Hera-Pancami - Ch 7 Of The Origin Of Ratha-Yatra
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- Friday, 04 July 2003
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Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
[July 13, 2013 is the celebration of the divine festival of Hera Pancami. Please accept this lecture excerpted from Srila Gurudeva's book, The Origin of Ratha-yatra, chapter 7.
Your aspiring servants,
The harikatha team]
The difference between Vrndavana and Dvaraka
The meaning of Hera-pancami is as follows. On the fifth day of the Chariot Festival, Laksmi-devi becomes very worried and thinks, “Where has my husband gone? He told me, ‘I am going for a change of environment for some days, and I will return very soon.’ It has been five days now, and still He has not come back.” Unable to tolerate this, she becomes very angry and gives orders to all her associates as though they had to fight with the enemy: “Take up your weapons!” Then she becomes the commander-in-chief of her “army,” and goes to “attack” her husband.
During the Ratha-yatra Festival, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to taste the mellows of Hera-pancami. In early morning He went to Sundaracala along with His associates and took darsana of Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra in the Gundica Mandira. Whenever He went to Jagannatha’s temple, He used to see Jagannatha as Krsna, Vrajendra-nandana Syamasundara, with a peacock feather in His crown, a flute in His hands, with very beautiful lotus eyes, and with all the other attributes of Krsna when He is with the gopis in Vrndavana. Mahaprabhu never saw Baladeva, Subhadra, or Sudarsana cakra, because Krsna never carries Sudarsana in Vrndavana. Mahaprabhu never prayed to Baladeva or to Subhadra in the temple. He saw them both during the Chariot Festival, but otherwise He saw only Jagannatha. This was all very wonderful.
Jagannatha had gone to Sundaracala (which represents Vrndavana) from His temple in Nilacala (which represents Dvaraka) and, on the evening of the fifth day, Laksmi arrived at Sundaracala with all her associates. [See Endnote 1] She was decorated with many precious ornaments made of gold and jewels, and she wore very beautiful and opulent garments. The previous day, Kasi Misra, who was the guru of King Prataparudra, had advised the King, “Bring Laksmi-devi very valuable gold and jeweled ornaments, and decorate her with them. Make such a beautiful festival for her that everyone will be struck with wonder. They should think they have never seen anything like this before. Caitanya Mahaprabhu wants to taste all the mellows of this festival.” Accordingly, Laksmi was decorated with gold and jeweled ornaments, opulent garments, and other paraphernalia.
At the Simha-dvara (lion gate) in front of the Jagannatha Temple, Kasi Misra gave very beautiful seats to Mahaprabhu and His associates such as Srivasa Pandita, Sri Svarupa Damodara, and Sri Raya Ramananda. Soon after they were seated, Laksmi arrived with all her associates and opulence, as if she was coming to attack Jagannatha. First she “attacked” Jagannatha’s associates, who were actually Mahaprabhu’s associates, like Sikhi Mahiti, Vakresvara Pandita, and so on, and then she tied them up and bound them like prisoners. Her associates then punished them all by striking them with “whips” made of soft cloth, and she accused them, “Oh, you should admit your guilt and pay something. You have taken my husband. Where are you keeping Him? Bring Him here right now.”
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was extremely happy to see this pastime and, tasting its mellows, He said, “I have heard that when Satyabhama used to exhibit mana, She would remove all Her golden ornaments. Then she would enter a dark, private room, put on dirty garments, scratch the ground with her nails, and weep continually. But here I see another kind of mana in Laksmi. She is like a commander-in-chief going to attack with many soldiers. I have never seen anything like this, nor have I ever even heard of such a thing.”
Svarupa Damodara then explained that there are many kinds of mana, and that this mana of Dvaraka is very different from that of the gopis in Vrndavana. Mahaprabhu told Svarupa Damodara:
yadyapi jagannatha karena dvarakaya vihara
sahaja prakata kare parama udara
tathapi vatsara-madhye haya eka-bara
vrndavana dekhite tanra utkanha apara
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.117–18)
["Although Lord Jagannatha enjoys His pastimes in Dvaraka-dhama and naturally manifests sublime liberality there, still, once a year He becomes unlimitedly eager to see Vrndavana."]
Why did Krsna leave Vrndavana? Ultimately He did so to please and pacify the gopis. It is said that He leaves Vrndavana and comes to Mathura and Dvaraka because He cannot forget the devotees there – or anywhere else. He must support and nourish them. The next question would then be: after leaving why did He not return, at least for a visit. One answer is that there is no fort in Vrndavana. If Krsna had returned to Vrndavana, and Jarasandha had come to know that He was really the son of Nanda and Yasoda rather than that of Vasudeva and Devaki, Jarasandha would have attacked Vrndavana and it would have been ruined. Nanda Baba was a cowherd, a gopa, not a warrior, and there were no soldiers in Vrndavana. Jarasandha would therefore have destroyed all of Vrndavana and then imprisoned Yasoda and Nanda Baba, as Kamsa had imprisoned Vasudeva and Devaki.
This is a reason, but it is external. Someone may say, “At least Krsna should go to Vrndavana from time to time, and then He should return quickly.” But Krsna has so many enemies, and all of them would come to know that He has many friends in Vrndavana. They would think, “They should be attacked, and they should be finished.” This is another reason He did not return there, but it is also external.
Someone may say, “Krsna was able to take all His associates of Mathurapuri to Dvaraka in one night, in just a minute. He had abundant grand palaces built there, not only for each of His queens, but also for all His associates such as Akrura and Uddhava, as well as for Vasudeva and Devaki. There were so many thousands and millions of Mathuravasis. They went to sleep in Mathura, and in the morning they saw that they were in Dvaraka. This was very wonderful, and it shows that Krsna can do anything He likes. Similarly, in one night He can take to Dvaraka all His associates from Vrndavana, such as Radhika, Lalita, Visakha, and all the other sakhis, as well as all cowherd boys like Sridama, Stoka-krsna, Lavanga, and Arjuna. He can take His mother and father, Yasoda-maiya and Nanda Baba, and all the other Vrajavasis as well. Is there any harm in that? If all the Mathuravasis can be there, the Vrajavasis can be there as well.”
But how will Vrnda-devi go there? Will Govardhana go there? This is a very confidential topic. There will be a conflict between aisvarya-bhava and madhurya-bhava. What will Krsna say? Will He say, “I am the son of Vasudeva and Devaki,” or “I am the son of Nanda and Yasoda”? This contradiction of mellows would create a very difficult situation for Krsna. Will He play His flute? Will He wear His peacock feather there? Will He go cowherding with His friends in Dvaraka? Can He tell others, “I am the son of Nanda Baba and Yasoda”?
By the constitutional nature of aisvarya and madhurya, they cannot exist together. If you become an actual madhyama adhikari and hear all these topics in good association, you will realize something about the meaning of aisvarya-bhava, and of the madhurya-bhava in Vrndavana. Then you can become one-pointed in your devotion to Vrajendra-nandana. Vrndavana cannot go to Dvaraka, and Dvaraka can never go to Vrndavana. They are opposites, and the attempt to combine them is called rasa-abhasa, contradiction of mellows.
