After attending the Ratha-yātrā ceremony of Śrī Jagannātha, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu decided to start for Vṛndāvana.
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Vrndavana (CC Madhya, chapters 17 to 25)
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu next passed through Prayāga and Mathurā and then took His lunch at the home of a Sānoḍiyā brāhmaṇa, a disciple of Mādhavendra Purī. He bestowed His blessings upon the brāhmaṇa by accepting lunch at his place. Thereafter the Lord visited the twelve forests of Vṛndāvana and was filled with great ecstatic love. As He toured the Vṛndāvana forests, He heard the chirping of parrots and other birds.
On His way to Vṛndāvana, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu passed through the forest of Jhārikhaṇḍa and made all the tigers, elephants, deer and birds chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra and dance. Thus all these animals were overwhelmed by ecstatic love.
When autumn arrived, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu decided to go to Vṛndāvana. In a solitary place, He consulted with Rāmānanda Rāya and Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī.
The Lord requested Rāmānanda Rāya and Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī to help Him go to Vṛndāvana.
"Please give Me your permission with great pleasure and do not be unhappy. If you are happy, I shall be happy on My way to Vṛndāvana."
When the Lord was passing through the forest, He was in ecstasy, thinking the forest to be Vṛndāvana. He was simply searching for Kṛṣṇa.
"Blessed are all these foolish deer because they have approached Mahārāja Nanda"s son, who is gorgeously dressed and is playing on His flute. Indeed, both the does and the bucks worship the Lord with looks of love and affection."
This is a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.21.11) spoken by the gopīs of Vṛndāvana.
Seeing the tigers and deer following Him, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu immediately remembered the land of Vṛndāvana. He then began to recite a verse describing the transcendental quality of Vṛndāvana.
"'Vṛndāvana is the transcendental abode of the Lord. There is no hunger, anger or thirst there. Though naturally inimical, human beings and fierce animals live together there in transcendental friendship.'"
When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu passed through the Jhārikhaṇḍa forest, He took it for granted that it was Vṛndāvana. When He passed over the hills, He took it for granted that they were Govardhana.
"Before this, I decided to go to Vṛndāvana and on the way see My mother, the river Ganges and other devotees once again."
"I thought that once again I would see and meet all the devotees and take them with Me to Vṛndāvana."
"However, when I started for Vṛndāvana, many thousands and millions of people gathered and began to go with Me."
"Thus I was going to Vṛndāvana with a big crowd, but through the mouth of Sanātana, Kṛṣṇa taught Me a lesson. Thus by making some impediment, He has brought Me on a path through the forest to Vṛndāvana."
"My Lord, I have heard that You are going to Vṛndāvana. Please stay here at Vārāṇasī for some days and deliver us, for we are Your two servants."
In Vṛndāvana we have seen many Māyāvādī sannyāsīs who do not even come to the temple of Govindajī, Gopīnātha or Madana-mohana because they think that such temples are māyā.
When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu entered the city of Mathurā, He took His bath at Viśrāma-ghāṭa. He then visited the birthplace of Kṛṣṇa and saw the Deity named Keśavajī. He offered His respectful obeisances to this Deity.
At the present moment, the temple of Keśavajī is very much improved. At one time, Keśavajī-mandira was attacked by the emperor Aurangzeb, who constructed such a big mosque there that the temple of Keśavajī was insignificant in comparison. But with the help of many rich Marwaris, the temple has been improved, and a very large temple is now being constructed so that the mosque is now appearing diminished in comparison. Many archeological discoveries have been made there, and many people from foreign countries are beginning to appreciate Kṛṣṇa's birthplace. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is attracting many foreigners to the Keśavajī temple, and now they will also be attracted by the Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma temple in Vṛndāvana.
When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted to see the various forests of Vṛndāvana, He took the brāhmaṇa with Him.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu visited the different forests, including Madhuvana, Tālavana, Kumudavana and Bahulāvana. Wherever He went, He took His bath with great ecstatic love.
The word vana means "forest." Vṛndāvana is the name given to the forest where Śrīmatī Vṛndādevī (Tulasīdevī) grows profusely. Actually it is not a forest as we ordinarily consider a forest, because it is very thick with green vegetation. There are twelve such vanas in Vṛndāvana. Some are located on the western side of the Yamunā, and others are on the eastern side. The forests situated on the eastern side are Bhadravana, Bilvavana, Lauhavana, Bhāṇḍīravana and Mahāvana. On the western side are Madhuvana, Tālavana, Kumudavana, Bahulāvana, Kāmyavana, Khadiravana and Vṛndāvana. These are the twelve forests of the Vṛndāvana area.
When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu passed through Vṛndāvana, herds of grazing cows saw Him pass and, immediately surrounding Him, began to moo very loudly.
Upon seeing Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the trees and creepers of Vṛndāvana became jubilant. Their twigs stood up, and they began to shed tears of ecstasy in the form of honey.
Thus all the moving and nonmoving living entities of Vṛndāvana became very jubilant to see the Lord. It was as if friends were made happy by seeing another friend.
The male parrot sang, "The glorification of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is beneficial to everyone in the universe. His beauty is victorious over the gopīs of Vṛndāvana, and it subdues their patience. His pastimes astound the goddess of fortune, and His bodily strength turns Govardhana Hill into a small toy like a ball. His spotless qualities are unlimited, and His behavior satisfies everyone. Lord Kṛṣṇa is attractive to everyone. Oh, may our Lord maintain the whole universe!"
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's mind was absorbed in ecstatic love at Jagannātha Purī, but when He passed along the road on the way to Vṛndāvana, that love increased a hundred times.
The Lord's ecstatic love increased a thousand times when He visited Mathurā, but it increased a hundred thousand times when He wandered in the forests of Vṛndāvana.
When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was elsewhere, the very name of Vṛndāvana was sufficient to increase His ecstatic love. Now, when He was actually traveling in the Vṛndāvana forest, His mind was absorbed in great ecstatic love day and night. He ate and bathed simply out of habit.
Thus I have written a description of the ecstatic love Lord Caitanya manifested in one of the places He visited while walking through the twelve forests of Vṛndāvana. To describe what He experienced everywhere would be impossible.
Lord Ananta writes millions of books elaborately describing the transformations of ecstatic love experienced by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in Vṛndāvana.
After visiting Nandīśvara, Pāvana-sarovara, Śeṣaśāyī, Khelā-tīrtha, Bhāṇḍīravana, Bhadravana, Lohavana and Mahāvana, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to Gokula and then finally returned to Mathurā. Seeing a great crowd in Mathurā, He moved His residence near Akrūra-ghāṭa, and from there He went every day to Vṛndāvana to see Kālīya-hrada, Dvādaśāditya-ghāṭa, Keśī-ghāṭa, Rāsa-sthalī, Cīra-ghāṭa and Āmli-talā.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu traveled all over Vṛndāvana and pleased all living entities, moving and nonmoving, with His glances. The Lord took much personal pleasure in seeing everyone. In this way Lord Gaurāṅga traveled in Vṛndāvana.
Due to fear of the Muslims, Gopāla went to Mathurā, where He remained in the house of Viṭhṭhaleśvara for one full month.
When the two brothers Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī went to Vṛndāvana, they decided to live there. Following Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's example, they did not climb the hill because they considered it nondifferent from Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. On some pretext, the Gopāla Deity granted Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu an audience beneath the hill, and Gopāla similarly favored Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī. During his ripe old age, when Rūpa Gosvāmī could not go to Govardhana Hill because of invalidity, Gopāla kindly went to Mathurā and remained at the house of Viṭhṭhaleśvara for one month. It was then that Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī could see Gopāla's beauty to his heart's content.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to Vṛndāvana before the birth of Viṭhṭhaleśvara. As previously mentioned, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī was very old at the time Gopāla stayed at the house of Viṭhṭhaleśvara.
