When one attains the third stage of transcendental love of God, there occur further developments known as transcendental affection, emotion, ecstasy, and extreme and intense attachment. These are technically known by the terms rāga, anurāga, bhāva and mahābhāva. The progress from one stage to another can be compared to the thickening of sugar candy juice. In the first stage sugar candy juice is like a thin liquid. When, by evaporation, it becomes thicker and thicker, it turns into molasses. Finally it turns into granules and becomes sugar, rock candy and so on. Just as liquid sugar juice progresses from one stage to another, similarly transcendental love for the Supreme Lord develops by stages.
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Affection (Other Books)
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Teachings of Lord Caitanya
In the second stage, which is called dāsya-rati, a person appreciates his position as being everlastingly subordinate to the Supreme Lord, and he understands that he is eternally dependent on the causeless mercy of the Supreme Person. At that same time there is an awakening of natural affection, such as is felt by a son who grows up and begins to appreciate his father's benedictions. At this stage the living entity wants to serve the Supreme Lord instead of serving māyā, illusion.
In the fourth stage, called vātsalya-rati, the fraternal affection evinced in the preceding stage develops into paternal affection. At this time the living entity tries to be the parent of God. Instead of worshiping the Lord, the living entity, as a parent of the Supreme, becomes an object of worship for the Supreme Person. At this stage the Lord depends on the mercy of His pure devotee and puts Himself under the control of the devotee to be raised. The devotee in this stage attains the position wherein he can embrace the Supreme Lord and even kiss His head.
In the five principal transcendental relationships, awe and veneration are sometimes impediments obscuring the Lord's actual greatness and sometimes they actually impede one's service to the Lord. When there is friendship, paternal affection and conjugal love, however such awe and veneration are reduced. For instance, when Kṛṣṇa appeared as the son of Vasudeva and Devakī, His parents prayed to the Lord with awe and veneration because they understood that the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu had appeared before them as their little child. This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.44.51). Although the Supreme Lord was present as their child, Devakī and Vasudeva began to pray to Him.
If one can fix his mind on Kṛṣṇa without deviation, he can attain a steadfast position in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, śānta-rasa. When one attains śānta-rasa, unflinching faith in Kṛṣṇa is established, and all material desires cease. These specific characteristics of śānta-rasa—unflinching faith in Kṛṣṇa and cessation of all desires which are not connected with Kṛṣṇa—are common to all other rasas as well, just as sound is generally present in all other elements (air, fire, water and earth) because it is produced from the sky. Similarly, these two characteristics of śānta-rasa are present in other transcendental relationships, such as dāsya (servitorship), sakhya (fraternity), vātsalya (paternal affection), and the madhura-rasa (conjugal love).
Similarly, on the platform of paternal affection (vātsalya-rasa) there are four qualities. In addition to the three qualities already mentioned, there is the sense that the Supreme Lord is dependent on the mercy of the devotee. As a parent of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the devotee sometimes chastises the Lord and considers himself to be the Lord's maintainer. This transcendental sense of being the maintainer of the supreme maintainer is very pleasing both to the devotee and to the Supreme Lord.
From revealed scriptures it is understood that Kṛṣṇa lives in three transcendental places. The most confidential residence of Kṛṣṇa is Goloka Vṛndāvana. It is there that He stays with His father, mother and friends, exhibits His transcendental relationships and bestows His mercy amongst His eternal entourage. There yogamāyā acts as His maidservant in the rāsa-līlā dance. The residents of Vrajabhūmi think, "The Lord is glorified by particles of His transcendental mercy and affection, and we, the residents of Vṛndāvana, have not the slightest anxiety due to His merciful existence."
Devotional service may be regulative or affectionate. One who has not developed transcendental affection for Kṛṣṇa should conduct his life according to the directions and regulations of the scriptures and the spiritual master.
A person engaged in devotional service becomes heartsick when singing the glories of the Supreme Lord. Because the Lord is very dear to him, when he glorifies the Lord's name, fame and so on, he becomes almost like an insane man, and in that condition he sometimes laughs, sometimes cries and sometimes dances. He continues in this way without even considering his situation. By gradually developing his love of Godhead, he increases his affection, his emotion and his ecstasy. Such attachment, mahābhāva, is the highest stage of devotional love. It may be likened to sugar candy, which is the most powerful form of sugar. Love of Godhead can gradually develop in such a way that transcendental pleasure is increased to the highest stage for the real devotee.
According to the various divisions and gradations of devotees, permanent devotional situations can be divided into five categories: (1) peacefulness, (2) service to Kṛṣṇa, (3) friendship with Kṛṣṇa, (4) parental affection toward Kṛṣṇa, and (5) conjugal love for Kṛṣṇa. Each division has its own different taste and relish, and a devotee situated in a particular division is happy in that position. Characteristic symptoms exhibited by a pure devotee are generally laughing and crying; when emotions are favorable, a pure devotee laughs, and when emotions are not favorable, he cries.
The particular rasas (flavors or tastes) of the devotees who merge into that ocean of bhakti-rasāmṛta are known as neutrality, servitorship, friendship, parenthood and conjugal love. Conjugal love is very prominent, and it is symptomized by the devotee's decorating his body to attract Kṛṣṇa. The flavor of servitorship increases to include affection, anger, fraternity and attachment. The flavor of friendship increases to include affection, anger, fraternity, attachment and devotion, and in parenthood the attachment increases to include affection, anger, fraternity, attachment, and devotion. There are also special flavors experienced in friendship with the Supreme Lord, and these are manifested by friends such as Subala, whose devotion increases up to the point of bhāva. The different rasas are also divided into two kinds of ecstasy, called yoga and viyoga, or meeting and separation. In friendship and parenthood, the feelings of meeting and separation are various.
The situations known as rūḍha and adhirūḍha are possible in the conjugal love relationship. Conjugal love exhibited by the queens at Dvārakā is called rūḍha, and conjugal love exhibited at Vṛndāvana by the damsels of Vraja is called adhirūḍha. The highest perfection of adhirūḍha affection in conjugal love involve meeting (mādana) and separation (mohana). In the ecstasy of mādana, meeting, there is kissing, and in the ecstasy of mohana, separation, there is udghūrṇā and citrajalpa. As far as citrajalpa is concerned, in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, there is a portion known as Bhramara-gītā in which various kinds of citra jalpa are mentioned. Udghūrṇā is a symptom of separation, and there is also a symptom called transcendental insanity. In that transcendental insanity one thinks that he himself has become the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In such an ecstasy, he imitates the symptoms of Kṛṣṇa in different ways.
Lord Kṛṣṇa attracts the minds of all young girls and elderly ladies by His childlike activities. He also attracts the minds of His friends by His friendly activities. When He appeared in Vṛndāvana, He even attracted the birds, beasts, trees and plants. Indeed, everyone became attracted in love and affection for Kṛṣṇa.
There is a specific difference between the pure devotee and the confidential devotee. Different potencies of the Lord are engaged in serving the Supreme Lord in different transcendental relationships. They are situated in conjugal love, in parental affection, in friendship and in servitude. By impartially judging, one can find that the internal potencies of the Supreme Lord who are engaged in conjugal love with the Lord are the best of all devotees. Thus both internal devotees and confidential devotees are attracted by the conjugal love of the Supreme Absolute Truth. These are the most confidential devotees of Lord Caitanya. Other pure devotees, who are more or less attached to Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu and Advaita Prabhu, are attracted by other transcendental relationships, such as parental affection, friendship and servitorship. When such devotees are attached to the activities of Lord Caitanya, they at once become confidential devotees in conjugal love with the Supreme Lord.
As soon as one comes to know his real position in transcendental service, he at once becomes freed from all these miseries. The position of servitor is wasted in the material conception of life. In an attempt to dominate material nature, the living entity is forced to offer his service to relative material energy. When this service is transferred to the Lord in pure consciousness of spiritual identity, the living entity at once becomes free from the encumbrances of material affection.
Encouraged by Lord Caitanya to proceed further, Rāmānanda Rāya said that the fraternal relationship with Lord Kṛṣṇa is on an even higher transcendental plane. In this way Rāmānanda Rāya points out that when the relationship with Kṛṣṇa increases in affection, the mood of fear and the consciousness of the superiority of the Supreme Lord diminish. At this point, the mood of faith increases, and this faith is called friendship. In the fraternal relationship, there is a sense of equality between Kṛṣṇa and His friends.
The Supreme Lord is considered to be the impersonal Brahman by great sages, the Supreme Personality of Godhead by the devotees, and an ordinary human being by common men. Lord Caitanya appreciated this statement very much, yet He said, "You can go even further." Being so requested, Rāmānanda Rāya then stated that the paternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa is a still higher transcendental position. When the affection of the fraternal relationship increases, it develops into the paternal relationship that is found between father and son. Regarding this, Rāmānanda Rāya quoted a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.8.46) wherein Mahārāja Parīkṣit inquired from Śukadeva Gosvāmī about the magnitude of righteous activity performed by Yaśodā, the mother of Kṛṣṇa, enabling her to be called "mother" and her breasts be sucked by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Lord Caitanya then asked Rāmānanda Rāya to proceed further in order to come to the point of conjugal love. Understanding the mind of Lord Caitanya, Rāmānanda Rāya immediately answered that it was indeed conjugal love with Kṛṣṇa that constituted the highest relationship. In other words, intimate relationships with Kṛṣṇa develop from an ordinary conception of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to the conception of master and servant, and, when this becomes confidential, it develops into a friendly relationship, and when this relationship further develops, it becomes paternal, and when this develops to the highest point of love and affection, it is known as conjugal love with the Supreme Lord. Rāmānanda Rāya quoted another verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.47.60) stating that the transcendental mode of ecstasy exhibited during the rāsa dance between the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa was never relished even by the goddess of fortune, who is always situated on the chest of the Lord in the spiritual kingdom. And what to speak of the experience of ordinary women?
Self-realization in the relation as servitor is certainly transcendental, and when a sense of fraternity is added, the relationship develops. As affection increases, this relationship develops into paternity and conjugal love. Rāmānanda Rāya quoted a verse from Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (2.5.38) stating that spiritual affection for the Supreme Lord is transcendental in all cases, but the individual devotee has a specific aptitude for a particular relationship, and that relationship is more relishable for him than the others.
One's lips become red from chewing betel nuts. Similarly, the borders of Rādhārāṇī's eyes are blackened due to Her complete attachment to Kṛṣṇa. This darkness might be compared to ointment used by nature when nature jokes with Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Rādhārāṇī's smile is just like the taste of camphor. The garland of separation moves on Her body when She lies down on the bed of pride within the room of aroma. Out of ecstatic affection for Kṛṣṇa, Her breast is covered by the blouse of anger. Reputed as the best of all Kṛṣṇa's girl friends, She plays a stringed instrument. When Kṛṣṇa stands in His youthful posture, She puts Her hand on His shoulder. Although She possesses so many transcendental qualities, She is always engaged in the service of Kṛṣṇa.
In Govinda-līlāmṛta there is a verse which states: "Who is the breeding ground for Kṛṣṇa's affection? The answer is that it is only Śrīmatī Rādhikā. Who is Kṛṣṇa's most lovable object? The answer is that it is only Śrīmatī Rādhikā and no one else." Sheen in the hair, moisture in the eyes and firmness in the breasts are all qualities present in Śrīmatī Rādhikā. Only Śrīmatī Rādhikā is able to fulfill all the desires of Kṛṣṇa. No one else can do so.