You should know what is aisvarya and what is the constitutional nature of madhurya-rasa. In Dvaraka there is always opulence, and everyone there knows that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sometimes He is four-handed and He can do anything. He can bring a dead person back to life, and He Himself has no death and no birth.
In Vrndavana, on the other hand, there is always madhurya-bhava. Krsna has taken birth from the womb of Mother Yasoda, and He is quite helpless. As a baby, He cannot turn over without His mother’s help. Sometimes He becomes angry, and He is always hungry. And when hungry, He steals butter from here and there.
And Krsna may tell lies. He will say, “Mother, when have I stolen butter? I never steal. You send Me cowherding with My friends very early in the morning. I run here and there with the cows all day long, and when I return from cowherding in the evening, being very tired I take My meal and then go to sleep. So when have I stolen this butter? I have never done it.” Then, when He begins to weep, Mother Yasoda says, “Certainly You have stolen the butter.” Continuing to weep, Krsna replies, “Perhaps I am not your son, and that is why you are accusing Me of stealing butter. That is why. Maybe I should go away and live somewhere else.” Yasoda-maiya then begins to weep and her heart melts. She takes Krsna in her lap and says, “I know You have never stolen butter. You have never done so.” Krsna then tells her, “I have done it, Mother. I have done it.” Then both of them weep. This is the mood of madhurya. Mother Yasoda ties Krsna to a mortar. How would she be able to do this if she knew that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead?
There is one point to note here. In Vrndavana, even if there is a manifestation of opulence, it does not disturb madhurya-bhava. There may be opulence, but the pastimes of Krsna still remain nara-vat, like those of a human boy. His pastimes there do not go beyond the human level. For example, Putana came and lifted Krsna in her arms and said, “My dear boy, my dear boy,” although she wanted to poison Him. He closed His eyes as if He were afraid of her, and did nothing more than simply suck the milk from her breast. How could He help it if she died? He never showed any large or wondrous form. He was like a child, a boy of only three months – but still she was killed. Although killing Putana was an act of the utmost spiritual opulence, it still remains a human-like pastime.
Before this pastime took place, Kamsa was engaged in conquering the world, and at one point he engaged in a ferocious battle with Putana. Putana was just about to defeat him in the battle, but Kamsa was an expert politician, so he told her, “Now I accept you as my sister. You can help me, and I will help you.” In this way they made an alliance. So Putana was very, very powerful; it would be extremely difficult to kill a demon like her, since even Kamsa could not defeat her. That is why Krsna’s killing her is an example of His opulence.
Also, Krsna lifted Govardhana and held him aloft for seven days on His finger, as an elephant would lift a lotus flower with its trunk. A man cannot do this, but Krsna did it; and He was smiling and sometimes playing His flute. He was in a dancing mood, in a threefold-bending position. All the cowherd boys held up their sticks and touched Govardhana, saying, “Oh, don’t fall – stay up there!” They were all thinking that they had lifted Govardhana. At the same time, Nanda Maharaja, who was a very exalted devotee of Narayana, prayed, “O Narayana, please do not allow this mountain to fall down.” And what can be said of the gopis? They are the very potency of Krsna Himself. Radhika looked strongly at Govardhana with a piercing sidelong glance and told him, “If you drop down, you will be burnt to ashes. You should remain aloft within My vision.” From everyone’s point of view, Krsna was not doing anything.
In this way, although lifting Govardhana was a very great opulence, Krsna did not assume a large or four-armed form. Whether there is opulence or no opulence, His pastimes are called madhurya if they are human-like. In Vrndavana, Krsna is the friend of all the gopas, He is the beloved of all the young gopis, and He is the son of all the elder gopis.
This atmosphere cannot exist in Dvaraka. There is only opulence there, and sometimes Krsna may assume a four-handed form or a universal form. He is bound to say, “I am the son of Vasudeva and Devaki.” He must. He will have to say, “I am a ksatriya,” whereas in Vrndavana He thinks, “I am a gopa.” How would He be able to reconcile this if all the gopis and gopas were to come to Dvaraka? The situation would be against the principle of rasa.
The Vrndavana mood will never come to Dvaraka. In Vrndavana, Krsna can carry His flute and wear a peacock feather, and He can manifest His beautiful threefold-bending form as manmatha-manmathah, the enchanter of Cupid. But He cannot do this in Dvaraka, nor can He perform rasa-lila there. What would all His queens think if He were to engage in rasa with the gopis on the shore of the ocean in Dvaraka? Thus, the gopis will never go to Dvaraka, and Krsna also never goes there in His original and complete feature. He goes there in another form, and that form is His manifestation. He will be Vasudeva there, for Krsna Himself cannot give up being Vrajendra-nandana Syamasundara. He cannot give up Vrndavana, even for a moment. Vrndavanam parityajya padam ekam na gacchati: Krsna never goes even a step outside Vrndavana.
Srila Jiva Gosvami and Srila Rupa Gosvami have quoted the Puranas to show that in Krsna’s last days, just after He defeated and killed Dantavakra, He left Dvaraka and went to Gokula, where He met all the Vrajavasis. Weeping bitterly, He embraced them all, and then He began playing with all the gopis and gopas. Then, some days later, He went to Goloka Vrndavana and took with Him His associates such as Nanda Baba, Yasoda, all the mothers, all the sakhis, all the sakhas, and also His Vrndavana-bhumi. Vrajendranandana Syamasundara thus entered His aprakata-lila (unmanifest pastimes), while He simultaneously returned to Dvaraka in His form as Vasudeva-Krsna. These are very secret truths.
Similarly, Jagannatha-deva comes to Vrndavana once a year. His queen, Vimala-devi (i.e. Laksmi-devi), represents Satyabhama, Rukmini, and all the other queens in Dvaraka. Jagannatha lives in Dvaraka for the entire year, but once a year He wants to go to Vrndavana, and He plays a trick in order to go there.
vrndavana-sama ei upavana-gana
taha dekhibare utkanthita haya mana
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.119)
[“Pointing out the neighboring gardens, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, ‘All these gardens exactly resemble Vrndavana; therefore Lord Jagannatha is very eager to see them again.’”]
bahira ha-ite kare ratha-yatra-chala
sundaracale yaya prabhu chadi’ nilacala
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.120)
[‘Externally, Jagannatha gives the excuse that He wants to participate in the Ratha-yatra Festival, but actually He wants to leave Jagannatha Puri to go to Sundaracala, the Gundica Temple, a replica of Vrndavana.”]
nana-puspodyane tatha khele ratri-dine
laksmidevire sange nahi laya ki karane?
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.121)
“[The Lord enjoys His pastimes day and night in various flower gardens there. But why does He not take Laksmi-devi, the goddess of fortune, with Him?”]
Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked Svarupa Damodara, “If Krsna is going to Sundaracala to play, why doesn’t He take Laksmi-devi? He may take everyone with Him to Vrndavana. What’s the harm in taking Laksmi-devi?” There is a reason behind Mahaprabhu’s question: if Krsna were to take Laksmi, it would be against the principles of rasa.