Following the orders of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Śrī Lokanātha went to Vṛndāvana to live. He established a temple named Gokulānanda.
After staying at Mathurā for one month, the Gopāla Deity returned to His own place, and Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī returned to Vṛndāvana.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's touring Vṛndāvana has been previously described. In the same ecstatic way, He traveled all over Vṛndāvana.
The next day, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to Vṛndāvana and took His bath at Kālīya Lake and Praskandana.
The next morning Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu returned to Vṛndāvana and took His bath at Cīra-ghāṭa. He then went to Teṅtulī-talā, where He took rest.
Since the river Yamunā flowed near Teṅtulī-talā, a very cool breeze blew there. While there, the Lord saw the beauty of Vṛndāvana and the water of the river Yamunā.
Therefore Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu would go to Vṛndāvana and sit in a solitary place, where He would chant the holy name until noon.
The next morning, Kṛṣṇadāsa went with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to Vṛndāvana and carried His waterpot. Kṛṣṇadāsa thus left his wife, home and children in order to remain with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Everywhere the Lord went, all the people said, "Kṛṣṇa has again manifested at Vṛndāvana."
One morning many people came to Akrūra-tīrtha. As they came from Vṛndāvana, they made a tumultuous sound.
"Actually Lord Kṛṣṇa has returned to Vṛndāvana. That is the truth, and it is also true that people have seen Him."
The word sthāṇu means "a dry tree without leaves." From a distance one may mistake such a tree for a person. This is called sthāṇu-puruṣa. Although Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was living in Vṛndāvana, the inhabitants considered Him an ordinary human being, and they mistook the fisherman to be Kṛṣṇa.
Actually an ordinary human being cannot become Nārāyaṇa. As the chief Māyāvādī sannyāsī, Śrī Śaṅkarācārya, says, nārāyaṇaḥ paro ’vyaktāt: "Nārāyaṇa is not a creation of this material world. Nārāyaṇa is above the material creation." Due to their poor fund of knowledge, Māyāvādī sannyāsīs think that Nārāyaṇa, the Absolute Truth, takes birth as a human being and that when He realizes this, He becomes Nārāyaṇa again. They never consider why Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, would accept an inferior position as a human being and then again become Nārāyaṇa when He is perfect. Why should Nārāyaṇa be imperfect? Why should He appear as a human being? Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu very nicely explained these points while at Vṛndāvana.
The people then said, "You have appeared in Vṛndāvana as an incarnation of Kṛṣṇa. Just by seeing You, everyone is now liberated."
Akrūra-tīrtha is located on the road between Vṛndāvana and Mathurā. When Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were being taken to Mathurā by Akrūra, the Lord rested at this place and took His bath in the Yamunā. When Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma took Their baths, Akrūra saw the entire world of Vaikuṇṭha within the water. The inhabitants of Vṛndāvana also saw the Vaikuṇṭha planets within the water.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu thought, "At this bathing place, Akrūra saw Vaikuṇṭha, the spiritual world, and all the inhabitants of Vraja saw Goloka Vṛndāvana."
Balabhadra Bhaṭṭācārya said, "Since I was present today, it was possible for me to pull the Lord up. But if He starts to drown at Vṛndāvana, who will help Him?"
"It would be good if we could get Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu out of Vṛndāvana. That is my final conclusion."
Although Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu had no desire to leave Vṛndāvana, He began to speak sweet words just to fulfill the desire of His devotee.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, "You have brought Me here to show Me Vṛndāvana. I am very much indebted to you, and I shall not be able to repay this debt."
The next morning, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu got up early. After taking His bath, He became ecstatic with love, knowing that He now had to leave Vṛndāvana.
According to some opinions, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu visited Kurukṣetra while going to Prayāga from Vṛndāvana. There is a temple of Bhadra-kālī in Kurukṣetra, and near that temple there is a temple containing the Deity of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's visit to Vṛndāvana and His activities there are unlimited. Even Lord Śeṣa, who has thousands of hoods, cannot reach the end of His activities.
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī deposited ten thousand gold coins with a grocer, and the balance he brought in two boats to a place called Bāklā Candradvīpa. There he divided this money among the brāhmaṇas, Vaiṣṇavas and his relatives, and a portion he kept for emergency measures and personal needs. He was informed that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was going to Vṛndāvana from Jagannātha Purī through the forest of Madhya Pradesh; therefore he sent two people to Jagannātha Purī to find out when the Lord would leave for Vṛndāvana. In this way Rūpa Gosvāmī retired, but Sanātana Gosvāmī told the Nawab that he was sick and could not attend to his work. Giving this excuse, he sat at home and studied Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam with learned brāhmaṇa scholars. The Nawab Hussain Shah first sent his personal physician to see what the real facts were; then he personally came to see why Sanātana was not attending to official business. Knowing that he wanted to resign his post, the Nawab had him arrested and imprisoned. The Nawab then went off to attack Orissa.
When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu started for Vṛndāvana through the forest of Madhya Pradesh (Jhārikhaṇḍa), Rūpa Gosvāmī left home and sent news to Sanātana that he was leaving with his younger brother (Anupama Mallika) to meet Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī finally reached Prayāga and met with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu for ten successive days. During this time, Vallabha Bhaṭṭa extended an invitation to the Lord with great respect. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu introduced Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī to Vallabha Bhaṭṭa. After this, a brāhmaṇa scholar named Raghupati Upādhyāya arrived and discussed Kṛṣṇa consciousness with the Lord. Kavirāja Gosvāmī then extensively describes the living condition of Śrī Rūpa and Sanātana at Vṛndāvana. During the ten days at Prayāga, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī was instructed by the Lord, who gave him the basic principles of the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu. The Lord then sent Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī to Vṛndāvana. The Lord Himself returned to Vārāṇasī and stayed at the home of Candraśekhara.
Before the creation of this cosmic manifestation, the Lord enlightened the heart of Lord Brahmā with the details of the creation and manifested the Vedic knowledge. In exactly the same way, the Lord, being anxious to revive the Vṛndāvana pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa, impregnated the heart of Rūpa Gosvāmī with spiritual potency. By this potency, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī could revive the activities of Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana, activities almost lost to memory. In this way, He spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness throughout the world.
Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī heard that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu had returned to Jagannātha Purī and was preparing to go to Vṛndāvana through the forest.
Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī sent two people to Jagannātha Purī to find out when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu would depart for Vṛndāvana.
The Nawab again arrested Sanātana Gosvāmī and kept him in prison. At this time, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu departed for Vṛndāvana from Jagannātha Purī.
The two persons who went to Jagannātha Purī to inquire about the Lord's departure returned and informed Rūpa Gosvāmī that the Lord had already departed for Vṛndāvana.
Upon receiving this message from his two messengers, Rūpa Gosvāmī immediately wrote a letter to Sanātana Gosvāmī saying that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu had departed for Vṛndāvana.
"Somehow or other get yourself released and come to Vṛndāvana." After writing this, the two brothers (Rūpa Gosvāmī and Anupama) went to see Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Vallabha Bhaṭṭa was a great learned scholar of Vaiṣṇavism. In the beginning he was very much devoted to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, but since he thought that he could not receive proper respect from Him, he later joined the Viṣṇu Svāmī sect and became the ācārya of that sect. His sect is celebrated as the Vallabhācārya-sampradāya. This sampradāya has had great influence in Vṛndāvana near Gokula and in Bombay.
