The attitude of the gopīs is like a mirror upon which the reflection of Kṛṣṇa's beauty develops at every moment. Both Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs increase their transcendental beauty at every moment, and there is always transcendental competition between them. No one can appreciate the beauty of Kṛṣṇa by properly discharging his occupational duty or by undergoing austerities, practicing mystic yoga, cultivating knowledge or offering various kinds of prayers. Only those who are on the transcendental platform of love of God, who engage in devotional service only out of love, can appreciate the transcendental beauty of Kṛṣṇa. Such beauty is the essence of all opulences and is appreciated only in Goloka Vṛndāvana and nowhere else. In the form of Nārāyaṇa the beauties of mercy, fame, etc., are all established by Kṛṣṇa, but Kṛṣṇa's gentleness and magnanimity do not exist in Nārāyaṇa. They are found only in Kṛṣṇa.
Attitude (Other Books)
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Teachings of Lord Caitanya
On the other hand, those who are eternally conditioned are always divorced from the transcendental loving service of Kṛṣṇa and are thus subjected to the threefold miseries of material existence. On account of the conditioned soul's eternal attitude of separation from Kṛṣṇa, the spell of the material energy awards him two kinds of bodies—the gross body, consisting of five elements, and the subtle body, consisting of mind, intelligence and ego. Being covered by these two bodies, the conditioned soul eternally suffers the pangs of material existence, known as the threefold miseries. He is also subjected to six enemies (lust, anger, etc.). Such is the everlasting disease of the conditioned soul.
Similarly, when the atheist Hiraṇyakaśipu asked his son Prahlāda Mahārāja how he had attained such a devotional attitude, the boy replied, "As long as one is not favored by the dust of the feet of pure devotees, one cannot even touch the path of devotional service, which is the solution to all the problems of material life." (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.5.32)
According to the various divisions and gradations of devotees, permanent devotional attitudes 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 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.
Situated above these two emotions is permanent love, which is called sthāyi-bhāva. In other words, when one's attachment to Kṛṣṇa is permanent, one is situated in sthāyi-bhāva. That permanent loving attitude is sometimes mixed with different kinds of taste, called vibhāva, anubhāva and vyabhicārī. Vibhāva is a particular taste or attachment for Kṛṣṇa, and it can be divided into two further categories—ālambana and uddīpana. In the Agni Purāṇa and other authoritative scriptures, that which increases one's love for Kṛṣṇa is said to be vibhāva, and when Kṛṣṇa is the objective, vibhāva is described as ālambana.
His activities, His beautiful smiling face and the aroma of His body, the sounds of His flute, ankle bells, and conch shell, the marks on the soles of His feet, His dwelling place and His paraphernalia of devotional service (such as tulasī leaves, devotees, ceremonial performances and Ekādaśī). Anubhāva occurs when feelings and emotions within oneself are exhibited. In the attitude of anubhāva, one dances and sometimes falls down, sometimes sings loudly, shows convulsions, yawns and sometimes breathes very heavily—all without concern for circumstances.
"By it I live simultaneously to preach and popularize this movement in the material world." In that saṅkīrtana movement of Lord Caitanya, Nityānanda and Advaita are His expansions and Gadādhara and Śrīvāsa are His internal and marginal potencies, respectively. The living entities are also called marginal potency because they have either of two attitudes—namely, the tendency to surrender unto Kṛṣṇa and the tendency to become independent of Him and try for material enjoyment. Due to this propensity for material enjoyment, the living entity becomes contaminated by the material world. When a living entity is dominated by a desire for material enjoyment and becomes entangled in material life, he is subjected to the threefold miseries of material existence.
Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu distinguished Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from all other Purāṇas by recommending it as the spotless Purāṇa.
The transcendental message is received through the ears, by the method of submissive hearing. A challenging attitude cannot help one receive or realize the transcendental message; therefore in the second verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam the word śuśrūṣu is used. This word indicates that one should be eager to hear the transcendental message. The desire to hear with interest is the primary qualification for assimilating transcendental knowledge.
Lord Caitanya appreciated this statement very much, yet still He said, "You can go even further." Being so requested, Rāmānanda Rāya then stated that the parental relationship with Kṛṣṇa is a still higher transcendental position. When the friendly attitude toward Kṛṣṇa increases in affection, it develops into the relationship found between parents and their 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" by the Supreme Personality of Godhead and to have Him suck her breasts.