Try to understand this subject, and then you will at once come to the stage of madhyama-adhikara. You cannot understand these topics through deity worship alone, even if you are always absorbed in worshiping the deities day and night – to understand them you must regularly hear high-class hari-katha. Harinama is the superior process, especially in Kali-yuga: harer nama, harer nama harer nama eva kevalam / kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha. There are always difficulties in deity worship. You cannot purchase paraphernalia for worship if you have no money, and if anyone steals your deities there will be a big problem. On the other hand, chanting harinama does not require any paraphernalia. Deity worship is especially essential for grhastha-bhaktas, but at the same time, you should not always remain on the level of kanistha-adhikara. Bhakti is like a current. You should gradually develop your devotion, even if you are worshiping deities, and then you may come in the proper line.
Mahaprabhu worshiped Giriraja, who was brought to Him by a devotee returning from Vrndavana. He worshiped both a gunja-mala and a govardhana-sila, but He was bathing the sila with His own tears, keeping Him sometimes on His head or heart, and sometimes on His eyes. Then, after six years, He gave them to Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and told him to perform the daily worship by offering only one earthen pot full of water and eight manjaris (tulasi buds) with very soft leaves. While Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was worshiping them, he was thinking that the gunja-mala is Radhika, and Giriraja is Nandanandana, Vrajendra-nandana Syamasundara. He was thinking that He was serving Them personally.
We should try to come to the level of madhyama-adhikara and realize all these truths. A kanistha-adhikari will not understand, so try to enter madhyama-adhikara and keep high-class association. This is the only process. Reading books will not be sufficient. They can never help you completely because the lock and key to understanding them is in the hands of the pure, self1 realized devotees. The pure devotees can open the lock, and then you can realize these topics.
yaha bhagavata pada vaisnavera sthane
ekanta asraya kara caitanya-carane
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya-lila 5.131)
[“If you want to understand Srimad-Bhagavatam, You must approach a self-realized Vaisnava and hear from him. You can do this when you have completely taken shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.”]
Mahaprabhu had asked Sri Svarupa Damodara why Krsna did not take Laksmi-devi with Him to Sundaracala; what harm would there be in that? Svarupa Damodara replied to Mahaprabhu’s inquiry:
svarupa kahe – suna, prabhu, karana ihara
vrndavana-kridate laksmira nahi adhikara
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.122)
[“Svarupa Damodara replied, ‘My dear Lord, please hear the reason for this. Laksmi-devi, the goddess of fortune, does not have the proper qualifications to enter the Vrndavana pleasure-pastimes.’”]
Laksmi-devi is not qualified to enter Vrndavana. There are eight prominent queens in Dvaraka, headed by Satyabhama and Rukmini, and 16,100 others as well. These eight are special, but none of them is qualified to go to Vrndavana. First they will have to take birth from the wombs of gopis, marry gopas, and then cheat their husbands and become Krsna’s paramours, as all the gopis are. They will have to give up their husbands and everything else. They will be able to serve Krsna in Vrndavana if they are under the guidance of the gopis; otherwise such service will not be possible. Laksmi-devi could not enter Vrndavana, even though she performed severe austerities in Baelvana. She wanted to cross the River Yamuna and see the rasa-lila, but she could not.
Yogamaya is greater than Laksmi, and she can control everyone. When she saw Laksmi’s austerities, she approached her and said, “You are a chaste lady, a brahmani, married to Narayana. Can you give up your husband and marry somebody else – a gopa?”
Laksmi replied, “I cannot do it. How is it possible?”
Yogamaya said, “Can you make cow dung paddies?”
Laksmi replied, “Oh, I cannot do that. I don’t know how.”
Yogamaya asked, “Can you milk cows?”
Laksmi replied, “I have never done it before.”
Then Yogamaya told her, “You cannot go to Vrndavana, because you are not qualified. First you would have to take birth from a gopi’s womb, associate with the gopis, and try to follow them. You would have to marry a gopa like Durmukha, Durmada, Abhimanyu, or Govardhana Malla. Then, when you have given up that husband, you would be able to go to Krsna and make Him your beloved. This is the only process.”
In one kalpa it was Yogamaya who questioned Laksmi-devi, and in another it was Krsna Himself, but both of them had to tell her the same conclusion: she is unfit for this rasa.
Svarupa Damodara continued:
vrndavana-lilaya krsnera sahaya gopi-gana
gopi-gana vina krsnera harite nare mana
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.123)
[“In the pastimes of Vrndavana, the only assistants are the gopis. But for the gopis, no one can attract the mind of Krsna.”]
Was Svarupa Damodara telling a lie? The gopas are also there in Vrndavana, but he did not mention them. Rather, he said that no one but the gopis can control and steal away Krsna’s heart, and Krsna Himself has confirmed this by His statement in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.32.22):
na paraye ’ham niravadya-samyujam
sva-sadhu-krtyam vibudhayusapi vah
ya mabhajan durjaya-geha-srnkhalah
samvrscya tad vah pratiyatu sadhuna
[“[When the gopis were overwhelmed with dissatisfaction due to Lord Krsna’s absence from the rasa-lila, Krsna returned to them and told them:] My dear gopis, our meeting is certainly free of all material contamination. I must admit that in many lives it would be impossible for Me to repay My debt to you because you have cut off the bondage of family life just to search for Me. Consequently I am unable to repay you. Therefore please be satisfied with your honest activities in this regard.”]
Krsna has said this only to the gopis; He has not said it to anyone else. It is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.32):
aho bhagyam aho bhagyam
purnam brahma sanatanam
[“How greatly fortunate are Nanda Maharaja, the cowherd men, and all the other inhabitants of Vraja-bhumi! There is no limit to their good fortune because the Absolute Truth, the source of transcendental bliss, the eternal Supreme Brahman, has become their friend.
One can serve Krsna in a male form, as a gopa. Nanda Baba can serve Krsna as His father, and Gargacarya, Bhaguri Muni, or Sandilya Rsi can come to Him as guru and offer Him blessings. Others, such as Sudama, Subala, Madhumangala, and of course Baladeva Prabhu, can also serve Krsna in a male form. However, no one in a male form can serve Srimati Radhika. Especially, no male can go to that place where Krsna is engaged in pastimes with Radhika and the gopis. Some friends, such as Subala Sakha, Madhumangala, Kokila, Bhrnga, and other priya-narma-sakhas who have some mood of mahabhava, can approach and help somewhat from a little distance, but they cannot enter the kunjas. On the other hand, all the gopis can go there.
It is for this reason that Svarupa Damodara especially mentioned the gopis. He said that no one but the gopis can go there. Even Mother Yasoda cannot go there. She has some idea what Krsna is doing there [See Endnote 2] but she cannot go. Mother Rohini also knows somewhat, but she cannot go there either. She will remain very far away and, like Mother Yasoda, pretend not to know anything. Mother Yasoda does not know that Krsna meets with the gopis and engages in amorous pastimes throughout the night. In the morning, when she sees Krsna with many marks on His body, she thinks, “Oh, all these naughty boys were playing with Krsna, and they have made scratch marks on Him.”
If you want to serve Krsna fully, you must follow the process given by Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. You should hear and learn all the topics discussed in Rupa-siksa, Sanatana-siksa, [See Endnote 3] especially in Ramanandasamvada, and still more than that, here in Ratha-yatra-prasanga, the topics of Ratha-yatra. Everything is very clear here. The essence of the teachings that Mahaprabhu gave to Rupa Gosvami in Prayaga, the essence of what Rupa Gosvami wrote in Ujjvalanilamani – the essence of everything – is all here.
