Mathura, India: August 27, 2003
Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
[A class on Srila Sanatana Gosvami's Brhat-bhagavatamrta]
Krsna was lying on His bed in the palace of Srimati Rukmini-devi, pretending to sleep, His face covered by His cloth. In the meantime, Sri Uddhava, Sri Narada Rsi, Srimati Rukmini, Rohini-maiya, Srimati Satyabhama devi and others were outside His room, conversing with each other.
When Uddhavaji explained about the glories of the gopis, Rohini became upset and began to lament and complain that Krsna is very cruel. She said to Uddhava, "Krsna's heart is harder than a thunderbolt. When Yasoda devi weeps in separation, even stones and thunderbolts melt; only your Prabhu's heart does not melt."
Hearing her speak, the mother of Kamsa, Padmavati, became angry. Padmavati was very old and she had no intelligence or power of proper discrimination. She had a bad character; leaving the side of her husband she had met a demon named Dramila and with him she had conceived her son Kamsa.
She heard the words of Rohini Maiya but she could not understand them. She became angry and said, "O Rohini, you are not very intelligent. Why are you saying all these things? Do you know that from His childhood, Acyuta (Krsna) would go out and graze cows in the forest, which was full of thorns? It may be acceptable for a child of ten or twelve years old to go for cow-grazing, but those Vrajavasis made Him graze cows from the age of five, when he was very small. They are so cruel. Yasoda devi and the gopas and gopis forced this soft baby to go out to follow the cows.
"Cows have hard hooves and in their search of grass they never care where they tread. They run over sharp stones or sharp grass and thorns, and Krsna, being a soft and small child, had to follow them. He was forced to graze the cows all day, from very early in the morning, without anything to eat. Hungry, He had no other option than to go house to house and steal butter - just to stay alive.
"The gopas of Vraja did not give Him any shoes to wear. They did not give Him a parasol to cover Himself from the intense heat."
There are many hot stones and thorns in the forest, and if you enter that forest they must go into your feet. Our parikrama party once went to Candra Sarovara and the devotees wanted to take a short-cut to Anyora. On that short-cut there were many thorns and brambles which went inside their feet and they became very painful. They had broken inside the feet and it was very difficult to get them out.
Padmavati continued to complain, "Krsna would go cow-grazing and follow the cows in every condition. He had to go out in the heavy rain, freezing cold and intense heat - every day He had to go. They would wake Him up in the morning and tell Him to go at once. He could not even take proper rest. But He never complained. He never told anyone, 'I am not going.'" It is for this reason that Padmavati addressed Sri Krsna as Acutya Devotees very lovingly use this word Acutya, meaning infallible, to address Him, but Padmavati used it to criticize the Vrajavasis - that they forced Him to go cow-grazing every day. Being a small child Krsna was controlled by them, and being infallible in His sense of duty to them, He could not say, "No".
Padmavati continued, The Vrajavasis did not give Him anything to eat before He left for cow-grazing. He was therefore very hungry and had no other alternative but to take butter from other houses. Even though this child was innocent and only trying to get something to eat, if a gopi would catch Him she would make a complete uproar and advertise His 'thievery' all over Vraja. They would catch Him and tightly grab His small soft hand, which was painful for Him, and they would take Him to Mother Yasoda. So many gopis came to her and complained about Him that there was often a big crowd in her house. Although Krsna would fall at their feet and beg forgiveness with folded palms, still the gopis would say to Yasoda,'What kind of son do you have? He has a bad character. He is a thief.' You say that the Vrajavasis did so many things for Krsna's happiness, but this is not true."
This was the perspective of Padmavati, the wicked mother of Kamsa, regarding the words of Rohini-maiya.
Srimati Rohini devi's intelligence was very deep and profound, and she was always greatly honored and respected by all the gopis of Vraja. When she heard the words of neglect and criticism by Padmavati, she did not reply directly to her because she did not want to waste any time. Rather, she continued to narrate to the queens and others present about Krsna's cruelty. She described how He had killed Kamsa and many other demons when He arrived in Mathura along with Balarama. She described how, after that, He had battled with many demoniac kings like Jarasandha who came with great numbers of generals and warriors, and He had destroyed them all. What was His purpose? To take away the burden of the Earth.