In this connection, Lord Kṛṣṇa says to the damsels of Vraja in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.82.44): "Devotional service to Me is the life of every living entity. Indeed, your love for Me is the only cause of achieving My association." It is said that Lord Kṛṣṇa, in His relationship with His devotees, accepts all kinds of devotional service and then reciprocates according to the devotee's attitude. If one wants a relationship with Kṛṣṇa as master and servant, Kṛṣṇa plays the part of the perfect master. For one who wants Kṛṣṇa as a son in the parental relationship, Kṛṣṇa plays the part of a perfect son. Similarly, if a devotee wants to worship Kṛṣṇa in conjugal love, Kṛṣṇa perfectly plays the part of a husband or paramour. However, Kṛṣṇa has admitted that His loving relationship with the damsels of Vraja in conjugal love is the highest perfectional stage. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.32.22) Kṛṣṇa told the gopīs:
Nectar of Devotion
The author of Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, very humbly submits that he is just trying to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world, although he humbly thinks himself unfit for this work. That should be the attitude of all preachers of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, following in the footsteps of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. We should never think of ourselves as great preachers, but should always consider that we are simply instrumental to the previous ācāryas, and simply by following in their footsteps we may be able to do something for the benefit of suffering humanity.
Hearing and speaking Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the religious process which elevates one to the platform of serving and loving the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
The attitude of the disciple should be to satisfy the bona fide spiritual master. Then it will be very easy for him to understand spiritual knowledge. This is confirmed in the Vedas, and Rūpa Gosvāmī will further explain that for a person who has unflinching faith in God and the spiritual master, everything becomes revealed very easily.
Once when Kṛṣṇa and His cowherd friends were enjoying friendly conversation, Kṛṣṇa began to address His associates in casual language. At that time Kṛṣṇa's servant Patrī was also enjoying the conversation. But then, remembering his position of servitude, Patrī bowed down before his master, and with great respect and control, he stifled his smiling. This subdued smiling is an instance of concealment caused by a respectful attitude.
It is further said, "Who is that person who will not agree to worship the land of Mathurā? Mathurā can deliver all the desires and ambitions of the fruitive workers and of the salvationists, who desire to become one with the Supreme Brahman. Certainly Mathurā will deliver the desires of the devotees, who simply aspire to be engaged in the devotional service of the Lord." In the Vedic literature it is also stated, "How wonderful it is that simply by residing in Mathurā even for one day, one can achieve a transcendental loving attitude toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead! This land of Mathurā must be more glorious than Vaikuṇṭha-dhāma, the kingdom of God!"
When the hunter became a perfect devotee, he was not prepared to kill even an ant. Parvata Muni, a friend of Nārada's, saw the wonderful transformation of the hunter by devotional service and remarked, "My dear hunter, your unwillingness to kill even an ant is not very astonishing. Any person who develops the devotional attitude has all the good qualities automatically manifested in his person. A devotee is never a cause of distress to anyone."
For example, the cowherd boys who are playing with Kṛṣṇa do not have to learn by austerities or penances or yogic practice how to play with Him. They have passed all tests of regulative principles in their previous lives, and as a result they are now elevated to the position of direct association with Kṛṣṇa as His dear friends. Their spontaneous attitude is called rāgānugā-bhakti.
Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī has defined rāgānugā-bhakti as spontaneous attraction for something while completely absorbed in thoughts in it, with an intense desire of love. Devotional service executed with such feelings of spontaneous love is called rāgānugā-bhakti. Devotional service under the heading of rāgānugā can be further divided into two categories: one category is called "sensual attraction," and the other is called "relationship."
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.
There may be some difficulty in understanding that both the gopīs and Kaṁsa achieved the same goal, so this point should be clearly understood, because the attitudes of Kaṁsa and Śiśupāla were different from that of the gopīs. Although in all these cases the focus is on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and all of the devotees are elevated to the spiritual world, there is still a distinction between these two classes of souls. In the First Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said that the Absolute Truth is one and that He is manifested as impersonal Brahman, Paramātmā (Supersoul) and Bhagavān (the Supreme Personality of Godhead). Here is a spiritual distinction. Although Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān are the same-and-one Absolute Truth, devotees like Kaṁsa or Śiśupāla could attain only to the Brahman effulgence. They could not have realization of Paramātmā or Bhagavān. That is the distinction.
And actually the impersonalists are enemies of God, because they cannot tolerate the unparalleled opulence of the Lord. They try always to place themselves on the same level with the Lord. That is due to their envious attitude. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has proclaimed the impersonalists to be offenders of the Lord. The Lord is so kind, however, that even though they are His enemies, they are still allowed to enter into the spiritual kingdom and remain in the impersonal brahma-jyotir, the undifferentiated light of the Absolute.