This subject matter is like very sweet honey in a bottle, but the cork is very tight. Bees can fly around the bottle, and they can lick the glass, but they cannot taste the honey. If you follow the process, the seed of pure bhakti can be placed in your heart properly, and you will enter the line of Rupa and Raghunatha and realize something. This is our objective. Otherwise, if you do not follow the process, your chanting and remembering and your performance of the other types of the ninefold bhakti process will not take you to Vrndavana.
If you are serving Jagannatha in the mood of the residents of Dvaraka, and not following the gopis, do not be disturbed by what I am saying. First become madhyama-adhikari, otherwise you will give up the worship of Jagannatha, Baladeva, Subhadra, and Gaura-Nityananda prematurely. Don’t do anything rashly. First try to know all these truths, come to the stage of a madhyama-adhikari, and then you can be one-pointed in your devotion to Krsna. You cannot be one-pointed at your present stage. However, if you hear continually in good association, you will quickly realize what is helpful and what is not. At present you are not able to discriminate.
We should know what is bhavamayi, bhava-sambandhi, bhava-anukula, bhava-aviruddha, and bhava-pratikula You will not be able to understand this in a day, but this is our aim and objective. If you are in the line of Mahaprabhu, you should be in the line of Rupa and Raghunatha. Try to know all these established truths, and follow in their line. On the other hand, if you are not of this inclination, you can join the Ramanuja or Madhvacarya sampradayas, and chant and perform kirtana in their mood of opulence.
Again, Mahaprabhu is telling Svarupa Damodara:
prabhu kahe – yatra-chale krsnera gamana
subhadra ara baladeva, sange dui jana
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.125)
[“The Lord said, ‘Using the Chariot Festival as an excuse, Krsna goes there with Subhadra and Baladeva.’”]
Krsna lives with His thousands of queens in Dvaraka, but sometimes His remembrance of Vrndavana is so strong that He cannot control Himself. At that time He tells his queens, represented by Laksmi-devi, “Now I am feeling sick. I want to go somewhere for a change of climate.” Jagannatha is pretending. He is actually going to Vrndavana, but He does not tell His wife, Laksmi-devi. Laksmi replies, “You can go, but return very soon, and don’t go alone,” and Jagannatha agrees, “I will not go alone.”
Baladeva is Jagannatha’s brother, and Subhadra has great affection for the gopis; so He took them with Him in the chariot and went to the Gundica Mandira, which represents Vrndavana. He went to meet the gopas and gopis, Nanda Baba, and all His other associates of Vraja. He first went to Nanda-bhavana, and after meeting with His parents He left Baladeva and Subhadra there in Nandagaon and went alone to Vrndavana to play with the gopis.
gopi-sange yata lila haya upavane
nigudha krsnera bhava keha nahi jane
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.125)
[“All the pastimes with the gopis that take place in the gardens are very confidential ecstasies of Lord Krsna. No one knows them. “]
Why does Krsna take Baladeva and Subhadra with Him? There is a deep meaning behind this. Baladeva and Subhadra would be staying with Yasoda-maiya. They do not understand Krsna’s confidential pastimes with the gopis, and they do not know where He goes alone at night. They do not know that He is sometimes at Vamsivata, sometimes at Seva-kunja, and sometimes at Radhakunda. Krsna also goes to these places in the daytime, and He meets the gopis there. He is alone with the gopis there, sometimes playing on swings, and sometimes gambling with them, sometimes being defeated by them, and sometimes having His flute forcibly taken by them. And sometimes they play in Radhakunda or Syama-kunda, throwing water on each other.
Even Yasoda-maiya does not actually know what goes on in these confidential pastime-places. Only Yogamaya Paurnamasi, Vrnda, Dhanistha, and Kundalata know. Sometimes Subala and Madhumangala know, but even when they know, they do not go there. So Subhadra and Baladeva do not know for what purpose Krsna has gone to Vrndavana.
Only Krsna knows, and He has brought Baladeva and Subhadra only so that Laksmi-devi will not mistrust Him. She will not wonder, “Why has He gone away? Has He run away to Vrndavana?” She will believe, “If Baladeva and Subhadra are there, they will soon tell Krsna, ‘We should now return to Dvaraka.’”
ataeva krsnera prakatye nahi kichu dosa
tabe kene laksmidevi kare eta rosa?
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.126)
[“Caitanya Mahaprabhu now asked the question: ‘Since there is no fault in Krsna’s pastimes, why does the goddess of fortune become angry with Him?’”]
What is the deep meaning behind this question? Why is Mahaprabhu asking it? Krsna is going with Baladeva and Subhadra-devi, but they do not know why He is going, and they do not know that He will play with the gopis here and there in the nikunjas. Since no one knows, who has told Laksmi that Krsna is going to play with the gopis? No one told her. Also, Krsna’s elder brother, Baladeva, is there with Krsna. Krsna cannot do anything wrong in the presence of His elder brother. Subhadra, His younger sister, is also there with Him. In their presence He cannot meet the gopis. Why, then, is Laksmi so angry?
Svarupa Damodara replied:
svarupa kahe, – prema-vatira ei ta’ svabhava
kantera audasya-lese haya krodha-bhava
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.127)
[“It is the nature of a girl afflicted by love to become immediately angry upon finding any neglect on the part of her lover.”]
Because of Krsna’s delay in returning, Laksmi considers that He is ignoring her. She thinks, “Oh, He has not returned. He is neglecting me. He is not actually sick, as He told me; He was pretending. Now He must be playing with the gopas and gopis there – and He must be very happy!” This is the reason for her anger. If a woman loves her husband, and her husband has a new lover, what will happen? An Indian lady will take a bottle of kerosene oil or petrol, pour it on her body, and set fire to herself; and only her ashes will remain. In the West there is no such problem. If one’s husband keeps three, four, five, or more new lovers, no harm; the wife will also get new boyfriends. In India, however, this would create a great problem. The wife will become very angry, even if she feels a very slight neglect.
In Vrndavana there is not only one kind of mana; there are thousands. Some are without reason, some with reason, and there are so many kinds of reasons. Mana is an advanced stage of prema, and manifests when there is sthayibhava. Upon that sthayibhava, uddipana and alambana manifest, and then all the sattvika-bhavas and thirty-three kinds of vyabhicari moods become manifest. Vibhava, anubhava, sattvika, and vyabhicari 5 all mix together on the platform of sthayibhava, of which there are five kinds, and they never change. Before sthayibhava comes rati, and then, after some time, sthayibhava descends from a ragatmika-bhakta of Goloka Vrndavana, and that sthayibhava is the permanent platform of prema.
What is the nature of prema? Even when there are many strong and compelling reasons to break one’s love and affection, it will increase hundreds of thousands of times instead. That is prema. There is no self-interest there. The gopis only want to please Krsna, and Krsna wants to please the gopis. It is not like the socalled love of this world, which ends in quarrel and divorce.