In prema-vilāsa there are two kinds of emotional activities—separation and meeting. That transcendental separation is so acute that it is actually more ecstatic than meeting. Rāmānanda Rāya was expert in understanding these highly elevated dealings between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, and he composed a nice song which he narrated to the Lord. The purport of the song is that the lover and the beloved, before meeting, generate a kind of emotion by the exchange of their transcendental activities. That emotion is called rāga, or attraction. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī expressed Her willingness that "this attraction and affection between Us rise to the highest extent," but the cause of this attraction is Rādhārāṇī Herself. "Whatever the cause may be," Rādhārāṇī said, "that affection between You and Me has mixed Us in oneness.
Everything generated from the body or the mind is always imperfect and perishable, but transcendental spiritual activities are always bright and wonderful. Pure love on the transcendental platform is the paragon of purity devoid of material affection and completely spiritual. Affection for matter is perishable, as indicated by the inebriety of sex in the material world, but there is no such inebriety in the spiritual world. Hindrances on the path of sense satisfaction cause material distress, but one cannot compare that with spiritual separation. In spiritual separation there is neither inebriety nor ineffectiveness, as one finds with material separation.
The personal associates of Rādhārāṇī are called sakhīs, and Her near assistants are called mañjarīs. It is very difficult to express their dealings with Kṛṣṇa because they have no desire to mix with Kṛṣṇa or to enjoy Him personally. Rather, they are always ready to help Rādhārāṇī associate with Kṛṣṇa. Their affection for Kṛṣṇa and Rādhārāṇī is so pure that they are simply satisfied when Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are together. Indeed, their transcendental pleasure is in seeing Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa united. The actual form of Rādhārāṇī is just like a creeper embracing the tree of Kṛṣṇa, and the damsels of Vraja, the associates of Rādhārāṇī, are just like the leaves and flowers of that creeper. When a creeper embraces a tree, the leaves and flowers as well as the creeper automatically embrace it. Govinda-līlāmṛta (10.16) confirms that Rādhārāṇī is the expansion of the pleasure potency of Kṛṣṇa and is compared with a creeper, and Her associates, the damsels of Vraja, are compared to the flowers and leaves of that creeper. When Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa enjoy Themselves, the damsels of Vraja relish the pleasure more than Rādhārāṇī Herself.
Since You are our life and soul, the displeasure You undergo in traveling over rough stones is giving us great distress." Such feelings expressed by the damsels of Vraja constitute the highest Kṛṣṇa conscious emotions. Anyone who actually becomes captivated by Kṛṣṇa consciousness approaches this level of the gopīs. There are sixty-four categories of devotional service by performance of which one can rise to the gopīs' stage of unconditional devotion. Affection for Kṛṣṇa on the level of the gopīs is called rāgānuga, spontaneous love. When one enters into a spontaneous loving affair with Kṛṣṇa, there is no need to follow the Vedic rules and regulations.
There are various kinds of personal devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa in the transcendental abode. For example, there are servants of Kṛṣṇa like Raktaka and Patraka and friends of Kṛṣṇa just like Śrīdāmā and Sudāmā. There are also parents of Kṛṣṇa, just like Nanda and Yaśodā, who are also engaged in the service of Kṛṣṇa according to their respective transcendental emotions. One who desires to enter into the supreme abode of Kṛṣṇa can take shelter of one of such transcendental servitors. Then, through the execution of loving service, one can attain transcendental affection for Kṛṣṇa. In other words, the devotee in this material world who executes loving service in pursuance of the activities of those eternal associates with Kṛṣṇa also attains the same post when he is perfected.
Nectar of Devotion
Every one of us within this world is perpetually engaged in some sort of service, and the impetus for such service is the pleasure we derive from it. Driven by affection for his wife and children, a family man works day and night. A philanthropist works in the same way for love of the greater family, and a nationalist for the cause of his country and countrymen. That force which drives the philanthropist, the householder and the nationalist is called rasa, or a kind of mellow (relationship) whose taste is very sweet.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī addresses Parīkṣit Mahārāja there and says, "The great soul King Bharata was so much attached to the service of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa that he very easily gave up his lordship over the earthly planet and his affection for his children, society, friends, royal opulence and beautiful wife. He was so very lucky that the goddess of fortune was pleased to offer him all kinds of material concessions, but he never accepted any of these material opulences." Śukadeva Gosvāmī praises this behavior of King Bharata very highly. He says, "Any person whose heart is attracted by the transcendental qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Madhusūdana, does not care even for that liberation which is aspired to by many great sages, what to speak of material opulences."
There are five stages of liberation, already explained as being (1) to become one with the Lord, (2) to live on the same planet as the Lord, (3) to obtain the same bodily features as the Lord, (4) to have the same opulences as the Lord and (5) to have constant association with the Lord. Out of these five liberated stages, the one which is known as sāyujya, or to merge into the existence of the Lord, is the last to be accepted by a devotee. The other four liberations, although not desired by devotees, still are not against the devotional ideals. Some of the liberated persons who have achieved these four stages of liberation may also develop affection for Kṛṣṇa and be promoted to the Goloka Vṛndāvana planet in the spiritual sky. In other words, those who are already promoted to the Vaikuṇṭha planets and who possess the four kinds of liberation may also sometimes develop affection for Kṛṣṇa and become promoted to Kṛṣṇaloka.
In the Padma Purāṇa there is a statement of submission in feeling by devotees praying to the Lord: "My Lord, I know that young girls have natural affection for young boys, and that young boys have natural affection for young girls. I am praying at Your lotus feet that my mind may become attracted unto You in the same spontaneous way."
The attraction of the gopīs for Kṛṣṇa and the affection of the members of the Yadu dynasty are both accepted as spontaneous, or rāgānugā. The attraction of Kaṁsa to Kṛṣṇa in fear and the attraction of Śiśupāla in envy are not accepted as devotional service, however, because their attitudes are not favorable. Devotional service should be executed only in a favorable frame of mind. Therefore, according to Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, such attractions are not considered to be in devotional service. Again, he analyzes the affection of the Yadus. If it is on the platform of friendship, then it is spontaneous love, but if it is on the platform of regulative principles, then it is not. And only when affection comes to the platform of spontaneous love is it counted in the category of pure devotional service.
On the other hand, the lusty desire of Kubjā is described by learned scholars as being "almost lusty desire." Kubjā was a hunchbacked woman who also wanted Kṛṣṇa with a great ecstatic love. But her desire for Kṛṣṇa was almost mundane, and so her love cannot be compared to the love of the gopīs. Her loving affection for Kṛṣṇa is called kāma-prāyā, or almost like the gopīs' love for Kṛṣṇa.
The story of the sages of Daṇḍakāraṇya can be explained as follows. When Lord Rāmacandra was residing in Daṇḍakāraṇya, the sages who were engaged in devotional service there became attracted by His beauty and immediately thought of the gopīs at Vṛndāvana, who enjoyed conjugal loving affection with Kṛṣṇa. In this instance it is clear that the sages of Daṇḍakāraṇya desired conjugal love in the manner of the gopīs, although they were well aware of the Supreme Lord as both Kṛṣṇa and Lord Rāmacandra. They knew that although Rāmacandra was an ideal king and could not accept more than one wife, Lord Kṛṣṇa, being the full-fledged Personality of Godhead, could fulfill the desires of all of them in Vṛndāvana. These sages also concluded that the form of Lord Kṛṣṇa is more attractive than that of Lord Rāmacandra, and so they prayed to become gopīs in their future lives to be associated with Kṛṣṇa.
By the process of executing regulated devotional service, one is actually elevated onto the transcendental stage, beyond the material modes of nature. At that time one's heart becomes illuminated like the sun. The sun is far above the planetary systems, and there is no possibility of its being covered by any kind of cloud; similarly, when a devotee is purified like the sun, from his pure heart there is a diffusion of ecstatic love which is more glorious than the sunshine. Only at that time is the attachment to Kṛṣṇa perfect. Spontaneously, the devotee becomes eager to serve the Lord in his ecstatic love. At this stage the devotee is on the platform of uttama-adhikārī, perfect devotion. Such a devotee has no agitation from material affections and is interested only in the service of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.
Great authorities like Bhīṣma have explained that love of Godhead means completely giving up all so-called love for any other person. According to Bhīṣma, love means reposing one's affection completely upon one person, withdrawing all affinities for any other person. This pure love can be transferred to the Supreme Personality of Godhead under two conditions—out of ecstasy and out of the causeless mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself.
In the Padma Purāṇa there is a statement about ecstatic love born of spontaneous affection. Candrakānti, a celebrated fair-faced girl, rigidly observed celibacy in order to obtain Kṛṣṇa as her husband. She always engaged herself in meditating on the transcendental form of the Lord and always chanted the glories of the Lord. She did not desire to accept anyone else as her husband. She had firmly decided that only Lord Kṛṣṇa would be her husband.
In the Nārada-pañcarātra it is said that if on account of profound veneration for the greatness of the Supreme Lord one attains a great affection and steady love for Him, one is certainly assured of attaining the four kinds of Vaiṣṇava liberation—namely achieving the same bodily features as the Lord, achieving the same opulence as the Lord, dwelling on the planet where the Lord is residing, and attaining eternal association with the Lord. The Vaiṣṇava liberation is completely different from the Māyāvāda liberation, which is simply a matter of being merged into the effulgence of the Lord.
The affection and the dealings of love that are different branches of the original tree of love precede many varieties of affectionate manifestations that will not be discussed here. These different manifestations have been described by Sanātana Gosvāmī in his Bhāgavatāmṛta. Although the subject of such affections and dealings of love is very confidential, Sanātana Gosvāmī has described them very explicitly.
Kṛṣṇa becomes obliged to the loving spirit of the devotee and not exactly to the service rendered. No one can serve Kṛṣṇa completely. He is so complete and self-sufficient that He has no need of any service from the devotee. It is the devotee's attitude of love and affection for Kṛṣṇa that makes Him obliged. A very nice example of this obligatory behavior was manifested when Sudāmā Vipra went to Kṛṣṇa's palace. Sudāmā Vipra had been a class friend of Kṛṣṇa's, and due to his poverty he was induced by his wife to see Kṛṣṇa to request some aid. When Sudāmā Vipra reached Kṛṣṇa's palace, Kṛṣṇa received him very well, and both He and His wife washed the feet of Sudāmā Vipra, showing respect to the brāhmaṇa. Remembering His loving affairs with Sudāmā in their childhood, Kṛṣṇa began to shed tears while receiving him.
Although Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and is therefore not partial to anyone, it is stated in Bhagavad-gītā that He has special attraction for a devotee who worships His name in love and affection. When Kṛṣṇa was on this planet, one devotee expressed his feeling in this way: "My dear Lord, if You had not appeared on this planet, then the asuras (demons) and atheists would have surely created havoc against the activities of the devotees. I cannot imagine the magnitude of such devastation prevented by Your presence."
When the lotus-eyed Rukmiṇī, the first queen of Kṛṣṇa in Dvārakā, was shedding tears out of ecstatic jubilation, she did not like the tears. There is a passage in the Hari-vaṁśa wherein Satyabhāmā begins to shed tears because of her great affection for Kṛṣṇa.