"My dear Lord, yogīs meditate upon Your localized feature, and thus they achieve the spiritual perfection of being merged in the impersonal brahma-jyotir. Persons who treat You as an enemy achieve the same perfection without meditating. The gopīs, who are embraced by Your serpentine arms and who have such lusty attitudes, also achieve the same perfection. And as far as we are concerned, being different demigods in charge of the different parts of Vedic knowledge, we are always following in the footsteps of the gopīs. Thus we hope to attain the same perfection." By "the same perfection" we must always remember the example of the sun and the sunshine. Those who are impersonalists can merge into the sunshinelike brahma-jyotir, whereas those who are in love with the Supreme Person enter into the supreme abode of the Lord, Goloka Vṛndāvana.
The "lusty attitude" of the gopīs does not refer to any sort of sex indulgence. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī explains that this "lusty desire" refers to the devotee's particular attitude of association with Kṛṣṇa. Every devotee in his perfectional stage has a spontaneous attraction to the Lord. This attraction is sometimes called the "lusty desire" of the devotee. The lust is the devotee's excessive desire to serve the Lord in a particular capacity. Such a desire may seem to be a desire for enjoying the Lord, but actually the endeavor is to serve the Lord in that capacity.
In the attitude of the denizens of Vṛndāvana, such as Nanda Mahārāja and mother Yaśodā, is to be found the ideal transcendental concept of being the father and mother of Kṛṣṇa, the original Personality of Godhead. Factually, no one can become the father or mother of Kṛṣṇa, but a devotee's possession of such transcendental feelings is called love of Kṛṣṇa in a parental relationship. The Vṛṣṇis (Kṛṣṇa's relatives at Dvārakā) also felt like that. So spontaneous love of Kṛṣṇa in the parental relationship is found both among those denizens of Dvārakā who belonged to the dynasty of Vṛṣṇi and among the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana.
This development of conjugal love for Kṛṣṇa is not manifested in women only. The material body has nothing to do with spiritual loving affairs. A woman may develop an attitude for becoming a friend of Kṛṣṇa, and, similarly, a man may develop the feature of becoming a gopī in Vṛndāvana. How a devotee in the form of a man can desire to become a gopī is stated in the Padma Purāṇa as follows: In days gone by there were many sages in Daṇḍakāraṇya. Daṇḍakāraṇya is the name of the forest where Lord Rāmacandra lived after being banished by His father for fourteen years. At that time there were many advanced sages who were captivated by the beauty of Lord Rāmacandra and who desired to become women in order to embrace the Lord. Later on, these sages appeared in Gokula Vṛndāvana when Kṛṣṇa advented Himself there, and they were born as gopīs, or girl friends of Kṛṣṇa. In this way they attained the perfection of spiritual life.
Sometimes, however, it is found that without undergoing any devotional process, one all of a sudden develops devotion for Lord Kṛṣṇa. This sudden development of the devotional attitude in a person must be understood as a special mercy of Kṛṣṇa or of His devotee. This apparently accidental development of ecstatic feelings through the causeless mercy of Kṛṣṇa can be divided into three groups: simply by speaking, simply by glancing and simply by good wishes.
In the Nāradīya Purāṇa there is a statement about development of ecstatic love simply by speaking. Lord Kṛṣṇa said to Nārada, "O best of the brāhmaṇas, I wish that you may develop unalloyed devotional service to Me, which is full of transcendental bliss and all auspiciousness."
In the Nārada Pañcarātra pure, unalloyed devotional service is explained as being without any motive for personal benefit. If a devotee is continuously in love with Lord Kṛṣṇa and his mind is always fixed upon Him, that devotional attitude will prove to be the only means of attracting the attention of the Lord. In other words, a Vaiṣṇava who is incessantly thinking of the form of Lord Kṛṣṇa is to be known as a pure Vaiṣṇava.
The word rasa, used in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, is understood by different persons differently because the exact English equivalent is very difficult to find. But as we have seen our spiritual master translate this word rasa into "mellow," we shall follow in his footsteps and also translate the word in that way.
The particular loving mood or attitude relished in the exchange of love with the Supreme Personality of Godhead is called rasa, or mellow. The different types of rasa, when combined together, help one to taste the mellow of devotional service in the highest degree of transcendental ecstasy. Such a position, although entirely transcendental to our experience, will be explained in this section as far as possible, following in the footsteps of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī.
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.
Regarding the attractiveness of Kṛṣṇa's bodily beauty and the sound vibration of His flute, in the Tenth Canto, Twenty-ninth Chapter, verse 40, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the gopīs address Kṛṣṇa as follows: "Although our attitude toward You resembles loving affairs with a paramour, we cannot but wonder at how no woman can maintain her chastity upon hearing the vibration from Your flute. And not only women, but even stronghearted men are subject to falling down from their position at the sound of Your flute. In fact, we have seen that in Vṛndāvana even the cows, the deer, the birds, the trees—everyone—has been enchanted by the sweet vibration of Your flute and the fascinating beauty of Your person."
