The residents of Vṛndāvana are so glorious that everyone is prepared to render devotional service to the Lord." It is stated in another verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (SB 10.35.11): "O just see how the cranes and swans on the water are singing the glories of the Lord! Indeed, they are standing in the water meditating and worshiping Him."
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- 1 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 2 Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
- 3 Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
- 4 Lectures
- 5 Conversations and Morning Walks
SB Canto 3
The forests on the shore of the Yamunā are all beautiful gardens full of trees of mango, jackfruit, apples, guava, oranges, grapes, berries, palmfruit and so many other plants and fragrant flowers. And because the forest was on the bank of the Yamunā, naturally there were ducks, cranes and peacocks on the branches of the trees. All these trees and birds and beasts were pious living entities born in the transcendental abode of Vṛndāvana just to give pleasure to the Lord and His eternal associates, the cowherd boys.
The heron, vulture, crane, hawk, bhāsa, bhallūka, peacock, swan, sārasa, cakravāka, crow, owl and others are the birds.
When the king of bees hums in a high pitch, singing the glories of the Lord, there is a temporary lull in the noise of the pigeon, the cuckoo, the crane, the cakravāka, the swan, the parrot, the partridge and the peacock. Such transcendental birds stop their own singing simply to hear the glories of the Lord.
Lake Bindu-sarovara was adorned by flowering trees such as kadamba, campaka, aśoka, karañja, bakula, āsana, kunda, mandāra, kuṭaja and young mango trees. The air was filled with the pleasing notes of kāraṇḍava ducks, plavas, swans, ospreys, waterfowl, cranes, cakravākas and cakoras.
For most of the trees, flowers, fruits and birds mentioned here as surrounding Bindu-sarovara Lake, English synonyms cannot be found. All the trees mentioned are very pious in that they produce a nice aromatic flower, such as the campaka, kadamba and bakula. The sweet sounds of waterfowl and cranes made the surrounding area as pleasant as possible and created a very suitable spiritual atmosphere.
SB Canto 4
There were emerald staircases which led to lakes full of variously colored lotus flowers and lilies, and swans, kāraṇḍavas, cakravākas, cranes and similar other valuable birds were visible in those lakes.
It appears that not only was the palace surrounded by compounds and gardens with varieties of trees, but there were small man-made lakes also, where the water was full of many-colored lotus flowers and lilies, and to get down to the lakes there were staircases made of valuable jewels such as emeralds. By the beautifully positioned garden houses there were many luxuriant birds, such as swans, cakravākas, kāraṇḍavas and cranes. These birds generally do not live in filthy places like crows do. The atmosphere of the city was very healthy and beautiful; it can simply be imagined from its description.
It is said that the inhabitants of Kimpuruṣa-loka can perform many wonderful mystic demonstrations. In other words, they can exhibit as many wonderful things as one can imagine. The inhabitants of this planet can do whatever they like, or whatever they imagine. Such powers are also mystic powers. The possession of such mystic power is called īśitā. The demons generally learn such mystic powers by the practice of yoga. In the Daśama-skandha, the Tenth Canto, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, there is a vivid description of how the demons appear before Kṛṣṇa in various wonderful forms. For instance, Bakāsura appeared before Kṛṣṇa and His cowherd boyfriends as a gigantic crane. While present on this planet, Lord Kṛṣṇa had to fight with many demons who could exhibit the wonderful mystic powers of Kimpuruṣa-loka. Although the inhabitants of Kimpuruṣa-loka are naturally endowed with such powers, one can attain these powers on this planet by performing different yogic practices.
In that great lake there were different types of lotus flowers. Some of them were bluish, and some of them were red. Some of them grew at night, some in the day and some, like the indīvara lotus flower, in the evening. Combined together, the lotus flowers filled the lake so full that the lake appeared to be a great mine of such flowers. Consequently, on the shores there were swans and cranes, cakravāka, kāraṇḍava and other beautiful water birds standing about.
The word ākaram ("mine") is significant in this verse, for the reservoir of water appeared like a mine from which different types of lotus flowers were produced. Some of the lotus flowers grew during the day, some at night and some in the evening, and accordingly they had different names and different colors. All these flowers were present on that lake, and because the lake was so calm and quiet and filled with lotus flowers, superior birds, like swans, cakravākas and kāraṇḍavas, stood on the shores and vibrated their different songs, making the entire scene attractive and beautiful. As there are different types of human beings, according to the association of the three qualities of material nature, there are similarly different types of birds, bees, trees, etc. Everything is divided according to the three qualities of material nature. Birds like swans and cranes, who enjoy clear waters and lotus flowers, are different from crows, who enjoy filthy places. Similarly, there are persons who are controlled by the modes of ignorance and passion and those who are controlled by the mode of goodness. The creation is so varied that there are always varieties found in every society. Thus on the bank of this lake all the superior birds lived to enjoy that atmosphere created by that great reservoir filled with lotus flowers.
