers coming from Vrndavana. The calves were not grazing grass, the cows were not giving milk, the peacocks were not dancing, the cuckoos were not singing, and all of Vraja was lamenting for Krishna. Krishna was meditating on this, and also seeing this directly with His eyes of emotion (bhava-netra). He began to weep loudly, "Mother, Mother! Father, Father! Where are My friends like Subala-sakha, Madhumangala, and others? O Radhike, Lalite, Visakhe! O Mother Yasode!" Weeping for them, His many tears fell like a stream.
In the meantime, Uddhava Prabhu had been searching for Krishna here and there. He could not find Him, and finally he arrived at the top of the building where Krishna was sitting. Seeing that Krishna was weeping bitterly, he approached Him and, putting his hands on His back he said, "My dear friend, why are You weeping and lamenting?" Hearing Uddhava's voice, Krishna began to weep even louder, and, with His voice choked, He told him, "I am remembering My mother and father, who are about to die. They have been fasting for so many days and not cooking. For whom would they cook? If I am here, they will not cook there. Their cooking vessels remain standing upside down and unclean atop the chulha (old-fashioned stove), and there are cobwebs all over the kitchen." In this way Krishna greatly lamented.
Who was Uddhava?
vrsninam pravaro mantri
krsnasya dayitah sakha
sisyo brhaspateh saksad
["Sukadeva Gosvami said: The supremely intelligent Uddhava was the best counsellor of the Vrsni dynasty, a beloved friend of Lord Shri Krishna, and a direct disciple of Brihaspati."
(Shrimad Bhagavatam 10.46.1)]
He was the prime minister of Krishna, and extremely near and dear to Him. He was a sakha, a friend of Krishna, he was His sisya, disciple, His dasa, servant, and he was also the disciple of Brihaspati. From his boyhood He used to worship Krishna like a Deity because he understood that Krishna, who had come from the womb of Mother Devaki, was there in Vrndavana. He knew this, and that is why he would continually lament and weep for Him - waiting for Him to return to Mathura. From boyhood he would chant Krishna's name, thinking Him his very near and dear one.
Now Krishna took Uddhava's hands in His own, and began to tell him, "Uddhava, please go at once to Vraja, where My mother and father are lamenting for Me." "Pitremavaha" - all the elderly gopas and gopis in Vraja are like Krishna's mothers and fathers, so Krishna said, "Please go and pacify them." "Gopinam" - He had a great desire to tell Uddhava to go to the young gopis, but He wanted to observe the proper etiquette and not immediately that the gopis are His most beloved. He wanted to conceal this, and that is why He first told Uddhava about His mother and father.
gacchoddhava vrajam saumya
pitror nau pritim avaha
["Lord Krishna said: 'Dear gentle Uddhava, go to Vraja and give pleasure to Our parents. And also relieve the gopis, suffering in separation from Me, by giving them My message.'" (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.46.3)]
Krishna told Uddhava, "Please go at once and pacify them; but do not use your intelligence or your own words to do so. I am giving you so many messages, one after the other, that you should tell the gopis. If they will be pacified by the first message, very good; otherwise tell them the next message, and if that is not effective then tell them the next, and then the next."
ta man-manaska trst-prana
mam eva dayitam prestham
atmanam manasa gatah
ye tyakta-loka-dharmas ca
mad-arthe tan bibharmy aham
["The minds of those gopis are always absorbed in Me, and their very lives are ever devoted to Me. For My sake they have abandoned everything related to their bodies, renouncing ordinary happiness in this life, as well as religious duties necessary for such happiness in the next life. I alone am their dearmost beloved and, indeed, their very Self. Therefore I take it upon Myself to sustain them in all circumstances." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.46.4)]
Krishna has explained the most confidential knowledge in the Bhagavad-gita:
man-mana bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yaji mam namaskuru
mam evaisyasi satyam te
pratijane priyo 'si me
["Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend." (Bhagavad-gita 18.65)]
"Man mana bhava" means "man manaska." The gopis are man manaska, and there is no example of this other than them. Man mana bhava also refers only to the gopis, because their hearts, minds, and senses are totally absorbed in Krishna. Krishna continued, "They have given their souls, their minds and their everything to Me, and now they are about to die - but they are not dying. Why? Because they have given their souls to Me. Otherwise, if their souls were with them, they would have died at once. Mat prana - I am the life and soul of all the gopis, and all My most beloved gopis are My soul."