Kṛṣṇa means Śyāmasundara, who plays His flute in Vṛndāvana. Of all forms, this form is the best of all. Kṛṣṇa lives sometimes in Mathurā and sometimes in Dvārakā, but Mathurā is considered the better place. This is also confirmed by Rūpa Gosvāmī in his Upadeśāmṛta (9): vaikuṇṭhāj janito varā madhu-purī. "Madhu-purī, or Mathurā, is far superior to the Vaikuṇṭhalokas in the spiritual world."
"In the course of time, the transcendental news of Kṛṣṇa's pastimes in Vṛndāvana was almost lost. To enunciate explicitly those transcendental pastimes, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu empowered Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī with the nectar of His mercy to carry out this work in Vṛndāvana."
If someone returned to his country after seeing Vṛndāvana, the associates of the Lord would ask him questions.
They would ask those returning from Vṛndāvana, "How are Rūpa and Sanātana doing in Vṛndāvana? What are their activities in the renounced order? How do they manage to eat?" These were the questions asked.
The Lord's associates would also ask, "How is it that Rūpa and Sanātana are engaging in devotional service twenty-four hours daily?" At that time the person who had returned from Vṛndāvana would praise Śrīla Rūpa and Sanātana Gosvāmīs.
In Vṛndāvana there are prākṛta-sahajiyās who say that writing books or even touching books is taboo.
"As one waters the bhakti-latā-bīja, the seed sprouts, and the creeper gradually grows to the point where it penetrates the walls of this universe and goes beyond the Virajā River, lying between the spiritual world and the material world. It attains brahma-loka, the Brahman effulgence, and penetrating through that stratum, it reaches the spiritual sky and the spiritual planet Goloka Vṛndāvana."
A creeper generally takes shelter of a big tree, but the bhakti-latā, being the creeper of spiritual energy, cannot take shelter of any material planet, for there is no tree on any material planet that the bhakti creeper can utilize for shelter. In other words, devotional service cannot be utilized for any material purpose. Devotional service is meant only for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sometimes men with a poor fund of knowledge maintain that bhakti can be applied to material things also. In other words, they say that devotional service can be rendered to one's country or to the demigods, but this is not a fact. Devotional service is especially meant for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and it is beyond this material range. There is a river, or causal ocean, between the spiritual and material natures, and this river is free from the influence of the three modes of material nature; therefore it is called Virajā. The prefix vi means vigata ("completely eradicated"), and rajas means "the influence of the material world." On this platform, a living entity is completely free from material entanglement. For the jñānīs who want to merge into the Brahman effulgence, there is Brahma-loka. The bhakti-latā, however, has no shelter in the material world, nor has it shelter in Brahma-loka, although Brahma-loka is beyond the material world. The bhakti-latā grows until it reaches the spiritual sky, where Goloka Vṛndāvana is situated.
"Being situated in one's heart and being watered by śravaṇa-kīrtana, the bhakti creeper grows more and more. In this way it attains the shelter of the desire tree of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, who is eternally situated in the planet known as Goloka Vṛndāvana, in the topmost region of the spiritual sky."
In the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.37) it is said:
- tābhir ya eva nija-rūpatayā kalābhiḥ
- goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūto
- govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord. He resides in His own realm, Goloka, with Rādhā, who resembles His own spiritual figure and who embodies the ecstatic potency (hlādinī). Their companions are Her confidantes, who embody extensions of Her bodily form and who are imbued and permeated with ever-blissful spiritual rasa." In the spiritual world, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, has expanded Himself by His spiritual potency. He has His eternal form of bliss and knowledge (sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha (Bs. 5.1)). Everything in the Goloka Vṛndāvana planet is a spiritual expansion of sac-cid-ānanda. Everyone there is of the same potency—ānanda-cinmaya-rasa. The relationship between the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His servitor is cinmaya-rasa. Kṛṣṇa and His entourage and paraphernalia are of the same cinmaya potency. In this way the Supreme Personality of Godhead is expanded throughout the spiritual world, and when that cinmaya-rasa potency expands through the material potency, it becomes all-pervading. The idea is that although the Supreme Personality of Godhead exists on His own planet, Goloka Vṛndāvana, He is also present everywhere. Aṇḍāntara-stha-paramāṇu-cayāntara-stham (Bs. 5.35). He is present within all the universes, although they are innumerable, and He is also present within the atom. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe ‘rjuna tiṣṭhati: (BG 18.61) He is also present within the heart of all living entities. This is His all-pervasive potency.
Goloka Vṛndāvana is the highest planet in the spiritual world. In order to go to the spiritual world after penetrating the covering of the material universe, one must penetrate Brahma-loka, the spiritual effulgence. Then one can come to the Goloka Vṛndāvana planet. There are also other planets in the spiritual world, called Vaikuṇṭha planets, and on these planets Lord Nārāyaṇa is worshiped with awe and veneration. On these planets śānta-rasa is prevalent, and some of the devotees are also connected with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in dāsya-rasa, the mellow of servitorship. As far as the mellow of fraternity is concerned, in Vaikuṇṭha this rasa is represented by gaurava-sakhya, friendship in awe and veneration. The other fraternity rasa, exhibited as viśrambha (friendship in equality), is found in the Goloka Vṛndāvana planet. Above that is service to the Lord in vātsalya-rasa (parental love), and above all is the relationship with the Lord in the mādhurya-rasa (conjugal love). These five rasas are fully exhibited in the spiritual world in one's relationship with the Lord. Therefore in the spiritual world the bhakti creeper finds its resting place at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa.
"The creeper greatly expands in the Goloka Vṛndāvana planet, and there it produces the fruit of love for Kṛṣṇa. Although remaining in the material world, the gardener regularly sprinkles the creeper with the water of hearing and chanting."
In Goloka Vṛndāvana the devotees have very intimate relationships with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The bhakti-latā continues to grow until it reaches the topmost planetary system, Goloka Vṛndāvana, where Kṛṣṇa lives.
"When the fruit of devotional service becomes ripe and falls down, the gardener tastes the fruit and thus takes advantage of the creeper and reaches the desire tree of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa in Goloka Vṛndāvana."
"To taste the fruit of devotional service in Goloka Vṛndāvana is the highest perfection of life, and in the presence of such perfection, the four material perfections—religion, economic development, sense gratification and liberation—are very insignificant achievements."
The five rasas (mellows) in the transcendental world are practiced by the inhabitants of Goloka Vṛndāvana in neutrality, servitorship, friendship, parental affection and conjugal love.
"In Vṛndāvana, examples of devotees in fraternity are Śrīdāmā and Sudāmā; in Dvārakā the Lord's friends are Bhīma and Arjuna; in Vṛndāvana the devotees in parental love are mother Yaśodā and father Nanda Mahārāja, and in Dvārakā the Lord's parents are Vasudeva and Devakī. There are also other superior persons who are devotees in parental love."
"The chief devotees in conjugal love are the gopīs in Vṛndāvana, the queens in Dvārakā and the goddesses of fortune in Vaikuṇṭha. These devotees are innumerable."
"Pure attachment without reverence is found in Gokula Vṛndāvana. Attachment in which awe and reverence are prominent is found in the two cities Mathurā and Dvārakā and in Vaikuṇṭha."
"When Kṛṣṇa was defeated by Śrīdāmā, He had to carry him on His shoulders. Similarly, Bhadrasena carried Vṛṣabha, and Pralamba carried Balarāma, the son of Rohiṇī."