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.
When one becomes frightened at seeing a lightning bolt in the sky, that fearfulness brings on anxiety. Therefore, fearfulness and anxiety may be taken as one. One's desire to hide his real mentality is called avahitthā, or concealment, and a desire to exhibit superiority is called pride. Both of these may be classified under pretension. In a pretentious attitude both avahitthā and pride are to be found. One's inability to tolerate an offense committed by another is called amarṣa, and one's inability to tolerate the opulence of another is called jealousy. Jealousy and amarṣa are both caused by intolerance. One's ability to establish the correct import of a word may be called conclusiveness.
And before such a conclusive determination of import, there must be thoughtful consideration. Therefore, the act of consideration is present during the establishment of a conclusion. When one presents himself as ignorant, his attitude is called humility, and when there is absence of enthusiasm it is called cowardice. Therefore, in humility, there is sometimes cowardice also. When the mind is steadfast it is called enduring, and one's ability to tolerate others' offenses is also called endurance. Therefore, forgiveness and endurance can be synonymous.
When mother Yaśodā heard that Kṛṣṇa's cows were being forcibly moved by the strong servants of Kaṁsa and that the tender cowherd boys were trying to protect their cows, she began to think, "How can I protect these poor boys from the invasion of Kaṁsa's servants?" This is an instance of a superior attitude in a devotee.
As soon as mother Yaśodā found her son Kṛṣṇa returning from the pasturing ground, she immediately began to pat Him, touching her fingers to the cheeks of the Lord.
The above attitudes of dissatisfaction and anger in devotional service are called īrṣyu.
When Akrūra was leaving Vṛndāvana, some of the elderly gopīs rebuked him as follows: "O son of Gāndinī, your cruelty is defaming the dynasty of King Yadu. You are taking Kṛṣṇa away, keeping us in such a pitiable condition without Him. Now, even before you have left, the life air of all the gopīs has practically disappeared."
Please do not feel threatened by Me. There is no need for your heart to tremble like this. Please calm yourself down. I have no anger toward you. You may, however, become as angry as you like with Me—to expand your service in fighting with Me and to increase My sporting attitude." In this dreadful situation in ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Himself is the object of dread.
As such, the impersonalists cannot derive any relishable transcendental pleasure from the topics of Bhagavad-gītā, in which the Lord is personally talking with Arjuna. The basic principle of their impersonal attitude does not allow them the transcendental pleasure which is relished by a devotee whose basic principle of understanding is the Supreme Person. The impersonalistic commentary on Bhagavad-gītā is therefore disastrous, because without understanding the transcendental pleasure of the Gītā, the impersonalist wants to interpret it in his own way. If an impersonalist can, however, come in contact with a pure devotee, his transcendental position can be changed for greater elevation. Great sages are therefore recommended to worship the form of the Lord in order to achieve that highest transcendental pleasure.
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.
Among the well-wisher friends, Maṇḍalībhadra and Balabhadra are the chiefs. Maṇḍalībhadra is described as follows. His complexion is yellowish, and his dress is very attractive. He always carries a stick of various colors. He wears a peacock feather on his head and always looks very beautiful. Maṇḍalībhadra's attitude is revealed in this statement: "My dear friends, our beloved Kṛṣṇa is now very tired from working with the cows in the pasturing grounds and from traveling all over the forests. I can see that He is very fatigued. Let me massage His head silently while He is taking rest in His house. And you, Subala—you just massage His thighs."
Kṛṣṇa's age, His beauty, His bugle, His flute, His conchshell and His pleasing attitude all provoke love in friendship for Him. His exceptional joking abilities, exhibited sometimes by His pretending to be a royal prince, or even the Supreme Personality of Godhead, also give impetus to devotees developing love for Kṛṣṇa in friendship.
In enjoying Kṛṣṇa's attitude of stealing butter very stealthily, mother Yaśodā experienced the ecstasy of maternal love by smelling His head, sometimes patting His body with her hand, sometimes offering blessings, sometimes ordering Him, sometimes gazing at Him, sometimes maintaining Him and sometimes giving Him good instructions not to become a thief. Such activities are in maternal ecstatic love. An important point to be observed in this connection is that the childish propensity of stealing is there even in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore this propensity is not artificial. However, in the spiritual relationship there is no inebriety to this stealing propensity, as there is in the material world.
"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.