There is a symptom of ecstatic love known as concealment, or trying to hide one's real mental condition by externally showing another attitude. In this state of mind one tries to hide his mind by looking away in different directions, by unnecessarily trying for something which is impossible, or by using words which cover one's real thoughts. According to ācāryas expert in the study of psychological activities, these attempts at hiding one's real affections are another part of ecstatic feeling for Kṛṣṇa.
It has been stated, "Although Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī developed a deep loving affection for Kṛṣṇa, She hid Her attitude in the core of Her heart so that others could not detect Her actual condition." This is an instance of concealment caused by gentleness.
The gopīs were advised by their superiors to bolt the doors at night, but they were so carefree that they did not carry out this order very rigidly. Sometimes, by thinking of Kṛṣṇa, they became so confident of being out of all danger that they would lie down at night in the courtyards of their houses. This is an instance of dizziness in ecstatic love due to natural affection for Kṛṣṇa.
Neutrality can be further subdivided into general, transparent and peaceful. An attraction for Kṛṣṇa by the people in general or by children cannot take any specific or satisfactory position. It can be manifest sometimes in trembling of the body and changing of the color of the eyes (to red, white, etc.), although there is no symptom of any particular affection.
Due to the different types of attraction for Kṛṣṇa, there are different varieties of devotees. Their symptoms are manifested transparently, just like jewels. It is said that a great devotee brāhmaṇa would sometimes address the Supreme Personality of Godhead as master and sometimes joke with the Lord, using different kinds of familiar words. Sometimes he would protect the Lord with a filial affection, sometimes he would cry out to the Lord, addressing the Lord as his beloved, and sometimes he would meditate on the Lord as the Supersoul. This means that the brāhmaṇa expressed his ecstatic loving symptoms in different ways at different times. But in each instance, because of ecstatic love, the brāhmaṇa merged himself in the ocean of happiness and became situated in pure love. Thus he was a transparent medium, like a jewel that shows reality in varying colors according to its own nature.
Generally, a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa may be placed into one of three groups. One group consists of those who are completely dependent on the merciful affection of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, another group consists of devotees who are dealing with Kṛṣṇa on friendly terms, and the third group consists of those who are dealing with Kṛṣṇa as His superiors, with parental affection. These three classes of devotees gradually develop different relationships of transcendental mellow with the Personality of Godhead.
It is to be understood that any person who is constantly engaged in chanting the holy names of the Lord—Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare—has attained a transcendental affection for Kṛṣṇa, and as such, in any condition of life, he remains satisfied simply by remembering the Lord's name in full affection and ecstatic love. In conclusion, it may be stated that ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa in ghastliness appears during the development of dormant neutrality into developed affection.
There are certain symptoms of great sages who are situated in śānta-rasa devotional service, and these symptoms are exhibited as follows. They concentrate their eyesight on the tip of the nose, and they behave just like an avadhūta. Avadhūta means a highly elevated mystic who does not care for any social, religious or Vedic conventions. Another symptom is that such persons are very careful to step forward when giving speeches. When they speak, they join together the forefinger and thumb. (This is called the jñāna-mudrā position.) They are not against the atheists, nor are they particularly inclined to the devotees. Such persons give stress to liberation and detachment from the materialistic way of life. They are always neutral and have no affection for nor misidentification with anything material. They are always grave, but fully absorbed in thoughts of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. These uncommon features develop in devotees who are situated in śānta-rasa.
The transcendental mellow of affection has been accepted by authorities like Śrīdhara Svāmī as a perfectional stage of devotion. It is just above the humor of neutrality and is a requisite for the development of the serving humor. In literature such as Nāma-kaumudī this state of existence is accepted as continuous affection for or attraction to Kṛṣṇa. Authorities like Śukadeva consider this stage of affection to be in the neutral stage, but in any case this affection is relished by the devotees in different transcendental tastes, and therefore the general name for this state is affection, or pure affection for Kṛṣṇa.
Devotees engaged in servitude are attached to Kṛṣṇa in the affection of reverence. Some of the inhabitants of Gokula (Vṛndāvana as exhibited on earth) are attached to Kṛṣṇa on this platform of affection in reverence. The inhabitants of Vṛndāvana used to say, "Kṛṣṇa is always manifest before us with a complexion like a blackish cloud. He holds His wonderful flute in His lotus hands. He is dressed in yellow silks and bedecked with a peacock feather on His head. When Kṛṣṇa walks near Govardhana Hill with these personal features, all the inhabitants of the heavenly planets, as well as the inhabitants of this earth, feel transcendental bliss and consider themselves the eternal servants of the Lord."
Another devotee once said, "This Supreme Personality of Godhead from whose bodily pores come millions of universes, permanently rising, who is the ocean of mercy, who is the owner of inconceivable energies, who is always equipped with all perfections, who is the origin of all incarnations, who is the attraction for all liberated persons—this very Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme controller and the supremely worshipable. He is all-cognizant, fully determined and fully opulent. He is the emblem of forgiveness and the protector of surrendered souls. He is munificent, true to His promise, expert, all-auspicious, powerful and religious. He is a strict follower of the scripture, He is the friend of the devotees, and He is magnanimous, influential, grateful, reputable, respectable, full of all strength, and submissive to pure love. Surely He is the only shelter of devotees who are attracted to Him by the affection of servitorship."
Reverential devotion for the Lord gradually increases and transforms itself into ecstatic love, then affection and then attachment. In the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Thirty-eighth Chapter, verse 6, Akrūra says, "Because I am going to see Lord Kṛṣṇa today, all symptoms of inauspiciousness have already been killed. My life is now successful, because I shall be able to offer my respects unto the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead!"
qAnother devotee in ecstatic reverential affection once said, "When will that glorious day in my life come when it will be possible for me to go to the bank of the Yamunā and see Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa playing there as a cowherd boy?" When there is no diminishing of this ecstatic love and when it is freed from all kinds of doubt, the devotee has reached the stage called steady love for Kṛṣṇa. In this stage, all expressions of unhappiness by the devotee are called anubhāva, or ecstatic loving symptoms.
The symptom of ecstatic affection with reverence felt by Bali Mahārāja was expressed as follows: "My dear Lord, You have simultaneously punished me and showed me Your causeless mercy. My conclusion is that when I have taken shelter of Your lotus feet I shall never be disturbed in any condition of life. Whether You give me the opportunity to enjoy all the yogic perfections or You put me into the most abominable condition of hellish life, I shall never be disturbed."
Kṛṣṇa Himself, after seeing Bali Mahārāja, told Uddhava, "My dear friend, how can I express the glorious characteristics of Bali Mahārāja, the son of Virocana? Although the King of the suras (demigods) was cursed by this son of Virocana, and although I cheated him in My incarnation as Vāmana, taking away his dominions throughout the universe, and although I still criticized him for not fulfilling his promise, I have just now seen him in his kingdom, and he feelingly expressed his love for Me."* When such a feeling of love becomes intensified, it is called affection. In that affectional stage, one cannot bear separation from Kṛṣṇa even for a moment.
When affection is symptomized by direct happiness and distress, it is called attraction. In such an attracted state of ecstatic love, one can face all kinds of disadvantages calmly. Even at the risk of death such a devotee is never bereft of the transcendental loving service of the Lord. A glorious example of this ecstatic love was exhibited by King Parīkṣit when he was at the point of death. Although he was bereft of his entire kingdom, which spread over all the world, and although he was accepting not even a drop of water in the seven days remaining to him, because he was engaged in hearing the transcendental pastimes of the Lord from Śukadeva Gosvāmī he was not in the least distressed. On the contrary, he was feeling direct transcendental ecstatic joy in association with Śukadeva Gosvāmī.
Devotees such as Mahārāja Parīkṣit and Uddhava are all situated in ecstatic attraction on the basis of affection, and in that state of affection a feeling of friendship becomes manifest. When Uddhava was freed from all material contamination, he saw the Lord, and his throat became choked up, and he could not speak. By the movements of his eyebrows alone he was embracing the Lord. Such ecstatic love has been divided by great scholars into two groups—addition and subtraction. If a devotee is not directly associated with the Lord, it is called subtraction. In this state of love, one is constantly fixed with his mind at the lotus feet of the Lord. A devotee in this state becomes very eager to learn of the transcendental qualities of the Lord. The most important business of such a devotee is attaining the association of the Lord.
In the Nṛsiṁha Purāṇa there is a statement about King Ikṣvāku which illustrates this state of ecstatic love. Because of his great affection for Kṛṣṇa, King Ikṣvāku became greatly attached to the black cloud, the black deer, the deer's black eyes and the lotus flower, which is always compared to the eyes of the Lord.
In the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Thirty-eighth Chapter, verse 34, Śukadeva Gosvāmī tells King Parīkṣit, "My dear King, as soon as Akrūra the chariot driver saw Lord Kṛṣṇa and His elder brother Balarāma in Vṛndāvana, he immediately got down from the chariot and, being greatly afflicted by affection for the transcendental Lord, fell down upon His lotus feet to offer respectful obeisances." These are some of the instances of perfectional meetings with Kṛṣṇa.
To regard Kṛṣṇa as one's superior is called reverential feeling, and when, in addition to this, a devotee feels that Kṛṣṇa is his protector, his transcendental love for Kṛṣṇa is increased, and his combined feelings are called reverential devotion. When this steady reverential devotion increases further, it is called love of Godhead in reverential devotion. Attraction and affection are two prominent symptoms of this stage. In this reverential devotional attitude, Pradyumna never talked to his father in a loud voice. In fact, he never so much as unlocked the lips of his mouth, nor did he ever show his face filled with tears. He would always glance only at the lotus feet of his father.
The affection that Kṛṣṇa has for His devotees was expressed by Him when He asked Pradyumna not to feel so bashful before Him. He addressed Pradyumna thus: "My dear boy, just give up your feeling of inferiority, and do not hang your neck. Just talk with Me in a clear voice, and do not shed tears. You may look straight at Me, and you may place your hands on My body without any hesitation. There is no need of exhibiting so much reverence before your father."
Within Gokula, Kṛṣṇa's vayasyas are generally divided into four groups: (1) well-wishers, (2) friends, (3) confidential friends and (4) intimate friends. Kṛṣṇa's well-wisher friends are a little bit older than Kṛṣṇa, and they have some parental affection for Him. Because of their being older than Kṛṣṇa, they always try to protect Him from any harm.
Baladeva's affection for Kṛṣṇa is illustrated in this statement to Subala: "My dear friend, please inform Kṛṣṇa not to go to Kāliya's lake today. Today is His birthday, and so I wish to go along with mother Yaśodā to bathe Him. Tell Him He should not leave the house today." This shows how Balarāma, Kṛṣṇa's elder brother, took care of Kṛṣṇa with parental love, within the scope of fraternal affection.
One of the gopīs once said to her friend, "My dear beautiful friend, when Kṛṣṇa, the son of Mahārāja Nanda, was taking rest within the cave of a hill, He was keeping His head on the arms of Śrīdāmā, and He was putting His left hand on Dāmā's chest. Taking this opportunity, Devaprastha, out of his strong affection for Kṛṣṇa, immediately began to massage His legs." Such are the activities of Kṛṣṇa's friends out on the pasturing grounds.
Sometimes a confidential friend would come before Kṛṣṇa and embrace Him with great affection and love. Another friend would then come up from the rear and cover Kṛṣṇa's eyes with his hands. Kṛṣṇa would always feel very happy by such dealings with His confidential friends.