After prema comes sneha, the stage in which one’s heart will melt if one sees Krsna, and one’s eyes will be always full of tears. There are two kinds of sneha: ghrta-sneha and madhu-sneha. Srimati Radhika has madhu-sneha, and Candravali and others like her have ghrta-sneha. Madhu-sneha occurs when a gopi thinks, “Krsna is mine,” whereas the mood, “I am Krsna’s” is the ghrta-sneha of Candravali.
After sneha comes pranaya, which can be understood by the following example. We can take massage and bathe in front of our shadows, or in front of a mirror, without feeling any shame. We can be naked in front of the mirror because only our reflection is with us, but we will be ashamed if another person is present. Similarly, pranaya is the stage at which sneha increases to such an extent that one thinks she and Krsna are one soul in two bodies – like a person and his reflection in a mirror.
After pranaya comes mana. Sometimes mana arises before pranaya, but the general process is that intense pranaya comes first, and mana comes after that. Mana appears when one thinks, “Krsna will surely come and pacify me. He is bound to come.” If this strong faith is there, that is mana. There are many kinds of mana, as mentioned earlier, some without reason, and some with reason – and there are many kinds of reasons.
Radhika has unlimited moods. The prominent ones number 360, and therefore there are 360 kinds of gopis. All the gopis have separate individual moods, and all these moods are found in Srimati Radhika. In other words, all the gopis are manifestations of Srimati Radhika. All the gopis and their different moods have manifested by Her desire, and She is a combination of them all. All moods reside in Radhika, and Her various moods are manifest in different gopis. Lalita is prakhara (outspoken), some gopis are dhira (sober), some adhira (restless), and so on. Svarupa Damodara was explaining this, and Mahaprabhu replied, “More, more, more – I want to hear more.”
When those who have the mood “I am Krsna’s” are in mana, they will weep. They will not protest or call Krsna ill names, and they cannot speak any harsh words to Him; they will only weep. However, those with the mood that “Krsna is mine” become very angry, and in their anger they will shoot Krsna with the arrows of their harsh words. When Krsna comes to those whose mood is in between the two aforementioned moods, they will not say very much. They may say, “You can come. Oh, now You are very tired.” They will give Him a seat, and sometimes they will speak harsh, taunting words like, “Oh, You look so beautiful. You now look like Sankara Mahadeva – Nila-rohita Rudra.” [Endnote 4]
While Caitanya Mahaprabhu was tasting all this katha, He said, “I have never heard anything like this before – that Laksmi has come with her whole party as a commander-in-chief, as if to attack.” Laksmi began to beat Krsna’s chariot, and Srivasa Pandita began clapping. He was very happy that the associates of Laksmi were chastising the associates of Vrndavana, imprisoning them, “beating” them, taking a fine from them, taking their garlands and ornaments, and punishing them.
srivasa hasiya kahe, – suna, damodara
amara laksmira dekha sampatti vistara
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 14.203
[“At this time, Srivasa Thakura smiled and told Svarupa Damodara, “My dear sir, please hear! Just see how opulent my goddess of fortune is!”]
vrndavanera sampad dekha, – puspa-kisalaya
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 14.204
[“As far as Vrndavana’s opulence is concerned, it consists of a few flowers and twigs, some minerals from the hills, a few peacock feathers, and the plant known as gunja.”]
Srivasa Pandita smiled and said, “There are no golden crowns in Vrndavana. There are only flutes made of dry bamboo, and some peacock feathers, and Krsna only wears a pitambara and flower garlands. There is nothing of any value there.”
eta sampatti chadi’ kene gela vrndavana
tanre hasya karite laksmi karila sajana
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.206)
Laksmi wondered, “Why did Lord Jagannatha give up so much opulence and go to Vrndavana?” To make Him a laughing-stock, the goddess of fortune made arrangements for much decoration. People in the mood of opulence may think like this. They are all on the side of Laksmi-devi. Svarupa Damodara, however, being Lalita in krsna-lila, is of her mood and therefore a pure Vrajavasi.
tomara thakura, dekha eta sampatti chadi’
patra-phala-phula-lobhe gela puspa-badi
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.207)
[“Then the maidservants of the goddess of fortune said to the servants of Lord Jagannatha: ‘Why did your Lord Jagannatha abandon the great opulence of the goddess of fortune and, for the sake of a few leaves, fruits, and flowers, go see the flower garden of Srimati Radharani?”]
Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja wrote these translations; I am not saying all this. He has translated the verses, and I am only reading them, so I am not “guilty.” If anyone says, “Narayana Maharaja is a sahajiya and that is why he is saying all these things,” then my siksa-guru, Srila Swami Maharaja, must be a greater sahajiya than me. He will be the guru of the sahajiyas, and Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, who has written Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, will be the maha-guru of all sahajiyas. If that is the case, there is no harm in being “sahajiya.” If all my gurus are “sahajiya,” I will also want to be “sahajiya.” Actually, those who criticize may claim to be in the line of Mahaprabhu, but they are not in the line of our guru-parampara, of Rupa- Raghunatha, or of Svarupa Damodara. Others may say whatever they like, but we will remain very securely in the line of Svarupa Damodara. We follow Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, and we follow his translations:
[“Your master is so expert at everything. Why does He do such things? Please bring your master before the goddess of fortune.” In this way, all the maidservants of the goddess of fortune arrested the servants of Jagannatha, bound them around the waist, and brought them before the goddess of fortune. When all the maidservants brought Lord Jagannatha’s servants before the lotus feet of the goddess of fortune, the Lord’s servants were fined and forced to submit. All the maidservants began to beat the ratha with sticks, and they treated the servants of Lord Jagannatha almost like thieves. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.208–11))”]
Here, Jagannatha’s servants were the associates of Mahaprabhu, and those who were with Laksmi-devi were also the servants of Jagannatha.
saba bhrtya-gana kahe – yoda kari’ hata
‘kali ani diba tomara age jagannatha’
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.212)
[“Finally all of Lord Jagannatha’s servants submitted to the goddess of fortune with folded hands, assuring her that they would bring Lord Jagannatha before her the very next day.”]
Jagannatha’s servants made this promise, and then Laksmi fined and punished them and returned to her abode. Now Srivasa Pandita asked Svarupa Damodara the following question: “Do you know that all the gopas and gopis in Vrndavana are very poor? They have no golden ornaments. They only milk cows and make butter, ghee, and similar things, and then they use it all themselves. Vrndavana is not like Mathura and Dvaraka; there are no palaces there, and the residents have only carts and kunjas. All the garlands there are made of flowers, whereas the garlands in Dvaraka are made of pearls, diamonds, and other jewels. So why does Krsna go to Vrndavana?”
Krsna goes to Vrndavana because the natural love and affection there is not found in Dvaraka, or anywhere else. In Dvaraka, love and affection is controlled by rules and regulations, just as the Vedas control by rules and regulations. In Vrndavana there is no control, for the gopis serve Krsna by their parakiya mood. This is possible only in Vrndavana, not in Mathura and Dvaraka.
svarupa kahe, – Srivasa, suna savadhane
vrndavana-sampad tomara nahi pade mane?