This verse is from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.18.24). When all the cowherd boys were playing in the forest of Vṛndāvana, the demon Pralambāsura appeared in order to kidnap Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. The asura appeared disguised in the form of a cowherd boy, but Kṛṣṇa could understand his trick. Kṛṣṇa therefore divided all the cowherd boys into two parties. One party belonged to Balarāma, and the other party belonged to Kṛṣṇa Himself. Ultimately Kṛṣṇa was defeated in this play, and according to the wager, the defeated party had to carry the victorious party on their shoulders. Kṛṣṇa had to carry Śrīdāmā on His shoulders, and Bhadrasena had to carry Vṛṣabha. The demon Pralambāsura had to carry Balarāma, and when Balarāma mounted his shoulders, the demon ran far away. Finally the demon began to expand his body to a gigantic size, and Balarāma understood that he intended to kill Him. Balarāma immediately struck the demon's head with His strong fist, and the demon fell down dead as if he were a snake whose head had been smashed.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied, "Your duty is to carry out My order. You have come near Vṛndāvana. Now you should go there."
"Later, you can go from Vṛndāvana to Jagannātha Purī through Bengal (Gauḍa-deśa). There you will meet Me again."
The brāhmaṇa from Deccan took Rūpa Gosvāmī to his home, and thereafter the two brothers departed for Vṛndāvana.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, "I met your two brothers, Rūpa and Anupama, at Prayāga. They have now gone to Vṛndāvana."
The word mādhukarī comes from the word madhukara, which refers to bees collecting honey from flower to flower. A mādhukarī is a saintly person or a mendicant who does not accept a full meal at one house but begs from door to door, taking a little food from each householder's place. In this way he does not overeat or give householders unnecessary trouble. A person in the renounced order may beg but not cook. His begging should not be a burden for the householders. The mādhukarī process is strictly to be followed by a bābājī, that is, one who has attained the paramahaṁsa stage. This practice is still current in Vṛndāvana, and there are many places where alms are offered. Unfortunately, there are many beggars who have come to Vṛndāvana to accept alms but not follow the principles of Sanātana Gosvāmī.
Kṛṣṇa exhibits Himself in His relationships in Vṛndāvana and at the Battle of Kurukṣetra so that people will be attracted to Him and will return home, back to Godhead.
"O Sanātana, please hear about the eternal form of Lord Kṛṣṇa. He is the Absolute Truth, devoid of duality but present in Vṛndāvana as the son of Nanda Mahārāja."
"The original Supreme Personality of Godhead is Kṛṣṇa. His original name is Govinda. He is full of all opulences, and His eternal abode is known as Goloka Vṛndāvana."
Parīkṣit Mahārāja asked Śukadeva Gosvāmī why Kṛṣṇa was so beloved by the residents of Vṛndāvana, who loved Him even more than their own offspring or life itself. At that time Śukadeva Gosvāmī replied that everyone's ātmā, or soul, is very, very dear, especially to all living entities who have accepted material bodies. But that ātmā, the spirit soul, is part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. For this reason, Kṛṣṇa is very dear to every living entity.
That Kṛṣṇa's form as a cowherd boy in Vṛndāvana is the original form of the Personality of Godhead (svayaṁ-rūpa) is confirmed in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.1):
- īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ
- anādir ādir govindaḥ sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam
There is nothing superior to Govinda. He is the ultimate source and the cause of all causes. This is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (7.7), where the Lord says, mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat: "There is no truth superior to Me."
"The original form of the Lord (svayaṁ-rūpa) is exhibited in two forms—svayaṁ-rūpa and svayaṁ-prakāśa. In His original form as svayaṁ-rūpa, Kṛṣṇa is observed as a cowherd boy in Vṛndāvana."
"The first manifestation of the vaibhava feature of Kṛṣṇa is Śrī Balarāmajī. Śrī Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa have different bodily colors, but otherwise Śrī Balarāma is equal to Kṛṣṇa in all respects."
To understand the difference between svayaṁ-rūpa, tad-ekātma-rūpa, āveśa, prābhava and vaibhava, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has given the following description. In the beginning, Kṛṣṇa has three bodily features: (1) svayaṁ-rūpa, as a cowherd boy in Vṛndāvana; (2) tad-ekātma-rūpa, which is divided into svāṁśaka and vilāsa; and (3) āveśa-rūpa. The svāṁśaka, or expansions of the personal potency, are (1) Kāraṇodakaśāyī, Garbhodakaśāyī, Kṣīrodakaśāyī and (2) incarnations such as the fish, tortoise, boar and Nṛsiṁha. The vilāsa-rūpa has a prābhava division, including Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. There is also a vaibhava division, in which there are twenty-four forms, including the second Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. For each of these, there are three forms; therefore there are twelve forms altogether. These twelve forms constitute the predominant names for the twelve months of the year as well as the twelve tilaka marks on the body. Each of the four Personalities of Godhead expands into two other forms; thus there are eight forms, such as Puruṣottama, Acyuta, etc. The four forms (Vāsudeva, etc.), the twelve (Keśava, etc.), and the eight (Puruṣottama, etc.) all together constitute twenty-four forms. The forms are differently named in accordance with the placement of the weapons They hold in Their four hands.
"Balarāma, who has the same original form as Kṛṣṇa, is Himself a cowherd boy in Vṛndāvana, and He also considers Himself a member of the kṣatriya race in Dvārakā. Thus His color and dress are different, and He is called a pastime form of Kṛṣṇa."
At the top of the paravyoma, the spiritual sky, there is Goloka Vṛndāvana, which is divided into three parts. Two of the parts, called Mathurā and Dvārakā, are the residences of Kṛṣṇa in His prābhava-vilāsa forms. Balarāma, Kṛṣṇa's vaibhava-prakāśa, is eternally situated in Gokula. From the quadruple prābhava-vilāsa, twenty-four forms of the vaibhava-vilāsa are expanded. Each has four hands holding weapons in different positions. The topmost planet in the spiritual sky is Goloka Vṛndāvana, and below that planet is the spiritual sky itself. In that spiritual sky, Kṛṣṇa Himself is four-handed and is situated as Nārāyaṇa.
"In the month of Āśvina, the predominating Deity is Padmanābha, and in Kārtika it is Dāmodara. This Dāmodara is different from Rādhā-Dāmodara, the son of Nanda Mahārāja in Vṛndāvana."
In the material world, the Lord is situated in different arcā-mūrtis (Deities) in the temples just to decrease the material activities of the conditioned soul and increase his spiritual activities. Particularly in India there are many temples throughout the country. Devotees may take advantage of them and go see the Lord at Jagannātha Purī, Vṛndāvana, Prayāga, Mathurā, Hardwar and Viṣṇu-kāñcī. When the devotees travel to these places and see the Lord, they become very happy in devotional service.
"That original Saṅkarṣaṇa (Lord Balarāma) is the cause of both the material and the spiritual creation. He is the predominating Deity of egotism, and by the will of Kṛṣṇa and the power of the spiritual energy, He creates the spiritual world, which consists of the planet Goloka Vṛndāvana and the Vaikuṇṭha planets."
"Kṛṣṇa remains within a universe for 125 years, and He enjoys His pastimes both in Vṛndāvana and Dvārakā."
"The eternal pastimes of Kṛṣṇa are continuously taking place in the original Goloka Vṛndāvana planet. These same pastimes are gradually manifested within the material world, in each and every brahmāṇḍa."
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura elucidates this complicated explanation of Kṛṣṇa's pastimes. Kṛṣṇa's pastimes are always present in the material world in one of the many universes. These pastimes appear in the universes one after the other, just as the sun moves across the sky and measures the time. Kṛṣṇa's appearance may be manifested in this universe at one moment, and immediately after His birth, this pastime is manifested in the next universe. After His killing of Pūtanā is manifested in this universe, it is next manifested in another universe. Thus all the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa are eternally existing both in the original Goloka Vṛndāvana planet and in the material universes.