When there are dealings between Kṛṣṇa and His friends which are completely devoid of any feelings of respect and they all treat one another on an equal level, such ecstatic love in friendship is called sthāyī. When one is situated in this confidential friendly relationship with Kṛṣṇa, one shows symptoms of love such as attraction, affection, affinity and attachment. An example of sthāyī was exhibited when Arjuna told Akrūra, "My dear son of Gāndinī, please ask Kṛṣṇa when I shall be able to embrace Him in my arms."
When there is full knowledge of Kṛṣṇa's superiority and yet in dealings with Him on friendly terms respectfulness is completely absent, that stage is called affection. There is one brilliant example of this affection. When the demigods, headed by Lord Śiva, were offering respectful prayers to Kṛṣṇa, describing the glorious opulences of the Lord, Arjuna stood before Him with his hand on His shoulders and brushed the dust from His peacock feather.
Another example of acute affection for Kṛṣṇa is given in the Tenth Canto, Fifteenth Chapter, verse 18, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. In the pasturing ground Kṛṣṇa felt a little tired and wanted to take rest, so He lay down on the ground. At that time, many cowherd boys assembled there and with great affection began to sing suitable songs so that Kṛṣṇa would rest very nicely.
Following is a list of respectful personalities who enjoy parental affection toward Kṛṣṇa: (1) mother Yaśodā, the Queen of Vraja, (2) Mahārāja Nanda, the King of Vraja, (3) mother Rohiṇī, the mother of Balarāma, (4) all the elderly gopīs whose sons were taken away by Lord Brahmā, (5) Devakī, the wife of Vasudeva, (6) the other fifteen wives of Vasudeva, (7) Kuntī, the mother of Arjuna, (8) Vasudeva, the real father of Kṛṣṇa and (9) Sāndīpani Muni, Kṛṣṇa's teacher. All these are considered respectable elderly personalities with parental love for Kṛṣṇa. This list is in order of superior importance, and thus we can see that mother Yaśodā and Mahārāja Nanda are considered to be the supermost of all elderly personalities.
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Tenth Canto, Ninth Chapter, verse 3, Śukadeva Gosvāmī gives Mahārāja Parīkṣit a description of the form and beauty of mother Yaśodā. He says, "My dear King, the wide hips of mother Yaśodā were surrounded by silk and linen clothes, and her breasts were flowing with milk because of her affection. When she was churning butter and tightly holding the rope, the bangles on her hands and the earrings on her ears were moving, and from the nice decoration in her hair the flowers were slackening and falling down. Due to her excessive labor, there were drops of perspiration on her face."
There is the following description of mother Yaśodā's affection for Kṛṣṇa. After rising early in the morning, mother Yaśodā first of all offered her breast milk to Kṛṣṇa, and then she began to chant various mantras for His protection. Then she would decorate His forehead very nicely and bind His arms with protective talismans. By all of these activities, it is definitely understood that she is the emblem of all maternal affection for Kṛṣṇa.
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Tenth Canto, Thirteenth Chapter, verse 33, Śukadeva Gosvāmī tells King Parīkṣit, "My dear King, as soon as the elderly gopīs saw their sons coming, there was an inexpressible sign of parental love, and all of them became absorbed in affection. At first they were planning to chastise their sons for stealing butter, but as soon as the sons came before their eyes, they lost all of their angry attitudes and became overwhelmed with affection. They began to embrace their sons and smell their heads. While doing this, they became almost mad after their children." In their childhood pastimes, all these cowherd boys joined with Kṛṣṇa in stealing butter. But rather than become angry, mother Yaśodā became wet from the milk flowing out of her breasts. Out of her affection for Kṛṣṇa, she began to smell His head repeatedly.
The parental love of mother Yaśodā for Kṛṣṇa steadily increases, and her love and ecstasy are sometimes described as intense affection and sometimes as overwhelming attachment. An example of attachment for Kṛṣṇa with overwhelming affection is given in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Tenth Canto, Sixth Chapter, verse 43, where Śukadeva Gosvāmī addresses Mahārāja Parīkṣit in this way: "My dear King, when magnanimous Nanda Mahārāja returned from Mathurā, he began to smell the head of his son, and he was merged in the ecstasy of parental love."
When Kṛṣṇa arrived at Kurukṣetra in pilgrimage, all the people assembled there began to say that Kṛṣṇa, the son of Devakī, had arrived. At that time, Devakī, just like an affectionate mother, began to pat Kṛṣṇa's face. And again when people cried that Kṛṣṇa, the son of Vasudeva, had come, both King Nanda and mother Yaśodā became overwhelmed with affection and expressed their great pleasure.
When mother Yaśodā, the Queen of Gokula, was going to see her son Kṛṣṇa at Kurukṣetra, one of her friends addressed her thus: "My dear Queen, the milk flowing out of your breast-mountain has already whitened the River Ganges, and the tears from your eyes, mixed with black mascara, have already blackened the color of the Yamunā. And as you are standing just between the two rivers, I think that there is no need for your anxiety to see your son's face. Your parental affection has already been exhibited to Him by these two rivers!"
When all the wives of Vasudeva were present in the arena of Kaṁsa, they saw the most pleasing bodily features of Kṛṣṇa, and immediately, out of parental affection, milk began to flow from their breasts, and the lower parts of their sārīs became wet. This symptom of ecstatic love is an example of the result of fulfillment of desire.
In the First Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Eleventh Chapter, verse 29, it is stated, "When Kṛṣṇa entered Dvārakā after finishing the Battle of Kurukṣetra, He first of all saw His mother and all His different stepmothers and offered His respectful obeisances unto their feet. The mothers immediately took Kṛṣṇa upon their laps, and because of their parental affection, there was milk flowing out of their breasts. So their breast milk, mixed with the water of tears, became the first offering to Kṛṣṇa." This is one of the examples of being satisfied after a great separation.
There is a similar statement in the Lalita-mādhava: "How wonderful it is that Yaśodā, the wife of King Nanda, out of her parental affection for Kṛṣṇa, mixed her tears and the milk from her breasts and thus bathed her dear son Kṛṣṇa." In Vidagdha-mādhava, a devotee addresses Lord Kṛṣṇa as follows: "My dear Mukunda, just after seeing Your face, which was full with the scent of the lotus flower, mother Yaśodā, being attracted by the moonlight of Your face, became so overjoyed in her affection that immediately from the nipples of her waterpotlike breasts, milk began to flow." She was thus constantly engaged in supplying milk to Kṛṣṇa after wetting the covering cloth over the jug.
These are some of the signs of parental love for Kṛṣṇa by His mother, His father and elderly persons. Symptoms of ecstatic love in parental affection are expressed when Kṛṣṇa is accepted as the son. These constant transcendental emotions for Kṛṣṇa are called steady ecstasy in parental love.
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī states herein that according to some learned scholars, the three kinds of transcendental mellow so far described—namely servitude, fraternity and parental affection—are sometimes mixed. For example, the fraternal feelings of Balarāma are mixed with servitude and parental affection. Similarly, King Yudhiṣṭhira's attraction for Kṛṣṇa is also mixed with parental affection and servitude. Similarly, the transcendental mellow of Ugrasena, Kṛṣṇa's grandfather, is mixed with servitude and parental affection. The affection of all the elderly gopīs in Vṛndāvana is a mixture of parental love, servitude and fraternity. The affection of the sons of Mādrī-Nakula and Sahadeva—as well as the affection of the sage Nārada, is a mixture of friendship and servitude. The affection of Lord Śiva, Garuḍa and Uddhava is a mixture of servitude and fraternity.
With the ecstasy of fraternal love a mixture of conjugal love, laughter or chivalry is highly compatible. With the same fraternal love, a mixture of dread or parental love is most incompatible. Although there are gulfs of differences between them, with the ecstasy of parental affection a mixture of laughter, compassion or dread is compatible.
There is a similar statement by a devotee as follows: "I shall now begin my service of fanning the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is seated on a golden throne. He is the supreme Parambrahma in His eternal transcendental form of a cloudy blackish complexion. Now I shall give up my affection for my material body, which is nothing but a bunch of flesh and blood." Herein also there is a combination of servitude and ghastliness, where the ecstasy of servitude is taken as the whole and the ecstasy of ghastliness is taken as the part.
There is an example of a mixture of conjugal love and fraternal affection when Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī said, "My dear friends, just see how Kṛṣṇa is resting His hand on the shoulder of Subala, who is dressed up just like a young girl! I think He must be sending some message to Me through Subala." The purport is that the superiors of Rādhārāṇī do not like Kṛṣṇa or His cowherd friends to associate with Her; therefore these friends sometimes clothe themselves in female dress so they can give Rādhārāṇī a message from Kṛṣṇa. In this example the whole is conjugal love, and the part is fraternity.
Once some minor demigod of the heavenly planets remarked, "Kṛṣṇa, whose joking words were once the source of so much laughter for the residents of Vraja, has now been attacked by the serpent king, Kāliya, and He has become the object of everyone's overwhelming lamentation!" In this instance there is a mixture of laughter and compassion, but there is no incompatibility, because by both of these rasas the loving affection for Kṛṣṇa is increased.
When Madhumaṅgala, an intimate friend of Kṛṣṇa, was dancing before Kṛṣṇa in a joking manner, no one was paying attention to him, and he jokingly said, "My dear Lord, please be merciful upon me. I am praying for Your mercy." This is an example of uparasa in fraternal affection and neutrality.
Nectar of Instruction
In the dāsya-rasa one follows in the footsteps of servants like Citraka, Patraka or Raktaka. In the friendly sakhya-rasa one can become a friend like Baladeva, Śrīdāmā or Sudāmā. In the vātsalya-rasa, characterized by parental affection, one can become like Nanda Mahārāja and Yaśodā, and in the mādhurya-rasa, characterized by conjugal love, one can become like Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī or Her lady friends such as Lalitā and Her serving maids (mañjarīs) like Rūpa and Rati. This is the essence of all instruction in the matter of devotional service.
Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
When there is a forest fire, it is experienced that the blazing fire sometimes leaps over one tree and catches another by the influence of the wind. Similarly, a living entity may be very careful in the matter of executing his duties, but it is still very difficult for him to know what type of body he is going to get in the next life. Mahārāja Bharata was very faithfully executing the duties of self-realization, but by chance he developed temporary affection for a deer, and in his next life he had to accept the body of a deer.
"Therefore, my Lord, I request You to save me from the cruel hands of Kaṁsa, the son of Ugrasena. I am praying to Your Lordship to please rescue me from this fearful condition because You are always ready to give protection to Your servitors." The Lord has confirmed this statement in the Bhagavad-gītā by assuring Arjuna, "You may declare to the world, My devotee shall never be vanquished." While thus praying to the Lord for rescue, mother Devakī nonetheless expressed her motherly affection: "I understand that this transcendental form is generally perceived in meditation by the great sages, but I am still afraid because as soon as Kaṁsa understands that You have appeared, he might harm You. So I request that for the time being You become invisible to our material eyes."