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.218)
Svarupa Damodara then retorted, “My dear Srivasa, please hear me with attention. You have forgotten the transcendental opulence of Vrndavana.”
vrndavane sahajika ye sampat-sindhu
dvaraka-vaikuntha-sampat – tara eka bindu
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.219)
[“The natural opulence of Vrndavana is just like an ocean. The opulence of Dvaraka and Vaikuntha is not even to be compared to a drop.”]
One flower of Vrndavana can give millions of diamonds and other opulences, though Krsna’s associates do not want that. They only make garlands for decoration, and their ankle bells are made of desire stones (cintamani) although they have no need of them. They only use them when they are dancing.
Suppose you are very wealthy and have many millions of dollars, but you are not getting any love and affection; and suppose that somewhere else there is no wealth, but there is love and affection. Where would you prefer to be? As long as there is love and affection, there is no loss in being poor. Similarly, there is no deficiency in Vrndavana because there is only love and affection. Vrndavana is the place of the most elevated love and affection.
Krsna is the Supreme Personality, and therefore He wants to taste supreme love and affection. He is not satisfied with any second-class love. Svarupa Damodara was explaining this, and Mahaprabhu responded, “More, more! I want to hear more!” The topics presented at the Hera-pancami Festival are all very secret topics from Ujjvala-nilamani. Mahaprabhu questioned, and Svarupa Damodara replied with many slokas regarding all the moods of madhya, pragalbha, dhira, adhira, mugdha, and so on. Try to be at least in madhyama-adhikara, and then try to understand all these topics. This is the aim and object of everyone in Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s line.
Why Krsna did not take Laksmi
For advanced devotees, who are conversant with the truths concerning this lila, the Hera-pancami Festival is superior even to that of Jagannatha’s riding to Sundaracala. Such devotees know why Caitanya Mahaprabhu descended to this world. If you are not reading and hearing the Tenth Canto of Srimad- Bhagavatam, you can never know why He came, and you will be cheated. Try to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam from elevated Vaisnavas, and do not listen to those who say, “Oh, we should not read the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam.”
Actually, there are three reasons one may say this. The first is that one has no knowledge, and the second is that one is following the order of the good devotees who know everything. These devotees are actually telling us, “You should begin from the First Canto, proceed to the Ninth Canto, and then you can finally come to the Tenth Canto.” The third reason is to create an interest. For example, one may close his fist and ask, “What is in my hand? Can you tell what is in my hand?” If someone else hears this, he may become curious to know. Similarly, if anyone says, “Don’t read the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam,” an aspiring devotee will automatically become curious and ask, “What is there? I should know.”
In my village there was a devotee who used to bathe in the Ganga every day. If anyone said to him, “Rama! Rama!” he would appear very furious and hold his stick up as though he wanted to beat that person. The boys of all the nearby villages used to come to him and say, “Rama! Rama!” and he used to run after them. Why did he do this? It was just to enthuse them to say, “Rama! Rama!” It was like a game. Similarly, if anyone tells you not to read Srimad-Bhagavatam, you should be curious to know, “What is inside? There must be some jewel there.”
If you do not read and hear the Tenth Canto, you will never be able to decide the aim and object of your life and devotion. For example, if you hear about Mother Yasoda, a greed for motherly love may arise. You may begin to think about how she loves Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and how she bound Him with her love and affection. A greed for friendship may arise when you hear that the cowherd boys sometimes play with Krsna, and when you hear that Krsna is their life and soul, and that they cannot remain alive unless they are playing with Krsna; they will die. If Krsna hides behind a tree for a moment, all the cowherd boys wonder anxiously, “Where is Krsna? Where is Krsna?” And, if you hear the most elevated topic in Srimad- Bhagavatam, the service of the gopis to Krsna – and especially what is told in Gopi-gita, Venu-gita, Bhramara-gita, and other such chapters – you may develop a greed for this service. This is the aim and objective of the most exalted and pure devotees, and it is not possible to develop greed without reading and knowing Srimad-Bhagavatam.
The first nine cantos create a platform for the Tenth Canto by removing all your unwanted desires, offenses, and worldly requirements and attachments. After that you should read the Tenth Canto, then you should decide how to attain the goal of life, and then you should read the Eleventh Canto.
An even easier process is to follow the essence of Srimad- Bhagavatam, and that essence is Sri Caitanya-caritamrta. You will have to read Caitanya-caritamrta and the books of Rupa Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami, Jiva Gosvami, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, Narottama dasa Thakura, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. In particular, Narottama dasa Thakura and Bhaktivinoda Thakura have explained the essence of Caitanya-caritamrta in language that can be understood easily. If you want to be pure and high-class devotees, you must know all the truths presented in their literature.
Book distribution will not suffice by itself, and neither will nagara-sankirtana. Why did Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu bring nagara-sankirtana to this world? You will have to know the real reason. He did so only to give gopi-prema. And why did our acaryas bring the process of book distribution? It is so that you will discover the nectar in those books. You must first read the books yourself, have faith and realize something, and then your life will be successful. Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja has written about all these truths in his books, and he himself has said that book distribution alone will not do; you will have to go deep and realize the nectar within. He has produced the Krsna book, which is a summary of the Tenth Canto of Srimad- Bhagavatam, and everything is there, completely. There he has instructed us to learn about the gopis’ pure service to Krsna.
You should know all these facts; otherwise you will always be lusty. You must read the Tenth Canto in order to avoid lust. Srila Swami Maharaja has vividly clarified this point in his books, and I have quoted many of his statements in this regard. You should have strong faith in this. Once he wrote a letter to a disciple who was very lusty. The disciple had asked, “I am very lusty. What should I do?” He replied, “You should read the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, especially the chapters describing the rasa-lila. Then this lust will go, and real transcendental lust for Krsna will come.” Actually, that transcendental lust is not lust; it is prema. Unless you read and hear, you cannot realize all these truths.
Now we are coming again to our subject: Hera-pancami. Jagannatha was not alone when He departed on His chariot. He was with Subhadra and Baladeva. But why did Laksmi become furious? Jagannatha had become indifferent to her and meeting with others. She felt neglected and became angry over this.
You should know the significance of these three places: Jagannatha Puri, Vrndavana, and Kuruksetra. First you should know the significance of Jagannatha Puri. Krsna is the son of Vasudeva and Devaki there. He never has a flute in His hand, He does not wear a peacock feather, and He cannot address Nanda Baba as “Father” or Yasoda-maiya as “Mother.” He will have to forget the gopis while He is there. He can think about them in His heart, but He will not tell any of His queens, like Satyabhama, Rukmini, and others, “I love the gopis more than you.” He can never say this.
Jagannatha Puri is Dvaraka. All the Yadavas are there, and Krsna sports with all His queens there. Do you know Vimala-devi in the Jagannatha Temple? Rukmini is like Vimala-devi. Laksmidevi is also there, and she represents all the queens, especially Rukmini and Satyabhama. There are no gopis in the Jagannatha Temple or Jagannatha Puri. They can never be there, and that is why it is Dvaraka Puri.
What is Kuruksetra? Krsna has come from Dvaraka to Kuruksetra, and therefore it is part of His dvaraka-lila. There is a speciality there, though, in that Nanda Baba, Yasoda-maiya, all the gopis like Radha, Lalita, Visakha, and most of the other Vrajavasis went there to meet with Krsna. Still, there is immense opulence there, whereas in Vrndavana the gopis freely play with Krsna.