"Kṛṣṇa is complete in the spiritual sky (Vaikuṇṭha), He is more complete in Mathurā and Dvārakā, and He is most complete in Vṛndāvana, Vraja, due to His manifesting all His opulences."
"The most complete qualities of Kṛṣṇa are manifested within Vṛndāvana, and His complete and more complete qualities are manifested in Dvārakā and Mathurā."
"Lord Kṛṣṇa is the most complete Supreme Personality of Godhead in Vṛndāvana. Elsewhere all His expansions are either complete or more complete."
"Apart from all argument, logic and negative or positive processes, when Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa was present as the Supreme Personality of Godhead at Vṛndāvana, no one could find a limit to His potencies by studying His characteristics and activities."
"At Vṛndāvana, the Lord immediately created all material and spiritual planets in one moment. Indeed, all of them were created with their predominating deities."
When Lord Kṛṣṇa was present in the earthly Vṛndāvana, Lord Brahmā, taking Him to be an ordinary cowherd boy, wanted to test His potency.
"Let the glories of Lord Kṛṣṇa be! Who could be aware of all of them? His abode, Vṛndāvana, has many wonderful opulences. Just try to see them all."
"According to the revelations of revealed scripture, Vṛndāvana extends only sixteen krośas (thirty-two miles). Nonetheless, all the Vaikuṇṭha planets and innumerable universes are located in one corner of this tract."
In Vraja, the land is divided into various vanas, or forests. The forests total twelve, and their extension is estimated to be eighty-four krośas. Of these, the special forest known as Vṛndāvana is located from the present municipal city of Vṛndāvana to the village called Nanda-grāma. This distance is sixteen krośas (thirty-two miles).
"This is the middle meaning. Now please hear the confidential meaning. Lord Kṛṣṇa has three places of residence, which are well known from the revealed scriptures."
Kṛṣṇa has three abodes—His internal abode (Goloka Vṛndāvana), His intermediate abode (the spiritual sky) and His external abode (this material world).
"The internal abode is called Goloka Vṛndāvana. It is there that Lord Kṛṣṇa's personal friends, associates, father and mother live."
"Vṛndāvana is the storehouse of Kṛṣṇa's mercy and the sweet opulences of conjugal love. That is where the spiritual energy, working as a maidservant, exhibits the rāsa dance, the quintessence of all pastimes."
"Vṛndāvana-dhāma is very soft due to the mercy of the Supreme Lord, and it is especially opulent due to conjugal love. The transcendental glories of the son of Mahārāja Nanda are exhibited here. Under the circumstances, not the least anxiety is awakened within us."
"Below the Vṛndāvana planet is the spiritual sky, which is known as Viṣṇuloka. In Viṣṇuloka there are innumerable Vaikuṇṭha planets controlled by Nārāyaṇa and innumerable other expansions of Kṛṣṇa."
"Below the planet named Goloka Vṛndāvana are the planets known as Devī-dhāma, Maheśa-dhāma and Hari-dhāma. These are opulent in different ways. They are managed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, the original Lord. I offer my obeisances unto Him."
Hari-dhāma (paravyoma) and Goloka Vṛndāvana are beyond the material cosmic manifestation. They are celebrated as three fourths of the Lord's energy. The material world, conducted by the Supreme Lord's external energy, is called Devī-dhāma and is a manifestation of one fourth of His energy.
The word sarva-loka means "all three worlds," and the word maheśvara means "the supreme proprietor." Kṛṣṇa is the proprietor of both the material and the spiritual world. The spiritual world is divided into two portions—Goloka Vṛndāvana and the Vaikuṇṭhas. The material world is a combination of universes unlimited in number.
"The three lokas are Gokula (Goloka), Mathurā and Dvārakā. Kṛṣṇa lives eternally in these three places."
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura comments that in the Goloka planet there are three divisions: Gokula, Mathurā and Dvārakā. In His incarnation as Gaurasundara, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the Lord conducts His pastimes in three areas: Navadvīpa, Jagannātha Purī (and South India) and Vraja-maṇḍala (the area of Vṛndāvana-dhāma).
Kṛṣṇa has many pastimes, of which His pastimes in Goloka Vṛndāvana (the gokula-līlā) are supreme. He also has pastimes in the Vaikuṇṭhas, the spiritual world, as Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. In His pastimes in the spiritual sky, He lies down in the Causal Ocean as Kāraṇārṇavaśāyī, the puruṣa-avatāra. His incarnations as a fish, tortoise and so on are called His causal incarnations. He incarnates in the modes of nature as Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and Lord Viṣṇu. He also incarnates as empowered living entities like Pṛthu and Vyāsa. The Supersoul is His localized incarnation, and His all-pervasive aspect is the impersonal Brahman.
When we consider impartially all the unlimited pastimes of the Lord, we find that His pastimes as a human being on this planet—wherein He sports as a cowherd boy with a flute in His hands and appears youthful and fresh like a ballet dancer—are pastimes and features that are never subjected to material laws and inebrieties. The wonderful beauty of Kṛṣṇa is presented in the supreme planet, Gokula (Goloka Vṛndāvana). Inferior to that is His representation in the spiritual sky, and inferior to that is His representation in the external energy (Devī-dhāma). A mere drop of Kṛṣṇa's sweetness can drown these three worlds—Goloka Vṛndāvana, Hari-dhāma (Vaikuṇṭhaloka) and Devī-dhāma (the material world). Everywhere, Kṛṣṇa's beauty merges everyone in the ecstasy of transcendental bliss. Actually the activities of yogamāyā are absent in the spiritual sky and the Vaikuṇṭha planets. She simply works in the supreme planet, Goloka Vṛndāvana, and she works to manifest the activities of Kṛṣṇa when He descends to the material universe to please His innumerable devotees within the material world. Thus a replica of the Goloka Vṛndāvana planet and the pastimes there is manifested on this planet on a specific tract of land—Bhauma Vṛndāvana, the Vṛndāvana-dhāma on this planet.
"When Lord Kṛṣṇa wanders in the forest of Vṛndāvana with His friends on an equal level, there are innumerable cows grazing. This is another of the Lord's blissful enjoyments. When He plays on His flute, all living entities—including trees, plants, animals and human beings—tremble and are saturated with jubilation. Tears flow constantly from their eyes."
Just as the women of Mathurā ecstatically described the fortune of the gopīs of Vṛndāvana and the transcendental qualities of Kṛṣṇa, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu described the different mellows of Kṛṣṇa and became overwhelmed with ecstatic love. Grasping the hand of Sanātana Gosvāmī, He recited the following verse.
"Such ecstatic transactions between Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs are possible only in Vṛndāvana, which is full of the opulences of transcendental love. The form of Kṛṣṇa is the original source of all transcendental qualities. It is like a mine of gems. The opulences belonging to all the personal expansions of Kṛṣṇa are to be understood to be bestowed by Kṛṣṇa; therefore Kṛṣṇa is the original source and shelter of everyone."
"After seeing Kṛṣṇa, various people criticize the blinking of their eyes. In Vṛndāvana especially, all the gopīs criticize Lord Brahmā because of this defect in the eyes." Then Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu recited some verses from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and explained them vividly, thus enjoying the taste of transcendental sweetness with great happiness.
"The beauty of Kṛṣṇa's smile is the sweetest feature of all. His smile is like a full moon that spreads its rays throughout the three worlds—Goloka Vṛndāvana, the spiritual sky of the Vaikuṇṭhas, and Devī-dhāma, the material world. Thus Kṛṣṇa's shining beauty spreads in all ten directions."
"The sound of Kṛṣṇa's flute spreads in the four directions. Even though Kṛṣṇa vibrates His flute within this universe, its sound pierces the universal covering and goes to the spiritual sky. Thus the vibration enters the ears of all inhabitants. It especially enters Goloka Vṛndāvana-dhāma and attracts the minds of the young damsels of Vrajabhūmi, bringing them forcibly to where Kṛṣṇa is present."