I gave you the benediction that I would take birth as your son three times. The first time I was known as Pṛśnigarbha, born of Pṛśni and Sutapā, in the next birth I was Upendra, born of Aditi and Kaśyapa, and now for the third time I am born as Kṛṣṇa from you, Devakī and Vasudeva. I have appeared in this Viṣṇu form just to convince you that I am the same Supreme Personality of Godhead again taken birth. I could have appeared just like an ordinary child, but in that way you would not have believed that the Supreme Personality of Godhead had taken birth in your womb. My dear father and mother, you have therefore raised Me many times as your child, with great affection and love, and I am therefore very much pleased and obliged to you. And I assure you that this time you shall go back home, back to Godhead, on account of your perfection in your mission.
It is said that wherever the chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa is done, even negligently, all bad elements—witches, ghosts and dangerous calamities—immediately disappear. And this is certainly true of the place where the chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa is done seriously—especially in Vṛndāvana when the Supreme Lord was personally present. Therefore, the doubts of Nanda Mahārāja were certainly based on affection for Kṛṣṇa. Actually there was no danger from the activities of Pūtanā, despite her powers.
When Pūtanā was taking baby Kṛṣṇa on her lap, both Yaśodā and Rohiṇī were present, but because she was so beautifully dressed and showed motherly affection toward Kṛṣṇa, they did not forbid her. They could not understand that she was a sword within a decorated case.
The elder gopīs of Vṛndāvana were so absorbed in affection for Kṛṣṇa that they wanted to save Him, although there was no need to, for He had already protected Himself. They could not understand that Kṛṣṇa was the Supreme Personality of Godhead playing as a child. After performing the formalities to protect the child, mother Yaśodā took Kṛṣṇa and let Him suck her breast. When the child was protected by viṣṇu-mantra, mother Yaśodā felt that He was safe. In the meantime, all the cowherd men who had gone to Mathurā to pay tax returned home and were struck with wonder at seeing the gigantic dead body of Pūtanā.
Here is an example of how the Supreme Personality of Godhead is all-good: Pūtanā came to kill Kṛṣṇa, but because He sucked her milk, she was immediately purified, and her dead body attained a transcendental quality. Her only business was to kill small children; she was only fond of blood. But in spite of being envious of Kṛṣṇa, she attained salvation because she gave her milk to Him to drink. So what can be said of those who are affectionate to Kṛṣṇa in the relationship of mother, who with great love and affection always serve Him, the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the Supersoul of every living entity?
The lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, which are worshiped by great sages and devotees, were placed on the body of Pūtanā. People worship Kṛṣṇa and offer food with great reverence and devotion, but automatically He sucked the milk from the body of Pūtanā. Devotees therefore pray that if simply by offering something as an enemy Pūtanā got so much benefit, then who can measure the benefit of worshiping Kṛṣṇa in love and affection? Therefore only Kṛṣṇa should be worshiped, for so much benefit awaits the worshiper.
Kṛṣṇa can offer anyone anything, from liberation to anything materially conceivable. Therefore, there cannot be any doubt of the salvation of Pūtanā, whose bodily milk was sucked by Kṛṣṇa for such a long time. And how can there be any doubt about the salvation of the gopīs, who were so fond of Kṛṣṇa? Undoubtedly all the gopīs, cowherd boys, cows and everyone else who served Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana with love and affection were liberated from the miserable condition of material existence.
When all the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana smelled the good aroma from the smoke of the burning Pūtanā, they inquired from each other, "Where is this good fragrance coming from?" And while conversing, they came to understand that it was the fumes of the burning Pūtanā. They were very fond of Kṛṣṇa, and as soon as they heard that the demon Pūtanā had been killed by Kṛṣṇa, they offered blessings to the little child out of affection. After the burning of Pūtanā, Nanda Mahārāja came home and immediately took up the child on his lap and began to smell His head. In this way, he was quite satisfied that his little child was saved from this great calamity.
The demon fell exactly like Tripurāsura, who was pierced by the arrow of Lord Śiva. Tṛṇāvarta hit a stone slab, and his limbs were smashed. His body became visible to all the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana. When the gopīs saw the demon killed and child Kṛṣṇa very happily playing on his body, they immediately picked Kṛṣṇa up with great affection. The cowherd men and women became very happy to get back their beloved child Kṛṣṇa. At that time they began to talk about how wonderful it was that the demon had taken away the child to devour Him but could not do so; instead he fell down dead.
The gopīs assembled there spoke among themselves: "What sort of austerities and penances we must have undergone in our previous lives! We must have worshiped the Supreme Personality of Godhead, offered different kinds of sacrifices, made charities and performed many welfare activities for the public, such as growing banyan trees and excavating wells. As a result of these pious activities, we have gotten back our child, even though He was supposed to be dead. Now He has come back to enliven His relatives." After observing such wonderful happenings, Nanda Mahārāja began to think of the words of Vasudeva again and again.
After this incident, when Yaśodā once was nursing her child and patting Him with great affection, there streamed a profuse supply of milk from her breast, and when she opened the mouth of the child with her fingers, she suddenly saw the universal manifestation within His mouth.
While mother Yaśodā was thinking in this high philosophical way, Lord Kṛṣṇa again expanded His internal energy just to bewilder her with maternal affection. Immediately mother Yaśodā forgot all philosophical speculation and accepted Kṛṣṇa as her own child. She took Him on her lap and became overwhelmed with maternal affection. She thus began to think of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is understood through the processes of cultivating knowledge derived from the Upaniṣads and the Vedānta-sūtra, practicing mystic yoga and studying Sāṅkhya philosophy, as her own begotten child.
When they arrived home, they spoke of the wonderful activities of the son of Nanda. When the gopīs and cowherd men all heard the story from the boys, they felt great happiness because naturally they loved Kṛṣṇa, and by hearing about His glories and victorious activities they became still more affectionate toward Him. Thinking that child Kṛṣṇa had been saved from the mouth of death, they looked upon His face with great love and affection. They were full of anxiety and could not turn their faces from the vision of Kṛṣṇa.
Aghāsura also thought that when he would offer grains and water in memory of his brother and sister and kill Kṛṣṇa and all the cowherd boys, then automatically all the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana would die. Generally, for the householders, the children are the life and breath force. When all the children die, then naturally the parents also die on account of strong affection for them.
Everyone is afraid of fear personified, but fear personified is afraid of Kṛṣṇa. By crying out the word "Kṛṣṇa," the boys at once transcended the fearful situation. Out of His great affection, Kṛṣṇa did not want His friends to give up their pleasing lunch engagement and go searching for the calves. He therefore said, "My dear friends, you need not interrupt your lunch. Go on enjoying. I am going personally to find the calves."
The mothers of the boys heard the vibration of their flutes before their entrance, and to receive them, they came out of their homes and embraced them. And out of maternal affection, milk was flowing from their breasts, and they allowed the boys to drink it. However, their offering was not exactly to their boys but to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who had expanded Himself into such boys. This was a chance for all the mothers of Vṛndāvana to feed the Supreme Personality of Godhead with their own milk. Therefore not only did Lord Kṛṣṇa give Yaśodā the chance to feed Him, but this time He gave the chance to all the elder gopīs.
The calves immediately came to their mothers, and the mothers began to lick the bodies of the calves. These relations of the cows and the gopīs with their calves and boys remained unchanged, although actually the original calves and boys were not there. Actually the cows' affection for their calves and the elder gopīs' affection for the boys causelessly increased. Their affection increased naturally, even though the calves and boys were not their offspring. Although the cows and elder gopīs of Vṛndāvana had greater affection for Kṛṣṇa than for their own offspring, after this incident their affection for their offspring increased unlimitedly, exactly as it did for Kṛṣṇa. For one year continuously, Kṛṣṇa Himself expanded as the calves and cowherd boys and was present in the pasturing ground.
Suddenly, on sighting the calves, the cows began to run toward them. They leaped downhill with joined front and rear legs. The cows were so melted with affection for the calves that they did not care about the rough path from the top of Govardhana Hill down to the pasturing ground. They approached the calves with their milk bags full of milk, and they raised their tails upwards. When they were coming down the hill, their milk bags were pouring milk on the ground out of intense maternal affection for the calves, although they were not their own calves. These cows had their own calves, and the calves that were grazing beneath Govardhana Hill were larger; they were not expected to drink milk directly from the milk bag but were satisfied with the grass. Yet all the cows came immediately and began to lick their bodies, and the calves also began to suck milk from the milk bags. There appeared to be a great bond of affection between the cows and calves.
Although the men came down disappointed, baffled and angry, as soon as they saw their own children, their hearts melted with great affection. At once their anger, dissatisfaction and unhappiness disappeared. They began to show paternal love for the children, and with great affection they lifted them in their arms and embraced them. They began to smell their children's heads and enjoy their company with great happiness. After embracing their children, the men took the cows back to the top of Govardhana Hill. Along the way they began to think of their children, and affectionate tears fell from their eyes.
When Balarāma saw this extraordinary exchange of affection between the cows and the calves and between the fathers and their children—when neither the calves nor the children needed so much care—He began to wonder why this extraordinary thing had happened. He was astonished to see all the residents of Vṛndāvana so affectionate to their own children, exactly as they had been to Kṛṣṇa. Similarly, the cows had grown affectionate to the calves—as much as to Kṛṣṇa. Balarāma therefore concluded that the extraordinary show of affection was something mystical, either performed by the demigods or by some powerful man.
although I have committed an offense at Your lotus feet by stealing away Your boys and calves, I can understand that You have bestowed Your mercy upon me. That is Your transcendental quality: You are very affectionate toward Your devotees. But in spite of Your great affection for me, I cannot estimate the potency of Your bodily activities. It is to be understood that when I, Lord Brahmā, the supreme personality of this universe, cannot estimate the childlike body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then what to speak of others? And if I cannot estimate the spiritual potency of Your childlike body, then what can I understand about Your transcendental pastimes?
“I can also understand that Your appearance as a small cowherd boy, a child of the cowherd men, is not at all a material activity. You are so much obliged by their affection that You are here to inspire them with more loving service by Your transcendental presence. In Vṛndāvana there is no distinction between material and spiritual because everything is dedicated to Your loving service. My dear Lord, Your Vṛndāvana pastimes are simply to inspire Your devotees. If someone takes Your Vṛndāvana pastimes to be material, he will be misled.
The next important object of affection, after his own self, is his material body. A person who has no information of the spirit soul is very much attached to his material body, so much so that even in old age he wants to preserve the body in so many artificial ways, thinking that his old and broken body can be saved.
I think some of them must be great sages, devotees of Your Lordship, and they are disguising themselves in the form of drones because they are unable to give up Your company even for a moment. My dear brother, You are the supreme worshipable Godhead. Just see how the peacocks are dancing before You in great ecstasy. The deer, whose behavior is just like that of the gopīs, are welcoming You with the same affection. And the cuckoos who are residing in this forest are welcoming You with their joyful, sweet cries because they consider that Your appearance in their home is so auspicious.
While Kṛṣṇa was thus engaged in His transcendental pastimes, exhibiting His internal potency in the company of the supermost fortunate cowherd boys, there occurred another chance for Him to exhibit the superhuman powers of Godhead. His most intimate friends Śrīdāmā, Subala and Stoka Kṛṣṇa addressed Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma with great love and affection thus: “Dear Balarāma, You are very powerful; Your arms are very strong. Dear Kṛṣṇa, You are very expert in killing all kinds of disturbing demons. Will You kindly note that just near this place there is a big forest of the name Tālavana? This forest is full of palm trees, and all the trees are filled with fruits. Some have fallen down, and some are very ripe even in the trees. It is a very nice place, but because of a great demon, Dhenukāsura, it is very difficult to go there. No one can reach the trees to collect the fruits. Dear Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, this demon is present there in the form of an ass, and he is surrounded by similar demon friends who have assumed the same shape. All of them are very strong, so it is very difficult to approach this place. Dear brothers, You are the only persons who can kill such demons.