Laksmi-devi thinks, “There is so much opulence here. Why should Dvarakadhisa-Krsna go to any impoverished place?” Krsna never told her, “I am going to Vrndavana.” He cheated Her by saying, “I have caught a cold. Now I want to go somewhere to get some fresh air. I want to go to a forest, to get a breath of fresh air and feel rejuvenated.” He played a trick so that Laksmi would not think He was going to run off to Vrndavana. To cheat Her, He took along His brother Baladeva Prabhu and His sister Subhadra. He was thinking, “Yasoda-maiya knows them, and Rohini also knows them. I will leave them with Yasoda-maiya and then I will stealthily go to Radha-kunda, Syama-kunda, and Giriraja-Govardhana, where all the beautiful kunjas are situated. I will play with all the gopis there. Baladeva Prabhu and Subhadra will take their meals with Mother Yasoda and be very happy there, and I will go and play. No one will know.” He did not tell anyone where He was going, and He ran at once to Vrndavana – Sundaracala. Mahaprabhu’s mood has revealed that the Gundica Mandira in Sundaracala is Vrndavana. Before Mahaprabhu, no one knew all these high truths, but now everyone can know.
krsno ’nyo yadu-sambhuto
yah purnah so ’sty atah parah
sa kvacin naiva gacchati
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya-lila 1.67)
[“The Krsna known as Yadu-kumara is Vasudeva-Krsna. He is different from the Krsna who is the son of Nanda Maharaja. Yadukumara Krsna manifests His pastimes in the cities of Mathura and Dvaraka, but Krsna the son of Nanda Maharaja never at any time leaves Vrndavana.”]
vrndavanam parityajya padam ekam na gacchati
[“Krsna never goes even a step from Vrndavana.”]
It is because of Radhika that Krsna never leaves Vrndavana. He stays there only for Her, and both of Them do not go anywhere else. Then who went to Kuruksetra? Radhika will never go there. It was Samyogini-Radhika, who is Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika’s manifestation, and not directly Radhika Herself, who went to Kuruksetra. Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika will always remain at Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda in Vrndavana. If Radha and Krsna are always together in Vrndavana, why does Radhika feel so much separation from Krsna, and why does She always weep for Him? Sometimes She becomes so absorbed in love and affection in separation from Krsna that even when She sees a tamala tree, She thinks, “O Krsna! O Krsna! Oh, now You are here.” She quarrels with “Him,” becomes angry with Him, and sometimes She embraces that tamala tree as if it were Him. How can there be a separation mood there in Vrndavana?
There is no actual separation in Vrndavana, but there is some separation mood. In Vrndavana there is the rasa-lila, and Premasarovara as well, and Radha and Krsna feel great ecstasy in meeting there. Who experiences the separation mood in Nandagaon? Who met with Uddhava? To whom did Uddhava offer his prayers?
[“Uddhava prayed: ‘I forever pray to the dust of the lotus feet of the gopis in Nandagaon. The hari-katha emanating from their lotus mouths in their separation mood purifies the entire universe.’”]
asam aho carana-renu-jusam aham syam
vrndavane kim api gulma-latausadhinam
ya dustyajam sva-janam arya-patham ca hitva
bhejur mukunda-padavim srutibhir vimrgyam
[“The gopis of Vrndavana have given up the association of their husbands, sons, and other family members, who are very difficult to give up, and they have forsaken the path of chastity to take shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, Krsna, which one should search for by Vedic knowledge. Oh, let me be fortunate enough to be one of the bushes, creepers, or herbs in Vrndavana, because the gopis trample them and bless them with the dust of their lotus feet.”]
In Nandagaon, Radhika is Viyogini-Radhika, another manifestation of Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika. Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika has practically no separation mood at all, for She and Krsna always meet together and embrace. Her manifestation, Viyogini-Radhika, is present in Nandagaon, and She appears as Samyogini in Kuruksetra. You cannot deeply understand these truths without being constantly in the association of pure Vaisnavas.
At the Ratha-yatra Festival, Mahaprabhu experiences the moods of Samyogini-Radhika in Kuruksetra, not those of Vrsabhanu-nandini. Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika will never leave Vrndavana and go to Mathura or Dvaraka, even if Krsna weeps bitterly for Her there. Viyogini-Radhika will also not give up Vrndavana to go to Kuruksetra; only Samyogini-Radhika will go there. So at the Ratha-yatra Festival, Mahaprabhu is absorbed in the mood of Samyogini-Radhika, pulling Krsna on the chariot from the Jagannatha Temple – that is, from Dvaraka Puri – to Vrndavana. What can I say more than this? No one can say anything more.
Laksmi came with her associates, riding on a golden palanquin and profusely decorated with golden ornaments. She arrived at the Simha-dvara along with musicians beating drums, and dancing girls who were Jagannatha’s deva-dasis. Caitanya Mahaprabhu was sitting very comfortably there, and He listened to the dialogue that ensued.
Why did Krsna not take Laksmi-devi to Vrndavana? She could not go, because she was not qualified. Even Satyabhama and Rukmini were not qualified to go to Vrndavana, and that is why they never went. One may ask, “What harm would there be if Radhika and all the gopis went to Dvaraka?” There would be so much harm; they would not be satisfied there. They would see Rukmini, Satyabhama, and all Krsna’s queens with Him, and He would not be able to leave their company. Sometimes Krsna’s sons would come to sit on His lap, and Srimati Radhika would not be able to do anything about it. So She will never go there – never.
If Radhika does not go to Dvaraka, how can Laksmi go to Vrndavana? She cannot go. After she performed austerities in Baelvana for thousands and thousands of years, Krsna came and asked her, “Why are you doing this?” She replied, “I desire a benediction from You. I want to join the rasa-lila.” Krsna said, “That is absurd – you cannot.” “Why not?” she asked. “I’ll tell you why,” Krsna replied. “After this birth, you will have to take birth in the womb of a gopi in Vrndavana, and then you will have to marry a gopa. After that you will have to associate with nityasiddha- gopis, and only then you can join the rasa-lila, when you are sufficiently purified.” Even a gopi who has come from the womb of a gopi is unqualified if she has any children by her husband. None of the gopis in the rasa-lila have had any children, and they have nothing to do with their husbands.
Krsna continued, “So how can you go? You will have to give up your brahmani body and your chastity to Narayana. You will have to cheat your gopa husband and absorb yourself in parakiya-bhava. Then, in the form of a gopi, you can join the rasa-lila.” Laksmi objected, “How can I give up my husband Narayana? I cannot give Him up, I cannot give up my chastity, and I cannot marry a gopa.” Then Krsna said, “Then wait, wait. You will obtain this boon from Me when you are able to do all these things.” Even now Laksmi is performing austerities, but she is still not qualified.
You may want this gopi-prema, but it is so very high. Caitanya Mahaprabhu was very merciful, and He descended to the material world to give it. It is very precious – more so than anything. It is very difficult to attain even for Narada, Laksmi, Sankara, and all the other great personalities, so what to speak of lesser personalities? However, if someone has pure greed to serve Radha- Krsna Yugala, and to serve in the rasa-lila, he is very fortunate.