Rukmini described how, after being in Mathura for sometime He had become Dvarakadisa, the Emperor of Dvaraka, and there He had married 16,108 queens among whom eight were prominent. He had 16,108 queens, and they all had maidservants who were not less beautiful than the queens themselves. From each queen He had conceived ten sons and one daughter and His family became vast. As Rajesvara, king of kings, He enjoyed a leisurely life in Dvaraka in great opulence. Rohini devi lamented that in this condition how was it possible that Krsna would remember the Vrajavasis?
Jarasandha had imprisoned many kings, and when Krsna killed him He freed those kings from imprisonment. When the kings were freed by His mercy they fell at His lotus feet, surrendered, and offered prayers to Him. Krsna told them to return to their kingdoms and very soon Maharaja Yudhisthira would be performing the Rajasuya-yajna. Later, when all the kings of the world came to the Rajasuya-yajna of Yudhisthira Maharaja they all prayed to Krsna and honored Him as the most prominent personality. This was one example of how Lord Krsna was flourishing and successful after leaving Vrndavana.
One day Sri Narada Rsi came to the council of Lord Krsna when He was in the company of Srimati Rukmini devi, Srimati Satyabhama devi and the other queens. Naradaji had brought a parijata flower from heaven and now he said to Krsna, "Allow me one benediction - that I will see You give this parijata flower to that queen who is most dear to You." When Narada Rsi handed the flower to Krsna, Krsna felt that He was in a big dilemma. He thought, "What will I do? To whomever I give it, the others will become angry." He was in a dilemma because He would tell all the queens individually, when He was alone with them, "You are My most dear." Now His words would prove false. Narada urged Him, "Krsna, don't delay. I want to see You give this to your most dear one. It is getting late now. Please, quickly give the flower."
When Krsna finally gave the parijata flower to Rukmini, Satyabhama became very angry. She stamped her feet on the ground and went to her kopa-bhavan (anger room), where she threw off her ornaments. After some time, Krsna came there to pacify her and tried to touch her feet. When a snake is angry and a person goes to touch it, it hisses, and Satyabhama was in a similar ferocious mood. When Krsna tried to touch her, she began to criticize Him, saying, "Why have you come here? There is no need for you to come here. Go to your most dear one!"
Lord Krsna said, "Why have you become upset over one flower? I want to give you an entire tree full of parijata flowers" He took her on the back of Garuda and they quickly went to Indraloka. There He battled with the forces of Indra and took a parijata tree, brought it down to Dvaraka, planted it in the palace of Satyabhama, and all the queens including Rukmini came and saw that tree in her courtyard.
Rukmini did not act like Satyabhama. Her nature was very grave. She had daksina-svabhava, which means she did not have a contrary mood but rather a submissive mood. She did not say anything in protest.
This history of Sri Krsna defeating the king of the demigods was another example of how He was flourishing in Dvarakapuri.
In Krsna's assembly house, all the demigods who were defeated by Him would come and pay obeisances and offer Him prayers. Not only they, but even Brahma, and not only the four-headed Brahma from this universe but even Brahmas from other universes with thousands and thousands of heads, would come to His assembly house, offer Him dandavat pranams and glorify Him with many prayers.
In this way Srimati Rohini-maiya continued to complain, "As Krsna lives in such opulent and flourishing successful conditions, how will He possibly remember the insignificant villages and cowherd people who spend there time milking cows? He will not remember them. This is so sad."
Srimati Rukmini devi and Srimati Satyabhama devi were listening to these words of Rohini-maiya, and when she finished Rukmini was the first to speak. She said, "Rohini, why do you make such statements - that Krsna is so cruel?" Rukmini was the daughter of King Bhismaka so she is very grave and deep. She stays with Krsna day and night, so it is considered that she knows His character. She said, "Krsna's heart is as soft as butter, but you say it is as hard as a thunderbolt. This is not a fact."