In the same Padyāvalī there is the following description, which is taken as a sign of frustration in conjugal love. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī said, "Dear Mr. Cupid, please do not excite Me by throwing your arrows at My body. Dear Mr. Air, please do not arouse Me with the fragrance of flowers. I am now bereft of Kṛṣṇa's loving attitude, and so, under the circumstances, what is the use of My sustaining this useless body? There is no need for such a body by any living entity." This is a sign of frustration in ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa.
And to make me blame my own son for His mischief, He has smeared some of the butter on my son's face while he was sleeping!" Upon hearing this, mother Yaśodā shook her curved eyebrows. She could only look at her friend with a smiling face. May mother Yaśodā bless everyone with this smiling attitude. In this example the whole is the parental love, and the part is the laughter.
In this statement there are traces of neutrality and conjugal love, and the resulting humor is incompatible.
Sometimes it is found in places like Vṛndāvana that a person with a slight devotional attitude of neutral love for Kṛṣṇa may immediately and artificially try to attain to the platform of conjugal love. But because of the incompatibility of neutrality and conjugal love, the person is found to fall from the standard of devotional service.
Incompatibility was expressed by a great devotee on the platform of neutrality when he sarcastically prayed, "I am very anxious to see Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is many millions of times more affectionate than the Pitās (forefathers) in the Pitṛloka and who is always worshiped by the great demigods and sages.
Nectar of Instruction
Everyone within this material world is engrossed in the modes of passion and ignorance. One must promote himself to the platform of goodness, sattva-guṇa, by following the instructions of Rūpa Gosvāmī, and then everything concerning how to make further progress will be revealed.
Advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness depends on the attitude of the follower. A follower of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement should become a perfect gosvāmī. Vaiṣṇavas are generally known as gosvāmīs. In Vṛndāvana, this is the title by which the director of each temple is known. One who wants to become a perfect devotee of Kṛṣṇa must become a gosvāmī. Go means "the senses," and svāmī means "the master." Unless one controls his senses and mind, one cannot become a gosvāmī.
To fight without anger is not possible. Anger is controlled, however, when utilized in the service of the Lord.
As for the urges of the tongue, we all experience that the tongue wants to eat palatable dishes. Generally we should not allow the tongue to eat according to its choice, but should control the tongue by supplying prasāda. The devotee's attitude is that he will eat only when Kṛṣṇa gives him prasāda. That is the way to control the urge of the tongue. One should take prasāda at scheduled times and should not eat in restaurants or sweetmeat shops simply to satisfy the whims of the tongue or belly. If we stick to the principle of taking only prasāda, the urges of the belly and tongue can be controlled.
Thus of all the devotees who have developed unalloyed devotional love for Kṛṣṇa, the gopīs are most exalted, and out of all these exalted gopīs, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the highest. No one can excel the devotional service of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Indeed, even Kṛṣṇa cannot understand the attitude of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī; therefore He took Her position and appeared as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, just to understand Her transcendental feelings.
Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
At that time, Kaṁsa got up from his bed very quickly and exclaimed, "Now the cruel death of my life is born!" Kaṁsa became perplexed now that his death was approaching, and his hair scattered. Immediately he proceeded toward the place where the child was born.
Devakī, on seeing her brother approaching, prayed in a very meek attitude to Kaṁsa: “My dear brother, please do not kill this female child. I promise that this child will be the wife of your son; therefore don’t kill her. You are not to be killed by any female child. That was the prophecy. You are to be killed by a male child, so please do not kill her. My dear brother, you have killed so many of my children who were just born, shining like the sun. That is not your fault. You have been advised by demoniac friends to kill my children. But now I beg you to excuse this girl at least. Let her live as my daughter.”
Therefore, O Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva, your lives have now become successful because you have developed ecstatic love for Me. This is your last birth within material existence. Now you can go back to your father's residence in the heavenly planets, and by remaining in the attitude of devotional service, you will be liberated in this very life.”
After this, the demigods circumambulated the Lord many times and bowed down before Him again and again, and thus they left. The Lord remained bound up with ropes to the grinding mortar.
Since all Your pastimes are spiritual, there is no possibility of their being contaminated by the material modes of nature. When You place Yourself as subordinate to Your father and mother, Nanda and Yaśodā, You are not reduced in Your potency; this is an expression of Your loving attitude toward Your devotees. There is no second identity to compete with You. A person with a poor fund of knowledge concludes that Your appearance and pastimes are simply material designations. You are transcendental to both nescience and knowledge, as it is confirmed in the Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad. You are the original amṛta (indestructible nectar of immortality). As confirmed in the Vedas, amṛtaṁ śāśvataṁ brahma. Brahman is the eternal, the supreme origin of everything, who has no birth or death.