But in spite of Kṛṣṇa's beautiful features, Kāliya felt great anger within his heart, and thus he grabbed Kṛṣṇa with his mighty coils. Seeing the incredible way in which Kṛṣṇa was enveloped in the coils of the serpent, the affectionate cowherd boys and other inhabitants of Vṛndāvana immediately became stunned out of fear. They had dedicated everything to Kṛṣṇa: their lives, property, affection, activities—everything was for Kṛṣṇa—and when they saw Him in that condition, they became overwhelmed with fear and fell down on the ground. All the cows, bulls and small calves became overwhelmed with grief, and they began to look at Him with great anxiety. Out of fear they could only cry in agony and stand erect on the bank, unable to help their beloved Kṛṣṇa.
Observing the inauspicious signs, the cowherd men, including Mahārāja Nanda, became very anxious out of fear. At the same time they were informed that Kṛṣṇa had gone to the pasturing ground without His elder brother, Balarāma. As soon as Nanda and Yaśodā and the cowherd men heard this news, they became even more anxious. Out of their great affection for Kṛṣṇa, and being unaware of the extent of His potencies, they became overwhelmed with grief and anxiety because they had nothing dearer than Kṛṣṇa and because they had dedicated their everything—life, property, affection, mind and activities—to Kṛṣṇa. Because of their great attachment for Kṛṣṇa, they thought, "Today Kṛṣṇa is surely going to be vanquished!"
Stricken by the fist of Balarāma, the demon fell down dead, just like a snake with a smashed head, and blood poured from his mouth. When the demon fell, he made a tremendous sound, and it sounded as if a great hill were falling upon being struck by the thunderbolt of King Indra. All the boys then rushed to the spot. Astonished by the ghastly scene, they began to praise Balarāma with the words "Well done! Well done!" All of them then embraced Balarāma with great affection, thinking that He had returned from death, and they offered their blessings and congratulations. All the demigods in the heavenly planets became very satisfied and showered flowers on the transcendental body of Balarāma, and they also offered their blessings and congratulations for His having killed the great demon Pralambāsura.
Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, along with His boyfriends and Lord Balarāma, entered the forest to enjoy the new seasonal atmosphere. The cows, being fed by new grasses, became very healthy, and their milk bags were all very full. When Lord Kṛṣṇa called them by name, they immediately came to Him out of affection, and in their joyful condition the milk flowed from their bags.
Another gopī said, "My dear friends, just see the deer! Although they are dumb animals, they have approached the son of Mahārāja Nanda, Kṛṣṇa. Not only are they attracted by the dress of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, but as soon as they hear the playing of the flute, the deer, along with their husbands, offer respectful obeisances unto the Lord by looking at Him with great affection." The gopīs were envious of the deer because the deer were able to offer their service to Kṛṣṇa along with their husbands. The gopīs thought themselves not so fortunate because whenever they wanted to go to Kṛṣṇa, their husbands were not very happy.
Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has strictly forbidden all worship of the demigods for anyone who wants to advance in pure devotional service. Yet the gopīs, who are beyond compare in their affection for Kṛṣṇa, were seen to worship Durgā. The worshipers of demigods sometimes mention that the gopīs worshiped goddess Durgā, but we must understand the purpose of the gopīs. Generally, people worship goddess Durgā for some material benediction. Here, the gopīs prayed to the goddess to become wives of Lord Kṛṣṇa. The purport is that if Kṛṣṇa is the center of activity, a devotee can adopt any means to achieve that goal.
All the men loaded their valuables on carts and slowly left with their cows and other paraphernalia. After they had cleared out everything, Lord Kṛṣṇa very slowly replaced Govardhana Hill in exactly the same position it had been before. When everything was done, all the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana approached Kṛṣṇa with feelings of love and embraced Him with great ecstasy. The gopīs, being naturally very affectionate to Kṛṣṇa, began to offer Him yogurt mixed with their tears, and they poured incessant blessings upon Him. Mother Yaśodā, mother Rohiṇī, Nanda and Balarāma, who is the strongest of the strong, embraced Kṛṣṇa one after another and, from spontaneous feelings of affection, blessed Him over and over again.
It is also confirmed in the Brahma-saṁhitā that the material potency, known as Durgā, is acting just as a shadow which moves with the movement of the substance. The conclusion is that if one somehow or other becomes attached to Kṛṣṇa or attracted to Him, either because of His qualities of beauty, opulence, fame, strength, renunciation or knowledge, through affection or friendship, or even through lust, anger or fear, then one's salvation and freedom from material contamination are assured.
I understand that you are all very chaste women, so now that you have seen the beautiful atmosphere of the Vṛndāvana forest, please return home and engage in the faithful service of your respective husbands. Some of you must have babies by this time, although you are very young. You must have left your small babies at home, and they must be crying. Please immediately go back home and just feed them with your breast milk. I can also understand that you have very great affection for Me, and out of that transcendental affection you have come here, hearing My playing on the flute. Your feelings of love and affection for Me are very appropriate because I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All living creatures are My parts and parcels, and naturally they are affectionate to Me. So this affection for Me is very welcome, and I congratulate you for this. Now you can go back to your homes.
The chastity of women is specifically stressed herein by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore this principle should be followed by any serious woman who wants to be elevated to a higher status of life. Kṛṣṇa is the center of all affection for all living creatures. When this affection is developed for Kṛṣṇa, one surpasses and transcends all Vedic injunctions. This was possible for the gopīs because they saw Kṛṣṇa face to face. This is not possible for any women in the conditioned state.
When Kṛṣṇa suddenly disappeared from the company of the gopīs, they searched for Him everywhere. After not finding Him anywhere, they became afraid and almost mad after Him. They were simply thinking of the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa in great love and affection. Being absorbed in thought of Him, they experienced loss of memory, and with dampened eyes they began to see the very pastimes of Kṛṣṇa—His beautiful talks with them, His embracing, kissing and other activities. Being so attracted to Kṛṣṇa, they imitated His dancing, His walking and His smiling, as if they themselves were Kṛṣṇa.
When the Supreme Personality of Godhead was speaking as an innocent boy in very sweet words, Vasudeva and Devakī became captivated by parental affection and embraced Him with great pleasure. They were amazed and could not speak or answer the words of Kṛṣṇa but simply embraced Him and Balarāma in great affection and remained silent, shedding incessant tears.
Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma went before Nanda and Yaśodā and very affectionately embraced them, and then the two Lords spoke as follows: “Dear father and mother, although We were born of Vasudeva and Devakī, you have been Our real father and mother, because from Our very birth and childhood you raised Us with great affection and love. Your affectionate love for Us was more than anyone can offer one's own children. You are actually Our father and mother, because you raised Us as your own children when We were just like orphans.
On account of excessive parental affection for Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa, Nanda Mahārāja felt tears in his eyes, and he embraced Them and started with the cowherd men for Vṛndāvana.
As for mother Yaśodā, she sat by the side of her husband and heard the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa without speaking. She simply cried incessantly, and milk poured from her breasts. When Uddhava saw Mahārāja Nanda and Yaśodā so extraordinarily overwhelmed with thoughts of Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and when he experienced their extraordinary affection for Him, he also became overwhelmed and spoke as follows: "My dear mother Yaśodā and Nanda Mahārāja, you are most respectable among human beings because no one but you can meditate in such transcendental ecstasy."
When the gopīs understood that Uddhava had a message from Kṛṣṇa, they became very happy and called him to a secluded place and offered him a nice sitting place. They wanted to talk with him very freely and did not want to be embarrassed before unknown persons. They welcomed him with polite words, in great submissiveness: “We know that you are a most confidential associate of Kṛṣṇa and that He has therefore sent you to Vṛndāvana to give solace to His father and mother. We can understand that family affection is very strong. Even great sages who have taken to the renounced order of life cannot give up family affection cent percent. Sometimes they think of their family members. Kṛṣṇa has therefore sent you to His father and mother; otherwise He has no further business in Vṛndāvana.
After chewing betel nut and other intoxicating eatables and spraying herself with scents, she appeared before Kṛṣṇa. Her smiling glance and moving eyebrows were full of feminine bashfulness as she stood gracefully before Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is known as Mādhava, the husband of the goddess of fortune. When Kṛṣṇa saw Kubjā hesitating to come before Him, He immediately caught hold of her hand, which was decorated with bangles. With great affection, He dragged her near Him and made her sit by His side. Simply by having previously supplied pulp of sandalwood to the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, Kubjā became free from all sinful reactions and eligible to enjoy with Him.
Kṛṣṇa continued: "I have heard that after King Pāṇḍu's death, his young sons—Yudhiṣṭhira, Bhīma, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva—along with their widowed mother, have come under the charge of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, who is to look after them as their guardian. But I have also heard that Dhṛtarāṣṭra is not only blind from birth but also blind in his affection for his cruel son Duryodhana. The five Pāṇḍavas are the sons of King Pāṇḍu, but Dhṛtarāṣṭra, due to Duryodhana's plans and designs, is not favorably disposed toward them. Kindly go there and study how Dhṛtarāṣṭra is dealing with the Pāṇḍavas. On receipt of your report, I shall consider how to favor them."
Dhṛtarāṣṭra's affection was also unlawful and did not show much intelligence. In plain words, Akrūra hinted to Dhṛtarāṣṭra that his staunch family affection was due to his gross ignorance of fact or his blindness to moral principles. Although we appear combined together in a family, society or nation, each of us has an individual destiny. Everyone takes birth according to individual past work; therefore everyone must individually enjoy or suffer the result of his own karma. There is no possibility of improving one's destiny by cooperative living.
Dhṛtarāṣṭra hinted to Akrūra that he had complete faith in Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. At the same time, he was very partial to his family members. In the very near future, Kṛṣṇa would vanquish all the members of his family, and in a helpless condition Dhṛtarāṣṭra would take shelter of Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet. To show His special favor to a devotee, Kṛṣṇa usually takes away all the objects of his material affection, thus forcing the devotee to be materially helpless, with no alternative but to accept the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. This actually happened to Dhṛtarāṣṭra after the end of the Battle of Kurukṣetra.
Dhṛtarāṣṭra could realize two opposing factors acting before him. He could understand that Kṛṣṇa was there to remove all the unnecessary burdens of the world. His sons were an unnecessary burden, and so he expected that they would be killed. At the same time, he could not rid himself of his unlawful affection for his sons. Understanding these two contradictory factors, he offered his respectful obeisances to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
When Lord Kṛṣṇa was entering the nicely decorated city of Mathurā in a festive attitude, the ladies and girls of Mathurā prepared different kinds of flower garlands to make the ceremony most auspicious. In accordance with the Vedic custom, they took yogurt mixed with fresh green grass and strewed it here and there to make the victory jubilation even more auspicious. As Kṛṣṇa passed through the street, all the ladies and women regarded Him with eyes bright with great affection. Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma carried various kinds of ornaments, jewels and other booty carefully collected from the battlefield and presented it all to King Ugrasena.