SB Canto 5
Sometimes the living entity in the forest of material existence takes shelter of creepers and desires to hear the chirping of the birds in those creepers. Being afraid of roaring lions in the forest, he makes friends with cranes, herons and vultures.
In the forest of the material world there are many animals and birds, trees and creepers. Sometimes the living entity wants to take shelter of the creepers; in other words, he wants to be happy by being embraced by the creeperlike arms of his wife. Within the creepers there are many chirping birds; this indicates that he wants to satisfy himself by hearing the sweet voice of his wife. In old age, however, he sometimes becomes afraid of imminent death, which is compared to a roaring lion. To save himself from the lion's attack, he takes shelter of some bogus svāmīs, yogīs, incarnations, pretenders and cheaters. Being misled by the illusory energy in this way, he spoils his life. It is said, hariṁ vinā mṛtiṁ na taranti: no one can be saved from the imminent danger of death without taking shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The word hari indicates the lion as well as the Supreme Lord. To be saved from the hands of Hari, the lion of death, one must take shelter of the supreme Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. People with a poor fund of knowledge take shelter of nondevotee cheaters and pretenders in order to be saved from the clutches of death. In the forest of the material world, the living entity first of all wants to be very happy by taking shelter of the creeperlike arms of his wife and hearing her sweet voice. Later, he sometimes takes shelter of so-called gurus and sādhus who are like crane, herons and vultures. Thus he is cheated both ways by not taking shelter of the Supreme Lord.
In each of those tracts of land, there are many gardens filled with flowers and fruits according to the season, and there are beautifully decorated hermitages as well. Between the great mountains demarcating the borders of those lands lie enormous lakes of clear water filled with newly grown lotus flowers. Aquatic birds such as swans, ducks, water chickens, and cranes become greatly excited by the fragrance of lotus flowers, and the charming sound of bumblebees fills the air. The inhabitants of those lands are important leaders among the demigods. Always attended by their respective servants, they enjoy life in gardens alongside the lakes. In this pleasing situation, the wives of the demigods smile playfully at their husbands and look upon them with lusty desires. All the demigods and their wives are constantly supplied with sandalwood pulp and flower garlands by their servants. In this way, all the residents of the eight heavenly varṣas enjoy, attracted by the activities of the opposite sex.
SB Canto 8
In that garden there was a very large lake filled with shining golden lotus flowers and the flowers known as kumuda, kahlāra, utpala and śatapatra, which added excellent beauty to the mountain. There were also bilva, kapittha, jambīra and bhallātaka trees. Intoxicated bumblebees drank honey and hummed with the chirping of the birds, whose songs were very melodious. The lake was crowded with swans, kāraṇḍavas, cakrāvakas, cranes, and flocks of water chickens, dātyūhas, koyaṣṭis and other murmuring birds. Because of the agitating movements of the fish and tortoises, the water was decorated with pollen that had fallen from the lotus flowers. The lake was surrounded by kadamba flowers, vetasa flowers, nalas, nīpas, vañjulakas, kundas, kurubakas, aśokas, śirīṣas, kūṭajas, iṅgudas, kubjakas, svarṇa-yūthīs, nāgas, punnāgas, jātīs, mallikās, śatapatras, jālakās and mādhavī-latās. The banks were also abundantly adorned with varieties of trees that yielded flowers and fruits in all seasons. Thus the entire mountain stood gloriously decorated.
Beautiful women protected by the demigods sported in the gardens, which had lotus ponds full of swans, cranes, cakravākas and ducks.
SB Canto 10.1 to 10.13
Vṛndāvana is full of peacocks. Kūjat-kokila-haṁsa-sārasa-gaṇākīrṇe mayūrākule. The Vṛndāvana forest is always full of cuckoos, ducks, swans, peacocks, cranes and also monkeys, bulls and cows. So Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma used to imitate the sounds of these animals and enjoy sporting.
My dear friends, just see how this riverbank is extremely beautiful because of its pleasing atmosphere. And just see how the blooming lotuses are attracting bees and birds by their aroma. The humming and chirping of the bees and birds is echoing throughout the beautiful trees in the forest. Also, here the sands are clean and soft. Therefore, this must be considered the best place for our sporting and pastimes.
The description of Vṛndāvana forest as given herewith was spoken by Kṛṣṇa five thousand years ago, and the same condition prevailed during the time of the Vaiṣṇava ācāryas three or four hundred years ago. Kūjat-kokila-haṁsa-sārasa-gaṇākīrṇe mayūrākule. Vṛndāvana forest is always filled with the chirping and cooing of birds like cuckoos (kokila), ducks (haṁsa) and cranes (sārasa), and it is also full of peacocks (mayūrākule). The same sounds and atmosphere still prevail in the area where our Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma temple is situated. Everyone who visits this temple is pleased to hear the chirping of the birds as described here (kūjat-kokila-haṁsa-sārasa).