"The vibration of Kṛṣṇa's flute is very aggressive, and it breaks the vows of all chaste women. Indeed, its vibration takes them forcibly from the laps of their husbands. The vibration of His flute attracts even the goddesses of fortune in the Vaikuṇṭha planets, to say nothing of the poor damsels of Vṛndāvana."
"The next steps are as follows: (6) One should be prepared to give up everything for Kṛṣṇa's satisfaction, and one should also accept everything for Kṛṣṇa's satisfaction. (7) One must live in a place where Kṛṣṇa is present—a city like Vṛndāvana or Mathurā or a Kṛṣṇa temple. (8) One should acquire a livelihood that is just sufficient to keep body and soul together. (9) One must fast on the Ekādaśī day."
"One should congregationally chant the holy name of the Lord and reside in Vṛndāvana."
Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has sung:
- śrī gauḍa-maṇḍala-bhūmi, yeba jāne cintāmaṇi,
- tāra haya vrajabhūmi vāsa
"One who understands the transcendental nature of Navadvīpa and its surrounding area, where Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu enacted His pastimes, resides always in Vṛndāvana." Similarly, living in Jagannātha Purī is as good as living in Vṛndāvana. The conclusion is that Navadvīpa-dhāma, Jagannātha Purī-dhāma and Vṛndāvana-dhāma are identical.
However, if one goes to Mathurā-maṇḍala-bhūmi for sense gratification or to make a livelihood, he commits an offense and is condemned. Whoever does so must be penalized in the next life by becoming a hog or a monkey in Vṛndāvana-dhāma. After taking on such a body, the offender is liberated in the next life. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura remarks that residing in Vṛndāvana with a view to enjoy sense gratification surely leads a so-called devotee to a lower species.
"Mahārāja Ambarīṣa always engaged his mind at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, his words in describing the spiritual world and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his hands in cleansing and washing the Lord's temple, his ears in hearing topics about the Supreme Lord, his eyes in seeing the Deity of Lord Kṛṣṇa in the temple, his body in embracing Vaiṣṇavas or touching their lotus feet, his nostrils in smelling the aroma of the tulasī leaves offered to Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet, his tongue in tasting food offered to Kṛṣṇa, his legs in going to places of pilgrimage like Vṛndāvana and Mathurā or to the Lord's temple, his head in touching the lotus feet of the Lord and offering Him obeisances, and his desires in serving the Lord faithfully. In this way Mahārāja Ambarīṣa engaged his senses in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. As a result, he awakened his dormant loving propensity for the Lord's service."
"The original inhabitants of Vṛndāvana are attached to Kṛṣṇa spontaneously in devotional service. Nothing can compare to such spontaneous devotional service, which is called rāgātmikā bhakti. When a devotee follows in the footsteps of the devotees of Vṛndāvana, his devotional service is called rāgānugā bhakti."
In his Bhakti-sandarbha, Jīva Gosvāmī states:
tad evaṁ tat-tad-abhimāna-lakṣaṇa-bhāva-viśeṣeṇa svābhāvika-rāgasya vaiśiṣṭye sati tat-tad-rāga-prayuktā śravaṇa-kīrtana-smaraṇa-pāda-sevana-vandanātma-nivedana-prāyā bhaktis teṣāṁ rāgātmikā bhaktir ity ucyate. . . . tatas tadīyaṁ rāgaṁ rucyānugacchantī sā rāgānugā.
When a pure devotee follows the footsteps of a devotee in Vṛndāvana, he develops rāgānugā bhakti.
"If one follows in the footsteps of the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana out of such transcendental covetousness, he does not care for the injunctions or reasonings of śāstra. That is the way of spontaneous love."
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura says that a devotee is attracted by the service of the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana—namely the cowherd men, Mahārāja Nanda, mother Yaśodā, Rādhārāṇī, the gopīs and the cows and calves.
"Devotional service in spontaneous love is vividly expressed and manifested by the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana. Devotional service that accords with their devotional service is called rāgānugā bhakti, or devotional service following in the wake of spontaneous loving service."
"When an advanced, realized devotee hears about the affairs of the devotees of Vṛndāvana—in the mellows of śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and mādhurya—he becomes inclined in one of these ways, and his intelligence becomes attracted. Indeed, he begins to covet that particular type of devotion. When such covetousness is awakened, one's intelligence no longer depends on the instructions of śāstra (revealed scripture) or on logic and argument."
"There are two processes by which one may execute this rāgānugā bhakti—external and internal. When self-realized, the advanced devotee externally remains like a neophyte and executes all the śāstric injunctions, especially those concerning hearing and chanting. But within his mind, in his original, purified, self-realized position, he serves Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana in his particular way. He serves Kṛṣṇa twenty-four hours a day, all day and night."
"The advanced devotee who is inclined to spontaneous loving service should follow the activities of a particular associate of Kṛṣṇa's in Vṛndāvana. He should execute service externally as a regulative devotee as well as internally from his self-realized position. Thus he should perform devotional service both externally and internally."
"Actually the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana are very dear to Kṛṣṇa. If one wants to engage in spontaneous loving service, he must follow the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana and constantly engage in devotional service within his mind."
"The devotee should always think of Kṛṣṇa within himself and should choose a very dear devotee who is a servitor of Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana. One should constantly engage in topics about that servitor and his loving relationship with Kṛṣṇa, and one should live in Vṛndāvana. If one is physically unable to go to Vṛndāvana, he should mentally live there."
"In the seed of affection, there is attachment which goes by two names, rati and bhāva. The Supreme Personality of Godhead comes under the control of such attachment."
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura comments on this verse. Externally a devotee performs all the items of devotional service in nine different ways, beginning with śravaṇa and kīrtana, and within his mind he always thinks of his eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa and follows in the footsteps of the devotees of Vṛndāvana.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu then describes those candidates who are eligible to taste the mellows of devotional service. Their fundamental natures and their varieties are also described. The Lord also informs Sanātana Gosvāmī about all the confidential paraphernalia of devotional service. He gives a description of Goloka Vṛndāvana, where the Lord is engaged in His eternal pastimes described in the Hari-vaṁśa.
"When the seed of ecstatic emotion for Kṛṣṇa fructifies, the following nine symptoms manifest in one's behavior: forgiveness, concern that time should not be wasted, detachment, absence of false prestige, hope, eagerness, a taste for chanting the holy name of the Lord, attachment to descriptions of the transcendental qualities of the Lord, and affection for those places where the Lord resides—that is, a temple or a holy place like Vṛndāvana. These are all called anubhāva, subordinate signs of ecstatic emotion. They are visible in a person in whose heart the seed of love of God has begun to fructify."
"Establish devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa and Rādhārāṇī in Vṛndāvana. You should also compile bhakti scriptures and preach the bhakti cult from Vṛndāvana."
Sanātana Gosvāmī was enjoined (1) to broadcast the revealed scriptures on devotional service and establish the conclusions of devotional service, (2) to reestablish lost places of pilgrimage like Vṛndāvana and Rādhā-kuṇḍa, (3) to establish the Vṛndāvana method of temple worship and install Deities in temples (Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī established the Madana-mohana temple, and Rūpa Gosvāmī established the Govindajī temple), and (4) to enunciate the behavior of a Vaiṣṇava (as Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī did in the Hari-bhakti-vilāsa).