Kṛṣṇa appeared more beautiful than a human can conceive. Not only did He appear in this feature, but He glanced over Mucukunda with great affection, attracting the King's mind. Although He was the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the oldest of all, He looked like a fresh young boy, and His movements were just like those of a free deer. Still, He appeared extremely powerful; His influence and vast power are so great that every human being should be afraid of Him.
Even though they were not without fear, they were all prepared to give Kṛṣṇa a good fight to prevent the girl from being taken away. Śrī Balarāma received the news that Kṛṣṇa had left for Kuṇḍina accompanied only by a brāhmaṇa and that Śiśupāla was there with a large number of soldiers. Balarāma suspected that they would attack Kṛṣṇa, and thus out of great affection for His brother He took strong military divisions of chariots, infantry, horses and elephants and went to the precincts of Kuṇḍina.
Balarāma instructed Rukmiṇī that her affection toward her brother Rukmī, who had created enmity with so many persons, was a perverse consideration befitting an ordinary materialist. Her brother's character was not at all admirable, considering his treatment of his friends, and yet Rukmiṇī, as an ordinary woman, was affectionate toward him. He was not fit to be her brother, and still Rukmiṇī was lenient toward him.
Māyāvatī knew that she had previously been Rati, the wife of Cupid; after her husband was burned to ashes by the wrath of Lord Śiva, she was always expecting him to come back in a material form. This woman was engaged for cooking rice and dhal in the kitchen, but when she got this nice baby and understood that he was Cupid, her own husband, she naturally took charge of him and with great affection began to bathe him regularly. Miraculously, the baby swiftly grew up, and within a very short period he became a beautiful young man. His eyes were just like the petals of lotus flowers, and his arms were long, reaching down to his knees; any woman who happened to see him was captivated by his bodily beauty.
When the women saw, however, that not all the characteristics of Lord Kṛṣṇa were present in the personality of Pradyumna, out of curiosity they came back to see him and his wife, Māyāvatī. All of them were conjecturing as to who he was, for he was so beautiful. Among the women was Rukmiṇī-devī, who was equally beautiful, with her lotuslike eyes. Seeing Pradyumna, she naturally remembered her own son, and milk began to flow from her breasts out of motherly affection. She then began to wonder, “Who is this beautiful young boy? He appears to be the most beautiful person.
Simply by intuition, Rukmiṇī could understand that Pradyumna was her own lost son. She could also observe that Pradyumna resembled Lord Kṛṣṇa in every respect. She was struck with wonder as to how he had acquired all the characteristics of Lord Kṛṣṇa. She therefore began to think more confidently that the boy must be her own grown-up son because she felt so much affection for him, and, as an auspicious sign, her left arm was trembling.
All the members of the family, namely Kṛṣṇa's mother, Devakī, His father, Vasudeva, and His chief wife, Rukmiṇī, along with all other friends, relatives and residents of the palace, were very sorry when the citizens returned home without Kṛṣṇa. Because of their natural affection for Kṛṣṇa, they began to call Satrājit ill names, for he was the cause of Kṛṣṇa's disappearance.
This time Kṛṣṇa visited Hastināpura in state, as a royal prince, accompanied by His commander in chief, Yuyudhāna, and by many other soldiers. He had not actually been invited to visit the city, yet He went to see the Pāṇḍavas out of His affection for His great devotees. He visited the Pāṇḍavas without warning, and all of them got up from their respective seats as soon as they saw Him. Kṛṣṇa is called Mukunda because as soon as one comes in constant touch with Kṛṣṇa or sees Him in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one immediately becomes freed from all material anxieties. Not only that, but one is immediately blessed with all spiritual bliss.
Although the mother has affection for all the children, she takes special care of the one who is fully dependent. I know certainly, my dear Kṛṣṇa, that being seated in everyone's heart, You always create auspicious situations for Your unalloyed devotees.
Being requested by King Yudhiṣṭhira, Kṛṣṇa agreed to stay in Hastināpura for four months during the rainy season. The four months of the rainy season are called Cāturmāsya. During this period, the generally itinerant preachers and brāhmaṇas stop at a certain place and live under rigid regulative principles. Although Lord Kṛṣṇa is above all regulative principles, He agreed to stay at Hastināpura out of affection for the Pāṇḍavas. Taking this opportunity of Kṛṣṇa's residence in Hastināpura, all the citizens of the city got the privilege of seeing Him now and then, and thus they merged into transcendental bliss simply by seeing Lord Kṛṣṇa face to face.
After giving this dowry, the king of Kośala Province bade his daughter and great son-in-law be seated on a chariot and allowed them to go to their home, guarded by a division of well-equipped soldiers. As they traveled fast to their new home, the King's heart was enlivened with affection for them.
Although Kṛṣṇa had more than 16,100 wives, He used to behave with each of them with familial affection; He would create a particular situation between Himself and His wife in which the wife would criticize Him in the irritation of love, and Kṛṣṇa would enjoy this. In this case, because Kṛṣṇa could not find any fault with Rukmiṇī, for she was very grave and always engaged in His service, He smilingly, in great love, began to speak to her just to provoke her loving anger.
Although Rukmī was a veritable enemy of Kṛṣṇa, he had great affection for his sister, Rukmiṇī, and wanted to please her in all respects. On this account, when Rukmiṇī’s grandson Aniruddha was to be married, Rukmī offered his granddaughter Rocanā to Aniruddha. Such marriage between immediate cousins is not very much sanctioned by the Vedic culture, but in order to please Rukmiṇī, Rukmī offered his daughter and granddaughter to the son and grandson of Kṛṣṇa, respectively.
Nārada came and informed the family about Aniruddha's disappearance from the palace. He explained how Aniruddha had been carried to the city of Śoṇitapura, the capital of Bāṇāsura's empire, and how Bāṇāsura had arrested him with the nāga-pāśa, even though Aniruddha had defeated his soldiers. This news was given in detail by Nārada, and the whole story was disclosed. Then the members of the Yadu dynasty, all of whom had great affection for Kṛṣṇa, prepared to attack the city of Śoṇitapura.
Lord Kṛṣṇa is known as Hṛṣīkeśa, the master of the senses, and King Yudhiṣṭhira went forward to receive Him exactly as the senses meet the consciousness of life. King Yudhiṣṭhira was the elder cousin of Kṛṣṇa. Naturally he had great affection for the Lord, and as soon as he saw Him, his heart became filled with great love and affection. He had not seen the Lord for many days, and therefore he thought himself most fortunate to see the Lord present before him. The King therefore embraced Lord Kṛṣṇa again and again in great affection.
When Lord Kṛṣṇa entered the palace, all the ladies there were overwhelmed with affection just upon seeing Him. They immediately received Lord Kṛṣṇa with glittering eyes expressing their love and affection for Him, and Lord Kṛṣṇa smiled and accepted their feelings and gestures of reception. When Kuntī, the mother of the Pāṇḍavas, saw her nephew Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, she was overpowered by love and affection. She at once got up from her bedstead and appeared before Him with her daughter-in-law, Draupadī, and in maternal love and affection she embraced Him.
The Queen, the goddess of fortune Draupadī, was in charge of administering the distribution of food, and because Karṇa was famous for giving charity, he was put in charge of the charity department. In this way Sātyaki, Vikarṇa, Hārdikya, Vidura, Santardana and Bhūriśravā, the son of Bāhlīka, were all engaged in different departments for managing the affairs of the Rājasūya sacrifice. They were all so bound in loving affection for King Yudhiṣṭhira that they simply wanted to please him.
They understood that Lord Balarāma, although a kṣatriya, was now retired from the fighting business. The brāhmaṇas and sages, who were always for peace and tranquillity, were very much pleased at this. All of them embraced Balarāma with great affection and induced Him to perform various kinds of sacrifices in that sacred spot of Naimiṣāraṇya.
The brāhmaṇa's wife appeared so beautiful that it seemed as if the goddess of fortune herself had come to receive him. As soon as she saw her husband present before her, tears of joy fell from her eyes, and her voice became so choked up that she could not even address her husband. She simply closed her eyes in ecstasy. But with great love and affection she bowed down before her husband, and within herself she thought of embracing him. She was fully decorated with a gold necklace and ornaments, and while standing among the maidservants she appeared like a demigod's wife just alighting from an airplane. The brāhmaṇa was surprised to see his wife so beautiful, and in great affection and without saying a word he entered the palace with her.
Without disturbing the cultivator with rain during the day, the cloud brings liberal rain at night just to satisfy him. And yet when the cultivator wakes up in the morning, he thinks that it has not rained enough. Similarly, the Lord fulfills the desire of everyone according to his position, yet one who is not in Kṛṣṇa consciousness considers all the gifts of the Lord to be less than his desire. On the other hand, when the Lord receives a little thing in love and affection from His devotee, He considers it a great and valuable gift.
The brāhmaṇa, feeling great obligation to Kṛṣṇa, thought, “I pray to have the friendship of Lord Kṛṣṇa and to engage in His service, and to surrender fully unto Him in love and affection, life after life. I do not want any opulence. I only desire not to forget His service. I simply wish to be associated with His pure devotees. May my mind and activities be always engaged in His service.
He enjoyed varieties of food by offering it to the Lord and then taking it as prasādam. Similarly, if by the grace of the Lord we get such opulences as material wealth, fame, power, education and beauty, it is our duty to consider that they are all gifts of the Lord and must be used for His service, not for our sense enjoyment. The learned brāhmaṇa remained in that position, and thus his love and affection for Lord Kṛṣṇa increased day after day; it did not deteriorate due to great opulence.
While the men were meeting in that way, the women also met one another in the same manner. They embraced one another in great friendship, smiling very mildly, and looked at one another with much affection. When they were embracing one another in their arms, the saffron and kuṅkuma spread on their breasts was exchanged from one person to another, and they all felt heavenly ecstasy. Due to such heart-to-heart embracing, torrents of tears glided down their cheeks.
Vasudeva began to narrate his own past history—how he had been imprisoned by King Kaṁsa, how his babies had been killed, how immediately after Kṛṣṇa's birth he had carried Kṛṣṇa to the place of Nanda Mahārāja, and how Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma had been raised by Nanda Mahārāja and his queen, Yaśodā, as their own children. Similarly, Lord Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa also embraced King Nanda and mother Yaśodā, and then They offered Their respect unto their lotus feet by bowing down. Because of Their feeling affection for Nanda and Yaśodā, Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma became choked up, and for a few seconds They could not speak.
As soon as He approached the gopīs, the Lord smiled, and after embracing them and inquiring about their welfare, He began to encourage them, saying, “My dear friends, you know that Lord Balarāma and I left Vṛndāvana just to please Our relatives and family members. Thus We were long engaged in fighting with Our enemies and were obliged to forget you, who were so much attached to Me in love and affection. I can understand that I have been ungrateful to you, but still I know that you are faithful to Me.
By His supreme will we are sometimes united and sometimes separated. We can therefore conclude that ultimately we are absolutely dependent on His will. “Fortunately, you have developed loving affection for Me, which is the only way to achieve the transcendental position of association with Me. Any living entity who develops such unalloyed devotional affection for Me certainly at the end goes back home, back to Godhead. In other words, unalloyed devotional service and affection for Me are the cause of supreme liberation.
When the different queens of Lord Kṛṣṇa were submitting their statements as to how they had been married and accepted by Lord Kṛṣṇa as His wives, all the female members of the Kuru dynasty were struck with wonder. They were filled with admiration at how all the queens of Kṛṣṇa were attached to Him with love and affection. When they heard about the queens' intensity of love and affection for Kṛṣṇa, they could not check their eyes from filling with tears.