SB Cantos 10.14 to 12 (Translations Only)
Flowers beautifully decorated the forest of Vṛndāvana, and many varieties of animals and birds filled it with sound. The peacocks and bees sang, and the cuckoos and cranes cooed.
The cranes continued dwelling on the shores of the lakes, although the shores were agitated during the rainy season, just as materialistic persons with contaminated minds always remain at home, despite the many disturbances there.
Maddened by the divine, honeylike aroma of the tulasī flowers on the garland Kṛṣṇa wears, swarms of bees sing loudly for Him, and that most beautiful of all persons thankfully acknowledges and acclaims their song by taking His flute to His lips and playing it. The charming flute song then steals away the minds of the cranes, swans and other lake-dwelling birds. Indeed they approach Kṛṣṇa, close their eyes and, maintaining strict silence, worship Him by fixing their consciousness upon Him in deep meditation.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Hearing that Lord Kṛṣṇa had killed Narakāsura and had alone married many brides, Nārada Muni desired to see the Lord in this situation. He thought, "It is quite amazing that in a single body Lord Kṛṣṇa simultaneously married sixteen thousand women, each in a separate palace." Thus the sage of the demigods eagerly went to Dvārakā.
The city was filled with the sounds of birds and bees flying about the parks and pleasure gardens, while its lakes, crowded with blooming indīvara, ambhoja, kahlāra, kumuda and utpala lotuses, resounded with the calls of swans and cranes. Dvārakā boasted nine hundred thousand royal palaces, all constructed with crystal and silver and splendorously decorated with huge emeralds. Inside these palaces, the furnishings were bedecked with gold and jewels. Traffic moved along a well-laid-out system of boulevards, roads, intersections and marketplaces, and many assembly houses and temples of demigods graced the charming city. The roads, courtyards, commercial streets and residential patios were all sprinkled with water and shaded from the sun's heat by banners waving from flagpoles.
“'All the cranes and swans in the water are being enchanted by the melodious song of Kṛṣṇa"s flute. They have approached and are worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead with full attention. Alas, they are closing their eyes and are becoming completely silent.'"
“The tinkling of Kṛṣṇa's ankle bells surpasses the songs of even the swan and crane, and the sound of His bangles puts the singing of the caṭaka bird to shame. Having allowed these sounds to enter the ears even once, one cannot tolerate hearing anything else."
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Teachings of Lord Caitanya
Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
Sometimes it is seen that cranes and ducks meander continually on the banks of the lakes and rivers, although the banks are filled with muddy garbage and thorny creepers. Similarly, persons who are householders without Kṛṣṇa consciousness are constantly tarrying in material life, in spite of all kinds of inconveniences.
When Kṛṣṇa walked on the bank of the Yamunā, He was seen nicely decorated with tilaka on His face. He was garlanded with different kinds of forest flowers, and His body was smeared with the pulp of sandalwood and tulasī leaves. The bumblebees became mad after the fragrance and sweetness of the atmosphere. Being pleased by the humming sound of the bees, Kṛṣṇa would play His flute, and together the sounds became so sweet to hear that aquatic birds like cranes, swans and ducks were charmed. Instead of swimming or flying, they became stunned. They closed their eyes and entered a trance of meditation in worship of Kṛṣṇa.
When Nārada arrived in Dvārakā, he saw gardens and parks full of various flowers of different colors, and also orchards overloaded with a variety of fruits. Beautiful birds were chirping, and peacocks crowed delightfully. There were ponds full of blue and red lotus flowers, and some of these tanks were filled with varieties of lilies. The lakes were full of nice swans and cranes, and the voices of these birds resounded everywhere.
All the sixteen thousand palaces of Kṛṣṇa's queens were situated in this beautiful city of Dvārakā, and Lord Kṛṣṇa, the supreme eternal enjoyer of all these facilities, expanded Himself into sixteen thousand forms and simultaneously engaged in different family affairs in those sixteen thousand palaces. In each and every one of the palaces there were nicely decorated gardens and lakes. The crystal-clear water of the lakes contained many blooming lotus flowers of different colors like blue, yellow, white and red, and the saffron powder from the lotus flowers was blown all around by the breeze. All the lakes were full of beautiful swans, ducks and cranes, crying occasionally with melodious sounds. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa sometimes entered those lakes or the rivers with His wives and enjoyed swimming pastimes with them in full jubilation.
Light of the Bhagavata
19. A crane stands on the edge of a pond that is always disturbed by flowing water, mud, and stones. The crane is like a householder who is disturbed in the shelter of his home but who, because of too much attachment, does not want to change his position.