This attitude of the gopīs is described by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu when He prays, "My dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, You may embrace Me or trample Me under Your feet, or You may make Me brokenhearted by never being present before Me. Whatever You like, You can do, because You have complete freedom to act. But in spite of all Your dealings, You are My Lord eternally, and I have no other worshipable object." This is the attitude of the gopīs toward Kṛṣṇa.
There is a statement in the Brahma-saṁhitā: karmāṇi nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhājām (Bs. 5.54). Everyone is bound by his fruitive activities, but the devotees, because they work completely for the satisfaction of the Lord, suffer no reactions. Similarly, the gopīs' attitude toward Kṛṣṇa, although seemingly lusty, should not be considered to be like the lusty desires of ordinary women. The reason is explained by Kṛṣṇa Himself. Activities in devotional service to Kṛṣṇa are transcendental to any fruitive result.
At the same time, they continued to hope that Kṛṣṇa would be their husband. Their attitude toward Kṛṣṇa was that of paramour love. Therefore, the loving affairs of Kṛṣṇa with the gopīs are called parakīya-rasa. The attitude of a married man who desires another wife or a wife who desires another husband is called parakīya-rasa.
Kṛṣṇa does not like His devotees to be proud of their service to Him. He accepts everyone's service, but He does not like one devotee to proudly consider himself better than others. If sometimes there are such feelings, Kṛṣṇa ends them by changing His attitude toward the devotee.
He was certain that although he was going as a representative of Kaṁsa, Kṛṣṇa would not accept him as an enemy. “Even though I am on a sinful mission, being deputed by Kaṁsa, when I approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I shall stand before Him with all humility and folded hands. Surely He will be pleased with my devotional attitude, and maybe He will smile lovingly and look upon me and thereby free me from all kinds of sinful reactions. I shall then be on the platform of transcendental bliss and knowledge. Since Kṛṣṇa knows my heart, certainly when I approach Him, He will embrace me. Not only am I a member of the Yadu dynasty, but I am His relative and an unalloyed, pure devotee. By His merciful embrace, surely my body, heart and soul will be completely cleansed of the actions and reactions of my past life.
When Lord Kṛṣṇa saw Vasudeva and Devakī standing in a reverential attitude, He immediately expanded His influence of yogamāyā so that they could treat Him and Balarāma as children. As in the material world the relationship existing between father and mother and children can be established amongst different living entities by the influence of the illusory energy, so, by the influence of yogamāyā, the devotee can establish a relationship in which the Supreme Personality of Godhead is his child. After creating this situation by His yogamāyā, Kṛṣṇa, appearing with His elder brother, Balarāma, as the most illustrious son in the dynasty of the Sātvatas, very submissively and respectfully addressed Vasudeva and Devakī: "My dear Father and Mother, although you have always been anxious for the protection of Our lives, you could not enjoy the pleasure of having Us as your babies, as your growing boys and as your adolescent youths."
The inhabitants enjoyed Uddhava's association in the same way that they enjoyed the association of Kṛṣṇa.
Uddhava was attracted by the attitude of the gopīs because they were completely attached to Kṛṣṇa, and he was inspired by the gopīs' anxiety for Kṛṣṇa. He offered them his respectful obeisances and composed songs in praise of their transcendental qualities as follows: “Among all the living entities who have accepted the human form of life, the gopīs are superexcellently successful in their mission. Their thought is eternally absorbed in the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. Great sages and we ourselves also try to be absorbed in meditation on the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, but the gopīs, having lovingly accepted the Lord, are automatically accustomed to this and do not depend on any yogic practice.
The people constructed road crossings and gates at entrances to lanes and streets. 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 thus offered His respect to His grandfather because Ugrasena was at that time the crowned king of the Yadu dynasty.
The opposing princes were determined to defeat Kṛṣṇa and recapture Rukmiṇī from His custody, and they fought with Him as severely as possible. Rukmiṇī, seated by the side of Kṛṣṇa, saw arrows raining from the opposing party onto the faces of the Yadu soldiers. In a fearful attitude, she looked upon Kṛṣṇa's face, expressing her gratefulness that He had taken such a great risk for her sake only. Her eyes moving, she appeared sorry, and Kṛṣṇa, who could immediately understand her mind, encouraged her with these words: “My dear Rukmiṇī, don’t worry. Please rest assured that the soldiers of the Yadu dynasty will kill all the opposing soldiers without delay.”
As Kṛṣṇa was speaking with Rukmiṇī, the commanders of the Yadu dynasty's soldiers, headed by Lord Balarāma, who is also known as Saṅkarṣaṇa, as well as by Gada, not tolerating the defiant attitude of the opposing soldiers, began to strike their horses, elephants and chariots with arrows. As the fighting progressed, the princes and soldiers of the enemy began to fall from their horses, elephants and chariots. Within a short time, millions of severed heads, decorated with helmets and earrings, had fallen on the battlefield. The soldiers' hands were severed along with their bows and arrows and clubs; arms were piled upon arms, thighs upon thighs, and horses upon horses. Similarly, other animals, such as camels, elephants and asses, as well as infantry soldiers, all fell with severed heads.