This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement continues the tradition of the six Gosvāmīs, especially Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī and Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. Serious students of this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement must understand their great responsibility to preach the cult of Vṛndāvana (devotional service to the Lord) all over the world. We now have a nice temple in Vṛndāvana, and serious students should take advantage of it. I am very hopeful that some of our students can take up this responsibility and render the best service to humanity by educating people in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
In the revealed scripture Hari-vaṁśa, there is a description of Goloka Vṛndāvana, the planet where Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa eternally resides. This information was given by King Indra when he surrendered to Kṛṣṇa and offered prayers after Kṛṣṇa had raised Govardhana Hill.
In the Vedic scripture Hari-vaṁśa (Viṣṇu-parva, Chapter Nineteen), there is the following description of Goloka Vṛndāvana:
- manuṣya-lokād ūrdhvaṁ tu khagānāṁ gatir ucyate
- ākāśasyopari ravir dvāraṁ svargasya bhānumān
- svargād ūrdhvaṁ brahma-loko brahmarṣi-gaṇa-sevitaḥ
- tatra soma-gatiś caiva jyotiṣāṁ ca mahātmanām
- tasyopari gavāṁ lokaḥ sādhyās taṁ pālayanti hi
- sa hi sarva-gataḥ kṛṣṇaḥ mahā-kāśa-gato mahān
- upary upari tatrāpi gatis tava tapo-mayī
- yāṁ na vidmo vayaṁ sarve pṛcchanto ‘pi pitām aham
- gatiḥ śama-damāṭyānāṁ svargaḥ su-kṛta-karmaṇām
- brāhmye tapasi yuktānāṁ brahma-lokaḥ parā gatiḥ
- gavām eva tu goloko durārohā hi sā gatiḥ
- sa tu lokas tvayā kṛṣṇa sīdamānaḥ kṛtātmanā
- dhṛto dhṛtimatā vīra nighnatopadravān gavām
When the King of heaven, Indra, surrendered to Kṛṣṇa after Kṛṣṇa had raised Govardhana Hill, Lord Indra stated that above the planetary systems wherein human beings reside is the sky, where birds fly. Above the sky is the sun and its orbit. This is the entrance to the heavenly planets. Above the heavenly planets are other planets, up to Brahmaloka, where those advancing in spiritual knowledge reside. The planets up to Brahmaloka are part of the material world (Devī-dhāma). Because the material world is under the control of Devī, Durgā, it is called Devī-dhāma. Above Devī-dhāma is a place where Lord Śiva and his wife Umā reside. Those brightened by spiritual knowledge and liberated from material contamination reside in that Śivaloka. Beyond that planetary system is the spiritual world, where there are planets called Vaikuṇṭhalokas. Goloka Vṛndāvana is situated above all the Vaikuṇṭhalokas. Goloka Vṛndāvana is the kingdom of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and the parents of Kṛṣṇa, Mahārāja Nanda and mother Yaśodā. In this way there are various planetary systems, and they are all creations of the Supreme Lord.
"Below the planet named Goloka Vṛndāvana are the planets known as Devī-dhāma, Maheśa-dhāma and Hari-dhāma. These are opulent in different ways. They are managed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, the original Lord. I offer my obeisances unto Him." Thus Goloka Vṛndāvana-dhāma is situated above the Vaikuṇṭha planets. The spiritual sky containing all the Vaikuṇṭha planets is very small compared to Goloka Vṛndāvana-dhāma. The space occupied by Goloka Vṛndāvana-dhāma is called mahākāśa, or "the greatest sky of all." Lord Indra said, "We asked Lord Brahmā about Your eternal planet, but we could not understand it. Those fruitive actors who have controlled their senses and mind with pious activities can be elevated to the heavenly planets. Pure devotees who are always engaged in Lord Nārāyaṇa's service are promoted to the Vaikuṇṭhalokas. However, my Lord Kṛṣṇa, Your Goloka Vṛndāvana-dhāma is very difficult to attain. Yet both You and that supreme planetary system have descended here upon this earth. Unfortunately, I have disturbed You by my misdeeds, and that was due to my foolishness. I am therefore trying to satisfy You by my prayers."
Śrī Nīlakaṇṭha confirms the existence of Goloka Vṛndāvana-dhāma by quoting the Ṛg-saṁhitā (Ṛg Veda 1.154.6):
- tā vāṁ vāstūny uśmasi gamadhyai
- yatra gāvo bhūri-śṛṅgā ayāsaḥ
- atrāha tad urugāyasya kṛṣṇaḥ
- paramaṁ padam avabhāti bhūri
“We wish to go to Your (Rādhā’s and Kṛṣṇa's) beautiful houses, about which cows with large, excellent horns are wandering. Yet distinctly shining on this earth is that supreme abode of Yours that showers joy on all, O Urugāya (Kṛṣṇa, who is much praised).”
"Through His all-pervasive feature, the Supreme Personality of Godhead has expanded the entire creation. He is holding and maintaining this creation by His extraordinary potency. By His conjugal potency, He maintains the planetary system known as Goloka Vṛndāvana. Through His six opulences, He maintains many Vaikuṇṭha planets."
In His gigantic form, Lord Kṛṣṇa has covered the creation. He holds all the planetary systems and maintains them by His inconceivable potencies. Similarly, He is maintaining His personal abode, Goloka Vṛndāvana, through His conjugal love, and He is maintaining the spiritual world containing the Vaikuṇṭha planets by His opulences.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is all-pervasive. Not only does He carry the three worlds by His inconceivable energy, but He maintains them also. He is also maintaining His spiritual planet, Goloka Vṛndāvana, by His conjugal love, and He is maintaining the Vaikuṇṭhalokas by His opulences.
"Devotees in Vṛndāvana who are friends of the Lord can increase their ecstatic love to the point of anurāga. Parental affectionate lovers, Kṛṣṇa's father and mother, can increase their love of Godhead up to the end of anurāga."
"The gopīs of Vṛndāvana who are attached to Kṛṣṇa in conjugal love can increase their ecstatic love up to the point of mahābhāva, the greatest ecstatic love. These are some of the glorious meanings of the word 'bhakti.'"
"The women of Vṛndāvana who are on the level of superior guardians are attracted to Lord Kṛṣṇa maternally. The men of Vṛndāvana are attracted as servants, friends and fathers."
"By executing spontaneous devotional service in Vṛndāvana, one attains the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa."
"Even a liberated soul merged in the impersonal Brahman effulgence is attracted to the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. He thus installs a Deity and renders the Lord service."
Highly elevated Māyāvādī sannyāsīs sometimes worship the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Deity and discuss the pastimes of the Lord, but their purpose is not elevation to Goloka Vṛndāvana. They want to merge into the Lord's effulgence. This statement is quoted from Śaṅkarācārya's commentary on the Upaniṣad known as Nṛsiṁha-tāpanī.
"My dear mother, in this forest, all the birds, after rising on the beautiful branches of the trees, are closing their eyes and, not being attracted by any other sound, are simply listening to the vibration of Kṛṣṇa's flute. Such birds must be on the same level as great saints."
This is a quotation from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.21.14). This statement was made by the gopīs, who were lamenting in separation from Kṛṣṇa and studying how the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana were enjoying life like saintly persons.
"O good fortune personified! O original Personality of Godhead, all these bees are chanting about Your transcendental fame, which will purify the entire universe. Indeed, they are following Your path in the forest and are worshiping You. Actually they are all saintly persons, but now they have taken the form of bees. Although You are playing like a human being, they could not forget that You are their worshipable Deity."
This is a quotation from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.15.6). Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were just on the verge of boyhood and were entering the forest of Vṛndāvana when Kṛṣṇa began to offer prayers to please Balarāma.
"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."
This is a quotation from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.35.11). In the day, Kṛṣṇa went to the forest of Vṛndāvana, and at that time the gopīs, being morose due to separation from Him, were lamenting in this way.
