The Abandoned Dog
by Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
Viareggio, Italy: April 13, 1999
[This is the first publication of the transcription below. Although it is five years old, it is timely. As Srila Narayana Maharaja told the story herein, he was unsuccessfully trying to hold back his tears. In order to wipe his eyes as he was reaching the story’s end, he opened his arms to take hold of his upper sannyasa cloth and slip it under his eyeglasses. He was wearing a very thin garland of tiny lavender flowers at that time. As he was opening his arms, his arms came from between the two insides of the garland. The garland broke, and the lavender flowers softly flew out in all directions. That, combined with the fact that Srila Maharaja was wiping his tears, brought his audience to tears:]
Today I went to the seashore for a walk. I was chanting and remembering some pastimes of Sri Krsna, and I was especially chanting this verse:
jatanurago druta-citta uccaih
hasaty atho roditi rauti gayati
unmada-van nrtyati loka-bahyah
[“By chanting the holy name of the Supreme Lord, one comes to the stage of love of Godhead. Then the devotee is fixed in his vow as an eternal servant of the Lord, and he gradually becomes very much attached to a particular name and form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As his heart melts with ecstatic love, he laughs very loudly or cries or shouts. Sometimes he sings and dances like a madman, for he is indifferent to public opinion.” (Srimad-bhagavatam 11.2.40)]
I was also thinking about the meaning of this verse, which applies to devotees who have developed their Krsna consciousness up to rati, (bhava). Rati is the first glimpse of prema; it is a semblance of prema. Those who have rati sing the name of their beloved: Govinda, Damodara, Madhaveti, Radha-Govinda, Radha-natha and all the other sweet holy names of Lord Krsna. They give up their shyness and become as though mad. With tears in their eyes, they fall down and roll on the earth, sometimes laughing without any reason and sometimes weeping bitterly.
Common devotees will generally think that such a devotee has become mad. They consider that for no reason he is laughing, for no reason he is weeping and for no reason he is rolling on the earth. They can not understand, and even Lord Brahma and other demigods cannot understand, why devotees even from the preliminary stage of love of God are behaving like this.
Those who do not have very much attraction for Krsna and have not served Him, those who have no love and affection like gopis, cannot be like this. These are the symptoms of a most high class devotee.
So while I was walking on the seashore, I was chanting and remembering the meaning of this verse. Just then I saw a very pathetic scene, which touched my heart. There was a dog on the road at the seashore. He looked like he was waiting for someone, and he had tears in his eyes and mud all around his eyes. He was a German Shepherd dog. When he was young he had been very beautiful and strong, but now he was old and neglected.
He was searching for someone. He would look at all the cars passing by. He would run towards the people who passed by, looking at them with eyes full of expectation. Then again, he would run away in the direction of the sea, or sit down with very sad eyes.
I asked Brajanatha and Lila-purusottama prabhus, “Is this dog waiting for his master, who is perhaps walking here and there?” They replied, “No, no. Perhaps some cruel master saw that his dog was becoming old, or he thought, ‘I don’t want any dogs now.’ He left him in this area, during summer, when thousands of persons were at the seashore.”
That master left his very dear dog, and now the dog is remembering, “Where is my master? He loved me so much. He used to wash me daily with soap – with his own hands – and he loved me so affectionately. But where is my master now? Perhaps he has lost me, so one day he will come and again take me in his car.
Remembering the past love and affection of his master and thinking, “How sweet it was”, he is sitting and weeping.
Why did the gopis lament for Krsna? Why did Sridama weep so bitterly? Why did Srila Rupa Gosvami and the other Gosvamis weep?.
sri-govardhana-kalpa-padapa-tale kalindi-vane kutah
ghosantav iti sarvato vraja-pure khedair maha-vihvalau
vande rupa-sanatanau raghu-yugau sri jiva-gopalakau
[“I offer my respectful obeisances to the six Gosvamis, namely Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Govami, Srila Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Srila Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami, Srila Jiva Gosvami and Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, who were chanting very loudly everywhere in Vrndavana, shouting, ‘O Queen of Vrndavana, Radharani! O Lalite! O son of Nanda Maharaja! Where are you all now? Are you just on the hill of Govardhana, or are you under the trees on the bank of the Yamuna? Where are you?’ These were their moods in executing Krsna consciousness.” (Sad-Gosvami-astaka 8)]
If a dog can weep, why can the associates of the Supreme Lord not weep?
Sometimes that dog thinks, “I should die.” He walks towards the sea and weeps. He is about to enter, but then he returns thinking, “My master may come. That is why I don’t want to die.”
The gopis are like this. They want to die, but at the next moment they remember Krsna’s words: “I will come back.”
The gopis, or any devotees who weep bitterly for the Lord, also laugh sometimes that their Lord has come. But this cruel master will never come, because his love and affection has stopped. The love of the cruel master is mundane, but the love and affection of Lord Krsna is transcendental. Krsna may come and satisfy His devotees, saying, “I have come”; but the cruel masters of this world will not come.
That dog has been waiting for years. No one gives him bath now, and no one takes him into their car. So he weeps. If he sees anyone, he thinks, “My master has come.” Then he looks more closely, and then again weeps.
This world is meant for our learning; it is like a school or college. We can learn many things from this world – by examples such as this one about the abandoned dog. Today I was realizing why the gopis lament and weep so much – and why they sing. We should realize these topics, but we cannot do so by speculation of the mind. Such realization is possible only by the association of high class of devotees of the Lord.
That dog will die one day, and his cruel master will not return. But Lord Krsna is always controlled by the love of His devotees, and they cannot die. When they weep like this they become mad: and from time to time Lord Krsna comes and pacifies them. But they will say they have seen Him only in a dream. They will consider, “Perhaps I was mad, and that is why I thought I saw Him; but I have not really seen Him.” Actually they have seen Him. Thus, the devotee increases his love for Krsna.
Lord Krsna’s cowherd-friend Madhumangala wept bitterly, as did Madhavendra Puripada. He prayed, “O Lord of Mathura, O beloved. When will I see You? I am dying, so please come and give me Your darsana.”
Srimati Radhika, the crest-jewel of the gopis, prays,
kvasi kvasi maha-bhuja
dasyas te krpanaya me
sakhe darsaya sannidhim
[“O master, O My lover! O dearmost, where are You? Where are You? Please, O mighty-armed one, O friend, show Yourself to Me, Your poor servant!” (SB 10.30.39)]
The gopis all weep in this way. They will never die, but that dog will die. The cruel master will also die, but Krsna and His devotees will never die. One day Krsna is bound to give His darsana and service.
We should be like those gopis and the other associates of Lord Krsna.