In a sporting attitude, Kṛṣṇa wanted to engage in a mock fight with His devotee. As we have experienced from the pages of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the Supreme Personality of Godhead has all the propensities and instincts of a human being. Sometimes, in a sportive spirit, He wishes to fight to make a show of bodily strength, and when He so desires, He selects one of His suitable devotees to give Him that pleasure. Kṛṣṇa desired this pleasure of mock fighting with Jāmbavān. Although Jāmbavān was a devotee by nature, he did not know that his opponent was Kṛṣṇa while giving service to the Lord by his bodily strength.
Within their minds, they decided to accept Lord Kṛṣṇa as their husband without hesitation. Each one of them prayed to Providence that Kṛṣṇa might become her husband. Sincerely and seriously, they offered their hearts to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa with an unalloyed devotional attitude. As the Supersoul in everyone's heart, Kṛṣṇa could understand their uncontaminated desire, and He agreed to accept them as His wives. Thus He arranged for suitable garments and ornaments for them, and each of them, seated on a palanquin, was dispatched to Dvārakā City. Kṛṣṇa also collected unlimited wealth from the palace, a treasure of chariots, horses, jewels and so on. He took from the palace fifty white elephants, each with four tusks, and all of them were dispatched to Dvārakā.
While drinking this natural beverage, all the gopīs chanted the glories of Lord Balarāma, and Lord Balarāma felt very happy, as if He had become intoxicated by drinking that Vāruṇī beverage. His eyes rolled in a pleasing attitude. He was decorated with long garlands of forest flowers, and the whole situation appeared to be a great function of happiness because of this transcendental bliss. Lord Balarāma smiled beautifully, and the drops of perspiration decorating His face appeared like soothing morning dew.
Your order, and thus I have become a great offender. But, my dear Lord, please know that I am a soul surrendered unto You, who are very affectionate to Your devotees. Therefore please excuse my impudence and mistakes, and, by Your causeless mercy, may You now release me.”
Upon displaying this submissive attitude, the Yamunā was forgiven, and when she came nearby, Lord Balarāma enjoyed the pleasure of swimming in her waters along with the gopīs in the same way that an elephant enjoys himself along with his many she-elephants. After a long time, when Lord Balarāma had enjoyed to His full satisfaction, He came out of the water, and immediately a goddess of fortune offered Him a nice blue garment and a valuable necklace made of gold.
As the Supreme Absolute Truth, I am transcendental to the living entity, as well as to his material embodiment. The two energies, material and spiritual, both act under My supreme control. My dear gopīs, I request that instead of being afflicted, you try to accept everything with a philosophical attitude. Then you will understand that you are always with Me and that there is no cause of lamentation in our being separated from one another.”
This important instruction by Lord Kṛṣṇa to the gopīs can be utilize
When Vasudeva was addressing his divine sons in that way, Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were smiling. Because They are very affectionate to Their devotees, They accepted all the appreciation of Vasudeva with a kindly, smiling attitude. Kṛṣṇa then confirmed all of Vasudeva's statements as follows: "My dear Father, whatever you may say, We are, after all, your sons. What you have said about Us is certainly a highly philosophical understanding of spiritual knowledge. I accept it in toto, without exception."
This statement by the brāhmaṇa is very instructive. It is a fact that the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, in His Paramātmā feature, enters the creation of this material world as Mahā-Viṣṇu, Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, and in a very friendly attitude the Lord sits along with the conditioned soul in the body. Therefore, every living entity has the Lord with him from the very beginning, but due to his mistaken consciousness of life, the living entity cannot understand this. When his consciousness, however, is changed into Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he can immediately understand how Kṛṣṇa is trying to assist the conditioned souls to get out of the material entanglement.
Actually, there are no unfavorable conditions for a devotee. Knowing that everything is coming by the will of the Lord, he sees every condition as favorable, and in any condition of life he is simply enthusiastic to discharge his devotional service. This devotional attitude is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā: a devotee is never distressed in reverse conditions of life, nor is he overjoyed in favorable conditions. In the higher stages of devotional service, a devotee is not even concerned with the list of do's and do not's. Such a position can be maintained only by following in the footsteps of the ācāryas. Because a pure devotee follows in the footsteps of the ācāryas, any action he performs to discharge devotional service should be understood to be on the transcendental platform. Lord Kṛṣṇa therefore instructs us that an ācārya is above criticism.