Rukmini somewhat knew Krsna's heart, and she also knew something about Vraja. How did she know about Vraja? Krsna would directly or indirectly tell her - even in His sleep. Rukmini now continued, "Rohini, why do you say that Krsna is cruel? Don't you know that even at night He is arya-putra (the son of his father who has very good qualities)? When He sleeps at night He becomes absorbed in Vraja-bhava. He has many dreams about Vrndavana and He talks about His friends, mother and cows with intense love. He even calls out to His cows, 'O Kalindi, O Davali, O Pisangi!' He utters the names of His cows individually, and He even calls the calves by name. He calls out while sleeping, 'O Sridama, where are you? Come on!' or 'O Madhumangala where are you?' or 'O mother, give me some bread and butter. I want to eat more so I will grow up to be big and strong.'
"In His sleep He sometimes looks for His flute, and sometimes He poses in His tribanga (three-fold bending) form. Sometimes He says, "O Candravali, what is the matter? And He pulls on my cloth."
Candravali's mood is also very deep. Sometimes if Krsna meets with another gopi and then meets with Candravali and there are signs on his body that He has met with somebody else, it is hard for Krsna to understand whether or not Candravali is in maan because her contrary mood is very deep in her heart. In order to see this mood Krsna sometimes approaches Candravali and says, "O Radhe, how are you?" Candravali replies, "O Kamsa Maharaja, how are you?" Krsna says, "Why have you mentioned Kamsa Maharaja? He is not here." She replies, "Why are you mentioning Radharani?" Her maan is very deep. She doesn't have so much maan, in comparison with Srimati Radhika, but still it is more tham we can imagine. Krsna sometimes asks Madhumangala, "How can I understand these deep moods?"
Krsna now misses Candravali very much, and He meets with her in His dreams. Capturing the cloth of Rukmini He says, "O Candravali, why are you behaving like this?"
Rukmini continued, "While Krsna sleeps He pulls my cloth and, weeping, He says, 'O Lalita, O Visakha. O Radha, please forgive Me. I have committed an offense. I promise I will never again commit an offense like this.' Krsna has so much love for the Vrajavasis. Why do you call Him a cruel person? He weeps loudly in His sleep and takes deep breaths. Hearing the sound of His crying and seeing how He is absorbed in bhava, all the queens of Dvaraka become immersed in an ocean of lamentation and think, 'What can we do?' They have no intelligence to rectify or solve this situation. Even today Krsna is dreaming and weeping in this way, lying down and covering His face with a cloth; and He has not performed any of His daily duties."
Hearing these statements from Rukmini, Satyabhama became inspired to speak.
Rukmini is very generous and liberal, and her intelligence is profound. When she described the gopis of Vrndavana, she spoke with a very respectful mood towards them. She had no svapatna-bhava. She had great respect for Krsna and therefore she did not do maan. Satyabhama could not tolerate the glorification of the gopis spoken by Rukmini, however. She became jealous and she began to manifest her anger and svapatna-bhava. What is sapatna-bhava? If one man has two wives and on any occasion he gives respect to one wife, the other wife has a mood of rivalry, becomes jealous, and will do maan.
Svapatna-bhava is not present in Rukmini. It is present in the heart of Satyabhama, who said, "O Rukmini, my dear sister, you say that Krsna remembers the Vrajavasis during the night in His sleep, but actually even during the day He is completely absorbed in them. He becomes so absorbed that He forgets He is in Dvaraka and enters jagra-samadhi, samadhi while awake." Usually, if someone goes into samadhi, he becomes externally oblivious and cannot identify with what transpires around him. In Krsna's case, however, He was awake and at the same time completely absorbed in trance and remembrance of Vraja. He would call out, 'O Radha, O Lalita!' He would always remember the gopis, gopas, cows, Candravali and especially Srimati Radhika. He remembered all the gopis.