"To be elevated to the platform of devotional service, the following five items should be observed: association with devotees, engagement in the service of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the reading of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the chanting of the holy names and residence at Vṛndāvana or Mathurā."
"This land of Vṛndāvana (Vrajabhūmi) is glorified today because Your lotus feet have touched her earth and grass, Your fingernails have touched her trees and creepers, and Your merciful eyes have glanced upon her rivers, hills, birds and beasts. The gopīs have been embraced by Your arms, and even the goddess of fortune desires this. Now all of these are glorified."
"The plants, creepers and trees were full of fruits and flowers due to ecstatic love of Kṛṣṇa. Indeed, being so full, they were bowing down. They were inspired by such deep love for Kṛṣṇa that they were constantly pouring showers of honey. In this way the gopīs saw all the forests of Vṛndāvana."
Regarding the variety of personalities known as Bhagavān, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura says that the Personality of Godhead known as Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that His expansions are also called the Personality of Godhead. In other words, Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the origin of all other Personalities of Godhead. Speculative philosophers and mystic yogīs also meditate upon the form of Kṛṣṇa, but this form is not the form of the original Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such a Bhagavān is but a partial representation of the Lord's full potency. Nonetheless, He also has to be understood to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead. To clarify this matter, one should simply understand that Kṛṣṇa, the son of Nanda Mahārāja in Vṛndāvana, the friend of the cowherd boys and lover of the gopīs, is actually the original Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is attained by spontaneous love. Although His expansions are also called the Supreme Personality of Godhead, They are attained only by the execution of regulative devotional service.
The position of viśuddha-sattva is the position of uncontaminated goodness. On that platform one can then understand, ārādhyo bhagavān vrajeśa-tanayas tad-dhāma vṛndāvanam: "The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the son of Nanda Mahārāja, is to be worshiped along with His transcendental abode, Vṛndāvana."
"The characteristics of the Deities should be discussed, as well as the characteristics of the śālagrāma-śilā. You should also discuss visiting the Deities in the temple and touring holy places like Vṛndāvana, Mathurā and Dvārakā."
"In the course of time, the transcendental news of Kṛṣṇa's pastimes in Vṛndāvana was almost lost. To enunciate explicitly those transcendental pastimes, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu empowered Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Sanātana Gosvāmī with the nectar of His mercy to carry out this work in Vṛndāvana."
Before returning to His headquarters at Jagannātha Purī, the Lord advised Sanātana Gosvāmī to go to Vṛndāvana.
"Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the cause of all causes. He is past, present and future, and He is the movable and immovable. He is the greatest and the smallest, and He is visible and directly experienced. He is celebrated in the Vedic literature. Everything is Kṛṣṇa, and without Him there is no existence. He is the root of all understanding, and He is that which is understood by all words."
This verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.46.43) was spoken by Uddhava when he came to pacify all the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana during Kṛṣṇa's absence.
"'Being touched by the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, that serpent was immediately freed from the reactions of his sinful life. Thus the serpent gave up his body and assumed the body of a beautiful Vidyādhara demigod.'"
This is a quotation from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.34.9). The inhabitants of Vṛndāvana, under the leadership of Nanda Mahārāja, once went to the bank of the Sarasvatī on a pilgrimage. Nanda Mahārāja was fasting, and he lay down near the forest. At that time a serpent, who was formerly cursed by Āṅgirasa Ṛṣi, appeared. This serpent had formerly been named Sudarśana, and he had belonged to the Gandharvaloka planet. However, because he joked with the ṛṣi, he was condemned to take on the body of a big snake. When this serpent attacked Nanda Mahārāja, Nanda Mahārāja began to call, "Kṛṣṇa! Help!" Kṛṣṇa immediately appeared and began to kick the serpent with His lotus feet. Due to being touched by the Lord's lotus feet, the serpent was immediately freed from the reactions of his sinful life. Being freed, he again assumed his original form of Sudarśana, the Gandharva.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu advised Sanātana Gosvāmī to proceed toward Vṛndāvana, and He informed him that his two brothers had already gone there.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu told Sanātana Gosvāmī, "All My devotees who go to Vṛndāvana are generally very poor. They each have nothing with them but a torn quilt and a small waterpot. Therefore, Sanātana, you should give them shelter and maintain them."
Following in the footsteps of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, we have constructed temples in both Vṛndāvana and Māyāpur, Navadvīpa, just to give shelter to the foreign devotees coming from Europe and America. Since the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement started, many Europeans and Americans have been visiting Vṛndāvana, but they have not been properly received by any āśrama or temple there. It is the purpose of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness to give them shelter and train them in devotional service. There are also many tourists eager to come to India to understand India's spiritual life, and the devotees in our temples both in Vṛndāvana and in Navadvīpa should make arrangements to accommodate them as far as possible.
After some time, all the devotees got up and returned to their homes very much grief-stricken. Sanātana Gosvāmī proceeded toward Vṛndāvana alone.
The Lord advised him, "Go to Vṛndāvana and chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra constantly."
Thus receiving the order from Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to go to Vṛndāvana, Subuddhi Rāya left Vārāṇasī and went through Prayāga, Ayodhyā and Naimiṣāraṇya toward Vṛndāvana.
Subuddhi Rāya stayed for some time at Naimiṣāraṇya. During that time, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went to Prayāga after visiting Vṛndāvana.
When Rūpa Gosvāmī arrived at Mathurā, Subuddhi Rāya, out of love and affection for him, wanted to serve him in so many ways. He personally took Rūpa Gosvāmī to see all the twelve forests of Vṛndāvana.
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī had been a minister in the government of Hussain Shah, and Subuddhi Rāya was also known to Hussain Shah because, as a boy, the Shah had been Subuddhi Rāya's servant. It appears that Subuddhi Rāya was elderly, yet while he was living in Mathurā he showed Rūpa Gosvāmī the twelve forests of Vṛndāvana.
Rūpa Gosvāmī remained in Mathurā and Vṛndāvana for one month in the association of Subuddhi Rāya. After that, he left Vṛndāvana to search for his elder brother, Sanātana Gosvāmī.
After reaching Prayāga, Sanātana Gosvāmī, following the order of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, went to Vṛndāvana along the public road.
This is especially significant because when Sanātana Gosvāmī went from Bengal to Benares, due to the political situation he did not go along the public road. After meeting Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu at Benares, however, he was ordered to proceed to Vṛndāvana along the public road leading to Mathurā. In other words, he was advised not to fear for his political situation.
Since Sanātana Gosvāmī went along the public road to Vṛndāvana and Rūpa Gosvāmī and Anupama went on the road along the Ganges' banks, it was not possible for them to meet.
Sanātana Gosvāmī remained in Vṛndāvana, and Rūpa Gosvāmī and Anupama returned to Vārāṇasī.
Thus I have described how Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu returned to Jagannātha Purī from Vṛndāvana.
In the Sixteenth Chapter I have described how Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu departed for Vṛndāvana and journeyed through Bengal. He later returned to Jagannātha Purī from Kānāi Nāṭaśālā.
In the Seventeenth Chapter I have described the Lord's journey through the great forest of Jhārikhaṇḍa and His arrival at Mathurā. In the Eighteenth Chapter there is a description of His tour of the forest of Vṛndāvana.
|Compiled by||MadhuGopaldas +, Rishab + and Alakananda +|
|Completed sections||ALL +|
|Date of first entry||July 11, 0010 JL +|
|Date of last entry||August 26, 0010 JL +|
|Total quotes||182 +|
|Total quotes by section||BG: 0 +, SB: 0 +, CC: 182 +, OB: 0 +, Lec: 0 +, Conv: 0 + and Let: 0 +|