The forgetful householder life of the conditioned soul is a soul-killing dark well. This is the opinion of Śrī Prahlāda Mahārāja, the celebrated devotee of the Lord. Too much attachment for hearth and home is never recommended by a self-realized soul. Therefore the span of human life should be methodically divided.
The first stage is called the brahmacarya-āśrama, or the order of life in childhood, when the man-to-be is trained in the ultimate goal of life. The next stage is the gṛhastha-āśrama, in which the man is trained to enter into the Transcendence. Then comes the vānaprastha-āśrama, the preliminary stage of renounced life. The last stage recommended is the sannyāsa order, or the renounced order of life. In this way one accepts a gradual process of spiritual activities for the ultimate goal of liberation.
Unfortunately, for want of sufficient culture of the human spirit, no one wants to give up the householder life, even though it is full of pinpricks and mud. And those who are too attached amidst the pinpricks of muddy householder life are compared to the cranes that stand on the bank of the river for some sense enjoyment despite all the inconveniences there. We should always remember that the society, friendship, only shadowy representations of the real society, friendship, and love reciprocated in the kingdom of God. There is no reality in the conditioned life of material existence, but because of our ignorance we are attached to the mirage. The idea of society, friendship, and love is not at all false, but the place where we search for it is false. We have to give up this false position and rise to the reality. That should be the aim of life, and that is the result of cultivating the human spirit.
Unfortunately, for want of sufficient culture of this spirit, the materialistic man always sticks to this false place in spite of all its turmoils. It is said that a man should give up the order of householder life at the age of fifty. But in this era of ignorance even an old man wants to rejuvenate his bodily functions, put on artificial teeth, and make a pretense of youthful life, even on the verge of death. Cranelike politicians especially are too much attached to the false prestige of position and rank, and so they always seek reelection, even at the fag end of life. These are some of the symptoms of an uncultured life.
If the public becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious, naturally the government will be Kṛṣṇa conscious. But that is up to the public. But they do not want to be. Therefore they want a king—the crane was sent. You know this story? The frogs, they wanted a king from God, and God gave. He gave them one stone. (indistinct) small. So they were expecting a king. Then, when they saw that king is not speaking, somebody jumped over it. Still, the king did not say. "What can be done to the king?" So they accused the God that "What kind of king you have...? He does not speak. He does not move." "All right." Then He sent one crane. So the crane came and began to catch one like that. Then they became, "Oh, what kind of king?" (laughter) So the public is like that. They wanted. They defied this religious system.
In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta it is said that "Kṛṣṇa consciousness is eternally existing in every human being, every living entity." Not only human being. You have seen the one picture that a calf, how he is loving Kṛṣṇa by licking His body. You have seen it. So even in the calf, even in the animal, even in the bird, even in the beast. We have described all these things in our Teachings of Lord Caitanya, that when Kṛṣṇa was present in Vṛndāvana, how the cranes, how the cuckoos, how the peacocks, how the walks(?), how the flowers, how the creepers were loving Him. How they were loving Kṛṣṇa. So it is not a thing that we have to teach. Simply by good association, by reference, it comes out. It is called suptotthita-nyāya.
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Lectures
Vṛndāvana's not that small city. It is a tract of land about eighty-four miles. So it is full of gardens and full of nice places. Anywhere you go, you will find something wonderful to see. There are many trees and fruits and flowers, many varieties of birds, and the cranes on the Yamunā side. Each and every place is remembering Kṛṣṇa. If you go there you'll find that "Kṛṣṇa is... Somewhere He was playing. I must find out." It is such nice place. So Vṛndāvana is the most confidential part of Kṛṣṇa's abode.
Why you have got different types of bodies? We have manufactured it. God has given us facility. I wanted to become such and such. He has given us facilities, "All right, you become such and such." If I want to become a tiger, God will give me all the facilities to become a tiger. He will give me facilities, paws and nails and teeth so that immediately I can capture any animal, and with the instruments which He has provided within my body, I can immediately scratch it into pieces and eat. Similarly, you will find... You see the cranes. They have got big beaks. Why? Because they have to catch fish from within the water, so the beak must be very long. So there is facility. The hog has different mouth because he has to eat stool. So a different kind of body.
Conversations and Morning Walks
1974 Conversations and Morning Walks
Dhanañjaya: So these buildings are mere symbols of their ignorance.
Prabhupāda: That's all. They have got some intelligence. They are utilizing for piling up these stones and bricks. That's all. This is their intelligence, how to pile up nicely stones and bricks. Crane. The same thing. The real business is to pile up some stones and bricks, that's all. They are making research, engineering. The real business is how to pile up stones and bricks. That's all. The same business as the children pile up some sand and imagine "This is park, this is this, this is that."