Satyabhama continued, "We say that we are the wives of Krsna, but we are His wives only by name. Why? Though we are His wives, He does not have the affection for us that He has for the gopis. What to speak of the gopis, He has more affection for the maidservants of the maidservants of the gopis than He has for us. What to speak of them, He has more affection even for Pulindi-kanya, the aborigine girls who live in the forests of Vraja-mandala."
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that prema has two sides - milana and viraha; meeting and separation. At the time of meeting there is external meeting but something is lost in the heart. One takes the association for granted and the heart is not filled with thoughts about one's dearest, such as what he is doing and what they used to do together. At the time of separation, however, all the pastimes of Krsna fill the heart. An example is Srimati Sita devi. When she was stolen by Ravana and kept in Lanka at the Ashok Batika, she sat beneath a tree with her eyes closed. Although rain was falling she sat with her eyes closed and forgot where she was. She thought, "Alas, before my svayambara (ceremony in which many suiters compete for the hand of the bride-to-be), Lord Ramacandra's guru sent him into a garden to pick flowers, and I unknowingly came at the same time to that same garden to pick flowers for Devi-puja. Lord Ramacandra saw me for the first time and our eyes met."
In this way she sat under the tree in the rain, with her eyes closed, and she remembered how much joy occurred at that very moment when their eyes first met together. Lord Rama had never before experienced the transformations that had come in his heart at that time. He turned to Laksmanji and said, "O my brother, I have become impure. How is it possible? I am Dasaratha-nandana. I am the son of the great king Dasaratha and I have observed all maryada (proper etiquette) in my life. What kind of mood came in my heart when I saw this girl? I am ashamed." Laksmana replied, "You cannot do anything wrong. You always observe maryada, externally and internally. Therefore, I know that in the future this girl will certainly be your wife." Later, according to his vow, Janaka Maharaja arranged an assembly and invited many kings. In that assembly he had a huge bow that was so heavy that thousands of people together were unable to lift it. He announced there, "If a hero comes who can lift this bow, he can marry my very pure and religious daughter."
Who would be qualified to marry Sita-devi? Even when she was young, she would sometimes be cleaning, and to clean the dust underneath the bow she would lift it very easily with her left hand. To be qualified to be her husband one must be able to lift this bow.
Underneath the tree, Sita now sat and remembered how Lord Rama came and, like a lion, he easily picked up the bow, strung it and broke it. She remembered how, in front of thousands of kings, she very lovingly took a garland to place around his neck. At that time she was so happy that she was not able to put the garland around his neck. Many sakhis had to help her by taking her hands in theirs and garlanding him. She remembered all this and felt great separation. This separation is ananda (full of joy), and this pastime is cin-maya, spiritual and transcendental.
These feelings of separation are transformations of prema, and therefore they can never give pain or unhappiness. Even when Srimati Radhika meets with Lord Krsna, many varieties of separation moods manifest in Her heart as she experiences madanakya-mahabhava. Krsna was greedy to understand this madanakya-mahabhava, which contains both separation at the time of meeting and also meeting in separation - to the highest extent - and He thus appeared as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
While Sri Krsna is in Dvaraka He remembers Srimati Radharani in His samadhi (trance meditation) and He actually meets with Her therein. While Srimati Radharani is in Vrndavana, feeling separation from Krsna, She also enters deeply into samadhi and experiences meeting with Krsna. Later, when Her samadhi breaks, She begins to weep.
What is the nature of the viraha, separation moods, of the gopis? Ordinary people may think it to be pain, but these ordinary people are seeing from the perspective of Padmavati, the mother of Kamsa. They entertain a completely wrong understanding of the nature of prema and the pastimes of Vraja.
Gaura premanande Hari Hari bol [This means that gaura-prema causes so much happiness that all chant hari bol.]
Translator: Prem Prayojan das
Transcriber: Vasanti dasi
Typist: Anita dasi
Editor: Syamarani dasi