One's greatness has to be estimated by one's ability to tolerate provoking situations. The sages gathered on the bank of the river Sarasvatī concluded that one who wants actual peace and freedom from all fear should take shelter of the lotus feet of Viṣṇu. Since Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva lost their peaceful attitude upon a slight provocation, how can they maintain the peace and tranquillity of their devotees? As for Lord Viṣṇu, however, it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā that anyone who accepts Lord Viṣṇu or Kṛṣṇa as the supreme friend attains the highest perfection of peaceful life.
The perfect example is Mahārāja Ambarīṣa. He was not a mystic yogī but a great devotee, yet in a disagreement with Mahārāja Ambarīṣa the great mystic Durvāsā was defeated in the presence of the King's devotional attitude. In other words, a devotee does not need to practice the mystic yoga system to achieve power. The power is behind him by the grace of the Lord, just as when a small child is surrendered to a powerful father, all the powers of the father are behind him.
Renunciation Through Wisdom
Our youth are being brought up in a tradition of veiled contempt for religion and everything religious. Spiritualists and religious devotees are the laughing-stock of the educated youth, and as the general masses are religious-minded and have great respect and reverence for such devotees and spiritualists, they feel generally disgusted with the attitude of the educated class and have no regard for them. The educated class has also no affection for the masses, whose way of life is mostly molded by religious ideas. The result is that the educated classes have not been able to produce a sufficient number of servants to work with a real missionary spirit for the amelioration of the suffering of the masses.
Lord Kṛṣṇa grants genuine transcendental understanding, buddhi-yoga, to those devotees who experience spiritual satisfaction and divine bliss through constant devotional service; gradually their specific devotional attitude increases to the point where they can relish pure love of God.
In the stage of bhāva, or spontaneous devotional service in ecstasy, there is a direct transcendental exchange of mellows between Lord Kṛṣṇa and His pure devotee. The Supreme Lord Himself gives His devotee buddhi-yoga, or spiritual intelligence, and the devotee, acting with that intelligence, serves the Lord until he gradually approaches the Lord's supreme abode. Such a devotee can never be affected by ignorance.
Although there are disparities in conclusions in the above statements, still on his own Śrī Aurobindo has pointed in the right direction. It is impossible to comprehend the conjugal mellow, which is the most elevated and brilliant of spiritual mellows, without the mood of surrender. The Māyāvādīs are totally bereft of this attitude of surrender; hence when they try to understand the nondual concept on their own, they end up becoming impersonalists. Let us read what Śrī Aurobindo has to say about these Māyāvādīs:
No one can dominate Kṛṣṇa. It is the conditioned soul who tries to dominate material nature and is instead subjected to the laws of material nature and the sufferings of repeated birth and death. The Lord comes here to reestablish the principles of religion, and the basic principle is the development of an attitude of surrender to Him. This is the Lord's last instruction in the Bhagavad-gītā (18.66): sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja. "Give up all other processes and just surrender unto Me alone." Unfortunately, foolish men have misinterpreted this prime teaching and misled the masses of people in diverse ways. People have been urged to open hospitals but not to educate themselves to enter into the spiritual kingdom by devotional service. They have been taught to take interest only in temporary relief work, which can never bring real happiness to the living entity.
This is the general procedure. But one who surrenders at the very beginning, as recommended in this mantra, at once surpasses all preliminary stages simply by adopting the devotional attitude. As stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (18.66), the Lord at once takes charge of such a surrendered soul and frees him from all the reactions to his sinful acts. There are many sinful reactions involved in karma-kāṇḍa activities, whereas in jñāna-kāṇḍa, the path of philosophical development, the number of such sinful activities is smaller. But in devotional service to the Lord, the path of bhakti, there is practically no chance of incurring sinful reactions. One who is a devotee of the Lord attains all the good qualifications of the Lord Himself, what to speak of those of a brāhmaṇa.
Mukunda-mala-stotra (mantras 1 to 6 only)
The all-merciful Lord is always mindful of our difficulties in the mundane world, and He is more eager to get us to return home, back to Godhead, than we are eager to go. He is by nature merciful toward us, despite our rebellious attitude. Even in our rebellious condition we get all our necessities from Him, such as food, air, light, water, warmth, and coolness. Yet because we have detached ourselves from Him, we simply mismanage this paternal property. The leaders of society, despite all their materialistic plans, are misleaders, for they have no plan to revive our lost relationship with the Lord. His bona fide devotees, however, try their utmost to broadcast the message of our transcendental relationship with Him. In this way the devotees work to remind the fallen souls of their actual position and to bring them back home, back to Godhead.