"Daihikah" - the gopis gave up everything in relation to their bodies. One gopi was cooking for her husband and others, and she left that. One gopi was decorating herself, one was sweeping, one was distributing prasadam to her children, husband and others; and they all stopped their activities and ran away to Krishna. They never returned back to their homes; but Yogamaya very secretly made duplicate gopi forms and she made it seem as though they were still with their families. But the real gopis never returned, especially when Krishna went to Mathura.
"Mam eva dayitam" - I am the most beloved of the gopis, and they are My most beloved. Prestham atmanam manasa - now they are as though lifeless. Ye tyakta-loka-dharmas ca mad-arthe tan bibharmy aham - they have given up all worldly activities, including even bathing and decorating themselves, and they gave up all relationships with their mothers, fathers, husbands, and others. They have given up all this for Me, so I will have to support them; but how will I be able to support them from Mathura? It is impossible. I therefore go to them in dreams, and sometimes I go personally; but they think My presence is merely a sphurti (momentary vision). When they see me they consider, "Perhaps we are mad, and that is why we think Krishna is here."
mayi tah preyasam presthe
smarantyo 'nga vimuhyanti
["My dear Uddhava, for those women of Gokula I am the most cherished object of love. Thus, when they remember Me, who am so far away, they are overwhelmed by the anxiety of separation." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.46.5)]
"The gopis are so far away from here. Smarantyo - but they remember Me. Vimuhyanti - sometimes they become faint and roll on the earth, calling, 'Krishna, Krishna.'"
prayah pranan kathancana
ballavyo me mad-atmikah
["Simply because I have promised to return to them, My fully devoted cowherd girlfriends struggle to maintain their lives somehow or other." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.46.6)]
Somehow they are maintaining their lives. How? Krishna has promised that He will come, "tomorrow or the next day", and this is their only hope. It is only because of this hope that they are not dying - otherwise they would have surely died. That hope, that Krishna will return, is possible because Krishna never tells a lie, and He promised He would return. The gopis were thinking, "He may be late, but He must come; so we should not die. If we die, then our fathers, mothers, and others may also die, and then Krishna will come here and see that we have all died. He will lament and weep, and He may also die. So we should not die. It may be that He will die, so we should not die."
Krishna had told the gopis, "I am coming; do not be upset. Very soon - the day after tomorrow - or after killing Kamsa - I am coming." Krishna had been with the gopis for many years, after that He went to Mathura, and from Mathura He went to Dvaraka - and He never returned. What suffering the gopis were experiencing! But still they thought, "One day Krishna will come, because He has told us so." Krishna did return to Vraja, toward the end of His manifest stay in this world, and this secret has been told in our acaryas' commentaries to the Shrimad-Bhagavatam. It has been especially described by Shrila Rupa Gosvami. He did not want the gopis to be separated from Krishna and lamenting forever. None of our Gosvamis, including Shri Kavi Karnapura who is an associate of Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, has written that the gopis felt perpetual separation from Krishna. Shri Kavi Karnapura described Radha-Krishna's pastimes only up to rasa-lila and Holi, and after that he stopped the writing of his Shri Ananda Vrndavana Campu - because he was not able to tolerate Shrimati Radhika's suffering of separation.
So Krishna told Uddhava, "You must go to Vrndavana."
[*Endnote - "Those who are Aryans strictly follow the Vedic principles, but in this age of Kali a community has sprung up known as the arya-samaja, which is ignorant of the import of the Vedas in the parampara system. Their leaders decry all bona fide acaryas, and they pose themselves as the real followers of the Vedic principles." SB5.15.1 purport.]
[Part 2 of this lecture will come in the next instalment.]
Editor: Shyamarani dasi
Transcriber, typist, and assistant editor: Vasanti dasi