All the members of his family were with him, and in their presence he caught hold of the hands of Nanda Mahārāja and addressed him thus: “My dear brother, the Supreme Personality of Godhead has created a great tie of bondage known as the bondage of love and affection. I think that it is a very difficult job for even the great sages and saintly persons to cut such a tie of love. My dear brother, you have exhibited feelings of love for me that I was not able to return.
In the bodily concept of life, due to false egotism one is attached to the offspring of the body, and thus everyone in conditioned life is entrapped by false relationships and false affection. The whole world is moving under this false impression and suffering material bondage. I know that neither of You is my son; both of You are the original chief and progenitor, the Personality of Godhead, the Puruṣa with pradhāna.
King Bali was feeling such transcendental pleasure that he repeatedly grasped the Lords' lotus feet and kept them on his chest, and sometimes he put them on the top of his head. In this way he felt transcendental bliss. Tears of love and affection began to flow from his eyes, and all his bodily hairs stood on end. He began to offer prayers to the Lords in a voice which choked up intermittently.
Mother Devakī was overwhelmed with joy and was so ecstatic in motherly feeling that milk immediately began to flow from her breasts, and she fed the babies with great satisfaction. She took them on her lap again and again, smelling their heads and thinking, "I have gotten my lost children back!" For the time being she was overpowered by the energy of Viṣṇu, and in great motherly affection she enjoyed the company of her lost children.
To the citizens who came to see the Lord and all the assembled sages, it seemed as though the sun were present along with his various satellite planets. In that journey, Lord Kṛṣṇa and the sages passed through the kingdoms of Ānarta, Dhanva, Kuru-jāṅgala, Kaṅka, Matsya, Pāñcāla, Kuntī, Madhu, Kekaya, Kośala and Arṇa, and thus all the citizens of these places, both men and women, could see Lord Kṛṣṇa face to face. In this way they enjoyed celestial happiness, with open hearts full of love and affection for the Lord, and when they saw the face of the Lord, it seemed to them that they were drinking nectar through their eyes.
Feeling very much obliged and wanting to receive his guests to the best of his ability, he called for nice chairs and cushions, and Lord Kṛṣṇa, along with all the sages, sat down very comfortably. At that time, King Bahulāśva's mind was very restless, not because of any problems but because of great ecstasy of love and devotion. His heart was filled with love and affection for the Lord and His associates, and his eyes were filled with tears of ecstasy.
Your devotees are dearer to You than Your first son, Lord Brahmā, and I am sure that You have so kindly visited my place in order to prove Your divine statement. I cannot imagine how people can be godless and demoniac even after knowing of Your causeless mercy and affection for Your devotees who are constantly engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. How can they forget Your lotus feet?
You have appeared in the Yadu dynasty to fulfill Your mission of reclaiming all conditioned souls rotting in the sinful activities of material existence, and this appearance is already famous all over the world. My dear Lord, You are the ocean of unlimited mercy, love and affection. Your transcendental form is full of bliss, knowledge and eternity. You can attract everyone's heart by Your beautiful form as Śyāmasundara, Kṛṣṇa.
For a nondevotee, You are appreciated only as ultimate death. The difference is like the difference between a cat's carrying its kittens in its mouth and carrying a rat in its mouth. In the mouth of the cat, the rat feels its death, whereas the kittens in the mouth of the cat feel motherly affection. Similarly, You are present to everyone, but the nondevotee feels You as ultimate cruel death, whereas for a devotee You are the supreme instructor and philosopher.
The yogīs are also directed to concentrate their meditation upon Kṛṣṇa within the heart, and by such a continued process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness they can also become free from the clutches of the material energy. The devotees, however, are engaged in devotional service with love and affection from the very beginning, and therefore the Lord personally directs them so that they can approach Him without difficulty or deviation.
Renunciation Through Wisdom
The ass slaves his whole life carrying the washerman's burden, just for a handful of grass. Similarly, the karmīs (fruitive workers) toil tirelessly simply to secure a supply of food and other necessities. The ass is a symbol of foolishness, for he works hard only to fill his belly and copulate with a she-ass. So also do the asinine karmīs toil tirelessly out of affection and attachment, struggling to maintain their homes and, beyond that, the land of their birth, which they consider worshipable. In the home the karmī's sole source of enjoyment is his wife, who cooks for him and provides pleasure for his misery-ridden senses.
He responds to all the different devotional mellows—servitorship, fraternity, parental affection, and conjugal love. Similarly, he ignores those who disrespect Him by regarding Him as an ordinary mortal. Conversely, He always shelters and protects those who accept Him as the Supreme Lord and serve Him with loving devotion, following in the footsteps of past saintly masters.
Light of the Bhagavata
The cows that followed the Lord within the forest moved slowly because of their heavy, milk-laden udders. But when the Lord called them by their specific names they at once became alert, and as they hastened toward Him their milk bags overflowed and poured milk on the ground because of affection for the Lord.
The Lord is served there by all kinds of servitors, and both the master and the servitors are of the same quality. This spiritual variegatedness is displayed by the Lord when He descends at Vṛndāvana, and we may know that the Lord descends with His personal staff of cows, cowherd boys, and cowherd maidens, all of whom are but spiritual expansions of the Lord Himself for His own pleasures. Thus when called by the Lord the cows were overwhelmed by joyous affection, just as the mother's breast overflows with milk when the child cries for it.
All of us living beings are differentiated expansions of the Lord, but our affection for the Lord is submerged within us, artificially covered by the material quality of ignorance. Spiritual culture is meant to revive this natural affection of the living being for the Lord. The ingredients of fire are already present in safety matches, and only mild friction is needed to ignite a fire. Similarly, our natural affection for the Lord has to be revived by a little culture. Specifically, we have to receive the messages of the Lord with a purified heart.
For spiritual realization one has to purify the heart and know things in their true perspective. As soon as one does this, the flow of one's natural affection begins to glide toward the Lord, and with the progress of this flow one becomes more and more self-realized in various relations with the Lord. The Lord is the center of all the affection of all living beings, who are all His parts and parcels. When the flow of natural affection for the Lord is clogged by desires to imitate His Lordship, one is said to be in māyā, or illusion.
Flowers, waterfalls, trees, fruits, hills, caves, birds, beasts, and human beings are nothing but combinations of God's energy. Therefore when the Personality of Godhead appeared before them they all became spiritually inclined, and by natural affection they wanted to serve the Almighty in various capacities.
The human form of life represents the complete development of the senses for spiritual realization of one's original affection for the Lord. Therefore if despite this opportunity for human life we are unable to revive our natural affection for the Lord, we must know that we are wasting our life for nothing. By the grace of the Lord, however, the spiritual consciousness of every species of life can occupy its proper place, and these species can express their spiritual affection for the Lord in the śānta-rasa, as displayed by the land, water, hills, trees, fruits, and flowers of Vṛndāvana during the presence of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead.
In Bhagavad-gītā the Lord has expressed His willingness to accept fruit, flowers, leaves, and water from His devotee when they have been offered to Him in devotional affection. The Lord can eat anything and everything, because everything is but a transformation of His own energy.
The Lord is never hungry, nor does He require any food to fill His empty stomach. He is complete in Himself. Yet He always mercifully eats the foods offered by His devotees in sincere affection. The cowherd boys brought simple foodstuffs from home, and the Lord, who is constantly served by hundreds and thousands of goddesses of fortune, is always glad to accept such simple foodstuffs from His devotee friends.
Men with developed consciousness, therefore, do not waste time making excursions, real or imaginary, to the moon. Such intelligent persons do not endeavor to achieve temporary sense enjoyment. Rather, they apply their conserved energy for the sake of spiritual cultivation. They discharge religious duties for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord, and not for personal sense enjoyment. The signs of such exceptional devotees of the Lord are that they are unattached to material enjoyment, contented, pure in heart, attached to devotional service, free from affection for temporary things, and devoid of false ego.
The supreme ātmā, or soul, is the Lord Himself, and the minute ātmā is the living entity. The supreme ātmā, or Paramātmā, alone maintains all the individual minute beings, for the Supreme Lord wants to derive pleasure out of their affection. The father extends himself through his children and maintains them in order to derive pleasure.
Before hearing the Bhagavad-gītā, Arjuna was disturbed by the material whirlpool, by his affection for his family, society and community. Thus Arjuna wanted to become a philanthropic, nonviolent man of the world.
- cintāmaṇi-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vṛkṣa-
- lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhīr abhipālayantam
- govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor, who is tending the cows fulfilling all desires in abodes filled with spiritual gems and surrounded by millions of wish-fulfilling trees. He is always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds of thousands of Lakṣmīs, or goddesses of fortune."
Mukunda-mala-stotra (mantras 1 to 6 only)
The Lord is therefore next addressed as Bhakta-priya, meaning "He who is very dear to His devotees" or "He who is very affectionate to His devotees." In the Bhagavad-gītā (9.29) the Lord very nicely describes His sublime and transcendental affection for His devotees. There the Lord declares that although He is undoubtedly equally kind to all living beings—because all of them are part and parcel of Him and are His spiritual sons—those who are especially attached to Him by love and affection, who regard nothing dearer than Him, are particularly dear to Him.
A devotee is never as eager to see the Lord as he is to render service to Him. Yet the Lord does appear before His devotee, for He is just like an affectionate father, who is more eager to see his son than the son is to see him. There is no contradiction in such a quantitative difference in affection. Such a disparity exists in the original reality—between the Lord and His devotees—and is reflected here not only in the relations between parents and children in human society but even in the animal kingdom. Parental affection is exhibited even among lower animals because originally such affection in its fullness exists in God, the original father of all species of living beings.
A father is naturally inclined to act for the good of his son, and when the father chastises his son, that chastisement is also mixed with affection. Similarly, all the living entities who have lost their place in paradise due to disobedience to the Supreme Father are put into the hands of the material energy to undergo a prison life of the threefold miseries. Yet the Supreme Father does not forget His rebellious sons.
When a neophyte devotee deviates from the path of pure devotion and wants to simultaneously enjoy sense gratification and discharge devotional service, the all-merciful Lord very tactfully corrects the bewildered devotee by exhibiting before him the real nature of this material world. In the material world all relationships are actually mercenary but are covered by an illusory curtain of so-called love and affection. The so-called wives and husbands, parents and children, and masters and servants are all concerned with reciprocal material profit. As soon as the shroud of illusion is removed, the dead body of material so-called love and affection is at once manifest to the naked eye.
Narada-bhakti-sutra (sutras 1 to 8 only)
It is said that when conjugal affection between a lover and beloved comes to the point of being destroyed and yet is not destroyed, such a relationship is pure love, or prema. In the material world it is not possible to find this kind of love, for it exists only between Kṛṣṇa and His intimate devotees, such as the gopīs. The sentiment between the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa was so strong that it could not be destroyed under any circumstances.
|Compiled by||Visnu Murti + and ChandrasekharaAcarya +|
|Completed sections||ALL +|
|Date of first entry||December 9, 0011 JL +|
|Date of last entry||January 27, 0012 JL +|
|Total quotes||191 +|
|Total quotes by section||BG: 0 +, SB: 0 +, CC: 0 +, OB: 191 +, Lec: 0 +, Conv: 0 + and Let: 0 +|