Let us say someone has become greedy for a rasagulla, and there is no money in his pocket. Then by grabbing it, stealing it, or by any means he will get it. In the same way, if you have that kind of high-class greed for gopi-prema, an opportunity will come to attain it. Where there is a will, there is a way; the way must come.
Krsna Himself gave the way in His form as Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He also sent His devotees like Svarupa Damodara, Raya Ramananda, Rupa Gosvami, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Prabhupada, our gurudeva, and Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja. I have also come, and I want to give you a little greed for this gopi-prema, which is the aim and object of our lives. I have not come to give vaidhi-bhakti, because so many people coming from India are giving that. They will tell you to serve Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra, and they will tell you not to read the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. I have not come for this. I have come in the line of Srila Rupa Gosvami, and in the line of Srila Prabhupada, my gurudeva, and my siksa-guru, Srila Swami Maharaja.
A person will not hear if he has no greed for the goal of life. He is sleeping now, and he will continue to sleep. If he has no greed or interest, he must sleep like the camels, dogs, hogs, pigs,and especially like the donkeys. I have only come for those who have some taste and greed for this, and I have come to give this greed to those who want it, so that they can advance in the line of Mahaprabhu.
When Srivasa Pandita heard these topics from Sri Svarupa Damodara, he began to laugh very loudly, “Hee, hee! Ho, ho!” Caitanya Mahaprabhu was deeply absorbed in the moods of the festival, and He watched silently as Srivasa Pandita continued to laugh and tell Svarupa Damodara, “You don’t know anything. Don’t you see the opulence of my aradhya-devi (worshipable deity) Laksmi-devi? She is decorated with golden ornaments, and she sits on a golden palanquin like a commander-in-chief with all her associates. But in Vrndavana, there is nothing. The gopis there can make some garlands, but only from flowers; there is no abundance of diamonds or gold – nothing of the kind. There are no golden palanquins. There are only bullock-carts made of wood and bamboo. There is nothing there; only flowers. There are some cows there, giving milk, and there is forest. Krsna can only graze His cows there. He has no throne to sit on, and He doesn’t even have shoes or an umbrella. He goes cowherding barefoot, and if He doesn’t do this, His father may chastise Him.”
Srivasa Pandita continued:
vrndavana dekhibare gela jagannatha
suni’ laksmi-devira mane haila asoyatha
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 14.205)
[“When Jagannatha decided to see Vrndavana, He went there, and upon hearing this, the goddess of fortune experienced restlessness and jealousy.”]
Laksmi, who represents Satyabhama and the other queens, thought angrily, “Here in Dvaraka, my husband is always sitting on a golden throne, and He has so many military commandersin- chief, and so many beautiful queens, and each queen has ten sons and a daughter. Why did Krsna go to Vrndavana?”
I have seen something like this in my boyhood. My mother would give me a slap if she was giving me something sweet and I wanted something else instead. So Laksmi was very unhappy and angry, and she tried to attack her husband to force Him to come under her control. She wanted to defeat Him and bring Him back to Dvaraka by quarreling and attacking Him.
Mahaprabhu smiled somewhat and said, “Oh, Srivasa Pandita has the nature of Narada. He always glorifies Laksmi and Narayana, and Dvarakadhisa. Svarupa Damodara is a pure Vrajavasi, and that is why he glorifies the gopis. Srivasa cannot do so.”
Almost everyone in this world and universe glorifies Laksmi. Very, very few and rare people glorify the gopis and Krsna. This is true even in India. There are some groups that put forward the view that Srimad-Bhagavatam is not authentic evidence. They say that someone other than Vyasadeva compiled it; so it is bogus, and therefore the love and affection of the gopis is also bogus. There are many who reject all these topics, and only highclass devotees have a taste for them.
Svarupa Damodara then said, “O Srivasa, don’t you remember that the trees in Vrndavana are kalpa-vrksa (desire trees)? They can give millions of tons of gold, and everything else. Anyone can have whatever he desires from those trees, but the gopis have no personal desires. They simply decorate their hair with the flowers of those trees.
“The ankle-bells of the gopis are made of cintamani, but the gopis never use them for fulfilling their desires; they only wear them to make sweet sounds while they dance with Krsna. The cows are kama-dhenu. What does that mean? They not only give milk, but they give the “milk” of the fulfillment of all desires. They can give anything a person wants, but the gopas and gopis don’t want anything from them. They only want milk and butter. You don’t know all these truths because you have not gone to Vrndavana. You don’t know even the A-B-C’s of Vrndavana. The flowers there are more valuable than the parijata flowers of the heavenly planets. They are always fragrant, and they never become stale. They can give anything, but you don’t remember this.”
He then quoted Brahma-samhita (5.56): “Sriyah kantakantah parama-purusah – in the spiritual world, all the female lovers are goddesses of fortune and the male lover is the Supreme Personality.” After Srivasa Thakura heard all this from Svarupa Damodara, his mood changed. He entered the mood of Madhumangala [See Endnote 5] Krsna’s intimate sakha in Vraja, and then he began to dance, remembering the glories of Vraja.
After Mahaprabhu heard Svarupa Damodara’s katha, He went to a flower garden and along with the devotees took rest there. Then, after He awoke and bathed, He began singing and dancing with His devotees, absorbed in krsna-prema. Then, when they had performed kirtana throughout the day, Svarupa Damodara tricked Mahaprabhu by telling Him, “Now we are all tired, so please stop Your dancing. Jagannatha-deva has sent very beautiful and sweet prasada, like rice, dahl, puri, kacauri, chena (curd), paida (coconut), pana (fruit juice), sara-puri (a kind of puri made with cream), and many other varieties of preparations.” Mahaprabhu began to distribute the prasada Himself, but Svarupa Damodara said, “Everyone is waiting for You. No one will take prasada if You don’t take.” Then Mahaprabhu sat down and began to taste the prasada, and everyone called out, “Hari bol!”
You can read this discussion between Srivasa Pandita and Svarupa Damodara in its entirety in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta [Madhya-lila, Chapter 14].
[Endnote 1 – In this Hera-pancami festival, a drama was enacted for the pleasure of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates. In that drama, male devotees dressed themselves in saris and ornaments and portrayed Laksmi and her attendants.
Endnote 2 -Actually, both Yasoda-maiya and Rohini-maiya know that Krsna meets with the gopis and that they play together like friends. They do not think anything bad about this because they consider that both Krsna and the gopis are very young. They have been playing together since their early ages and there is no concern within the minds of Yasoda and Rohini. What they do not know is that Krsna goes out at night and meets with the gopis, but they are aware that Krsna and the gopis meet and play in the daytime. In Vedic culture it is not acceptable that boys and girls meet in the middle of the night.
Endnote 3- This refers to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s instructions to Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami, which are found in Chapters 19–23 of Madhya-lila of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta.
Endnote 4 - Sankara’s complexion is a mixture of blue, black, and red. This comparison is made when Krsna comes to Radhika with blackish and reddish spots on His face and limbs, and She thinks the spots are a result of His sporting with other gopis.
Endnote 5 - Srivasa Pandita is Narada Muni, and Narada Muni is a partial manifestation of Madhumangala in Vraja.]